- Gender and Relationships
Is His Lack Of Listening Causing A Disconnect?
When someone consistently can't remember things you talk about or share (not due to Alzheimer's) because they don't fully listen, this can become extremely frustrating....
Have you ever shared important information about yourself with a guy and he acts like he is hearing you, but actually hasn't heard you at all? When a guy "pretends" that he is listening to you (to appease you) it's not only disrespectful, it's extremely rude and very (very) frustrating—especially if his "lack" of listening becomes a habit. Wonderful.
Yes, we have all been guilty of not fully listening to what someone is saying more than once in our lives—life can get busy and overwhelming at times—making it harder to be fully present, however that can't always be the excuse.
When you have a lot of overwhelming things going on in your life (and in your head), it can make your brain overwork and become tired to the point of mentally shutting down—not receiving information to the fullest capacity. Although this can happen to anyone, if you are unable to be fully present in a conversation...just be honest and say it. It's better to admit that you are too busy, too stressed or too tired to listen versus claiming you are listening and then not absorbing anything you are hearing.
Obviously, certain things should be discussed at an appropriate time and place. If you are at a very loud establishment telling a guy you love him, discussing things with him that you aren't happy about or sharing something important that is going on in your life, should probably wait until he can hear you and you have his full attention without distractions. However, let's be real, you can't always plan the perfect time and place. And if you are sharing things that are meaningful or important to you he should want to pay extra attention. If he continues to not listen enough to remember—that's a huge Red Flag—that he might not be invested in you for the long term.
Ladies, a guy can make all the excuses in the world to why he can't remember things. However, would he have a job if he couldn't remember to go to work, do assignments/tasks while he is there and whatever else is asked by him? No, he would be fired. If he can take his job seriously enough to remember important things, then why should you be any different? If he can’t take you and your relationship seriously enough to remember then why would you take him seriously, especially if he's not doing anything to improve the situation? And, he shouldn't be that surprised if his lack of listening (and frankly remembering) causes you to emotionally pull away and disconnect from him. Oh wait, this type of guy probably would be surprised—since most likely he wasn't fully listening—to any of your previous concerns. Great.
Whether you are sharing something important about yourself or something going on in your life, voicing a concern, or offering an opinion, when a guy half listens and half remembers or does something completely contrary to what you discussed (again not listening), this can be extremely frustratingly—to say the least. If you don't have the mental capacity to listen—fully—or care enough about the person who is talking, then don't waste their time by acting like you care.
I get that retaining information for everyone can be different. Some people actually have a hard time, but if that is the case then why not be diligent with keeping notes in your phone calendar, note section or write down information that you can quickly access. Also, if your brain has a hard time retaining any information, then go to the doctor and get your brain checked—make sure that your lack of listening isn't a serious medical condition or something worse.
Here's the thing, if you know that the reasoning for his lack of listening is medical then there is more understanding and the openness to work with him, however, if it's not...then his behavior can cause you to feel as though you aren't important enough to remember. A big part of dating/being in a relationship is remembering not only the big things but also the little things.
I had a boyfriend who was an awful listener. It seemed like I was always repeating myself—because I was—and it became really exhausting and a huge turn-off. The feelings of excitement and romance I once felt for him shifted into discouragement and stress. How could someone who claimed he loved me and saw a future in me not remember important facts (middle name, birth date, important family members names, where I worked, etc.) about me?—again, that I told him several times. I felt that he didn't take our relationship seriously.
He couldn't remember my favorite dessert, my allergy issues when picking restaurants, the type of wine I enjoyed, or being at my place for dinner at the time that we discussed. Ugh! When you are with someone who truly cares about you, you shouldn't have to remind them over and over again about important details about you, they should want to be present enough to remember.
His lack of listening didn't just stop there. Several times when we would make plans to see one another he would double book—thinking that our plans were on another day. If there was an important event (of mine) that we discussed attending—he would consistently forget what the event was, time, date and place. However, if it was something important in his life—friend’s birthday parties or events—he would remember. I could literally talk to him about something and ask him what I just said and he would get defensive—telling me he heard me, but by his actions or follow through it was obvious that he didn't.
When I brought my concerns to him, his excuse was that he was always so busy, too tired and had a lot going on to fully listen. His excuses got old very quickly, especially when he continued to not do anything to help the situation. He didn't take into consideration making things about me important. Also, I felt he took advantage of the fact that I was a planner and therefore didn't feel the need to remember. Let's just say that "feeling special" with this guy, went out the door quickly.
Ladies, here's the thing about a man who appears to be listening but isn't—he is telling you—without words—that he doesn't really care. By not following through with what you have shared and discussed shows a lack of interest and furthermore, commitment. Communication is not only hearing, but listening to what someone is saying. When he's not tuning in, he's not tuned in to a future with you either. A man who is invested in a relationship will take note of what you say and be both physically but more importantly mentally present in your life together.