Not feeling heard by your partner can be frustrating. It can cause you to question if they value you. It could lead to feelings of detachment that, when left unchecked, could drive a wedge between the two of you without either of you noticing–before it’s too late.
Can’t seem to get through to your husband no matter how hard you try? Take a step back to determine what’s causing this, so you can move forward with a solution, and reconnect once again.
It would also be helpful to note that research has found that women are better listeners than men. According to this study, men only use half of their brains when listening, as opposed to women who can use both sides, and can even listen to two conversations at once.
Aside from this scientific finding, here are 5 more reasons that could possibly explain how your husband just won’t listen to you.
1. He is not listening due to self-centeredness
We are all guilty of thinking that our perspective on a certain issue is best, but it’s important to acknowledge that we don’t know it all. When your spouse doesn’t seem to be open to your opinion, they are perhaps too focused on how they see things. The first step would be to recognize their thoughts and feelings. This way, they’ll see that they don’t have to shut you out because it’s not about who says the best things, it’s about being heard.
2. He is not listening because of unresolved anger
Are there conflicts that you haven’t settled? Then perhaps this is the reason why your hubby is clamming up and refusing to engage in conversation. Try to think back on the past few days. Did you have a fight? Or did you give him any reason to be so upset that he just refuses to listen? Once you determine that there is indeed unresolved anger or distrust, then work through that first, in order to make your interactions more respectful and meaningful.
3. He is not listening because of the way you speak
Being too aggressive can cause your partner to pull back, especially if they’re feeling sensitive. In an effort to be heard, we can often forget to be considerate of the feelings of the one we’re talking to. Is your voice too loud? Or are you being too chatty that your husband doesn’t seem to get a word in? Dial it back a bit to see if this is hindering him from listening or opening up to you.
In a broader sense, your method of delivery affects how you are perceived. Conversely, if you’re too aloof or dismissive, then it might make your husband feel that you aren’t invested in the conversation. Encourage him to listen by showing that what you want to say is important to you.
4. He is not listening because of his own personal issues
Remember: it’s not always about you. Your husband could simply be tired or going through issues he doesn’t want to trouble you with. They can be trivial work stress, but it can impact the way he relates to you. There could also be times when he’s distracted by pressing tasks or he simply just wants to decompress after a long day. This usually involves clearing his head by sitting quietly, watching a TV show he enjoys, or napping.
If you suspect this is the reason for his inattention, allow him the time he needs and don’t force a conversation to happen. If you do, you might just cause further conflict or say hurtful things if you’re offended. And he can, too.
5. He is not listening because you need to learn to listen, too
Above all, if you want him to listen, you have to strive to be a good listener, too. If you shut him out previously, then he may be less inclined to be open to listening. This detachment isn’t always intentional, but it can be the result of constant disconnectedness.
Communication isn’t a one-way street, so couples need to realize that to be heard, one must learn to listen. Listening well means responding thoughtfully, too. It doesn’t mean just giving information or advice, it’s exploring the questions together, knowing that you can’t always have the answers.
Remember that his lack of attention is not solely his or your fault. It’s best not to place blame because you both have habits and concerns you need to work through. The best thing is to always stay committed to making communication and good listening a part of your daily life as a couple, especially when it feels like a struggle.
sources: Psychology Today, The Spruce, BBC.com
READ: Dads, take note: The 4 times your wife really needs you to listen to her