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Half-listening Husband

(16 Posts)
albertatrilogy Mon 16-Oct-17 20:56:03

It's tricky because he claims to be very interested in what I have to say. In practise after I've begun to say something he drifts off to think about his own preoccupations. Like at the moment he is obsessed with genealogy, and where his ancestors lived 600 years ago. So he's constantly asking for bits of everyday household information that I've already just given him. Or else he gets hold of the wrong end of the stick.

Today I'm back from holiday but not yet back to work till tomorrow afternoon. I've picked up a virus which has left me absolutely drained. I have been coughing all the time and it's exhausting. So I said that after supper I would go to bed and watch a quiz show we both like on the iPad. So if he wanted to watch too, he could watch it with me there. He said it was a good idea and yes he'd like to watch it too.

At 3 minutes to 8 I had the iPad on and he came in and said the programme would be starting soon. I pointed at the iPad and said yes, I'd got it on the right channel. He then went downstairs and came up a few minutes later in agitation saying, 'It's starting. It's started.'

When I reminded him we were watching it from the bedroom he said how could he possibly be expected to guess that from me pointing. I said that was what he'd agreed earlier and he said no, he hadn't realised that.

This is the sort of thing that makes me want to bang my head against the wall. And weep.

Because it never gets any better.

WhatWouldGenghisDo Mon 16-Oct-17 21:00:01

Is he like this when he's at work? It sounds massively disrespectful. What happens if you refuse to repeat yourself?

NewLove Mon 16-Oct-17 21:09:57

3 walks a day with two being short is not enough for a working dog. They are bred to be working 10-12 hours a day - a home environment can rarely give them the stimulation they need as you are finding sad

albertatrilogy Mon 16-Oct-17 21:11:22

He has retired now but in his professional life could be extremely focused and efficient - so the inattentiveness did not hold him back there.

I am, wearily, coming to think that is just how it is. It happens with the children - who are now pretty much grownup. It happened on holiday where at various times he would ask the tour guide for information that had been explained quite clearly just minutes previously.

But it makes everyday communication quite hard. It's as if I just want to limit myself to short sentences telling him very simple, factual things in the hope that he can attend to these. It's hurtful if I try telling him stuff that's more important and then I realise that though he was only inches away and seemed outwardly to be taking an interest and there were no obvious external distractions he in fact wasn't taking much in.

Ttbb Mon 16-Oct-17 21:19:34

My husband is like that too, I can't get too cross though because he's always thinking about terribly important things like legal frameworks in developing countries influencing the safety and development of said nations. Now I just save up the things I have to say to him (more than two less than six at a time) and demand his attention and say everything very slowly and clearly while making sure that he doesn't break eye contact-I worry sometimes that he may have ADHD but then again he is perfectly capable of concentrating on incredibly complicated academic points of law. I just see it as permission to stop listening when he starts talking about football/cars/other stupid man stuff.

DailyMailReadersAreThick Mon 16-Oct-17 21:21:07

I often do this in the evenings. I'm very introverted and after a day at work, having to make small talk and interact with 40 other people in the office, I need down time in my own little world. I don't mean to be rude, but I'm mentally drained and it takes a massive effort to concentrate on a conversation.

Of course, I'm not saying it's the same for your husband - you'll know if it sounds likely. But, for me anyway, it's not as simple as not caring or being disrespectful.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Mon 16-Oct-17 21:21:21

Oh dear OP, I think NewLove is only half listening to you too!

Believeitornot Mon 16-Oct-17 21:22:50

It is rude to not listen to someone.

If he needs to switch off then he needs to be clear about that. Instead of pretending not to listen.

To me it seems that he doesn't find it important enough to listen.

albertatrilogy Mon 16-Oct-17 21:35:48

I think when my husband was working long hours in a demanding job, I found it explicable that he couldn't focus well when he got home. He used to do this thing of bombarding me with 'interested' questions as soon as he got in and I would tell him not to, because it was really clear that he took in very little of my replies. He needed to eat and sit for a while and generally recharge his batteries.

It is since he retired that I find the not listening difficult. Because now the inattentiveness feels more like a kind of unfaithfulness if that makes sense. Obviously we all find that our minds wander sometimes if a person is droning on at length and/or we have just received some important news that we are struggling to process.

In an odd way it would be a relief if my husband said, 'Well actually I don't listen because you're boring and I am no longer in love with you.'

He claims to love me very much and is genuinely upset when I get cross and/or withdraw from him as a result of the not-listening. But, rather like a toddler, a few minutes later he'll be doing the same thing all over again.

WhatWouldGenghisDo Mon 16-Oct-17 21:42:36

Would he notice if you did it to him for a bit? Just to give him a sense of what it's like for you?

Normalserviceissuspended Mon 16-Oct-17 21:45:48

3 walks a day with two being short is not enough for a working dog. They are bred to be working 10-12 hours a day - a home environment can rarely give them the stimulation they need as you are finding

It is her DH, not a dog? Are you suggesting that she needs to stimulate him more now that he is retired?

albertatrilogy Mon 16-Oct-17 21:48:13

It's not a bad idea. I am naturally rather a precise person, but doing it for a day - asking him things he's already told me/getting hold of the wrong end of the stick - might just work.

WhatWouldGenghisDo Mon 16-Oct-17 21:51:49

At the moment he has no incentive to work on his communication with you because he knows you'll pick up the slack. If you drop it for a day it might help him see how much work he's making you do

AllToadsLeadToHome Mon 16-Oct-17 21:55:29

That happens here too, not all the time, but far too often. I find the only way to deal with it effectively is to make him look directly at me and say 'listen carefully'. Explain what it is about, and then ask for it to be repeated back to me. I don't like doing it but if it is something important it is the only way that works.

Jasminedes Mon 16-Oct-17 22:11:04

I am finding the same. Maybe it is stress related. My fear is it is part of the start of a decline - and will only get worse.

eddies36 Mon 16-Oct-17 22:27:57

I do what Toads does.

I get equally frustrated...

Despite all his obvious stress, anxiety, and need to be introverted, I still feel very drained and literally ache just to be heard...

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