Teasing and messing around in a relationships is totally healthy, but there’s a fine line between being cute and receiving constant criticism. And when this comes from your husband, this constant bringing you down can break your self-confidence. I In order to maintain a certain level of respect in a relationship that ensures mutual regard and politeness, it’s important to know when you’re being funny, and when you’re being rude.
Constructive criticism is something that you should take and try to implement in your life, but if you’re being constantly criticized by your husband about your looks and the things that you can’t change about yourself, you should know that things are not going to end well.
Constantly Criticized By Husband For My Looks
Constant criticism from one’s husband can actually change you fundamentally, and not for the better; since he is someone whose opinion you value and respect, everything he says will affect you no matter how hard you try to brush it off. Unless you take some steps to establish a healthier dynamic, this is going to end up a toxic relationship with bad blood.
When I was in a good place and had a healthy relationship with my body, my husband was not satisfied and constantly pointed out my pudgy arms and not-so-flat tummy. I didn’t now how to deal with body shaming, because I had never experienced it before. Whether it was my hair or my smile or my eyes, my husband never complimented my appearance, rather he made sure I knew he found me and all my features unattractive.
First it was my teeth
Mine was an arranged marriage. Three days before our engagement, my fiancé invited me to go shopping. I was thrilled that he’d missed me. However, he greeted me with, “I think your teeth are quite large. They look awful sometimes. Can you get braces? And it would be great if you can do this tomorrow. Please don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I want you to be more beautiful.”
I was taken aback. After I went back home I called him and told him that I was badly hurt, to which he replied, “I can’t help it. As soon I see you smiling with your teeth on display, my love disappears. Get the braces done, then everything will be alright.”
I was shocked. I pointed out that my looks would change with time; if his love was affected by my looks, he needed to rethink our relationship. We could call the wedding off. He protested and asked me not to say anything to my parents. I gave him and our relationship a second chance. This was the biggest mistake of my life.
Related Reading: 10 Questions every girl should ask before an arranged marriage
He never appreciated me
My parents and my friends adored me. Everybody appreciated my height, my smile. I modelled in college fashion shows. I topped the board exam in English and helped a friend learn English for campus placements. On the other hand, my new husband criticized everything I do.
He showed his ‘concern’ by pointing out new shortcomings every day. “Why don’t you interact with the salesmen in English when we go shopping?” “Please don’t smile showing all your teeth, it looks too ugly! Try smiling with your lips closed.” I was beginning to wonder – are we a toxic couple?
My husband wanted me to lose weight, but it wasn’t coming from a good place – he would point at my stretch marks and tell me he found them disgusting. “Please join a gym and lose weight.” “Please dress properly when we go out with my friends, they all dress so perfectly!” “I saw you sleeping on the train yesterday. Why does your mouth open when you sleep? It looks so disgusting!” And he always added, “It’s for your own good.”
I began to question our marriage
Earlier when I would look in the mirror, I liked what I saw. After my marriage, I only stared back at the reflection and asked myself, “Why does my husband criticize me constantly? Will I ever be good enough for anyone?” Eventually I realized that he wasn’t turning me into a better person, but degrading my self-worth.
Our honeymoon was marked by a fight because I wouldn’t get braces. The fights and arguments continued and by the third day, my health started to suffer. I wasn’t feeling well at all and he asked me, “Why are you so stressed? Is it because of our arguments over your teeth?” I nodded.
He replied, “Okay, I won’t bring it up ever again!” I heaved a sigh of relief until he said, “Why don’t you get your braces done and put an end to our argument forever?” I had no words left. I wanted to book a flight back home that very instant, but the trip had already been paid for and all our money would go down the drain.
Related Reading: 10 signs you need to break off your engagement.
Things reached a breaking point
My husband always criticized me in front of his friends and family (“You shouldn’t feel bad. I’m your partner. I do have the right to point out something that’s not good about you”), but he would act so caring and loving in front of my parents, friends and relatives.
I always gave in, as I was an emotional fool and loved him; initially, I never spoke up when I felt bad. I told my friends that my husband would criticize everything I do and they told me to talk things over with him. But I wanted him to realize he was hurting me. But as usual, he just ignored it.
After four months of our marriage, I gathered the courage to tell him it was over. He started crying, “My ways could be wrong but my intentions are pure. Please give me one last chance to prove my love. You can leave me if I hurt you ever again.” I stayed on, giving him multiple second chances and he carried on, hurting me in new ways.
He began to control me
He’d wake me up for a glass of milk. He took my debit card away and gave me a weekly allowance from the money I earned and putting away the rest saying my salary would go towards our savings. I’d have to account for all my spending, while he got angry when I asked him once about his. So I took my card back and started using it.
Ten months after our wedding, I got sick of my husband always criticizing me, so I left and moved to a different city to pursue my PhD. He’s still busy looking for things I should improve through pictures.
One day, many months later, I accepted a video call from him, hoping an for apology or at least a compliment, but I shouldn’t have expected better from a husband that criticizes everything I do. But I had learnt how to move on without closure. I wasn’t one to wallow in sadness anymore and I knew what was best for me.
I replied, “I want a divorce.” I don’t deserve anything less than a super loving husband. I gathered all my strength, explained to my parents all about the constant criticism from husband that had reached a point of toxicity, and moved out for good.
Freedom and self-love are two lessons that I preach, and I have learnt not to give that up for anyone. Never change yourself for anyone, and especially not for someone who doesn’t see you for what you are – beautiful, true, and independent.
If he’s giving you constructive criticism that may actually be beneficial for you, take it. But if he finds you unattractive because of the way you look, you know what you’re worth, so find someone who will actually value you.
You’re human. And like any normal human you have feelings and emotions, and you need to communicate that with him. Do your best for you. Lose weight for you. Not for anybody else.