When we are out with other couples, he’s the life of the party, but once we are home again, he hardly talks with me at all.
Typically men and women view social conversation quite differently. Women tend to be looking to establish or re-establish feelings of connection and community. Women do this by sharing feelings about what’s going on in their lives, which makes them feel part of a whole group who care. Men during conversation tend to be demonstrating knowledge, ability, qualities that set them apart – and hopefully above – others. This comes from thousands of years of needing to be competitive, of being the provider and protector, being able to “win”. Being the same as, or part of a social group in an equal way does not demonstrate those important qualities.
Recognizing that is what’s going on when out in public can take the blame out of the situation – men and women naturally just relate differently. So, when a man is at home, and doesn’t have to “prove” his abilities and knowledge, he can relax and enjoy feeling contentment – which he usually expresses through silence. Unfortunately, that runs right up against a woman’s typical need to emotionally reconnect and bond through conversation. Finding brief ways (15 minutes or so) each day to focus on each other, listening, sharing, not trying to fix the other’s problems, but empathetically hearing about each other’s day – done easily through a PAIRS skill such as the DTR – will take care of both of their needs.