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Lonely Husband

My husband and I have been married for 7 years and have two children that are under 7. My husband has been telling me lately he feels unappreciated and lonely but I don’t seem to understand why he feels this way. He has recently started being different after a lot of financial problems we were having. He is now working over 40 hours a week and comes home late so there isn’t really time to spend together except the weekends in the evenings after he gets off work. I try and talk to him but all he seems to be worried about is problems at his job (which I tell him to not worry about his job at home and just focus on enjoying time with us) and more than half of the time we end up arguing about pointless things, which make our moods bad. I also work full time and attend school in the evenings. He says that he feels unappreciated, but I just can’t seem to understand why?

I have asked him what it is that I have to do to make him feel appreciated but he never gives me an answer.There are times where I want to talk to him about his feelings and he just gets emotional and cries (not saying crying is bad) and we can't seem to talk or resolve anything. I sometimes get frustrated because I feel as though he is making himself feel that way and bringing himself down because i just can't seem to understand how he feels lonely or unappreciated. I don’t know how to explain it but I just feel like I don’t know him anymore because he was never like this before, its like he is another person. I just don’t know what to do so he can feel appreciated and not feel lonely.

Part of the issue may be work. If he is underappreciated at work, that may carry over. He may be depressed. Is he willing to talk to a mental health professional? If he won't go see someone alone, perhaps he would go to marriage counseling with you "to help you understand" since he won't or can't tell you directly.

My heart goes out to you.. This sounds very familiar. I am a stay at home mom (a little different than your situation) but sometimes my husband struggles with feeling like he's just a paycheck.

Do you make him feel like a man? I know that might sound crazy but to a man it isn't. Rub his feet when he gets home. Massage his shoulders. Make him a special dinner. Bring him home a 6-pack. Surprise him with a date night. Compliment him. All the things you would like for him to do for you, try it the other way. Sometimes in a marriage one of you is strong and the other needs more support. I'm sure it goes back and forth over the course of your lifetime and sometimes he may be your strength.

If he doesn't think that getting professional help is manly or it makes him weak, this may help. "The brain is an organ like any other. Would you tell a diabetic he is weak for needing medication for a defective pancreas? Your brain may need help to function but that doesn't make you weak."

Thank you for your suggestions. Things have gotten better, not dramatically, but they have improved. I've started listening to him more and have been trying to get down to the root of the problem. Counseling may still be the best route but I'll try to see if we can try to solve the problem by returning to the basic principles of giving him more attention, appreciating him more, and service.