“My husband doesn’t talk to me.’ ‘My husband tunes me out.’ Or, ‘He has so much to say to his co-workers or friends, but he doesn’t seem interested in what I say.’ These are some of the complaints that women raise about their non-communicative husbands.
Marriage experts explain why men get so monosyllabic, plus how to get him to finally say something other than ‘Okay,’ ‘Fine’ and ‘That’s nice, dear.’
What men think about talking
For men, intimate talk has nothing to do with feelings or details. They will talk about logistics and task-oriented topics like where to go for the summer vacation. They don’t like discussing topics they have no power to influence.
Women on the other hand love details: who said what, what it means, etc. This is not the kind of conversation that men are used to. So he’s not tuning you out, he just literally doesn’t know what to say.
Timing is everything
Pick the right moment. You may be excited to tell him all about something that happened to you that day, but he may be exhausted from work. Let him relax before barraging him with the blow by blow details.
Don’t feel compelled to fill the silence
Women are uncomfortable with silence because it makes them feel ignored. So we fill the gaps in the conversation by talking even more, sometimes repeating ourselves. This can make husbands feel like we are nagging them. So if he doesn’t reply right away, wait—keep eye contact, count to 15 if you have to—and then if he still remains silent, ask a question. If he still doesn’t give an answer, back off but say, ‘I’d like to talk about this tomorrow’ so he knows you haven’t dropped the topic.
Instead of saying, ‘How was work today?’ try prompting him with concrete questions. ‘So is this new client more difficult to deal with than the Smith account you mentioned before?’
The more hobbies you share the more you have to talk about. Participate in new and different activities together, like walking or volunteer work.
Listen to what he has to say
Pay attention to what he does say. Don’t be distracted or think about what you plan to say after he stops talking. Confirm whether you understood him by paraphrasing. This kind of encouragement can get him to relax and open up without fear of being nagged or attacked.
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