Husband doesn't show respect

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Registered: 12-31-1969
Husband doesn't show respect
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 8:52am

I have been with my husband for 24 years (we lived together for 22 years and got married 2 years ago). 

Yesterday he was supposed to come home between noon and 1 o'clock to drop off my car. He did not show up and he did not call.  His excuse was that he thought I would be sleeping (I have MS and get very fatigued) This was the straw that broke the camel's back.  He never calls me when he is going to be late or when he arrives somewhere after a long drive (he always has an excuse I was too busy to call, I forgot.

It all comes down to lack of respect.  He also shows no respect when we are with other people (he stares at other woman's breasts, is charming, is very outgoing and talkative whereas at home he sits in front of the tv with a blank stare and doesn't communicate.  He has a nasty temper which he doesnt show often however I had always avoided making him angry.   I am tired of pussyfooting around his anger and inability to have a discussion without his anger coming into play. 

He has always made derogatory comments about me in front of other people-saying things about our sex life (his opinion about lack of)  to family and frien "people think she is skinny but shes not -its just because she doesnt have a chest,, if you ever gain weight you are out of here, talking about women he comes in contact with everyday (work, coffee shop, neighbors) all the time to me, family, friends, neighbors and states he wonders how they would be in bed.  We have a very good sex life and were always affectionate towards each other.  I know I have allowed him to behave this way towards me because I am afraid of his anger issues (he has never hit me or threatened to-it is all emotional).

I am 50 and I do not want to live like this anymore however we do have good times occassionally.  Oh yeah I forgot to tell you that in all the years we have been together we have never been away together alone for even a weekend and we do not go out together for an evening.  He told me it was because we have kids.

Please help me get through this mess with some advice. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 9:14am

Has he always been like that for the last 24 years? 

By staying with him and marrying him, you basically showed that it is OK to not to respect you.  There are no consequences to his insensitive and rude actions.  It is unlikely that he would change at this point.  The question is, are you ready and willing to leave this relationship?

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 10:37am
Your H is not going to change on his own after all this time. You have allowed his bad behavior from day one and now he is used to being any way he wants and there are no consequences for his actions. Now you suddenly want to bring consequences.

What are you prepared to do exactly? You can say, I want you to respect me from now on, or else.... Or else what? Are you prepared to threaten to leave the marriage? Because that is what it might take. I assume you prefer to fix your relationship rather then leave?
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 10:56am

Are you prepared to threaten to leave the marriage? Because that is what it might take. I assume you prefer to fix your relationship rather then leave?

IMHO, unless one is able to follow through with a "threat", it generally backfires.  So if the OP threatens to leave, but her DH still refuses to change and she doesn't leave, it only re-enforces her DH that her words do not carry weight and she can be ignored.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2011
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 11:19am

Actually I can be of help concerning this one.

It's called 'setting boundaries' and it's extremely important within a marriage. Partners must set their boundaries, be extremely clear and  firm about them and what they are, and discuss consequences when they are broken in advance, so the partner knows what's coming when and if they disrepect the other partner .

For example, if hus. is staring at other women's breasts the approach may be first to tell him how you feel disrespected, unfeminine, dishorored and undervalued when he does this. Be very emphatic and clear that you are now setting a boundary and for him to continue to do this will be breaking this boundary. Talk about consequences should the boundary be broken. Then follow through  and ALWAYS enforce the consequences of breaking the boundary.

Marriage Boundaries are really important because they involve the heart and soul of the other partner.Things the other partner absolutely cannot live with or without.So they should be major issues.

At first the partner may not understand you. They may not take you seriously and break the boundary. That's why it's so important to be emphatic and strong and enforce the discussed consequences when they are broken.

Concerning the breast staring issue, he may explain himself by saying that by staring at other women he feels more masculine. So it may be  good to say 'how can I satisfy this need for you?Can be work on this together?' In a M we really have to work together as a team so it takes give and take and compromising. But when it comes to issues where we are hurt, in pain, crying, upset, and this has happened time and time again boundary setting is the only way to go.

I just want to add, and this is me, it's a little like training a dog. You can get the result, but the animal is changed a little in the process. Like, the breast staring ..........he may then just learn to hang his head and follow around after you at parties and then, would you be happy with this? He will be a little changed so be prepared for this and will you be happy with the result?

Communication is so important in a marriage. If they want to be married, they have to learn we have needs also and our communication eeds are greater and they have to help us to have this need satisfied too. I hope it all works out for you.        

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 12:03pm

So you've never told your husband how his behaviour makes you feel because you don't want to anger him?  That sounds like you have been living in fear of your husband, so he's been able to dominate the relationship and basically do whatever he wants.  I have never been afraid of my husband, he has never disrespected me in public or private, and we've been together for 12 years (married 10).  A relationship should be about two people respecting one another, supporting each other, loving each other, and not being afraid to tell the other person what is on their mind out of fear.  This clearly does not sound like a healthy relationship, I do hope that you find the courage to get out of it now.  In many ways, I think that men would not behave the way they do if no one put up with it.  My father is the same way in that he (thinks) he's the one calling the shots, but my mom is a lot smarter (and too independent) to let him know  he's not! 

That your husband does not want to take you away on a vacation or even out to dinner alone due to your children (they do have babysitters for a reason), is just another way to control the things he does not want to do with you..  My husband and I have no kids, and we love going out and traveling together as often as our jobs and money will allow.  If I was not enjoying my life with my husband, I would not be married.

I'm curious, after being together for 22 years, what made you decide to get married two years ago?  Did you think he would change after becoming his wife?



Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 1:30pm

Good for you!  It takes courage and I wish you well.  Please check back here or at other boards such as surviving separation and divorce if you need support or just to vent.  Good luck!


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2011
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 2:21pm

Another thing, I know women who have started to set boundaries within their marriage after 30 yrs and have changed their hus,'s behavior ! It can be done! And I did it too ! But like I said, they have to want to change and love us enough to change. And the new way they act may be a little different, we have to be happy with that. In my case, I was very happy because the situation had become intolerable for me. So I gladly took  a guy trailing around with me at the community pool looking down and not talking to other women or googling. Maybe his personality is a little inhibited now but I couldn't go on as it had been before the boundaries had been set.   

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 3:20pm

Well Jeannie, it doesn't seem like the OP's DH has one issue--you focused on him looking at other women, whcih maybe your DH had been doing, but there are multiple issues here--his anger, not doing anything w/ his DW, not taking her anywhere, being nice to others but not her, making rude comments about their sex life to others--I think it would really take a lot of boundary setting to change this type of person--and what is she supposed to threaten to do?  I think for normal people, they wouldn't have to be told that this type of behavior would be unacceptable--it would be obvious that if you love someone, you don't do these things.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 4:39pm
"People will only treat you the way you ALLOW them to treat you" You have ALLOWED him to treat you this way for so long, why should he change now?
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2004
Fri, 08-10-2012 - 12:41am

I segregating with him and putting up with the disrespect gave him a license to do so. The first person that is to respect us is us and the man will follow and have to go. You have to decide what it is you want and stick to it. No one can tell you to stay or go (we can) but that decision ultimately is yours. However, he most likely will not change because this has been allowed to go on far too long. If you do leave, Never allow a man to treat you like that again. Nip it! Remember respect for you begins with you. Good luck.