When my husband arrives home from work I just can’t get his attention! What’s the problem?

Today we got a message from Mary who says: “When my husband gets home from work I’m so excited to see him. I’m a stay-at-home Mom, and I miss the company of adults sometimes. I get disappointed again and again when he ignores me. It’s as if I’m talking, I say something and he doesn’t even hear me. What should I do?” So I’m going to hand this question over to Michael…

Michael: Yeah. Because I’ve run into this time and time again. In our workshops, women have asked exactly the same question, and I’ve experience exactly the same thing in my life. We talk about something that men need called “Transition Time.” It’s the time between being at work and being at home and we need that transition time from one activity to the next.

There’s lots of reasons for this which I’m not going to go into. Just be aware that when your husband walks through the door, Mary, he’s probably still thinking about work, or maybe the commute, and he actually isn’t home yet. So, here’s what happens to me when I used to commute and I’d get home.

The first thing was I needed to unload my pockets, get all the change, get the keys, get the pens, get all the paraphernalia from work out onto my nightstand. Then, I wanted to change my clothes into something that was really comfortable, and maybe even ratty, and maybe even the same thing I wore the day before, so I’d be comfortable around the house.

Then I needed just to get my mind to decompress. That meant, if I was in the middle of reading a novel, I would read five or six pages of that. Or, pick up a magazine about racing cars or something. Or do some activity just to get my mind away from the rest of the day. Then after 15 or 20 minutes… “Honey, I’m home. What do you have to tell me?”

Bette: The most important thing to know about this is it’s not personal. They just need that space. I remember with my father, he needed to read the newspaper. Maybe with your husband, it might look like he’s doing absolutely nothing. But, it doesn’t mean that he is. It’s very important that he have that time. You certainly don’t want to tell him anything important when he’s in transition because he will not remember it. You’ll just sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher “Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah…” and you certainly don’t want that to happen.

Mary, I do hope that this helps. If you have questions or comments, please go to our Contact page and “Suggest a 'Love Notes' Topic or Question.”