Written by Ilissa Banhazl, MFT-
Has your male partner shut down verbally? Could he be afraid of your reaction to what he says? How do you respond when he tells you something? Think about it…
1. Do you get emotional, yell or cry?
2. Do you interrupt to ask questions and take the discussion in your own direction?
3. Do you shoot down his ideas?
4. Do you feel threatened by his opinion if it differs from yours?
5. Do you get angry when he says something you don’t like?
6. Are you very sensitive and personalize what he says?
If you do these things when he comes to share with you then you need to find a new way to respond to your partner’s thoughts and feelings because he probably has shut down and is somewhat afraid to tell his true thoughts to you. That hurts your relationship.
Here’s how this works…
When your partner shares something with you make sure you don’t interrupt until he’s finished speaking. If you can’t remember your questions or things you want to respond to then grab a pad and pencil or use your cell phone to write it down. Try to be fully engaged and let go of any of your own agendas. Really listen and be empathic or encouraging, whatever is appropriate to the situation. That’s it!
“Wow, that’s awful honey. I’m so sorry.” or “That’s great honey, good for you!”
If you have any suggestions or comments that you disagree with then the next day bring it up but ask him if he wants to hear your ideas. If he says no that’s fine but I believe if you do it my way he’ll want to hear what you have to say.
“Honey, I was thinking about what you said yesterday and I have some ideas. Would you like to hear them?”
How do you know if your partner wants empathy or solutions? Ask them? Then you’ll know what your role is as a listener for him.
Of course there’s a way that men should listen to their women. Look for it in my next blog!