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Communication book recommendations

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/15/2019 07:42 AM

We can't do MC right now because of my fch's work schedule. He's pretty good about reading books that I suggest. He's also not good at noticing when there is an issue unless there's lots of friction.

I'm frustrated with his lack of communication. I'm talking about normal, every day conversation. I know he knows how to have a conversation. I've heard him talk to his dad. But, for some reason, he doesn't talk to me.

For example, I tried to start a conversation with him last night at dinner. It went like this:

Me: what were you listening to?

Him: what (from right across the table)? Oh, an audio book.

Me (after waiting a bit for more info): yeah, I got that.

Him: tells me the title

Me (again after waiting for more): what is it about?

Him: a failed mission in Afghanistan.

That's it. No engagement. I get so frustrated. I also get annoyed that he invariably answers my first question with a question. I read somewhere that people do that when they are trying to formulate the "right" answer, a lie. Obviously, he wasn't lying, but I wonder why he does this. I think he doesn't even realize that he does.

Anyway, I know this isn't really infidelity related, although it is part of the reason we had problems in our M before he cheated. I just wanted to get that off my chest and, hopefully, get some book recs. Maybe Gottman has something.


ibonnie posted 5/15/2019 09:21 AM

So... I don't have any book recommendations, but I do this all the time and it drives my family and friends nuts. And I know it drives them nuts, but... I just don't care enough to stop?

"What are you eating?"

"Where are you going?"

"What are you watching?"

I read somewhere that people do that when they are trying to formulate the "right" answer, a lie. Obviously, he wasn't lying, but I wonder why he does this. I think he doesn't even realize that he does.

For me, it has nothing to do with lying or trying to formulate the "right" answer. I'm just not a particularly loquacious person, I like my solitude (which I don't get nearly enough of with two little ones), and I just don't feel like having a conversation.

What am I eating? My leftovers from yesterday. There aren't any more that I can share with you, and since it was takeout, I can't make anymore, so why does it matter what I'm eating? I'm eating food.

Where am I going? I'm taking a walk to the pharmacy to pick up tampons because I need more. I'm walking there, and I'm not buying anything I don't need, because I don't feel like carrying stuff back. I'll be back in 20-30 minutes, but you didn't ask me how long I'll be gone, so I'm not going to offer that information up.

What am I watching? TV. I am mindlessly scrolling through channels. If you want to put something on, just say it, otherwise let me continue to mindlessly flip and veg out for a little bit, please?

I don't have any deep reason for why I do this other than... I don't feel like talking.

onlytime posted 5/15/2019 11:18 AM

BetterFuture13 and I found the book "An Emotionally-Focused Workbook for Couples" by Kallos-Lilly and Fitzgerald to be the most helpful in creating more meaningful and emotionally connected communication with each other.

As to the engagement piece - is there a difference between when he initiates the conversation vs when others initiate the conversation? Or between when he is distracted and when he is not? Does he have difficulty transitioning from one activity to another?

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/15/2019 12:42 PM

ibonnie, sorry if I wasn't clear. Answering a question with a question is what I was referring to as a prelude to a lie. I know he heard me because he was sitting right across from me at the table and I didn't have to repeat my question.

I doubt he has any deep meaning for anything. He's not deep. He may have been listening to the book because he had to for work. I thought my follow up questions made it clear I wanted to know more about the book.

Thanks, onlytime. I'll look at that one.

To answer your questions. I have no idea how he is if he starts a convo. I can't remember him ever doing that with me. He does have long phone conversations with his dad. It's always his dad who calls him first.

He's always busy and distracted, which is why I tried at dinner. Nothing else to do but eat and talk.

Transitions, idk. He always waits til the last 2nd to change what he's doing. For example, he has to take a kid somewhere, he will continue doing whatever task he is doing up until the 2nd it's time to leave. The kids fuss at him about making them late.

CaptainRogers posted 5/15/2019 15:02 PM

I will say this...I am not a brilliant conversationalist. My wife and I don't have a lot of "deep" conversations because she doesn't like to be known (which leads to a lot of issues, including being part of the reason for her A) and I have to talk to people all day with my practice. When I am "off", I really need to be "off". That's how I recharge. I could seriously go all weekend without interacting if it were a true option.

That's not to say that I don't want to connect, but if I have spent several days "connecting", then I need a massive recharge. I don't know if your H is similar at all, just offering a potential option.

When it comes to books, one that I have enjoyed (and read twice) is from Greg Smalley called Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage. A good deal of info that has very practical application.

[This message edited by CaptainRogers at 3:04 PM, May 15th (Wednesday)]

swmnbc posted 5/15/2019 20:17 PM

As the introvert in the marriage, sometimes I have to "flip a switch" to get into talking mode. I am "thinking in my head" mode and someone comes along and expects me to shift gears just like that? It takes awareness and conscious effort, which I make because I love my family.

It sounds to me like he's trying to shut down your attempts because he doesn't want to talk. Is that the message he's trying to send or is he not in touch with the funk he's in?

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/15/2019 20:32 PM

I'm the introvert. He's more extroverted. I don't think he's trying to shit me down, or that he's in a funk. I think it's some sort weird husband/wife thing he has learned. I can't remember ever seeing his dad sit down and talk to his wife.

I also think it's part of his military training. They are told not to tell their spouses about their work. I think that became so ingrained in him that he just doesn't think to tell me anything.

I'm not looking for deep conversation from him. I know he can't give me that. I just want normal how was your day type stuff.

CaptainRogers posted 5/15/2019 21:21 PM

You are probably correct on both accounts (parental observation & military training), coco. Have you tried to set aside specific "talk" time (not A related, just "hang out" related)? I know that for us, dinner is virtually impossible for conversation (our 6 generally dominate whatever is being chatted about). But, we try to find time through the week to just sit down and talk about life (what we are reading, what we want to change with the house, how work is going, etc.).

There are also a number of apps out there that have conversation starters. Maybe try one of those. We used the Gottman apps to kick some things off.

k8la posted 5/15/2019 23:44 PM

Crucial Conversations is one of my favorites for how to deal with higher conflict conversations. There's a format for thinking through while keeping an open mind to receive their input while making it safe for them to respond to you "off script".

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/16/2019 10:51 AM

Captain, we used to have a set day/time every week when we would talk. These days, I can't get him to stop being busy to talk. It's not really his fault. His work days are long with a minimum 45 minute commute each way. He has just enough time when he gets home to eat and go to bed. I think I will talk to him about doing that again. Thanks for the reminder.

On weekends, he tries to run errands and catch up on household chores he can't get to during the week. Then, there's taking kids to various sports and such. I try not to complain about that because I appreciate all he does.

I asked him last night if it bothered him that we don't really talk much. He said it does, but referred to his work schedule. I'll check out those apps.

K8tla, thanks for the book rec.

Chaos posted 5/16/2019 13:02 PM

I'm reading through this - and his schedule sounds like mine. Work week + 45-60 min. commute each way. Weekends spent doing chores/errands/responsibilities. He is busy in his own right with work and responsibilities. And we still make time to talk.

In fact - that commute is where we do a lot of talking [so DD can't overhear us].

Hands free is very easy these days and the devices are quite cheap. No auto connect blue tooth in your vehicle - you can buy one of those aux cords at the Dollar Tree and even cassette converters [for really older vehicles] there as well.

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/26/2019 22:03 PM

Chaos, I just saw your post. He's got hands free capability in his truck. He doesn't talk to me on the phone. He'll just sit on the phone in silence. It has to be face to face.

Well, that didn't go well. We said we'd talk Sunday morning. We forget this morning, so I said we'd talk this afternoon. Turned out neither of us was, so that didn't happen. I told him I'd pencil him in for 9:30 PM. We were still eating dinner. Then, there was clean up, and now he's asleep.

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