dear amy: I have been married to my husband for 10 years. We have a 5 year old son.
My husband is fantastic; However, he doesn’t care what’s going on in my life. He never asks how my day is going or wants extra details on anything, even when he knows something important is going on.
I have expressed this frustration several times, and he may ask once, but he will never ask again. I’ll ask him about his day and he always says “the usual”.
How can I get him to care about what’s going on in my life?
Confused: Most of us learn our communication style from our family of origin. Your husband may have learned early on that silence is best for him.
You see this as He doesn’t care what is going on in your life. The way I see it is that you both don’t know how to engage in intimate verbal communication. It takes practice.
Just because you love and care for each other doesn’t mean you can read each other’s minds. Speaking really has to happen.
If your husband always replies “…the usual” when you ask him about his day, he’s not giving you any information to talk to.
You may encounter a similar dynamic when your child is a little older. (“How was school?” “Good.”)
Asking more “open-ended” questions might put him off. Instead of saying “how was your day”, try “tell me about your day”.
Aside from not telling his own story, your man is unresponsive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t care about what’s going on with you.
One suggestion is that you “call a meeting.” In my (sometimes very crowded) family, we will occasionally call a meeting when we have something important to discuss. This notifies other family members in advance that cellphones are out, eyes are up, and people are expected to listen and participate.
There is evidence that the presence of a mobile phone (even face down on the table) suppresses communication.
Learning to communicate intimately isn’t easy—but it’s possible.
The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships, by John M. Gottman and Joan DeClaire (2002, Harmony).
Renowned relationship researcher Gottman has done important work in deciphering how people “bid” on a relationship. Once you recognize communication patterns, you can start changing the way you interact, which will affect others.
dear amy: I was just getting annoyed with my husband because I found out that he put my mother-in-law (his mother) on his driver’s license as his first contact. He listed me as his second contact.
Am I overreacting or am I being selfish? I feel hurt because I’m his wife!
pain: Depending on where you live, emergency contacts are registered on a government “emergency contact” database/website. This way, these contacts are quickly accessible to law enforcement and can also be easily updated.
Listing his mother as an emergency contact might have been your husband’s first instinct, but I’d say it might be a poor choice.
Which of you – his mother or you – is more likely to react quickly when your husband has an accident? Most likely – you, provided you are fit and healthy and keep your phone nearby and charged at all times.
Still, I think you might be overreacting. Depending on how healthy your relationship is, this may seem like an odd choice rather than an intentionally hurtful one.
dear amy: “Reveal‘ was mad at her cousin for ‘taking advantage’ of Betrayed’s mother while looking after the elderly woman!
From a monetary perspective, if the cousin worked just 40 hours a week at minimum wage, she should have been paid $1,160 a month. But I suppose she looked after the mother 24/7!
The cousin had to completely rearrange her everyday life to accommodate her aunt, which the daughter apparently wasn’t willing to do.
Caregivers sacrifice their time, energy, autonomy and sometimes their health to be the lifeline for people who can no longer take care of themselves.
The betrayed must “forgive” herself and thank her cousin.
cared: “Betrayed” made further allegations against her cousin, but I agree that from a monetary point of view, the cousin absolutely should have been compensated for her service.
©2022 by Amy Dickinson, distributed by Tribune Content Agency