Social Question

Mandifrlyne's avatar

How to get him to stop asking me a million questions and only listening to half the answer?

Asked by Mandifrlyne (37points) October 12th, 2011

My boyfriend and I have had a great relationship for over three years. We are now expecting our first child. He is a very complaisant man and that has always been okay because I am very high strung and work a lot of long hours. The fact that he is extremely mellow bordering lazy helped me to relax occasionally. He has this new found hobby of asking my a million questions at the most annoying times (while i am sleeping, watching TV, on the computer). I realize he is a nervous wreck and I have done my fair share of adding stress; I bought my own house because his is a do it yourself disaster in a very bad area. He also just quit smoking. The worst part is after he asks me questions that i feel like weren’t important he doesn’t listen to the answer. I have a perfect example below…

A: What are you going to buy at Lowes?
M: Paint
A: What rooms are you going to paint?
M: Kitchen, family room, and upstairs bathroom
A: Are you going to paint the living room a shade different than the kitchen?
M: No.
A: Well you better get 3 gallons for the kitchen.
M: I won’t need that much. I only used 1 gallon for the bedroom here and that space isn’t much bigger. I can always buy more after.

(The questions didn’t stop there… don’t want you to lose your sanity)

The next morning at 5:45am while I am still in bed he starts talking about what day are we painting the bedroom of the new house. I try to explain to him again that is not one of the rooms I am planning to paint. He gets mad and starts saying I keep giving him different answer every time he asks me a question. I just wish if he isn’t going to listen to my answers he would stop asking questions. I don’t know why he even cares he isn’t painting the new house. I know he is trying to be supportive but I wish he would do it quietly! HELP

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18 Answers

Jellie's avatar

Are we by any chance dating the same guy?

tom_g's avatar

Sounds like your boyfriend needs to get off his ass and paint the damn house himself – while wearing a piece of duct tape over his mouth.

And if he’s up at 5:45am yelling at you, maybe he should have that damn tape on his mouth then too – while he cooks you breakfast.

Mandifrlyne's avatar

While that definately got a laugh out of me! I asked him to help me paint once, when I was convinced he we could fix his bachelor pad. I came home from work and he had painted the middle of all the walls leaving the edging for me. Unfortunately it had dried and it never did look right again. I definately like the duct tape idea.

tom_g's avatar

Sorry for the initial smart-ass answer. I need more coffee.

It sounds like you have some serious stuff to work out with this relationship. For starters, have you told him that you don’t like his nagging questions? Start there. If you do tell him and continues, then I think you have a bigger problem.

Besides the apparent lack of compatibility and possible neurosis on your boyfriend’s part, I find it strange that he is even letting you paint. Aren’t you pregnant? Here’s the way it works. The woman is pregnant, and the father-to-be pampers the hell out of the woman. That’s the way it works. Are you comfortable exposing yourself (and fetus) to paint fumes? And what exactly is this jackass doing all day/night while you paint?

Ok, I get that he may not be a skilled painter. But, if he’s an adult (and future father) he needs to learn how to do this. This is the perfect opportunity. Five minutes on the internet and he will know how to paint a room.

Anyway, it sounds like you guys have some communication issues to work out. And it sounds like you may have some kind of man child situation.

janbb's avatar

It sounds to me like he feels very insecure right now. You are having a baby and you are taking control of your house and your life. He wants to know where he fits in. Some very honest talking needs to be going on. Perhaps reassuring him (if that is what you want) will help stem the flow of questions.

filmfann's avatar

See, that’s why the 3 questions a day rule on Fluther is good.

He is showing (or feining) interest. Be grateful he just doesn’t ignore you.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

You could always get him a sex change operation if that’s what you want? That’s kinda what some men just do… I don’t know why, but they think we talk too damn much so, I’d say the playing field is even?

Mandifrlyne's avatar

I really appreciate all of your feedback. Rest assured I am not planning on doing any of the upcoming painting projects myself. Our mothers are actually coming over to do the painting. I am extremely independant and tend to just make decisions and do what i think needs to be done. Janbb had a good point I may need to try to incldue him on some of the decision making.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Mandifrlyne Sounds like you got this all sewn up… You sound like you are a take charge kind of girl and good for you! That’s what many men actually need, which is why they don’t say much when and where they should.

He’ll follow, they always do eventually…

Muhahhahhahh…. LOL

*And congratulations to you on your pregnancy! May it be easy, uncomplicated and blessed!

marinelife's avatar

It definitely seems like the two of you need to spend more time communicating and less time talking.

Do find out how he’s feeling. Ask him to think about that, and then give you an answer. Don’t demand an immediate answer. men need several hours to process emotional content.

What role do you want him to play in your life? Is he the baby’s father? DO you see a future with him?

If so, you need to slow down and spend some time nurturing the relationship.

wundayatta's avatar

Ah, the nesting instinct! Brings back fond memories of my marriage in the months preceding the birth of our first child. Nothing like nesting to actually get work done in the house. I think we got four rooms done. Well, maybe there is something like it: unemployment. Now my wife is unemployed we have gotten the back deck stained for the first time in a decade. Ah, life!

As to forgetting what you’ve said. Really, it isn’t malicious. It’s just hard to pay full attention sometimes when you’re obsessing about something. Whenever my wife says she has an idea, it strikes fear into my heart. “Uh-oh,” I say. Last night, at 11, she said she wanted to discuss some ideas (double uh-oh), but then she realized what time it was and backtracked.

Of course, does she ever say what the ideas are about? No. It’s just that she wants to talk about an idea. Who wouldn’t have fear struck into their hearts? Please, please, please don’t say that. Just tell me the topic so I know what’s going on. In fact, better yet, organize your thoughts before you get started so I don’t have to try to organize you so I can understand it. It’s just too hard. It’s no wonder I forget what you’ve said. The effort of trying to get it out of you in a way I can understand is too much.

My wife likes to start a story… god… I don’t know… somewhere in the middle, usually. So I let her go for a few minutes, and then I realize I have no idea where we are going. Why the fuck is she telling me this? Is she just venting, or is there something she wants me to do? Does this affect my life, our lives, or just hers? I have no idea and already she’s been talking for five minutes? Must mean she’s just venting.

If she’s venting, then I start to go into “uh-huh” mode and then, all of a sudden, she’s asking an action question! What? Huh? You mean this is a serious discussion? Why didn’t you tell me at the beginning? Why didn’t you give me an agenda? This is not fair! And you expect me to remember what you were saying now? Honey, you know you are the love and light of my life and all that, but I’m only human. There is a game on, after all!


It gets worse.

I do want to be included on decision making…. except when I don’t. If it’s something that has to do with my area of concern, then we must discuss this. If it doesn’t affect me, then by all means, knock yourself out. If it’s an aesthetic decision, well… all I can say is you better guess right about whether I want a say or not. If you give me a say and I don’t care, then you lose about 20 points. If you don’t give me a say and I do care, you lose 50 points. You don’t want to lose points.

So we’ve been painting (staining) the back deck for the first time in over a decade. Marvel of marvels, she did all the work of prepping stuff. She researched the deck cleaning stuff and got it and all I had to do was volunteer to help out with the cleaning (elbow grease) and the painting. It was actually fun. And sure, I would prefer she does the corners because my manual dexterity is not as good as hers and it hurts my hand to do that kind of work. Let me do the sloppy stuff.


During the cleaning process, we used a lot of water and some of it puddled in a hole I had to dig during the hurricanes in order to get some clay to keep the water from running in our basement. She sees this puddle and she decides it needs to be drained because of the mosquitoes. Never mind that nothing we do will make a difference with mosquitoes. So she digs a huge drainage ditch right across this patch of lawn I’ve been trying to grow for the better part of a decade. It was just beginning to get established and….

Why couldn’t she have checked with me? Doesn’t she know the lawn is an obsession of mine? We’ve only been together for 23 years.

Well, @Mandifrlyne, you probably can’t win this one. But my one piece of advice is that if you expect him to remember what you say, word for word, your relationship is not going to last long. You are nesting. You think differently. Try to remember this and give your bf an allowance because he isn’t perfect.

I can say this because I’m not married to you. Neither are you perfect, too! I know your ferocity is acting at a level ten times normal, and if he had any experience in these matters, he’d probably be paying more attention, but he’s just a guy. An ordinary guy, for that matter. Nearly a slacker. So if you want things to work better, you may do well to try to ease up a bit. @tom_g clearly expects him to do all the work for you, and no doubt @tom_g is a perfect guy. Very few of the rest of us are. That is an unrealistic expectation and if you hold onto it, you are going to become somewhat bitter pretty fast, if you haven’t already.

You’re having a baby. Don’t let yourself be bitter. The baby can taste it.

Sorry. Wish I had better news. I’m not excusing men. I’m just saying we are what we are. If you want to complain, go ahead. Just remember, you are what you are, too. If we can make allowances, we’ll all be better off.

Boy, I haven’t had that much fun with a rant in ages!

Judi's avatar

I don’t know if this has been said yet, but it is not uncommon for pregnant women to get totally disgusted by and frustrated with the father durring pregnancy. It may be hormonal. Most women have increased irritability. I have a friend who couldn’t stand the smell of her husband when she was pregnant.
Don’t make any rash relationship decisions based on your feelings until at least 6 months after the baby is born. You might just find that these questions are not near as irritating then.

Hibernate's avatar

@filmfann but he is ignoring her. After asking the question he seems to disappear in his world and only catch glimpses of answers. This is frustrating for her.

I’m not sure there’s to much you can do here. Either take a stand and stop talking to him and when he asks why you reply “because you are ignoring me and what I’m saying” OR you continue in this manner.

tom_g's avatar

@wundayatta – I enjoyed reading your rant – especially the whole storytelling/venting thing. I don’t expect the dude to do everything (and no, I’m not perfect). However, I don’t know one dude who would have let his pregnant wife paint a house. The fumes alone would be a huge concern. Really though, when she described this guy, I pictured a particular chump that married a good friend of mine. He’s a self-described lazy slob, who’s proud of it. He’s also quite dull. When @Mandifrlyne said “I came home from work and he had painted the middle of all the walls leaving the edging for me.”, this smacked of something this guy I know would do. How is this even possible? Everyone has access to a computer these days. That act alone screams shit-for-brains. I could be wrong though.

wundayatta's avatar

@tom_g You know, I tried to keep my wife from painting the baby’s room. I did all the scraping and plastering and prep work. But when it came down to it, I couldn’t keep her from doing some of it. That’s just who she is. Fortunately, the kids seem just fine, so far.

YARNLADY's avatar

Talk very slow and use as few words as possible.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think you’re not in a ‘great relationship’ if you can’t even tolerate having a conversation with him. You call him things like complacent and lazy and a DIY disaster. These are condescending words. Is it possible that you feel he’s not your equal anymore and are freaking out because now you’re pregnant with his child and he’s not really the one you want to be with for the rest of your life? You should really figure this out sooner than later.

AshlynM's avatar

More than likely he just wants things to be perfect for the baby.
Have him write down what you tell him so you can avoid this frustration in the future. Tell him to write the date, time and details of the conversations so he can look back on it he needs to.

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