I am ‘that husband’ and I continue to be unless I try. And I try everyday with different levels of success.
I don’t think there’s a universal explanation, but personally, it had to do with an upbringing that made me feel emotionally and socially inadequate… and then coping with it through rumination and video games — not problems in and of themselves, but a problem when it compromises human connection and social obligations (aka social selfishness). I strongly believe that social/emotional unavailability towards children repeats the cycle.
And then there’s the possibility something like this might happen if a person has Aspergers or is on the Autism spectrum as well.
My wife and I have had our share of arguments, but we’ve figured out what works for us. For example, I’m better with spreadsheets and technology, so I balance our accounts and handle the bills. My wife is a more savvier shopper so she does the spending.
With kids, she has better fashion, memory and retention, so she handles clothing (thank goodness), appointments and planning. I change diapers, give baths, and watch them most of the time. I’m also an early riser, so she gets to sleep in on the weekends while I tend to the kids — I find that she has an extra bounce in her step and her cheerfulness does a lot for me emotionally.
What I’m trying to say is (1) a socially/emotionally unavailable person is usually not trying to spite anyone; they have issues and deficits that require therapy or serious introspection (with genuine intent to change); (2) assign ‘ownership’ of routines and resource management based on strengths (being the breadwinner isn’t a free pass, if you want a healthy marriage); and (3) most importantly, both parties must want the life and future they have with the person (and kids) they have it with.