Or: “We only fight when we talk.”
Exactly! It drives me insane! I can reason, express and discuss every emotion in the book, and talk until I’m blue in the face… And, she’s just gettin’ warmed up.
Days later she’ll bust out a discussion on the same topic, and I’m obligated to discuss it to her satisfaction. If I don’t discuss the topic vigorously enough then I’m just ignoring her feelings and I’m not taking her or our relationship seriously. :rolleyes:
I tried admitting guilt to something that wasn’t my fault… It haunts me to this day. If I do something that even remotely resembles the action that I assumed responsibility for I’m scolded for either not learning or, even worse, “not caring about her or our relationship.”
Oh, and I also get a side dish of stank attitude until the following sunrise (thats the minimum penalty)
Now days I take the Chris Rock approach… It’s like bowling…
I set 'em up… and she knocks 'em down.
Preparatory phrases like,
“I want to know how you feel about this so I know where you’re coming from.”
“Has this ever happened before?”
“It’s not so much about me. I can see this really affected you. what are the things that really got you worried about this?”
After she has pontificated on matters at great length I then strike with: “I see what you’re saying. I can see why you’d feel that way.”
At this point I’m almost home free but the land mine that gets me is when she says, “OK, tell me what I just explained to you.”
I’m doomed. Not because I wasn’t listening, but because I know that if I paraphrase ANYTHNG incorrectly then I’m back to square one to the tune of, “you don’t care about me or this relationship”
Did you guys overdose on therapy or somehting?
My god, man. Get out of that shit, pronto.
Most of the answers here seem to assume that the OP is just stonewalling his wife, and refusing to reasonably talk to her about difficult issues. Without knowing the specifics of any argument or how the relationship works, it’s hard to say. But I think you can equally assume from the above exchange that he feels that he did open up to her and have a complete and honest discussion, and that the matter was resolved to both their satisfactions. He seems to feel that’s she’s reopening the argument not because she really feels that it’s unresolved, but for other reasons that are unclear to him.
It seems to revolve around 2 very different approaches to problem-solving, and I’m not sure if they necessarily break down on gender lines. I know at my job (a periodical), when my former boss reviewed and approved something, it stayed approved 99% of the time. With my current boss, matters that seem settled and decided are constantly being reopened, and sometimes completely redone, no matter how close the deadline looms. I find working for Boss #2 frustrating, because I feel that “final” decisions aren’t to be respected because they are so subject to change – to me, it makes important decisions seem like impulses rather than thought out. I’m sure, however, that for Boss #2 this is just the normal way of working and that Boss #1’s methods would have seemed needlessly restrictive and closed-minded.
Anyway, I can see how the wife in this scenario is being like Boss #2 – she asked for a discussion and closure, and presumably left the discussion satisfied, and then with the second discussion she pronounced the first one unsatisfactory and the husband is not sure why. If the argument was over something huge (When can we have kids, what kind of house should we buy), its completely understandable that discussion will get reopened as the situation evolves, someone will have new ideas or second thoughts, etc. If the discussion was more trivial and about a specific point in time (Why did you seem flirty with X at that party), bringing it up again is going to strike him as merely being hurtful. Does this make sense? If he feels that he adequately explained something (I wasn’t being flirty, I was trying to be nice to a recently divorced woman, and I’m sorry that your feelings were hurt), and her wanting to reopen the discussion sends the message that I don’t believe your explanation or in the sincerity of your apology, and I can’t stop thinking about it. If he feels he’s already explained himself, what is there to say in this situation? I’m sorry you’re insecure and that you think I’m lying to you? It putting him on the spot by essentially saying, “You were lying before.” It’s hard not to just fall back on, “No, I’m not.”
There are downsides to being single, but boy it’s sure easier in a lot of ways.
If she does this once a year or less, I could put up with it. Everyone has their weirdnesses.
More than that, though, and it sounds more like a power trip than a real attempt at communication (if psycho communication).
So far the average is twice per year. With the occasional minor eruption that she usually puts a lid on.
I’ve gotten her to see when she starts to spin out of control with the “let’s talk about it” thing. It’s a give & take when it happens. All I have to do is play my role and she usually gets a grip on herself… and everybody’s happier for it.
When it happens tho’… it’s agonizing!
Solution-Have about 5 kids, run a couple of businesses, and both of you coach.
I’ve always noticed that people that endlessly bring up things over and over again are oftentimes bored.
Yes, women want to regurgitate things over and over. What they really are saying is they want attention, they want to feel loved. You are not showing them love in a way they understand or appreciate. Try to distract them, and not just with sex.
Or they are just miserable bitches.
Sorry, this reminds me too much of when the kids used to try arguing something out of me. I’d only argue honestly for so long and then I’d switch to deliberately wheel-spoking comments, making it obvious that I had stopped bothering to be rational because they had pushed beyond what I considered to be rational arguing. (Although I suppose wanting things your way is rational enough.)
At that point “you don’t care about me or this relationship” would get complete agreement. “Yup. Don’t care at all. You got me. I’m surprised it took you this long to figure it out. Everyone else knows.”
Not that I’m recommending it, mind. And yes, kids do pull the “you don’t love me” card. Also the “I hate you” card.
Memo to me: Play no head games with Zeriel. Check.
My theory is that over the centuries, or even millenia, when men had the upper hand physically (i.e. they could hit the woman, and society was OK with that), women had to develop some “psychological tools” to be able to bring about some balance of power (to be able to get what they wanted at least some of the time)
The behaviors described in this thread are part of the psychological repertoire that women have developed.
Now that society does not condone men hitting their wives, we are left with an imbalance of power, and, with their psychological tools intact, it is women who have the upper hand in “modern relationships”, i.e. where the man is too civilized to hit his wife, and in general tries to be more sensitive than the men of yore.
To bring about a balance of power again, either society has to condemn the psychological methods used by women as much as it condemns the hitting of women, or men will slowly, over centuries, have to develop a set of psychological tools of their own.
Personally, I’d prefer if the former happened.
Disclaimer: Of course not all women behave like this, and it seems to me that being a Doper is negatively correlated with behaving like this, but the behavior is so widespread that it gets a nodding recognition from almost any man who has dated/married.
I’ve heard the same from both men and women. Like you said, sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes, I think, they don’t even realize it’s not true.
This is a totally non-helpful post, but I was listening to Henry Cho’s stand-up act the other day, which included this bit (heavily paraphrased):
Men deal with this situation all the time:
Wife: “We need to talk.”
But you can’t turn it around:
Husband: “We need to talk.”
Wife: “Oh no we don’t.”
And if the guy tried that?
Wife: “We need to talk.”
Husband: “Oh no we don’t.”
Wife: “Oh yes we do.”
Can’t win for trying.
Is it an attempt to get power or an attempt not to get hit any more?
For some women, I’m sure it’s the former. For some, it’s the latter.
Men might laugh at the notion of having their women angry at them. Women often do not have that luxury. (Women are more physically dangerous than some men will acknowledge, but it’s often not something men would worry about.)
I would bet that some women at least are operating under a “I don’t know what’s wrong so I have to figure it out and fix it so that he doesn’t get even angrier and punch me/abandon me.” And no, I don’t think it’s necessarily a conscious decision.
(Raised voices, stomping, slamming doors, etc. terrify me even though I’ve never been hit by anyone.)
There are lots of coping mechanisms that don’t end up being all that useful, and this might be one of them for women, where in an attempt to identify and abate the problem they end up creating it.
Something else occured to me too, Dinsdale.
My sister and I were talking the other day and she was thinking about the way that I can handle putting up with other people better than she can. It’s like I have the world on ignore.
One thing she learned in therapy is that some people have an “internal” focus of control, and some people have an “external” focus. What she meant is that some people have a need to constantly check with others to see if they themselves are “OK” - that would be the “externally” focused ones. She’s like that. Others turn inward and are confident enough to be self-diagnosed as “OK”.
My husband and I are both “internally” focused. We don’t ever have conversations like the one you mentioned.
Do you suppose that the Mrs. is an “externally” focused person? And that she needs to check with you (the most important person to her in this relationship) to see if she’s OK?
The obvious solution is to either become heavily emo or Goth, or at least pretend to be, so that any woman who would marry you would know that they’re getting someone who can be at least as sulky and introspective as they.
Sure, there are other men who are as into the importance of analyzing the crap out of everything but most people think they’re just intense wimps who’re liable to go postal (not that they don’t say the same about emogoths). Even though that’s not the case, either.
Sheesh, you gusy still talking about this? I thought we had resolved things hours ago! :smack:
I don’t do this kind of thing- I can’t read nonverbal signals, so I don’t go looking for them in everything he says or does. The closest we come is this, when Mr. Neville seems grumpy:
Me: Is something wrong?
(end of discussion)
Single guys, give some geeky, socially awkward girls a chance- if you end up with one of us, you won’t be having discussions like the one in the OP when you’re married.
But honeeeeeeeeeee we need to talk!
Show of hands, anyone else in response to this “conversation starter” find themselves casting about frantically trying to figure out the fastest way to end this conversation? Agree/admit/accept responsibilty/express a preference - whatever. Just GET ME OUT of this conversation!
And I’ve got no problem with folks thinking I’m a jerk for not wanting to share and analyze feelings and motivations in this manner. Hell, if that’s the worst I do, I’d suggest I might not be all that bad.