Dilemma: my husband is always angry with me

Katharine Whitehorn / 14 January 2016 ( 06 September 2019 )

A concerned reader writes to agony aunt Katharine Whitehorn about her husband's increasingly angry and aggressive behaviour.

Dilemma: angry husband

My husband and I have been married for 44 years and are both retired with five adult children who no longer live at home. We have always got on well and have a healthy sex life.

I have tended to give in on most issues to keep the peace (I loathe confrontation), but over the past year I have been increasingly worried about my husband’s attitude towards me.

If I disagree about anything he will sometimes blow a fuse and shout at me. He has never done this before and it is quite frightening. 

Could it be a late male menopause, or is he regretting our long marriage? In the end, I have to approach him – sex always brings him round. 

Don’t tell me to talk to him, he sulks after these episodes and it is just impossible.

Katharine Whitehorn's advice

If sex always brings your husband round, I would doubt that it is you and the marriage that are troubling him. 

It’s more likely that he is facing the cruel reality we all have to cope with: that most of his life is over, that there won’t be many – or any – more chances for anything he once wanted. 

You are the nearest and safest target for any explosions of discontent; and of course if he feels you’re trying to boss him at all, that would add to his sense of loss of power. 

But there’s another possibility: that he’s suffering from some physical ailment that is worrying him and that he doesn’t want to face. If you tried to suggest this, though, he’d blast you out of the water. 

You tell me you have five children, so perhaps one of them – preferably the most tactful one – could talk to him. Not necessarily ask him point blank if he’s worried about anything, but try to discover how he feels about himself and his life. 

If there is anything physically wrong, you would then be justified, however furious he may be, in getting him to a doctor.

The facts about the male menopause

Saga readers say...

We also asked our Facebook followers for their advice...

"I would try and find out why he is angry with you, maybe he has got worries of his own; the saying is that a partner always takes it out on the one they love." 

"I always think it's my fault but others say it's just his way. Try not to lose your self-confidence like I have. Be strong. If he won't talk about it just do your own thing."

"A trip to the GP would be a good idea, changes in personality could indicate the onset of mental health changes for several reasons."

"To quote from a play - I think 'Winter Journey' - tell him 'I married you for happiness and if necessary I will leave you for the same reason.'"

"If he is angry with you all the time and you know you haven't done anything to deserve it,maybe it's time to tell him to sling his hook. Why should YOU leave?"

"You need to ask him, "why are you always angry" - and listen to what he says!"

"Sounds like a possible narcissistic personality to me. Can be rather better hidden when younger but gets worse with age. Nothing you can do to change one of those, sadly."

"Something is worrying him and he feels awkward teĺling you."

"I think its a control issue; he has had power at work but he's not got it anymore."

"He may be in the early stages of dementia, that can affect mood."

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