Its 11:30 pm and your spouse is not home. For the past month communication has been tenuous and matter of fact. Though you feel you are doing everything you can to keep your marriage stable, your better or worse half at this point is emotionally checked out.
I've spoken with many wives and husbands that have found themselves in this very situation. Does emotional abandonment spell disaster for you partnership? Well, it really depends on ONE key thing.
The period of time of the emotional "vacation".
More on that later.
If you've been married for longer than a year, you have probably encountered situations where you and your "meant to be" have thrown the gauntlets down. Silence graces your shared space; while each of you continue to play out the argument in his or her respective heads. This is really normal and even if your "limited" interactions seem somewhat robotic (lacking emotions) it okay. Our self righteous egos are merely rearing their ugly heads. This is not emotional abandonment even if it happens more often than we care to admit.
Emotional abandonment is when emotions about your partner take on the form of indifference. That is to say, you or your partner cease to have any invested interest in each other's emotional well-being.
"I don't care at all if he's upset. He will live their life and I will live mine, f!@# it I really don't care what happens anymore".
This sense of resignation in the relationship is dangerous for your marriage. If you're finding yourself on the receiving end of this treatment the best thing you can do for yourself to evaluate what it is your really want with out ego. Apply the deathbed test to this situation and see where your heart truly is. If answer is to try to resolve things, then you owe it to yourself to reach out to your partner. No matter how wrong they might be about the situation that got your into this emotional stalemate. That way, you will have no regrets if your spouse doesn't come around from emotionally abandoning the marriage.
Now is emotional abandonment abusive? Well, as stated above, I think that depends on the duration. If you are essentially living separate lives in the same home, and it's NOT mutually, then emotional abandonment is abusive toward the spousal partner whom is an unwilling participant in the emotionally distancing. If you are the one who has made the peace offering and your partner is NOT responding to it like their normal self (maybe they respond in politely jester, but not emotionally), then this emotional abandonment could be abusive.
I use the word "could", because it's only abusive when your attempts to rectify your side of the situation exceed the duration you are willing to reach out to your partner in applying the deathbed test. If you say to yourself,
"I'm willing to give this 1 week and if he doesn't snap out of it, I need to reconsider things for myself ."
If things don't change and you continue to reach out, that is causing harm to you and it is abusive. This as always if just food for thought. If you need another perspective, please check out our abuse or marriage support group.