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My husband only wants to debate and talk about politics and world issues! It's driving me crazy! Ahhhh!

Tagged as: Marriage problems, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (27 February 2007) 20 Answers - (Newest, 25 December 2007)
A female United States, anonymous writes:

Hello. I'm having a bit of a problem with my marriage. My husband doesn't stop debating and doesn't want to talk about anything other than current events. It's in his nature to debate everything - his father is the exact same way - that's just how most of his family is. And that's why he loves reading up on current events - he even got a job doing this exact thing.

Before we got married, we talked about lots of stuff and went out and had fun. Now I can't get him to stop reading the newspaper out loud whenever we eat - whether it be breakfast, dinner... - because he wants to talk about all sorts of world issues. After the newspaper reading, he either turns on the news or goes online to news sites and blogs. He sends me article after article or calls me in to read something he's found online. He used to do this every once in a while, but now it's constantly!! It's driving me nuts. I agree that current events are important, but I also have a personal life that I'd like to talk about. ...Or I'd at least like to talk about things other than politics, religion, global warming, scientific theories, etc etc... I feel like I'm class whenever I talk with my husband!!

I tried to be nonconfrontational with him and asked him if he wanted to talk about things other than politics and such, but he said that there was nothing else "worth" talking about. This really annoyed me, so I just said "okay" without wanting to start an argument, er I mean "debate." I even try to suggest watching movies and all he wants to watch are things like Noam Chomsky documentaries and stuff like that - or movies that have a heavy political undertone. He complains if I pick anything else. If we do end up watching anything else, he makes it painfully obvious he doesn't like what he's watching.

How can I get my husband to stop letting world events get in the way of having real, meaningful and personal discussions about US or things that interest the BOTH of us? AHHHH!!!!!

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (25 December 2007):

The terrible thing is that I am more like the husband than the wife.

I wonder if talking about personal things are worth the time and effort. I feel that it is an imposition to sit through a movie I would never pick to watch myself. It is torture to watch a Love Story when I couldn't see how anyone would really want to love most of the women on the silver screen.

My favorite love story is from the movie, "The Saint", because the heroine in the story at least cared for something bigger than herself.

The problem, I think your husband is having is that he may think that he will contribute to solutions for the problems of the world.

He thinks that he can make a difference in the world and this is what he does to do that. (Reading out loud and explaining issues.)

In my case, when I share my thoughts on Green issues, part of what heppens is that new ideas keep coming up.

I know I bore people, but sometimes I need to discuss these things. Not all the time, but I need to be able to at least have a running commentary with what ideas I'm working with.

The danger I see here is that you will trivialise what he is trying to do as a way to limit the reading out loud and explaining. That will cause resentment.

The other question I have is, is this man brilliant? And is what this man does, have effects on millions or is he just a mediocre mind who just translates the same news he reads into another form?

If you have a genius on your hands you have a responsibility to the rest of us to at least give this genius man a help for an hour a day. And if you are having trouble doing that, get help. Invite his coworkers over for a limited time cocktail hour or dinner. Contact experts in his field. HELP HIM!

That way when you tell him you want to discuss other things he will be more appreciative of you and will put effort into what you want.

But if he is just a mediocre mind, then I don't know what to do.

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A female reader, NuttyGooner United Kingdom +, writes (2 March 2007):

NuttyGooner agony auntHi again,

The thing is is that my bf and I identified it early on, and nipped it in the bud before we bored the hell out of one another, for you it's been a long ride on a one way street, so it will take a little longer for your husband to aknowledge and respect your interests too - he's had about a year of controlling the conversation, so it would take a little while to adjust.

Good luck!

X Nutty X

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks NG - well at least I know that someone else in my position has seemed to make things work with no problems. I have to stay positive! Thank you for your encouraging words. :)

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

LOL! Ponun! ;P

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A female reader, NuttyGooner United Kingdom +, writes (2 March 2007):

NuttyGooner agony auntStick with it, he's probably not used to the idea of a 2 way conversational compromise. You need top remind him that it shouldn't be a one night wonder, but an ongoing process. My other half is a computer nut, and I'm a Compliance bore!

He will talk to me for ages about the workings of a PC and it will go comepletely over my head! He would always tinker with gadget and things it would drive me nuts sometimes, but that's his little quirk I love about him. I can talk about financial markets and financial law until the cows come home - we have a little playful sign to let eachother know when we are staring to drone. A little kiss and "shh" does the trick!

You can be mentally stimulated without talking about high-brow subjects - just keep persevering, you made some progress, don't give up now!

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A male reader, Ponungalungb United States +, writes (2 March 2007):

Ponungalungb agony auntHi. You might want to print out the following prayer and post it somewhere in your house. It might do you both some good.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I don't know if he will ever change, but you might get him to think that no matter how knowledgeable he is about current affairs, nothing that he argues or debates with you is going to make one iota of difference in the world at large . . . unless he becomes President . . . and then we're all in trouble. LOL.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

...well, last night didn't go completely as planned. we "had" to stop playing the game we picked to watch the daily show and colbert report. well, at least those shows are funny. and this morning it was back to the newspaper. i tried talking and was completely ignored unless i was talking about newspaper crap again.

well, whatever. i guess i'll try and have another talk with him this evening. maybe suggest counseling or something as recommended. this is ridiculous. :(

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A reader, anonymous, writes (1 March 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Oh! OOOHH!! Okay, so after days of me constantly telling him that I'd rather not talk about politics (rather than do my regular old routine of keeping the peace), etc and after a huge blow-up fight last night which resulted in us not talking this morning, he emailed me after we both got to work. Here's part of the email:

"i guess i just wasn't thinking about the politics being too much... i mean, i'm just the kind of person that needs constant intellectual stimulation, otherwise i lose interest. i would be interested in your thoughts on art and the like. that could lead to all kinds of interesting

discussions and topics!"

He even suggested playing a game and having some drinks tonight! So I think we're making some progress here. :)!!

Heather, I made a suggestion of going places like you said he said it sounded fun. I've suggested things before, but he's not taken as much of an interest. I think it's because I layed everything out on the table as Dragonette suggested. I try not to be confrontational, and I think this has hurt us more than me speaking my mind. I'm glad I listened (and actually stuck) to that piece of advice.

I'm really excited that things seem to be turning around. Thank you all SO much for your help. It's given me ideas and really made me think I should stick to my guns about the whole thing.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!! :)

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A female reader, Ask Heather +, writes (28 February 2007):

Ask Heather agony auntGosh! I think this is my most difficult one yet! But I won`t be Beaten!!! I am Determined to come up with something that may Help! I appretiate you tried hard at a "Normal Conversation" in the morning; but perhaps this put you both "On the Spot" a bit, especially as you`ve listened to his ramblings for so long, to "keep the Peace". I, along with ( I`m sure ) all the Advisers on here, was totally suprised at your ages! I had envisiged this "Old Bore", who now turns out to be a YOUNG BORE!. There`s an Expression "You can`t teach old dogs new Tricks". Well that`s NOT the case here! WE WILL GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS. As there seems to be awkward silences at home, and your Husband has got wrapped up in his own mind, without release, it`s possible too that he is not happy; but cannot get out of this habit / way of life that has crept up on him. How about going out together, like you used to. I suggest, ( don`t laugh, try it first! ), 1/ Go on a "Mystery Tour". Just get in the car and go! See where you end up! There are LOADS of places of interest, castles, churches, woodlands, reseviours, etc, etc. You could pack a picnic, or find somewhere to eat. 2/ Get some books out from the Library on Identifying Trees/Nature/Wildlife etc, hire a pair of binnoculars for the day, and stroll off together, to see what you may find. Walking together, hand in hand, is very peaceful & will bring you closer together. 3/ Visit a car boot sale or garage sale together; you each have a small amount of money, say, 2$, and see if you can buy something that you can sell on at a profit. All of my Answers (and I`ll come up with more!) involve Going Out, Getting "Out and About", and will prompt Interest and Conversation; that isn`t stilted, but will come naturally. With Love, Heather.

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A female reader, dragonette Sweden +, writes (28 February 2007):

dragonette agony auntIs there any chance that you might be able to take him somewhere without tv and internet access? Like some cottage in a very big canadian forest? ;-)

I don't mind you "yammering on" (is that a yiddish expression?), and I'm sorry our ideas didn't work out for you. But if things get worse perhaps you need to tell him how bad it is and what the consequences are if this continues, and in worst case book yourselves an appointment with a neutral third party that will help you settle your differences (marriage counseling for example).

What you say about your husband "not understanding why people have conversations that aren't [intellectually sparkling]" reminds me a bit of an acquaintance of mine who doesn't understand the point of small talk. So I can understand your frustration.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 February 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Well - back when we dated, we would talk about and watch films, plan trips and go on them together (like day trips and short weekened ones), we would go to shows and talk about the bands, and whatever else interested us. We went to art museums a lot. And went to theme parks because we like roller coasters. Of course he talked about politics and all of the other "newsy" kind of stuff, too, but it was limited. And I was fine with that because it was in small doses. (I'm more interested in the arts as opposed to politics, etc.) So while I knew that he was a very political person, I didn't think it would ever take over his life (and mine) like it has.

Oh, Dragonette - there are times when the silence isn't awkward, definitly, but I could tell there was tension because I told him I'd rather talk about something else. And I think you're right on with this statement: "Your husband needs to come to the conclusion that not every conversation can be intellectually sparkling and interesting..." This is the problem. He doesn't understand why people have conversations that aren't. Like after working at the organization he's been at his behavior has changed. But I know his coworkers aren't obsessed with news like my husband. (Example - some of them have a myspace. They have things like pictures of them with their wives and what movies they like, etc etc. Then my husband's "about me" section is what articles people should be reading!!)

I don't know...I feel like I'm yammering on and on I know it doesn't seem like I'm appreciating the advice because of it, but believe me, I do. Like I said, I guess I'll just keep trying to change the subject. If this keeps going on - that we keep being so different, I'm not sure what's going to happen... There's no real communication between us and that's not good. :\

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A male reader, Ponungalungb United States +, writes (28 February 2007):

Ponungalungb agony aunt25? I figured he'd have to be at least in his 40's to have an interest in such worldly affairs. What did the two of you talk about for the 2 1/2 years that you dated? Didn't you have an inkling as to his personality before now?

It almost sounds like he is the teacher and you are the pupil. Tell him that you didn't realize that the marriage license you signed was in fact a letter of intent to attend ______________ (your husband's name here) University. He might get the hint. . . and maybe you can get used to the awkward silence.

Good luck!

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A female reader, dragonette Sweden +, writes (28 February 2007):

dragonette agony auntMaybe you need to think back to how things were when you dated? Did he show any signs of droning on like this then? If not, you could tell him about how you used to enjoy going out with him, and point out that that you would like to do more of the "good old stuff". Maybe the two of you could go to a museum?

Silence by itself doesn't need to be awkward. Sometimes both me and my partner are too tired to make any type of interesting conversation at dinner so we eat our food, I might make some silly faces at him just to acknowledge his presence, but that type of silence is not very threatening. Somewhere I get a feeling that a small part of the reason why your husband is talking so much about uninteresting stuff is because he's afraid of awkward silence. Your husband needs to come to the conclusion that not every conversation can be intellectually sparkling and interesting, and sometimes silence can indeed be golden.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 February 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hello again,

I just thought I'd update. This morning I was being lectured on the similarities and differences between the American and Chinese stock markets (I kid you not) and I sort of tried to go into my own world without the use of a walkman. My husband totally noticed and asked why I was being distant. I told him that I didn't always want to talk about world events and he said that he didn't have anything else to talk about.

Then he asked me what I'd want to talk about. I told him stuff like maybe what movies he wants to see, if there's an art exhibit he wants to go to, places we could visit, etc. He said that I already know him so I'd know that stuff on my own. So then I said that I was just giving examples and there are plenty of other things to talk about. I tried to talk about weekend plans to start us off, and there were lots of awkward silent periods.

Oh - and I took Ponun's advice and tried to say that he should leave work issues at work. He said then he'd have nothing to talk about. ...which I guess is true because of all of the awkward silences. It was like a struggle to have a normal conversation with him.

So I guess my next question is: does every relationship get mundane like this? I don't know what the heck is going on and why my husband is so boring now! :( We've only been married for a year! (We're 25 and dated for 2½ years previously.)

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 February 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Heather - lol! No, you guys were actually helpful. I just need to keep at it, I guess. Plus it's nice to know that someone agrees that this talk can be boring. After hearing for so long that I should be interested in this stuff all the time, I start to think what's wrong with me that I don't want to talk about it all the time. I was beginning to feel stupid - like does everyone read this stuff all the time and do I just not know?? But I guess I'm "normal" afterall. :)

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A female reader, Ask Heather +, writes (27 February 2007):

Ask Heather agony auntIt was Great to hear back from you! It`s always lovely to read a Follow-up on Questions we tried to help with, especially when we mere mortals have been of some help; which wasn`t the case here!! I guess you`ll be buying that walkman then! Seriously though, apart from music, there are some great audio books out there if you can`t concentrate (or have the peace to read), on every subject. You may suprise yourself, it`s worth a try. Love & Best Wishes, Heather.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 February 2007):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hi guys - thanks for your advice. I've tried to tell him to leave that sort of talk at work and he tells me that I should be interested in what is going on, so he's basically refused to not talk about those things. I've also tried to get him to talk about other things by being like funny and flirty with him, but he takes me seriously if I try to joke.

For example - this happened this morning - he'll say "Someone in the House of Reps tried to pass a bill that has a goal of making the big bang theory a religion so it's not taught in schools anymore!! The bill even cites sources that say the earth is still the center of the universe!!" and I'll say something like "oh, you mean we aren't the center of the universe?!" and joke about it and try to change the subject. Then he goes into the history of astronomy and stuff! I tell him that I know what he's talking about and he says he wants to make sure I understand so he keeps talking about it!! This sort of thing happens a lot.

If I'm straight up with him he gets defensive and "debates" or else just gets really mopey. I don't like him doing either one of those. So, that's where I'm stuck.

I've tried to do my own thing, but during the week when there's not enough time to go out at night, I'd like to be able to be lazy with him without feeling like I'm still in college. I've done my own things, but I'd like to spend some fun time with my husband, too. And now all he wants to do is play warhammer when he's not talking politics, etc. WARHAMMER!!! *Gag* He was never into that before we got married. Now if he's not watching the news he's doing warhammer stuff. He's printed guidebooks that are hundreds of pages long and reads them all the time. When he's not reading, he's painting the models.

But that's not really as big of an issue as him just talking politics. I mean, he can have hobbies that I'm not into and everything, but when we talk I'd just like to have more fun than I had when I attended lectures in school.

(Yes, I do work. But he emails me on my personal email, which I also check throughout the day for various things. I have told him I'm too busy to read the messages he sends, so at night he tells me about what I didn't have time to read. It's like never ending...)

So, I'll try to do as you all have suggested - something has to work! If it doesn't... Then I don't know... I guess I'll be back on this site!

Thanks to all of you!

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A female reader, Ask Heather +, writes (27 February 2007):

Ask Heather agony auntI agree with Ponungalungb, this man sounds like bore of the year! only he dosn`t seem to realise it! I think that`s where to start, by making him understand that his constant droning isn`t as enthralling as he thinks it is. There`s no need for a debate about it, just listen to him for a bit, then calmly say that you`ve got his point, and start talking to him about what YOU would like to talk about. If he belittles your attempt at ordinary conversation, personally I would just walk off to another room. He might then get the message! I would love to see you taking up lots of new hobbies and interests, perhaps evening classes, and making new friends who ARE interested in what you`ve got to say. If your husband sees how much enjoyment you`re getting from your new hobbies, perhaps he`ll come over to you and want to get involved too. As a last resort, if he won`t stop droning, you could always get a walkman, to drown his ramblings out! With Love, Heather.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 February 2007):

Well, the good news is that you husband enjoys your company and values your intelligence and opinions.

Reading the newspaper outload is a way some men show intimacy....so I would build on that, and when he is in that frame of reference, reach accross the table and touch his hand and say, you know what dear, I am really more interested in what is going on with you than the world this morning, let's talk about something else.

When he sits in front of the TV watching news shows, grab your favorite book, go sit in your favorite chair, snuggle up with a blanket or the dog and have a good read. You don't have to be glued at the hip 24/7 to have a good relationship....so allow yourself to pursue your own interests even when they do not include him. Don't stop being you, and with those messages and blogs he sends, there is a thing called the delete button....if he asks why you did not respond, say, I have work to do I don't get paid to read the stuff you send me, my e-mail box is full with work related issues.

I am assuming you work, or why would he be sending you e-mails? If you don't work, maybe that is part of the issue, and your husband is trying to keep you mentally stimulated...It sounds to me like you need to stop hanging back so much and be more assertive about talking and doing the things that interest you....I bet he would sit up and take notice if you got passionate about something important to you. Just a guess.

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A male reader, Ponungalungb United States +, writes (27 February 2007):

Ponungalungb agony auntYou say he has a job doing the exact same thing? Well, you could make a policy that he keeps his work at the office and that you don't want to discuss the world affairs at home. If he continues on his current path, tell him that he's boring you to death, and if it doesn't stop, you'll find someone that's more interesting. . . and mean it. If he ignores you and continues to bore you with his drivel, go do things that you want to do and leave your husband home to peruse the New York Times. With any luck, you'll meet someone that enjoys your company and has similar tastes.

Good luck!

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