Advanced search

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.

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?

Dottiespots Sun 24-Mar-13 00:00:41

Yep, its just a man thing. They like to switch off from the small mundane stuff which some of them see as "white noise" but if they listen to the big stuff when you need them too then all is well. Just come on here and start threads about the day to day small stuff. Others do, and then you can have a good old girlie natter (with some men joining in of course ) and everyones happy and youll probably find your other half will ask if your ok.....why....cause you dont say much to him any more ha ha ha.

Blending Sat 23-Mar-13 19:55:01

The Wii is a good idea.

Perhaps being a little sexist here, but I think its just a male thing...come in tired from work, want to go into his cave and switch off from the world etc I used to think that was a load of baloney, but it really is true for my DH,

Good luck!

HoppinMad Sat 23-Mar-13 16:03:56

Thanks yes I see what you mean, I would rather have a friend to natter with about the small stuff but I've really struggled to meet like minded non-flaky people since I moved and thats a whole other thread! But I consider him my best friend and lifelong buddy so it hurts that he cant muster even abit of enthusiasm for my small talk. Good idea about the card/board games, we have a wii which is gathering dust we could play that on days he isnt too tired. Neither of us drink.

He is very bad with eye contact. Its not just him though, all his siblings and DF too, i've always found it incredibly strange and rude esp when we first met but its the way he is. Quiet by nature and rather shy. I think its all linked together. In fact they can be a little unresponsive too [confusing]

This lack of response/acknowledgement seems not as uncommon as I thought after coming on here! You may laugh but do you think its a genetic trait or a product of their upbringing?

Blending Sat 23-Mar-13 15:03:44

Sorry pressed too soon!

This way has worked for us and has improved or relationship

I really hope something works for you x

Blending Sat 23-Mar-13 15:01:57

I actually mentioned your thread to Dh and he said that small things like being asked questions about his day made the difference from his pov. He really couldn't get excited about the small stuff and couldn't help his reactions.

But I think we would have felt a bit too forced unless doing something whilst talking, so if you don't eat together what about something like playing cards? Or a board game and a glass of wine/bucket of g&t/beer? Delete as appropriate.

I can still feel the helplessness of being ignored, grunted at,the vacant stare etc I know he's a good man, and does more than his share, and I understand that he doesn't want a stream of consciousness blurted out the minute he gets home

Dottiespots Sat 23-Mar-13 02:07:03

I understand how you feel but your husband does listen to the really important stuff you said but he zones out the other stuff that is just you needing to talk to an adult. Hes not meaning to be rude he just doesnt really hear you. Alot of men are like this. They need to be left alone for an hour or so when they come home so they can just come too I find and I think what you really really could do with is to find some friends of your own that you can chat to as much as you want cause most of us love a good natter.

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.

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 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.


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.

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

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

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.

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 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

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.

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

That's good news Hoppin smile

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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