How Do I Handle My Wife’s Mockery & Condescending Attitude?
How to set and enforce healthy boundaries to deal with a woman’s mockery and condescending attitude.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a 48-year-old viewer who has been married to his wife for 23 years and has 2 kids, ages 16 and 11. He admits that he stopped dating and courting his wife. However, the reason why he stopped dating and courting her is because, as they’ve gotten older, she’s gotten meaner, nastier and more disagreeable.
He wants to know how to deal with his wife’s mockery and condescending attitude. My comments are in bold italics like this below in the body of his email.
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This is not somebody that just started dating a girl for a few weeks and you can say, “Oh, she belongs to the streets!” It’s easy to say that for us, because we’re not in this situation, but he’s got 23 years, he’s got a couple of kids, they live together, they have a lot of history. So, it’s easy for us who are not in this situation to say, “Kick her to the curb!”
So, what would you do? What would you do if you’re one of those guys that finally starts waking up after a couple of decades of being with someone and going, “What the hell happened in my life? Who is this person that I’m living under the same roof with? She’s not even nice to me. Why am I putting up with this?” And unfortunately, millions and millions and millions of guys are just totally beat down in life and their relationships, and this is their reality.
All you’ve got to do is go out in public and you’ll see a couple bickering. They’re both overweight and out of shape, they look the same. The wife cut all her hair off, she wears no makeup, she’s overweight. She’s wearing a big, baggy t-shirt with an arrow that says, “I’m with stupid.” She’s unattractive, has a bad attitude, a scowl on her face, she’s constantly complaining. She’s a ‘glass is half empty’ kind of person. You feel bad for these people. It sucks.
So, what do you do if you’re one these guys that’s in these situations? He’s got kids, and if he’s going to give her the benefit of the doubt and give her a chance to clean up her act, earn another chance, or keep him around, if you will, how do you handle it?
I’m struggling here. On my second reading of 3% Man. I’m 48, married 23 years, 2 kids — 16 and 11. I’ve done plenty right and plenty wrong following your methods.
Well, I don’t know how long you’ve been following them, but if you’ve been following me for a long time and you’re just now getting around to reading the book for the second time, you’re not a serious student. You’ve got to participate in your own rescue.
The biggest wrong is having stopped dating and courting my wife. I can fix that. However, the main reason I stopped courting is over the past few years she’s gotten meaner, nastier when we disagree, and more and more disagreeable.
So, typically, when a man is not handling things in his life and his relationship, and especially when he’s displaying weakness and his woman loses respect for him, she’s going to be disrespectful, disagreeable, condescending and bitchy. Because, quite frankly, you’ve demonstrated on multiple occasions that you’re a doormat and she can get away with it. And after 23 years, this is not something that just started in the past few weeks or months. This is something that’s probably been going on off and on for the majority of the relationship, and as the years have gone by and you haven’t taken care of the things you should have taken care of as a man, she’s only going to get worse, because you sit there and you take it.
And every single person that’s watching this video has some guy that they know that’s a friend or a family member that’s in a relationship, and all they do is just constantly get berated by their wives or their girlfriends. We all know these people, and what do they do? They just sit there and they keep taking it, “Thank you, may I have another beating, your majesty, your highness?”
Many of our disagreements are regarding my family’s business, for which she feels entitled to full disclosure or my relationship with my 80-year-old, widowed, handicapped mother for whom I am the only remaining child/caretaker. My mother lives independently but needs a thing or two occasionally. I run the family business from her home, as we did prior to my father passing. It doesn’t take much for my wife to mock or attack me or my mother personally.
Probably, on some level, if you’re not dating and courting her and you go over and spend time with your mother, she’s probably thinking, “He treats his mother better than he treats me, and I’m the father of his kids!” This is how a lot of women react. They complain, they insult you, they belittle you. They make themselves feel better by tearing other people down.
I just saw that when I was going through some of the comments on YouTube. Some dude was disagreeing with me about something I said in a video, but he’s being a fucking dick about it. It’s like, I’m not here to be your punching bag because you feel like shit, or something I said triggered you, or you’re soft. Or because you’re mad, or you’re butt-hurt, or you don’t agree with my value system. I’m here to teach. If you want to learn, great. If not, I’m not here so you can kick me to try to feel better about your shitty life. That’s the bottom line.
Unfortunately, that’s the way human beings are. They tend to project. If somebody is not in a good mood or they’re not happy, they want to dump that on somebody else that they can blame. “Oh, if that person’s bad, then I’m good.” We all do it.
The first time it happened, about 3 years ago, I told her to go to her parents for the weekend. She did and I accepted her apology.
And any time after that, you should have done the same thing with her.
Since then, her personal attacks, mockery and condescension has happened more frequently than I would like, probably once a year. I withdraw, telling her that behavior has to stop, she rarely apologizes, but finds something I have done and blames me.
If she’s getting upset about your mother and pissed off, again, just like I said in the beginning of the video, if you love your wife, you’re going to date and court her, always. The courtship never ends, that’s a chapter in my book. And a lot of people give me shit like, “You haven’t been married for 20 years, Coach. Who are you to be giving advice on marriage?” Well, guys do the same two things. Because I’ve done tens of thousands of phone sessions with dudes over the years in long term marriages or relationships, and they all did the same things. Either 1) they’re not making her feel heard and understood, they’re not communicating properly, and so the legs close, and 2) they stop dating and courting her. That’s it.
Just because you’re married doesn’t give you some special exemption that you don’t date and court your wife. Women know that if you love them and you care about them, the romance — because women want to be in a love story — is always going to continue. But no, you don’t sit there and take beratement and condescension and insults. You’ve got to call people out and set and enforce healthy boundaries when somebody’s being abusive towards you. And if you call them out five times in a row, and the six time in a row you let them get away with it, you don’t say anything, now you’re inviting more of that.
So, you have to be consistent when it comes to enforcing healthy boundaries. You can’t be like, “Oh, I just don’t want to deal with it today. I just don’t want to piss my wife off.” I’ve got lots of friends that have been married a long time, and they’re the same way. “I don’t want to piss my wife off. I don’t want her mad at me, because then she’ll be mad all weekend and she’ll ruin the whole weekend.” I’m like, “Man, what happened, bro? Twenty years ago… what happened to you? You used to be the man of your house. Now, you’re like one of the children. Like, come on, bro.” But people do it.
And so, obviously she’s hurt and she’s mad you stopped dating and courting her, because she feels you don’t love her. And if you’re not spending time dating and courting her and then you spend all this time over at your mom’s place, she’s like, “You care more about your mother than you care about me.” I can understand why she would feel that way. However, it doesn’t justify her being a ruthless cunt to you or a nasty bitch, take your pick.
My question is, how to handle this?
You’ve got to set and enforce healthy boundaries consistently, and you have to date and court your wife. You can’t stop dating and courting her, because if you don’t date and court your wife, guess what? Eventually, some other guy will.
I’ve stayed for the kids but can’t handle the disrespect. I’m torn between your teachings of being centered, don’t let it move you, and she’ll only respect you with a strong masculine response that lets her know what is tolerable. It is not something I believe anyone should tolerate.
Well, obviously, you are. You’re allowing her to continue to kick you when you’re down, because you’re not doing anything about it. That’s why she gets bitchier and angrier, because no amount of disrespect from her, other than maybe once a year, causes you to stand up to her. If she’s been doing this every year and you only told her leave once three years ago, you’re giving her permission to continue to do it to you.
No one will ever do or say anything to you that you don’t invite them to do. Weakness always invites aggression. All we’ve got to do is look at Ukraine and Russia. And then you see the same thing with Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. The Chinese want to retake Taiwan. But after seeing what happened to Russia in Ukraine, the Chinese are going, “Ah, it’s not so easy.”
I’d like your advice on this plan: 1) Calmly telling her words are not tolerable any longer.
Yeah, you can’t sit there and just take abuse for a year and never stop her once, never call her out on it. That’s just stupid. So, you’ve got to participate in your own rescue, because whatever you tolerate, you invite more of. Obviously, we know you’re not dating and courting her, but we also know that you’re not setting and enforcing healthy boundaries consistently. You’re occasionally doing it, probably when you get to the point where you can’t take it anymore and you blow your top.
2) Asking her to move out until she’s figures herself out.
Well, you’ve got to act like a man consistently, and you’ve got to set and enforce healthy boundaries. But if she’s belligerent and she’s abusive and she won’t stop, then you say, “You need to go to your parents house. I’m not going to put up with this shit. And if it doesn’t stop, then we’re going to get divorced. I’m not going to live like this for the rest of my life, being your punching bag because you’re having a bad day, or you’re upset, or you’re mad at me about something. We’re in this to be teammates, to raise great human beings, to have a great family that we’re proud of, so our kids grow up and we can enjoy our golden years together, or maybe apart, and just gloat and beam about the pride of what our children grew up to be. We’re not supposed to be enemies.”
And 3) If she won’t move out, I will and focus on myself and kids while preparing to divorce if I don’t feel she has gotten the message.
I think it’s a great plan.
It’s complicated. Any help is appreciated.
You’ve got to call her out 100% time, not 99% of the time or 95% of the time or 50% of the time. Because if you do it once and then you let her get away with it the next time, your words are meaningless, your masculine core is weak, you’re soft, you’re squishy. And if you allow her to get away with it, she’s going to do it again.
You’re creating this. It takes two people. Your wife’s out of control, but you’ve enabled this behavior for many years, so you’ve got to nip that shit in the bud. And when I say read the book 10 to 15 times, guess what, I mean 10 to 15 times. You can’t follow me for several years like, “Oh, yeah. I’m getting ready to start the second read of your book. I’m still having problems. I don’t understand why.” You’re half assing in it, you’re cherry picking. And you might get some attainable, occasional success if you cherry pick, but it’s not going to be sustainable. You won’t be able to maintain it. And that’s what you want.
You want to come home to a beautiful wife who’s your joy, who jumps in your arms is like, “Hey, baby, how was your day? How is your mom? I hope she’s well. We should get together and do a family dinner on the weekend.” Those are the kinds of things you want to hear, not like, “Oh, you’re paying all of this attention to your mother! You love your mother more than you love the mother of your children.” I can just imagine the arguments and the things that she says, the insults.
Again, we all know dudes that are just absolutely beat down by their women. They’re terrified of them, “I don’t want to piss my wife off, because the whole weekend’s going to suck. So, I’ll just be a pleaser, and hopefully I don’t piss her off. I’ll walk on eggshells.” That’s a bad, bad way to go. And I like your plan, but the important thing is you’ve got to actually stick with it. You’ve got to lovingly and calmly tell her what you want, but you’ve also got to start dating and courting her properly.
You guys need to have some serious, long conversations. When I say serious, it’s like, you’ve got to be able to listen to her. Ask her, “Why are you like this all of the time? Why are you so mean all of the time? You’re not even pleasant to be around. And when I think about coming home after work, I go, ‘I’m not really looking forward to this.’ You’ve got to be nice to me. I want to come home and be excited to see my wife, instead of being like, ‘Oh, God, I’ve got to deal with the bitch again.’ That’s not fun.” You’ve got to talk things out.
You’ve got to get her to talk and communicate. And if she’s belligerent and abusive, you ask her calmly, and then if she won’t, leave the room, go do something else. Tell her to go stay with her parents, because you’re just not going to put up with it. And if she won’t stop, then you’re going to find somebody else. You’re going to divorce her, and you’re going to find somebody else to help co-parent your children. You’ve got to let her know that you’re serious. But you’ve already done it once so far. But when she’s wrong, she’s got to apologize.
You’ve got to take ownership. As Jocko Willink says, “you’ve got to take extreme ownership.” That’s what I would do if I were you. I think it’s a good plan, but your words and your actions must match. You’ve got to do the things you say consistently, and you can’t vacillate, because vacillation is weakness. If you’re displaying weakness, your wife’s not going to trust your masculine core, and she’s going to be bitchy and angry with you, because you’re just simply not manning up, dude. That’s the harsh reality.
So, if you’ve got a question or challenge and you’d like to get my help, go to UnderstandingRelationships.com, click the Products tab at the top of your screen and book a coaching session with yours truly.