Communication problems with my wife: cultural? Personality? Just Communication styles?
For some reason, my wife and I have some major communication problems, even after ten years of being together.
I'm just going to start throwing out examples:
- My wife calls me to ask how to get her iPhone to switch languages. I say, look at the keyboard. See the spacebar at the bottom? Now, what's to the left of it? [true answer, a little globe icon]. She says, er, the 123 button. I spend a certain amount of time trying to figure out what's gone wrong with her phone. But you know what, it does have that button. She eventually says OK, there's a little circle thing, but I didn't know what it was called so I told you the 123 button instead.
- The other day she asked me where a certain shop was. I say, you know where the bike shop is? She says yes. I say, it's opposite that. You'd better draw me a map, she says. I don't get it. You know where the bike shop is? She agrees again. So, go there, turn around and you'll see it. But still she wants a map. Eventually after a couple of minutes, she says, OK, no, I don't know where the bike shop is.
- This morning I left for work early, to get some exercise on the way. When our son woke up, he was upset that I wasn't there and asked Why did daddy leave early? She told him because daddy had to go to the doctor. I got a little annoyed at this when she told me about this, and she said, as if I was the one causing difficulties, well, what would you like me to tell him? Pretty much obviously, I would like her to just tell him the truth. I have no idea why she came up with another, untrue explanation.
- She very often answers a question she thinks I'm asking, instead of the question I'm actually asking, or responding to a demand she thinks I'm making when I'm just trying to find something out. An example: we're going out to the shops. She says I'm not going to bring my phone with me. I say, really, why not? Obviously there are lots of really good reasons for both husband and wife to have their phones. Oh all right, she says. I'll bring it! As if I'd said I insist you bring your phone! But really, I'm just asking. It's not a matter of life of death, but I'm puzzled. The phone weighs 4.8 ounces, it's not weighing her down. I repeat the question, I'm just asking, honey, what possible bad thing can happen if you bring your phone? Is the battery flat? And all I get in reply is OK, OK, I'll bring it if it's so important to you! again as if I was saying something completely different.
This behaviour baffles and often frustrates me. It seems self-sabotaging and completely irrational. When asked what button is to the left of your spacebar, would your first impulse be to lie? When you were the one who needed the tech support?
Contributory factors? My wife is from Vietnam, so of course cultural factors might be involved.
Also, I'm a bit of a geeky, logical, things-should-be-done-the-most-efficient-way sort of guy, and I often get frustrated with people, much as was discussed in this question
, who appear to be acting irrationally and not listening to the question I'm asking.
And the family is somewhat under some stress for various reasons. But not very serious life-or-death stress.
So I remain baffled. Why would someone create such extraneous difficulties for themselves, and the rest of their family, for no obvious reason? I don't think I'm being unreasonable.
Asked anonymously but contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org
if that helps.