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Help me see this from his perspective

(32 Posts)
Asleeponasunbeam Fri 17-Jul-15 21:00:59

I had a really crap day at work. Well, just something annoying that means I'm not getting some days off I was expecting, so I'm disappointed. Anyway, I held it together, I'm not easily upset at work and it's not anyone's fault really and can't be changed.

When I got home, after getting the DC into bed, I told DH about the problem and cried. I'm really exhausted and it was a final straw - just needed to cry a bit. DH tried to offer solutions and I said (upset, not angry or rude) that I'd looked for all solutions and there weren't any (I had, we'd discussed it at work). I said I was allowed to be upset and annoyed. He just picked up his phone and walked off.

He made dinner. Usually does. I'm okay now, just disappointed by the work thing. I only wanted sympathy I suppose. I'm usually better at not bringing work problems home. His work is probably much more stressful than mine, but he doesn't talk about it much - prefers to leave it at work.

I don't know why I started this thread. I can get the sympathy I need at work really. I don't need it at home.

ALaughAMinute Fri 17-Jul-15 21:16:14

Of course you need sympathy at home, everyone does! Is your DH normally so unsympathetic?

Asleeponasunbeam Fri 17-Jul-15 21:19:46

It's not his greatest strength sad

Losing two days of my holiday probably doesn't seem much (I'm a teacher) so I'm probably overreacting.

junebirthdaygirl Fri 17-Jul-15 21:30:08

Think it's a very common thing with men. They think we are looking for a solution not just an ear. At least if you know that you can see he is not being mean but it is frustrating. Think some men panic too when they see tears and think they have to solve it. Know my dh used to think l was completely falling apart if l cried rather than seeing underneath lm ok l just need to get it out.If we are with our friends we can sit through the tears and just listen

Asleeponasunbeam Fri 17-Jul-15 22:09:27

Yes, that's what it felt like. Couldn't solve it so no point worrying about it. I just wanted sympathy in my distress. I'd stayed really strong all day (my job is highly stressful, as are lots of jobs, I know) and just needed to let it out.

heyday Fri 17-Jul-15 23:48:54

I think Junebirthdaygirl has given a marvellous reply. So many of my female friends say the same thing as you have just posted. Women, quite often, just need to 'off load' their emotions; it's almost as if they become a burden which becomes too heavy to carry any longer and then it all has to come flooding out. We don't always want someone to find a solution.....quite often there isn't one to be had anyway.....we just need to talk about how we feel. Quite a lot of men just can't 'get' this concept and if they can't solve it then they don't always know what to say or do. It's nobodys fault. Just two brains wired quite differently. It's sometimes better to find a female to talk to as they quite often understand more readily and will lend a listening ear.

beaglesaresweet Sat 18-Jul-15 00:54:46

surely if a man does have a brain he could understand the concept once it's explained! I find it quite annoying when men are portrayed or are allowed to be so 'emotionally dumb'.

Milllii Sat 18-Jul-15 01:04:24

I don't think men are emotionally dumb but they are definitely solution orientated and want to help you solve the problem. It is their way of helping whereas women tend to want to just talk and get it out without having to have a solution.

Asleeponasunbeam Sat 18-Jul-15 01:17:51

He is heavily solution oriented and just gives up if there isn't one, I think! Doesnt see the point.

wafflyversatile Sat 18-Jul-15 01:24:32

I don't think it's just men, although maybe more prevalent in men. Everyone wants to be able to provide a solution when presented with a problem. We don't want people to be upset. We want to say magic words and take the problem away. But sometimes we just want to vent because there is not a solution, just a situation that is frustrating or upsetting. Men aren't often brought up to offer a shoulder to cry on, unfortunately.

I guess from his point of view he tried to do what he could to help you in distress by offering solutions to take the problem away but they weren't good enough/were rejected and he was then a bit stuck. It wasn't great behaviour from him. You'd think it wouldn't be so hard to learn by the time you've been in a relationship or two that a hug with no words of advice is a thing that you can do.

It would be great if he could respond in the way you want without you explicitly telling him what you want but that is unlikely to happen so maybe you just have to say that what you need is a hug please.

UnbelievableBollocks Sat 18-Jul-15 02:04:35

Sounds so like my DH. He is Mr. Solutions and isn't great at sympathy. When you're a bit less upset - just tell him you really appreciate that he was trying to find ways to fix things for you, but all you really needed was a hug. Maybe he'll remember next time.

Playthegameout Sat 18-Jul-15 06:39:20

I interpret the offering of solutions as sympathy from my dh. The fact that he thinks "play is upset - I need to fix it", I think, is really sweet. He will give me a big hug and let me cry if I say that's what I need though, but I do need to say it e.g. "I had a crap day I need a hug and a cry".

blueistheonlycolourwefeel Sat 18-Jul-15 07:16:15

Have you read "men are from Mars, women are from Venus"? It explains perfectly what is going on there. He thinks he IS supporting you by offering advice and solutions. You need to explain to him that you need him to listen, and that's it.

Asleeponasunbeam Sat 18-Jul-15 07:51:55

It normally doesn't bother me - but then, I'm not often upset and needing to cry! He's okay if I'm angry or annoyed about something (work related normally).

I have been depressed in the past - not for ages. The last time (antenatally) was awful and he was utterly useless. For the previous 15 years he'd been fine with it, when it happened. Maybe he's changed as he's got older and has more responsibilities, as we all do, and me crying like that was scary.

Or maybe he's just jealous of my long holiday and doesn't get why I'm so bothered about two days! (They were going to be my only two child free days and I had so much - non work related stuff - planned! Now I have to fit all that stuff into the next few days instead. First world problem, I know, but stressful and annoying).

ShebaShimmyShake Sat 18-Jul-15 08:50:30

Men are solutions providers. When you bring a problem to them, they want to find a way to solve it. You will often need to explain that in this case, there is no solution, or you don't want one - you just need to vent, and have him listen, make sympathetic noises and then hold you and say 'God that's shit, isn't it? Why don't I make you some dinner and a cup of tea and then let's watch some drivel on the box?'

You do need sympathy at home. Your work colleagues can be great but if they were all you needed for your emotional support, you wouldn't be married!

Anniegetyourgun Sat 18-Jul-15 09:43:12

I think that's the thing, he was looking to provide a solution to the wrong problem. You didn't need a solution to the work situation but to the upset-ness. For some reason he doesn't see the upset-ness as a problem in itself, but wants to get stuck in to the root cause - which actually you are better placed to sort out, given that it's your workplace, colleagues, area of expertise etc. The problem right here and now is not what happened earlier but that you are now tired and sad, and there are practical actions he can do involving hugs and tea which would actually be quite productive.

But no doubt what he felt was that he tried to help and you were ungrateful. Conclusion: women are strange emotional creatures who say they want support and then reject it.

pocketsaviour Sat 18-Jul-15 10:14:08

waffly is right; it's not just men who are solution focussed. I have a really hard time doing the supposedly female thing of sympathy and "there there"; my immediate reaction is "how can I fix this problem?"

I've been trying to change this for over a year now, because it's affecting my parenting of my DS (age 20), who (perhaps ironically) is much more emotion-focussed and just needs a sympathetic ear most of the time.

I'm getting better at it, but it's really difficult because my instinct is always to go into "fix mode". I probably realise what I'm doing and change tack about 50% of the time.

happyh0tel Sat 18-Jul-15 10:58:22

take 2 days off sick, the you have your days back

daylily Sat 18-Jul-15 11:43:52

i have a similar issue with my 'solution orientated' DH and my daughter came across this from Modern Family:


Finola1step Sat 18-Jul-15 11:51:47

I have to just add that being "solution orientated" isn't necessarily gender specific. As a female, I'm not really into talking things through for the sake of it. I don't really see the point of identifying problems without then looking for resolutions. Even if it is nothing can be done so park it for now. So I can empathise with your dh.

Rubbish about your holiday though flowers

ShebaShimmyShake Sat 18-Jul-15 12:42:21

Of course the solutions approach isn't exclusive to men, I was generalising...and it certainly sounds like the case in this example.

RagstheInvincible Sat 18-Jul-15 18:48:05

Think it's a very common thing with men. They think we are looking for a solution not just an ear.

YY to this. DW has said this to me numerous times over the years. Basically, "problem solving" is the male default setting. We give out solutions not sympathy.

Still not managed to get it right.

derxa Sat 18-Jul-15 21:15:55

Or maybe he's just jealous of my long holiday and doesn't get why I'm so bothered about two days! (They were going to be my only two child free days and I had so much - non work related stuff - planned! Now I have to fit all that stuff into the next few days instead. First world problem, I know, but stressful and annoying).

MarkRuffaloCrumble Sat 18-Jul-15 21:33:34

My DP was discussing this sort of situation with his mentor at work, who showed him this clip

DP showed me and said he'd found it funny but thought I might be a bit offended, but actually it made me laugh!

I said that we're not stupid, we know there's a nail, we sometimes just need someone to say "ooh that must be really painful!" then we can go and sort it out ourselves!

MarkRuffaloCrumble Sat 18-Jul-15 21:41:16

Annie, that's brilliant. It's not that we don't want a solution, it's that we want a solution to a different problem - genius!

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