My husband NEVER hears anything I say

You know for fun all the women here should start the next conversation with there significant other with;

“So I was thinking about performing oral sex on you…”

And then finish it with whatever you wanted him to know. I think its one way to find out if he is tuning you out, or just has selective listening/remembering skills.

Of course this does leave you with the whole oral sex thing hanging out there…but after all you did say you were “thinking” about it, not actually going to do it.

Geez. You all have it wrong. What happens is, men have a flap in their ears that develops around middle age that filters out most commonly heard frequencies, i.e. wife’s voice in command mode. It’s a defense mechanism. It can be overridden with hot button topics such as sports or sex, maybe food. Oh, yeah, and beer.

Maybe if you could make that sound like when they’re about to scroll the latest scores during the football game “bing bing bong…honey, could you take out the trash?” Dob 's idea would work, too…“BLOWJOB! Now that I have your attention…would you take out the trash”

That’s funny as hell. I was talking to a buddy a while back and he said he had developed an almost pavlovian response to both the CBS and FOX ticker alerts. I didn’t realize it until he said it, but I have the same response.

I’m not convinced this is just a male thing - when I was a teen, I would often drive my mom to tears by doing just what all of your husbands are doing. She thought that it was some sort of rebellious teen thing, and that I was doing it to her out of disrespect.

To me, she just used way too many words to follow, especially if there was something visually stimulating (TV, computer) nearby. I was happy to do as she asked, but I would usually get distracted and either forget or lose track of time.

Everything was fine after I trained her to either write everything important down (to-do lists) or save it for dinner (we always turned off the phone, radio, and TV for the duration). This had the added bonus of cutting down on the repetitive or unimportant chatter.

Or maybe it didn’t, but I just tuned her out more after that :smiley:

I suspect what is going on here isn’t deliberate behavior.

Famed scientist Richard Feynman wrote of an experiment he once did where he tried to count off sixty seconds in his head to see how close he could come to an actual minute of time. He discovered he was very consistently hitting a particular “minute” of his personal time when he did this undistracted. However, he could not count his “minute” in his head while doing something intensely auditory, such as talking. Feynman guessed that counting was a mental activity that engaged one’s auditory centers, so speaking and mentally counting were impossible to do both at once.

This is the category I fall into: I simply cannot process vocal comprehension and reading comprehension simultaneously. I must do one or the other; it’s something about the way my brain is wired. I cannot write prose while listening to a song with lyrics unless I can completely tune out the song. It’s not that I can’t multitask: I can read a book or a propped-up newspaper while playing the piano, while comprehending everything I read and not missing a note.

I’m sure this frustrated my mother when I stayed there for a few months; she would insist upon talking to me during the evenings as I was reading the newspaper. Every time she would say something I would have to put it down and give her my complete attention or I wouldn’t even hear what she said. And yet she would wait until I was reading again before trying to talk to me.

Feynman’s experiment continued by testing his friends in his college dorm. He found one man who could talk and blather about nothing in particular and still continue to count in his head, and maintain his internal “one minute” timer. The friend explained that he didn’t hear the countdown in his head, he visualized it as a ticker tape of numbers going by. This was an exception to Feynman’s theory about counting being an auditory activity.

Of course, he was in a male college dorm, so I don’t remember reading if he ever tested any women. Women may be suited (more commonly than men) to multi-task speech at the same time as other activities and so, knowing themselves capable of cooking three saucepans at once, and reading a recipe, while talking on the phone and listening to the television, they decide that men are equally capable of this and talk at them when men are focusing on something else.

In short, I do not think this is ADD or anything unusual or defective. If someone has the book with the Feynman experiment, perhaps they can post it so the women of the Straight Dope can test its efficacy.

I think that a lot of this may be due to SPSV (same person, same voice) syndrome.

I am female, and I have to admit that I don’t always register everything that DH tells me. Ditto for DH: He doesn’t always register everything that I tell him. We’re just too used to hearing the “same old, same old” from each other, that we sometimes forget to add the new information to our overloaded mental databases.

However, I have found that frequent reminders of Important Information are good for BOTH of us. When I have something Important on the calendar, I try to remind him of it frequently, so that we don’t have to worry about Who will be in charge of Which Child(ren) on that particular date. (I have started a Saturday dinner-time ritual of going through the next week’s after-school schedule to make sure that all of us are aware of what’s going on each day that week. Since the kids are there, too, they can back me up.)

OTOH, I have a hard time getting him to understand that if he doesn’t remind me of Important Events, I am likely to forget them. We share a calendar in Outlook, and I look at that calendar on a daily basis. If there is an Important Event listed there, I will be aware of it, and I will compensate for it, and adapt to it. If it isn’t listed, though, I make no guarantees of knowing about its Importance.

I really hate it when he reminds me only a couple of hours before an Important Event that this event is about to happen, but it has NEVER appeared on the Calendar in any way, shape, or form.

You know I was searching on Google this exact topic and that’s how I ended up on this thread. And I honestly made an account just to put on here that I find it strangely comforting that I’m not the only woman who experiences this. My husband God bless him will yeah yeah me until the cows come’s like he knows he has to say something to keep me happy but he doesn’t care enough to actually listen to what I have to say. I find it infuriating that a TV show that he seen over 50 times or Facebook or the news has a higher priority than me. I used to think I was a pretty interesting person but anymore usually I start up a conversation and then he just takes it right over to where I can’t even get a word in says all the things that he wants to say and then when he’s done and it’s like he can’t even be bothered to hear what I have to say. And if I start talking to him about work or something that happened to me or what I’m going to cook for dinner I literally have to keep calling his attention back to me. It really doesn’t even have to be a TV or a phone sometimes he just goes off in his own little world. Lat ely I’ve been calling him out on it because it’s really hurtful to me because it gets done so much that I’m starting to wonder how can he know anything about me at all. But when I do he apologizes promises that has nothing to do with me that it’s him and that he will try harder next time but as of yet it is not gotten better. I think I’m just going to have to chalk it up to male / adult ADD/daydreaming? I know women are more emotional sensitive creatures than men but for the guys who are reading this it means a lot to a woman to be heard. I can only think of one time horrible guy but a great listener and remember. You feel special when people remember what you say. I understand that men and women talk about things that are interesting to them more often than not but love is sacrifice so sometimes even when someone we care about is talking about things that do not interest us we still need to sacrifice our time close off the distractions around us and listen.

It was 16 years ago.

Welcome to our message board, @PamFox!

As noted, this thread is from 2004, and the person who started the thread (the OP) hasn’t been seen in these parts since 2014 — so you might not get much of a response. You have some good points to make, though. I should take heed — my wife always complains I don’t listen to her.

Anyway, we hope you’ll stick around.

Yes, welcome @PamFox

I had a long post that I deleted.

My Wife and I are now playing Chess or Gin Rummy nearly every night. While that may not help, is there something you could do to turn the TV off? We play a game with some classic rock in the background. Or pick a movie to watch together.

I admit I have listening problems (literally, I wear hearing aids) but face time is important. And admit that sometimes things go in one ear and out the other. For myself, it’s usually because it’s some plan in the future. A visit from a friend planned in a month or two for instance. Myself, I’m chronologically challenged, so the info that someone is coming in 6 weeks gets put on the back shelf. I have things to do now.

A quick, and thus suspect, Google search suggests men are much more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than women, in one study, 4 times more likely. In another study, SQUIRRELS!

A slightly different perspective: we are a gay couple, so that takes the man-woman factor out of it; and English is not my husband’s first language and his command of it is sometimes uncertain. (To be fair, my command of his language is perhaps at the 3-year-old level. But he has lived in the US for something like 45 years.)

If it breaks through to my consciousness that he is speaking to me, I immediately turn off whatever I’m doing and pay full attention. I have learned this as a survival tactic, because I shall surely suffer if I don’t. I have told him, however, that he needs to make sure I know he is talking to me (and not talking on the phone in another room, for example). He’s not allowed to talk to me while walking away, nor to start while he’s in another room. Eye contact is key.

In the other direction, mostly because of the language issue, I have to choose my words carefully, and try to find ways to repeat the important parts in different words. It’s no good asking if he understood what I said, he’ll always say he does regardless. If he ever forgets anything we’ve talked about, it’s always the case that I didn’t actually say that so therefore it’s not his fault that he doesn’t know whatever it is. There’s no point in me arguing about this, so I don’t.

To my mind, these are just communication issues and not measures of respect (or lack of it). We have worked out these compromises, sometimes painfully, over the years, because we both wanted to. However, I have to say that PamFox seems to be in a worse situation, if her account is accurate, where her husband doesn’t see any reason to do anything any differently. If she has the opportunity, she might benefit from individual counseling to clarify her own feelings about this situation and to see if she has other options while still remaining part of a couple.

My wife complains about that with me constantly. Sometimes with reason, I have to admit. But sometimes it’s just my hearing, which is not the best. And if I ask her to repeat, she gets testy about that so I often don’t.

I’ve been accused of the same not listening across a few different relationships. The problem is definately with me. I’ve nailed a few of the problem areas over time.

Other things going on around me is the biggest. If a TV is on, I’m at one of the kids games, writing an email, directing chores, etc, I’m not gonna get it all. The conversation must be the only task at hand. If a motorcycle drives by within eyeshot I have just lost the last ten seconds of conversation. It was a Hydra-Glide, sorry not sorry.

I really don’t get this at all. Is it that you are completely unable to draw your attention from whatever it is, to listen to the other person? Or that you just don’t want to? You seem to be giving yourself permission here.

It’s that I can’t focus enough with certain distractions present to be able to lock into the conversation at an appropriate and respectful level. Its not just with significant others.

I dont know if it’s so much giving myself a pass as it is recognizing that in order to provide meaningful engagement I have to do my best to minimize distraction.

My mind wanders. I can still get it done in the presence of distraction but it takes some doing.

For example. If I were having a conversation while walking downtown I might suddenly find myself considering the current service status and approximate age of a transformer vault we happened to be walking over. The time between me begining that consideration and realizing I’ve left the conversation inappropriately are lost. I can usually cover for it pretty well but if there’s a way to prevent it entirely without visibly appearing strained I haven’t found it.

Important for my husband is to make sure that he knows he is supposed to be listening. For example, if I just start talking, he might not be paying attention, and misses the first few words. And then we’re both a bit annoyed. So I normally first make sure that I have his attention by calling his name and waiting until he acknowledges.

Does he still forget things? Yes, But at least the initial conversation is clear.

Has he always been this way? If so, perhaps your husband has ADD. If that’s the case, it’s best to limit your conversation to the basics. Try feeding him one fact/task at a time, and don’t make it too complex. Also, small notes like “Stick Its” might help, each with only one fact/task written upon it.

Ms. P knows that I hear about half of what I say. I have trouble focusing in the first place, and she has never seen an irrelevant detail. She says that I seem to always skim through what she’s saying and hear the most important parts. Skimming got me through college, and it’s worked through a quarter century of being together.

My wife ins very intelligent and we can talk about serious issues or aour kods for hours. But she needs light stuff to clear her head, so she can start showing me and telling me about the handbags/shoes she will/won’t buy for what looks like hours, I need to tune out like 85%. I’m good at “yup, sure, no way, aha” but my level of not caring -and I’ve told her several times- is astonishing. She needs the silly stuff to stay sane, I get it. She also tells me the same story four differeent times in the same day, about how she almost bought this pair of shoes.

If I tell her about the new configuration of the F1 RedBull rear wing, I go straight into the point (she get the science) and never speak of it again.

It’s almost like men and women are different, or something.