19 answers

Cranky Husband

my husband works away from home all night and through the next afternoon. and then goes to sleep when he gets home for his next shift. so we do a lot of talking on the phone. the problem is, he is always so pessimistic and complains constantly and worries needlessly about everything. his tone is always negative. being on the phone with him instantly takes the wind out of my sails. it gives me a headache and makes me want to throw up. if i try to say something to help him see things a different way he gets even more angry. then we end up fighting and hanging up. its like he wants to be miserable. and he calls me sometimes 10 times, the first time usually being while he knows i am still sleeping in the morning, around 7. so from the time i wake up my entire day is just listening to him complain. and his mood is contagious.
i am really frustrated right now. i dont even know what my question is. does anyone else go through this every day and what on earth should i do?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Is there a time when he's not like this...maybe over the weekend?? You have to try to find a time to talk to him when he would be more open to it. Communicate to him that you want him to be happy and that it's upsetting to you when you see him so unhappy. Ask him if there is something that you can do to help him be happier. Is changing jobs an option?? What do you think the root of the problem is?? Maybe someone nuetral should intervene...do you have a mutual friend that could talk to him??

You are too funny!!!! Anyway sweetie, I think maybe he needs to talk to someone. I mean, if you have a heart condition, you take medicine and go to the doc. If you are depressed and angry you should also seek healing. I don't know....maybe I should take my own advice!!! Take care!

More Answers


There are deeper issues here to consider. His behaviors are just the symptoms.

How long have you been married? Children? Why is he trying to disrupt your sleep or bring you down? Has he always been negative, even before you married him? If so, then this is the way he is and you knew it.

However, if this is a recent change in behavior or has worsened considerably, you both need to be vulnerable and discuss these issues without being confrontational or accusatory. Your husband might be feeling really low self esteem, which is no excuse, but which puts him at risk for someone or something to come along and raise it. Is he underemployed? Men's self esteem is often tied into their job or paycheck.

And you can always not answer the phone every time. Tell him you will at answer such and such a time or he can leave voice mail.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

all these ladies gave great advice, and i agree that it sounds like a depression. working through the night during the winter is really really tough, because our bodies are programmed to be awake during light and to sleep when its dark. i went through a severe depression working third shift through the winter. something that may help would be to get one of those full spectrum lights that he can sit in. also you can get melatonin from any vitamin aisle. that's something our bodies normally produce when we're exposed to sunlight. or send him tanning ;) a doc. may look at it as seasonal affective syndrome (?) or real depression.

what is important for you is to not let it get to you. when he starts in on it, like another lady said, gently end the conversation. you dont have to tell him 'oh youre bringing me down' you can say 'oh no the baby did this i have to go' or 'i'm really busy right now can i call you back' and then 'forget' to call him.

good luck

1 mom found this helpful

I feel for you, my husband gets like this, but not all the time and not every day. He, however, got on anti-depressants, what made him really notice how he was acting was when I would point out how his mood effected our kids (at that time they were 3 and 1 -- total barometers of others feelings)

This may sound crude, but try not to talk to him so much during the day, use the excuse you were in the shower, get out of the house and have not signal, etc. My experience is that you can't help him change unless he wants to change, what you can do is take care of yourself, if his mood is rubbing off on you, put yourself in a situation where you are effected less or encounter it less.

And also try to just tell him, "you are in a rotten mood, and you are going to make me in one, and I don't have time to be depressed today, so I am done talking to you for now." I used to do that to my husband all the time, it would make him mad, but I was happier, and he usually calmed down and came to his senses by the time we talked again.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe he needs to talk to a professional and get some anti-depressant medication. Explain how you love him but that he is bringing you down. Stay happy. Laughter is the best medicine. I wish you well and God Bless.

Hello S. my name is C. im not sure what you have been told so far but here is my opinion,stop walking on eggshells around him,let him know how you feel and dont apologise for it. I'm sure you know that if something isnt done soon your not goin to have a marriage to save. My husband is a worrier too and it drives me nuts but I just tell him tht things will work out .. they have to and whatever happens we will deal with it as it comes as we always do. Lay it out for him tell him that he shouldn't call you until he gets a better perspective on things. Kids pick up on this behavior and im sure you dont want that. He has a right to his feelings and so do you but he shouldnt want to bring you down. Maybe he needs couseling,maybe you can go together? Im just throwing ideas out there..let me know how it goes... you can contact me on yahoo behindthesehazeleyes75.. ttys

Dear S. Q,
I know what you are going through. My husband is cranky all the time because! Well, he says its his job he hates, or that I don't do things he ask me to or the way he wants me to or .....
He has a very negative attitude about life his, mine, ours. I have gotten to the point that I am so depressed about everything that I just hate coming home from work. I knwo he is waiting there with more of the same blah blah blah!
We have a two year old daughter, and I don't want to leave my husband and upset my daughter, but I am getting to the point where I just can't stand this anymore. He picks fights with me every day no matter what time. He will call me up and start one from work.
I wish I knew what to tell you to do, because I'm not currently doing anything myself, but I am thinking of walking out t he door. I might be poor, but I won't have to listen to that everyday any more.
What do you want to do. What is in your head to do about this?

Hi S. Q! My name is D. and for several years I went through the same thing. My hubby works nights, but he can't really call me so often. He hardly spent any time with me or our 2 children. We were constantly fighting. I have been reading both Sylvia Browne and Doreen Virtue books. They have helped me tremendously. I realize finding the time to read our books isn't easy, but give it a try. I read 5 minutes here, 7 minutes there, whatever. We finally went to see a therapist and learned he was depressed. I was getting depressed cause he made me feel so bad. He is currently taking a med for depression and he is 100% his old self. He would not be happy if he knew I was telling people he was on meds, but if it helps you, then it is worth it. Take care.

Hi S. ~
I was married to one of those. It got to the point that hearing his voice, or him walking through the door gave me a panic attack. I tried marriage counseling, to no help.. I walked on egg shells as to not start a fight, that didnt seem to help either. I was miserable and depressed. I got a divorce. Good luck to you.

This may be tough to do, but perhaps it will let him understand how you are feeling.

When he calls you, the minute he starts turning into a negative Nancy, politely and gently end the conversation. Sure, as a wife, every woman has to listen to some sort of complaining or whining but this seems to be totally excessive. Don't give him an audience. When he starts up with his "woe is me" garbage, cut him off.

Explain to him that you do love him very much, but that the conversations you two are having are destructive to your relationship. Let him know that when he is ready to have a civil conversation that is two-sided, then you two can talk. You shouldn't have to be the one always giving and giving and giving.

Sounds like you have a very unhappy husband! The first thing you need to realize is that it has nothing or little to do with you. He happens to be miserable and he uses you as his "sounding board" to blow off steam. No doubt he probably hates the hours he's working, (who wouldn't?) and probably his job too. I'm supposing it isn't an option to get him into another job, so my advice is this: Since opposites attract, you are probably by nature an optomist and even a cheerful person. Recognise that this is your contribution to this relationship and don't allow him to "drag you down". Let him say whatever he wants. Listen, and show you understand his concern or pain or view. You don't have to agree with him. You also do not have to present another side because he will perceive it as being "against" him. What he wants is someone to unload on, and to feel that his points are valid. (chances are that he doesn't feel he's valued at work). Men need to feel important and in control.(hense the many phone calls)Try preparing yourself before you answer his calls. Decide you will not be "sucked in" but will keep your tone light and gentle. Don't "react" to comments that you don't like. Have something positive or upbeat to tell him about to take his thoughts off what he has to say. (i.e. "you'll never believe what the baby got into today!" Perhaps you can steer the conversation to something less volitile and set a different mood. I suspect that although he doesn't say it, hearing your sweet voice on the phone when he is at work and cranky somehow makes things more bearable to him and he doesn't even realize that is why he calls you so much. He also doesn't realize that he's ruining it by his negativity. I hope you have some days off that you can have playful personal time?

Lots of good thoughts out there!
One thing I learned through the struggles as the optimist: Men are so very different from women.
Men derive their sense of value, worth, and well-being from what they do. Their job. (both work and home)
When there is dissatisfaction with that job, there will be negative talk. My husband was unemployed for over a year after getting out of the army and that was a horrible year. I worked full-time (having been the at-home mom for five years) to pay the bills and he stayed home with our sons. I thank God that we made it through that time.
When he has a day off and is not angry, try and talk about how he feels at work. Is someone giving him a hard time? Has he been reprimanded or corrected? Did he miss out on a promotion? If he can't point to anything, ask what he would do if he could do anything. (This may be a way out there kind of question but by answering he may put a finger on what's really bugging him). Don't offer advice as to fixing it (we hate it when they do that and so do they).
One thing I had to do with my husband was to ask (at the beginning of the conversation, like as soon as it heads south) "Is this venting and I should be quiet? Or do you wan t my response?" This gave him an opportunity to decide and it broke the flow of woe. It also helps you keep your mouth shut even when the other side of the situation is screaming for defense. Also, ask him if you could set a time to begin the calls (like after your up and started) so that you are better prepared to talk to him.
If you are the kind of family that does this sort of thing, ask him to make a list (on paper is best) of what makes him happy, his blessings. Then ask him to carry that with him. To remind him of the greatest things in his life.

Depression is a likely culprit. I just read an article that said that in its beginning stages, men's depression looks very angry.
Perhaps with reflection and some planning, a new job (with better hours) may help go a long way to brightening his world.

Good luck and try to remember that he vents to you b/c he feels safe with you.

has he ever thought of a job change......it sounds like he is getting frustrated with his job and being away from home all the time.......maybe he feels he isn't spending enough time with the family and it really starting to bother him......don't let it esculate because my friend went through the same thing, the only relationship they had was over the phone and now they are divorced. not saying that your relationship is like theirs but just an eye opener if he is unhappy with his job help him change it.

My Dad was this way and my husband has started this too. Just a week ago I started my husband on a homeopathic flower essences. He has really been MUCH happier and the whole house feels better. My children are also taking flower essences for them. Each person has their own special blend and I would HIGHLY recommend at least trying it. I am finding homeopathic methods produce better results with less side effects. The woman that made my husband's made a pillow spray so I could give them to him without him really realizing it. Until he was more receptive to it.

The changes have been great for us! Laura would be happy to help you, if you want I can pass along your contact information to her. She is great and will NOT call and bug you. She is an incredibly caring soul!


I would think that since his life literally revolves around work, he's probably frustrated, unhappy, depressed that he's never home with his family. My husband gets like this, as well, though not to this degree. He gets so frustrated that he's working so many hours, yet the bills continue to pile up. And while he's at work doing the same mundane tasks, day after day, it gives him hours on end to think about the fact that he's not home with his family, that no matter how much he works we're still going to have a pile of bills that seems never-ending, that he's missing out on stuff here at home and with extended family functions, etc., etc.
Let your husband know that you don't mind him venting at you, if needs to get things off his chest. But that the constant griping and complaining is bringing you down, along with him. Reassure him that you love him and want to be there for him, but that sometimes you need him to be there for you, too, despite his crazy work schedule.
Maybe have him schedule an appointment with his primary physician for a check-up, if he's willing. He may suffer from SAD, or general depression, which is treatable.
Good luck with this, S..

My husband tends to be this way too but when I mention it, he usually tries to change. I'd just flat out tell him, you ruin my day when you are negative non stop and if you can't change it, don't answer the phone! He'll change or not get an answer. It's hard enough being home and taking care of the kids, being a mother and taking care of things without being brought down in addition to everything else. I know, I'm there!

Is there a time when he's not like this...maybe over the weekend?? You have to try to find a time to talk to him when he would be more open to it. Communicate to him that you want him to be happy and that it's upsetting to you when you see him so unhappy. Ask him if there is something that you can do to help him be happier. Is changing jobs an option?? What do you think the root of the problem is?? Maybe someone nuetral should intervene...do you have a mutual friend that could talk to him??

Hello there! I know exactly how u feel! I have a bf of 4 yrs that is exactly the same way, and hard-headed too... no matter what I try it seems impossable to get him to see things in another light. Unfortunately I don't really have advice for you, except try your hardest to not let it get u down and ruin your day( i know, easier said then done!) But if u need someone to talk to u can e-mail me anytime. When i get frustrated and feeling down with this, then he tells me that I'M negetive and a pessimist, he refuses to see hisself as one. But when I'm feeling down I take a look at my beautiful boy, and he is so happy all the time, that ALWAYS brightens my day. But I don't have many femal friends, so I know when your significant other is the only one u talk to all day, its hard to not become the same way they are. I know with my bf though, his mother is the same way. It seems to be that they almost like being unhappy or miserable, even when things arent that bad, its like he makes it out to be absolutely horrable.
Anyways, sorry I dont have much advice for ya... but I do know what it feels like. You can e-mail me back anytime, if you'd like to talk to someone who is optimistic!!!

You are too funny!!!! Anyway sweetie, I think maybe he needs to talk to someone. I mean, if you have a heart condition, you take medicine and go to the doc. If you are depressed and angry you should also seek healing. I don't know....maybe I should take my own advice!!! Take care!

I believe you really need to sit down and talk on his day off. There are alot of people out there that will suck the life right out of you. Usually I say distant yourself from them but in your case he is your husband. He is very unhappy about something. Do you work outside the home? Perhaps all his working is getting him down and making him feel like he is the only one supporting the family. Unfortunely he doesn't (most men don't) see what you do as a mother of one. Find out what will make him happy and start working toward it as a couple. Let him know that you want to help him reach his dream and not just dream about. Good Luck.

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