5 Questions to Get Your Avoidant Spouse to Open Up

What is an avoidant partner or spouse?

Avoidant spouses are the lovers that create distance between themselves and their loved ones. Often running sensationally hot and then icily cold, these rollercoaster behaviors can leave the significant others of avoidant partners feeling doubtful, insignificant, frustrated, or abandoned.

Avoidant partners’ distancing tactics often have deep-seated roots stemming back from early childhood. Some may have grown up repeatedly feeling overwhelmed by pressure from parents to fulfill certain expectations. Others may have learned that it was not okay to say no to the people most important in their lives.

Often as children, avoidant partners’ emotions were discouraged or not encouraged by a parent or guardian, resulting in these children thinking they were a disappointment.

After repeatedly failing to win a parent’s admiration, some children eventually give up. As adults, they can unconsciously rely on that very same relationship model.

Though avoidant partners may seem aloof or disinterested, studies indicate that people with an avoidant style are just as emotionally anxious as those on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Partners with an anxious style seek another person to fulfill their own needs through fear that they cannot do so themselves. Avoidant partners have the opposing concern – that no one else will ever satisfy their needs – thus, they conclude they can only depend on themselves. Feeling isolated, they keep their partner at arm’s length in hopes of reducing disappointment.

Despite their reservations, with motivations and support, people who take an avoidant stance in relationships can become more open to greater intimacy and better communication.

So what are some of the ways you can get an avoidant partner to open up? 

  • Don’t their defense mechanisms personally
  • Be direct and straightforward about what you need
  • Reinforce positive actions
  • Seek to understand
  • Be reliable and dependable
  • Respect your idiosyncrasies
  • Cultivate your interests and your own identity
  • Understand that you both may have unrealistic fantasies
  • Be careful about how you express strong emotions
  • Allow plenty of space, don’t chase.
  • Face your abandonment issues
  • Don’t try to change your partner
  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Recognize and accept your partner’s weaknesses
  • Work towards growth

​It can be tough to get your spouse to open up to you sometimes, but poor communication can lead to a host of issues, which is why it’s important to know how to get a conversation going when your partner seems closed off. Here are some questions to pave the way:

Question 1 | Ask Them When They Want to Talk


We should make a plan to talk more. How long do you want to set aside?

Scheduling a time where there are no distractions is a great way to start a conversation with your spouse. The key is letting them pick when and for how long. Knowing that it’s for a limited amount of time will likely help them with agreeing to the plan.

Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on https://www.nevertherightword.com. If this article appears on any other site other than https://www.nevertherightword.com without clear referencing it is a violation of the copyright owned by https://www.nevertherightword.com.

This article may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy a product, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Never the Right Word is a participant in the Awin Affiliates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to participating merchants. For more information, please view our Privacy Policy and Earnings Disclosure page.

Question 2 | Turn Activities Into Conversations


How about we go on a walk together? How about we go to the store together?

These are perfect questions that can lead to an activity where you can begin a simple conversation. Men tend to be more activity-oriented, so turning routine activities into the chance for a conversation can help you open up to each other more.

Gradually work your way up to specific questions and only do so when the timing is right. Rather than immediately trying to get information from your partner, you might spend many days in a row just having simple conversations. With time, they’ll likely choose to open up to you when they are reminded of the connection you two share.

Question 3 | Start With An “I” Statement


I’d like to hear about your day, how was it?

Using an “I” statement is important when talking to someone who is avoiding opening up to you. Using a “you” statement can easily turn into an argument as they are more likely to feel that you are blaming them. For instance, you wouldn’t want to say: “You never tell me about your day anymore.” Using such words will sound like you’re criticizing them and they’re not going to feel like opening up if they feel attacked or blamed.

Question 4 | Ask Indirect Questions


How do you feel about XYZ?

This is a good type of question to ask when you know that something is weighing heavy on your partner’s mind. For instance, “How do you feel about the plans for your mother going into a care home?” This question might be all it takes to get the conversation started, but you should always pay attention to body language and other cues that your partner may not be in the mood to talk.

Likewise, never try to start a conversation when they’re tired or already in a bad mood. It’s important to know when to give your partner space and make sure it’s a good setting to talk. That means you shouldn’t kick off the conversation when you’re on a time crunch or if you’re about to have company over.

Elicitation, the art of getting answers without asking questions, is a skill that we can all benefit at some point during our professional and personal lives. Whether you want to know the prospects of a promotion, or you want to find out how expensive an area is before you move to it – everyday life often calls for strategic communication.  

Sometimes such sensitive topics call for discretion, so we don’t wish to be perceived as gossipers, malicious or nosy, and shut ourselves off from finding out the truth- therefore, we must be careful with how we ask.  

So, how do we get answers without asking the questions? We would recommend the following tactics:  

Tactic 1 – Asking closely related questions the question that you cannot ask directly. In the process of answering your closely related question, the answer to the question you cannot ask directly will often get revealed.  

Tactic 2 – Asking questions with an answer that will determine the answer to the question you cannot ask directly. Based on the answer to this contingent question, you can determine the answer to the question you cannot ask directly. 

Question 5 | Offer a Change of Pace


Do you want to go out tonight?

Offering your partner a surprise date or night out (or even night in) can do wonders for helping them open up to you. Just remember to think about the nonverbal cues that may be saying they aren’t in the mood to talk. Wait for a time when it feels right and then start with warm-up questions. Don’t jump straight to asking questions as it may seem like you’re prying or being pushy. Instead, work up to what you really want to know.

Regardless of what’s going on in your spouse’s life, it’s important that you always remain supportive and loving. Never address your spouse in a judgmental way and be certain that you always keep a calming voice. Look for good times to start a conversation and know when to stop a conversation and save it for a later date.

At the end of the day, one of the best ways to get your spouse to open up to you is to let them know how much it means to you when they do talk to you about things. Reinforce communication throughout the day, whether it’s face-to-face or a quick text message reminding them how much it means when they share things with you. It will do wonders for your relationship in the long run.

At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.   

If you’re interested in further reading, we’ve also included links to our trusted resources and related posts below. To find out more about NTRW and our recommended tools, you can do that here.  

Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!

Article by Never the Right Word

Scripts & Templates for Life’s Uncomfortable Conversations. Learn more about NTRW here. NTRW is supported by adverts and affiliate marketing links. For more info, please see our Earnings Disclosure.

This site does not constitute legal, mental, or medical health advice, please consult a competent licensed professional. If you have questions please Contact Us.

Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation.

In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.

Popular Articles...

Relevant Books We Recommend...

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (Paperback)

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone is the perfect book for anyone who wants to get better at making new friends, negotiation or just dealing with people. Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist, business consultant, and life coach, author Mark Goulston shares simple but powerful techniques readers can use to break through the tough exteriors of colleagues, friends, strangers, and even adversaries. Just Listen reveals how to make a memorable and positive first impression, listen effectively, calm an angry or aggressive person down, and steer conversations toward a more rational mindset and much more. Get your copy of Just Listen by CLICKING HERE.

Effective Communication Skills

In Effective Communication Skills: Psychology Guide for Conversation in Marriage by author Daniel Greavestone, each chapter concisely addresses aspects of verbal and nonverbal communication in a way that is easy to understand and has real-world application suggestions. While reading you start to identify common communication mistakes and are equipped with relevant alternative responses. This is an amazing “How To” guide to effectively communicate with anyone by listening with empathy. If you are keen to transform from an awkward communicator into a communication master who is able to enjoy fulfilling personal and professional relationships by mastering skills then CLICK HERE to get your copy of Effective Communication Skills.

Nonviolent Communication 3rd Ed (Paperback)

In Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, author Rosenberg presents his strategies for speaking our deepest truths, addressing our needs and emotions, and honoring those same concerns in others. Over the past 35 years, author Marshall Rosenberg has peacefully resolved conflicts in various situations such as families and workplaces across the world in 30 countries. This book outlines his secrets to communicate successfully in professional and personal relationships. Nonviolent Communication teaches the reader the art of observing others without judgment, authentic communication when it comes to our own needs and feelings, and learning to not take negative responses personally. CLICK HERE to get your copy of Nonviolent Communication.

How to Talk to Anyone

With 92 little hacks for big success in relationships, How to Talk to Anyone by an internationally renowned communications expert and life coach, Leil Lowndes ensures you’ll always know what to say. These extremely usable and intelligent techniques including how to work a party like a television presenter, steering the conversation to where you would like to take it and get connected to any crowd. Lowndes explores different aspects of the conversation and how to present yourself in order to integrate successfully. There's a lot of useful information covered such as speaking the language of the addressee to build rapport. CLICK HERE get your copy of How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes from Book Depository. 

Pin Never the Right Word on Pinterest!

Check Out Our Recommended Resources.

Looking to become a digital publisher like us? We highly recommend these tried-and-tested tools:

We Recommend Elegant Themes

The Elegant Themes membership gives you complete access to 87 amazing themes and 3 awesome plugins, including Divi, the ultimate WordPress Theme and Visual Page builder. Elegant Themes have been building the world's most popular WordPress themes for the past 10 years, and rest assured their products will always be improved and maintained.

Divi WordPress Theme

Build Anything With Divi Theme

One of the most popular WordPress themes in the world. Building layouts is easy and fast, making it ideal to create mockups and wireframes, prototyping a design, and creating the website itself. Build from the frontend or backend. The builder is intuitive. It's easy to learn and can be used by non-developers to create amazing websites.

Divi Cake is a community driven marketplace for Divi Child Themes, Builder Layouts, and Plugins - Shop Now!

Customize With Divi Cake Plugins

Divi Cake’s main goal is to help the members of the Divi community find the perfect premium Divi themes, layouts, and plugins created by leading Divi developers and designers. Shop hundreds of premium Divi products like Divi child themes, Divi layouts, and Divi plugins on Divi Cake, the community-driven Divi Marketplace. Find out more about Divi Cake here.

We ❤️Shutterstock Media

We get our images from the OG in stock assets. Boost your business with the right images. They're royalty-free and ready to use. Footage & Music Libraries. 4k Images Added per Hour. No Daily Download Limit. Speedy Search & Discovery. With flexible plans and countless amounts of premium content uploaded weekly, we had to mention Shutterstock.

Skill-Up With LinkedIn Learning

When you want to enhance your professional skills with expert-led, online video tutorials, the only place to go is LinkedIn Learning (Lynda). With a subscription you get 24/7, unlimited access to over 13,000 business, design & tech online courses and with a free month. We like them because we get expert-led courses that we can access anytime, anywhere. What's not to love?

Web Hosting

Reliable Hosting With SiteGround

SiteGround boasts a whole list of fantastic features at amazingly affordable prices. Along with multiple growth options, free site transfers and domains, built-in Content Delivery Network integrations, WordPress support, AND human support we wouldn't go to anyone else. They're basically faster, safer, and more supportive- you can check them out here.

We Trust Grammarly Premium

Even seasoned writers need a helping hand at times, that’s why we trust Grammarly Premium. As the World's Most Accurate Online Grammar Checker, Grammarly Premium goes beyond grammar to help you ensure that everything you write is clear, engaging, and professional. Try Grammarly Premium’s AI-powered assistant here.

Find Graphics With Creative Market

Creative Market is the world’s marketplace for design. Bring your creative projects to life with ready-to-use design assets from independent creators around the world. We love the unique finds, social media templates, vectors you name it they have it. I also doesn't hurt that our founder has a little store on there...

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Contact Us

Contact Form

Write to:
Never the Right Word
Building 19475
PO Box 6945
United Kingdom

Follow NTRW

Support NTRW

Donating to Never the Right Word will
help us produce more free content. Thank you!

Stay in the Loop

error: Content is protected !!

Pin It on Pinterest