When you tell him what you want, he hears how he’s fallen short. He feels he’s failed in his job as a partner and retreats in shame, usually disguised as anger or withdrawal. You feel misunderstood and deserted.
The Good Men Project
Even though I know all of this and have known for years, I still find myself thinking that I have failed if my wife neglects to appreciate my efforts to please her.
I get up hours before she does. I do household chores, cleaning, dusting, neatening. I prepare her breakfast and write out notes telling her about my plans for the day. When it nears time for her to get up, I raise the blinds in our bedroom and start being a bit more noisy so that she can wake up gently before her alarm goes off.
I do these things and more because I enjoy them. I love her and want to make her life easier. She notices most of the time and thanks me. I beam inwardly.
But let her have the slightest criticism of anything and I am crushed. I know rationally that I should not feel that way, but I do. It hurts and it hurts especially if she really is angry about something I did or didn’t do.
I don’t withdraw, but sometimes anger spills out. I’ll regret that very quickly and apologize, but the pattern will repeat.
Knowledge is power, but sometimes it isn’t quite enough power to fight biology and conditioning.