People can get stuck in their feelings and have a hard time getting over them. You can help your wife to get over hers, and work toward reconciling.
When your wife says she hates you, can’t trust you, or is behaving that way, it is an honest reflection of her feelings.You need to take her feelings seriously. They are real for her, even if you think her feelings are wrong. You have to deal with her reality.
Men who want to reconcile with their wives often treat their wives feelings analytically. They want to persuade their wives to feel differently. Although women can understand logic as well as men, they can’t just turn their feelings off.
Evaluating evidence, arguing, and attempting to persuade will bring resistance and distance. This is true whether the other person hates, mistrusts, or is afraid.
Re-connection must begin with connection rather than argument. First steps are not about fixing, although that is your ultimate goal. This article will help you get started with those important first steps for connecting.
Reasons why your wife may be saying she hates you or can’t trust you
1 Your wife wants to be reassured by you
As crazy at it seems, some wives will say and do terrible things to their husbands as a test. If their husbands pass the test, they are reassured of their husbands’ love and commitment. The reasoning is that if we treat someone badly and they still put up with us, they must love us. This is a built-in type of test that even young children can have. They aren’t even aware that they are doing it.
The main problem with this kind of testing behavior is that it only provides temporary reassurance. It is like an addiction. The reassurance feels good, it doesn’t feel like more reassurance is needed–until the feeling wears off. There is no way to scratch the itch of insecurity by getting reassurance.
The more insecure your wife is, the more she will seek reassurance. If your wife is constantly checking your whereabouts and hates it when you go out without her, she certainly does not hate you. She is actually afraid of losing you. Otherwise, she wouldn’t need reassurance. This often occurs in men who behaved in a way that helps wives love their husbands more.
How to reconcile with this kind of angry and distrusting wife
You need to learn how to put boundaries around her needy behavior instead of feeding the reassurance addiction. You also need to help her to feel loved when she is not being needy. The combination of these two behaviors will reduce her neediness and help her to be nice to you instead of being angry and distrusting. Chapter 11 in my book on overcoming neediness has detailed information for helping a needy partner.
2 Your wife is punishing you in order to cope with her feelings of anger
This is likely the case for a wife who says she hates you or is acting in a vengeful way, but is making no effort to get out of your relationship.
Typically, this kind of wife is angry for a good reason, but that reason may be entirely in the past. For example, maybe you failed to be there when she really needed you or you cheated on her. Just because you have changed doesn’t mean she can just forgive and forget.
A spouse can be angry for a lifetime if we don’t help them get over it. They are stuck as much as we are. We have to help them turn it off.
Coping with an angry and punishing wife
Many men don’t understand why making changes women want don’t lead to reconciling. They also become frustrated when apologies and promises don’t fix things. Many men will keep try to do more and more until they have built enough points for their wives to forgive them. The more you try this approach, the faster you will give up on your relationship. Because it doesn’t work.
Once you do give up, she is likely to let go of her anger, but too late for you. I have worked with many women who let go of their anger the moment their husband left them. You have two choices in this situation:
- Either you must learn to stop trying to earn her forgiveness, or
- You need to separate from her before you burn out on the relationship.
If you take the first choice, she will escalate her behavior at first. After you make it through that in a secure way, your relationship will start to build.
If you take the second choice, be sure not to threaten to move out. Threats escalate problems. Actual actions fix them.
3 Your wife’s anger, hatred, or distrust may be helping her to stay safe
It is natural for people who have been very hurt to protect themselves from being hurt again. One way to do that is to be angry and rejecting. If you don’t attach to someone emotionally, they can’t hurt you as much.
Secure women will simply leave men they feel are emotionally dangerous. Needy women will stay with those men. On the one hand, they fear being hurt; on the other hand, they fear being alone.
Coping with a fearful and needy wife
You will need to use your wife’s fear of losing you to help her to become close to you again. You will need to be gentle end empathetic. At the same time, you will need to work on ending your relationship so that she will be motivated to save it.
It is very important that you don’t do anything vengeful or unfaithful when helping your wife this way. That would just compound the problem by giving even more reason to fear you in the future. Many men I coach need help working on their empathy skills for this situation.
If your wife has correctly judged your character and you are not safe or trustworthy, then you need to fix yourself before you can fix your relationship.
4. Your wife may be hating you in order to transition out of your marriage
Your wife may have either been too disconnected from you for too long, or already be having an affair. In either case, she is likely to be creating emotional distance from you so that she can either feel better about leaving you or about having an affair.
In this case, her reasons for getting angry are likely to be flimsy or trivial. Her level of anger or hatred will seem to be all out of proportion to anything you have done. And, no matter how sorry you are, she won’t consider you to be sorry enough. She will be actively moving to leave your relationship, although she is not ready to make her move.
What to do with this kind of angry wife
Focusing on apologizing or trying to get her to go to therapy is not going to end her hateful behavior. You must understand that her goal is to get something or someone other than you. Even if that is just her freedom. She is moving forward to what she believes will make her life better.
This is the most common situation that men are in when I help them to reconcile with my Re-Connections Coaching Package. I use the four step approach which I will outline next.
You can reconnect with a woman who is preparing to leave you, but can’t do it in a single step.
Four steps approach to reconciling with a wife who hates you
1 Stop convincing and start validating
Trying to convince your wife to work on your relationship or give you another chance is the opposite of what she wants. Keep doing that and all she will tell you is that she needs space. Keep trying to persuade and you will end up in a no contact situation.
Don’t become like the telemarketer who repeatedly calls trying to sell someone a product they don’t want.
You must be able to look at the relationship from her perspective and consider the validity of her ideas. Although you are likely focused on what you want, what you want is the last thing she is concerned about at this time.
Typically, my clients are able to get their wives to relax with them within two weeks by changing their focus to validating, rather than invalidating, their wives.
2 Help her to enjoy talking with you
Because she is relaxed (from step one), you can build your communication with her using good connection skills, just as you would with any woman. The better you are at these skills, the more she will enjoy talking with you. The re-connection process will have begun.
Please note that a good relationship never involves convincing–not at the beginning, middle, or later on.
3 Restoring attraction
If you focus on connection and forget to be an attractive man, you may become friends only. Don’t get so excited about getting along better that you forget to have a life without your wife. To much togetherness and too little attraction leads to divorce and friendship. If you are here, see my article on wife wants to divorce and be friends).
4 Return of intimacy and loving feelings
Loving feelings can only come back after connection and attraction are restored. This is why men cannot get their wives to be in love with them simply through reasoning.
Just as with dating a single woman, you need to progress through relationship building stages before she will ready marry (recommit) to you. Just because she is enjoying your relationship does not mean that she will want to recommit to your relationship.
If you are separated, you will need to use separation boundaries so that your wife cannot have her cake and eat it, too.
Major skills involved in reconciling with angry, hateful, or distrusting wife
As you can see from these four stages of reconciling, the major skills involved are:
None of these skills require that your wife work with you or go to counseling. Success with women (which includes your wife!) depends on what you do, not on what they do.
You can learn each of these on their own, or as part of a coaching package. Most of my coaching clients are able to learn the basics of these skills in four weeks with my Re-Connections Coaching Package.