Anyone helped their man speak kinder to them?

posted 3 years ago in Relationships
  • poll: What do you think?
    His critical nature isn't a big deal, just let it go : (4 votes)
    9 %
    It's a major problem that he talks this way regularly, and you should... (below) : (26 votes)
    59 %
    It's not a huge problem that he tends to talks this way, but I suggest you... (below) : (11 votes)
    25 %
    OMG, you dropped crumbs while feeding the pets? That's SO much worse than crumb-city on the counter : (3 votes)
    7 %
  • Post # 3
    3442 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    @joya_aspera:  Not sure I have any riveting advice, but you’re not alone here.

    My FI can be naggy about stuff as well, much more than me actually.

    You’re not alone. Maybe your approach could change from trying to point our his falws in order to how him how hypocritical it can be, to trying to focus on how his nagginess makes you feel bad about yourself.

    He might have some valid points, but he needs to be nicer when he is addressing you about it. Likewise, if you have a bone to pick with him you should be nice about it, and he needs to learn to take what he is will to dish out.

    Post # 4
    42157 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I always remember what Thumper’s mother said in Bambi- “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

    I would have a discussion with him making it clear that it does hurt my feelings when he speaks so negatively about me or any  of my habits. I would ask him to remember how it felt when he was criticized  by his mother.

    These little digs can be the start of eroding a very good relationship. I would tell him that I expected him to stop that behavior now because I love him and value our relationship.

    Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone- also comes to mind. When he thinks he has reached perfection,he is welcome to start belittling me again.


    Post # 5
    5445 posts
    Bee Keeper

    His personality sounds like someone who can “dish it out but can’t take it.” This makes me think of my mom’s childhood advice–she always said the only reason anyone puts anybody else down is to make themselves feel better. We were kids, but I’ve found this to be unequivocally true my entire life. Does he have some low self esteem issues (even if they’re hidden)? I would use positive reinforcement. So when he says something critical of you, ignore it, and when you make some kind of “mistake” (how he would see it) and he doesn’t criticize, thank him for not being overly critical, because that doesn’t make you feel good. 

    Post # 6
    466 posts
    Helper bee

    I wish I had advice.  I am in a similar situation with my SO.  He is insanely neat and freaks out if anything is out of place.  I’m the cook in the house, which means that he is often freaking out that my cooking is to messy (althoug he is happy to eat it.  He seems to think it is possible to make a tomato sauce wihtout splattering some on the stovetop).  He says I suck at vaccuming.  I can clean the whole house, and he will come in and re-vaccum and mop.  It drives me NUTS!

    I don’t have any great advice, however, I’ve gotten to the point where I just sit back and tell him to clean it all himself.  I litterally have sat on the couch watching TV while he has cleaned around me.  I don’t think its the death of a relationship, but I do think our relationship would be more pleasant if he stopped nagging me so much.  He also calls me a slob.  In all other ways, he is great.  I’ve brought it up to him, but it hasn’t helped.  Normally we just argue.  So I stopped bring it up and just ignore him when he is grumpy.  

    The only solution I can think of is hiring a cleaning lady.  I’m a student now, but the moment I get my first pay check, I’m hiring a cleaning lady to come in and clean the house every week or two.  I figure it will stop A LOT of the bickering.  

    Post # 8
    10384 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2010

    You can not, in the same breath, say that he is negative, critical, and sometimes calls you names, and say “he treats you well”. Those don’t go together. A lifetime of being married to someone like that does actually equate to verbal abuse, in my book.

    Post # 9
    724 posts
    Busy bee

    It’s definitely driving a wedge in the relationship; it sounds like you’re using each other’s crumbs as ammo in an argument. Cockroaches don’t have anything to do with two people bickering over who is right.

    You can only control your actions in the situation, so I’d focus on that and not as much on how you’d like him to change his actions. That said, you don’t have to listen to him berate you on and on like that, and it sounds like it’s his pattern of behavior to get “on a roll” with the criticisms. You can nip it in the bud by speaking up in that moment that he digs into you more than you’re comfortable with, acknowledging what he said and telling him that you don’t need to hear any more of it. You don’t have to agree with him, and that’s ok, but instead of engaging with someone who will carry on like that, make it clear that it’s not how you’re going to communicate with him about [literally] teeny tiny little problems.

    It’s kind of like communicating with a small child. If they are being unreasonable, you don’t interact with them on those terms. When they’re calm and appropriate about it, you are happy to help. I’m not advocating treating a grown man like a kid, but when someone is in a pattern of bulldozing over your feelings like that, it’s so important to be clear as can be about why they aren’t getting a good response from you.

    It’s a learning process, so when you do feel like he makes an effort here, it’s good to lay on the praise (big smiles do wonders in communicating appreciation for respect he shows you!).

    I’m the neat one in my relationship, and when I feel like my partner appreciates that I keep my thoughts to myself sometimes, I’m happier to do it. It’s a subtle difference though in holding my tongue and making a mental note of each and every one of his presumed flaws so that I can use them against him when we disagree on something, you know?

    I’m really sorry that you feel unhappy in these moments with an otherwise terrific man. There’s no reason to think that it won’t get better though, so hang in there!!

    Post # 10
    757 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    It sounds like he might have some contol or self-esteem issues- like a desire to be perfect (but I’m only going off your description!).  This is something that you shouldn’t (although I understnad why you do, and probably would myself) take personally.  I wouldn’t bring it up to him in this way, but keeping that in the back of your mind might help when it comes to how you react to his nagging.  I agree with PPs that you should tell him something like “when you do ____ it makes me feel ____” to help him realize that complaining about crumbs is really the most ridiculous thing ever, and it’s hurting your feelings.  

    On another note- I could be absolutely wrong and it could just be stress from another place, that he is taking out at home.  I know when I’m stressed about something, and the house is a mess, i freak out on my FI.  I realize, though, that I’m slightly insane when I do this and profusely apologize afterward- FI also has these moments and we’re working on it.  I think that’s the important part.

    Post # 12
    5445 posts
    Bee Keeper

    @joya_aspera:  yeah I can relate somewhat. I’ve always had this nagging desire to be perfect. Not even desire but need. Like we found an old math test of mine from 4th grade, and I got a 94% but I wrote on it at the time “will do better next time.” That’s just my personality so I know how it feels to have this desire to be perfect and do everything the “right” way. But I don’t care so much about praise, I just like internal satisfaction. But if he likes praise I would go with it. It’s hard to word without sounding patronizing you’re right. The best thing is to sound as genuine as you can. Maybe just a simple “I really appreciate it when you let the little stuff go” if he doesn’t make a big deal of something he normally would.

    Of course I would say you should try having honest discussions with him about this first, but it sounds like you have AND if there is any self esteem kind of issue, he will just feel badly about himself when you try to talk about it and probably get defensive and upset. Does he have any OCD tendencies? Because it also sounds like it could be a desire to control the outcome of something he (irrationally) perceives as a bigger problem than it is. Like, pretty much everyone in the world has some crumbs on their floor occasionally and most do not get cockroaches. But it sounds like he worries excessively over things that won’t happen. 

    Post # 14
    1634 posts
    Bumble bee

    my FI used to say rude things but he didn’t realize they were rude. He was very short with his words and was really blunt. It hurt my feelings constantly and he didn’t even know it was happening. That’s just how his family talked, really to the point and blunt. im all about positive reinforcement over criticism, so I had to tell him that I’m ultra sensitive and needed him to ‘sugar-coat’ things a bit. it may seem kind of silly, but it made a huge difference. Sometimes he’d forget and blurt something out so I’d have to take a minute, remind myself that’s not what he meant and then tell him “I know you said _____, but I took it as _____. I know that’s not what you meant but that’s how it came across” then we’d have a chance to talk about it. He is really careful about thinking before he speaks now and I think it’s kind of cute when we’re having a conversation now and he pauses for a few seconds before he responds. I have a little internal party every time lol


    Post # 15
    6958 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2015

    @joya_aspera:  I think your best bet is to wait for the next time he’s nagging and critisizing and say something like “Remember when I called you out about the crumbs on the counter and it hurt your feelings? That is how you are making me feel now. Can you please just state the problem and then trust me to be an adult and correct it? I don’t need a lecture any more than you do.”

    Post # 16
    757 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    @joya_aspera:  I hear you – Everyone is entitled to their personality- whether its a “slob” or a “neat freak”.  I think my point was more that his outburst isn’t really, truly, about the crumbs – but from another anxiety/stress, especially since you just said that he wouldn’t be OK with your hurt feelings, but more upset about the crumbs.  I don’t agree with PPs that say this is severe abuse – but I do think that maybe some sort of counseling might be helpful? He sounds very tense, and it seems like he takes it out on you. Does he treat his friends/family this way when they come over? When he goes over to someone else’s house? At work when someone makes a mess in the break room/kitchen?

    There is a difference between not liking a dirty/messy house – and cleaning it when necessary to keep your own sanity (you)- and not liking a dirty/messy house but flipping out over a small mess the instance it happens (him).  I mean, you have pets.  I have 2 dogs, and if you come over and don’t find dog hair everywhere (I just vacuumed and dusted, I swear!!!) then I’d send you to get your eyes checked. 

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