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.
Husband not responding when I talk to him(69 Posts)
Really fucking pissed off about this. It's just not a normal way to behave. I've been feeling a little down lately. Then started thinking about some things to do with my family earlier. Childhood not abusive but I just want to talk some things through sometimes. This same issue crops every couple of months or so and I feel a bit conflicted since I feel I am close to my parents but these things bother me. So I started talking to him, wanting his opinion, advice, support, anything really. Just a normal, two way conversation. He put a computer game on as I was talking. I continued on and predictably got nothing back. I asked him to stop doing that and talk to me. Nothing. At best I get 'I don't know what to say'. He told me we've had this conversation before. Not true. I've told him these things before and he has said nothing. I don't even get acknowledgement that he's heard me.
It's just so rude. I can't imagine ever treating him like that, making him feel that he's less important than a computer game. He didn't even have the decency to look at me as I was talking to him, so I was talking to the back of his head. I got so bloody fed up and told him I was disgusted that he can't even do me the courtesy of looking at me when I talk to him and told him it was fucking stupid, walking out of the room in tears. Needed to go and calm down. I heard him continue on with his game for five minutes, then the baby cried and he came in he kitchen like nothing had happened. Happy to sweep everything under the rug. That seems to be the way his family function. I'm just sick of it. I just want the tiniest bit of emotional support or to feel that I am being heard. It's not my job to teach another adult that it is rude to silently sit with your back to someone when they're trying to have a conversation with you.
He doesn't like talking about things. It did actually seem to improve a lot at one point. I can't believe I have to ask my husband to respond to me when I talk. I supported him so much through some things over the past two years and everything is brilliant until I'm not ok and I get nothing from him.
It sounds as if you would benefit from a counsellor.
People who don't like to talk find it hard to listen when it's the same conversation more than once.
Is " everything brilliant" otherwise in your marriage ?
Counsellor for myself or counsellor for our communication? It's never been a conversation, though. He doesn't actually speak. About anything important. He once, after much cajoling, told me he doesn't always like to talk right when I do. So I said fine, I can wait for better times etc, plan it a bit. He didn't like that either.
It makes me feel small. He has been washing up before when I've started crying. I had to ask him for a hug. He said ok. Made sure he finished the washing up first though as I stood there waiting. Made me feel about two inches tall.
Is he like this on other topics of conversation (say, your baby) or just ones he might feel is hard to deal with? If its everything then you have a bigger problem that getting some support.
If its just this and you say you supported him through an issue so is this a similar problem you want to talk about - if so, it might not be a topic he is actually happy to talk about.
I think, as noted above, you may be better to speak to a counselor for your issues.
If your DH has communication problems then he probably needs similar help.
Cross post - he lacks empathy. That is a much bigger issue.
Feel for you OP; you need the love of your partner and he needs to show it; can't believe he made you wait crying whilst he washed up; he sounds socially inept at the least; is he like this with everyone else?
He's bloody horrible and that won't change easily; certainly not because you ask him to.
What's the rest of your life like?
I think your dh just struggles with this type of thing. Some people find conversations very stressful, particularly if they know they are supposed to contribute. Some people don't pick up on cues that let you know what somebody else is feeling or what to do.
If you need support then you can get counselling. If you need support to figure out this issue in your relationship then you can get help for that too. Be prepared that he might find this difficult too.
I think you need to see a counsellor so you won't be having this conversation again in a few months.
Its clear he doesn't know what to say so that's unlikely to change next time this crops up.
Everything is generally good. Friends for years before we were together, great with the kids, good stepdad to my eldest son, normal happy and respectful relationship, I am a sahm but he does a good amount of cooking and household chores, supportive of my goals for future, we barely even argue! Just discuss issues.
But he just cannot talk about anything 'difficult'. When we first got together he wouldn't even tell me that he was annoyed at me over something. There would be an atmosphere for weeks and I would be asking over and over to tell me what was wrong and he would insist nothing. Then finally come out with it, all sorted within ten minutes. He admitted that it was much easier to just come straight out with it and deal with things than be feeling annoyed for weeks and didnt know why he did it. He wants to brush stuff under the carpet all the time and I can't. There is this big thing going on with his dad. I've been considering starting a thread about it for a while because I don't know what to do and feel uncomfortable. Their relationship has entirely broken down but they don't acknowledge it. Nobody says anything or points out the obvious, they all brush it under the carpet. There was one particular occasion where his dad was almost demanding a response from him and he sat there refusing to speak... And then they acted like it hadn't happened and sat next to him ignoring him for the rest of the visit while I made small talk with his dad in this terrible atmosphere.
There have been times where my husband can't even articulate his feelings. He just shrugs and says 'dunno' but definitely HAS feelings!
But this is different. It's rudeness. I know for a fact he wouldn't treat other people this way. I shouldn't have to explain to him that he needs to treat me with respect.
It's not this one particular issue, it's anything. He is incapable of talking about anything difficult. The moment I need any kind of emotional support there's nothing.
Once he'd picked up the baby he made me a sandwich. Carried on like everything was completely normal and I hadn't just stormed out of the living room crying and swearing. I did think perhaps he didn't realise that I was as I there's as I was, but if it was the other way around and I hadn't realised it was such a big deal, I'd then turn off the damn game and go and talk to him. He won't want me to ever mention that this happened. He came and made me a sandwich, made some comments about the baby and kissed me on the head. So it's all fine now...
That was meant to say 'wasn't as upset as I was'
But if your saying he's done similar with his dad when the situation is difficult, then it's about the situation not you. Just because he doesn't know why and can't explain it doesn't mean it isn't a problem.
The fact that from your perspective he can cope in other situations doesn't mean he isn't finding some difficult situations overwhelming.
I am in the process of divorcing my husband who I love dearly but I couldn't sustain any intimacy because of the exact behaviour you are describing. Thank you for posting. Reading through your experience has clarified how isolating such an absence emotional intimacy can be. I feel like I'm getting on his way and he loathes me as a. consequence. Thanks for sharing and enabling such clarity.
Would the idea of writing his feeling down be out of the question.
My ex was similar to this, so very frustrating. They just don't like any conflict, would rather bury head in sand, but this carry on just makes things so much worse, maddening it really is.
*sounds like it's learnt behaviour from his family, he's doing what he knows.
My DH doesn't know what to say and struggles with important conversations. It sometimes resorts in important information not being passed on to me or him not mentally preparing the kids for whatever the day has in store. He's also not good at chit chat with friends socially either. His mother and nephew have high functioning aspergers. And I strongly suspect he has a milder form. He is my rock though and although he struggles to express himself, his day to day behaviour shows how much he loves me and cares. The odd time he has behaved inappropriately (walked upstairs mid conversation), I've mentioned it and he's then tried to be more considerate.
He's your husband not your counsellor. Not everybody is good at empathetic listening and if you bring the same subject up a few months he may very honestly not know what to say. You might benefit from some professional counselling.
It's interesting that aspergers has been mentioned. His brother is worse than this and my SIL believes he has some form of ASD. He's a lovely guy, intelligent, funny and in quite a senior position at work but very naive in some ways. He doesn't ever question things people say, takes everything at face value, can't read facial expressions or pick up on atmosphere and misunderstands sarcasm. Their dad is worse. My mother in law told me that she had to divorce him because she could no longer cope with everything coming from her, he never had opinions or argued back or had ideas or expressed feelings. My husband isn't that bad but, even if there is nothing like aspergers at play, his family definitely deal with things by sweeping under the carpet and NOT dealing with it.
But... I know he wouldn't sit there with his back to a friend like that. Everything is fine until I need some support and then he acts as though I am a burden. I have hugely supported him and his extended family with a particular thing but I don't get any care in return. I feel unimportant. I had quite bad depression for many years and it was still a problem at the start of our relationship. He has since admitted that he thought it would just 'go away' as though it was caused by something which would be resolved. He lost patience with it and wasn't very supportive at all. I no longer consider myself depressed, though I think I'm prone to having negative thoughts which spiral out of control. It doesn't take much for me to get right again but he has no interest in supporting me. And i mean support in the lollies at way - just talking to me and giving me a hug or something. I told him last week I wasn't coping. He just said nothing. When I was in the early stages of pregnancy and trying not to throw up or pass out constantly, he told me he felt more like a slave than a husband because I obviously wasn't doing much around the house. No sympathy at all. I'm not allowed to ever be ill or at less than optimum - I'm just a drama queen who's putting it on and being a burden. That's certainly how he comes across. I'm rarely ill and not much of a drama queen at all. I tend to just get on with things. But the tiniest bit of support would be nice.
I mean that he doesn't call me a drama queen, but he ignores me the way you'd ignore an attention seeking child so as not to encourage the behaviour. I then find myself trying to convince him that I really do feel ill or finding other people who have felt he same way to 'back me up'. Like he'll believe it if somebody else says it. I just really feel unimportant. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I asked him a while back whether he would miss me if I died and felt surprised when he said yes. I don't know why I was surprised by that. I don't exactly feel unloved, but certainly unimportant at times.
How many years has this been going on OP?
This isn't only a problem when discussing my own 'issues'. It's anything important or uncomfortable. Any problem I have in the relationship is dealt with in the same way. He genuinely seemed to think we would live happily ever after never ever discussing any problems in our relationship and just pretending that they didn't exist. Of course, the lack of communication itself is an issue! It was quite a problem when we first move in together. It had to be discussed, and I did finally manage some sort of discussion. That's when he said that he didn't always want to talk about things when I did. Fair enough. I'd never even thought of it like that. So I said ok, I can wait for appropriate moments, we can choose a good time to talk. Except it doesn't work like that in reality. I'll say that there's something i'd like to discuss. I get a load of 'jokey' eye rolling and huffing. So by the time I even bring up the issue, it's become a bad thing. The talk itself is a bad thing. And there is never a right moment. I either do it when he is in a bad mood and he just won't talk, or I do it when he is in a good mood and turn it into a bad mood and he won't talk.
I have a problem with our sex life at the moment. I've tried to talk about it many times over the years but he just won't discuss it. It's been done as gently as possible but I am frustrated. His foreskin is too tight. Way too tight. I get worried when I'm 'handling' it because the skin all gets stuck behind the head which looks swollen and red and then it's very difficult to cover it back over. I don't think he realised it was much tighter than normal since he hasn't handled anybody else's. He only really seems to enjoy putting the end in and out (I know, tmi) and that's obviously not enjoyable for me, and I think it might be because of the foreskin issue. He point blank reuses to discuss it.
I lost my temper earlier and told him that we would eventually end up divorced because I can't live my entire life in a relationship with the back of his head. He still didn't turn around.
Six years. It's not a constant issue because there obviously aren't important things which need discussing all the time. Day to day life is lovely and happy. But then there is a problem and I am in this situation again.
Join the discussion
Please login first.