Ask Wayne: Man Apologizes to Wife In Text Message; Wife Responds With Snark

by Brett & Kate McKay on May 27, 2009 · 45 comments

in Dating, Marriage, Relationships & Family

askwayne.jpg

Q:

My wife and I got into an argument the other night about how many hours she has been working at her job. I would like her home more. I let things cool down a bit and did not speak with her again that night. The next day, I thought I would apologize to her for getting into an argument. But when I texted her, she responded with a snide remark. As hard as I tried to make things right, it just turned into another argument. It seems like no matter how hard I try, she is not willing to make up. Should we go to counseling?

A:

Hold on, let me get my police issue bullhorn. Testing one two. Okay. “PUT DOWN THE PHONE. REPEAT, PUT DOWN THE PHONE. IF YOU VALUE YOUR RELATIONSHIP, STEP SLOWLY AWAY FROM YOUR TEXTING DEVICE.”

Let’s talk about texting. I’ll get back to your marriage in a moment.

Call me old-fashioned (believe me, it won’t be the worse thing I’ve been called) but I just don’t believe that all of our problems can be solved with technology…or pharmaceuticals (something I’ve mentioned here in a previous column). Some things should be handled old school. In this case, we’re talking about…well, talking.

If you care about her, AND you’re dealing with a touchy topic, do not text, do not email, do not Twitter. Really, don’t you think your relationship deserves more than 140 characters?

If everything is just peachy, then sending an I love you is swell. But if you’re wanting to apologize, explain, plan, express feelings, offer support, debate or disagree, DO NOT do it electronically. If you must, pick up the phone. But this old guy’s advice is to do it face-to-face.

Relationships are complicated. Most men don’t do complicated very well. That’s why we need to keep it simple. Now-let me know if I’m going too fast for you-when we…talk…face-to-beautiful-face with our women, we can see them and they can see us. If they seem to be misunderstanding us, we can change our words, or adjust our eyebrows, to alter our message. When we talk in-person to those we care about, all of the complicated nuances of interpersonal communication happen naturally.

When we go electronic, all bets are off. Only the very talented can maintain any sense of nuance. And even then, both sides have to either still be in their honeymoon period, or know each other ridiculously well to avoid all possibility of confusion.

Let me give you a real-life example of how texting can foul up your intended meaning. For this column, I texted my 18-year-old son and asked him how he abbreviates a few phrases when he texts. He sent me a short message. I responded with great. He then responded with was that ok? I knew immediately that he thought my great was sarcastic, as if I was disappointed with what he gave me. But that was inaccurate. I thought it was awesome. I called him to verify my suspicion. And yes, he had inferred sarcasm when none had been implied. Now, that was between two men discussing nothing of any significance at all!

Cut to…you and your wife in the middle of an argument and your need to apologize, for being a jerk, via text.

One of the BetterMen Tools is “Don’t Argue,” (get a copy of my book to find out why I’m so adamant about not arguing) so I can see why you’d want to apologize. Now that you know to wait until you see her at home, let’s switch gears to the nature of your argument.

You’d like her home more. I don’t know what your financial situation is, but I assume you’d survive if she worked less. My suspicion is that you value what she does for you at home more than you value how her work makes her feel. I say this because the only reason you got into an argument with her was because you weren’t listening to her. What you wanted to communicate was more important to you than your wife.

Go back home, apologize for trying to apologize via text (oy, this is getting complicated) and then gently let her know that you miss her and wondered whether the two of you could discuss a new balance between work and home. You don’t need counseling to turn this around. You just need to care. Hope this helps. g2g c u l8r

Got a relationship question for Wayne? Email him @: askwayne@bettermen.org

Wayne M. Levine, M.A., mentors men to be better men, husbands and fathers. See how you can become a better man at www.BetterMen.org.

©2009 BetterMen®

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 LS May 27, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Old guy advice is technophobic. Who woulda thunk it?

2 Ted May 27, 2009 at 6:53 pm

This type of advice is the complete opposite of what I thought AOM was about! How ridiculous.

Because he wants to see his wife more often that means he doesn’t value how she feels about her job?! Such blatant feminism does not belong here. I thought that was the garbage we’ve been trying to come back from. For 30 years we’ve had to keep our mouths shut for fear of being labeled sexists; fearing any comment that might be construed as discouraging to a woman in her career.

Instead of jumping to the conclusion that he doesn’t care about her job, did you consider the possibility that she’s a workaholic or cares more about her job than about her husband?

And “Don’t argue” is your advice? Are you serious? Do I have to read your entire book to figure out how that even begins to make sense? Not gonna happen, sadly.

3 Dan May 27, 2009 at 6:59 pm

I think this advice is pretty dead on. I’ve had several unfortunate arguments with my gf because we were talking on im and without nuance, what I said got totally misconstrued.

4 Shawn May 27, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Ted is angry…probably just got dumped by text message

5 Roadchick May 27, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Please allow me interject the female voice into this:

If you argued in person, you should apologize in person. If you argued electronically, you should still apologize in person. (And not just the men – ladies too, please.)

The first reason is very simple: it’s just good manners.

The second reason contains a bit more estrogen: when you have a conversation in person, the woman in your life gets more out of it because women can read facial expressions and body language and it makes her feel like you are more “there” for her. Like you value this communication and felt it was worth your time to have it face to face.

As for the whole working thing – who knows? Only the guy in the argument knows what the real issue is, but it may have been a misunderstanding about what was wanted/needed during the conversation.

An example: I came home from work after a particularly horrible day and was complaining about my job, my co-workers, my boss, the workload, etc. I wanted to vent. My ex just told me to quit if I was that unhappy.
I wanted him to listen while I vented. He wanted to solve the problem.
And no, that is not why he’s my ex! :-)
But it’s an example of the female/male perspective of the same issue.

6 Seth Q. May 27, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Ted-

You’re right. Damn it to hell that no good blatant feminism. Women don’t need to vote. They’re too pure to get involved in the mud slinging of politics. Plus they’re sort of dim witted because their brains are smaller than mens’.

And what’s with making sure my daughter has adequate funding for her softball program at school? It’s only made my life more complicated. Now I spend weeknights watching her play games when I could be sitting on the couch sipping a cold one.

Thanks a lot feminism.

Good advice in the article. If you’re a man, don’t apologize via text messages. That’s what 12 year olds do. Be a man, suck it up, and apologize to her face.

7 PNA May 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Texting is tricky. Avoiding the extra room for interpretation (i.e., miscommunication) associated with IMs and texts is good advice.

As for getting on this guy’s case for “acting like a jerk,” “not listening to” his wife, and caring more about what he wanted to communicate than about his wife, and on top of that telling him that rather than therapy, he just needs to “care” … I’m not so sure you’re doing this guy (and others like him) a favor with this response.

Perhaps you left out some additional information this man gave you in his letter. I’ll leave that possibility open.

At the same time, I strongly suspect that the primary outcome to this response is a man (perhaps others like him) who now believes that his requests of his wife are unreasonable, unmanly, and inappropriate. And that, because he may not have handled this situation face-to-face or voice-to-voice, he himself is unreasonable, unmanly, and inappropriate (a jerk?! really?). And, well, maybe his requests actually are appropriate.

It’s good to talk and not to argue. Agreed. This man did not go into any detail about how he tried to make amends. I assume it was later in person, not via text. At the same time, she didn’t budge. Sounds like they weren’t seeing eye to eye. And actually, a third party may have shed some light on that.

I find making such firm professional mental health recommendations (e.g., “You don’t need therapy;” “You don’t need pills.”) as responses to questions without further understanding of impairment and distress, without a face-to-face visit (again, technology is tricky), and without the appropriate training to be far more tricky than text-related marital conflicts. It should be avoided just the same.

8 PNA May 27, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Although, in fairness, I should add:

1. This guy’s requests may be, as Wayne suggested, far more centered around his own needs than his wife’s.

and

2. I think Wayne’s work, including much of what he’s written in his book, is terrific. It has its limitations in the world of mental health, as per my comment above. At the same time, kudos for trying to help all of us guys who should man up and take some more responsibility for outcomes to our relationships with women. And friendships with men.

9 Michael May 27, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Good grief. Did it ever occur to anyone here that the man didn’t do anything wrong (prior to the texting)? Or, is the an automatic assumption in this day and age that the man is guilty and the woman deserves another “apology?”

In case the subject is lost on anybody, this isn’t about apologizing about texting, it’s about trying to make peace with the other half. The “snide remark” occurred long before the texting incident, if you would read between the lines. Granted, texting is not the solution. But, this was NOT a case of a man texting when he was right beside her. The man tried to do something while he was away from his wife. Each passing minute is valuable and he dipped his toes to test the water out. Stop condemning him for trying.

In my 45+ years of experience, the man apologizes to the woman just to keep the peace. Is this the right way? No, I don’t think so, but it’s appears to be the only method that works for them. Not because he’s wrong, but because the other half expects you to step up to the plate and compromise. Why? Because women get their feelings hurt when you disagree with them or tell them the truth, even when done as kindly and tactfully as possible. Since their feelings are hurt, they expect an apology, although nothing was handled wrong. Even when _they_ are wrong, rude, inconsiderate, and screaming obscenities at you, it is you that must apologize for bringing the subject up.

In my experience, no women has ever taken the first step to apologize to me for the things they said or regarding how they handled an issue. They feel justified in their actions.

Something is terribly wrong in our culture today that has convinced society that they need to continually suck up to women because of their feelings. The truth and logical decision-making is being shunned in the interests of women’s feelings. I agree that being a man is about apologizing when you are wrong or when you could have handled a matter in a more considerate way. But, always apologizing just to keep the peace is a disservice to both genders. It perpetuates the popular notion that men are always wrong and women are the sweet little angels that can do no wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Being a man means taking a stand and sticking to the plan, and not letting emotions get in the way. And, quit sucking up to women just so that you don’t have to sleep in the doghouse.

And, BTW, nobody here is against women voting or being involved in sports, so quit with the strawman topics.

MAJ

10 Daniel James May 27, 2009 at 8:52 pm

The one difficulty that I come to is that I’m the kind of person who expresses themselves better in written form. I’ve learned that verbal communication is important and I’m starting to work on improving that skill, but I think I will always be more comfortable expressing myself in written form.

On the one hand, I do lose out on the nuances of speech and body language and all the other factors of interpersonal communication (for better or for worse) but on the other hand it allows me to think through what I’m trying to say and decide on the best way to express it. I think that my mind just works better when it has the chance to organize that way.

I wonder if I want to express something I can write it out before-hand in order to help organize my thoughts so I can express it better vocally. Hadn’t really thought of that until now as I tend to be a little more spontaneous in general.

11 Karthik May 28, 2009 at 4:45 am

Michael,

You read my mind and spoke words that I have been waiting to say for a LONG time.

I too, am tired of what I call Advantageous Feminism. I am completely accepting and encouraging of womens rights (translation: I am no sexist), but I am sick and tired of being at fault for things that are in fact, not my fault.

When did it start being okay for women to use only the positives of being independent (joining the work force, voting, etc) but none of the negatives? I mean, if I had a SO and she made a mistake or yelled at me for no reason, I would FULLY expect her to apologize. If we truly wish to attain an equal society, then women shouldn’t have a problem apologizing once in a while.

I am a gentleman through and through (this website has helped the refinement process) but I can’t stand it when women expect to be treated like a lady but can’t have the respect to apologize to the men in their lives.

12 Michael H May 28, 2009 at 4:46 am

@Michael
“Good grief. Did it ever occur to anyone here that the man didn’t do anything wrong (prior to the texting)? Or, is the an automatic assumption in this day and age that the man is guilty and the woman deserves another “apology?””

He’s assumed guilty because he felt the need to apologize in the first place. HE assumed the guilt……..

13 Trish Lewis May 28, 2009 at 5:02 am

I think this depends on the people involved and the circumstances etc. My significant other and I communicate in many forms including text, voice mail, email, talking in person face to face, old-fashioned letters, etc. We consider communication, communication. Period. We take them all equally seriously. For us, sometimes seeing something in print makes MORE of an impact. Sometimes it puts a needed distance between the sender and the recipient so the recipient can really soak up from is being said.

14 Trish Lewis May 28, 2009 at 5:06 am

By the way, guys, I recently apologized big time to my guy after he blew ME off for a date. There were serious extenuating circumtances I wasn’t aware of initially and even after I was, I reacted poorly. I have NO problem humbling myself and did so…I agree 110% with you, it’s a two-way street and woman who won’t/don’t recognize their faults, that have too much pride to admit they were wrong or out of line, are sabotauging their relationships…

15 Brucifer May 28, 2009 at 8:28 am

Texting = testicle-less
Email = eunuch male

Sheesh, if that is how this guy communicates, his wife is probably staying at work because when she does come home, he’s probably too wrapped-up playing video games and ignores her. (a malady common to far too many young men’s “relationships” these days.)

@Roadchick – yeah my Ex wanted to do all that venting stuff … ALL the time. . Good grief, I knew more about her workplace than I did about my own. That was what she thought marriage communication was ALL about … cheap therapy And yup, that is indeed why she is my Ex. And yes, guys do want to try to fix things. Especially after hearing about them ad nauseum. The final straw was when, I politely tried to excuse myself from yet another of her regular hours-long “venting” rants, …. She had the gall to accuse me of being “abusive” for not sitting still for it all. “Abuse?” What? *TILT*

Modern women have developed a long list of men’s faults. But their list of their own contributing foibles seems but brief and blithely excused by such pretexts as “that time of the month.” For solutions, women tell us, “that’s how WE communicate, so you better suck-up to us that way.”

If any of you gentlemen have ever tried to read that “Men are From Mars …” book, you quickly find that the author’s pusillanimous prescription is for us to walk around on pins and needles while constantly framing our words to the female perspective. The women’s advice is even more conniving and manipulative. For far too many couples, communication has come to be nothing more than a verbal fencing match, informed by what the woman has seen on the latest Oprah show. Meh, maybe burying oneself in a video game ain’t such a bad idea at that.

16 srgonzo May 28, 2009 at 9:18 am

Let’s get on with the particulars.

1. Man is tired of wife spending so much time at work.

I’m familiar with this issue, as my wife was working as a nurse when I was stationed in Norfolk, VA. (Yep, I’m Navy.) She worked nights, so when I came home, she’d be there for maybe an hour or two, and then she’d leave for work, just to come back in the morning about an hour or so before I’d have to leave. Granted, this was about three days a week if she wasn’t on call or had to work a weekend shift. Add in mandatory overtime, and I was starting to feel like I had a roommate I never saw instead of a wife. Compounding the issue was that my wife didn’t really like the way I did household chores. It wasn’t an issue of whether or not laundry, dishes or the house was clean, but I didn’t do things the way she does them, so of course she’d go and do it all over again when she wasn’t at work and accuse me of not helping out. Furthermore, all of the time away from home interfered with time in the bedroom. After things came to a head, my wife got switched to a different unit in the hospital and started working days.

2. He apologized.

Who knows why he apologized? Maybe he said something hurtful. Maybe he threatened to leave. We don’t know, but he had the stones to man up and admit he’d done something wrong.

3. He did it via text.

I think most of the people here are willing to agree apologizing via text just won’t cut it. Sure, he could have just texted her and said he wanted to talk, or he might have waited up and talked to her (preferably setting up the environment to enhance her mood), but he didn’t. He shouldn’t, however, lose all style points because he chose to text. The fact is, he wanted to open a dialogue with his wife. That, at least, deserves some credit.

4. She had a ‘snarky’ response.

It’s hard not to be sardonic, sarcastic, or snarky when you’re intelligent and angry. It’s even harder to get that kind of response when you’re trying to mend fences. At this point, a man can stiffen his spine and just let the snark pass him by or refuse to be treated rudely.

17 Erin May 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm

“Because women get their feelings hurt when you disagree with them or tell them the truth…In my experience, no women has ever taken the first step to apologize to me for the things they said or regarding how they handled an issue. They feel justified in their actions.”

Jeepers, guys, give some girls some credit. If this is how “gentlemen” really think, I hope my wonderful boyfriend isn’t a gentleman. What’s the point, if women are so bad after all? I work really hard so that he doesn’t have a reason say things like this about me, and I know a lot of couples (it takes two) who work the same way.

18 P May 28, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Maybe he had to text her because SHE WORKS TOO MUCH!

19 Andrew May 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm

I don’t think having an argument in and of itself is a bad thing. It happens to all couples at least once in awhile. That said, I think whoever has done anything(being spiteful/hurtful, letting emotions get out of hand) that calls for an apology, then that is what should be done. If the husband feels he owes his wife an apology, then by all means do it. Same goes for the wife. I do agree that texting is out of the question in this matter. But, I can see how the husband was probably feeling guilty, and wanted to apologize before it was possible to do in person. The author isn’t trying to say here that the wife probably gets satisfaction out of her job, but just that the husband was ignoring the possible reasons for his wife’s wanting to work more. He was only thinking about his desire to have her at home.

20 CoffeeZombie May 29, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Well, mostly I just have to agree with a few people. First of all, Michael, I wish I could vote up your comment 10 times (maybe I technically could, but it wouldn’t be right).

I do think that there is feminism going on here. It sounds like this guy is basically being told to “roll over and take it.” His needs are more important than how his wife feels about her job and that’s a bad thing.

Frankly, why can’t we look at it from this perspective: his wife cares more about her career than her husband. Oops, now I’m a sexist (though I’d be okay if the genders were switched in that sentence).

Look, I’ve only been married for less than a year and a half, and I took that route with my wife. I felt I had needs that weren’t being met, but I decided that how she felt about various things were more important, and I just needed to “man up” and deal with it.

Yeah, guess what happened? It didn’t work. In fact, it put a huge strain on our marriage, and nearly brought us to the breaking point. Finally, I just snapped and let her know exactly how I felt. She got it. We both had a lot to apologize for after that. And now we’re working on rebuilding our relationship.

Marriage is a two-way street. Both parties have desires and needs. Both parties need to sacrifice for the sake of the other. While this message seems unwelcome to many people in general, it seems like it is expected of men more so than of women, and, yes, I do blame feminism for the current state of affairs.

Sorry if this comment isn’t well written or cuts off or whatever, but I’ve gtg; bbl!

21 You're SO SCREWED UP May 31, 2009 at 11:06 am

Why would a HUSBAND apologize to a WIFE through EMAIL when they live together?? THATS frikin weird and screwed up. WHY NOT do it the “real man” way in person with flowers.

What is the world coming to now a days….. so PATHETIC.

22 CoffeeZombie June 1, 2009 at 5:30 am

Oh, regarding the issue about text messages, emails, etc., my wife and I chat on IM quite a bit, send emails, text messages, etc.

And it actually seems that sometimes, sending emails or IMs or text messages can help communication. Why? Because you get to say all of what you’re going to say, without being interrupted. Also, the delay in time between when you say something and when you transmit it helps you stop yourself from saying something unnecessary that you’ll regret later.

So I really don’t see any issue with using any form of communication. I mean, a break up, a job firing, big deals like that should be dealt with face-to-face. An apology, IMO, can be initiated via SMS. And my wife agrees with me on this.

Then again, we first got to know each other on IM (we’d met in person first, but spent a lot of time chatting online).

23 mythago June 7, 2009 at 12:17 pm

A little female perspective on this –

1) An important something discussed in text or IM comes across as “I am too cowardly to talk to you about this in person.” Texts are fine for telling your wife you’re running 20 minutes late, or asking her to pick up another gallon of milk on the way home. They’re not really fine for apologies.

2) Work and family are very loaded issues (as some of the dumber comments to this article show). The guy who wrote to Wayne may be thinking “I miss her,” but what she’s hearing is “I’m insecure about the fact that you have a career, or make more money than me, or that you’re not doing 99% of the housework.”

24 CoffeeZombie June 9, 2009 at 7:01 am

@ mythago

“1) An important something discussed in text or IM comes across as “I am too cowardly to talk to you about this in person.” Texts are fine for telling your wife you’re running 20 minutes late, or asking her to pick up another gallon of milk on the way home. They’re not really fine for apologies.”
I think the ‘tolerance’ for using text for such things is really dependent on the particular person. Certainly, there are some things that are right out (breaking up, asking out on a date, rejecting a job applicant, firing, etc.). Things such as an apology, though, can differ based on a few factors, primarily how technophilic is she (which has a strong correlation to age, background, etc.).

My wife and I have, throughout our relationship (even when dating), had entire conversations, including fights, making up, etc. all in IM chats. In fact, when we first met, most of our conversing was done in IM (for various reasons, one of which being she preferred IM to talking on the phone). Obviously, face-to-face is the ideal, but circumstances may warrant other media (as one person noted, maybe the problem is the wife spends too much time at work, and the text message was the only way the husband was able to apologize).

“2) Work and family are very loaded issues (as some of the dumber comments to this article show). The guy who wrote to Wayne may be thinking “I miss her,” but what she’s hearing is “I’m insecure about the fact that you have a career, or make more money than me, or that you’re not doing 99% of the housework.””

Very true. I think women are particularly sensitive to such things, as a result of being trained to expect men/husbands to have an issue with their career or whatnot. I recall one story where a guy in college suggested to a female classmate who was complaining about how expensive it was to eat out all the time that she might try cooking at home more. To him, it was a simple solution to the problem, and he was dumbfounded by her response; she called him a sexist pig or some such thing. Why? Because what she heard (no doubt thanks to years of training by society) was “woman, get in the kitchen!”

Regardless, in the end, we really don’t know anything of the actual situation. We do not know if the husband thinks the wife shouldn’t work at all, or if he thinks that she works too much because she doesn’t have dinner on the table when he gets home, or if, perhaps, the wife is more interested in having a career than a marriage, and the husband is lonely because she really is neglecting him.

25 Bert July 22, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Some of the “gentlemen” leaving comments here need to understand that a true gentleman understands and appreciates each woman he meets as a unique individual. I see a number of blanket statements to the effect of “women are like…” and “they always…” blah blah blah something about crying and being overly emotional. Perhaps you are or have been in relationships with women who behave this way, but it is entirely naive to paint every woman with the same brush. If this is how you approach your relationships, it’s no surprise that the “hyper-feminist” approach arises – it’s a defense to your chauvinism of lumping all women into a single emotional pool.

I happen to be in a very loving, dedicated relationship with a wonderful woman who exhibits none of these so called “women’s traits”. Why did Wayne apologize for something that he’s (rightfully) not at fault for? Because of how upset his spouse got. A true gentleman should strive to treat his lady like gold, but at the same time be clear and confident in his own needs and desires.

In this case I see no need for feminism to enter the discussion at all, unless that’s how Wayne’s wife FEELS. Keep in mind that even during face-to-face conversation communication may get muddled. What Wayne thought was a request for his wife to stay home more (presumably so he could spend more time with her, something I can relate to), his wife may have interpreted as Wayne’s desire for her to focus less on her career, which is something I’m sure he didn’t intend. Hence why in-person discussions are so paramount in important relationships, as is clarity. Wayne needs to ask his wife WHY his request got her so upset, and clarify the reason he wants her to stay home more often. My girlfriend and I take pains to determine WHY the other feels a certain way, and it does wonders for improving communication and building a better, stronger relationship. Meanings that one person may assume are implied may often be misinterpreted.

In-person discussions are important for all kinds of relationships, be it with your wife, your brother, or your buddies. Apologies in person show that you value your personal relationship enough to focus ONLY on resolving the issue at hand, and to take the time out of your day to do so. I make it a rule that disagreements with friends MUST be resolved face-to-face. Same goes for (non-emergency) important issues. Case in point – I began dating an ex of a good friend some years ago (before my current girlfriend), and I manned up and told him about it in person, face-to-face. I wasn’t asking for his approval and would have went ahead anyway, but he really appreciated the gesture and it let him know that I didn’t want our friendship to suffer because of it. She has come and gone, but he and I remain excellent friends to this day.

If the issue is important to you – do it in person. Be honest, be direct, and explain your thought process clearly. Stick to your convictions, but be sure to imagine and entertain alternate interpretations that you may not have intended. Most importantly, acknowledge that your needs, and the needs of your friend/spouse are equally important and valid.

26 DM August 2, 2009 at 12:46 pm

I used the text method last week to get to my sons and their ladies after a misunderstanding at a family gathering. I initially called to set the record straight with him, and he would not return my phone call. Feeling frustrated. I sent a very short message that I know he received. It was quick and to the point. Now the ball is in his court, and he chooses how and when to respond. Although he did not respond, yet, his lady was quick to acknowledge and forgive. Communication is difficult at best, and some approaches may work at some times that don’t work at others. There is no ” system” that is 100% effective. It’s good to have options. Choose wisely and with love, as the guiding principle.
” Love covers a multitude of { my screw-ups }………….”

27 Emily Fine August 16, 2009 at 6:38 pm

To all the guys crying “blatant feminism,” this whole article can apply to men and women alike, so get your panties out of that bunch and settle down, as you are all acting like children instead of the men you ought to be.

Wayne, your advice for the face to face aspect should not go unheeded. Texting is appropriate for things like “where are you” “at the mall” “k” and that’s about it. It is not for attempting to apologise, ever.

It’s amazing to see so many people get up at arms over his remark of the not listening thing. People are acting like its a blatant attack on all that is manly, when it could be reversed. I know a ton of women who talk more and aren’t good listeners to their mates and it is frustrating to watch. It is not a feminism issue in the least, it is just good manners! So calm down, the lot of you, you’re wasting your time getting all angry over that stuff.

28 Kathleen November 6, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Burt, you are my HERO.

29 Joe December 7, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Dudes mad because his “needs” aren’t met? Just wait until he has kids…then his needs are at the bottom of the list. He screwed up texting. She might work alot because she doesn’t want to come home and see that her needs aren’t met. Bottom line is that guys need to listen first and ask what is wanted or needed. Bite your tongue if the perception is that she is “attacking” you. She might be REALLY pissed about something else. My wife has apologized when she has been wrong or snarky, when I have been smart enough to keep my trap shut. Most of the time I am stupid and say something REALLY dumb and then I apologize.

I really could not have said it better than Bert. Read it after I started.

30 aussie December 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm

if youve had a blue ( argument) with your cook and shes gone to work,your feeling crappy about it try sending a text picture of a rose.it cant be misconstrued……..a picture says a thousand words.it works for me,always get a pleasant reply
sometimes i send a rose to let her know im thinking of her
once i sent a dozen text roses she had a good laugh
only do this once!
if she responds negatively 1 you and /or her havent been tending your relationship
or 2 shes just a bitch ( in aussie bitch means nasty)

31 petrina February 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm

The issue here is text messaging opposed to interpersonal communication face to face. All of the other issues are irrelevant.

32 David April 7, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Interesting set of responses. You can tell that everyone responding is over 20 years old and most do not understand “texting”.

Texting is a form of communication for young people. If you are older then it is probably not appropriate simply because you aren’t any good at it (not just talking about thumbing but expression). You need “old school”.

The world is changing and I assure you this conversation won’t even be going on 20 years from now.

My son is carrying on a dating relation right now with a girl in another state almost exclusively by text. How many carried on their dating relationship by phone and had their parents say “what do you talk about?”. They didn’t understand that the telephone was a form of connection. Young people connect by text. They don’t see it as cowardess to use a text to say “I’m sorry”.

I’d be curious as to what would happen if he actually took aussie’s advise and sent a text-flower. If he had never done it before then I bet it would work just like a real flower because he “thought” to do something to impress her without focusing on the problem.

I think that is the real problem in most relationship conflicts. Too many people focusing on “the problem”. He wants his wife to stay home more, she didn’t like it. They argued. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT!!! As if good relationships never have conflict. The key is not whose wrong. It’s settling the conflict. Keep trying to work it out. He doesn’t even need to apologize and neither does she. BUT YOU BOTH NEED TO WORK IT. Someone needs to step up to the plate. She isn’t willing so responsibility falls to you. No chivalry, no feminism, just common sense.

Having been happily married for 27 years and having gotten married at 21 years old, I should have been divorced. That’s what happens when you only listen to classic canned conventional advise which most people here are offering. So much for the return of the real man. A real man is a man who understands what is important, not what is right (socially speaking).

33 Richard April 20, 2010 at 8:35 am

I really appreciate and enjoy a lot of the stuff on this website; as a bartender, the article on how to order drinks made me very happy. However, I’m getting a little freaked out by some of the blatant and bitter misogyny in the comments threads. Not that I’m trying to tell you how to run your website, but I think perhaps an article discussing that might be in order some time.

Thanks.

34 BonzoGal April 20, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Richard- Amen! The misogyny in this comment thread is off-putting. Some of you seem to be reading a lot into a fairly simple question and answer. This isn’t about why his wife is working “too much,” or why he feels he needs to apologize, or what’s wrong with women, or why you feel like feminism has messed with your world. It’s about a simple mis-use of a communication medium. GENTLEMEN DO NOT TEXT MESSAGE ANYTHING IMPORTANT. Nor do women, professionals, adults, mature persons of either/both genders, etc. Would you send a request for a job via text? “HIRE ME 4 THIS JOB SRSLY I RULE”

Texting fun chatter is fine; texting anything of substance says, “I don’t give a serious crap about what I’m saying to you.” There are definitely some messages for which some media are not correct. I wouldn’t submit a report to my boss on Transformers stationery, and I wouldn’t apologize to a loved one via text.

35 Oak May 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm

@MAJ
“Because women get their feelings hurt when you disagree with them or tell them the truth, even when done as kindly and tactfully as possible. Since their feelings are hurt, they expect an apology, although nothing was handled wrong. Even when _they_ are wrong, rude, inconsiderate, and screaming obscenities at you, it is you that must apologize for bringing the subject up. In my experience, no women has ever taken the first step to apologize to me for the things they said or regarding how they handled an issue. They feel justified in their actions. Something is terribly wrong in our culture today that has convinced society that they need to continually suck up to women because of their feelings. The truth and logical decision-making is being shunned in the interests of women’s feelings.”

First of all, MAJ, this is a generalization. It is unfortunate if you have never had a woman apologize to you in your life, for I’m sure plenty have done you wrong, but that does not mean it is true for every woman. I can say this with 100% surety because, as a woman, I apologize fairly frequently – sometimes I am first, sometimes I am the only one apologizing, and other times it is the other way around. But I do apologize, because, as a human, I screw up rather frequently.

Anyhow, the core issue I would like to address is the validity of “reason” vs. “feelings.” While it is true that men tend to operate along more linear and idea-based thought patterns, this should not invalidate emotion-based and relationship-based thinking, which women tend to focus more on. In other words, to the man, it might seem like there is a problem that can be fixed; to the woman, it may seem like the conflict within the relationship arising from the problem is more important than the problem, because the problem is likely short-term, while our relationship will hopefully outlast that.

So when a woman wants to talk about “feelings”, it’s not necessarily that she is being wishy-washy or attacking you. It may be that she is simply thinking on a different plane – an interpersonal instead of analytical one. And while there is certainly interplay and overlap between these two, I think the real problem in our culture, as suggested by many feminists – not misandrists – may be assuming that interpersonal factors are always inferior to analytics.

As for texting – I LOVE texting, but it’s true that it’s really easy to misread texts, especially for women who rely more on nonverbal cues than men. It was wrong of the wife to snark at the writer-inner regardless of the situation, but maybe she did feel snarked at too. I’m for face-to-face communication in anything that is too complex to say in 160 characters.

36 ashley July 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm

ok, so i found this accidentally, but decided to read on anyway, i read the first few and got quite fed up, seriously, people are talking about intelligence etc, well bloody use some and rather spending all the time venting on here with total strangers, go and tell her how you feel, then listen to her views, if you cant agree, and something so simple is causing such a row between you, maybe the work isnt the problem, maybe its the two of you, maybe she’s just workin for some space, trust me, as a girl whose own b/f can sometimes be a bit clingy, a girl just needs some space, as do guys im sure.
so not to depress you, but basically, get a grip, stop arguin over somethin so stupid, or say see you later!

37 Rebekah October 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm

THIS WAYNE IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ON THE MONEY! He is a genius! I found this by accident … but seriously, thank you Wayne for giving some guidance and pushing your readers in the right direction!

38 Jade October 29, 2012 at 1:31 am

There’s a fine line between respectful equality and total tyranny for all we know she might be a work-aholic and just because someone asks if she is a work-aholic does not mean they are sexist, so yes perhaps he needs to listen more before speaking, every human does, but perhaps she may have some fault here as well. The article in and of itself is wonderful on it’s advice but you can’t automatically blame the guy can you?
However the texting thing was entirely stupid, talking face to face is better.

39 Joyce December 14, 2012 at 3:17 am

^these folks ought to read the other comments before adding their own. I think one could learn more from these comments rather than from the article itself. Some responses just seem redundant and the topics have already been thoroughly discussed. Perhaps listening before speaking is not the same as reading before responding (that is, if you plan to ofc). IMHO they’re are almost the same because manners are manners, irl or not. I guess I can’t blame anyone for getting fed up at the misogyny (props to Richard). However, being a digital native, I learned long ago that there’s usually someone smarter and/or more articulate that has already commented. Particularly if the general audience/article is older.

I agree with bert. Methinks it’s the stupid (low EQ or IQ) people of both genders that give everyone else a bad rap, esp. since the internet lets anyone rant publicly. It’s up to us to sift through the crap and to not be swayed by thoughtless accusations because the smarter peeps aren’t necessarily the “loudest” and most heard. That’s what critical thinking is though, innit (like common sense, everyone ought to have it but few use it).

@Bonzogal, doesn’t it depend on the person at the receiving end? If you know will suffice for the (probably either too-chill or too-simplistic) receiver, why not? I can dig the female/non-verbal cues thing for sure…

it’s all relative, innit.

40 Leslie December 18, 2012 at 4:04 am

I fouhgt with my wife 2 nights ago after suspecting her that she was with another man, ever since she stopped talking to me and when she is passing me it is like she can’t even see me. last night I apologised to her but all she could do was cry and didn’t say a word.

I asked her like some 20 minutes ago, about how i can make her happy again and enjoy our marriage but she replied with an answer which is not possible as at now. please advise me what to do.

41 FeatherBlade March 26, 2013 at 10:39 am

@Leslie: marriage counseling. stat.

42 Chad December 4, 2013 at 6:16 am

Hey, after reading through the comments (*all* the comments…) I’ve found some really good points that I agree with. I do believe that this byproduct of the feminism movement has been this ‘treated as an equal, but deserving of more’ thing that *not every woman has*, but I’ve found a few who do, namely my mother. Yes, I’m not out of high school. Shut up…

My mother, bless her, has a very annoying habit of blowing the simplest things out of proportion – she once started a fight with me because she didn’t like the way I was putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Me, in my stubbornness, argued the point, saying that I do it every night, and it would turn out fine if I just continued. At the time, it seemed reasonable, but it (argument) went for the better portion of the night.

Because I argued.

This was the first time in months that I stood up for myself – before, I just let her steamroll over me as I bit my lip. It seems that the only way to not argue is to let her have it her own way.

Later the following day, I made up by apologizing. Nearly 24 hours later. Even though it wasn’t my fault (I think… :). She smiled and said “Thank you!”

Not “Well, I’m sorry as well. We both screwed up” (which is actually the best apology EVER I’ve got from her), not “well I started it.”

This bullsh*t ticks me off SOOO much. There is a MASSIVE double standard here. And me and my generation is copping flak, even though the feminism movement started decades before I was born. I’ve been raised to think that women are equal, and boy, do I believe it – just when does equal become *superior*?

43 Chad December 4, 2013 at 6:19 am

FYI For clarification, she does this with my dad all the time too – he has quite a good job and is a great diplomat. She still does it. When my dad defends me she goes off at him, saying we’re ganging up on her!

44 Blaize January 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm

I’m reading the comments on here, and as a 24-about to be 25 year old female, face-to-face/picking up the phone is the preferred method for important conversations with me. Same goes for apologies. (Obviously, if you can’t reach me, I would prefer a call.)

I have experienced it both times from my family and on one occasion, my ex-fiance.

List:

1. Was texted about my grandmother having a stroke by my dad. (I was a finishing up my last year of college and at the time my fiance-now ex-had went away to boot camp)

2. Was texted about someone (who I knew and was semi-close with) who died and about their funeral being this weekend (which I drove to yesterday in DC after coming off my night shift job in PA a couple of hours prior) at the last minute. This was my aunt.

3. Was dumped via text after 3.5 years of being together by my fiance.

When I sat down with these people (and I made sure it was face-to-face), I told them nicely that things like this should be done face-to-face, or to give me a call and leave me a message. If you can’t reach me, leave me a text after you’ve called me saying something like, “911, emergency,” and I will drop what I am doing in order to call you back. (Obviously, my ex who dumped me via text was exempt from that speech.)

Not only is it disrespectful, it shows that you don’t value the opposite party’s feelings but your own. It also shows that you have no manners.

You would think that as a normal 20-something, I would love being on the phone, but I don’t. I hate it entirely. Mainly because of my job and because of me having to pay those bills; but one thing I’ve learned is that the phone can be used as a way to passively deal with a situation that should be conveyed in person/face-to-face/phone call. (This also comes with the territory of my job as well.)

If the person in the above situation was feeling so antsy/annoyed about his situation with his woman, he could’ve just picked up the phone and left a message saying something along the lines of, “Would it be possible to talk to you about something important?” and left it at that if he knew he couldn’t reach her. If he wanted to go further, he then could’ve texted her to let her know that: 1. He called. & 2. It’s important. Please call back.

Also, doesn’t matter what gender you are: communication is communication. Etiquette is etiquette. Respect is respect.

45 Blaize January 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm

And P.S. I read all the comments on here.

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