Why He Won’t Talk: The One Lady Bloggers Miss

In the last few months, I’ve seen at least three women blog about why a husband won’t talk with his wife. All the posts were good and I ran most or all of them on Facebook and Twitter.

But every one of the posts missed one big reason men stop talking with their wives.

Why He Won't Talk: The One Lady Bloggers Miss

Many men pull back from communication because what he cares about isn’t on the table. She wants to talk about all kinds of things, but refuses to discuss the one thing, or the two or three things, that really matter to him. She vetos what he cares about, so he withdraws. It’s a rigged game and he chooses not to play.

Sex is often what he wants to talk about that she won’t talk about, but there are other things too. Regardless of what it is, if you unilaterally refuse to discuss something, you do huge damage to the communication in your marriage. 

~ Paul – I’m XY, but my wife has more trouble getting me to STOP talking.

Related Post: Are You Listening to What Your Spouse Says about Sex? | Hot, Holy & Humorous 
Great Unrelated PostQ&A with J: How Do I Express What I Want in Bed? | Hot, Holy & Humorous – If I had seen the sooner I’d have linked to it in last Friday’s post.

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13 Comments on “Why He Won’t Talk: The One Lady Bloggers Miss

  1. During the first 20+ years of marriage, when my wife would say “we need to talk”, she had no intention of either listening to or understanding my point of view. “We need to talk” was code for “I need to tell you how I think you should behave or act”. Expressing my opinion would be met with an initial attempt to convert me to her point of view. If unsuccessful, she would unleash a verbal attack, both guns blazing. After a few such “discussions” where I left feeling like a defendant whose testimony and credibility had been shredded to pieces by a skilled cross-examination, “we need to talk” was a signal for me to withdraw to my office.

    During couples therapy, we established the need to create a safe space for each partner to express their point of view. If either partner feels unsafe, they can call a time out, as long as they agree to resume the conversation within 24 hours. The other partner must agree to the time out request. Knowing I can always call a time out has helped overcome my reluctance to discuss difficult issues.

    • @BC – A lot of men react to “We need to talk” the same way – for the same reason.
      But some of that may be on the guy. I think some women issue this phrase when they have tried and failed to get him to hear them. It’s them blowing because they can’t take whatever anymore.
      A safe place to talk is an important thing for both spouses.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Daily Post-It of EncouragementMy Profile

  2. I’m not sure what some of these other posts said, because I’ve only recently started following you on Twitter and FB. But I’m glad you posted this. One thing my gender is very guilty of is criticizing our men for not talking, but then not making the space for them to do so. Whether that is because we’re not being an emotional safe space, or the way we do “or sometimes don’t) listen, or, as you say, not being willing to discuss topics he’s interested in, it’s a major problem. I’m glad you and other bloggers are addressing this.

  3. I am also guilty of this. I have been trying to overcome it, but if I hold my ground and don’t get angry she will start giving me one word answers. After that I am no longer a able to move forward with the conversation. Then she will later once again tare in to me as to how I am horrible in conversation. Most of the time I end up feeling like a worthless pice of trash. The other part that bothers me is there is never a decision made on anything. Even if I make the decision she will not go along with it. We have been trying to decide if we are going to have another baby. I thought we had decided to try, so I was going to start trying. She stopped me and said we need to use a condom and stated a bunch of reasons she was not sure / ready. This also goes in to eve thing else I have to do all the investigation and provide the best options for what ever we are looking at then she just shreds it all.

    • @Bumble – Based on just what you say, it sounds like she is very unsure of herself, or has experienced having her words used against her. Might this be from a parent or someone else in her past?
      Paul Byerly recently posted…The Danger of the Man CaveMy Profile

  4. Reading your post reminded me of something I read in Love & Respect (Eggerichs), about this very thing. The “We need to talk” line really means “We’re going to talk about what I want to talk about.”

    Eggerichs wrote:

    “As a rule, a wife wants more emotional intimacy only on subjects that increase feelings of love between her and her husband. When the husband shares any kind of “dark side” struggles, let’s say with sexual temptation, she grows uncomfortable, or even hurt and angry. She may instruct him to be silent and to change. In other words, be like a woman: ‘We don’t lust for men’s bodies, so don’t you lust for women’s.’”

    “It is quite all right for her to share her struggles with body image, weight control, fears, and worries. The husband is to listen and empathize with her on all of these subjects. She feels so much better afterward because, in her mind, this increases feelings of love between them. The problem, of course, is that he doesn’t struggle with body image, weight control, fears, and worries as she does. He has different struggles. Because his wife does not have those same challenges, however, his male concerns usually don’t count when it comes to emotional intimacy.

    “So the husband clams up, especially after being scolded. This, then, contributes to the wife’s conclusion that he cannot be emotionally intimate. In actuality, she has told him not to be open. She has a high standard of what emotional intimacy is, but it must entail energizing the love between them and releasing her burdens. If he communicates something that isn’t energizing and it creates a burden for her (i.e., sexual temptations he may have when he sees attractive women), he is out of line.”

    He’s only right.
    CSL recently posted…Bad Teaching: Women Rule, Men Drool, part 2My Profile

      • Sort of mansplaining there, Paul. If a woman says she doesn’t lust after a man’s body, then,she doesn’t.

        I can, but I choose not to. Barely even occurs to me to do so. Why would I disrespect someone like that? Why would I dishonor my God, my husband, and myself? Especially since I am married and not “in the market.” My “sex radar” isn’t even on (except concerning hubby).

        Oh, sure, once in a while a fellow might make a blip on the radar, but it is easily turned away from. Why? Because it sickens my gut to think otherwise. I know it is wrong and I certainly hate when my Hubby’s eyes and mind wander.

        • @Libl – Depends on how we define lust. Brain scans and other tests show women react to male bodies the same way men react to female bodies. But women generally don’t know they are having the reaction.

          If lust is what one does with the reaction, including choosing to look away, then I agree with you. If lust is, as many here seem to think, the reaction itself, then women are no different than men.

          My point, and my frustration, is the women who think they are better than men because they think they can see half naked man and not get aroused. Being unaware of how something affects us does not mean we are unaffected.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Are You Encouraging Her to Manipulate You?My Profile

  5. Ok, I’ve tried talking about sex with my husband, but he will not or gets defensive. I tell him some fantasies….he has none. I ask him how I can make it better for him and he answers you’ve been doing this for 20 years, you know… shuts down any discussion of making it better.. I read a book, underlining it and making comments so maybe he can just read it and interact that way ( a book about sex with comments like…that sounds like fun, what do you think? No, I don’t feel this way at all. I LOVE sex all the time, etc.) He won’t touch it. Frustrating.

  6. Paul, I think that you make a mistake in your definition of lust. Jesus said that if we lust after someone, we have committed sexual sin in our hearts. Your reference to brain scans is a description of of animal or visceral attraction. We cannot control that. Lust is consciously and deliberately WANTING to do something that is sexually wrong. I would even go so far as to say that an initial inappropriate thought is probably not lust. If we develop it, however, it could definitely be called LUST.

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