Why He’s Not Listening To You and How To Get Him To Listen
Okay, so it’s a known fact that men’s brains are wired differently. We have this “off” switch to the white noise around us. It stems from our primal days when we needed to “hone” in for the kill. Our primitive minds can shut everything off apart from that which we are doing until we’re finished. And it stands to reason that women can often feel frustrated when he’s switched her off and just isn’t listening whatsoever. It’s like a kill switch. If he doesn’t want to hear, he won’t. I know, I do this myself in certain instances.
Women’s brains are wildly different from this. As far as I understand it women can hear everything at the same time and can’t switch things off. It’s like an onslaught of information all at the same time, constantly. Whilst I’m no woman myself, this is what I’ve learned from listening to them. Feel free to correct me in the comments! And it’s why when men and women try and communicate together there is somewhat of a crossover in communication that misses one another. She expects him to be like her, and he expects her to think like him.
Well, I’ll let you into a secret. You both have different ways of communicating and understanding, and it’s by learning and understanding those weird and wonderful ways in which men and women are both different, and having a little compassion for each other that relationships flourish and prosper.
So what do you do first?
You need to listen to him first
Ever heard the phrase, “seek to at first understand, and then to be understood?” There’s a lot of meaning to that phrase. I’ve heard a lot of women tell me (because I do talk to a LOT of women) that her partner just isn’t listening, and you’re probably not going to like what I’m going to say, but it’s because she isn’t listening to him either. If you want him to listen to you, then you need to be open to listening to him as well. Relationships are bi-directional, as with everything in life — there’s give and take on all parts.
It’s a hard fact that most humans don’t listen to each other properly. So I’m not going to lay the blame solely at the lady’s feet, but these days we listen to respond, and not to just listen. Listening requires that little bit more effort that people generally aren’t prepared for. To truly listen we need to soak up what the other person is saying, try to understand it, and then read between the lines.
Sometimes listening to your partner can be hurtful too. Only last year my wife told me that my untidiness was sending her into a depressive spiral. Did I want to hear that? No. Did it hurt? Yes. And was I worried for my wife’s mental state? Yes. What did I do? I stepped up. I acted upon what she was telling me. If I didn’t then it would be harmful to our relationship.
I’ll be honest and say that I did want to rage at her. I did want to tell her all what she was doing wrong in our relationship, and the ways in which she was making me feel bad, but where would that have got me? We would have both argued intensely and nothing would have been solved. Of course there’s a time and a place for telling her my feelings, but as a retort to her problems? Probably not. I needed to listen to what she was telling me and act upon it.
Sometimes that ego needs to take a back seat and just take what he’s saying on the chin.
So how does this all affect you? Are you confused yet? Good. Well, don’t worry, I have your back on this one. Let’s start by deconstructing how to get him to listen to you.
Ask him questions to pull him out of what he’s doing
What do people do when you ask them questions? They stop and think, right?
Actually, this is a well known technique to get someone out of the anger-zone and back to processing their thoughts. You can’t reflect and be angry at the same time. Service professionals do it all the time to stop their customers shouting at them.
Just like this we’re going to use the same technique with our own bit of twist to it. You’re going to ask him questions that cause him to reflect. Reflection requires a bit more brain work than just bog standard answering, so in most cases this will help you in your quest to get him to listen.
Instead of using statements, or rhetorical questions like:
“Ugh! You’re just not listening to me”
“Why do I even bother? You never listen to me anyway.”
Try something more reflective when you’re trying to communicate with him for example:
“Why aren’t you listening to me?”
“What can I do to help you listen to what I’m saying? This is really important to me.”
Some people will air on the side of caution here because they will say that is giving him too much power, creating an imbalance, but I disagree. You are empowering yourself enough into trying to understand the causes to his not listening to you. This isn’t a lesson in getting him to stop and to listen to you. This is both a lesson to get him to stop, and for you to gain a better understanding into how, why, where and what. We empower each other by arming ourselves with the knowledge on how to better understand him.
“You’re not listening to me“ — it serves no purpose. It’s a statement. Nothing more, nothing less. And if anything it makes him feel a bit worse about himself.
“Why aren’t you listening to me?“ — it causes him to reflect, and hopefully his answer will give you a better understanding on how to deal with him now, and in the future.
See? Being powerful can also be masked as being submissive also.
Of course it will never happen as gracefully as I’m typing out these words on this screen. Relationships are messy, and conversations are even messier, I only hope that I give you an idea of what to say and how to act. Add your own twist!
Sometimes you’re not going to like what he has to say. Take it on the chin.
If you want to make a relationship work then sometimes you’re going to have to take what he has to say on the chin. Sometimes the greatest steps we make as humans are when we are brought to the most frightening realities of ourselves. Even although it hurts like shit to be told something that we don’t want to hear, sometimes listening, and acting upon what we’ve been told makes for a more solid and loving relationship.
And if you start to take him seriously? Then by god you’ll notice a change in him taking you seriously.
But DO remember, sometimes we end up with partners that will only, no matter what, care about themselves, and if you notice a solid train of one way traffic from only you — then I’d say it’s time for different measures.