Wife who goes offensive then defensive


Newly married under a year here. I know the first year is a struggle getting along and adapting to someone else’s ways, but I need advice on how to deal with a situation that has bugged me. I’ve tried discussing this with her but its like it doesn’t register. How do you deal with your spouse when she will “make an attack” at an action then when you give her a counterargument she goes on the defense and says almost gets to crying that I’m yelling at her (when clearly I was just saying there was nothing wrong with what I did (in the case just talking for about two minutes on a purchase we just had). I feel like she’s hitting my weak spot of not liking her crying or getting upset, and it feels like it shuts me down and I can’t get my point across??? I feel frustrated here.


Well John, after 22 years of marriage to a woman who cries very easily when she is upset, I can tell you that you will just have to learn that that is the way she is and be patient. One of the things about being married that definately takes some adjustment is how to handle disagreement. You will learn that when you have a dispute, she will end up the same way as you describe. If you really have something to say, you will have to either talk to her later or say it while she is upset and get it over with. The important thing, though, is to make sure it is over when it is over.

Good luck.




I agree with the above poster…try to be patient…I used to cry more, but I learned that crying almost makes the playing field ‘unlevel,’ if you will. Most men will not know what to say…it sometimes is heartfelt, and some women use crying as a way to getting their own way. Hopefully, your wife (to the OP) isn’t the latter, but you will learn as you go along. I cried this weekend by myself, after a disagreement with my husband…I have learned that crying in front of him, doesn’t resolve the issue, it just halts it, and makes him feel bad…and I feel like a baby for crying, instead of mouthing the words of my frustration. Crying can be an outpouring of emotion, when all the discussing of something is wearing thin…but it can also be used a tactic to get a man to back down, and give in.

It may be tough, but when your wife begins crying, and you notice that she cries every time you argue, you might want to just sit silent, and not say anything. Don’t say…‘why are you crying, or stop crying,’ because that just makes things worse. Just stay silent, and she will most likely stop crying. If she cries during every argument, then there is some growth to do on her part, if she cries seldom, and only when she feels she is not being heard, then you have some growing to do. Women tend to be more emotional than men, and arguing is not different.

Make it a point to discuss ‘how’ you discuss things, after your disagreement is over, so you keep the right topic at hand, during your disagreement. My husband and I did this yesterday, and it helped immensely. Congrats on being newly weds…keep the faith, and your marriage will weather these mini-storms.:slight_smile:


:stuck_out_tongue: Tell her she’ll have to pay for that tactic later, when the children see how it works. Ok well maybe it won’t help right now, but if she starts to complain later, tell her “how do you think I feel?”


You’ve already had some good general advice. I would like you to explain the above more clearly. You say that** you** didn’t do anything wrong with a purchase that you both made. That doesn’t make sense. maybe she is just as frustrated as you are. Not communicating effectively (even about the tiniest things) can be the death of a marriage. I pray that you can work this out!



I would add this . . . be clear about what is “right and wrong” and what is an opinion. Very few things are moral rights and wrongs, many things are opinions and preferences.

I’ve learned to step back and decide if the issue is an absolute right vs wrong or an opinion. Once you realize you’re dealing with opinions, it takes away the right or wrong, you just have to decide how to get to a middle ground you can both live with.

Ex: Wife wants a mini van to carpool kids. Dh wants a pick up truck to haul stuff. Neither one is inherently right or wrong. They have different purposes and goals. For us, once we get past the fact the no one has to be RIGHT, it’s easier to work out a compromise. —KCT


In addition to what the others said…

If your wife says you are attacking her what she means is that she feels like you were attacking her. So you’ve got a woman who is more concerned with her impressions of what is happening in your relationship than she is about the ‘facts’ as you or anyone else might see them.

She might mature some what but she’ll probably never get over this way of relating to you. In other words, logical facts to back up your position aren’t going to win most arguments for you.

If you just want peace then apologize for whatever action led her feel the way she feels (even if you think you you’ve been unjustly accused.)

If you need to actually convince her of something then you’re going to have to be wise. Wisdom in this case means knowing when to appeal to her emotions and when to and stick with hard cold facts in spite of her emotions .


As a woman who was diagnosed in her thirties for radical mood swings, I can tell you first-hand what it is like to be your wife.
First, everything you do or say will be wrong when she gets in a mood.
Second, saying “I’m sorry” isn’t really fair on the husband.
Third, the situation is improved when the husband says, “I am not putting up with this.” Explain when she is calm that it is very unfair that she is putting you on the defensive for some minor thing. Also, that tears in an argument are unfair on her part.
Fourth, if she IS inclined to major mood swings, have her go to the dr. They have great meds for this situation. I went on Abilify and it has radically changed our marriage. I no longer “beat up” on my husband for stupid little things. In fact, we don’t fight at all now. It took me twenty years to get the help I needed and I only wish for my DH’s sake I had got the help sooner.


Are you concerned with getting “your point across”, or with coming to an agreement? I’m sure it is just the language and venting in your post more than how you actually see things.Remember, in marriage, 2 become 1, so don’t think so much about your point, but what you and she are both feeling, and how you both can become comfortable with the decision.


This has nothing to do with the OP’s original remark,but you hit upon a pet peeve of mine. I absolutely hate when women do this and I am a woman! Sorry. I just thought that I would add that not all women do these sorts of things.


Erm. Sorry, I know I’m not even engaged or anything, so what do I know after all, but it seems to me apologising when one wasn’t in the wrong won’t help anything. It’s sort of like admitting to doing something you didn’t do (which doesn’t solve anything). Perhaps I’d apologise for the way I handled it, but there’s no horror that would make me apologise for something I didn’t consider wrong, with the exception of courtesy (e.g. “sorry for interrupting”) or such things which are right to do but inconvenience others (e.g. waking up a doctor at 4 am in case of emergency).

I think apologising for what wasn’t wrong may lead to resentment and increase the feeling of being wronged in the person who “has” to apologise. It will have the same effect as coercion. In the person apologised to, it will probably reinforce similar feelings (i.e. being wronged all the time) and perhaps help develop a wrong perception of reality in which the person is a consistent victim.

For this reason I never apologise for the sake of peace except for a, “sorry if it made you feel bad,” or apologising for the way or time I brought something up.


I would say that some men do that too and in fact, being a lawyer and a cold hard logic fan accused of cruelty, I’ve been there too. Basically, if someone keeps making you feel bad and then argues facts on a factual level, you just don’t want to put up with it. The answer is probably that while your feelings aren’t entirely rational, they aren’t entirely irrational either, and the “facts” being discussed in a “factual” manner may unwittingly be influenced by emotions to a large degree. Factual discourse takes data from perception and perception is very much blurred when one’s in an emotionally unstable state. Additionally, sometimes you may have the feeling that while someone is bringing up correct facts and using logical reasoning, the way those facts are applied (and selected) is not entirely fair. Then it turns into some kind of courtroom logic, you know, like in litigation. At that point it’s not really looking for the truth as much as trying to win an argument. At that point it’s no wonder that someone puts his foot down because it’s making him feel bad.

And now I think it would be a good moment to offer the Opening Poster a suggestion:

Please look at the facts and make sure they are facts. Sometimes everything looks so correct and errorproof to us and then a single little thing makes it all wrong. I’m a lawyer. I know what happens when you miss a tiny little detail and I know it can happen to anyone. I’ve second-guessed myself from time to time in life as well. The key step is letting go of the unspoken assumption that we think to be facts is facts. There’s always the possibility that we got something wrong or that there are some options we’re missing and we think we’ve found the only right way of addressing a situation. Sometimes we will notice, sometimes it will take other people to point out. And then, “oh @#$%, they do have a point there.” So, perhaps try to look at your position from a lot of distance and also look at your wife’s position from a lot of distance as well - especially letting go of the presumption that she’s going to be the emotional one and get her facts wrong. Perhaps she actually has a point somewhere you don’t see and perhaps your feelings play a part somewhere you don’t see either. And that’s not exactly wrong, since your feelings matter too and her thoughts matter also.

As for her crying, well, she probably isn’t doing it on purpose to win the argument. And even if, I doubt it’s a cold-hearted calculation. And if it’s not… don’t we all have faults? :wink: You need to communicate and you need to show some heart to each other. Since you’re the man, you have the responsibility to provide and protect her, so she must see you aren’t her enemy, nor a tyrant. At the same time, caving in to emotionally backed demands won’t likely earn you her respect, much less make cooperation smoother. Need to find some balance there. Easier said than done, I know. Feel free to remind me when I get married myself. :wink:


It sounds like this person is manipulative. It is also possible that there may be alcohol abuse going on or, like another poster said, there may be a mental problem.

Is it possible to discuss this rationally with her when the tears dry up, and try to “nail down” what exactly is wrong?

Also, does this normally coincide with that “most wonderful time of the month”?


That last line was uncalled for. :rolleyes:


We have to face facts here - sometimes hormonal cycles cause irrationality and undue emotional outbursts, and this should not be ruled out.


That is true, but it’s always the straw my husband grabs at…it couldn’t possibly be something he did.:stuck_out_tongue:

That being said–the hormonal upheaval is really painful at times…and it can cause a myriad of problems for many women. Some women have no reaction, some need to go to bed. I do recall my unwillingness to perhaps admit at times that it could have been that. I am glad that I now know when to tell my husband that it’s not the greatest time to chat about this or that. But, that takes time…

That being said, this is a wild guess that you have norseman…and I rule it out completely.:smiley:


The only person who is close enough to the situation to rule it out or not is johnnyjohnjohn.


actually…his wife.


I don’t think another person can determine the magnitude of how someone else is feeling, phsyically or emotionally. He can surmise, but I think the only person who can determine if that is the reason, is his wife, actually.


Well, yeah, but I was referring to the fact that of the people responding here, the OP is closest to the situation.

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