a third way of communicating?

macbirchMay 11, 2007

Horrible day.

DH said part of the reason he wasn't at his best today was because he was so stressed out this morning. We were both tense. I'm trying to work out what to say because this could become a really long story. Alright, maybe I'll just say that I understand I don't help him to be his best when I yell at him. And he didn't blame me completely. But when I said sometimes I need to make myself heard he said you can just tell me these things calmly. But he mostly doesn't hear when he is told calmly. In one ear and out the other. Or he just says don't worry about it. If calmly worked I wouldn't be trying anything else. I know the yelling rarely works either. Sometimes it does have an immediate effect when that's what is needed and sometimes it helps me let off steam but as an overall communication strategy it is really bad. But like I said, calmly doesn't work usually either, and if it does it's often temporary. So what else is there? What else is there?

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Oh, I hear you.

I think the key is timing. And, trying to keep it short. Timing is everything. If it's something important that needs to be discussed, I wait for a time that seems good for him. And, I try to get the needed info out first without adding comments until after the fact. If I make it too long it seems like I often loose him (that happeneds with my kids too --but not often with other women, if that tells you anything) --LOL And, make sure there's at least face contact, if you can't get the full eye contact. My husband doesn't appear to hear anything if he's watching tv or on the computer. I could be yelling that the house is on fire, and I'm really thinking he wouldn't "hear" me.

I think there are some men that really do like to talk for hours on end and like to discuss things all the time, but for the most part, I don't think guys are as verbal as woman. They often tend to want to solve problems when maybe all you want to do is get something off your chest or vent. And, so, sometimes they get frustrated when they can't solve all the problems so if you're just venting (or talking) make sure your discussions don't appear to be problems that need to be solved or else you may both get frustrated.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 11:41AM
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Don't try to tell them anything if there's sport on tv. Even if they only just walked in and they don't know what is being shown, if it looks like people running around with a ball they just go off into that other dimension.

The problem solving I've experienced. Since I found out that that's what men do because they aren't into venting like women, I've felt better about it and I try to make it clear I'm just letting it out, not requesting a solution.

One thing I don't get is how I can be in the same room as DH and ask a question (after checking there's no sport on tv LOL) and I have to repeat it, but sometimes I can be talking in another room to someone and he suddenly hears everything. Sometimes I have two or three "conversations" with DH where I don't think he heard half of what I said and later I'm up the other end of the house talking to someone and he calls out a reply. Weird.

I also dislike the way he sometimes wanders off in the middle of a conversation. I say something like "Someone told me something really interesting today, do you remember Jane, she works at the shop?". He replies "Oh yes, the woman at the shop, I remember" and walks out of the room. "So do you want to hear what she told me?"

Come to think of it I don't like being told what I originally told him. He sometimes tells me something interesting someone told him. "Yeah, I told you that this morning!"

Sometimes I feel invisible.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 12:27PM
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You know, now that I think of it, my husband seems to be able to repeat a lot of what I say when I'm on the phone with friends and family ... even if I am talking in a different room. His hearing seems to perk up when I am on the phone. Maybe the key to commnuicating is getting on the phone, acting like your talking to someone, and then getting all the needed info out that way, .... Sad, but true --LOL!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 2:32PM
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Men, yes, that selective hearing gene. After being frustrated by hearing "you never told me that" many times, I have a new method of making sure DH hears me. Something important is going on or there is something that needs to be done, or communicated I say to him, I need you to look at me and listen not just hear me. This way there are no misunderstandings regarding what he was told or not told. It is working very well for me.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 6:20PM
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Write it in a letter and let him read it at his leisure.

For me, I completely ignore people who are yelling at me. I've been in customer service industries since I was 14 years old, and although I could name every single person who yelled at me, I'd be hard pressed to tell you why they were yelling. All I think of is how much I hate the yelling. And then I never did anything about the situation. Once the person walked away (or was taken away in some cases) I never thought of them again.

However I can tell you exactly why everyone who wrote a letter did so and what I did in response. It's much harder to ignore a letter- it demands a thoughful response.

Hope this helps...

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 6:44PM
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Jeez! Are men really this stereotypically awful? Sounds terrible! Should I consider a sex-change? (Forget it. Just kidding.)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 8:22PM
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I have to agree with all said here about the male of the species.

My DH seems to go into a "zone", he works at home and is a computer programmer. He can work for days, weeks even, and be in a fog of computer languages. I have to really work hard, like climbing up a butter mountain, to get his attention, to get him to listen.

This has forced me to read, every book about communication, so now I am an expert (lol).

Now when I say things, "they" all say "is that out of one of your books". aaargghh !

I don't yell, I think you loose the message, then, so no yelling.

Timing is everything, I am always mindful at picking the right time to say things.

As women we do need to "vent", so if going to do that, either find a girlfriend or say to DH "I just need to let off steam, I don't need you to fix anything ".

Macbirch I suggest YOU work on polishing up your communcation skills.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 8:40PM
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Beginning to understand why so few of my species here! Whoa! Education-ville!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 9:50PM
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Try sending an e-mail to your DH and express yourself that way. I started doing that and he is much more responsive.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 10:09PM
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Put it in writing. Hmmm. I've actually toyed with the idea but rejected it as a bit silly and artificial. No sillier than letting things degenerate into a shouting match of course. So if people are finding it works I'll try it.

Asolo, I don't believe men are stereotypically awful. I think there are traits that are somewhat more common to one sex or the other but you've got to look at each individual. Other aspects of character and personality come into it too. For instance I knew a couple that had problems but they were able to work through them with the help of counselling. I admire how that husband overcame his reluctance to discuss things with a stranger because he was prepared to do what it took to make things better.

I couldn't get DH to counselling. The stereotypical male communication problems are compounded by some other traits. Someone, who hadn't known us very long, described him as an avoider. At the time I thought it odd, she didn't really know us. Later I wondered if she recognised it so fast because of personal experience with someone similar. Anyway, I first really saw it in MIL and then I started noticing how similar DH is.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 3:10AM
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I think a lot of marriage breakdowns, can be attributed to poor communication skills.

If we ALL just worked on learning these skills, then we would all be better off.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 7:57PM
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