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.

OH is terrible at conflict resolution

(31 Posts)
Whipkitty Sun 08-Nov-15 08:53:17

Whenever we (rarely thankfully) have a disagreement he always turns it into a massive, unending, unresolvable argument. It just goes round and round in circles because he will not listen. He always resorts to ranting and shouting really loud and I think he does this to make me shut up. Like he wants to intimidate me into not 'challenging' him We never even really fall out and when we do it's usually over something minor, which makes his behaviour even more worrying.

He won't listen to me no matter how reasonable and calm I am and eventually I become enraged because he won't let me speak. Everytime I open my mouth to speak he'll say something. If I manage to begin a sentence he'll interupt. There really is no point in me trying to put a point across but my silence doesn't bring the conflict to an end it just leaves the floor open for him to rant at me. On the rare occasions he actually stops long enough for me to say something he still isn't listening but rather managing to keep his mouth buttoned long enough for me to finish and then he continues ranting at me.

Last night, after telling him over and over that he wasn't listening to me he raised his arms in the air and waved them as if at a football match whilst shouting 'I AM LISTENING I AM LISTENING I AM LISTENING' at the top of his lungs. Honestly wtaf?!!?!?!?! Later he asked me to explain what the problem was and I said, 'ok' and without missing a beat he began talking instead of me!!!! Later still, he resorted to trying to manipulate me emotionally by wallowing in self pity and accusing me of ruining the night which eventually became 'You've ruined my entire life!' Again, WTAF???

Clearly his behaviour is ridiculous and it's damaging our relationship. I lose so much respect for him everytime it happens and I feel like I can't have a disagreement with him because this will happen. He also behaves in the same way if I'm feeling down (again thankfully this is rare) and isn't great if I'm annoyed/angry about something outside of our relationaship, so I don't feel like I can go to him for emotional support either. It's as if I'm not allowed to be anything but fine and happy.

Every time this happens I consider ending our relationship and this time I really am considering doing this very seriously. Though I don't relish the idea at all!!!

Why is he like this and how can I make him see what he's like if he won't listen to me in the first place. I'm at my wits end. sad

P.S> When we first met I casually asked him why his ex left him and he shrugged and then told me that she'd said he didn't listen.

kittybiscuits Sun 08-Nov-15 09:06:12

This is a massive red flag IMO. Not listening, not caring how you feel and having no skills to resolve issues makes the relationship a non-starter and is often indicative of other kinds of emotional abuse.

kittybiscuits Sun 08-Nov-15 09:07:15

You can't make him see - he has his eyes shut and his fingers in his ears. Your instinct to end it is sound.

Handywoman Sun 08-Nov-15 09:17:12

Don't have kids with this man. He doesn't have the what it takes to be an equal, responsible life partner or father. When the going gets tough he doesn't have your back and can't support you.

You can't 'fix' another human and nor should you try. You are at your wits end - and while your instincts are intact the best thing to do is end this relationship and move on.

It's how he is in times of difficulty that really matter.

Leave this manchild behind.

Fyaral Sun 08-Nov-15 09:23:20

I would leave. Imagine being knackered with a tiny baby and he refuses to help and treats you like this. Imagine how he would deal with children being difficult.

tribpot Sun 08-Nov-15 09:25:34

It's as if I'm not allowed to be anything but fine and happy.

You wouldn't tolerate this in a friendship. Why on earth would you put up with it in a life partnership?

Handywoman is right, he doesn't have what it takes. He doesn't (want to) understand how to interact with another human being who has equal agency, feelings and opinions.

Joysmum Sun 08-Nov-15 09:30:00

The measure of a relationship should be when things aren't good, not when things are going well.

If you can't weather the tough times together then it's not s strong relationship and I think you're right to be considering you're exit.

Is it ever acceptable to not let someone express themselves and consider shouting the loudest or getting the last word so as to suppress your partner.

He seems to see a disagreement with you as a fight rather than a disagreement in which you can both talk it through to reach understand, even if you still don't agree at the end of it.

I would stand for that behaviour. 1st would be a warning, second time would be an ultimatum, third it'd be bye bye for me.

NickiFury Sun 08-Nov-15 09:30:00

My ex was just like this. Eight years of utter, unrelenting misery followed. Don't let that be you.

Rozalia0 Sun 08-Nov-15 09:35:51

^what nickifury said. In my case it was 20 years. Listen to your instincts and get rid. I very quickly had no voice in our relationship. STBXH couldn't have a discussion, he always saw it as a fight for dominance which he won by bullying. It was hell.

Helmetbymidnight Sun 08-Nov-15 09:36:17

I don't know why but when I opened this I expected to find a dp who hates conflict, who struggles to express what he's really thinking, avoidance, I suppose (like me and Ds)

Instead he is a massive ranter and rager who wants to intimidate you into acquiescence.

I don't like the sound of him at all.

tribpot Sun 08-Nov-15 09:38:19

Agreed, Helmet - being bad at conflict resolution is something else entirely. This man is just a straight up bully.

SmashleyHop Sun 08-Nov-15 10:00:30

TBH DH used to be a lot like this. I used to call it his tantrums. We rarely fought at all, if we did it seemed over silly things. However instead of it being about the issue it turned into fighting about his reactions. If we had a conflict he would blow, scream, rant, rave, make sweeping over the top statements, never let me finish a sentence and it would always end with me in tears of frustration. How do you resolve anything with someone who is acting like an out of control toddler? He was always apologetic and knew he was unreasonable after the fact- He just didn't realize how much damage it was doing to me and our relationship.

It nearly broke us. So we went to couples therapy. It was sad it took a stranger to make him see it was his behavior that was keeping us from resolving our issues (not just me being unreasonable and picky as he'd like you to believe)

It came down to a few things. A: he treated me like a parent, so when I wanted to have a discussion on spending or him not pitching in he reacted like a child. We couldn't resolve anything when I was speaking to him like a peer and he reacted like a child. B: he had a few unresolved issues from his first marriage that I couldn't do anything about- so that came down to him working through in therapy on his own.

It's been ages since we've had a disagreement go that way now. We still have the odd conflict of course but if he seems like he's starting to flip all I have to do is remind him he's acting like a child and that usually gets him to focus and we can resolve things without the drama. We have three kids together though and he really wanted to fix things and do the work. So ours isn't a typical story I think. Behavior like this is so so damaging. It's got to come from him too. If he's not seeing his own bad behavior I'm not sure there's much of a chance to fix it.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sun 08-Nov-15 21:05:20

You ask how you can make him see what he's like?

What makes you think he doesn't know?

Twinklestein Sun 08-Nov-15 21:40:45

Agree with ps, he's not bad at conflict resolution at all, he's simply angry and verbally abusive.

Hes not trying to resolve conflict at all he's creating it.

Read 'Why does he do that' by Lundy Bancroft. And don't for Gods sake marry him or get pregnant.

Twinklestein Sun 08-Nov-15 21:41:28

pps not ps ^

MatrixReloaded Mon 09-Nov-15 01:03:33

He's emotionally and verbally abusive. It won't get better.

State your point once, then refuse to get sucked into further debate about it.

ImperialBlether Mon 09-Nov-15 01:05:59

Oh god, dump him. He doesn't listen to you. He doesn't think you should have the same air time he should have. Dump him.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 09-Nov-15 01:07:53

Your relationship only works if you:

1. Never disagree with him
2. Never have any stress/sadness/anger in or outside the relationship
3. Never need emotional support.

Sound sustainable? Sound loving? LTB.

Im0gen Mon 09-Nov-15 03:55:33

I disagree with your title . Your BF is very good at dealing with conflict . Every time you say anything he doesn't like , he behaves like this and you STFU. It's working well for him so why should he change it ? He doesn't ever have to deal with any issues or emotions he doesn't like .

He obviously doesn't behave like this at work . Or out in the street . Because otherwise he'd had been fired or arrested . So he DOES know how to behave normally and reasonably, he just chooses not to do it with you . And the other women he's been involved with .

This behaviour is his choice and he obviously doesn't want to change it, or he would. All you can do is decide if you want to spend the rest of your life like this . Because this bullying won't get better if you stay, it will get a lot worse.

Isetan Mon 09-Nov-15 05:47:26

Be a good little girl Op and STFU, then there won't be any 'conflict' for him to avoid. If that isn't palatable, then you need to start deciding how much of his 'conflict avoidance' you want to expose yourself to.

WeeMadArthur Mon 09-Nov-15 08:41:26

Agree with the PP who said he is really good at managing conflict - he is making it such a nightmare to disagree with him that you risk it very rarely. What a result for him! There isn't much chance that he isn't fully aware of what he is doing so there isn't a chance you can get him to change. It suits him to be like this and if it means that you aren't happy - so what?

I would detach and split up with him with as little contact as possible, I doubt he will want to go quietly, so if you can make arrangements and leave, do it.

ImperialBlether Mon 09-Nov-15 14:10:16

Yes, this man isn't going to go quietly! I wouldn't want to be there for the last big row - I'd be frightened it would tip over into violence as he tries to 'get his point across.'

Make plans to go, OP, but don't tell him until you've actually gone.

IamtheDevilsAvocado Mon 09-Nov-15 16:46:39

you have all the red flags you need..... it sounds very much that he doesn't see why he should change as he gets what he wants by behaving. like this.

you can only change your reactions to him.

I really wouldn't give him any more chances.... unless he makes a clear commitment to changing... as in actually attemding a course /therapy... and even then...
do you really.want to.wait for him to perhaps change??

your e a long time dead!

PurpleWithRed Mon 09-Nov-15 16:52:59

He is listening. He's just not interested in what you say and certainly not interested in the possibility you might have a point.

My mother is a terrible interrupter. I handle this by stopping speaking immediately if she starts talking over me, then letting her waver to a close, then allowing a second of silence, then carrying on with what I was saying. It does make the point.

But I'd LTB the anyway.

deste Mon 09-Nov-15 16:59:21

I suspect the reason you don't argue much is because you know this is what happens and this is exactly what he wants. You in your place.

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