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tedibear's avatar

How long should I wait to experience a change in my husband's behavior?

Asked by tedibear (18013points) February 16th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, Fluther was wonderfully helpful with this dilemma I had regarding my husband. Briefly, I need compliments, he doesn’t give them. We talked, he said he will work on it. I believe him.

The new question: How long do I wait to hear something before I say anything? It may not be an issue and I’m hopeful that it won’t be. I need and want to keep my expectations realistic and in check! Two weeks? A month? Two months? Six months? I don’t want to nag. I also don’t want to let this slide away and I end up upset again. Tired of that shtick. Right now I’m fine that he hasn’t said anything as there has really only been one possible opening for him to do so.

Any thoughts or opinions gratefully accepted. (I’m going to a job interview in a bit, so will be back for your comments later.)

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31 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

You already told him.I don’t think it’s a good idea to try and force someone to compliment because when and if they do,I would think of it as bs.It sounds like it is part of his personality.Actions do speak louder than words :))

Sophief's avatar

He sounds like my man! I don’t think there is a time limit, I think maybe it is just a case of waiting, waiting and waiting. How long have you both been together?

Cruiser's avatar

I sense I myself am a lot like your husband….we aren’t broke just not well versed in the art of complimenting…probably how I was raised. Be patient, gently nudge the concept now and then and find friends who are more free with their praise to boost your spirits.

TheJoker's avatar

Tricky to say. As a man I like to compliment on a daily basis… I just wouldn’t feel right not telling a woman how special she looked… obviously she does have to have something to compliment in the first place.

marinelife's avatar

You don’t want to say anything at all. Instead, focus your efforts on complimenting yourself.

Also, in looking for signs that he loves you in non-verbal things that he does for you. Does he take your car to get serviced? Does he always take care of things around the house? Does he do other non-verbal things that show that he loves you? Look for signs of those things and make note of them as signs that he loves you.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Hi @tedibear39

This is your husband. I asked RealEyes to send you a message from me.


Now you may be wondering, why I haven’t complimented you directly. Well, you see, it’s a new thing for me. I’m having trouble associating with your suggestion for my life. I never really thought about complimenting anyone for anything. It’s probably something to do with the way I was brought up. It’s sad and stupid… I know. I’m sorry honey.

I’m very pleased you love me enough to speak your mind. I want to be everything to you. You mean the world to me and I want you to know that so badly. I just don’t know how. Be patient with me and I know I’ll figure it out. It sounds like such a simple thing, and it should be. I take things for granted too much. I’m sorry. As time rolls by, with your love and support, I know I’ll find a voice to speak how much you mean to me.

drhat77's avatar

Men are socialized to be poor verbal communicators. Action speak louder than words. I am assuming he is much like me, in that he thinks the compliment but feels it is obvious, so it doesn’t need to be said out loud.

After much discussion with my wife over the years, I’ve learned there are a number of things she does which are very important to her. Whenever I notice her doing these things, I compliment her. I have had to train myself to do it. I do it much the same way I enter a username and password when I log in to a website. To me, it is a silly formality that must be discharged. To her, it means the world.

john65pennington's avatar

Cruiser…......really great answer. you took the words right out of my mouth. i could have not said it any better myself. john

drhat77's avatar

Also like @marinelife said you should know how great you are. compliments from others are just icing on the cake.

trailsillustrated's avatar

whats a golf clap

CMaz's avatar

“How long do I wait to hear something before I say anything?”

I think you need to go back to your last question and look over the answers.

Basically, you cant teach an old dog new tricks.

Live with it or get a new dog.

Cruiser's avatar

@trailsillustrated That warm appreciative applause you hear during golf matches when a great shot is made!

Silhouette's avatar

Wait until you have a compliment coming to you. That sounds harsh, let me rephrase. I’d rather have one good honest compliment than 1000 I felt were insincere peace offerings.

JLeslie's avatar

@tedibear39 I think it is great that he said he will work on it ! :). It had seemed that maybe he would not be receptive at all. I think you have to give him enough time that it won’t seem to him, or you, that he is doing it only because you asked. So there might be a big lull for several weeks, don’t get discouraged I think. If 3 months go by, then I think maybe that is too long. If you say somethng too fast, then you set-back the whole process again, know what I mean? Also, you need to be sure and compliment him. If you both figure something out together, solve a problem, fix something, even clean out a closet together, be sure to say, “thanks for your help, you really made it easier,” or, “your idea to shovel the snow was brilliant, everyone else can’t drive down their driveways because of the ice,” whatever it is, you can help create an environemnt of positive reinforcement. Maybe you already do that? I don’t remember.

Judi's avatar

edit: I’m on my iPhone and can’t fix the following fat finger spelling problems.
I think you may have to make a game of it until he really internalizes it.
You may HAVE to spend a few months saying “Did I do good honey?”
It sounds like hecis willing to give you what you need but it doesn’t come naturally for him. He will need to be retrained.
It sounds like he’s a great guy. He just needs some ques about when it’s appropriate to give these compliments. In a year or so, with your help hexwill be a compliment pro.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Just out of curiosity, and to perhaps instill in him the feelings that you want him to instill in you… how and how often do you compliment him?

tedibear's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies – That was lovely. Much of it sounds like what he said, except for some of the “mushy” wording. ;~) But that was the gist of it. He didn’t know and will give it a whirl.

For those of you who are going back to the original issue, I’m okay with all that for now. It will only become a problem again if there is no response. Which is why I asked this question, because I know I need to be patient, and reasonable with my expectations. I was truly wondering if there is a time frame that wouldn’t sound like I’m being a nag or a whiner. I’m very much a “how,” “how much,” and “when” kind of person

@Silhouette – That’s not harsh at all. I would like to think that in a couple of months time, I should have managed to look nice or done something well that would give him an opening.

@JLeslie – yes, I do try to create the whole positive atmosphere thing. More so that he knows I appreciate the hard work that he does around the house and at his job.

For those who asked about my compliments to him, I have always tried to do it on a regular basis, whether it’s about something that looks nice on him, or something he has done well. I try to make it a combination of compliment and appreciation. At the end of my previous question, I put an update. Below is a copy and paste from that so no one has to go back to it. It’s regarding his take on compliments for himself:

“And, I learned something interesting and important about him. He finds compliments to be offensive. Example I gave him was when he looked at my grades and just said, “Oh cool.” Told him that it hurt because he couldn’t say that he was proud of me or that I had done a good job. He told me that if someone does that to him on something that he considers minor (like a good grade on a test, etc.) that the compliment feels like a punch to the gut. He feels that if the expectation is that he would do it well, he shouldn’t be complimented on it. And that the person giving the compliment is being phony or fake. If it’s something particularly difficult then a compliment is okay. But not too effusive. The focus should be on that the project was well done or the plane was saved, not on the person who did the work. I told him that I would try to remember that because my goal is to never make him feel punched in the gut. His response, “You don’t have to do that. It’s how you are, I know that and it’s okay.” Being me, I pushed the issue a bit and asked if it felt like I was punching him when I did it, and he said “not really.” Which might or might not be true, but I was too tired to push any more!”

JLeslie's avatar

@tedibear39 Well, that is very important information. I think the best thing that came out of talking to him is that you talked. Now you better understand each other. An “oh cool” for me would be enough for me on a grade too, and I like him, if someone goes on and on about a small thing, it makes me feel like they are fake. Now that you say all of this, I see it is a fine line to walk. I want positive reinforcement, but not to feel condescended to, like I am be talked as a child would be. Interesting. I thought he was giving you nothing, no positive words at all.

snowberry's avatar

I have heard it said that men want to be respected, while women want to be loved. I know it’s true in my marriage. Ask him if this is what’s important to him. Some guys will not say they want to be respected, but by careful listening, you can figure it out.

YARNLADY's avatar

You might try “wow, that meal turned out better than I expected, what do you think?” Give him an opening and be sure it goes both ways “You look good in that shirt, we should buy more in that shade”.

tedibear's avatar

@YARNLADY – He blows off all compliments. Either by saying “eh” or by not responding at all. I still give them because I want him to know that he has done something well. Actually, what I’m going to do it change how I compliment him because of what he mentioned. I’d rather he’d not feel as though he had been punched in the gut. (See above.) As well, I do ask what he thinks of a particular meal – and no matter what way I say it, I get either, “It was okay,” or “That was pretty good,” said in a fairly indifferent way. (I think because of how he thinks about compliments.)

@JLeslie – He doesn’t compliment me the person. I can count on one hand the number of positives he has given that have had something to do with me. And have a finger or two leftover. ;~) But at least now I understand why. And I agree, compliments that are overblown are really annoying.

@snowberry – I think he would say that being respected is important to him. Luckily, he gets that at home.

Again, many thanks to all the Flutherites who took the time to listen – again! I appreciate the effort from each of you.

Sophief's avatar

Has he had relationships before you? My boyfriend was married before me and his wife wasn’t all that interested in compliments or love. My boyfriend doesn’t give me compliments unless I ask him first and then I can see he is uncomfortable. It’s just not what he is used to.

tedibear's avatar

@Dibley – He was engaged once and dated three or four people very casually in between her and me. This was many years ago. I think it’s all going to be about gentle, patient reminders. But not for a while. I need to give him time.

Sophief's avatar

@tedibear39 My boyfriend gets annoyed if I keep asking him. I know he tries and that it is hard for him.. I guess you just have to remember that he wouldn’t be with you if he didn’t love you.

CMaz's avatar

“I need to give him time.”

You will need to give him a lifetime. It is apparent, it is not who he is.

JLeslie's avatar

@ChazMaz Awww, why so negative? Her husband was willing to have the discussion, and voiced he wanted to do better.

tedibear's avatar

IMHO, @ChazMaz is trying to be realistic as he sees it. That’s not bad. What I will say is that when the husband says he’s going to do something, he does it. That gives me hope. That being said, I also need to remember that there is a possibility that it won’t happen. Just trying to keep the balance in my head.

CMaz's avatar

@JLeslie – Yea, and I am hopeful I will see a monkey fly out of my butt in my lifetime.
Hey, be hopeful. I am just looking at it more realistically.

“when the husband says he’s going to do something, he does it.”
I believe you. When wood needs to be chopped or the garage needs to be cleaned up.
Or, when he has to make an effort for people he has to make an effort for. You (apparently) not being one of them.

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