How to argue with Mr. Always Right

A Reader Participation Post

Here’s a “biggest marital problem” sent to me by a reader:

My husband is aggressive, rude, and is always right and I am always wrong. Therefore I no longer have serious conversations with him. I try to avoid talking about anything that he might find upsetting, even though it may be something that is upsetting to me. We basically don’t have a relationship. I desperately would like to have a relationship, but I honestly don’t know if my husband is capable of it. I just agree with what he says. If I don’t he gets very angry and says that I just want to argue. If I ask him questions he gets angry too, so I will just ask him one question if I want to know something. If I don’t like or don’t understand his answer, I won’t say anything because that makes him very angry. What should I do?

Readers: This is all you. Can you help this reader with her biggest marital problem?

452 comments… add one

  • Amy April 20, 2016, 1:57 am

    Talking doesn’t work with a self absorbed narcissist. Thats most of the problem…no communication…and when there is talk you are always wrong. I live it everyday. If i say something I’m wrong..if I don’t say anything I’m wrong. So~ my choice is to leave with my kids. 7 years of trying to be patient, understanding, and loving to someone that verbally and emotionally abuses is enough. I’m done walking on eggshells and everyone scattering to their corners when he comes home…..leaving is the only option.

    • Courtney April 22, 2016, 5:20 pm

      I’m doing the exact same thing after 7 years… I am not aloud to have feeling because they are always wrong…he has successfully just pushed my dad out of the picture 2 days ago and today I’ve been calling lawyers and getting everything around to divorce and leave him. … it is abusive it’s verbally and emotionally abusive…. thank goodness it hasn’t gotten physical but I’m not waiting around for that either

      • Janice April 22, 2016, 6:43 pm

        It has been said before here: read Patricia Evan’s book, “The Verbally Abusive Relationship”. There is another good book called ” Why Does He Do That”, a bit more heavy going but knows the subject of abusive men

  • Kelly April 20, 2016, 1:53 pm

    He sounds abusive – I would get out now

  • Glenda April 24, 2016, 9:57 pm

    I’m searching for what to do. Been with him for 5 years….married 4 years. Separated for 3 months last year as he wanted a woman who would be a submissive to his thoughts of swinglife. So far he hasn’t brought that back up but at 60 years old…..admit it….who wants to be alone and start again? I’m so sad as he is almost 65 and pretty sure bipolar as he is at everyone’s beckon call but mine. He is too busy helping his friends to go to our boat on Lake Mead every weekend. I’m at a loss but think he is bipolar!

  • Linda May 5, 2016, 11:19 pm

    How to respond when you are trying to have a conversation and you get “don’t talk to me right now”?

    • zoo June 22, 2016, 12:56 am

      I get the same so I got a cat and I talk to her and let him do his thing. Or sometimes I just fall asleep. Basically, I do what I would do if he was not sitting there. It’s not a permanent solution, but if you can’t do anything else, at least you have gotten some joy from your cat and some rest while you are figuring out what the permanent resolution will be. Just make sure that if you get a pet, the pet is included in your resolution. (As in don’t leave the poor cat there and move out!) And BTW. my man has been diagnosed as bipolar.

  • Janice May 5, 2016, 11:32 pm

    Try saying the same thing to him some time and see if there’s a difference. Then consider, how that makes you feel.

  • Lnda May 6, 2016, 1:33 am

    r, afraid to leave name? Maybe hurt? That’s what this site is for. I’ve been with my high school sweetheart for45 years and 3 grown children over 35 are doing well. Life isn’t perfect as YOU must know. Any constructive feedback on how to get a guy to listen to what a woman’s concerns are when he is stressed from his own problems?

  • Janice May 6, 2016, 2:21 am

    Forget it. Mr Right won’t listen. Those are his terms and he calls all the shots

  • Janice May 7, 2016, 3:10 pm

    Basically every Mr Always Right is simply an anusive Man. Most of them never change and changing is a long hard road. It’s easier for them to keep taki g it out on us, or someone else like us, should we have the courage to leave.

  • Rue May 13, 2016, 8:56 pm


  • Linda May 14, 2016, 1:02 am

    I am 60+ married 45 years 3 kids 3 grandsons. Adore them all. Baby girl is dads girl and has her dads personality treated like a queen. I tried so hard for that girl after 2 boys and thought she would be my girl. Two older brothers a mix of us both. Oldest always expected to be perfect so his son from ex wife treated poorly as hate for his ex by his dad. His second son had done ok so nothing is ever said to him. I married a perfectionist I guess. I see that now!! If this is you and you are young stop trying to please him to keep your sanity. Mine is gone and only want to survive my days now. You don’t want to be me. My kids are grown. I’ll do what I can for my grandsons hope they survive their parents problems that I can no longer change. I will not be a puppet any longer yet thank my ability to survive to do better. Take care of your kids when they are learning relationships. It might not save yours but it might make them have better ones.

  • Jo May 23, 2016, 7:15 pm

    Rrrhhhh you poor woman u….xxx
    Id get a gun myself and stick it up his arse…

    Your waisted on this man, look after yourself get out, get mo re friends, slowley make yourself with things you enjoy and spend as little time with him….then when he srarts your happy in your life and hes wondering whys there no affect this will change him as he wants ur attention only tnen engage with him ge will tealise sooner or later….be happy v thats your b g oal do one thing a day u lov e then all of a sudden your stronger happy and life will be great xxx big hugs u lovley women. Joanne

  • sanka June 6, 2016, 10:09 am

    women need best friends or at least one… very seldom do you have one in a spouse. true, certain things you can’t solve with a bestie, however, MOST things you can. Men who are ‘right’ are desperate for control, more than likely because they are being controlled by either work, bosses, other friends who are better than them in certain things, e.g. sports. They know women are naturally more sensitive…a.k.a.’weaker’, and therefore play their ‘strength card’ through being ‘right’. They are not as successful in life as they wished they would have been by their age, and this sense of failure sets in. hearing from their ‘partner’ that they’re wrong….(about anything-at this point) is probably not helping their ‘failing’ ego at all. what to do….well…reaching out online is a start! understanding that you can’t and shouldn’t have to go through this alone is important. Women need conversation that is constructive, not destructive. Positive focus is essential. running away is easy, but it doesn’t solve anything. it could bring on so many more problems. court, child custody… depression, poverty….you have to ask yourself….have I really tried everything? Men don’t always like to admit problems….not to anyone, for fear of it being used against them in the future at some unexpected ambush….. they think women are ‘weak’…. anyways… trying to work on relationship strengths instead of highlighting its failures may be the better route. If you focus on making the best parts awesome, then maybe in a short time, conversation can open to a more relaxed level….two questions, then perhaps three next time…. we are women, naturally ‘nurturing’…. if this fails, at least you will know that you’ve really done your best and can move on to the future with peace and acceptance of whatever life brings next.

  • Dee June 9, 2016, 7:47 pm

    Yeah in 46 and been with hubby 25years 24 married. We never can discuss anything.. He plays games every where we go.. Phone games and Xbox games at home..I never get complimented on anything.. I’m always wrong..I don’t get kissed but once in a blue moon.. Just pecks. I had to tell him i was unhappy last night just to get him to cuddled with me.. What the hell is wrong.. I have a grandchild and my son will be 24 this year.. When do I get to be a sex object again.. I get cussed and told how dumb I am.i want a man who loves to go places once in awhile and loves me and wants me not kiddie games on his phone and at home.. We go out to a nice place to eat with his hands

  • Jamie June 15, 2016, 12:48 am

    Just divorced after 34 years of being married to a man JUST like this. It got to the point where I didn’t even attempt conversation. Sadly, i didnt realize his nasty, degrading comments coupled with extreme anger and yelling was actually verbal abuse with a heavy dose of being a bully! Well, I woke up when I looked in the mirror and saw what he was turning me into and hated it. He had me yelling back, just to try to be heard and crying always out of hurt and frustration. Wanted to do counseling, but he said he had absolutely nothing to work on, but that i should go because i had a lot of issues. Wow. That was it, i was done. Now trying to work on my new life. More good days than bad. Starting to like myself again. A new beginning! I wish you the best, whatever decision you make….to stay or go.

    • Max June 23, 2016, 5:21 am

      Thanks Jamie, I read yours and i decided to write this small message with tears pouring down from my eyes, I just turned 40, i have never had a relationship, basically started everything late in my life, i then met my partner and gave up everything for what i thought was love, and gave him everything, i am worst every day because i feel so, so very stupid, like i have been knocked out cold, i had a good career and i gave it up because he wanted me to. I have been such a fool, i simple never saw him coming!? i saw the signs when we had our first child. two weeks old, we found ourselves on the sofa and he had the bed all to himself, he wanted children I did not want children, but he was desperate for them, he is older so i thought that must be it.
      and so i decided we must talk long and hard about the responsibilities of having a child and he was all for it, but his behaviour afterward was remarkable frightening, when i first saw ‘that side’ the side i never seen before i was so very scared and worried, i thought ‘what the hell have i got myself into, i also feel very trap because i am now with child. Soon he would take me further away from my friends and I will have another child and my nightmare would start all over again and it did and he takes everything over, I am not allowed to make any decision for myself or our kids, if you were to meet this man you would be talking to the calmest and soothing being you have every talked to…you would never know how dirty is mouth is, I do not swear, he is verbally and emotionally abusive to me. I am fighting every which way to belong; to be heard because I got girls and I do not want them to believe that this is the way it should be. My children are now yelling at us telling us to stop arguing, I use to cry all the time and found that I do not do it anymore, I simply cannot anymore, but it still doesn’t give me the courage or the power I need to feel worthy, to get up and do! I do not want my children to see a weak mother, so when he starts on me I give him all that I got and shame him for using dirty words in the presence of our kids. I know the only way is out, but how do you do that without affecting the kids and when all you do now is crawl.

  • Janice June 15, 2016, 1:41 am

    Good on you Jamie!

  • Mary June 16, 2016, 3:01 pm

    I am 61 tomorrow and my husband 72 in Nov. One minute we talk about the day and then he explodes all out the blue for no reason. When i say Čalm down don’t shout it makes things worse and he gets louder and more aggressive to the point he scares me and I clam up and think best not to say anything. So he wins again!. Fed up with walking on eggshells daily. Does he have a mental health problem, maybe?

  • Janice June 16, 2016, 7:30 pm

    Mary, if he’s always been like this, I’d say he’s just abusive towards you. There’s a great literature on this. Start by reading Patricia Evans, The Verbalky Abusive Relationship.

  • Janice June 17, 2016, 5:00 am

    Some things go beyond language with the Mr Always Right who lives with me. He offered a far out opininion on The Sopranos. Reckoned Tony made up a story about his childhood. I said, I don’t think so. He said in tones that made my head ring and gave me a headache: “Well, that’s My Opinion. I’m entitled to my opinion”. I replied, bravely: “Yes, you ARE entitled to your opinion but I don’t agree.” When you’re Always Right opinions count as facts and cannot be challenged without being strongly rebuked..

  • teri eddy June 19, 2016, 5:34 pm

    Only recently, since we have both retired, it has been hard living together without ever having an honest conversation.

    However, my husband said something the other day about real men stick up for themselves.

    I realized it is his fear of domination that makes him act out when trying to resolve any issues between us.

    I suspect this behaviour comes from being bullied when young.

    I can’t change his attitude. I just stopped expecting better behaviour from him.

  • Janice June 19, 2016, 6:09 pm

    Teri Eddy, I am in the same situation. Retiring with Mr Always Right is so bad I’ve felt motivated to work harder than ever to deal with his dominating behaviour. There are many good books available. I pretty well see through him now. Best strategy is to say as little as possible to him and star as far away from him as I can, without being rude. He cannot and won’t change and his behaviour wil harm me, if I let it.

  • Leh June 24, 2016, 8:56 am

    My husband is upset with anything I do. If I tell him I’m doing something for lunch, he calls his mom to make sure I’m doing it right. He kicked me in the back a couple of days ago coz he asked me a question and I didn’t know the answer. I don’t know if I love him anymore. I have mixed feelings about moving. I recently moved to his hometown thinking we may be happier here. It’s just backfired. I can’t go for help anywhere. What do I do

  • Jane June 26, 2016, 6:02 pm

    I’m 63 been married for 36 years. A lot of the time husband and I get on but he always has to control everything and can blow up without the slightest provocation shouting and yelling, yes it’s a form of abuse. I looked it up on the internet and it said borderline personality disorder/control freak which gave me a heads up. Interesting as it’s caused by low self esteem usually going back to childhood. That doesn’t help me, but I’ve learned how to deal with him better, know he has to think he’s in the right or he will argue then explode. A lot of the time we are like best friends but you can’t always agree with someone who is wrong so I will say ‘you should slow down’ when he’s driving to fast, or contradict him to put him right and he rages and screams, he just can’t cope with the mildest rebuke. The neighbours think he is great always smiling and nice, but he is a regular Jeckel and Hyde. I stay with him because I love him he is good in many ways and after being married so long have learnt how to cope with him and will give – or try to give as good as I get when he blows up but it is upsetting to say the least. He has never physically touched me knows if he did i would leave like a shot. If you are living with a really abusive control freak who always thinks he is right Leave when you can life is too short.
    Jane´s last blog post ..Relationship Rescue: What to Do When You No Longer Connect

    • Mary July 5, 2016, 12:05 pm

      Your post is exactly my situation. Exactly…that is my husband you wrote about. I need help and I need it bad.
      How did you learn to cope with him? The Jeckle and Hyde. The whole….your driving too fast, please slow down and then the ensuing explosive rage….that is HIM. Happy one minute, impatient and pissy the next minute…..that is HIM. You cant disagree with anything or not understand something he says because he will YELL talk back at you.

      The love on my end is gone. I cant get it back because his good behavior doesnt last long enough before another blow up destroys any previous good feelings.
      He criticizes literally everything I do or say. I cant do anything right. EVER. He contradicts me in front of others so I look like a stupid jerk in front of people. Hes been like since six months into our relationship. I should have known better than to marry him but because of my very low self esteem and not wanting to live my life alone, I went ahead and married him. Now Im stuck. I have a young daughter and I dont want to split custody with him. I cant afford my house or my daughters education without him. He said he will quit his job and I will get nothing if I divorce him. Im at my wits end. I need help…please…someone point me in the right direction.

      • Erika July 10, 2016, 12:05 am

        Hi Mary, your situation is very similar to mines! I also have no clue what to do! I feel like if o had friends or someone to talk to it would better help me cope! But I can’t tell anyone around me because I don’t want to be judged and if my husband does ever change I don’t want people to just remember the bad him.

  • Barb June 29, 2016, 5:30 am

    Leh, if your husband has now started to physically abuse you (kicking you in the back) as well as inflicting verbal abuse, it is a warning sign that things could get far, far worse. I don’t know which country you live in, but here in the UK we have a women’s refuge organisation where you can go to stay in safety, think things through and with support, make plans for the future. Women can take their children with them if they have them. I wonder if you have a similar organisation in your country?

    I stayed in a refuge for 7 weeks once. After 17 years of verbal abuse from my husband, I’d had enough and couldn’t cope with any more. We did go to counseling together, and he did change at the time (!) which surprised my refuge support worker. However now, seven years later, the verbal put-downs are creeping back. I am finding it difficult to cope with this, particularly as we are both now retired and he’s the only person I see – my many attempts to make friends have resulted in nothing. Sometimes I think that I shouldn’t have come back.

    • Barb June 29, 2016, 9:33 am

      I forgot to add that my husband appears to try and keep people, including family, from visiting us by hoarding, and never getting round to finishing home improvement projects (he was a builder). I find it a struggle to get rid of things that are no longer needed.

      Earlier this week I filled a 2 cubic yard skip to the top with ‘stuff’ from the garden e.g. rusty scrap metal, broken irons (!), rusty bike wheels etc. Some of it had been out there from over 22+ years ago. It was hard but I stuck with it, even though my husband was very, very unhappy about the whole thing. He certainly told the neighbours how he felt, but I managed to laugh off the criticism.

      It’s such a shame because we’re getting older and should be able to enjoy life to the full. It’s daunting though, as it’s up to me to keep the momentum going with any household project.

  • laurie July 4, 2016, 3:50 am

    Reading these comments I feel like I wrote them. This year will be twenty years married and it only gets worse. I know I should have never married him but I was so insecure and stupidly in love. If I only knew what I knew now I never ever would have married him. Not a day that goes by that I am not called a name, or told Dont be a whatever, in his eyes that is not name calling. This winter one of our fights got escalated and he body slammed me to the ground and broke my collar bone and injured my knee. There is not a soul in the world I can tell about this so I lied and said I fell on the ice. His mother died five years ago but Im still haunted by her calling me pig, piggy, piglet etc every time she came to visit as she was extremely skinny , smoked and hated anyone who was not the same. Im average size and healthy. I cant ask questions without him raging and he wont answer them anyway. If I ask him what time he wants go go somewhere etc the answer is when im ready. He has to control where everything in the kitchen cabinets go even though I do 99 percent of the cooking. I know I should leave but I am so fearful to go. Have no idea why either as I know I would be ok finacially as I got an inheritance last year. I guess I stay as I love my house and my neighbors and sometimes things are ok. Wished someone would just tell me to go and everything will be ok but I have nobody to talk to. Counselling wont work as he lied to the counseler.

    • Lori July 8, 2016, 7:28 am

      Laurie! Please make solid arrangements to leave, as soon as possible. Speak to him by phone or email, once you are safely away. You have money? Go! If the physical abuse has gotten to the stage it has, he clearly has no boundaries, and could seriously harm or hospitalize you next time.
      You need to trust your gut….The worst that could happen is that you give him a wake-up call to change. The best that could happen is that you have time to see how ‘off ‘ this situation is, and realize that your relationship is really not healthy or normal. Big breath…:)Please take care!

    • Max July 8, 2016, 4:36 pm

      Hello Laurie, please leave him, if you have any kids pick them up and go, if however, you don’t LEAVE!! take care of you, start listening to you, we are survivors, you are surviving him! BUT that is not ENOUGH, YOU WANT TO LIVE!! And be bloody happy! He has no right hitting you or hurting you, he did not bring you into this world! I am not saying that you can suddenly be super woman, but consider this…you are a god damn wonder woman! To accept his physical and verbal abuse, you got to consider yourself boomtastic!!!’ Used that power to fill your cup and let it overflow with great esteem, you got vava voom!’ talk to you every day to make you feel good, if you have friends and or siblings use them to make you feel that you are not alone or an only child, keep teaching and preparing yourself for better; looking forward to even better you every single day you wake up alive, and you will feel the change coming and you will feel stronger, believe me! And when you find that person you can confide in, you let it rip…tell it all if they are willing to listen, take their advice, pity and compassion, take it all because this will make you stronger, this is your foundation, your knowledge to further equip and organise you it is your first step of taking back control of you. (June 23 I wrote that I give him all that I got!!) Believe me Laurie when I said that I have come farther, he has shown me respect and he has somewhat learnt to apologise, and now and he has taken up Buddhism. I had to fight for these acknowledgements, and I refuse to give up, he has taken me further away from friends and family and I came close to really hurting myself, because I did not know where to go or whom to turn to, but when you are enlightened and suddenly been given the tools to fight, learning that you are not alone and that there are help out there for you and your kids WOW!
      Max´s last blog post ..Relationship Rescue: What to Do When You No Longer Connect

  • christie July 4, 2016, 11:25 am

    I have a husband who always thinks he is right. I have worked kids and so does he but anything my kids does wrong he’s on them like crazy his kids can do the same thing or worse and nothing is said. our biggest fights are money and what my kids need to do better. he curses me in front of them when he blows up and gets mad and last night my daughter was in pain and answered him a little snotty and he cursed her. he has apologized but tension is still in the air. I don’t know what to do I’m torn

  • Tonya July 16, 2016, 9:26 am

    I have been with my husband for almost 18 years and we have three boys together. When I found out I was pregnant with the first one we had only been together for four months and I was two months along and didn’t know what he was like. When we found out for sure that I was pregnant he told me that I would stay at home instead of working until the child was school age and then before that time came I was pregnant with the second one. They are only 23 months apart and then 3 years later we had the third. Now after so many years of telling me how bad of a mother I would be if I worked outside of the home he will turn around and lie and say that he never said that. He will tell me I can get a job if I want to and then when I tell him that I applied for certain jobs he will try to make me feel guilty for trying. Since I have epilepsy arthritis and fibromyalgia he will use that as an excuse for me to never leave the house or have any friends. If I say that I am sick or in pain he will always try to make it a competition as to who is worse off in that area and claim that he feels worse. He has thrown all of his ex girlfriends in my face to try to make me feel jealous and then run out the door. His idea of conversation is complain about politicians and everyone else in his life and then try to convince me that I am the only one with an attitude. He can holler just to talk but I can’t show the slightest bit of emotion without being questioned about it or even enjoy a t.v. show without him being suspicious if he hears me laughing and then starts immediately questioning me about it. He has gotten very physically abusive at times as well as sexually. I’m pretty sure he drugged me at one time a years or so back and did something to me but their was no way to prove it so I just put it off as a side effect of the medicine that my doctor had me on. He tells me if I don’t like the way he does things then just leave and every time I get close to it he pulls a guilt trip on me and tells me I must like it if I am still here but my only other choice is back on the streets at this point. Part of the reason I stay is because I don’t want to lose my children to him and I don’t want them to hate me if I leave. They refuse to see it for what it is and keep making excuses for him. I have no real friends left because of him. He always makes comments about how he could kill someone and dump the body where nobody would ever find it and I don’t know if that is a warning sign that he is letting me know that he will do that to me or not. I cn’t even talk to family without him spying on the conversation just waiting to jump in and speak for me as if I weren’t able to speak for myself. Most of the time when he and the children are around aside from putting up with the constant noise of them loudly talking I feel completely alone.

  • Barb July 21, 2016, 2:16 pm

    I wonder if a large part of the issues that we experience, is down to a dysfunctional partner expecting perfection from us?

  • CancerJuly August 2, 2016, 1:02 am

    My boyfriend and I both have things that we need to change but when it comes to him he always brings up the negative things about me and does not see the things that he needs to change. he contradicts just about everything that he says but when I bring it up he does not really want to address it or if he does address it in a convo he never does anything about it. we argue a lot and he always says my attitude is bad which sometimes it is but I’m not the only one that has things to change. it started off verbal and just mentally but now we are actually getting physical with one another and the last night was the worst he is actually extremely dominant and it is his way or the highway but after being physical he always threatens to leave the relationship it’s crazy because I really want us to work but I don’t know if I’m making the wrong decision to stay in this relationship….probably so :(

  • Tazz August 6, 2016, 11:26 pm

    Exactly my story, Sad to say been only married a year and 3months. One he first moved in with my things started the very next day. I was always wrong anything I say or do is wrong. It is always me causing the arguments.Also tells me that I need help. Says why does he have to explain more than once. Why is it so hard for me to not get it the first time. He asked questions can’t answer with the honest truth because it’s the wrong answer it’s what he says and even if I agree with him he gets mad. My kids have been out of vacation for 2months things were actually good till last week. We have been arguing says he can’t deal with the zoo at home. I’m doing the best that I can want to get out but I do not know how to let go. He always threatens me to leave to his country but never does. Bullies me. And when it hits me emotionally says that’s why I can never joke with you. I have gained 30lbs since he moved in. Says that’s my fault. Started to dislike myself till 4months ago. Colored my hair back to what i had it to. He exploded was very angry. Just do not understand what can make someone so bitter.

  • The forgiver August 12, 2016, 2:08 pm

    Can relate to this in so many ways, its sad.. Been married for 7 yrs and have a 3 year old daughter.. We were college sweethearts and i should have seen this coming.. Except that i was madly in love.. We were like minded , outspoken, lively with similar goals in life… Things are still the same if hes in a good mood which is very rare nowadays.. Now its so many things thats wring its difficult to understand how our relationship came to this..
    Constant sarcasm, getting mad for the silliest things he wants to control everything even my private conversation with parents friends.. He choreographs it to the word before i call them.. And goes mad when i says things differently… I cannot question him or even have a conversion.. Its always dont talk to me now or no point talking to you, what can u do, or says he will handle it and then complain i am useless… Even things i used to take care before like bills, filling forms, finance he says he will handle it and then says “do u even know how to do this” … Then there r times things get out of control.. Slapping hitting even when my daughter s in my arms name calling… I do the same to him though.. I try to fight back hitting him choking him calling him names… I fight back.. I hate the person i have better.. But i always forgive him as in a day or two he calms down and Says i am the best thing that happened to him and i dont deserve him .. And i feel bad for somehow he convinces me its my fault he gets mad and says i have to change.. Maybe its me
    He says i am irritating sometimes
    I am so confused
    Please help
    Leaving is not an option and i do love him and want to be with him


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