How to Handle Negative Husband

Updated on March 13, 2009
F.M. asks from Bridgeview, IL
7 answers

My husband is a great loving guy. We have been together for 10 years and have two daughters. He works very hard and is always complaining about his job, the house that we live in and the life that we live. He is not satisfied with how much money he makes either. Eventhough he makes good money and I work part time too. When he makes all those negative comments about how we will never get anywhere in life and how our house is junky and our cars are old, I get very upset.

We have no debt other than our mortgage and we live in a middle class decent neighborhood.

How can I handle this situation. All this negativity in the house affects everybody including the children.

I love my guy and I want to see him happy. What should I do???

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answers from Chicago on

How fortunate that your debt-load is comfortable. Unfortunately, you can do EVERYTHING right for some people and it still won't make them happy. Has he always been this way or could he be suffering from some kind of depression or seasonal affective disorder? Just be careful about some of the pitfalls of these people - don't become their scapegoat and let them blame you for their discontent. You also can fall into the routine of always having to "justify" yourself and the good of your household, too.( "i.e... "No, our house IS lovely! Our car runs fine..." etc....) Or, perhaps he doesn't take responsibility for his mood, actions, etc.... (Again - scapegoating!) It's not fair that everyone in the household should have to walk on eggshells, waiting for someone's negativity to emerge!

It's hard to get to the root of a problem - women generally vent and get it off their chests - sometimes it's all we need! We don't have to SOLVE everything. Men, may need to vent but USUALLY need to SOLVE. Have you ever taken "the man's approach" with him? "What do you need from US to be happier????" He'll say "I dont need ANYTHING!" and you'll have to probe to get to the root. Don't be argumentative. This is like calling his bluff. No one needs to always walk around on eggshells. Tell him that "he is appreciated - thank him for the positive strides that he has made to the household and now, what does he need from his family to make his life more positive?" You might not get it on the first run. Be patient.

Have these discussions, alone, in a happier time - maybe in a neutral place, like a walk in the park. Confront him about his negativity and how it's affecting your children. Because it IS affecting the children, he may listen. Maybe there is something that is lacking in his life that would make him calmer - like some alone time with you. Doesn't have to be long spurts - it just has to be on a fairly regular basis - some time during the week or more. Even regular date nights are good!

There is a great book (with a quiz included in the book) called the "5 Languages of Love". (there's also a version for children, too") The premise is that there are 5 different ways that people receive love 1) Through gift-giving 2) Acts of Service 3) Quality Time 4) Affirmation and 5) Touching. My husband and I gave each other the quiz, a couple years ago and it was very interesting. How you "perceive" love is through a specific method. Your husband may "buy" you little gifts (his love language) but that may mean nothing to you if he is is not spending time with you (your love language). It was sooo enlightening! Something to consider.

You can do ALL the right things and this may still not help - he should go to a counselor, then, to get to the heart of the matter. If you have a church affiliation - perhaps someone there can help, too. Also, don't know what employment field he is in but everyone is feeling the pinch of the economy and that may be an added stress on his mind, since you and he seem so financially diligent - "getting ahead" could weigh heavily on his mind.

Love your tag line... "I love my guy and I want to see him happy." ... You can remind him of that too and HOW LUCKY HE IS! (maybe on the second date night!) ...because he is soooo lucky to have someone patient like you.

Best of luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

At one time my husband was also a 'downer' & he can still go there on occasion. I tend to be the cheerleader of my household, luckily through my career choice I have some very effective tools to keep my energy up. Focus on keeping your own spirit up & you will set the example.
Negativity is contagious but so is positivity. As a society we have been conditioned to more readily accept negative messages. A prime example is TV news programs and the newspapers. I avoid both & I still know what is happening in the world. I just dont immerse myself in it.
Thoughts & words have energy & you get to choose whether they are uplifting or not. This takes awareness & some practice. Choose to read or listen to something motivational or uplifting everyday. Even with your music choices be aware of the lyrics.
Some books I recommend: The Game Of Life & How to Play It, You Can Heal Your Life, Everything You Need To Feel Go(o)d.
Several community colleges are offering motivational classes that you could enjoy. And that is really the key~do more of what you enjoy & you will feel & spread that joy.



answers from Chicago on

I have a saying, "What you think about, you bring about"
It's true, our words and thoughts are powerful.
books, CD, DVD what ever floats his boat from:
Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer,Depok Chopra and the Movie, the CD or the book called "The Secret"

He must discover this on his own. We can't change anyone's mind but our own. You can be the messanger and then it's up to him if he choses to accept it. thereapist have us talk about the past, and that makes us feel worse.

Also, make sure he is eating a great diet of mostly fruits and veggies, not so much meat, dairy and junk food. Believe it or not, how we think has a lot to do with what we eat.



answers from Chicago on

With the state of the economy, who isn't depressed and anxious? Ask him to discuss with his doctor, though. He may not realize how depressed and hard to live with he has gotten.



answers from Chicago on

It is a natural reaction to become upset when someone is so negative. A husband is built to be the family provider. So when we get upset at our husbands when all they want to do is provide better for our family he will tend to complain more. He wants you to understand how important it is to him that he provides the best for his family. He is doing so. Tell him that a lot and thank him for doing so and also thank him for wanting more for your family. Try to override those upset feelings and return his complaining with thanks and praise for a job well done and his thinking about the needs of his famliy. He wants you to understand the importance of his job, which you do but your reaction to him isn't telling him that. If you are already doing these things you are ahead of the game. Minus the upset reaction and add even more thanks and praise and he will eventually get a little better at not complaining, but it may always be there because he is built that way and if he is more of a pessimist then it won't disappear completely.



answers from Chicago on

Dear F.,
It's hard I know, but at this time all you can really do is deal with it. The economy the way it is at the moment is so low the bottom is going to drop out. There are no jobs out there. If you think it should be changed then my suggestion is to go back to school. Seek a Bachelors or a Masters Degree. Make a change in yourself if changing your husband is harder to do.



answers from Rockford on

If his negativity is shrouding your home and family, then it is time to do something before it gets worse. His problem has become the entire family's problem. It sounds like he is stuck in a very pessimistic rut and needs help addressing this as soon as possible. He may be depressed already, or else heading towards it very quickly. If he won't get help, then you go alone to try to figure out how to deal with this. It would be good if he got some help alone, and then with you, but men are not always open to that. I would get some outside help soon before it starts effecting you and the kids even more. I'm sure he has no bad intentions toward you or them, but he does need to recognize that this is a problem and that it needs addressing.

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