Post # 1
FI and I don’t have as many conversations as I would like. I understand some guys aren’t chatter boxes like some females are but I’m starting to get really frustrated with this. We moved in together about nine months ago after dating for over two years. I never really realized that I wanted him to talk to me more until we moved on together. I think before that I lived with plenty of room mates who were interested (or at least acted interested) in my life so I talked to them and didn’t really notice when FI was kind of non responsive when I would talk to him.
Last June we moved about eight hours from where we grew up and staryed our lives together. I would come home from work and tell him about my day and receive grunts. When I asked about his day I would receive a very short response. I talked to him about how I want us to have more conversations and he told me he doesn’t like talking very much. I understand that I guess but it’s hard on me because I’m a social person and I enjoy hearing about FI’s work and the other things he likes. The past couple of weeks it has gotten to the point where he doesn’t even acknowledge me when I talk to him. I freaked out and thought maybe he was getting cold feet. We talked again and I asked if we could spend ten minutes a day with the TV off and without our phones in our hands and just talk.
This hasn’t happened. Last night he again wasn’t acknowledging me and I got very upset. We argued because I told him when he does that it makes me feel like I’m being taken for granted and like I’m not very important to him. He told me I was being over dramatic and I left the room. We kind of made up and ended up going to bed. He immediately turned on the TV and started messing with his stocks on his phone. I asked if he could turn everything off so we could just enjoy each others company. He turned off the TV but continued to play on his phone. I asked him to turn it off and reminded him about our agreement a few weeks ago about talking without electronic distractions. He just turned away and said he doesn’t like talking while still playing on his phone. At this point I just fell asleep crying because I was so frustrated.
This morning I just feel so discouraged. I know some guys have a reputation for not really talking but I think this is just ridiculous. I’m having a hard time picturing a future with this guy. I know this is rather late in the game to be thinking this but I don’t want to be married to someone who will ignore me to avoid talking. We’ve discussed this issue before and he keeps saying he will try but it’s just not working. I don’t know if I want to be with someone who needs to try to talk to me. I feel like I deserve someone who wants to talk to me. I’m just really confused right now. I hate going into work when I’m still upset about something like this. Is anyone else with someone who doesn’t like talking? How did you make it work?
Post # 3
My FI and I are both quiet, but we still make time for each other. We turn the tv off, no phones. Eat dinner in peace and quiet, listen to each other.
He sounds a lot like my xDH – he had a lot of communication problems. He talked, but he wouldn’t talk to me. He’d rather watch tv or play on his phone. When I talked to him it was like talking to a wall. I think I got better responses from the wall than I did from him. It caused a lot of problems in our marriage.
From my past experiences and the toll that it took on my marriage, my own advice is to work on it before you two get married or it will get worse. Kids come into the picture, who is the one that will be dealing with the crying baby the entire time? You, not him. Then that will cause more fights between the two of you because he’s not doing his part helping out. It’s just a vicious circle.
You need to sit down and really have a talk with him. Today’s world of technology, it’s hard to get a phone out of someones hand.
Best of luck. Hope it works out.
Post # 4
@MrsBeck: ((HUGS)) I’m so sorry you’re sad and going through this. This is a difficult issue and my feeling is the way your FI is treating you is not respectful.
Have you tried writing out a letter to him explaining how you feel? Communication is a vitally important element in any healthy relationship. Let him know without communication you do not feel loved or valued. Acknowledge all the things he does right in this letter; the reasons you love him and the ways in which he does make you happy. But make it clear that this is not an issue you’re going to push under the rug or let drop.
Ask him if it’s important to him that you feel valued and loved. If it is, then he needs to take some drastic steps to change his behavior towards you and open up more. The two of you can come to a compromise about talking over your days, etc. But no talking at all is not acceptable. If he continues to treat you with disdain you may want to rethink this relationship.
Let him know you’re not asking for more than the same politeness he would give a friend or anyone he cares about. It’s completely rude for him to ignore you and play with his phone while you’re talking. Not to mention immature, it’s the behavior of a surly ten-year old.
I wish you good luck with this!
Post # 5
@MrsBeck: I wonder if he has any symptoms of adult ADD. I have it, and I find it immensely frustrating when I come home from a long day at work and FI wants to talk my ear off. I just want some time to zone out and focus on watching the news or catching up on Facebook or reading a magazine to unwind, but the second I walk in, FI wants to ask a zillion questions or go on a monologue about his day and it drives me crazy. Then I don’t want to talk for the rest of the evening because he has already worn me out!
What works for us is sort of a compromise – he lets me decompress until dinner is on the table, and then we put away all the distractions and I pay attention just to him. By then, I’m relaxed enough to listen and converse, and there’s something about not being like, assaulted by conversation that makes me want to talk to him. Like, playing hard to get, or something. I don’t like it when he is all “where’d ya go, who’d you see, whaddya know?” but when he is quiet, it makes me want to talk.
It sounds like he isn’t doing a very good job of addressing your feelings though. Our compromise only works because we both stick to it – he stays quiet for a bit but then I give him my undivided attention for the rest of the night. I hope he figures out how much this bothers you and is willing to come up with a solution.
Post # 6
@Sunfire: thank you so much for your response. Writing a letter is a great idea. I tend to get emotional sometimes when I talk to him about this so I think writing a letter is a great way to get my feelings out there without me turning into an emotional mess while we are taking about it.
Post # 7
@KatieBklyn: thanks for your response! It is interesting to hear the other side of the story. I try not to crowd him too much and let him decompress after work but even hours after he gets home he still doesn’t want to interact with me. Is it hard for you to stick to your side of the compromise? Even if he is quiet until after dinner, do you still find it challenging to give him your attention? Or is it easier because you were able to relax? The reason I ask is because it doesn’t seem easier for FI even after he is relaxed.
Post # 8
This is very similar to my relationship. I also really struggle with the brick wall response. it drives me nuts.
I don’t have any advice as I’m yet to break this cycle, but know you’re not alone and not the only one!
One thing I have found that works with my SO us talking in really quiet relaxed time. Ie in bed, in the dark, absolutely no confrontation. Obviously this is not a solution though, and is only a desparate measures type situation.
Post # 9
My FI is not a big talker but he understands that I am and lets me ramble on as much as I want and at least pretends to be interested and participates in the conversation. Sometimes he’s like “baby… You know I don’t care at all about <insert whatever>” but he’ll listen still. Our compromise is this…. He gets home before me but basically has time to shower and sit down to start watching his favorite sports news show, I get home right after it starts. Even though the show bores me to death, I let him finish watching before I start talking. We do have a brief hey, how are you? convo as soon as I get home though.
Post # 10
@MrsBeck: To be totally honest, it depends. I tend to hyperfocus and also have trouble remembering things, so if there’s something floating around in my head that I have to address – like “don’t forget to write the rent check” or “how am I going to deal with this work issue?” or if I stop in the middle of doing something I was focused on – then sometimes it’s still difficult for me.
But I do make a genuine effort to remember how important it is for FI that I pay attention and engage with him. I grew up with a parent who is also easily distracted and tends to ignore me in favor of flipping through a magazine or watching a tv show and I remind myself how deeply that hurts, when you’re trying to connect with someone who is really not giving you the attention you deserve. (My best friend used to joke that it’d be funny if I go to a therapist’s office and pour out my heart about how my parent ignores me, then look up to see the therapist flipping through a magazine and saying, “mm hmm…” Lol!)
It’s definitely easier with time to decompress, though. I like to get through tasks like changing my work clothes, putting away groceries, sorting the mail and paying bills as soon as I get home, and when my FI is playing twenty questions, I get super irritated because he’s distracting me – and that irritation lingers for a while. When I am able to get all of that stuff done in peace, I can sort of shift my attention to him because the major chores are done. But it definitely does take an effort of both of our parts – left to my own devices, I’d probably be nose deep in a book til around midnight. And it’s really not that I don’t love my fiance or want to talk to him – I find him very interesting and fun to talk to and I love the conversations we have! I just have to realize my brain works in funny ways, that those ways affect the people around me and that I have to find ways to work around it to treat everyone in the loving, respectful way that they deserve.
I don’t want to play Internet Psychologist too much, but I think you might find it helpful to read up on spouses of people with adult ADD. Not saying he has it, but I bet they’ve got some strategies for dealing with an inattentive partner that might give him something new to think about. You absolutely deserve a partner who pays attention to you!
Post # 11
Thank you for your responses! It’s comforting to know that I’m not just over reacting. He seems to think I should just accept it but I don’t think I can. I’m sorry you guys go through this as well and thanks for your advice. It seems to me like he needs to hold up his end of the compromise. I’ve become really good about letting him have hours quiet time after work (he gets home about an hour before me plus I give him an hour after I get him) bit he still is non responsive. I guess when we talk about this I always get side tracked by him telling me I’m over reacting but now all of this advice makes me realize that I can’t just back down on this.
Post # 12
Hmmmm i think we are opposites. FI always wants the TV off and to eat dinner at the table. I’m an intovert and sometimes i like the quiet. But i make the effort to be present when he wants to talk to me.
Maybe make a rule? No TV before 8pm. We did that last winter (winter is always the worst time because its cold so you dont want to go outside you just want to hibernate). We would do things together around the house until 8 and then we could veg out if we wanted. It helped alot. FI didnt feel like he was being ignored and we got alot done. Clearly some days we allowed the rule to be broken, but for the most part it worked.
And in the summer the TV is never on so we dont worry about it.
Post # 13
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@MrsBeck: Read Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, and Five Languages of Love. Tjese really helped me to better understand how men and women differ in communication styles.
Post # 14
@KatieBklyn: thank you so much. Like I said before… It’s so helpful hearing it from the other side. I have noticed that some days he’s more distracted than others which seems to foot with what your said. I’m hoping he feels the same way you do (that he does find conversations with me interesting but that his brain just works differently), because I can work with that. However, if he genuinely doesn’t find me interesting I’m not sure how I would work through that. I’m definitely going to read up on adult ADD to find out more about strategies I can use to get him to interact with me.
Post # 15
He can’t give you 10 minutes a day? TEN MINUTES? I’m sorry, talking and sharing your thoughts and experiences on a daily basis is part of building a life with someone. This just sounds weird. The fault is entirely with him. If he can’t meet your requests – you should NOT have to compromise – I’d seriously reconsider.
Post # 16
I think you have been given some good advice already. The only thing I would add is, where do you eat dinner? Do you eat in front of the tv? DH and I used to do that in our old apartment and I started feeling like we never talked either. Once we bought our house we made it a rule that we eat at the table and that’s our “talking” time. I really like that time and its a good thing to get used to for when you have a family. Perhaps this would be one compromise he would be willing to make, as you’re not just sitting down to talk but eating as well.