By Jenna Birch
You know your way of thinking varies drastically from your guy's. Still, reality and what you think you know about your husband's thoughts are often different. Here, experts share what isn't likely to cross your man's mind and what he's more likely thinking instead.Photo by Thinkstock
1. Copying your way of doing things.
So he never folds towels "your way" or arranges utensils in the drawer how you prefer them? That's because he's not taking mental notes on how you approach tasks; he prefers to do things however he deems most efficient. "We want people to mirror us, especially if we have a more controlling personality," says marriage therapist Carin Goldstein, creator of BeTheSmartWife.com. "But different doesn't necessarily make it wrong," Goldstein says. Consider relinquishing some power. "When you accept your differences, you'll have an easier time finding common ground."
2. What you need if you don't tell him.
If you'd like a 40th birthday party, but haven't mentioned that to your man, don't assume he's planning a secret bash. "Women always think, 'If he loved me, then he'd do it,' and that's not true," says Goldstein. He can't read your mind, so if milestone birthdays are non-events in his book, he may not realize they're important to you. Part of the solution is continuing to have one-on-one time, so you can keep in touch with each other's needs. The other part is speaking up. "If you want something, it's up to you to make sure it happens," says Goldstein.
Related:Discover 10 secrets men keep from women.
3. Ways to avoid talking to you.
If you're doing all the speaking during a disagreement, or venting to him without getting a response, it's not that he doesn't care or wants to end the conversation. Women easily can multitask, absorbing information and talking at once, whereas men tend to keep silent to hear you better, says Goldstein. "When my husband doesn't say anything, I know he's listening," she points out. If you want your man's feedback, "tell him, 'It would help me to hear your thoughts,'" Goldstein suggests. That way, he can listen and then speak, and you'll know you've been heard.
4. Your physical 'flaws.'
You look in the mirror and see five extra pounds, crow's-feet and stretch marks. But relationship expert Charles J. Orlando, author of The Problem with Women... is Men, says most guys don't notice these perceived imperfections. They see the whole package: the amazing woman he's chosen as his wife. "If he's concentrating on flaws, he's got his own insecurities to deal with, which has nothing to do with you," Orlando says. Also, if he says you're gorgeous, "believe it instead of pushing your insecurities on him," Orlando advises. "A man whose compliments fall on deaf ears eventually stops complimenting.
5. Your last argument.
Hours or even days later, you still may be stewing about a fight you had with your husband and longing to readdress the problem. Your man probably isn't doing the same, though. "Most of the time, once it's done, it's done for him," says Orlando. "If you're pushing an issue and he's already relented, you're projecting your need to be right." Once you've said your piece, give him space to understand how you feel. Then, let it go. "You have a choice when putting issues to rest: You can be right, or you can be happy," says Orlando.
Related:Check out 10 marriage rules you should break.
6. His ex.
Even when there's more marital tension than usual, men aren't likely to compare their current relationship to former ones. "But if you're insecure about his ex, talk about it and get some clarity," Orlando recommends. "And if he is focusing on his ex, that's not about you. Most often, he's not emotionally finished with that relationship." Insist he explain why. "The only reason an ex keeps calling is if someone keeps picking up the phone," says Orlando.
7. If you spend too much time with your girlfriends.
"There's this guilt, feeling like you should be with him instead of taking time for yourself," says clinical psychologist Andra Brosh, PhD. But three consecutive friend outings probably won't make your man feel abandoned. He likely loves your independence; it's a chance for each of you to address your individual needs. If you sense your absence is irritating him, ask if he's feeling neglected. Otherwise, laugh with your girls, and then return to focus on each other later on.
8. How you spend money.
If your husband asks you to watch your spending, don't take it personally. He likely isn't chastising you for your last purse splurge; rather, he may be concerned about both your expenditures. "His comments may imply it's about you, but really, he just doesn't know how to broach the topic," says Dr. Brosh. However, "maybe you feel like you're shopping too much and aren't in touch with it," she adds. "Be respectful of his request, and watch your future spending instead of dwelling on past purchases."
Related:Learn 10 compliments men hate getting.
You see piles of dirty dishes and children who need a bath; he sees no reason not to watch TV now. What gives? "You might shut him out and be controlling with the kids and the house," Dr. Brosh says. Your husband probably will willingly help if you ask, but he might not know what needs to be done if you normally take the lead on housework. Request a hand and "tell him how great he is at helping," Dr. Brosh suggests. He'll be more apt to pick up on chores needing attention if he knows you appreciate his effort.
10. Sex just for his pleasure.
While you may feel most connected to your husband when you're sharing private thoughts, he feels most connected to you when things get physical. "He wants to know you care," says Dr. Brosh, and sex makes him feel essential. Pushing him away when you're not in the mood can send the wrong message, Dr. Brosh says, so tell him why you're not feeling it, whether it's because of stress or your period. If it's a recurring theme, see your doctor about potential libido-lowering issues.
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By Jenna Birch