5 Reasons Your Boyfriend Or Husband Doesn't Listen To You

Find out why you don't feel heard in your relationship — and what to do about it.

Last updated on Sep 30, 2022

woman standing next to boyfriend who isn't listening to her MAYA LAB / Shutterstock

"My boyfriend doesn't listen to me!"

If you've ever found yourself lamenting to your friends, co-workers or even your therapist about the fact that your boyfriend or husband doesn't seem to listen to you, you might be surprised to find that you can change the frustrating communication pattern without trying to change him at all.

Below are five potentially surprising reasons you don't feel heard in your relationship, as well as what to do about it.


RELATED: How 'Selective Hearing' Sabotages Even The Best Relationship

Try out these tips and see what changes...

5 reasons your boyfriend or husband doesn't listen to you, and what to do about each.

1. You talk too much (without saying more).

Because many women suffer from a feeling of not being heard, they try to make up for it by talking more than necessary.


A man will often tune out his wife or girlfriend after 10 to 15 minutes. When he does, she intuitively notices she's not being heard and talks more, in an attempt to get his attention.

Men pick up on an energy of resentment and often deal with it by tuning out even more. Have you ever experienced a moment like that?

If your partner hears you repeat the same thing more than once or twice, he may subconsciously register it as a complaint that subsequently triggers him to shut down and stop listening altogether. This is because he doesn't just hear a complaint — it comes across to him as a criticism about his behavior and, by extension, a criticism about him as a person.

What to do about it: Try to plan what you are going to say so that it is concise and to the point. If what you need to say is a little longer than a minute, take a breath here and there to pause and ask if he's still following so you can repeat anything they don't understand or didn't hear. Ask them to repeat this back to you to make sure he's following before continuing.


2. You catch him at the wrong time.

Some women ask their men to listen when they're already in the middle of something.

Of course, you want his attention, but if he's already focused on something else, he naturally won't be able to give it to you 100%.

You might find yourself unable to really give your full attention to everything someone is saying in a meeting while reviewing documents for another project at the same time. Think about it — what was the last thing the presenter said, word-for-word?

Maybe it's not fair to get angry at your boyfriend for not knowing the same answer when you ask him this question while he's preoccupied with cooking dinner or reading the latest book by his favorite author.


What to do about it: Talk before he starts a project — and if you forget before he gets started, respect his time and let him finish. Ask him if this is a good time to talk.

If it isn't, schedule a better time to talk with him when you can both give each other your full attention without being distracted by a task at hand or time restrictions because one of you has to get ready to get out of the door to pick up the kids or take care of something else that will likely keep him preoccupied.

RELATED: Why Criticism & Blame Are Killing Your Marriage: How One Couple Cracked The Code To Lifelong Happiness

3. He thinks you just assume he'll agree with whatever you have to say.

Maybe he usually nods and says "mhm," "OK," "got it," "sure thing" or "I totally agree" whenever you have something to say, whether the topic is about something that happened that day between two of your friends or you're asking him to do a chore for the tenth time and wondering why it's such an uphill battle to get him to do a seemingly simple task.


Does your partner truly feel like he's expected to agree or comply with your thoughts, opinions, etc.? If so, you're not letting him have a voice in the relationship, too, and he may be holding back thoughts and feelings of his own in an unhealthy way — both for him and the relationship itself.

He needs to know you won't attack him or shut down (maybe a concern from a past incident where you lashed out after he expressed a perspective differing from yours?).

What to do about it: You need to establish with your man that he can trust you and be vulnerable around you, which will take time. But it can usually be done if you're willing to commit to actively encouraging him to speak up and give his input. Your relationship should be a sanctuary with its own safe space where both of you can confide in each other many of your most personal thoughts and feelings.

When he tries to talk about something, let him finish without any interruption. Try to see things from his side.


And give yourself a moment to breathe and cool down if you begin to notice feelings of anger stirring up — they'll only create further damage. Go for a healthy discussion where you're both conscious of the fact you're ultimately working toward the same shared goal.

why your boyfriend doesn't listen to you

4. You expect him to hang on every single word.

Of course you're an interesting, captivating woman worth paying attention to, and no one is arguing otherwise.

What can be overwhelming for men is an overload of information all at once or what they may perceive as tangential information about subjects you would probably ordinarily discuss with your girlfriends instead.


Then, after a few minutes go by in cold silence, you realize his eyes are blank and he's totally checked out. You might get agitated, even yell at him, "Are you even paying attention?"

Be honest with yourself. Whenever he's just returned from his Formula One fan club and starts excitedly telling you about the latest race and all the details about the latest qualifying scores or how Ferraris aren't just red — they're Rosso Corsa — are you even reading this?


What to do about it: Remember your husband is a human with his own interests, hobbies, strengths and shortcomings. Even the best listeners' eyes gloss over after a while when they're lost in the weeds of the finer details of one of your favorite pastimes that he even tried getting into but decided it just wasn't for him.


Save this topic of discussion for the appropriate audience.

And even if he's trying his best to keep up with the subject at hand, remember to pace yourself because you have a live audience that needs to digest your story in reasonable-sized bites.

RELATED: 9 Ways To Grab The Attention Of Any Man You Want — And Keep It Forever


5. You believe he won't listen.

If you've ever been caught in the first four habits, you probably found yourself saying, "He just never listens!"

When you put that belief out there, you only set the stage for it to happen again. Great communication is the foundation of any good marriage. So, communicate what you need.

What to do about it: Try asking him, "Honey, I really want you to pay 100% attention to what I want to share with you. When could you give me that?"

It is okay and appropriate to expect that attention and time from him! When he gives it to you, share what you want in a time frame that honors his attention span and your needs, and he'll be even more willing to listen the next time.


It's important to keep from bottling up any of your own resentment until you reach a point when you feel resigned and give up on communicating in your relationship. This will only doom you and your partner to a future that has nothing to do with each other, if not an even more toxic situation than what you're currently experiencing.

Give him a real chance by working to open the lines of communication with some of these techniques.

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Carol Tuttle is a teacher, speaker, gifted healer and the best-selling author of six books.