Author Topic: Communication issue & need perspective  (Read 15657 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5169
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #75 on: February 25, 2012, 05:20:55 PM »
I find more of an issue with the grumpy one word answers and a grumpy "leave me alone, I am tired" behavior. Nothing wrong with being tired. We've all been tired and we've all needed time to ourselves.

But is it really so difficult to just say that to your wife.
"I am sorry, but I am really tired right now and would like some time to myself to unwind."

The fact that he instead chose to act like a toddler instead and then got mad about it is quite troubling. Especially given his history of apparent manipulation in the past. It really looks like the pattern has not changed much, at least to me.

Not to excuse CakeBeret's husband too much but its only been a few weeks. That isn't really enough time to change ingrained habits. He has made an effort to change - but to expect him to change everything overnight is unrealistic and will only lead to unhappiness. This is something that should be brought up to the marriage counselor when you go and if he doesn't make an effort to change then it is a red flag. But for now I wouldn't make this a make or break issue.

I agree...not to mention that he's very, very deep in "relationship debt." It sounds like he's been making an effort to pay it down, but it's not realistic to expect that he'll be "on" and in full making-things-up-to-OP mode all the time. That would be exhausting! I think it would be fair to give him a "day off" from working on things now and then...but ONLY now and then.

As for the specific incident...well, if my DH goes into the bedroom and lies down, I assume he needs some time without me. Otherwise he'd choose to be in the room where I already was! And if I had reason to worry that something was wrong, and poked my head in and ask, I'd consider "I'm tired" to be a full and complete explanation. And I can tell you that, if I kept trying to converse with him after that, he'd probably launch a pillow at my head. ;)

I see what PP's are saying about setting up a signal, but there's a lot to be said for taking things at face value, too. It sounds like your DH GAVE you some pretty clear signals, and then was upset when you held a grudge. And I don't mean to sound harsh at ALL, but I'm genuinely curious: being tired and not wanting to chat comes up now and then in seven years--have you guys really never worked out how to convey/understand that mood? Is it that he usually handles it in a radically different manner, or do you just argue about it every time?

I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

RandomAngel

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1577
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #76 on: February 25, 2012, 05:31:42 PM »
I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.

If someone saw you, hugged you (halfheartedly or otherwise) and then deliberately walked into a different room, why on Earth would you follow them? :-\

Honestly, a lot of this thread reminds me of all the buzz about that "He's Just Not That Into You" book. I do not mean to say that any of the "he"'s under discussion are not that into you!! Please no one panic. :) It's just that it seems like a lot of women had trouble believing that, if a man doesn't call her after a date, it's because he doesn't especially want to call her. There's no complex motive, and it's not a vague signal at all...it's just not the one she wants. Similarly, there's nothing vague about leaving the room your SO is in without suggesting that they join you. It is what it is: he wants to be in a different room from you.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5169
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #77 on: February 25, 2012, 05:35:49 PM »
I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.

If someone saw you, hugged you (halfheartedly or otherwise) and then deliberately walked into a different room, why on Earth would you follow them? :-\

Honestly, a lot of this thread reminds me of all the buzz about that "He's Just Not That Into You" book. I do not mean to say that any of the "he"'s under discussion are not that into you!! Please no one panic. :) It's just that it seems like a lot of women had trouble believing that, if a man doesn't call her after a date, it's because he doesn't especially want to call her. There's no complex motive, and it's not a vague signal at all...it's just not the one she wants. Similarly, there's nothing vague about leaving the room your SO is in without suggesting that they join you. It is what it is: he wants to be in a different room from you.

Because I know that it means something is wrong, and if I can help, even just as a caring ear, I'm going to see if I can. 

You're still not getting what I'm saying.  For some people, that behavior means I've had a bad day leave me a lone, to others it means I've had a bad day and I want to talk about it but only if you ask first.  For Dark Boyfriend and me, it's the latter of the two.  If Dark Boyfriend leaves the room that I'm in, he could be getting something, he could just want a more comfortable place to sit, he may want to lay rather than sit.  There are so many things it could be that it doesn't automatically mean he wants to be in a different room than me.  Again, it differs between people.  Obviously, the OP saw it one way and her DH saw it the other.  That means it wasn't clear to either of them.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

ClaireC79

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3324
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #78 on: February 25, 2012, 05:46:09 PM »
but I would guess that if they've been together long enough to have a toddler together then she should know what HIS 'I'm tired' means (yes I know it works both ways)

Iris

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3867
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #79 on: February 25, 2012, 05:50:14 PM »
I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.

If someone saw you, hugged you (halfheartedly or otherwise) and then deliberately walked into a different room, why on Earth would you follow them? :-\

Honestly, a lot of this thread reminds me of all the buzz about that "He's Just Not That Into You" book. I do not mean to say that any of the "he"'s under discussion are not that into you!! Please no one panic. :) It's just that it seems like a lot of women had trouble believing that, if a man doesn't call her after a date, it's because he doesn't especially want to call her. There's no complex motive, and it's not a vague signal at all...it's just not the one she wants. Similarly, there's nothing vague about leaving the room your SO is in without suggesting that they join you. It is what it is: he wants to be in a different room from you.

Really? If I were tired and wanted to lie down I would leave the room DH was in, go into OUR bedroom and lie down. I wouldn't even remotely consider that that was sending a signal that I didn't want to be with him. It is a signal that I DO want to be in the room that has a bed in it. I wouldn't even remotely consider that he requires an invitation to come into our shared room. I'm really not trying to be snarky, but honestly what seems so obvious to you makes me go  :o so obviously this 'clear signal' you are talking about is not so clear to everyone.

If DH came home from work and laid down straight away and said "I'm tired" my automatic response would be to say "What's up? Rough day at work?" or "Poor sweetie. Do you want some quiet time?" and give him the opportunity to communicate his needs to me. To me, walking into a bedroom and lieing down on the bed communicates clearly "I would like to lie on this bed now" and that's it. They could be sick, could be in a bad mood, could have an ingrown toenail...

*Exta* FWIW after I typed that I asked DH if I should automatically leave him alone if he gave me a half-hearted hug and then walked into the bedroom and laid down and he said "No. If I wanted to be left alone I would say 'I'm stressed/tired whatever, I'd just like to be left alone.' I'd think it was weird if I told you I was tired and you didn't ask why."
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

JenJay

  • I'm a nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5950
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #80 on: February 25, 2012, 05:52:54 PM »
I explained that his aloofness all evening had hurt my feelings.
Was he aloof all evening or was it for the brief period of time you were home together before dinner and then other circumstances got in the way of the two of you spending any time together after you left the house? How did he interact with everyone else at dinner?

He said he was tired. I said "I know, but it still hurt my feelings that you grumped at me and ignored me."
I think what others are saying is that he wasn't necessarily grumping at/ignoring *you*, he was just feeling grumpy in general and didn't express it well. It comes back to how he treated everyone else as compared to his interactions with you.

He repeated, "I. Was. Tired." I said okay, told him goodbye and said "I love you". He left without saying anything.
This bothers me. I recall from the other thread that he has a history of expecting to be able to do as he pleases without you being upset and then, when you are upset, he turns is back on you and gets angry at you. I don't like that he ignored your "I love you". DH and I have certainly had some very cool moments but that's one phrase that never goes unanswered, even if it's "I love you, too, but I'm feeling really smothered right now. Please give me some space." or whatever.

I'm another one who would have followed my DH in case he wanted to talk about his day and I know he'd do the same if it had been me going to lay down. I do understand those who are saying they wouldn't. Either is ok, you just need to know if "I'm tired" means "I want to be alone" or "I want to vent about it." Now you know what he means.

Bethalize

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4733
    • Toxic People Survival Checklist
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #81 on: February 25, 2012, 05:54:19 PM »
Isn't part of the problem that DH got his downtime AND his Xbox evening but this meant CakeBeret got noting AND DH didn't acknowledge that?

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5169
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #82 on: February 25, 2012, 05:56:14 PM »
but I would guess that if they've been together long enough to have a toddler together then she should know what HIS 'I'm tired' means (yes I know it works both ways)

This entire thread is because they have communication problems, so no, I don't expect her to know that's what it means, especially when they're working on fixing those communication problems.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

RandomAngel

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1577
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #83 on: February 25, 2012, 06:08:45 PM »
I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.

If someone saw you, hugged you (halfheartedly or otherwise) and then deliberately walked into a different room, why on Earth would you follow them? :-\

Honestly, a lot of this thread reminds me of all the buzz about that "He's Just Not That Into You" book. I do not mean to say that any of the "he"'s under discussion are not that into you!! Please no one panic. :) It's just that it seems like a lot of women had trouble believing that, if a man doesn't call her after a date, it's because he doesn't especially want to call her. There's no complex motive, and it's not a vague signal at all...it's just not the one she wants. Similarly, there's nothing vague about leaving the room your SO is in without suggesting that they join you. It is what it is: he wants to be in a different room from you.

Really? If I were tired and wanted to lie down I would leave the room DH was in, go into OUR bedroom and lie down. I wouldn't even remotely consider that that was sending a signal that I didn't want to be with him. It is a signal that I DO want to be in the room that has a bed in it. I wouldn't even remotely consider that he requires an invitation to come into our shared room. I'm really not trying to be snarky, but honestly what seems so obvious to you makes me go  :o so obviously this 'clear signal' you are talking about is not so clear to everyone.

If DH came home from work and laid down straight away and said "I'm tired" my automatic response would be to say "What's up? Rough day at work?" or "Poor sweetie. Do you want some quiet time?" and give him the opportunity to communicate his needs to me. To me, walking into a bedroom and lieing down on the bed communicates clearly "I would like to lie on this bed now" and that's it. They could be sick, could be in a bad mood, could have an ingrown toenail...

*Exta* FWIW after I typed that I asked DH if I should automatically leave him alone if he gave me a half-hearted hug and then walked into the bedroom and laid down and he said "No. If I wanted to be left alone I would say 'I'm stressed/tired whatever, I'd just like to be left alone.' I'd think it was weird if I told you I was tired and you didn't ask why."

I may not have explained that well--I don't really think that The Main Point of going into the bedroom would be to get away from someone. But we don't use ours during the day, and there's no particular reason why I would go in there before bedtime. If my DH were tired but wanted to talk, I'd expect him to stretch out on a couch or pick a comfy chair in the room where he found me, or in one where he might reasonably think I was planning to go. But if he knows where I am and still chooses a different room that I have no habitual reason to be in at that time, then unless he says "Come hang out while I lie down" I'm going to conclude that part of the upside of that room was that it was currently empty. And in the absence of some pre-arranged code or communication--which OP's doesn't seem to have established--I have no idea why I would assume otherwise. Why would an adult walking into an empty room with no explanation automatically mean "follow me"?

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5169
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #84 on: February 25, 2012, 06:21:23 PM »
I don't see where he gave clear signals, though.  I think that's what some of us are saying.  While they may be clear to him, they weren't clear to her.  If Dark Boyfriend comes in the house and immediately goes to lay down, I follow him and ask him what's wrong.  He says he's tired, I ask why, what happened?  Then we talk about it.  The signals he gave the OP are the same signals Dark Boyfriend gave me, but they mean totally different things to different people.  If the OP didn't get the signals, they weren't very clear.

If someone saw you, hugged you (halfheartedly or otherwise) and then deliberately walked into a different room, why on Earth would you follow them? :-\

Honestly, a lot of this thread reminds me of all the buzz about that "He's Just Not That Into You" book. I do not mean to say that any of the "he"'s under discussion are not that into you!! Please no one panic. :) It's just that it seems like a lot of women had trouble believing that, if a man doesn't call her after a date, it's because he doesn't especially want to call her. There's no complex motive, and it's not a vague signal at all...it's just not the one she wants. Similarly, there's nothing vague about leaving the room your SO is in without suggesting that they join you. It is what it is: he wants to be in a different room from you.

Really? If I were tired and wanted to lie down I would leave the room DH was in, go into OUR bedroom and lie down. I wouldn't even remotely consider that that was sending a signal that I didn't want to be with him. It is a signal that I DO want to be in the room that has a bed in it. I wouldn't even remotely consider that he requires an invitation to come into our shared room. I'm really not trying to be snarky, but honestly what seems so obvious to you makes me go  :o so obviously this 'clear signal' you are talking about is not so clear to everyone.

If DH came home from work and laid down straight away and said "I'm tired" my automatic response would be to say "What's up? Rough day at work?" or "Poor sweetie. Do you want some quiet time?" and give him the opportunity to communicate his needs to me. To me, walking into a bedroom and lieing down on the bed communicates clearly "I would like to lie on this bed now" and that's it. They could be sick, could be in a bad mood, could have an ingrown toenail...

*Exta* FWIW after I typed that I asked DH if I should automatically leave him alone if he gave me a half-hearted hug and then walked into the bedroom and laid down and he said "No. If I wanted to be left alone I would say 'I'm stressed/tired whatever, I'd just like to be left alone.' I'd think it was weird if I told you I was tired and you didn't ask why."

I may not have explained that well--I don't really think that The Main Point of going into the bedroom would be to get away from someone. But we don't use ours during the day, and there's no particular reason why I would go in there before bedtime. If my DH were tired but wanted to talk, I'd expect him to stretch out on a couch or pick a comfy chair in the room where he found me, or in one where he might reasonably think I was planning to go. But if he knows where I am and still chooses a different room that I have no habitual reason to be in at that time, then unless he says "Come hang out while I lie down" I'm going to conclude that part of the upside of that room was that it was currently empty. And in the absence of some pre-arranged code or communication--which OP's doesn't seem to have established--I have no idea why I would assume otherwise. Why would an adult walking into an empty room with no explanation automatically mean "follow me"?

Again, what Isis and I are trying to explain is that for some people it doesn't automatically mean "don't follow me" either.  We're also not saying that we would follow our SOs every single time, but that if we got an awkward hug and our SOs walked away, we'd follow and ask what was wrong.  There is something obviously wrong if our SOs are acting out of character, so we'd find out what it was.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

RandomAngel

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1577
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #85 on: February 25, 2012, 07:06:56 PM »
Again, what Isis and I are trying to explain is that for some people it doesn't automatically mean "don't follow me" either.  We're also not saying that we would follow our SOs every single time, but that if we got an awkward hug and our SOs walked away, we'd follow and ask what was wrong.  There is something obviously wrong if our SOs are acting out of character, so we'd find out what it was.

Aha! I think I'm starting to see our common ground. :)

Your reaction is based on a combination of your SO's behavior and your knowledge of your SO. You two have been in this situation before, learned from it, and developed a "code." This is good communication, because actions provoke the desired response in a way that they probably wouldn't among strangers.

By contrast, OP seemed kind of mystified by what her SO's behavior meant, leading me to believe that they haven't established a protocol for this type of thing. In that case, I think it's reasonable for her DH to expect that she would take his behavior entirely at face value. In other words, he behaved in a way that would have provoked the desired response from a stranger, and was frustrated when OP chose to respond differently.

I get why she did: she has every reason to be nervous about him seeming to withdraw. But there was no mutually-agreed-upon system that dictated her actions; she was unilaterally worried that he was withdrawing, and so went looking for subtext where he claims there wasn't any. They didn't have a code, but she believed that his actions were coded, and he was annoyed.

If you want your behavior to mean something other than its surface value, then you have to either say something, or establish that pattern over time with your partner. A lot of posters have those patterns in their relationships, myself included, and it's easy to see this situation through the lens of our own habits. But the DH here just wanted his actions to mean exactly what they looked like. He went to a room where the OP wasn't, and when she followed he told her that he was tired...and it turned out that he was tired and wanted to be on his own for a while. It's not code, it's literal. So I don't agree with the PP's who've said that this was a situation in which he should have had to explain what his actions meant or set up a specific signal to indicate that he was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing--that would just be adding an extra layer of redundancy.

Whether or not him doing exactly what he wanted to be doing is acceptable under the circumstances is, of course, the other half of the topic.... :-\

Iris

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3867
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #86 on: February 25, 2012, 07:20:24 PM »
^Well, tbh I think there WAS a subtext here. I have avoided mentioning it because I know that CB and her husband need to work out their own codes, but if "I'm tired" meant "I'm tired" i.e. I am too physically exhausted to get off the bed and converse with you, then why would he have had the energy to stay up and play computer games instead of going to bed early? So "I'm tired" (to me) obviously meant he was stressed/needed a break/something else - all valid reasons to want down time and probably make it MORE important to have his night out, but given that they have had communication issues really recently I think it is unreasonable of him to expect CB to read his subtext. At the same time, if DH was obviously cranky and uncommunicative I would wait until the next day when he was in a better mood to say "Dude. That was not cool. How can we do things better next time?"

Not the end of the world, but to me it is a sign that there is still a ways to go. I know when DH and I got to the point that we needed to work on our communication it certainly didn't magically get better overnight so it's more or less to be expected. The main thing is for both of them to keep plugging away.
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

figleaf

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 181
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #87 on: February 25, 2012, 08:07:44 PM »
I could be the DH in this scenario with a major difference.  I always tell my DH when I need alone time.  DH and I have been together 20 years, and are pretty good at communicating, particularly our emotional needs.  The reason I identify with the DH is that I am often in need of alone time.  I have a chronic pain condition that puts me on extreme edge when my pain is at a 7 or above on the pain scale.  When I need to remove myself from the family craziness, my "code" to DH is "I need to go spend quality time with my heating pad."  DH knows that means I need pain relief, but also that I'm probably cranky. 

Sometimes if he needs time with me, or needs to talk to me about something, he will test the waters by telling me he knows I'm hurting, asking if he can do anything, and then asking if I just need pain relief or want to be alone, too.  Often, I don't mind his company, but if I really need to be alone, I'll tell him "I'm really not the best company right now."  It is a dance we do to make sure that nobody ends up feeling abandoned or smothered. Since the chronic pain has been the third party in our marriage since 2001, this method has worked pretty well.

DH and I never sat down and said "OK, this is what we will say to send the appropriate message to the other," but it has become our default method of dealing with this issue anyway.  On other issues, we have established "code" words or phrases to indicate our feelings to each other.  I'd suggest asking your DH if you could set up some "codes" to avoid feeling abandoned or snubbed in the future.

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9753
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #88 on: February 25, 2012, 08:25:57 PM »
Isn't part of the problem that DH got his downtime AND his Xbox evening but this meant CakeBeret got noting AND DH didn't acknowledge that?

I'd say yes. I also agree with Reason- he's an adult, he needs to use his words, not grump at her and get mad that she can't read his mind.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

Danismom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2030
Re: Communication issue & need perspective
« Reply #89 on: February 25, 2012, 08:36:27 PM »
He needed alone time.  Everyone needs that at times.  I think he clearly communicated it by going into the bedroom and laying down.  He should have been more clear that his tired wasn't so much physical as it was a mental/emotional tired.  Many people who work with or enjoy firearms find cleaning them to be relaxing.  CB couldn't really go in and join him laying down while the toddler was up and going.  That's why I think the message of going and laying down in a different room meant he wanted to be alone. 

I'm glad CB and her DH are seeing a counselor because these sorts of things happen in every marriage and need to be worked out.  I think CB probably took it a little too personally that her DH was drained and didn't have the emotional energy, even for 30 minutes of dedicated time.  I do think that her DH should be a little apologetic that he wasn't able to give her the time though. 

Ideally, I think when CB saw that DH was tired, she should have given him a huge smacker of  a kiss and then told him to find her when he was up for company again.  That way, he gets to determine when his tiredness (physical or emotional) has abated enough to be good company.