Husband Continually Disrespects Me, I'm Overworked and Fed Up!

Updated on September 27, 2009
M.B. asks from Milwaukee, WI
14 answers

Hi everyone, many thanks for the good advice you've given me in the past. This request is of a more personal nature, but I'm at my wit's end. I know no marriage is perfect, and I try to count my blessings for all I have and always let the negatives go, but today I've had it. I feel so angry I could just take my baby and leave, but of course I can't do that. I have a new house for which I spent my entire life savings on the down payment (more than 25% of the value of the house), so I have no funds for "just in case". Also I just got a new job that I love and want to keep, with good care for my toddler girl. I've built a good life here, but I often feel like a single parent. My husband and I both work full time, but on top of that I do 99% of the parenting (his idea of parenting is to feed her treats and watch commercial tv. He recently tried to watch King Kong with her and I had to lead her away because that's not a safe movie for toddlers!) He won't change a diaper, put her to bed, rarely feeds her (recently he said he'd help by feeding her, gave her ravioli in her high chair, it was in her hair, on her clothes and on the walls, and I was left with the clean-up and bath.) He doesn't go to her when she's sick or get up with her, and he never puts her to bed. Also, he's had me use my credit card for house expenditures (such as all the furniture in our living room) and when he has forgotten to pay the phone bill or cable bill I have had to pay it and he hasn't paid me back. He makes more money than I do but I have to pay for my daughter's daycare out of my salary. So I do all housework, laundry and 99% of the parenting, and I have not had a whole "day off" in the 18 months since my daughter arrived. The only time my hubby takes care of the baby is at family gatherings, to show off "what a great dad he is", and I imagine he makes his family think he's very a very active parent. The only reason I don't give him grief about that is I don't want to be ugly with his family and I'm grateful for the little break I get, even if it's just because his family is watching. Too bad this is only once every month or two.
When my hubby gets home from work he just goes upstairs into his room and stays there drinking beer and watching tv all night, with a short break to say hi to his daughter, and thankfully he always uses a nice tone with her. Too bad he doesn't even feed the cats or change their litter (all of which are upstairs with him.) I rarely go upstairs except to make sure the cats have food, water and a clean box. It's as if he thinks his only job is his job outside the house and nothing more. When he cooks he does that because he likes to cook. I never ask him to cook, and I'd rather he didn't because every time he cooks he leaves an entire kitchen full of mess for me. This is my life and I grin and bear it, just thankful that my daughter and we are healthy, my hubby and I have jobs and food and a good home, and I *do* love him. But every so often my husband will treat me with such disrespect that I want to LEAVE. Today's example, he asked me to Google directions to a place he needs to be tomorrow, and when he didn't understand the location he yelled at *me* in an accusatory tone. Whenever he does that I say "I'll thank you not to use that tone with me" but he just does it again and storms off. Right afterward he called his dad to talk about where this place is, and he used his nice, normal tone with his dad. Any time my hubby gets impatient with me he *yells* at me in a hateful sounding voice, often in front of our daughter. I've told him not to do that, that I didn't want our daughter thinking that's a normal way for a man to talk to a woman. I want better for my daughter! And, I want better for ME. So, how do I get my husband to stop treating me like this? I work so hard to be a good mother, employee, and wife, and I feel treated like dirt for no good reason. I wish I could threaten to leave but that's not an option. How do I get my husband to use a respectful tone while talking to me? He uses his mean voice with me (and no one else) and I want it to STOP. Argh!!! Please help, thanks!

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So What Happened?

*EDIT* 11-11-09 Many Thanks everyone... just wanted to share an update since some weeks have passed... Hubby is doing a little better... still drinking, I don't think that will ever change, but he's been much better about spending quality time with our daughter, and she's blossoming because of it. Actually she says "Daddy, Daddy" all day long, almost seems unfair, heh. Anyway, hubby has been caring for the cats (occasionally forgets but I try to cut him slack for harmony's sake) and he's been using a respectful tone with me. I just wanted you to know things have been okay lately, and I feel blessed. Many Many Thanks, *Peace*!

Many many THANKS for all of your thoughtful replies! I wanted all of you to know that my hubby and I had a calm, rational talk tonight, and when I told him I had wanted to leave, he *apologized*, which is a rare miracle (he usually never apologizes because "he's never wrong", bleh.) I told him I will not tolerate "that tone" from him, ever, and he tried to say it might happen again the next time he's stressing out, and I said "no, if you feel the urge to yell at me in a mean voice, go upstairs and yell at the mirror." I also told him that from now on he will make sure the cats have fresh food and water and litter. He accepted that, so it's a start. I will be making a list of the work I do in the house and suggest some chores he can help with. Also I'll be making a list of the bills I paid and what I think is fair help from him. I may check out Al-Anon, and I may go to counseling, even if he doesn't go with me. I want our family to be emotionally healthy, and I want my daughter to grow in a household where love and respect are constant. I know it will take a while for us to get to a more "equal" place, but I'm hopeful that our talk tonight is a beginning. Again, many thanks to all of you. *Peace*!

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answers from Minneapolis on


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

Melissa, are you describing a marriage or some sort of business arrangement? In a lot of ways your house sounds like the one I was raised in, though my parents at least understood marriage enough to totally share the money. It really sounds like you need to talk to someone (probably a counselor, but maybe a wise married person) about what makes a happy marriage. It may very well be that a lot of his behaviors that are irritating you the most are things that he does to escape his own unhappiness in this situation. Please hear me say that I am NOT telling you that this is your fault! I am just saying that if you could be given a new way to look at this relationship and some positive steps to take from your side (I focus on your side because you can't change him, so the only power you have is by working from your side) then you might be able to see a whole lot of things change.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

This doesn't sound like a marriage to me. It sounds like some sort of partnership or aggrement. There is no "meeting of the minds" even.

Your money is seperate, you pay the bills seperate, you even say it's your house, you have seperate parts of the house you say you don't even go to his part, you lead completely seperate lives. If there is no meeting of the minds I can't see how this will work.

I would suggest therapy so you can air out how you feel in a completely neutral safe environment. You might be able to teach him to communicate better and stop with the raising his voice to you. But you can't change a cats stripes. If he doesn't see housework, childcare, etc as a man's job. He at all odds never will. Look at his mother. Does she do all this stuff without complaint even if she doesn't or never has had a job? If so his norm and expectation is that you will be like his mother and he will never see this stuff as his job.

So if you can still accept that you are pretty much a single mom with a "husband" for your house and the stability keep on keeping on.... But if you want more out of life. I'm sorry to say after you try the couciling I'm guessing you should be prepared to walk away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sheboygan on

Sell the house and walk away!! The writing is on the wall. It doesn't change..,.in twenty years you will still be keeping your money separate and living seperate lives!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

FIRST- You need to stand up for yourself. I bit my tongue for WAY too long with my husband until one night he went too far and I let him have it. I yelled right back and didn't shut up until I said everything I wanted to say. And then, after he went to bed, I typed up everything else that came to my mind and taped the letter on the bathroom mirror where he could see it.
Now, when the disrespect starts, I nip it in the bud as soon as possible. I don't want my boys to think they can be rude and condescending to anyone, especially their wives.
SECOND- You need to have joint funds and split the cost of household and childcare expenses. You might need to hire a lawyer if you're getting gouged and taken advantage of. Take steps NOW and do what you can to protect yourself and your daughter emotionally, physically, and financially. You don't have to do it alone.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have been married for 15 years to a man who is not horrible and yet not there for me - He works out of the home (2nd shift) and even though he had the opportunity to change he chose that it was not right for him. He helps very little with any house/yard chores, absolutly does not have any responsibilities with the kids and their schedule (except maybe playing cards on a Sunday or watch Football on TV - I have all girls). And I don't talk to him about anything "personal" also because of the way he talked to me in the past when I did.

I am telling you this so you know you are not alone.
Here are some things I would suggest:
* Counciling for yourself (just so you have a professional giving you an opinion or so that you are in a "safe" place to truly share and work through your feelings).
* Calmly tell your husband you are not happy and ask him if he would be willing to go to couples counciling (don't let him pressure to have it "out" at home)
* DONT do everything. Leave the cat box - eventually if it smells enough maybe he will change it. If he does not and complains - just say "I don't know what to tell you, I'm tired and busy and have just realized for my own health I just can't and won't do it all. AND Quit paying for everything. Hand him a bill and tell him - you have to pay for this - I don't have the money (even if you technically do)
* Go see an attorney (most offer a free counciltation) and see what your options are. (You most likely would not be the one leaving the home)
* Kids grow fast. I actually feel sorry for my husband, because of his lack of being involved my kids who are 11,14,18 really have no real personal close relationship with their dad - they care for him but never go to him for anything, including to talk or for a hug. How sad for him. Know that you most likly will not be able to change him - but in the end he will have "screwed" himself anyways.
* If he won't give you a night off - Hire a sitter and Just GO. Join a bowling team, a gym, volunteer at ??, whatever. I became involved with Direct Sales/Party Plan. This has been great for me - It's like having a hobby that pays me and have met some of my best friends. You just need to do something for you.

I am still married -but have found a "comfortable" place. Though I am not happy with my intimate relationship (or lack of) I have become okay with being the single mom in a married relationship. I don't hate my husband and without him I would not be able to make the house bills on my own, afford the extra's my girls love, and just don't want to struggle. That is my choice and works for me. You need to decide if you can find a way to be "content" with your relationship with your husband or if you just cant.

Not sure if I just vented or helped :o)
Best of luck, my heart goes out to you.



answers from Minneapolis on

You need to talk to him about it. I have played this game with my husband for years... The not doing anything to see if he will help... It doesn't work. My husband will not do anything at all, so if I stop it piles up and then I have way more to do than ever.
Recently I found a bunch of emails to his ex girlfriend (we ran into her and he hadn't seen her in 10+years)
They were inapropriate, even though she was not interested. This caused me to pack the truck... all of my family is 8hours away. My Mom convinced me to not drive that day.
Well, we fought for a week, and I decided to stay and try. He has treated me differently, better, this last month than ever before.
It is going to take a lot for me to be ok, but I have been with him 10+ years, and we have 2 children.
I am losing my point LOL
I feel like if we had been able to talk as openly as we are now, this would not have happened. If we could have talked more, maybe he would understand a little more of what I do on a daily basis etc.

You have to tell him that you are not going to be able to take it anymore, and tell him all of it. It is the only way you can make it better. And then, if he still doesn't get it... You need to leave. You can do it. You always have that option. Yes it would be hard, but isn't your health and well being more important?



answers from Duluth on

you know, it sounds like typical marriage gunk.

let me tell you, my husband and i havent had a perfect 5 years either, but we have found ways to combat the negativity BEFORE it takes over our relationship. we arent anywhere near perfect, but im telling you that the things we have done have meant a lot to us, especially seeing my parents go through the HORRIBLE times and do this stuff now as a solution to problems they had... and we are doing them as a prevention. we are really blessed that way.

if you are involved in church, ask if there is a family counseling program or something. it sounds like not a lot of churches have that, and if its just the preacher, i would go ahead and see if you like it, but im talking someone trained specifically in family ministries.

pamela and claudio consuegra had a marriage counseling radio show for a while, and though the show has ended, the archives are still online :

also, there is a preacher named mark gungor who does marriage seminars. this guy is HYSTERICALLY funny, and has a no nonsense straightforward way of understanding and explaining the differences between men and women. and not only is he SPOT ON but he certainly puts us in our place when it comes to marriage and relationships...

this video is FANTASTIC, and can really let you into the specifics of men vs women in how we think!!

also, an important thing to note; mark gungor talks about a circle that is important in marriage.
a mans primary interest in a woman is of course, sex.
a womans primary interest in a man is the relationship.

this can be the perfect standoff! if you dont have sex with your husband, he wont feel like doing the sweet romantic things for you, and if he doesnt do the sweet romantic things for you, you wont feel like haing sex. right? i mean, maybe its the opposite, in some marriages, its flipped, but generally this is the way it works.

so, what im trying to tell you is to not neglect your husbands feelings and needs. yes, sex is a need. it sounds really archaic, but just because a mans needs arent the same as yours doesnt make them wrong. after all, it sounds archaic to some men to have to be all romantic all the time, like its a movie or something.

heres the thing; when this circle is working, a man will remember that he has to be nice to you to have sex, and you will remember that you have to have sex in order to keep your husband happy enough to romance you. :)

its really that simple. keep that circle in check, and things will typically work out just fine. die to yourself and your feelings of frustration, and give in to your husband a couple times.

its important that your husband knows this. read this to him, and see how he reacts. :P also, show him the mark gungor clip. im sure he will love it, and i encourage you to buy his DVD!!! :D the whole entire thing is absolutly funny, and awesome, and can change your lives and your marriage for the good! :D its awesome. we love it. :)

even if you dont like religion, its still great information. men and women are the same whether religious or not. and hes not pushing anyone to be religious, and he says a lot of things that people would think are controversial. but its working for TONS of couples everywhere. its amazing. :) real, honest truth that is not beating around the bush. :P i love it.

anyway, there is also a thing called the flag page.
if you buy mark gungor's book "laugh your way to a better marriage" you will get one code for this flag page test, otherwise, my husband and i bought the whole seminar dvd and bought our 2 codes (12.50$)
its totally worth it. i cant really explain it to you, but its like a personality test that tells you what your motivations are, what you LIKE, as opposed to things you are good at. for example, i got that i like people, but im not really that good at relating to others. :)

anyway, i encourage you and your husband to check this stuff out. also, a big thing is to take time togehter withough your kids. you trust your teenager to babysit? then you have "free" babysitting :P

really. once a week, or once a month, take a whole day and go somewhere together. my husband talks well when driving. so we drive, he opens up and talks and talks and talks. :)i hope it works for you that way too.

its easy when we are parents to put our kids needs first, but what kids need the most is happy parents, and a secure home. put your husband first. dont neglect your kids, but put your husband and your marriage first. when the kids move on, you are left with your husband, so you'd better make sure to keep your relationship strong the whole time, kids or no kids. :0

one last thing that i discoverd; the frustration we women feel over doing all the chores and housework.. thats a problem, and its OUR problem. our husbands go to work every day, whether they want to or not. they go, no questions asked. its not a discussion in their heads of whether or not to go, they go. they dont want to go, and they go.
so, shouldnt we, as wives, have to also deal with some things we dont like? no one likes housework. very few people do. but we have to do it. we just do it! my husband goes to work every day whether hes frustrated, sad, sick, whatever. i stay home and do housework, whether i like it or not. its not fair of me to expect my husband to not only go to work when he doesnt want to, and then come home and do the housework because i didnt want to do it. how selfish! we have to get over the idea that we should only get to do things we want. no one does. its amazing the power of understanding that, and applying it in our lives.

one more video.
awesome stuff.

good luck. wanna chat just send me a message!


answers from Minneapolis on

I just wanted to tell you that I am going through just about the exact same thing right now. Your story sounded all too familiar, and I wonder on a daily basis what I should do about it! I'll be watching your responses.



answers from Des Moines on

Sounds like you need to have a serious talk with your husband. As calmly as you can, you need to tell him that you are not happy with the way he treats you and the balance of parenting responsabilities. Tell him you appreciate the fact that he is tired after work, but that you too are tired and most of the housework and childcare falls on your shoulders. If it keeps up, you are worried that it will have dire consequenceson your marriage.

I too have had a similar talk with my husband. He seemed shocked that it had come to this point for me, that I actually thought our marriage was in jeopardy. He's now made alot of progress and our family is more serene. He sometimes does fall into old habits and I remind him. Marriage takes work and it takes a long time to heal.

I hope your husband will hear you and that he loves you and your children enough to come to a solution.

It sounds stupid, but maybe it would help to write out what each of your "chores" are so that there will be no arguing about it later. It's easy for him to say he'll help out more and easier to forget what he should be doing.

Hope it works out for you!



answers from Milwaukee on

The PP's have given some good advice, thus far, and I'm going to repeat some info I gave on a thread yesterday.

There is a course you can take from a group called Life Skills International . It's called "Learning to Live, Learning to Love." It has helped my husband and I immensely and I think it could probably help you and your husband. The centers are listed according to state here so you can see if there is one near you...I drove 45 minutes one way to get to my classes, and it was worth it. Even if just you take it, it will do you a world of good. Good Luck!



answers from Madison on

I say just ignore him. If he can't ask you to do something nicely... just don't do it and don't respond, just go about doing what ever you are doing. I get so irritated with my husband because he gets home from work, sits on the couch with his dirty clothes and plays playstation 3 till i get HOme with our daughter at 5, then I make dinner, I clean up the kitchen after dinner, I get her ready for bed, I read to her... all while he sits and does NOTHING! So the other day (Yes I am pmsing & Work had been a very long day), I came home... laid on the couch and did nothing, and didnt talk and just watched tv (you know how men tune you out while watching tv), he asked me what was wrong... I said "Nothing, Just being you!, You have been home for over 2 hours and haven't done a single thing, you havent even let the dog out!" So I layed there for a while longer... He went in the kitchen, Made dinner, and even served it to me while I was laying on the couch! LOL! Yeah Men suck and are frusterating... But YOu will get thru it, Just ignore him when he starts to raise is voice or talk down to you! Just like you would if your kid was throwing a fit at the store wanting a toy or candy!

Oh yeah Also... You guys should have a joint checking.. That way you can manage the money. If you are the one paying the bills on time, you should have access to the money. Especially since if he ISN'T paying the bills... that can affect your credit, which would be horrible especially if you end up leaving him"



answers from Jacksonville on

I have a lot to say about this! My husband used to be this way a little bit. He thinks I should do everything because I'm actually a stay at home mom, but hey... that's a job too! If my kid had a nanny, the nanny would have a job, right? Why would it be a job for the nanny and not for me?

Anyway, I consider taking care of her my 9-5 job. His 9-5 job is the money maker. So since we both have "day jobs", anything that needs to be done before or after 9-5, we have to split. But sometimes he really wants me to do EVERYTHING. When he's like this, I tell him that I am not HIS mother, nanny or maid. I tell him very clearly what help I expect & divide the jobs between us. If he doesn't get it, I go on strike for a day and leave everything for him to do. I stay on strike until he starts helping. I don't do it in a mean way or start a fight, I just don't do anything all day (except keep my child happy and alive) and then he sees exactly how much I do around here so he gets a real appreciation of it. Then he can see that maybe doing the dishes or taking care of bedtime isn't too much to ask considering how much I do. I have to do that about once every six months, but I only have to do it for one day and he gets the point and starts helping again!

As for the mean voice, my husband rarely uses a mean voice with me... but when he has in the past, I just used an equally mean voice back. Yes, in front of the baby... but I agree with you that I don't want her to think that is how a man is supposed to talk to a woman. And I really didn't want to give her the idea that a woman should just "take it". I just decided it would be a better lesson to show her to stand up for herself. Now, this is not something I would want to do in front of her as a habit or repeated behavior. Luckily, my husband very rarely ever used a mean voice to me and once he realized I don't "just take it", he never really did it it was only a few times.

Believe it or not, your attitude is more important than his. I have really taken the loving attitude with him that I have to teach him how to respect me, how to be the husband I want and how to be a contributing member of a family. I try to approach it the same way I would teach my daughter something she didn't know how to do.

For example, when he didn't help, I found myself thinking of him "What a jerk! He doesn't act like the husband I want. He's so awful!" But say for instance, when my daughter didn't know how to use a fork did I think "What a jerk! She's such a pig!" No, of course not! I thought "Oh, this is something she hasn't been exposed to. Let me guide her, offer her options, minimize her failures and praise her successes until she is proficient"

So for example, if the ravioli incident had happened at our house I would have said "Thanks so much for feeding the baby! You're such a good dad!. Can you clean up the mess while I bathe the baby and then you can have your relaxation time while I read her bedtime story?" Happy smile, kiss on the cheek. It praised his efforts, minimized his poor choice in food, set clear expectations of how to help and gave him his relaxation time so he didn't feel cheated out of it. Most importantly, it left him feeling good and appreciated about the encounter instead of dealing with an angry wife. Nobody likes to feel incompetent.

Considering that this has been your dynamic for 18mos, any changes will have to be made gradually! Maybe you can start with a jobs chart and give him one job... then over time move some more over to his column!?!

The thing that helped me the most was actually UNDERSTANDING where he was coming from... heck, I would LOVE it if someone took care of everything around here while I relaxed. The key is letting him know that's not gonna happen... for either of you!

In our house, we split the jobs & the relaxation time. He takes over everything at 6pm for an hour to give me time to relax. Then we both help until the baby is in bed... then he gets his relaxation time and I leave him alone. It works out great for us and he tells me every day how happy he is being married and how much he loves his family.



answers from Fargo on

Wow, you sound really frustrated with your situation. The one thing that I will say is that you can't get someone else to change. Now, having said that, I think there are things that you can do (which may improve the situation) to make your own level of happiness increase.

First off, I would open up to him. Tell him your feelings, and own your own contribution to the situation ("I haven't brought this up before" or "I always do the cleaning, so it might seem like that is what I want to do")

Until you are open with him about your feelings, nothing will likely change.

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