This article will help you understand why your boyfriend doesn’t listen to you when you talk and what you can do to change the situation.
You may often find that you are complaining to your friends that your boyfriend does not listen to you when you talk.
When you come home and tell him about your day, and he is looking at the TV instead of giving you his attention, it makes you frustrated.
Unfortunately, your boyfriend will not listen to you as your girlfriends would. According to Deborah Tannen, in her article You Just Don’t Understand, senseless misunderstanding can be explained by the different conversation rules by which men and women play.
It is not always that your man is not listening out of spite or because he doesn’t want to; it is because they respond to different cues than women provide.
Reasons Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Listen To You When You Talk
When you are talking to your boyfriend, you expect him to listen to you; whether you are telling him about a bad day you had at work or school or some hot gossip from your friends. So, what makes your boyfriend not listen to you?
1. He Feels Attacked in The Conversation
When talking to your boyfriend about something important in the relationship, it may be coming out as an attack, and he will get defensive. His defense mechanism in conflicts may be to shut down and not listen to you.
According to a 2018 study, many people tend to get defensive if you start a statement with you. For instance, if your boyfriend is not helping around the house and you say, “you never help me around the house,” he will become defensive and stop listening to you after that statement.
You should instead use the “I” statement. For example, “I would like you to help me around the house more.”
According to research, “You” statements tend to make someone feel attacked in the conversation, especially if it is a conflict.
It would help if you also refrained from using words like never and always when talking to your boyfriend, especially in a conflict, as it leads to defensiveness.
2. He Is Doing Something Else
Most men cannot multitask. So, if you talk to your boyfriend when he is doing something else, he will not hear you.
For instance, when my boyfriend is watching a game or a movie, it is no use talking to him. I guarantee he will not be listening to you.
He may appear to listen but what you say is basically white noise. So I have learnt to wait until he is done with what he is doing so I can start talking.
I believe most boyfriends are like mine. So, it is best to wait until he is through doing what he is doing before you talk to him. If you need to talk at that moment, request that he pause so that you may talk to him.
3. You Talk Too Much
You may feel like your boyfriend is not listening to you when you talk; you may be talking too much. When women think they are not being heard, they tend to talk too much to make up for not being listened to.
Most men will tune out their girlfriends after at least 15 minutes. When you are tuned off and notice, you tend to talk more to get his attention back. However, this rarely works, as you will resent your boyfriend for not giving you attention.
When your boyfriend realizes you resent him, he will tune you out more as a way of dealing with your resentment. It’s a vicious cycle.
Moreover, when you keep saying the same thing repeatedly because you feel your boyfriend does not hear you, he will register it as a complaint and shut down whenever you talk to him about it.
4. You Expect Him to Be Interested in All the Things You Are Interested In
Sometimes your boyfriend is not listening to you because you are rambling about things that do not interest him. In a relationship, you do not have to have everything in common with your boyfriend.
For instance, you may be into books, Taylor Swift, and movies, while your boyfriend is into monster trucks and fantasy football. If you keep talking about Taylor Swift, he will be bored and stop listening to you after some time.
It is okay not to have everything in common with your boyfriend, and you should not expect him to be interested in everything you are interested in.
According to Steven McCornack in his book, Reflect and Relate: An Introduction to Interpersonal Communication, diversity is important in relationships and a key element.
5. You Caught Him at A Bad Time
Sometimes your boyfriend is not listening to you, not because of something you did but because of bad timing.
When you get through the door and start talking and notice that your boyfriend is not listening to you, it may be that he is going through something that is preoccupying his mind.
For instance, he could be stressed by something at work or school. Maybe he fought with his friend or boss, and it is bothering him; he may not give you the attention you deserve.
On the other hand, you may have caught him in the middle of work, and he cannot give you full attention.
6. You Expect Him to Agree with Everything You Say
Your boyfriend will have difficulty listening to you if he feels that you expect him to agree with everything you say.
Sometimes your boyfriend will agree with what you say; he may be nodding robotically and saying, “mmh,” “okay,” “sure,” or “I agree.”
When your boyfriend gives these robotic answers, it means that he is barely listening to you and will answer because he thinks you want him to agree with you.
Your boyfriend may be doing this if he feels his voice is not appreciated in the relationship or you do not give him a chance to voice his opinions.
Let’s say one day you told him about something that happened between you and your friend, and he took your friend’s side, and you bit his head off; he may refrain from listening to you and giving his opinion.
After this, he will assume that you want him to agree to everything you say, leading to robotic answers. This will make you see he is not listening to you, and you will resent him for not listening.
This is an unhealthy way to live in a relationship, and it may cause strains in the relationship that may lead to a breakup as you both end up resenting each other.
7. He Is Annoyed with You
When your boyfriend is annoyed with you, he will not listen to you. According to Susan Helter, author of From Conflict to Resolution, anger opens the mouth and closes the ears.
So, if your boyfriend is angry with you, he will not listen to you. Anger diminishes one’s listening ability, and you may feel like you are talking to a statue.
8. He Is a Narcissist
Your boyfriend may not be listening to you because he is a narcissist. He believes that he knows best and does not care about your perception or other people’s. He thinks you are not worth listening to.
Sometimes a narcissist will only listen so that he can dismiss your opinion or show you that you are wrong.
Are you wondering if you are dating a narcissist? Here are a few signs that your boyfriend is a narcissist.
- He fends off your compliments.
- He talks about how great he is and does not let you up a word in the conversation.
- He was charming at the beginning of the relationship but not anymore.
- He lacks empathy.
- He has no long-term friends.
- He gaslights you.
- He thinks he is right all the time.
9. You Do Not Listen to Him
If you do not listen to your boyfriend, he may not listen to you too. Communication is a two-way street with many give and takes; if you do not listen to your boyfriend, you may find that he will not listen to you either.
So, before you accuse your boyfriend of not listening to you, look at yourself and evaluate your listening and communication habits.
What Do You Do If Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Listen When You Talk?
We all want to feel heard in a relationship. So, when your boyfriend is not listening to him, you should do everything in your power to ensure you are heard in the relationship. Some of the steps you can take to ensure your boyfriend listens to you include the following;
1. Be Patient with Him
If your boyfriend is not listening to you, you may have caught him at a bad time. You should be patient and give him time to finish whatever he is doing so he may give you his full attention.
If you find him doing something else and you have an urgent matter, it is best to ask him to pause what he is doing and give you a minute of his time.
Sometimes he is not listening because he is stressed or dealing with some issues. In this case, it is best to give him time to get through whatever is stressing him before you tell him what you need to tell him.
For instance, I tend to be in survivor mode when I am stressed. I do not listen to anyone, and I cannot give anyone my attention at this time; all my energy goes to dealing with what is stressing me.
If your boyfriend is like me, you should give him time to handle what is stressing him and help him with it before you give him any new information.
2. Be A Better Listener
If your boyfriend is not listening to you, you should take a better look at yourself. He may be mirroring your behavior. If you do not listen to him, he may also have difficulty listening to you.
So, practice better listening skills when your boyfriend is talking to you, and he will have an easier time listening to you as he will also feel heard in the relationship.
3. Understand He Doesn’t Have to Agree with You
According to Laurie Puhn, couples mediator and author of Fight Less, Love More, when talking to your boyfriend, you should create a safe place in the relationship for conversation. It would be best to listen to your boyfriend’s opinion without criticism.
It would help if you let him know that you accept his opinions and he does not always need to agree with you. However, you can let him know when you need him on your side.
For example, when you are telling him about an argument with your friends, it will help if he is on your side.
4. Talk About One Thing at A Time
When you start talking to your boyfriend, and you remember something else, and you start talking about that, which reminds you of another thing, and you talk about that too.
Your boyfriend may find it hard to keep up with the stories and tune out. According to Puhn, men’s brains are wired to focus on one thing at a time, so stick to one topic, or you will lose your boyfriend.
According to Alison Armstrong, founder of PAX programs, you should not talk to your boyfriend the same way you talk to your girlfriends, as everything will be interpreted as an interruption in the man’s brain.
5. Embrace Your Differences
Sometimes your boyfriend is not listening to you because you are talking about things he is not interested in. you should embrace your differences in the relationship.
You do not have to have everything in common with your boyfriend, which is okay. As the saying goes, “opposites attract,” so do not expect your boyfriend to be interested in everything you are interested in.
6. Plan What You Want to Say
Sometimes when you talk too much, your boyfriend will tune you out. So, when talking to your boyfriend, you should plan out what you will say instead of rambling on for too long about many things.
You can also pause when you are talking to give him time to process what you are saying. It will also be best to ask him if he is still following you when you talk.
It can be very frustrating when your boyfriend does not listen to you when you talk. If you are going through this, understand why he may not be listening. You may talk too much or expect him to agree with everything you say.
Sometimes he may not listen to you because he is a narcissist. To have your boyfriend listen to you, you should understand that he must not agree with everything you say. It would also help if you were patient and listened to him better.
Photo by Diva Plavalaguna
Sarah Williams is an author at CandidHaven.com she is an expert in human psychology having graduated with an M.S. in Psychology.
Sarah has extensive experience in relationships and dating therapy having worked for over 6 years with different groups of people including teens, dating couples, and married people.
She is a lover of life, and self-development and believes everyone deserves to be in a fulfilling relationship. Sarah loves reading self-help books and doing research on human psychology.