Published on April 16, 2021

What To Do If My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me

What To Do If My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me

As author Emerson Eggerichs wrote in his book, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, women want love in their relationships, and men want respect.

Although I disagree with the author and believe that the desire to be respected by your spouse is universal and transcends gender, there is something to say about how respect affects men specifically. When it occurs, men are left wondering what to do when they feel that their wife does not respect them and struggle with this on their own.

Feeling Disrespected in Marriage Affects Men Differently

For the sake of this article, we will be exploring how respect—or rather, disrespect—affects men in relationships. As mentioned above, respect affects both men and women in a marriage. However, the assertion is that it affects them in different ways. To do this, we first need to start with the definition of respect.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, respect is defined as the “admiration felt or shown for someone or something that you believe has good ideas or qualities.”[1] This would be extremely important to feel from your spouse and as mentioned earlier, both men and women would equally desire this from each other in their relationship. When men, however, feel that they are disrespected in their marriage, they react differently than women and feel rejected.

Men React to Disrespect by Feeling Rejected

Rejection is one of the biggest fears men have in relationships. Men will seek out easy sexual conquests, stay in dysfunctional relationships, keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves, and run away from relationships altogether to avoid being rejected.

Even though remaining single seems that it would minimize the risk of being rejected, a study by the University of Manchester found that remaining single only resulted in men feeling more lonely and more sensitive to rejection.[2]


Is Your Wife Disrespecting You or Do You Have Low Self-Esteem?

Just because men react to disrespect by feeling rejected, unlike Emerson Eggerichs, it doesn’t mean that it is the responsibility of a wife to show respect to her husband. After all, respect must be earned. It is more likely that if a man feels disrespected by his wife, he lacks that respect for himself in the first place.

It is often when I am coaching men who feel they are being disrespected in their relationship that they lack their own self-respect and struggle with low self-esteem. A lack of self-respect and having low self-esteem is the quickest way to attract disrespect and rejection into your life, for we cannot expect others to respect or accept us if we cannot respect or accept ourselves.

Men with low self-esteem and lack self-respect create never-ending and unrealistic expectations in their relationships, often resulting in a dependency on their wife to validate them. This places a lot of pressure on their wife to “lift them up” or make them feel good about themselves with praise and encouragement.

Subsequently, it creates an imbalance in the marriage and ultimately leads to the wife building resentment against her husband and ultimately losing respect for him.

Low Self-Esteem Leads to an Imbalance in the Marriage, Resentment, and Disrespect

When coaching couples, we see this imbalance in the marriage when one person “chases” after the other looking for attention, validation, approval, recognition, acceptance, and respect. Although these may be valid needs in a relationship with each partner giving them freely to each other, when one person “expects” these needs to be met by their partner, it transforms the intention from a gift into a demand.

John Gottman, a leading researcher in couples relationships, describes a pattern of relating that exemplifies this chase called the Pursuer-Distancer pattern.[3] This “dance” of one moving towards and the other moving away has been identified as a leading reason for divorce. When this concept is applied to men seeking respect from their wives, one can see a similar effect.


When men energetically “chase” after their wives for respect, this sets in motion a response of distancing on the part of the wife. It can feel “smothering” or “engulfing” when a person places this expectation upon you and the natural response is to create distance. However, instead of creating more breathing space, this can have the opposite effect and prompt the “pursuer” to “chase” even more closing the distance.

This distancing behavior by the wife is almost always experienced by men as rejection, which, as explained earlier, is one of the biggest fears that men have. The cycle is then reinforced as the man is motivated to avoid his fear and seeks to find reassurance from his wife, which in turn prompts her to distance even more.

Wives Respect Husbands Who Respect Themselves

In the book, The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire, author David Deida asserts that women despise and distrust men that are dependent upon them for their own happiness. He goes on to say that when men make their relationship the top priority, they lose the respect of the woman in their life.

If we are to learn anything from this, it is that if a man wants to gain the respect of his wife, he has to respect himself first. Men who seek out respect from their wives are only going to be met with distrust and disrespect, defeating the purpose of what they want in the first place.

This approach to gaining respect in a marriage is echoed on a grander scale in a quote by Mahatma Gandhi. He once said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.”

7 Ways Men Can Increase Self-Respect

Now that we’ve discussed how important self-respect is for a wife to respect his husband, here are 7 ways you can increase your self-respect so your wife will respect you, too.


1. Find Your True Purpose and Meaning

Why not begin with the loftiest goal? After all, if we are not aware of what our true purpose and meaning are in this world, how can we expect to respect ourselves and in turn have others respect us?

Finding your true purpose and meaning obviously starts with a whole lot of soul searching and ultimately may not lead us to the final answer, but asking the questions starts us on the right path.

2. Give Freely Without Strings Attached

When we give to others, it makes us feel better about ourselves, as long as we don’t have any ulterior motives. Giving with strings attached—that is, with expectations—never feels genuine for the giver or the receiver, and it diminishes the original intention.

3. Carve Out Time in Your Life for Hobbies and Activities That Help You Grow as a Person

Spending time with your partner is important to learn and grow within a relationship. However, growing as an individual is just as important as a priority. Challenging yourself to learn and experience new things adds to your own confidence and self-esteem.

4. Remove Negative People From Your Life

Trying to change for the better is hard enough as it is. Trying to change among people who are critical or negative about you making changes in your life is detrimental to evolving as a person.

Limit the amount of time you spend around people who hold you back from success.


5. Say ‘No’ When You Mean It

One of the quickest ways to erode our self-esteem is to go along with what others tell us to do. Saying no when you don’t want to do something will result in some pushback from others, but it will not count against your own self-esteem.

6. Celebrate Your Accomplishments

People with low self-esteem and lack self-respect are often reluctant to celebrate their accomplishments. They are afraid to come across as arrogant or braggadocio. However, celebrating our accomplishments motivates us to accomplish more and to continue growing.

7. Surround Yourself With Motivating and Inspiring People

In addition to removing negative people from your life, it is equally important to surround yourself with successful, motivating, and inspiring people. Raise the bar so high and then become the person to achieve it. Do this by becoming inspired by others’ achievements.

Final Thoughts

Each couple must take responsibility for their own part in their marriage, and although every relationship expert would recommend that a couple work together to create a happy and healthy marriage, it is still the responsibility of each member in the relationship to work on themselves.

Men seeking respect from their wives have their energy focused in the wrong direction and must pivot to focus on improving their own self-respect. It is only then—when they feel confident about who they are and are clear on their direction in life—that other peoples’ opinions will cease to matter, and they will then gain the respect that they deserve from the people in their lives.

More Tips on How to Gain Respect in a Relationship

Featured photo credit: Foto Pettine via


More by this author

Dr. Ray Kadkhodaian

CoFounder of Couples Synergy and the Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center

What To Do If My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me 8 Ways To Make Your Long-Distance Marriage Work 25 Pieces of Marriage Advice All Loving Couples Follow

Trending in Relationships

1 The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You 2 The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life 3 How to Improve Intimacy in Your Marriage and Rekindle the Passion 4 What To Do If My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me 5 Why You Feel Lonely In Your Marriage And How To Deal With It

Read Next


Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.


It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.


Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.


1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.


6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via

Read Next