My Wife Is Making Me Lose My Smile.

I have never written into any websites like this butt I am in desparate need for clear unbiased advice.  I am 35 years old, a father to three great daughters, and married to my highschool sweetheart.  Our relationship has been difficult at times all the way back to our highschool years and it has continued to become increasingly more difficult as time goes on.  When we started dating I noticed the qualities in her that I found appealing such as family oriented, great with kids, good looking, religious, honest, loving, sensitive etc.  As time has gone on, many of those qualities have been overshadowed by her self-centered ways.  It just seems like our life priorities are very different and we can't even agree on the basic ways of day to day life.  She is very concerned with her appearance, as well as, the appearance of our home.  I believe in eating healthy, staying active, helping others, being financially secure, having a loving home environment, and making sure we raise our  daughters to be adults with those same values.  My wife tends to feel defined by how she looks, what she drives, and where she lives.  Just one example is that we are needing to replace one of our cars and she will get the new one that we buy while I will drive the old one.  My criteria for choosing a car is #1 safety, #2 reliability, #3 price and #4 fuel economy.  Her criteria is nothing beyond how classy and rich it looks.  When I suggest cars that meet my criteria, she gets angry and accuses me of trying to control her and make her drive some piece of junk.  The cars that I suggest are 20-30k mile cars that are top safety and reliability picks and cost $15k-$18k.  When I explain to her that her $35k car choice would hinder college savings for our daughters as well as savings for retirement and our emergency fund she becomes defensive and says that she has already lowered her standards from a $50k car to a $35k car.  She says I just don't want her to be happy.  In our relationship it doesn't matter how much I give or do, she always pushes for more.  She has lied to me about purchases and had secret credit card accounts that I have had to work overtime to pay off.  I am talking $35k in credit card debt!  She has told our daughters to "not tell daddy  I bought this" and that teaches them to not respect their father and future husband!  I am afraid they are going to grow up to be self-centered, shallow, and materialistic.  It feels like I always try to do the right thing by using analytical thinking, logical reasoning, and my moral antenna.  More often than not she chooses to do what feeds her need to look perfect without considering the consequences.  I believe her perfect appearance is trying to fill a void in another aspect in her life, but she has a very hard time really taking an honest look at herself and behavior.  Anytime I try to talk to her about anything she instantly becomes defensive and angry, and will try to turn things around to make it seem like I am attacking her.  We couldn't even talk about a family budget without her getting angry and accusing me of trying to screw her on her monthly allowance.  By the way she gets $400 dollars per month allowance to buy whatever she wants.  All other bills are paid including her fuel.  I get $200 per month and pay for my fuel out of that money.  I try to explain my reasoning for my decisions in a very calm, clear, and consise manner.  I tell her that we need an emergency fund just in case something happens like a very sick child and one of us has to quit working etc. I also mention retirement savings, college for the girls, and money for vacations and to enjoy.  She will come back with a statement like "you just want me to be like your mom, plain, no makeup and not dressed up."  It is almost like talking to a spoiled brat child!  She rarely looks at any situation from anyone elses view point, other than her strange sense of reality.  Her parents are the most genuine, down-to-earth christian people you could ever find.  They don't posess one ounce of selfishness between the two of them.  The didn't spoil her growing up and I think that made her feel inferior to her friends that had an over abudance of everything.  I feel that she has been trying to heal that wound by over compensating for it now.  I think her low self esteem is the root of many of her problems and I am trying to help her to adopt healthy habits and hobbies that will make her feel good in other ways and create that self worth that she deserves.  She is a very hard person to help due to that chip on her shoulder.   Aside from that we had an argument of xmas day because my work schedule prevented me from getting to my parents family gathering untill one hour from the time we were supposed to go to her parents house.  Since we drove to my parents separate and I had just eaten, told her to go on to her parents and I would be there shortly.  This would give them time toeat over there and me time to visit with my side of the family.  So one hour after she left, I also left and went to her parents.  Upon arriving, I found that she was furious that I didn't leave with them and chose my parents over her and the girls.  I said that she wasn't being fair because the previous weekend we had another xmas gathering with her family and that the total time with her side was going to be 12 hours compared to 1 hour with my side.  The extra hour I stayed made two hours with my side.  Her reply was "oh! so now your holding my large family against me" and I told her that I am only trying to quantify the facts to show her that she is being unreasonable and unfair.  She said well I guess it will be understood that blood is thicker than water and you will always choose them over me!  I told her that if roles were reversed, she would have been furious with me for wanting to leave to go to my parents after she had just gotten to hers.  But that would not have happened because I would not want her to barely see her side of the family on xmas and I would have waited to go to my parents until later.  HOW DO I DEAL WITH THIS WOMAN?  Again, I think that what it boils down to is her low self esteem was to blame for this situation too.  I can clearly lay out the facts of our disagreements and try to bring about compromise, but I am the one that normally ends up compromising just to bring peace.  My overall question is how do I deal with a person that can't compromise, or even discuss differences of opinoin in a constructive manner.   I need help!  I don't want to break up our family.  I know that the real her is hiding in there somewhere  because she comes out sometimes.  By the way, if you would see her you would wonder why she has low self esteem.  She is gorgeous.  I just want a happy life.  Just like I tell her, we have a happy and healthy family, good jobs, food to eat, and a roof over our heads.  Everything else is a bonus!  Thanks to everyone that tries to help...John
jaghf221 jaghf221
12 Responses Dec 28, 2010

You are reasonable, cautious, appreciative, and loving. Yes she's self involved and the tough part is that it could be a personality disorder which is tough to change. I experienced Gestalt therapy. In it, a person is held accountable for being self involved by the therapist. It definitely helps people to look at themselves. It does make a huge difference. But if she won't listen, if she won't stay in tgerapy, she will never change. My sister is cruel and is not empathetic actually Enjoying hurting me. I have decided that i can no longer visit her staying at her house, period. I'm afraid she was born with this narcissistic personality disorder . Only Heaven and its therapy will ever show her just how unjust, judgmental and destructive she has been.
In fact, if she read this she' D just think its her oversensitive Sister complaining again. I feel for you. You said that your wife was somewhat like this In college. We have to be very aware of what people are like before we choose to stay with them. Now, you have 3 precious daughters. The best thing you can do for them is to Bring them with you when you give time, food, clothes, time to the truly disadvantaged, especially kids. Show them Love for the little ones, or for animals you help at a shelter. Help them by example. Tell them something wonderful about themselves to engage and uplift them but expect them to help human or animal kind with you. No canceling for a nail appointment or allowing mom to fight you out of it. The symphony and ballet will also touch their higher selves, inspire them to greater goals. They both are elevating and celestial in nature.
Dont lose your daughters but do by example demonstrate for them the joy of giving and uplifting others. Touch their consciences And you will influence them for life.

You seem controlling in this way only; sometimes people need a thing to feel stronger. Your wife needs Some thing that helps her feel uplifted, and I don't mean a new outfit. Yes, youre right that she wants a 50,000$ car and thats excessive, but the 32,000$ one might be worth it for her .. The living with saving predominantly and not enjoying again, Some or a few things she wants is Depressing. I understand this because of years of Self deprivation due to divorce.
I understand yoy might disagree. But is it possible to talk to her about it?
Another thing I read about is the narcissistic personality disorder. Your wife might not have low self Esteem. She might be a narcissist who is incapable of empathy, or exchange and sharing in a relationship. This is tough. And i feel bad about it. Its happened to me too.
I am so sorry to be so blunt, and I know its your life. Pray, read, help your daughters, get support.
All blessings to you.
E. H.

the more I read this , the more I thought we might be married to the same woman. :(

Get a copy of "Where to Draw the Line" by Anne Katherine, M.A. It sounds like your wife is doing "the classic flip," where as a defense mechanism, the conversation is constantly redirected toward you. For starters, when she starts putting words in your mouth, you can respond by saying "that isn't what I said, and we are talking about YOUR behavior. Please stay on topic. This is not about me wishing any kind of ill on you. It is about your self absorbed behavior."

If you took Christian vows, then it may be time to remind her that she vowed to love, honor, and OBEY you. Of course, that's probably just another argument in the brewing. Do yourself a favor and get the book I recommended, read it and apply what you learn in there. It's a great place to start, and I also highly recommend you get Dr. Marshall Rosenberg's book "Non Violent Communication" as a way to complement "Where to Draw the Line." Together, they work wonders.

PS. For the ladies who responded, it's spelled "self righteous." Having been married to a spendthrift myself, I can relate to this guy who is obviously at his wits end. While it is true that people have different representation systems regarding their personal worlds, if what he says is true, there is NO EXCUSE for one person in a marriage, regardless of gender, to create a bunch of debt, lie about it, and expect his or her mate to simply work harder and sacrifice his or her income so the spendthrift can assuage her inner spoiled brat. The classic flip is an example that is all too common- defensive behavior attempting to diffuse a situation where the flipper must take responsibility for her behavior.

Anyone If you are good from Heart . you will suffer regardless
best way to deal starting acting as bad man even you are a nice man
show her bad side of you
don't care what people or friend will say
if you are bad people scare from you
you can drop your number i will help you i had control my ***** wife doing this trick

This was an excellent response. I agree.

Have a wife almost exactly like yours. I started standing up to her and in 6 months she left me and my three boys and moved in with her parents. You can never compromise or reason with people like this. I do want her back in my life but I will refuse to unless she is willing to see her issues. She has stated to me that she can not find anything wrong with her. :-(

Man you may have to decide if staying in the relationship is worth all the grief or whether it would be better to just cut your losses and say its over. When a person has lived a certain way and believes a certain way for so long, THERE IS NO CHANGING THM! Good luck brother.

Words/terms you use regarding your wife: high school sweetheart, family oriented, great with kids, good looking (this was the third thing you mentioned in a list about her), religious, honest, loving, sensitive, self-centered, concerned with her appearance, as well as, the appearance of our home, defined by how she looks, what she drives, and where she lives, teaches them to not respect their father and future husband, you also imply that she is (shallow, and materialistic), she chooses to do what feeds her need to look perfect without considering the consequences, has a very hard time really taking an honest look at herself and behavior, low self esteem, a very hard person to HELP, chip on her shoulder, furious, not being fair, low self-esteem again, can't compromise, or even discuss differences of opinion in a constructive manner, gorgeous. (I'd just like to point out that you mentioned her looks at least 3 times).

Words you use regarding yourself: eating healthy, staying active, helping others, being financially secure, having a loving home environment, and making sure we raise our daughters to be adults with those same values, always try to do the right thing, I always try to do the right thing by using analytical thinking, logical reasoning, and my moral antenna, I am trying to HELP HER to adopt healthy habits and hobbies, only trying to quantify the facts, SHOW HER that she is being unreasonable and unfair," I can clearly lay out the facts of our disagreements and try to bring about compromise, but I am the one that normally ends up compromising just to bring peace. " WOW!!! You have such a level head! Seems like you know everything and are not affected by the scientific reality of personal perception!

You sound self-self-richeous: My criteria for choosing a car is #1 safety, #2 reliability, #3 price and #4 fuel economy. Her criteria is nothing beyond how classy and rich it looks.

Dear John: Although you seem at first appearances that you are the most awesome guy and your wife is a complete disaster, I have to say that i have dated and almost married a man like you. I don't deny the difficulties you have endured with your mate nor try to say that I know you or her and what you are going through. However, your letter sounds like a self-richeous guy who has a hard time seeing another point of view for the reasons mentioned above. You seem nice and I'm sure she is too if you accept her for who she is and stop trying to push your moral standards on her.

Respectfully, Jo-Ann

I feel your pain, it's draining on your self esteem living with someone like your wife. You sound like me, stuck in a relationship with a woman I love dearly, but ultimately only thinks of her own needs at the end of the day. Some days are good, she's the loving woman you married and adore, then boom...she turns on you for something that seems almost trivial, yet to her is a big deal. Storm in a tea-cup situation. The harder you try to reason with her the more she seems to throw back at you, as if you're the one causing her despair and holding her back. I know my wife is unhappy, I think yours is too, but like me, you want to find middle ground and stay together, but it's just a matter of time before it all gets too muach for you. You are a good guy, a really good guy and you have and are, trying your best for the sake of your family. I admire your courage. It's not easy dealing with this situation, but for their sake and yours, you have to decide eventually if you make or break. It's a lonely decision, but you cannot keep draining yourself like this, as you will end up exhausted and beaten. Your wife by the sound of things no longer loves you and is making your life together an emotional roller-coaster. She knows what she's doing to you and is deliberately trying to manipulate everything common sense stands for and making you feel down...all the time. She's litteraly discrediting your reasons for all that is sensible. Her attitude is one of someone who is trying to destroy her relationship by making you feel as if you are not able to make her happy and I believe she's doing this to break you, so she can get you to call time on your marriage.<br />
I feel for you, I've been where you are and it's also happening to me again now and I can't believe it. Why do the good guys always get the hard road in relationships. <br />
May life be good to you my friend and I hope it all works out. Life goes on and peace will return to your life eventually. Be brave in the times that lie ahead of you, because your heart is going to take a dent, but hold on as you stiil have your lovely daughters who after the dust settles will see the true, loving father that they have is still around. Your wife on the other hand, well I know you love her, but she does not deserve you. She'll go on for the rest of her life with the same chip on her shoulder. Viscious circle for her I'm afriad.<br />
Rest easy my friend and good luck!!

i agree with the therapy comments, i am married to a similar type of person. however my spouse refuses to go to therapy. i believe he did have a traumatic childhood, but you can't use that as an excuse to rain down on everyone else, if you aren't willing to get help. i can't imagine going through a divorce but i just don't know what to do. i have so much anger built up and wonder how i ended up here... i have 3 kids to take care of, my spouse barely helps with that and i feel like i have to cater to his self centered way of life.

She is a spoiled brat. So what if she gets mad. You are mad about it. Why are her 'wants' more important than everything. If she wants all these things then she needs to get a job and get them her self. She is ridiculous and you are too for letting her be this way. <br />
You are paying for a trophy wife.. Enjoy it.

I think she needs therapy personally. <br />
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I am not one to give advice, I will only say I would be THRILLED to have a husband like you. I would LOVE to have a $400 a month allowance to spend just on ME. <br />
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I think your wife needs a dose of reality. She probably is feeling "unfulfilled". I hear this all the time from other women I work with and speak to. All I can say to them is that the grass MIGHT be greener on the other side, but you are gambling away your future when you have a pretty great guy at home. I have it rough at home. I work full time, cook, clean, shop, do it all. My husband could care less about our future budget.<br />
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If she doesn't work, maybe she should get a job. Maybe school. She seems to be needing something in her life she doesn't have. <br />
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Hopefully she doesn't do something stupid so she ends up as a single mom to 3 kids. Trust me, she won't feel unfulfilled anymore....she will be feeling overwhelmed. I would trade places with her in one hot minute. Overwhelmed is not a fun place to be.

i hv the same problems with similar traits in the person. anyone with an advice?

Your wife might have had a traumatic childhood. Maybe she was abused or rejected by her parents or one of her parents. Some of her basic needs were not met, and therefore she seeks to fill that vacuum with other stuff like nice clothes and expensive cars. She should see a counsellor to help her deal with her childhood traumas, so she can receive inner healing. Maybe you can ask her about her childhood.