What to Do When Your Spouse “Emotionally Checks Out”

In the honeymoon phase of a relationship, couples are often so in love with each other that they focus on the positive aspects of their relationship. A typical evening might look like this: you prepare dinner together or sit in a restaurant, discussing everything that happened during your day. You're not exactly joined at the hip, but you are excited to be together talking, enjoying each other and sharing your hopes and dreams. All you can think about is how lucky you are to be able to spend the rest of your life with your one and only.

Where Did Things Go Wrong?

Sue misses those long-ago days. More often than not, she comes home to find that Tom has already fixed himself a frozen dinner. He doesn’t join her in the kitchen, ask her any questions about her day or talk to her about what’s going on in his life. If she tries to start a conversation, his answers are short and his attention is divided between her and the TV or computer.

Andrew was thrilled when he and Ellen were expecting their first child, but once the baby came, he felt left out. Ellen was always tired or preoccupied, and when they had any time together, there was distance between them that he didn’t know how to address.

Happy mother with her baby and young father feeling ignored

There could be many reasons why your partner has “emotionally checked out” of your relationship, including boredom, a major life event, heavy workload, exhaustion, illness, or even substance abuse, Internet or sex addiction.

Keep in mind that besides the effect those issues have on you and your relationship, your partner is suffering as well. So before you jump to blame, accuse and demand, remember to pray first about the situation. Then work to understand with open hearts, in the spirit of curiosity ask questions, work together and explore the possibilities.

Try one of these ideas to help reignite the passion in your relationship:

  • Defend date night. Make sure that you have time alone together on a regular basis. Reinforce your commitment to each other by booking a babysitter, clearing your calendars and treating the date as a crucial appointment that you cannot miss.


  • Skip the dinner and movie routine and do something unusual. Try salsa dancing or rock climbing, or something you’ve always longed to do. You’ll help reignite the spark between you and your partner and bring excitement back into the relationship.


  • Tackle something together. Complete a home project you enjoy or take a class together. You’ll feel like a winning team, gratified by your accomplishment.

Please note, that addiction is a serious problem, and you should seek out specialized help to address it if needed.

Honeymoons aren’t meant to last forever. But bringing back into your relationship that oh-so-sweet spice and connection is worth the effort!

Have a question about how to close the gap and reconnect in your relationship? Click here