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Hi all,

I'm a recovering "nice guy", trying to figure out the best way to deal with my wife's moods. We've been married for 5 years and have always fought a lot, always over very minor things. Even she admits we don't really have any real problems. However, when I do something that annoys her (especially when she is in a mood, is tired, or has other things bottled up), she goes from 0 to 100 in seconds and nothing do can calm her down. She would say a lot of hurtful things about me as a father and husband, stop doing anything that she was supposed to do (class, preplanned trips, meet-ups with our friends, cook, etc) and lock herself in the room. Trying to talk to her, no matter how calmly, only makes her even more incensed.

I used to acquiesce and apologize (even if I didn't do anything wrong), and beg her to move on, but that would just agitate her even more, and she ends up threatening not to talk to me even longer. We had previously gone for counseling where we were given the routine advice for solving squabbles - give each other space+time (20 mins to 1-2 hours), and reconvene to discuss later on. However, anytime I make her mad, she does this for the rest of the day (sometimes the whole weekend) - effectively putting everything on hold while she sulks, and manipulating me to give her her way every time if I want things to be normal.

Since reading No More Mr Nice Guy, I have been trying to stand my ground, be more assertive and not let her affect me. However, it doesn't seem to change anything. She gets even more mad at me for telling her off, and actually ends up giving me the cold shoulder longer than if before. I would be much more able to deal with her immaturity if we didn't have a kid to care for. Right now, if I want my kid to have a family day together on a Saturday, I need to make sure I don't say or do anything to piss off the wife on a Friday. I would be perfectly happy to let her sulk all weekend, if not for the thought of my daughter wanting to spend time with us together.

Outside of these moods, she is a fantastic mother and loving wife. I can keep the peace if I give her what she wants, but every relationship advice I read says that I should not be letting her walk all over me. Counseling did not work and she refuses to do more of it. I know that if I gave her any kind of ultimatum, she would go with the one that ruins the family. I don't think our problems are big enough for divorce, especially with a kid in the picture.

I know this is a lot, but I was hoping to get some advice on the following questions:
  • Does anyone have experience dealing with a partner like this? How do you respond to their behavior?
  • How can I prioritize myself and my needs, while also prioritizing my family and my daughter's needs?
  • Has anybody ignored the conventional wisdom of standing up for oneself, and just bending backwards for their partner for the sake of their family? Did the gains outweigh the losses long-term?

Thanks in advance!
Ah I am so sorry you have to deal with this!

My ex husband use to be like this. I always apologized even though I wasn’t wrong because I wanted to keep the peace in the house and I didn’t want to be in an endless fight with him, which it would of been.

I have no answers for you. When I started to stand my ground it was the beginning of the end of our marriage.

How does one draw boundaries on someone who is willing to remove themselves from your life? It’s impossible.

Can you be married to her as she is now? If not, then you have to fight like hell to get her to change and be willing to walk away if she doesn’t. If you can stay married to her as she is… then there is nothing you can do. I’m sorry.
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