Why men aren’t listening – and I’m stumped

Why men aren’t listening

I just read a fantastic article on the honey quill earlier, and shared it with all my friends. The fragile male ego as the author calls it and why men aren’t listening. And I know myself how fragile the male ego can be, being a man. So I could only agree with the article and appluad the artist for her handywork. Then another author friend, Lucy, directed me to this Huffington Post article about the way men perceive womens emotions, and how we can often downplay them based on our narrow-minded view of the way we, as men are, and that obviously what they are experiencing can’t be that bad, because it’s not that bad for us. This article hit a nerve for me, because I’ve always felt that I’ve listened to my partner, yet, it was highly detailed, highly descriptive, it had me wondering if that I’m not that great a listener after all.

why men aren't listening

So I asked my wife.

“Selective listening, selfishness and downplaying my issues”

That was her round about answer to what I was asking. Followed by some great examples. That I’m great at listening at times, but on other ocassions, especially when she’s telling me something that conflicts with the harmony of my ego, then I shut down, tell her that it can’t be all that bad, and minimise what she’s trying to tell me. Again, like my other post, it was REALLY hard to hear. I mean I am human, I should care what she’s telling me.

I even went as far to say to her,

“But it’s not all bad is it?”

And quite rightly so, she pointed her open palm at me, as if to say,

“See? Fragile male ego!!”

We both laughed.

Male ego

I can take it on the chin. I mean talking about these things, it leads to resolutions. I’m just glad she feels able enough to talk to me about this when I ask. She’s a confident lady and has no trouble speaking her mind. She did say during my discussion that sometimes she just wants to tell me how she feels. And that instead of turning the issues back onto her, as if she was to blame too, because her saying so conflicts with my male fragility, that I’d just sit there and listen to her. Take it all in, and make the necessary adjustments to make her feel better.

“It’s not all about you”

I’ll often hear her say, and I’d get confused by this, because in my mind I think of her and my son first rather than anyone else. I mean this blog, it’s created so that her and Alex never need to worry about money again in the future. In my mind I’m more selfless than selfish. I go out of my way to help other people, listen to them, and discover their awesome. But I think I have finally nailed it. Nailed what she means. Perhaps I should start thinking more selflessly. I’m sort of newly discovering what this means. To think selflessly. Earthly women do this. I know so. It’s probably why a lot wonder why men aren’t listening.

As far as I understand the primal instincts of women, they are the homemakers, they are wired to have a wide angled view to life. They view the home as something the family lives in, and they think of the needs of the family. She will be wired to think of her bretheren as a whole. Whereas a man is the hunter, he has a narrow view; honed for picking off medium sized animals in the distance to throw his spear at. His narrow vision causes him to have a narrower view of life, thinking mostly of only one thing at a time. And because the woman cares for the man, this causes him to adopt a more selfish perspective.

cave man

Men like to be mothered

This is why men like to be mothered (we do!) and we can’t find anything in the house without asking our partners, and equally why women like to mother (they do!) and why they’re always telling their partners where they last dropped the hoover at their feet.

And now I’m sort of tore between my primal instincts, and my wife, and literally a plethora of similar thinking women out there. Will I ever be able to think more synonomously with the needs of my partner? Or will I have to wander the house, forever pissing her off and making it up to her in various efforts across our life spans? I mean I’m totally aware that I’m human, far from perfect, and there’s some things about me, men, that I, we, just won’t be able to change. But I’m a firm believer that if you are aware of something then you are in control of it. So I’m going to try and change it. Like everything I try to change I’m sure it will be a long and hard process, but at least I’m trying, right? I’m going to try and smash the question why men aren’t listening out the window for my wife.

I think for me the first step that I need to make is to just sit and listen to how she’s feeling no matter how it will effect my ego. I think that will give her a space to open up and feel safe to talk to me without throwing it back in her face again. She has told me that there are times when she feels that she hasn’t got the energy to tell me how she’s feeling whilst simultaneously massaging my ego, so she just doesn’t. Talk to me about it that is.

male ego

I felt bad listening to that. I feel bad writing this if I’m honest. I feel raw and vulnerable right now, but I know the first thing I do when I feel like this is take to my blog to hash it out internally. Once I write it then I have an active solution, hopefully.

Looking for a solution

I’ve realised that it’s eternally easier creating safe places for friends, colleagues and people that I barely know, but when it’s my partner, the one that I’ve sworn my life to; it’s hard to hear. It’s hard to take in. I get defensive, I act differently with my wife than I do anyone else. Perhaps it’s because I have a protective emotional barrier around my family, that My Son and wife only get to see me in my most real and raw sense of the word. I think most men are like that. What you see outside of the familial home is not exactly what you’ll get inside it. And it’s probably why women get confused, as to why men are attentive at first, then down the line find themselves asking why men aren’t listening?

So I vowed to my wife that I’ll listen to her from now on. That I’ll let her speak without getting super fragile and upset. I’ll do with her what I let most other people do. I’ll take it in and look actively for a solution to what she wants from me, rather than acting like she’s just wounded me. And I guess I’ll see where that takes me. She’s always told me she’d feel much happier if I just listened to her on certain topics, rather than dismissing her because of the way the topic made me feel.

I guess that’s what it’s about there really. Men don’t like feeling vulnerable in general. I like feeling vulnerable in the happy, everyone is so awesome sense, where we sit there massaging each others egos. But when it comes to that point where we openly discuss the faults of one another, in my relationship, I don’t like to hear it. I hate it in fact. I mean I know I’m flawed, I absolutely understand that I could do better, but I just don’t like being laid bare and openly vulnerable and raw without my consent.

vulnerable man

Childhood

And that stems from my childhood being slapped by my Dad for crying, having my bum turned red raw for only being true to myself. For being told to ‘man up‘. I swear toxic masculinity has a lot to fucking answer for. We’re supposed to be brought up by our parents and taught how to survive in this world, and through a mixture of our parents perceptions of how we should be, versus our own perceptions, we’ve created this fucked up male society. So I’m now listening. I’m saying to my wife, my women friends and women I’ve yet to meet – why men aren’t listening? – Well, I’m listening.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Comment below!

Thanks for reading why men aren’t listening

Why men aren't listening - and I'm stumped

I’m a man that’s been through the pitfalls and elations of relationships in my ever growing quest to better my knowledge in the human condition. I’ve been in the game and around the Internet since 1996 and surprisingly I’m still using it today. I’ve definitely found myself in some weird and wonderful places and I hope to share all of this with you lucky people.

23 Comments
  1. Reply
    shopgirlanonymous April 10, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Eye Opening! Truly! But I feel myself growing frustrated as I read. You put it great, but the realities are still the realities. 😉

    • Reply
      Raymond April 10, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      That’s so true – I’m trying to create change in what I write. I’m hoping that by reading me, that other men will be challenged to reflect 🙂

  2. Reply
    jodie April 10, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Listening is an art form….I think! And it takes years and years of practice. Right?
    But I don’t believe it’s just men—women make these same mistakes!!
    Jodie
    //www.jtouchofstyle.com

  3. Reply
    Thrifty Guardian April 10, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    I disagree that women like to “mother” – do I enjoy being a mother to my children? Absolutely! Do I want to “mother” my husband? Absolutely not.

    Both men AND women love to be “mothered” because why wouldn’t they? Someone to take responsibilities off their shoulders, make sure everything gets done, cook, clean, etc.

    Men have a primal urge to want to fix things, women have the need to simply be listened to without being told how to fix it. It’s probably why divorce rates are so high – it’s easier to cite irreparable differences than to realize that both must learn to meet in the middle.

    • Reply
      Raymond April 11, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Interesting point – I’m trying my hardest not to make blanket statements anymore – this just proves why 🙂

  4. Reply
    The Plagued Parent April 10, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    It’s been a month, how’s it going? I tend to think that half the battle is recognizing a problem. We all have ego issues when it comes to that! I have a feeling you are going to make a positive tweak, that will only enhance your relationship. 🙂

    • Reply
      Raymond April 11, 2017 at 10:13 am

      Yup. That is spot on. When you realise, or better yet, admit that there is a problem, then that’s at least 80% of the battle – because then you can start working on it 🙂

  5. Reply
    Linda Hobden April 10, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Interesting post and definitely food for thought. I think the main difference is that men and women view situations differently and put a different emphasis on things which makes communicating emotions more difficult. It’s not always a case of not listening or selective hearing but a general misinterpretation.

  6. Reply
    Silly Mummy April 10, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    I got mentioned!

    I completely agree with your wife that if, in trying to tell someone how you feel, what a problem is, etc, you have to constantly ‘manage’ their reaction, emotions and ego, it is exhausting, and it becomes easier to just not say anything. Especially if, after all that, they won’t have actually listened anyway, will have projected their own behaviour and reasoning on to you, and made it all about them.

    However, willingness to try to understand, recognise and address these issues goes a long way. And we are all, to some extent, prone to projections and seeing everything from our own perspective.

    I find the differences that seem to be rooted in evolution, biology and our original differing roles very interesting. I once read a study that was looking at women being more capable of reading and giving subtle cues in emotion, expression, etc, as women are generally physically weaker and were not the hunters, and reading and diffusing subtle danger signs is a survival instinct for non-hunters. One of the things this study concluded was that women, on average, are capable of speaking in many more subtly different tones than men, on average, are capable of hearing and jnterpreting.

    • Reply
      Raymond April 11, 2017 at 10:22 am

      It was you that gave me the idea to ask my wife and for this post. I agree with your points. I’ve also read that somewhere about communication and women. I do think if you have a high emotional intelligence like I have, I think it’s easier to communicate – but I’m a damn anomaly lol. I’m sure of it.

  7. Reply
    Shallow Reflections April 10, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    I’m not into ‘mothering’ my husband and he is an excellent listener. The only thing I have to remind him of from time to time is I don’t need him to ‘fix’ things for me and when I vent sometimes I just need to vent without figuring out solutions. Also he is more likely to know where things are than I am when I need to find something. Since you can ‘take it on the chin’ I have to disagree that caring for men causes them to adopt a more selfish attitude. Sorry, but that’s on you guys!

  8. Reply
    Austin April 10, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    I’d like to think I’ve become a better listener with each new relationship. I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t great at it during my marriage, but it is something I’ve worked hard to improve. But I agree that, as a whole, men are very bad at this…

    • Reply
      Raymond April 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

      Yup. I agree with this. But for me I didn’t really start listening until I learned to listen. But since then I keep learning.

  9. Reply
    Jennifer April 11, 2017 at 2:44 am

    I have to admit, my husband is the better listener. I’m the one who is multi-tasking while he’s talking and trying to fix it before he finishes. Too many years spent in tech support. We laugh about our role reversal.

    • Reply
      Raymond April 11, 2017 at 10:24 am

      Haha. I expect there are lots of instances like that! It’s good that you can laugh about it 🙂

  10. Reply
    Klaudia April 11, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Yes, yes, yes, men need mothering and never listen!! And also, the older men get the more mothering they rerquire, I know what I am talking about after being with my ‘ol’ grumpy’ for 36 years now 🙂 I was asking myself a few times already, should I rather adopt him ?? No wonder that they say, your secrets are safe with your husband …. as he never listens anyway 😉

    • Reply
      Raymond April 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      Hahaha – that made me laugh 🙂

  11. Reply
    Carol Cassara (@ccassara) April 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I love your thoughts — you are certainly uncommon in your ability to be both male and look deeply at yourself. There’s a lot of truth here and I appreciated every word of it.

  12. Reply
    lsgaitan23 April 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    I love your introspection and willingness to keep digging. Communication is certainly an art form and a dance. When done well, it’s sublime, but it can be such a struggle to reach that point!

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