Why Men Don't Listen: 10 Reasons and How To Deal with Them
Is your husband constantly shutting you out? Here's what you can do to inspire a change in his behaviour
They say that one of the most sincere expressions of love is simply paying attention. Listening — truly listening — to your spouse more than paves the way for better communication, it deepens affection and strengthens your bond. But sometimes it can be a struggle. For wives with constantly distracted hubbies, it can be a source of frustration. But knowing why men don’t listen can offer comfort and enlightenment as to how to prevent it from causing marital strife.
10 Reasons why men don’t listen and what you can do to help change this
1. Your husband wants to avoid certain conversations
According to Psychology Today, one reason why men don’t listen is to avoid difficult conversations. The best way they think they can do this is by refusing to engage in conversation.
For example, he forgot your anniversary. He might think the best way to evade having to confront his mistake is to shut you out.
You can try: When talking about difficult issues, try to be honest without assigning blame. Focus on the positive first. Then you can calmly open up about what upsets you. In this way, he won’t be evasive and hopefully will open up more as well.
2. He may not be in the mood to offer comfort
He might be inattentive on purpose because he is simply not in the mood to be your “crying shoulder.” He might be preoccupied with his own feelings that he can’t bring himself to be emotionally available for you.
You can try: Start by reminding yourself that he loves you. He might seem to be in a bad mood, but know that marriage will have its ups and downs. Just because he doesn’t want to listen RIGHT NOW doesn’t mean he won’t be open to it in the coming days.
3. He does not like being interrupted
Another reason why men don’t listen is that they tend to be extremely focused on certain tasks, while women are more adept at multitasking. So perhaps his disconnectedness is because something else demands his attention.
You can try: Try to be more patient when you see he is busy. Let him know that you want to talk after he is done, but do so in a way that’s firm and loving.
4. He is thinking about other things
No, he’s not thinking about another woman. His mind might just be preoccupied with other issues — it can be as simple as his errands list — that have nothing to do with your relationship.
You can try: Don’t compete with distractions. Remember: Men can’t multitask as well as women. When he’s ready, offer to listen. Sometimes, the best way to get his attention is to give him yours.
5. He is trying to be rational
When a husband resorts to sarcasm or being dismissive, he might want to keep things rational. If you’re upset and overly emotional, he might use “sticking to logic” as a way to cope. He can also be withdrawn.
You can try: Encourage him by saying that communication isn’t just about spouting information. It means soothing and calming one another. Good communication means feeling more connected to one another. Verbal abuse should never be tolerated.
6. He wants to take action
Oftentimes, women want to talk to “simply vent.” But one reason why men don’t listen is that they tend to want to solve the problems instead of processing feelings.
He might be frustrated that you have to go through all this. So he can cut you off in an effort to offer solutions.
You can try: You don’t have to take his advice, but you can simply acknowledge it. Recognise his need to “solve” problems is a way to show he cares.
You can even channel it into getting what you want. Be specific about what you need. Most men are wired to try to resolve issues to make life easier.
7. He might be angry
It’s difficult to be a good listener when you’re so overcome with emotion. Anger is a powerful feeling that often overpowers any logical thoughts.
You can try: Give him space. Let him sort through his own feelings first before trying to have a productive conversation with him.
His anger might spark your own and you might end up being more upset than you initially were.
8. He might be put off by your manner of speaking
You might not even notice it, but you might be speaking in a loud tone or in a way that he finds intimidating. As a result, he might become withdrawn or defensive.
You can try: Don’t blame yourself. Listening goes both ways and your husband also has to make the effort to see past your bad moods to what you really need from him at the moment.
9. He doesn’t listen because he’s too caught up in past issues
One reason why men don’t listen is that there are unresolved conflicts that they still harbour. Or perhaps he is upset by something you said. Either way, dwelling on past issues can cause him to put up a wall.
Psychology Today says that anger hinders a person’s ability to absorb and process new information.
You can try: Give it time. Try to think back on previous interactions. Could he still be upset over your latest spat? Try to resolve conflict before attempting to have a conversation with him about another issue.
10. He doesn’t listen because he believes his way is the only way
Narcissism is one major hindrance to healthy communication. The husband who refuses to listen is not open to the opinions of others.
He believes his way is the right way, and rebuffs anyone who tells him otherwise. Susan Heitler, Ph.D. says the worst types of listeners are those who only choose to pay attention when someone is praising them.
You can try: Call him out on it with love. Yes, you love him, but you don’t have to tolerate unhealthy behaviour.
Remember that it is not your fault, mums! It is up to your hubby to decide to change his behaviour. But you can offer love and support even when it’s difficult to get through to him.
Hopefully, as you grow closer, you both will continuously improve when it comes to genuinely communicating and listening to one another.