Dr. Alasko's weekly newspaper column for the Monterey Herald — "On Relationships" — now in its fourteenth year.
"Until you commit to that change, I am disconnecting emotionally and physically from you. When you're ready to talk, let me know."
Notice that your demand is not a criticism. It's a clear declaration of what you need to stay with him- and includes a solution.
The next step is to disconnect verbally and physically, not even engaging in eye contact. Every few days, remind your husband that you're always ready to discuss your request. If he tries to provoke an argument, leave the room. If the situation escalates it might be necessary to stay for a few nights with a relative.
It's essential to always stay focused on your eventual goal, which is rebuilding your marriage on a more equitable basis.
What's the difference between stopping the relationship and the typical cold freeze? The most important difference is the clarity of your intention - as well as your setting clear rules prior to stopping. You're not reacting to an offense without pouting. You're not trying to get even.
You ARE demanding his attention in the service of your relationship. You are telling him you're serious. In fact, you're giving your husband a choice: he must accept responsibility for his behaviors and change them.
Carl Alasko, a licensed marriage and family therapist, is the author of Emotional BS and Beyond Blame. Contact him at email@example.com