My husband and I often chat because we both work on different companies and are in front of our computers most of the time. So we are free to chat on professional and personal issues.
Before, I used to get upset because sometimes I was slow to respond, and I did it in monosyllables (yes, no, ok, Uhm, uh-huh, etc.). Then a creative process began in my head:
- He is not interested in what I am telling him, he told me.
- He does not want to talk to me.
- Or worse yet: I’m sure you’re talking to someone who cares more than I do.
And I was sad that he didn’t care. At the same time, I got mad at him, and sometimes I even took the opportunity to throw something at him that wasn’t relevant. So he didn’t understand anything, of course.
Here’s the reason!
Finally, I learned (we both learned) a fundamental truth: that men and women have different types of attention.
The men have focused attention, i.e., entirely focusing on one thing and can not attend to anything else. The women, however, have diffuse attention. This means that we pay attention to many activities simultaneously, and we can do and think about many things at the same time. We have to make an extra effort if we want to focus exclusively on one thing.
When they decide that they are going to do something, they just forget everything else and do not leave it until they finish. But when they decide to do another thing, they think about that differently and look for the other way.
Besides, if a complication arises or something else attracts more attention from them, they leave the first thing they were doing, even if it is unfinished, and they postpone it for another time.
Women can make the food while watching the kids, listening to the news on the radio, and thinking about their next professional project. Isn’t it?
So when your husband is doing something (or thinking about something), and you talk to him, you may feel that he doesn’t listen to you. But it is because he is unable to pay attention to both tasks at a time. It is not that he does not care what you tell him. It is not because he is doing something more important or more exciting, but it is a temporary priority. You came later; you came when he was already immersed in that activity or thought.
From what I’ve learned, you have two options: wait for him to finish or interrupt him and give him enough time to focus on you.
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