Agony Aunt Annie offers advice to a reader whose spouse has stopped talking to her…
First things first â?? Iâ??m 35 and my husband 51 â?? weâ??ve known each other for eight years, married for six
Hi, I’m at a loss as to what to do about my husband. He just doesn’t make conversation with me. He has become the â??Silent Partnerâ?. The talking in our home and towards our kids are mostly done by me (my sonâ??s five and my daughter 14 – daughter is from previous relationship)… Itâ??s so bad that when I tell the kids that Iâ??m quickly going to the shops alone the little one cries and seldom wants to “stay alone with Daddyâ?.
I donâ??t get excited anymore about anything…
I donâ??t even want to tell him simple things like how my day was. Heâ??ll just make some sort of a noise to acknowledge that I have spoken and then the conversation will fall flat! He’s quiet, but he comes across as ignorant.
In the beginning I would just put it down to the fact that heâ??s generally a quiet person
But Iâ??ve come to the realisation that there is a difference between quiet and boring, lifelessness or lacklustreness (if there is such a word). People tend to tell me â??Oh, your husband is so quiet and reservedâ?. And all I can think of is: Yes, too quiet and thereâ??s nothing cute about it anymore!
And the worst thing about this is that I used to have a really outgoing personality, but my marriage has taken its toll on me. I am chronically depressed and have put on weight and feel like someone twenty years older!
I’m starting to find him very boring and fantasise about being with somebody who is outgoing and talkative and who mixes well with people.
I do 95% of the talking at home. I think of conversation pieces, maybe I’ll discuss something from the paper, or a film, or recount what happened at the shops. He, on the other hand, if he witnessed a bomb going off, he’d just come in and go “oh yeah a bomb explodedâ?, then he’d go and not say much more.
Sometimes I find him so boring, and I know he gets annoyed at my constant talking, but if I didn’t talk, we’d sit there in silence.
When we have fights, we often go for months of not talking
I know it comes easily for him, but itâ??s breaking my spirit and when we do eventually talk again, Itâ??s no different than the fighting period. If we break up, this will be the only reason why, but the thought of spending the rest of my life with somebody who is happy to sit in silence is horrifying and I don’t know what to do!!
Dear Chatty Patty
Thank you for your letter . Studies show that while men use an average of 7 000 words a day women use 20 000 words! It seems that we also talk faster than men to manage to get all those words in! While you are certainly not alone in talking more than your man, it seems that your man is not coming near using up his quota!
From your letter it seems that he has always been quiet and initially you found that endearing, but over the years he has become even quieter and is now the Silent Partner.
How has his general disposition changed? Has he become withdrawn in other areas of his life? You say that you have become depressed and donâ??t feel excited about life anymore. Could this be the case for him too?
As women we often work out what is bothering us when we chat to our girlfriends
We are able to pour our shattered dreams out as we pour milk into coffee. When men are gathered (normally around primitive things, like fires and slabs of raw meat) the only pouring that tends to happen is a drink.
Perhaps scratching and grunting are a kind of male Morse code for meaningful matters of the soul. Is it possible that Mr Silent is stressed or worried about something that he doesnâ??t want to talk to you about because he feels like a failure in that area and he doesnâ??t want you to see him that way too? Could he be trying to protect you by bearing a worry alone?
I have a friend whose husband was just not hearing her on a specific subject. Eventually after realising that her words were not being heard, she wrote them, letâ??s just say, on the flesh over her heart! Honestly I donâ??t know where she gets her advice from…
Perhaps it is time to look at communicating differently
I am not suggesting that you take to communicating in that way but perhaps it is time to look at communicating differently. If Mr Silent has not responded to your conversation in the last few years, throwing more of it at him is not going to get a different response.
Instead of filling the silence with endless chatter, think about what you would like to talk to him about and see if you are able to communicate that. Most men (very annoyingly) donâ??t care what colour dress you were wearing or where you found better priced lipstick in that darker shade that you like. Using open-ended questions donâ??t allow for a simple yes/no answer.
Have you written him a letter before?
Perhaps you can write to him and tell him the things that you are grateful for about him. Tell him that you miss connecting with him. Ask him about his dreams for his life.
This is not the time to bring up the gazillion things that he does to irritate you. You are not wanting to accuse him of anything that will elicit a defensive response. Rather, you want to get alongside him in a supportive position.
Effective communication is vital for the survival of a relationship
If this is the only major issue that you face it seems like it will be worth the effort to learn how to do draw Mr Silent out into a place where you both feel that you can relate to each other. While you are looking for ways to connect with Mr Silent it is important to stay connected with yourself and to discover what makes you feel content and energized as an individual.
You deserve to be known and loved.
You are beautiful!
Love and blessings