When there is a communication gap.

Something needs changing within my marriage.

There is an intense need to express myself on my part, and not so huge need on my husband’s part (he’s an introverted engineer, intelligent about anything technological and enjoys geek humor as do I). This communication gap has been the source of most of our problems throughout the years. We get along just fine until I need to really talk about important issues or things I feel I need. We have struggled a lot in this area over the years.

I finally have been able to open up and tell him about it, this morning, over breakfast without the kids around (they spent the weekend at grandmas). It’s the source of my deep loneliness and has made me seek out other sources of intellectual and philosophical communication. I told him that the disparity in our ability to communicate is PRECISELY why I had problems and why I was seeking others out to talk with and why they become so important to me. I seek out others who (either in real life or online) TALK to me , offer me feedback for my crazy thoughts, joke with me and let me be heard and make me feel appreciated for what I have to say about some really profound topics. It’s been a very long time since my husband was able to do that. Or more accurately, it’s been a long time since I asked my husband to do that for me. I assumed since he couldn’t before, he couldn’t now, and I looked elsewhere.

My blogs, my online friends, online message boards had been my substitutes for the lack of real communication since I became a SAHM 5 years ago. But when he comes home, tired, worn out, stressed and can’t smile and barks at the kids for doing normal annoying kid stuff (and believe me, they annoy me too at times), it is hard for me to communicate with him. I found myself avoiding him for the allure of the internet.

One could say I became addicted to the online sources for input and self-esteem. I depended on them to feel like I had some kind of life going on even if it was only internal to my mind.

I’m going to reduce my internet habit, get back to what needs to be done, and really work on finding a way to find fulfillment in my time at home. The internet is a huge distraction to what I need to set my sights on. It (the internet) is a selfish lover, enticing me with its siren song. Yes, I’m exaggerating a teensy bit there. I am fully capable of disciplining myself. I just didn’t want to.

I’m going to be working on my stuff and my communication with my husband. I have a lot of worries and anxieties over irrational things and I lash out (or withdraw completely) when it becomes too much to bear. It’s going to take a while to sort through. I may blog about it some day, and I may not.

In the meantime, I will not be spending quite as much time moping about my loneliness. It’s not solving the problem and in fact was sometimes creating more serious problems for me. I used to be much better at finding solutions to what’s wrong in my life and I know I’m quite capable this time as well. It will happen as long as I stop letting myself get sidetracked too much with the internet.

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6 Responses to When there is a communication gap.

  1. Papa T says:

    What an admirable declaration! I honor your observations and decisions.

    It seems to me that you are (re)turning to the real parts of life. “Technology” provides many opportunities for what I call quasi-contact. It is easy to get pulled into the dark hole of cyber communication–possessing SOME characteristics of actual human contact, but rife with stumbling blocks. In spite of the vastly numerous “opportunities” afforded by the online environment, perspective can be a slippery eel there.

    I have been occasionally accused of “blaming” society for these pitfalls. I am not blaming–just observing. I want real contact…with sensory confirmation. I want to see and smell and hear and touch others.

    Your writing is poignant. The points are timely. You’re finding your way. Keep it up. And, BEST WISHES to you and your “real” people.

    Blessings!

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thank you, Papa T

    And blessings to you as well.

  3. Mouse says:

    I was married for seventeen years to a man with a double first in theoretical physics from Cambridge University.
    We rarely communicated. He was too wrapped up in work and I was too drawn to adventures and exploration

    We were as chalk and cheese
    We lived parallel lives, side by side but not together

    A marriage such as that is like walking a tightrope.
    A person can reasonably be expected to do so for a short time but they can’t keep it up forever, eventually they will lose their balance and fall

    It is very important to share and to be able to do so one must be able to express oneself

    When the talking stops and silence takes over it’s too late

    Good luck

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, Mouse. I know I don’t want to end up where the silence consumes the relationship. I know we love each other and actually LIKE being in each other’s presence, so the foundation we have to working this out is there.

    We’ve had some difficulties in the past with shutting off communication temporarily. I can be such a pain in the butt to live with sometimes. I’m working on that. I have an intense personality at times and have difficulty channeling my frustrations constructively. Most of it comes from grossly underachieving right now. I was the one to throw myself into work, so it’s better that I’m home for us. Yet because of that, I find it really hard to keep motivated and properly challenged and not frustrated.

    For him, I only recently found out he’s got like 6 ideas bouncing round his head at any one moment. If I have a particular difficult question to ask of him, that requires a lot of consideration, he told me he gets a bit of a traffic jam and so he can’t get out his words. He then freezes up a bit. I sometimes incorrectly read that as disinterest, when in actuality, it was more of a stumbling block for him. Sometimes I get impatient with him, waiting for him to speak, and not realize he’s struggling with trying to answer.

    Given the fact we have a selectively mute daughter, this is actually quite a revelation. He called it kind of like a “stage fright” thing, and the more he felt pressured to answer the less able he was to do so.

    I now realize that the internet isn’t completely awful. We used to spend a lot of time communicating via email. It’s actually not a bad situation for us, given his difficulties. He emailed me yesterday his concerns about my internet obsession (well, in particular, turning to online friends for what I needed instead of him). Then he stepped out of the house for a bit to clear his mind. I responded while he was out that I realized I did stop talking to him about what is going on in my mind and what I needed to keep challenged, then asked him to go out to breakfast with me to talk more.

    The emailing our concerns at least opened up the lines of communication. We had a really productive conversation over breakfast because we knew ahead of time the basics of what was hurting us in our relationship. So, we got a chance to “hear” each other out fully without interruption, and without feeling attacked.

    I think that’s what I need – to voice to him (not online friends) my wants and needs (I want a plan of action to return to work someday because I need more intellectual stimulation). I think that the emailing is going to be a key tool for communication. I mean, after all, I don’t think he’s going to be upset for me emailing HIM. 🙂

    I think that’s going to keep the lines of communication open and I think more growth and understanding will now be available to us.

  5. Natalie says:

    This is one of the posts that I could write myself. We also have communication difficulties sometimes, and I spend entirely too much time online. I hope you will find the strength to break the addiction, I need a big jolt to do the same.

  6. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks Natalie. I figure like any other addiction, I have to take it S-L-O-W-L-Y.

    No, actually… If I start actually crafting again, I probably will be able to replace the time on the computer with crafting.

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