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How to Reconcile if Your Husband Doesn’t Like You

Even if your husband doesn’t like you, you can still reconcile. You do that with several specific steps you take in the right order.

husband hates me
There is a path to getting him to like you again, but you are the one who has to follow it.

Many relationships can be reconciled regardless of the amount of emotional distance. It does not require you to be submissive. Mutual submission is great, one-way submission not so much as it creates resentment. That’s why I don’t advocate for submission in damaged relationships.

Instead, I help people to use step-by-step approaches to relationship building. People who insist that it takes two to build a relationship hate my approach, although they have a spouse who won’t work with them.

They would rather stay stuck than to work on creating the right conditions for relationship growth. Pride won’t help you to create success. You need to do what it takes to have success and then be proud of that.

If you just wait for things to improve, you are making yourself a victim even more than your husband is.

Time does not heal all wounds if no one takes action. However, time combined with correct action can heal your relationship. The correct steps, in the correct order, at the correct pace are the way to accomplish anything.

Let’s start by seeing if we can just blame everything on your husband’s personality…

Maybe he’s an antisocial narcissist

I hate to break it to you, but unless your husband has always been angry and hateful, with others as well as you, you are not dealing with a personality problem.

It is fashionable nowadays for women to call their husbands narcissists. There are a lot of narcissists around and it is certainly possible you are married to one. However, if he is a narcissist, he has been one for as long as you have known him. It is not something that he could have developed later on in your marriage.

If he hasn’t always been a narcissist, then he isn’t one now.

If you believe your husband does have a personality disorder, a lifelong condition that impacts all of his relationships, then you can learn how to have a successful relationship with him, nevertheless. That is not the focus of the information I am providing now.

Let’s take a look at some other possibilities…

There are more likely reasons for his anger and poor treatment of you

If his behavior is not the result of a personality disorder, then there are other reasons for it. His behavior is either reactive or purposeful. It’s not that he sadistically wants to hurt you, but that he benefits from his behavior.

I believe that people do the best they know how to do to have success and be happy. Unfortunately a lot of people have very poor skills for doing those things. Their skills have low efficacy. They use a lot of effort to get a little in return. One of the things my clients marvel at is how few words it takes to mend a relationship.

A simple boundary, agreement, or expression of empathy can often accomplish what six months in therapy cannot.

People who are habitually angry don’t know how to fix themselves, so we need to learn how to deal with them. Don’t try to convince your husband to change his attitude or behavior, because he doesn’t know how to stop while still getting what he wants. As far as he is concerned the anger is either useful, justified, or your fault.

It may be that your husband would like to have a close relationship with you, but is clueless about how to go from where you two are now, to that place. He may not know how to deal with your needy and damaging behavior in a good way, for example. So he gets angry and distances. That protects him from you, but also prevents things from getting better.

Many people paint themselves into a corner and then just stay in the corner long after the paint is dry.

You can be the one to help him get out of that corner–for the both of you. And for the sake of your kids, too. If you are being needy, controlling, or rejecting, for example, you can stop being that way. Then he won’t distance to protect himself. Don’t expect the change to happen quickly.

The more damage has been done, the longer you need to behave in a consistently better way before he will trust you again.

Maybe it doesn’t have much to do with your behavior at all. Make sure you really are being a good partner though, before you go looking for other reasons for him to behave like he doesn’t like you.

If you are great, and you don’t just think that because you are a narcissist, then…

What is his anger and distancing really about?

His anger serves a purpose. In society those most filled with hate are that way because they want to feel good about themselves by making people who are different seem bad. People can do the same thing in marriage relationships. If you are the bad one, detestable one, one to blame, I can feel better about doing whatever I am doing–no matter how destructive it is.

The more out of proportion your husband’s anger is in regard to what you are actually doing, the more you can be sure it is not really about your behavior, but his. He is justifying something you wouldn’t like by making you out to be bad. This is behind what people commonly call gaslighting.

Another indication that his anger is not really about you is that he makes no attempt to leave you. If he really disliked you so much, he would leave if he could. The easier it would be for your husband to leave you, the less likely it is that the real issue is about you.

If your husband is staying with you even though he doesn’t have to, then his anger and distancing are serving a purpose in your marriage.

For example, he may be protecting himself from what he feels is rejection or control from you. This allows him to live with you while not being overly emotionally hurt. This is a defensive purpose,

Just like an umbrella shields us from the rain, we can shield ourselves with anger to protect ourselves emotionally.

Many people do not like their spouses, but are afraid of living on their own. That makes them even more resentful with having to put up with their spouses.

Detecting such a reason would suggest the solution is to change any critical or controlling behavior you have to decrease his resentment in staying with you. Even if you can’t go all the way to getting him to actually like you, it would improve his behavior toward you.

Another possibility is that he may be using his anger in order to control you in some way. Needy women are particularly prone to being controlled by anger or distancing because of their fear of losing their spouse. When he distances or gets upset, she becomes more submissive and affectionate. Does your husband get better behavior from you when he is rejecting you?

If you see such a pattern in your relationship, you can learn to give him less when he behaves badly, while giving him more when he treats you well. That would completely change things. You will need to overcome your neediness to be able to do so.

Another possibility is that his anger and blame may make it easier for him to self-justify having an affair, abusing drugs or alcohol, not helping at home or some other kind of relationship damaging behavior. Narcissists and people with antisocial personality disorder don’t have to justify their behavior, but most men can’t feel good about bad behavior unless they do.

If your husband is suddenly blaming you for things that have been going on for years or which you did long ago, then it is because it is serving a purpose for him to do that now.

Some people will even blame someone for what their ancestors did. Don’t be fooled. That is always about justifying a bad behavior they are doing in the present. The question you need to ask yourself is why is this an issue now? Don’t ask your spouse. You will either get a lie or erratic behavior.

Two wrongs never make a right is a truth those who are doing wrong will never say.

Never convince yourself that your husband should be able to treat you badly or do damaging things because of any damage you have done. His damage won’t undo any damage you did–it will just add more damage.

You may have done nothing wrong, even though your husband says you have. His saying it does not make it true. When in doubt, check with others to get an objective opinion. Don’t fall for gaslighting.

Is he actually stuck with you? Use unselfish love to help him.

If he is not able to leave you for some practical reasons, then he may blame you for his being stuck. Does it seem like he blames you for everything? Then he is actually blaming you for his unhappiness. You will need to learn how to deal with his blaming, and take away his excuses for being stuck.

You need to help him see that you are not keeping him stuck. It is actually better if he sees that he could go, but that he is choosing to stay with you. The more he feels that you are holding onto him or trying to fix him, the more he will try to pull away.

He needs to feel that he is staying because he is choosing to, and not because he has to, if he is to be able stop blaming you.

You can even help him to get unstuck and be able to go more easily. Although that may sound counterintuitive if you are wanting to reconcile, it will improve his behavior and give your relationship a chance to grow. If you are using good connection skills and separation boundaries, he may even stop wanting to leave.

An example of what you might say:

John, I know you are really unhappy being here with me. I’m willing to work with you to help you to be able to leave. I will miss you, but I don’t want you to just stay with me and be miserable.

Unselfish love is the best fertilizer for relationship growth.

I like using the term unselfish love rather than unconditional love and believe it is more consistent with the way that God loves us. God uses good boundaries, doesn’t accept everything we do, and will reject us if we don’t commit to Him. Many people are familiar with John 3:16, but not with John 3:18.

These are the words of Jesus:

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son (John 3:16-19, NIV).

We can’t have it both ways with God and your husband doesn’t get to have it both ways with you either. Love and boundaries go hand in hand for creating desire, building your relationship, and maintaining it.

You will never have a more loving and secure role model than God.

Major skills needed for reconciling with a husband who doesn’t like you.

If your husband wants to make your relationship better, then going to a marriage retreat is an excellent choice. But, for most of the scenarios I mentioned, he won’t want to go. His trust level will be too low or his desire to improve your relationship will be too low. Repairing your relationship may take away his excuse to do whatever he is doing or plans to do.

This is a situation I am used to helping people with since I specialize in hard to reconcile marriages.

You will need to stop trying to talk to him about your relationship or about his behavior. Instead, you will need to do things that will:

  • Help him relax with you,
  • then enjoy you more and desire you more, and
  • then use boundaries to stop any damage that he may be doing.

You need to do those steps, in that order, at the correct pace.

Women are learning how to do these things every day in coaching.

  • Help him to relax by ending any and all needy behaviors you are doing. Things like criticizing, complaining, arguing, and other relationship damaging behaviors.
  • Help him to enjoy you more with validation skills. Skills like agreeing, empathizing, complimenting, appreciating, and so on.
  • Help him to desire you as woman by behaving more like a woman that he would be attracted to if he were meeting you for the first time.
  • Help him to stop any relationship damaging behaviors such as affairs, addictions, irresponsibility and controlling behaviors. This step comes AFTER making your relationship one he would not want to lose. Put this step in the wrong order, as many women do, and you will not get good results.
What do Do When He Won't Change
What to Do When He Won’t Change
silhouette of couple arguing
Restoring Love with Difficult Spouses

Depending on how your relationship is right now, you can start to learn some of these skills by reading books such as, “What to Do When He Won’t Change,” or you could get relationship coaching for restoring love with difficult spouses. Get coaching when you don’t have much time, as you will be instructed what to do and won’t have to figure it all out.

What will not work is the be patient, or wait and see method. Fires are best put out while they are still small. Once you are sure things are getting worse, don’t wait for them to get even worse. If doing what you know doesn’t work, it is not time to give up, but it is time to learn to do something more effective.

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