Withholding, what is it? Well it is a defined as an emotionally abusive behavior or tactic, a form of denying, refusing to communicate or do something for your partner as a punishment.
Here are some "withholding" behaviors with some practical tips on how to stop this, it is never healthy in any relationship and I often hear this mentioned as one of the leading causes of divorce.
1. Denying sex- "Honey I have a headache" territory, well chances are this is game play, power struggle to prove a point or get your way, as a spouse or partner, neither of you should ever be denying each other sex. Sex is a normal and enjoyable part of marriage and when you deny this to the other, you are withholding yourself but you are running the risk of driving the sexually unsatisfied partner into the arms of another. If you are grumpy I personally think sex is a great way to relieve stress, feel connected and forgive your spouse for whatever it was that lead the "fake headache"!
2. Denying information-this is a tricky area of denying because it can touch all zones, not sharing information on financial matters, places you go, friends you spent time with, basically anytime you withhold information from your spouse this will break down trust and when they find out cause a deep emotional divide, your spouse is supposed to be your best friend so if you feel the urge or need to hide anything, you are doing damage to your marriage and run the risk of this ultimately causing its demise.
3. Denying affection- Maybe your spouse loves to hold hands and you don't or they want to snuggle on the sofa and you prefer to only have human contact sexually, this a recipe for disaster in a marriage, I speak to women and men who actually cheat on their spouses because they crave the affection the touch not even the sex. When denied affection your partner or spouse naturally feels, rejection, feels unlovable on a certain level.You have to learn to compromise in this area, find a happy medium, where both your needs are being met.
4. Denying communication-by FAR in my opinion the worse of all the emotionally abusive tactics, when you refuse to communicate, and give the other person the silent treatment, you are showing and expressing to them you feel they are totally not worthy of you, as a person, as a spouse or as a friend. It's like saying through your actions to someone, I find you so unworthy of my time that you aren't even worth talking to or answering or interacting with. What could be worse? This is a relationship killer, without communication, you really have nothing. If your emotional needs aren't being heard non less met, how can you ever grow as a couple, or stay in a marriage, communication is key to all of life. Whether in a workplace, a relationship or family matters. If we totally block any forms of communication how can we get anywhere at all? My advice is it is like ripping off the band aid, maybe you don't want to hear, maybe you don't want confrontation, but the sooner you handle the issue head on, the sooner it is solved and you can move forward together. I actually think relationships are often made or broken on this simple fact. If you together have the skills to work through things or not. Marriage isn't easy and relationship aren't either. It is two people making constant effort and agreeing to communicate and not give up on each other, you can't have a healthy long term marriage when you deny each other basic decency or listening and answering each other.
5. Denying kindness- We as human all deserve a basic level of human decency and kindness we show each other, sometimes through neglect and selfishness we end up treating our spouses far worse than we would ever treat anyone else in our lives. Do we compliment them still, do we thank them for what they do? Do we hold doors, buy birthday cards, show care? Often I hear that we don't, that the most wonderful husband or wife starts off like that but over time becomes unaware of their partners continuing need to feel kindness from each other. Yes we get busy, yes we often have children and life gets crazy, but think about how actually very sad that is that the person you promised vowed to love through everything you don't feel is worth picking up a card for on a special day, shouldn't it actually be the opposite shouldn't we uphold spouse to a higher not lesser level of thoughtfulness? This just lack of kindness is extremely detrimental over time, it wears you down, makes you feel unloved, unworthy and is another sure fire way to end in divorce court. So let's be kind, at the very least show your spouse the same level of kindness as you show others.
6. Denying time- this one is pretty obvious but think how it makes anyone feel when they are constantly being told or shown that they are not valuable enough to give your time to. We often get caught up in our busy lives, children, job demands, family commitments, but if you are not carving out time for each other or worse using the rest of your life demands to deny your spouse time with you, how do you really expect to have a happy or stable long term marriage.Take time preferable alone to stay connected and never use this as a ploy or punishment, as it will often drive your spouse into the arms of another.
Marriages take work, take communication, sex, love, kindness and thought, anyone who is entering into a marriage and thinks you can by pass these areas of human need or even worse manipulate these areas and withhold in an emotionally abusive way, is wrong, your marriage will be short or even worse in my opinion long and unhappy.
Make an effort, learn to communicate even when you don't want to, it's so worth while in the long run, and never resort to withholding it is sure to end poorly.