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How do I make my husband respect me?


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:( I am so sad. I recently got married to a man I have been with for 5 yrs. What a hard 5 yrs it was. I always believed that one could change if they truly want to. I guess the key word is "want". On his behalf he did realize he is an alcoholic and did stop drinking. That is huge and I give him credit for that. But what about respect? He disrepects me all the time. It hurts terribly. I end up in tears and we end up in an arugement. I feel so helpless. I am so unhappy.

We also used to have a life. We'd go out and do things. Now all he wants to do is stay at home and lay around watching tv and sleep. He used to do that few years ago but changed. He was fun and exciting. Now he is boring.

I am so sad. It seems since we got married (Nov 08) he has changed "a lot". I believed him and all the promises he had made but as always the promises are broken.

My question is to anyone who can help me....how can I get my husband to respect me?

Thanks for listening.....

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You can't make people do anything that they don't want to do. The more you want from him he is more likely to push away (or that might just be me). When my wife starts nagging me about things i just want to push back and blow it off. Try stepping back and give him alittle room to breath and open up when he is ready. Or when you feel disrespected calmly tell him please don't say that it hurts me when you do that. And if he acts like he doesn't care then go seek help. Well you should try to get counseling any way. I just started counseling yesterday and it is just getting started so i don't have any real results yet. I do have exercises that i can do to try and help me better communicate with my wife. I hope everything works out for you.

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well i was in the same situation a while back. my common law husband n i r goin on 4 yrz together n trust me they have been really hard. i was blinded by him i believed everything or i guess u can say that i believed in him but that changed. he 2 was a drunk n he would do drugs as well n i allowed it for a while but then 4 months in to the relationship i came out pregnant n it was even worse. he promised if i came out pregnant he would stop his shit n i believed it:( well wut do u know it was a broken promise. after that he promised that he would stop if i moved n with him ..... n i did n he once again broke his promise. threw my whole pregnancy he was an ass he did not respect me n any way n that hurt really bad. after i had the baby i left him cuz i could not take it ne more n that is when he changed he STOPPED his drinkin:) and drugs and that is when i realized i would give him another chance. n yes there r timez that we just get on each otherz nervez n we just start callin each other namez n there r timez when there is pushin but other than that he respects me. u c u cant put ur self down like that. i mean u shouldnt have to go threw this if he really luvz u then he has to respect u but u cant pray for that to happen if he dont care. look i think that u should talk to him about this whole ordeal n maybe u will get threw with him which in my opinion is not enough. in my opinion i would first get marriage counselin n if that dont work then the best thing is to leave dont put urself threw this cuz u dont deserve it. if u leave or tell him to leave n he sooner or later comes back well then that meanz that he is urz but.....if he doesnt come back then that meanz he was never urz to begin with. if he loves enough he will change n come back to u if not then he is not worth ur time.

i mean all this gets me thinkin cuz we want to get married as well.well i have to be honest our relationship is kinda of on the rocks right now so sometimes i think that marriage would change that. he has been wantin to get married for a long time but i am not to sure,i am afraid of alot of things n one the things is that i am afraid for him to change.i feel if i do marry him he will become more controlling n he will not care ne more cuz he already has me i am afraid that i will find out who he really is. i guess i have to really think things over cuz i would not be able to go threw that mentally nor physically. well i really do hope that everything goes well i wish u the best of luck!

i know that i am not much help but plz at least take my advise on gettin marraige couselin:)

Edited by roiisgurl
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  • 4 weeks later...

The easy answer to the question, "how can I get my husband to respect me?" is, you can't. You can't make anyone be or act in a way that they don't want to.

Yet, I know exactly what you mean, because I've been asking myself the same question. It's like beating your head against the wall.

The key out of this, (and believe me, I know how hard this is) is to go out and do things by yourself.

There's something about experiencing life and having fun by yourself that's very validating. There was a self-help book I read years ago that even suggested going out to movies by yourself, going out to eat by yourself and buying yourself flowers.

If nothing else, doing this might give you the energy you need to ponder your next step.

Hope that helps...


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I had the same issue, except it's my wife who doesn't respect me.

And I agree, forget about the question "how do I get respect" for a while, and just focus on living the life you want to live. And eventually, you might find a new question, "why do I want to live with someone who doesn't respect me?" And hey look, that's a question you can do something about.

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  • 10 months later...

Karl is 100% correct here: You can't make people do anything that they don't want to do. The key is not to make him respect you but to behave in ways that unequivocally command respect. For example, a strategy I frequently recommend to couple in an argumentative relationship might be the following (but keep in mind, for this to be effective, you'll likely have to muscle thru it very consistently, and do so for the first 3-6 weeks):

  1. If he begins to call you names, quickly turn around and walk away. Say nothing, don't sigh loudly, don't make a face, don't react, don't walk away seething--- you must give him nothing to react to.
  2. Walk completely into another room and create enough space for him to not be able to see or hear you. If he follows you, walk outside and into the neighborhood and don't return for an hour at least. Always have some money to spend if there is a small coffee shop nearby or go to the library to read and write to us.
  3. The first time you do this, leave for an hour, the 2nd time for 1.5 hours, the 3rd time, for 3 hours, the 4th time for 3 hours again, the 5th-10th time, for 4-6 hours if possible. You're sending an extremely powerful message and one that empowers you and gives you both self affirmation and self mastery and mastery of the situation.
  4. Also, do as suggested by 2002to2009: The key out of this, (and believe me, I know how hard this is) is to go out and do things by yourself. Essentially, take care of yourself and make every effort to let him know that he is not a requirement for you to be alive and enjoy life. Nothing irritates an abusive spouse more than to know that they're not an essential part of your life, and nothing is as frustrating as a thriving, self empowered, decisive and "free spirited" spouse who one can no longer abuse. Your goal is not to agitate him or the relationship, it is only to put him (and yourself) on notice that a new and much healthier and more positive relationship is now on the table and for the marriage to survive, everyone has to buy into it-- no matter what!
  5. For your part, identify 3-5 things that you do that trigger him and write them down. Let us know what they are by posting them here in very brief statements (<10 words per issue).
  6. Seek out a friend or other positive relationship to spend time with to fill your cup and help you heal/cope. No need to discuss the issues, just spend pleasant times together so as not to burn out your friendship.
  7. Become aware of what you do that is pleasing to him so that we can begin adding a little sugar to the situation.

Remember that you will be making the modifications and he will slowly modify his behavior to match yours, as each of you has done for awhile. This will take 30-50 days of very consistent effort on your part, so stick with this plan no matter what. Once the emotional abuse has started to end, we will develop the next set of strategies.

Finally, Malign (whose wisdom I deeply respect) makes an interesting point: And I agree, forget about the question "how do I get respect" for a while, and just focus on living the life you want to live. And eventually, you might find a new question, "why do I want to live with someone who doesn't respect me?" And hey look, that's a question you can do something about. This is always the strongest position when you've hit rock bottom (and I'm not hearing this in your voice yet) and one to inform any future spouse of before you marry.

Having been thru a painful divorce (me that is) and also talking with couples daily, Malign's question, for impulsive folks, begs for the answer "leave him" when it might be easier and more practical to repair and create a better relationship. But only you'll know this. Malign's sage advice requires great consideration and thought (something many partners don't have when in the midst of their own pain), so if you pursue this route, be aware of which way you want the relationship to go.

Good luck and I hope this helps,


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I'm so sorry that you are feeling sad. In reading your post I found myself wondering what you mean by 'respect', I find it such a large categorization and we can all interpret it differently. For example, with me and my X, if I said that I wanted respect, I would mean that I wanted to be included in decisions, be treated with kindness, for him it meant not cheating on me and coming home to me every night. Are there some specific things that you would like to receive? What are the specific things he does that make you feel disrespected?

If someone says to me I want to be respected, I feel sort of confused, unclear about what that means. Sort of like if your boss tells you that your work is not good - what does that mean? What part of my work? What exactly should be changed. I have personally found that women often ask for things that men don't really get - like I need 'attention', or I need 'love'. I think that is sometimes confusing for guys. I find my daughter is good with her beau in that she explains her needs clearly, like I need affection regularly, I need hugs and kisses when you come home, or else I start pulling away and become critical. Then he knows what he needs to do to make her happy.

Hope the new marriage renews itself with great fervour as you begin to make some changes... :),and may you both find what you need in the relationship.



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I'm sorry that you are feeling sad, Butterfly. Sometimes the best way to gain the respect of others is to respect yourself. So I agree that getting out and taking care of your own needs would be very beneficial. Do you have any family or friends who can offer you support?

You mention that your husband is an alcoholic, but has quit drinking. Did this happen recently? This can be a life changing event and may take some time adjusting for both yourself and your partner. I know it took me many months to calm down my own anxiety when my H quit. Have either of you received any counseling for this? How is communication between yourself and your H?

I hope you feel better, Butterfly.

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