Needing to be Heard

I am incredibly frustrated with the lack of real communication between my hubby and me. We talk all the time but he really does not hear me nor does he want to. By not hearing me he can keep up with his boyish antics as he runs to yoga 7 days a week and goes to the bar or dinner 2-3 nights a week with his buddies. He thinks i’m trying to control his every move. I have resorted to sending him emails as a way to hopefully get him to hear me without interruption, eye rolling, avoidance, etc. Is this a good or bad way to communicate. Need advice!

Dear Frustrated Communicator,

I can really hear how frustrated you feel. In general, I am in favor of face to face communication over emails when it comes to difficult conversations. Electronic communication does leave out the eye rolling and such (which can cause conversations to escalate into arguments), but ultimately in a marriage we need to be able to have those conversations with our spouses in real time. There are a couple of issues that may be at play here. It sounds to me like you are needing something from your husband in terms of his time and attention. You want to feel that he is present to you when you talk. If you talk all the time, I wonder what it is that you are each saying? Is it a barrage of criticisms and judgments of one another or are you finding ways to talk about the things that are meaningful to each of you? It is difficult to want to be present to our partners, or to listen, if we just feel criticized. You might invite your husband to spend some time each day talking with you with a few ground rules; you must either express some appreciation of one another, or talk about something important in your own life, something that is meaningful to each of you. I notice that two things happen when the couples I work with become more present during the time they have together and that time begins to feel more positive. One, they are more willing to allow the other to have the freedom to do the other things they want to do.   And secondly, as time together becomes more rewarding and fun there is a greater desire to spend that time with each other. Hope that helps.

Ruthanne Harris Carosio, M.A.  Marriage and Relationship Counselor

Pathways to Radiant Loving

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