Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Had enough of DHs lack of attention/response

(31 Posts)
HoppinMad Thu 21-Mar-13 22:48:07

My h is a great guy, I do love him but with this issue I feel like i'm going around in circles with him. The issue being that he doesnt communicate very well when I am speaking to him regarding trivial matters, if its an important issue he will answer back and we can have a decent conversation. If its just me making small talk about what the kids and I did or any other insignificant issue he will continue watching telly/using his phone/reading his book without looking up or answering, or acknowledge my yapping without even a nod or a smile. This isnt all the time mind you, but atleast once if not a few times a day.

It pisses me right off because I am a sahm mum and have virtually no friends where we moved over three years ago, my family live 150+ miles away. dh family is nearby and they are lovely but hardly meet us so I feel increasingly isolated. I already have low self esteem and struggled to socialise so his horrible actions are making it worse. I have brought the topic up numerous times but he says he isnt aware he is doing it, hes so absorbed in what hes doing he doesnt realise i'm talking. I have to say he is not a nasty person and has a good nature but how the fuck can he not hear me??

Before i would ask him a question if he didnt respond i'd get upset but leave it at that. Now il repeat myself a few times and eventually get a half hearted reply. As if i'm disturbing him soo much from the extremely important game on his fuckin phone! I've even tried staying quiet snd then he has asked me why, so ive told him. He promises to be more attentive but its back to square one. Am starting to wonder is it me? Am i that bloody boring?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 22-Mar-13 06:16:46

It's only 'you' in that you're not demanding to be heard strongly enough. smile When you want a toddler to listen to you, it helps to turn their face so that they are looking directly at you and no distractions. Suggest something similar here. If he's watching TV and you want to say something, get the remote & turn it off. If he's using his phone or reading a book, physically remove it and put it down while you talk. Get bodily in his eye-line.... get eye-contact. When you demand full attention, you'll get it. Good luck

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 22-Mar-13 06:26:16

"I have brought the topic up numerous times but he says he isnt aware he is doing it"

BTW.... this may or may not be true. Some zone out background noise when their attention is elsewhere. But ignoring someone when they are trying to have a conversation with you is pretty rude and he should be making more of an effort, especially as you've explained it's annoying.

How much time do you spend together as a couple, face to face, just chatting about 'stuff' without interruptions? Do you eat together at a table after the kids have gone to bed, for example, and talk through your day, things in the news, plans for the future, etc?. Maybe another approach (between you - don't see why you should be making all the effort here) is to deliberately create space for proper conversation where phones/TV/laptop and other distractions are switched off.

chickensaladagain Fri 22-Mar-13 06:33:51

I zone out

If I'm reading or something it's very difficult to distract me which makes me feel bad if the dcs are talking to me and I haven't heard a word

Turning the tv off while he is watching it is actually very confrontational -what I've asked the dcs to do is say my name, couple of times if needed, when I look at them, then talk to me -happy to have the conversation, just zone out, especially in the evenings when I'm tired

MrsSpagBol Fri 22-Mar-13 07:47:51

Agree with Chicken, it's quite confrontational to just switch off the tv. I know, I have done it!

My suggestion is to set x amount of minutes a day for him to put everything away and just give you his undivided attention. Please note that it also involves you listening to him, asking about his day etc and listening to any chit chat he might have.

You may find it becomes more natural - it's just the thing of breaking the tv / game / iphone / ipad habit I think.

And I agree it's rude!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 22-Mar-13 07:53:17

It may be confrontational but if the OP is faced with a brick wall, staring at a TV screen & refusing to listen, what's the problem. If turning off is too assertive, just hit the mute button....? hmm

GirlWiththeLionHeart Fri 22-Mar-13 07:56:07

God, I could've written your op!

Dp always zoned out when he comes home from work as he's been talking to people all day so wants a break. Whereas I've been stuck with a baby all day, not spoken to anyone unless I've gone out and am desperate for adult interaction.

Can't win

Dahlen Fri 22-Mar-13 08:02:41

Turning off the TV may be confrontational but if he listened she wouldn't have to. It's certainly no more rude than ignoring his wife when she has repeatedly explained to him how it makes her feel.

Zoning out is one thing, we all do it from time to time. Making it a daily occurrence where you ignore everyone and everything apart from what you want to do is actually very rude, dismissive and hurtful.

PopMusic Fri 22-Mar-13 08:08:06

Actually, this was the same in house to a certain extent but we were both doing it. We both realised it was a problem so we have a device and tv free zone for a couple hours a day. It has made a big difference to our communication and we actually have conversations. Wow, who would have thought?

I think there are two issues here - your communication with your DH and your self esteem. I do think that you need to tackle your self esteem so that you can assert yourself and demand the attention from your DH.

MrsSpagBol Fri 22-Mar-13 08:09:10

Erm Dahlen I said I agree it's rude?!

Was just suggesting an alternative to fighting rudeness with more rudeness so that OP actually gets what she wants - attention - rather than just an argument?

iamstitch Fri 22-Mar-13 08:58:12

To be honest I'm not sure if turning the tv off would work. I say that a someone who is going through the same and has tried everything. My DH seems very disconnected even though he 'loves me more than ever', ' would be lost without me'. Turns out he is depressed (he's gone from high flying career to SAHD so that I could fly). We are currently trying to work on creating more of a balance between us both. It's hard, and makes you feel so worthless but if he loves you then hang in there a while longer.

HoppinMad Fri 22-Mar-13 11:49:17

Thanks for all your replies.

corgito its an idea about the turning telly off thing, but i'm afraid that would shut him down more and i have to agree it would come across as confrontational. If I was 100% certain dh ignores me deliberately I possibly would, but I think I'd be causing more problems if i'm honest.

As for the spending enough time together, he works very long hours and gets home 8ish. I sometimes eat with dc or wait for him if i'm not too hungry. But he would rather unwind with his phone than sit with me and chat. Mostly its a mixture of both but if i need to get on with clearing away the dishes etc and he looks after dc2 (baby) he will but cant keep off his feckin phone. Grr. I am going to tell him we need to allocate some time just for us. Has to be done for my sanity.

You know there was a time i just remembered, when he would talk over me. Either to dc1, or about something totally unrelated and it annoyed me so much. Thankfully thats stopped now after much rowing because I couldnt tolerate it.

HoppinMad Fri 22-Mar-13 11:53:38

Dc1 is 3 and as a normal toddler ignores me at times when asked to do something. But it affects me greatly, I get very angry and upset, though i know its normal toddler behaviour. I think because I feel like i'm unheard in this house sad nobody gives a shit about what I have to say.

MrsSpagBol Fri 22-Mar-13 12:17:17

I reiterate my previous post:

"My suggestion is to set x amount of minutes a day for him to put everything away and just give you his undivided attention. Please note that it also involves you listening to him, asking about his day etc and listening to any chit chat he might have. "

It sounds like you feel unheard/dismissed generally? I would insist of this uninterrupted time - but be flexible about when it is. Eg I really need to wind down when i first come in but 20 mins after dinner / before the news / whatever works for you is achievable for me/us.

Good luck OP. I know it's frustrating and demoralising. Maybe show him this thread? He may not realise how much it really upsets you.

HoppinMad Fri 22-Mar-13 12:50:40

Thanks mrsSB

Dh was home on his break and I told him we need some quality time together in the evening, discuss any issues we have, clear the air of any ill-feeling that may be bothering us etc. He says he is happy to and even suggested 8-8.30 which is good enough for me but may clash with corrie some days but a sacrifice i'll have to make

GirlWiththeLionHeart Fri 22-Mar-13 12:53:23

That's good news Hoppin smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 22-Mar-13 12:58:04

Age old thing then.... you've essentially got a selfish man that thinks you're a domestic appliance with a face. This isn't about a man who is a little distracted because he's reading a book from time to time. This is a man who thinks you're utterly unimportant.

Why are you the one clearing away dishes while he is (doing what exactly) on the phone? Who is on the end of that phone that is so much more interesting than you? Why not clear dishes together and chat at the same time? Let me guess.... he'd never dream of doing that because he's 'the man' and he's worked a long day. hmm Of course he used to talk over you... he has zero interest in what you have to say.

I think a bit of confrontation is LONG overdue. As far as he's concerned, you're invisible.

HoppinMad Fri 22-Mar-13 13:03:15

Thanks lionheart, lets hope he sticks to it, has a habit of inconsistency in things he/we start. I will try my best and as a pp suggested hopefully it will come naturally at some point. I reiterated though its not a time for sex or whatever, cuddles yes and communicating much, but not for him to get other ideas hmm

MrsSpagBol Fri 22-Mar-13 15:11:52

Lol good call on that no sex caveat. I do believe it will come naturally in time but sometimes we need to work at things; not everything is automatic. Hope it goes well flowers

HoppinMad Fri 22-Mar-13 15:16:01

Hi cogito sorry i missed ur message when i posted mine

Hmm I think you're being abit harsh, hes not actually that bad overall, he has these unresponsive noments but doesnt treat me as invisible.

I dont always clear up the dishes, if we eat together i normally will but if he eats alone he sorts dinner out for himself and clears up. I was simply citing that as an example of how he can be sometimes. And i have access to his phone and vice versa, its usually internet or games keeping him preoccupied, manchild maybe but unfaithful very unlikely. Sorry i'm not trying to defend him but he isnt that bad generally, its just this issue that bothers me about him.

HoppinMad Fri 22-Mar-13 15:18:06

Thanks mrsSB you sound lovely, ur advice is v much appreciated

Blending Fri 22-Mar-13 15:54:54

Ive been here with DP, and its bloody hard.

Especially as my day is filled with toddler/pregnancy/family trivia as I'm pregnant with twins and signed off sick so dont get out much!

I completely understand how you feel, and DP tends to zone out, or just grunt and nod his head and I found myself repeating myself like an idiot- I started to say outragous stuff and say that he agreed to it! Didn't actually cure anything but proved he wasn't listening to me! I was so frustrated and desperate for some attention from him and started to fester about it and felt like I was whinning- Not the capable adult I consider myself to be.

We now make a point of having dinner together at the table away from any other distractions, even if it is just something we'd normally slob in front of the TV eating.

It does mean that DD (2 yo) eats on her own, or I have a snack with her as DH is not home until late like yours.

This has had a huge impact on how we feel about each other, I find out more about his day, hes shares a lot more opinons or discuss stuff from the news, and he is more attentive to what I have to say about household stuff or the kind of day I'd had.

I no longer feel that I am talking "at" him but grabbing some adult time together at the end of a day.

Hope you too can find a way of geting things back on track.

MrsSpagBol Fri 22-Mar-13 19:22:10

Hi OP - awww sweet, I have been where you have been. DH is lovely too, we are just very different. Once you put in the work, things can be better than you can imagine.

In terms of self esteem etc (someone mentioned it above), do you read any books? I recommend Boundaries by Cloud and Townend - it's on amazon.
I highly recommend it. Helped me a lot.

x

HoppinMad Sat 23-Mar-13 00:29:15

Well we had our 'gadget free special time' together tonight, sorry it was meant to read 8.30-9pm not 8-8.30 as he then has chance to eat etc. Was ok, we had a chat, a little awkward as it seemed.. forced. But we got chatting and it was nice. Cut short by dc2 screaming for feed but will hopefully do it again tomorrow.

blending i'm glad you managed to sort things out and grown closer to your dp. But the grunting argh yes i know the grunting well. And the shrugging of shoulders. 'What shall we have for tea tomorrow?' Shrug. 'Whats plans for weekend?' Shrug. 'Are you driving or am i?' Shrug. 'You're a big prick arent you'. Shrug.
Hes cut down on that alot since i started pointing it out imitating and taking the piss But the silence unresponsiveness is something else.

mrsSB i love to read but have baby brain atm, so even if i find time to read it doesnt sink in and i find myself reading a page twice, thrice blush having said that i have ordered some parenting books out of necessity as i'm struggling with my toddler so once i have completed, will definitly look into the book you recommended.

MrsSpagBol Sat 23-Mar-13 01:11:34

Glad you did it Hoppin. My baby is not here yet so i have time to read at the moment - there are a couplebof other things that i've read in the past that might be of use if you still find the chat time too fake - i'll pvt message u sometime. Night night.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now