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After a fight, my husband can sulk for days...

Tagged as: Marriage problems<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (19 September 2005) 38 Answers - (Newest, 20 December 2012)
A female , *eresa writes:

I have only been married for 4 months and even though we are very much in love, whenever we argue my husband sulks for about 3 days. He has occasionally spent the night at his parents when we have fallen out, knowing it upsets me. He also punishes me in that he will deliberately do something which he knows will upset me. He is always really sorry afterwards and promises not to do it again - but it continues - why does he do this?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 December 2012):

I too have an on and off boyfriend. He works out of town so it's so easy for him to sulk for months. I usually don't know why he stops talking. I start to wonder what I said wrong. Before our child, he would not answer my calls or texts for several weeks and I would be so hurt wondering why he treats me that way and leaving messages begging him to call me. He left me when i was 4 months pregnant and started talking to me one and a half years later. Now we're back to off and on again. This last time he didn't talk to us for two and a half months. But it didn't bother me this time. I know that's just the way he is. But I have to admit I still wonder why he treats me this way and now our child. What did I say or do wrong? I didn't call or text him during that time. He finally comes around but he acts like nothing happened and we just continue where we left off. There's never an explanation from him. Used to it and not bothered by it but still wonder why.

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A female reader, DianaM United Kingdom +, writes (31 May 2012):

My husband comes from a family of sulkers - 3 males amd 2 females and they all sulk when not getting their own way or after an argument. Their mother was a very demanding woman who bossed them around unmercifully even when they were adults, so perhaps sulking instead of discussing is something they learnt to do so they wouldn't have to cross swords with her. We've been married for 30+ years, but my husband still can't deal with even the mildest criticism without getting annoyed. He used to sulk after every disagreement, but I told him - and meant it - that I had no intention of putting up with such babyish behaviour from a grown man. I understand how the past can impinge on the present, but we've all had difficulties in our lives and they don't make us treat others in a shabby way. Thankfully while my husband still gets annoyed about small things, he's given up sulking, except for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes ... and I can put up with that! One of my husband's brothers has already lost 2 wives because of his sulky bad-tempered ways, and it looks like his third relationship is going the same way.

So, all in all, I'd advice anyone whose husband acts like this to tell him it's time to end it or face the prospect of being on his own. We're all entitled to respect from our partners, and someone who sulks for hours or days is showing no respect at all.

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A female reader, Feelstupid United Kingdom +, writes (19 January 2012):

Ladies this is a great book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Does-He-That-Controlling/dp/0425191656. "Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men". Been with my boyfriend for over 3 years, his sulking his usually worse when he is stressed. Rhen even just one word wrong can trigger him off. I said one wrong sentence two days off. He went off into a rant about how awful I am, my mother, oyur relationship, all as he was storming out of the room.... It's me who apologises almost every time. Me who acknowledges my side of what went wrong. And when we do "make up" it is mostly impossible to communicate or work things through - he just sees any attempt at processing as as war. I know I have to leave.. just bracing myself really. It's such a waste of an otherwise beautiful relationshop and amazing man. But it's WEARING ME DOWN.

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A female reader, ChangingWomen Australia +, writes (12 October 2011):

Sadly, I think that this type of behaviour is getting worse as women become more independant and saavy about how they should and will accept to be treated. My partner of 16 years has always had anger issues and doesn't seem to like the slightest bit of critism, and it doesn't have to be much! Just talking to him about something that I need to have done, or how I would like to be treated, or how I feel when he does something awful can set him off. Its just a great big tantrum, yells, talks over the top of me, doesn't listen and ends up throwing or breaking something and walking out. This last time, he left on the Saturday to go to the market (had a hissy fit just before leaving)and rang some 6 hours later at which point my daughter (13) didn't want to speak to him. Then we worried about him for a further couple of days until Monday night he just tries to come home through the door, but we have seen this so many times that we had it chained locked. As far as we were concerned he had left us on the Saturday. He always does this to punish me - I am a strong and WAS independant women and he knows that this upsets me. So he stayed away until breaking back into the house the next Monday and now won't go again. This is a common pattern and is just plain bad behaviour. He was never taught as a child that this was not acceptable. He further complicates things by refusing to see his side of what has happened (again and again)and tells me it is me that is treating him badly - so none of it is his fault! :Poor thing. Lets stop this behaviour for our children by not tolerating it anymore. Unless your partner agrees and is committed to couples conselling or treatment it will just get worse. and it can get alot worse until your self esteem is almost gone - the sulking is just the start believe me. Seek assistance from the nearest womens organisation or friends and relatives. This is not love and we need to recognise it for what it is - abuse. I feel sorry for my partner who has thrown away a family that loves him in preference for his anger, but we can't help him, but we can help ourselves. After a while you start to believe that the whole thing is your fault, but this is just another trick. Not to say that it doesn't take to tango - it does, but when you can't speak and they don;t listen and stick around to work things out it makes a partnership very difficult. Make sure that you are with women that don't judge you - most of us have been there and I am sure there is a reason for it. love yourself and good luck.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (24 September 2010):

we're currently in that situation. we had an argument last night yet he's still ignoring me... it frustrates me that he chooses to sulk instead of mend things.. as though he'd prefer us fighting instead of us being on good terms.. whenever we argue, i'm quick to vent but also quick to make things better.. yet he seems to need all the space in the world to move on.. why can't he "man up" and move on? shit happens.. couples fight.. have your brief reaction but then move on.. i dont understand.. i know its hard but its a decision thats up to you.. and you'd think that he would want to mend things quickly instead leaving it as is.

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A female reader, luvlyone61 United States +, writes (18 June 2010):

Although it's very common for men to "go into their caves", it should not last for more that a day or two. The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse. He is ostrasizing you, and is treating you as if you don't exist. It is very painful. If it goes on for longer than a few days, he's doing this because he's lost control of you at some point. He knows it bothers you, so he will continue to give you the silent treatment until you "change back" and until he can take back that control. To me, you have two choices: Ignore it. Don't let him know it bothers you. He may try to "up the ante" and sulk for longer and longer, but let him. Don't give in, and go on with your daily business, as painful as it is. Your other option is to leave him. Trust me; I've been married to this type of person for 32 years, and it doesn't get better.... unless YOU take a stand! You cannot change him...only your reaction to him.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 June 2010):

He's doing this to control you and he's lost that control at some point. He knows it bothers you, so he will sulk until you "change back" and until he can take back that control. To me, you have two choices: Don't let him know it bothers you. He will try to up the ante and sulk for longer and longer, but let him. Don't give in, and go on with your daily business. Your other option is to leave him. Trust me; I've been married to this type of person for 32 years, and it doesn't get better.... unless YOU take a stand! You cannot change him...only your reaction to him.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (8 June 2010):

Once a sulker, always a sulker. Ignore him, if you can. i did that with my ex husband and it worked. he would sulk for days if, as a family we didn,t do what he wanted to do all the time. some people, not just men, women are like it too, don,t learn the art of compromise.

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A female reader, barbarasetser19 United States +, writes (11 May 2010):

same thing going here I am 19 and june will make a year me and my husband has been together we have a small child ,and I hate fighting around her! He won't talk he storms out of the room, and finds comfort on my sofa, and as I like to put it he puffs for about 3 days. I thought my mamma was silly when she said all men are a like, but now Im starting to believe it. I am lonely most of the time taking care of the baby 24 hours a day even when he is home. He won't even watch her so I can bath. He says he will watch her but as usual she gets into trouble or gets hurt. I don't want to leave and would never advise anyone to do such a thing. It hurts being pushed away though for myself and my husband leaving might pull his head out of his a$$!!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (16 April 2010):

I don't know if this is the reason or not but maybe he's doin this because he just needs space to deal with wateva is annoying him, this could be hours days or weeks. I recently read men are from mars women are from venus by john gray n it was quite insightful. He explains how men go into their 'cave' when somting is botherin them n that the more a woman tries to get him out of the cave by talking to him or wateva the worse it makes the situation, it just makes him want to stay there more and longer. If she keeps at him though then shell get 'burned by the dragon outside the cave' in other words shell just get hurt by what the man has to say because she isn't giving him the space or time to deal with his problem. I know I found all that makes sense I guess when women get upset we like to get askd why so we could talk about our feelings and thru talkin we feel better wheras men just wanna deal with it themselves in their head and just internalise it til they have dealt with it. Unless he asks for help or advice maybe its best to giv them space wen they r feelin this way otherwise it justs prolongs the situation of him sulking or being silent which is basically him goin into his cave.

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A female reader, tangerine777 Australia +, writes (1 January 2010):

Most people who live together before getting married end up divorced. Why? Because living together before marriage is like arental agreement...you are just trying your partner out and if you find anything wrong with them, you can leave and have an excuse because you are simplynot compatible. Wrong! When you don't live together before marriage, you take your vows seriously and since you both don't know what it is like to live together, you know that you are going to have to make things work. That no matter who they are you will have to make yourselves compatible. These guys leave because they have low self esteem, want control and have not grown past immaturity beause they were babied and got away with everything not having to grow up and take responsibility, or you really are annoying and not giving the poor guy a break so he feels he needs to escape. At any rate, marriage partners are a team and if both parties communicated how they felt i.e. why they feel like running away and why they do this, then you cannot resolve the issues. We have to look at ourselves first to see what we are contributing to our marital discord and change ourselves first so our partner will come to model our good behaviour. People stop trying in a marriage when they do not feel loved and appreciated. And, if you already have done these steps and are doing what you can to make yourself more compatible with your partner and he runs out as just simply poor behaviour, then you have to look at yourself and wonder what self esteem issues do you have to let someone do this to you. When you humbly demand respect and set that expecatation, then your partner will understand not to cross that line, but if you do not set a bottom line or boundaries and your partner is allowed to cross these boundaries, then it will get worse and he/she will continue to show disrespect. It is kind of like being young and dating and you tell your date that you do not wish to have sex on the first date. If he is rude and ignorant and tries to push you into it, or joke about it or leaves and chucks a temper tantrum wouldn't you kick his butt to the curb unless he respected you and your opinon? Yes, everything is open to discussion and negotiation, but a bottom line is a bottom line...if you never have sex on a first date, then he needs to respect that...no negotiation!!! And, if he crosses it, he is gone. You must give a clear message over what your bottom line is, so if he/she crosses it, it was their choice to violate the rules. And, you have to be fair because if you relentlessly accuse, belittle, degrade, yell, hit your husband and he leaves, then he is trying to set a boundary with your abuse and you need to accept his bottom line and show more respect if you want him as a husband. People break down the walls, stop being sensitive and hurt. Life is too short to waste. I know some women have children and might be at a huge disadvantage economically if their husband's left, but there is always a plan and a way out. Sometimes we seemingly have to agree to live with less materialistically in order to gain something so much more valuable like a sense of self and spiritual satisfaction in life. Hope this helps.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (25 June 2009):

My husband of 30 years is exactly the same. It's caused so much pain for me in the 30 years. I wish I'd had the courage to finish things really early on. I saw signs of it before we got married, but chose to ignore it, much to my sadness now. My advise would be to get out while you're still young. Things like this don't go away, a manipulative passive-aggressive emotionally immature man (narcissistic) doesn't change, and doesn't make a good husband or father. Run, and don't look back!

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A female reader, mazcornwall United Kingdom +, writes (21 June 2009):

I'm going through the same. To be honest I kicked him into touch before we married. He had been flying into rages and walking out. He would disappear with no contact for days. It was excruciating. It transires he was going off with prostitutes. I found out and finshed it. Then found myself pregnant. I loved him through all that because when hes good he is very good. We cut a deal. More trust, no storming out, no rages for our sake and family stability. Then his business hit the wall, few other problems too. So, I'm at home, car repossessed etc. And he flew into a rage about 3 days ago. About me trying to control him and his day. I just asked him what he was doing.

He hasn't walked out but emotionally distanced himself. Tried talking, but he does not want to hear 'my shit'. Ask myself what was I thinking?!! Gave another chance, stuck through thick and thin. And he does not even love or respect me?

You know what, its not OK to treat someone like this. He may apologise. But i doubt if he will change.

It does not feel like a partnership or marriage when it is like this. It feels like conflict for control. It chips away at trust (not that there is a lot)and love.

New baby, no love life here either. He does not seem to want to know. Drinks too much.

What d'ya do??

It may be form of passive aggression. What do you think?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (17 May 2009):

You poor thing - I have every sympathy with you! Why are you so terrified that he will leave you? Do you honestly still want to be with someone who treats you so badly? As I always now say - reverse it - would he allow you to treat him in such a way? It is said that people are only treated as they allow themselves to be treated. From what you have said it appears that he know he can get away with this type of behaviour because he knows that you are permanently there waiting for him and constantly pleading with him to come out of it. This is extremely negative attention seeking behaviour. Believe me - you will get sick of this and each time he does it it will hurt you less until you will end up having no feelings for him at all. Well this is what happened in my relationship. I feel sorry for him because he cannot articulate his feelings. This is psychological abuse which can be worse than physical abuse. As hard as it might be - try ignoring this behaviour because you are only putting yourself through torture being rejected all the time. Over time it will erode your confidence and self esteem and you are worth more than that. I am not criticising you because I know you are at a loss as to what to do when he gets like this but it doesn't sound like he respects you because you are allowing him to continue with this behaviour. Tell him you are not prepared to put up with this and to leave if that is what he wants. No matter what you feel if he loved you would he really treat you this way? Do you really want to continue like this? Be strong and take a stand - believe me he will respect you for it which he clearly doesn't now.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (14 May 2009):

My live-in boyfriend is a sulker. He has a lot of unresolved issues with his ex whom he feels hurt him deeply and ruined his life. Anyway, every time we fight, when he looks at me, or hears what i have to say, he hears and sees her, and reacts. He refuses to ever talk about the fight, or talk it out like adults. instead, he gets angry then flat out refuses to speak to me, make eye contact with me, or anything. He's also not someone who gets better after a good night's sleep, he analyzes it, lets it fester and burn him from the inside, and he's even angrier the next day. The first time he did this, he gave me a look of death, stomped downstairs, and said "don't follow me" then slept downstairs for 3 days. He wouldn't talk to me, answer my calls, respond to my emails, or anything. If i tried contacting him or came near him, he got very angry with me. I was terrified he was going to break up with me. Since then, it's happened on a less severe basis where he's gotten over it in a few hours or a day. however, it happened again 3 days ago and this time it's really hurting. He packed up all of his stuff, and i mean everything, even the things he never uses but he owns, and moved downstairs. i begged, pleaded, just tell me what's wrong, why are you doing this, what did i do??? i want to resolve this, and he said there's nothing to resolve. He wouldn't tell me anything, just told me not to talk to him, touch him, and get out. He stormed out of the house and came back a few hours later, but refuses to talk to me or even look at me. I can't go in the basement because that's his place, and if i do go there, if i "violate" that space, i think he'd move out. When he has to talk to me when he's like this, i.e. i need to get by you, he growls it and glares at me, with such a hateful look. I thought he was coming around 2 nights ago because he was kind of talking to me about work but after ever sentence, he said "i hate you." I said no you don't, and he said he does. This happened several times. he said it like an aside, and i don't know why. The night we had our fight, we'd been having a great time together, he even told me how happy he was with me and that he loves me. And now this happened. I'm terrified that this time he's going to break up with me, because he's often said that because of the damage his ex caused, he's not sure he's ready for a relationship. I feel absolutely devastated, i love him so much, we are so compatible, he's my best friend, we do everything together. i don't want this to end. anyone have any suggestions on what i can do? I know i'll need to make the first move, but any ideas on how i can do that, or when, or what i should say? I know not to talk about the fight, just talk about everyday normal things...but if he's not ready, it'll just make things worse. The hardest part is that he sent me a point blank email today that just said "find my appt notice, i need it" for an appt he has 3 weeks from today! Is he giving me a hint? I'm scared to death, and don't know what to do. i hate that he does this to me, to us, but like some of the other ladies here said, when he's great, he's great...that's why i stay, and why i want to be with him...

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A reader, anonymous, writes (3 April 2009):

Everytime me and husband fight.He tell me over and over that if I don't like it I can go and look for another man that can do things the way I want to..It get fustrating when you I can communicate with him about anything because he get very stubborn and this is affecting are relationship alot.I love my husband but I'm tired of him been so ignorant.I can't argue with him because a won't even get a apology back,he'll just got and flipped on me, when is him the one that is not right with his action.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 February 2009):

my husband is right now sulking in the bedroom. so far he only does it for the night or day. But it is getting worse by the week.he is doing it more and more.

he has a lot of work troubles and i worry he is depressed. but if we have an argument and it is NOT always my fault. he yells at me (and i yell at him) and then goes into a sulk goes into the bedroom and lies down and ignores me totally. will not speak at all except for grunts.he ignores me, ignores my plees, wont eat the dinner either.

totally blocks me out and it is really upsetting. i am worried he is depressed but after reading this i think he is sulking.

I feel i am being punished with this. i sit here worried about him. maybe i need to have some fun instead.

also in our relationship i know i do cause arguments, but he seems to think he is near perfect, the settled, well adjsuted one, the one who doesnt scream or get angry. well he does sulk and he is not perfect.

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A female reader, jmehdani United States +, writes (14 February 2009):

My husband does the same thing. He will sulk, and not talk to me for days over the littlest argument and I'm always the one that tries to talk about the issue and I'm always the one that apologizes. He won't see things from my point of view unless I'm saying "I'm sorry...you were right and did absolutely nothing wrong". It gets tiring, and I'm getting tired of always being the one to step up and try and see what's going on and how we can fix it. It makes me feel as if he doesn't really give a rats butt. He tells me he doesn't want to talk because he just got off work and wants to relax, on his day off it's because "It's my day off man, I don't want to talk about that, can't I just have a nice day off". Don't know what to do...today is Valentines day, and he actually walked out at 430 am. We'll see how long this one takes. I admit, I can be a huge "brat", but at least I am "man" enough to go up to him and admit what I did wrong and apologize and try and get to the bottom of things. I'm tired of being married to myself pretty much. I told him to try and understand how that feels...I asked him to pretend that him and his PS3 were having a probem, and no matter what he did or said, the PS3 wouldn't respond. How would he feel? He'd be trying all day and night to get it to work out but alas...no luck. That's exactly how this feels for me.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (17 September 2008):

i have been through that well i am now.

my husband runs back to his parents whenever we have a problem and it makes things even worse.

i just ignore it...

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A female reader, Pam4411 Australia +, writes (14 June 2008):

Dear Teresa,

I feel for you. I have been married for 25 years to a sulker and I truly believe it is a behaviour that wont change. I have had to change my response to his sulking instead as we cannot change someone else we can only change how we ourselves deal with some one's behaviour. I used to scream, shout, plead, all sorts of undignified behaviour to get him to come around and nothing worked. I then decided to try and maintain my own emotions and be distantly polite to him until he comes around - and believe me that can be weeks and weeks! Actually in a strange way I have come to quite enjoy the peace of this time and just get on with things I like doing. I do agree with other answers that it is very destructive to your relationship as it chips away more and more with each new sulk. Good luck to you.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (29 May 2008):

i have been with my partner 4 10yrs,we hav a son aged 8,i 2 hav been living under his emotional abuse/sulking,its depleating degrading,he isolates me,alienates me,treats me like i dont exsist.if we disagree,or i refuse to dance to his tune he leaves returning to his nans,stating that he only wants to c his son,this in turn has an adverse effect upon my son,so im not only left coping with the torment he puts me threw,i get it double bubble with my sons emotional wellbeing,security,stability.he always states 2 my son that its my fault,which has far reaching effects upon our mum/son relationship.ive draw 2 the conclusion that i cant work with some1 who constantly works against me,i try sooo hard to sort the issues out,communicate with him,only 2 realise its me who keeps cleaning up the turmoil he creates,

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (15 May 2008):

Yes.... to all you ladies, I completely understand, and we aren't even married yet! I don't know if I would call it sulking or stubborn! My fiance and I bicker quite often. The beginning of our relationship seemed perfect, we never fought, got angry, got sick of each other or anything. I knew that was too good to be true. Now we fight almost every day, over the smallest things! I am the type of person who hates fighting. I am definitely emotional, and he is the complete opposite. I will cry and he will walk away. I will cry and he will tell me to get over it. I really wonder if he even cares. We will fight and he will ignore me, and go to bed. I can't do that. I always apologize just to make things better! No matter what he thinks it is my fault and he is never wrong, and I am getting to sick of it! I love him so much, and when things are good they're great, I just wish he would apologize every now and then. We both come from similar familes, I have no idea why he is the way he is? Please somebody, make me feel better!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (17 April 2008):

M on-off boyfriend is the same. Its the reason we are on and off! Everytime something needs discussing, he avoids it until it gets to the point I have to ask him point blank. Then he sulks for day, weeks, even months until he thinks I am ready to apologise. Oh I used to, now- I just think, oh well plenty more men out there and some of them have actually grown up. In one of his sulking moods, he asked me to leave. I did. I few months down the line, he said he never wanted to see or hear from me again. So I didn't contact him. He came back each time, tail tucked but he can't stop doing this. Latest is IVF. We talked about it, then he said he was upset with me and hasn't spoken to me in a week. So I have decided to go for donor sperm without him.

Also think its because of his childhood. Met his parents and both of them control and manipulate. He uses sulking, shouting, tipping the balance in his favour and threatening to leave when he doesn't get his own way. I love him but the problem is I spent two whole years reading about men just like him and have him sussed. Sad to say, I couldn't care less anymore what mood he is in. Not once has he apologised for anything. So I stopped too.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 April 2008):

Hi, I just went through most of the postings and it's funny that I found so many women talking about their husbands sulking. I on the other hand happen to be on the sulking side of the coin, I let things tick me off when I'm around my boyfriend of seven years we live together. Anyway, part of the problem I know is because I came from an abusive childhood home, he didn't. I find that sometimes I wind up acting like my parents when we fight, most of the time I ask him to leave, by the way he is a really nice guy and I don't know why I have to act this way, yelling and pointing fingers, acting like my parents especially my dad. Logically it makes no sense, it's like displaced anger but in role reversal, I a woman treat my mate like my dad used to treat me. And I used to hate this abuse from my dad and now I do it to my mate and I'm happy that I am at least conscious enough to know where it comes from but I don't know how to stop it, I say to myself I'm going to be consciously aware of my present, my actions but I would see things that were similar to my childhood and I just freak out. Hence my dilemma. Anyway for all those women with sulking husbands I hope this note helps you in some way and if this sheds some light in your situation now that you can see it from another woman's side of the coin.

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A female reader, nehadagr8 India +, writes (4 April 2008):

Im 22 yrs old this is the 3rd month of my marriage.Yea thts true my husband can sulk for even a week or more. He alwayz wants me to do the first attempt.Actually my father in law n my mother in law were telling things bad about my parents which i could'nt bear but dint respond them back but I was crying for the whole night n said all tht to my husband but he dint care about my feeling and still supports his parents and said tht I always complain about his parents and says his parents never complained anything bad about me or my parents. He says his parents always praise me n appreciate me. Dont know what to do next and why always a girl has to bear tht behaviour of her husband inspite of her loving him so much. A girl leaves her own parents n lives with her in laws n they insult her parents in front of her n the husband never supports her the most painful thing a girl faces in her life.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (12 March 2008):

I have been married for almost 5 years and my husband does the same thing. Currently, we are on day 12 of not speaking. This is a way to control and manipulate, it is a form of emotional abuse. For the first 3 years, I would always go to him and beg him to talk to me, which usually ended up in more verbal or emotional abuse. During the 4th year, I tried the strategy that alot of other posters are trying, either ignoring back or just acting like I was indifferent. I was able to emotionally shield myself. Not only does this not work, it actually started to promote worse behavior, and he became even more abusive so he could re-gain control. Now during the 5th year, he picks arguments over nothing at least twice a week, and then sulks for days afterward. This is a way for them to constantly test you, to see how far they can push you and to see if you still "love" them. It is really sick. He had a bad childhood, and his mother is a toxic narcissist. She has been married a couple times and cannot maintain a relationship with anyone, that includes men, friends or family.

I am finally able to admit to myself that this behavior will never change. We went to couseling once and my husband was so sarcastic and verbally abusive with the therapist, the therapist actually told him to leave because he would not tolerate that kind of treatment from anyone. I am 33 years old and I don't want to waste anymore of my time. I don't know if he even realizes I am planning to leave and file for a divorce.

This behavior is NOT acceptable. It is ABUSIVE, MANIPULATIVE AND CONTROLLING. It will most likely not get better. The longer you put up with it, the more they will push and test your boundaries.

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A female reader, Teresa +, writes (8 March 2008):

Teresa is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Am now nearly 3 years into this - and it is still happening - it always amazes me that he can sulk for the length of time that he does! However, he has admitted that the longer it goes on, the less he seems to be able to get out of it. He gives me little clues now that I am able to recognise when he is ready to talk and I feel more in control now as I will talk when I am ready. It might seem like I am coming down to his level, however I do find his behaviour very controlling even if he doesn't. I honestly think, as far as he is concerned and I can't speak for anyone else, that he sees it as a game that he has to win because he doesn't want to appear weak. I think underneath he is basically insecure, despite all the bravado, and would rather die that admit it! For everyone experiencing this I have the utmost sympathy. For anyone reading this who displays thistype of behaviour, just think of the damage you are doing to your relationship. You end up chipping slowly away at someone till all respect and love will eventually disappear and unless you are willing to take a good look at yourself and acknowledge the problem, you will destroy your relationship and will only have yourself to blame. Love is not a game, think how you would feel if the tables were reversed

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (8 March 2008):

I am having the same problem. Its been 8 days now. & i got such good insights abt his behaviour from the answers to these post. I am just ignoring his behavious

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (25 February 2008):

sounds like my fiance we dnt really fight he just likes his own way and whn he dont get it he sulks which means no hugs sex its a mans way of getting there own back cos theve lost te argument

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2008):

Your husband is sulking to control you, manipulate you, and make you "hurt" as he hurts. He obviously had a bad childhood and feels unworthy and even jealous of you deep-down inside; but will never let you know this.

My husband sulks constantly when things don't go his way. If he is having a bad day, he sulks and will not speak to me for up to two weeks at a time. He suffers from mood swings also.( When he does this, he is definitely speaking to other women and playing the part of the "poor hurt soul" because he is emotionally and socially lacking where our marriage is concerned. "Bad, bad childhood."

Most of the time, it is I who starts the conversation. I resent having to do it. He only speaks first when he wants or needs something from me.

While this is painful to me, I have learned to turn the tables on him. I simply ignore him,(after I have cursed him out) which doesn't really help at all; it just makes me feel better while I am doing it.

I came from a family of communicators and he did not. I came from a good family--he did not.

Yet, when we were dating, we talked all the time--he even went so far as to tell me at the time that he had talked to me more than he had ever talked to anyone. After 25 years of marriage, I have doubts that he was telling the truth. He is a hugh lier and I believe he suffers from bi-polar disorder.

That type of man is emotionally abusive, and yes I have invested much in my marriage, and am also independent and have a job to go to everyday--my saving grace.

I do love him and feel that I try way too hard to make our marriage work, many times, by myself. (I resent him for that.) I could leave him and in this "day and age" I could find another "messed - up" man who is a sexual pervert or alcoholic, etc. One can't always tell what kind of man one is marrying until after the marriage. They are good at keeping much of their troubles hidden.

The best thing we can do is not to take responsibility for "his problem" that "he" needs to be responsible for get help for.

In other words, we have to become emotionally detached, which becomes easier to do after years of this sick behavior.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (8 February 2008):

its happening to me right now, me and my husband just had a fight for small reason. We just fought for money, which i only forgot to pay for the school bus of my daughter, which only cost $20, by the way he's the only one whose working because im studying.He didn't talk to me for 3 days now, i just keep doing the same thing, as if hes not around also, because if i say something and he didnt respond it will upset me again, so might as well, just keep my mouth shut until he realized his mistakes.Hopefully, i still have that patient. My husband is so organized money, house etc. which i'm opposite.But if he's not talking to you for a week try to do the first move, be prepared, on the outcome. good luck

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (20 May 2007):

I've been married 10 years. I think I'm an Extrovert. I can't go to bed after with a relational issue bothering me. So I try to address it, and if the conditions for communication are not right, I sulk long enough until the issue is dealt with or communicated. My wife is an introvert. She is able to shelf issues away and go on as if nothing ever happened. She internalizes and resolves issues in her mind. Sulking is one way to maintain the thread of "non-closure" until it is appropriately addressed (perhaps for my sole benefit.. I'm not sure). I recognize sulking can be very hurtful especially because we talk for different reasons. I talk about what is bothering me to analyze an issue, be practical, and get emotional support. My wife talks to only bring closure to an issue that she has resolved in her mind. I don't know if I'm being childish or not when I seek to confront an issue (sulking or not).

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 December 2006):

I think sulking underminds and deeply hurts your partner. For me it destroys my love for my mate. In the past I used to get upset and try and talk him out of sulking, he could easily sulk for a week, this meant: not talking to me, no eye contact, sleeping away from me, giving me the cold shoulder treatment. I would be in agony, it was similar to grieving. Now, 23 down the line, I have become insensitive, let him sulk, I say, and just get on with my life. However, I have lost my respect for this man I so deeply loved, I pity him, he wont go and see anyone, he says I am his worst enemy, and I just have to wait until he comes around. I think of leaving him often - but my kids want me to s t a y. I know one day I will go, but dont have the strength to go yet - I might meet another sulker!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (20 October 2006):

I think its a power thing. My husband does the same thing. I started to agree with everything he said, and at the same time just do the same thing like I felt was right. I guess I have him confused. I don't argue, complain or even offer to talk about the situation. If he wants to sulk, I let him. I'm much happier and...I'm beleiving that the situation will improve.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (22 March 2006):

Sulking might appear childish, but men don't sulk for no reason. If a man feels like his wife has dis-engaged from him, his response will be in kind. If he is trying to express his feelings and being ignored he will do the same. If an argument has brought forth insults and hurtful words, he would do the same. The best thing for both in a relationship is not to try to win an argument but focus on each other and your feelings with love, respect, and kindness. If this isn't being done, then there will be sulking by you both. Maybe your are sulking too but in a different way? Anyway, time out from each other after an argument is a good thing, but never will a man sulk for no reason.

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A female reader, dolly5 +, writes (19 January 2006):

I'm in the same boat as you - my husband sulks in the bedroom after a row - it has gone on for as long as 3-4 days. I used to get really upset but now I go on the computer or phone a friend. Today he is yet again in the bedroom. I feel how much longer can I stand this childish behaviour. I do sympathise with you greatly. I think it is a pattern of behaviour from his past - something to do with bad parenting. His mum is controlling, and domineering. Countless times I have/do think about breaking up with him. I am 55 now and think do I need him like this for the next part of my life. People tell me there is a whole big world out there waiting for you.

Be interested to hear from you.

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A female reader, Delila +, writes (20 September 2005):

Hi,

Your husband need to realise that his behaviour is a form of emotional abuse. This is the way that he deals with confrontation or pain but that does not make it ok. I have an idea for you, it could work if you are willing to try it. First work out what he is getting out of this behaviour, there is always a pay off. Could it be the sense of reasurrance he gets when he comes out of his sulk to find you there waiting to take him back in your arms? Or maybe some other pay off. Think of the way you usually react when he sulks or leaves. Then the next time he does it, starts sulking that is or getting ready to go out, get to the door before him, you walk out! I don't mean permanantly. Just say and I'll come back when you act like a grown up and stop sulking. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY! It might take him a couple of hours or even a couple of days but the penny will probably drop when he realises that you are not there waitng for him. It will break the pattern or cycle if you do things differently. Maybe you could try it and let us know if it did the trick.

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A reader, pops +, writes (19 September 2005):

Because he doesn't like losing control Get to a marriage counselor, and see if you can't get him there, too. You both need to learn how to argue and then patch things up. This is the hardest part about being married. Good luck.

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