He’s Not Thinking What You Think He’s Thinking

I had an interesting revelation recently, thanks to some of you. Via the comments and some e-mails, I talked with several women who said something to the effect of, “My husband is doing or saying XYZ and I am upset he thinks ABC.” What I saw was motive being assigned to the husband based on what the wife thought they were thinking.

What's He Thinking? © igor | dollarphotoclub.com

Being male, I had a different perspective on the situations. I could easily think of several other logical male motives for each scenario. In several of the situations, what the wife thought did not seem at all likely to me. Some of the thoughts suggested by the wives seemed possible, but none of them seemed the most likely possibility. I suggested to each woman her husband might not be thinking what she thought. I also gave each woman several other things he could be thinking, and suggested she talk to him.

Based on feedback, my guesses of what the men were actually thinking weren’t great, but I don’t think it matters. By giving each wife another logical reason for what her husband did, I helped her out of her own head. With other possible motives and thoughts she felt better about getting the facts from her guy.

It’s human nature to assume others think as we do. We paint our motives on other people’s actions. In general this is a bad plan, and it turns out even worse when we do it to members of the other gender. It’s also human nature to assume the worst. While it’s possible the truth is worse than what we imagine, it’s rather rare.

No matter how well you know your husband, you can’t read his mind. Don’t react to what you think he’s thinking, find out what’s actually going on in his mind.

~ Paul – I’m XY and I gave up mind reading years ago.

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6 Comments on “He’s Not Thinking What You Think He’s Thinking

  1. Interesting. Our problem is, when we talk, especially if we’re arguing, my husband’s usual response is silence. I’m pretty sure he does it just to aggravate me. I have told him if he doesn’t reply, or say what he’s thinking, then I will fill in the blanks. Then he claims what I think he’s thinking s not what he’s actually thinking. It’s a vicious, annoying cycle.

    Like, almost every night he goes to bed first. He gets upset if I fall asleep on the couch because he says he prefers when I sleep in bed with him. So the other night, he dozed off on the couch, and I ended up going to bed first. I figured he’d come to bed when he woke up, but he stayed on the couch! He even woke up, used the bathroom and went back on the couch. He said it’s because he was having trouble sleeping and didn’t want to wake me up. I told him he was either playing a mean game (since the one night I went to bed he didn’t) OR (and more likely) I think he was afraid I would touch him. See, we used to have sex a lot more because I initiated most of the time. When I started reading marriage blogs and learned that most men do the initiating because they want a lot of sex, I realized he didn’t want me very much and must not find me as attractive as most other men find their wives. So although I love him and want him, I’ve been trying very hard not to initiate – ever. He claims he misses it, but I think he’s actually thrilled that I’ve been leaving him alone. If he wanted me as much as I wanted him, he would initiate. He will, like once a week, but I’m not forcing myself on him if he’s not that interested. He always says he is very interested, but he never backs it up with actions. So anyway, all of that to say, him sleeping on the couch was because he was afraid I’d touch him and he’d feel obligated to be intimate.

    • Sounds like some passive/aggressive stuff going on. I have a couple of posts on that scheduled for next week.

      As to the sex, he may mean exactly what he says. A lack of initiating does not necessarily mean a lack of drive or a lack of interest in a man’s wife. If he took you up on your initiation much of the time I’d say he wants the sex but for some reason is not comfortable asking as often as he wants it. If you’ve not read it, check my post Why Does My Husband Want Me to Initiate Sex? http://bit.ly/1E00ZH6
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Is TV Stealing Your Life (and Marriage)?My Profile

  2. Here is a piece of information I got early on in my coaching days:

    “I know you believe you understand what you think I said,…..
    but I’m not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant.”
    H Norman Wright

    It took a few times to read it to get the message. Much misunderstanding comes from not precisely knowing what your spouse is actually saying and meaning.

  3. How many men actually ask in their own mind, “What is she asking? Is it this or deas she want me to answer like tis… or should I say this…”

    Sometimes a couple needs to become a safe haven for sharing preciesly what is on their mind, kindly. Do you “play games” in your mind trying to figure out what your wife/ husband actually wants to share?

    Thanks for your willingness to stimulate a couple’s, conversations Paul.
    Jerry Stumpf recently posted…4 simple mistakes husbands make in everyday lifeMy Profile

  4. Jerry, my husband does this and it drives me mad!!! He will even say (about himself and our sons) “we are just trying to give you the answer we think you want.” ARGH!!! Just be Honest and stop playing mind games already. DO NOT tell me what you think I want to hear. TELL ME THE TRUTH!

    This can be big things all the way down to – if we decide to go out for dinner and I say “where do you want to go?” And his reply is “wherever you want to go.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Stop with the darn games and just answer the question HONESTLY!

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