Abhinav and I have been married for seven years and I have never seen him cry. We had a love marriage after two years of a happy relationship without any arguments and I saw that as a sign of a healthy relationship.

My Emotionally Distant Husband

emotional husband, couple relationship, emotional intimacy

Abhinav and I have been married for seven years and I have never seen him cry. Not only that - he has never even comforted me when I cry and trust me that hurts. We had a love marriage after two years of a happy relationship without any arguments and I saw that as a sign of a healthy relationship. Abhinav was from a middle-class family and wanted to earn a lot in life and give his parents a good life. I really liked how ambitious and focussed he was. So on our second dating anniversary, I proposed marriage and he agreed. 

Abhinav lived by the book. Get married, buy a house, have a baby and perhaps a dog too. He had it all planned, and delivered in the same order. To the world, we had the perfect life, but on the inside, there was something missing between us. Since the day we got married, something had changed. I still remember I was crying during my vidaai and while in the car I looked at him for comfort - but he was looking out of the window. I felt unseen, but I dismissed the feeling thinking he’s probably too tired. 

Over time I realized that my husband was emotionally unavailable. He would provide for me materially, but never emotionally. The only time he showed any kind of affection was when we were making love. It was like living with a robot. I tried arguing with him about it and ended up being the only one having a problem, he just said - ‘You sound silly’ and walked out on me. Never did he ever try to make up with me after a fight or even ask me if I’m doing okay. But I wasn’t ready to settle for this apathy. 

I loved Abhinav so much that I wasn’t willing to let him go. So I began finding out more about his childhood. Spent time with his parents to understand their relationship, asked them questions about what made him happy and what made him sad. I eventually realized that Abhinav only understood duty. His father was a dutiful man and his mother was a dutiful woman. He grew up watching his father leave for work and his mother running the household. My husband had never witnessed an expression of love. Whereas I came from a family where my parents would go out on dates, my father would bring flowers for my mother and surprise her with small gestures. 

I realized how privileged I was to have been raised amidst the balance of duty and love and I decided to help Abhinav. So I started doing things for him that I would earlier expect him to do for me. I randomly bought him flowers and gifts and asked him how he was doing. I would hug him randomly and book surprise getaways. It did take a while for me to do all of this naturally and I did feel like I was the only one putting efforts but I did see a change in him. He went from being awkward to appreciative. I once heard him telling a friend that I surprised him with flowers at work and his friend told him he was a lucky man.   

The society conditions couples to fit into gender roles and that tends to put a lot of pressure on both men and women. It is not the duty of a man to surprise and for a woman to serve food. Abhinav was great at household chores and I was doing really well in my career, the point was to reach a middle point, and after a lot of efforts I think we did. My husband started planning little surprises for me, and asked me if I was okay if I looked upset. I think I had finally convinced him that life could be beautiful if we both contributed equally and that he didn’t have to do it alone. Today we have a two-year-old and we make sure to shower him with a lot of affection and also express physical love to each other - like hugs and kisses in front of him. We understand that world needs more compassion than materialistic drive and that’s exactly what we wish to teach our child.  

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Teesta Rajan
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