“I Despise My Husband”

My husband and I married when I was 18 and he was 19, and we have now been married for 3.5 years. Although people said we were too young to get married, I didn’t listen. As a result, I truly despise my husband. He has developed this disgustingly negative outlook on things (a bit of that was there before being married but it wasn’t the theme of his life as it is now). He lives his entire life judging everyone that he should just buy a throne. And he is becoming so far politically leftist you can barely converse with him on anything without getting a huge lecture, debate, and usually a fight.

It’s not that he’s abusive to me or even neglectful; I just plain DO NOT like him or being around him. If I met him now, I would not only not be attracted to him, I would probably truly dislike him. Honestly, there are only a handful of times since 2010 where I thought, “I really like being around you, I can do this.” But how do you tell someone who isn’t abusive or even necessarily a bad husband that you just don’t like him? I want a divorce because I could be with someone whom I really make more sense with, and he could be with someone who truly loves him, but it doesn’t seem fair to divorce someone who hasn’t technically done anything wrong.

My therapist suggested we go on more dates, but we do that all the time, and we have a pretty normal sex life as well, and it hasn’t helped me foster feelings for my husband. What should I do? — Feeling like the Wicked Witch

It’s great that you’re in therapy, but have you considered going to therapy with your husband as a couple? It may not save your marriage — and, frankly, nothing you’ve said sounds like you WANT to save you marriage — but if nothing else, having a mediator would help you both communicate the things you find difficult to say (like that you aren’t happy and want a divorce). What I would NOT say to your husband if I were you is that you despise him and can’t stand being in his company. Instead, focus on how you think you’ve grown apart and are no longer the best match for one another that you each deserve. Divorces can get ugly and messy, but they don’t have to be. If you remain civil, so can your divorce. Start making personal attacks and you may be in for a long, unpleasant breakup.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    “I completely DESPISE my husband because HE has a disgustingly negative outlook!”

    Oh, the irony…

    1. Guy Friday says:

      Amen to that. And the “we have a normal sex life” thing? So you despise him but still have sex with him regularly? That doesn’t even make sense.

      I mean, I’d suggest going to couples therapy too, but what’s the point if you’ve already closed your mind to the possibility of fixing the relationship? How about TRYING that before throwing away a marriage?

      1. That caught me too – I mean, I don’t know about most people but I can’t have a normal sex life with someone I despise. Sure, some mean-spirited sex is good, but not conducive to a “normal” sex life.

      2. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        Is it weird that that was the thing that stuck out to me too. I don’t know how you can have a normal sex life with someone you hate. Is he so amazing at sex that it works? or does the LW have an awesome imagination? So many questions.

      3. I find it hard to imagine that it’s good sex, maybe it just occurs at a frequency that she considers “normal”.

      4. Yeah. It’s probably just routine at this point. Or maybe she doesn’t know how much better it can be!

      5. That’s sort of what I was thinking. I have much better sex now than when I was 21, and I didn’t know what I was missing at the time.

      6. Avatar photo gillociraptor says:

        I never despised my ex, but even when I was totally over our relationship and annoyed by pretty much everything he did (but I was too chickenshit to break up with him because I was dumb), we had (really bad) sex regularly, because he wanted to and I didn’t feel like arguing about it.

        So, that could be a possibility.

      7. Yeah, I also think if they had a regular (frequency) sex life the entire time, consistently refusing sex would force her to unpack the rest of her issues before she’s ready? (In other words, a conversation like, “why do you never want sex anymore?” / “because, because—because I hate you! I HATE YOU” could happen. It seems like she wants to be certain the relationship is Over before telling him it’s not working)

      8. Avatar photo gillociraptor says:

        Exactly. It’s hard to have the “why don’t you want me anymore” conversation if you haven’t even decided for yourself why, exactly, your feelings have changed. Not that there needs to be a specific reason, but people generally want a specific reason.

      9. Sort of true. I think she does indeed have sex to avoid the inevitable explosion. However, I think she already knows for certain that it’s over. What she is waiting for is a soft landing spot. What comes through in the letter is that she is afraid to support herself. It also suggests that she somehow believes she’ll be totally screwed in the divorce procedings, if she can’t point to some huge thing that he has done wrong, like physical abuse or an extra-marital affair. When she talks about leaving not being fair to him, that just doesn’t ring true — she claims to really, truly, totally despise him. She is looking out for her own interests and soft landing. At the moment she’d rather submit to twice weekly provision of sexual services than getting a full-time job.

      10. I’m not that surprised by the sex part so much as that I’m wondering how obvious it is that she despises him. I mean, I get being a good actor, but she like hates this guy, surely he picks up on that, right? I’m just curious about what their day-to-day relationship is like. Eye-rolling? Sniping at him?

      11. Avatar photo gillociraptor says:

        I think that there are a lot of possibilities for that.

        One could be that “despise” is too strong a word, generally, for how the LW feels, but when she wrote in, that’s how she felt.

        Another could be that she’s more passive than he is, giving him the feeling that lecturing the LW is simply part of their relationship dynamic.

        He might not notice how she reacts to things once he gets going talking about something.

        He may really enjoy having political debates, and think it’s really fun/a stimulating conversation until it turns into an actual fight. (I briefly dated a guy like this, and he hated that I agreed with him on most things; I hated that he wanted to fight me.)

        They’re young, so they may both be immature in how they react to things or inexperienced in interpreting reactions; so LW’s husband may interpret any signs of resentment as status quo, especially since the LW mentions that she hasn’t really been happy throughout the relationship.

      12. Yeah, I mean, I wasn’t expecting that she was starting fights or lecturing, but this sounds kind of like the whole contempt thing, which I think can be hard to hide. At least, if I feel that way about someone, I tend to be short with them, etc. I’d be surprised if she NEVER snapped at him or anything…

      13. Avatar photo gillociraptor says:

        Oh, I don’t think she’s lecturing. She mentions him lecturing her and starting fights i the letter.

        I know that when I snapped at my ex for stuff, he either ignored it, or didn’t realize how upset I actually was and downplayed things. He just wasn’t good at processing other people’s emotions.

      14. Ah, OK, I misread what you said. I guess I did wonder if he’s picked up on it, but my main point was just that I was curious how her feelings manifested in their relationship. Not so much whether he was observant enough, but whether she was being obvious or not.

      15. I’m not trying to discredit what you were saying, btw, because that totally makes sense that he might not pick up on it. Especially if he is as self-absorbed as she makes him out to be. I’m just so curious because of how hostile she is about him about what their life is like!

      16. Avatar photo gillociraptor says:

        I didn’t think you were trying to discredit me 🙂

        I do know a lot of people who are way more hostile about others when the person in question isn’t around. Most of those people are also guilty of vaguebooking, though.

      17. By the end of my last relationship, I resented the hell out of my ex. At the time, I wasn’t able to admit to myself how deeply I disliked him in the last couple months leading up to our breakup. Speaking from that experience, I think the feeling of “normalcy” comes simply from regularly going through the motions.

      18. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        As my two relationships (prior to meeting my now husband) began to fall apart and I started to dislike them more and more, sex was the one thing that stayed good or got better. It was like the one activity I could do with the guy that didn’t make me want to strangle him. The relationships each morphed into a chain of arguments and make up sex. So, I kind of get it.

      19. Right, because when you’re having sex, he’s not able to do all those other little things that annoy you. Not hard to see how that’s a little island of “normal” in an otherwise unhealthy relationship.

        I’m actually jealous of those above who don’t get how this can happen. That means they value themselves and their happiness enough to never have fallen into this position. It actually kinda sucks to be able to empathize with the LW on this note.

      20. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I have never been able to hate fuck. I quit having sex with Ethan a few weeks before I moved out and it was really noticeable. Noticeable in that it just stopped, which was weird, but not noticeable to me in the sense that I didn’t really know why I didn’t want to. It was like my vagina just shut down. My vagina knew I was over him before I did. It’s such a smart little shit.

      21. Oh no, I can’t hate fuck either. Does not compute. But I guess my vagina has more of an “Eh, whatever” attitude. So even in my lowest moments, it wasn’t really hate-fucking, it was apathy-fucking. It works only through complete disassociation with what’s going on and with whom. And over time that can come to feel normal, and you don’t even notice how truly terrible and sad that is until someone else calls you on it and you see what you’ve actually been doing all those times you had “normal” sex. 🙁

      22. Exactly. Disassociation is the right word. People do it all the time. Eh…more men than women I think but yeah, the LW is definitely past the point of wanting anything between them to work out. Personally, it’s hard for me to have great sex w/ my partner if things aren’t right b/w us. But if I were to mentally check out, of course, I could have sex as a normal thing and still keep it moving.

      23. God I totally get this. I would actually have sex with MrAM more when we were in our Most Horriffic times because it was the ONLY thing I liked about him and I desperately wanted to remember that and feel connected to him someway, somehow. So I’d bang the ever living daylights out of him constantly trying to grasp onto our connection.

        That worked out okay in the end for us but um man honestly I don’t remember ever being that hateful to MrAM… poor LW. She needs to get over herself and DTMFA.

  2. LW, it sounds like you have made up your mind. So cut your losses. You don’t want to save this. If you were ready to work on it, then there might be some things you could do but honestly, if you don’t want to save this then you should just leave.

  3. This letter was brimming with SO much resentment that I’d say skip couples therapy, ask for a divorce, and cut your losses now.

    1. Yeah, I agree. She should definitely NOT be like, “Hey, I hate you now” but it’d be perfectly acceptable to admit to him she thinks they married too young, & feels as though they’ve grown incompatible (to a point beyond repair).

      I mean, “there are only a handful of times since 2010 where I thought, ‘I really like being around you, I can do this.’ “??? That’s terrible! And the only reason she doesn’t want to ask for a divorce is because he hasn’t “technically” done anything wrong? LW, you’re allowed to break up with somebody even if they haven’t committed any serious offense. Your feelings of dislike & resentment aren’t going to magically go away.

    2. tbrucemom says:

      Agree, leave him before you accidentally get pregnant. It would be a lot harder then…

  4. First off, you don’t despise your husband simply because you married too young. Second, if you are so convinced that you cannot be happy with your husband, then you would actually be doing him a favor to leave. You don’t need a specific major fault on his part. If you despise him, you don’t belong together.

    1. Why is “we got married too young before we really knew who we each were” not valid? That’s completely valid, and it happens all the time…

      1. I think it was in reference to how the LW equated the two. We got married young, therefore I despise him. Your description makes sense, but it puts an extra step in between what the LW said at the beginning of her letter.

  5. I have to wonder about the therapist you are going to… Is this a religiously based thing that would never suggest divorce? Because it kind of baffles me that any therapist would tell you to just go on more dates. I mean maybe you haven’t even admitted these feelings to your therapist?

    Regardless, just divorce him. I agree with Wendy about being civil and not an asshole about it, but my god your so unhappy, just do it. That is your reason.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I get why the therapist would say go on more dates. Sometimes you get caught up in the day to day and forgot that you ever liked him to begin with, and nice dates might remind you of qualities you like in your partner.
      Obviously, since she hasn’t enjoyed him since 2010, I’d say you’ve given it plenty of time…go be happy!

      1. well, thats my point though- she hasnt even enjoyed his company since 2010. she has no interest in saving the marriage. why would a therapist suggest more dates in that situation?

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, I’d guessed maybe she wasn’t so clear that she was totally not interested in saving the marriage, so the therapist was throwing out ideas under the assumption she hadn’t checked out completely.

      3. Some therapists have a personal agenda. It may be a religious therapist whose belief system says divorce is unacceptable and all marriages must be saved. It may just be a therapist who sees saving the marriage as the job of the therapist, possibly even going to the extent of thinking ‘if she really was totally convinced that she detested the guy and wanted a divorce, she’d be spending her money on a lawyer, rather than me. Busting up marriages ain’t my job.” There are quite a few posters on DW who seem to take the religious view that all marriages must be forever and absent severe abuse, even childless very unhappy marriages must be subjected to massive attempts at resuscitation. The danger in that, of course, is that in the intervening six month or year, a baby comes along and the parent divorce six months later anyway, and then you have a royal mess.

  6. You should probably just get a divorce. I’m not sure many relationships come back from one person despising the other. I sort of know how you feel because I dated a guy for a while who I thought was charmingly curmudgeonly, and then later on, after we were just friends, I started to see how pompous and critical he was. Not someone I despise, but just someone that I couldn’t be around 24/7.

    Anyway, I think it’s really bizarre that you think you should stay married to someone you practically hate just because he hasn’t done anything wrong. Let him go and find someone who actually might like him.

    1. Yeah, there are men in my life whom I like as friends, but I would never date them for one reason or another. The stakes are higher when you’re married. Part of love is like. If you don’t actually like him, then I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to save this marriage. Get a divorce and free both of you to find someone you can live with.

  7. Avatar photo theattack says:

    You don’t divorce someone because they did something wrong. Divorce isn’t a punishment you’re imposing on him. Divorce is for when a relationship is no longer working for whatever reason, and there isn’t any hope of fixing it. If you think you two can work it out, try couples counseling, but it doesn’t sound like you’re even interested in making it work. If you’re not, tell him nicely that you think it’s time to move on.

  8. If my husband despised me I’d want him to do me a favor by leaving me. There’s no way I’d want to create a life with a guy who didn’t even like me. Do him a favor and get out. And while you’re at it, make sure you don’t get pregnant.

    1. Yes!! I hate it when people think they shouldn’t leave someone because there’s no good reason other than not liking them. I mean, why would anyone want to be with someone who doesn’t even like them?!

  9. Sophronisba says:

    If I had a dollar for every over-opinionated, high on his crystal clear vision of the world young man I’ve known, I’d have a few dollars gathered up now just from within my own family. Thankfully, they all appear to be growing out of this obnoxious phase…
    It is easy, too easy, to fall into the trap of blaming it all on the other person. No one operates in a vacuum, which means you are contributing to this dynamic by commission or omission. His brooks-no-dissent high horse attitude and your secretly despising the ground he walks on resentment are equally bad, equally disrespectful, and equally unloving. Is that how you want to roll in this marriage (or out of it?). Get a third party involved to learn how to communicate fairly and cut off this destructive cycle. Right now is the opportunity for you both to “resonate some understanding” and acquire those life skills.

    1. That’s a good point. Sounds like a lot of negative energy in that house. It would definitely be difficult to be a better person in that kind of environment. Though I’m not convinced that there’s much to salvage at this point.

  10. Lemongrass says:

    Things do not have to be a catastrophe before you are allowed to leave. Take control of your life, quit being passive and know that if you are unhappy with how your life turned out it is your fault. You took those steps and you are the only one who can take the steps to a better life.

  11. It sounds like your just looking for someone to say it’s okay to divorce your husband.


    There, now MOA.

  12. Look, you got married young and as you’ve grown up, you and your husband have become totally different people. I don’t think it makes either of you bad people, but it makes you each very different from the person you fell in love with.

    If you want to save this relationship, do what Wendy said and go to couples counseling. But if you truly despise and resent him, I’m not sure what the fix for those feelings are (other than the fact that you’re both still pretty young and as you both continue to grow up he might grow up into someone you like again, as well as love). But are you willing to risk years of being pretty miserable on that possibility?

  13. People grow apart. You two married young, and neither of you were done growing up. You both are still growing up.

    Couples therapy would be good in the aspect that you may find out he wants a divorce too. There is nothing wrong with wanting a divorce because the two of you just aren’t feeling it anymore.

    You can divorce someone when there’s no real “reason” other than you two have grown apart. Do it not only for yourself, but for him as well. Neither of you need to be in a loveless marriage.

    1. mochamadness says:

      Agreed!! I think sometimes people tend to think that physical abuse or infidelity are the only reasons for a divorce. But everyone has the right to be happy, and it seems like neither one of these people are!

  14. I wonder if Wendy would have luck trying a “he said, she said” column (or she/she and he/he) where you have each half of a couple write in with their gripe.

    I wonder what we’d get with today’s LW’s husband, the lefty throne-sitter.

    1. I think that would be super interesting, but the problem is that most of the LWs’ issues seem to stem from not communicating with their partner. So, it seems like very rarely does the other partner actually even know there’s a problem.

      But I’d love to see the other side of all these letters, especially this one!

  15. This could have been written by me before I left my first husband. He, too, had done nothing wrong; I just couldn’t stand him any more. People change; relationships fail, and “wanting to leave is enough.” Leave him so he can find someone who loves him and wants to be around him. You’ll both be happier.

  16. mochamadness says:

    Like a couple of other commenters, I have definitely been this LW before. I got married at 17. I was divorced by the time I was 19, because you change SO much so quickly at that age. When I was younger, my husband (who was 22, btw) was a genius in my eyes. But after a year or so, I realized he was just an overly critical douchebag. The divorce was really messy emotionally because of how immature we both were, so I’d say LW should be aware that it’ll probably get dramatic. However, I think it’s definitely the best course of action for her.

    If you really hate the guy, there’s no reason that either one of you should be stuck in that situation any longer than you already have been.

  17. Disgusted by how every woman here is, OF COURSE, blaming the woman and using this message to tear HER to shreds even though she said her husband is this awful, argumentative human. Let’s talk about how women do nothing these day but try desperately to tear women in relationships down while acting like said woman’s spouse is a saint. Always, ALWAYS, lifting the man up and using this “poor husband” mentality. Gross! You all seem like desperate trash. Women do this in an attempt to look like they’re Team Men so men will like them more. But NEWS FLASH: this is the Internet; you’re not going to meet Prince Charming in the comments section of an, “I despise my husband” post. How about for once reading a post where a woman is fed up with her husband and thinking, “That must suck for her” rather than trying to pick the message apart and FIND ways to throw shade at her and make HER look like she’s unstable. We get it, you like men and desperately want their approval; doesn’t mean you have to trash the female portion of every relationship you ever see. A woman’s husband isn’t going to see you sticking up for him and want you. Nobody is going to want someone so catty and desperate. Nobody.

  18. I can’t think of myself in general of feeling contempt for a ‘negative’ person like your husband. I could eventually strongly dislike such a person, more in the sense of going to be soundly fed up with him/her. To dislike someone is a far cry from despising him/her. I’m thinking therefore that you don’t really despise your husband. But nevertheless it can be said that your relationship has landed at a point where divorce seems to be a real option.


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