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17 signs of a selfish husband and what to do about it

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Far too many women know what having a selfish husband is like.

It sucks.

And it sucks in multiple ways: he doesn’t help out around the home, he’s passive and selfish in bed, he’s emotionally distant and egotistical – the list goes on.

If you’re facing this situation – especially with a man who used to not be selfish and has become that way – you may be wondering what went wrong.

Was it something you did? Or was this his true nature all along?

Is your husband just going through a hard time or is he now revealing what he was really like under his charming facade?

Below I’m going to list 17 signs that you have a selfish husband and what you can do about it …

But first I’m going to go over some important things about selfishness and egotism.

Is being selfish normal?

All of us have the potential to be selfish: and sometimes there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting ourselves first.

There are times when we must focus on our emotional and physical needs to survive and overcome challenges in life.

But in a marriage where selfishness has become a one-sided, codependent pattern it is a big problem.

As a world-renowned shaman, Rudá Iandê teaches in his free masterclass on finding love and intimacy, even those of us with the best of intentions and lots of love to give can end up trapped in toxic cycles of codependency if we don’t become conscious of what’s going on in our love life and learn to focus on ourselves first in a positive way.

What causes husbands to act selfishly?

There is no one answer to this question, of course, and I don’t have a magic looking glass to peer into your marriage or what’s causing your husband to act a certain way.

However, I can say from my own experience and that of my friends that there are some primary reasons that are usually the backstory to a selfish husband.

One of the most common is that your husband may have been raised by a single parent where he was pampered and treated like a king from a young age. This may have created expectations and norms for him that continued into adolescence and adulthood.

Men who were raised in a culture in which men are regarded as being in charge also often carry over this attitude into marriage and can take it to extremes of basically expecting their wife to do everything and becoming controlling. Having a selfish husband is not a culture any wife enjoys.

Another major “trigger” for your husband can be when you have a baby. It might sound overly simplistic, but the new outpouring of attention on the baby can make your hubby feel excluded and left out: he sometimes then responds to this by “shutting off” and going into a me-first, selfish mentality.

In addition, don’t rule out work. When his job is really wearing him down sometimes a man can take the path of least resistance and turn into an oaf at home. He begins to treat work as “on mode” and home as “off mode,” home meaning everything including affection and energy for you and the family.

So, without further ado, here’s a list of 18 signs of a selfish husband and what to do about it.

1) What you want doesn’t matter to him

This is a glaring sign of a selfish husband. No matter how stressed or busy he is, the least he can do is at least care what you want and feel.

But when he checks out emotionally and just doesn’t give a damn when you’re talking or expressing anything then you know you’re dealing with a selfish man.

If he’s doing this you’re going to notice it in all sorts of ways, from him blanking out while you talk to him failing to ever help out, lounging like a rag doll while you try to make love, and overall being a fixture on the couch and a mouth to fill with no words of thanks.

If your husband doesn’t care what you want then you need to approach him about it directly. Don’t try to mirror his behavior since even if he notices it will likely just make him retreat further in his bubble. Instead, talk to him honestly and openly about how you are feeling shut out.

2) He puts his work above you

Let’s face it, your husband doesn’t necessarily have control over his work schedule unless he’s self-employed. And if he’s being slammed at work that is not his fault.

If you criticize him about how much work he has he can often take it as a lack of appreciation about what he’s doing to support you and the family, undermining his hero instinct.

At the same time, when he starts to actively and intentionally prioritize his work above you then it’s time to put your foot down.

Unless you’re fine being an afterthought and a one-woman after-work welcoming committee then you need to be honest with him about how his focus on work over you is not cool with you and how you’d appreciate him trying to balance things out a bit more.

3) Your happiness is an afterthought to him

Nobody can make someone else happy and finding the key to inner peace lies within you, but nonetheless, enjoying and celebrating happiness as a couple is a wonderful thing.

If your happiness and fulfillment have become an afterthought to your husband then it’s time to take stock of what’s going on and why.

This is especially true if he expects you to respond to his every need and complaint but has no time or energy to devote to you.

In fact, if something like that is going on it’s likely part of an unhealthy and draining codependent cycle that you need to get out of.

A healthy marriage has boundaries and understanding that you can’t “fix” someone else is one of them, but caring about and being compassionate to your partner goes both ways.

And if that’s gone out the window due to having a selfish husband then it could be time to be a bit selfish yourself and head for the exit door.

4) The chores are always up to you

Dividing up your responsibilities at home is a normal part of a marriage, but if your counterpart has dropped the ball then something has definitely gone wrong.

Either he’s acting like the boss of a sweatshop and ordering people around to do every chore to his liking, or he’s sitting back on the couch completely indifferent to anything that needs to be done on his time off.

Either way, you’re the one doing the chores and getting things done.

This can be tricky, because if you treat him strictly he may react as if you are just a cold taskmaster who doesn’t respect him, but if you let it go he will take advantage and go for the record in World Lounging awards.

If this is happening then sometimes humor can be a good approach. Pour a little bit of water on him when he’s napping instead of loading the dishes in the dishwater, or ask him whether he heard that a world-famous archaeologist believes there might be an ancient temple buried under the long grass in the front yard.

When he sees that you’re annoyed but also willing to see the funny side of things he just might remember why he loves you and get off his lazy ass.

5) It’s all him, all the time

Like I wrote, sometimes it is absolutely fine to be focused on ourselves and sort out our own lives, and the same goes for your husband.

But when it’s all him, all the time then it’s gone too far.

By many miles.

Everything from what to eat to dinner to plans for the weekend to whether to buy a new car is only up to him, and he switches off and dismisses anything you say.

If he’s had a hard day then you’re canceling plans for the evening, but if you tell him you’re feeling stressed and don’t think tonight is a good night to go visit friends he’ll laugh it off and tell you to buck up.

It’s all about what he wants and he feels.

What about you? Make him know that you exist too, hopefully without actually slapping him.

6) Is it too late now to say sorry?

Justin Bieber asked in his song and the answer is … it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter, because a selfish husband never says sorry in the first place.

No matter what he does or how much of a d*ck he is, those words just can’t seem to escape his lips. Why? Because he’s selfish and can’t ever seem to accept his share of the blame in a situation.

Even if he’s late for your plans.

Or loses his temper.

Or comes home raging drunk.

It’s always your fault; even when he did something wrong it turns out you somehow magically made him act that way.

Hard pass.

7) Thanks for nothing

If you like hearing the words “thank you” or even just “thanks,” don’t wait up. A selfish husband just doesn’t bother.

He takes what he wants when he wants and expects you to cater to his every wish. But does he say thanks?

Absolutely not.

He props his feet up and demands to be treated like a king but expressing appreciation seems to be beneath his royal highness.

He twiddles his thumbs texting while you prepare dinner and tells you what you can do better while taking any criticism of him as high treason.

He fully expects you to be there for him to lean on in tough times, but he turns into Houdini whenever you need someone.

It’s a game that gets old.

So, it’s time to tell that lout to ship up or shape out.

8) He always wins every fight … according to him

Imagine if the captain of a hockey team got to decide who wins the game based on who played better. Chances are he’d pick his own side.

Your selfish husband is this to a T. He always wins every fight no matter how ugly it gets or how much he crosses the line and deals low blows.

And after it’s over and you’re a mess don’t expect him to say sorry and if he does it will generally be half-assed.

It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on with this guy, but there’s no doubt he’s a selfish husband, and the next time he expects you to serve as his prop in an endless argument about his bullsh*t you have every right to simply walk away.

There’s no need to be part of his own personal psychodrama and it’s fair to let him know that you aren’t comfortable having toxic behavior as part of your life anymore and he needs to start accepting responsibility when he does something bad like starting a fight or taking it to nasty extremes.

You can also recommend this free Ideapod guided self-healing meditation, so your selfish husband can work on himself and maybe come back from some quiet time in the corner as a slightly more chilled out and better guy.

9) You can’t do anything right

Do you feel like you woke up one day and realized you’re the dictator of North Korea?

Crazy, right?

I mean, nobody wants a haircut that looks like that, and I’m not even usually a judgmental person.

But the point is, your selfish husband can’t stop telling you why you’re the worst person in the world.

Somehow he’s a saint, but everything you do has an ulterior motive or isn’t actually as good as it looks. It’s like he’s become a conspiracy theorist who only believes one conspiracy: that you’re the devil and nothing you do is as good as it looks like on the surface.

Did you decide to go help out at the local soup kitchen?

According to your husband you care more about other people than him, and you are just doing it to feel self-righteous and you’re the female version of Gandhi but a lot fatter and maybe you could do with trying out a soup kitchen diet yourself and …

You get the picture.

If you’re dealing with this behavior from a selfish husband a big fight might be inevitable. This kind of gaslighting just isn’t cool at all and he needs a reality check.

10) You get lots of looks … but not from him

Your selfish husband just doesn’t seem to know – or care – when he’s got a good thing going.

It’s nice to get a compliment now and then, but you can expect them to be rarer than the lost treasure of Atlantis from him.

It’s a legend that you hear exists, and you have vague memories of him once doing it, but those lovely kind words are nowhere to be found from this self-centered boor.

Other men at work or in the public eye you appreciatively and it’s no exaggeration to say that you can see some find you attractive.

But if your husband’s listless indifference is any indication you might as well be an old lady offering dessert samples by the produce aisle on little toothpicks.

He ignores you and doesn’t compliment you.

The most important thing to do in this case is not to let his behavior get to you and not blame yourself. Don’t keep trying to get his attention either.

Try complimenting him and see what he does. If he doesn’t get the hint then maybe it’s time for some serious marriage counseling.

11) We might as well be strangers …

Your selfish husband will often become very poor at communication.

You’ll hear plenty of grunts, demands, or even laughs when he’s checking out his favorite comedy or funny stuff online, but you won’t hear a lot of … actual conversation and communication.

Even when you try he just seems to not be into it and not care.

It’s not even that he doesn’t love you he just seems to place little value on communicating with you.

In this case, it’s important to make it clear to your guy that you’re not just some doll on a shelf who pops out tasty meals and sex.

You’re a living, breathing woman who actually wants to be in a relationship and talk and interact.

This is an entirely reasonable need to make known.

12) Bye bye cuddles and kisses

I’m sorry, so sorry … but if you have a selfish husband then you’ve likely experienced a lack of intimacy.

Bye-bye cuddles and kisses. This guy just doesn’t care. He may still want to get naughty in bed, but the foreplay and daily hugs and kisses just seem to have left for a faraway land.

He’s still got all sorts of expectations for you, but he doesn’t express or show appreciation and he doesn’t seem to value being close to you other than to satisfy his basic desires now and then.

What’s up with this? It’s not great, to be certain, and if he’s depriving you of any intimacy then it’s time to tell him upfront that you’re feeling neglected and feel he’s become distant.

If he still doesn’t care then it’s time to give that selfish hubby the boot or get him into marriage bootcamp with a counselor ASAP.

13) He takes sex for granted

Selfish husbands expect sex like it’s owed to them. A selfish husband tends to treat sex like it’s only for his pleasure.

He gets off and gets out.

Don’t look for pillow talk, foreplay, or all sorts of deep intimacy. This guy is just trying to walk his batter home and doesn’t care how many foul balls the pitcher has to throw to get him there.

He doesn’t give a crap about your pleasure and he will ignore any suggestions you give him or attempts you make at deepening the sexual connection.

If he does want to try something new he’ll be demanding, but if you want changes to your sex life he’s dismissive and uninterested.

This is a major issue and may require a sex therapist and/or marriage counselor.

14) He’s the director and you’re just part of the background

The selfish husband is the consummate egotist: he acts like he’s the director of a grand film and you’re just a detail on the background scenery or a small set prop.

He doesn’t consult you about things – even major life decisions – and he sometimes looks at you like he forgets why you’re even around.

This d*ckish behavior is totally unacceptable and chances are it is not your fault unless you recently cheated on him or something that’s provoked his dissociated reaction.

In most cases, he’s doing this because he’s selfish. Your advice and interaction with him appear to pass him right by and he doesn’t care what you think about anything.

Maybe he’ll care when you walk away.

As the band Cinderella sang in their classic 1988 power ballad, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”

15) Romantic time together is a thing of the past

Whether it’s a vacation or just a nice dinner out, the selfish husband is the ultimate slacker when it comes to having a romantic time together.

He’s more interested in hanging with his guy friends, watching a show or (probably) jerking off to porn in his man cave.

It’s sad to say that the romantic times you may remember from earlier in your marriage seem to be a thing of the past.

Even when you suggest a date he’s non-committal and unenthusiastic. Plus, what are you supposed to do: walk him through it step by step and basically plan a romantic time for him?

How lame.

This is a leading selfish husband symptom and if you’re experiencing it it’s time to seek treatment.

16) You’re not part of his plans

In addition to not telling you about big decisions he makes, the selfish husband will literally leave you out of his plans.

Sometimes he will do this in embarrassing and insulting ways like failing to set aside time for an event you had both agreed to attend together, instead of going to see his friends or play golf.

Other times it will just be stupid gaffes like taking you to a great barbecue restaurant when you’re vegetarian and joking about how you can always order the salad, then guilting you for the whole meal about how delicious the pulled pork is and what a shame it is you don’t eat meat.

You simply don’t factor much into his plans.

And feeling like a side piece can really get old fast. So it’s fairly clear that if you’re dealing with this kind of selfish husband you need to call him out directly.

17) He sees the relationship going south … but does nothing

The selfish husband is passive and expects everything to work out without his help.

He’ll often be unconscious of how badly the relationship is going or only seem to realize it for a second every now and then.

Even when he senses the relationship is going off track and you directly tell him it is and want his involvement he will tend to tune out or only put in the most basic of efforts to salvage the life you have built together.

In this case, you’ve reached the final stage of the journey and if he is not willing to do anything about your relationship being on life support then it’s time to pursue intensive counseling and, if that doesn’t work, potentially time to go your separate ways.

There’s only so much you can do for someone else and ultimately it is up to him on whether or not he stops being a selfish husband.

There’s still hope …

Even if you’re dealing with a selfish husband for the history books and are at your wit’s end there is still hope. In many cases, therapy, clear communication, and work on yourself – as well as him working on himself – can help turn things around.

In other cases, it can be time to walk away.

But even if it’s all over, finding clarity and resolution about these kinds of selfish issues can be a profound moment as you learn to separate out your own power from someone else’s issues and patterns and to see that you not only deserve love and respect, you already have it waiting to be uncovered inside yourself.

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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