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Does Your Wife Think It’s All Your Fault? — 2 Comments

  1. Yeah, this is me, very similar scenario. My wife is different in that we are working together (most of the time) to repair our marriage after I was blind-sided by finding out she had “fallen out of love” with me, and subsequently in love with someone else. After two years of struggle to repair our marriage, we finally seem to be getting things right, but I still can’t help but feel she sees me (and my “overbearing” personality) as THE problem. I still carry some resentment, and I feel like everything will be okay as long as I can keep it in check–as long as I “behave.” There are some lingering problems that we can’t seem to get past and one of them I think is directly related to this article. I feel very frustrated when I feel like I’m not being listened to. When my wife gets upset about something, she shuts down her listening and frequently interrupts and cuts me off, no matter how I try to communicate. I have come so far and done so much to work on my own listening and giving her full attention and seeking to understand when she is communicating to me, something she acknowledges. I don’t feel like I get the same respect and consideration. She tells me she DOESN’T interrupt me, I am too sensitive, I talk too much, or “that’s just how people communicate,” etc…everything but acknowledging maybe she needs to work on her listening!

    • Hi Frumer71,

      Congrats on the hard work you both have done. It’s admirable and you’re a strong man to have accepted your part in turning things around.

      The over-bearing personality thing is what many women feel from guys who:
      1. Are hyper-analytical
      2. Are intellectually judgmental or critical
      3. Are excessive talkers (my girlfriend calls it HyperSplain – explaining to painful detail)
      4. Have OCD personality tendencies (always hyper busy and super intense)

      An effective way to dial back our tendencies toward these things is to adopt a “less is more” style of communicating.
      This is very hard for guys who are not used to communicating like this but women respond to it well. This is especially effective when you have
      a history of having long, heavy, emotionally draining conversations. You must PRACTICE this all the time.

      The bottom line is to cut out all the analysis and NEED to make her understand your point and agree with you. State your value and your case simply. Just one example:

      Her: “I could use more help in the morning with XYZ. It’s driving me crazy that we’re always running late.”
      Old You: “Well, if we could maybe set the alarm earlier and organize things better and you could wait until later to do ABC…”
      New You: (as you touch the small of her back or elbow) Calmly say, “I hear ya, babe. I got your back.” Kiss on the cheek and go away. Then follow through. On YOUR terms. She may criticize HOW you help with XYZ. Unacceptable. She needs to know you’re there to help and pull your weight, but NOT with disrespect and being treated like a kid.

      Less is more is masculine and attractive. Continuing to show HER respect and attention is masculine and attractive. And immediately calling her out when she chooses to behave with disrespect is masculine and attractive. This must also be done with “less is more”.

      “Hey babe, I need 15 seconds to finish my thought and the floor is yours. Please don’t interrupt me in the middle of a sentence”. Period. End of discussion. No matter how she reacts or what she says. State your *value*, (with kind respect) and move on.

      Your feelings of not receiving the same respect and consideration YOU give are valid. It’s okay to tell her so. Less is more.
      Don’t ASK her for these things. Tell her (calmly, firmly, with respect) that you will always give her “air time” when she needs it. You expect the same respect and consideration from her. But…work on making your points shorter. Less is more. A Hyper-Splaining man is hard for a woman to be attracted to and to respect.

      You say “we” finally seem to be getting things right. I’m curious what SHE is doing specifically different than before. And I’m curious about your responses to her when she does them.

      Have her read this from Alison Armstrong: http://www.understandmen.com/ktp/aboutmen.html
      Alison has some plain language stuff for women who don’t quite get that you are different.

      Thanks for the comment! You’re doing great work and should be proud.