Is He Saying Less Than You’re Hearing?

I was reading a two-year-old THG post and this jumped out at me:

I’ve spent a lot of time watching men and women communicate with their same sex friends, and I’ve seen how much easier it is to clearly communicate in these situations. Men miss some of what women are saying without actually saying it, and women tend to read into what men say things the man didn’t mean. We communicate differently, and it leads to all kinds of trouble.

Is He Saying Less Than You're Hearing?

I realise those are sweeping remarks, but I think they tend to be true. Most women use more words than most men. When a man talks to a woman I think she feels the lack and may try to extrapolate from his words more than he said or meant. I know this is a common occurrence because I hear from men who deal with it all the time. He says ABC and she later tells him how he said ABCLMNOP. 

Take him at his word, and add nothing more than his word! If you think there is more, ask, and accept what he says as truth.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and yes, I know men who do this too.

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11 Comments on “Is He Saying Less Than You’re Hearing?

  1. Oh, I don’t know. I am a woman and in our marriage I tend to say nothing and just sigh. On the other hand, I just received a 5 minute lecture full of mostly untrue statements about a 2 minute, 1 time occurance last night that temporarily altered the room temperature for that time, that was apparently the reason why he couldn’t sleep all night.

    Hubby speaks fluent sarcasm, and even in his every day interactions he leaves people confused and unclear. It is all part of his insecurities about himself. I HAVE to read between the lines and read into it because clarity isn’t there. The reason I got the big lecture this morning and it was full of untrue statements, like blaming the kids when they never did last night what he said they did (I know because I was with the kids until they fell asleep) is because he wants to make the point that he needs the room to stay cool so he can sleep after a long hot day at work. He didn’t sleep well last night because he was adrenaline rushing about a big day at work today.

    I have learned to unemotionally just state the facts, but even then they are mowed over by his lectures and tirades. Anything to win. Anything to get the upper hand. One can’t fight with someone who believes their own lies and refuses to listen. So, I just shut up and walk away.

    • Wow, how sad, Libl. When one spouse has to be in control and manipulate things in his/her favor there won’t ever be real communication. And usually that’s what someone like this wants.

      You say you’ve learned how to unemotionally just state facts but in the end just shut up and walk away. That’s because what you’ve really learned is that your words and/or feelings mean nothing to the very person they should mean the most. :(
      Amy recently posted…Speaking loveMy Profile

      • Initially, yes. He is more vent on winning than listening, but when I stick to a firm, simple fact or truth, and state it clearly no more than two times, and then leave the argument, it gives him a chance to reflect on what I said in the long run.

        I did this in our last argument. He was falsely accusing me of something and going on and on. If I matched his level and joined in the fight, it is fight to win. My words mean nothing, it is all about winning. But, instead, I just spoke the truth. When he started arguing again, I spoke the truth very calmly and firmly and evenly and added, “that is the truth and I am sorry you don’t believe it.” And I refused to engage no more. He left the house in a huff, but when he returned later, he was fine and overly nice and cheerful and talkative which is his way of apologising, I suppose.

        Again, this is all part and parcel to an upbringing. Even the culture in which he grew up, familial and local, was fraught with arguing to win spouses, and domestic abuse. Wives manipulating husbands, and husbands fighting to win. I grew up in in a similar culture, though not as volital. I thought, in my youth and innocent foolishness, that the best way to avoid it was to be the perfect wife and never bother my husband. Frankly, I practically hand fed him an abusive relationship. I should have worn a doormat instead of a wedding gown.

        Thankfully, he has more moral chutzpah than most of his contemporaries in that culture, and things have been slowly changing for both of us. I pick on him a lot here, but unfortunately, for me right now, this is my only venue to gain clarity. I had a mentor, but she is no longer available for our sessions. Having this safe place to discuss this helps me gain understanding which in turn helps me gain wisdom.

  2. I wonder if it’s that women, in general, tend to be generalists while men are specific…macro vs. micro?

    There are times when a manifestation of illness will lead me to say, “This sucks.”

    To my wife it’s a judgement on my life at that moment, while to me it’s just a judgement on the moment. It doesn’t mean that depressed or despairing; it simply means that the moment to which I referred was very unpleasant.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 353 – Groundhog DayMy Profile

  3. In an effort to avoid this, I try to ask my husband straight out. “Did you mean this, or no?” Or something like, “OK, what I heard is…is that what you’re saying, or am I reading that wrong?” He says he’d much rather I ask for clarification and him explain than for me to get mad because I heard something that was not intended, so I take him at his word and ask. Thankfully, he’s patient about explaining. I know him well enough by now that usually what he says and what I hear are pretty similar, but there are those times when we have to do a little more talking to make sure we’re on the same page. It’s worth it, though.

  4. Asking is dangerous.
    I feel like I have to read into what he says or read between the lines because, seriously, he is a terrible at communication of all types, including verbally communicating any affirmation or love towards me other than the occasional “love you.” He has male relatives who are the same way and I am not the only person to see it so, I know I’m not imagining things. It greatly annoys him if I ask for clarification or for him to be specific/use real descriptive words (like even suggesting or asking him to use a person’s name instead of ‘she’ when we haven’t been talking about that person or situation for at least the last two hours! I’m sorry, I know a lot of “she’s.” If I say “what I heard you say was…, is that what you’re saying?” and what I heard was wrong, he takes that as an accusation. It’s a no win situation. I am aware that sometimes I have ‘heard’ things he didn’t say or mean– that most likely comes from my filters and how I grew up. I’m trying to hear the truth of what is said and meant. I’ve tried making ‘appointments’ to discuss things; I’ve tried stating the facts and letting it drop, I’ve tried asking politely to follow some general communication ‘rules’ but, honestly, 40 years of miscommunication (and his avoidance/passivity) is taking a huge toll on me, mentally, physically and, sadly, I’ve even lately found myself contemplating giving up on God as I can’t see Him anywhere in this mess.

  5. Done that on multiple occasions. It does make him mad either overtly or he (used to) brushes it aside or uses sarcasm to deflect everything. Nothing good comes from any of my attempts to communicate better or be understood and, even though I seek God on these things it still comes back to bite me. The last six years have just increased the chasm between us.

    • @Roomtogrow – I’m so sorry. That chasm will continue to grow if nothing is done to deal with it. N0t that I think you are ignoring it. The question is how far should you push to try and get some change.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Kindness: Words MatterMy Profile

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