Dealing with someone who is "always right"
November 21, 2012 5:29 AM   Subscribe

I think I've made a huge mistake. I'm newly married - only 3 months, but my husband is showing me facets of his personality that do not sit well with me. He seems to have anger issues. Nothing physical, but I need help making sense of it all, and I can't talk to him without him getting extremely defensive.

He is always right. There is no other option. I mentioned that to him, his response was "I'm always right because I look at issues logically." Which doesn't make sense to me, and it seems that he truly believes that he is always right. No matter what. And lately if I try to express my concern with his quick temper or our lack of decent communication, he immediately gets huffy and defensive. And when I ask him normal everyday questions, his answers are short, sometimes inaudible, and if I ask him to repeat something, he gets huffy and annoyed. He's downright mean. He's impatient. And I had reservations before marriage about his anger management, but he really turned on the charm months before & kept that going until right after the honeymoon. I don't want to be married to someone like this. I can't even bring up to him that I have issues with his anger because he blows up. How to I try to fix this? What trait is he exhibiting? Are there resources out there that provide advice for talking to people like this?
He can act fine in public, but is so quick to lose his temper - riding in a car with him is extremely stressful because of his road rage!
Any insight would be great. I'm really a peaceful person, arguing isn't my thing & I keep backing down. Any help is appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (83 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Get out now. I know it will seem unthinkable to you, but really, get out now. I promise you if you don't it will get worse and worse and quite possibly escalate into violence against you. And please, whatever you do, do not have children with someone who is always right.
posted by Dolley at 5:38 AM on November 21, 2012 [163 favorites]

He is always right. There is no other option. I mentioned that to him, his response was "I'm always right because I look at issues logically."

He's basically saying that you're wrong because you look at issues another way, perhaps emotionally. This is offensive.

I think you have to come to him logically then.

"Would you say that if a half of a partnership has a problem, the partnership itself has a problem?"

Logically, the answer is yes. Tell him you have a problem with his temper and your lack of communication and his unwillingness to compromise. Tell him that you need him to come to marriage counseling with you. If he doesn't want to, go by yourself.

Honestly, he can either be right all the time or he can be married. Which is more important to him?

All the best to you.
posted by inturnaround at 5:41 AM on November 21, 2012 [20 favorites]

Seriously. Don't feel bad about it. Better to get out now while it's still fairly easy to do so. This is not something that gets better on its own.
posted by windykites at 5:47 AM on November 21, 2012 [11 favorites]

So you made a mistake. If he's not willing to work on it with you in therapy, then run, don't walk away.

This will not get better the longer it goes on.

Your spouse should make you feel safe against a cold world. He shouldn't be the source of your fear.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:48 AM on November 21, 2012 [46 favorites]

You're already aware you made a huge mistake, and I want to chime in to agree. I'm sorry, but I'd be shocked if you can take steps to help him fix this. He is who he is. You just need to get out, I think.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:48 AM on November 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

Oof - I'm sorry about this. You may have a long road ahead, especially since he appears to have no interest in changing his behavior at this time.

My first instinct is DTMFA, because it's early still. You can get out relatively unscathed at this point. You probably won't, so here's some other advice:

Don't walk on eggshells. Stand up for yourself. Assert your boundaries, even - especially - when it's difficult. This may include doing things like moving out and living apart until he gets help, if telling him not to yell or telling him to respect your opinions is repeatedly ignored. I would recommend he get therapy, but he almost certainly won't do it.

You might want to read Codependent No More by Melody Beattie to help you learn about boundaries, and some of Patricia Evans's books would likely be helpful.

Don't have kids with this man until you see sustained change. I'm going to say this again: do not have kids with him. If you are currently pregnant, just leave.

Also I would read Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It's not a self help book but it may help you see something.

The longer you stay the harder it will be to leave. You already feel like this is a mistake; I would listen to my gut, were I you.
posted by k8lin at 5:52 AM on November 21, 2012 [8 favorites]

Also, get a therapist for yourself. It may really help you work this out to talk to an impartial party alone about what is going on.
posted by k8lin at 5:55 AM on November 21, 2012 [5 favorites]

What trait is he exhibiting?

I believe the technical term is Petulant, Spoilt, Childish Arsehole.

Are there resources out there that provide advice for talking to people like this?

People who treat their partners this way are not worth talking to.
posted by flabdablet at 5:57 AM on November 21, 2012 [12 favorites]

I was this way with my wife for a long time. I was very frustrated that her objections to things I said and did, did not seem to have basis in logic or reality...that is, she would object to something and I would ask her why, and she couldn't or wouldn't say why, just to say essentially, "I don't know why you're wrong. You're just wrong." (That's how I received it.)

I can tell you now that we got through that when I recognized that she was holding up a mirror to my own self-doubt or that I was projecting that onto her and trying to quash it by silencing her. It wasn't anything she said or did that changed this, however.

I am telling you this because I want you to know it's possible he's not a horrible person, just lost in something. Of course, it doesn't matter if he's a horrible person or not: he's affecting you and your relationship in horrible ways. Horrible is as horrible does. In fact, I was horrible to my wife.

If I may be so bold, I would guess that he's hurting. If he is ever in any place *close* to admitting that, I suggest he reads Robert Glover's "No More Mr. Nice Guy!" This is decidedly *not* a book about "not being nice." It's a book about not being "nice," wherein a person (women do it too but Dr. Glover explains why it's more prevalent in men) who presents as nice is secretly engaging others in a bargain where if he's "nice" and logical and *right* and can demonstrate that he's thinking things through, they won't challenge him.

I wish you the best of luck.
posted by Infinity_8 at 5:59 AM on November 21, 2012 [26 favorites]

Good for you for recognizing the pattern of behavior and looking at ways to deal with it.

Nthing the suggestion of couples counseling and/or individual therapy for yourself.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:00 AM on November 21, 2012

You've only been married three months and he's already treating you like this? Imagine how bad it will be in a couple of years. I notice you don't even say 'it's great, but' or 'I really love him' when discussing it.

I stayed with my husband after some similar things he did at about that time in the marriage. I wish I'd left. The earlier you leave, the easier it is to do.
posted by winna at 6:04 AM on November 21, 2012 [11 favorites]

(Not saying you should continue to put up with horrible treatment, by the way. I'm exceedingly lucky my wife stayed with me. I can't say I deserved it. You have to take care of yourself.)
posted by Infinity_8 at 6:09 AM on November 21, 2012 [5 favorites]

Get out now. I know it will seem unthinkable to you, but really, get out now. I promise you if you don't it will get worse and worse and quite possibly escalate into violence against you. And please, whatever you do, do not have children with someone who is always right.

Quoted for truth. When I married my first wife, I, too, had reservations about her behavior and was going to leave a few months before the wedding, but she made great efforts to be nice and "normal". The next morning after the wedding, she said, and I am totally serious, "thank God we are married because now I don't have to be nice to you anymore. Marriage is forever and you aren't going anywhere, you know that, right?"

A few months later, she went from extremely verbally abusive to physically abusive, and I left her. (Then she tried the thing where she was super nice again to win me back, but I stayed strong and started imaging being with other women, and it helped me get through that part until she gave up.)

It was waaaaaaaaaaaay easier to leave than you think, so do it NOW.
posted by TinWhistle at 6:10 AM on November 21, 2012 [36 favorites]

Couples counseling can be tricky in situations like this, just to warn you. This [pdf] is a good page that outlines why couples counseling might not work in your particular situation.
posted by k8lin at 6:10 AM on November 21, 2012 [20 favorites]

You need to find an advocate, or two or three or twelve. You need to make sure that YOU have someone who will listen to you and keep you grounded in the real world, because your husband will try to convince you (as it sounds like he's already doing) that his way is the normal way.

That is the most insidious way that a bad relationship gets its hooks into you. You don't realize how awful things can get until one day you're having a conversation and toss out some laughable thing that your husband said last week, and you're three subjects into something else before you notice the horrified expression on your friend's face.

I've been there, OP. In my case, it took me two years into the marriage to figure it out, but I still kept trying for another two. You are not a bad person; you are not stupid. On the contrary: recognizing these behaviors and having the courage to speak out about your fears, even anonymously to this forum, is a very brave and strong thing to do.

Remember that we can only work with the best information we have at any given time. Sometimes that info is masked or skewed. In any case, you are in a position to get on track and move forward with more knowledge of your life and needs, and that will make your future successes that much more meaningful.

If I can be of any assistance, please don't hesitate to MeMail me.
posted by Madamina at 6:15 AM on November 21, 2012 [26 favorites]

Er, what would it take for you to get out? I mean, this behavior is clearly not enough to move you to get out or you would have already. But identify, for yourself, exactly the behaviors that would be cause for you to leave. Not nebulous ones like "stonewalling." Concrete ones, like "Husband shames me in public," or "Husband hit me," or "Husband threatened to hit me." Write them down and keep them in a safe place. If you have someone with whom you can share them safely, do so, because you may need that support later.

Now, live your life the way you want to live it. Ask questions, offer suggestions, be your normal self. If he gets snitty, confront him, because you want a resolution. Are you walking on eggshells because you are afraid that he is going to hit you if you speak up, or scream at you or withhold care? Stop walking on eggshells and speak up, because he is not going to show his true colors if you don't. You can't meet him on honest even turf if you won't engage.

I think you may know in your heart (based on how you phrased your question) that yes, you are afraid that if you behave like your normal self around him for long enough, he will explode and hurt you. But knowing that is not enough for you to make a move. Don't live your life in fear of him. Be yourself and force him to act like himself. No pleading, no bargaining.

Every day, go back to your list and ask yourself, "Did he do one of these things today?" If the answer is yes, you will know it is time. Gather your strength.

(P.S. Don't worry about disappointing your parents, even if they paid for your wedding. They would pay for it again if it meant you were safe. Don't worry about embarrassing yourself re: your recent wedding guests, because again, not one of them would want you to be trapped in an unsafe relationship. Not a one.)
posted by juniperesque at 6:16 AM on November 21, 2012 [32 favorites]

Two months into my first marriage, I felt exactly the way you described. I filed for divorce at month 15 after it got worse. I have never felt like I ended my marriage too early...I always feel like I ended it too late.
posted by bigwoopdeedoo at 6:17 AM on November 21, 2012 [16 favorites]

You've been given a gift, that you can see things this clearly. Don't have kids with this man.
posted by BibiRose at 6:20 AM on November 21, 2012 [35 favorites]

Oh, honey. I am so sorry. You need to get out IMMEDIATELY. Counseling is great, counseling is awesome... but counseling cannot change someone's fundamental personality - only THEY can change it, and only if they WANT to change it... and why would someone who's "always right" want to change?

I know you're probably worried about how such a short-lived marriage may appear to friends/family/coworkers, and if you'll be able to live with yourself for "giving up so easily", and other things - and I'm telling you now, banish such thoughts from your mind. The only things you need to be thinking of are these: 1. Would someone who really, truly loved me - my mom, or my friend, or my sibling - want to see me treated this way? Would I treat someone I myself really loved this way? 2. How would I feel if I wound up twenty years older, still with the exact same dude? 3. Would it be easier to get out now, or when more fully-entwined in one another's lives?
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:22 AM on November 21, 2012 [8 favorites]

Initially when I read your question I thought it could be that he's not adjusting well to marriage and maybe this is how it's manifesting itself. But then I read that he's had anger issues in the past, which makes it sound like (and it sounds like you suspect) he was just showing some temporary good behavior before the wedding.

Really it could be either, or something else entirely. He's put you in an unfair situation: creating a problem and taking zero responsibility for fixing it. You don't give much background about how the relationship was before you were married; if this is really uncharacteristic for him I would try therapy. If it doesn't work or he won't go, then you have your answer. If, on the other hand, this is more of the same? Get out. Get out before inertia takes over and your concept of "normal" gets warped.

If it helps, I speak from experience. Ending a marriage is awful but it's better than this. In my case my ex wasn't like this before we were married but he refused to acknowledge there was a problem or to do anything about it. He didn't even care that I, his wife, was deeply unhappy. Leaving was hard - my family disapproves of divorce and I had moved away from my friends to be with my ex - but my life is so much better now that I have no regrets.
posted by AV at 6:24 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

When you realize you're in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. Put down the shovel by insisting on couples' counseling, by going by yourself, or by moving out for a trial or permanent separation. Anecdatally, though, I've never experienced a relationship with someone who was "always right because of logic" to end well.

He has to recognize the problem and want to take steps to fix it. You can't do it for him; the only way you can "fix" this if you stay in it is to walk on eggshells or have constant fights. Neither of those will work.
posted by rtha at 6:28 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also n-thing everyone who's said that a relationship like this can gets its hooks in you and completely warp your definition of "normal", making it even harder to leave. A friend of mine recently got out of an abusive marriage, and I vividly remember one long conversation with her where I kept repeating, "Aw, NO, honey, that is NOT NORMAL!... and THAT'S not normal! That's not healthy or normal AT ALL!"

When someone abuses you, they're grinding you into the ground. When you are aware of the abuse and stay, you're standing next to them, dabbing the sweat off of their brow as they do it.
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:29 AM on November 21, 2012 [7 favorites]

Do not make this man anyone's father unless he changes.
posted by availablelight at 6:31 AM on November 21, 2012 [10 favorites]

Generally people who can't admit to error are terrible human beings. Compound that with anger issues and you have a very volatile mixture. By "volatile," of course I mean "potentially explosive" and "hazardous to your long-term health."
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:31 AM on November 21, 2012 [12 favorites]

You can also get out and not end things just yet. I mean you can physically leave the house but still work on things through a counselor.

Obviously, if you leave and instead of worrying he gets furious and doesn't see your side of the story, then time to cut your loses and leave for good.

Under no circumstances should you stay with this man if the situation hasn't changed. This is the kind of issue that gets a million times worse with time. You need to promise yourself that if he doesn't work on this (with a professional and fully accepting his responsibility on the issue) then you MUST leave for good. No other choice.

This isn't something I would usually recommend, but consider informing him of your decision by letter or email, or at least with company if you want to do it in person. Sounds like a confrontation on your own could get ugly. Don't let him guilt-trip you either!Not tolerating this marriage is something any healthy self-loving adult would do.
posted by Tarumba at 6:33 AM on November 21, 2012 [7 favorites]

And I had reservations before marriage about his anger management, but he really turned on the charm months before & kept that going until right after the honeymoon.

Be aware, too: he'll do this again, or he'll do other things to convince you he's willing to change. My husband could be absolutely stunning with his insights about why he was acting like that, which would make me think he should be able to change without too much trouble. Plus, he was really in love with me in an infatuated sense, and I with him. So it was easy to see small markers of progress as being more positive than they were. I had lost all sense that the baseline was him doing badly. See people who have commented above about getting your sense of what's normal warped. Although coming from the family I did, "normal" was exactly the way my husband was acting, complete with protestations of, "I've been doing better, haven't I?" Looking back, I can't believe I listened to that, from either my father or my husband. You don't do "better" with stuff like that, you stop it.
posted by BibiRose at 6:33 AM on November 21, 2012 [34 favorites]

I am not a big fan of divorce but I am a fan of separation when necessary.

If you talk to him about this, make it in a public place and make sure you have a friend in the vicinity who can give you a ride whereever you want to go afterwards.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:38 AM on November 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

A relative of mine has always behaved in the way you describe. It's an extremely hurtful way to treat other people and is a completely bizarre way for an adult to act: he basically throws temper tantrums frequently, when he doesn't get his way for example, and when he's having a bad day he takes it out on everyone around him by being brusque and mean. He will sometimes react to another person trying to help him or do a favor for him as though they've done something outrageous or offensive.

For some reason he is more disciplined about or suppresses these mannerisms more when he's in public, at work, or even with extended family, and seems to reserve his nastiest side for the people he's closest to. If your husband is similar, it makes sense to me that as he became more relaxed in the relationship and comfortable after the marriage his behavior got worse.

I also think that it's entirely forgivable for you to have made this "mistake" - this sort of behavior is so strange, so beyond how you would expect a reasonable person to treat another if you haven't experienced it before—much less how you would expect a person to treat their loved ones—that I can easily imagine you dismissing it as some sort of aberration or temporary thing if you got a glimpse of it on any occasions before the marriage.

I'm not a mental health professional of any sort but I have found it very interesting to read about the anger issues exhibited by people with OCPD since my relative shares some of the other OCPD behaviors. Not that that's an excuse for any adult to act this way. It's not some sort of cognitive impairment that prevents them from understanding how their tendencies and behaviors affect others or prevents them from looking at things from another's point of view.

One other note: I have observed that my relative (and several other people I've known with anger management issues) seems to have developed a de facto habit of manipulating others with his temper. People basically become hypersensitive to his mood when they're around him and learn to anticipate what situations he'll become angry in. And because he's become accustomed to this he just lets it happen as it's usually the easiest method of getting his way; rather than ever having to ask for help or express his preferences (ever having to say "please", because it's not personal - what he wants is just the most logical thing, right?) he simply acts angry until other people comply or attend to his needs. So, don't fall into that trap.

(And I agree with everyone else saying to walk away rather than try to change him or help him work through his issues, because it will be a painful and thankless job if you even get anywhere in decades of effort.)
posted by XMLicious at 6:38 AM on November 21, 2012 [21 favorites]

How to I try to fix this?

You can't fix other people. You can change your side of the dynamic; you can make yourself small, you can get just as angry and blow up right back at him, you can walk away and physically leave the location (or refuse to enter a location you are trapped in like the car) when he is angry or you have a reason to believe the situation will make him angry.

I can't even bring up to him that I have issues with his anger because he blows up.

Try having this conversation in a public place like a restaurant. Get a commitment that he will get counselling towards solving his problem; let him know this is a deal-breaker. If he is able to control his anger with other people, not tailgating a police car or screaming at shop clerks though I would say this is behaviour he could control with you but chooses not to.

I saw a similiar situation with a man I know. His rage was unending and very, very scary and although he was completely controlled by his emotions he kept insisting he was the rational and logical person in our relationship. In his case, he was suffering from undiagnosed diabetes and by the time he was hospitaised he was just days away from slipping into a diabetic coma. That he was ill does not excuse his behaviour, however, I think my he should have been much more assertive in seeking medical help and believed his wife when she kept telling him his behaviour was not normal.

Walk at any time you feel unsafe, including now. You married for a partner, not a project.
posted by saucysault at 6:42 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

My first response was going to be move out and tell him that counselling for him, and couples counselling for the two of you is a non-negotiable pre-requisite for you to consider continuing the marriage. I still think that's useful advice.


As others have pointed out, the first question to ask is what's at the core of your relationship with each other? Is there a good partnership, friendship, support for your goals, and above all, happiness there that's being obscured by his unacceptable behaviour?

My instinct would be to make sure I gave it my best shot, but only if you can answer yes to that question. If that foundation of love and trust and happiness was never there to begin with...if the only time he's been a good partner for you was when he was actively wooing you...then there's nothing that's worth salvaging for you. Get out as soon as you can. Nthing what others have said that you should leave before you start to think that the way he treats you is normal in any way. It's not. Don't waste precious time if you don't see anything worth saving. Best of luck. I know it's scary.
posted by dry white toast at 6:48 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also, spend lots of time around nice people so that you don't start thinking his mean treatment is normal/ funny/ acceptable. It's not.
posted by windykites at 7:00 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Get a commitment that he will get counselling towards solving his problem; let him know this is a deal-breaker.

That's not going to work, either. Very easy for him to give lip service to getting counseling; either he tries it and decides it doesn't work, or he doesn't even bother going. I'd suggest telling him that you will be at xyz therapist at date/time. If he shows up, he gets to participate and possibly save the marriage. If he doesn't, you have your own therapy to help you be more assertive.

And "I'm really a peaceful person, arguing isn't my thing..." is a non sequitur. “Peace means something different from ‘not fighting’. .... Peace is an active and complex thing and sometimes fighting is part of what it takes to get it.” (source) Your constantly allowing him to act this way doesn't help him, you, or the marriage.

I'm sorry for what you're going through and I wish you strength.
posted by disconnect at 7:03 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

A marriage is like an IKEA kitchen.

Bear with me.

You fall in love with the showroom display. You put down your money and you get it home and there it is. Completely disassembled. Except that you didn't get the instruction manual, though you kind of have an idea of how it should go because you've put together a BILLY or two in your time. Anyway, it's a thousand pieces of particle board and dowels and allen key screws and fasteners. You know what it is supposed to look like, because you can see it there in your mind where you have visions of baking cookies, but you're not quite sure how to put it all together. The good news is you have help: your partner. The person you've chosen to build your kitchen life with.

Except that you don't. Your partner isn't helping. In fact, they're trying to make things fit together wrong. Using the wrong parts. Banging with a hammer when things don't fit. Being mad with you because you are just as confused. No one has the instructions, but it's your fault that things aren't working perfectly, yes? And everything looks like shit. And you can't bake cookies.

Look, it's not about whether you build a perfect kitchen. It's about how you build the kitchen, despite the fact that you don't have the instructions.

Do you work together? Do you smile over the mistakes, figuring things out along the way, making the best of it? Do you experiment with new approaches, use new tools, collaborate and co-operate?

No? There is anger? There is blaming? There is defensiveness? There is rage? No co-operation, no collaboration? No shared joy in resolving problems as a team, each contributing his or her best while accepting the frailties and mistakes of the other in good humour?

Then you shouldn't be trying to build a kitchen life with this person.

Life is indeed a "some assembly required" project, but your partner absolutely should not be one of the things that also needs assembly. It's okay, and in fact very healthy, to insist and demand that your one life be shared with someone who is not angry, mean and fucked up and will instead cheerfully work together with you on solving problems together.

You don't need to find Mr./Ms. Perfect, but you do need to find Mr./Ms. Doesn't Treat You Like Shit. Read what the people above are saying about "it only gets worse" then cut your losses, and move on.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:05 AM on November 21, 2012 [149 favorites]

Trust your gut and get out. Look into the state laws where you are from. It may be soon enough for an annulment which is much easier than a divorce.
posted by Jandoe at 7:15 AM on November 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

Whether or not this would get you an annulment under any law or ecclesiastical system of authority (I doubt that it would, but what do I know)...

I think you were "fraudulently induced into entering the marriage". Your husband purposely concealed his true attitude and masked it with a more prosocial one until you got married, whereupon he immediately dropped the mask and let you know what his attitude really is. You wouldn't have married him if you'd known that his real attitude was represented by his worst behaviour, and his best behaviour was literally faked for the sole purpose of inducing you to enter into a marriage that you would have refused if you'd known the truth.

This guy is abusive, I don't think you even need me to tell you that.

I was kind of worried about saying anything like this, because if I'm wrong and I induce you to sin by dissolving your marriage, I'm culpable. If that comes across as old-fashioned, that's not what I mean.

Because the flip side of this is that your husband has pulled out of his pocket the unreasonable demand that you submit to his intolerable behaviour when he could also choose to behave like a human being. If I demand that you jump through hoops of unsuitable couples counselling and do all kinds of other things to make this work at high risk that everything you do will only subjugate you further, then I'm participating in your abuse. That makes me guilty too, if I do that.

I personally would say don't mug yourself. Divorces take time to go through, and if he wants to stay married, he can darn well learn to stop sinning.

p.s. I don't assume you are religious, but belief in the sacredness of marriage would be the strictest possible reason for staying in one, don't you think so?
posted by tel3path at 7:15 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think you need to start plotting to get out before you do it. People w/rage issues are unpredictable.
posted by discopolo at 7:17 AM on November 21, 2012 [8 favorites]

No matter what you decide to do, find a friend or someone you can trust, and tell them about your situation. Tell them that you are going to talk to them from time to time, and want them to tell you if your situation is bad or not. Ask them to be completely honest with you when you ask for their opinion, regardless of whether they think it will hurt you or not.

The reason you want to do this is that many people who are stuck in abusive relationships don't really realize how bad it is. They get used to a certain level of abuse and control from their partners, and slowly that becomes "normal". What you want is someone who you trust who can tell you straight to your face that you are in an abusive relationship.

Once you have this person (or people) ready to help you see things clearly, than you can proceed in any number of ways. This way, if you do try to patch things up with your husband, you know there is someone to make sure you don't slowly sink into an abusive relationship.

That being said, if he shows even for one second that he is capable of physically hitting you, you need to run run run run run! People who can be abusive will react extremely violently when their partner leaves, to the point where you could be seriously hurt or even killed just for telling him you are leaving.

Anger issues like these do not resolve themselves. No matter what, if you are intent on saving the relationship, he will need some sort of counseling. If he is unwilling to do that, he is unwilling to make the relationship work. It's that simple.
posted by markblasco at 7:29 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

get out, because this is how someone behaves when they are grooming you to become a (very soon) future victim of their emotional and physical abuse.

gather your resources, friends and family, plan ahead where you will go, contact a lawyer to talk about annulment or divorce, and move out when he's not there. consider not even telling him where you are going. you can tell him to contact you through a friend, or through the lawyer. if he's always right about little things, and he wants the marriage to continue, he'll think he is always right about that too - and he'll be upset - and it could really escalate. good luck to you.
posted by zdravo at 7:39 AM on November 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

"I'm always right because..." anything isn't a good relationship; it's a dictatorship. And frankly your situation doesn't even sound like a benevelolent dictatorship.

Everyone is telling you to bail. Once you accept that as a viable and appropriate option, I think that puts you in a position of strength to say "I will not live with someone who has the issues you have. Go to anger management or I'm moving out." Be prepared to flee at that exact moment if he becomes enraged - I suspect he'll be really bad at someone else setting a rule. I hope I'm wrong.

You need to let someone in your real life know what's going on. I would suggest that in addition to confiding in a friend, you get some individual therapy.

Please also be very careful with your birth control and under no circumstances get pregnant with this man. Pregnancy and babies are horrendous stressors.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:48 AM on November 21, 2012 [5 favorites]

If he was able to keep his anger and general shit behavior in check before the wedding, but not now, he is not someone with an anger management problem. He's an asshole, and he's acting this way by choice, now that he's gotten what he wanted.
posted by The Prawn Reproach at 7:52 AM on November 21, 2012 [27 favorites]

Here's a compelling reason to DTMFA - what if you want children eventually? Do you want to have children with this man? Do you want to give your future children a rageaholic, controlling father? Do you want your future children to walk on eggshells? (Go back and look through all the AskMe's of people dealing with asshole dads and see what they went through.)

You can choose your spouse, you can divorce your spouse, but your children, at least while they are minors, cannot divorce their father. When you have children with someone, you are giving those children a (mostly) irrevocable commitment to have that person in their lives at least on some level. I think that parents have a responsibility to their kids to not lumber them with an abuser, because kids cannot give consent.

Divorce is hard, admitting that you made a mistake is hard, but it's so much harder to raise children in an abusive home. If you want kids eventually, then do your future kids and you a favor, DTMFA, and have those kids with someone who is better dad material.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:09 AM on November 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

Honestly, in a sense you're lucky - you're only 3 months into this marriage. You can get out now and it will only be a short blip on your life.

If he seemed willing to admit there was something wrong, I would say it would be worth it to try counselling. But if he's this adamant that he's always right, just throw in the towel now.

Good luck.
posted by barnoley at 8:23 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Are there resources out there that provide advice for talking to people like this?

There is a book I recommend a lot called Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft. It is about being in a relationship with someone who is often angry, or controlling, or verbally or physically abusive.

The summary of the book is that people who act like this are in total control of their behavior, and are acting very deliberately and with skill. (Which I think you see in your relationship when your husband has no problems being nice in public and nicer before the wedding)

They act deliberately and with skill in order to create the situation that they want, which is basically that they always get their way, that they never have to do anything they don't want to do, that they can never be contradicted or questioned, that you always have to do what they want you to do, etc. In order to achieve this, they train you to be afraid of them and what they might do. They don't just train you to be afraid that they will physically harm you -- they train you to be afraid that they will lash out in an angry scene, cause a fight, create a tense environment in the home that will linger for days, and so on.

Be careful about suggesting therapy. The book I mentioned also discusses the fact that a lot of people like this love to go to therapy (conventional therapy, not programs specifically targeted to abusers). They love to go to therapy because it gives them excuses/justifications for their bad behavior/abuse (using a bad childhood as an excuse, for example), because having a status as being "sick" can elicit more sympathy/willingness to stick around/guilt from their partner, and because they learn "therapy-speak" that they use to gaslight their partner and "diagnose" what's wrong with her. If you want to stick it out and insist that he get help, the book recommends that the person displaying these behaviors join a program specifically targeted to abusers. The book also recommends against couples counseling.

If you would like to read the book but don't think you can get access to it, I have a copy that I can send you, just email or MeMail me.
posted by cairdeas at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2012 [22 favorites]

I'm tempted to say that the "logical" solution is to get out, but the "emotional" solution may not be. I'd go with logical here.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:32 AM on November 21, 2012

You absolutely can't fix it. This sounds pretty miserable to be around. You deserve better. Don't deny yourself a better life. The longer you stay in a bad situation, the more time you'll lose/waste and the harder it will be (financially, emotionally, etc.) to extract yourself.
posted by Dansaman at 8:32 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

his response was "I'm always right because I look at issues logically."

Juat want to say one more thing. I grew up in a religious community of people who truly believed (and prided themselves on the fact) that they believed what they did because they were looking at things very logically. When I started growing up, I started noticing contradictions and errors and pointing them out. That was when I started getting rage unleashed on me, when things got physical, when these men would poke me, push me, grab things out of my hands, etc.

When people think of themselves as super logical, you would think they would enjoy and appreciate getting out-logic'ed. But I have found all my life that usually, all it does is make the person despise you. So I would say even if you manage to turn into the logic robot that this guy supposedly wants, my money is that he would be even more rageful, not less.
posted by cairdeas at 8:37 AM on November 21, 2012 [17 favorites]

You know what, I'm going to ammend my earlier response.

Line up resources, get out, and *then* talk to him about how he and the relationship would need to change for you to come back - possibly including couples counseling. This puts you in a better negotiating position for changes that need to happen, and if he's going to lose his shit about this and become a ragemonster, you're already out when it happens so you bypass the part where he does that while you're together. This seems safer both emotionally and physically.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:39 AM on November 21, 2012 [8 favorites]

Please please please take what everyone here is saying seriously. This is no way to live, and certainly not anything that you can or should "deal with". His behaviour is unreasonable, hurtful, damaging, and disfunctional. You are not going to be able to change him. He is not a person you should be striving to make your life with. He is not someone you should be starting a family with. It is not a life you deserve. And believe people when they tell you that the longer you live in a situation like this, the more your idea of what is normal and acceptable warps and distorts. You will pool so much effort and emotion in to trying to fix it, and you will concede and rationalize so much of his behaviour to try to save the relationship, but it won't work because he isn't doing anything to help. He won't even allow acknowledgement that there is a problem. A relationship cannot be saved unless both people are on board.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:47 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Get out now. Annulment, divorce, whatever you can get, get this douche out of your life. The longer you wait, the harder it'll be.

Lawyer up immediately.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:50 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

DO NOT get pregnant. If you get pregnant DO NOT tell him until you decide, absent his influence, what you want to do about it.

DO NOT let on that you are looking to divorce.

GET A LAWYER who is experienced in situations of domestic abuse. A referral from an abuse hotline might be in order, even though you don't consider yourself abused, the dynamics will be similar and the attorney needs to understand that.


Lawyer lawyer lawyer lawyer.

If you want to reconcile you can do so after you divorce him. I can almost guarantee that watching his reaction to the divorce process will tell you everything you need to know about him and that you will not want to reconcile.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:59 AM on November 21, 2012 [12 favorites]

I am a strong believer in the sanctity of marriage, and in respecting the permanence of a marriage, and in working hard to save a marriage. But this man did not marry you, he TRICKED you. He does not have a problem managing his anger -- he did it just fine when there was something he wanted. He just doesn't think he has to manage it any more, because he thinks you're stuck.

I don't want to be married to someone like this.

Then don't be. Call a lawyer, pack a suitcase, and leave. Nobody who matters will be disappointed in you. It seems so hard, but it isn't; just get your things and leave.

It's possible that this will shake him up enough that he will have a genuine change of heart and want to follow it up with a change of personality. It is not LIKELY, not at all, but it is possible. However, it's a lot more possible that he will want to fake such a thing in order to trick you into coming back. So if you decide that you want to make a space for him to have a change of heart, be sure that it comes with specific, enforceable conditions, like "We will live apart for six months while we pursue individual and joint counseling with someone who specializes in anger and control issues" or what have you.

I've known a lot of people whose partners said "I will do anything to get you back," but when they said "OK, I need you to take XYZ steps to actually fix your problems," the only answer they got was rage. If you're afraid of getting that answer from him, well, that's probably illuminating right there.

But above all: call a lawyer. do it today. If you don't know how to choose a lawyer, consider calling a women's advocacy group and asking their advice. You don't have to say "I want to divorce my husband;" you can say "I am newly married and my husband is showing a side of himself that would have prevented me from marrying him if I'd known about it, what should I do?" You can ask for help from a position of uncertainty. You don't have to figure it out on your own, that's what the help is for.

Keep us posted. I'm worried for you.
posted by KathrynT at 9:16 AM on November 21, 2012 [19 favorites]

You really need to read "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft, as cairdeas recommended.

And you really want to use the wording that KathrynT recommends and yes, lawyer, today this minute, don't wait.

I'm sitting here worrying about you.
posted by tel3path at 9:24 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

IANA shrink, just speaking from personal experience, but the statement about always being right because he's logical makes me wonder if he has some Asperger's going on. The anger and communication problems are pretty representative of that condition. And someone who is high-functioning AS can seem normal and even charming if they're armed with a lot of social coping strategies, but then be pretty messed up in private when they're "off-script."

If that's the case, therapy could help. But he would have to be willing to submit to psychiatric examination, and people with that kind of rigidly "logical" thinking can be totally resistant to the idea, so I would definitely be prepared to leave the marriage if that's the case, because it is totally not worth suffering this for years -- and your relationship would likely disintegrate eventually anyway.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:24 AM on November 21, 2012

And I had reservations before marriage about his anger management

This makes me curious about how long you dated before you got married. And, how long after the honeymoon did this start. Was there anything else going on in your lives that could be a possible source of stress for him now, considering you knew him long enough before marriage? Other than this block in communication and his anger issues, how was the relationship before and after marriage. Has anything else changed this drastically and suddenly?

I wish Infinity_8 had mentioned how (external help) they got through this phase. I am surprised by other answers, and I am not saying they are wrong. The thing about right and wrong, and your husband should know this, is that there is no one right way sometimes, there are many right ways and answers. An intelligent person as your husband should be able to appreciate that. My personal recommendation is that you talk about this with trusted friends and family members, perhaps citing specific examples, and even with a counselor (LMFT therapist) and assess your situation before making decisions.

As a reader on the internet, I can read that he has anger issues and he is "downright mean". Without examples, there is no preponderance of evidence to suggest that this is enough reason for me, or anyone else for that matter, to recommend DTMFA. And this is the reason why I find the answers surprising for this post. The info in your post really has zero evidence to suggest a route either way. And its hard to know which personality traits have always been there and which are new, which directly affect you and which may be some where you both need to calibrate your responses for the other person- remember you have only been married for 3 months, and that accompanying stress (or leftover stress from the wedding etc) may still be affecting your husband. Regarding road rage and anger issues- here is an example- I have noticed that my (new-ish) b/f has reeeally low patience while driving but very high patience with me. So what do I do? He is under surveillance on this point for now. I haven't dismissed it completely. Nor have I ignored the fact that its usually only on the road and in particular after work that he is especially impatient. Does he get mad and stay mad? Yes and no, respectively. Road rage is not something that runs in my family (we prefer pouting) so I am not accustomed to it but I cannot dictate how he should respond on the road either. There is no clear cut answer here. I don't think that because he has road rage, he will be physically harmful to me. And, if I ever feel that way (not feeling safe with someone that close)- the moment that fear permeates my instincts- I assure you that I will bail immediately. I will not wait to be hit to learn that the situation is bad, with a capital B. I do agree with other posters that bringing a child at this juncture, when you haven't really adjusted in your relationship well, is not a good idea.

That being said, I would definitely recommend that you make it clear to your husband (when he is calmer) that you will not put up with his angry behaviour. Leave the room, the house, and stay elsewhere for the night if need be but you have to set a boundary here that that behaviour is not going to be tolerated. I sense that if you avoid conflicts setting a boundary may be harder for you. You need to learn that fast and apply that quickly before a pattern sets in stone. Its almost like training a person like a dog. If your relationship otherwise is good, and you talk about your relationship issues, I'd make sure to mention then that this aspect is an extremely important (10/10) and high priority (10/10) issue for you.

How to I try to fix this?

Don't look at it as *fixing*. You can't fix a person or a relationship. You can work to make things better- and in a relationship its takes two people to do that. In summary, here are some suggestions considering the limited nature and scope of the situation posted:

* Talk to a trusted friend, family member and a LMFT therapist regarding this situation. Fill them on details left out here- what was different before, how the relationship is otherwise etc.

* Do not get pregnant for 2-3 years before you know him better, and if you decide to stay of course.

* Learn to set boundaries. This would be my top priority- more important than helping him (or yourself) find resources for anger management.

* Make sure your boundaries are never violated.

* Figure out the difference between a bad phase in marriage and a bad phase that is escalating to abuse. This will help you in any future relationships, should you decide to leave this one.

* Keep your finances secure and to yourself.

* If you ever feel physically threatened- ever- all that is written above goes right in the dumpster. Re-strategise- your top priority is your physical safety. Get your finances, therapist, lawyer and trusted advisor in order and decide what you want to do.
posted by xm at 9:25 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Without examples, there is no preponderance of evidence to suggest that this is enough reason for me, or anyone else for that matter, to recommend DTMFA.

Sure there is. She said "I don't want to be married to someone like this." That is enough reason, right there. She doesn't have to prove to us or to anyone that he's mean ENOUGH or angry ENOUGH or scary ENOUGH to justify her leaving; she doesn't want to be married to someone like this, and she doesn't have to be.
posted by KathrynT at 9:30 AM on November 21, 2012 [39 favorites]

Imagine how terrible it would be to be this man's son or daughter.

Don't make a child go through that. Get out. Find someone who wants to be a good father and a good husband, not an angry tyrant.

And be alert to the possibility of his sabotaging your birth control.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:36 AM on November 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

Frankly, you can set all the boundaries you want--there is no way to make sure that your boundaries will be respected. Especially not by someone who thinks that they are always right.

Look, you don't have to leave him if you don't want to. You do, however, need to know exactly how to leave him in the way that is most beneficial for you, legally and emotionally. You need that support. You need to keep your options open no matter what.

Trust me on this. The second they switch from normal guy to angry and defensive and completely impervious to communication--that is the time to make firm and concrete plans and have an exit strategy sitting there waiting to go. You don't want to be doing it when you have a small child. You don't want to wait to do it until after he's wrecked your finances. You don't want to wait until he's made it difficult for you to have friends or go out.

You want to start walking when the light at the end of the tunnel is burning bright and strong, if you can.

Good luck. We're all rooting for you.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:40 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Please don't concern yourself with what his diagnosis might be. If he knows he's right, he won't want psychiatric intervention anyway.

I should add that if he had Asperger's he wouldn't be able to switch his behaviour off and on according to what he could get away with and how it would make him look.
posted by tel3path at 9:47 AM on November 21, 2012 [5 favorites]

Just following up on my previous comment, you may want to check out this post by someone with a husband with ADHD who has severe anger issues -- this husband sounds a lot like what you're describing in your spouse.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:47 AM on November 21, 2012

Everyone else has said it much better than I ever will. But from someone who has gone through a similar situation, TRUST YOUR GUT and get out sooner rather than later. And let your lawyer (yes, get one) do the talking. You can always reconcile later, if you want, but chances are really good that you won't want to.

As others have said, confide in a couple of friends/family, and make plans to get out, and do it quickly, without him there. If you need to do it alone, you can sometimes hire an off-duty police officer to accompany you while you get your things.

He doesn't need you to explain to him that you're leaving - he'll figure it out pretty quickly. And if he's having problems with anger when you're around, you definitely don't want to be around when he figures it out. Then be prepared for him to put on the charm again to beg for you to come back. It's SO hard to hear (I hated feeling like "the bad guy" because he sounded like he was hurting). I eventually stopped taking his calls. He eventually stopped trying.

I'm MUCH happier now than I ever would've been in that relationship, and was surprised to discover how much my friends and family supported me, when I was scared of disappointing them by leaving "so soon." They just wanted the best for me, no matter what.

Us MeFites feel the same way for you. We're here for support and are thinking of you. Please take care of yourself!
posted by evolvinglines at 9:53 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Boundaries with someone who is "always right" do not work.

Take it from someone who grew up with parents who were "always right" and "logically" explained that rage was absolutely justified and I had no right to ask them to treat me with respect. Why, asking them for respect was disrespectful, and thus justified rage! Cue rage!

I also had a long-term ex who did the same thing. Started out sweet. Could be very reasonable and fun when in public and with others. No rage issues with anyone else. Oddly just me. He made it out to be my fault, naturally, and since I'd been raised that way... this is one reason so many of us are also suggesting to think about any future children. It's torture to be raised by a parent like this, and not a torture that ends once you no longer live with them.

This is abuse. You're very clear that his issue with right and wrong is absolute. Listen to your heart and get out now. Contact a lawyer, definitely, and don't tell your husband until you've got a plan with the help of your lawyer. It is early on, so he may not react too badly, but that is a chance you do not need to take.

Medical diagnoses do not matter if he is not being treated for them, not genuinely seeking treatment, and unwilling to recognize that he has a problem to be treated. He is clearly able to control his behavior, as you've pointed out: he was calm and sweet for a long time, until he decided it no longer suited him. This is the blazing red flag so many of us are picking up on.
posted by fraula at 9:54 AM on November 21, 2012 [23 favorites]

xm: And, if I ever feel that way (not feeling safe with someone that close)- the moment that fear permeates my instincts- I assure you that I will bail immediately. I will not wait to be hit to learn that the situation is bad, with a capital B.

But as KathrynT points out, being hit or other physical abuse is far from the only reason to end a relationship. The OP explains that the husband's behavior is mean and unpleasant, that this has been conveyed to him, and that he is unwilling to even begin to address it.

Not wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone who is mean and petty and doesn't want to recognize or deal with that is an entirely adequate reason to end the marriage. The way you ask for examples of how in particular he's being mean makes it sound as though you want to judge whether he's "really" being mean or not; but the OP can decide that for themselves. It certainly sounds to me like he's being mean but even if he's simply making the OP feel somehow mistreated he ought to be able to talk about it with his own spouse.
posted by XMLicious at 9:58 AM on November 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

It is a complete rabbit hole to wonder what his "diagnosis" might be when he exhibits classically abusive behaviour and explicitly deceived the OP. I would add that people with AS don't have much use of deception, but details like that are irrelevant. It's always more sinister when someone switches their bad behaviour on and off at will according to what they can get away with, and then show no remorse whatsoever for behaving badly.

I would urge the OP not to get distracted by trying to diagnose someone who clearly doesn't want that kind of help in the first place.
posted by tel3path at 10:02 AM on November 21, 2012 [7 favorites]

You need to get away from him now - at the very least to allow yourself a chance to think. Living with someone like this can do a real number on your head - it's a lot like being swarmed by bees. Trying to address his anger head on is not going to work. Trying to talk rationally to him about it is not going to work. Trying to make peace with him will also not work, it will just cement your confused mindset and drag you further into the maelstrom.

Whatever his issue is, ADHD, Aspergers, brain tumor, congenital assholitis, it's his issue to fix, not yours, and staying with him now will only destroy you. His 'logic' is utterly illogical and I think you already know that. Trying to accommodate his frame of reference will make you crazy and confused and it will (to him) further justify his ridiculous behavior. Go! Think! Get some fresh air and I think you will see that this marriage needs to be over.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:34 PM on November 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

Without examples, there is no preponderance of evidence to suggest that this is enough reason for me, or anyone else for that matter, to recommend DTMFA.

Sure there is. She said "I don't want to be married to someone like this." That is enough reason, right there.

If "I don't want to be married to someone like this." was reason enough for OP, she would not be saying, "How to I try to fix this?"

The way you ask for examples of how in particular he's being mean makes it sound as though you want to judge whether he's "really" being mean or not; but the OP can decide that for themselves. It certainly sounds to me like he's being mean but even if he's simply making the OP feel somehow mistreated he ought to be able to talk about it with his own spouse.

OP, I am not asking you to post examples here nor is it my intention to judge you. But I hope, that if you consider talking this over with a real person - be it a therapist, friend or family- you'd give them more detail than you have provided here.
posted by xm at 12:46 PM on November 21, 2012

An annulment may be easier to deal with (emotionally) than a divorce. It's worth talking to a lawyer on your options. People make mistakes all the time, being a strong person is allowing yourself to recognize your mistakes and change the course.

I wish you luck, it sounds awful, just trust in yourself whatever you choose to do.
posted by Under the Sea at 1:16 PM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Concrete advice on how to begin dealing with your husband, since doing things in-person doesn't go well.

Write to him. Take your time and write it out. Organize your thoughts, try to be matter-of-fact about how things go between you, incidents that have occurred, how they made you feel. State that you're not looking to argue the factuality of these events, how they made you feel is what matters to you. How he made you feel. Write about the interactions between you two and how this worries you for the future. Write about how he's changed so much. Write about your reservations before the wedding, and how his behavior toward you now is making you feel like marrying him was a mistake. And talk to him about what you want - whether it be his going to anger management and you living separately until he's proven he's capable of controlling himself, or if you're done and you want to seek an annulment/divorce.

When you're ready to give him the letter, be prepared to leave and let him read it on his own, and absorb what you have to say. Use your better judgement and decide whether it's going to be sufficient to leave for a few hours, a few days (like over the weekend), or if you should arrange staying with a friend/family member until further notice or look for something else longer-term, like an apartment. I strongly recommend staying with someone until further notice, quietly moving anything you value out in advance, and having your bags packed and already gone. You'll need the emotional support, and you don't want to fear his anger escalating into destroying your things or holding them ransom for your return. It'll scare him and he'll take it badly so you will probably want to leave the letter out for him and go when he's not home.

When he wants to talk with you, get word to him that you're not going to talk to him in person because he gets very angry and doesn't listen to you, and you're not putting up with that anymore. Text him that you want him to write his reply back to you. And from there, there's lots of advice above on how to proceed with whatever approach you'd like to take.

I broke up with my ex-husband via emails and chat, which some people considered very cowardly. But talking to him would have been useless, he wouldn't listen - he would've dismissed anything I said, cut me off, or manipulated the conversation. This way I didn't lose my train of thought, and he finally paid attention to my side of things. He was still a dipshit who didn't "get it" in the end though. But I had my closure.
posted by ergo at 2:03 PM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Your question gave me shivers. Even if he never escalates to physical violence, living with someone who is always angry, always right and does whatever they want is horrifying and exhausting. Please tell someone who loves you what is happening (family? old friend?) for some perspective, and please consider getting away from this man.
posted by thylacinthine at 3:11 PM on November 21, 2012 [9 favorites]

Whatever you do, don't start a family with him. Does he have any sense that you are unhappy? You might need to be very direct that you think getting marriage was a mistake. Maybe he is clueless and a slap in the face from reality will make him get his act together and seek the help he needs to deal with his anger. If you think he might react abusively or violently, then you should look into resource for domestic violence situations (even if it isn't one now) and follow the protocol for seeking a divorce. You can outright leave him, or just make get sick of you somehow. Good luck.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:56 PM on November 21, 2012

Just want to add that being in his physical presence will continue to cloud your thinking. While you're deciding (god, to leave, I fervently hope), please consider taking a few days or a week for an extended visit with friends/family, as others have suggested. Right now, while things still feel sharp and strange, before you settle into & around his 'logic', and let it delay your decision (and change you, because it can, so easily, former boiled frog speaking here). The contrasting atmosphere may encourage clearer thinking, and remind you of how people are supposed to treat each other. At the very least, you'll relax, probably for the first time in a while.

Maybe put some money away before you do that, and take copies of important documents, just in case.
posted by nelljie at 4:07 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

You're done. Get out. Protect yourself in every way possible.
posted by unSane at 7:14 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with almost everyone but I just wanted to touch on the 'always right' thing. It's a standing joke in my family that my partner is always right - one of those 'jokes' that touch a nerve sometimes. I got jack of it a little while back and argued with him about it because he was dead flat fucking wrong about something really really important and it fucked up a whole lot of stuff and he was refusing to admit that he was wrong and I was right. After he realised that I was seriously hurt by it all he stopped joking about it and started apologising when he got things wrong and acted against my wishes/advice/whatever.

He may have said "well, I was right about X,Y and Z".

He may have said "yeah, but I was kinda right about the big thing that blew up".

And he may have said "You weren't 100% right either!".

But he never once said I was always wrong, that he was always right, and that it's due to his logical thought. That implies a superiority, a patronising attitude and a dismissiveness that is detrimental to the foundation of any relationship.
posted by geek anachronism at 8:10 PM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is a moment of opportunity for you. A moment to trust yourself and do something in your own defense before it is too late. Listen to yourself and TRUST what your body and your mind is telling you. It will be hard, and you are worth it.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:51 PM on November 21, 2012

He's downright mean. He's impatient. And I had reservations before marriage about his anger management, but he really turned on the charm months before & kept that going until right after the honeymoon.

The Verbally Abusive Man discusses this "switch" in detail and provides an unusual slant on the thinking behind it.

This is not about being logical and it's not something you can reason him out of.
posted by stuck on an island at 4:01 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Memail me. There's more than I would share here that I'd like to say to you. Also I'd be happy to talk to you if you just need an internet stranger who knows what this feels like and won't judge you for where you're at and what you decide to do.
posted by guster4lovers at 7:57 PM on November 23, 2012

Many people show a different side of themselves once married. I recommend the Shamu article, and the work of the Gottman Institute.

You are not happy or satisfied with the status of the relationship. You deserve to be, and so does he. You can only change yourself and your behavior, but you can invite him to change his behavior. A good marriage therapist may be an invaluable investment. Whatever you loved is still in him, and maybe he's following a role modeled by his dad or someone. Maybe he doesn't understand or see his behavior. Our marriage therapy helped me realize we couldn't be together; we had a very good therapist.

You say "He's downright mean." Make sure you have a safety plan. It should include an economic plan, access to transportation, communication, and a support network. If he cuts off your access to friends, or otherwise cuts you off from car, phone, family, money, that's a huge danger sign. Many marriages have a very rocky start as people adjust, and you may be able to recover, but it's not possible to tell based on an Internet post. I wish you the best.
posted by theora55 at 9:39 AM on November 24, 2012

Marital/couples therapy is not appropriate in an abusive relationship because the abuser will use it as an additional tool of the abuse (manipulating the counselor into approving his behavior or reinforcing the fact that they're "both wrong") or punishing the abused partner for things said in therapy or as revenge for being "made" to go to therapy.

I suggest "Why Does He Do That". I'm reading it now and it's amazing. You can get in on the Amazon Cloud Reader and read it right in your browser if you're scared that he will find you reading it.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:56 AM on November 24, 2012

And please, whatever you do, do not have children with someone who is always right.

Indeed. This standup bit of Louis CK is especially apt: When you get married, you go, ‘Holy Shit! I can’t leave now.’ I mean, I wasn’t thinking of leaving, but now I really can’t leave. Then you have a kid and you go, ‘Holy shit! I could’ve left.’

It's crazy easy to think that by marrying someone, you have committed yourself and should avoid getting out. But until you have kids, there is really little to no damage being done to anyone aside from the married parties. And if he's acting the way he is, he's basically asking to be divorced.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:06 PM on November 24, 2012

It's GREAT that you've noticed this now. I agree 100% with Deathalicious's Louis CK quote. You can leave, and now now now now is the time.

I had a friend (male) who got married right after high school to a woman who was great, cute, quirky, blah blah, but with severe rage issues that didn't fully blossom until after the wedding. He didn't leave because he thought he should wait it out and that marriage was sacred and he shouldn't just run away at the first sign of problems. Now they have a kid and she's pregnant again and the last few times I've talked to him in person he's just expressed bitter exhaustion with the fact that he didn't leave earlier, when they were child free. People with your husband's particular brand of "I'm always right" have a way at eating away at the self-esteem of people who are one-sidedly trying to cooperate with them.

My mom is married to someone who has severe road rage and the personality that goes with it, and he has made her life hellish for the last ten years. She's also peaceful and non-confrontational and now severely depressed. All her children have been chronically worried about her safety since she married him.

I understand that people think that marriage is a big deal, but which is worse-- a divorce now, or a lifetime being less than yourself with this guy?
posted by stoneandstar at 11:10 PM on November 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

You've got lots of great advice here, but I just wanted to say I'm sorry you're going through this and if you need someone to talk or vent or cry to, feel free to message me. Having someone fill that role was really important and helpful for me when I went through an awful breakup of my own once.
posted by miskatonic at 9:39 AM on November 26, 2012

I'll tell you what I wish I had done. My ex-husband was very, very angry, and was always right. I remember one time, he stood up in front of 300 people in a theater (he's a musician) and told everyone about me, 'oh, she's a sloppy drunk, she just gets so drunk I have to carry her out.' (I am not a sloppy or any other kind of drunk.) When I told him I was hurt and humilated by this, he got angry at me for daring to question him, and I ended up sobbing in his lap, asking him to forgive me. Another time, we got in a huge fight because we were going to drive from Georgia to Florida and he kept insisting that we stop in South Carolina because it was "on the way." I remember showing him a map of the US and pointing out where SC was and saying, look, it's not at all on the way, it's like 200 miles north, and him still saying, while looking at the map, "no, it's on the way."

I SO, SO wish I had looked at him very calmly and said "The way you are treating me is unacceptable. I will not be treated like this. It is up to you to figure out whether you can treat me in a way that IS acceptable to me. If I continue to see evidence that you can't, I will be gone in by this time next year."

Instead, I tried to change myself to accommodate his moods and attitudes. I told myself, if I just try harder, if I just act different. I stayed in this relationship for 7 years and at the end of it I was a mess. I lost 36 pounds in 6 weeks and was sick sick sick. I also had an affair in the last three months of our marriage, which was devestating for me because I am TOTALLY NOT THE KIND OF PERSON TO DO THAT, but I was so messed up that I did.

Of course, when we were divorcing he found out about the affair and used it legally and socially to his advantage. Because he was mr nice guy in public, he played the part of wounded victim very well, and I have lost all of my friends in this small town, and have had to make significant concessions regarding custody that will possibly damage my child. My family, close friends, and our therapist, though, all continue to tell me that he was indeed abusive, and that I was lucky to get out at any cost.

I am telling you that what you are dealing with could have long-term, extremely devestating consequences not just for you but for innocent people who depend on you. I am disgusted that my bad decisions at the end of our marriage ceded the moral high ground to this cruel person. Yes, I had an affair for 3 months, which is totally reprehensible, but somehow the fact of seven years of meanness is totally forgotten because of it. Because nobody saw.

So right now, you need to woman up and be like "I do not deserve to be treated like this, and I will not tolerate it. This is not 'our' problem, this is YOUR problem, and unless I see concrete work (not just, 'I'm sorry, I'll try'), then I am out of here."

Would you want your daughter to be treated like this? No, you would not. You know what to do. DO IT.
posted by staggering termagant at 3:15 PM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

staggering termagant: "Another time, we got in a huge fight because we were going to drive from Georgia to Florida and he kept insisting that we stop in South Carolina because it was "on the way." I remember showing him a map of the US and pointing out where SC was and saying, look, it's not at all on the way, it's like 200 miles north, and him still saying, while looking at the map, "no, it's on the way.""

What's really interesting about this is his refusal to just say "Look, I recognize that it's not on the way but I'd like to go there anyway."

I think controlling people like this ex like to think of themselves as purely logical and objective. They aren't willing to frame things in terms of their needs and wants. Instead, they present the things they need as want as "logical" or "right" and anything that gets in the way of those needs becomes "wrong". It is impossible to disagree with them, not because they are stubborn, but because they refuse to believe they have opinions that are subjective. No, they have objective facts.

I wonder, OP, whether your husband actually believes he is helping you when he "corrects" you. He may even believe he is "sharing" of his wisdom, experience, and superiority.

I mirror other people's recommendations to avoid couple's therapy; it sounds like he could easily manipulate the therapist.

Honestly I would give up on this marriage before it gets more cumbersome to leave it.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:18 AM on November 28, 2012

Also, please post an update via one of the mods if you ever do resolve this.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:19 AM on November 28, 2012 [5 favorites]

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