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married for 7 years, now he needs space apart?

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Dear Doc
I have been married for 7 years now, been together for 10 years. I love my husband dearly we have been through a lot I've always given 100%, i am a very affectionate person I show how I feel. We have travelled a lot and have only recently started to settle down. We were talking of starting with a family. The problem is that he has always been distant he has through our life together pulled back more and more from me, he says he loves me but he does not show it. I've always been thinking what I do wrong what should I do different.We've been talking a lot and have been a tough time the last few months. He will be joining the air force in a week. He has now said he needs space, separation and will go away to sort himself out and his head, he wants us to be friends but it seems he doesn't want the can you say you love someone but you also want to be on your own? my heart is breaking i've tried so hard to support him and be a good wife. I will appreciate your advice

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replied March 31st, 2011
Relationships and Marriage Answer A21507


There are two aspects of this situation I would like you to focus on.

The first is whether you can make him show his love. Men often do not know how to express love, even though they do love. This is a fundamental difference between men and women. You might see a few odd men expressing their love by talking or gestures, etc. But most men do not seem to have the genetic make up for expression of emotions similar to how women do. If you can keep this fact in mind, it will just help to diffuse the situation a bit more.

Also, you are probably expecting a lot from him "based on" what you have done for him. This strategy has more chances of failing, because the condition may not get fulfilled every time. Accepting your partner "unconditionally" is quite helpful. This only means that you are with a person for all the good qualities of him. And you continue to love him in spite of a few bad qualities of his.

If your husband is telling you he needs to separate for some time, he might be going through a lot of stress himself. This separation may work for the best and bring the two of you closer.

The hard part to digest is the fact that there is no rule which says the other person must never hurt you, when you have loved him so much. And you are feeling the hurt because of the inner "demand" inside of you that says "he MUST love me back or show his love, or never be bad to me if I have been a good wife". It is good to expect things will go our way, but when this expectation turns into a strong demand, you start feeling the hurt. I hope this reply has given you some ideas. Please do write back if you want more help.

Best Regards

Abhijeet Deshmukh, MD

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