Why He Doesn't Listen


Your man hears you and is trying to figure out how to help you, but in the way men handle problems.

One of the most common frustrations women have about their partner is that he just doesn't seem to listen. How many times have you poured your heart out to your guy only to hear, "Don't worry, honey. Next time, all you need to do is..."

When you are really counting on your man to be there and understand you, this can be disappointing and even downright infuriating! And because he didn't "get it" the first time, you'll try to explain it in a different way. You'll tell the story all over again, only to hear him repeat his "how to" advice, but with more vigor—and we all know how this ends.

Why do men do this? Truth be told, they are not trying to drive you crazy, or hurt you, or make you feel bad. Here's really what's going on:

First of all, guys don't like to see their woman upset. It's a difficult emotional experience for them. And rather than lean in and empathize, most guys will instead emotionally distance themselves by treating your dilemma like a problem to be solved, like a carburetor that needs to be fixed.

It's even worse if you are trying to figure out how you are really feeling about a situation. If you're unsure about which way to go, chances are your guy doesn't know how to support you; and listening patiently while you work it out is probably not the first tool in his toolbox.

Secondly, in a guy's world, bringing up a problem means they want your opinion. Take this scenario: Two guys are talking over a beer and one shares a tale of woe. The friend's job is to listen carefully and then suggest, "Well dude, I don't know; but if I were you...”  and give the buddy his best shot at advice. The buddy may or may not act on it, but he will appreciate that his friend cared enough to share it.

In female friendships, empathy tends to come naturally. Being there and understanding your friend's feelings shows caring, and that is more important than offering a solution. This is such an intuitive reflex for women that they expect anyone who cares to react the same way, including their man. When he behaves differently, it's easy to assume that he isn't listening and doesn't care.

The truth is, he actually is hearing what you have to say. In fact, he's showing how much he cares by doing what he does best—helping you analyze the situation and offering his best fix-it advice.

Ironically, the more important and emotional the conversation is, it is less likely your guy will come through when it comes to really listening and "getting it" (remember, he's emotionally distancing himself from the conversation). It may often feel like he is preoccupied, has a short attention span, or, even worse, just doesn't care. But the truth is just the opposite.

Now that you know what he's really doing when you think he isn't listening, the question is, how do you get what you need? Like most things in life, the key is to ask. If you need him to just be there for you while you talk, let him know. Most guys will give you their best effort. But if he slips and tells you what to do, keep in mind it's only because he cares.

From LoveInsight.com Co-Founder Dr. Martin Johnson

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