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When we fight, I stop caring.

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I stop caring about my wife for no apparent reason. When my wife and I get into fights I get to a point that I just become so tired of dealing with the situation that something in me changes and I just stop caring about my wife or anyhting that led to the situation. Even if my wife is on the couch crying her eyes out or something I will just start ignoring her and go to a different room and not speak or even look at her for the rest of the night, and if I do speak to her its just to tell her to get away from me, stop talking to me and leave me alone. Then the next day I realize what a horrible thing I did to her the night before and feel really terrible about it, and the worst part is that the next time we fight I do the exact same thing and the thought that this is really messed up dosent even come into my head anymore.

When we fight, I stop caring.

Answered by on -

A.

I think you’re quite a guy! Instead of continuing to withdraw from your wife, you’re asking for some help. This kind of situation could mean the end of a marriage if you didn’t step up. Good for you for doing so.

You and your wife don’t know how to fight constructively so you wear each other out. She tries to tell you about her big feelings. Like a lot of guys, you are uncomfortable with feelings that big and don’t know what to do. That makes you pull back. She then feels abandoned and frightened so she panics and gives you even more feelings. You feel helpless to help and overwhelmed and just want it to stop. Around and around it goes until you shut down and she is left crying on the couch. It’s very, very painful for you both.

Neither of you is wrong. Neither of you is a bad person. Neither of you has enough training or skill in negotiating differences or dealing with emotional issues. It’s time to get some help so you can be on the same team learning how to compromise, instead of on different teams hurting each other.

Fortunately, there are lots of self-help books out there to give you pointers. The two of you could agree to read one of them together and try out the ideas. There are several articles on PsychCentral that also might be helpful:

Reading doesn’t work for everyone, though. Sometimes people need a coach to learn a new way to do something. If that’s the case for the two of you, please consider seeing a couples therapist for awhile. From what you told me, I don’t think there is anything wrong with you or your wife. In your case, think about going to a counselor like you might think about going for tennis lessons. You’re going to learn a new skill. Couples counselors are trained to help couples learn how to solve ordinary problems better as well as how to handle diagnosable issues.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

When we fight, I stop caring.

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). When we fight, I stop caring.. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/02/23/when-we-fight-i-stop-caring/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.