21 answers

Help Needed! My Husband Doesn't Know When to Stop Talking......

Well, you know how they make fun of us women being the ones that talk too much? Well not in my case. It is the other way around. Don't get me wrong, my husband is a good man but he sure does love to talk. Doesn't do it though when it's just us. Only when he is talking to anyone else, other family members, friends, neighbors, etc. It gets a little unnerving because you can plainly see that the other person is ready to leave or go on to another thing, but he keeps talking. The other person trying to be polite will just keep listening but afterwards, I hear about how much my husband talks. In my family, it's become a joke in a ways. My husband is one of those know it alls. Now he does know how to do a lot and has had more life experiences than the normal person but it gets a little irritating. I've had to learn to tune him out at times and also had to learn how to step in to get him to stop talking so the other person can leave or whatever. I have to do it in a way that isn't rude nor hurt his feelings. For an example, a few years back when we were looking for a place to live, we met a real estate agent at this house but as soon as we saw it, we knew it wasn't for us. He said, let's not waste the agent's time and let her know as soon as she arrives that it wasn't for us. Now that would normally take 5 minutes or so, right? Well about one hour later, we are leaving!!! It gets so aggravating at times. I don't know how to approach this with him without hurting his feelings. I don't want him to change who he is but just to be more aware of his surroundings and to the needs of the other person(s) he is talking to. I'm tired of hearing about how much he talks and all the jokes. It's really starting to hurt me. It doesn't help that my husband has a hearing problem due to dealing with explosives years back, so you have to constantly repeat yourself (one of my pet peeves). He's been told that he needs to wear hearing aids but he refuses to. Afraid of appearing like an old man to me (there's a 14 year age difference), but I've told him, that I would rather him wear them, for one - it's a safety factor for him and two - it would cut back on a lot of our misunderstandings. But that's a whole other story. Now, let me say, he does come by it naturally, his mother is the queen of talk - and usually it isn't very nice talk - she likes to talk about others (it makes me wonder what she says about me but frankly I really don't care). She is 100 percent worse than my husband. Luckily for me, she lives in Virginia so I don't have to see her that much. I literally can not take much of her. (that again is another story) So my thing is, how would you approach someone about this? Like I've said, I don't want to hurt his feelings or make him feel that he just better not talk at all. Or do you have any advice for me on how to handle my own sanity concerning this? Thanks to all!!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

i wish i could help you out. my mother-in-law is the same way! something that could take 2 minutes to say takes her 45 min!! Finally I say "okay well i have to go" but I know you cant do that, so tell him "gee you talk to much" in a serious but joking way. good luck!

I think you should tell him kindly! And know that everyone has to deal with something! My husband doesn't talk at all! When we have guests or spend time out with friends or go to someone's house "i" have to carry the whole conversation! Luckily i am comfortable speaking to others. I wish my husband would talk .. Even to me! I tell him all the time to communicate with me!! Please!! Good luck! And yes he needs hearing aids. If you want to make him realize that, try saying "what" to him a lot in one day all day, at the end of the day let him know that is what it is like when he can't hear and constantly needs you and every one else to repeat themselves!

More Answers

LOL Sorry, hon, but you might be married to an aspie. I have this very same problem and I really, honestly, can't tell when people want me to shut up. My MIL got to where she just told me to shut up or walked away. So now I just don't talk to her and that solves the problem. But when I am nervous I do talk more then usual.

'take' this test for your husband and see if you think he has a lot of the traits. It might help you understand him better.


another (shorter but less accurate) one is


Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism but don't let that scare you. Most aspies do well in life they just have some social problems like you described of your husband.

S., proud autistic!

i wish i could help you out. my mother-in-law is the same way! something that could take 2 minutes to say takes her 45 min!! Finally I say "okay well i have to go" but I know you cant do that, so tell him "gee you talk to much" in a serious but joking way. good luck!

That's funny, at first I thought you might be a friend of mine with the same problem. But, not the same name. Anyways, from the perspective of the other people who get caught talking to the "talky" person. It is a little unnerving. I would suggest that you not in the moment, but later on let him know that he is talking too much with one person. That he needs to talk casually then move on to another person. I know it is hard for my friend because it has come to be a joke among our group about getting cornered at a birthday party by him so everyone keeps moving trying to avoid getting cornered or make sure that you are with other people then you can escape if he come up then they are caught. She has talked to him about it and it has gotten better, I think it is just a behavior that will take a while to work on. But first he needs to recognize he does it. As for the hearing problem, there is a hearing aid that is advertised that you can hardly see, I know of someone who wears it and you barely notice it. Sorry, I don't know the name, I know it advertises on T.V.

Can't help but I 'd love to get him together with my husband. He is on first name basis with all the Starbuck baristas, bank tellers and check out people in Target (and I not exxagerating at all!). He loves people and loves to talk. I think it's cute but I always feel bad for whoever is in line behind us ;) (And he is ironically a realtor so thank your stars he was not the agent your husband was talking to you--you might still be there!)
Just accept his little quirk and maybe carry around those noise-proof Bose headphones. My guess is his talking was one of things you fell in love with when you met him. I am betting later in life, you will look back fondly at his talking :)
On him taking too long, always say you need to be somewhere 30 minutes earlier than you really need to be--shhhh, I do this all the time! I also have all our clocks going fast ranging from 6 minutes to 23. (As you can guess, being late from talking has been an issue here too!)
Sorry about the MIL too--I can relate here too!

I know how irritating a man can be that talks a lot. I had a very dear friend that talked a lot. And made fun of him and it was a joke with our friends about him.But he knew we made fun of him.He passed away 2 weeks ago in a accident he was only 54 and I miss him so very much I wish I could hear him talk non stop again.I guess I am saying if that really all that bothers you about him really,then I was just tune him out.Because I figured out that life is to short,don't sweat the small stuff.

OK, I just totally had to laugh when I read this because -- did you see how long YOUR post was? LOL... (hee hee -- I mean that in good clean fun as a joke sista! I swear) :)

Motormouth-- yeah, I've been called that too... It'll be interesting to read this thread -- but I would say the "safety" aspect of the hearing aids is a good thing.

Maybe you guys could have a key phrase or body lingo message that you can use with one another when you need to cut the conversation and be done with it... apparently he can't read the obvious signs people give out so if YOU intentionally create one -- you can say -- hey.. if you're in a conversation taht's taking too long because the other person wont turn it off -- and I do this (and then make up some move)... just say, hey, we gotta run or I gotta go and let that be the end of it. ??? (there was a Mad About You episode about that - but it was to get one another out of bad conversations at a party -- she was supposed to pull hair hair back off her shoulders or something like that... and he kept intentionally ignoring her sign -- was pretty funny) :)

Good luck. :) Sounds like you've got some great patience. :) rub some of that karma off on me as I'd have given him a mouthfull already -- turn it off BABE! Ha

Dear S.:
If he is a bit like me, he may not realize when he goes into 'overtime'. Perhaps you can take him aside one day, NOT after such an incident, and say that you noticed that people are not 'getting off the hook'. Suggest a code word or phrase that you agree upon which you can use in front of people to signal him. Make sure that you agree that the code is not hostile, more like a friendly reminder and a hint that the other person wants to leave (or if it's a motormouth, too, that YOU want to leave). You can even present the code as a time saver so that you have more quality time together. Tell him you have a female antenna, so you are doing him a favor with that signal, since he does not pick up subtle signals from others. As long as you are a team, he may see where you are coming from and agree.

The phrase could be "I'll be in the car and make a quick phone call" (make sure you think of a person to call, in case a question comes up) or "Please remind me, we'll have to run by the store later and pick up some groceries for dinner." (make sure to think of anything). Phrases like these sound innocent to others and give the talk a disruption that should make him realize it is the code.

Similarly, my dad did not like certain foods and my mom knew which ones, e.g., certain ingredients. She used to tell him "you cannot eat that" in a buffet, and he was happy. But since they did not use a code, other people found it outrageous that she 'dictated' what he can and cannot eat, so a code is a good thing.

Good luck,

I think you should tell him kindly! And know that everyone has to deal with something! My husband doesn't talk at all! When we have guests or spend time out with friends or go to someone's house "i" have to carry the whole conversation! Luckily i am comfortable speaking to others. I wish my husband would talk .. Even to me! I tell him all the time to communicate with me!! Please!! Good luck! And yes he needs hearing aids. If you want to make him realize that, try saying "what" to him a lot in one day all day, at the end of the day let him know that is what it is like when he can't hear and constantly needs you and every one else to repeat themselves!

Ok first your post was really long and that was funny in itself. I think you should take a deep breath and tune him out. Even if you do say something in a nice way you may still hurt his feelings and that will only last for a little while and he will go back to his same ways because that is his personality. Maybe just do a code word because 'you' get inpatient (spelling?). If it makes you feel any better my hubby is a know it all and it works my last nerves sometimes, he totally CANNOT read body language, so I too can relate.

back in college when my husband and I were just friends, he looked at me one day and said, "you talk too much." that pretty much worked. sure, it hurt my feelings, but it's a hard thing to tell someone and a hard thing to hear. at about the same time, another friend teased me about being too talkative too--said I have a "story" for everything (I still do!). I am now likely super sensitive to when I should shut-up, but I think it's a good thing. now I get annoyed with over-talkers! ha!

good luck, bless you

I'd have an honest conversation with him about it. Some people are less aware of other people's visual queues and not as good at listening. Some people also talk more when they are nerveous - sort of a defensive mechanism (quiet/or dead space in conversation makes them uncomfortable)...and so maybe this is why he does this more with family and friends than you. You might ask him to practice some listening skills when he is with family or friends next go around. It is a learned skill so I think there are some ways you can approach this gently. Some things he could do to practice better two-way converstaion: repeat back some of the points or thoughts that the other person has had to ensure/echo understanding during the conversation. Ensure that during a conversation, he does some interium checks-with himself that he is listening as much as is talking (conversation is more 50%/50% listening-talking), practice allowing silent space in conversations with you at home, practice asking more questions in coversation that will prompt the other person to share information (vs. him providing information or telling stories about himself all of the time.). There might be some decent books on body language, but in general if he could just pause in a conversation to make mental note of the person's body language it may help him slow down or stop. (e.g. Are they intently looking at him or gazing off when he is talking, crossed arms, facial expressions etc). If he seems receptive to the idea that he may not be recognizing the signs when people are not receptive to his talking, you could arrange some sort of visual signal you could give to him to let him know to slow down or stop that would not be apparent to everyone else (e.g. - a squeeze to his leg if you are sitting next to him...) Anyway - just a few ideas. I know it will be an uncomforable talk to have with your husband, but it sounds like it is bothering you and others enough that you should talk to him about it. My guess is that it is a nerveous social habit of his. Let us know how it goes...

This sounds exactly like my husband. He once even told my boss that I made to much money. He was not trying to say anything bad. That is what he though and he thinks he know everything. He has said some very innappropriate things to my mother. I finally started telling him that if he did not keep his mouth shut then he could stay home. I his halped some.
As far as the hearing aids go...my boss has them and noone would ever even know it. You cannot see them at all.

Honestly, I think you should just ask if he ever thinks his mom is annoying they way she talks all the time and always "knows" everything. If he says yes, then you simply say in your own words " I don't know if you realize this and I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I've noticed that you have the same bad habit and I was hoping we could work together to change it"...
I come from a family of "know it alls"... mostly women. I was raised by my father and away from most of them. They talk OVER eachother, there is a lot of "talking about whoever doesn't happen to be there" and a lot of spreading "concern" which happens to be their code word for what I call gossip.
I am not perfect, but I am by no means LIKE them in this way and I find what they say about each other. The demeaning way in which they always have "a better way" or come right out and say people are stupid/ridiculous, etc. for not doing things their way ~~ it is hard to take. AND I guarantee you if I was doing it, my husband would put a stop to it in a hurry.
My husband had a bad habit of just talking when I was in the middle of a sentence. He would do it at home when it was just us, and in public with friends, etc. I finally had enough one night and said "I tell you what, if you don't stop interrupting me and completely discounting that I am speaking, we are going to have a problem". He was shocked to know it had gone on some time... I wish I'd have told him sooner. I may have told him NICER!
Your husband probably doesn't even realize it.

Hi S.,

My husband is like that too, but maybe not as bad. First thing, I would tell your family and friends that the jokes and stuff are hurting your feelings. No one is perfect, his flaw just happens to be more apparent than other peoples. And if you feel as though his exessive talking is putting a strain on your relationship you should schedule a time to talk with him and explain that sometimes he gets a little to involved in the conversation and isn't picking up on the ques that someone needs (or wants to) leave the conversation. Tell him people (as well as you) value his opinion and comments, but it can be a little overwhelming when he continues on. Just make sure he knows that you still appreciate him, love him and don't want him to change who his is. You would just like him to work on his behavior. It would be really good if you have a behavior that you know bugs him, or maybe yourself, and you guys can work on it together. This would be a great new years resolution.

Another thought, when he's in a conversation with someone and you see that they seem to be "tuned out" maybe you and your husband can have a code signal for him to wrap things up.

Good luck!

The only advise I am going to give you is that you should let it go, I think that you say something you risk hurting his feelings to the point that he will try to avoid doing things around you just to try and make you happy. In the end I think that you will find out it is one of the things you love about him. Does it bother you that bad to where you want to make him feel bad? My husband does something that drive me crazy trust me but I deal with it because I am afraid if I take those things away that it may change who he is and I would never want that. I hope you can find a solution that is good for the both of you.

My husband had a similar problem years ago. The best way to deal with this is to be as blunt and honest as possible. I know that's not the direction you want to take, and I know you don't want to hurt his feelings, but I'm sure that he would want to know how many people make fun of him for it too. I know I would. And I would also hope that if I had the same problem that my husband would be the one to tell me too. I would really hate it if people were just being polite to me all my life, but then making fun of me behind my back for something that I didn't even know was an issue. So tell him. Be open about it. Be bold. It's the only way he'll really know that it's something he needs to work on. Best of luck!

I feel your pain......add alcohol and it NEVER ends!! :) I would like to know how to deal with it politely too. Good luck and I am watching for responses to this one!!

I think making him aware of his long conversations is a good thing for both of you. Perhaps he will start noticing how he carries on. Also, he needs to be more aware of the reactions of the person whom he is speaking with and recognize when he is losing them. Good luck.


My husband is the same. We just went to a counselor yesterday and she told him that the reason that he talks like he does is that he didn't get heard as a child. May not be the same for your hubby. My husband repeats himself multiple times, then thinks he didn't get his point across. Likes to tell stories (the same stories) again and again. Also takes him a long time to get his words out.

Much luck,


I can relate so well to your situation that my Husband (he never reads or sits by me when I get on mamasource, however,) when I started reading your request for help, my dear Husband really asked me did I send in the request for help. He came & saw your name and then when we got to the age difference part, he knew, but I showed no mercy as I continued on, He also came by it honestly, but his Mother doesn't say anything mean or gossips, she's old & from West Texas & talks slow & goes in a 100 different directions if you were to give her a compliment on a flower arrangement she might have on her table. You will not only know what kind of flowers they are & where that particular flower/flowers originated from, you will also know the senders Great Grandmother's burial spot, LOL. But it's really not a laughing matter when it comes to Husband. I have friends and family members that are too polite to say anything, just don't have us over. I usually interupt conversation & ask his hostage a question. I've created a diversion, like go to the restroom & scream for his help & when he gets in there, have to tell him straight out, "Honey you are rambling again. Just because someone asks you what kind of project you are working on (He does small & large home repair) they do not want to know the name of your customers family dog. I'm lucky that he's learned to not be offended and does believe me & wants to be stopped if he is really going overboard. I have no other advice to give you. Some folks do enjoying him rambling forever, that accounts for why He gets alot of repeat work from his Senior Citizens. Once again not laughing at you but with you, because we have been married for almost 20 years & I don't see him changing.
Best of luck, maybe we'll get some really good advice here.
R. M

I feel for you. Years ago a boyfriend took me to a couples house for dinner. Everyont left the table a little at a time. I was really young and did not know these people. I was listening to this man and as time went on I could not be rude and leae. The boyfriend treid to rescue me several times but in order to leave I would have had to leave while he was still talking. Everyone else knew how he was but me. I have no idea how to get him stopped. It becomes embarrassing to the other person asl well. My first hubby got into religion and on and on he would preach. I would end up in tears and did not enjoy it at all. I love the Lord but pushing it off on others is just to me not being a Christian. People do not want to be turned off by it. It is by example in our living every day not a stand on the corner and hand out booklets to me that turn people on. At some point you just need to be honest. The book How to Win Friends and Influence People is a great book to show consideration for others. Maybe that would help. Good Luck. G. W.

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