Communication differences create marital tension

"Seeing frustrating conversations this way — as reflections of his personality as much as they reflect yours — is a useful place to start. It’s a warning not to try to change each other."

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August 31, 2020 - 9:29 AM

Hello Carolyn: My husband of 10 years and I have a communication problem. Sometimes he asks me a question he thinks is very straightforward, and he wants to know “yes” or “no” — but I reply with a contextual answer. He gets impatient, interrupts me by repeating the question in an emphasized way, adding, “Yes or no?” with some exasperation.

Carolyn HaxCourtesy photo

This is very irritating to me on several levels. It feels controlling, and I’ve told him he cannot tell me how to answer. As well, the question is often not as simple as he thinks. But I tend to withdraw after these episodes or give him a bit of silent treatment, which feels controlling on my part.

Years ago, we had a heart-to-heart about this and he confessed that my answers were confusing to him, that he is a simple man and he needs a simple answer. There aren’t other controlling behaviors on his part.

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