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Dh not listening to what i need(22 Posts)
Looking for ideas or guidance please.
When i go to dh for emotional support, say i'm struggling with lack of sleep because of the baby, or dealing with something difficult, he always always tries to fix it with a solution. I've spoken to him many times, including in counseling when we discussed love languages, saying that what i need from him on those occasions is a listening ear, kindness and warmth, and that I don't want him to solve it. Nevertheless he continues to do this. I'm finding it so hurtful that he ignores what ive said i need from him. I feel so lonely in our relationship and don't get the affection and warmth and kindness that i really need. I try to give him what he needs, following love languages but even in counseling he said he didn't really fill it in properly so i'm blind to how he wants to receive love. Is it that he doesn't care enough to bother to do what i need? I'm so tired of having my needs ignored. I've told him this directly and he says he's sorry and he doesn't mean it but I'm tired of apologies, they're meaningless when his actions don't change.
What can I do?
I don't buy into love languages because I think every one is so diverse that there's no way to categorise love. But there is a way to categorise being a good person and that includes listening.
I am sorry he's not listening to you. I also felt like this after I had a baby. My husband would throw solutions at me that didn't seem to help becaus he could still compartmentalise where as my brain was plasticine.
But I will be honest, after him telling me I was being very "my way or the high way" which just lead to me feeling sad, alone, tired and so on. Doing things his way kind of helped.
It helps me to ask him if I can have a cuddle and chew his ear off for a bit, rather than come to him with complaints because he is just a fixer. He will try and fix things if they appear broken.
Also talk to your doctor if you're feeling down and make sure you get regular check ups for ppd.
Same husband. Problem solver. Sees no point in 'moaning' if you're no looking to 'fix'. I'm a purger - venting is a stress release. Gets it out of the loop in my head. However, he even tries to suggest fixes my issues when actually they are out of my control - and often he knows nothing about them (ie work situations).
I tried explaining what I needed - someone to listen and agree things were shite and be sympathetic so I could process aloud and get stuff out of my head. That's what he doesn't get: processing aloud. To him it's pointless, you sort it or you suck it up. If you can't control it and change it, why bother talking about it. Just accept and move on. But to me, if I don't say it, it rattles around in my head on a loop and causes me to be more stressed.
Not problem solving seems to cause him stress. Not venting cause me stress. I've had to realise that he is not my emotional support person for venting. And that's ok. It was hurting him to have to do it, and hurting me that he found it so difficult.
If I do have the occasion vent to him, i find the only thing that works is me actually starting some vents by saying "do not try to solve this issue. You're fixing my stress by nodding and saying hmm anf that's shit."
The less i vent to him, the better he is at not trying to solve.
While you want him to talk your love language, you actually denying him his. Making him change to fit you, but not changing you to fit him. You both need to make some changes. You need to be more accepting that his love language includes problem solving because he cares about you and wants to help remove your stress by fixing it.
Also think love languages are a bit bollocks, but it's a nice easy term in context.
Very very common. It's mainly because they themselves don't have this need, as a matter of fact, for many it would make the matter worse. They only talk when they have dealt with the emotional part themselves and want to discuss solutions.
So it's very hard for them to give what is for them what they'd hate. It is quite similar to women going on and on about an issue wanting to dissect it, analysis every part of it, wanting answers when their partner just want to be told the issue and then left to process it in their own time. It's hard for many women to respect that need.
It takes time and patience, or resort to the fact that it is something they really can't do and learn to not need it which very possible if everything else in the relationship isvery good.
Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm finding it hard to believe that we can't expect ourselves and our partners to try and support each other in the ways they need to be supported. It's not easy but isn't it worth the effort? I think about how he needs support and give that to him, which isn't how I'd like it but it's not about me. Can't I expect the same from him?
I get that he's not my therapist, but I think it's important to talk about our feelings along with general chatting, joking and planning etc., otherwise it would be all admin and kids and no checking in on each other. Do you guys think i'm expecting too much here?
We're not having much sex at the moment as things are a bit sore down there and baby is up so often it's hard to get a window for just us. Maybe that's something we need to change too.
Hi OP. I think PP have it right, his love language is different to yours. He shows you his love by saying don’t worry here is how you fix your problems. He probably does not believe in love language so has no interest in learning yours as he doesn’t believe in it. He is showing his love by trying to fix your problems.
I think it’s dangerous and setting men up to fail by expecting them to be our everything - your emotional support- at all times if that is not how they work. I get it’s frustrating but it so much better for your relationship to accept what support he does give and get what else you need from others. You will be a lot happier in the long run. It also alllows you to seem more together and capable if you only go to him with stuff he can help you with.
In terms of what to do - give him solutions not problems. ‘I’m tired I’m going back to bed please look after the baby while I nap’ or ‘ can you sort dinner and tidy up I’m having an early night’. He should and you should expect him to step up. Your hormones are everywhere so it’s probably that plus the tiredness affecting you ate the moment.
I would also talk to someone else for now to get your support on an emotional level. Plus maybe the intimacy will help you reconnect.
Be kind to yourself OP.
Sorry OP reading that back it sounds like he is amazing and you are needy and you need to bend to him and his preferences of how to react and help. I don’t mean it that way and I’m sorry if that it how it comes across - I’m not fully awake or coherent right now- it’s just I’ve been married along time and honestly you will be happier if you accept him for who he is , as that’s who you fell in love with, and give clear instruction about what he can do to help you. Sometimes we can spend time telling ur other halves how we feel and they only hear 2 mins of an hour long conversation so just give the 2 mins and spend the hour with someone’s else. Hope that’s helpful.
I don’t know about love languages but this does sound very ‘Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus’ (showing my age there, no doubt).
I agree with @NagaisAce that you will probably be happier if you accept what your DH can offer (assuming he is otherwise a hands-on and supportive DH) and maybe look more to fellow new mothers for venting. My DH is poor on the listening to me vent side but very supportive in a host of other ways. And I know there are boxes of his that I don’t tick (he would definitely prefer me to be tidier) but there seem to be enough others that I do.
You don’t mention how old your baby is or whether it’s your first but FWIW a first baby tends puts huge pressure on even very strong relationships and there is often a lot of couple friction and irritation as you work out how to be as a three. Could some of what you’re feeling be down to that?
As a rule I dislike categorising emotional behaviour along male/female lines because it’s simplistic and sexist.
But it’s very striking that a lot of men, whether by nature or nurture, really struggle to respond in the way you have said you would like your DH to.
My current bf, my exH and almost everyone I have dated would also have struggled with this. I think for a lot of people - me included but particularly a lot of men - undirected venting is pointless and a bit self destructive and it makes them panicky and anxious. I think the love languages thing is a bit twee but it’s probably a useful way to conceptualise this,
You have every right to ask for his support and should ask for it. And I think it’s legitimate for you to say to him that practical solutions are not necessarily what you need.
But I think you need to understand that the “good cry and a hug over a soppy movie” style of communication is quite hard and anxiety inducing for quite a lot of people - many of them men. If he can’t immediately mirror you in this style it doesn’t mean he’s not caring or trying. You need to meet each other half way a bit.
If you're struggling with a lack of sleep, him coming up with a way you can get more sleep must be a win?
But I do understand that sometimes you just need the support. I would see it as him wanting to help - he recognises things are rubbish and wants to help make things better for you rather than just sympathise. Maybe tell him that a hug would help? Suggest practical ways he can help rather than waiting for him to say the right thing (which he probably won't).
Actually, I think that "fixing mode" isn't always a completely altruistic response. I think it's often a way of the fixer trying to feel more in control emotionally - because to let emotions just be what they are without the need to fix them can feel very uncomfortable indeed to a fixer.
I have a problem solving partner. At times I really appreciate that about him but if I just want a moan I prefix what I'm saying with 'I don't want a solution to this, you just need you to listen and make sympathetic noises' or something to that effect. Give them the solution to the problem at the outset!
You do need to meet them half way of you want them to do something that just isn't natural to them. Over time he's become much better at it, but i still remind him from time to time.
I'd agree with PP saying that the first year after a baby is testing on all relationships. Your husband will be finding his way through being a new Dad as well (probably slower than you would like). I found venting to my Mum amd NCT friends about baby / DP frustrations much better during that time. Do you have a friend / family member that can take some of the emotional slack as well?
Sorry for taking time to come back to the thread. I've read all your posts and really appreciate the thought that's gone into it.
No it's not our first baby, we also have a 5yo. We've been through years of infertility to get baby 2 so i think that's worn us down.
You're right we're both tired and irritable. We agreed a few weeks ago to set kindness as our default position and that worked for a bit but then went back to normal. I feel like he's just so cranky and cross all the time, pointing out negatives and really picky. He wasn't always like this and definitely not in the "reasons i married him" list. I find it dispiriting when i have to remind my husband to be kind to me.
Am i hard work? I don't think so. Not more so than any relationship is. I don't spend my life moaning to him. I just like to share my thoughts and feelings every now and then, and it would be nice to have someone who will listen. That's part of a close relationship in my opinion. I listen to his issues, so it's really not one sided.
We've discussed in the past before kids and life got in the way about how it's important to share our emotional side, share the burden of worries, and that's often come from him. So I haven't set him up to fail by expecting him to listen and help in a way that i say i need it. He's a sensitive, intelligent, liberal minded person, has heart to hearts with his mates and doesnt seem scared of feelings in that hyper masculine kind of stereotypical way.
I think i'll have to change my expectations though, as many of your have said. I worry it'll lead to some distance between us.
I don’t think you need to change your expectations OP, that somehow needs to lead to distance.
I think you need to communicate more clearly and not expect him to read your mind, which is unfair.
If you just want to moan/went - and need a hug while doing that - just say so. Make it easier for him.
I am a female, btw. So it’s not all a male issue. So when someone is complaining about something - I genuinely assume they’d prefer the situation tI change, so that the reason to complain goes away. So for me it’s totally normal to try to come up with soliton.
So if a friend talked about not getting enough sleep with a baby - I’d try to problem solve to see how the baby‘s sleep routine can be contributing, and what can be done.
I really don’t see a point of moaning without trying to find a solution to the issue.
So if anyone accused me of not loving them enough because of thinking moaning is pointless - I’d be angry. And think they are needy and like to feel helpless.
So - rather than resent your bf for being who he is - why not try to communicate your needs more clearly.
This video sums up your issue, I know this as my DH is the same. I showed him this and he got it, for a while.
But what happens unfortunately if gone unchecked is that someone will come along in you life and "get you" and you'll fall for them, you run a high risk of looking to meet your emotional needs elsewhere, that's talking from experience. It's mind blowing to release that other men do have emotional intelligence.
Do you have lots of female friends? That really helped me for years, so rather than expect him to listen, I'd just save it up and have a good laugh with my friends and find my release in that space.
OP, I’m an autistic female, and I laughed with recognition- except that I’m your “problem solving fixer” and it’s been my past boyfriends who just wanted to vent! One even shouted in exasperation “Stop trying to solve my problems!” .
Luckily for me, DH was also autistic and we functioned well together in the same mode.
After he died, when the DC were babies, I discovered a new found need to vent my grief, and surprisingly found DH’s elderly autistic aunt to be a brilliant listener. She would also suggest and give practical help, but she was a hugely comforting “ear” too.
I think you just need to find a different “ear” too!
I'm surprised at the people here saying you need to accept who he is, thereby implying you should be content with his behaviour and lack of support. Relationships are about compromise and adapting to eachother, especially when one partner is really clear on what they need.
I'm in the same situation and it's heartbreaking, the long term result is that I've closed myself off after years of looking for support. Your DH probably loves you dearly but sometimes that isn't enough.
My bf is a solution finder, and that's OK as so am I.
He's not great at talking about his feelings, but his actions shows he cares. I don't always remember that though.
I am a fixer. I recognise it’s not always what people want. My DP will be clear that he doesn’t want this at times. I do check my reasoned responses and always listen to his feelings. He has also thanked me for how I helped by rationalising his problems and concerns when this is the right thing to do.
He’s also intelligent enough to realise he can’t expect me to be an emotional crutch. He will initiate the hug rather than a conversation if that’s what he wants. He will recognise when I am struggling with processing his emotion. His pain is my pain after all.
It’s very difficult to have to listen to someone offloading on you. It causes stress and anxiety in the person you are doing it to. There is an equal issue of kindness in whether it is fair do this to someone on a regular basis. Is he allowed to call time on the amount you download onto to him? Can he ask you to be more self reliant and resilient?
I'm the same OP, it's not a male female issue. I agree with the pp who said that is a simplistic and sexist generalisation.
If you come to me with a complaint, I'll try to help you solve it. I often get annoyed and frustrated with people who keep coming to me with the same complaints having done nothing to resolve it. It just comes across as whining to me and I find it irritating. I just don't have the patience for it, I'm not one of life's eternal handholders.
A partner can't fulfil all of our needs. That's absolutely impossible for one person to do. If your partner is a fixer then go to him to help fix things. Find someone else you can vent to and if you can't get hire someone to listen like a counsellor.
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