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My wife won't allow me to choose our son's name, constantly undermines me and hates me

Tagged as: Marriage problems, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (25 February 2018) 10 Answers - (Newest, 26 February 2018)
A male Australia age 36-40, *oul832016 writes:

My wife is 33 weeks pregnant with our first son. Today she started to fight with me.

I had chosen a name for our child. She didn't even pay attention.

I picked her up from the church today and she announced that she wants our son to be named by the priest instead. I was a bit offended and said that I think we should choose the name and I asked what was wrong with the name I had chosen.

She got defensive and angry. We argued a bit and she started running down my choice of name. I said Alex Lee is a great name. It pays homage to his Chinese roots and there are doctors and movie stars named Alex.

She yelled that all I can think of is something so low for our son and that I should have chosen a blessed name or a name of a president so our son can be extra ordinary and top of everything.

I said she is undermining me because she always puts down my choices and wants others to choose the name. I couldn't explain to her that I feel utterly powerless because even my child's name won't have any input from me.

She told me to f... off and threw a bottle of water at me (closed bottle but I wasn't hurt).

Later I found out Alex is in the bible and stood for multiple kings etc.

She still has issues with kissing me btw. She holds on to some resentment from 10 years ago.

Her mother is living with us to help cook and to prepare to help clean up for the baby.

I feel like a useless father. My wife again said my family name is cursed. I think it will be the last straw if she attempts to register the baby's name using a different surname.

Later I went lied down on the couch to avoid going to her. She started throwing packets of food I bought at the supermarket. It didn't hurt me.

Now she is sleeping and it's only 5pm...

Earlier in our marriage she also used to ask others for their opinions on stuff like what movie to watch. I'd suggest somewhere to go or a movie to watch and she would turn her nose up at them and ask other guys.

I guess I should feel happy that I get to choose the baby equipment as she is showing zero interest in it.

I thought things were going well but today is another example of how she fights with me and puts down my suggestions.

Even my own child is a battleground. He isn't an object but I feel like my opinions on the names should be respected and not called downright s* and *. I almost felt like saying I don't care anymore and she can do whatever she likes. I'll just behave like I don't have a kid if she is going to take away even my right to have a say on my child's name. Right?

Words cannot describe the powerlessness and sadness I feel right now. If my ideas are not good enough, then I don't know why she married me. She just wants to do whatever she feels like.

She overhead me muttering to myself that if she is going to tell me to f...off then maybe I should f...off and not come back. Her response was good you can go away if you want.

I don't care anymore what my son is named. She can ask the priest. And the priest can be the father. I guess she has all the power.

I don't know how much longer I will put up with this.

I need some helpful advice to navigate this. Thanks!

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States +, writes (26 February 2018):

Don’t have anymore children with this woman. From what I read I cannot imagine what made you think having this one with her was a good idea.

Your best bet would be to divorce this woman and if you ever do marry again find someone you love who loves you and you are compatible with.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (26 February 2018):

I am sorry but you need to divorce her and get sole custody of that baby.Her actions prove she is not stable enough to raise a newborn.There were times I have had no sleep in over 24 to 48 hours with a newborn.How could your wife even begin to handle that with her mental illness?With her I fear that baby would be in danger.If you want your baby to actually grow up get custody.You are going to be a dad...now it is time to put the baby first.Your wife will emotionally damage and maybe pysical damage this child.She has shown you who she is...why can't you believe it?

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom +, writes (26 February 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntOP, regarding the baby name, I think sitting down together and looking through a baby names book and the Bible together is a very good idea.

Regarding everything else, including her unreliable temper, I think you need serious marriage counselling and perhaps consider whether your baby is actually safe around someone who is so unpredictable with their aggression. Having a baby is incredibly stressful for the most stable parents, but having a temper like she does is not safe around a child, let alone a newborn baby.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 February 2018):

Your long explanations and back story amount to one conclusion. You and your wife are incompatible.

She has serious anger-management issues; and throwing things and having tantrums is not healthy behavior. Picking up knifes and tossing sticks at her own mother tells me that woman is going to hurt someone; and it is questionable if she can be trusted around a baby with a temper like that.

I wish the best for you. You explained a lot, but none of it says you two were suitable for marriage. You fight too much, she has serious issues with anger and violence; and the sad part is bringing a baby into all of this.

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A male reader, soul832016 Australia +, writes (26 February 2018):

soul832016 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I read the posts and thanks for the straight up advice. I chose the name because my wife told me she didn't mind if I chose the name. I never expected her to suddenly tear my suggestion apart by calling it so low.

You're right that there are a lot of Alex and Lee in the world. I might need to sit down again and browse baby names. This time with my wife present. I told her I will grab the bible and sit with her so we can read off named and see what we think.

Yesterday I think was a bit of the past coming through. You see, just after we got married, she had a male friend back in China that she liked to Skype. I felt it was inappropriate for her to brush off my movie suggestions and then ask her guy friend because he had seen more movies. So we would be spending bonding time together over a movie chosen by another man. Can you imagine how I felt?

Anyway, yesterday brought back some of those feelings and like I was being brushed off or pushed out because my suggestion was put down and she said she would ask others. It would have been so much more pleasant if she could have said "dear your suggestion is alright but I don't think it fits. How about we ask the pastor?".... NOT "the name you chose is s*&^ I'm going to ask the pastor to choose a name for us" (I replied in defence that the name sounds like a movie star or doctor) "doctor and movie star is so low. Why do you only think so low? Give our child a name that's Godly and the best so he can be number one"...

Do you see the dynamic? Straight up attacking my suggestions rather than just validating. That gets me to react defensively. How would you react if someone said your valuable suggestions were crap?

I guess someone else will name my baby was a comment I made out of feeling like my voice was unheard and put down. I'm not immature. I'm not going anywhere. Today I need to choose the baby seat, steriliser, baby bottles, stroller and look at what we need to pack up for the hospital in case he comes along early.

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A male reader, soul832016 Australia +, writes (26 February 2018):

soul832016 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I didn't include it in my original post but the reason she sometimes struggles to kiss me is resentment over an alleged incident. We were going through a rough patch and she was doing a lot of overseas tours to other countries as a tour guide. We had been fighting a bit and were engaged at the time. I got to know a girl around our age and one day went to dinner with her.

My wife found this our and understandably was very angry. Went to confront the woman and thought about leaving me etc. And all I had done was have a dinner with a colleague!

She was going to dinners with other guys from her company as a work thing and would hide me from her colleagues because in China you get ostracized for dating a foreigner. She didn't want to lose face or risk her job.

She said at the time that many things are like a tree and once you damage the wood it stays there forever. I thought she was crazy.

We came to my home country and that was a big adjustment. I asked her now that we were married if she could move past the hurt now that we had been through enough and we were starting a new life together. She said yes.

We had a lot of adjustment problems and fought over money early on. She has earned the most and used her real estate wages to secure a property portfolio. My wages pay most of the bills but are nowhere near her wages. I'm currently studying part time for a health degree. I work full time in a very good job.

Early on when we came back to my country we fought and she would throw things and damage property. I left for 2 days and got my parents to help move some of my stuff out when she came at me with a knife. She promised to never do that again and I came back.

She used to get very angry and run off suiting herself. Block my phone, stay out, go out with male colleagues etc. You could say the first 5 years of my marriage were probably abusive towards me. I was soft and I can remember crying on a few occasions. The worst time was after we had just married. One day afterwards when we returned to the apartment we argued and she cut up all the ceremony photos. Threw then on the ground and cut up the bear I bought. Spat on it and tore our marriage certificate. Other times she smashed plates. Each time she would act cold for 2 days and then apologise.

The worst time for me was just before we bought our first home. I was in a rut and kept thinking life isn't going to get easier. My wages were down and she had travelled many times alone back home for up to a month at a time. She socialised a lot with friends and went away but was always too busy to go anywhere with me. So for 5 years we barely went anywhere together and it wasn't enjoyable. I worked and came home to wallow in pity. Just living out of a bedroom in a share house. Depression set in a couple of times and I am ashamed to say that I got thoughts of ending it all.

But I kept it to myself and told myself if I push forward with work and study that life would get better. An abusive boss pushed me to make a change to a better job with better wages. I was around more often and we had more time for each other. Things improved.

During the pregnancy we have had a couple of fights. One major one because I hadn't slept for 2 days and I told her I would pick her up from her company near home. I drove for almost 1 hr from my job. But she left me waiting more than 15 mins. I had to get home so I went home and passed out on the bed. I missed several of her calls. She came home so angry at having to take a taxi around the corner. She started to smash objects outside. In a fit of rage she kicked the printer and nearly collapsed. I had to rush her to ED because I thought she was losing the baby. I had tried to grab stuff out of her hands and tell her to calm down and that I was sorry. She never hit me. But I was so shaken up.

In the past 12 months things have been improving. She has begun to realise she isn't invincible in her job now that the market is slowing down and she realises the job pressures. Having a baby is changing our lives. She has been a lot closer to me. It's the past that I hope doesn't still bother her.

My insecurities at the moment stem from worrying that I am just not interesting to her. I say this because I have seen her needing porn to get in the mood. I already told her that it's insulting to me because we are supposed to focus on love for each other. But she still even has trouble with kissing.

I blame myself and say I'm just too quiet, too boring. Say if only my pay was a lot higher and I could lead the family in getting a house and taking her travelling. Right now my wages pay a mortgage, bills, car loan and I still need her assistance to help pay the bills.

She has her own pressures because she needs to make sales to pat back all the money she borrowed to settle the properties and she needs to make the shortfall in costs on the portfolio.

When I talk about getting a second job, she says don't kill myself because I have my full time work and studied to worry about. But I think a second casual job a couple of days a fortnight will help save money towards the baby and maybe a holiday.

Mother in law is living with us to cook for my wife and it's just as well because my wife hates cooking and wasn't getting good nutrition for the baby. She fights a lot with her mum though. I usually leave the room and I have recorded them because they get very loud. I have seen my wife throw chopsticks at her mother. So rude :( Yet somehow they carry on after the arguments as though nothing happened. I'm worried for our son growing up in that kind of environment.

My wife mentioned that she could feel our son moving a lot yesterday when we had the argument over the names. Her yelling was distressing him in the wound.

I have been called a lazy and useless father only once so far. And that was when I had to drag her out of bed at 8am at the hospital to book in. I had just driven home off night shift and was exhausted. Going to the hospital was supposed to be a happy time. I walked up there almost in tears. Mum later spoke with me and reminded me I'm going to be a great father as I'm educated and sensible.

I may be sensible but perhaps not sensible enough given that I'm here posting looking for support.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 February 2018):

Dear sir, I have sympathy for your problem. I think your wife may be suffering from pregnancy-hormones; but the violence might mean something much more serious. She may be suffering from mental-illness not yet diagnosed.

Not knowing you or the type of man you are, we cannot judge you. There are two-sides to every story. You tell only one side. I would love to hear hers, she is quite angry with you.

Doesn't sound very Christian of your wife to use such foul language; and be so nasty and spiteful. Apparently she is deeply distraught, hurt, and hateful.

You didn't have to push that name-issue as far as you did. Now you've created a power-struggle within your marriage. What a way to welcome your newborn son! Forgiveness is divine; but she follows only what suits her, apparently. There are many passages in her Bible referencing forgiveness. Seems she hasn't read them, but the priest has more influence on her than scripture.

Now you did mention she is holding onto some resentment that happened 10 years ago; but you didn't elaborate on what that was. Let's assume you cheated. It takes a long-time, if ever, for some people to forgive. Sometimes the knife of betrayal or abuse can cut so deep, some cannot heal and get past it. It makes no sense to remain with someone you can't forgive; and equally makes no sense to remain with someone who can't forgive you.

You decided to stay in the marriage; in spite of her scorn and resentment; now complications set-in with the arrival of a newborn child in the picture. She is now using the baby as a pawn or tool of punishment; and trying to force you out of the family-equation. She can't really do that.

It's only a fight, if you insist on making the name-issue a reason to disagree. Giving-up in bitterness while holding a grudge is only prolonging the animosity that feeds disagreement. Let her name the child, and end the disagreement. Stop holding the baby as a hostage; because you two have a terrible marriage. That innocent child has nothing to do with your mess. Past or present!

You are not in a war fighting for power. It's your marriage and family! You might seek marriage-counseling; but a battle like yours, 10 years in the making, might be far from saving. This is supposed to be a time to come together, not bicker and fight. Lay-off her!

I gather you are sticking-by due to tradition and maybe for religious reasons; but from your description, divorce is inevitable.

She is just too angry and you're too stubborn and hellbent on forcing her to bend to your will. There is no remedy short of splitting the baby in half! Better you two separate! What's the point of staying with a woman so angry and embittered? You can't force yourself on her!

You should only care about being a good father. If you cheated on your wife and remained married even when you see she can't forgive you; then there lies the problem. If she harbors anger and resentment that she can't put aside; then you will have to divorce her, and seek your paternal-rights and child-custody through the court-system. She is only going to keep this up; and you two are too busy maintaining your power-struggle to just let it go.

Whatever you did in the past is still in your present. Your wife doesn't seem to love you, and she only keeps you around to punish you. You'll just have to come to terms with that; and seek your paternal-rights through legal-means, in spite of her scorn.

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A male reader, TylerSage United States +, writes (25 February 2018):

TylerSage agony auntIt could just be the pregnancy hormones talking but her behaviour does comes off pretty extreme plus you haven't provided much details as to how your wife generally treats you. But, from what I gather about the movies and the 10-year-contempt she holds towards you, I vote not so well.

You wife, my friend sounds like a text-book narcissist. She picks fights with you, she berates you, she explodes in a rage whenever she feels like it or wants something done her way, her empathy isn't very convincing and she manipulates you by toying with your emotions. Please, please, please, please, please, please do some research and look up "symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder" or "symptoms of a narcissistic wife". If she doesn't match the symptoms great, you're wife's just a bully, but if you think she does match the symptoms, then you need to arm and protect yourself AND YOUR SON with the facts about people with this mental disorder. As you can see she appears to only think about her needs.

Imagine if all the tables were turned and the things your wife did to you, was done by you instead. Everybody would immediately yell "abuse" and "lock up the bastard". Don't let her undermine and use you, whether she's your wife, mother of your child, friend or foe. Her behaviour is toxic to you and your son. I think you should make every effort to avoid her where possible to avoid the unnecessary fighting and stress she cause. She manipulates you by PURPOSELY DOING AND SAYING things she KNOWS will hurt and upset you, don't think for a second she doesn't realise what she's saying to you. But when you feel like crap, she feels better about herself so she keeps doing it. It's like an addictive drug or game for her. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS GAME. Don't allow her to have that kind of control over you. When she puts you done just ignore her, when she undermines you, just ignore her, aims to start a fight just ignore her. I'm sure you've noticed she acts like a 5 year old child.

Outside the possible spectrum of being mental ill I think you should suggest some counselling to deal with the issues you two have on your plate. I hope for your sake she just has regular issues she needs to work on.

All the best.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (25 February 2018):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntFirstly and most importantly, you are going to be a father. Regardless of the difficulties between you and your wife, your son will always be your son and will need you to be involved in his life. Have you heard the Shakespeare line, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"? Regardless of what your son will be called, he will still be the same beautiful baby boy and still your son. You need to man up and be an adult here. There is not room for two children in this scenario at the moment. Regardless of how frustrated you feel with your wife (and I can totally understand why you feel that way), you cannot seriously contemplate taking out your frustrations on the child.

I am a little puzzled that you say YOU picked the name. Why did you not pick it together with your wife? Why did you not discuss names and find one you both like? It may not be YOUR first choice, or even HERS, but it will be one you are both ok with. You are both equally this child's parents.

Bit worrying that your wife is not interested in any of the "equipment" for the baby. Most mothers get busy buying stuff as soon as they find out they are pregnant. Is there a possibility she may be suffering from some sort of depression?

As she seems to respect her priest, can you have a word with him about your problems and get him to mediate? Having a baby is always a stressful time, but it will get far worse before it gets better. When the baby is crying and you are both tired, you need to support each other, not be wasting more energy fighting.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom +, writes (25 February 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony aunt"I think we should choose the name and I asked what was wrong with the name I had chosen" - repeat that out loud. " I think *we* should choose the name and I asked what was wrong with the name *I* had chosen".... Sure, the priest naming your child is odd, but you can't say "we" should name the child, then make it about a name *you* chose alone.

Look through a baby name book together and choose TOGETHER. Also, whilst there are many "Alex" and "Lee" boys out there, it doesn't scream Chinese heritage, so it's not a great tie to the name. Perhaps you should compromise, but choosing the first name together and the priest choosing a middle name or her choosing the first name, you choosing a middle name and the priest choosing a second middle name. The child will eventually choose for himself, anyway.

"I don't care anymore what my son is named. She can ask the priest. And the priest can be the father. I guess she has all the power." STOP BEING CHILDISH. You are the father, so act like it. Do NOT tell her what she should do. It's your baby TOGETHER, not just yours. COMPROMISE. Are you sure you're ready to be a father, if you can't even navigate naming together and immaturely imply the priest should be the father all because your wife feels it's important for a religious person to impart a name on your son?

No, I wouldn't allow someone else to name my son, but that's where you compromise. Be an adult. This goes so much deeper than his name.

I understand you are hurt, but don't be selfish. This baby is about to be born and, unless you truly are a horrible father, you will love him REGARDLESS of his name: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - William Shakespeare.

You probably shouldn't still be married to her, if you feel she is always dismissing your suggestions. Heck, shouldn't have got her pregnant and brought a baby into this pairing. This isn't just on you because she's 50% of the marriage, but you need to find a way to deal with this. Marriage counselling seems the best option because a newborn will only drive a bigger wedge between you and arguing over parenting will only damage the baby.

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