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Ask The Good Enough Guy: Why Don’t Women Just Say It?

Will, 

My wife, Kelly, and I have been together for three years and married for one and a half. Last month a girl I dated in high school found me on Facebook and said she and her brother, one of my best friends in high school, would be in town for a family reunion and wanted to have dinner with me and meet my wife. I hadn’t seen either of them since high school about five years ago and really wanted Kelly to meet them. When I told her, she said she didn’t want to go. When I asked why, she said she just didn’t, but that she didn’t care if I went. Her EXACT words were, “I don’t care. Go ahead.” A few days before the dinner, I asked again and got the same answer, and before I walked out the door the night of the dinner, I asked one last time, and she still said, “I don’t care; if you really want to go, then go.” Well, the dinner was two days ago and she’s barely said two words to me since. I just wanted to see my old friends but I didn’t want to make her mad. If she didn’t want me to go, why didn’t she just tell me? How do I make it right?   

Confused?

Hey Confused,

Are you on crack?! You’re married, and apparently you’ve had at least one other girlfriend before your wife, so how did you make such a rookie mistake? AAAAARGH! Okay, well, if high school was only five years ago, maybe you’re just really young at this game. Pull up a chair and I’ll tell what I know (but we’re talking about women here, so it may get confusing):

WOMEN LIE: Yes, men lie too, but there’s a big difference; a woman will lie to let a man get himself into trouble, and men lie to get themselves out of trouble (re-read that until you fully understand it). In your case your wife said, “I don’t care” which was the exact opposite of the truth. Here are a few more that you should watch for:

  • “I’m not mad.”
  • “I don’t want to do anything special.” (birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s day, etc.)
  • “I really just want you to tell me the truth.” (“Does this make me look fat?”  etc.)
  • Any use of the word “fine” (“I’m fine”, “that’s fine”, “every thing’s just fine”).

Of course, it’s also true that these lies are not always lies, so read on…

Her words are only part of what she’s saying. When a man says “I don’t care,” it’s usually because he doesn’t. When a man says “I’m fine,” either he really is, or he doesn’t want to talk about why he isn’t.  Women on the other hand sometimes speak in codes that they don’t even understand. They say things like “I have this friend I hate” or “Well, I like him, but I don’t like him, like him.” So  I use what I call the BUCK method: If the words make no sense at all, try looking at the facial expressions or the body language. AND if the words and body language don’t match, or you don’t understand what the words mean, react to the body language. AND if you don’t understand either, just act like you’re really happy that she’s talking to you. I call this the BUCK method because I learned it from my dog; it seems to work pretty well for him.

IT COMES DOWN TO THIS: There was a reason your wife didn’t want to go. Maybe you’ve talked about this ex-girlfriend before, and it upset her. Maybe she just didn’t want to be compared to her over dinner. Maybe she thought it would be uncomfortable. Only your wife knows for sure. But whatever the reason was, she wanted you to understand that she didn’t want to go, and she wanted you to not want to go, too. But you also have to understand that she didn’t want you to not go because she told you to not go, she wanted you to not go because you decided to not go when she said she didn’t want to go, even after she didn’t tell you to not go. If that doesn’t make perfect sense to you, it’s because you’ve only been married for a year and a half.  In ten years, you’ll miss how simple this problem is.

HOW TO FIX IT: Love, trust, and respect are universally understood; communication on the other hand, isn’t quite as general. While it’s possible you didn’t understand the signs that your wife was sending, it’s more possible that you accidentally overlooked those signs so that you could go hang out with your friends. Yes, she could have just told you what she wanted, but it’s probably just as true that you already knew.

So apologize. Tell her that you should have seen that she was upset and that you shouldn’t have gone without her. And next time, if she doesn’t want to go, be smart enough stay home with her. Luckily, you don’t have to understand her to love her. And when she says, “It bothered me, but it didn’t bother me, bother me,”  just lick her face and wag your tail; works every time.

If none of this made sense, have your wife explain it to you, and good luck to you both!

More From GEM:

The GEM Debate: To Leash Or Not To Leash 

The GEM Debate: Fine China or Campaign Contribution?

Eyes Wide Open: 5 Ways To Make a REAL Difference Without Leaving Your ‘Hood!

 

William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing. Follow him on Twitter @goodenoughguy1.

6 Comments

  1. Ella Rucker

    June 30, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Body Language IS a language, Will. I’m just sayin! She said what needed to be said, he just needed you to interpret 🙂

  2. Rene Syler

    June 30, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Communication in a marriage is a delicate balance, especially in a new marriage. I think once you get out of the dating mentality and into the “see, dog, say dog” way of thinking you realize how much more productive that is.

    I love that you held both parties accountable. What you said to Confused reminds me of a conversation I had with an old friend once. He and his wife were splitting up and I asked him if he saw it coming. He said, no because she never said anything. I asked him if he had asked and he admitted he didn’t because he didn’t want to have to take the next step, which would be to listen and change. We know what time it is; some of us choose to listen and some choose to gloss over and claim ignorance.

    Great advice! (again, dammit)

  3. Mary

    June 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Will, you nailed it! This was your best response yet!

    Although I’m sure there’s still a bit of uncomfortable chaos in that couple’s house right now, I admit I’m laughing just a teensy bit about what rookies they are 🙂 She’s a total rookie for how she passive-agressively played her hurt card. And he’s a total rookie for not seeing Hurt Play 2-a in the “I’m young and don’t have a clue how to read women” playbook!

    Mr. Confused, the only additional advice I’d give you from the woman’s point of view is that you missed a simple oportunity to put your new wife’s mind at ease.

    When she said she didn’t want to go, you might have said, “but babe, please go with me. I want them to see how gorgeous and smart my wife is; please let me show off to these old high school pals how awesome my wife is and you’ll make me the happiest man in the world.”

    That way, you’re setting her mind at ease that she won’t think you’re checking out the former gf (even if you are), and you give her the place of power that she deserves as your spouse.

    Have a great weekend.

  4. Rene Syler

    June 30, 2012 at 11:05 am

    @Mary: oooh I LOVE that! And you’re right…. that would have put her at ease, because at the heart of this is her insecurity that he may go back and see the old gf and feel he missed out or settled with the current wife. This would have alleviated that..

  5. Will Jones

    June 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Ella- I totally agree that body language is an art, but young guys only understand two sentences of that language:

    -“She wants to sleep with me.”
    -“She doesn’t want to sleep with me.”

    LOL!

    Rene- Thank you! So many people are scared to ask what’s wrong, because they’re afraid of what the answer might be, but burying your head in the sand is the easiest way to end up along in your sand box. Problems are never fun, but finding solutions together make for a strong marraige… as we veterans know! 😉

    Mary- Great advice. That would have been a FANTASTIC move! I like to think I could have come up with something that good if he would have asked me BEFORE he screwed things up (but I doubt it. LOL) You have a great weekend too.

  6. D.Marie

    July 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Most women like to be humble, so we give men a chance to allow us to be. But unfortunately we usually end up having to s-p-e-l-l it out for ya or we suffer! smh COMMUNICATION PEOPLE! 😉 Great advice Will..lol right on the money.

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