My Husband Won't Spend Time With Me—What Should I Do?

Dear Newsweek, my husband refuses to spend quality time with me. Even a small thing like going out for a walk with me in the evening. After work he is always tired, but never if it's an outing with a friend. He never plans any dates, but if I do he comes with a bad attitude. If I complain he doesn't spend any undivided time with me, he starts telling lies and finding mistakes in me. What do you think I should do?

Communicate Your Concerns, But Consider Your Relationship May Be Toxic

Marisa Peer is a world-renowned therapist and best-selling author who has developed a therapeutic method called Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT)

After years of marriage or partnership, it's not unusual to become comfortable with one another and fall into a rut. Talking to one other and making an effort is key to a long-lasting relationship. When approaching your husband about this, don't criticize or apportion blame as this can put the other person on the defensive and lead to an argument.

Instead, find time to sit down at the weekend and tell him exactly how you feel, why you think it's important that you spend more quality time together and suggest ways that you might do this. Be prepared to hear his side of the story too.

Do you have a common interest or hobby that you both enjoy? Why not consider agreeing to a weekly date night, taking it in turns to choose what you do or where you go. Try to find time either before or after work to talk to each other - eating supper together provides the perfect opportunity.

Man and woman
Married couple. Experts offered their advice for a Newsweek reader whose husband refuses to spend time with her. iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

You mentioned that he comes home tired, so perhaps he is feeling stressed or dissatisfied with work? Many men find it hard to open up about their emotions, but try to encourage him to talk about his day and share any issues that he might be facing whilst considering solutions together. Often guys find it easier to meet up with friends and forget about the real world whilst enjoying a few drinks.

However, this means the problem will only get worse and unfortunately most of us tend to take out our frustrations on the people closest to us without being aware of it. However, if you find that every time you try to tackle this issue with him, he's turning it around and finding fault with you rather than looking objectively at the problem, you may need to consider whether this behavior represents a bigger problem.

Does he turn everything around and gaslight you on a regular basis? Is he always defensive? Is nothing ever his fault? Often it's hard to spot the signs of narcissistic behavior in a relationship because it becomes the 'norm' and you get acclimated to being mistreated. Consider how this is impacting on your own mental wellbeing, as well as on the relationship. Does the relationship energize you or leave you feeling drained? A successful relationship is all about give and take, how well the conversation goes back and forth, how equal the parents feel on having their needs heard and met.

Our partners can't meet all our needs so you need to decide which are non negotiable, which you can meet for yourself and which can be set to one side. Having your partner spend time with you should be a non negotiable.

For it to work, both partners have to be committed to support one another, be considerate of how the other feels and compromise or change where necessary. Narcissists are incapable of change because they put their needs above those of everyone else.

If you are still struggling or think you may be trapped in a toxic relationship, it might be helpful to get a mediator involved to ask the questions that you need answers to but don't feel you can for fear of the situation escalating out of control.

If you decide to leave the relationship, the fallout of being in a narcissistic partnership can leave lasting damage and often lead the victim to repeating the pattern and opting for similar toxic relationships in the future. As well as giving yourself time after such a split, therapy can also work on your own self-esteem and establish what you can do to take back your power moving forward.

Spend Time With Loving Friends and Family

Bestselling author and relationship recovery expert, Sara Davison, best known as The Divorce Coach, is a qualified NLP Master Practitioner with 27 years of experience in relationship coaching

I'm so sorry to hear you are experiencing this as it really is hurtful when someone rejects you like this. The truth is, we cannot change other people - what they do, say or how they act. What we can control is what we do and how we react.

If he isn't recognizing your worth then it's time to spend your quality time with people who do. Write a list of friends and family who make you feel great about yourself and you enjoy being around.

Schedule time in your diary to meet with them, even for a short walk or a Facetime. Stop asking your husband to spend time with you and, instead, opt for those who appreciate and love you for who you are. You will soon start to feel more confident about yourself and he may even start to see what he's been missing!

Newsweek's "What Should I Do?" gathers experts to advise a reader on an issue they're having in their personal life. If you have a WSID dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

Update 05/07/22 at 3:45 a.m. EDT: This article was updated to give further details about Sara Davison.