Husbands Who Don't Listen

Updated on May 23, 2011
K.M. asks from Oklahoma City, OK
15 answers

What do you girls do when your husband doesn't listen to you?

I married a talker, not a listener, and I knew that when I married him. It's just that lately it seems to have gotten worse. Now he cuts me off mid-sentence or talks over me or just plain ignores me. We had a rough day yesterday with a lot of bickering, and by the end of the day I had just given up talking to him. I didn't even want to be around him. We were both unhappy. Then he asked if I wanted to go for a walk (walk the dog). I'm thinking, cool, now we can talk or just at least enjoy each other's company. But then he comes out ready for the walk with headphones on. Why even ask me to go? He said it was just background music, but it's already hard enough to talk to him, now I have to talk over the music too? Maybe I'm just feeling sorry for myself but I cried about it a little last night. I don't have any reason to believe that things are going to change. At this point I don't even want to try to have conversations with him. It's not like he listens, why make the effort? I would say I could just talk to a friend instead, but frankly I don't have any close friends right now.

I know this is a common problem with men, but this is the first time I've had to deal with it. Past boyfriends were all actually pretty good listeners, but my husband is the poster child for the stereotype. It makes me feel disrespected and inconsequential.

So how do you girls handle it?

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answers from Milwaukee on

Buy an air horn and interrupt him when he talks. THAT will get his attention.

I know EXACTLY how you feel. My mom does this to everybody. SO annoying and makes you feel like what you're talking about doesn't mean anything or have value.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Buy an air horn and interrupt him when he talks. THAT will get his attention.

I know EXACTLY how you feel. My mom does this to everybody. SO annoying and makes you feel like what you're talking about doesn't mean anything or have value.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I had this licked - so i thought. I got him to listen to me by walking away when he didn't let me talk. Now, he talks constantly and if I try to add to the conversation he talks louder or interrupts me.

To be quite honest, the only time I get him to listen to me without interruption is when I have the ball of conversation in my hand. LITERALLY. It's a ball and when I have it in my hand, he cannot add, inturrupt, or debate - period. When I pass the ball to him, I cannot add, inturrupt, or debate or walk out. It's childish and a therapy 101 trick that works sometimes. If I walk out and come back with the ball, I get the eye rolling heavy sighing "GREAT! Now what!?!?!?" attitude and we decide from there whether or not to speak or take a time out. Usually it's a time out. By then, I've lost my thought.

Sometimes, it's just not worth battling. When I stop talking and pidgeonhole up all my thoughts, he may ask, but generally he just doesn't care to know or is too oblivious to my needs to recognize them. I've told him repeatedly that I need him to not just hear me but to listen to what I'm saying then after that he takes over the conversation and it's just not worth it.

I don't believe it's a "guy thing" and I'm very secure about his love - I think it's a need to be more noticed or more important or more right than to hurt, disrespect, ignore. I truly believe it's not changeable until they recognize it in themselves which if we have to point it out to them, they're not going to see for themselves.

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answers from Daytona Beach on

That is the point when i ask my husband "are you listening to me? oh, you were? what did i just say?" and i make him repeat it. ticks me off when i think he isn't listening.

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answers from Cumberland on

Change the locks-that ought to get his attention.

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answers from Jacksonville on

He is being immature and disrespectful. Communication is a two way street. I'm sorry I don't know how to "fix" this, but I just wanted to you to know that you have the right to be heard and listened to. You shouldn't have to make him listen to you. It sounds like he needs to "man up" and learn how to treat you, his wife. Communications is vital to a healthy marriage. Have you ever told him how it makes you feel when he does that? Maybe putting it into writing would work cannot interrupt a letter. ;) Whether you write it or speak it, try to state how you feel in a respectful, civil, logical way. My husband is an excellent listener, but even he doesn't respond well to accusations or over emotional statements. Be direct and clear. Don't beat around the bush. I hope you are able to work this out. :)

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answers from Chicago on

I guess the big question is, does this happen EVERY time you talk to him? Or is his "not listening" response to a certain "type" of conversation you have with him?

I know for my husband, he is most likely to "interrupt" when he thinks I'm asking him to solve a problem (even though I may just be "venting" or telling him about my day) or thinks that he's being "attacked" about something (even though I may just be asking him why he left something undone). Sometimes, I purposefully have to let him know "hey, i don't need you to solve anything for me, I just wanted to let you know how I'm feeling...." Or, when he interrupts, I let him know "oh, I wasn't done explaning yet. Can you let me finish this train of thought?" And of course, tone of voice and length of conversation is important (I mean, I could probably talk at him for 20 minutes straight, but then, that's not really "conversation").

Lastly, as for the "walk"...sometimes guys think that just spending time together is "good enough." I know that sometimes my husband thinks that just by the fact that we're both in the same room (even if we're doing completely different things), that we're spending "quality time" together. :P Maybe your husband thought that it was a good way to spend time doing something together without bickering while still enjoying each other's company.

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answers from Richmond on

If I'm in a bad mood, I will literally raise my hand and wait to be called on (which irks him because he knows darn well I'm going to say what I have to say whether he likes it or not).

If I'm in my normal mood, I will wait (forever) until he's done speaking, then tell him 'okay, I listened to you, now it's my turn to talk'... we've been working on giving each other a turn and really LISTENING, not coming up with a rebuttal in our minds while the other is speaking.

One time when I was being ignored, I was so far as to write down what I was trying to say on a post it note, and stuck it to his forehead.

If I had a quarter for every time I said 'Honey, did you hear me?'.... I'd be a rich lady ;)

I've learned to pick my battles. If he's too busy talking and trying to prove his point than listening to my side of things, I give up and address the issue again when he's in a better mood. It's just SO not worth making every little disagreement into an arguement where people get their feelings hurt.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Tell him you want him to listen to you. TELL HIM. Don't hint. Don't suggest. TELL HIM. Use sentences like, "I want you to hear me and listen to me. I don't want you to have any background music or background noise. You listening to me is important to me."

Then talk to him on something that is important to you. You can ask him questions on what he thinks about what you said to see if he heard you. My mind starts to wander if someone is just talking to me or at me and doesn't want me to respond or care what I think or how I feel.

Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from Albany on

You may be accused of patronizing, but 8kidsdad is right.

I will actually say, did you hear what I said? (In a non-combative tone).

If he says yes, I will ask him what he heard. 9 times out of ten, his interpretation of what I said is not even CLOSE to my intent.

If he says no, I will say it again. Of course he will be listening better at that point.

All of this with a good natured tone (not sarcasm or frustration).

But I have to say, I'm often guilty of the same crime, not giving him my complete attention, but I'm better and quicker than he is to realize when I'm doing it. And furthermore, it doesn't seem to piss him off the way it pisses me off when I can't get his complete attention.


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answers from Norfolk on

I'm in your shoes. My husband swears he listens to me, but as soon as I tell him my thoughts or anything on a matter. He turns it all around. It drives me up the wall. I usually end up ending the conversation w/ I give up, you win, it doesn't matter what I think. He so hates that, but if he isn't willing to see my side of things why bother. Alot of times I end up crying b/c I can't stand it when he just won't listen or turns things around. Most times I just won't say anything, then he gets mad b/c I didn't or won't speak up. Ugh, can't win or lose.

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answers from Dallas on

I'm so sorry that you are going through this. I have this issue sometimes with my husband and especially his mom. Luckily for me his mom lives in another state so I don't have to see her all that often. There is no talking to her whatsoever because she will interrupt you and try to make the convo about her. Always. So one of the times she was here, I made a decision. I refused to talk to her. If she asked me a question, my answer was polite but very short. She made a comment to my sister that I don't talk a lot......hmmmmm....I wonder why?!! There was no use. But while that works with relatives that you don't see all that often that won't work with your husband. My husband isn't that bad but he is a talker. Doesn't always listen when he should but he does enough to where we don't have too much of an issue. If I were, if you could sit your husband down and tell him up front that you need a 100% of his attention and to NOT interrupt you. To NOT say anything at all until you are done saying what you need to say. Tell him how you feel calmly and clearly. Then give him a chance to reply or give him a chance to think it all through before he responds. As far as counseling you can look into groups that offer the service on a sliding scale. There are those out there like that. You just have to search for them. If you go to church check with them to see if they can assist you. It might help just to have someone there to help direct both of you. Good luck!

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answers from Modesto on

If he's talking over you it means he isnt interested in what you are saying. Either get his full attention before hand by saying his name and letting him know you want his opinion on something, or think about it for a sec and decide whether you even want to bother him with what you have to say.
If he's being rude on purpose by not listening to you, there is probably a deeper seeded reason.... something else in the relationship that is bothering him enough not to want to listen. Get to the bottom of that.
I hate sending people to counseling, but since you say he's never be a good listener, he might be a good one to listen to a pro so he can learn communication skills.

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answers from Detroit on

Fortunately my husband does not do this, but if I were you, I would just stop allowing it to happen and I would start speaking up for myself. I would sit down with him and tell him when you are talking you need his full attention - no music, no TV, etc. I would tell him that you need to be heard when you are talking and for him to just keep interrupting is simply rude, and that it makes you feel disrespected and inconsequential. Then, whenever he begins to interrupt, put your hand up and firmly say "STOP! Excuse me, I am not done!". It might take a while because it's probably become a bad habit with him and he may not even be aware of what he is doing or how it comes across. I would also recommend marriage counseling since it sounds like you two have some communication issues in general if its gone on for this long. Go by yourself if he won't go with you.

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answers from New York on

Listening is an art. Some people use talking as how they process information and the world around them. They have to talk out everything. So while it may seem like conversation is happening in essence they are only processing information. With this type of person I have learned to let them get it all out of their system. It takes a long time for that to happen but once they are done then you can say what you may need to say.

Asking questions of your husband may help bring an awareness of what he is doing but wait for a break in his talking to say this part or just write him a note or letter.

I'm guessing that perhaps your husband isn't being intentionally dismissive of you or your feeling but he may just not have a good understanding.

And please find yourself some girlfriends, or mamma mentors, or sister friends. Girls need our girlfriends because our men sometimes can't take our kind of talk.

My husband and I have a very rich relationship but I still need my girls. With the girls, I can change subjects as frequently as I change sentences and they can keep up and totally get what I'm talking about but with hubby I need to finish one topic before moving on to the next. It is just the way it is.

Ask you husband if he can hear you heart as it relates to your desire to be respected and heard by him?

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answers from Charlotte on

K., do you think that maybe he has adult ADHD? Perhaps he CAN'T cool it.

I'd tell him that if he wants to talk to you and if you two want to continue being married, he needs to go to marriage counseling with you. He'd have to listen to you there, and he would also have to LEARN to listen.

I'd really try hard to make this happen.

Next question: 3 Y/o, Constantly Interupting a Conversation.