Dealing with a mans silence
He's handsome, he's smart, he's very good to his family, he loves animals, he has a good heart, he has a job but.....................he has always been a bit of a loner and I'm finding it hard to relate to his times of quiet without thinking is it something I did or considering it rude. I am outgoing and like to visit. He makes lighthearted comments that "boy you are a gabber". If I talk with someone, we'll say, about a medical issue he will make fun of me and say "ok doctor". I told him yesterday that saying those things to me over and over hurts my feelings especially when I clearly am not a chatter box I just like conversation with others and think it's rude to just sit in company with others and not talk much. I know not everyone handles general conversation in groups of people the same. Sometimes though, especially at over 50, you have to become part of your community and stop being a hermit. I've been an elected official for years, worked at a government job also for years so I had to come out of my shell. His career as a construction worker/truck driver is perfect for him because he doesn't have to interact much. Drive the truck, deliver your product and so on. I told him I was asked to run for town council this fall (served 12 years previously)and he was not happy. His mom told me not to let his opinion change my mind. I know it's because he knows that he will have to attend functions with me and he will be uncomfortable. Hey I was an only child, I don't like crowds, I don't like bars either. We don't live together and because of his issues I don't see us ever being able to. I am so careful not to talk a lot when we are together because of things he has said. I shouldn't have to check my voice at the door. Yet when he says "you are a gabber" he will add, "but you don't talk talk talk when we are together". Of course I don't I've been conditioned to keep my visiting at a minimum. At his suggestion we went to the local gym to check it out and were given the tour. When we left he said "that's not for me". At first I didn't get why. The prices were very reasonable. It was clean. Then I realized it was because the woman who showed us around liked to visit. She asked us some questions and realized we had graduated the same year but from different local schools. We visited. She wanted to give us a break on the monthly pricing and asked if we fell in any of their family categories, married, living together etc. He didn't like that. He wanted to be able to go to a gym and not have to talk, not have to interact with only me.
Early on in our dating he confused me by saying he was glad I a was a take charge person. He hurt my feelings by jumping all over me when I told him there were times when we were apart that I missed him. He said I shouldn't say that, that I didn't need him to be complete. Hell I was only saying I missed him sometimes. I had no intention of screwing up his freakin "alone time". I wasn't looking to get married for goodness sakes. Then when I was being me and had used his truck I put gas in it and he again jumped on me saying I didn't need to do that and it wasn't said nicely. Ok what does this guy want. Alone time, I get it and I give it. Me to take charge like putting gas in his truck, I did that and caught hell for it. Or just be a quiet little mouse and not be upset when he runs back into his shell making it clear he's a loner and this relationship won't go anywhere. Don't get me wrong we do get along very well. I thought we were pretty well matched over all including knowing each other for over 40 years and his deceased sister having been my best friend, it's clear you never really know someone do you?
My hope for you is that you can be your full self with the man you're with. So here are some questions for you:
1. Do you feel like you can be yourself in relationship to him?
2. When you tell him how you feel, does he listen, think about and consider your side or is he simply defensive of his own actions?
3. Can you joyfully relax into this relationship?
I see a lot of red flags here, although of course I'm only hearing it from your perspective and it's a bigger story than what can even be written in a long paragraph. And full disclosure--I was married to a man who was similar--an introvert around whom I felt bad about myself a lot because I simply did things differently than he did and he had a quiet way of judging me for it. He would make small comments that would cut me down in an indirect way and he rarely seemed to just delight in me and the way I was in the world. You deserve someone who can delight in you. If you think this man is capable of looking at his own discomfort in social situations or whatever else is making him so uneasy that he chooses to criticize you for it instead of owning his own issues, then keep communicating. Also, if you can own your own part in things, this will model it for him, too. Good luck.
Thanks Professormcg. I thought I had been myself around him, with the exception of the one on one talking. I definitely check myself to make sure he's interacting with me before I get into conversations. If I see he's in a quiet mood I don't chatter. Heck we have known each other since we were in grade school. But not as partners. He did small jobs around my home when my husband was alive and my husband liked him. I stayed over night at his house when his sister was alive many times as teenagers. I think before I react to any of his comments and when the time is right I talk to him. It does seem that he listens but you have to put him in your shoes to make him get it. Another big issue had to be addressed and unfortunately I had to show him how it felt to be on the receiving end. He hasn't done it since. I'm hoping my talk yesterday will sink in too. He doesn't get defensive ever, he just gets quiet. I am relaxed in the relationship most of the time. But I guess I'm not really being truly myself if I have to constantly watch how much I visit or talk with him or any one else when he's around. He usually looks at me with love in his eyes and there is no doubt we click. I just know that if issues like this aren't resolved things can escalate. My deceased husband was good at making me feel small and I always had to watch what I said. I don't want another life like that. I hope we can work through this. I also don't want him to not be who he is and I think I'm pretty considerate in that respect or I wouldn't even notice when he was in one of his quiet states. At this point though I am very happy we both have our own homes.