Communication crisis

It was a difficult weekend and I am still upset at the way OH is treating me.

Background – OH has a very short attention span. Whenever I think we are having a serious conversation he is easily distracted by a) why the dogs are barking, b) whose car has pulled up next door, c) what’s on television and d) just interrupting me mid sentence to talk about something else or to contradict me without actually knowing what I was going to say.

I find this disrespectful and very irritating. He constantly accuses me of not telling him things but it’s because he just does not bother to listen, not because I have not told him. Sometimes he will ask me the same question 10 times in one day and then take offence when I remind him that he’s asked me that nine times already!

So on Friday evening we had friends around for dinner and every time I opened my mouth to share something he interrupted me or started contradicting me. It really upset me that he behaved this way in front of friends. After they left I told him that I was not happy with the way he had kept interrupting me even though I had asked him politely to stop and once again he took offence. Buggered off to bed and left me with all the cleaning up, a job we always do together. No apology, nothing.
When we go out to eat he is always listening to the conversations around him rather than having a conversation with me. He does not even look at me when I try and talk to him in public.
So for the rest of the weekend I have only spoken when needed and refused to enter into conversations regarding where something is or who had it last, just said “I don’t know” and left it there. He still has not apologised and I am still mad.

In addition to the above when he asks me a question he does not give me more than one second to respond before repeating himself rather loudly. His excuse is that he does not know if I heard him or not. I feel pressurised by this treatment as there is not even time to think about a response before he is raising his voice. Sometimes I might have food in my mouth and am not even permitted to swallow before answering.
But he will take forever to answer a question with the excuse that he is thinking …

I spent my weekend reading and watching television. I also finally sorted out the medicine cabinet and dumped lots of expired medication, a job I have been meaning to get to for ages.

We have been married a long time and generally we are happy but I am finding my tolerance level for this sort of treatment is at an all time low. I am ready to blow – he won’t apologise or even consider that he is being disrespectful.


22 thoughts on “Communication crisis

  1. Optie I am late so please forgive me if my comment takes you back to a place you have moved past.
    I felt the need to respond because I see myself. I see my own marriage. Obviously we had a lot more that needed repairing, but this what i call Brow-Beating from the male gender was so prevalent in my marriage I shut down completely. The sad thing was even this was not noticed. The indifference I would feel was something I would try to question. only to be met with more.

    I finally in this last year after 42 yrs of marriage I gave in, Gave up. .I am not able to tolerate feeling so insignificant in my life. In his life. There is too much of my life to spend it feeling the way I was. i felt like another hour of it was going to destroy who i am.

    I thank you for giving me this opening to share this with you. i fought with myself for too long over was I being a failure for leaving the marriage? Or a failure for not being true to myself?
    I think I have my answer.

    • Hello my friend, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am sorry your situation ended in separation, I don’t see that in our future but I do think that at times I am taken for granted. After a good few days of only very basic communication on my part I think he got the message but I did not get an apology. When it happens again, and it will, I will simply get up and walk away. I refuse to waste my time trying to have a conversation with someone who is only half engaged especially as I will probably have to repeat everything again because he was not listening the first time. Otherwise I am married to a good man who loves me a lot but like all of us, is not perfect 🙂

      • Oh optie I hope I did not infer that what my situation is should be yours Not at all. As I said in my situation this was just one small aspect of a much larger problem.
        Why I felt the need to share with you? Not sure, But can say I am sure it had to do with how it was making me feel to be able to express this to another woman who would understand.

        I have never sensed from this post, or anything you have ever shared that this is ever in the cards for you & oh.
        Just the opposite in fact.
        I saw this post merely you venting about a very common communication issue between man & woman. I think this was the level I was relating on. I kind of find this dynamic between men & women although frustrating, very fascinating too.

      • Dear BB I understood exactly where you were coming from, please don’t think you said the wrong thing. I agree that communication between men and women is frustrating and fraught with non-verbal mixed signals. But on the whole I believe that woman are prepared to make more effort to improve communication than men are. However I find that as I get older I am also becoming less tolerant of what is just basic rudeness and to some extent laziness and this old gal is putting her foot down.

      • optie girl you go!! I like your style my friend. I am grateful for you knowing what I meant by my comment.
        I wonder if our efforts to encourage the men folk in our lives to talk, to open up, is futile. I experience the same lack of respect and care for my feelings from an older & a younger brother.
        So obviously it is not just a cultural thing. mmmmm..
        This fascinates me. I may have to write about this in a general way about the difference between genders,
        I recall when I was in my 30’s i second guessed myself and my need to be heard. My question then was; Do I have an unreal expectation? Well I found my answer was yes maybe my expiation was unreal, but I still certainly had the right to be heard and that difference was an AHA moment for me .

      • Yes BB men in general do not take women and our opinions seriously. I have had the same struggle as you, not only with OH but in the work environment as well. As a woman if you do insist on being heard you run the risk of being labelled “aggressive” but a man doing the same thing will merely be thought “assertive”.

        People defer to a man’s opinion even when it is poorly reasoned and a woman is offering a far superior solution. I have worked with so many totally incompetent, almost illiterate men over the years, all of whom have earned a shedload of money more than me. I have also found that companies tend to value a man’s time more than a woman’s. They will happily give a man time off to play golf or enjoy an extended lunch but let a woman need time off to attend to a child’s needs and they are quick to cite unreliability.

        Another example is when management goes walkabout and sees a group of men talking they immediately assume they are discussing work issues even though the topic was most probably the last rugby/football/cricket match. But when they see a group of women talking they assume they are gossping and will make comments about “mothers’ meetings, etc”.

        We are still so far away from breaking these stereotypes, at least here in SA so it is understandable that these men come home from work and expect the same deference from their wives and daughters as they receive at work from their female colleagues.

        Sorry for the essay – this should be a post but would probably upset a lot of male bloggers who don’t believe it applies to them 😉

  2. Stress is affecting both of you, a little distance and he will soon miss you, he is taking you a little for granted. Let him see how lonely it is when you ignore him a little.

  3. Some things really jumped out at me from your post… sounds like he might suffer with ADD and there is medication that can help with that……having a medical checkup might not be a bad idea if things have got suddenly worse…..repeating stuff all the time too concerned me too……my gran did that and she suffered with Alzheimers… not want to worry you but it sounds like you are really at the end of your tether…..

    • He’s always been like this, just seems to be getting worse, and I am becoming less tolerant. He has no trouble remembering the things that are important to him. I think he is just lazy because he knows that he can get me to repeat stuff so he does not bother to remember it. He can concentrate if he wants to, it just does not seem like I am worthy of his full attention.

  4. Maybe something might filter through if you gave him morning notes:
    Seeing that you never listen when I tell you anything, here are the things you need to remember at present:
    1) Take out the rubbish
    2) Dingbat’s birthday is on 19th.
    3) Your friends are embarrassed by your rude behaviour towards me. They may refuse future invitations.
    4) If you are rude to people, they will be rude back.
    5) Have a lovely day!

    • Yes, just when you need their support the most. If I were to have behaved to him the way he did to me on Friday evening he would have thrown a mighty big strop!

  5. If I found my (now ex) husband doing this I would start a conversation and stop mid-sentence on purpose. Then it would take a while before the penny dropped with him that I had stopped talking.
    Many men are just not good listeners.

    • In general I agree that men don’t know how to listen. Sometimes he will even walk away from me while I am in mid sentence forcing me to follow after him to finish what I was trying to say. Apart from it being just plain rude I am just tired of the effort and amount of time it takes to have a simple conversation because of all the interruptions.
      There are so many things that he just can’t be bothered to remember for himself and he relies on me to keep giving him the same answers, maybe I have spoilt him in this way but I would dearly like to start feeling more like a wife and less like a mother

    • Thanks Hope, If he is not willing to show some respect when talking with me then he will just have to do without my company until he gets the message. I am not refusing to speak to him, I am just not going to enter into a conversation about anything other than essential communication. Beyond that I’d rather read a book!

  6. I should doubt that any of the experiences you are trying to deal with are helping the situation at all. I would not be at all surprised if you get a lot of comments coming though from other women saying pretty much the same about their partners. Does seem to be a bit of a male way of dealing with life. At least you have somewhere to vent your feelings. Hang in there. We are thinking of you.

    • Thanks Long Life, maybe it is a man thing, its just that when they speak they demand your full attention but don’t extend the same courtesy to women. I have resolved not to start a conversation with him. Instead I will only communicate what has to be said or send him an email! He knows I am angry but he won’t apologise so he can damn well suffer.

      • Sorry to be giggling at your expense but, sending an email to someone in the same house 😀 Yes, I guess he really must know just how much trouble he’s in. I don’t blame you at all. I’d be reacting in precisely the same, very mature manner 🙂

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