Having someone interrupt you mid-sentence is both infuriating and diminishing. It feels as if what you’re saying isn’t important enough to hear out, and by extension, it can make you feel belittled or dismissed. This is especially so when it’s your husband who cuts you off time and time again. It’s easy to dismiss this behavior if it occurs infrequently. But when it becomes a pattern, it’s time to take corrective action. This can be a sensitive topic to discuss, so it’s best to address it with clarity and understanding. Let’s take a look at what you can do to repair this dynamic and how you and your husband can improve communication overall.
Use Metacommunication To Introduce Sensitive Topics
The term “meta-communication” simply means to talk about talking. The first step in dealing with being cut off is to talk to your husband about how you and he communicate. Find a quiet time without interruptions when you are both receptive to having a serious conversation. As with all sensitive topics, it’s best to introduce the topic and preface the conversation clearly and calmly.
“I’ve been thinking about how we communicate and I’d like to talk to you about…”
“I’ve noticed some issues in how we communicate and I would like to feel more heard on the subject of…”
As you can see in the examples above, the approach is positive and constructive. Introducing a topic in this manner opens the door to a more even, productive discussion.
Coach Your Husband In The Moment
Coaching in the moment allows you to express your feelings about a dynamic instead of focusing on your husband’s behavior. For example, the next time your husband cuts you off in the middle of a conversation, you can react to it in the moment by saying:
“I’m feeling dismissed right now and I’d like you to hear me out so I can be validated.”
Notice that the statement above is even-keeled, objective, and to the point. There are no insults, accusations, or explosive emotions. You are simply stating how you feel (dismissed) and what you are asking for (to be heard). It may be tough to keep your cool during this frustrating moment, but your best bet is to stay calm and focus on your objective.
Remember that repetition is key for success. I have seen many couples get frustrated that they can’t seem to change their partner’s behaviors. It’s okay if it takes a few attempts. Everyone learns at a different rate, and we often have to hear the same message multiple times before it really clicks in our minds.
Attempt To Understand Why Your Husband Cuts You Off
When your husband’s behavior hurts you, it’s easy to assume he’s acting with ill intention or just doesn’t care. But this may not always be the case. It’s worth exploring why your husband has a tendency to cut you off.
Think about the circumstances in which his behavior manifests. Does it happen at home? In Public? At social gatherings? Do you see a pattern? If so, bring it up with him:
“I often feel interrupted during family get-togethers and I’d like to work on feeling like I have air time. But I also want to understand if there’s something going on with you to help me understand and adjust my own behaviors if necessary.”
Empathy toward your husband can be difficult when your feelings are hurt, but it could lead to an important connection between you two. It can also help both of you become better communicators and grow closer in the process.
Similarly, consider whether you may be saying something that makes your husband uncomfortable, and that’s why he’s cutting you off. Perhaps he feels the need to cut you off because you share details with others he’d rather keep private. Or maybe he thinks you discuss too many details about your job that others aren’t interested in and he jumps in to change the topic before others get bored. Give him an opportunity to explain and be open to hearing him out so you can understand both sides of the issue.
Have Realistic Expectations
Lastly, keep your expectations in check, stay patient, and acknowledge your husband’s effort in trying to modify his behavior. Changes in behavior don’t happen overnight. This is especially true for fixing communication issues in a marriage. This can be hard to navigate, so get professional support to guide you through the process as necessary.