Post # 1
My husband has been distant and unhappy over the last year. He says that I keep putting him down and am too critical. Also that when I am angry, I say some things that are really hurtful and mean. I do believe he is oversensitive sometimes, particularly when it comes to what I feel is constructive criticism, but he is right about me being hurtful when I am angry. I am trying to work on this but I am also anxious and worried because he is becoming increasingly distant due to this. I have always been blunt and outspoken so it is tough to change it though. I do love my husband very much and would appreciate any advice that anyone has here.
Post # 2
“I have always been blunt and outspoken…” That is not necessarily a good thing. There are times, especially in marriage, when holding your tongue is a better option.
It sounds like your marriage is in deep trouble. I would advise you and your husband to BOTH own your part in this, and seek marital therapy right away.
You will never both be happily married to each other if things continue as they are, nor indeed will your marriage probably even survive. And it will not be easy to make the changes that will probably need to be made.
Marriage is serious stuff. And it’s hard sometimes. I wish you both the best of luck.
Post # 3
Have you considered therapy to help you manage your anger and learn how to express yourself constructively instead of lashing out?
I have a tendency to be blunt and outspoken too, but it is not always the best communication style particularly during conflict when emotions are already running high.
Additionally, I would be careful about the “over sensitive” comments. It rings of gaslighting considering you have admitted that you do say mean, hurtful things in the heat of the moment.
Post # 4
Can you share some examples of things you’ve done/said that your husband has been upset by? What types of things are you criticizing, and how are you doing it?
Because my advice will be a lot different depending on what is going on here. Like if you married a manchild who cant be bothered to do anything around the house or parent his own children and then he gives you shit when you criticize him for it, that’s a very different situation than if you’re constantly harping on him about other types of things.
Post # 5
The best thing to do here is to focus on the big things and let the little things go for right now. It’s worthwhile to speak to him if he has a drinking or a drug problem, if he is letting himself go so that he’s no longer attractive to you, if he is doing something unsafe, or if he has messed something up to the point of damaging something. Don’t be critical of him delaying washing dishes or loading the dishwasher in a way you don’t like until you fix this problem, and part of the long term fix may be to permanently accept things like that and do them yourself if you don’t like the way he does things. I know you say you try to mete out the criticism constructively, but it may not be coming across that way. Put yourself in his shoes and ask yourself what kinds of things you’d like him to criticize you about and what kinds of things you’d prefer that he let go. While it’s not perfect, living according to the Golden Rule is a good guide.
Couples therapy would help here, as it gives both of you a chance to air out the problems and communicate possible fixes.
Post # 6
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You can’t go back in time and change the person you’ve been in the past, but it’s awesome that you’ve realized you need to make a change and are trying to do better now. I don’t believe that a woman should ever feel obligated to “hold her tongue,” but you can always make sure that you are saying what you need to say in a loving, constructive way rather than in a way that tears your partner down. You should rightfully demand that type of respect from your husband, so you need to give it to him, too. It’s great that you recognize that and are working on it.
When I am stressed out, I sometimes lash out at those around me, too. As I began to reflect on why I do that, both on my own and in counseling, I came to understand that it’s a defense mechanism I use to hide from the vulnerability of being stressed or anxious. It’s the same exact thing my mother does, and I learned it from watching her growing up. Identifying the “why” behind my words helps me be more aware of them and choose healthier and more productive ways of communicating.
If you haven’t already, I would recommend letting your husband know that you’re working on lashing out and trying to be better. I would also consider checking out individual counseling or therapy to help you get to the root of why you do that. I think that if you’re fully honest and transparent with your husband, and invite him into your own healing process, you can probably heal your marriage, too. You got this!
Post # 7
See if you can get some couple counseling before it’s too late. Maybe he is not as over sensitive as you think and you are harsher than you think. I’ve been in your husbands shoes and it was an eye opener for my husband to see how critical he really was and how his words can bite more than he thought.
Post # 8
If you say things that are mean and hurtful during the heat of an argument then you need to get counseling for yourself to change this. I’ve been with my husband for 24 years and I manage to have arguments and get angry without becoming mean. It is never ok to be mean or hurtful no matter how angry you are.
In terms of being too critical, are you? There were times in the past when I focused too much on my husband’s faults (why does he put back empty peanut butter jars into the cabinets) rather than focus on his positives. I’ve learned that by focusing on what he does do rather than picking on the little things, we have had a more positive relationship.
Post # 9
My husband and I are also both very blunt and don’t sugar coat things. Because we both are this way we don’t take offence to when one of us constructively criticizes the other.
However not everyone is this way. I’ve had other relationships where I certainly had to be more flowery and light footed when speaking my mind. I think it is the right thing to self monitor and filter if you know your partner is more sensitive. If you can’t do that, then you may be incompatible.
Also, we never say mean or hurtful things to each other. When discussions get heated we take a break if we’re at the point where the things we say would no longer be respectful. There’s never any reason to name call, belittle, or disrespect your spouse. If you are doing that on the regular (or when you get angry) then I could see why he’s getting distant. There’s a difference between being blunt and being hurtful. If you love/respect your partner than any criticism would automatically come from a place of love and would as such not be disrespectful.
It may not be that he is “overly sensitive”, because I certainly don’t categorize myself as sensitive but if my husband attacked me verbally and TRIED to make me feel bad or hurt then I would be very upset and take it very personally. That’s not oversensitivity, that’s an appropriate response to being harassed or bullied.
Post # 10
I teach, and the coworkers who consitently criticize their SOs are ALWAYS the ones to get divorced. I am not saying it is not ever justified, as I’m not in their relationships, but between the coworker who says their Dh is doing their best and the one who criticizes them as being lazy, insincere, not driven enough, etc., I can guarantee who will have a rocky relationshp and who will make it through.
If your’re hurtful and mean TO him, you’re hurtful and mean about him to others, as well. Perhaps you need counseling to help you manage YOUR OWN emotions without taking them out on him.
Post # 11
I dont think your marriage is going downhills just because of a small conflict. It is good that you aknowledge your part in this conflict and that you know yourself well. Try to talk to him in a normal way when things bother you and be kind about it. Nobody likes to be criticised. My mum is like this and it is annoying af. She is rude and mean and things her only her opinion matters, yes, this makes people distance themselves from someone who is naggy all the time but you can stop. You cannot change people, so if the things you are criticising him about are things which make you unhappy, try to suggest couple therapy because critising him in a mean way will not solve anything. It is a mature step to go to couple therapy.
Post # 12
Hmmm… It’s really hard to advise without examples. This could be a “you” problem or a “him” problem, it’s impossible to tell without details. Either way there is a problem and the best thing I can advise (without knowing any of the details) is marriage counselling. And if you know you can be abrasive, you will need to hold back. But if he’s the type that interprets everything as an attack when it was not intended that way, then that’s something he will need to deal with in therapy, for example.
Post # 13
People who tend to call others oversensitive and their own advice constructive criticism and then in the next breath call themselves blunt and outspoken are usually the type that others view as arseholes.
In fact it is something a lot of abusers say.
In a relationship noone deserves to be spoken to by their partner in this way. If it was a female bee saying her partner spoke to her like this then most would be saying to leave and not for him to own his part (FFS wtf?). I can’t believe some of these responses.
Your partner deserves better. Even if he is the laziest sob on earth he deserves better than to be spoken to in a mean and hurtful way. You need to get therapy but your partner does too because you have clearly done damage if he is pulling away and possible wants out.
Post # 14
- Wedding: February 2018 - UK
Yes, this exactly! My first thought reading the post was that if the gender roles were reversed we’d be all over the guy for behaving abusively.
OP, as others have said, more info and examples would be useful for context, but the fact is the man you love is telling you that your words hurt him. If he’s telling you that, you’re not being blunt and outspoken, you’re being hurtful. Instead of calling him over sensitive, maybe ask him to explain how your comments made him feel and listen to his answer without interjecting. It may well be that his actions are frustrating you and that’s why you’re giving him your “constructive criticism”, but that doesn’t mean that your words and tone don’t need to change. Understanding exactly how it’s affecting him might help you work on it.
Post # 15
I’m gonna be blunt because I think you can take it. You are an emotional abuser. You need to sit with that and own it. There’s an insecurity and a lack of empathy within you that manifests itself as being overly critical and communicate in a way that is abusive. What you call being blunt and outspoken is what others call being an asshole.
Your husband clearly communicated how he felt your behavior is not only damaging to him but it is slowly destroying your marriage. The good thing is that you recognize that this is destructive behavior and that you need help. I promptly suggest getting into therapy to get to the bottom of this. You had to learn it from somewhere.