Selfish Husband: How to Deal with a Husband that Does Nothing
When your husband doesn’t clean up even his part of the mess but just leaves it for you to do or plays video games instead of putting the kids to bed or wants you to notice the yard work he did but never says a word about all the work you do, it can get irritating.
When he makes plans without checking with you, forgets to tell you about them, then disappears when he knew he was supposed to help out with moving the furniture, it can make you resentful.
If your guy sleeps through middle-of-the-night feedings, expects sex whenever he feels like it, and seems to want you to solve all of his problems like the world revolves around him, it’s not only exhausting, it’s lonely.
But there is a solution.
Here’s how to get your selfish man to be giving so you can get a break.
1. Ask Yourself This Question
Rather than complaining when your husband appears selfish, consider turning the complaint into a desire and expressing that instead. One way to figure out what you want is to ask yourself, “What would I have that I don’t have now if he weren’t so selfish?”
Maya and her husband were separated when she learned from her twelve year old on the way home from school that her husband had planned an out-of-state trip during spring break. Her blood boiled as she realized that he had assumed she would be taking care of the kids that entire week alone and hadn’t even bothered to give her a heads-up. She angrily formulated a nasty rant in her head as she drove home.
But by the time she got home, she could hear her Intimacy Skills coach’s voice in her head, inviting her to think about what she wanted and to express her desires in a way that inspires.
So, instead of saying that he was being selfish and inconsiderate and that he needed to take responsibility for his kids instead of expecting her to always be the responsible parent, as she had planned, she sent a very different text: “I saw that you have the same Spring break as the kids, which is great because I would love a couple of days off from being a mom that week.”
He texted back, “I can’t take them because I’ll be out of town.”
Releasing her expectations, Maya summoned her inner Goddess of Fun and Light and replied, “Maybe we can just give them the key to the house and the liquor cabinet and tell them to do the right thing?”
Her husband sent back a laughing emoji and said, “I’ll see if I can set up an overnight at grandma’s.”
And he did.
Turns out her “selfish” husband was happy to accommodate what his wife wanted when she told him clearly what it was instead of complaining that he was selfish and inconsiderate.
2. Pretend He’s Not Selfish
You have lots of evidence that your husband is selfish.
But since nobody can be 100% selfish, that means he’s at least 1% not selfish. In other words, he is at least 1% unselfish or maybe 1% generous. And chances are he’s more than 1% unselfish or generous.
If you would love to have an unselfish, generous husband, that means you have the opportunity to create that experience. Because what you focus on increases.
Instead of focusing on how he never replaces the toilet paper roll when he uses the last piece, can you find evidence that he’s actually a giving person?
Maybe he supports the whole family with his paycheck. Maybe he spends time helping the kids with their homework. Maybe he helped the neighbor take down a tree that time.
Simply changing your mantra from “You are so selfish!” to “You are so generous!” or “You are so considerate and thoughtful!” then gathering evidence to support your statement is a powerful way to change your experience.
Like one woman who decided to wait until her husband did something–anything–that she could then say he was considerate about. Sure enough, she “caught him” making a new pot of coffee after he had just finished the last of it. She suspected that he was probably making it for himself, but since she also had a cuppa, she chose to see it as an act of thoughtfulness, and told him so. She was surprised when her husband looked at her as if she finally got him.
What proof can you come up with that your husband is what you want him to be?
3. Stop Doing Everything
If you’re feeling overburdened because you’re responsible for everything at your house, you’re not alone. I remember that awful feeling.
It feels like you have no choice when you look around and the only other adult in the house is playing Call of Duty and eating Oreos out of the package on a school night while you make the lunches for tomorrow.
But what if the reason he’s not helping out much is because you already did everything?
For me, it was a major paradigm shift to look at things that way. I had dubbed myself the queen of grown-up responsibilities, but I just made that up.
It’s embarrassing now that I thought if I didn’t monitor the trashcans, the oil changes, the insurance payments, and the retirement savings that we’d be buried in garbage with broken-down cars, no insurance and no money in our old age.
Now I don’t think about any of those things. My husband does all that. And the dishes. And the laundry.
So it was me–I was the one who took on too much responsibility, which made me feel overburdened and, in turn, critical of my husband for just coasting along.
I was the one who sold myself down the river. So all I had to do…was stop.
Once I did, my husband seemed a lot less self-centered and willing to pitch in more. Especially because I was in a better mood.
What could you stop doing to give your husband the opportunity to help out more? It can be scary to try, but the thrill of finding out I wasn’t alone after all was well worth it.
What evidence do you have that your husband is unselfish and even generous? Please post in the comments below.
95 replies on “Selfish Husband: How to Deal with a Husband that Does Nothing”
And when you have done these things but your husband still thrives on disconnect and living like roommates. When setting boundaries ..yes ..provides the right safety for the wife as it should but the husband still think a pretend marriage is good …when your dealing with someone who avoids intimacy and relationship at all costs ???
This all provides a great way to live at peace with your husband but this is not Gods design for a marriage ..that a husband plan a trip for a week without even consulting his wife ?? How about they plan a week long trip together for spring break not separate .. she got what she needed but deep inside the selfish part seems his acting like a single man and not a married man.. so I’m a bit confused how not confronting him about the problem leads to a better marriage .. though getting one overnight break was great .. she still got stuck with 6 days on her own while he moved forward like a single man ????
I’m confused 2. I do all this. I have changed my sfp and try to find the positives and express my desires instead of complaints but my husband seems to think that this means i am happy with us living together but not as a couple, and we are great as friends. But its torture for me. How do I get the intimacy back.
In the example, the couple is separated, so, yeah, he pretty much feels as if he’s single.
Confused, you must have missed that they are separated, that is why he acts like a single man.
You hit the nail on the head and for this very reason I am about to end my marriage
I wish I had the courage…I’ve been doing everything, literally everything for over 30 years. I’m kinda tired.
Wits end, I hear the heck out of that! I get that you just want to be a happy wife who gets some consideration and attention, but right now it feels like he’s too selfish. You shouldn’t have to live like that and be so tired. That’s not right! You need a break. I still remember how exhausting that was and that’s why my coaches and I have helped over 15,000 women fix their relationships. We can help you too! Get a coach so you can stop feeling exhausted, hopeless and overwhelmed and start feeling desired, taken care of and adored.
You are delusional lady. Some men are just lazy. And toxic. And selfish. They want to have everything with none of the work or responsibility.
If the woman “stops taking on all of the responsibilities” “doing all the work”, the man does not suddenly go “Oh, Yes! I’ll get off my ass and do that!” “Maybe while I’m at it I’ll finish all the rest of the chores in the house. And get her a massage. And a vacation! This is definitely how I should’ve been spending my time! Why would I ever have sat around and watched a screen for hours on end? Being responsible and helpful is waaaay more fun!”
No. In that scenario, all that happens is the woman now has 25 additional to-dos tomorrow because one mess left quickly compounds into 5.
I could really lay into the subject of women weakening other women here but somehow I don’t believe it will make a bit of difference. Furthermore, I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m mad at the substance abusing, lazy, toxic and selfish man in my life – and the effect his behavior is having on our children… and myself. Im angry at my lack of control over the situation. My inability to escape or alter his behaviors. Your article is just a convenient place to vent out that frustration. But lady, please hear me. The last person to blame in this scenario is the woman. She’s already got more than enough weight on her shoulders. Arguing and blame-placing never solves anything, that’s true. However, even you have to realize there are a great many man children running around nowadays. No amount of brainwashing, side-stepping, mindfulness coaching or fairy dust is going to alter their behavior.
I agree 100 percent with Jessica Doyle here. This is exactly how it is. Why should we excuse a man’s lack of helping and doing what he should be as a good role model to his chidden? What happened to being collaborative? I think it’s not as not and dry as the article reflects but that a lot men are narcissistic and have been since childhood. Which then equals lack of empathy and consideration for others. Thus the reason many women wish they could dissolve their marriage and have done so. Nothing we can do will change a man which is reality. Having said that, do we have to always be the ‘better’ half handling everything in a mature way and trying to pacify their behaviour for the sake of our children?
The story says it was her soon-to-be (separated) EX husband who planned the trip when he was supposed to help with the kids some of those days/nights…
The couple is separated. That is why he is taking the trip alone and she said it was “his turn ” to take the kids. They live in separate households. I hope this makes sense.
My thoughts exactly!! So she should be grateful she got one night off while he got a whole week without even discussing it with her?! So the above advice is to be thankful for scraps????
He reads my texts even when they’re things I want him to do differently. He researches phone numbers of possible dentists for me and sends them to by text although he way prefers dictating them over the phone (I can’t stand that).
He drove 8 of our 10 hour drive to get to our holiday destination. I could easily complain that he can’t let go of controle and doesn’t very well …. but I can also say thank you for driving most of the way….
My husband would never help out in the house, never. I’ve tried all of these suggestions in the past. Unless it involves a car or machinery, he is not fixing, cleaning or having anything to do with it.
Ha! I wish mine could be persuaded to take an interest in the car/machinery…he only does laundry
My husband only plays on his phone or lays on the couch. He does nothing else. When he was on his own in college he didn’t wash his bed sheets for a whole year. And saw nothing wrong with that.
My husband is like that too. He doesn’t even do mist of the home repairs and says that I am his contractor. When I had major surgery he took time off of work to help out at home, but did nothing at all for the entire week he was home besides cooking. The house was such a mess by the time that he went back that I had to clean it, and ended up giving myself a hernia in the process because my incision didn’t heal properly as a result. I do everything for him, and he does nothing for me. I am on the verge of divorcing him over this.
OMgosh, I have one just like that. However, on top of it all mine is a habitual liar so I cant even trust him to check my oil unless I’m sitting there watching him. He will just say he did and don’t. I’ve about had it up PAST my ears. I’m pending a hysterectomy,, yet he still expects me to do everything. IM TIRED!! probably about to move in with my Mom.
My husband cooks and cleans up every night. I thank him regularly. He brings out the garbage in garbage day. I thank him Weekly. I do the cleaning. We each do our own laundry. He thanks me for cleaning, I learned a lot from you Laura before I met this man and married him last year so our marriage is very good with no built up resentments. Thanks!!
Happy yours helps. I pray it lasts. I “envy” women with husbands that have domestic sense.
i want to enjoy my living room but can’t because all I see is clutter, storage containers and boxes, his daughter moved to another state, I offered to help with the expenses to move it out. He constantly asks, why his stuff, I don’t clutter, believe in the blessing box. For me it’s to keep us out !
Yea I think it would be way better if you had the skills right from the beginning. Unlike you Laura, I never ‘did everything.’ I was determined not to be like our mothers… so I always tried to get him to help more (pre skills). So I guess that’s why number 3 doesn’t work, because he already has negative associations about chores etc (from both his childhood and then my behavior). I guess maybe the reason this stuff doesn’t work is because the reason he doesn’t do stuff isn’t because he’s selfish, it’s because he’s very, very tired and rundown from long term insomnia. He’s at the end of his rope from working a very boring minimum wage job. So while the skills have made things much more peaceful and loving, they only seem to take things so far for us. He says he kinda sometimes feels manipulated when I express gratitude and positive comments (although he does appreciate them from time to time). I have been wondering, out of all the thousands of women your organisation, is there a success story of a couple who also faced very difficult life circumstances?…ones that I would relate to directly would be having a disabled child, very low income, husband having PTSD. Even a couple where the husband had serious long term health problems would have some great insight for me I reckon. Thanks again for the books and blog, even though over time I often find them painful to read these days, they have certainly improved our lives many hundred fold, and for that we’ll always be grateful.
I feel the main shift happened when I don’t overextend and overdo things to the point that I am exhausted. I do what I can without feeling depleted. He notices and does his fair share. I never do laundry or take out the trash; two things that really annoy me. I thank him all the time for that. He makes breakfast and dinner a lot of the times. He also buys the groceries often. He also plans fun backpacking trips for us often. I leave him thank you notes and send him emails often on how much I am grateful and appreciate him. I feel very lucky I came across Laura and learned to take care of myself and allow my man to do for me and us :)))
My husband just don’t understand the way i want him for me….
only blaming everything for me ,- this cause of u , u should take care of it even for stitching button of his jeans he finds me responsible.. i mean cant he take care of himself m too a working woman i too get tired , i too get frustrated, i too get boring from my usual life.. who the else will takecare of me???????
will i spent my whole life taking care of him n his whole family………..
i seriously don’t understand how handle such husband who don’t understand his wife n her emotions..
I used The Skills and it brought down the stress level. For a whle things were great. But the end result was the same as “confused” described. Though we are not separated officially or in residence, we might as well be. I am letting him “go” in my head and trying to detach in my heart to prevent further pain of rejection. We don’t talk about anything personal at all. I am even more confused.
I once gave suggestion #3 to a friend of mine who literally does everything around the house while her husband stays in the garage and plays video games day and night. Occasionally they come to the same coffee place as my fiance and I so we get to see how they speak to each other. Sometimes she shows up with her brother and father and leaves her husband at home. One time, her husband (of 20 yrs.) and 20 year old daughter showed up barking at her that she hadn’t made dinner. They made a huge scene at the coffee shop and she left her coffee time to go home and feed them. Another time their internet service got cut off and she was having coffee (again with her dad and brother) and here comes the hubby and daughter screeching up in the car, mouths spewing hateful words about why she didn’t pay the bill. It’s so very sad and her entire family has no idea why she tolerates this. I have advised her several times to look into your work and all she does is cry and claim that she loves him. He’s been a lazy, abusive, corrosive man for a long time and their two adult daughters control her as well. I just hope that one day she finds you.
I would love to see a column that addresses how to let go of expectations when I express my desire. Another great topic would be when to say ouch and when it’s not helpful. And how to remember to say it in the moment!
Thanks for the great work you do!
Laura, I would love to see a column addressing what “Confused” and others brought up. I think some of us tend to hit a roadblock along the way. We learn to put the metaphorical duct tape on the mouth, to stop nagging & overtly controlling. But we fail to move to the next stage, which involves being open, vulnerable, etc. It is probably a function of not practicing the Skills completely and fully, but it would be helpful to hear you focus on this issue. By the way, thank you so much for all you do! While I myself am at something of a roadblock – have cut out the nagging & restored the respect, but am lacking in the openness & vulnerability department – I do feel my marriage has improved *tremendously* thanks to your work. Bless you!
My husband and I get along well, but sometimes I feel like I have to teach him everything, from checking the rest room after using it to he sure it’s well flushed, to not keeping the wet towel in bed, providing for our home without me asking to closing the room door, and lately he is been trying to be defensive about everything, and sometimes I just wish he can man up a bit and take responsibilities.
He loves me I know what these things makes me complain and it’s obvious he never learnt them.
My husband goes out all night drinking and comes home at 7 am without letting me know his plans ahead of time. I don’t know where he goes or why or when it’s going to happen again. I am worried.our 2 young children are going to be awake as he walks in the door one day after a l8ng night of drinking and who knows what else. I have tried saying “I’d love to spend time together” and “I’d love to not worry” but these aren’t working. He seems to have no respect.for me as his wife and I can’t trust him due to all the lies and uncertainty. I need help. I have tried focusing on me but when he’s so rarely at home I doubt he could even notice. Feels so hopeless.
Honestly, it’s disgusting to me that in order for a man to “act like a partner” or “do things in the house” we women have to cheer him on! What is he, 5? I have no time to look for his “generous” acts so I can say “good boy”. These recommendations perpetuate their immaturity and selfishness. When my husband says “look what i did!” As he points at the newly mowed lawn… ok… yeah…. but WHY did I have to point out it needed mowed? This is the mentality that continues to make men believe they are superior. I want a partner, not another child.
@Jennifer GIRL I agree a MILLION percent with you! Your comments were completely accurate to what I’m going through. It doesn’t help that my mother in law always cleaned up for him and made excuses for him. She said “men that clean up are gay. You dont want that.” Meanwhile she’s been married for 40 years and is exhausted and drained because she does everything. Let me know if you get a breakthrough so I could have some hope!
Jennifer!!!!!! i could love this a million times over and these are my thoughts exactly. i feel like instead of praising someone who only will do things when they are praised…you need to find a new relationship and state rules before so there is no confusion and room for this type of behavior. men would not think for once oh let me praise my wife for doing the dishes, or making the bed. so why must we praise their every move. to me only childish lazy men and men that have had their mother do everything for them are the ones that we are seeking help about. can you really change these types of “men”? they have it instilled in their brain & we all know how difficult it is to change someone. i need someone who does everything without asking because they know they should, not because theyre expecting a treat after they do it. whether it be praise or sex. i will give my respect to these type of men who know how hard it is to keep a household running without me having to teach them in hopes that they will change. sounds like a waste of life
I agree! It feels like we’re having to manipulate a man-child into behaving like a grown man that he clearly doesn’t want to be. Peter Pan syndrome at it’s finest. I feel like these Peter Pans/avoidant types, just need to be left alone and if they ever feel like growing up then they can reach out to others for relationships but it doesn’t seem like it should be our responsibility to “fix/manage/rescue/manipulate” them into behaving like responsible, self aware, functioning adults. They honestly don’t want it or they’d do it on their own… My bigger question is how do we get parents to stop turning people into this? What parenting style are they using that renders these people so entitled, irresponsible and selfish so we can save the next generation from having to deal with people like this.
I totally agree! A mother will keep her boys, or young men, close to her, even if they’re in a relationship. If they don’t want to work and need money, they go to mom. My mom won’t give me money if I ask but will be happy to give it to me as a gift. They don’t have to fend for themselves, because we take care of them. I believe what my mom did was make me grow up and take care of myself. If the mother’s of men would make them clean their own room, And I mean, “make them”and not do the laundry for them, and teach them to clean up at the time they make their messes, and not leave it there, that they would know a whole lot more. Mine believes that I am now his girlfriend, but I feel like his mother. He goes to his mom’s to do work there all the time, I ask for help and there is all kinds of deflection. And denial.
I agree with you there it’s exhausting to have a man acting like grown up child.
Here here!!! UGGGHHH
Makes me just wana move in with other family where everyone does their part, and let him be forced to cook his own dang food “his” way
I know this is old but I just want to scream YES! I don’t want to have to praise my husband for doing things constantly. I don’t get praise. I feel like all these marriage blogs tell women to change themselves and their expectations so that their partner treats them the way they should be treated in the first place.
I wish I was your friend, haha. The way you express this is so spot on. Any updates?
Omg who all agrees with you up to this date! 100% and beyond! Everything you said is absolutely true and your obviously not the only one who goes through this. That same frustration is how we exactly feel. Its ridiculous to know that there’s men that acts/thinks this way.
What im curious tho is to what have you done to this day? As we, all ladies, are on the same page, the answer would help me or others understand if this topic is just a non-stop thing in all men? Are you still dealing with the same one? Or dealing the same with another? Or have you gone in a whole where we ladies might as well fall in the act of praising them. Cause thats absolutely where im falling into to.
It is absolutely disgusting! Would you mind giving us in update. After reading all comments from years behind to now, there seems to be a no way out unless we rather be living alone.
well said my friend, well said
I can understand everything in this article. However, I would have to say, it’s the lack of communication that leads couples down that road. For example, I asked my husband just two nights ago if he could wash the baby bottles out when he is done with them instead of allowing all of the dirty ones to pile up. I explained how frustrating it is to have to wash them when trying to feed the baby in the middle of the night. And, he said “ok, I will.” Then, two days later… tonight in fact, I need to feed the baby at 5am, I can see that he washed all the other dishes but left the bottles stacked up again. Man… I’m pissed! What do we do about that? This is a constant battle and it leads to the whole article you just wrote. Im tired of asking nicely, waiting patiently, praising his efforts only to feel underappreciated and ignored. On top of that. He was off all weekend, while I worked and went to school FT and when I get home at 10pm, I’m starving do is he and I ask him if he would help me prepare food, he says no. Pure laziness, selfishness at its finest. I’m with Jennifer, I want a partner, not a child.
What about when you clearly and calmly ask for your needs to be met and he just won’t? And when you get irritated at broken promises and constant disappointment you are blamed for making him upset? I mean, one commenter above is mad because her husband did the dishes but forgot the bottles? Another upset because he wants praise for mowing the lawn? My husband doesn’t do ANYTHING unless I ask him and my success rate is around 10% when I do. Selfish is selfish and it makes the partner feel worthless. Your article is about poor communication, not selfishness. If you really meant to write about selfishness and not just get attention and raise your search quotient, then you should stop blaming the victim. This artle is worthless to someone with an actually selfish partner. I’m confident you will delete this comment, but instead you should stop using clickbait titles with shaming content that magnifys the problem.
In the example about the guy and spring break… she did first express very clearly what she wanted (to have a break for a few days), and her husband’s response was “I can’t take the kids because I’m going out of town,” clearly communicating that he didn’t care what she wanted and that he had no intention of helping to find a solution. So she made the joke about leaving the kids with the key to the liquor cabinet, pressing the issue. She had to press the issue to get him to compromise (asking grandma to take them for one night out of the week). In my mind this is not exactly success. How to you get Dad to be aware of spring break and feel responsible for parenting or child care during that time before he makes other plans?
I totally agree with LIV. My husband does NOTHING. Just days ago, I was so ill and could barely walk, he couldn’t even cook and the kids had to eat junks. This article doesn’t tackle selfishness. Like someone earlier mentioned, He is not 5, I thought I married an adult. all he does is play Xbox games. I read another article elsewhere and the first point was, DO TO YOURSELF WHAT YOU DO TO HIM. So I have decided to stop making all the sacrifices and focus on myself for once.. .
I’m tempted to do this, plz let me know how it turns out!
A selfish person that doesn’t have the will to give by his own or to care about your emotions, will never change. He is either selfish and thinks only about what makes him comfortable and happy ? Or he is a kind person that LOVES to make you happy and share with you everything. My advice is to start thinking of yourself and ignore him. I know it is really annoying to live with a selfish person but try to do things that make you enjoy your time.
I wish i could show articles like this to my husband. I’ve tried to get him to pitch in but if i let things go, he will not lift a finger to help. He is barely a father to our son. The one time he tucked our son in for the night, he praised himself in a message to another woman and verbally dragged me down because I was not feeling well that night (and he didn’t know what in the world I did to feel sick that night). Our son’s grandfather is the man that taught our son how to pee standing up, his daddy made no attempt to even teach him that. He doesn’t read to him and has never given him a bath.
My husband doesn’t do anything special for me on mother’s day and never goes out of his way to make me feel special or wanted.
He constantly chats with other women even though i tell him i feel lonely and i would love to talk to him all the time.
At this point I’ve realized truly selfish men do not change and I’m only staying with him for our son. If i left him he would abandon his son.
I’m sorry but I googled for help and everything you are saying equals more effort for the person put upon and also treating the man like a toddler (I have one – he doesn’t know better and it’s my job to teach him). What on earth is wrong with expecting to be treated as an equal without having to be patronising?! Enlighten me please….
My bf is very selfish but thankfully we don’t have children. I honestly believe that our upbringings dictate who we are as adults, and I know he had it pretty rough. I grew up with a father who was rarely home, and a mother who neglected and ingnored my siblings and I. I feel that I have always attracted men who resemble both my mother & father. My therapist tells me that I don’t need to abandon my relationship, but need to retrain him through my own actions. For that reason, I can understand why the author suggested these skills.
My husband is inconsiderate. He loves me very much and *when he’s around* he’s a great father and partner, and If I ask for help he will often pitch in, but I have to ask every.single.time. I am the on duty parent of 4 young kids 24/7, my only break is an hour once per week when relatives come over and I get to eat my dinner without hunch over the stove like a vulture in between feeding everyone else. If I ask for a break he tells me it’s not an option until the kids are older. He always has an excuse – He’s tired, he didn’t get enough sleep, he’s stressed, he’s sore. And I get it, he IS tired and stressed, and I’m willing to take on quite a lot – but this is too much! Even one break a year would be nice, even then he expects his parents to be the ones to help watch the kids, not himself. Everyday he comes home from work, goes off to his man cave, where he eats dinner alone and doesn’t come up again until bedtime. Every so often I remind him that I need some time away from the kids, that it would be nice to get to sleep in on a weekend sometimes, that I need a shower, that I’m losing my ever loving mind….He says he’s sorry and he feels bad. And then does nothing at all about it.
So I’m in the military and my husband is a stay-at-home dad. I leave for work very early and get home at 4:30pm. When I get home from work I go work out, dishes are waiting, college work, and any other housework that needs to be done. My husband takes our three kids to/from school. He does the garbage and laundry, unless I constantly remind him to do other things as well. I’m honestly so depleted that as soon as I got home today I went to bed, he woke me at 9pm telling me no one has eaten and the kids needed to be in bed an hour ago, he was playing computer games the entire time, and just couldn’t bother to man up and do it. I know he can make food, he’s done it while I was away for 6 months. I feel completely taken advantage of and not taken into consideration what so ever. I’ve talked to him about all this already and he said he would “do his part”, but nothing ever changes!
Yep mine also would not do stuff, he thinks making the income takes him off the responsible list….he also has a general attitude of defending wealthy selfish people and is very class-ist towards others. This heart problem is deeper than mere fact that he grew up in a culture that woman do everything and men only focus in work. He’s always got an excuse for not even thinking of enough of anyone to warm up bread, to offer to wash dishes properly etc. And he’s always whining and whining about how he’s not desired, like wow the whining itself is one! He barely can keep an eye on water and never is offering to change a diaper or when he does any laundry it’s only his own
This is a very interesting article. It really is the little things that add up. Your either a giver or a taker. Balance and respect as well as communicating .bjyst thing if you live in a household full of people with these differing traits. And you gave to work out a schedule. Or if you just let stuff go how it makes the best uncomfortable. How do people live.?? Together eat together and help each other by truly gently correcting there own behavior. If their is no dish or spoon they are forced to wash one ; live in a mess or they may not even shower and have feet that stink from laziness
This just makes me realize that yes, they can be 100% selfish and mine is. I can’t find anything redeeming about him anymore. I’ve already tried all of this and am looking for some other kind of help online now that I’ve exhausted my own logic, but I guess I should just throw him out to the curb.
I live with my husband and he acts like that. He flat out told me he feel entitled since he pays all of the bills. I pay for the insurances, human and pet food, and my student loans.
IM GETTING TIRED OF MY HUSBAND BEING SO SELFISH HE ONLY THINKS ABOUT HIMSELF..WHEN WE GO SHOPPING HE ONLY BUYS FOR HIM AND NOT ME..FIRST COME HIS GRANDKIDS THEN HIS DAUGHTERS THEN ME..WHEN HE GETS PAYED HE DOESN’T GIVE ME A CENT..HE DOESN’T HELP AROUND THE HOUSE WHEN I NEED TO GO SOMEWHERE HIS TIRED.BUT WHEN HIS OLDER DAUGHTERS CALL HE JUMPS..I. THINKING ABOUT DIVORCE WE HAVEN’T BEEN MARRIED A YEAR..HE ALWAYS NEEDS TIME OUT FOR HIMSELF AND GO OUT AND STAYS AT HIS MOMMY..HIS 63..HE DOESN’T EVEN CALL ME IF I NEED ANYTHING..WHY
I do not agree, i dont think we should give credit when it isn’t deserved. I believe that you need to communicate openly and honestly about your expectations and get the man to truly understand how you feel. Rather, than being a door matt. Men need to understand to be thoughtful and women are, i am sure that is down to parenting. If we want our children to be considerate human beings and find true connection and happiness we need to give them the tools and role models they deserve. It’s so sad that we are baby sitting men in this modern age.
Okay so, did I marry a man or a dog? Seriously?! Why would anyone think it’s acceptable for the female to work so hard just to keep her male a little productive? He knows not to behave this way at his job, so why would he think at home he can? He doesn’t! Women need to stop treating these arrogant jerks like they are Kings!!! Positive reinforcement is for dog training not men! Stop belittling him and make him man tf up
Is this a joke?
I don’t see how this will change the fact that it is so hard on a woman when he is so selfish…I can’t see these being practical..especially stop doing everything…he won’t really lick up your slack and then you will just have to do it all but it will just take years for things to ever get done.. this just doesnt seem practical at all. It seems like a mockery.
I have tried all of this and when i don’t do it doesn’t get done, full stop. If i don’t cook, he does not say do you need me to cook tonight, just gets himself something!! If i leave the dishes they will stay like this for a week until i cant handle it. If i don’t do the grocery shopping we would go without food. Again the same with the rest of the house work, it just does not get done unless i do it myself, i have tried not doing it all to see if he would help take up the slack with ANYTHING. He will occasionally help in the garden but usually that is only because he wants something. and i get dear if i help you with the garden can you do this. (Like its my yard only). We both work 6 days a week and if i say i’d like to cut it down and have a day off or finish a few hours earlier he starts calling me a lady of leisure. I just feel so under valued and angry.
It appears to me that in general once a man gets married his expectation is that his wife will be like his mother – doing it all and keeping the household running smoothly. And woman perpetuate this notion by being like their mother. Men do have to learn that in this day and age that if they want a happy home life they need to complete tasks around the home jointly with their wives and stop expecting that it will all just get done without them having to lift s finger.
How do we expect this to happen when we carry on doing it all.
I used to do everything around the house apart from the lawns. My husband worked and I stayed home with the children until the youngest was 3 when I got a part time job. I raced around doing it all as well and I got the inconsiderate behaviour back – when are we going to have dinner? – not “have you got dinner planned, shall I organise something?” etc. My husband didnt know how to clean a toilet or shower, or let alone cook a meal.
Men have not been trained to do these things like woman have so unfortunately you need to communicate what needs to happen around the home so that everyone is happy and that the household runs smoothly.
Woman please stop seeing it as you needing your man to help out. Change your communication so that it sinks in with them that it is both of your responsibility to complete the household chores. Talk about who is best to complete these chores or what you both prefer to do.
It’s not an easy fix once bad habits have been set. So it will take time for it to change. A man who is acting selfishly and is lazy needs retraining. This is not going to happen when you keep doing it all!
Try suggesting that he take over one task initially- something that is going to benefit him – like cooking a meal (men generally love eating).
…and keep working at it, but don’t let it become a battleground.
Men do like to feel appreciated – we all do.
Everyone from wives, moms kids and dogs like to be appreciated…diff is we don’t get to demand it or be entitled to it any more than anyone else. Everyone should be treated equally in that regard, men no more praise than anyone else
I’m sorry but this is terrible advice. This puts all the pressure on the spouse who already does things to manipulate the spouse who doesn’t do anything. We are already raising children, while I all for supporting each other’s growth, this still implies the supportive spouse still has to do all the work to even get the selfish spouse to be manipulated into even somewhat supporting.
This is terrible advice. I wouldn’t be with someone I would need to manipulate to get to do things they already should. You should be able to communicate maturely your needs in a relationship or it’s not going to work end of story.
I think everyone is missing the point here. It is not about cheering your man on, it is about respecting his qualities and being grateful for his contributions. I have read all of Laura’s books, and in all honesty, they helped me take a hard look at myself and how I treat people in general. Our expectations as women are sometimes way too tall for any man to fulfil, and we have been conditioned to think that they should automatically know how to be a husband the minute we put a ring on their finger. Just like it takes us, women, time to master the skills to be a wife and a mother, it also takes men time to take on their responsibilities as husbands. We have an innate motherly instinct to nurture and care, men are not so lucky, and instinctively we end up mothering them in the hope that we will teach them how to be the man we want. I suspect that in her books, Laura hopes we will find some tools to manage our own contribution to the deterioration of marriages. Because Ladies, I have news for you, just like you see the negatives in your men, they are also seeing the negatives in you. Nobody is perfect. In my experience, though I have not formally implemented all the skills taught in the book, I have been able to recognise my own shortcomings and one thing I can say: respect is earned not demanded… and I demanded respect when I failed to respect. I have always loved my husband, but I am now able to see much more good in him that I gave him credit for and in turn, he says the same about me.
Carolina, Great insights!
Hi. I am at a loss. I have two small children, i work, breastfed and take care of everything including all the bills. I am also the breadwinner. He has a few things that he does on routine like garbage, lawn, watering plants but he has a room that he squirrel away all his things. Only does his own laundry and if anything crosses in his zone he puts it in the hallway. He wants 20 min when he gets home from work before he does anything for me or the children. I dont get 5 min let alone 20 min. When i bring up anything…. He says im a victim or im borderline. I feel like a single parent.
I believe these are all fantastic tips on resolving your own codependency issues as well as learning more about expectations. I loved a therapist’s office I once went to, which had a sign above the door from Dante’s Inferno: “Beware, all ye who enter here…” because relationships require work, and most of us believe that work should come in the form of our partner’s work, and our own long suffering. Many of us have a tendency to create martyrdom, instead of actually challenging ourselves to do the work in ourselves.
Sounds overly simplistic and it’s anything but simple.
That same therapist gave me a code, by which to live, which could sum up part of what your site here suggests:
1) Ask for what you need.
2) First, though, figure out how you’re going to meet that need should his answer be, ‘no.’ Because everyone has the right to say, ‘no,’ even if you’re married to them, and even if you expect them to say, ‘yes.’ And, literally, no one deserves to be called names for not meeting your expectations—whether stated or unstated!
All that said, there’s an entire generation (or eight-hundred) that raised males with a certain sense of entitlement, unfortunately. There’s a reason domestic violence is continuing to rise exponentially; that divorce rates continue to skyrocket; that these nuggets of true wisdom grow so popular. Though, culturally this is a fatal paradigm, we as individuals can influence immediate spheres, beginning with our children and our own families. However, making change STILL never includes name-calling and denigration. To effect change instead requires understanding; freedom to both feel and speak, as well as room to make choices. What all of us are left with is our own choice, no matter what anyone else chooses to do. It boils down to what really is simple: Do we want to be resentful, miserable and complain, or do we want to feel empowered in our own lives to meet our own needs? When the latter, the only option then is to be kind and be clear, and give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
We all do the best we know how to do. When we know better, we do better. That rarely comes through lecture, hostility and disparaging someone else’s character when they don’t do what we want. That actually makes us the entitled party when we engage that way. Research bears out, that except in the case of abuse or addiction, unless you take hold of your own reactions, you will not be happier in another relationship. It’s not about ‘him,’ believe it or not, whether he plays video games; doesn’t notice clutter; refrains from housework or even makes plans without telling us….
Thank you, Laura.
Hi Laura. I have a selfish husband. But since I tried remembering to use some (or all) of the intimacy skills, i find that he is much happier at home. I don’t see why he should not be treated like a good man. I still have to “manage” home, sometimes even micro-manage, but he will pitch in when I say plainly what I need. And not in a nagging sort of way, like I used to.
Baby steps, cause we BOTH bring our childhood “hurts” and mannerisms to this marriage.
This article is awesome because it reminds me that I should not nag and that a bit of humor goes a very long way with men. The first time we behave this way will always give the least result, and then it grows…the thing you feed.
I’ve learnt to be tired when I’m tired. He will pitch in. Or we’ll just be having something quick and easy that night! Same with him, when he’s had a really terrible day, he will say: I’m not really much of a help tonight because I feel exhausted. Because he is allowed to. There have been times when I could only muster up a toasted sandwich for dinner, and he was OK with it because he was dog-tired too.
When I went away last week, he did the laundry. Bless his cotton socks, but it was done differently to what I do. Of course I would NEVER say that. My methods are planned and ensure I don’t have to iron anything. I was grateful for his effort but kinda hoped he was too busy to get to it☺️. I guess I don’t go into his office at work and tell him how to go about it. We are all different in our own way.
Thank you for helping me to treat my husband differently from the way I grew up with!
Great article. Men never respond well to complaints, but they do respond to our desires.
I an taken aback by some of the disrespectful comments on this thread. Thinking your husband is a child is disrespectful. How can any women expect intimacy fron anyone when they think of them as a child or undeserving of gratitude and respect? I mean you don’t have to say much to another person. They know how you think of them.
It’s easy to focus in gratitude, happiness, and the better side of people. It’s all about choice. If you think your husband is a moron, that will be your self fulfilling prophecy.
I live Laura’s books and her work is amazing.
Jennifer, you said it exactly how I feel. I have three boys and sometimes he acts like a forth. Why as women do we constantly have to try to please our husband’s and do as they say. I’m not interested in being a mom to him I want him to be responsible and do his share. Men are very selfish and want the attention constantly. I’m tired of articles saying be more intimate, compliment and cheer him on. I don’t want to be intimate if he doesn’t help and meet my needs, too. You can’t act like a child and want your way constantly and then turn around and want sex with her. She probably to freaking tired and isn’t attracted to you at the moment so freaking grow up. Be a father instead of taking the remote and hogging everything watch their shows play their games. Married 26 years I’m freaking wore out and want my time not his. I’m tired of raising a 46 year old baby.
Is there an article that would help me to think about what to do about a husband who has met a woman and wants to see her, and in general has decided that he wants to be able to be with other women, but also wants to stay married to you? He says that it’s in his nature. I really don’t want to do this for many reasons, don’t think it will be anything but hurtful and harmful, and “whatever you think” doesn’t feel like the right response to me.
Hi,I’m Doris..I think a selfish man deserves to be treated same way he treats others, cos the more you’re nice to them, they keep playing with your emotions. My husband is self centered, inconcederate, not caring at all to point that it has to do with my health, he never asist in home chores, never! he’s never relevant whenever his home, he believe a man has nothing to do with home duties.. The most painful part is selfishness as it involves intimacy, he only want to have sex when he want to, and postpones mine.. I’ve tried talking to him nicely but there’s no changes. Right now I’ve resolved to putting myself first and take care of myself properly cos I’ve realized I’m not he’s prioty.
No thanks. I have no need for the type of man I have train. This is crap advice, but perfect for women who still want to do more to get the lazy schmuck to pull his own weight.
My Husband is so lazy he leaves empty cartons and wrappers in the fridge, we have one dining table he has not taken it to so called his room as he says he wants to study while i sit on the ground with my laptop and work. I bought the dining table but he needs everything for himself my children and me sit on the floor and eat as my husband took the table in his room. He does everything to make it comfortable for himself and he doesnt care the inconvenience he causes others. I pay for his credit card debt every month, he has made 15000 SGD debts and i pay for everything, if i ask him to help me with the kids putting them to sleep, bath, etc he says o but never does it, he doesnt do the dishes, he does work at home only on his moods. He mocks me, insults me, never appreciates me. he now sleeps in a seperate room. First he was so abusive he use to hit me every weekend after councelling that has stopped, but he still hits the kids, his anger is out of control. I have to agree with him at all the time or else he gets very angry. He demands me to give him attention when i have work, 2 kids to look after and housework to do. If the kids cry he doesnt care he says to let them be and to give him attention or focus on what he has to say. He never spends time with the kids. Honestly i wish he was dead because if i do try to get a divorce he will make it very ugly and take his anger out on the kids.
So I’ve done everything and got no recognition for my efforts or any help. So I’ve gone to cutting back because my resentment was getting the best of me which has led to him stepping in and helping out. All good, but now all I hear is, “what do you do all day?” Or “you do nothing, get a job.” When I run a 7,000sq ft house, do his bookkeeping, take care of three kids, two dogs, and have been available for the past year for remodeling on our home. Plus he asked me to quit my career to be available. What more can a woman do? Honestly! How can I use your skills with a man like this? In my opinion no matter what I do will not be good enough.
I have felt this same hurtful resentment. I would say to make a list of your own personal goals and accomplish at your own pace. Assign schedule for everyone. First thing in the morning. It would probably help to meditate on good words and pray for self control. If your like me ,you build up or bottle up then explode . Examine your own upbringing and ask yourself important questions as to how you felt toward your upbringing or lies that you may believe about yourself that are untrue. And your just coping the best way you know how about venting your frustrations.
What total crap. You are an arse!
You sound like you should NOT be coaching women who need help. Maybe you’re more suited to coach men on how to keep your woman “in her place” and think its a good thing. WOW how embarrassing for your clients.
That’s cool you stopped doing everything and your husband just magically started. For those of us who have tried that and then had to live in squalor while we waited for him to “get it”, any advice for us? For people whose husband can’t handle hearing the slightest request for help/change without flying into a tissy about how abused I am and he’s a terrible person. Whatcha got?
There are some great advice here and that makes me happy for my sisters that they worked for them. However, for some of us gals, things didn’t quite turn out that way, instead of better they just got worse. What do we do when we have done all we can? When men thinks that a trousers and what’s in it is what makes them into a man. When you work hard and bring in more than half of the bread every month and still have to carry the bulk of the weight of the children raring house keeping cart, what do you do then? Is their a key word to make them recognise that you need help when you saying so in many ways don’t seem to touch their heart? I am tires of men being “babied” or gently stroke their egos for every little thing you need them to do, heck, we are tired and this tskes too mucj out of us yet nonetheleds we tried over and over again but got a different result. I am tired of being microanalyse..my word….and being told you must have done something wrong because its a proven failsafe formula, well guess what, it has failed to work for some wives, so what is the next step? Thanks,
All tried out
What do you do when you stop doing your normal responsibilities, but the house goes to crap? I can ask a million times to do one task and nothing ever gets done. I am talking months. I waited 6 months once and he just put the trash into the garage and not outside in the cans…. which caused us to have to pay a trash company to come remove it once I said this is enough. I’m talking cigarette butts just tossed all over the lawn where my kids play…every day a pack. Maybe one makes it into the bin a day. I don’t really know what to do anymore. I am feeling overwhelmed by the mess. I can clean a surface ten times a day but it’s still dirty by the end of the day because he just doesn’t put anything back of clean up. I feel like I am raising 3 children instead of two. I get told that I complain too much if I remind him of things or ask when something is going to get done.
Why is it that the woman is supposed to cover for the man? He’s an adult. You make it sound like he is somehow unable to do the things a woman does. Why? Are his arms missing? His ability to keep track of time broken? His ability to have any thoughts for anyone but himself is staggering. Why is it up to the woman? And yet here we have one more article telling us that we should coddle him more. Poor man baby, can’t deal, so mommy needs to step in. I’m taking a different approach. Either he gets with the program or he can get out. Pitch in or go bunk with some other man baby who can’t function unless it’s all about him.
I agree Amber. When I suggest to my husband that he needs to help out more around the house (I have my own full time business and do all the chores) he goes in a big huff and I get the silent treatment like I have said something wrong. Then not only do I have to deal with my frustration at having a lazy husband and am exhausted from doing everything, but have to deal with his passive aggressive treatment too.
Excellent! I stopped doing everything and he did say I’m to write a list of things I want him to do! I think he should be big enough to notice himself but ok I guess.
I need to tell him what I want and pretend he isn’t totally selfish like you say. I get angry and forget at this point. He knows what to do around others and what to do at work but I need to tell him what I need and notice his unselfishness when he’s around me. He pays. He has inattention blindness around me but snaps out of it around others. I’m thinking he just doesn’t love me enough so it’s hard for me to try after many many years.
I can give it all a try but thinking he just loves everyone and everything else and I’m just around to be used when needed. Thanks for your article and I pray I can use it to change our situation!
This came when I just needed it. Thank you laura
good day, my situation is a bit different. My husband is a teacher and he loves helping kids. But he has this one boy that I feel he is obsessed with. My husband is over 40 years old and this boy is 16. They call each other everyday, send messages, saying I love you and I support you and believe in you. My husband goes out of his way for this boy, even inviting him for Christmas/new years, because they must spend time together, even though he is not part of my family. They go on day trips and my husband does not tell me about these and where they are going, I always find out by accident, when a card falls out of his pocket or something, or I see pictures on my husbands phone. Whenever they want to hang out, my husband does not mention his name, but I know he is going to him. I have banned this boy from my house, because it does not feel right to me that he spends hours with my husband in the study (while my husband is busy prepping for school then he studies) I have confronted my husband on what is happening here and he convinces me that it is all innocent. He loves this boy like his own son, he says this boy is his best friend and son. My husband grew up without a father, so he is looking for that deep intense relationship with this boy
. and this boy has bad family relations. I saw a message by accident when my husband said his heart wants to pop out of his chest with happiness that this boy was living across the road, he is so happy to have him near him and seeing him everyday, he is even struggling to breathe he cant believe it, I dont even get this much love, care, softness, calls, messages (On seeing this messages I went numb and jittery, my husband on confrontation said it is just a game they played sending each other messages like this) Am I just being overly jealous over the relationship they have and the time they spend together and the deep emotions running here, or am I right in feeling that something is not right? My husband says everything is innocent, it is his son… he sees nothing wrong… We went out for 7 years, married for 4. Last year while all of this was happening my husband pulled away from me and he told me, he got so caught up in his own life, that our relationship came last. I dont really believe that you can become so busy you forget all else, but then you still call/message/give you love and support to someone else that is not your wife. Some perspective on this would really be great please.
i love the idea that a husband could just be lazy and not selfish, and when prodded, will actually help out.
But what about a husband who expects a woman to do everything perfectly and doesnt want to lift a finger, who constantly asks, whats for dinner, whats for lunch, can you get me this can you get me that, make me a plate, etc, the trash is overflowing, theres dishes in the sink, why cant you do this…and then gets angry or frustrated when the wife lapses or doesnt do a perfect job?
and he works at home so is home all day and she is expected to do everything around the house constantly and serve him running back and forth to the kitchen all day and he gets upset if his tea is 10 minutes late?
My husband comes from a more traditional culture so maybe this is why,, but not doing things or asking him to do things unfortunately doesnt work in this case not without him being resentful because i guess as a man he feels household work is idk, beneath him? anyway im glad it worked for you!
Not only these thing but he neglected me for years only wanting to spend time with his friends. So i always felt isolated, lonely, desperate for true companionship, and like a servant or maid or something. he even would criticize my food sometimes after all that.
But when i try to bring up how it hurts me he gets angry and defensive and says i shouldn’t do anything for him if i’m going to be resentful about it.
it true im lapsing lately and hes having to help a little bit but its because i literally gave myself a mental and physical breakdown living like this. its a little better now but i think he is not happy that sometimes i make him fix his own plate or complain that he is sending me back and forth to the kitchen for every little thing and then making me put it on his plate for him.
in his culture women i think are more like servants or they act like that in the house. for me im not used to it and it makes me feel like im not equal, or not cherished. like my needs are less important. once in a while he will bring me something if i ask but usually im too busy bringing him stuff to even dare or have the energy to ask. by the time i get my food im just eating as fast as possible to finish before i have to go back to get him dessert or salt or yogurt or something.
i’m so tired…
I hear you! That sounds exhausting! I invite you to download my FREE Adored Wife Roadmap to set your relationship up for success.
Yeah I have tried to stop doing things with my husband. He eventually will help but his excuse is that if he didnt do it then it wouldnt get done and thsn im called lazy and I ysed to be so much better at being a wife. This man owns his own business but makes me do all if his phone calls. Another thing…I am diabled. Bad back. Heart problems. But im expected to do it all. If I try to talk to him his only solution every time is if I dont like how he is then I can leave.
My husband says he can’t work on our relationship until he “fixes” himself. We have been married for 15 years. How much longer must I wait? We’ve worked through his drug & alcohol addiction, which was 8 years of physical and emotional abuse and financial hell. He’s been over that, with only my help and sacrifice (no professional help) for about 3 years with no relapse. He states he is grateful and couldn’t have done it without me. However, now he’s obsessed with fitness. If he’s not exercising, he’s reading about it. I am super supportive, even doing all the lawn work, etc. so he will have time to run, workout, etc. I make sure to tell him that I am proud of his efforts, and offer any help, and sometimes participate in activities with him that I am able to do. When I ask about our relationship, he says it’ll have to wait until he “fixes” himself. Except the first year or so, this entire relationship has just evolved around his problems and desires. He is affectionate, but only when he wants sex. If I try to talk to him about my interests or my day, he just keeps on doing whatever he is doing. Says he has to “focus” even if it is just something as simple as putting away dishes…? Will it ever be MY or OUR time, or just HIS?
Alicia, it must be heart-wrenching to have to keep waiting for him to fix himself, especially after all you’ve already been through! I remember how lonely it was waiting for our time together and not getting it. That’s why my coaches and I have helped thousands of women turn things around, even when he said the relationship had to wait.
If you want to jumpstart your transformation, your timing is perfect! You can join my free 5-Day Adored Wife Challenge at https://lauradoyle.org/5day-challenge. We just started yesterday, so you still have time to catch up.