We are constantly getting into petty arguments, that escalate until he is angry and I am upset, sometimes to the point of tears. He blames me, saying I go on too much about things, and I blame him because I feel he doesn't listen or respond to anything I say, or he belittles me and my point of view. He says I belittle him too. I don't really know where to begin but to explain what happened today. We were going out to lunch with our 5-year-old daughter and as we were leaving, he suggested a fish and chips restauraunt called "Tugboat". At first, I agreed, but after we got in the car I said "I really don't feel like fish and chips. Can we go somewhere that has other choices?" I don't recall if he even responded. So I suggested three fast-food places that have fish and chips and other choices as well. He said "I don't want to eat fast food, " in this very hostile tone of voice like I was stupid for suggesting it. I went on to explain that there are heathly things he could get there too, like salad, and that the place he wanted to go was fast food and not healthy anyway. He did not acknowlege my valid point and continued to make negative remarks. He said that he didn't want to eat salad. I said ok then, but they have fish and chips, which is what you said you wanted." Then he got more angry and denied that he said he wanted that. I pointed out that the restaurant he wanted to go to only served that and little else. I explained again that I was just trying to be fair and pick a place we would all be happy with. He just told me to shut up and that he wanted to go home. I couldn't figure out what he was so upset about. Maybe I overexplained my point of view, but I was getting no response from him. At one point, he drove to one of the fast-food places I suggested and said in a very nasty tone "Here is the place you wanted to go. Are you happy now?" No, I wasn't, because I didn't like his attitude, and I said "If you don't want to eat here, just tell me where you'd like to go?" He refused to answer, so I angrily got out of the car and started to walk away, telling him he was being a jerk. I ended up getting back in the car and he told me I was a psycho. I said I wouldn't be acting like this if he didn't treat me like my ideas were stupid, and refuse to tell me where he wanted to go. We then went through the drive-thru of another restaurant, three times, and he kept getting out of the line because I was upset and wanted to talk to him about how I felt. Our daughter was really hungry, as was I, and was getting really upset. Finally, we ended up at a nice restaurant and I calmed down enough to go in, and we had a good lunch, but barely talked. I was still upset and angry. All this took about a hour of wasted time driving around. He still never acknowleged that he was wrong to not respond to me when I asked him where he wanted to go. He did apologise for belittling my suggestions, though, and I admitted that I tend to go on about things, but only if I feel that he is not understanding or acknowledging me. I know that I'm partially responsible for these petty arguments. but I don't know how to change this destructive pattern. My husband just wants to "drop it" and it never gets resolved. We argued about this and many other petty things over and over again and I just want it to stop. I love my husband and I know that he loves me, but sometimes it feels like we are enemies at war, and this is not a good example for our daughter. Also, I am 4 months pregnant, and the stress is not good for me or the baby. Help! And please don't suggest divorce. I am determined to do whatever it takes to save our marriage. Please tell me objectively what each of us is doing wrong. Thanks
He feels like he’s being told what to do. The most important thing to a man is doing a good job. When his competence is questioned he’ll not only feel hurt, but he’ll throw up a wall of resistance, and communication begins to breakdown. He thrives in an environment where he’s the expert. Rather than being told, “You should do X” he is likely to respond better to, “What do you think of X?” The trick is to resist telling him what to do.
"She hears from her spouse that her problems aren’t as real and pressing as they seem in that very moment. Her spouse may mistakenly think he’s being helpful in providing “reality checks” like: “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill” or “You’re getting overly emotional about it.” To her it feels like he is attempting to minimize her feelings or talk her out of having them.
Men and women desire to satisfy their partners, but they may miss the mark because it is truly difficult to understand and accept our partner’s different ways of communication. Men and women need education on these differences to help their relationships, so they do not end up in a frustrated state of resentment and feel stuck."
hbswank answered Sunday August 26 2012, 11:15 pm: WOW! This is my husband and I to a T! It's awful, isn't it? We go through the same thing all the time. The only thing that has even helped us a little is marriage counseling. But we still struggle. I noticed you wrote this question eight years ago and I'm wondering if you will even read this. If you do, please write back. I want to know what happened with you and your husband. I am feeling so overwhelmed about the relationship my husband and I right now and would like to discuss with someone who understands. [ hbswank's advice column | Ask hbswank A Question ]
Forced answered Friday May 4 2012, 5:42 am: You should have just gone to the fish and chips place he wanted to. You changed it on the drive and warped it into being his fault. He said what he wanted, the exact place, you said yes then no, but named several places rather than just the one you wanted on the drive which negated a destination and frustrated him. He did not know where to drive at this point. He probably didnt feel he was in a position to make any choice, and was waiting for you to tell him where. Then you blamed him of not saying where he wanted to go when that's what he did to begin with. Reading this story from your point of view, I wanted to smack you on the mouth. If a man for once decides on a place to eat, you eat there, because you know you get to eat where you want the other 99% of the time pregnant or not.
Also, this does not sound like a marriage that needs saving. It sounds like a marriage where you need to try and see his point of view instead of just thinking yours is the only one. Men are human too. You will probably stop the petty arguments this way. [ Forced's advice column | Ask Forced A Question ]
suzanne answered Wednesday June 1 2011, 12:46 am: I have this problem with my current boyfriend. I would have to say that it is more deep rooted than just having a chip on his shoulder. First, look at your families. Did he have a belittling upbringing? Did he constantly have to fight for control? This sounds like a power struggle. For me I am constantly the one defending myself because it has always been that way for me. My family ignores me and thinks that I am less than or inferior. My boyfriend and I both come from similar broken families. I asked myself this question today after the usual verbal abuse fights we usually have. Part of it is immaturity as well. I would suggest marital counselling. You have to look but some wellness places especially non-profit or not for profit organizations are not too costly. There is something else about the situation... Maybe he resents you for something and hasnt let it go yet. He should go to a "Letting go" group meeting or something like that. If I were you I would start seeking someone to talk to and maybe he will follow suit. [ suzanne's advice column | Ask suzanne A Question ]
kmt answered Monday March 2 2009, 10:36 pm: awe...it is a relief to know others go through this! I feel like this is something society has done to our relationships. Men are so put on a pedistal they feel like only their feelings and thoughts count. I feel like my husband truly believes I was put on this earth to serve him and improve the quality of his life. Women feel like it is important to learn how to communicate and compromise to help the relationship whereas men feel like we just need to be beaten down emotionally until we 'give in'. I will admit it is so much easier to give my husband his way than risk starting one of these arguments that we are embarrassed to even admit we went on and on about. but I have to be able to live wiht being unfullfiilled myself. I feel like i cant do that anymore. I didnt help at all...I guess I have the same question as you. how do we make them want to do the things (communication and compromise) to make the marriage healthy like we already want to do.Im not saying im perfect Im just saying I want to do what it takes ...and i dont feel like my husband does. [ kmt's advice column | Ask kmt A Question ]
treelvr7 answered Friday October 31 2008, 9:05 pm: I am certainly no expert. And I am going through the same problem with my new husband. Especially over what to eat for dinner. I think what bothered your husband was that at first you agreed, but then changed your mind. ("At first, I agreed, but after we got in the car I said 'I really don't feel like fish and chips.'") That meant he had to think more about what would please you, and he wanted to be pleased himself at that point, and have fish and chips. Also note that the place he wanted served only one thing. Not much decision-making for either you or him.
It's hard not to (or easy to?) retreat into a passive bubble with some men. I think it's good that you have opinions of what you want and are not battered down into not saying them.
In my own case I was using this type of situation as a way to communicate and have a conversation with my husband, and to enjoy the process of mutually coming to a decision; but he didn't see it that way and got very annoyed with me.
So i think the solution is to become more decisive... and not tell him you've changed your mind. Know what you want and communicate it. [ treelvr7's advice column | Ask treelvr7 A Question ]
rfjohnson answered Wednesday September 26 2007, 3:05 pm: I really do not have a brilliant answer, although your story struck a cord with, My husband and I have alot of the same issues at hand, we have a 4 year old also and I know how you feel. If I could offer some advice, would be just try and take some time for your self and bite your tounge (sp? even if it's taking a long bath when your daughter goes to bed. My husband and I are very strong willed individuals and we both have strong opinions, I always have to be the one whom gives in and then my husband will after that, it sucks but it prevents from getting bigger than it needs to. I sometimes feel like I am I want a divorce but it would seem like such a hassle and I am sure my husband feels the same way even though we say it ALL the time. By the way we went to counseling and it really did nothing for us, the key is you both have to want to make this work and one has to change first and then the other will follow, that is really hard for me though because I am really set in my ways and sometimes I feel my husband should change, confused. [ rfjohnson's advice column | Ask rfjohnson A Question ]
harvesterofhearts answered Monday November 29 2004, 9:37 am: You and your husband need to learn how to communicate assertively. To do this, each of you needs to take responsibility for your own feelings, and come up with some rules for fair fighting. These are all things that a marriage counselor can help you with. Your description of your relationship makes it sound like you and your husband could really use some counseling. You are absolutely right that the way you are communicating now is very bad for your child. We all learn how to communicate with others from our parents. Is this what you want to pass on to your children? Hopefully, you will get into counseling right away. In the meantime, try to remember this wise saying: You can't be right and be in a relationship. As soon as it becomes about "I'm right, and you're wrong," then it's impossible to really listen and respond rationally and lovingly. [ harvesterofhearts's advice column | Ask harvesterofhearts A Question ]
YaYaSis answered Saturday October 9 2004, 8:29 am: Wow, not really sure where all to begin but here goes. But, first I have a question. Did you fight like this before you got pregnant? I am guessing that the answer is yes so I am going to answer the best I can assuming that. You can let me know if the answer is no because that will change things a lot.
Being a couple is hard, but being a parent is even harder. There is home, spouse, kid(s), bills, and all the things with being an adult that stresses us out. Sometimes we take those things out on each other. You are right that none of this is good for your daughter and this is what you must realize. You cannot change his behaivor and aparently trying to talk to him about it just causes more anxiety and arguments so what you need to do is change your own. Here is what you can do next time, same situation. He suggests Tugboat and you aren't really in the mood for fish. You can say, "Um there or Outback both sound good." He says, "Which do you prefer?" You say, "Are you really in the mood for Tugboat or just fish in general?" He says, "I like the garlic fries from there." You say, "Okay that sounds good to me too." Then get in the car and eat at Tugboat. Order a salad or soemthing else besides fish. You aren't nagging him or starting an argument but you are showing him that you really don't like their food. Next time he may do the same thing but eventually he will understand that you don't like the place and he will say, "But you don't really like Tugboat do you?" Then you can say, "Not really but that's fine if you are in the mood for it. Or how about we call in an order from there and one from Outback and take it home and have a picnic and then we both get what we like." You areindirectly teaching him compromise. You are leading by example. One way or the other if your marriage is going to work the fighting is going to have to stop and one of you needs to be the bigger person. You aparently love this man and want things to work so you need to set those wheels in motion. It is not getting run over you are simply changing the dynamics of your marriage and showing him what give is. Eventually if he loves you he will start to give back and then you will both be on even ground. Deciding the restaurant needs to be done before you get in the car and away from earshot of your daughter. You need to decide in your own head that whatever it takes you will not argue in front of your daughter even if that means holding your tongue until you are in the privacy of your livingroom after she is in bed asleep. Never fight in the bedroom that needs to be your special place for the two of you to share love. Take it to the back yard or get a sitter and go for a drive but never fight int he bedroom. The guest room is fine but never your bedroom. Good luck and remember that your goal is to hold your marriage together and you can only do that when one of you decides to take action... Best of luck.. [ YaYaSis's advice column | Ask YaYaSis A Question ]
Sunshine answered Thursday August 19 2004, 8:32 am: Your husband may be having some anxiety about the new baby, which is perfectly natural. You should try to open up the lines of communication in a gentle way. Never try to get to the root of the problem in the middle of an argument, because you may come across as judgemental rather than concerned. When you are both having a good day, share with your husband your own anxiety about the baby. If you show him that you are feeling some of the same things that he is feeling, that might help to relieve some of the tension between you. I hope this helps and if you have any other questions, feel free to drop them in my inbox. [ Sunshine's advice column | Ask Sunshine A Question ]
vlucky40 answered Monday August 16 2004, 7:52 pm: The problem here is, you both let things go without resolving them. When there is a problem and no resolution is come to, that problem stays open and is added to and added to until someone literally explodes. There is more here than a misunderstanding about dinner reservations. You 2 have been having disagreements and not resolving them. Just letting them go to the back of your heads. Out of sight but not out of mind. You need a third party intervention because you cannot handle this yourselves or else you would have. Also, this is not healthy for your little daughter as well. [ vlucky40's advice column | Ask vlucky40 A Question ]
kevin1986 answered Monday August 16 2004, 5:15 am: No,I don't reccommend divorce here babe,but your man may have some issues at work he's stressed out about. Maybe he wasn't quite ready for your new baby. You have to talk to him about what's going on and he can't just "drop it". He was being an asshole about the food thing and if my daughter and wife were hungry,then goddamn it,they're getting fed. Petty arguments are part of being married for years. You can't get rid of them and they won't go away. If he doesn't ever physically abuse you and you just argue,that's normal. He called you a psycho,which is odd,because he must have been REALLY pissed. If it continues,try a marriage counselor who is much more qualified at giving advice than I am. [ kevin1986's advice column | Ask kevin1986 A Question ]
Siren_Cytherea answered Monday August 16 2004, 4:34 am: I don't think this problem is big enough for divorce. It's normal for married couples to bicker about little things - god knows my parents do, all the time. It drives me nuts, but when they're not bickering, they're really cute. Lol - and have big fights sometimes.
I'm not sure anyone can tell you exactly what you're doing wrong, but I can tell you that it's a communication problem.
I suggest you sit down and talk to your husband about your obvious need to compromise more. Explain to him that you don't like to bicker/fight/argue/whatever you wanna call it, and you would like to be able to compromise when you have differences in opinion.
The first problem I see is your husband jumping down your throat. It was good that you tried to compromise because you wanted something other than fish and chips by suggesting other options. Your husband should not have snapped at you about that.
I really think you need to tell him he needs to work on his compromising skills. You both seem to have a bit of a short temper, which could make this a little difficult, but if you're determined - both of you - to fix this, then it can be fixed.
When you have differences of opinion and see it leading to an argument, stop for a second and say aloud "okay, how can we compromise and fix this without getting into a fight?"
That's pretty much how my boyfriend and I have managed to be in a solid relationship for over 9 months without a single argument. We compromise before we argue about it.
Relationships - ALL relationships require a little work and sacrifice to make them...well, work. They're really give-and-take. You have to sacrifice a little before you can get anywhere.
If you need more advice, feel free to talk to me. I really hope this helped on some level!
-Siren =) [ Siren_Cytherea's advice column | Ask Siren_Cytherea A Question ]
-wizerwordz- answered Monday August 16 2004, 4:09 am: I may not know much about marriage, but im pretty sure many married couples go through those same kind of arguments. Perfect example: MY PARENTS. My mom can say something and my dad will just ignore it, although he hears what she said. She keeps trying to talk to him and i think it just annoys him because she tries too hard. I don't know your situation, but my dad works 2 jobs, and it is very difficult for him to put up with EVERYTHING my mom has to say. What i would suggest is talk to your husband and make sure everything is OK, don't just get mad. I dont think it is good for your daughter to have to see you fighting or getting mad, so just talk to your husband about it.
I don't think it's right for your husband to just ignore you and get mad becuase you suggested something else, but it's also not right for you to get mad at him before you know if everything is ok.
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