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DH never notices how I feel

(20 Posts)
NameChangeToMoanAboutDH Wed 17-May-17 14:06:16

This might be a non-problem. DH always says he loves me, but he never notices my thoughts or feelings. I end up frustrated and lonely. I have learnt over years of marriage that if I am sad, or happy, or worried, or excited, I have to tell him so clearly, otherwise he has no idea. Likewise if I want him to know why I am feeling that emotion, I have to tell him why clearly, too, even when it seems like it’s really obvious.

So, for example. Trying for a baby for over a year without success. If I just say to him ‘I have my period’, he wouldn’t take from that, that I am feeling upset. I would have to really clearly spell it out, ‘I have my period, and that has made me feel upset. It makes me feel upset because I was hopeful that this month I might get pregnant, and I’m sad that I’m not’.

Is this normal?

Even when I have shared with him like that, often he won’t ‘react’. He won’t cuddle me, or tell me how he is feeling so we can share it. If he’s really making an effort (which only happens when we’ve argued about this), I might get an ‘I’m sorry to hear that’, or a ‘how can I make that better for you?’.

Whenever I try to talk to him about this, it turns into an argument because he acts like he genuinely doesn’t get where I’m coming from and thinks I’m being unreasonable. He’ll say ‘just tell me what you want me to say and I’ll say it’. It makes me feel like I’m going mad. It is normal isn't it to expect some reaction, some empathy and fellow feeling from the person you’re spending your life with?

I always try to be attuned to how he’s feeling, celebrating with him when things go well at work or in his sport, comforting him when I can see he’s down, etc. I’m left feeling isolated that I don’t get it back.

Can anyone relate? I don't know if I'm just being hard work. Any ideas how I can address it with him without it turning into another argument? I do love him and otherwise he’s lovely, but my resentment over this is starting to colour everything else.

Adora10 Wed 17-May-17 14:13:08

That would make me feel so unloved, in fact I'd feel I wasn't in a real relationship, kindness and empathy are very important to me so I couldn't be with anyone who didn't show these qualities.

I don't know why he is like this, has he always been, it's either just the way he is or he has checked out, you do need a serious talk, you should not be left feeling lonely in a relationship, he needs to listen!

Fluffybrain Wed 17-May-17 14:17:54

No it's not normal. I was married to a man like this. It made me very unhappy and I felt unloved. After a decade I left him. I'm now happily married to someone who is very intuitive, supportive and loving.

TheNaze73 Wed 17-May-17 14:19:17

This could be two things. One, he's emotionally checked out or two, he's not naturally intuitive and you may have to be more obvious. The period comment, would be a natural gateway for some, whilst for others, it would be an and...?

PickAChew Wed 17-May-17 14:24:47

My DH isn't too hot on the empathy stuff. He will go out of his way to do practical things to help but he's truly crap at the touchy feely emotionally supportive stuff.

He doesn't go out of his way to turn things into an argument with me, though. Where it does cause a problem is with our anxious teen with ASD, who can be extremely irritable when things aren't going his way and DH simply does not have the emotional toolkit to diffuse a tricky situation when it arises.

2rebecca Wed 17-May-17 14:29:28

If he has always been like that then that's part of his personality. Some people are more empathetic than others, some people can be too empathetic and want to turn every one else's problems in to their problems and worry all the time.
Is he not as bothered about starting a family as you are? Having a little mini drama every month would put me off the idea.
It sounds as though you'll just have to voice your emotions to him to get him to understand how you are feeling.
I don't think people who have difficulty reading emotions are less loving, they're just wired differently. Why has this started bothering you now if he's always been like this?

HildaOg Wed 17-May-17 14:35:56

Someone telling me they have their period wouldn't make me think of their mental state, I'd just think of blood and move on to the next topic.

He's not associating the period with lack of baby... Just that it's a period.

I don't know, I tend to need people to spell things out if they want me to know how they're feeling so I feel for your husband here. I'd be baffled if a man got angry with me over my lack of mind reading abilities. I've only ever had female friends crying because I have no idea what they're they're on about. And I'm still none the wiser because I didn't hear anything between blubs.

Some people are very emotional and expect everyone to be thinking and feeling what they are at every exact moment. If you want a mind reader in your relationship then you should find one. You can't expect him to when he obviously can't. It would be like asking you to triple somersault.

user1479302027 Wed 17-May-17 14:44:12

I think you may benefit from looking into how to deal with people with aspergers syndrome or autism. Not necessarily because your dp is autistic, but just to understand that it is not a sign of selfishness, lack of care or bad character. We tend to define our humanness in terms of empathy, intuition etc. Which leaves people without these viewed negatively. I struggle with a colleague with these traits, but talking to a friend who works with autism/aspergers has made it easier for me, by learning how to get through to her (supplying narratives rather than using logic, etc etc). Waiting for the penny to drop is fruitless and unfair.

ravenmum Wed 17-May-17 14:51:58

My dad, though a great guy, is a bit like this. It's like human beings are completely alien to him. Last time I visited he mentioned in conversation that he'd been diagnosed with Asperger's some years ago. (Typical that he never mentioned it at the time!) His poor second wife has a lot of trouble with it.

My ex, on the other hand, showed similar "symptoms" but there's no suspicion that he might have Asperger's. He just couldn't give a shit about me. I spent years thinking "he doesn't mean it like that" and stifling my disappointment when he displayed a complete lack of consideration, putting himself first and leaving me and the kids in some awkward situations. I'll be honest: I only really started to notice it after we had kids and I could have done with his help at times. If I'd noticed it beforehand like you I could have got out before the kids came along.

Hermonie2016 Wed 17-May-17 14:59:59

If you have no children I would be seriously considering if you want to continue as it can be a lonely life if you are emotional mismatched.

When uou have children it can be the most vulnerable time for you and not having a partber who "gets" you makes it feel even worse.
Many people can real faces and detect emotions but some people (especially those with ASD) can't.

"I'm sorry you feel like that" never feels genuine..its not helpful in most cases.
How does his family behave, is it similar?

sureitsgrand Wed 17-May-17 15:05:35

Dh is exactly like this. But his whole family are. If anyone is upset (for example, bereaved) they would just say 'they need to get over it'. If someone is passionate about something or explaining something in more than a couple of sentances they tune out and totally change the subject. It's horrible. They are all emotionally unaware and act like they have adhd, in my opinion. I tolerate it for my ds. But it drives me bananas. So I come on mn for a rant, or talk to close friends for emotional support now.

WellieWanger Wed 17-May-17 15:13:14

Sounds a bit like my DH. I love him and I know he loves me and he shows me in lots of ways. But he doesn't get emotion. The other week I messaged to say I was poorly and needed to go the hospital. The text I got back began 'Sorry to hear that'. That's what I would say to an acquaintance! But I have known him since we were kids and it's just how he is. He doesn't love me any less. He is just pants at emotion. In the past when I have been visibly upset and crying he has needed prompting to comfort me. He just feels awkward. Part of me has always thought he was somewhere on the ASD spectrum because it's not out of unkindness. I have no words other than to say if you can't cope, kick up a fuss.

Redhead17 Wed 17-May-17 15:15:09

My other half has all the emotional connection of a wet paper bag, he notices fuck all apart from extreme hormonal rage because he is breathing near me but other than that nothing, so I have to point out things, sometimes I feel flash cards would be appropriate.

I have come to realise that he doesn't do it on purpose he must have just been born an arsehole smile

Aquamarine1029 Wed 17-May-17 15:20:40

I would be willing to be that your husband has some form/level of autism. He very well may be incapable of understanding or recognizing emotions in other people. You should think very long and hard whether having children and remaining married are good ideas as he will never change, regardless of why he's like this.

Adora10 Wed 17-May-17 15:24:59

have come to realise that he doesn't do it on purpose he must have just been born an arsehole

That's lovely........shock

NameChangeToMoanAboutDH Wed 17-May-17 16:04:51

Thanks everyone for the different viewpoints. Lots to mull over here.

WellieWanger yes your DH sounds a lot like mine.

It's a bit odd though because I'd say of the two of us he's generally the more 'emotional' one. I'm quite quiet, logical, circumspect. Whereas he cries at the drop of a hat, sobbed through our wedding, cries at soppy films and is generally quite open about his own emotions.

We do have DC already, it was DH's decision to try for a third, I'd reconciled myself years ago to not having a big family as he always wanted to stop at two. I have consciously tried not to get obsessed with trying for another, no charting ovulation, peeing on sticks every month etc. I do feel he thinks I'm being melodramatic, when really I'm not devastated or anything, just a bit down and wanting a hug.

I think he's always been like this but it's only really started to bother me in the past couple of years, so I guess that might not be fair on him. I'll have to put some thought into why it's started to become more important to me.

Adora10 Wed 17-May-17 16:07:29

Well OP, it's one of two things:

He has autism or traits and should get checked out


He just doesn't care enough

It's a basic human need to expect love and support from your partner, it's not exactly asking for the world so don't feel bad that it bothers you, it would bother most people.

saltandvinegarcrisps1 Wed 17-May-17 17:29:50

He sounds a bit like my DH. It used to drive me mad and every 6 months or so we would have a big argument because I felt unloved, wanted more spontaneous affection etc. Everything else was great - I just wanted him more attuned to my feelings. After about 8 years of this I realised its just not natural to him. His dad was the same (although a nicer man you won't meet) both just struggle to show feelings. DH says he feels embarrased and self conscious. I had counselling a little while back for a drinking problem and through that I had a bit of a lightbulb moment. He's stuck with me through it all, never gives me a minute' s worry, shops, cooks, cleans, does (sh*t) DIY, books weekends away etc. So I realised he shows how much he loves me in other ways. I now feel more relaxed about the fact that he needs to be asked for a cuddle or reminded its my birthday etc. So it depends on the full picture and how much of a deal breaker it is for you. Nobody is without flaws.

marmitegirl01 Wed 17-May-17 17:36:29

Yep Aspergers would be my thought too. Lots of info and advice online x

ravenmum Thu 18-May-17 07:58:07

OP, my husband was also the more emotional one, and I do wonder if the problem was partly that he saw me as unemotional and not in need of a cuddle - if anything a bit prickly. Whereas I just don't like to ask for a cuddle, maybe for fear of disappointment, and I'm not unemotional at all; it's just the way I cope with difficulties, by trying to be rational about it despite being absolutely terrified.

When I did ask for things, my ex saw it as nagging. For example, he worked late and I really wanted him to come home earlier and take part in family life, but when I brought this up I guess I didn't express it as "I feel tired and lonely and want some support" (I wouldn't admit it even to myself!) but rather as "Why do you do unpaid overtime?", so he saw it as a bitchy wife criticising a hard-working man, rather than a plea for a nicer home life.

Have you done any therapy?

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