15 Signs Your Wife Disrespects You (And How You Should Deal With It)

Working On the Marriage | |
Updated On: March 29, 2024
disrespectful wife

Picture this: Your wife doesn’t care about your interests. She forces you to watch movies, dine out, or go for trips, all on her whims and according to her taste. She doesn’t let you meet your friends and often makes fun of you in public. We’re sorry to break it to you, my friend, but you’re probably dealing with a disrespectful wife.

Maintaining a healthy and happy relationship after marriage is not a cakewalk. Typically, couples begin to take each other for granted as they become more settled and comfortable in the relationship. But if, in that process, partners lose respect for each other, it can be difficult to sustain the relationship in the long run.

So, you should stand up and counter your wife, the moment you begin to notice the signs she doesn’t respect you. Every jibe, every snide remark, and every potshot she takes at you can not only chip away at your self-esteem but also deal a blow to the strength of your marital bond. In such a situation, it is crucial to understand how to deal with a disrespectful wife and protect yourself (and possibly your marriage, if the issues don’t run too deep). To that end, let’s take a look at the signs your wife disrespects you and also a few tips on how to deal with the situation.

Who Is A Disrespectful Wife?

Before getting to how to deal with a disrespectful wife, you should know how to identify one. In a marriage, each partner may cause hurt to the other, albeit inadvertently. What we mean is that just because she remarked on you having gained weight or joked about you at a party, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she wished to disrespect you.

To be called disrespectful, there must be a pattern of damaging behavior. When wives disrespect husbands, they become selfish in their relationships and disregard their spouses’ needs, wants, and opinions. In other words, they show zero respect for your self-esteem.

A Reddit user shares his experience of dealing with a disrespectful wife: “This morning, as we were getting ready for work, my wife wanted to borrow a couple of items of mine. I let her but realized after a few minutes that one of the items was something I myself needed that day. I let her know and offered her a very similar item that would have worked for her needs.

Related Reading: How Saying Hurtful Things In A Relationship Affects It

“She resisted and refused, got mad, and decided not to borrow anything of mine at all. Her voice raised at me as she expressed her frustration that I wouldn’t let her use one of the items of mine that she wanted. She got passive-aggressive and withheld love and a kiss before walking out the door.” Now that you know what a wife who disrespects her husband looks like, let’s take a look at some signs that show how little she cares about you.

15 Signs Your Wife Disrespects You

Wives tend to disrespect husbands when they know they will get away with it and their spouses won’t stand up for themselves. The situation can become messier if a man has a manipulative wife, fond of playing mind games to always get her way. What you need to do in such situations is push back at the right time, set boundaries, make sure she doesn’t overstep, and then call out her disrespectful behavior.

Related Reading: 13 Signs He Disrespects You And Does Not Deserve You

However, unless you know the signs of lost respect in the relationship, you will neither be able to help your wife improve nor will be able to salvage your relationship. Here’s what a Reddit user had to say about the signs he noticed while dealing with a disrespectful wife: “When she is mad with me she will take off her wedding ring. Sticks up for the kids over me. Stays upstairs instead of downstairs with me.”

These are some clear signs of disrespect in a marriage. Let’s take a look at 15 other such signs your wife doesn’t respect you:

1. She ridicules you or abuses you verbally

One of the clear signs your wife doesn’t respect you is that she picks on you in front of others and has fun at your expense. Of course, an occasional jibe or joke at your expense can be tolerated, even if you don’t appreciate it. However, watch out for these red flags:

  • She often makes fun of you in front of her friends or family
  • She uses your private arguments to shame you publicly

Verbal abuse can be terribly damaging to a person’s mental health. On this, psychologist Neha Anand says, verbal abuse can “…be wrapped in sly humor. Unlike physical abuse, it doesn’t leave visible bruises or broken bones, but it can be deeply tormenting and torturous just the same.” Such disrespect from your wife is also emotionally draining. You could feel depressed and even isolate yourself because of this.

2. She has constant complaints

Do you often feel, no matter what you do, your wife does not seem to be satisfied or happy? Your wife often nags you to become a better person and complains about things that should not even matter in the first place. For instance,

  • She is not satisfied with your pay package
  • She criticizes the way you look
  • She is unhappy with the friends you have

It is as if nothing you do is good for her. These are signs of a disrespectful wife.

signs your wife doesn't respect you
Your wife tends to complain a lot

3. She doesn’t listen to you

If your wife has lost respect for you, it is possible that she won’t even have the courtesy to listen to you. In such cases, a wife that disrespects her husband:

  • May give excuses to avoid talking to him
  • May stonewall her husband or give him the silent treatment for days, weeks, or even months
  • May seem distracted when her husband tries to talk to her and may not be interested in hearing about his triumphs or struggles

Related Reading: Is Stonewalling Abuse? How to Deal With Emotional Stonewalling?

4. She shuns her responsibilities

One of the signs of a disrespectful wife is that she will not make any effort to share domestic responsibilities. Remember, if two people don’t have an equal share in household chores and other responsibilities, the marriage can get tricky!

Stuart, my coworker, faced a similar situation and once asked me haplessly, “My wife doesn’t respect me, should I divorce her?” Stuart’s wife not only failed to take his ailing mother to the doctor while he was away on a trip but also created a huge drama upon being questioned about her neglectful ways. So, you see, a wife that disrespects her husband cannot be a life partner in true earnest.

5. She keeps secrets from you

Another one of the clear signs your wife doesn’t respect you is when she hides things, big and small, from you. In a marriage, both spouses are supposed to know about each other’s lives and are expected to share their dreams and failures with each other. However, if your wife keeps secrets from you about her personal life and you get to know about them from someone else, do not ignore this red flag. Her secretive ways are one of the main signs of disrespect in your relationship.

6. She blatantly flirts with others in front of you

One of the biggest signs of disrespect is when the fact that she is married to you does not stop her from flirting with others. Sometimes, right in front of you. This means that your feelings no longer matter to her. When such flirting becomes unhealthy and your wife unabashedly expresses her interest in other men, it can be extremely insulting for you. So, she could be flirting with the waiter while on a date night with you or with one of your coworkers at an office party. This may even leave you wondering, “My wife disrespects me, should I leave her?”

a wife that disrespects her husband
She doesn’t hide her interest in other men

7. She is no longer your support system

Your spouse is someone who should stand by your side and be your rock, come what may. However, if she does not support you or help you in times of need, it’s one of the most obvious signs your wife doesn’t respect you. Her taunting, sarcastic, condescending attacks on you may continue unabated in such cases, irrespective of what you’re going through. If you’re looking for some clear signs your wife doesn’t respect you and takes you for granted, ask yourself if you can be vulnerable in front of her. Talk about a recent failure and see if she consoles you or mocks you.

Related Reading: The 7 Fundamentals Of Support In A Relationship

8. She becomes physically distant

When your wife starts neglecting your sexual needs, she has probably started to disrespect you as a person. In such cases, you may find yourself stuck in a sexless marriage and yet be attached to her emotionally. My friend, Kevin, found himself in a similar situation when his wife wouldn’t even let him hug or kiss her. And every time he initiated sex, she would either get a ‘headache’ or ‘feel sleepy’. He eventually realized she had no respect left for his physical needs.

9. She is unwilling to compromise

Any long-term relationship requires compromises and adjustments from both partners. However, for a wife that disrespects her husband, giving up her stance or finding a middle ground to resolve differences isn’t even an option. It’s always ‘my way or the highway’ for her. In such cases, relationship burnout may be around the corner. This is also one of the glaring signs of lack of respect in marriage.

For example, my neighbor, Helen, was unwilling to change her spending habits when the couple was going through a financial crunch. She would still dine in at expensive restaurants and buy branded clothes. But she expected her husband, Calvin, to give up his gym membership and spend less on clothes and grooming.

Related Reading: Empath Vs Narcissist – The Toxic Relationship Between An Empath And A Narcissist

10. You are not a priority for her anymore

My cousin, Logan, found himself heartbroken when his wife, Ashley, decided to take off on a trip with her girl gang on the very day that he returned home from a three-week-long work trip. And that too, on their anniversary. When he voiced his displeasure to Ashley, she retorted by saying she had forgotten about the anniversary and that the trip had already been paid for.

Well, this is an instance where the husband had slipped so far below on the wife’s list of priorities that his happiness didn’t matter to her. Clearly, his emotional needs in the relationship were constantly being ignored, overlooked, and even purposefully left unmet. This was, in other words, a case of emotional abuse. If this is a situation you can relate to, there is little room for doubt that your wife is disrespectful and that your best interest is of no value to her.

11. She constantly undermines you

One of the signs of lack of respect in marriage is when she is determined to undermine you every step of the way. Here are some such instances:

  • You request her not to discuss your private matters in public, you can rest assured that’s exactly how she’s going to act the next day
  • You tell the children to finish their meals or get ready for bed, and she will override you and let them do as they please

Eventually, it will come to a point where you will have no voice in your own home. This is one of the signs of a disrespectful wife.

Related Reading: Is Indifference Or Disrespect Equivalent To Cheating On Spouse?

12. She demeans you on social media

Your wife is definitely disrespectful if she doesn’t show basic decency to you on social media. These days, when social media affects our relationships so much, any form of degradation on online platforms amounts to harassment or disrespect. So, she may:

  • Flirt publicly with others on Facebook or Instagram
  • Post indirect jibes or direct rants about your personal issues, making you seem like the villain
  • Join hands with friends to ridicule you online
Toxic relationship with wife counseling

13. She compares often

One of the glaring signs of lack of respect in marriage could be constant comparisons, placing you beneath certain imaginary standards and making you feel insignificant. So, she could be:

  • Comparing you to her former boyfriends: This could be about looks, jobs, or sexual performance
  • Comparing your relationship to that of her friends: This could include comparisons about status or children, for instance, whether their children go to better schools than yours or whether they go on more expensive vacations

Related Reading: Comparison Trap – What It Is And How To Get Out

14. She makes money a major issue in arguments

Oftentimes, in relationships, finances can be a deal-breaker. Money issues, such as one partner earning more than the other, can lead to major rifts. And money can also be a major factor for disrespect. Watch out for these signs when you wonder if your wife is disrespecting you:

  • She taunts you for earning less
  • She makes super-expensive purchases using your credit card but doesn’t tell you about them until you ask her
  • She doesn’t reveal major financial expenditures, such as costly gym subscriptions or high-end shopping

15. She doesn’t care about your boundaries

One of the most significant signs that she disrespects you is when you feel you have no healthy boundaries. So, in such cases, she may:

  • Call her friends over without asking you if you’re okay with it
  • Barge into your room and switch on the TV when you’re sleeping or working on your laptop
  • Order in the food of her choice without asking what you’d like to have

Related Reading: 9 Examples Of Emotional Boundaries In Relationships

Why Does My Wife Not Respect Me?

Now that you’ve seen how a wife who disrespects her husband behaves, it’s time to think about what the root cause of that disrespect is since that’s going to take you one step closer to understanding how to move toward a healthy relationship. Only when you understand where all her resentment is coming from, will you be able to focus on removing the problem from its very root. If questions or concerns like “Why is my wife so mean to me?” or “I don’t understand why I have a disrespectful spouse” have been weighing heavy on your mind, you may want to consider the following reasons:

1. She isn’t happy with your financial condition

In many cases, wives disrespect husbands due to resentment related to monetary issues. In such cases:

  • She may be dissatisfied with your financial status
  • She may want you to be more ambitious
  • She may want you to cut down on unnecessary expenses
  • She may want you to focus on future financial planning to buy a car or a house

Related Reading: 8 Ways To Fight Respectfully With Your Spouse

2. She isn’t happy with your sex life

A common reason for a wife to be disrespectful is that she has already checked out of the marriage because of a bad sex life. If you don’t make her happy in bed in the manner that you once did, she’s naturally going to grow disrespectful, since she’s in a marriage she doesn’t feel content in. She could be having an affair, for all you know.

3. You’re disrespectful to her

A husband disrespectful to wife will naturally beget a disrespectful wife. If you’ve been asking yourself questions like, “Why is my wife so mean to me?”, perhaps, you might need to introspect a little about your behavior as well. Try and answer questions such as:

  • Are you in any way rude to your partner?
  • Did she think you were rude to her even when you weren’t trying to be rude?

Sometimes, you’re the problem in your relationship. However, the first step toward healing is acknowledging such difficult things.

4. She has unresolved issues

If she’s battling her own demons and her mental health is in tatters due to unresolved issues and past relationship trauma, she may take it out on you by being disrespectful. For example, an insecure person often projects their insecurities onto their partner, making them feel suffocated. So, it’s quite possible that:

  • She was made to feel insecure by her parents in childhood
  • She was verbally or physically abused by a former partner
  • She may have developed mental health issues due to abuse by someone else apart from her parents or ex-partner

Related Reading: 11 Signs You Are In A Codependent Marriage

5. Her emotional needs are unmet

One probable reason why she disrespects you could be because her emotional needs remain unfulfilled. So, you may have come across as cold and unresponsive to her when she needed you the most. In life’s most challenging moments, a shoulder to cry on is what a person wants the most. And a husband disrespectful to wife can never expect love in return unless he mends his ways.


7 Ways To Deal With A Disrespectful Wife

Wondering how to make your wife respect you? Can you really salvage a broken marriage where a wife disrespects her husband? Handling a disrespectful wife may not be an easy situation to navigate. After all, choosing between your marriage and self-respect is not a simple decision to make. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an either-or situation. Perhaps you can take a step toward healing as a couple. We hope you make some progress with these 7 ways:

1. Do not get offended

If you’re constantly telling yourself, “My wife is disrespectful and it infuriates me to no end”, we feel you. You see, even if your wife is verbally abusive or behaves rudely with you often, you need to remember that it’s only your emotions that you can control, not hers.

So, try your best to not get offended or reciprocate by lashing out. Reacting adversely will only make your relationship messier and create more problems. So, instead, practice restraint and keep a handle on your emotions when hers are running amok. This is the first step to deal with a disrespectful wife.

Related Reading: Importance of Respect In A Relationship

2. Communicate

The only way to get to the bottom of this behavior pattern is through effective and open communication. Here’s what you can do:

  • Approach her with the right frame of mind, in a calm manner
  • Select an appropriate time and place to talk to your wife about her behavior. Make sure the setting is distraction-free
  • Have an open conversation, without any blame-game
  • Put to use some conflict resolution skills. Ask her what is wrong and lend a helping hand to help her improve her rude behavior toward you

Find out what unresolved relationship issues or feelings of resentment are causing her to behave this way. Make sure it’s not you who’s causing her to behave this way.

3. Give her the necessary personal space and time

Give her ample time, so that she can reflect on your perspective in a distraction-free mental space. This will also perhaps show her how much you respect her needs and wishes. Or that you can sense her mood and respond positively. Space in relationships can really help you turn this into a winning situation.

4. Confide in a best friend/relative or seek professional counseling

You can reach a point in your relationship when the disrespect from your wife can begin to take its toll on your mental health as well as the health of your marriage. You may complain, “My wife is disrespectful and I don’t know how to save my marriage.”

Well, in such cases, it may be time to seek external help. Confide in a close friend/relative whom you trust to give you safe and sound advice on whether you should start a new chapter in life or try to fix your marriage. The opinion of a trusted confidante can give you a whole new perspective on how to deal with your disrespectful spouse.

Couples counseling or couples therapy is another way to save your marriage and sort out the differences. An experienced marriage counselor can help you with some professional advice and get you to work through the troublesome emotions arising out of this situation. If you’re looking for help, Bonobology’s counseling services are only a click away.

Related Reading: Does Marriage Counseling Work In Solving Relationship Issues?

5. Be ready to move on

If you’re still confused about how to deal with a disrespectful wife, remember, while you try to mend ways with a wife who doesn’t value you, you have to know if she can actually come back to respecting you or if the relationship is worth saving. But just in case nothing works out, be sure it’s not you who’s at fault, and be ready to move on and begin a new chapter. Remember, a disrespectful spouse is never going to make you happy.

6. Set clear boundaries

To deal with a wife who disrespects you, you need to be firm as far as your boundaries are concerned. So, stop letting snide remarks or rude behavior slide and start being assertive and taking charge. Neha says, “Being assertive is also about refusing to participate in an unproductive relationship argument, which is what a lot of verbal abusers get into.” Here’s what you can do:

Deal With A Disrespectful Wife
You need to make sure your boundaries are strong
  • Let them know that certain comments or jokes aren’t supposed to be made when in public
  • Make sure you tell them not to talk to others on the phone or switch on the TV when you’re working in your room
  • Let them know that anger and ego issues need to be resolved and not carried forward to the next day

Related Reading: 15 Critical Boundaries In Marriage Experts Swear By

7. Don’t internalize the disrespect

Remember, it’s your personal responsibility to maintain your sanity. When you’re constantly being hurt and disrespected by your wife, it’s very natural to fall into the trap of self-blame and start suffering from low self-esteem. So, don’t internalize the disrespect or engage in negativity. Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Focus on diverting your mind
  • Spend time nurturing a hobby that develops your sense of self-worth
  • Meditate or maintain a journal that helps you collate your positive thoughts

Key Pointers

  • Occasional criticism or constructive feedback doesn’t mean you have a wife who disrespects you
  • Some signs of a wife who disrespects her husband are ridicule or verbal abuse, constant complaints, and flirting with others
  • Reasons why she disrespects you could include your disrespectful behavior toward her, her past trauma, or her dissatisfaction with your financial condition
  • A few tips to deal with a wife who disrespects you are as follows: avoid getting offended, communicate, set clear boundaries, and get professional help

Respect and love are like two sides of the same coin. If any of these is missing, your relationship can’t survive the test of time. So, think about this carefully and make a decision wisely. Remember, it’s not you who’s at fault all the time. So, don’t internalize the abuse.

There is no single solution to how to deal with your wife when she disrespects you. In this article, we’ve provided a few answers, but it’s not an exhaustive list and it’s up to you to make a choice. So, if your wife disrespects you, you have every right to treat the disrespect as a big deal and either fix it or come out of the abusive relationship and start a new chapter. You have to do what’s in your best interest. Also remember that if two people in a marriage want to sort things out, they can come out of any situation, no matter how bad it may be.


1. My wife doesn’t respect me, should I divorce her?

Unless your marriage has turned toxic, that is, unless it negatively affects your mental or physical health and if you’re not in any immediate danger, you may want to give some thought to fixing your marriage. Try out methods like couples counseling to help you get to the bottom of the disrespect and what you can do about it, before you jump to a divorce. However, the decision is ultimately yours to make.

2. How do you deal with a mean wife?

Start by understanding the cause of her hatred, and start working on it together, as a team. Do not get offended at the things she says since this situation is going to demand a lot of patience from you. Give her space to deal with her issues, and don’t be afraid to try out couples counseling. Remember, a marriage can work only if two people want it to.

3. What is a toxic wife?

A toxic wife is one that negatively affects your mental or physical health. For example, she may show a pattern of belligerent disrespect, by humiliating you in public every time you go out or she may be physically abusive.

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Readers Comments On “15 Signs Your Wife Disrespects You (And How You Should Deal With It)”

  1. Well it’s funny because I wonder what the man did before his wife decided to prioritize herself. It’s simple. Often men think they do nothing wrong. I wonder. Did he defend her In Front of his family and friends? Did he stand by her? Did he support her? Did he value her opinions more than he valued his mother’s or his friend’s opinion? Did he blame her for not seeing his family enough? Did he get insulted and offended each time she was trying to make a point about how to make their life better? Did he really prioritize his wife over anyone else? Yeah. I’d say she was right to prioritize herself and stop thinking that her husband was her family. Because men often don’t get this. Women nag. Because they care. If they don’t care, they would just stop talking. When a strong woman is disrespected and undervalued and unappreciated too often, her soul and mind would leave the relationship, and u can’t blame her for that. Stonewalling haha. Where were you when she was trying to talk to you?

  2. My wife of 30 years we love each other at times. Butstressed with each other here lately. She likes to pick things that could have no matter whatsoever. She disrespects me. When she feels like it.another lady has been interested in me for over 2 years. But she is kind and sweet to me she doesn’t stress me out at all. When she texts me she’s always asking how was my night and how am I doing. That’s the kind of person that I want to be with. What should I do.

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