SILAS NYANCHWANI MEMO: One of the most recurring problems in most marriages is the emotional withdrawal of wives and husbands who are ill-equipped at dealing with the menace. I see men in bars who don’t want to go home because their wives are unhappy or are presently serving them the coldest treatment they can cook in their hearts. Add to this, the most potent weapon women have at their disposal, used to punish errant husbands: silent treatment.
Most men are usually lost when it comes to dealing with a recoiled wife. Men have such fragile feet when it comes to walking on eggshells. Many choose to stay out in the bar, run away, than confront the problem. Our fathers and grandfathers rarely gave a damn. They were either away hunting, at work, in the bar, or in the other woman’s hut. Women can emotionally withdraw at any given time due to different reasons.
For starters, it could be because of something you did or didn’t do. Or something you said. It could be she discovered some flirtatious messages in your phone. It could be every time you are in a bar, and she asks you to carry milk home, you get drunk and forget. It could be something someone in your family did to her. Like a spiteful remark from the mother-in-law, or sister-in law.
Her withdrawal is her feedback for you to fix it. This one can be solved once the problem is addressed.
The second reason why your wife may withdraw could be because of her personal issues that have nothing to do with you. It could be that she is not in good terms with her boyfriend(s). You read that right. It could be she took a loan for her boyfriend (office boyfriend/ex/family member) without your knowledge and the folly of it just hit her.
It could be harassment in office from some office bully that she wants to handle it herself without involving you. It could be just hormones, or just a bad phase, she doesn’t know what to do. She may take out her frustrations on you. And you will be helpless.
The third reason could be she just wants out of the relationship and still working out a formula. Your very presence annoys her to the bone. Your touch stirs and boils her blood. Everything about you just drives her nuts. Sometimes when she wants to leave you, she may set you up cleverly, because some of these women want to do wrong but come out if looking innocent and white as cotton. Don’t fall for their manipulation into surrendering or being violent.
Regardless of the reason, it will affect you. It will affect your productivity. Married men who don’t get peace at home are the most distracted people I know. Your wife can say or do something that can affect you for a whole month.
Yet, it must never be like this. In the event her withdrawal is tied to something you did or didn’t do, try, and correct your ways. If her withdrawal is her dealing with her demons, here are a few things to do or remember:
Focus on Your Goals or Hobby
The reason most men are caught in the whirlpool of their wives’ emotions, is because they are idle. Every man must be busy. Every man must stay on his purpose. As we have said repeatedly, a woman should be a complement to your life, not the focus. She must never be your priority. If she can’t handle her problems on her own, neither should you try to intervene beyond what is reasonable. We waste so much time trying to figure out what women are battling, yet the demons are theirs and theirs alone, to battle. Some of the shit storms they go through, they put themselves in them. Don’t try to rescue her.
Focus. If you are not employed, or tired with work, go for your hobby. As a man always have a hobby. Cycling, walking, playing in door games; table tennis, videos games, anything that keeps you occupied the moments when she is having her episodes.
Desist From Parenting Your Wife
Typically, as a man of the house, you are not only the husband, but also the father of both your wife and children. It is OK to offer any kind of counsel, wisdom, and protection, but you only do this when there is cooperation from her end. If there is no cooperation, then resist the urge to police, parent or control her. It is pointless, man.
There is an urge to try and be in charge, and this can drain you. Some women are always determined to undermine your authority, and this can drive you to the edge. Sometimes the silent treatment and emotional withdrawal is her being childish. Whereas this needs parental intervention, you are better off leaving her to fix her issues.
She is an adult capable of making sound decisions. Don’t entertain her cold treatment. Show her you have options in life. You can eat elsewhere, you can have other female company, you can live without her.
There is a Thin Line Between Hypergamy and Co-dependency
The worst tragedy that can befall a man is to marry a woman that depends on him for everything. Literally. There are women who have so many emotional and financial problems, only God can help them. And cursed is the man who has to shoulder all of them. Usually, women marry upwards, and that can take care of their financial neediness. But what happens if she has a myriad of emotional problems, the so-called damsel-in-distress?
As men, we feel good when we rescue women from themselves. But, man, have you ever dealt with a woman who has emotional issues from here to New Zealand? Money problems can be solved with money, but emotional problems can be draining since they are unending.
There are women who are insecure about their looks, bodies and need constant validation and approval. Women who can’t simply make simple decisions about the simplest things in their lives, women who think their man is out there cheating any time he is not with her. Women with such low self-esteem may depend on you to fix their issues. It will tire you.
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That is the problem with co-dependency. It weighs you down as a man. Nothing you will do as a man to make her value herself. And when you fail, she will look for help elsewhere. Any minor distraction on your part, and she is cheating with the man who told her she looks fine. And she will always withdraw and blackmail you to be at her every beck and call.
Don’t. When dating, go for a confident woman who has accepted her physical and emotional flaws and has fixed them. Don’t pet a woman. Stop spending your life trying to please her in order for her to feel needed.
You Can’t Make an Unhappy Woman Happy
Tied to co-dependency is the simple fact of life that you can’t make an unhappy woman happy. One of the common foolishness of men my generation is to try and make women happy. Even women themselves don’t know how to make themselves happy.
Happiness is an individual choice. You can only complement someone’s happiness, or open the door of happiness, the choice to come in is up to them.
So, from the word go, she must know what lines she can or can’t cross.
So, if she is cranky, sullen, and withdrawn, you can only create the environment for her to create her happiness by leaving her the hell alone to focus on her issues without you being a distraction. Stop spoiling women with gifts, money and other indulgences hoping that you will make them happy; it actually annoys them.
Hold the Door Open for Her to Leave, if Need Be
Don’t live your life on the edge, always stressed, always worried about her, when she doesn’t reciprocate. I talk to women who have issues with their men, and I rarely notice empathy in their voices or actions when putting their men through a ringer.
Do your best but know when you can’t take emotional abuse anymore. It may make you resentful, violent and you waste too much time when really you should be on your purpose and mission.
Love Yourself Too, Bro
It is OK to pay attention to her and your family. It is OK, to do more than just enough. But ensure the time and attention you accord her; you also accord yourself as much. Men spend so much time trying to please and appease their women, and forget themselves.
It is when they are dumped, that they discover how much they had neglected themselves. Love yourself, gift yourself, spend time with yourself. Do things that please you. Stuff that makes you happy.
Draw Boundaries And Let Wife Know The Dealbreakers
When men are in love, they forget to draw boundaries early enough. As the old adage says, “Men marry women with the hope they will never change and women marry men with the hope they will change”. Invariably they are both disappointed. After marriage, women change a lot. Sometimes for the better and frequently for worse.
Some of the changes may be destructive. So, from the word go, she must know what lines she can or can’t cross. For instance, if she likes silent treatment and you don’t like it, make it known that you like issues being solved through communication like any two adults should. If you hate her tantrums,
physical fights, or violence, make it known early enough. If you don’t want your phone to be touched, make it known and let her know the consequences.
Be a man of your word. Whether you are sick or not, whether you are broke or not, whether you are feeling weak, or not. She must know your principles. And must dare not cross that line.
PS: This is Memo No. 40 in the collection of memos from ’50 Memos to Men’ book by Silas Nyanchwani . To buy the book, see details on Facebook.