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?
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!
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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.