A few nights ago, I watched the TV debut of the documentary Miss Representation on the Oprah Winfrey Network. It was a really informative documentary about the media’s misrepresentation of females. Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker made a comment that really gave me an a-ha moment:

Men are taught to be emotionally constipated.

I laughed, then it turned to a chuckle, then it turned to a deep thought, then the light bulb went off. “My husband is emotionally constipated.”  I thought this was the perfect description for my husband. Now, there was no true explanation as to what being emotionally constipated really meant. There as no dictionary definition for it, but I sort of gathered what it meant.

What Does It Mean to Be Emotionally Constipated?

You have a hard time showing emotions. This is hubby through and through. He’s called himself a robot several times. He doesn’t really show when he’s happy or sad. He does show when he’s angry though. He’s not into the lovey-dovey affections. Don’t get me wrong; he shows public displays of affection. He holds my hand, he hugs me and kisses me in front of family and friends. What he doesn’t do is profess his love on a daily basis, or even on a regular basis for that matter.

Now hubby has proved his love to me in a variety of ways. He sticks up for me, no matter who the opponent is. He provides for me. He proposed to me. He married me. The list can go on and on. But he’s not the type to talk about me all the time to his friends (not that I expect or want him to). The biggest issue with me is the 3 word phrase: I love you. Hubby usually doesn’t tell me he loves me unless I say it first. I don’t deny that he loves me, because at least he says it back. It would probably throw me off if he says it out the blue, and prompt me to ask “What did you do?” or “What do you want?” It doesn’t pose a huge problem, but it makes our relationship different.

I’m an emotional person. I show it when I’m happy. I can’t hide it when I’m sad. It’s clear to everyone when I’m frustrated. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I have no problem telling him or the rest of the world that I love him. Now his emotional constipation was an issue early on in the relationship, when I questioned how he truly felt. Now that I know how he is and how he operates, it’s just something I’ve learned to work with and work around. I no longer expect him to be the husband who’s involved in everything, my biggest cheerleader, or showering me with words of affirmation (even though that’s one of my love languages).

Is your spouse emotionally constipated? How do you deal with it?

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