Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

My wife is a perfectionist and is never happy with me

Community Member
I dont know what to do. My wife and I have been together for 11 years and have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. My wife picks on me about everything almost every single day. She is always unhappy, very short tempered. She always finds a reason to argue. All I want to do is enjoy life work together and have a happy family. I don't want my kids to grow up around her screaming at me. She says I dismiss her for everything and I never listen to her. I know I am not the best listener but I always try my best. I feel like she isn't happy with herself and that she takes it out on me and the kids. She says I dont show her I care about her which I do. She is always bringing up arguments from the past like from 5+ years ago over small things.. She doesnt like to move on from an argument she wants to deal with the argument before moving on or she holds a grudge for good. How can I fix my listening skills? The list goes on... Any advice appreciated.
11 Replies 11

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Nick87,

I can understand how hard it must be to have someone criticize your every move and make you feel like nothing is ever good enough. It can be pretty demoralizing and also upsetting when all you want is a happy relationship. Unfortunately there do seem to be a fair few people in this world who lose sight of the big picture and get bogged down in the minutiae of the day to day. This may seem obvious but have you tried sitting down and talking to your wife, really talking, and asking her what’s wrong? She may be touched by your concern. Also, does your wife have any hobbies of her own? Oftentimes women can feel under appreciated or just bone tired and that can have a lot of negative knock-on effects. When she says that you don’t show her you care about her, have you asked her what she specifically means by this? Maybe ask for examples next time as she may be thinking of it in a different way to you. I think you need to get to the bottom of this as you can’t all keep living in an environment like that, it’s not good for anyone.

Thanks for replying. I will try do what you said.

Hi Nick and welcome to the forums,

I saw your responses in an older thread about a perfectionist in a relationship. You sound tired and absolutely frustrated with your wife.

I can relate to your wife as a Mum of very small children. You have a 1 year old and a 3 year old. This is important. Children change everything within a relationship.

Juliet has mentioned asking your wife what is going on. I think this is a solid idea.

As a stay at home mum, I find my husband is at times my only outlet. He cops everything. If he doesn't listen or seem to care I get more angry. Anger and lashing out can be a symptom of depression.

I'm going to give you a list of questions to think about and talk to your wife about.

  • Does she go to work or classes, have hobbies and interests?
  • Apart from you does she have any other help with the children?
  • Does she have time for herself as an individual (not a mother)?
  • When is the last time you had time as a couple without children?
  • Do you make an effort to be intimate? Does she feel loved and valued and appreciated by you?
  • Has she had a recent check with her GP or community midwife regarding depression (there is a K10 checklist on the BB website)

I think that these points are important. Sometimes lashing out in anger and frustration is an easy way to express you are unhappy. There could be a lot more to it.

You said you think she is unhappy within herself... What are you going to do to help her address this? You can't make anyone want to change but I know as a Mum you need help to help yourself.

When kids arrived I became the last priority. When I had cared for everyone else I had no energy left to care for me. I lost my individuality. It feels really crap and it is easy to feel resentful at another's ability to leave the house and go to work (yes I was jealous of work) and be an adult.

I don't know if this helps you. It's just an attempt to show you there can be more to it.


Community Champion
Community Champion


Juliet and Nat have given you very helpful replies.

I am not sure if you go out to work and your wife stays at home, but sometimes it can be hard to understand the other person’s role as the person earning the money is doing the hardest for the family and the one at home or who mainly looks after the children.

I am just guessing, I know Juliet and Nat have ideas about things to ask and things to do.

I do know when I was frustrated I would take it out on my husband or he could not u derstand after a day with 3 children I had no energy to give him attention, Now I see he was feeling neglected but athe time I could not see his point of view.


Community Member

Hi Nik,

When I read your post, I thought this could have been written by my husband. I am guilty of behaving exactly as you describe your wife is with you. I know how hard it must be for the both of you. Your children are very young and whether she is at home or is back at work, the pressures of parenting are overwhelming. She may also be suffering from postnatal depression.

Julie and Nat have given some sound advice and some really good points to think about and discuss with your wife.

Nat’s questions are spot on. I wish my husband considered these things. I’m sorry I don’t really have any further advice, but all I can say is that taking some time out for you and your wife to relax together and listening to her talk about how she feels (not after an argument but when things are calm) might help her see that your on the same team and that you’re there to support her. Acknowledging her feelings may also help.

All the best.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi again Nick87,

We'd love to hear how you are managing if you want to keep talking.

Hi Isha7 and welcome to you too. It is lovely that your first post is in support of another member. You're very welcome to start a thread of your own too or reply to others wherever you like. Thanks for the feedback too by the way. Maybe you could print the thread for your other half?


Community Member

Hi lsha.

You acknowledge your like this so really, you should do the same and talk to your h, and try and fix whatevers making you like this , you'll be putting your kids and h through hell , it's not fair, l say from experience bc we both got a lot like this in our last few yrs of marriage and it ruined us and my daughters family. All she had to do was be honest with me , and me her, but now it's too late. Do something about it.

Gday nick. Mate same you've gotta talk to her lt's crazy her making life like that for her kids and you wjatevers wrong with her that's just selfish and so bad for the kids and for you. l think too a lot of the stuff suggested too also plus you need to stand up to her a bit , but in a gentle way so as not to start more fights around the kids.

As l was just sayin to lsha , we both got that way it was a whole combo of things but in the end it ruined us and our family , so many regrets , if only we'd talked , but we stopped that.

good luck anyway

Community Member

Thanks Nat, my husband and I have spoken extensively about many of the points you have listed. Unfortunately, we just haven't been able to manage a long term resolution to our difficulties. He says he understands, but I don't think he does as nothing ever changes. It's a complicated situation and - whilst we both have our faults, it's me with the mental health issues - so perhaps until I don't find a way to get help, nothing will change. Maybe one day I will post my own story to see if anyone can help, but at the moment, I wouldn't even know where to start.

Community Member
Thanks Randomx, you're right it's never fair on the kids. I try my best to hold it all together and I do try and speak to my husband about how I feel, we talk a lot actually...but like I said to Nat, we just can't seem to work it out. We rarely argue in front of the children but on the days when things are bad, I know my daughter senses things aren't right and that makes me feel really guilty. I don't scream at him, but I do nag and moan a lot - that even I am sick of my own whinging voice. I appreciate your advice, and my kids are always the priority that's probably the only reason we are still together. I even feel bad for my husband sometimes, it must be horrible for him - but I just don't really know what to do because talking and being totally honest hasn't help so far.