I can’t stand my husband. What should I do?
I hear you, and you are not alone. Once that soaring chemistry between you and your husband fades away, it is normal to finally see behind the rainbow glasses you once used to see a filtered version of your man.
It is neither your fault nor your husband’s. Marriage is a whole different game compared to dating or sharing a room with him as boyfriend and girlfriend.
It is rare to see a couple before marriage have a sit-down talk about their future, from chore division to child care responsibility, when all things are good and the chaotic barrage of responsibilities that come with marriage is not yet in sight.
It is natural to find differences that lead to disappointment, once you are both in the same boat, sailing the storm, with that sunny lake of flower-scented magical chemistry far behind you.
Just remember 42% (Canada & UK), 50% (America), 33% (Australia) of marriages ended in divorce in 2021.
I’m not an advocate for either divorce or staying together, but only presenting data to tell you it is perfectly normal to grow some negative feelings toward your husband.
If you are willing to try some suggestions that you have not tried yet, here are a few tips and suggestions you could consider.
1. What to do when you can’t stand your husband?
- First, you have to step back and turn off your radar from tracking every single move and sound your husband makes. Instead, focus on you, whatever you are doing.
- Second, take some time off from chores and all that cooking and tidying up your house.
You might say, “Well, I wish, but I have a family to take care of.” Well, girl, if you don’t take care of yourself, there will be no family for your children and your husband. Throw a frozen meal in the oven for one night (or if your husband is not allergic to kitchen gadgets, you could hand him an apron for one meal). It is okay to not have a wholesome meal and a perfectly clean house and kitchen for one day.
Pamper yourself. It doesn’t have to break the bank to add possible stress later on. Have a relaxing bubble bath with scented candles. Add some relaxing music – or Death Metal if that pleases you.
- Third, find the underlying cause of your dissatisfaction. Sometimes, it can be about you.
When your self-esteem is hitting rock bottom, whether it’s from an out-of-shape body, no time or energy to bedazzle yourself to look as cute as once were, or your career and passionate goals stagnating for too long, it is hard to be content with yourself.
Whether it is true or not, you might be tempted to blame your husband for failing to live up to his word to treat you like his princess.
- Finally, spend more time focusing on yourself, to change the things you can change about yourself, instead of harbouring negative thoughts about your husband.
It does not have to be anything big in the beginning, just little changes you can feel and see to elevate your mood, if even a slight notch, from something as small as taking time to paint your nails, to something as big as learning more about that dream industry you’ve always wanted to work in and preparing for the career change.
Sample Idea 1 – What about getting a cute planner to examine your current state, where your future lies, and reset your goals.
Sample Idea 2 – Better look, higher confidence. We are not talking about having an all-made-up look for men. This is for you and only you. Let’s be honest, looking in the mirror and seeing a tired, colourless, blotchy face with matted hair would not lift anyone’s mood.
You don’t have to stay at home in a baggy old jogger to be a mom. Put on some tummy-sucking, boot-lifting jeans and little pieces of jewelry, with whatever amount of makeup pleases you.
No time? You have time to sink your own spirit. Make the time, even if you have to brew coffee while putting on mascara, or vacuum with one hand and put on lipgloss with the other.
Sample Idea 3 – Invest in yourself. That course that would launch your future career. That book you’ve been dying to get your hands on, but constantly putting down because of the price tag. (The library is a good resource to check out first, but when it comes to the professional category, you might need to network around to borrow for free.)
Even if you might have to spend a few hundred dollars in advance when your money is tight, if you find a way to reduce expenses from other things for a few months, in the end, you’re increasing your potential and stepping closer to your goals.
Do whatever you gotta do to boost your confidence and your worth. You may or may not be able to change your man, but you can always change and develop who you are.
2. What do you do when you just don’t like your husband?
Even after a relaxing night, once your eyes land on your husband again, you might still feel the same, if the underlying problems are still there. It’s time to talk with your man, but not the way you usually do.
Don’t focus on his wrongdoings. Focus on how you feel when he does things that upset you. Describe with very precise but vivid detail.
For example, “If you yell at our son, even if he is acting out, it reminds me of my dad who hurt me deeply, and I feel like I’m reliving a nightmare.” “If you spend all your evenings with your friends, I am beating myself up sitting here, thinking I’m not worth your time, and that hurts me repeatedly.”
If these examples sound too dramatic, you can tone it down, but you get the idea – it is not about blaming your husband, but telling him how you feel. And once you’ve expressed your feelings about one situation, period. No more words. Shock him, when he’s expecting 1000 more words from you.
If he does not contribute to the discussion, remove yourself and do your own thing, and let him sit with it. He might never respond, but you’ve expressed your thoughts and emotions without nagging or blaming.
3. Is it “normal” that I can’t stand my husband?
Normal might be a bit pessimistic towards the whole marriage perspective, but it is a natural thing for your disappointment to grow, once you and your husband venture into a united reality, after having lived your whole lives with separate lifestyles, family dynamics and even cultures.
These differences might have held a big charm factor at one point, but when life throws a storm your way and spins you around, it is harder to keep your bearings when your partner has polar opposite ideas about life.
4. How do I stop resenting my husband?
You might have to accept that people, in general, do not change their behaviours easily. If we did, million-dollar businesses around fitness, diet, and motivational services wouldn’t exist.
So, think about how much you can accept his annoying behaviours, and how willing he is to minimize his hurtful actions.
Here are some of the extra problems you’ve mentioned about situations that annoy you.
Let’s quickly dive in and see what might be the cause of the problem.
- I can’t stand my husband’s family
You met and fell in love with your husband, not his family. It is okay for you to not be in love with them.
As long as they are not toxic people who pull you down to Hell, what you have to do is show your respect to them as your husband’s loved ones, and do your diligence.
When we get a job, not every single boss and coworker is our cup of tea, but we’ve got to maintain a healthy, respectful relationship, don’t we?
- I can’t stand my husband touching me anymore
Oh, boy! This one is tough. Your chemistry with your husband may have dried up like sand in the desert. It could be dependent on how long things have been that way, and where your affection level is.
Repeated disappointment toward someone scars your heart. In that case, you have to find a way to heal that wound. Communication is crucial, but if this bridge has already burned down, it might require professional help for at least one of you.
- I can’t stand my husband, but the crazy thing is, I married him.
Yeap. You somehow chose him among a million other men. Why?
The things you once found charming were your own illusions, and might not be there anymore, once other negative aspects of him you never noticed before, get thrown in your face.
Marriage is hard precisely for this reason. It is harder than we think to make lemonade when life throws us a lemon – especially if it is not even a fresh one.
Just think, you might not be the dream wife he had once pictured in his head. Also, think about what your life might be like without him. His contribution to your family finances (however small or substantial), his help with childcare (however occasional or minimal) and his stupid, cheesy jokes that make you snort. Once he walks out of your life, could you live a better life without him?
Just remind yourself that this is Mr. Reality.
Ask yourself, “Can I accept him the way he is? Could I make do with a slight adjustment of his behaviour?
And ask your husband if you are who he dreamed of and expected as a wife on your wedding day.
The answer might surprise you, but don’t let that cute conversation turn into a blame game and pity party, please. A short, cool, cute response is good enough.
- I can’t stand my husband when I’m pregnant.
You’re growing a human inside you. Your husband is one of the millions of people you cannot stand. But he is there, and he might only look so useless because he’s not suffering the way you are, with morning sickness, cramps, bloating, and pain in your back, ribs, and joints.
Focus on you and your baby. Send him out to hunt for whatever craving you have.
- I can’t stand my husband when he drinks
Because he is an ungraceful drunk? A crier? Is he a man who has to drink until he falls flat on his face and kisses the floor? In these cases, you and your husband need some strategies.
Some people cannot separate themselves from alcohol, whether it is to have some false sense of new personality and boost of confidence, or simply out of enjoyment of the atmosphere around alcohol with good company.
One of my acquaintances developed the hobby of travelling because she found out, as long as they are on the road – hiking, fishing, and so on – he tends to drink way less.
I met another mom who upgraded her husband’s drinking habit, to involve her and other people, and include food and games, limiting the amount of booze on the table, to the point that her husband would not reach a dark state, and the food and people would help him behave himself. It is about recognizing alcohol as a treat, not a staple.
Every family and couple is in a different situation, so you have to decide which path will work for you and your husband, but I strongly recommend that once there is verbal and physical aggression involved, it is time for you to seek help.
- I can’t stand my husband’s snoring.
Get a good-quality set of earplugs. If he can get some help from his doctor, do it. We need a good night’s sleep to be there for our family. Living with a loud snorer is like sleeping every night on the subway platform. Do everything you can to get your peaceful night’s sleep back.
I can’t stand my husband after having a baby
As women, our priorities swiftly shift when the baby comes, from you and your husband to a tiny baby that is solely dependent on you – all while your body is recovering from a painful birth. You are sleep-deprived and your figure has never been this unsatisfying, and your body will never 100% recover from the trauma you’ve gone through. Your sweet baby is not always sweet, screaming until your head spins, or throwing up with a high fever that makes your heart somersault.
And then, there is your husband, who seems to just be there, doing nothing, and moving around at a sloth’s pace. Your hormones are wrecked and might never get back to normal when it comes to your feelings toward your husband.
- I don’t enjoy being around my husband
If you and your husband do not have a common interest in anything and the communication always goes south, it will be hard for you to enjoy time with your husband.
– Get outside of the house
People can feel, act, and talk differently when they are in a new environment. It does not have to be a fancy, high-expense trip – try something like a short day trip, or even just walking to a nearby park together.
– Include other people
If you are sick of having time only with your husband, involve some other people in a small barbeque or a game night.
– Just exist in the same room.
Whether it is in the kitchen or living room, do your own thing, like catching up on emails or reading books, but try to sit closer to him. Invite him to share a snack or dessert (you are showing your kindness, so there is no negative vibe). You do not have to initiate conversation, but do what you need to do. Just feel his presence, his breathing, the small movements of the muscles in his arm, his scent. Maybe pretend he is a stranger – if that helps!
- What do I do, I love my husband but I hate him? What do I do, I can’t stand my husband but I can’t leave?
First, if you could say you hate your husband but you love him, that means there is unresolved resentment lingering between you, whether from certain actions or words that repeatedly come get under your skin.
Find a way to resolve that dissatisfaction, even if you have to change your perspective and accept that there is no way he will remould himself to your expectations. Yes, acceptance is a powerful tool when it comes to letting go of resentment toward others.
Second, if you cannot stand your husband, but you cannot leave him because you love him, again, resolving your dissatisfaction toward him is the solution.
However, if you simply cannot leave him because of financial dependence on him, then you have to start to build your independence, looking at a more long-term future.
You might be surprised, once you start to build financial independence, to see your relationship from new angles, and once you are actually able to support yourself, you and your husband’s dynamic may change in an amicable way. But even if it doesn’t, you’ve still gained self-esteem and more options to consider.
- I told my husband I hate him
Did you say that to him to let him know how much he hurt your feelings, or do you truly believe he is not feeling your dissatisfaction?
Whatever the answer might be, let’s not hurt his feelings because he broke yours. Instead, only focus on one thing at a time to express your feelings about, but never in a row.
If you bombard him with rapid-fire criticism, he will likely switch to autopilot mode and tune out everything you say, which could hurt you more.
If it were your friend that had a quarrel with you, and instead of coming at you like, “I cannot believe you really said that. You hurt my feelings,” she/he said, “I fucking hate you. You’re despicable,” you might not want to say anything constructive to resolve the situation, and just say, “Go f*** yourself.”
Here are some resources to help you navigate difficulties with your husband
- Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft
This book answers questions and shows you inside the mind of an angry and controlling man.
- Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum
This book lets you see the truth about your relationship and guide you to the very best things to do, whether you decide to go or stay.
- The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, Ph.D., and Nan Silver
This book helps you understand, repair, and strengthen marriages.
- How to Be Married by Jo Piazza
She talks about a real first year of marriage that will forever change the way we look at matrimony.
- And Baby Makes Three by John Gottman, Ph.D., Julie Schwartz Gottman
This book guides you on how to maintain intimacy and romance after having a child, to help parents positively manage the strain after birth.