Tuning out my wife? OK?

When I am concentrating on a task or even just reading I tune out everything else. My wife will try to talk to me and I don’t respond. Well eventually I do but by that time she is already upset. So am I an insensitive jerk or is she overreacting? BTW this has happened twice while I was reading the dope!

Well as a wife whose husband does the same thing, I find it annoying as hell. IMO prioiry should be real live people tv/computer second.

I find it extremely unpleasant to have my concentration disturbed. If I am thinking through something and I am interrupted, I might have to start all over again. If the house is on fire, obviously this is fine. But for most other things, I really dislike incessant interruption.

I have never tuned my wife out like this but we have had several frank conversations about it. We have both somewhat compromised on this issue, fortunately without too much rancor.

I think you probably need to find a compromise about this. Your wife shouldn’t yammer and yammer and yammer so you can’t get anything done, but on the other hand, you shouldn’t spend hour after hour after hour watching tv and surfing and tuning her out. I also agree that live people should take precedence over tv/surfing, but if I’ve been watching a movie or show that’s 10 minutes away from being finished when my husband comes home, I’d kinda like to finish what I’ve been doing while he was out.

Does your wife try to get your attention first by calling your name and waiting for you look at her or does she just start in talking? I used to have this problem with my ex-husband. I told him to make sure I was paying attention first and start talking second. Keeping my attention was the next problem…

I am the tuner-outer and my husband knows that if I am reading something, and he speaks to me but I not responding I am not hearing him, he needs to poke me or say my name or something to get my attention.

Does your wife know that when you are reading/concentrating you literally do not hear outside input? (I call it the Cone of Silence). ETA: the important point to convey is: your are not “tuning out your wife” you are “tuning out everything.” Tuning out your wife is rude. Hyperfocus is not rude but its something both parties have to adapt to and compromise on.

I think there is a difference between tuning someone out because you dont wanna hear thier shit and being so ingrossed in something that you wouldnt even notice someone saying “free blowjobs now, get em while they are hot”.

If its the first, your wife has a legitimate beef. If its the later, its just the way you are and IMO she needs to unbunch her panties.

My SO does something similar. I rarely get so engrossed I tune out the world, but it does happen. But, if you DO NOT get my attention before you start speaking, all I usually hear is semirandom noise like charlie browns teachers. You have to get my attention before you start throwing sounds at me. Its even worse if your not even in the same room when you start.

So, what does she do? All of a sudden she will announce something or ask something from another room. I am lucky to even hear her in the first place. And even if it is loud enough, it will likely be garbled because I wasnt ready for it. So, virtually every such exchange is like this:

wawyahayamaysawyagurgle ?

What did you say?

I SAID did you take out the trash tonight?

It may or may not irritate the hell out her, but I don’t care. She knows not to do it and barring some serious ninja/jedi mind training of some sort, I doubt its a personal flaw thats fixable.

I’ve a friend whose wife is a compulsive talker. She can’t abide silence, and as a result she’s always saying something; usually trivial and empty, frankly.

But woe unto her husband, or her children, if they are not paying attention constantly! If she feels she’s being ignored, it’s tears and recriminations and accusations of being neglected, diminished, devalued, disrespected, etc.

I always think of her when I hear the Eagles song, Learn to be still.

Are you my husband??
Honestly, he and I have had this discussion. He is ADD, therefore constantly feeling the need to be entertained. As such, when he is home, he is on the computer, or watching something he DVR’d, or watching a DVD, or reading a book, or noodling around with his smart phone, or sometimes more than one of the above at the same time!

So when I try to talk to him or get him to do something, he’ll say “Why’d you have to wait until I was doing something?”
Ummmmm, 'cuz the only time he’s not ‘doing something’ is when he’s asleep!

So if I want to talk to him (funny how women like to do that, eh?), I have to disrupt him in the process of something.

So that’s pretty much what I told him. “I can’t wait until you’re not doing anything to talk to you, because you’re always doing something”.

The compromise we reached is this:
First, I have to make sure I get his attention (by touching him, or saying his name until he acknowledges my existence :wink: ); then I’ll ask him if he can spare some time to talk, or if what he’s doing is important. Sometimes he works from home and he really is doing something he can’t disrupt.

If what he’s doing otherwise can be ‘put on hold’, he will do so, and we will have our conversation.

Obviously, if it’s something really important (like the building being on fire or me being seriously and suddenly ill. . .) I will disrupt him no matter what.

Something else that helps us is carving out time when we just talk. A couple of times a month, we’ll go out for dinner and a movie. Just getting ‘into town’ takes a half hour, so that’s all ‘conversation time’. Then, over dinner, no business talk is allowed. It’s all just us, you know, talking.

Amazing that after over 25 years together, we still have stuff to say to each other, but that’s another subject. . .:wink:

Sounds like a case for a Scold’s Bridle. :slight_smile:

Totally thought this title was “Turning out my wife.”

I gotta get my mind out of the gutter.

I find it’s often an issue of timing. There should be a time for you to be immersed in something, and there should be a time for you and your wife to be able to talk. It just can’t be the same time for both.

Most men probably figure the convenience of tuning out shit outweighs the theoretical possibility of a free blowjob. (And if TANSTAAFBJ isn’t an acronym, consider it coined as of now.) :smiley:

I agree with billfish. If you are focused on a task, and you hear your wife speak but choose not to respond, that’s not cool. If nothing else, give her a quick “Give me a sec to finish so I don’t lose the thread.” Then finish your most immediate task, and turn your attention to your wife.

If you are focused on a task and have tuned out everything, your wife needs to adapt to the fact that you just have a very high level of focus, and that’s just the way you are. I’m like this; if I’m really focused on the task at hand, it takes fire-alarm level noise to reach me through my little bubble. If someone is merely calling my name it’ll take several tries before I even realize they’re speaking, nevermind realizing that they’re speaking to me.

If the latter is the issue, I’d suggest she train herself to remember that she needs to (for example) touch your shoulder and say your name before starting in on whatever she wants to say; at least, in some way, making sure that she has your attention first before talking.

If it’s the former, suck it up and show your wife some courtesy.

I think the OP is missing his “repeat” function that is inherent in so many of us men.
It’s that thing where you just repeat the last three things that she said.

It works like this:

Wife: “Blah, blah blah, got my haircut… …Are you listening to me?”

Hubby: " Yeah, yeah, honey. You got your hair cut."

Wife: [ looks at him suspiciously but doesn’t say anything]

I get the same thing. Once in a while I will make a point of it and she gets angry for a little while but generally gets over it. I find it very rude to interupt someone while they are doing something else that is obviously holding their focus.

When she starts talking, why can’t you say, “In a second,” or, “Give me a minute”? That should work, unless she must speak NOW.

That will never work. You know that built in filter women have for preventing farts from ever escaping ? That just puts twice the pressure on the other end so words must escape now or there will be a splosion.

Juh? I say it often, and I’ve had these lines said to me before. Works fine, and I haven’t sploded just yet. There’s still time.

Me too, all three times I’ve seen the thread title so far.