I recently heard from a wife who was hurt by her husband’s constant comparisons between her and other women. At times, she compared her to her sisters, friends, co-workers, or acquaintances of hers. Other times, he compared her to complete strangers. She had been trying to ignore this for a while, but lately, she had made her so angry and gratified that it was affecting her marriage very negatively.
The wife said in part: “My husband compares me to everyone. And the comparisons are never good. I’m not as skinny as my sister. I don’t make as much money as my co-worker. I’m not as good of a mother as our neighbor. I’m not as good a cook as his best friend’s wife. I’m not as good a lover as his old girlfriend. It’s gotten to where I cringe every time we cross paths or talk about another woman and he’s going to open his mouth. At first, I used to ignore him, but this is starting to happen all the time and it’s getting so much more painful. And it makes me so angry I’m afraid I’m going to respond with something just as nasty. How would you like it if I compared you to other men? Never I would do this because it would hurt his feelings and he’s my husband. But he doesn’t give me the same consideration. And when I call him on this, he says I’m too sensitive. It’s gotten to a point where he’ll openly stare at other women right in front of me. me. This is hurting my marriage and i’m not sure how much longer i can take this. What should I do?”
After a little more clarification, it became clear to me that the husband would make these comments and the wife would withdraw and turn her back on him for a short period of time afterward. Over time, she had learned that mentioning this would only make her husband accuse her of being too sensitive. And if she tried to talk back, he would get angry and things would get worse. Then instead he would say nothing and get angry. This caused resentment and damaged her marriage. Increasingly, she had been avoiding spending time with her husband due to this and other issues. So, this was something that she felt she had to address and she couldn’t be left hoping it would work itself out. In the next article, I will offer some tips for understanding why a husband may constantly compare you to other women and how best to handle it.
Why a husband might compare his wife to other women: The wife could not understand why her husband would be doing this. He didn’t act this way when they were dating. It was only in the last five years or so that he had started this kind of behavior. There are several reasons why a husband might act this way. Sometimes this is their passive aggressive way of drawing her attention to something they wish was so. And, they may be saying it’s about their parenting skills or their work ethic, but usually it’s about something else entirely.
Many men criticize you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. They often try to get your attention in the hope that you will pay more attention to them or things in the house (as unlikely as that sounds). Therefore, they will often hit you with very low blows in an attempt to push your buttons. just to get a reaction.
Other times, a man will point out your perceived flaws because he is so self-aware of his own. Sometimes a man’s comparison to you is actually driven by his own lack of self-esteem or his own concerns. Sometimes when I talk to the men on the other side of this situation, it’s clear that they’re trying to bring her wife down because they don’t feel like they deserve her. Secretly, he worries that if she knew how special she really is, she would leave him, so one way to make sure this never happens is to point out her flaws. And sometimes men react to stress by criticizing who is more suitable.
I am not advocating this behavior. I’m just trying to let you know that if you find yourself in this situation, rest assured that these comparisons do not reflect you. They are a reflection of him and you have to decide if you want to change him, continue living with him or move away from him. (My recommendation is that you try to change it if you can).
How to handle it when your husband always compares you to other women: The wife in this situation did not want to walk away. She insisted that there were other redeeming qualities in her husband. But she didn’t want to continue living like this either, nor did she deserve it. And every time her husband did this, her marriage deteriorated even more. I know she was hesitant to confront this because it seemed to make things worse, but ignoring it only ensures it keeps happening.
I suggested that the next time her husband compared her to someone else, she should write it down and promise to bring it up at a time when things were calm. If she tries to approach him when he’s hurt or angry, she risks making it even worse. So when things are going well and you’re calm, that’s the time to address it.
I would suggest saying something like, “I need to talk to you about something that’s been weighing me down. I’m telling you this because I love you enough to care about our marriage and I don’t want to let anything deteriorate it. Yesterday, you compared me to (fill in the blank ). This was hurtful and unnecessary. Honestly, this happens a lot. You may not realize it, but you compare me to other people a lot. And when you do, it makes me feel like I’m not making you happy or that you wish I were different. “If there’s something bothering you about me or our marriage, let’s discuss it. But I can’t let you continue with the comparisons. I’m worried that it will make me resentful over time. And I know you don’t mean to hurt me. So, please.” From now on, when it happens again, I’ll get your attention and ask what’s really bothering you.”
It’s just a suggestion. She can use the words that are most appropriate for her husband and her situation. But the point is to approach him constructively, to open the door for him to tell you what’s really bothering him, and to let him know that you’ll address it whenever it happens in the future. This lets her know that she can no longer have a free pass to continue with the comparisons.
Sometimes just addressing it when you’re both calm can inspire open communication that allows you to get to the real root of the problem. Because comparisons are often a good indicator that her husband is trying to get her attention and this can sometimes indicate some problems in their marriage that should not be ignored.