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To find DH behaviour so damn annoying

(20 Posts)
whereisthesun Mon 27-Jul-09 20:06:19

DH is a great husband he helps out loads round the house, does all the cooking, gets up with DS in the mornings etc and is a really lovely person all round... the thing which I am finding REALLY annoying and which is becoming quite a big thing for me is that he just doesn't chat - to either me or anyone, small talk is something I think he has never heard of. It drives me mad, we never really have cosy chats about things and he doesn't tell me what he is thinking about anything unless I really drag it out of him. He is very laid back so he is pretty happy doing most things but I want him to express his opinion more. When we go out socially he tends to just leave it to me to make the conversation and make the evening go well, which i find exhausting and annoying. We went to a wedding recently and he made no effort to chat to anyone or to introduce himself to anyone or basically make any effort to talk to anyone - so I then worry that he comes across to my friends and sulky and not interested, which really isn't the case. I have tried to explain to him the problem and he says that he just doesn't know that he is doing it and if I bring it up at the event he says he then feels like I am watching him and he then can't think of anything to say and i've made him conscious of it......I don't want to always nag at him about it but it's driving me mad. Should I just accept that this is how he is or can you think of anything else I can do??

rubyslippers Mon 27-Jul-09 20:09:16

he sounds really shy

cjones2979 Mon 27-Jul-09 20:14:32

Has he always been like this ?

My Dad is very much like this, he just seems to find social situations a bit awkward.

ABetaDad Mon 27-Jul-09 21:09:11

whereisthesun - DW pretty much would say exactly what you said in every respect about me 15 - 20 years ago. She still says that I am useless to talk to on the phone. I do not chat enough but just impart info and receive info and there is no point after that. grin

I am basically shy rather than gregarious and used to get upset when DW pointed it out (as your DH does) and then I read that shyness was a kind of arrogance. I really started worrying about it then. It was only when I met someone who told me it was nothing to do with arrogance but explained 'emotional intelligence' and 'intellectual intelligence' that I understood why I was shy. I just found it hard to 'get people'.

However, I have got a lot better over the 25 years we have known each other though and it is entirely down to DW. I have learned from her and now enjoy meeting and talking with people. One way, I learned was lots of small repeated exposures to social situations which I had to go to because of who DW is and the nature of her occupation. She is really good at social situations - and I just watched and copied her. It is not about personal confidence, as DW is full of worries and doubts about herself and I am happy with myself. It is about knowing the rules of how to interact with people - pure and simple.

Is your DH 'intellectual? Does he understand people very well? I don't want to start saying he has Aspergers but I do know Aspergers sufferers can 'learn' how to handle people. My experience is that it is possible to 'learn' how to enjoy interacting with people and to do it well. I do think you can help him do that.

He sounds like a really nice person and he needs to work with you so you can share social occassions and enjoy them more together.

ProfYaffle Mon 27-Jul-09 21:14:32

Well, being shy in social situations is one thing but not being able to chat to you strikes me as unusual.

I can't do small talk with strangers but talk of any size with dh is different, shouldn't be difficult to talk to your partner imho.

OurLadyOfPerpetualSupper Mon 27-Jul-09 21:28:40

Erm how do you know he's lovely if he never talks to you?
Surely he was communicative at some point or you would never have got together.
What ABD said was really interesting - I think I suffered from social phobia for a long time but I find as I've got older and have been exposed to more varied social situations I'm more relaxed and have a better idea of how to behave.
Don't know if you can push him in this, though - I imagine it's something that has to come from oneself.

ABetaDad Mon 27-Jul-09 21:34:48

OurLady - good point. He must have had some kind of social skill to snare whereisthesun.

whereisthesun Tue 28-Jul-09 09:07:04

I may have exaggerated the not talking to me part! We do talk but he wouldn't just chat about something irrelevant for sake of having a chat. He is really generous and kind and goes out of his way to make me or family happy. I just kind of meant that he wouldn't come home and tell me about something that happened in the day without me having to ask first....Thanks for your post ABetaDad, that's really interesting, DH is exactly the same on the phone, he will tell me what he had phoned for and that will be that!!! He is intelligent and has a great job and is totally at ease holding high level meetings, which I would find totally terrifying! He says that I am much better at social situations but that is because I force myself to be, I am naturally more shy that him but just make a big effort. I just wish that he would make a big effort too as it's getting to the point where i don't really look forward to social things as I know it's going to be a struggle, which is a shame and I never used to be like this. What helped you to learn and copy from your DW ABetaDad?

Dysgu Tue 28-Jul-09 09:35:32

Whereisthesun you could be talking about my DP.

I know exactly what you mean regarding that he does not choose to sit and chat for the sake of having a chat. I must say, I have very little idea about what DP does for work - we have been together 6+ years, live together and have 2DCs - and his general response to questions about his day vary from 'fine' to 'busy' to, the extended, 'so busy i missed lunch.'

We are off on holiday with his sister, BIL, mum and neice/nephew on Friday. aaaaaaaaaaagh! He will be the one playing with the kids whilst i make small talk with his family.

Yes it drives me crazy sometimes but mostly I just try to accept that this is who he is! Sometimes I find it easier to tell myself he does have Asperger's - he does tick many of the boxes and his sister has also said the same thing. This helps me remember he is not doing it to purposefuly wind me up....

Would be interested in knowing how abetadad improved his social skills.

ABetaDad Tue 28-Jul-09 10:54:52

whereisthesun/Dysgu - it is interesting that you both make comments like:

" he helps out loads round the house, does all the cooking, gets up with DS in the mornings"

"He will be the one playing with the kids whilst i make small talk"

Both comments exactly match my behaviour. I would rather be 'doing things' than chatting.

I am not diagnosed Aspergers but recognise I am on the mild end of the spectrum with fairly low social intelligence. My DS1 is also very 'Aspergers' in many aspects of his personality. Vey high intellectual inteligence but very low emotional intelligence. I notice there have been quite a few threads by women on MN about husbands that are Aspergers and how difficult it is to live with.

The low social / emotional intelligence is really the key thing to deal with. Aspergers is a spectrum condition so people on the very mild end of the scale are undiagnosed and just regarded as 'shy' or 'a bit odd'. However, like all intelligence, some of it is innate and some is learned and Aspergers sufferers have to learn how interact socially.

I dealt with it with love and support from DW and by 'learning' how to deal with social occassions from her. I will freely admit I am not good at cocktail parties but learned how to enjoy them. I have some 'opening lines' I have learned and used often to open conversations with people I have never met. I have learned how to 'shut up and listen' when people want to talk. I have learned how to 'listen actively' and prompt comments and further comment from people during a conversation. I have learned how to make things I want to talk 'open and accessible' so that other people can respond rather than starting a conversation as an information download.

It has taken a long time. It really needs effort though and I did it because I had to for the sake of being able to go with DW to social functions. Please don't think I am weird though. I have a happy life and really love talking to DW and friends. DW has learned wo to deal with me and not be annoyed by me.

Like your DH/DP I have some good qualities too. Apologies too that my MN posts are a bit 'Apergers' sometimes. I still have to try hard. smile

ABetaDad Tue 28-Jul-09 11:01:32

One final thing. When I am at home and just relaxing I sometimes find it to exhausting to make conversation. I have to put a lot of mental effort into making a conversation happen. That may be the case with DH/DP of whereisthesun/Dysgu.

When I am actively 'doing' something with DW or other people I find mking conversation much easier. I find that people with shared common interests or shared activities are much easier to converse with.

Perhaps if whereisthesun/Dysgu started 'doing' things that their DH/DP is interested in they could get more conversation going. It could be simple things like cooking together.

Dysgu Tue 28-Jul-09 11:26:27

Thank you ABetaDad for sharing some of your experiences. It is just nice to know that there are other men out there who are similar to DP.

I do think he finds it easier to do instead instead of chat. It is something of a family joke that he will be the adult playing with the children - but due to his frequent lack of forethought and common sense, it is often the 5 year old that is told to keep an eye on him!

He does like to plan things in advance, is very organised in many ways and likes routines. That said, he has been known to take DDs to the park and suddenly decide to go to visit my mum as it ws quite close - with no provisions (like milk, nappies for 7mo and change of clothes for potty training 2yo!) And this has happened more than once!

Doing something together would be good - we like to cycle but I have not been out on bike since getting pg with DD2. He often goes out with DD1 sitting in her bike chair behind him.

We also like walking (well he does and we used to ramble together - but he would almost seem to forget that I was there and would head off ahead! Now we have to wak at 2yopace!)

I also agree that he is probably moreself-confident than I am. I think I think about stuff and situations more whereas he is simply himself in all situations.

Good to know that it is possible for him to change, but also that he is just being him and not purposefully winding me up!

SolidGoldBrass Tue 28-Jul-09 11:30:25

Please lose the idea that yappy people are 'better' than quiet ones. It's OK not to be very talkative. (For one thing, someone's got to listen to all those who never stop blabbering about nothing).
Bear in mind that your H has a right to BE WHO HE IS You don't mention that he is actively rude or hostile to other peole, just that he is a little reserved. Let the poor man be. Nothing is worse than being constantly nagged at by a partner to be someone or something you are not.

AnyFucker Tue 28-Jul-09 11:46:30

what happened to the days when people were just a bit "shy" or "quiet"

now it seems we have to "diagnose" everything... oh yes, DH is not a chatty man, he is somewhere along the scale of Asperger's...???

fwiw, if you met me in RL you would find me a bit reserved, you might even find me a bit "stuck-up" (another "old-fashioned" term), it has been said about me

but really, it is plain and simple, I don't really "do" small talk, am quite shy until you get to know me, I often struggle in situations where I have little in common with people

I am always the one in the kitchen at parties, doing the washing up smile

I was "painfully" shy as a child/teenager. Now my job involves a lot of interaction with the public and I can do that very easily after yrs of practice, but only on a professional level really

I very rarely give anything away about myself and I actually despise those kinds of fuckwits with verbal diarrhoea who give you their life story on 1st meeting. Look, love, I don't actually want to know how depressing/fabulous your life is...

I actually find that imposing your own views/lifestyle/general fabulousness on others a more virulent form of arrogance.

I don't have Asperger's. Stop medicalising everything. Stop trying to make people into something they are not. It takes all sorts in this world. And someone has to do the washing-up while the rest of the verbose sound off to all and sundry smile

cjones2979 Tue 28-Jul-09 12:57:53

Exactly Anyfucker !!

Some people just don't find it easy to "chat" to others about any old nonsense, why must that mean there is something wrong with them ?!

Equally, some people who appear to be the life and soul, are actually just as nervous as those who don't say a word, they just find a way of covering it up.

ABetaDad Tue 28-Jul-09 14:34:15

AnyFucker - I agree. My view is that there are just a spectrum of people with different traits. Those at one extreme have been labelled as Aspergers but those 'yappy types' at the other end have not been labelled. There is no cure for Aspergers because it is not an illness - the treatment is just helping people to socialise in our hyper communicative modern world. In the old days (as I think another MNetter once said) I would perhaps be described perhaps as the quiet lad who is good with horses or would have ended up as the shy University Professor stuck away in a University somewhere. It was accepted much more as 'normal'.

It is also very noticebale that almost almost all senior mnagement's of companies/banks are the very highly socially aware 'yappy types' from sales and marketing who are good at presenting themselves and networking while in recent decades engineering, analytical types have been shoved into backroom roles. Look where that has got us to!

I always think that people like you, me, and the DH/DP described by whereisthesun/Dysgu would be great to have in a disaster like an aircraft crash landing on a desert island. By the time the 'yappy types' had stopped talking we would have been and found water, built a fire and some shelter. I know who would die first. As you say, someone has to do the washing up and I would be in the kitchen with you drying and putting stuff away - but in exactly the right order of course. We might even have a good chat too! wink grin

AnyFucker Tue 28-Jul-09 17:21:44

Maybe we would, ABD, maybe we wouldn't

I would have to suss you out first smile

And yes, I am often the first person that people turn to in a crisis, 'cos they trust that I will listen and not yap away about myself

MorrisZapp Tue 28-Jul-09 17:53:18

Surely there is a big difference between yapping away endlessly about rubbish, and holding interesting or amusing adult conversation?

I've got a selectively monosyllabic DP too and it drives me mad. Or it used to - I've made peace with it now.

The one thing that makes me really really mad though is that DP will be on the phone to his mate, discussing the footie, the golf or whatever, having a ripping debate complete with wild hand gesturing, swearing and laughing uproariously with each other, then the next day we visit my parents and my dad (very bright, articulate man, great conversationalist) will say to DP 'what did you think of the match then?' and DP will shrug and say yeah not the best eh.


But I live with it. I admit, sometimes it embarrasses me when he is so piss poor socially but luckily he's always smiling so most people don't notice that he says nowt. They just think he's a lovely bloke, which he is.

I told him that I won't be responsible for small talk when we visit his family and to be fair he has taken this on board.

lynniep Tue 28-Jul-09 18:01:49

my DH is not a chatter either - he never has been. In a social situation he will speak when spoken too, but often shufties off early to hide in a room somewhere.

You're stuck with it in general I think - its just his personality and its not fair to make him self concious about it. BUT I did find that when I could talk to him about something HE was interested in we had more little chats (I worked for an online newspaper for a while and had a clue about what was going on in the world!!)

Inversely, DH gets MASSIVLEY irritated by his MIL (my stepmum) who its seems is physically incapable of not speaking. She cannot bear any silence. (DH and I sit quite happily in silence) He cannot bear her incessant chatter and can't understand how my dad puts up with it (dad - scarily - is very very similar to DH - not a big socialiser and not into speaking unless necessary)

SolidGoldBrass Wed 29-Jul-09 09:17:25

You see, it used to be the case that people who said less were thought of has having a dignified British sense of reserve, and that anything they did say was bound to be worthwhile. Whereas those who never shut up (and partiularly those who think that emotions need to be aired constantly in every single gradation of the spectrum) used to be thought of as empty-headed drivellers.
Now the herd animals are full of therapy-speak and the quiet people are in the minority and forever being labelled as dysfucntional.
Actually, neither category is superior to the other(though people who are obsessed with emotions and the communicating of them, ie the therapy=speakers, are generally duller company and don't think very much.)
But the medicalising of difference is a big problem (Waaah, you won't do what the latest con-artist says is essential for a happy life, you must have this latest syndrome, let me poke and prod and bully and drug you into compliance...) and people should try harder to accept that it's OK for their partners not to be just like them or just like 'everybody' else.

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