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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been having some trouble with my wife, we're both 32. I'd like to see a counsellor but she doesn't. Our arguments always follow the same formula, and she believes that I ignore and dismiss her feelings and that I don't listen to her. On the contrary, I do believe I listen to her and pay her lots of attention. I do all the cooking and cleaning around the house, I pay all of the bills, I work hard and she always has enough money for the things she wants, though admitedly she doesn't go on crazy shopping sprees or anything.

These are the steps our arguments follow:

She accuses me of something that hurts her, ie she thinks I'm not listening or I disagree with her.
She expects an apology immediately. "I'm sorry for not listening", even if I can recite all that she has just told me, proving that I am listening.
She will not enter into any discussion as to whether or not I was listening until I apologise.
Only when I apologise is she willing to entertain the possibility that I was listening.

My memory is above average, I can remember tiny details of stories that she told me years ago. Whenever this happens I protest my innocence and defend myself. I repeat to her, as best as I can, what she was saying.

This isn't good enough. She demands that I apologise for something that I clearly didn't do.

She is very high maintenance, not so much materially, but emotionally. She told me last night that the problem is that I 'seem to not be listening'. I can appreciate that this is her reality, but it is not mine. I can and have proved every time that I have been listening and paying attention. Perhaps she is misreading my body language or whatever. We don't even have TV, so it's not like I'm looking at a screen and nodding at her. This happens when we are walking in the mall, holding hands. I cannot physically look at her that whole time, I gotta walk and navigate around trash cans, kids, trolleys etc!

I said as a half joke 'Do you want me to look at you straight in the eye, hold your hand and stroke your hair every time you speak to me?'. Her reply? 'Oh my god, you're finally getting it'.

So what is it? Does she have unrealistic expectations of having my absolute and undivided attention at all times, or am I somehow being, as she calls it 'abusive', for listening to her while I glance around me or am eating, etc etc?

Thanks guys.
 

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This might be a miss, but somtimes when a woman says you are not listening she is not saying you are not hearing, but you are not listenin with you heart!

also women tend to speak 1from their mind,2 from their will, 3 from their emotions and it can be confusing which one she is speaking from.
there is a female poster that made a great statemen that any agression on a mans part even in slight voice changes can affect a womans sharing potintial.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I feel that's what I'm doing. I'm not a 'uh huh, uh huh' guy. I do converse with her. I listen to what she has to say, ask questions, joke... I feel that I am a good listener. The problem is she requires eye contact when she speaks, but that's not always possible or realistic.

An example was last night, I was stoking the fire. She was telling me about work. We were sitting on the couch. There was eye contact, then I glanced and saw that the fire needed tending. I got up, gave it a poke and she started shouting 'YOU'RE DOING IT AGAIN, YOU'RE NOT LISTENING'. I repeated back to her all that she said. 'APOLOGIZE TO ME' "But I am listening, I told you what you had just said' 'YOU WEREN'T LISTENING. APOLOGIZE NOW. I'M SICK OF THIS ABUSE'

She talks a lot, I do find her interesting and funny. I have no problems with her other than this overreaction which happens daily for the last couple of months.
 

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Wow, if only guys were really that attentive (holding hand and stroking hair).

If she feels neglected emotionally, it could lead to problems and resentment down the road. Talk about it, ask her how you could improve and really listen to what she tells you.

Try to find small ways to make her feel like she's special to you, little love notes, saying something positive about her, etc.

You definitely need to come to a middle ground with this. Emotional affairs have become very common. Keep the marriage strong to protect it from that possibility.
 

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Nah, definitely not divorce type of issues. Sometimes it's hard to find a happy medium, and good balance where you can both be happy. Just try to be mindful of her needs and what it takes for her to be fulfilled.

There are some very good resources throughout the site, different books and such that can help.
 

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Maybe you could also ask questions to act interested. This way, she knows you're listening and interested. You could even repeat back parts of what she has said to let her know you're listening. Research how to be a good listener/communicator. It's a google search away.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As I stated, I do ask questions, I do repeat. I don't feel the need to act interested, I am interested! There's not once where she accused me of listening where I failed to repeat and understand what she has said. The issue, to me, is that once eye contact is broken she believes I'm not listening. I tried to explain that for me it's like when you listen to talk radio. You don't need to keep an eye on the dial or the speakers to listen to what the DJ or the callers are saying and to understand them!
 

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'Do you want me to look at you straight in the eye, hold your hand and stroke your hair every time you speak to me?'. Her reply? 'Oh my god, you're finally getting it'.
All I can say is that I'M A WOMAN and I think this is effin' CRAZY!!!!

High-maintenance doesn't BEGIN to cover it. Definitely would rather PULL MY NAILS OUT ALSO than live like this! This is SO BEYOND 'needy'....I personally believe you'll NEVER be able to "fill up" this empty vessel -- sounds like there's REAL DAMAGE to her emotionally.

If SHE won't go to counseling, go by yourself. You will be able to learn coping mechanisms, get recommendations on books about better communication, etc.

But, like I said, I think this will ONLY continue...and will get worse. Good luck!
 

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As I stated, I do ask questions, I do repeat. I don't feel the need to act interested, I am interested! There's not once where she accused me of listening where I failed to repeat and understand what she has said. The issue, to me, is that once eye contact is broken she believes I'm not listening. I tried to explain that for me it's like when you listen to talk radio. You don't need to keep an eye on the dial or the speakers to listen to what the DJ or the callers are saying and to understand them!
Ask yourself honestly, what if all this nonsense happened with your friends? You wouldn't stand for it for a moment. If you were to be completely honest with yourself, you'd realise that you've put yourself in a position where you find yourself justifying childish behaviour, or asking for advice on how to deal with it (you shouldn't deal with it at all). It's really sad reading your posts because you sound broken, that's what you've allowed yourself to be reduced to. It's an insult to your dignity.

The only useful and logical thing to do is divorce her. If you met her for the first time and she acted that way would you be attracted to that? It's going to carry on and it's going to get worse. Let divorce be your coping mechanism.
 

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If she's not going to go to counseling (and im not sure I read signs you are altering your own behaviour, if so then I'm mistaken) then the only thing you will be able to do is cope. Do you see where I was going?
If she's not willing to get herself fixed, divorce is the only solution. He shouldn't have to cope with unacceptable and intolerable behaviour. If she was willing to sort herself out that would be different, and it would be worth staying married, but that's not what we're seeing here.

When people meet, assuming one isn't a masochist, they don't tend to be attracted to negative traits, and therefore they don't get together in the first place. Yes he's married to her now, but fortunately he can get divorced. I don't understand why anybody needs to excuse her behaviour.
 

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Rather than apologizing for something you know you haven't done, tell her that you're sorry that she feels that you're not listening to her. Acknowledge that this would be a hurtful thing for you to do, and that you are certain that you aren't doing it. But if she feels that you are, her feelings are important to you and you would like her to tell you what it is that makes her feel this way. In other words, put the onus on her to explain what makes her feel that you're not listening, when in fact you know that you are.
 
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Does she attend to you in the same way?
Eye contact, etc.. does she apologise?

Also is she controling in daily things with you?

Do you have any children yet?

Does she show respect for you?

I dont know why but i want to ask if she is a teacher?
Is she a highly scrupled person?
Does she react strongly to negative facial gestures, like rolling eyes?

How long married? Did she keep asking early on "do you love me"
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Finch, the OP already expressed a preferred desire to 'cope' and help deal with her behaviour over the desire to divorce, so I think that's where Satya's advice was coming from. He doesn't want to divorce, believes it is not marriage-ending behaviour, and is seeking coping/behaviour altering mechanisms, both of which counselling is well-known for. Divorce should never be the first option for marital struggles outside the realm of abuse.

My husband is like you OP, he has a crazy-good memory too (at least relatively). I've accused him of not listening when it blatantly feels like he isn't (i.e he's actively engaged mentally and physically with something else) but he can repeat verbatim what I just said (even if his reply WAS 'yes' to an 'or' question lol). When it happens I'm usually shocked enough to drop the subject.
 

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Finch, the OP already expressed a preferred desire to 'cope' and help deal with her behaviour over the desire to divorce, so I think that's where Satya's advice was coming from. He doesn't want to divorce, believes it is not marriage-ending behaviour, and is seeking coping/behaviour altering mechanisms, both of which counselling is well-known for. Divorce should never be the first option for marital struggles outside the realm of abuse.

My husband is like you OP, he has a crazy-good memory too (at least relatively). I've accused him of not listening when it blatantly feels like he isn't (i.e he's actively engaged mentally and physically with something else) but he can repeat verbatim what I just said (even if his reply WAS 'yes' to an 'or' question lol). When it happens I'm usually shocked enough to drop the subject.
The OP has asked for advice, and in my opinion it is marriage ending behaviour and that's what my advice is based on, because I really do think that the OP is deluding himself and I feel the need to tell him this. If he manages to cope with it then that's all well and good, but for the sake of his dignity I don't think he ought to. I mean, if he does cope with it, what's next? It's not nice to think that he could come back here one day with another problem to do with his wife's behaviour, and then deciding to cope with that too. If she was willing to acknowledge that she has a problem and is resolved to deal with it, that would be different, that's what married people do, but so far there's nothing that indicates that.
 
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