Tag Archives: wife doesn’t pay attention to me

My wife doesn’t pay attention to me. For the third time. Holy moly.

My spouse is intelligent and awesome and all that great stuff.  About two years ago she got a new job and now she works all the time.  Early mornings, late nights, weekends.  When she isn’t working, there are kids and the dog and the PTA and friends all demanding her attention.  About every two months she pays attention to me.  It feels awesome, but it hurts too much when it goes away.  I think I’m just one more needy entity on her to-do list and I understand how that isn’t very attractive. But it’s unavoidable — she has a big list and I am on there, somewhere. We’ve talked about it, we’ve gone to counseling, and I think she feels better — but her job is relentless and I’m still feeling stuck.  Any ideas?

I had this boyfriend once, on and off, for years. He was a fine person, but like all boyfriends, especially the on-and-off kind, he had his limitations, which I didn’t really feel like seeing, so I just ignored them. This was all fine and good until one Friday, instead of my regular habit of going straight to happy hour, I decided to go to the gym, of all places. My punishment for trying to exercise on a Friday evening was slipping on the ice, breaking my leg in two places, and getting a nice big hot-pink cast that came all the way up to my hip.

Suddenly, what had seemed like a situation I could tolerate—his flakiness, his inability to do anything more grown-up that eat with utensils instead of his hands, his lack of focus on any activity that didn’t involve balls (you can take that any way you want)—became unbearable. I actually needed him. I needed him to do things like help me take a shower, cook, and drive me to doctor appointments. Within about a week he was like, Ehhhh, I’d rather go out to the bars. So I broke up with him. When he wasn’t available and meeting my needs emotionally, it was easy to say I didn’t care, or I didn’t need that. But since it became a physical, concrete absence of his help and support, I couldn’t ignore the facts any longer.

You’re stuck. Your wife knows this, and won’t change. You’ve been to therapy together, and she won’t change. You can’t make her change. Some things are inevitable—the kids and the dog aren’t going to take are of themselves—but if she really wanted to make the time for you, she could. She could skip a Girls’ Night Out. She could miss a PTA meeting or volunteer for one less committee. I don’t know if she could work less or not, but my guess is that she could. She just doesn’t want to. You can’t make her change and since therapy didn’t seem to help, no one else can, either.

You have to decide what you can live with. Can you live with the pain of only being paid attention to every couple months? Can you learn to accept that she has no time for you, and isn’t willing right now to make it? Do you think being on your own would be better? I don’t know the answer to these questions, since I’m not you, but I do know that you need to assume nothing will ever be different, and then act accordingly.

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His wife won’t pay attention to him, either. I wonder why.

This was a response to a previous post: http://tochea.com/2009/07/20/how-do-i-get-my-wife-to-pay-attention-to-me/. Also take a look at http://wp.me/puM8T-bw for a good plan.

I’m going through a similar situation with my my wife. Kids, career, books, friends, and just about everything else get way more focus than I do. And it has nothing to do with housework. Hell, I do just as much if not more than she does. And I don’t buy the work/life balance crap. There are days when I work from home, shuttle the kids and their friends around, pick up flowers and a card, and get all the dishes and laundry done before she gets home. Then, to top it off, I go get dinner for everyone.

I would tell you to try what I have done, but it really hasn’t worked. I scheduled some “us” time, but then the plans get canceled. I set up a romantic night away, but then we return to the same old “me and the kids” routine before you can blink an eye. I would consider counseling, but in my case I’m afraid it would do more harm than good. Digging up old feelings of resentment is not my idea of constructive therapy.

My advice…just leave. You’ll find out real quick if she still gives a rat’s ass about you. People typically find time and fight for the things they truly want.

Why don’t you give me your number so I can call you and arrange to hand over the keys to my office and you can write To Chea instead? Because really, you’re brilliant at this! “Just leave!” Genius! And we should extend this advice to say that if your kid is misbehaving, kick him out of the house. And if you get in a fight with your mom, just cut her off. Who needs the hassle? Then you can sit all by yourself in your house with your flowers and your anger, and that’ll be really fun and rewarding.

If your wife is lying on the couch eating candy and throwing the wrappers at you while you vacuum, that’s one thing. But you said it yourself: SHE IS WORKING. She’s not at the mall or a Neil Diamond concert (which would be totally fun, by the way). She’s working. And yay for you and the romantic night and the flowers/card combo, but to think you shouldn’t return to the same old kids/house/dog routine is immature and short-sighted. Maybe try to imagine what she’s going through: she works all day and comes home to Captain Angry Pants who’s been spending the entire afternoon thinking about all the ways he’s working harder than she is.

I think you should grow up and talk to your wife when you’re not mad. Have a practical conversation about who’s responsible for what around the house, and tell her frankly that you feel unloved and unwanted. If you frame it in a way that you’re just trying to improve the relationship, NOT blaming her for anything, you could get some good results.

If you’re boiling over with resentment and anger to the point where you fear going to therapy, I urge you to see your physician to check your blood pressure. Then, for real, go to therapy with your wife. Storming through life like an angry little monkey is no way to live.

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How do I get my wife to pay attention to me?

My wife pays no attention to me. She goes to work, comes home, plays with the kids, puts them to bed, takes a shower, then watches her TV shows, then goes to bed. I feel like I’m her assistant, or her roommate. I feel so angry and resentful that I worry our relationship won’t be able to recover.What can I do to get her to spend time with me?

Join a biker gang. Grow a strange-shaped beard, wear a bandanna over your hair, get some tats, and start wearing leather pants. When she’s zonked out in front of John and Kate Plus 8, put on your gear, grab your brain bucket with flames painted on the side, and say, “Bye, honey, I’m going cane it on the big slab with the guys. See you later.” (Who knew bikers had such fun lingo!?)

She will, at the very least, take notice of you. As my four-year-old can tell you, getting negative attention is better than getting no attention at all, and acting like a jackass maniac is a great way to do it. She probably won’t be too psyched about your new nocturnal activities and will strongly urge you to quit the biker gang. Tell her you’ll stop as long as she starts hanging out with you again.

One other possibility is that she doesn’t want to hang out with you because she doesn’t like you and doesn’t like spending time with you. In this case, get marriage counseling.

See also: http://tochea.com/2009/08/17/his-wife-wont-pay-attention-to-him-either-i-wonder-why/, or http://wp.me/puM8T-bw.

And see this, too: http://tochea.com/2010/11/17/my-wife-doesnt-pay-attention-to-me-for-the-third-time-holy-moly/

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