How can I get my husband to listen to my needs and talk to me?

I tried telling my husband I was depressed, and he ignored me. He said "you're always sad or depressed." And he picked up his phone and ignored me. I said, "Please don't exaggerate, that isn't true." And he said, "Whatever babe. You just want to be sad."

How can I get through to him so he will take me seriously?

Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Oh dear.

From what you write, your husband doesn't have any interest to know about you and your sad feelings.

Stay clear in understanding that you already did your part by asking him to listen and care about the way you feel.

In this example, he told you he doesn't care.

Its up to him to open his mind and heart to you.

Depending on how motivated to continue asking him to hear you, try until you feel satisfied that you've given him enough chances to know who you are.   At a certain number of tries at this, you'll either have success or not.

Just don't try forever because doing so will increase your depressed feelings.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Emily LaFave
Emily LaFave
You're probably wondering how I can help you?

We cannot control how our partners will react when we ask for support. It is important to focus on what you can control, which is you. It is important to know what kind of support you need and lead with that. For example, "I don't need you to try and fix this, but I need you to listen while I tell you what I have been feeling. When I am done, a hug would be nice." or "I am feeling stuck and whenever I think about this issue I just get so sad, can you help find a solution." If we can tell our partner what we expect upfront, then it is more likely that you will feel supported. It is very empowering to know what we want and to ask for it! It may be hard to be direct because we want our partner just to know what we need, but that is not realistic. There are a few thinking errors in this conversation. Working with me you will learn all about thinking errors and how to replace them.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Michele Ramey
Michele Ramey
MRTherapy, LLC- Because Help Is One Of A Kind

Hmm... so, what part about this do you want him to take seriously? That you're depressed and you want him to acknowledge it or that you want help for it? 

One way to help him to "take you seriously" is to take yourself seriously. Maybe actively working on the depression will show him that you are really depressed and it's not because you want to be or if it is, it is a mental health disorder, and it is serious. I would start focusing on you. Focus on what you want to see in yourself and make it happen. With depression, it is difficult to do for yourself, that's why there are therapists out here to help make that load lighter. I would talk to someone to come up with a plan to focus on yourself and then your husband if he doesn't get there on his own. So the first step is to reach out to a therapist to help you to come up with a better plan, or put all of the great answers you get together and implement them. If that isn't enough, then make the first step by calling a therapist to set up an intake and that first appointment to continue your efforts. Hope this helps!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Olivia Farr, MS, LAC, NCC
Olivia Farr, MS, LAC, NCC
No judgment, just a safe space.
It can become painful when we feel unheard and invalidated. Especially if this becomes a pattern in our communication, we begin to build walls and boundary ourselves more rigidly, letting very little of our authentic selves out. 
 
As many others have said, your husband may feel defensive at the fact that you are unhappy and may not know how to process that feeling. It may be that your husband isn't clear on what you need when you tell him that you are depressed. In these scenarios, it often helps to ask yourself what needs do you specifically want met? 
  • Do you need a listening ear to vent to, only? 
  • Do you need a literal shoulder to cry on, physical comfort and reassurance that "it will be okay."? 
  • Do you need feedback, advice, and guidance?
  • Do you need to feel that your experience matters to your husband, and just hear him say "I see and hear you and you matter to me?" 
  • Do you need support in finding resources, or desire to seek therapy together with your spouse? 

When we're clear on our own needs, it's easier to communicate to our spouse without them failing to meet expectations that we may not have even known we had

If you are already seeking therapy for your depression, I encourage you to invite your spouse for a session so that your therapist can shed light on areas of your experience that your husband may not understand. If you find that this type of communication is a pattern in your marriage, seeking couples counseling will help solve that communication puzzle within your marriage and help you understand each other. 
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

That's so tough that you are feeling unheard and unsupported in your marriage.  Depression is already a grueling experience and doing it alone can feel miserable.

It's hard to know what will get through to him because I don't know a lot about your dynamic.  Has there been a time in the past he has listened to you?  Does he tend to feel responsible for your emotions, whether or not that pressure comes from you?  Men, by nature, tend to be fixers more so than women.  He may feel as if you are asking him to fix you, when in reality you just want his support.  Could defining what you are looking for help?

It sounds like what you really want is to be validated by him.  Sometimes clearly defining your needs can send a message that you aren't out to prove how you feel--you just want your emotions heard. That doesn't mean he will respond the way you want, but voicing your needs is so important in any relationship.

The other option here is, of course, marriage therapy.  Men do tend to shy away from this option, but it could help with the communication piece.

No matter his responses, keep taking care of you.  You are obviously dedicated to getting your needs met, which is a wonderful way to try to help yourself!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Ian Palombo
Ian Palombo
#ThoughtMediator & #LifeUntangler

When you first fell in love, you could never imagine that someday the sound of your partner chewing could make you want to scream. It’s inevitable that once we are out of our honeymoon phase and reality sets in, we realize that all relationships take work and compromise. But while some relationships may hit bumps in the road every so often, other couples find themselves in bigger trouble, with neither party knowing exactly how to fix things. What are the signs it's time to try relationship counseling?

If you are in a relationship that is no longer feeling healthy, here are 5 signs that it may be time to try relationship counseling:

1. There is No Longer Healthy Communication

Once you have a communication breakdown, you are unable to rationally share thoughts, feelings, and concerns with each other. Beyond this, unhealthy communication tends to leave one or both partners feeling depressed, angry and hopeless.

2. Trust Has Been Broken

When there has been infidelity, it is very difficult for the couple to rebuild trust and repair the damage. While there is no magic pill to recover from an affair, a therapist can offer tools and strategies to rebuild trust.

3. You’re More Like Roommates

If you and your partner act more like roommates than romantic partners, this indicates a lack of intimacy and a potential need for professional help.

4. One or Both of You Has Begun Acting Out

You try to mask your real feelings for as long as possible, but then you start to act out the hurt and resentment you may be feeling. For instance, if your partner has been unfaithful and you have agreed to stay in the relationship and work things out. But over time you find yourself lashing out, acting rude and trying to make them believe you are having an affair so they will feel the same kind of hurt. This acting out is unhealthy for both people and is a BIG indicator you need to seek some help.

5. When the Only “Solution” Seems to be Separation/Divorce

A break from negative energy can be very helpful to the relationship. But when a temporary break leads to more and more time away from home and someone renting their own apartment, this indicates a need for counseling. Spending time away from home usually doesn’t lead to any real resolution, just more distance.

If you and your partner are interested in exploring  options, reach out! Schedule a free consultation with our in-house relationship expert to discuss how they may be able to help. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Shelly Kessinger
Shelly Kessinger
www.friendswoodmarriagecounseling.com

Ouch. It's really hard to deal with a spouse that isn't taking you seriously. In this case, I would plan for and schedule a time to talk with him about this. I would tell him that you need about 30 minutes to talk to him with minimal interruptions about something that is important to you. Schedule a time, write notes if you need reminders about what you need to express, and tell him how you feel.

 Ideally, you would focus more on I-statements instead of telling him what he is doing wrong. For example,  I feel ignored vs You always ignore me. By focusing on how you feel, he is less likely to feel attacked and get defensive. 

Some people go to couples or marriage counseling for help with communication. Chances are there are things that BOTH of you do that hurts your communication. Overall, try to talk to him directly and try not to get defensive. If he continues to say, you're always sad - then stay calm, say "okay, can you help me understand that more?" or "That's interesting. Tell me what you see."  

Reach out to a couples counselor for more help with communication strategies. Sometimes a 3rd party can help you both see things in a different perspective. Hope this helps!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Jennifer Gerlach
Jennifer Gerlach
Your Story Matters

This is so hard. It is hard for someone to understand what depression is without having experienced it themselves. Unfortunately people without depression sometimes mistake it as feeling sorry for ourselves or just moping around, which is not what depression is at all. Sometimes I think that it is easier for family members to see it as a choice than to admit that someone they love is hurting and they dont know what to do. If  he is willing, I wonder if there may be a depression support group in your area such as NAMI or DBSA where he could hear from from others living with depression and their families. If not, I wonder if you all might watch a documentary together such as No Kidding Me Too or Call me Crazy. If not that, ive sometimes encouraged folk to just leave some information on depression and how family can help like a pamphlet or handout on a table or around the house. We tend to get curious and read things we find on the table. Wishing you the best!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry
Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry
www.GwendolynNelsonTerry.com

It can be hard for husbands to hear that their wife is unhappy.  By nature men tend to be more of the fix it type.  So if they are sad, they fix it.  If their wife is sad, they fix it.  He may feel helpless to help you and that may be why he is saying those things to you.  It's not that he doesn't care or that he doesn't take them seriously, he might just have no idea how to help.  I would start by making an appointment to talk with a therapist about your sadness.  Meeting with a therapist may help you to learn some tools and strategies that can help you to manage some of the sadness you are feeling.  A therapist can also help you to gain some understanding and insight into why you might be experiencing sadness.  Depression is not something you have to sit with, therapy can help.  Once your husband sees that you are being proactive in addressing your sadness/depression he will probably be more open to listening to you and supporting you.  He might start to have ideas and input on how you two can work together to change some of the situations or things that might be holding you bakc.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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