How Can He Not Care?!

October 15, 2014

in Uncategorized

In tomorrow’s Generous Husband post, I warn men about being too content. I know some men are never content, even when they should be. Other men can be seemingly content in situations where they should be fighting for change. How can a man sit and do nothing in a horrible situation? How can he be content when his kids are unhappy and his wife is miserable? How can he not care?

Man who has given up © Pzaxe | Dreamstime.com

This is not really contentment. It is a lack of will. It is being too tired and beat down to care, much less do anything about problems. It happens when a man has given up. He has tried and failed so many times he is broken. Trying again must mean failing again, and who needs that? So, he stops trying. He may do the very minimum required and he may not even do that much.

Such a man is dead inside. Often he cannot even be made angry because he just does not care and there is no point. He lives out his life on automatic, never making waves, never taking risks. He may have a secret hope or plan. Maybe he thinks his wife or his marriage is the problem, and he dreams of leaving and starting over. Maybe he is staying for the children. Maybe he is biding his time. He might also just be done, with no hope, and no plan for the future. I wish I knew how to inspire a man who has reached this state, but I do not. He is dead, and he needs a resurrection. I know God is able, but if the man is not willing, nothing will happen. 

I bring up this to warn you. Look for the signs of giving up in your husband before it is too late. If he is dying inside, something must change ASAP. He needs to become involved in something he enjoys, something that brings him life. He needs to feel he has a greater purpose in life, a destiny. He needs adventure. 

If your husband is dying inside, time if critical. Wait and it will be too late, meaning it is effectively impossible to reach him. If he has lost his passion, he is in great danger. If he has stopped complaining about something in your marriage which has not changed, he may be giving up. Do not see his backing off as a good thing, because it probably is not. Unless you know he has backed off because he is becoming more mature, his change is likely a danger sign.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I don’t want to see anyone give up!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

LatterDay Marriage October 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm

What you are describing is something called ‘learned helplessness’. The belief that you can’t cause a change in the situation, so your focus is only on surviving it.
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Paul Byerly October 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

Sounds right. Common in animals, where as people should be able to see beyond it and work at it from other ways. Sometimes that takes too much effort.
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libl October 20, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Our problem is the he thinks the game is rigged but it isn’t. I am teachable. I ask questions, pursue relationship, submit, ready to discuss, I seek what’s best for him. Oddly enough, what he accuses in me is EXACTLY what he is doing to me! He will not discuss, communicate, ask questions. He isn’t teachable, at least not without a huge fight. I’ve asked him straightforward, simple, non-confrontational questions that have blown up into fights so bad I’ve nearly called for help.

I wish I knew what little demon is whispering in his ear all these lies. If he hears me say his name, he says, “what did I do now?” But, I have never given him cause to think that I am consistently mad at him about something. Problem is, because of his behavior I have to fight NOT being mad at him. He is driving me insane!

I am currently distancing myself from him, but still being loving, and praying for him. He’s also refused sex for the past 3 weeks. Says he doesn’t feel well. I am just letting it go for now. This battle has been going on for 14 years. I’ve read books, sought help, tried all the tips, hints, and tricks and finally concluded it is him, not me.

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Paul Byerly October 22, 2014 at 10:49 am

I would guess he has past experaince living in a rigged game, and has put that on you. Unless he was married before it is most likely his childhood home.

Dealing with things we accepted growing up is exceptionally difficult. Even when we want to deal with them it is hard. When we want our spouse to deal with their stuff from childhood and they are unwilling, it is pretty much impossible.

Based on what you say, it does sound like it is him. Not that you are perfect, but it may be nothing you do can penetrate his shields. If this is the case the only thing which might move him is a gentle ultimatum. Here is where we are, here is what will happen if nothing changes, ball is in your court. Some men respond to something like that as desired, many do not.
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Tony January 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

The problem is he has to believe that. If he doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter how teachable or supportive you judge yourself to be. It comes down to his perception. (Not just a male problem, how many wives think/thought their husbands don’t love them when in reality it’s each has a different way of demonstrating love?)

It could be that he’s depressed. Clinically, situationally. Not a mental care professional, nor do I play one on TV, so I’m just exploring possibilities here.

It may take hundreds of interactions where he experiences that his views, thoughts, ideas, etc do matter. It may mean letting him diaper the baby using duct tape to hold the diaper on, even if you did buy cute diaper pins (example.) Or letting him pick the restaurant without responding that you’d rather go somewhere else, no matter how politely you suggest it.

My wife is allergic to foods. My picture is in the dictionary next to omnivore. If the issue where picking a meal or restaurant, I’d be, whatever you want, because I’m not that picky and I can eat anything. But no matter how many times I remind her of that fact, she wants my input, only to tell me 99.44% of the time she wants something else. So you can see how I might be loathe to answer the question or get the impression that what I want really doesn’t matter, or isn’t the biggest rock in that particular jar.

Just random thoughts outloud, YMMV.

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Paul Byerly January 7, 2015 at 11:17 am

Depression certainly does enter into this. Sometimes it is cause, sometimes it is more a result of living in a rigged game. Then it perpetuates the whole thing.

Maybe pink duct take would be a good compromise?

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Elizabeth October 22, 2014 at 4:29 am

So what does a wife do??? You have described my husband and his job. And his affected everything else in our life, including our sex life. This has been going on for probably 8 years now. I have been praying for so long.. I wish he had other men in his life. Others to confide in and encourage him, but I am his only confidant. I am growing weary. I’ve suggested seeing someone, but he will not.

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Paul Byerly October 22, 2014 at 10:51 am

My only suggestion is to paint him a picture of what his future looks like if things do not change. Ask him if it is a future he wants to live.
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