Emotional Neglect in a Marriage

Emotional Neglect in a Marriage

Some people are abused in their relationships. Others are neglected, feeling all alone. While neglect may not seem as bad as abuse, it can take a toll on a person’s mental health.


Marriages are filled with ups and downs, and sometimes emotional neglect can come about when neither party wants to discuss their feelings or events in their lives. They wait for the storm to pass, making the neglect even worse. 


What exactly is emotional neglect? Read on to learn more about the signs, causes, and ways to fix it so you can keep your marriage on track and prevent a divorce in the near future. 


Signs of Emotional Neglect


When a person is neglected, they are not getting what they need from another person. Anybody can feel neglected, but children are most likely to be physically and emotionally neglected. 


People in a marriage can feel emotionally neglected when their partner does not act involved in the relationship. Emotional neglect involves feelings of isolation and a lack of support. Not surprisingly, those who are neglected do not feel attached to their partner. They feel as if they are on their own in the relationship, and if there continues to be a lack of support and communication in the marriage, it can quickly lead to divorce. 


Emotional neglect can affect someone emotionally, mentally, and physically. But actually proving it is challenging. Emotional neglect can be really hard to pinpoint, so how do you know if you are a victim? Here are some signs to look for:


  • You constantly feel as if you are alone.
  • You prefer to spend time by yourself.
  • You and your partner do not do anything together.
  • You go to a friend or family member for support rather than your spouse.
  • Your partner has no desire to talk to you.
  • You are always suppressing your feelings.
  • You are hesitant to make long-term decisions because you are unsure about the future.
  • You feel as though you cannot trust your partner.
  • You cannot be yourself around your spouse.
  • There is no physical intimacy.


What Causes Emotional Neglect?


The best way to prevent emotional neglect is to figure out how it happens. The main issue is a life change, such as a new job or having a baby. In some cases, emotional neglect occurs when there is infidelity in the marriage. It could also stem from one’s childhood, especially if a person grew up with divorced parents or parents who constantly argue. These people may not know how to have a healthy relationship. 


You can change your behavior toward your spouse and how you interact with people in general. However, learning how to communicate in these situations is not an easy process and can take a lot of work. 

Dealing With Emotional Neglect


So how do you deal with emotional neglect? You and your spouse will need to work together to get past it. And that is the key word—together. If only one person is putting in all the work, then the neglect will continue, and it is unlikely your marriage will survive. Here are some tips both of you can use to work on the communication problems in your relationship. 


  • Do not play the victim. It can be easy to feel sorry for yourself, but acting like a victim does more harm than good. Your partner will feel like they are being blamed for everything and all this will do is cause them to be even more defensive. While you need to let your spouse know how you feel, avoid nagging or being repetitive. 
  • Find out what is causing the behavior. Why is your spouse emotionally neglecting you? You need to know so you can nip the problem in the bud. The behavior will not get any better if you cannot determine the cause. Was your relationship always like this? Did your partner’s behavior change overnight? If so, was there an event that caused it?
  • Have a discussion. You need to address the emotional neglect in your relationship or it will never get resolved. Take some time to sit down and discuss the state of your marriage. However, you need to come from a place of forgiveness and love. Blaming your partner and getting angry will not solve the problem. 
  • Spend quality time together. Life is busy, but your marriage needs to be a priority. Put away the phones and focus on each other. Spend a weekend together out of town. Attend an event together. Go see a movie. Have dinner out. Take a walk in the park together. Get away from the distraction of life and take some time to focus on your relationship. 
  • Seek professional help. It can be challenging to resolve emotional neglect on your own. A therapist can help you communicate better and give you perspective. Plus, your partner is more likely to change if the diagnosis is coming from a third party. 


Seek Legal Help


Marriages take a lot of work. There is no happily ever after unless both parties put in the effort to make the relationship last.


While emotional neglect can be fixed with communication and counseling, sometimes the neglect never goes away. If you feel alone in your marriage, it is time to move on and find someone else who can give you their time and attention. Seek legal help from Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. We can guide you through the legal and emotional processes of ending your marriage. Contact our office today to get started. Schedule a consultation by calling (954) 346-6464 or filling out the online form.