Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Communicating just so difficult sometimes

(8 Posts)
MumblePuppy Sat 17-Sep-16 03:27:50

DH is a lovely man, very good, very kind, tries very hard. I am lucky I a lot of ways with him.

We are both quite introverted though, him a bit more than me. Things go right most of the time, but when they go wrong, it is just so difficult to get him to talk about it.

I feel like I have to play a guessing game about what is bothering him if he is ever upset (either by me or just by the stress of life). He will go on for ages bottling things up, getting distant/withdrawn.

It is stressful to be around him when he is like that. But he genuinely does think he is dealing with things/protecting me from stress when he does it.

And to top it all, when I have sometimes (usually inadvertently) done something that hurts him, he won't tell me, so I don't know how to avoid doing it again. It's Catch-22 sometimes. I mean little niggly things that sometimes get to people, that you can easily change, if you know what it is and make an effort. We are both quite sensitive.

Talking about things doesn't come naturally to me either, but I think it's best to try to communicate with one another about what is going on/how we feel etc, at least a little bit. I just don't know how to do it without making him even more stressed.

He's not depressed, just quite introverted by nature and reserved by upbringing.

I feel like if I get stressed/upset about something it is up to me to deal with it/speak about it, but also if he gets stressed/upset it is up to me to deal with it too.

I know this is pretty small stuff, but I am struggling a bit and finding it emotionally exhausting trying to guess what is going on at times.

RedMapleLeaf Sat 17-Sep-16 04:28:31

I'm not too clear on what your question is.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sat 17-Sep-16 04:33:45

I don't think it is a small thing. From what you have described, you are basically living parallel lives but not connecting emotionally with each other. Companionship, even friendship, isn't manifested...it is presumed to be there by the fact of your marriage-but isn't there in practice. Living in solitude (emotionally) is very hard and sad when you are in a relationship.

Guessing and trying to figure out things he has decided not to share would be exhausting. Perhaps you need a boundary for your own mental health to leave him to it; you can only help when he lets you-that is on him to talk (not for you to make him talk). Does he see your marriage as a partnership- as in you are "life partners" and on the same team?

MumblePuppy Sat 17-Sep-16 05:04:25

That's pretty much it AndThe Band.

I think you are right about the boundary for my own mental health. To an extent I have tried that. But I am very empathetic and when he is down/bottling something up I find it very difficult to be round him, because I feel what he is feeling, but I don't the reasons behind it.

Maybe I need to more work on separating out what I am feeling directly and what I am experiencing empathetically and trying to screen out the empathetic feelings, just put the time to one side and saying "that isn;t mine to deal with".

He does very much see as life partners and on the same team. He is very loving, caring and supportive in a lot of ways. I think this is not so much about his intentions as about his skill/knowledge level.

By that I mean I know that he wants me to feel loved, he wants us to connect, he's just not sure how to make/let that happen?

He finds it very, very difficult to let his guard down with anyone. I know he lets his guard down with me much, much more than with anyone else in his whole life ever.

But he just doesn't let it down quite often enough or long enough to let us connect enough that overall the relationship feels satisfying/sustaining/sustainable to me? And whilst we do make progress, we do connect well sometimes, the amount of effort and patience it takes is just slowly draining me.

RedMapleLeaf Sat 17-Sep-16 10:32:01

What do you think the problem is?

If he is withdrawn or distant, you just have to accept it. Expecting him to deal with it the way you would or badgering him to talk about it are going to be counter-productive. You can't make someone talk when they don't want. I would stop the guessing games when he's in this mood; don't let his mood become your mood.

MumblePuppy Sat 17-Sep-16 14:30:13

It's pretty much come to light this morning AndtheBand that he hasn't so much decided that he doesn't want to share his inner thoughts with me, than that long ago he decided no-one could possibly be interested in them so never got far in working out how to share them.

I was bit more quiet this morning than I would usually be- not trying to nervously fill silences, let him see when I felt nervous. And the penny dropped for him that sometimes how he is makes me feel uncomfortable/lonely.

He has a deep core belief that basically no-one really cares about what he thinks/feels. He is says he is starting to see that I do, but it's just a bit alien to his mindset about himself.

To compound things, now when he tries he is scared he will just blurt things out and be a bit ham-fisted.

It seems to be working a bit better now, as I feel more like I can be a more like myself and he is starting to see I do care about his thoughts/feelings so it is ok to share.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sat 17-Sep-16 21:10:40

Thanks for your message. smile
My dh and I are also a couple of introverts...it may just go with the territory (plus dh can't really talk much about his work -way over my head!). We connect by doing things together-not much excitement, but walking, home improvement, and a bit of Telly (netflix as we dumped cable at New Year's!). We are mid-50s though and pretty well settled into the sometimes boring routine of the long haul marriage.

I do well with solitude though and don't depend on him for my inner happiness iykwim. I quilt for that. grin

MumblePuppy Mon 26-Sep-16 05:39:18

Just a quick update...for the last week or so, it's just been a totally different place.

One day DH said he realized that when I want to talk about things, it's because I am trying to work out what it is best to do (for both of us) rather than just trying to get my own way (it was a subconscious thing, as he's more used to people doing the latter I think).

And the conversation/interaction is two way now, really relaxed, easy and happy.

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