Last Updated on March 3, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester
How do you deal with a husband who thinks he is always right?
My husband misinterprets everything I say and never admits when he makes a mistake. He is incapable of acknowledging any wrongdoing or giving me an apology after making an obvious mistake! He gets so defensive by any feedback.
It’s very frustrating to feel like I’m always messing up while he just thinks he’s totally perfect. How do we fix this when my husband thinks he does nothing wrong?
Marriage can be challenging, but healthy partners aim to learn and grow with one another. They take personal accountability for their mistakes and make a conscious effort to improve themselves on a regular basis.
Learning how to live with a husband who is never wrong starts with reevaluating your dynamic and prioritizing your needs. Furthermore, there are steps you can take to improve this problem and strengthen your marriage.
Of course, it takes two to tango. First, you must be willing to recognize your role and stand firm with your boundaries. Your husband, at some point, must learn how to communicate correctly and commit to admitting wrong or harmful behavior. Let’s get to how you can help get there.
Why Does My Husband Think He Does Nothing Wrong?
Why does my husband turn everything on me? He never thinks he’s wrong. And when I point problems out, he often makes it seem like I’m making a big deal out of nothing. Am I overreacting, or is he just being incredibly stubborn?
It’s frustrating when your spouse seems to think they are perfect when you certainly know they aren’t. But what causes this behavior? Let’s explore some potential variables.
#1 He’s Narcissistic
Narcissists have overinflated egos and grandiose perceptions of self. They view themselves as above others, and they rarely (if ever) take any responsibility for their wrongful actions. Instead, they often turn on other people who attempt to confront or challenge them.
A telltale sign of narcissism is someone’s desire to quickly take credit for anything positive while adamantly discrediting anything negative. For example, if a project at work goes well, the narcissist will assume that their talents, wisdom, and skills drove the success.
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However, if the project tanks, the narcissist will likely blame other coworkers, complain they didn’t have enough resources or support or accuse the boss of unfair conditions.
In relationships, narcissists rarely believe they do anything wrong. Instead, they feel entitled to all the good parts of the relationship without needing to change or improve any aspect of themselves.
In addition, they operate under the assumption that their partner should accept them wholly and unconditionally (although they are incapable of giving this type of love in return).
#2 He Doesn’t Care About the Relationship
When someone is checked out of the relationship, they don’t have the incentive to grow with their partners anymore. So instead, they usually focus on putting forth the bare minimum and planning an exit strategy for leaving.
According to Erika Boissiere, LMFT, a partner who no longer cares often stops engaging altogether. They aren’t interested in fighting or proving their point to you. They just no longer care.
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If your husband seems completely withdrawn during conflicts, it may signify that he is secretly moving on from the marriage altogether.
On the other hand, it could also mean he has no desire to focus on what he’s done wrong- he’s simply thinking about the next steps for his future.
#3 He’s Overly Logical
In some cases, men might struggle to understand how their actions affect your emotional state. For example, let’s say it’s your birthday, and he brings you a special cake and assortment of cookies from your favorite bakery.
But just a week ago, you mentioned cutting down on sugar and wanting to watch your diet better.
Was he being crass or selfish? Maybe not. Instead, he may have logically understood that it was your birthday, and he wanted to make you feel special by buying you treats from your favorite bakery. He overlooked how these desserts might trigger stress or shame for you.
However, if he often makes these mistakes, it could signify that he doesn’t really pay attention to your feelings. Instead, he focuses on doing what he thinks is best with no regard for how it might influence you.
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As a result, his actions are self-serving, and he will likely become defensive if called on them.
#4 He’s Naive
Different from being narcissistic, some people just genuinely don’t recognize when they make mistakes.
Sometimes, this phenomenon happens when they’ve been coddled or doted on by many people in their lives. They have never had to really face the gravity of cleaning up a mess.
Naitivity can look like assuming that mistakes aren’t “really that bad” and that someone or something else will eventually fix it. It can also look like assuming the world will take care of you no matter what happens.
Some people grow out of this trait (especially if your husband is very young). But if it persists into later adulthood, it’s likely not a sign of him being naive. Chances are, there’s something more foul at play.
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Why Does Your Husband Turn Everything on You?
It can take so much energy to feel like you’re the scapegoat in the marriage. After all, you probably work hard to make things work, and you want to have a happy relationship with your spouse. It’s entirely unfair to feel like he can get away with thinking he does nothing wrong.
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#1 He Doesn’t Respect You
If you feel like your husband doesn’t even listen to you, he probably doesn’t respect you as his wife- or as a person in general.
This lack of respect makes it nearly impossible to have a trusting and loving relationship. You will always feel like you need to prove yourself to him, and you won’t feel like you can meet his impossible standards.
Abusive partners don’t respect their spouses. They value power and control over connection and vulnerability.
If he twists what you say, laughs at you, criticizes you, or makes you out to be the bully, pay attention. Those are some serious red flags indicating emotional abuse.
#2 He’s in Denial About Something Serious
Imagine this situation: you two are having money problems, and you find out your husband has been gambling and shopping compulsively behind your back.
You confront him on his behavior, and he blames you for not advocating for a better raise at work.
Or imagine this: you are concerned about his drinking because it’s getting worse and worse. You finally say something, and he explodes and says that he wouldn’t drink so much if you weren’t causing him to be so stressed.
What happened here? According to Darlene Lancer, JD and LMFT, we are all in some degree of denial. In some ways, it’s a survival tactic- after all, if we were constantly aware of the imminent possibility of death, we wouldn’t get much done during the day.
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But, she goes on to state that there are different stages of denial, and each stage comes with varying problems.
First degree: You deny the problem, feeling, or reality exists. For example, your husband doesn’t think he has a gambling problem.
Second degree: You rationalize or minimize the problem. Your husband says that everyone gambles and that he only goes once a week and doesn’t spend nearly as much as his friends do.
Third degree: You admit some of the problems, but you deny the gravity of any consequences. Your husband acknowledges that he gambles but states that his gambling isn’t a factor in the money problems and that he deserves to have some discretionary income.
Fourth degree: He continues to be unreceptive to changing or seeking help. Your husband continues to gamble and makes no effort to stop.
#3 He’s Highly Competitive
He wants to be right about everything, no matter how taxing his behavior is on you. Chances are if he acts this way, this trait applies in other settings.
For example, he might be hot-headed and vicious in the workplace. Or, he might present as a sore loser when playing games or sports.
Whatever the situation, he doesn’t like feeling threatened by someone else “winning.” As a result, he positions himself in a way where he can’t lose (or he can seemingly deny losing).
#4 He’s Deeply Insecure
Although it may seem counterintuitive, insecure people are often the most stubborn. That’s because they typically lack emotional regulation skills and react very poorly to feedback.
Insecure people already believe that people are going to hurt or leave them. It’s just a matter of time.
Therefore, your husband might be waiting for you to “hurt him before he can hurt you.” This means he’s essentially sabotaging the marriage- he thinks you will get so frustrated that you will eventually leave.
If this happens, it confirms his deeply-wounded beliefs of unlovability and inferiority. It also proves that you are the bad guy because you couldn’t stick around and make it work. He can use this situation to solicit attention and validation from others.
#5 He’s In Love With Someone Else
Unfortunately, your husband’s attitude may signify that he no longer really wants to be in the marriage. In some cases, he may be entirely in love with someone else.
When a married person shifts their attention to other people, it’s much easier to find flaws with their spouses. They usually put the new person on a pedestal- in their eyes, this “shiny new object” can do no wrong. Unfortunately, spouses often get put on the back burner.
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If he’s cheating on you, he may also start pushing you away emotionally. This could mean picking more fights, criticizing your behavior, and overall making you feel unworthy and unlovable.
Many times, these actions are intended to “prepare you” for the ultimate end of the relationship (whether he’s conscious of this desire or not).
Why Does Your Husband Misinterpret Everything You Say?
Why does my husband think he does nothing wrong? And what’s worse is that he then twists everything I say. It’s like he doesn’t even listen.
If your husband misinterprets everything you say, several factors might be at play. First, he may genuinely not be listening most of the time. Of course, this is never a good sign, and it means you need to have a serious discussion with him about paying attention to what you say.
However, he could also misinterpret things as a way of gaslighting you. He might be gaslighting you if he makes comments like:
- You never told me that!
- I don’t even know what you’re talking about.
- I heard you the first time. Why would you think I wasn’t listening?
- Of course, I understand what you’re saying!
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic designed to make you question your reality. He’s trying to throw attempted logic in your face.
What Are the Signs of a Selfish Husband?
My husband does nothing for me. He’s only focused on himself. It feels so unbalanced. What’s worse is that my husband thinks he does more for me than he actually does. He seriously thinks he’s such a great partner! Is he selfish? Am I unrealistic? It just seems really unfair to live a life where I do everything for my husband, and he does nothing for me.
Most of us are selfish from time to time. We have to look after our needs and take care of ourselves. But chronic, inflexible selfishness creates immense marital stress and makes for an unequal dynamic. Here are some warning signs to consider in your relationship.
#1 He Never Asks What You Need
He only focuses on what he needs. For example, you might be sick and running a fever, and he’s complaining about how you haven’t done the dishes. Or, you might have had a bad day at work, but instead of comforting you, he talks all about himself.
Sometimes, this dynamic comes from a place of cluelessness or laziness. But it’s often more of a sign of tremendous selfishness. Caring partners want to take care of their loved ones. Selfish ones don’t even consider it.
#2 He Disregards Your Requests
Even if you do tell him what you need, he doesn’t listen. He might discount why it’s important (that’s dumb, that’s excessive, that’s unnecessary!).
Or, he might ignore what you ask and act as if he never heard you in the first place. Either way, your needs don’t get met, and you feel silly for even bringing them up in the first place.
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#3 He Always Puts His Needs First
Even if he does respect your needs, his are first. Always. For example, if you two are running errands, he priortizes what he wants to buy before getting around to what you need.
Or, if you’re on vacation, he makes sure that you have time to sightsee things that appeal to him- and if there’s time left over, he might go along with what you want to see.
His needs will often come before yours and anyone else’s in the family. If you have children together, this reality can be especially disheartening.
#4 He Makes No Effort to Improve Himself
Selfish people often believe others are entitled to them exactly as they are. For this reason, they aren’t particularly interested in self-reflection or growth.
After all, you’re the lucky one to be in the relationship with them! As a result, they tend to be rigid and stubborn in their ways with no incentive to change.
Of course, they don’t have any problem requesting that you make changes that conform to their needs.
#5 He Doesn’t Care How You Feel
Whether you’re sad, angry, or scared, he just doesn’t seem to care. Your emotions don’t really faze him because they aren’t all that important to him. He’d rather focus on his feelings and needs.
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Unfortunately, there is a good chance that his terrible attitude makes you feel guilty for experiencing any kind of bad emotion. Therefore, you might downplay or lie about your feelings because you don’t feel safe sharing them.
How Do You Deal With a Husband Who Is Never Wrong?
Given what you know, how do you actually cope with the reality of your situation? Do you have to accept your husband’s behavior, or is there a possibility for change?
#1 Understand It’s Not Your Fault
You didn’t cause your husband’s stubbornness, mood swings, or pride. You’re also not responsible for his critical or disrespectful behavior.
Keep that in mind when you start doubting yourself. Many spouses internalize that they are the problem if their partner blames them for everything.
Unfortunately, this becomes a vicious loop. If you think you’re the problem, your husband will likely reinforce that mindset and remind you of all your mistakes and flaws.
#2 Set Clear Boundaries
No, you’re not being overly emotional or dramatic if you feel hurt by your husband’s actions. His behavior is childish, and it can be highly toxic to a marriage. It can also take a tremendous toll on your emotional well-being.
Some healthy boundaries to consider setting may include:
- Banning any outright criticism or name-calling.
- Prohibiting idle threats, shouting, or other aggressive speech.
- Requiring I-statements or other healthy forms of communication during conflict.
- Asking your partner to attend couples therapy.
Remember that you can’t outline a boundary without implementing it. If this happens, your husband knows that you won’t enforce what you say. As a result, he will continue getting away with his problematic behavior.
In other words, don’t set a boundary you can’t keep. You must consider the consequences ahead of time and be prepared to take action should your husband cross the line.
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#3 Be Cautious of More Manipulation
Your husband has probably gotten away with his behavior for a long time. Change won’t happen overnight, and it’s unrealistic to expect him to be a new person without making some mistakes.
That said, you need to be wary of manipulation. According to Timothy Sanford, LPC, manipulation refers to people’s counterfeit strategies to meet their own needs.
People are often manipulative because they feel wounded or threatened. They also lack the necessary emotional or relational skills to meet their needs.
Sanford continues to demonstrate how manipulators often take one of the following roles:
Master: They’re always in charge, and it’s your responsibility to follow their orders without questioning or complaining. Your husband might be a ‘master’ if he often acts like a bully and uses aggression to get what he wants.
Savior (enabler, messiah): They believe they’ve given you a tremendous gift and that you are eternally indebted to them for it. Your husband might fit this role if he’s often passive-aggressive, attempts to make you feel guilty, and likes to remind you of all the things he’s done right.
Victim: They depend on people pitying them to get what they want. Your husband may be a victim if he acts like the world is against him and that they “never” get what they want.
How to Live With a Husband Who Is Never Wrong?
An unhappy marriage can quickly spiral into an unhappy life. We depend on our partners for love, affection, and respect. If these basic needs aren’t met, we tend to feel resentful and frustrated. Here are some steps to consider if you’re committed to the marriage.
#1 Go to Couples Therapy
If your husband shows some initiative in working on the relationship (even if he isn’t necessarily interested in changing his ego), couples therapy can help. A good therapist will identify problematic patterns in your marriage.
Then, they confront these behaviors in a way where both partners must assume accountability for their actions.
Kristina Fuller, LPCC-S, offers some valuable suggestions on how to get your spouse on board with therapy:
Know the key facts: Couples therapy is highly effective, with some studies suggesting that up to 98% of couples report marital improvement after receiving treatment. Even though this information may not “convince” your partner, it can help motivate you to continue pursuing the option.
Share the benefits: Let your spouse know how you believe couples therapy can help you. Focus on issues he has identified struggling with (your communication, division of labor, intimacy problems, etc.).
Look for the common ground: Try to find some agreement that you both want to work hard to fix the problem (even if the problem isn’t directly related to him never being wrong). See if he’s willing to get on the same page as you with trying to improve the marriage.
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#2 Practice Self-Compassion and Validate Yourself Often
A husband who’s never wrong may have a hard time complimenting you or giving you affection. In fact, he may be hyper-focused on what he believes you do wrong.
Regardless of his attitude, you’re responsible for seeing the good within yourself. According to Kristin Neff, Ph.D., self-compassion comes down to comforting, caring, and attuning to yourself in times of need.
Self-compassion also means honoring your own humanness and recognizing that perfection is an impossible standard.
She lists three elements of self-compassion:
Self-kindness: Be gentle with yourself when faced with challenging experiences. You won’t always get what you want, but you suffer more when you become hostile or resentful of the situation.
Common humanity: Recognize that everyone faces some degree of suffering- that is what it means to be human. Self-compassion means inherently knowing that we all feel a sense of inadequacy and struggle. Having problems is not unique.
Mindfulness: Aim to take a balanced approach when facing negative emotions. It’s unhelpful to deny or exaggerate them. Instead, focus on being more mindful and non-judgmental rather than entirely reactive. Remember that you cannot ignore the pain and feel compassion for it at the same time. Furthermore, you don’t want to get entirely swept by your negative emotions.
#3 Practice More Acceptance
At the end of the day, people are responsible for changing themselves. This, of course, can be a bitter pill to swallow. But if you decide you want to stay in the marriage- no matter what does or doesn’t happen- you will need to radically accept your husband’s behavior.
According to Stacey Aldridge, LCSW, radical acceptance refers to accepting yourself, others, and the world itself exactly as it is. Any attempts to change the reality will only lead to more suffering.
In other words, when it comes to your husband’s behavior, choosing to stay may entail fully accepting his shortcomings. You cannot sit there and blame him for the pain- you must accept your part in the suffering. Commit to what you can do to reduce or stop the pain altogether.
If you’re still asking yourself, how do you deal with a husband who is never wrong, it’s time to reflect on what efforts you have made to change the dynamic. Furthermore, if you keep making efforts, what boundaries do you need to set in your marriage- and for yourself?
You deserve a balanced relationship, and you always deserve respect. If that isn’t happening, you may need some more serious introspection.