Post # 1
I am desperately searching for advice (no pun intended) because the resentment and frustration is growing between my husband and I due to endless amount of unsolicited advice and breach of trust.
My husband is a great man and for the most part we are a pretty good team and partners. The past few days it has been personally stressful for me because I started a new job and I been handling some non-related issues. My husband knows I been struggling with the issues and stressed out with learning new skills for my new job, but I been doing my best to put my best foot forward every day.
So with all that being said, the past few days my husband has been frustrating me with his unsolicited advice about random things. He has always been this way and I have told him in the past that it bothers me because he makes me feel incompetent. Its one of those quirks I know my husband has and I usually can move past it. For example, this weekend he tried to make me feel better by taking me out on a date. We went bowling and he began giving me pointers on how I should bowl better….even though I was beating him by 20 points.
The breaking point was this morning. I was running on the treadmill and I felt him standing behind me. I didn’t really pay him no mind because I thought he was dealing with our dog who was also in the room. I noticed he had his phone out but I shrugged it off. He then came up to me in the front and showed me he recorded my legs running. He proceeded to tell me that “I want to show you what you are doing while you are running that’s causing you knee aches but I’ll show it to you later”. Bees, I saw red. I was so LIVID. All I wanted to do was get a good workout in before work. I didn’t say anything to him at the time because I had nothing nice today. He didn’t even realize I was angry and he told me that he loved me and left. I felt so uncomfortable the fact that he thought it was okay to take a video of me without asking for my permission.
Another thing that has been bothering me is remember when I mentioned the issues that happened to me? It is something that is very embarrassing, hurtful, and painful for me. I told my husband when it happened…he was at work and I was crying. That same day, we have been invited to a work event for him. So I washed my face, brushed it off, and put a smile on my face to see his co-workers. As soon as I “socially distanced” greeted one of his co-workers, the first thing he mentioned was the issue I just told my husband about. You can imagine the surprise and disappointment I felt.
The next day I asked him why did he tell his co-workers when it was something negative and private about me. He said he needed advice to help me..and I asked him if he couldn’t at least tell them to not mention it to me? And he apologized and said he shouldn’t have told them…but Idk I just don’t feel like he “gets it” because I feel like deep down he thinks he is not doing anything wrong.
TBH I think I am overall upset about everything that has occurred this weekend and today. I know this is all over the place but I was wondering what you all think about my husband behavior? Am I over-reacting? How can I get through to him and make him see there are some boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed?
Post # 2
I don’t think you’re overreacting, but i also don’t think he’s doing anything wrong, aside from telling his co-workers.
This is a hard one because it seems like he’s just coming from a good place and trying to help you. Offering help or insight doesn’t mean the receiver is incompetent though…if it bothers you that badly, I’d just keep reinforcing your boundaries with it.
Post # 3
How do you get through to him? You repeatedly and consistently set your boundaries. You don’t let things go like you did with the treadmill. If this is a discussion you’ve had before, you’re not going to catch him by surprise by having boundaries. Repetition may be the only way he learns to slow it down.
“I’m here to bowl and have fun. Please stop giving me pointers.”
“Delete that video, please. I’ll ask if I need your help with my running form.”
Right now, your husband is telling you loud and clear that he knows better than you do. That IS frustrating. I’d recommend he go to therapy, frankly, because generally-speaking, someone constantly giving unsolicited advice may have more going on beneath the surface. One of my friends went through something similar with her long term SO. He was in therapy, she was enforcing her boundaries. It was the only combo that got to the root of the problem and kept her sane.
Post # 4
You need to sit him down in a calm moment and explain how his unsolicited advice and pushy behavior is making you feel, then set a boundary about it. He sounds more clueless than malicious to me, but I don’t blame you for being hurt and irritated AF. The treadmill thing would have me seeing red for sure. It’s one thing if you asked him to watch you run and provide some feedback but him doing it unsolicited is obnoxious AF.
That said, to give him the benefit of the doubt, I think he probably WAS trying to be helpful – he sounds like a “helper” type. But this is not the right way to go about it and I 100% don’t blame you for your feelings.
So yes, have a calm conversation and communicate to him how this makes you feel and what you want him to change going forward. Good luck!
Post # 6
Weddingbee ate my comment (again)… so let’s try this a second time…
I completely recoiled in horror when I read this. Your husband’s behavior is completely unacceptable. Have you ever heard the term “mansplaining?” Mansplaining is when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending and patronizing way, sometimes even when there’s evidence right in front of his face that the woman he’s talking to actually knows more about the subject than him! Your husband is 100% mansplaining to you. Even when you were BEATING HIM at bowling, he still thought he knew how to do it better than you!
His behavior is NOT okay. In my opinion, it’s likely not coming from a place of good intention. When men treat others like that, I think it comes from a place of power. Treating you like you know nothing and he knows so much better than you gives him a sense of power and control.
People may think I’m overreacting here, but as a woman in the male-dominated world of academica, I am very sensitive to this issue and have seen it time and time again. I run into men like this frequently. I’ve literally had a man publicly explain my own research to me and then ask if I understood it as if I DIDN’T CONDUCT THE DAMN RESEARCH. This behavior from men is so often brushed off and ignored, but it’s misogynistic as fuck and you should NOT accept it.
Again, I know my reaction to this was quite strong. You might not see the situation as I do, which is totally fine! But if I were in your position, I absolutely could not tolerate my husband treating me in this way. The behavior would need to stop or the marriage would need to end. I hope you’re able to come to a resolution that works for you!
Post # 6
It’s common behavior for men to support us by offering advice. And it’s obnoxious AF. What yours is doing, to me, says that not only does he not have the EQ to support you in ways you would appreciate, but he also seems to have low self esteem to want to constantly look like the authority on all things life. I dated a guy like that and he was just so embarassing to be around. He used to work at a race track and would give pointers to the racers on how to do better, because he just couldn’t stand to feel inferior. I really recommend you speak up and explain that you are not looking for advice, and he should not give it unless you ask. I would further explain that when you tell him about a situation it’s because you want him to listen and do xyz, not give advice or share with others. Be consistent and clear in your message, and if he doesn’t get it, counseling.
Post # 7
I’m just gonna put it out there that while “mansplaining” is definitely a thing, women can be just as guilty of offering unsolicited advice. It’s an issue I have myself lol. In my marriage, I’m the one more likely to overstep by offering unsolicited advice. My husband basically never does it to me.
So, while I definitely think this behavior is inappropriate and needs to stop, I don’t think there’s enough info here to leap to the sexist explanation.
Post # 8
I can understand why you are finding this infuriating, especially when you have repeatedly asked him not to do this!
Have you considered the possibility that your husband may have difficulty with communication/information processing? Some people find it really hard to ‘get’ social behaviours that are standard for others – if he is one of these people, then he is going to find it incredibly difficult not to ‘help’ you, as he won’t be able to understand why this is not acceptable to you.
All I can suggest is that you keep coming out with the same statements: “Do not film me without asking me first”. “Please don’t advise me on my bowling unless I ask you to”. Keep the statements short and clear – this will help if information processing is at the root of the problem.
Post # 9
Just because it’s a male that’s offering advice, doesn’t mean it’s “mansplaining”. JFC.
Post # 10
I think in this instance, this is a behavior that needs to be pointed out IN the moment and may take repeated instances before it sets in. I too would be driven MAD by this! I think your biggest mistake has been keeping your mouth shut, even if it was for good reasons. I don’t condone yelling, but I almost feel like it would have gotten the point across better if you HAD reacted strongly to him correcting your running form, rather than let it slide.
If it were me, I would sit him down tonight and explain to him rationally the examples you’ve said here and how much it bothers you and that you need him to stop. I’d also reiterate that going forward, I would pointing out every time he does it. And then follow through! Hopefully over time, he’ll be more aware and catch himself before he gives unsolicited advice outloud. Chances are, he’s also doing this in other areas of his life (like work, for example) so he probably needs to nip this habit in the bud in many aspects of his life.
Post # 11
Here’s the thing…your interpretation of this is unsolicited advice (mine would be, too), but his interpretation is trying to help you with an issue you have verbalized. I really think this comes from a place of love vs. superiority. I’ve learned the difference from my ex husband to my current husband. And there is a difference.
I’m going to get slammed for this for generalizing the sexes, but, this is true, for the most part (w/ some exceptions, obviously). Women love to vent. It’s necessary. We’re not looking for solutions, we’re just venting, getting it off our chest. Men don’t get venting. They just don’t. If you’re verbalizing a problem, there must be a solution and dang it, they’re going to find one. It’s how they’re built.
So maybe a few weeks ago, you may have mentioned your knee was hurting. Just mentioned it. Ugh, it hurts, sucks getting old, whatever. You’re looking for an ally, just someone to say, yeah, I hear you, ugh. He, on the other hand, goes immediately into problem-solving mode and because he loves you, will hunt for a solution. Do you notice that all of his unsolicited advice come from things – gripes/fears/dislikes – you may have verbalized? Not, for instance, something like, you really ought to read more or you really ought to dress nicer, things that really are just critical and not in response to something you’ve brought up?
It is annoying, by the way, I’m just trying to explain where it comes from. I have had to really teach my husband the difference between me just venting and asking for advice. He’s gotten much better at distinguishing the two, and I’ve gotten much better at understanding where he’s coming from.
Post # 12
I generally agree with everyone else – he is trying to be helpful, but its coming off really poorly for you.
I also agree that its something you need to address in the moment.
“Hey babe, you should try bowling like this”
“Oh honey, I’m kicking your ass, why dont you take your own advice”
“Hey baby, I recorded you running, I think you’ll be able to see why your knee is hurting”
“Thanks but Id rather you dont video-record me without permission…very uncool husband!”
That said, I do think you need to consider that it IS coming from a place of love, espcecially if you are calling him crying during the middle of your work day. He doesnt want to see you stressed and hurt, and generally crowd sourcing ideas is a great thing (like what youre doing right now on WB). The difference is definitely in privacy though.
Like emily, I think I’m also your husband in this scenario. Perhaps I need to reflect on my own “helping” behaviours and make sure I’m not alienating my husband. He had a work problem last year, and I went to every HR person in my office and asked advice lol. TBH they came up with amazing advice, and he ended up further ahead because of their advice, so I guess I try to look at the bright side for that.
Post # 13
If something he is doing makes you that upset, you NEED to communicate it. You can’t just let him go off thinking everything is fine while you silently seethe. Things will never get better if you behave that way.
You need to tell him each and every time you feel he’s overstepped. Maybe not the exact second it happens, but shortly after. You can’t just be silently angry, or build a list of grievances until you explode. You need to communicate with your partner.
Post # 14
It’s true a lot of men take venting as a call to action. I happen to do that all the time and had to learn when in a management role that the females reporting to me were not looking for solutions but were in fact processing the issue. As a female I think I learned that quickly but any man I’ve pointed this out to don’t understand the concept of venting, their attitude is if you’re making a big deal of this why wouldn’t you want it solved? To get back on track I think you are particularly sensitive for several reasons you refer to but I think a conversation with your husband with examples of his behaviour and how it made you feel each time would help. My advice keep your comments brief and allow him a response. However regardless of what he says or promises to do when you to talk to him, I also think you should offer unsolicited advice to him at regular intervals to hammer home the point.
Post # 15
His response to OP’s effort to sit down and have a calm, rational discussion about boundaries should reveal his motivation just fine.