You’ve been with your boyfriend for a while now. Things are going great. But one thing that drives you crazy is that your boyfriend usually pretend that he doesn’t understand you.
You’ll ask him to do something simple like take out the trash or meet you somewhere at a particular time, and he’ll act completely oblivious.
It’s frustrating because you know he heard you but feigns ignorance. So why does he do this? And what can you do about it?
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Why Does My Boyfriend Pretend He Doesn’t Understand?
Here are possible reasons why your boyfriend can pretend like he doesn’t understand you most times;
1. He Might Be Testing Your Patience
One possibility is that your boyfriend can pretend not to understand you to test your patience.
Some guys have a habit of “acting ignorant” to see how you’ll react. If you blow up or get visibly annoyed, you fail the test.
It sounds immature, but some men do this to gauge if you’ll still treat them with kindness and compassion even when irritated.
If you think this might be what’s happening, don’t give him the reaction he wants. Take a deep breath and calmly repeat your request.
If he still claims not to get it, smile and lovingly explain it again. Show him that you won’t flip out over something so minor.
Eventually, he’ll realize the “I don’t understand” act doesn’t push your buttons or elicit anger, so there’s no point in continuing.
2. He’s Trying to Avoid Something
Another reason your boyfriend might pretend to be confused when you ask him to do something is because he’s trying to avoid it altogether.
For example, maybe you want him to attend an event with your family, but he doesn’t want to go. Instead of saying, “I don’t want to go,” he acts ignorant, hoping you’ll eventually stop asking him.
This passive-aggressive behavior is immature, but many guys resort to it if they’re conflict-averse.
They think saying they don’t understand is safer than flat-out refusing. The problem is that it leaves you in the lurch and unable to make proper plans.
If you suspect this is your boyfriend’s MO, don’t let him off the hook so easily. Respond to his “I don’t get it” claim with, “Yes, you do understand, but it seems you don’t want to go.
Is that what’s happening?” Then have an open conversation about his reluctance. Explain why the event is important to you and see if you can come to a compromise.
3. He’s Zoned Out
Sometimes, the reason your boyfriend pretends not to grasp what you’re saying is much more innocent – he legitimately didn’t hear you!
According to studies, men are more prone to “selective listening” than women. This means they tune out conversations they’re not directly involved in.
So, if you’re chatting about your day while your boyfriend is focused on something else, your words may not register.
The next time he seems confused about a request you’re positive you conveyed, gently ask, “Were you listening just now or were you zoning out?”
If he admits he was preoccupied, restate your ask. You might need first to ensure you have his full attention by saying his name or tapping his shoulder.
It’s not necessarily that he purposely ignored you; he needs a little nudge to focus.
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4. He Has Trouble Communicating
While acting ignorant is one strategy some men rely on, others struggle to communicate. Does your boyfriend have difficulty articulating his thoughts and feelings?
Does he often seem lost in conversation? If so, his “lack of understanding” might come from insecurity.
Maybe he feels unintelligent or embarrassed when he doesn’t get something, so he pretends he gets it even when he doesn’t.
Or perhaps he misinterprets things you say but won’t admit it out of shame. Shyness and low self-esteem can make some men clam up rather than risk looking foolish by asking for clarification.
If this rings true for your boyfriend, don’t accuse him of pretending; that will only make him feel worse. Instead, create an environment where he feels safe and vulnerable.
Say things like, “It’s totally fine if you need me to explain more clearly,” or “I want you to always feel comfortable asking if something doesn’t make sense.”
Be patient and let him know misunderstandings happen – you want to resolve them together.
5. He’s Being Passive-Aggressive
Unfortunately, sometimes a guy will feign confusion not for the above reasons but to be passive-aggressive and difficult.
He heard you perfectly but chooses to act oblivious to get under your skin or exert control.
You can likely distinguish passive-aggressive behavior from the other explanations if your boyfriend only claims not to comprehend simple requests that benefit or inconvenience you somehow.
Say you ask him to drive you to the airport or put away his dishes – tasks that don’t impact him. His “Huh? I don’t get it” response probably means he’s just being stubborn and petty.
When you encounter this attitude, don’t reward it by dropping the matter altogether. Calmly re-ask the favor and say, “I know you understood what I meant, and I’d really appreciate if you help me out here.”
If he continues to stonewall, have a serious chat about how unproductive this communication style is for your relationship. You’ll both need to work on how you broach complex subjects.
What You Can Do About It
Whatever the root cause, your boyfriend’s habit of acting ignorant and pretending to misunderstand you is aggravating.
What matters most is how you handle it going forward:
- Remain calm and patient – As frustrating as this behavior can be, meet it with compassion rather than anger. You’ll make more headway by being kind and taking the high road.
- Open up the lines of communication – Have an honest discussion outside the heat of the moment. Express that this pattern concerns you and ask what would make him feel more comfortable speaking up.
- Suggest alternatives – Instead of fake confusion, what other responses could your boyfriend give that you’d appreciate more? For example, “Let’s discuss this later when I can give you my full attention.”
- Set boundaries as needed – If he admits to pretending not to understand to manipulate you, explain firmly that it’s unacceptable and you won’t tolerate it.
With mutual understanding and effort, your boyfriend can break this aggravating habit.
Remember that change takes time, so continue responding patiently and keeping the communication positive. As long as you both want your relationship to improve, it can.
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It’s annoying when your boyfriend pretends he doesn’t get something you’re saying. But try not to take it personally or let it upset you too much.
In many cases, there’s an underlying reason behind this kind of behavior. Have an open and compassionate conversation about what’s going on to get to the bottom of it.
Communication and compromise are key! You can work through this issue if you try to understand each other.
For more tips on fostering healthy communication habits in your relationships, explore more articles on elizegan.com.
Remember, every couple faces obstacles at times. With insight and willingness from both partners, they can overcome anything and build a stronger bond.