When In Doubt, Ignore It

Does your husband tend to ignore you? Or maybe I should ask “How often does your husband ignore you?”

When In Doubt, Ignore It

There are a variety of reasons beyond just being rude that a man ignores his wife:

  • He has no idea what she’s talking about, and silence seems better than demonstrating he’s clueless.
  • She has talked so much he is no longer listening.
  • He feels what she is saying is dangerous territory. If anything he says could start a disagreement, saying nothing seems wise.
  • He doesn’t know anything about the subject and decides opening his mouth would just show his ignorance.
  • He’s reached his talk limit for the day.

How you deal with this depends on the reason(s) for his ignoring. However, starting with what’s most important is a good idea regardless of his why.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and around here I talk more and I get ignored on occasion.

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16 Comments on “When In Doubt, Ignore It

  1. What about when he’s playing games on his computer and you haven’t talked all day and need to communicate about daily life with kids? I am ignored a lot when none of the things you mentioned apply. How do I handle that? I’ve told him I wish he would listen to which he replies he is and he does know what I’m saying most of the time but isn’t taking a minute to stop and look at me. It wouldn’t bother me so much if he didn’t get mad when I am in the middle of something like paying bills or another task that requires concentration and he walks into the room and starts taking about something that can easily wait (he reads something on Facebook that he just has to share with me right then). If I don’t stop what I’m doing and look at him and totally focus on what he’s talking about he gets upset that I’m ignoring him. I’ve tried to talk about it, asking if it’s a good time to talk before I bring anything up. He doesn’t get it, there is a definite double standard.

  2. It could be a functional problem, like a gradual loss of hearing acuity. It’s often first manifested by the repeated failure to pick up an interrogative at the end of a sentence, and it appears like he’s ignoring you by not answering, when he really didn’t know it was a question!

    Related to this, many people have a tendency to start a sentence at normal conversational volume and then get much quieter toward the end, when, again, an interrogative may be missed. Does he often ask you to repeat that last part of what you just said…or, more telling, did he do this IN THE PAST and has now stopped…and you still feel ignored? That may mean he’s given up the ‘please-say-again’ and thereby has accepted a seeming inevitability of reduced communication.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 356 – Back In The High Life AgainMy Profile

    • No hearing loss. If you whisper across the room to someone else he can hear that.

      • I have lost a lot of hearing due to loud music and if there is any ambient noise I can’t discern what my wife – or anybody else for that matter – is saying. Plus she has the tendency to stop before the last word and then spend a moment searching her mind for that precious last word.

        I complete a lot of her sentences.

  3. How do you deal with it? I have tried to cut back how much I talk to my husband (like, my mom and I can talk for 3 hours with each other without taking a breath, but I try to limit myself to less than 5 minutes with my husband and to be more succinct). I know that can be a problem. But I can’t talk about my work, for example, because it’s really technical and he doesn’t understand it. Instead of just listening and going mm-hmm if I’m talking about a big project or a change in process or an issue with another department, he goes completely blank and leaves without saying anything or responding in any way.

    I’ve taken this to mean that he is not interested in talking with me, but this covers literally every subject — my work, my family, what I’m doing at church, politics, movies, books, TV shows. He just closes down, doesn’t respond, and walks away. I limit all topics now to his work, how his day is, and immediate household issues. I don’t know what else to do.

    • That is a conundrum. And, hurtful both to your relationship as a whole and to you individually.

    • @sunny-dee – Have you tried asking questions? Preferably questions that can’t be answered with “yes” or “no”.

      • Apparently a lot of questions can also be answered with “fine,” “bad,” “busy,” and “I already told you my day was fine.” ;)

        • @sunny-dee – Yeah, sounds like he just doesn’t want to communicate. I don’t get that, but I know men who are that way. I’d like to ask them why they are that way, but given they don’t like to talk I don’t see that going anywhere.
          Is there anything he will talk about?
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Be The Change: HealthMy Profile

  4. I have noticed I am beginning to not listen to hubby. Mostly because my mental load is more of a mental overload, and I am just plain exhausted! It is also still summer vaca so I listen to our children all day long. I am a person who thrives on vast quantities of alone time interspersed with quality togetherness. I get neither now and it has worn on me.

    I’ll have to be more intentional about listening to him.

  5. My hearing has taken a hit over the years, and a lot of what Andrew describes applies to me. I will hear 90% of her sentence, but lose the context to the point I don’t know if a question was asked, or a response was expected. When she looks at me like she’s expecting a response, I know I missed a critical word or two. :(

    Another issue in our household is she sometimes tries to talk to me from another room, or even from another floor of the house. I’ve taken to yelling “Hold on” and going to her, then asking her to start over.

    Lastly, my DW talks a lot more than I do in general, to the point where the amount of talking can be overwhelming for me. This often means that I can’t get a word in edgewise when I do have something to add, or that I will be interrupted or talked over when I do try to say something. She says her girlfriends talk over each other all the time and it’s not a big deal, but to me, someone who doesn’t speak much to begin with, and given a hard time for it, it hurts to be interrupted when I finally do have something to say. She realizes she does this, and is working on it. But it tends to shut me down and less interested in continuing the conversation.

    • It’s the opposite in my marriage. My husband does far more talking that I do. It can be overwhelming. He will tell me stories about people I’ve never met using their names and then two months later relate that story to something else. It goes something like “This is like what I told you about Joe.” But I don’t know who Joe is or what my husband is talking about. He gets mad because he says I don’t listen. It’s really just informative overload and while I do listen I filter what I remember. While he remembers everything, his brain is like a sponge and soaks up everything without having to try so he doesn’t know how to relate when I don’t remember a story of Joe whom I don’t know two months later.

      And I completely understand about having to interrupt to say anything. That’s the only way I can talk once he gets going. I think when it comes to communication I often feel more like the husband because my husband talks as much as many wives do. He’s a really good talker, not so much on the listening side of it though.

    • @closertotheheart – I feel her pain. My hearing is very good, Lori’s is average or less. My son also had exceptional hearing, and I got in the habit of talking in ways he could hear, but she could not. It’s become a habit I find difficult to change.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Kindness: Words MatterMy Profile

    • I have the same problem being a female. Every time I try to tell someone something that happened or a story, I get a few words in and then shut down because someone interrupted with their own story. I’m an introvert and have always been shy and quiet but when i do try to
      add to the conversation no one hears me
      Because they all talk over me. It makes me feel like I’m uninteresting and boring. I think that people are just so selfish and self absorbed that they feel their opinions or stories are much more important than mine. No one understands the art of listening anymore. It’s very frustrating and degrading.

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