I'm annoyed...tell me what you think, please.

lindakimySeptember 4, 2006

My husband and I were watching TV this evening when a commercial came on that was something about "small car claustrophobia". I drive a GEO. It's VERY little. And I said, "You know, I don't feel claustrophic but I do have a problem with the car." "Oh, what?" said husband. "Well, my seatbelt is positioned so that it is directly across my neck! I worry that if something happened I'd either be decapitated or strangled!"

At that point he laughed. And I said, "You don't seem too upset about that." And he said (still laughing), "And your point is?"

So. I probably don't have to tell you that I'm VERY aggravated and deeply upset and hurt and all that. We were not even arguing. It had actually been a rather pleasant day and weekend. This is the guy I fetched ice water for this afternoon....TWICE. This is the one who ran the weedeater up along the driveway and I made sure to comment that it looked so much better (but when I cut down the small trees that were tangled in the fence along the front and were blocking the view of the cypresses along the same driveway, he said...nothing.) That's just one day. Obviously there is a lot of history. Suffice it to say that I try my best to get along and to hold my end up. But I find this to just be over the top.

Do you agree?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think some guys just have a really, really bad sense of humor. Your husband sounds like he's one of them.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 11:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Obviously there is a lot of history."

Sure sounds like it to me.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 11:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bad sense of humor. Yeah...could be that. I guess. But you would think he would have enough wit not to step that deep into "oh sh&!". Does it mean anything that his sense of humor doesn't include even a little concern or taste or sensitivity of any stripe? Am I reading too much into this?

History? Yeah...looooooooooooong post.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 12:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, that struck a chord with me because I have the same worry. The way the seat belt falls, it could give me a mastectomy (not sure if the word "b...st" would be censored), or slice into my neck. For a long time I was driving sort of leaning over to the right, and then I realized it was because I was trying to keep the belt in the middle. Now I sit upright and try to keep it over under my right arm. But nothing puts it in a good place permanently. Car makers need to take notice of this problem.

If I said what you did, DH would probably (and correctly) take it as a humorous comment about something that is not so funny, so I would be pleased if he laughed. However, that would be because we knew how each other's minds work, and DH ought to go on to say something to show sympathy with my concern. In your case, since you obviously are not in the habit of making funny comments about problems, depending on how long you have been together, I feel that your husband should have realized that you were not trying to be funny, and certainly your next comment should have alerted him to the danger HE was now in. He blew it when he said, "And your point is?" Well, let's cut him a bit of slack. If it had been a problem he could do something about, would he? If he would, then in this case, I don't think you should get too worked up about his seeming callousness.

He is obviously not the most sensitive of men! Still, since he isn't, if you want him to realize how you feel, you will have to spell it out for him, preferably in a nice or humorous, non-threatening way. "Listen, I realize that the way I put that may have sounded humorous, but I didn't mean it to be. I am really worried. Have you got any suggestions? And if not would you please at least sympathize with me? That would make me feel better."

My husband is Japanese and I am American, so I have done this in connection with a number of problems over the years and DH is pretty good by now. lol. People are not mind-readers, so if you are dealing with someone who sees things differently from you or is insensitive, it doesn't get you anywhere to feel hurt and angry and keep it all in.

As for the weedeater and the trees, countless similar things have happened just like that in our marriage, and I have come to think that maybe most men would offend their wives in the same way. My solution has been to hug DH and say--with affection and good humor--"Are you happy that I cut down all those small trees, which took me 3 hours and was a horrible job? Or do you wish I had left it for you?" He is quick to get the point, laughs, apologizes, and thanks me. After a number of years of this, he has come to express appreciation a lot more than he did in the beginning.

This is a different story, but years ago, when I told my (elderly Japanese) MIL how much I appreciated DH's thanking me for my work the way I thank him for his, and his being big enough to apologize when he is wrong, she amazed me by saying, "Oh, yes, I feel so sorry for my son!" Wow! The clash of different cultures! I mention this because even in the same country, there are different *family* cultures, so to speak, and you may have married someone who needs a bit of "enlightenment."

But if he is one of those men who will never get the point because they don't *want* to, then I really feel sorry for you and angry with your husband, and I apologize for making suggestions that have no chance of working.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 1:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can understand you being annoyed, but perhaps there are many things that annoy you about your DH. The same thing goes on at my house, so it must be a man thing, this not noticing the things that we do.

But I guess it doesnt bother me that much...if other things in my life are going well, and I am happy. I figure that life cannot be perfect, so I will be come a better person by dealing with the "crap" in an appropriate way.

I think the previous poster, gave some excellent points.

Good on you for chopping down the tree...I do this all the time, as I look after our acres, its hard work, but I am better for doing it...I guess!

Take care

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 3:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So, why didn't you say...Ouch, that hurt. Your reaction made it sound like me being decapitated would be a good thing. That hurt my feelings. Is he just suppose to "KNOW" it hurt your feelings (You did say he isn't sensitive), and it's amazing how saying OUCH THAT HURT can make even an unsensitive guy notice that

OUCH THAT HURT. Try it, you may be surprised at the result. OUCH THAT HURT is WAY different than "You don't seem too upset about that." May even open lines of communication.

As far as the trees, did you say..HEY NOW WE CAN SEE, to MAKE him comment (sounds like you married a guy who doesn't comment, and now you want him to comment.) You want to change him. May or may not happen. But if it is to happen it will NOT be overnight, it will be very gradual and take a LOT of coaxing at first, and when it does happen it will take YOU noticing and not just blowing it off.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 8:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all for your advice and suggestions. I believe you are right about the need for me to speak up about such things. I don't, even though I know I should. How, indeed, is he supposed to know how I feel. As much as I might like him to be more in tune with my feelings and as obvious as it would seem that some of the comments he makes are not kind or considerate, I should expect it by now.

I don't really know why I am so hesitant to confront him about things like this that hurt my feelings or make me angry. I generally avoid confrontation with anyone and always have. That can't be the best policy. I know that such hurts that I've swallowed stay with me for a long time. Even though I stew and grumble, I make great efforts not to let my actions be affected by it. But each time I remember it hurts ME again. Since psychiatry is out of my price range I guess I should try much harder to deal directly with issues as they come along. My fear, of course, is that if I don't swallow such treatment I will be disliked, rejected, or hurt even worse by a big fight. Whether that would really happen or not hasn't really been tested by me but I do know that I'm not happy as things are. Why not try something different?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"History? Yeah...looooooooooooong post."

Well, there's the real issue, then. You can buy a different car but that's not the problem. Seems to me you gave one example of a much greater issue. See no reason why you can't bring it up if the overall relationship is hinging on it. Sometimes the direct approach is best. Sometimes sucking it up is best. You're the only one that knows.

Only suggest that if/when you do choose to bring it up, be clear about what needs to be discussed. The seatbelt in the car isn't what you're upset about. Nor is it any other single issue you might bring up. If he doesn't get what its about -- as your example seems to show -- maybe be clear about it so that he does get it. Perhaps you may encounter some sensitivity in there you haven't yet discovered. Why keep this bank-account of irritations secret if its important to you? That's not fair either.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 1:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I think all the comments are great. I would like to add, although you cant afford couselling to help you with your issues...you could go to the library and borrow books about the subjects.

I have read countless books over the years, that have helped me figure out how I can better communicate. Topics like "Navigating Midlife" "How to be assertive" "The power of positive thinking" "How not be be a victim" "Boundaries - that was really interesting! "Postitive Parenting" and of course the well read Doctor Grays books, those venus ones!

Sounds like you are really confused about what to think and feel. I can identify with that. You sound very sad to me.

Look for the good in your hubbie, I am sure he has some good points.

I know what its like to avoid confrontation...I am like that myself. I can see that it has got me into lots of trouble over the years, cause then I end up feeling resentful, and angry, and cant think straight, end up doing things I dont want to do. Its all because I didnt speak up and say what I think.

Its important to be clear and concise about what YOU think, and convey that in an appropriate way. Make "I" statements, that works well for me, as I am stating what I think, and its not in a blaming tone.

I hope this diatribe helps you.

Keep your chin up, you are a worthy, lovely person.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 8:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I read your message several days ago and would like to respond. Your message strikes a chord with me and my behavior towards my wife. I'm sure if the same incident happened at our house, my wife would feel like you do.

Despite the lack of awareness and sensitivity displayed by your husband, I suspect he loves you very much and does not want to hurt your feelings. He probably doesn't realize the impact his comments have on you. This is partly an issue of sensitivity training, and, I think, partly an issue of the inherent differences between men and women (and some inherent limitations in us men). If your husband is like me, you probably had similar incidents in the past and will have similar indidents in the future.

I don't know what the solution is. There may not be one.
As a man, I know there are better times than others for my wife to engage me in serious discussions (that is, discussions which involve her emotions). For example, when we are driving down the interstate at night (and I am driving), it is not a good time to bring up serious discussions. Driving down the road is not a good time for my wife to take what I say (or don't say), and interpret my response (or lack of response) in a way which she finds hurtful or uncaring. It isn't that I am trying to be hurtful or uncaring, its just that my attention is divided at a time when I really need to be concentrating on driving.

Similarly, there are times when men relax. Watching television may be such a time for your husband. During such times, your husband may not be thinking about how his comments or lack of comments will be interpreted by you. He may not have been consiously thinking about how serious an issue the seatbelt issue is to you, and how seriously you would interepret his response.

I suspect that under different circumstances, your husband would respond quite diffrently to your concerns about the seatbelt. Before bringing up a topic which can be emotionally charged, I suggest finding a way to let your husband know that you want to discuss a serious, emotionally-charged, or potentially (depending on how he handles it) emotionally-charged subject.

Before I engage in such discussions, I want to be able to give my full attention to it. In retrospect, when my wife brought up a serious discussion recently while I was driving on the interstate, I should have pulled the car over to the side of the road so that I could have given her my full attention. On the other hand, I wish my wife would have had enough presence of mind not to bring up such subjects when I'm driving.

In your case with the seatbelt issue, try bringing up the subject again. Start by saying something like, "Honey, I want to bring up a subject that is imporant to me." (i.e., fair warning). Then say something like, "Let's go out to the car so I can show you something." (Changes the venue for purposes of the serious discussion). Then, get in the car and show him just exactly how the seatbelt lands on your neck. Then tell him why that bothers you. "The seatbelt chaifes my neck, and I'm afraid that it will snap my neck and kill me if I ever have an accident." Then ask him, what can be done to solve the problem. If you don't like his response, offer a suggestion, such as taking it in to a repair shop for adjustments or replacement.

I'll bet this approach gets a different response out of him than you got the first time.

I think many of us men need a "fair warning" before discussions such as your seatbelt discussion as most of our relationships and conversations are with other men, and, well, men (generally) just don't get as worked up about these sorts of conversations as do women. If your husband was having the seatbelt conversation with a man, instead of you, it is likely the man would not have read as much into his response as you did, and he would have simply moved on to another subject (and possibly grabbed another beer out of the refrigerator). So, a typcial man's frame of reference is that we can laugh or respond to your comments/concerns, since a man would take no offense. Therefore, why should he suspect that YOU would take offense?

Your hsuband does need to know how you felt after the seatbelt conversation, as he needs to understand how you feel. After a number of such incidents, he will likely become aware that he needs to respond differently towards you than he would to another man. He will begin to understand how what he says is taken and applied to larger issues, such your understanding of whether or not he loves and cares for you. If he is like me, he may not ever figure out the appropriate response, and he may not recognize every conversation you bring up which can be classified as emotionally-charged or potentially hurtful of your feelings, but he will try to do better...

Give him "fair warning" if possible, before bringing up serious subjects.

Don't start serious subjects while driving down the road.

Don't start serious subjects when laying in bed or when tired.

Agree to suspend serious discussions when you are tired so that you can go to bed. Agree to resume the discussion the next day.

Don't bring up serious discussions during a period of relaxation, such as when watching tv. If necessary to have such a discussion during a period of relaxation, give him fair warning and (both agree to) turn off the tv so that he can give you his full attention.

Give him some sensitivity training. Tell him how you felt as a result of some of your discussions so that he can begin to better understand how you feel and think.

Give him a certain amount of consideration/slack. A man can't be attuned to these sorts of issues 24 hours a day. We just can't do it.

In my case, the problem is so pronounced that my wife and I may yet get divorced, depite the fact that I try really hard. It is an inherent limitation of mine, and I suspect this problem is fairly common among men.

Sometimes my wife shoots "zingers" at me about my lack of sensitivity and caring during seemingly random moments. She said one just last night about "one of our many fundamental differences." It is a reflection of just how high her frustration is with me. However, such statements hurt our relationship. Maybe they make her feel better, but they certainly make me feel bad. Try to refrain from launching them.

I wish you the best with this issue.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, thank you all for your comments. There is certainly a lot to think about there.

Yes, (ouch) Asolo, you are quite right about the "bank account" of hurts. That isn't helping ANYTHING. If I cannot bring myself to deal with things that bother me directly with dh then I really should learn to let them go. But there are some very big ones that I have tried (o.k., not to the point of nagging so maybe not effectively) to address that are probably the foundation for all the little irritations. Still, your advice is good.

And, Popi, yes, I have actually been trying to make a real effort to think of the things about dh that are positive. And, of course, there are plenty. It's just too easy to fall into a fault-finding habit, isn't it? Just this evening I thought back and remembered the first thing (two actually) that attracted me to him and they were pretty important when I think of it.

And Stevied, thank you for your thoughtful comments. I do try to be sensitive about when and how I bring things up. Actually, my comment about the seat belt didn't start out as a very earth shattering one...it was just something I was reminded of in that moment. What he said just really rubbed me the wrong way.

What I DID about that seatbelt thing was (after talking with some other people who told me about gadgets that can be used to adjust the belt) to go and get a clip that sorta fixes the problem. It isn't ideal but it does keep the belt off my neck.

A question for you, Stevied...have you talked with your wife in that calm, reasonable tone you used in your post to me about this? I don't know about her but if my dh sat down with me and said, "I realize that I must seem insensitive sometimes and here is the way I see it, (insert here what you said up there)" and "Please give me some warning when you really need my attention and I'll try my best to give it to you,"...well, I'd probably SWOON!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 11:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have. The problem with the approach is that even when I amaware that we are having a serious conversation, I still can't seem to offer up what it is she needs to hear. I often fail to provide emotional support. Although I am sympathetic to her problem, I can't seem to make her feel better about the problem/situation. Sometimes I can do it, but most of the time, I can't. This leads to frustration, disappointment, and resentment on her part. It is very difficult for me to understand what it is she needs to hear from me, even when she gives me specific examples from prior conversations.

For me, I just want to hide in a corner when these conversations begin, because I know there is a good chance she will be disappointed and upset with my response (or lack thereof). I understand she wants emotional support, but I simply cannot figure out what it is she wants/needs to hear when she wants/needs to hear it. Its a real problem for which I have found no solution.

However, even worse are conversations similar to your seatbelt example, where they do not start out as serious conversations but end up being so due to the way she interprets what I say or don't say in response to her comments/concerns.

However, this thread isn't about me. Its about you. If I go on much longer, I will be doing something which my wife often complains about - taking a discussion regarding a subject and turning it into a discussion about me.... So, enough of me.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 10:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I think you are an angel for pondering about how to communicate more effectively with your wife. Good on you, mate ! and I agree with Linda's comments about SWOONING!

All these issues are covered in "Men are from Venus, Women from Mars" Gray..you know that book?? It talks about how to prepare the man for talking (like what Steveied said) and about how men are in their "caves". It all makes perfect sense, and explained it all to me. EVERYONE should read it ! It also talks about women and how they need to behave to get the most effective outcome for them.

I think this problem, about men's lack of sensitivity, is in most marriages. But I think men get unfairly blamed sometimes...I think women need to speak up, and say what they need, how do they expect men to know what they are thinking, what they need, what comfort they need.

I have said to my DH "I need a hug now" or "I need you to just listen to this and not comment", or "when this happens I will be really upset and I will need you to hold my hand". He doesnt know what to do unless I tell him ! This is all after 23 years of marriage !!

Keep up the good work.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 3:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for the complement. However, my wife did not swoon when I said it. Rather, she did not like the idea of having to preface her comments by stating that the subject was important or emotionally sensistive.

Marriage is difficult for most of us, I suspect.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 1:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, Stevied, thanks for your concern about "hijacking" my thread but I think we would all be better off if it morphs into a discussion of how we can all (male and female) be more sensitive in communication with our significant others than if it remains a narrowly focused thrashing out of my little problem. After all...I've already relegated that to the "last week's annoyance" category. Some might say that I've swept it under the rug...I prefer to think I've moved on. And I think I might learn a lot from a man who is willing to think a bit about these things. A different perspective, doncha know?

I suspect that part of the problem your wife has with your attempts to communicate stems from old hurts. She may be expecting repeats of earlier disappointments and such. It's hard to imagine that a husband who would make such a sweet, humble attempt to understand and change would be rebuffed. There must be some issue lurking here. Have you asked about that?

You say that you still can't help her feel better - well, apart from the fact that one person really cannot be responsible completely for the feelings of another - have you asked her to break things down for you into really small, doable bits? If you find that you just don't know what to do or say, could you say, "Honey, I can tell that you are hurting and I hate that and really want to help. What do you need me to do or say right now? What am I not getting about this? Do believe me that I want to understand and am not trying to be thick...I just don't quite see it and need you to help me understand how to help you. I'm hoping that if you walk me through it a few times I'll start to get it on my own." Any woman who would reject that must have a LOT of mistrust left over from somewhere. And those issues will have to be dealt with before progress is made.

Also, apology has its valuable place. If you react in a way that turns out to be mistaken, apologize! Right away you can say, "Whoa! I think I read that wrong. You were serious, weren't you? I'm sorry I didn't get that. Let me back up and try again cause I really didn't want to hurt your feelings."

And you may need to start out by assuming that it's ALL important for a while. Rather than putting all the burden on her to announce whether you should really pay attention or not, how about just assuming that if her mouth is moving you need to get in gear? I seriously doubt that she will be as annoyed on account of you taking something seriously when she was kidding as she would if you ignore her when she is trying to get your attention. You say that you want to help and you just can't seem to figure it out? Well, take the time and trouble to just pay attention to everything she says for a while and see if that helps. Really listen every time she speaks, take a few seconds at least to try to see what she is really saying and if you don't get it ask her to clarify for you. If nothing else, it should be a huge compliment to her that you are willing to pay attention to her.

We really do teach others how to treat us. Heaven knows what I'M thinking...I seem to always teach people to take me totally for granted and to ignore my needs. When will I ever learn NOT to do that? Or HOW not to do that? But it's always easier to give advice about someone else's problem than to figure out our own or to take advice when it applies to us. So why shouldn't your wife teach you what she needs? If you are as willing to learn as you appear to be, I think she would be making a huge mistake not to jump at the chance. Guys like you don't grow on trees!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 8:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I think you've just given strong positive reinforcement to every man reading who has chosen to remain single.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 11:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, Asolo, you may well be right. Goodness knows, it would be better for all involved if many of them DID remain single! Same goes for a lot of us women.

But I'd be interested in a bit more explanation from you. As I said, it's way easy to give advice. What I wrote came pretty directly from my own emotional place. But I am far from convinced that I know what I'm talking about...surely if I did, I'd be happier! So. Where did I go wrong and what do I need to understand about the way men's minds work?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 8:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"....what do I need to understand about the way men's minds work?"

You don't need to understand men's minds. You only need to understand your husband. Neither he nor I know about other men's minds.

For myself, the allusion intended by my post was that your posts are seeming more and more like the whining of someone who doesn't know what she wants and is bogged down in "analyzing the relationship". I wouldn't care to be married to such a spouse. I can deal with problems. However, I'm not psychic enough to devine the base-issue of the nebulous irritation you've written about so far. It doesn't make me want to get to the bottom of it. It makes me want to walk away. Which I am hereby doing.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 12:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think women like to "analyze relationships", thats why we sit around having cups of coffee and talking. I can understand that men dont want to do this, so they go off and do "men" things.

Women need to understand these things, because we have babies, and become mothers, and theres a whole lot of new relationship analyzing going on there!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 10:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe its because as a lawyer I work in a field with lots of men,but they have a different sense of humor. You should hear the jokes they tell each other.
After spending a day in court exchanging comments with guys, when I go home and play bridge with a bunch of girlfriends some of what they discuss seems endless and pointless. I would imagine that some husbands simply tune out, occasionally tuning in when they hear a change of pitch, or their name.
If I have something meaningful to say to my husband, I feed him, give him a good glass of wine and get to the point immediately. I think he's wonderful and I am lucky to be married to him. We have a lot to laugh about and I try to see the humor or the point he is trying to make.
I don't think they want to discuss relationships. After solving problems at work all day, its the last thing anybody wants to do at night. I live in a very affluent community, many of my neighbors live in multi million dollar homes, don't have to work and have household help. I listen to them complain about how their needs are not being met, their children are ungrateful, etc.and maybe its true, but it wouldn't make me want to spend more time at home.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 2:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You hit the nail on the head, Marge, if it aint nice at home, then why would they want to come home.

Thats really sad about the affluent people, they have so much and yet they are still complaining !

Sometimes I think all we all think about is ourselves, how about we all spend time not thinking about ourselves, and start the day thinking "how can I help you"...and see what happens. I think the world would be a happier place that day.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 3:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Its not just affluent people; but in their case its really obvious. I can be sympathetic with somebody who is struggling to make ends meet.
You are right Popi thinking "how can I help" is a good attitude or at least "how can I not be annoying today"might be better, especially if you are trying to raise children and run a happy, well organized home somebody would want to come home to.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 12:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"....how can I not be annoying today..."

: ) Excellent starting point for everyone -- including me!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 2:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LOL "how can I not be annoying today" ! Ha ! I am like that everyday!


    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 7:57PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Frustrated and lonely
Hi, I am really glad I found this forum, I can see...
"Friend" Marriage
I have been looking up posts for months that relate...
Cheating Husband
I met my husband 23 years ago. We married 1.5 years...
Age Difference
I posted this on the Parents Forum but it was suggested...
Intimacy Issues
My wife and I married at the age of 16, we were pregnant...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™