Valentine Despair - or Relationship problems

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  • I’m married to a scientist who lives in his own bubble and feel your pain. Whilst he is quite capable of making an effort when he thinks about it (hence the heart shaped fried egg above) most of the time he doesn’t. I did get chocolates this year but they aren’t particularly interesting ones. Part of the problem, as you say, is that we have different ideas about what is important. I love giving gifts and see them as a way of showing I care but he’s not interested in giving gifts because he doesn’t care about receiving them. He does realise and sort it out if I am upset but it shouldn’t have to get that far.
    I’ve learned to accept this over the years and am now inclined to buy myself something nice and treat myself to a trip to to a gallery.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    I understand completely. The Four Languages of Love is relevant here. When I have a moment I will find a link if nobody beats me to it.
  • I hear you Puzzler. I have one like that. Poduct of his upbringing, where things were functional, though his father did always buy his mother flowers ( only) for her birthday. My other half has realised that I have other ideas about giving gifts, but he has no idea what to do about that. I have learned that I have to meet him half way. So now if he asks what I want for Birthday/Christmas I do not say "surprise me" because so often it was not a good surprise. Now I think of something. So I got a meal out for my birthday recently, which was lovely.

    Mind you it did backfire a year or so ago when I answered that I would like a nice big scarf, any colour but brown. Most obviously he went into Primark, thought "what did she say?" And remembered "brown". The cat now sits on that one. The good thing is he doesn't notice.

    Yesterday I got a card with a photo of two cute foxes on it. He got Lindor chocolate. I wouldn't bother about Valentines, actually, except that it is the one day he does pay attention to - probably because an persiststent ex of his (very persistent, as we have been married 20 years) still sends him a card. We just laugh about it.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication-and-conflict/learn-to-speak-your-spouses-love-language/understanding-the-five-love-languages
    This is just one source. There are many others. The Four have become Five, or in some places, Seven!

    Mine uses acts of service, though to be honest, not always doing the thing I really would like him to do! But occasionally I am pleasantly surprised.
    For birthdays, he often buys me the sort of presents he would like to receive.
    Once, way back in the 80 ies, he bought and proposed to install CB radio in my car. I had to tell him not to bother.
  • I think this is why I find Valentine's Day insistence on gifts so irritating, because it's not the way everyone expresses or wants to receive affection. Plus it's commercialised, more about money making than anything else.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited February 15
    I think this is why I find Valentine's Day insistence on gifts so irritating, because it's not the way everyone expresses or wants to receive affection.
    Which is why this card seemed so right for me to give to my wife (I think): https://tinyurl.com/y3ns6lgx. (You need to know that we've started going swimming together twice a week, and she's often said that my trunks are getting a bit tatty).

  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Love languages is an interesting one. I've read the book and Mr Nen and I have discussed it and know what each other's languages are. It doesn't always translate into either of us feeling loved, though; we share words of affirmation and I tend to give him the ones that I'd like to hear from him!

    A friend of ours commented that "Most men have physical touch as one of theirs." Would other Shipmates agree?
  • Nenya wrote: »
    Love languages is an interesting one. I've read the book and Mr Nen and I have discussed it and know what each other's languages are. It doesn't always translate into either of us feeling loved, though; we share words of affirmation and I tend to give him the ones that I'd like to hear from him!

    A friend of ours commented that "Most men have physical touch as one of theirs." Would other Shipmates agree?

    I can't speak for most men. But I find it important.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Nenya wrote: »
    Love languages is an interesting one. I've read the book and Mr Nen and I have discussed it and know what each other's languages are. It doesn't always translate into either of us feeling loved, though; we share words of affirmation and I tend to give him the ones that I'd like to hear from him!

    A friend of ours commented that "Most men have physical touch as one of theirs." Would other Shipmates agree?

    I can't speak for most men. But I find it important.
    As do I.

  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Cathscats wrote: »
    Mind you it did backfire a year or so ago when I answered that I would like a nice big scarf, any colour but brown. Most obviously he went into Primark, thought "what did she say?" And remembered "brown". The cat now sits on that one. The good thing is he doesn't notice.

    ROFL! Well, I feel better now - it's always good to have a laugh...
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Two of my former roommates are married to each other. She loved flowers and would often hint/ask for him to buy them. His " romantic response" was 'you want me to buy some dead plant genitalia?'
  • Answer: "Only if you want to suck face."
  • We had a shipmate who hated cut flowers, described them as dead, which they are the minute they are cut. But liked living plants. Would this guy be prepared to give living flowers - as in pot plants?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Answer: "Only if you want to suck face."
    :mrgreen:
  • This discussion has segued into relationship difficulties, so I have changed the title.
  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Shipmate
    edited February 20
    This simple expedient -- of not expecting one's husband to read one's mind, but saying openly what one wants -- could be so beneficial to so many marriages.

    If the North East Man is thinking Deep Thoughts, he cannot hear anything. I knew this before I married him; he was famous in our student Halls of Residence for having been so absorbed in a maths problem that he failed to hear a fire alarm, failed to hear everyone else evacuating, and failed to hear everyone else returning.

    He has what he calls a "trivia filter." He simply does not hear "trivia." The main snag is when he filters something out as Trivia, but I think that it is Not Trivia. Once something has been filtered out once as "trivia" it is automatically filtered out on all future occasions.

    One of his friends thinks that my husband's brain works like a computer. It whizzes away thinking Deep, Complex, Important thoughts. Meanwhile the parallel processing unit (i.e. my brain) trundles away at a slower pace, ensuring basic functionality.

    Mostly it is exasperating, but it is also interesting. For example, I was knitting him a jumper in secret for his birthday. I was running out of time, so I decided to knit the sleeves in front of him, but told him I was knitting socks. When I gave him the completed jumper he couldn't "see" that it was a jumper, because he thought the sleeves were socks. Once he tried it on, it was obviously a jumper, but that wasn't self-evident to him when he first saw it.




  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Oh, boy...
    If the North East Man is thinking Deep Thoughts, he cannot hear anything.
    Check.
    He has what he calls a "trivia filter." He simply does not hear "trivia."
    Check, again.
    The main snag is when he filters something out as Trivia, but I think that it is Not Trivia. Once something has been filtered out once as "trivia" it is automatically filtered out on all future occasions.
    ...and check, a third time. 'Trivia' includes remembering the dates for anything, including his own mother, father, sisters', birthdays, car registrations, kids performances, etc. Also, where replacement foodstuffs, cutlery, toilet paper, are kept, no matter how long we have lived in a place.
    One of his friends thinks that my husband's brain works like a computer. It whizzes away thinking Deep, Complex, Important thoughts. Meanwhile the parallel processing unit (i.e. my brain) trundles away at a slower pace, ensuring basic functionality.
    I don't know about you, but I'm in a place where I'm fairly tired of having to be a 'parallel processing unit'. Amongst other things, it significantly muffles my ability to have any deep, complex, important thoughts myself. Which I miss.
    Mostly it is exasperating, but it is also interesting. For example, I was knitting him a jumper in secret for his birthday. I was running out of time, so I decided to knit the sleeves in front of him, but told him I was knitting socks. When I gave him the completed jumper he couldn't "see" that it was a jumper, because he thought the sleeves were socks. Once he tried it on, it was obviously a jumper, but that wasn't self-evident to him when he first saw it.
    If I knitted, I would just knit the entire thing, sitting at my end of the couch, while he sat at his end, and he wouldn't put two and two together, at any point. If I took up knitting? At this stage in the game? I guess there's some chance he might notice that. Though I doubt he'd waste a lot of cpu space on it.
  • I don't know about you, but I'm in a place where I'm fairly tired of having to be a 'parallel processing unit'. Amongst other things, it significantly muffles my ability to have any deep, complex, important thoughts myself. Which I miss.

    Absolutely.

    But I grew up in a family in which my mother's side had (still has) a complex system of family secrets in which you are supposed to remember who knows what about whom. Plus there are code words and weird ways of saying things, so that you say X, but family members hear Y. Or maybe Z. It drove me nuts. In fact, if I hadn't left home for Uni, I think I would have gone literally mad.

    Saying something in plain English and not knowing whether my husband will "hear" it or filter it out as trivia and thus not hear it is sheer bliss compared to saying something in plain English and having no idea - no fucking idea whatsoever - as to what will be heard.

  • Could it be that either of your husbands are on the autistic spectrum? All the students I've met on the spectrum needed explicit and specific teaching and reminding of any and all social skills.
  • I don't think so. I think my husband is just very focussed. I don't know what his IQ is, but I'd assume it's off-the-scale high. He fits into the "absent-minded Professor" stereotype. Unlike some of the other husbands here, he can be romantic. He is a proud, doting and involved father. It's not lack of social skills; he just doesn't register things the way most people do. Things that are common knowledge to other people, aren't common knowledge to him.

    We were just reminiscing on our son's birthday - when I went into labour, he asked the midwife when our son would be born, and she said probably the early hours of the morning. And he said "But that's hours away! The video of labour at ante-natal class only lasted 20 minutes!" And he genuinely had no idea that labour isn't done and dusted in 20 mins. He'd watched one video, decided he was fully up to speed, and everything beyond that hadn't got past his trivia filter.

    When he first asked me out, I thought he'd made a mistake because he had a reputation for brilliance at Uni and I was pretty average as uni students go. Now I think he was lucky to get me! And I was lucky to get him; he might drive me to despair and total exasperation at times, but he's kind, generous and very, very witty.

  • FirenzeFirenze Purgatory Host, Host Emeritus
    Another parallel processing unit here.

    The thing that particularly melts my circuitry is the abdication of responsibility to observe for himself. We lost a bottle of just-purchased schnapps once because I did not add to the instruction ‘Take the trolley back’ the rider ‘once it is completely emptied’. So my fault obviously.
  • Someone in my husband's line of work moved house. His wife had to organise a rota of their children to be waiting at the old house for him to come home from work, so that he could be reminded that the family had moved and so that the child could show him where he now lived....
  • I am the CPU without a parallel processor. You can imagine how well that goes...
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    Another parallel processing unit here.

    The thing that particularly melts my circuitry is the abdication of responsibility to observe for himself.

    Yes.
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Someone in my husband's line of work moved house. His wife had to organise a rota of their children to be waiting at the old house for him to come home from work, so that he could be reminded that the family had moved and so that the child could show him where he now lived....

    We moved, several years ago, out of the big city and back to the small town where my husband grew up. (Which I was very pleased about). For about the first six months, whenever we were coming back from something, he would drive to his parents' house, unless prompted not to. After two years, we moved out of the unsuitable house we'd just had to take, when moving, into a bigger and better one, in the same town. And, same thing. Kept driving back to the old house. Though, I will say, when reminded that he's off course, he doesn't actually need to be shown where his current place of residence is.
  • anoesis wrote: »
    For about the first six months, whenever we were coming back from something, he would drive to his parents' house, unless prompted not to.

    On a fairly frequent basis, I find myself driving to work with one of the children. I would be intending to take said child to some class or other, but would make a mistake at the point where my normal route to work and the route to the child's class diverge. From then on, I'm on autopilot driving my normal route, and often talking to the child in question, until one of us realizes that we're in the wrong place.

    Usually my mental picture of the route has something like "go down this road, turn left, cross the main road, then do X" and I make the (different) left turn on the way to work, discover that the main road isn't there, and then realize what I've done.

    On one recent occasion, I was busy telling a child how I had to not accidentally go to work, and that she should remind me when I got to the junction, while I had already made the mistake and was well on the way to the office.

    So I sympathize with absent-minded autopilots.
  • I'm enjoying this thread, but thought I'd chip in with the fact that I'm the (male) one who does all the day-to-day regular family stuff, while my (female) other half does the 'in the zone' completely engrossed act, usually around her work. It doesn't entirely work for us, but it's better than fighting it or trying for some arbitrary 'just' solution. One of my main things is making something useful out of stuff other people regard as junk, and this turns out to include whole familial roles.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    edited February 26
    I struggle with indirection. Is ‘It’s cold in here’ just a general remark about temperature merely requiring ‘It is quite chilly isn’t it?’, or is it a request to shut the window?

    If I do shut the window, am I going to get ‘thank you’, or am I going to get ‘Don’t shut the window, I’ve only just opened it to get some fresh air in’
  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    It can mean either BJ, and it is said in the same tone both times.

    But we are supposed to know. How we are supposed to know I have no idea.
  • "Would you like me to close the window?" might resolve the dilemma for you. Probably better than "Why don't you close the window?"
    But I get that this was just an example and other situations aren't as obvious.
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