I often hear from women who tell me their husband is mean spirited. They complain that their husband is arrogant and inconsiderate. It is not easy living with a husband who seldom says a kind word.
Matters of the heart can be further complicated if your spouse is also selfish and pretentious.
How can you live happily with a husband that treats you as if you are a second class citizen?
Does your guy arrogantly prance around the house like he is the king of the house?
If you were to hold a vanity contest, would your husband win hands down?
How do you cope if your guy is frequently putting you down, making you feel less valued.
What do you do when his focus is always on himself and your needs are seldom considered?
The other day I wrote a post about not being able to stand your husband. Is it wort hit being married and miserable? I get into that topic here in this article…
These are just some of the questions I get on a daily basis from women who have invested their heart and soul to make the marriage successful, only to find that their husband is not even willing to meet them half way.
The common denominator is many of these women married a guy who is seriously hung up on himself and when something goes wrong, their selfish husband finds it easy to criticize or blame them.
I Didn’t Know I Was Marrying A Narcissist
When you get married, at the ceremony you are told and expect to be loved and cherished. But if you are treated like your worries and concerns matter little, then something is terribly wrong the relationship.
And worse, if your husband makes it a habit to pick on you or yell at you when things get off kilter, that does little to build a stronger bond.
I talk with women everyday who over time have found themselves stuck with a husband who seems to care little for their wife’s needs and is entirely focused on advancing his own agenda.
Building and sustaining trust is a huge part of marriage success.
Yet if your husband is doing little to make you feel like you can trust him to be there for you when you really need support or if he is the type of guy who is controlling and acts like all that matters is his personal and professional goals, such a marriage is usually not sustainable.
At least it is not going to last very long if you value your own needs and aspirations.
Unfortunately, some women get trapped into thinking that they must please their husband for things to be right. That just go on making sacrifices. As as the years go by, they subjugate their own life in return for the hope that their husband will be nice to them. Or that he will change.
Such a lifestyle in which the wife becomes a subordinate to their husband is usually not marriage healthy.
Of course there are exceptions. For example, certain couples may have very strong cultural or religious reasons for why they carve out their roles in a way that many of us would consider non traditional.
In those instances, the relationship can work. Though I wonder just how fulfilling a marriage can be if the balance of power between the couple is lopsided.
What Does the Power Balance Look Like in Your Marriage?
I have always believed that when one of the spouses has most of the personal power within the marriage, it usually leads to emotional abuse of some kind.
If the man you are married to seems to be trying to control everything in the marriage and makes all of the important decisions, insisting that things have to be a certain way, then you have arrived at the intersection of a controlling and selfish based relationship.
What I would like to do is explore why a husband resorts to selfishness and other unattractive behaviors.
It is easy to get lost in your marriage after some years as habits and routines begin to form your life. So you may not even realize your husband is the “selfish one” in the marriage. Or perhaps you know it, but you continue to act out your role as dutiful wife, setting aside your own needs at the expense of some kind of marital bliss.
First let me clarify something. What is selfishness? And how is it manifested in a marriage?
To be sure, both men and women are capable of exhibiting many selfish behaviors. Even in the strongest of marriages, there will be occasions when one of the spouses will act in a selfish manner. But it is usually the exception.
In a highly performing marriage, the husband and wife care about ensuring there is balance in personal power. They check in with each other to see if the other is happy. They often will give up their own desire to the benefit of their spouse.
What Are the Signs You Should Be on the Look Out For?
What does it look like when a marriage is suffering from an imbalance of personal power? And how can that lead to a husband (just as an example) living in a comfort zone in which he can be mean-spirited without fear of repercussions?
So how should you deal with a selfish partner?
Will it be obvious to him that he is behaving selfishly?
Interestingly enough, sometimes the guy you are married to has no clue that he is constantly behaving selfishly. He may not realize that he puts himself before you almost all of the time.
How can a guy be so unconscious to what his wife sees as obvious selfish tendencies? Unfortunately it happens with far too much frequency. Part of it can be due to the person’s core personality.
They may be accustomed to getting things their way and as they develop through life, they learn little about the importance of empathy and showing consideration. We will get into the makeup of some husbands as I walk you though examples.
Let’s start first with outlining the characteristics of a selfish husband so you have a way of comparing and contrasting how these signs or behaviors relate to your own spouse.
What Does a Selfish Husband Look Like?
A selfish spouse is one who seldom wants to hear about your day. It is always about his day and his problems or his accomplishments or his pain and suffering. The moment you try to talk about yourself, he immediately steers the conversation back to him. Your spouse may often show annoyance that you were trying to step on his story. This is what I call selfishness in communications. And it can be a big problem in some marriages.
Such a husband will dwell on what is happening in his life and focus all his attention on getting his needs satisfied. If you seek to turn the conversation to your own needs, he looks for the exit.
A selfish husband is also a guy that wants you to drop what you are doing and take care of what he thinks is important. Your time is less valuable in his mind. His time is supremely important in his mind.
If your man seldom does the little things around the house to make life easier (e.g. household chores) and you find yourself doing pulling all of the weight in this department, then your guy is definitely self-centered.
You also know you are married to a self-absorbed husband when he extends his selfishness into the affairs of the bedroom. Yes, that is right. While it is not foolproof, one strong indicator of how selfless (or selfish) your husband might be is to what degree he tries to please you sexually, giving of himself to satisfy your needs.
If it is all about him and he does little to stimulate you or is frequently insisting you have sex with him, even if you are not in the mood (or feeling it), such manipulative and self-absorbed behaviors speaks volumes.
If you think your husband is the selfish type, chances are that he is also egotistic. An egotistical husband is one who thinks everything revolves around him and his aim is to maximize personal pleasure or profit through inflating his own perception of self.
Another aspect of self-centered spouse is when they spend far too much time with how they look and dress. A big part of their psychological makeup is to constantly get noticed. So if your man is frequently soliciting compliments and does little to bolster your self esteem needs, then you should ask yourself how much longer you are willing to tolerate this type of relationship.
Being wrapped up into oneself is rarely a thing to be proud of. And it is not unusual for a selfish guy to also be narcissistic. So when both personality traits are present, it can make for a really difficult relationship.
Why do some men act this way?
Why Are Selfish Husbands So Mean To Their Wives?
I am sad to report that too often I see a correlation between selfish acting guys and relationships where such men have all the control and power.
In my view, if your marriage partner is entirely focused on his aims and desires at the expense of your own aspirations and needs, then such a guy is most likely not strong marriage material. He is probably suffers from narcissistic tendencies.
Why might your spouse behave this way?
There are lots of reasons and sometimes there are limited things you can do to turn them around.
Understand that I am trying not to be overly negative. Indeed, I do have some suggestions that might make a difference. But I think it is also wise to be pragmatic about such things.
Let’s explore some of these reasons.
Your Insecure Husband
Some men are really weak inside. To build up their ego, they will lash out at their wife. They will say mean things, usually demeaning things in an effort to lift up their own ego.
In a relationship there are opportunities for both partners to lift each other up. If your husband spends more time propping himself up at his wife’s expense, that allows him to feel more powerful and confident.
Your Spouse Lacks of COMMITMENT To Improve His Behavior
It is entirely possible that the meanness is due to a total lack of commitment to improve his behavior. I have spoken to many women who explained how their husband will talk a good game about doing better and treating them better, but will seldom follow through.
It takes hard work and effort to make a marriage successful. Both spouses have to be fully committed to improve those areas that hinder the relationship from being stronger.
It is a continuous process to keep the marriage solid. If one or both spouses are not making a good faith effort to hold up their end of making things better, then the bond will suffer.
It Could Be Part of their Core Personality
A husband’s behavior and treatment of his wife is somewhat predicated on his core personality and upbringing.
We become the people that we are over time through our experiences and the things we learn, particularly in our formative years. So it is sad, but true, that if your husband mistreats you and speaks disrespectfully and behaves improperly, a lot of those actions are probably born from his core personality.
So if a husband behaves badly and has a nasty attitude, is it possible he can learn to change his stripes?
Frankly, that is a tough question to grapple with.
We are all capable of changing some of our behavioral patterns and if properly motivated, most men can modify the aspects of their personality which can create friction in the marriage.
But it is also true that there are many men out there that get set in their ways and other factors can contribute to their lack of willingness to meaningfully change how they interact with their wives.
Are You Simply Married to an Angry Guy?
If you think your husband’s lack of kindness emanates from an anger issue, then I actually think your chances are pretty decent. I believe with this kind of issue, you and your partner can make some strides.
Unlike a narcissist, a husband who is struggling with bouts of anger is in a better position to get treatment and make improvements. If your marriage is suffering due to intermittent angry outbursts by your husband, don’t get too down in the dumps.
For sure, his angry episodes is not a good thing, but there is definitely hope for husbands suffering from anger control issues.
Consider this post on the topic.
What Can You Do If You Are Trapped in a Selfish Marriage?
For starters, remember that you always have a choice as there are different life paths that lay in front of you. Unfortunately, many people are blind to their options.
Some women delude themselves into thinking they are trapped in a marriage with a selfish husband who will never change.
But you are not trapped. There are things you can do within the marriage to try achieve a greater balance in the personal power.
I keep coming back to this discussion of personal power. It should be equal, with both the husband and wife having essentially the same amount of power or say in how things work within the relationship.
There is hope if your husband too often acts like a bad boy.
But it requires some straight talk.
Sometimes women are uncomfortable talking about something that could be perceived as a negative. They will hint around about what it is that is bothering them, dropping little tidbits of advice here and there.
But some men are clueless when it comes to recognizing their own shortcomings. Your husband probably won’t pick up on the hints and may not realize how important it is that he modifies his behavior.
Guys are just not that instinctive about such things.
It it sometimes better to deal with the concern you have straight on. Beating around the bush about the matter that is causing you stress or disappointment usually does not get you to the desired result.
Men are more amenable to hearing bad news or taking constructive advice when they are rested and in a good mood. So seek an opportunity when you can have a private, constructive discussion with your husband explaining the behavior that is bothering you and offering specific examples of some of his past undesirable actions as well as those behaviors you appreciate and embrace.
So what do you do if your husband is seldom amenable to receiving constructive advice?
What do you do if your husband is simply a mean and selfish partner and is the type of individual that will double down on his ugly behavior?
What are your options if you have tried everything you can think of (including marital counseling) to get your husband to significantly change his ways, yet failed?
When the marriage is suffering to this extent, where do you turn?
Well, there is always formal separation and divorce, but is there anything else you can consider?
As I said, you always have options.
It may not feel like it at this time.
Believe me, I understand. You may feel emotionally trapped despite your best efforts to change the way your husband behaves in the household.
You may even feel he will just become more abusive no matter what you do.
Create Some Distance Between You and the Offending Partner
One option is to simply tell him you reached your limit of patience. Explain that given all your many efforts in the past to help him see the errors of his ways, you feel it is best the two of you spend time apart.
Of course you can’t take this approach to helping him learn the importance of changing his behavior unless you are fully prepared to follow through on your assertion.
This is a shot across the bow, so to speak.
Immediately he may want to know what you mean by “spending time apart“. He may get defensive about what led you to make this kind of statement.
Hopefully, your husband realizes the seriousness of the matter and this understanding will lead him to have a meaningful discussion about his treatment of you.
If so, then that is a step in the right direction.
But it is also possible your husband will use this occasion to further criticize and mistreat you. If this happens, then you have learned an important truth. At this stage it would probably be in your best interest to ask your husband to move out.
Why live with someone who is emotionally abusing you?
In a way, you are making an effort to shift the balance of personal power. If your husband has been the domineering partner in the marriage, it may serve you well to seek more balance in the relationship.
It is possible he may balk at the idea of moving out and if that happens then your secondary plan would be to move out yourself. Remember, you would not undergo this strategy unless you felt your back was up against the wall and your marriage was on the line.
I think of it as an emergency lifeboat. You are not telling your husband you want a divorce. You are not telling him you want to separate in the legal sense of the word. It is better to characterize what you are proposing as an extended timeout or a long break from each other or spending time away from each other.
I talk about how creating distance and utilizing the No Contact Principle can sometimes help a marriage in certain situations. You can read up about this principle in this article.
I am not a big believer that people will make wholesale changes if the environment around them is largely the same.
A kind of intervention is sometimes needed in really tough marital situations.
Don’t be that person who just slogs along and picking up the pieces wile hoping their husband somehow changes his ways.
Sometimes it pays for both of you to get away from each other, then try starting over.
If regular marital habits and routines are broken and the offending person finds themselves alone, that sometimes (over time) serves as a catalyst for the troubled marriage partners to find common ground.