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Why does he walk ahead of me as if I don't exist?

Tagged as: Marriage problems<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 March 2009) 10 Answers - (Newest, 25 August 2016)
A female United Kingdom age 41-50, anonymous writes:

Hi - wonder if anyone can help with this one! My husband who is nearly 40 (married for 10 years) often (not always but more often than not) walks ahead of me. It doesn't matter if we are simply going from the car to the supermarket, walking along in town or even on holiday sightseeing. Its as if I don't exist. I have told him about it, I have tried stopping and seeing if he notices I'm not trailing behind (he does eventually when he's nearly half a mile away). Nothing changes. He doesn't watch out for me or even notice for my welfare - just strides ahead at speed. Recently we went to look to buy a sofa in one of those giant warehouse type places and he disappeared out of sight within 2 minutes. I spent the next 10 minutes trying to find him. I have felt really low about this because he is so unrelaxing to be around, he is quite an uptight person. He likes things to be in the right place at home otherwise he gets very stressed very quickly but would this 'uptight' attitude make him walk ahead of me? Why does he do this? Some days I feel like a little child trying to keep up with its father. Other days I just feel like I am clearly worth nothing. I look at other people just being normal and relaxed ambling along together and wonder why its not the same for me. He has been like it from the outset and despite my efforts nothing has changed - he always reverts back to it and now I have given up trying and just hang my head. In addition to this walking ahead of me problem he has become irritated with me in bed - saying that I fidget (for example if I get up to go to the toilet in the night) and he cannot sleep and he needs his 8 hours sleep. We went on a weekend hotel break recently and he had an important meeting on the Monday and he booked a twin room for us so he got a good nights sleep. I was so humiliated at the reception desk when we checked in because the receptionist queried the room was twin to make sure that was ok - seeing as we are a married couple its pretty odd. Is this behaviour normal? Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing? I really need some advice.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 August 2016):

Hmmm..I am so used to this kind of behavior from my husband that if he ever walks with me I'll start feeling uncomfortable.

I always dread going out to parks or public places with him. He makes sure that he maintains atleast a foot distance away from me when we(try to)walk together. I have discussed about this with him but he blatantly refuses to accept it, saying that it is all in my mind.

Yesterday, we went for a family hike with his parents and kids. When I saw his parents walking hand-in hand with each other, it occurred to me that I have to make a sincere attempt to try to walk with him. I increased my pace to catch up with him. I almost caught up with him, and was proud of myself for doing what I did--I told myself may be this was all my mind making up stories as my husband always says. But, alas, with in a few seconds he started walking faster and was now a few feet away from me. I almost ran to catch up with him. no matter how hard I walked or ran he was always ahead of me. I took a few deep breaths and decided not to even discuss about it ever again. I started walking slowly and started enjoying being in my own company.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (18 July 2015):

I know the feeling. I've been with my boyfriend for over 20yrs off and on.

It's been more off than anything and about to be off permanently. The tendencies you describe sounds like the same

It started making me feel worthless and I'm better than that. He is a controlling freak. Just the other day we stopped at waffle house. He was in and seated before I could even get in.

I just started turning around and going back to the car. It's showing me he doesn't give a crap about me. You can't train them to stop if its not in their heart and soul.

I broke it off with him and started dating a long time friend who has always been there for me.

He is very chivalrous. Opens doors, walks w/me side by side and it feels so good. I almost feel unworthy. Been so used to my ex walking in front and leaving first. I guess I was blinded but now I see.

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A female reader, anonymous_39 United States +, writes (25 February 2014):

I work out, lost weight, start wearing my hair down, I have always carried my in a very well, age appropriate way. I also walk around the house half naked. I have men on my job tell me how beautiful I am, that my husband is a very lucky man. And my husband still doesn't acknowledge me. My husband does the exact same thing. He'd jump out of the car and just take off as if there's a blue light special going on. And I know that I'm a catch. I never thought the problem was with me. I honestly believe it is with him. Like someone said before, its more about him feeling he is in control. But thats just his insecurities because who wouldn't want their husband to feel like he isn't the man.But.what I've started doing, I let him go on ahead and I hang back just so that he can realize while you're running your happy @$$ off to God knows what, just so you know there are guys checking your

HARD WORKING, INDEPENDENT, TALL, BEAUTIFUL & CONFIDENT WIFE out. And he actually saw 2 guys flirting with me and started slowing himself down. Be proud of yourself. Never let an insecure man make you feel like its your fault that he isn't happy with his life. He isn't happy because he's insecure with himself.

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A female reader, Erin8 United States +, writes (23 May 2009):

As soon as I read this question, it immediately pissed me off because I experienced this all the time with my old best friend. She would do this exact same thing: walk about twenty feet ahead of me whenever we were out in public, ALL THE TIME! We were very good friends, but she would speed up and walk ahead of me like she was embarrassed of me or something--everywhere we went! It really bothered me. Honey, my advice to you would be this: don't go out with your husband pubically if he leaves you in the dirt like this. Go alone by yourself or with others. And if he asks why you refuse to go with him or take him with you---just flat out tell him. If you have to go with him somewhere, make plans for yourself and just ditch him. Walking ahead of your wife or friend is just pure selfish and downright mean.

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A male reader, happylife +, writes (11 April 2009):

WOW did we hit a very sore thumb????

OK, lets start by realizing that the poster of this article asked a question. She wanted to understand why her husband leaves her behind when he walks with her.

Well, I gave you the answer. When men walk ahead of their wives in public it is a sign of lack of physical attraction.

Now her is what I didn't do.

1. I didn't blame her for his bad social graces.

2. I didn't say that his behavior was not rude or that it was even acceptable.

3. I didn't say that he wasn't selfish

4. I actually never even defended the guy.

All I said is the truth as to why he acts the way he does.

Everything you said is totally irrelevant to my answer.

You can deny what I said or choose to hate my answer. However, that won't change the fact that the lack of physical attraction is what causes his behavior.

Should he be mature enough to overcome his lack of physical attraction and learn to show his wife affection??? Absolutely. Will he ever do that??? Maybe not.

Truth is, the reason he won’t hug his wife in public is due to the lack of physical attraction.

She can choose to try to make him mature and change his ways. However, I’ve never heard of a woman that was able to change her husband when he wasn’t willing to change himself.

She can change her appearance, just like I suggested. That is definitely her easiest option. Is this right? Is it fair? Absolutely not. However, it may very well be the only way to bring back affection in her marriage.

Good luck!


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A female reader, anonymous, writes (8 April 2009):

Are you kidding me, Happy Life? Are you really suggesting that the issue lies with how "hot" SHE looks? Are you really blaming her for his bad social graces? His behavior is rude. Pure and simple. It is rude and inconsiderate to walk ahead of someone, especially your spouse, when you are out together. What it says is "I am worried only about myself and where I'm headed and you can catch up or not, I don't care." And to place the blame back on her, is sexist, insulting and beyond the pale. He would treat a super model like that because that is the type of person HE is. HIS agenda is all that matters to him. HIS sleep, what HE wants. It's all about him. And it sounds like it always will be. He's an inconsiderate control freak. But reading what you have written, especially "He has been like it from the outset" can't help but beg the question: What redeeming qualities does he have that prompted you to marry him in the first place. He sounds like a jerk.

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A male reader, happylife +, writes (4 April 2009):

Hello there,

I am a male and I know exactly what is going on here. Your husband dos not find you attractive. He is not proud to hold you in his arms and show the world that you are his trophy. Instead, he is ashamed of the way you look in public.

Did you change much from the time you guys were dating? Did you gain weight or quit dressing up? Most likely, he is also upset with you because you have let yourself go in the ouside appearance category.

When a man is proud of his beautiful woman, he normally is the first to hug her and want to hold hands while they walk. When he is not proud of her, he does quite the opposite and usually will walk faster and leave her behind.

So here is a test to see if my theory is correct:

Try wearing the outfit your husband enjoys the best and do your hair in a way that he loves the most and do your make up the way he loves the most and do everything that you know he loves in a woman including wearing one of those tummy and but tucker (I guess called Kimora) and just change your appearance completely; look HOT!!! Then go out with him and see if he will start to walk side-by-side with you and if he might just hold your hand while yall walk for a change.

I am very confident that this will make him walk next to you all the time.

Please let me know the results.

I'm in your corner!!!



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A reader, anonymous, writes (30 March 2009):

My ex-husband always did this. He would never walk side by side with me and if I tried to take his arm or hand he would hold it loosely or just shake it off. He then started distancing himself from me and he would also sit at the table with his chair pointing out away from me - so rude. i went to a councellor about this and she said he was unhappy and frustrated.

It used to upset me a great deal too so i know where you are coming from. We went to a museum once and he just didn't keep in touch with me or our children he just wondered off on his own. I do think this is a sign of deep unhappiness so you need to ask him what is wrong.

I imagine your husband is very tired, anxious and worried about things and it might help him if he could share whatever is bothering him with you.

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A female reader, bobbles32 Canada +, writes (30 March 2009):

bobbles32 agony auntIt looks like your husband has some control issues. Walking ahead of you could be a sign that he needs to feel in control, or the most powerful. You say he gets stressed if things aren't in the right places? Have you researched OCD? Seeing as how it's not just a recent thing, i'd say that the next time he wants to go somewhere then tell him No. You're not going unless he decides to walk at your pace, as you're sick of trailing behind.

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A female reader, eyeswideopen United States +, writes (30 March 2009):

eyeswideopen agony auntNext time you are out walking with him link you arm in his and hold tightly. As far as fidgeting in bed, ask him if he'd rather you lay still and pee the bed rather get up and use the toilet. Sounds like your hubby need a huge chill pill to me tell him to stop being a crotchy old man.

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