It takes two to tango, they say. What are the reasons behind resentments between couples? What women want is often discussed. But what is it that men want? What irritates them in a relationship? Sex is a hidden reason behind most disagreements among couples. And dissatisfaction with sex lives is a less discussed reason in urban India for marital discord, confirms Kolkata based Dr Rima Mukherji, a practicing psychiatrist with almost 2 decades of experience. Here are the top 5 factors that irritate men-
1. Wife’s relations with in-laws and extended family: An important reason why resentment comes into relationships from husbands or men is when they expect wives to treat their extended family with respect and work towards maintaining relationships. When the wives refuse to comply or adjust, it leads to discord.
These fights arise from double standards in how boys and girls are conditioned differently by the patriarchal society. Women in urban India, and especially working women, find it difficult to cope with demands from husbands. Men get irritated when wives nag them about in-laws or their relatives. They take it for granted that the wife will take care of the husband’s family.
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2. Past relationships or friendships with other men: Men, being men, understand what other men may want from their wives, says Dr Mukherjee. Sometimes misunderstandings occur when women are not able to gauge the advances of male friends and their husbands point them out. Social media plays an important role here nowadays. Women begin to feel that the husband, who was so liberal during courtship, is suddenly intruding into their space, whereas the husband is only trying to point out the intentions of other men to his wife, often disapproving of friendships with opposite sex. Jealousy, because of the wife’s past relationships is also common among men.
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3. Finances: Other than the fact that husband and wife may rationalise the expenditures differently, in urban couples, there are differences when it comes to deciding their individual contributions when both of them work. Men don’t like it when women nag them for finances and if women refuse to contribute towards the household when they work.
Men also get irritated when wives who don’t earn pose demands that cannot be met. Discord also arises when partners want to contribute money towards extended family without the other’s approval.
– Dr Rima Mukherji, Consultant Psychiatrist at Woodlands Multi-Speciality Hospital, Kolkata
4. Work: Work can be divided into two categories: jobs and household work. When it comes to jobs, ego clashes occur when wives do financially or professionally better than or equivalent to husbands in urban settings. Expectations from women about household chores don’t change even in urban India. Women, on the other hand, feel resentment if the husband or his family does not give her credit for her professional achievements.
When it comes to household work and child rearing, men typically take the back seat and women are expected to take care of things; if the child is sick, for instance, the mother is expected to stay at home. Also, families don’t approve of men doing domestic work or taking care of the children, adding to further resentment between the couple.
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5. Sex: Dr Mukherjee says sex is often a ‘hidden’ reason behind many couple fights! Differences in sex drive between husband and wife are a major issue here and she breaks the myth that it is always men who have a greater sex drive. She feels often rural men talk more openly about sex problems than urban men, perhaps rooted in the way people in urban areas in India are socialised.
Men essentially feel insecure reporting erectile problems. In many cases, these problems surface when couples want children. In urban settings, it causes resentment in women if their sex lives are not good. But expectations from wives in such relationships are often still the same. Many women don’t report erectile dysfunction in their husbands because it becomes a matter of shame among friends and family for them. It causes resentment when the woman feels unfulfilled after adjusting/compromising in the marriage and fulfilling all expectations of the husband.