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My husband is very quiet and doesn't make much conversation with anyone... including me! What can I do?

Tagged as: Friends, Marriage problems<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (8 August 2009) 24 Answers - (Newest, 7 April 2014)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Hi, i'm at a loss as to what to do about my husband. He just doesn't make conversation- with me nor other people.

He's got worse as he's got older, not better. And the worst thing about this is that i've got a really outgoing personality and i'll talk to anybody- but he'll sit there in silence.

It's getting to the point now where i find it embarrassing in front of friends and family and i avoid social gatherings. We have a good relationship, but i'm starting to find him very boring and fantasise about being with somebody who is outgoing and talkative and who mixes well with people. He's quiet, but he comes across as ignorant.

For example, when somebody comes round, or we go to somebody's house, they will start talking. Saying something like "Oh you'll never guess what happened today..." I will be sitting there going "Oh, really? i can't believe it! What did you do?" He'll sit there with a blank expression on his face, and say nothing. He's listening, he may even be interested, but his body language and his comments will make him appear as if hes bored and the person speaking is an idiot. He will stare into the middle distance and never contribute anything to a group discussion, rather just say one sentence like "Yeah, it's ok." or "I went there too on holiday." If its possible, he'll read a paper or watch tv whilst somebody is here- he'd be happier doing that. I'm sure people get the impression that he doesn't like them, because i know that if i were met with that kind of reaction i'd be offended too.

I keep telling him, he should smile and laugh, and sound interested and make listening noises and look engaged, but it doesn't happen. I've spoken to him about this and he says he cant think of anything to say to people and finds conversation difficult, and says that he doesnt know how i can just hold court and speak in front of people, but i don't know how to help. Socialising is natural for me, as is thinking of something to say.

He's often the same with me- i do 70% of the talking at home. I think of conversation pieces, maybe i'll discuss something from the paper, or a film, or recount what happened at the shops. He, on the other hand, if he witnessed a bomb going off, he'd just come in and go "oh yeah. a bomb exploded. i couldn't believe it." then he'd go and not say much more. Sometimes i find him so boring, and i know he gets annoyed at my constant talking, but if i didn't talk- we'd sit there in silence. He needs to socialise more with people but all of his hobbies are things like reading or running or sitting on the computer. He has never socialised at work either and doesnt understand that mixing with people and humouring them is a life skill.

I just wish he'd get a personality and start speaking and mixing with other people and engaging. If we break up, this will be the only reason why, but the thought of spending the rest of my life with somebody who is happy to sit on the pc in silence is horrifying and i don't know what to do to help him?

View related questions: at work, engaged, on holiday

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 April 2014):

Hi,

After reading everyones posts and thinking about the responses here are my thoughts. I married a very quiet man but he is extremely social creature.

When we were dating I was his world he listened to me and showed interest. His quiet demeanor didn't bother me we had fun together and he always looked at me so I knew he was listening and he did answer me But now 30 years of marriage and two kids and he just doesn't partake in a conversation unless it interests him.

I have always been great about being his sounding board and his best friend but in every relationship it needs to work for both parties.

I noticed that many comments seem to be telling the inquirer that she just needs to accept this as the way it is. Hello no it isn't the her spouse may not be interested in what she is saying, but he should be interested in her.

Marriage is give and take and both partners need to work at the marriage. I expect my husband to be a grown up and show politeness and show interest in my life as much as I show interest in his and believe me cars are not my interest unless you are asking me what color I want.

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A male reader, fishtanknut United States +, writes (24 August 2013):

This is exactly the issue that I have with my wife of 12 years. Exactly. I may say something monumentally important and all I get is a one or two word response. And yes, at percent silence on here part. We may go miles in a car without speaking. I guess the years I have had hope of change but I am almost done. God help me that you will succeed if that is what you want, but will they change? When you tell them you cannot stand the silence a defensive posture always ensues yet most know very "she's been that way all her life". Others may answer here with encouraging words, but no experience in such loneliness. Yes, desperate loneliness!!!!! But the truth is I do not believe it will change for the better, whatever that is. I love my wife very much but I too question the future. Can I continue to live this way for the rest of my life? I do not think so. This question is reasonably easy to answer. How many times a day or week does it come up? Daily for me. I, too, am a very communicative man. I love many aspects of life and nature. No topic is off limits. I was extraordinarily shy as a kid and a virgin until twenty-five. Due to life experiences and the need to break down walls in myself I was missing out on life. I had to change. I HAD TOO! Now I talk too much by many peoples standards and I have absolutely no fear of speaking to a stranger about anything, anytime. Even a crowd does not scare me. The need to communicate is life to me. To share is essential. I had a good friend whose dad works high up for google and his mom divorced the dad for this very reason; a failure to communicate. It goes beyond being bored doesn't it? Looks ain't all people. I would trade my life for the ugliest woman if she had brains and a great desire to speak. Silence sucks? Truly I do not think they want to change. Perhaps he is just fine the way he is and that is alright, but you are not. You matter too. I have wondered, does she really care? She would say she does but.....I fear I must end this. Our minds must touch, right? We NEED to know Love is not enough.

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A female reader, Chazzie United Kingdom +, writes (30 April 2013):

A friend said of me and my husband that we should try and become like each other. So my husband could do with contributing more and I could well do with shutting up a bit more. I agree with the post which said he really shouldn't be rude, but that he should know that the way to cover up his socialising difficulties is to ask people about themselves. And you should give him space to talk, and not be afraid of silences. Don't succumb to fantasies in any way shape or form.

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A female reader, Rosepeddle United Kingdom +, writes (1 March 2013):

Hi,

Have you thought about autism? Those people have difficulties with socializing. It is not that they don't want to, it's just hard for them. They process things differently.

There are different sorts of autism.....Go on Wikipedia and look for the signs. I happen to be a teacher who works with them.

I hope this will help you:-)

Good luck!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (12 February 2013):

My partner doesn't talk much either.

Very quiet and I always feel so much offended.

When I make jokes, he just watch with blank eyes, no smile, no laugh and that makes me feel so sad most of the time. I love him and planned to get married. But I feel so horrible to imagine that I have to live with such quite man in my whole life, a man who is more interested to face PC rather than communicating with me. I feel so awful to imagine I always have to struggle alone to get his attention rather he comes to me.

I am so scared to get married with him but on the same time I am so scared to lose him because he is a good man. A man who I can trust 100%. With him I could sleep well every night even though he is away from me.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (12 February 2013):

boring!what a boring life it would bring. Perhaps, husbands like that are not really interested to the feelings of their spouses.insensitive.ugh.They would only get interested with you during sex. ? how bad.

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A female reader, hotmommanell United States +, writes (11 February 2013):

Why did you marry him in the first place if he’s such a god awful bore? That’s what I’d like to know.

Look, you are not going to change this man unless he wants to. Does his reticence bug him as much as it does you? It sounds like he’s a shy guy and an introvert, and they just don’t seem as lively as extroverted, outgoing types. They also tend to dislike small talk and like to talk about deeper subjects.

If your husband reads the newspaper, etc. I’ll assume he’s no dummy. So what is he reading about? What excites him? Find those topics and I’ll bet he’ll talk more. If he’s just completely socially awkward and doesn't know what to say, I suggest the book “How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends” by Don Gabor.

My last bit of advice is don’t expect your man to be a social butterfly. I think it’s reasonable to expect him to at least be polite to your friends and family, chat as much as he can stand. Let him know without blame that he appears rude and tell him what he can reasonably do at minimum not to appear that way.

If you still feel embarrassed, etc. maybe you DO want to reconsider this union, but you did marry him so there had to be a reason. Connect back to what that was. Oh, and some reading for you and him is “Quiet” by Susan Cain is a great book about shy and introverted souls like your husband. Good luck.

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A female reader, mary brown United Kingdom +, writes (12 September 2012):

my husband was like this when I married him (very quiet). I try and think of his good points, he does have a lot. being very quiet is not the end of the world anyway.as I said before, go and find other people to talk to - like join things then when you get home you will have lots to tell him. perhaps you are not interesting to listen to? Think about it.

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A female reader, TruelyJulie United Kingdom +, writes (5 February 2012):

My heart goes out to you,think I married your hubbys brother.

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A female reader, mary brown United Kingdom +, writes (12 January 2012):

hi. Yes I know what you mean exactly..He does drive me up the wall but must remember he is a man and does not chat on like women. I try and get lots of conversation with other people so I do not depend on him for the grey matter stimulation.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (17 April 2011):

Hi.

I'm in excactly the same boat, what you have written there seems to be a mirror image of what is going on in my life.

My partner she just sits there and is just numb to everything that is going on etc, If a volcano erupted in our back yard she would just say " oh" and carry on reading her book or whatever. If we watch a movie together i'll ask her about her feelings about the film and it would be " it was ok" , there would be no in depth feedback from the movie or whatever that I crave!!. Would really like to talk with you more as I cant belive how much the same we are.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (12 March 2011):

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (3 February 2011):

My husband is just about the same. He doesn't like to talk to others or have gatherings. He would much rather sit at home (after work) and hang out doing nothing with us (me and our children). He is an extremely smart man and I think he would rather talk about things that challenge him.

My husband hardly ever talks about family members or friends or even about what I've done during the day, he is just simply uninterested. At one point he would ask me to just sit next to him and watch him play video games *roll eyes* not fun for me at all, and I ended up finding someone else to talk to, he then got the picture that I have needs too.

Once he saw that I was on the phone and not sitting with him being silent he started talking lol.

He now tries harder to talk to me and we both are working on being more supportive to each others needs.

I'm glad we got to it fast, because our relationship was never bad off but I could see it getting there fast.

btw, he still hates social events. I've learned to go alone or ask someone else to escort me, if my husband does want to go I try not to make him talk, I let him play on his phone while I walk around and have a good time. After all, him and I are two different people and my friends aren't going to judge me for my husband not talking. I love him, I understand him and thats what matters.

Try not to think too hard about the social scene. Just make sure you two are talking enough to each other, maybe work on the other part later on in life :)

GL

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A reader, anonymous, writes (1 February 2011):

I am a 34yr old male and I'm an extreme introvert. Being quiet does not mean a person is shy, ignorant, or has a problem.

The vast majority of introverts are highly intellectual people and can be very fascinating and enthusiastic if you will engage in THEIR interests instead of expecting them to always engage in your own. This is why they are quiet. Put that same person in a room full of people who share their interests and you will see an entirely different person.

Our minds simply work differently than yours.

Speaking for myself, when someone is talking about the weather, or the fight that Sally's cousin's friend Jane had with her boyfriend Jim, it's completely irrelevant to me and my eyes glaze over. On the other hand if you want to discuss anything that will actually make me think, such as Astronomy, Quantum Physics, Computers, Mechanics, or just ask me how something works, you will be wishing I'd shut up.

Again, speaking for myself. As an intellectual person, I don't memorize many things. I understand how things work instead of remembering alot of facts. So trivial facts don't stick, which makes it difficult to maintain social conversation. Try as I might, I cannot rewire my brain.

I could learn to fake it though, but that's insulting to everybody involved.

How would you feel if your introverted partner demanded that you were able to carry a deeply intellectual conversation with him?

Don't forget that ALL relationships are a compromise.

Meet him halfway. If you and your partner can't appreciate each others interests, then you have an entirely different problem.

Stop trying to force an apple to be an orange and try to embrace the difference.

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A female reader, Mojito Mama United States +, writes (16 January 2011):

This is serious! I've read all the previous post and all has a sense of truce to it, but lets look closer this could creat an even bigger problem. If there is no intellectual/mental connection for a woman, soon it could lead to an emotional/sexual disconnect. I never liked a chatty man, kinda makes me feel like Im talking to one of my girlfriends, but I agree it can be lonely.

I have a Great husband who works two great demanding jobs, comes home everyday to be with me and our two demanding daughters (ages 2 and 3). On his evenings off from his part time position he's home with me and the girls, but as quite as a mouse. I'd talk and wonder if hes listening. Nothing. I'd laugh and wonder if hes amused. Nothing. Dang! I'll never know. However, if I ever started talking about finances and savings, I'm on the money. I guess the ol saying is true that "Money Talks" cause thats his type of conversation. He can go on and on, he likes talking about our budget, he gets excited! Talk about boring.

Anyways his quiteness does bother me, but I-love-that-man and reading all the other post just made me realize that its ok if he doesn't speak much because action speaks louder than words.

And now I can't wait for my boring husband to come home so we can do nothing together. Time for some Bare Foot Moscoto. LOL

Thanks Everyone...

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A male reader, Jsmooethi United States +, writes (13 December 2010):

Really. If you didn't like the guy the way he was before you got married, then why marry him? I don't think its him that has the problem. But rather, YOU have the problem. You got married to a guy who you thought you could change. Guess what? You can't. Get a divorce so the man could have a wife who appreciates him for who he is. Not what hes not.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (12 August 2010):

Hi, Your question and problem could have been written by myself. Gee, there are actually other men out there like mine, its good to hear that.

Firstly, for all who say we should have seen their introvertedness from the beginning and why marry them, my answer is that its not as obvioius as you would think in the initial stages. For myself I thought I had just met (for a change) a man who wasnt full of himself, loud mouthed and quite arrogant.... and quite frankly all I thought was he was caring in his quieter than normal behaviour and a little shy too.

We have now been married for 44 years and I have been with him since I was 18 years old.

Over the years it hasnt been too much of a problem as we both had seperate jobs and when younger he was more outgoing although conversation was never a strong point of his but he got by as majority of them were regarding his work, although we did when younger seem to have the normal group of friends and although he wasnt the main instigator of conversations he got by, although I have to agree when it came to my Firms dinners etc, it was pretty hard going for me as he would reply to questions put to him with fairly short answers but there was nothing like him coming back with further sentences, so the conversation fizzled out but I dont think he came across as ignorant, but have to admit he must have seemed pretty aloof.

Over the years though he got quieter really but I always knew I would never change him and anyone who tries is wasting their time. Trying to bring him into conversations by inviting him to recall an experience to somebody in the hopes of it sparking a conversation.... well I tried this and it worked for the story to be relayed and then died a death and back to his silences.

I am very talkative person and outgoing and have to admit that since our early retirement from our own business, he has gotten worse.

When I quiz him on why doesnt he talk he just says he hasnt anything to say and asks me why I cause trouble when there is none there.

My advice to you is dont think you will change him you wont, if he is a good husband in all other ways then accept that not all people are gregarious and some are thinkers and are very happy in their own world. When he has something to say he will say it but you cant make someone what they are not, I know as I tried for many years.

I know that if I could choose I would probably choose a quiet man as opposed to maybe a chatty outgoing one, who maybe has affairs, or beats me, or doesnt really love me.

My own husband is caring, would travel anywhere to do anything for me (and has done), and when the times are bad, as there have been a good few, he has been my best friend, so yes, the strong silent type can achieve and contribute a lot more to the bigger picture of a solid relationship than maybe a seeingly outward going male who maybe is only interested in what he has to say and not much else.

It takes all sorts but my quiet man will always be quiet and he will be the one I will be with Till death us do part. He'll be there for me whenever I need him and that is what a relationship is all about, not whether they are popular in gatherings.

Dont worry or get embarrassed on his behalf, people will see him as just a quieter individual and there must have been something there in the first place for you to be attracted enough to him and its still there.

One tip though, I find because I am a chatter box and outgoing sometimes I dont give him the chance to put his two pennyworth in... he has been know to say to me on a few occasions (as he has a sence of humour) that if I stopped talking he would think he had gone deaf!!

He will probably be writing on here saying... I am married to a woman who has an opinion on everthing and I cant get a word in edgeways, what can I do??

I think a lot of very quiet men seem to have chatterbox wives who get on with anybody in conversation and this alone I think could make their own quietness come across as even worse.

Keep at it, marriage is to be worked at, too many give up at the first hurdle.... For better for worse, richer/poorer, sickness and in health. you'll be glad you did in the end, and am sure you have acquaintences who husbands are cheating on them even, bet those wives would swop with just having a quiet husband !!

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A female reader, ihopeyoudance United States +, writes (7 May 2010):

I understand completely. I have been married for 5 years almost and I keep wondering how I got myself into this lifeless relationship. I am stuck though, have 2 kids with special needs and really need his help and support with the kids, not to mention that we hardly manage our bills as it is. I have stopped blaming him or talking to him about it, it is futile. He simply doesn't have anything to say or any thoughts worth sharing. It was hard to understand for me since I think all the time about everything. In the past I thought he just didn't want to talk. Now I realize he has nothing to say, as simple as that. Sweet as could be, but intellectually not my match and that is just the way it is. I made a mistake when I married him. I was in love and really wanted to get married to him and have ignored all the obvious signs of our incompatibility. Think about it, we have never had a real conversation (at least 10 back and forth exchanges of thoughts). I did all the talking and ignored the fact that he never had anything to say back. He is great with the kids and with all the issues they have the need the constant love, warmth and security of both parents and right now I have to put my needs on hold. I do look forward to going back to work where I can run into people with whom I can actually converse and share thoughts. The kids are still very small and it will be at least another 3 years till they are in school full time and I can go to work. Till then I try not to get frustrated and angry with him and keep the kids happy and safe. He doesn't need help, you do. I say stop trying to make your husband into something he is not and leave. Don't settle for a man who doesn't support your emotional and intellectual needs, when all is said and done you need a compatible companion in life.

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A female reader, laconic lady Canada +, writes (17 September 2009):

Your husband reminds me a bit of myself.

I am a 32 year old introverted woman married to an extroverted man. When we met 7 years ago we never stopped talking, but eventually I seemed to run out of new things to talk about, and it never bothered me to sit quietly and just be near my husband when I couldn't think of anything to say -- after all, he was very good at filling in the gaps himself with seemingly endless entertaining stories -- but my silence did bother him, a lot.

At first I got angry when he expressed frustration with me... why should he expect me to talk if I don't have anything to say? Isn't it enough that we are together?

Eventually, however, he found a way to explain to me WHY he needs me to work on my communication skills, and when I finally heard him, I felt really bad for all the years that I had been ignoring his concerns. Now I am working hard at trying to be an equal participant in starting and maintaining conversations.

Here is the gist of what I finally came to understand:

1 - Even though he appears more naturally extroverted, that doesn't mean he doesn't WORK at coming up with things to say. His ability to keep a conversation going is a SKILL that he developed for good reason: because it made the people around him more comfortable, and gave him access to social worlds that frankly I never had a chance of entering. It may be really easy for him to come up with things to talk about because he has been doing it his whole life, but that doesn't mean he doesn't still put thought into talking and making me feel wanted and entertained.

Seeing his conversational ability as a learned skill and not just an innate talent made me see the imbalance in the amount of effort we were each putting into the relationship. I saw that I had been leaving him to do the work while I coasted.

2 - Having a spouse who didn't volunteer information (or who spoke in a confused monotone when forced to talk) made my husband feel LONELY. It also made him feel like he didn't know the real me, and that it wasn't important to me for him to know me.

I used to think, if he wants more detail about me or my day, why doesn't he just ask? But I never realized the emotional toll it takes on a person to have to ask all the time. I certainly never wanted him to feel unappreciated or unimportant. I never realized before just how affirming and uplifting it is to speak with a good conversationalist. I am also kind of person who can sit happily at my pc for hours or days on end... but I had to admit that I must have married an extrovert for a reason, and in fact I had been benefitting a great deal from his gregariousness, while not returning the benefit. I tried to imagine living with someone who acted like I did, and I had to admit that I would have started to feel lonely and angry too.

So... I would say, TELL your husband that because of his lack of social skills, some of your emotional needs are not getting met. Be honest that this is a significant problem that is starting to make you question the longterm stability of your relationship.

It sounds like your previous attempts to explain this to him have run up against the wall of "... but I can't. Some people have a god-given social ability and I just don't." You have to help him understand that social ability is NOT god-given. It came from the family he was raised in, the choices he made throughout his life, and it CAN be learned at any age. And, to repeat, the fact that he won't learn something that he could learn is HURTING you.

It's not his FAULT that he didn't learn these skills as a child, but once he sees the impact on you of his not having them, it IS his responsibility to learn them if he wants to keep you. Some people grow up with hangups about sex, but it's not fair to marry someone without telling them that they're never going to get any sex, cause you just don't know how.

[My cynical side says, try not talking to him or others around him at all for a month and see if he gets the point then!! ... but maybe this kind of guerilla tactic would backfire, so use your own judgment.]

Now, some people have raised the issue that you should have seen this coming before you married. This may be true, but I do know that the scars caused by loneliness take a while to be felt. Maybe at the beginning his other good qualities were enough to make you feel you could handle his silence, and now you know you can't.

He's going to have to start practicing, and you're going to have to be patient with him. However, if you reward him with positive affirmation every time he tries, I have confidence that your marriage will start to grow leaps and bounds. Not only will your needs be getting met better, but as he opens up, you will be learning more about the secret little world he lives in, and therefore you will be able to gratify his needs more too.

Good luck!!!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 August 2009):

I think your husband sounds as though he lacks confidence in himself. It may be worth focusing your attention on the things you like about him and look there for a solution. Ask yourself was he always like this and ask yourself do you love him, wholly and unconditionally? If you can think of many reasons why you like him just as he is then focus on telling him all these things and leave the social problems alone for a bit. Try spending time doing the things that you like together and make more of it. so if it is walking, find interesting places to walk and conversation will come around this. Not all men (or women) want to talk trivia. Go to other people to fulfil the needs that your husband cant, good friends, family. This is not intended to solve your problem, just to help you find a place to start considering them - maybe the cause of the problem is somewhere else and there is a possiblity that through regaining confidence your husband may be able to socialise more, but he needs outlets to build confidence and you have to empower him to find them, not hassle him into talking to you. I hope this helps because it must be very difficult for you both. Best wishes Amanda

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A female reader, Sweet-thing United Kingdom +, writes (9 August 2009):

Sweet-thing agony auntOMG! I could've written this post!! Honey when I was 19 I married a dear, sweet man who was the perfect gentleman, opened doors for me, ordered my dinner, never forgot my birthday or our anniversary but was the exact same way as your man. At first I made excuses; he's shy. He's got social anxiety. He's the strong silent type. And like you, I was the total opposite; always chattering about things, filling up the enormous silence between us and talking up a storm with other people. I can tell you from experience, you'll never change him. And one day you won't be able to take it anymore!! I hate to say it, but I wasted alot of years on this dear sweet man, whom I had nothing in common with and found incredibly boring and one day I met a talker just like me and I packed my bags and never looked back! I'm not saying this will happen to you, but there's a good chance that it will. I kept thinking because he was a nice person, I should stay; I mean he didnt' cheat on me (that would've taken social skills) he was honest, hard working and kind. But I finally got the point where I really didn't know him at all. I was spending more and more time away from home, with people like me who enjoyed doing the things I enjoyed doing, while he puttered around in his workshop for hours and seemed perfectly content. If you can make it work with this guy, more power to you. But I'm so glad I got out before I died of boredom. I wish you the best!!!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 August 2009):

Your husband sounds like an introvert and a very quiet introvert, at that. I am also an introvert but I enjoy having conversations and finding common ground with other people. But there are also plenty of times when I just sit quietly, enjoy the silence, and entertain myself with solitary activities. I don't think that your husband is going to change that much. As I said, he has an introverted temperament and he seems very comfortable with barely speaking to anyone. Some people are just like that. It would have been good if you had come to this understanding before you got married because these days people are more aware of how personality and temperament affects relationships. It can be quite a challenge for inroverts and extroverts to understand each other and make a marriage work unless both people understand each other's personalities and temperaments and feel comfortable with that. As far as your husband smiling and laughing more, it probably isn't going to happen. Introverts tend to be less expressive, and even if they are excited or happy or interested, it might not show in their facial expressions. I don't laugh that much and I don't smile that much, so I can definitely relate to your husband when it comes to that. Adn I really have to tell you that your husband DOES have a personality. Everyone has a personality and it is very unfair to say that he doesn't have one. His personality is a quiet one and that's his way of being over a long period of time. If someone has characteristics, traits, and behaviors that they display over a period of time, then that's the person's personality and it can't really be changed. Just like you have a more outgoing, extroverted personality, and I'm pretty sure you don't want to change that about yourself.

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A male reader, Beingblack United Kingdom +, writes (8 August 2009):

Beingblack agony auntWell hold on a second. Where is the acceptance that each and every individual human being is different? He is your husband, but you say he comes across as ignorant, just because he is quiet around everyone? And to add that you are beginning to avoid social gatherings because you feel embarrased about the way he is, sounds a little harsh and shallow.

I will assume that he has a reasonable job, and is of reasonable intelligence. I assume that when you married him you loved him for the man he was, and these days you love him for the man he is. So the problem is that you like to talk, while he likes to think and listen, and absorb himself in his own mind.

Why do you think that he needs some sort of 'help?'

I understand that you like to talk, and you find silence uncomfortable. A lot of people I know are also like that. But a few people can sit in silence and feel comfortable around each other, knowing that they don't have to speak to be interesting. God gave us two ears and one mouth. I try to use mine in that ratio, and people occasionally find me charming. Listening can be great, especially as people who want to be heard, or want to create an impression, tend to talk absolute rubbish.

When you have guests in your house, he does need to try to meet you halfway. Socialising per se is not a 'life skill', it's a choice we make. Being a good host to someone who comes to your house is pretty vital. Watching TV or reading a paper whilst invited guests are in the house is a touch rude. You also need to talk a little less, and give him the opportunity to say something about his world. The easy way to reach a person is to get them to talk about themselves, and listen to what they are saying.

Remember that 'talking' doesn't automatically make a person 'interesting', just as being quiet doesn't make him boring. He sounds like a deep, deep thinker, and a person at peace with himself. He has many layers. Are you worried about what people might think of you if YOU didn't talk?

If you love him and cherish your marriage, try to stop being negative, and fantasising about getting together with someone else, when you already have a great man who can talk forever, if you engage him in the right way, about subjects HE is interested in, and not try to have banal conversations, or waste time with idle gossip.

He doesn't have to talk, just for talks sake, and neither do you, be it in company or at home. He is not moody, ignorant, or boring. He is just quiet. But he dosen't have to be, it's just that no-one elses chatter interests him. Think about it.

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A female reader, bitterblue Romania +, writes (8 August 2009):

bitterblue agony auntWell, he can't 'get' a personality, he already has one, it seems he is the phlegmatic type. He sounds a bit apathetic too. You can't change the situation much. How come you haven't considered this before marriage, I wonder? It may be a boring life, but usually a safe one, with a man with this type of personality. He may have become even less talkative in time because you don't do many 'new' things together, so you are stuck talking about what you do usually?

What you can do when your friends come over is try to engage him or attract him in your conversations, for instance remembering an event he took part in and inviting him to tell it, giving him the "pleasure" to tell it. In the rest of the time ask him lots of questions, you may need to accept that you will need to 'push' him a little to get results.

It really is important to keep the communication lines open in a marriage though. Now, some people are not that good at 'little nothings' that come up in random conversations with strangers or even friends. But is he also little- or un-communicative when you have important issues to discuss, that can't be postponed, and when you must get into details? This is probably the most important aspect to consider and work on. All the best.

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