Dear Dr. Love,My husband and I have been married for about 2 years. I think that our marriage would be stronger if our fights were over more quickly, but he won’t fight ‘fairly’. His most typical response to our conflicts, however minor, is to leave the house and go to work.Obviously, this leaves me fuming and by the time he comes home, I have a hard time wanting to follow all of the cardinal rules about how to handle conflict. I’ve tried to speak to him in a non-threatening way about how bad this practice of storming out is for our marriage, and he’s an intelligent guy, but doesn’t seem to understand that I spend the entire day thinking about how satisfying a divorce would be when he does this.So infantile!! Please advise . . .
When you say that you follow all the cardinal rules about how to handle conflict, I wonder if you have also read my new book, Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First). The reason why I ask is because your husband is exhibiting all the symptoms of husband withdrawal.Husband withdrawal is the number one cause of marital conflict and divorce, as well as a trigger for domestic violence. And, my book is the first book to show how to stop husband withdrawal and the fighting that results from it.What is husband withdrawal? In a nutshell, heated conflict triggers a chemical imbalance in a man’s body that causes him to flee. This reaction dates back to prehistoric times when men were hunters and needed to react with lighting speed–to flee or fight–in the face of dangerous prey. Modern danger is no longer the ferocious tiger, it’s the pissed off wife or girlfriend. And, when she comes at him baring her teeth and berating him with criticism, his body sees danger and involuntarily switches into the fight-flight mode.Since he doesn’t want to physically fight with the one he loves, he flees instead. There are three ways that all men flee. They flee physically, by leaving the room or the house, or by avoiding contact with their mate; they flee mentally (they are mentally outta there), and they appear deaf, dumb and blind; or they flee verbally, by escaping responsibility, justifying, defending themselves. No matter which of the three ways a man escapes, his wife or girlfriend thinks that he doesn’t love her enough to respond to her pleas. So, she cranks up the heat and unwittingly sets off more biological fire alarms in the man, more withdrawal and a downward spiral of fighting.How can you break the cycle? I call it marital climate control. Remember I said that HEATED exchanges set off the biological fire alarms in men that cause them to flee. By cooling the climate down, using the steps I outline in my book, husband withdrawal magically disappears. Then couples can on to resolve their issues using the conflict resolution steps that I also outline in the book.I know you may be using all kinds of excellent techniques, but my research has shown that all these techniques are useless if you don’t cool yourself and the climate down.Until this is accomplished a man will keep withdrawing. I know that you are furious with him for his taking off, and I am sure that he is picking up on how furious you are. This means that he is in a permanent fight-flight mode! And you are locked in a major vicious cycle. The more pissed you are, the more he flees, and so on.To break this cycle, you must cool yourself down, using the techniques I outline. Bottom line, if he is fleeing, he feels threatened. Of course you are mad that he flees. You have every right to feel as you do. But, if you blast him with rage, you are shooting yourself in the foot, bigtime.Read my book now, and you will see how to break free of this cycle.Once you have cooled yourself down, and cooled your communications down, he will stop fleeing, I promise. Then, when he sticks around, you will find it easy to apply my conflict resolution program, which has been proven effective for over 90% of the married, unmarried, and gay couples who use it.Let me know how you make out. I know you can break this cycle. I’ve seen just that happen for so many other couples just like you.