I am desperate to get my DW to talk to me. We have significant marital issues due to her conversion and my reaction to it, but everytime I try and talk about it, she changes the subject. I want to have a real discussion about what our issues are and how we can deal with them, but she just gets all quiet and refuses to talk. I’ve tried various settings and times, but nothing. I am starting to come to the conclusion that she just wants us to be living “seperate but together”

I just want her to talk to me, to tell me her hopes and dreams and let me share with her. We’ve been married for many, many, many years, but lately we’ve just gonme different directions. I am at wits end, my last straw, out of options (insert generic platitude here) and just want things to get better.

How do you get a woman to talk who won’t? Does this mean we’re done?


Her conversion from what to what?

Sorry, I’m a guy, so I probably won’t be much help, but that MAY be a prerequisite question that the ladies may want to ask you, so for the sake of clearing that one up, please answer.


Have you tried an appointment with your priest or a ‘good’ counselor?
Maybe she thinks you won’t listen.
Maybe she isn’t ready to talk.
Maybe she needs space to work something out?

That is a tough one. I’m more quiet than my DH who wants to talk everything TO DEATH!!! REHASH it, look at it from every possible angle and then take a picture of it for posterity. I on the other hand like simple, one liner, to the point, BOTTOM LINE conversations.

Maybe you can try, ‘DW, I know something is wrong, I want desperately to talk about it, I am willing to just listen in any setting you desire. Until you are ready I will wait patiently. But please let me know you are still in this marriage and willing to work it out.’

I’ll pray for you both. Maybe a Christmas Miracle :wink:


You both need to go to Retrouvaille. It is a program for troubled marriages that teaches new methods of communication. It really works, I know. My husband and I were already divorced when we went, and because of what we learned at Retrouvaille, we worked things out and got remarried. That was 5 years ago and we’ve never been happier.


Not trying to answer for the OP, but after reading some of his past posts I believe they were both Catholic when married… and she converted to another faith… correct?

I think it would help to know what faith she converted to… to know where her heart is.

Has she shared, at all, her reasons for leaving the Catholic Faith?


Is it possible that she’s afraid that if she talks about it with you that the conversation is going to turn it into a terrible argument? Has that happened in the past? Or might she be afraid that you’re going to try to convince her to change her mind about the conversion? If these might be the case, then you might need to promise her some guidelines for the discussion. Agree not to argue or try to convince, but just listen to each other’s feelings. Honestly, I think the first conversation should be, “honey, I want to talk about this this and this with you. It seems like you don’t want to. Can you tell me why?” Would she be willing to write her feelings down (or answers to your questions) in letter-form? You would read it in her presence, but this might give her the security of knowing that she’ll be able to say everything she wants to without being interrupted. Having a neutral party like a priest or couselor is a good idea. So is retrouvaille. But see if she responds to something more informal first.


I would write her a letter Ghostman…and have her read it, alone or with you. My husband is much better at emailing me, than he is with his emotions, verbally. He is a great writer, I have discovered!:slight_smile: She has to hear what you need to say–you are one flesh, and in that one flesh as you know being married so many years–you just want to have a connection with her. Try writing a heartfelt letter, and see if that opens her up. Also, my husband and I used to ‘schedule’ times to talk…about whatever–life, work, kids, us, romance, our sex lives…whatever was ailing us, we has a scheduled time on the calendar. It might sound strange, but we stuck with it…and it helped us to communicate better during some darker times of our marriage. (My husband is more like your wife, in that he closes up when things bother him)

We would sit for 15 minute time intervals, and the ‘rules’ were that he would say everything he wanted to say…without any interruption from me…for 2-3 minutes. And, then I would have a ‘turn.’ It was hard at first. The other rules were, no fighting or saying…‘WHEN YOU DO THIS…’ It changed the way we communicated forever…seriously. Eventually, we looked forward to our ‘scheduled talks.’ They were scheduled 3x per week.

I would try the letter first, and then maybe mention that in the letter. Leave aside her conversion…for now. I wish you the best of luck, and will keep you in my prayers. I’m sorry you are going through this.


I agree with the letter first. Maybe give it to her on Christmas Eve or Christmas if she will have a time to be alone or with just you to read it.


Yes–the beauty about letters, is there are no arguments, harsh tones, or interruptions. Just the thoughtful and heartfelt words of someone who longs to be heard. I love the times when my husband has put into words his thoughts…and he also has appreciated when I have been angry with him, and put those words into print. He will always come out of reading those letters (we still do them at times)…with…‘I never knew you felt LIKE THAT?’ And it can really turn the toughest of tides.


So, I took the advice that several of you offered and sent her an email that invited her to a romantic evening NY Eve. I promised good food, wine, fun, laughs and a night at a hotel. I emphasized that there would be no “heavy” discussions, just a time to remember what was good about our marriage and why we needed to fight for it. I told her I wanted to recommit to making our marriage work and that I hoped she could do the same. It was a kind of romantic kick-off invitation.

Her response was tepid at best. She accepted, but with the caveat that we don’t spend much money. She also launched into a defensive posture about feeling like everything was always her fault. I responded back saying how disappointed I was and to forget the whoile thing. I was so deverstated I drank way too much red wine and passed out in desolation.

My email was positive and uplifting, I am certain. I focused on the good things and trying to get back to it. When she responded like that I felt like giving up. It’s obvious that she’d rather be right than happy.

Thanks for the try, ladies, but I assume I’m in an empty marriage now. We’ll do the best we can for the children (there’re lots of them). We don’t fight, so they really only know that we’re not as happy as we once were, not how crushed and defeated I feel.


GMan, If you have children this is a real bummer, you are a little trapped at this point. Their are a lot of empty and dead marriages out there, but pick up this Cross and don’t despair or at least try not too. When a person of good will is trapped in a marriage to someone of ill will, God the Father gives you tremendous graces for persevering.

Develop strategies for surviving this trial and eve to grow. Remember men are natural born problem solvers. Keep coming to CAF for insight, hints and tips. Focus on God, you and your children, if your wife wants her space give it to her. You never said how old your wife is, this plays a huge roll in moods and demeanor in her life.

Many women go through phases like this but do not stay in them forever, it just seems like it. If she wants to live like a brother and sister than go for it. If you can move out of your bedroom and bunk with the kids during this time it will give you more time to pray and concentrate on you and the kids. It is great that you do not fight with her, but do not be a doormat. If you description is accurate, she is the one who has tossed you and your marriage away like yesterday’s garbage, of her own free will.

Talk to a good Priest about this too. Sure the guys are single but they have seen this before and can give pretty good advise.

If you are an awakened Catholic and she is not at this time pray for her too. Try not to get caught in the Saint Snare, meaning don’t think of yourself as always being the Saint and her as always being the devil, everyone has strengths and weaknesses. But you are the man, the leader, the problem solver. Keep posting.:cool:

The more time you give to God, the more strength and blessings he is able to give to you.


She also launched into a defensive posture about feeling like everything was always her fault. I responded back saying how disappointed I was and to forget the whoile thing. I was so deverstated I drank way too much red wine and passed out in desolation.

That was your mistake! She already feels defeated and that there is nothing to work with. She blames herself. So what did you do? You verified her self blame by telling her how she disappointed you (again??) and then you cancelled it and got drunk and passed out. (How many times does THAT happen?)

Is there a need for AA in this picture?

Here is a better way that scenario could have gotten played out…

You dress up anyway, take her out. Eat a lovely dinner. Find things to laugh about. Tell her she is still the prettiest woman in the room. Dance with her under the stars. Kiss her. Go home.

All pleasant and light. And it removed a few bricks from the wall. And she is left to think about the fact that she DID have a little fun with you. And there MIGHT be hope.

But you reverting to self pity and self indulgence, removed all hope from this situation and added a few bricks to the wall.

I don’t see this problem as all HER refusing to do anything to help.

YOU are part of your communication problem, sir. And self pity is no way to handle it. Your children are watching. And believe me, they see the distance. Do you want them to think this is how marriage is???

The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. Not “tolerate” her until God mercifully takes him from the scene…

Try again on New Years. Do it over again. New letter. Talk about hopes for 2008. This time DON’T BAIL OUT.

The souls of your children are at risk.


Your wife accepted but not the way you had hoped for so you get drunk and pass out? You remove your offer from her affirming that it is all her fault - wake-up man, your wife is in far more desolation than you are!

All I can think of is “how dare you make this offer” and then your wife responds to you that, yes, she would like that and then she pours her heart out to you (something you said you wanted) and you decide that she has rejected you and you close down communication. Why should she open up her heart to you if this is how you are going to respond?

I suggest you do as Liberanosamalo suggested and "Try again on New Years. Do it over again. New letter. Talk about hopes for 2008. This time DON’T BAIL OUT. "

Brenda V.


Sorry ladies, your hostile accusations are not rining with me. This forum has a huge woman good man bad bias in general.

I made a sweet, honest attempt. I have tried this several times in many way and each time she pushes away. I am simply tired of her rejection. Blame me, much is due me, but realize that she had repeatedly rejected all attempts at making things better.

She had told me, by action, words, deeds, body language, secrets, lies and choices that she values her new life more than her old life.

I am deeply saddened, but I have to find a way to live life myself and for my children. Perhaps she - like the prodical son - will return to her family some day. Until then, I’ll pray.

As for those of you who so adamently defend her, I wonder why. Simply being a woman shouldn’t make you right. Too often here that’s the case. Man bashing is a art here sometimes. It makes taking advice from women, advice I solicit because I want to make things better, harder to take.


While I don’t agree that much of the tongue lashing you’ve received here has been entirely appropriate, don’t forget you asked for the ladies to chime in! :wink: Don’t take it so hard, the anonymity of the internet can go to folks heads sometimes, and they forget they’re dealing with live human beings, some of whom have been hurting for a long time. Tough love is a lot easier when you’re not dealing with someone you really love, right?!?

Would counseling be an option for you, I mean would she be open to it? I can’t imagine how devastating this has been for you, I’m so sorry you’re in such pain. I know you must really miss her a lot. Even if your wife will not attend counseling with you, it could still benefit you to go alone. I know it’s expensive, but you can find a counselor through Catholic Charities that will be less expensive if that’s a major concern for you. My husband has been listening to Men are from Mars Women are from Venus on cd, and he seems to think it’s helping him understand a little better how women hear men. I’m only mentioning it because my husband seems to like it, I can’t really vouch for the material myself personally.

I know you must be dead tired of being the only interested party in your relationship, but it can’t be that she’s living without some sort of loss herself. She must be missing you too, but with so much water under the bridge, it can sometimes be extremely difficult to find each other again. I’m reading something recommended to me that may interest you titled Tell Me No Lies. I don’t know the particulars of your situation, but maybe you could glean a bit of advice from the book? At least you’d feel like you were doing something.

Again, I’m so sorry you’re hurting, I hope you can leave the less charitable comments out of your memory and take away only that which is helpful. Kindness is a rather rare commodity these days, I wonder if it really hasn’t always been so rare! God bless, I hope the best for you both, and will keep your family in my prayers.



Thank you for that much kinder - and useful - response. You’re right, the internet makes it easy to do a hit and run on someone and not worry about a real person being behind the other side.

As for counseling, I have suggested it several times. The first time, a year and a half ago, she literally screamed at me that there was no way she would ever go to a therapist with me. I went myself a few times but it was useless.

Since then I havfge tried a few other times to suggest it. Once she agreed, if I found someone who essentially would agree on her religious position. I don’t even know where to begin to look since almost all of her religious positions are secrets that she hides from me. I asked her to suggest one - anyone - and I promised I would go. She refused.

I’d go in a heartbeat, even to the man who is her religious “advisor”, the man who has torn our family apart. Anything to get her talking. I have tied to get her to talk to me at all times of the day, in all different wways, but nothing works.

The funny thing about this forum is if the sexes were reversed, if I were the wife and she was the husband, the same ladies who are taking me to town for a lashing would suggest that the husband was probably having an affair, definately addicted to porn, probably full fo social diseases and I should divorce him for the sake of the children. I would be at risk for physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual abuse. Since she is a woman, however, it is to be tolerated. It’s probably my fault anyway, right?

At the heart, I just want her back. I want her to want to come back to us, to me. I want her to miss us and what we had. I want her to value me again and to see that we had something wonderful.

Ah well, where there’s nothing to be done, only patience is needed, right?


That must be so heartbreaking that she won’t even go see a therapist with you. I can’t imagine why she wouldn’t if she’s still intent on staying married. This man you title as her religious “advisor”, would you be able to speak with him yourself? I mean, is he a minister of some sort, open to speak with anyone, or is he just a personal acquaintance of your wife?

If you’re pushing too often, it may come off as unattractive, maybe “needy” so to speak. I’m sorry I don’t have any advice to remedy such a thing if that’s what’s going on, I only mention it as a possible consideration.


Sorry if I sounded harsh, GhostMan. But you were the one who asked LADIES what they thought and how to get a woman to talk to you. And then you wrote how you handled your last effort. Would you rather I have written this?

Awww, GhostMan, Sorry the witch wouldn’t take you up on your dinner out. How horrible she is. You are right. It’s hopeless. Go buy a bottle of Rose and drink yourself into a stupor. It won’t help anything but it will dull the pain and you won’t have to think about her opinion of you and what the evening could have been if you hadn’t quit.

Well, that wouldn’t have been charitable either.

Quite frankly, if you had written the letter as a woman, I would have given a woman the same answer. But I haven’t seen a letter from a woman here throwing in the towel and saying she got drunk and passed out.

And that is what made me angriest. You are modelling for your many children an example that substance abuse is the answer to pain and rejection. And then you hurl the word “man-bashing” around here.

No man bashing here. I’d have said the same thing to a woman. Your job as a husband and father is to be the head of your family. To set an example of patience and virtue. Your wife didn’t jump through the hoop in the exact manner you thought she should. So you withdrew a lovely offer from the table and acted like a child.

Now you’ve made it worse and your wife (amazingly) shuts down on you. I dont’ know all your past issues or how things got to here from where you began. But I will repeat, this isn’t only your wife’s fault. If what you write and how you respond to criticism as you have shown here is any indication, YOU can’t fix her until you control better how YOU react. You can’t change her. You can only change how YOU behave. Sometimes that causes the other person to alter their behavior.

Again… try again. Apologize for your initial wrong reaction. Here’s a hint: Maybe when she said she’s tired of feeling everything is always her fault, a better thing for you to say is “Honey, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Let’s not place blame. Let’s just try to fix things. You are too important to me. I don’t blame you.”

Instead, you shut her down by starting in on YOUR disappointment and YOUR anger and YOU took your toys and stomped home, so to speak. Then you ask US how to get her to talk?

And when we tell you, you call us man-bashers?

Women go into defensive posture when they feel attacked. If they think their deepest thoughts will be judged, mocked, criticized or negated, they won’t share them. At least not with you. They’ll tell their mother, their sister, their best friend… but not you.

You seem to have to re-earn her trust. Your marriage is on life support. It’s in no condition for heavy conversations. It can’t take the stress. You can’t tell her you’ll have a fun time with no heaviness. You have to SHOW her. You can’t tell her she can trust you. You have to SHOW her by being patient and accepting of what she says.

Most women I know are very very eager to share their opinions. Whether their husbands want to hear it or not. The fact your wife is so far into shut down mode tells me your communication techniques with each other in the past have caused her to withdraw.

Is there truth to her feeling that you blame her? I don’t hear a lot of self-blame in your posts. Just how much you’ve tried and how awful she is to make you live like this.

Until you figure the path that got you here, you won’t be able to trace your steps back to a better place.

And that advice goes for men AND women. No man-bashing here. I’ve seen many wonderful men who make their wives feel loved and treasured. And I’ve seen many women who treat decent men like garbage. But if she treated you like garbage in the beginning, you wouldn’t have married her and had all those children, would you? So what changed? Until you can find that spot in the road and ask yourself some really honest questions and not flinch at the answers or point fingers, you won’t fix anything.

And playing the martyr and settling for a loveless hollow marriage is an insult to your wife, to your kids and to yourself. And to God.

Emotionally walking away…


I dare you to try this:

Write out on a piece of paper, numbered 1 to 10… title it “Things You Want Me to Fix About Myself.”

Give it to your wife.

You might finally get some information that would give you a clue on how to re-earn her trust. Only when you start jumping through some of HER hoops will she be ready to jump through some of yours. It’s a two-way street.

Again, I’d say the same thing to a woman whose husband wouldnt’ talk to her.

But it’s apples and oranges. A lot of times, due to the male/female difference, a man refusing to talk to his wife is a very different dynamic from a woman refusing to talk to her husband.

Women often withdraw because they are hurt. Men often withdraw as a way to punish and control. Yes, there are exceptions.

I’m not man-bashing. My advice is from the perspective of a woman whose husband made me feel I couldn’t talk to him at all. And I told you what might have worked for me and helped to start an honest conversation if he had really cared to fix things.

Good luck. Your kids need you to succeed.


Hi there, Ghostman. . . just getting in on this and I’m so, so sorry you’re dealing with this.

Two things: might I ask what she converted to? That might help me better formulate something in response. . .

And number two: have you tried just backing off for a while? I can tell that you’ve tried just about everything you can think of to get her to open back up, to talk with you, etc. . . but have you considered just leaving it alone? I mean, forget all attempts to engage her in any way and just go about your day normally (normal being a relative term, of course :blush: ). You’ve said that nothing else has worked, so maybe just laying off for a spell will help calm things down enough so that, when the time is right again, you can try once more.

Hope that made sense. . . :heart:

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