Helping guy open up

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2009
Helping guy open up
10
Mon, 03-01-2010 - 1:49pm

I've been dating a guy for almost three months, and on the whole it is going very well. He is thoughtful, intelligent and good company. I feel cherished by him the way I had not felt in a long time.

My concern is that I want him to feel comfortable talking to me, not just "doing things" with me. I think he wants to "open up" but doesn't know how. He is a widower and although it's been some three years since his bereavement, he is still, I think, recovering from his loss.

One thing he has mentioned is that his ex-wife was the person he confided in, his closest friend. But beyond that, I know nothing about her (not even her hair color). I don't want intimate details, but I'd like to have a sense of what kind of person she was. (He's described his mother, his father, his cousin, his children--but never his late wife.) I believe that it would be healthy for both of us if he talked to me about her the way he talks about his late mother or his former girlfriend.

How can I encourage his opening up without seeming to pry or to pressure him? I am a "talker," but he is not. I do know how to be quiet, but I am not always good at asking "leading" questions that will convey interest but not pressure.

Again, I am not trying to pry. If he isn't ready to talk, that is fine. I just want to make sure that I am not (unintentionally) discouraging him from talking. I fear he may be worried that if he tells me about her I will feel jealous or something. How can I convey to him that this is far from being the case?

Dabela

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Registered: 03-08-2004
Mon, 03-01-2010 - 2:40pm

Jsut

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-01-2006
Mon, 03-01-2010 - 3:34pm
I agree with tish. Just let him know that if and when he wants to talk about his late wife, you'll be there for him. Let him know that it's ok, as



28999825.jpg picture by nhgal2006

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2010
Mon, 03-01-2010 - 9:55pm

What went through my mind is he feels it would be disloyal to his late wife to discuss her with the girlfriends that came after. Just a thought.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2009
Mon, 03-01-2010 - 10:42pm

The only way you can maximize your chances of him opening up to you is to be a safe and comfortable person worth opening up to.

After three months he's still getting to know you. As he learns more about you and your character, and gets to understand you, he will make the decision to let you into his life gradually.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2009
Wed, 03-03-2010 - 12:22am

I guess my question is how to convey that I am open to talking when he is ready without saying something that suggests that I expect him to talk to me. I fear that saying "I'm ready to listen when you want to talk," may sound to him like I'm trying to get him to talk to me instead of just indicating that I'm willing to listen.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2009
Wed, 03-03-2010 - 12:25am

Yes, I wonder if he does feel it might be disloyal to talk about her. And yet, he seems perfectly comfortable with the idea that he has moved on, that it is time to live and find new relationships.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2009
Wed, 03-03-2010 - 12:33am

Granted that this is a slow process, what I was asking was for tips on how to convey my trustworthiness and other qualities of acceptance and understanding.

I'll be patient of course.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2010
Wed, 03-03-2010 - 7:25pm

I don't know because I haven't been in that situation, but perhaps you could ask a casual question about his ex-wife now and then, and it would let him know you don't mind the topic. Maybe he thinks it's like someone talking about their ex, just better to not go there. I'm with you though because the more I know about my husband to me it means that's how close we are if you know what I mean. Also it could just mean he's really into you, that he's focused on you and just not thinking about his past.


I read that women talk five times more than men. Don't know where the research comes, from but from all my years of living with men I do think they don't feel

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2009
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 12:31am

The problem is she isn't an "ex wife." She is a "late wife." He still speaks of her not by name but as "my wife" as in "my wife and I used to," or "my wife would do such and such with our daughters" when he talks about her at all.

It is hard for me to tell if this is out of consideration for me, or because he is afraid that to talk about her to me is disloyal to her, or because he finds it too painful to discuss her, or just because he isn't a "talker." As you say, most men don't talk as much as most women.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2010
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 12:39am
Dabela that sounds kind of strange to me too. I wonder if someone on the Grief and Healing board would know more about it. Good luck.