C'tina, what you wrote made perfect sense. I think you & I have some of the same issues in the communication realm. On the one hand, my DH tries very hard too. (It sounds to me like you guys deserve more than a D for effort, btw.) On the other, he is pretty uncomfortable about expressing his emotions. He can articulate them ("I'm feeling kinda bummed right now"), but when it comes to showing them, it's extremely hard for him, and it seems like when he's choking back a feeling, it comes out as irritation more than anything else. So when it comes to me talking about my feelings, he has subtle ways of shooing them away and that's almost never constructive. The only emotion of mine he seems comfortable with is when I break down and cry. Then I think he sort of relishes being the 'big strong arms' that I collapse into, but it still stays very superficial. Like yours, I think my DH also suffers from disorganized thoughts. His brother has Asperger's, and I suspect DH has an undiagnosed attention disorder himself. There are times he's trying to make an argument for something, and he'll lose his train of thought entirely and start making a case for the other side of the argument. That's pretty bad.
And Bridget, with my DH too, I feel like he's constantly just waiting for me to finish what I'm saying so he can go back to talking about what he wanted to talk about. DH is a very “here’s my $#|+” type of conversationalist. I think it comes from growing up in a family of 8 children. All my in-laws are very aggressive talkers, probably learned from years of having to fight over 7 other voices to be heard, and they’re equally aggressive at not listening nor responding thoughtfully before moving onto the next $#|+ they want to lay on you. Often times, DH starts talking and it’s like the train just pulls out of the station. There’s no stopping it. The other day I was asking him the best way to get over to the Golden Gate Bridge at that time of day, and he started giving me this really convoluted set of directions. So I say, “That’s ok, nevermind. I’ll just take the straightforward route.” And he completely didn’t hear me. He just kept going. So I said again, “It’s ok. I’ll just take 19th.” Still, he kept going – turn for turn – with no sense that there was no way I’d be able to remember all that without writing it down. So then I shouted, “Stop!” And finally he stopped, but he was SO wounded by how forceful I had to be. But seriously, that’s how aggressive I have to be to make sure I’m heard.