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Why Won’t He Talk to Me? May 2, 2016

Posted by occhristiancounseling in classes, Dr. Debi Smith, research, stonewalling, understanding men.
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email-course-art-wwhttmfrontWhen something’s wrong, it’s often the woman who notices it and wants to talk about it – to figure out what’s wrong and fix the problem. Here’s a frequent complaint from our Relationship Survey:

We have problems agreeing on the way in which we will deal with problems. I want to deal with them when they come up, and he wants to think about it on his own for a long time and hope the problem goes away before we talk about it.

Does anything about that sound familiar to you?

Have you’ve ever wondered, “Why won’t he talk to me?”
Maybe you’ve tried everything you can think of.
But don’t give up! Learn what to do now!

In this FREE online course by Dr. Debi Smith, based on professional research in the Psychology of Men and Romance, you will learn all about …

  • Communication Problems – how to avoid them
  • Communication Styles – how to understand him
  • Communication Strategies – how to get him talking

Register now!

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Men & Intimate Communication April 9, 2016

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Debi Smith, stonewalling, understanding men.
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A lifetime of experience impacts the way a man communicates. But we women often don’t understand a man’s silence. So the Man Cave feels like stonewalling at best – and abandonment at worst. But the Man Cave isn’t stonewalling at all. Unless a woman tries to force her way though. Then she’s got Double Trouble.

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Simply knowing that her man is struggling is not enough, because that only serves to trigger a woman’s natural desire to reach out and encourage him … to get him to talk to her … to try to convince him that she is his Safe Haven.

But a lifetime of experience
has taught him otherwise.

Her efforts to connect will feel like an invasion to him … and/or add to his sense of guilt and shame that he hasn’t got a solution. Both of which will result in an immediate increase in his defensiveness – usually by strengthening his wall.

And being shut out makes her more anxious … worried about him … and about herself. It feels like the Beginning of the End to her, and she often doesn’t understand why.

Do you know why men stonewall?

Believe it or not, the initial purpose of the stonewall has nothing to do with hurting you. That’s not the purpose of the Man Cave either. Most women find it helpful to know the difference.

To answer before listening—
    that is folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13)

Send me your questions and comments now.
And I’ll send you a personal reply!

More Reasons Why Men Stonewall July 30, 2013

Posted by occhristiancounseling in classes, Dr. Debi Smith, emotions, stonewalling, understanding men.
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Why Do Men Stonewall? (and what you can do about it) from Dr. Debi Smith

A Woman’s Perspective June 22, 2009

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Q & A.
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He’s so distant, and you don’t understand why. Most of the time, he doesn’t even respond to you, and trying to communicate with him is like talking to a brick wall.

When you ask him what’s wrong, he mumbles “nothing” … or just ignores you.

If you press him to talk to you, he gets angry.

The only time he pays attention to you is when he wants something from you: it’s usually sex. But you’re not interested anymore.

You feel ignored, rejected, unlovable, alone.

You used to be so close to each other. You’ve tried absolutely everything you can think of to get close again, but nothing’s working. You wonder if he even loves you anymore.

You feel like giving up.

What is his perspective?

Why Do Men “Stonewall”? June 10, 2009

Posted by occhristiancounseling in classes, Dr. Debi Smith, stonewalling.
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Dr. Debi Smith

As a couples therapist, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to observe how hard women work at their relationships.

When something’s wrong, it’s often the woman who notices it and wants to talk about it – to figure out what’s wrong and fix the problem.

Here’s an example of a frequent complaint from our Relationship Survey:

“We have problems agreeing on the way in which we will deal with problems. I want to deal with them when they come up, and he wants to think about it on his own for a long time and hope the problem goes away before we talk about it.”

Chances are, this woman won’t be able to wait for him to bring up the problem again. She’ll be miserable waiting on him to say something. At best, she’ll feel like it’s just not that important to him. At worst, she’ll feel like SHE’S just not that important to him. As the hours and days tick by, she’ll start to feel more and more anxious about their relationship.

What is stonewalling?

Stonewalling is withdrawing or refusing to respond to your partner. For men, it may be a response to their own confusion or due to them feeling overwhelmed. Early in life, men learn that they have to come up with the answers to problems on their own, so this behavior makes sense. (More about this later in the course.)

For women, being stonewalled by a partner creates excessive anxiety—and anger.

Now, for the surprising side of stonewalling: It’s actually much more damaging to the relationship if the woman is the stonewaller!!

QUESTION: Do you shut him out when he hurts your feelings or does something you don’t approve of?

The female version of stonewalling can be subtle (refusing to talk to him for a few minutes) or dramatic (pouting, stomping out of the room, slamming doors, not speaking for days, etc.).

EXERCISE: Observe your own behavior today. Notice how often you stonewall in response to something he says or does. Remember, your stonewalling may be more subtle, so you’ll have to be a diligent detective.

Click here to share your thoughts if you wish. Or register for the FREE eCourse: Why Won’t He Talk to Me?

Why Does He Just Sit There? April 18, 2009

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Q & A, stonewalling.
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Sue’s Question: My boyfriend and I have been arguing a lot lately. He just doesn’t get it. Nothing gets resolved, and I am so frustrated with him! Now when I try to bring the issue up, he just ignores me. I can’t get him to talk at all! Why does he just sit there?

Dr. Smith’s Answer: The answer is both simple and confusing in that, despite popular male opinion, men are actually much more complicated than they seem. Most of us (men included) have been terribly misinformed! In reality, men are more emotionally sensitive than women. They will do anything and everything they can to avoid conflict with the women they love. Their fight-or-flight response kicks into high gear at the very onset of a disagreement, and because they don’t want to fight, they take flight (withdraw). Women also don’t realize that men experience the very same emotions that women do, but express them differently. Men don’t just don’t have the words to express how they are feeling, so most of their emotional expression comes out as indifference or anger, two extremes.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Both men and women need a better understanding of the male emotional experience. Click here to learn more.

Texting March 20, 2009

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Q & A.
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Lauren’s Question: I think this guy is interested in me. Why does he text me a million times a day but hasn’t picked up the phone in weeks to call me and set up a day to hang out?

Dr. Smith’s Answer: Men’s behavior can be really confusing, especially to women. The temptation might be to “get on with it already” and make the next move yourself by calling him up and setting up a day to hang out.

When I ask my students if they think it’s okay for a woman to ask a man out, most of them say “yes.” However, change the question slightly, and you might get a very different answer. Would you like it if a woman asked you out? The water’s a little muddier now.

Most traditional men want to know in advance what the answer will be when they ask a woman to spend time with them. That seems to hold true for questions ranging from “Wanna hangout tonight?” to “Will you marry me?” No man likes rejection. But most men still want to be the one to ask the question.

Is he interested? Maybe he is. Maybe he gives a different meaning to his texting. Maybe he hasn’t made up his mind yet. Maybe he’s unsure of your answer. Maybe he’s shy.

One thing you can be sure of: If he really wants to hang out with you, he will let you know.

But he might suggest it via a text message instead of a phone call.
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Understanding Dad March 20, 2009

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Q & A.
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W’s Question: My Dad uses the phrase “I just don’t experience emotions in the way you do,” but I know this can’t be. Our family has suffered a lot and his coping mechanism has been to shut down and ignore the problem, or run away to work.

My question is, now that I understand how helpful it would be for him to recognize and express his feelings, and for me to hear that he has emotion, how can I help him understand himself? I am mostly concerned with the fact that I am suddenly aware of this and want to help, but I would never want to cross the line and make him feel somehow inferior or less of a man because of my interventions.

Dr. Smith’s Answer: This is a problem many women have in understanding the men they love. They confuse the experience of emotion with the expression of emotion. For women, emotional experience and emotional expression are pretty much one and the same.

Although men experience the same emotions that women experience, they often express them very differently. For example, women express their fears by talking about them, whereas men are more likely to busy themselves with activities. Men aren’t ignoring their anxiety; they are coping with it by doing something constructive. It’s not a bad coping mechanism. It’s just a different coping mechanism.

My guess is that your dad understands himself pretty well. What he could use is a little more understanding from you. In short, he needs your empathy. Not “girly” stuff, but something that fits where he is. You’re right in wanting to avoid making him feel inferior or less of a man by what you do and say, so you’ll want to consider the following:

First, male and female communication styles are very different. Women prefer “undivided attention.” However, men are more comfortable talking when they’re engaged in an activity with someone. So it’s better if you are side-by-side, doing something together (e.g., washing the dishes or going for a walk) when you talk to him about anything serious.

Second, when you sense that he’s having a hard time of it, you can say something simple like:

Things have been pretty hard around here lately, and I can only imagine how tough it’s been on you. I really appreciate you being here and taking care of us through it all.

Finally, after you’ve made your statement, stop talking! Shut up. End of discussion. If he wants to talk more, he will. If he doesn’t respond, don’t pressure him. No matter what he does, you can rest assured that your empathy (understanding) will have registered with him, and you will have made a bigger impact on him than you can ever imagine.
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