How to Find Out What He's Thinking
Too often, women make the mistake of thinking that their partner doesn't care as much as they do about building their family, because when they bring it up, he seems to shut down or focus on the bottom line. “How much is this going to cost?”
While men may not be from Mars, men and women do communicate differently, and when getting pregnant is a struggle, sometimes talking about it can be challenging. Here are some approaches you can try to encourage a more open conversation with your man about your fertility journey.
Viva la difference!
Women will often experience a demand/withdrawal pattern when trying to talk with their partners about difficult issues. That is, the situation where a woman demands to talk through problems and her male partner withdraws emotionally. You may even wonder if you're speaking the same language? New research proves that men and women do speak about the same number of words a day, but that the things they talk about are different. Men use more numbers while women talk about relationship issues.
Own up to what you need.
It's ok to be needy. It's ok to have needs and to express them. It's not ok to get angry because your partner couldn't read your mind about what you want and need. Ask yourself, “How many times have I gotten angry because my partner didn't give me what I needed because I didn't make my needs clear? Did that anger make us closer or push us farther apart?”
Identify clearly and specifically what you want and need from your partner. For example, I'd like to spend half an hour tonight talking about how I'm feeling. I don't need you to solve anything, I just need a shoulder to cry on. Can we talk now?” It may sound silly and artificial at first, but even good habits feel uncomfortable at first.
Let Go of the Outcome
Ask open-ended questions that encourage openness. Which question will give you a better outcome – “Don't you want to have a baby?” or “What do you think about looking at IVF?” Let go of your expectations of what he should or shouldn't be feeling or expressing. Remember that we live in a culture where men are sometimes considered weak if they show fear or weakness.
“It must not be God's will for you to have children.” “Why don't you adopt? There are so many children who don't have families.” “You should appreciate what you have.” If you've heard any of those “helpful” comments, you know that they aren't so helpful, even if the person saying them means well. In the same way, when your partner opens up and begins talking about how he experiences your fertility journey, his thoughts and feelings may well be different from your own. He might say, for example, “I think things will work out on their own. We just need to give it time.”
If you follow up his response with “You shouldn't feel that way” or “You're wrong to feel that way” then don't expect him to share anymore any time soon. Allow him to feel what he feels, even if it isn't what you want him to feel. Remember, the goal is to get closer, not to have him agree with you.