Post # 1
My FI and I have been engaged for about four months. In the last few weeks, hes really started to drive me nuts. Pretty much every little habit (clearing his throat right away in the morning, hitting the snooze button, his laugh) have drove me up a wall. I’ve been reading some posts on here and it seems somewhat common during an engagement, so that’s comforting.
However one thing has bothered me alot, and that is his lack of sensitivity. I’ll preface this by saying I’m a more sensitive/emotional person than most, and my FI definitely is not. But recently I’ve been feeling like I can’t talk to him about things that bother/scare me…..for example, I learned yesterday that someone I worked with a few years back had died after fighting cancer for a short while. She was young, and a mother of two young kids. I got pretty upset and started to talk to FI about her and that she died and all he said was, “well that sucks”. I tried to keep talking about it but I feel like he just brushed me off. He said something like, “well I don’t know her, so I can’t feel any more sympathy for her than I do for all the other people who die of cancer every day, and you didn’t even know her well”. So I ended up calling my mom and talking with her about it. I just feel like I shouldn’t have to call my mom, friends, whatever when I’m upset I should be able to get that kind of support from my FI. I’ve had talks with him about this before, that I feel that when I bring things up that scare/bother me and want to talk about them, he kind of brushes me off or turns the conversation into something about him. I plan on talking with him tonight and saying (again) that I expect to be able to talk about these things with him and feel validated, but I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. All I can think about is, is this how he’s going to react if/when my close friends, siblings, parents die/get seriously ill, etc? He’s very much a realist so when things like this happen, he just says “well everyone dies, you can’t live your life being scared of getting sick or dying because you wouldn’t be able to enjoy where you’re at”. I know he’s right but I can’t help but resent him a bit for repeatedly being “distant” when I need to talk and process things. To be clear, I don’t go around in a constant state of sadness haha, but things like young people dying or getting cancer, etc really upset me because I think, that could happen to me/my sisters/my FI.
Any tips/words of advice on how I can talk with him so that, in the future, I can feel like I’m being heard when i want to talk about these difficult subjects?
Post # 2
Honestly… people might not like my answer but he did empathize. We cant get 100% of our needs from one person, I personally dont see the issue that he cant dive to the same emotionally intensity as you. Its fine to still need to call your mom sometimes.
I think YOU need to work on accepting your guy 100%- cough clearing, laugh, snooze button everything. We all have our tidbits where we lack or are annoying… but why are you focusing on the negative? What is annoying and could be better? Picking him apart is not going to make anyone happy. Definitely not you.
Honestly: Tell him how you feel, but then Lower your expectations, and save your relationship by focusing on what he IS great at, and realize youre still going to need your BFFS and your mom.
Post # 3
My DH is not overly sensitive either, if that helps at all. Some guys just don’t know how to comfort as well as we would like. I am a teacher in Colorado and every time there is an issue of school violence (which is a lot unfortunately) I have a bad reaction and try to go to my DH for comfort. At first, he simply didn’t understand why I was upset by it. After it happened a few times and with other incidents, I ended up realizing exactly what I needed from him and told him directly. “I am upset and scared. I would like you to hold me while I cry and let me know that you are here for me.” Is it the most romantic notion in the world, no. Does he know what I need now? Yes. Men like to fix things and often times, if they don’t know how to fix it, they shut down. After I told him exactly what I needed, he felt in control again and was able to comfort me.
Post # 4
MrsBuesleBee: I do have a tendency to focus on the negative, as he reminds me of often :). It’s something I am consciously trying to work on myself. Thank you for your advice!
NowMrsS: sounds like my FI….he doesn’t understand why I’m so upset! It is a good idea to think about exactly what I need from him, which I think is just someone to listen and talk me through it instead of just brushing it off. I will try that approach with him. Thanks!
Post # 5
This:”I am upset and scared. I would like you to hold me while I cry and let me know that you are here for me.”
Cupcakenurse: Tell him what you need from him. Many men think that when women talk about a problem, we need them to fix it. It’s how they are wired. We need to make it clear that we don’t need anything fixed, we just need them to listen supportively, and let us talk.
Do NOT tell him he is not sensitive enough. You are judging him by your standards and expectations which may not be realistic at all.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I had a great respopnse typed, and then the bee ate it. ugh
Anyway, I think that your expectations may need some adjustment. Our partners cannot fulfill every role and need in our lives. If this is the role/need he doesn’t fulfill for you, then count yourself lucky. So he’s not overly concerned about the lives and happenings of relative strangers? That’s really not a big deal. You have other people in your life to fill that need/role, so there isn’t anything to worry about. Also, just because he is detached from situations involving people that are not close in your life, that does not mean he would have the same detachment if it were someone who is close. Making that connection the way you are is like comparing apples and oranges. Yes, they are both fruits, but they are still 2 distinct things.
Post # 7
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
NowMrsS: +1, exactly.
Men (this is a generalization) like to fix things rather than just discuss emotions. He may think he’s fixing your dilemma by explaining that you didn’t know the person well, there’s nothing to be done, etc.
I’ve been with my husband for a LONG time and after a while, I realized that he just did not know what I needed in a situation like this. So I just said, and have continued to remind him, “I don’t need you to fix the problem. I just need you to listen and be comforting for a few minutes.” It was like “Ohhhhhhh! *Lightbulb flips on*” Now he’s pretty great at doing that.
Better to clearly lay out your needs so he can provide for them, than to be silently resentful that he doesn’t get what you need him to do.
Post # 8
- Wedding: September 2014 - Turf Valley
lolot: Absolutely this!
Also, I have to disagree on the statement that having little habits drive you up the wall due to engagement is a fairly common thing. I mean, come on, his laugh annoys you???? Either you’re wound too tightly lately or you need to sit down and really think about what’s going on that’s making you feel this way towards your FI. I’ve never felt that way and have never had any of my engaged or married friends feel that way about their FI’s after engagement.
Post # 9
Cupcakenurse: Remember that he is your boyfriend, not your girlfriend. There are times when that realism and strength are important to you, and you cannot separate the “good” in this trait from the “bad”.
Post # 10
Thank you all for your thoughtful responses and advice! As some of you posted, I have heard many times that men think of themselves as “fixers” and it’s very possible he thinks he is “fixing” the issue with his responses. It is helpful to me to read unbiased, objective advice from all of you and great to have a starting point to change my perspective/expectations a bit. I guess as I was growing up I always envisioned my fiance/husband to be “everything”…. But as a few of you have pointed out, and I am now realizing, that is simply not possible and an extremely unrealistic expectation on my part.
LMD: maybe I misspoke in regards to how “common” it is…I just noticed that there had been quite a few posts where women stated similar feelings. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that we’ve had a terrible winter here and been cooped up in the house with each other for months 🙂 I am glad you and your friends didn’t feel that way about your FIs!
Post # 11
- Wedding: July 2014 - Prague
I think he’s been honest with you and you should give him credit for that. He’s heard what you said, and told you how he feels (or doesn’t feel). If it bugs you that he’s not sensitive enough, I bet you it also bugs him that you are overly sensitive.
You can’t force him to see things how you do, but you can do what the PP Bees have suggested. Change your expectation: instead of asking him to see it how you see it (or telling him he’s insensitive!), just ask him to listen and give you a hug if you need it!
Post # 12
babeba: SUCH a good point! It’s great that he is so realistic/level headed when I am not….i can’t imagine marrying someone who was as emotional as me haha. Good to remember.
Post # 13
Yep, definitely talk to him about what you actually want from him in situations like this, instead of assuming he should just know. My husband will try to rationally talk things through with me, and it is absolutely no help. I’ve told him just as much – I need him to sympathize, listen, hold me, and let me be sad/upset/crazy for a minute. He’s gotten really good at it, and it’s just what I need.
As for the things that drive you nuts about him all of a sudden… yeah, I don’t think that’s normal. Last time I felt that way about someone, it didn’t go away and I left him. :/
Post # 14
All I can think, is that all of these little annoyances that you are finding, are usually a sign of bigger problems in the relationship… at least from my experience.
I’ve been with my DH for 10 years, and none of his little icky habits or traits annoy me like that.
Post # 15
I agree with the whole men fix things and women talk about/ process things.
However, your post makes me think there’s an underlying issue going on. im going to go out on a limb and tell you what I think could be happening (disclaimer: I could be wrong and completely off base here!): the reality of making a LIFE with him is settling in ever since you got engaged. Will he be there with you when your parents die? Will he be there if (knock on wood) you get sick? How would he react to this situation or that situation? Will he ALWAYS laugh like that? Has he ALWAYS hit the snooze button like that? I think your brain is processing the whole “he’ll be my person now” (à la Greys Anatomy) and so you’re trying to identify negative things that could be potential problems in the long run.
So I’m gonna tell you what I did when I realized THIS IS IT! Be gentle with yourself for knowing that getting married is a big step. Do not think that simply because you’re getting married he becomes the ONLY person in your life; you will still have friends, siblings, family members, etc to turn to when you need them (he-llo support network!). Be gentle with him too! And learn to clearly communicate your needs. Sometimes as women we believe that if we communicate too directly it devalues the other’s response. Like, if you had to say “I need you to hug me” the hug wasn’t as meaningful as if it came from the other person’s initiative. This is wrong. It’s incredibly immature to think that the other person must identify and meet your needs. Part of growing up is doing that exact process: identify, communicate, be ready for the other person to say no, figure out how to meet your own needs. So go to him and say “I just need to vent,” “I’m scared and I need you to listen,” ” I don’t know why this shook me up but just listen ok?”, etc. I’ve been known to tell my husband things like that and have him rexact like yours and theN I even say “nope, I need MORE empathy there” and we’ll laugh and he’ll give it…