My Boyfriend is Sick of My “Heavy” Conversation.

So, my question is on compatibility. I have been in 4 long-term (multi-year) relationships over the course of my adult life (I am in my early thirties). My current relationship is almost 2 years old. Historically, I have ended all previous relationships for basically the same concern and I’m close to doing the same in my present relationship due to the omnipresent discontent around poor communication and inability to connect through conversation.

My current boyfriend, similar to my previous boyfriends, is a good person: intelligent, kind, emotionally-stable, responsible, attractive, loyal and committed to the relationship, but similarly, we have major difficulties communicating.

My SO has complained that our conversations are ‘too heavy’ (the last boyfriend said this almost verbatim), whereas I feel conversationally starved. I often enjoy theoretical discussions and bouncing abstract ideas off of each other whether in friendships, professional or romantic relationships. I find that my natural style is to go ‘heavy’, while he enjoys reliving past moments and talking about current events. I’m into the ‘why’, while he is into the ‘what’. As an example, we both enjoy reading and I had asked him about a book he was enjoying that I recommended to him ‘if he found it interesting or had any insights to share’ and he became defensive and dismissed me saying “I’m just reading a book”. He later brought this up as an example of the ‘heaviness’ that I bring to conversations that he dislikes.

More and more, I am finding myself feeling alone and resentful, which reminds me of the beginning of the end in my previous relationships. Because I’ve experienced this disconnect multiple times before, which seems to be rooted from the same origin, I am feeling paranoid that I am missing the boat and that there might be something about my communication style I need to reconsider?

This conversational disconnect with my present boyfriend is related to dysfunctional communication in our daily lives. He is extremely defensive and dismissive around the simplest of subjects, while he says that I am too direct and blames it on my delivery. I now find myself always seeking ‘safe topics’ and walking on eggshells. Truth be told, I feel like we can work on our communication, and he is trying as hard as I am, but, again, the real reason that I am writing to you is because I’m more concerned if it’s a true compatibility issue? And why does this keep happening to me where I feel like I’m missing an intellectual/emotional connection, but valuing the other qualities that a man brings to a relationship? I feel like I’m not seeing things clearly and I so wish that I could turn this off as I’ve begun to not trust my judgment or ability to find a healthy, rewarding relationship.

Thank you for taking the time. –Renee

I remember talking to a college buddy at a mutual friend’s wedding who wondered why I couldn’t just “keep it light.”

I remember friends in LA teasing me that I always wanted to have more substantive conversations while we were watching football on Sundays.

I remember once flirting with a woman at a party when my friend came up to us and said, “Has Evan plumbed the depths of your soul yet?”

It’s always a little rough when you feel out of step with those around you. And which gender is the common denominator in our mutual stories? That’s right: men.

So yeah, Renee, I feel you. It’s always a little rough when you feel out of step with those around you. And which gender is the common denominator in our mutual stories? That’s right: men.

(Ah, gender stereotypes…)

Do these men have a semi-reasonable point? Of course, they do. They don’t want to go deep. They don’t need to go deep. It makes them uncomfortable when you go deep.

They’re entitled to that. And you’re entitled to find a boyfriend who isn’t threatened by interesting conversation.

Just know that there are fewer of them.

I never had a hard time finding women to connect with on this level; it probably explains why I do this for a living. By the same token, my wife (and her family) tends to like to keep things light and surface-y. Post-theater criticism usually tends towards, “I liked it a lot” without much reasoning why or debating the morality of the protagonist. And you know what? While it’s not ideal, it’s okay, primarily because my wife doesn’t stop ME from going deep. I can go on a fifteen minute liberal rant and she’ll indulge me without judgment. That’s about all I can ask.

Your guy, on the other hand, is overtly hostile and dismissive of your chosen communication style, and that’s just not acceptable.

Understand, Renee, there are fewer guys out there who enjoy communication like women do. You can hold out for one of them. Or you can choose among the millions of good, traditional, semi-stoic men who don’t like to talk about feelings, dreams or relationships. But at least these guys (like my wife) accept that you do. Your guy, on the other hand, is overtly hostile and dismissive of your chosen communication style, and that’s just not acceptable.

This doesn’t mean you couldn’t theoretically stand to lighten up and cater to your audience a little bit better. But it does mean you should cut your boyfriend loose right now, unless you want to walk on eggshells for the rest of your life.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Coco

    Hi Evan,

    First off, Happy Labor Day!

    I can understand where Renee is coming from because I had some of the same issues with prior relationships too. I’m currently with a guy who actually likes to pick things apart conversationally as much as I do but it took quite a bit of work to find him and I have to caution you in saying that even then, this is not something that happens 100% of the time. Our conservations got better after I learned a few things about how and when to approach him as well as my delivery. Here are some of my observations:

    Guys (in general) don’t like to feel like they know less than you. That comment you said that he made about the book could have been verbatim a conversation that I had with one of my exes or even one that I have now with my fiancé. I used to get offended with stuff like that but (after a recent talk) I found out that most of the time, a) he hasn’t read/eaten/thought enough about it to come up with a good answer or b) he is literally still stupefied from his long workweek is his brain is not functioning on that level yet or c) he just isn’t as interested as I am on that subject. And he doesn’t want to look bad in front of me, so he just brushes it off. Now, I just let it go and if he wants to talk about it later, he’ll come back to it (which he usually will) and we’ll chat about it then.

    Also, I find that if I am ever critical of his opinion, he then doesn’t give me back genuine thoughts for a while. It’s crappy but for instance, if I tell him that it’s crazy that he likes a new show, I won’t be able to get a straight answer out of him for like, a week! And he’s really defensive the whole time. I now realize that’s his way of being on eggshells.

    Overall, I agree with Evan that it’s unnecessary to need a partner who is as deep as you are about everything. In the long run, sometimes it’s nice to have a partner who can pull you away from all the serious stuff and just have fun and relax. I don’t think you need to walk on eggshells. Just continue to try to engage him as you always do but learn to let it go if he doesn’t get into it as much as you do. Find other outlets for intellectual conversation. Join a book club or take up some cultural meet-ups. That way, when you come home, you can tell him all about it. Who knows? Maybe eventually, he may be interested enough to join you but at least in the meantime, you won’t feel as frustrated.

    1. 1.1
      jon

      She could always try dating a lawyer, they usually have a lot to say and various opinions on everything and intellectual curiosity, especially if you like arguing.  Some men just don’t want to argue if they forsee disagreement.  Many men don’t want to talk about feelings or emotions or self psychoanalysis.  It also sounds like she wants to find an intellectual asexual BFF, instead of a male lover.

      1. 1.1.1
        AMarie

        Ugh… Please do NOT date a lawyer because you like to argue.

        We’re good at it, but we’re sick of it by the time we get home.  This is why I ONLY date other lawyers- we can easily and consistently “agree to disagree” on anything petty, and keep it light on anything heavy.

      2. 1.1.2
        Lisa

        I am a lawyer and I think that’s a common misconception as Annmarie says below.  I’m also a trial lawyer who tends to be the most argumentative breed.  I also am beyond bored by politics and intellectual discussions and annoyed that people think because I’m a lawyer I want to debate in my relationships.  Lots of men want to take me on to prove something to themselves almost to take me down to prove intelligence and yes I will take you down in a debate if you push me but no I don’t enjoy it.  But I don’t feel like that’s what this writer is looking for.   I think she is looking for more of an emotional intellect to talk about feelings and deeper type connections and I read that in Evan’s answer.  More of a romantic who reads poetry and deconstructs novels and plays and if that’s the case there are very few men out there like that.  Men don’t feel like women and they don’t understand our feelings.  If they love us they try but that’s the best they can do.  Yoga probably won’t find your mirror deep imagine in this sense and you absolutely will not find it in a lawyer!   As a female lawyer I can tell you that I have been called too logical and accused of lacking emotion or being unromantic .   Look for a man that excels in the arts a musician or an artist.  But if you want s man that argues politics just come to DC they are a dime a dozen here.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Yes, hold out for a man who reads poetry. That is a good indicstor of relationship health.

    2. 1.2
      Karl S

      Delivery and intent is definitely a big part of this. Of all the girlfriends I’ve had, the ones I liked and miss the most were those who could disagree with me without devaluing my thoughts. I only ever got really defensive with one woman and she was someone I would describe as “critical” with a tendency toward extreme condescension.

      I wonder if the OP, when she mentions  – As an example, we both enjoy reading and I had asked him about a book he was enjoying that I recommended to him ‘if he found it interesting or had any insights to share’ and he became defensive and dismissed me saying “I’m just reading a book”. – Might accidentally be coming across like a teacher putting a student on the spot, which makes one person feel lower status, rather than simply offering some of her own insights as a conversation starter to see if he builds upon them.

      I’m sure the actual play-by-play of conversations are different each time, but it’s amazing in general how much people can accidentally come across from a place of judgement, which always makes others clam up.

      1. 1.2.1
        Chaka

        ” Might accidentally be coming across like a teacher putting a student on the spot, which makes one person feel lower status, rather than simply offering some of her own insights as a conversation starter to see if he builds upon them.”

        This is a really good point and something for me to tuck away for future conversations.

      2. 1.2.2
        Lisa

        Thank you!

  2. 2
    Grenoble

    There are definitely guys who like “heavy,” perhaps philosophical conversations. I would consider myself among them. Perhaps what it comes down to is how long the conversations are. Heavy conversations can take a lot out of some people. There are a great many topics I could go on about, but some topics you can only talk about so much before you need a break, especially if they have greater implications for the relationship.

    I have heavy conversations with my close male friends about our relationships, health, and financial circumstances, but we keep it to ourselves and don’t tell the women in our lives, and then we follow it up with talk about football or something.

    It might also be a way for some men to avoid potential conflict. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of the time men have expressed deep opinions they were made to feel that their opinions are wrong, so they keep quiet in the future. In my experience, sometimes women can really make a guy feel bad about having said anything at all, whether they mean to or nor. Delivery is key. Women are often considered to be the more indirect sex when it comes to communication, but there are times some women have been very direct and biting in their disagreement with me and guys I know.

    But in general, as a guy, I also just don’t always want to talk much about a topic I’m not passionate about, and I don’t always feel like thinking too hard about things.

    Sometimes a movie or book, for example, really is just good and needs no further comment.

  3. 3
    Selena

    Because I’ve experienced this disconnect multiple times before, which seems to be rooted from the same origin, I am feeling paranoid that I am missing the boat and that there might be something about my communication style I need to reconsider?”

     

    Since this has happened multiple times with different men, it looks like a pattern. Maybe you are choosing the same type of less communicative man because of other similar attributes they possess?  Are you perhaps sometimes pushy when it comes to what you want to talk about?

     

    Surely you shouldn’t have to feel like you are “walking on eggshells”  when talking to you partner, but it took 2 years to get to this point. I’d look at that. How did it go from fine in the beginning to eggshells?

     

    The men I most connected with, were the one’s I could talk about anything and everything for hours.  But if a man continually probed me for in depth convo’s on subjects that didn’t interest me, I would become annoyed. Do you have friends you can in depth discussions with on topics that interest you?  Sometimes clubs and internet forums can provide an outlet for interests that a partner doesn’t share.

     

    If the common denominator is you…cutting the current boyfriend loose may not solve the problem.

     

     

    1. 3.1
      Adrian

      I was thinking the same thing Selena. It might be the way she delivers it, or the subject itself. Most guys I know, have no problem going deep, but all men I know, hate talking about negative subjects all the time.

      To you it may seem like just a deep conversation on a good book, but to me and most men, it gets tiring always talking about murder, adultery, and lies. Or how the world is such and such negative this and negative that. Sure it’s deep, but it is also depressing.

      1. 3.1.1
        Selena

        Thinking about this post brought up a long ago memory of a partner at one time telling me: “Must you analyze everything to death?!!”  He was frustrated.  At the time, I didn’t realize how often I did that.  Now I see how tiring over-analyzing can be to be around.

         

        The trick is knowing when to back off and let it go. Going on and on about something begins to feel like badgering. And someone who feels badgered is likely to become dismissive, defensive or shut down completely.

        1. Joek

          Thinking about this post brought up a long ago memory of a partner at one time telling me: “Must you analyze everything to death?!!”  He was frustrated.

           

          I’d venture most men have said that to their partners at one point or another!  :-O

           

          I’m a guy who (like Evan) prefers “going deep” most of the time, but it’s been my experience that even I am no match for most women when it comes to staying in that analytical state. I seem to need to “tune out” more frequently than the women I’ve conversed with.

        2. Butterduck

          Selena, the man I eventually married said the same thing to me. I had a long think about what it must have been like on his side of the equation. Pretty awful.

          So I cooled it to find out if that would be better. It was, not only for him, but for me too. At bottom, I loved him and I wanted to make his life more pleasant, not less. You see, I knew he was the man I wanted.

          Between my husband and me, we have 5 degrees, but neither of us ever had much taste for “deep intellectual conversations;” we are smarter than that. Life is too short. But if that is what I was longing for, I would join a book club instead of demanding that my husband fulfill that need.

           

  4. 4
    Clare

    I agree with Evan.

     

    It IS harder to find a man you can talk to in this way, but they are out there. They tend to be very intense though, so I recommend that you first evaluate whether you emotionally and mentally want to share your life with someone who is that intense. I personally love a good, meaningful conversation and discussing intellectual ideas, but I also do need to be able to change tack because these conversations can be draining. So just bear that in mind when you are looking for this kind of quality in a man – do you want someone who is potentially ALWAYS intense. How much meaningful intellectual discussion do you actually need (even to the point of quantifying it)?

     

    You might also want to think about whether you can get this need met through people in your friends and family circles. If you are quite an independent person with many interests and friends outside of your relationship, you might want to consider expanding these and turning to these when you need to discuss deep topics. This is what I’ve found works best for me. As Evan pointed out, women are much easier to talk to about meaningful subjects, and on the whole I find it more pleasant and satisfying to turn to my mom or my best girlfriend when I want to discuss topics with emotional or philosophical depth. Not to say that I can’t discuss anything meaningful with the guy I’m with, but I tend to limit it.

     

    That said, at the very least you don’t have to put up with someone who is dismissive and derisive about the way you communicate and the things you like to talk about.

    1. 4.1
      Adrian

      Clare everything you said, I feel is what the original poster is doing to her boyfriend.

      She is probably intense and draining. I can’t see any other logical reason why a boyfriend of two years would react the way he did to a simple question about how did you like a book.

      Like Selena said, she is the common factor in each relationship. My guess is that she does’t see herself as intense or emotionally draining.

      1. 4.1.1
        Clare

        Adrian,

         

        Yes, I admit this is probably the case. I am a reasonably intense person, but I feel like I am self-aware enough to know this fact and to find other outlets for it rather than my relationship. There are people who appreciate my intensity – like my mom and best girlfriend as mentioned – I also blog and do creative writing and spend time thinking and daydreaming during the day. The one place I don’t tend to unload my intensity is on the guy I’m with. Honestly by the time the end of the day comes and I am unwinding with the one I love, the last thing I WANT is more heavy conversation. My relationship tends to be the place I go to when I want to feel relaxed, and debating hot or emotional topics can often bring tension.

         

        I am not saying the original poster is like this, but she may want to consider whether her need for intense conversation is at the point where it is burdensome to the other person. I was briefly with a guy who would send me numerous emails and text messages during the day (while I was at work) wanting to hash out our feelings and the details of our relationship and just basically running circles around me until I didn’t know which way was up. He was far too intense and invasive, and I didn’t enjoy at all feeling like every minute detail of how I was feeling was open for discussion. Obviously I broke it off because I felt suffocated.

         

        As I say, I’m not saying the OP is like this but it is something to consider – putting the entire burden of our need for stimulation and fulfillment on one person is too much in my opinion.

  5. 5
    Christy

    Renee: As simple as this sounds. Don’t expect one man to deliver everything you need in life. You have women friends ( or male)  for that. Men are not supposed to be your ” everything” . You had so many complimentary things to say about him, I think he is worth keeping and just know he is not going to be a deep conversationalist. Most men are not! Call your friends or others when you need to have the deep conversations. I say you are being observant and realize it is just not a regular normal thing for most men ( not all) to go deep on a regular basis. I am one of 7 siblings  and I have 2 sisters out of those 7 that can’t go deep– but I love them no less and have just as much fun with them. Hope that helps.

  6. 6
    DS

    Evan, maybe he has become dismissive after almost 2 years of being asked to engage at a deeper level, and feels lower status every time such a conversation happens.  Maybe she should stop enforcing her style and see if he starts to engage in lighter conversation, which could lead back to more love and affection, and mutual respect.  She likes everything else about him, and is starting to recognize she has this problem.  Why cut him loose unless he was dismissive towards her from the very beginning?

  7. 7
    Marie

    Renee – I think many men no matter how smart want to come home to a safe haven where they can relax and not have to debate an idea, give their opinion, and defend themselves.  Since my work is just as intense as my husbands and maybe even more so, and I spend the whole day giving orders and opinions I can’t imagine getting home and having to give more of my opinions.  It sounds exhausting.  This is not to say we don’t both enjoy in depth conversations from time to time but this usually happens when we are both more relaxed and emotionally recharged.  There’s a time and place for everything.

    1. 7.1
      Kitt

      Excuse me, but women want to come home to a safe and peaceful place also. You see Marie, we have been expected to get busy cooking and cleaning, where is our safe place?

      No fair.

      1. 7.1.1
        DeeGee

        Kitt said: “we have been expected to get busy cooking and cleaning

        A little sexist there.  😉
        There are plenty of men who do that as well.
        Even during my marriage, I worked a full-time job and a part-time job, cooked two of my own meals each day, and did my share of housework and laundry.
        Unfortunately my ex mainly watched soap-operas all day – that’s one of the reasons she is my ex.

        1. kitt

          How the heck is that sexist for me to say that men expect women  to do the cooking and cleaning?!! That is what husbands expect? Don’t even try the reverse sexism thing. Sexism is a male  trait.

          ” cooked two of my own meals”   Oh, so you only cooked for yourself?

          See, you are so full of it, so much so  that you can’t even admit that the wife in the home, still does practically all  of the housework and then  men still want their wives to shut her mouth, stay young, stay a size petite, and  give sex on his demand

        2. DeeGee

          kitt said: “men expect women  to do the cooking and cleaning

          I don’t expect that.  I always did and do more than my fair share.
          If a man is working one or two jobs, and the woman is not working at all, why is it so terrible to think that she should do some cooking and cleaning.

          and said: “you are so full of it

          You sound like such a bitter person.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          kitt – you need to take a chill-pill.

          DG said he cooked 2 of his own meals.  It’s pretty common for couples with differing schedules to be “on their own” for breakfast and lunch.  That could mean he made his own breakfast while his SO was either still sleeping or already left for work and packed his own lunch.  He said he did his share of housework and laundry. No need for you to be so rude, call him full of it, etc.

          Marie was talking about wanting to come home and not have to verbally debate ideas, she said NOTHING about fetching a man’s slippers and coming home from a hard day work, and going straight to the kitchen to work “the 2nd shift”.  She was very specifically commenting on an OP about “heavy conversation”.  You need to read not only the post, but look for the CONTEXT.  The subject of this post is about CONVERSATION, not division of labor.  Yet, you turn a comment about men want to just come home and relax, as in not have to debate IDEAS, into a tirade about cooking and cleaning.

          If you really want to bitch about housework, at least find a thread that is specifically about that topic.  (there are a few on this blog).  Find a commenter who specifically states that women should do ALL of the cooking and cleaning, even if she works 60 hours a week and her SO is unemployed and bitch at THAT person.  Don’t come to a thread about communication, with the agenda of changing the subject to a bitchfest about cooking and cleaning and attacking other posters for things they didn’t even say.

          And maybe work on your own issues, because apparently, you have been either taken advantage of by a man, OR you have had a pretty good man but you failed to recognize the things he did for you (pay for dinners out, pick your brother up from the airport,  change the light bulbs, put air in your tires, mow the lawn) because you were too busy grousing that he made himself a bowl of cereal while you were still sleeping and he didn’t even pour a bowl of cereal for you.

      2. 7.1.2
        SparklingEmerald

        If you hate cooking and cleaning so much, negotiate division of labor BEFORE you move in with someone. But if you won’t cook, clean, do laundry for a man, just what WILL you do for him ?  Do you expect him to plan and pay for all of your dates, hold your door for you, and pull out your chair ?  Do you go dutch treat on dates ? Do you expect him to pick you up, or do you drive him, or do you meet somewhere ?

        Most single people do their own cooking and cleaning, cooking for 2 isn’t much harder than cooking for one, so honestly, I don’t understand why some women make such a big stinkin’ deal, and scream sexism if a woman cooks for a man. And if you honestly don’t know how to operate an oven, stove or crockpot, you can keep his favorite snacks and beverages on hand, and slice up some watermelon in the summer for him.  Feeding a man is NOT THAT HARD, and it makes them feel so cared for.  (some men on this blog dispute that, I think they are either outliers or just playing sour grapes)

        Personally, I  prefer to do the cooking, since I am very health conscious and my diet consists of fresh produce, lean proteins and whole grains.  Luckily, my boyfriend and I are practically “identical food twins” and we BOTH like trying new recipes, green smoothies, salads, home made soups, etc. I’m kind of relieved to have a boyfriend who doesn’t scream when he hears the words “kale, chard, lentils, quinoa or buckwheat”  He does most of the cooking at his place, I cook for us at mine.

        I don’t like to go out for meals super often, because of the expense, and the lack of control over the ingredients.  (I usually order some sort of salad and have lean protein such as salmon or chicken added)  I don’t do processed foods. (or very rarely)

        But it kills me when women expect men to “court” them by planning and paying for dates, chauffering them everywhere, opening doors, etc.,  and then think it is sexist to make their man a sandwich and bring him a cold drink when he is doing their lawn work or setting up an antenna on the roof.  None of my girl friends are like this, but I have heard some casual aquaintances with this attitude,  & on forums like this also.

        Rather than bitching about having to contribute to a relationship, think of the things men typically do for women in relationships:  Pay for outings, do most of the driving, household repairs OR call the repair man and make the arrangements, lawn work, take the car in for repairs, etc.

        I wish my guy would let me do ALL the cooking, but he really enjoys it so I have to share that with him.  He does so much for me tho’, that if things ever change and I do all the cooking I would be HAPPY to do so. He does so much for me and make my life easier.  He takes my car in to the shop for me (I pay for those repairs), he repairs things around my house (we don’t live together, so it’s my house, not his), he drives my father to his doctor’s appt, drove him home from the hospital and bought some food for his house, he picks up MY family visitors from the airport, he does ALL of the driving when we go anywhere, he does most of the planning for our trips and dates, he pays for MOST things, he refuses 90% of my offers to pay a portion, weather it’s at the grocery store or out to dinner, he opens the door for me, etc., etc.   I have not ASKED him to do any of this stuff, he volunteers to do these things for me and often times INSISTS on it.  (example, he lives closer to my dad than I do, he’s retired, I still work, he thinks it’s only LOGICAL that he help me out in this respect.  Same with taking in my car for the oil change, he’d rather do it for me during the week, than me having to handle this on a Saturday, because weekends are OUR time to be together.)

        Women who bitch about cooking for a man (don’t you have to eat as well ?) are to me the equivalent of men who bitch about paying for a date.  I’d say that such people are better off single or un-coupled since they resent doing anything for the opposite sex.

        When people love each other, they usually ENJOY doing things for each other.  Love isn’t a feeling.  Love is a verb.

        1. DeeGee

          A good post SparklingEmerald.

          Regarding my posts above, with my girlfriends after my divorce in ’97, we shared a lot more of the chores and cooking, and I have no problem taking care of a woman in that respect.  I also like cooking, am a decent cook, and typically eat home-cooked vs restaurant.  With my ex-wife it was a different matter, she was unfortunately and admittedly very lazy.

        2. Not Jerry

          SparklingEmerald,

          That is the most perceptive post I have read in a while.

          Relationships are a partnership. We are both in this together. I want to give more than I get!

          That said, I had a GF who didn’t really care about many of the things I did for her. They were not something she valued. That was part of the reason we broke up.

          I do like to cook, fortunately she didn’t.  But I would fix things for her, take care of tasks. Sometimes she would be surprised that something that had been laying there needing to be taken care of was so easy for me.

          But acts of service were not something she valued.

          Ever read the book 5 Love Languages?  I haven’t gotten through it completely but it’s part of my self improvement plan.

           

        3. Joek

          Slow clap for you SE.

           

          (I’d love to be able to insert a slow clap gif here!)

      3. 7.1.3
        Marie

        Kitt-I think you are misinterpreting my comment.  By safe haven I meant an emotionally safe environment.  If you are constantly challenging their opinions when they just want to relax that is not the opportune time.  As to housework I definitely don’t mean that.  Neither of us do any housework since we both have demanding jobs.  My husband would never expect me to do housework if he doesn’t.  That’s just insane.  We hire people for that.  If you find yourself in a situation where you are doing most of the housework and resent it (some women enjoy cooking and cleaning and organizing) then I would have to say you got yourself into that mess by not setting appropriate boundaries and expectations. You can’t blame that on the guy because not all guys are like that.  Men will treat you how you teach them to.

      4. 7.1.4
        Butterduck

        Kitt, my husband does all the cooking. He is far better at it than I am. That means I get the cleaning, but I don’t mind that. If you expect life has to meet your idea of fairness, you may be disappointed. Life isn’t the way you think it should be. Life is the way it is.

        Marie’s observation about guys squares with my own. They don’t want to be challenged at home. They get that all day long outside of the home.

  8. 8
    SusieQ

    One simple thing the OP might try is waiting 30 seconds after her boyfriend appears to be done talking when she wants the conversation to get deeper. Nod, smile, enjoy some companionable silence, and silently count to 30. This creates space to allow a conversational partner to find the deeper thoughts she’s hungry to hear.

  9. 9
    Veronica

    This is definitely the difference between a “Sensor” and a “Inuitor.” My boyfriend and I are like this. We make it work by me tying the theoretical to experiences that he and I have had in the past. You have to bridge these kinds of topics for Sensors with something they have experienced, otherwise the theoretical aspect of the topic makes it non-relevant. By the same token, you have to pick and choose which things you need to probe deeper on so that you don’t overwhelm him. Some people prefer to focus on what’s in front of then and not what could possibly be in front of them. I think a huge part of the issue here is that the girlfriend in this scenario is only looking at this from her own perspective. When you’re in a committed relationship you have to be able to see both partners perspectives on a topic to figure out where the middle ground is.

    While I don’t agree with her partners dismissive behavoir, I could potentially see it as him beingdefensive. Either he is being made to feel insufficient or he is getting periodically overwhelmed – even after he has thrown out signals that the insistence is causing him stress or discomfort. You can’t just blow by your partners signals to have your own needs met exclusively. The nature of long term happiness is compromise and this is definitely something that can be compromised on.

    1. 9.1
      sabrina

      YES!! This is my boyfriend and I as well. I’m intuitive and he’s a sensor. I totally agree with what you’re saying, but could you give an example of tying theoretical things to real-world things? I have to try this…

  10. 10
    N

    My beau who likes to engage in heavy conversations from philosophy to Donald Trump while I nod and politely say, yes, babe I hear ya 😉 made a comment once–

    “I could be ranting about venture capitalists, mass torts, bull and bear markets, Latham & Watkins just to name a few, while you smile and nod, when I know you have an opinion about everything (I am a recovering control-freak/opinionated type-A over the top alpha female) what happened?”

    I replied,  “We have less arguments and fights. That’s what happened. And I still get to express my opinions and insights on things that MATTER. To which he responded, “you know I notice that we don’t argue as often, however, I appreciate it when you critique my draft, semantics and business suits just so you know. 😉

    1. 10.1
      Karmic Equation

      Yup.

      In a nutshell, not every thought we think, not every feeling we feel, need to be talked about or discussed.

      I’m smart and opinionated. And my bf has only witnessed this here and there. Like when I helped him with his taxes using an Excel spreadsheet. Or when I got mad when I thought he let someone take advantage of him.

      But I don’t smack him across the face with my smarts and opinions every time he turns around.

      I re-listen to EMK’s focus coaching recordings and his “Why He Disappeared” book periodically when I’m driving long distances. One gem he quotes (forgot the author he quoted, maybe Fromm?) — “Love isn’t what we feel, love is what we DO.”

      I think OP should try that. “DO love” for her bf by finding some other outlet for her need to heavy conversations. Either he doesn’t feel comfortable with heavy talks in general, or maybe it’s her frequency. If she can suss that out and make adjustments to her conversational requirements, he would be happier. And while she thinks she’s “settling” because her requirement for heavy conversations isn’t being met, let’s hope her bf “does love” for her in other ways.

      OP just needs to decide if the other ways her bf “does love” is a fair tradeoff to her “doing love” for him by taking her heavy conversations elsewhere.

      If she’s not happy with that tradeoff, then she should dump him.

      As EMK says, most men don’t like to go that deep. So finding a guy who may be compatible for her in ways that CANNOT be fulfilled by her friends or hobbies — or said differently — finding a guy whose guyness is compatible with her gal-ness — may be much harder to find than to for her to either lighten up or find another audience for her heavy conversations.

      1. 10.1.1
        Christine

        Well, I actually think she already sounds unhappy with that tradeoff, from what I’m reading in her letter.  By her own account, she’s already tried to make adjustments to her conversational requirements, by sticking to “safe” topics around her boyfriend.  She also says she feels “resentful” and a “disconnect” from him while doing so.  I really don’t think it’s that easy for her to “lighten up”, when she’s already trying to do that but not really happy about it.  I hope she finds a way out of the situation she’s in now, no matter what she decides.

         

        1. Selena

          Fact is though, she has come to resent All her serious lovers for the same reason and ended each relationship.

           

          If she wants a partner she doesn’t come to resent after a couple years, it’s in her best interest to find something she can do to break the pattern.

           

        2. Christine

          There really is something that needs to change–but since she’s already tried changing her communication style and is unhappy about it, maybe she needs to change who she picks to be in relationships with.  I’m wondering if her “picker” is off.  I’m thinking she’d be best off with some male version of Evan’s wife–someone who apparently has a lot of patience and is at least willing to listen to “heavy” discussions.

        3. Karmic Equation

          Some people like to talk and some people don’t. If she and her bf and mismatches in this area, then neither of them are going to be happy.

          If this is the ONLY thing in their relationship that makes her unhappy, she has to decide if it’s worth breaking up over. And obviously, she’s made that choice in the past.

          But if she KEEPS choosing men who are mismatches with her in this area, she’s always going to end up unhappy and/or single.

          So her choices are clear: Choose men who like “heavy” conversation (probably quite a few out there, but will they be attractive to her or she to them? maybe not). Or choose to find another audience for her heavy talk.

          If she INSISTS her “romantic” relationships MUST also be intellectually stimulating, then, imo, she’s asking too much of a romantic partner. Just as she would be in asking intellectual friends to become romantic with her just because that’s what she wants out of “intellectual” relationships.

          Assuming she can’t have it all, what does she value more?

          That is the tradeoff.

          Our romantic partners are NOT meant to be one-stop shopping for us women. That’s a fantasy. No man can be “everything” to a woman. And no woman can be everything to a man. That’s the reality. And the sooner women get their heads out of the clouds, she’ll have stronger, lasting relationships, based on who her partner is and not on some romantic ideal that doesn’t exist.

      2. 10.1.2
        Selena

        Christine: “There really is something that needs to change–but since she’s already tried changing her communication style and is unhappy about it, maybe she needs to change who she picks to be in relationships with.  “

         

        But has she really tried to change her communication style? Has she tried getting her desire for deep conversation met through other means: friends/clubs/the internent?  Has she done an honest evaluation of how she asks her partner’s for meaningful conversation? Does she push it? Pick topics they aren’t interested in? Want it too frequently?  Or when her partner is tired and just wants to relax? What is her timing?  How does she come across in her delivery? Do the deep convo’s frequently devolve into arguments?

         

        The above are all part of the suggestions commenters have made. We don’t know if the OP has actually done any introspection regarding her desire for in depth conversation, nor tried to make any real changes in her style. Her current boyfriend told her she’s “too heavy” so now she feels like she’s walking on eggshells, trying to avoid any topic he might find too deep. It’s not working well for her because she still resents not having an outlet for her conversational desire. That’s not looking for how she can change to help herself.

         

        From time to time, we have all probably come across someone who asks our opinion when they are really looking for a debate. The person for whom “meaningful” conversation is really trying to prove how smart they are, or the person who always has to be “right!”, or the perrson who will beat a subject down to the ground until the other person acquiesces to their pov, or walks away angry just to make it stop.

         

        I’m not say the OP does ANY of this, but it’s worth looking at if her partners end up becoming close-mouthed and dismissive.  It’s worth looking at if she ends up resenting her partners because they won’t play with her.

         

        I do think she should take a good look at how and why she has chosen the men she has. SOMETHING happens between the time she chooses them and comes to resent them.  Maybe they were into deep conversations in the beginning, but her style made them want to shy away over time. Maybe she has picked guys who were never into deep conversations, but she didn’t notice that until her infatuation wore off.  They remained they same guy – she just got bored with them. No way of knowing.

         

        I hope she reads this thread because there is so many things to consider beyond only talking to her partner about “lite” things.

        1. Christine

          Selena, maybe there are further adjustments she could try.  I really do hope she can find certain changes that would satisfy both her boyfriend and her own needs.  However, the fact that she already feels so resentful and like “walking on eggshells” even in just avoiding certain topics makes me wonder if she can be happy while adjusting her communication style.

          I also wonder exactly what happened between the first date and now, that created this change in feeling.  I obviously don’t know for sure, but I wonder if she truly presented her “real” self at the beginning.  People are often on their “best” behavior at the beginning of relationships (like that Chris Rock joke that you’re meeting someone’s “representative” on a first date, not the real them).  It sounds like this has been a longstanding issue for her, so she knows that her communication style turns some men off.  I’m wondering if she censored herself more at the beginning to avoid turning these men off, and kept it “light”, but then couldn’t hold it in any longer later on and showed her real self.  If that’s the case then I can see why men would back off when they experience a change in temperature.  In any case, she needs to take a look at whatever pattern she’s in now to break it.

    2. 10.2
      Cat5

      “I am a recovering control-freak/opinionated type-A over the top alpha female.”

      I’m trying to understand what you are trying to you say with this statement.  I’m trying not to read into,  so I thought I’d ask.   N – could you please explain/elaborate a little on what that statement means?

    3. 10.3
      kitt

      let me get this straight…….

      so he your man, can run his mouth while you nod in agreement, but you are never supposed to run you mouth since you are the woman.

      and this is what causes your relationship to run smoother, you the wo,an, not talking

       

      Please tell me this is not what you mean

      1. 10.3.1
        Karmic Equation

        Kitt, you’re crazy. That’s why good men leave you and you get stuck with men who make you bitter and resentful. Cut out the crazy and maybe a good man might stick around and you’ll understand what makes women like me successful in relationships.

      2. 10.3.2
        N

        Good morning Kitt–

        Last night, I CHOSE to engage in a productive conversation with my beau about medical malpractice litigation, Cerner and DOD, intellectual property, Susman & Godfrey and some Carly Fiorina. They matter to me and I’d like to hear my beau’s take on them. I had my BF’s undivided attention and meaningful insights– food for the brain and soul. I need this on occasion.

        I used to have the need to make a point on inconsequential issue/event. Perhaps, I’m getting old 🙂 or growing on a different much better direction.

        Have a good weekend. Nic

  11. 11
    Mike

    If this is happening in every relationship you are in, there is more going on here than you are letting on. Sounds like the reason you are not getting the response you like is because it’s lead to  discussions of the same topics over and over again. In his mind, “Are talking about this again?, I’ve already told her my opinion on this a dozen times…here is how it looks to men…

  12. 13
    Kitt

    Here we go again, another scold the woman article. Previously, it was women do not give your man enough attention, then they scolded you about spending too much time with your girl buddies and not being available enough for him. Then there was the  scolding  women about not waiting by the door enough and removing his shoes and barking as you brought his slippers. Then you did not wear your hair in the right style. Then you did not brag on him enough, then you did not submit to him enough. What next people? What do you all want from women? How far are you all going to take the scolding of women ?

    Okay, so ladies, my suggestion, is to go to school, then get yourself a real job, and a hobby, and some female friends, and get closer to your mom and your sisters. Don’t put too much of yourself into any man. They will let you down, every time.  Either put men to the side for a while, or focus your time and energy on other people and other things. . Discuss everything with them, not your man. Five him the peace and quiet that he wants, that all these posters keep saying.

    Stop discussing anything with these sensitive men, who supposedly need all this space from you and your voice, until they want sex.

    When you are around him from now on, ladies. just be cool and keep yourself busy with your other responsibilities and when he misses you communicating with him, just be cool ladies . Chill. Chill some more. Let him miss you and you ” annoying voice”.      Now ladies, it’s your time to play his game and for you to act annoyed as he does to you.

    Now, just sit back and wait for the internet Relationship writers and articles to Scold women about us ignoring our men. See the double standards and man made notions ladies. These men supporters and women slashers, will have a woman going crazy, with the do this, do that,  don’t do this, don’t do that, back and forth, just to please men who don’t  seem too concerned about you.

    1. 13.1
      Grenoble

      I don’t know what you’re going on about, but you sound pretty bitter.

      All of Evan’s advice is to help women (and men) figure out what it takes to make a relationship work and make the right decisions so that everyone can find a happy balanced love life.

      It’s on you to find someone that is compatible with you. If a guy thinks you’re annoying or needs a lot of space from you, he’s probably not the right guy for you.

      No one is scolding women. Sure magazines are telling women how to keep men around with crazy advice, but that’s because they know women will buy it.

      “These men supporters and women slashers, will have a woman going crazy, with the do this, do that,  don’t do this, don’t do that, back and forth, just to please men who don’t  seem too concerned about you.”

      Evan’s point is that you DON’T go back and forth and crazy for a guy who doesn’t seem concerned about you. Be your best confident self and the right guy will stick around.

      You should read the rest of Evan’s site. Your negativity is definitely what will drive away a man who could truly love you.

      Best of luck to you.

      1. 13.1.1
        Jean

        Grenoble,

        You don’t know whether I am a female or male, monkey or a dog. People write on blogs all the time, with the pretense of being another gender. And for your information, no woman needs to worry about negativity driving a man away. So what if he leaves. What does a man do for a woman that is so full of gold?  Don’t be a sbarky man.

        No woman needs to ever be that concerned about her being negative and driving her man away.  Evidently he was nothing in the first place, if something that trivial can drive him away. Men are negative too, and all the time. They just do it in a sneaky way and without words. That’s the whole point of this blog. Men hurting  women so much harm, and causing them so much grief, and heartache. You see Grenoble, that kind of sexist comment is what keeps confusing women in the first place. And Grenoble, stop defending Evan.

        I don’t need you chastise me and frankly, you don’t have that right. Learn how to comment without making personal attacks. Read the rules or drop your comment in the trash. And stop telling lies on people who you know not one darn thing about. You show yourself as a typical defensive man supporter whose little fragile ego can’t stand the truth.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          “And for your information, no woman needs to worry about negativity driving a man away.”

          That’s not true, Jean. Not even remotely. This is basic Golden Rule stuff.

          If you went out with a guy who perpetually complained about women, dating, money, work, friends, etc… wouldn’t you say he ran the risk of driving you away? And wouldn’t it be sensible advice to tell him to either emotionally get to a better place before dating? Or try and curb his negativity about, lest woman after woman decide that he’s no fun to be around? I would think so.

          You just seem to be reacting (perpetually) to the fact that when women ask questions about what they can do differently, sometimes people are going to chime in with answer. That does not mean it’s an attack on women. Nor does that mean that men are blameless. Nor does that mean that men would get different advice in the exact same situations. Which is why I really don’t understand why people get so angry at what is objectively sensible advice that was solicited by the OP herself.

          Just seems that some people can’t take off their gender glasses to see that most advice is commonsense and applicable to both men AND women.

    2. 13.2
      Selena

      Sure you have enough shoulder for that chip Kitt?

       

      If ALL a person’s serious relationships have disintegrated the same way and within a similar time frame  it’s clear to you that person had no part in the outcomes?

       

      The other commenters are not trying to scold Renee, they are giving her suggestions on how she might create a different, better outcome. Often based on their own experiences.

       

      What advice are you offering? Don’t change a damn thing so you can be angry and bitter just like me! ?

      1. 13.2.1
        Kitt

        Selena, are you sitting next to me? Can you see whether I am angry or happy?  My comment was not of anger. It’s to help some women to have another way of looking at this problem with selfish men. If you are truly female, I am disappointed that you see a woman as having a chip on her shoulder, because she tells other women to be cool and not sweat over a man.

         

         

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Except that’s not what you said. You attacked an entire gender and put false words in our collective mouths. That’s what Selena was reacting to.

    3. 13.3
      Noemi

      Kitt, I’m sorry that the men you have dated have made you feel so bitter about the male population. Maybe you’re accustomed to dating men who treat you badly? Perhaps a little soul-searching would help? I don’t mean to sound facetious, but if you feel the way you described about dating advice, I wonder what it is that has clouded your view of men to such extent.

  13. 14
    Christine

    I see where Renee’s boyfriend is coming from because me and my boyfriend are like that too.  After spending all day working intense jobs, then fighting rush hour traffic to get back home, we’re usually too exhausted for intellectual debates.  We usually just like to take it easy and relax with each other, to get a break from the pressures we face from the rest of the world.

    Having said that, though, my situation is very different because I don’t have a burning need for constant mental stimulation, as Renee apparently does.  Obviously, no one can feel cheated or deprived for not getting something that he/she doesn’t even want to begin with.  I really am content watching funny youtube videos with my boyfriend.  However, it sounds like Renee does have a need for “heavy” discussion.  Yes, she could try getting it elsewhere, but she said herself that she likes it in romantic relationships too.  I don’t think it’s feasible for her to continually stifle an important need of hers to please her boyfriend.  At the same time, I don’t think her boyfriend should be forced to keep having “heavy” discussions he doesn’t want either.  To me, it sounds like they would both have to change who they really are, to stay together.  A relationship should provide a free space to people to be themselves, and it doesn’t sound like this will provide that.

  14. 15
    jean

    Evan, why do you defend Genobley! From his sassy tone, he seems quite capable

  15. 16
    Kitty

    Maybe my life has been a bit different but I’ve met many men over the years who enjoy conversations about art, philosophy, science and politics.  I’ve also met many many women who have nothing to talk about but diets, shopping and celebrity gossip.  They are the female equivalents of men who talk about nothing but sports, work and sex.  I also wonder if perhaps the issue is OP’s delivery.  Maybe both of them need to balance their preferred communication styles and meet each other half way.  I will say that when it comes to intellectual discussions I prefer men as conversation partners because they are less likely than women to get their feelings hurt if you disagree with them on an abstract issue.  But it is one thing to be “heavy” in terms of talking about the minutia of literature, art criticism etc and to be “heavy” in wanting to have long discussions about your feelings.  One guy I know calls that “taking an emotional dump” on a man.  Very very few men want to hear that.  Honestly I find women who are endlessly preoccupied with every emotion that passes through their brain to be rather self-absorbed.

  16. 17
    Stacy

    “small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, and great minds discus ideas”. Time and again I find it to be true. My former in-laws despie being quite educated couldn’t talk about anything other than their kids soccer and pottery classes and professional sports. Celebrity gossip was as high brow as it could get around their dinner table.  Nice people, but after a while this type of conversation makes you want to pull your hair out. I can’t imagine living  with a person like this. How do you really get to know them if you never have real conversation? How do you connect? That said, the OP probably has a different problem. In my experience, people get defensive when they feel judged/criticized. Delivery is important.

    1. 17.1
      Butterduck

      Stacy, maybe their kids’ lives was the most important thing to them, and that was what they WANTED to talk about, instead of the stuff they had already discussed to a fare-thee-well when they were still undergraduates.

  17. 18
    kitt

    It is so obvious that the men here don’t mind practicing double standards .

    Previously from another article, I read, the woman should make sure she is available when her man comes home from work, or whatever was stressful to him, and the woman should drop the babies, let the dinner burn on the stove, and wait patiently by the door when he arrives, and then hang on to his every word, agree, smile a lot, and say yea, yea, yea! 🙂

    So, now the same men are latching onto another doctrine, not a new one, just one they already had written down and now appropriate  for their present  message and.purposes. And now they are doubling back and changing the rules of the game and telling women to shut up, because now the man doesn’t want to hear any conversation, at all, at least words that come from you, someone who is supposed to be his partner, his honey, his closest ally . But when the game changes again, women, you are supposed to be ready to listen while he now feels like having conversation and squawks, about his supposedly  horrible day that he just experienced.

    Any duck or chick can plainly see what is going on here. Some of you men are just terrible in your view of women. Some of you are awful!   And so are you women who support this crap!

    1. 18.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Kitt, if you think that I’m sexist, you’re on the wrong website. I wish you the best of luck either way. Take care of yourself.

      1. 18.1.1
        Grenoble

        I’m starting to think that Kitt is trolling us.

        Kitt, if this is what you actually think men are like, you must have had some terrible relationships, and that’s unfortunate, but men as a whole are not the problem. There are plenty of great guys out there and you’re just not seeing the good in them.

    2. 18.2
      JoeK

      Kitt, why are you even here?

  18. 19
    J

    my opinion? They probably aren’t compatible. I also feel there’s some insecurity going on with the guy. If a woman has to hide her intelligence & depth of character, then he isn’t for her.

    1. 19.1
      Lucy

      I agree with your statement completely. People can be different and make it work and get on very well with each other, but not if a person has to be bent out of shape into a different person. If I have to hide my intelligence to avoid harming a guy’s ego, then I guess I’m screwed. I don’t mean one-upping a guy at every opportunity either. I just mean general conversation. With the last guy I dated, he said he was interested in history and we both have degrees in it. However, he would hide away from talking about something he was supposedly interested in with me. I am also a little emotional and I don’t think he could handle it – we just weren’t right for each other.

  19. 20
    Lucy

    I think Kitt is jumping to conclusions. For me, the original poster reminds me of myself. I’ve always been sensitive and a deep thinker. I still am, but I’ve learned to bring it out at the right time. For instance, before I would be more in people’s faces with it than I thought. Now I just slow down my thinking processes and people feel less crowded by it.

    I also know that not every guy is right for me and I am not right for them. For some guys, they don’t like the heavy conversation. I think this is more a personality thing than a gender thing. I used to go for the kind of men whose lifeblood is social interaction. Don’t get me wrong, because I love talking to people, but I need time to mull things over. Guys who are extremely outgoing types, for me they like interacting but they don’t go very deep. Now I know I need a natural introvert like myself because that would be more compatible.

    To me I know deep conversation is what I need to fall for someone. I know that I can’t otherwise and I need to find a guy who can accommodate that (note he doesn’t have to be the same as me, just has to give me space to be me). I don’t think there are a lot of men who are into ‘heavy’ conversation though.

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