What She Doesnt Say That You Need to Hear!
By Dr Mark Mywords
“Communication” is the flavour of the day, and has been for a while, in relationship advice columns.
It seems like as long as you have got your communication right you don’t need anything else in common.
If you’re fighting, that’s a “communication breakdown”, and so is sulking etc. “Talk about it” was the catchcry of the 90s – and still is.
It’s not exactly like you’re not communicating when you’re shouting at each other.
Yes, you can also say “I am feeling angry”, but somehow it doesn’t quite hack it as well as a good shout. On the softer side of communication requirements is sex, which we are also advised to talk about preferably before we do it, to make sure everyone is okay about the how’s and where’s.
A foreplay-plan is part of every good prenuptial agreement nowadays.
One of the more common “communication breakdowns” I come across is a wife sulking because her husband hasn’t done something she expected him to do without ever telling him.
For example the dishes. To men, it is one of the great mysteries of women why they expect their men to do things they never tell them about, only to be so disappointed when they don’t do it.
He doesn’t actually mind doing the dishes at all, but neither is he terribly upset when they stack from the bottom of the kitchen sink up to the ceiling. So unless she tells him, he won’t know. Her fault. End of story?
Ah, but this is where the age old dance of the sexes comes in. Guys, sometimes you just got to reach up to the stars and grab one for her even though she didn’t dare ask for one. She’ll give you hints, though, and that’s part of the game. Consider yourself to be old Sherlock and make sense of what she chooses to reveal.
So she is sulking.
Look into the kitchen sink! Has she complained lately that she hasn’t got anything nice to wear? Has she made any remarks about how nice it would be if men could just sit down on the toilet like women? (This is a hint for you to clean the toilet regularly).
Listen between the lines and you’ll find some of the stuff that really ticks her off. You can also think of it as a kind of test, whether you a really listening to her. And then do whatever she expects you to do (if you don’t mind), but don’t take credit for the detective work.
If she is really annoyed she might talk to other people about what she wants you to do, for example your mother, so you are sure to hear it but she still doesn’t have to say it directly to you.
That’s her equivalent of shouting at you, and you’ll probably feel rather annoyed to hear from your mother what an unsensitive husband you are. Not that she ever had a very high opinion of you anyway, of course.
For her (your partner) it’s about feeling acknowledged By doing the dishes at the end of the day you acknowledge that her day was hard and that you appreciate whatever she managed to do otherwise. Diamonds also go down well as a replacement for just about anything else (meaning you can usually buy your way out of it).
A reasonably big one might make up for a half year of toilet cleaning (exchange rate may vary in different parts of the country). But the moment she tells you about it, the acknowledgement part vanishes.
Then you’ll do it, because she told you to, not because you acknowledge her work/her person/her feelings.
If you think about it, perhaps you’ve been guilty of the expect-but-don’t-tell crime yourself, once or twice.
Part of human nature, really.
That’s also why forgetting your wedding anniversary will probably soon be included in the Domestic Violence Act.
It’s like you forgot that you have a wife, the epitomy of taking her for granted. If you listen to her properly, she’ll give you hints well in advance that it’s coming up.
And, actually, they are nice occasions to celebrate your relationship, perhaps put back some spice into your love life. Now here’s a challenge for you. But don’t forget to talk about it first, eh mate?
So does that mean you have to do everything she wants (but never tells)? Hmmmm. Let’s face it, women like to be the boss around the house and us guys can mainly put up passive resistance. So sometimes you may know what she wants, but you find it unreasonable.
In this case the fact that she didn’t actually tell you what she wanted works to your advantage. You can pretend to be even dumber than you really are.
Things go off the rail, however, if the nerve connections between your ears and your brain gets suspended whenever your wife speaks. If you find yourself deliberately not listening to her ‘nagging’ it’s really time to talk.
She is probably trying to get a message through that you don’t want to hear, but it’s likely one you shouldn’t ignore.
Likewise, if she talks to others about you more than she talks to you this is rather destabilising to a relationship. A certain degree of loyalty is one of the things everyone expects from their partner. This is when the games that men and women play, and that make life interesting, turn into a problem.
So, talk about it – but don’t stop playing.