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My wife is always putting me down. Sometimes I hate her, But I love her, if that makes sense. What can I do?

Tagged as: Marriage problems<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (18 September 2007) 15 Answers - (Newest, 9 January 2008)
A male United States age 41-50, anonymous writes:

ok here you go:

I am married with children. Love my kids to death. I love my wife, but not as a wife. That may sound confusing, but let me explain.

She is not a nice person at all, she constantly downs me and talks to me like I'm meaningless to her. She acts like that all the time towards me. I know what you are thinking, it's all my fault, and if I were a better husband she wouldn't be that way. Well I have tried literally everything over the years to kindle some type of love and romance with her. She always pushes me away. I believe she is only with me for the kids sakes and I am starting to feel like that is the only reason I stay too.

She doesn't act like a wife, or even a friend, but I still love her and try to treat her with love and kindness every day of my life. When I do kind things for her she hardly ever seems to notice or care about it. She says cutting things to tear me down virtually every day of our lives. She doesn't care to change, even though many times in the past she admitted that she needed to change and that she was at fault, she will still heap expectations on me and say that it is my fault that I'm not meeting her expectations as to why she is the way she is towards me. Then I do everything possible to try to meet her expectations and then they change, and she finds something else to pick at me about.

All I want is a loving and sweet relationship with my wife, and I don't believe it will ever really happen. Now I want a new wife. I cannot help it, but it's true. You can judge me if you want, but you haven't lived through what I have lived through for the past 10 years or so. Where do I turn? What do I do? I don't want to destroy my children, and statistics show that is what divorce often does. But I am miserable and need a change. Yet my situation appears hopeless. Extremely hopeless. Some days I want to die, but my kids keep me chugging along, and I stop thinking those kinds of selfish thoughts.

Is it so wrong for me to want a woman who will love me for who I am? To treat me with at least some kindness sometimes? To say something nice or kind every once in a while? Why is that a bad thing to ask? I am not a drinker, not a smoker, have never lifted a hand to my wife or even come close. I rarely yell or express anger or hurt outwardly, I keep most of it in. I do that for the children's sake. I often have to tell her to hush and not start in front of the kids because she loves to tear me down in front of them. Then if I respond to her attacks in any way, she will get even louder and the kids hear it all. I hate it. Sometimes I hate her, but I love her if that makes sense. (Counseling has been tried in the past on multiple occasions and nothing ever changes-I will change and she never does, and she always turns things around in counseling and the counselors just take her side and jump all over me, because she leaves me stammering and unable to really speak how I feel.) In other words she is very good at twisting things around so that it looks like it's all my fault for how things are between us, but last I checked doesn't it take TWO to build a great relationship?

Well there's my situation Agony Aunts. What suggestions do you have for this broken hearted husband?

View related questions: divorce, her ex

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (9 January 2008):

Hi Mate,

Life is very differcult enough without having to tear yourself apart with family issues. I would only say to you pack a bag grab what is most presoius to you and go. Start a fresh. If you do this then you will be another male person starting out again. You can hold your head high knowning that you are getting screwed by the social for the mainetenance of your kids but you are free. Start livings and you will meet another women again who next time will show more real love and you can then move on. You will still have access to the kids and in time they will understand why do left to start again.

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A male reader, esepalo1 United States +, writes (21 September 2007):

esepalo1 agony auntFor one you are who you are dont let know one tell you different maybe she puts you down because shes not happy with her self. People will take there unhappieness out on the person closest to them.People dont like to see others living life happy with no worries they feel if im not happy neither should the world. You only know what you can take and what you want in life to be happy.It takes to take make a marriage work its hard when only one is willing to be happy.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (20 September 2007):

I want to say thanks again for all of the advice. I am still contemplating all of my options, but at this point I don't really think I have any options. I am the original poster of this question and I also posted down below but it didn't seem to recognize me as such. Anyway, I hope with all my heart that things will change in my marriage, but after all these years they haven't so I am not very optimistic. (And I've always been an optimist and hoped for the best).

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 September 2007):

Tough spot,always becomes a tough situation when it involves children.

Put shoe on other foot as since i am female,husband has done this more then a million times over 17 years of marriage,had 2 boys both grown now.

Kids where my lifeline as i call it,everything to me, no one ever wants to see the innocence of a child any child be disrupted.I stuck it out all through my marriage,for the kids.Misreable,had no confidence left in me, no will to even try and fight for myself.After so many years of mental abuse you find you put yourself in a shell. My kids both ask today why did i stay,they both seen hw bad it was for me,and they say it hurt them more to watch me be sad.

So i guess as we grow older and our children realise the world is cold at times,but even when younger, they sense ,they feel,they see everything around them alot sooner then most parents want to accept.

The best thing to do,would be sit and think,do you love your wife,you say you do,but, in what ways,as in love with her,or has it become,a caring of habit,a family love ,like brother ,sister love. Then it would be are you capable of accepting someon elses love with open arms,after years of mental abuse sometimes that is a hard process.If so then,you then need to weigh options, of can you take care of your children,financially if you moved out of the home. Alot of things to answer before just jumping out the door.

There are many woman out there capable of loving a man ,as just the man,and not like the meal ticket we seem so often to hear about.I finally got divorced and i am happier now then ever ,both boys are great kids and grown up enough to take care of themselves.

For the record and the poster who said it funny how no one turns to prayer these days, I think if we all look at it deeper,everyone usually prays first for a change,but,sometimes smaller details in life get overlooked and those prayers need help from the depts of within ourselves,to help things along.

Good luck and i hope you do find what your looking for in the end and that is happiness.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 September 2007):


i feel very sorry to hear your story.

in fact, last time i used to treat my boyfriend like how your wife treats you. after analysing this kind of abusive behaviour, i realise it was due to certain reasons.i feel you might need to find out the true reason for her behaviour to solve this problem.

Maybe she jus feel by treating you that way she can be comforted that you love her and wont leave her even if she treats you unkindly. Maybe she dont know any other way to express her love or is too shy to openly show affection to you.another reason is maybe she assumes that you expect to be treated like she treats you largely arises from her assumption of how you would EXPECT her to treat you. deep inside maybe you truly belief that you deserve all these and she might be living up to your expectations.

Besides all these, another possible reason would be that she thinks she is too good for you and you are unworthy of her.that's why she might be subconsciously degrading herself by treating you unkindly so that you both are at the same level. maybe she feel that no matter how she abuses you , you'll never leave her and begin to take you for granted.

Since when did she treat you like that? was she like this during dating time? if she had changed over time maybe she has fallen out of love with u.

i suggest you try to suprise her with a romantic dinner and then try to talk about this issue.i think there is some communication problem between both of you.

if the gentle way does not work, then the next time she puts you down you should just keep quiet and walk away or raise your voice at her and ignore her after that. give it one more chance by showing her the "man" in you before considering divorce.

all the best to you!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 September 2007):

It is just amazing how everyone thinks - well - just split up!

None turn to prayer any more. I would suggest you look behind the scenes - her described behavior sounds a little like she has another life going on back there. She may hate herself for this, but is overtly blaming you for it.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (19 September 2007):

Thank you for your answers so far. A lot to chew on I suppose. Most of what all of you have said are things that I have thought about over the years. And yes I have tried putting my foot down, but she also knows I will only go so far. She knows I would never hit her or respond in that way to my anger. This is because I saw my mother abused in childhood, so I know I would never hit a woman. I am somewhat easygoing, so it is hard for me to be a jerk if you know what I mean. Some women are just attracted to jerks. Before she met me, that was what my wife was into and she dated jerks. I guess they say nice guys finish last for a reason.

I am not a mechanic or a mister fix-it kinda guy, so I don't project that macho come home dirty mindset that some women find attractive. I have mostly worked in upper-management type positions, and have less trouble getting along at work than I do with my own wife.

But I try so hard. God do I try. I dont' know why I do. Maybe that is part of the problem. Maybe I need to just act like a jerk and show her no kindness or attention. It is all just so foreign to me. I grew up loving and respecting my mom, and that is another thing, my wife CONSTANTLY downs my mom. My mom has definitely made some poor choices over the years, but why does that give her the right to constantly down her all the time and brag about her own mom?

I don't know if I could leave simply because of the kids, and someone was right in that she would turn things around against me and I probably wouldn't get custody of them. I don't know that I would want to take them from their mom. I love them very much and would not want to be without them, but I know how much they love their mom. I have always tried to teach them to respect their mom and to say yes ma'am and no ma'am to her. It is so hard to get them to show me respect sometimes when she doesn't do it. In some ways she has poisoned them against me, and sometimes they say mocking things like their mom does.

I just want out so badly, but the situation is far more complicated than I can even express here. I want and NEED a relationship with a real woman. A sweet and kind person who is loving and gentle. Maybe that's too much to ask I don't know.

To answer someone's question yes I work and no she doesn't work. She has never worked. She uses me as a meal ticket. I am so tired of it.

Anyway thank you all for your advice and I will certainly consider all of these things.

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A female reader, Cateyes United States +, writes (19 September 2007):

Cateyes agony auntI'm glad you have so much wonderful advice from all the "aunts" out here, and I too, will have to agree with so much that Merrydee has said. If you don't let her know that you will no longer tolerate her words towards you and especially in front of the kids, nothing will ever change. And if it doesn't, then I know your kids will understand that you deserve to be with someone who will respect you and give you the love that you deserve. We all deserve love, we all deserve alot of things, but if we don't express that towards or loved one's, things can never change if they are meant to. I know you love her, and I am sure she is a wonderful Mother to the kids...or at least I hope so, however, do you not think your kids know that she is wrong in how she treats you? And do you think that it is right to have them grow up thinking that is how you treat your spouse? They need to learn now, and in hopes they will know not only is that wrong, but for them to not marry someone like this in their future. What a hard thing to say, but it's true. As long as you show your children all the love in the world, to be their for them as much as you can, that is the most important gift you can give your children. I'm not "for" divorce, yet I to am, however, in some cases, I do believe it should happen. And to live in a house where there is no love from your wife given to you...if it were me, I couldn't live there no more unless she did a 360.

My prayers are with you, and here hopes that you take what you need from all of us and may your life start with a new beginning soon. God Bless and Good Luck to you.

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A male reader, Uncle Trev United Kingdom +, writes (19 September 2007):

A lot of good advice here is offered already but I can only say what I would do in your shoes.

I would get away from this woman now and take the kids with me. If she is as bad as you describe your children would have sensed this and would prefer to be with you in the case of a split up anyway.

As far as marriage is concerned it sounds like you have really been dealt a rotten hand. Part of me cannot help think if she would have been any better if a few years ago when she started putting you down you were not very firm (verbally) with her.

The way you describe things though I doubt very much if she is worth the effort and the sooner you get away from this poor excuse for a woman the better.

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A female reader, Merrydee Ireland +, writes (18 September 2007):

Merrydee agony auntI wonder have you ever asked yourself if you love you? Do you know that if you consider yourself worthy of respect - and I am talking about deep down in your heart- if you treat yourself with respect, you will not allow her to treat you disrespectfully. This does not mean that you suddenly start tearing her down or treating her badly, but if you can calmly say to her, something like 'I do not deserve your disrespect (unkindness/putdown etc) and I am not prepared to accept it anymore, then simply walk away from the situation - if that is possible - if you stick with this manner, both towards yourself and in regard to your wife, you will start to have respect and proper love towards yourself and it will reflect in how your wife treats you, I know this will work because although it took me time I have come through the situation. In the end my husband did not care enough for himself to work on resolving our issues, but I can tell you for certain, I am a much stronger (but not tough) person who respects and cares for myself as much as I would do for someone else, and I have been astonished at how people around me have changed in their manner towards me, including my ex. While he has chosen not to work on himself, he most definitely does not treat me in that derogatory and demeening manner any more. I did not have to be nasty, just began to care about myself in a healthy way.

I hope this helps you, marraiges can sometimes be saved, but it does take work, and that starts first with ourselves.

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A female reader, On Cloud9 United Kingdom +, writes (18 September 2007):

On Cloud9 agony auntI read your story with a mixture of feelings, I felt sincerely sorry for you all, in no particular order, your wife, your children and yourself. This is not a happy household and it is having a detrimental effect on you all.

It does take two to build a great relationship and equally there are two sides to each story and I am sure she has her reasons for acting the way she does but that does not make it acceptable. You do not deserve this treatment regardless what she may be going through herself. I could try and help you understand what may be making her react so badly but there would be little point in that as if she doesn't want to acknowledge it herself then it is a pointless exercise unfortunately.

I am assuming you have younger children and from my own personal experience I can say that children will watch their parents relationship very carefully and are very likely to end up mimicking it in later life within their own relationships so it is very important to consider this. You love your children very much and it is just something that you should bear in mind. I rarely see the logic in staying together for the children sakes as this can also have very scarring effects on them too. Of course this may not be so exposed in government statistics but as I say from personal experience I can assure you it does.

You have had enough and have done everything you can and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life that you dream of. You do not sound at all selfish and anyway you deserve to be a little selfish, as this is your life. Give yourself permission to be happy - You are not a puppet so do not need someone pulling your strings. Learn to walk on your own first before you embrace on your next relationship.

Please be brave, and as the lady writes below, take the important steps towards getting legal advice and cut those strings once and for all.

I wish you all the very best x

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A female reader, lovejunkie Canada +, writes (18 September 2007):

lovejunkie agony auntWell don't die, that won't solve anything and it will leave your kids devastated. I assume you've talked to your wife about her abusive behavior and to no avail? I'm wondering if she'd consider entering into couple's counseling? If not, I would suggest you try a trial separation. Maybe that will wake her up and make her realize she's driving you away. You've done everything humanly possible to bring about a change and she continues to be abusive and mean. I seriously doubt she loves you, and most likely she feels trapped and thus lashes out at you. It could be that she sees you as weak, because you've put up with so much, and have tried to accomodate her every wish. I'm wondering if you just need to have a good old fashioned, manly melt-down and get angry with her, tell her you're not her doormat anymore, then pack your bags and go move out for awhile. Perhaps if she sees you as a man, instead of a mouse, she'll find new respect for you. If none of that works, then file for divorce, you deserve to be happy and so do your kids and this cannot be a healthy environment for them either. Good luck.

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A female reader, eternal8eclipse United States +, writes (18 September 2007):

Oh you poor thing... Please don't stay in that marriage. You are hurting your children MORE by staying in a loveless marriage and they will grow up and think that's okay & I'm sure you don't want that. It's not healthy for you or your children and judging from the way your "wife" is acting she's not that happy either so PLEASE you need to get out. Since you've already tried counceling and it didn't work you now know you've done everything you can to save your marriage but BOTH partners have to want it and it looks like your marriage/relationship is very one sided. You can't MAKE someone care about you or love you, and the more you try the more she'll distance herself. It seems to me like she knows she "has" you so she knows she can get away with treating you any way she wants and you won't go anywhere. She thinks "Why should I change? I get everything I want out of him and he's always going to be there?" The only way you will make her wake up and appreciate you is if she thinks she's lost you. If she loves you at all this will give her the wake-up call she needs... but if not and she doesn't try to come back to you, then you'll know you haven't lost anything. You deserve better sweetie, you and your children deserve to be happy.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 September 2007):

I'm so sorry darling, you sound as if you live in hell. My advice, don't leave the house yet, talk to a lawyer first and get legal advice as to how to initiate the divorce proceedings so that they are in your favor as far as custody and property is concerned. This is important as she has already shown that she manipulates the situation. Do not give a hint to her until you have met with this attorney. After you have received sound legal advice, you will have much to think on. Try to keep to the higher ground, and if you leave before an affair (which is the result of unhappiness), hopefully this split can be accomplished without major trauma. Children are amazingly resilient. My only worry is that she will turn her negativity toward them with you not there day-to-day.

I think you should leave her and her negative traits and habits. Find love and a woman who smiles to the friend who shares her life, and who holds out her arms in love and comfort to you, as you do to her.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 September 2007):

How old are your kids? What kinds of things does she put you down about? Does she ever mention divorce? Does she work? Do you work?

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