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Husband often behaves badly towards me in public

(126 Posts)
NearlyMonday Sun 15-Jun-14 19:09:39

I've named changed for this.

We've been together for 8 years, and last year he started upsetting me when we're with friends/social situations.

This can range from ignoring me all night and refusing to make any sort of eye contact; airing petty domestic issues in public; picking up on a 'normal' comment I make and pulling it to pieces in front of everyone; refusing to sit next to me and/or deliberately taking the seat furthest from me. The worst occasion was arriving at a restaurant, he gave his coat to the waiter but didn't bother with mine, left me standing at the doorway in my coat while he shot off to the bar and got himself a drink, he joined the friends we'd arranged to meet and didn't even look at me all night. I read the riot act the following day and he apologised.

I've read quite a bit about this, all the advice seems to be that there's dissatisfaction on his part that bubbles to the surface when he has an audience. I've tackled him about it, he denied that he had any issues with me, and for the next few times that we went out he was better.

On the whole things have improved, but I'm still wary of taking him into some situations in case the spoils it. Yesterday we met some friends in a bar, which made him suddenly stop talking to me. When we left the bar and headed to the restaurant, I took him to one side and tackled him about it, and he improved. But I find it upsetting that a man who behaves just fine in 1-2-1 situations, will slip back to dissing me in public if not challenged/corrected regularly. I gather this is not unusual, but that doesn't really help.

cantbelievethisishppening Sun 15-Jun-14 19:20:01

When you have tackled him about it what are his reasons for his behaviour? Or does he deny it? Give the impression he is not aware he is doing it? He sounds as if he does not like being seen out and about with you for some reason. What is he like at home day to day?

YummyKiwis Sun 15-Jun-14 19:25:14

It seems as if he doesn't like to be out in public with you, but on the other hand if he didn't he wouldn't want you going anywhere with him.

expatinscotland Sun 15-Jun-14 19:28:47

What a prick. I'd stop going out in public with him.

NearlyMonday Sun 15-Jun-14 19:30:01

Initially he denied it, but when I gave very specific examples of his behaviour, he relented and agreed to improve. He insists he doesn't have any issues with me, and to be fair both of us tend to air any problems as and when they crop up. I don't think he's ashamed of being seen out with me. Also, he's inconsistent - sometimes he's ok, sometimes he isn't - it's not like he seems permanently ashamed of my presence/existence.

He's fine at home; but I can no longer trust him to behave when he has an audience. There's a big work BBQ coming up soon, and I daren't take him just I case he starts in front of my colleagues. I would be horrified.

LittleBlueMouse Sun 15-Jun-14 19:31:53

Why do you think that this isn't unusual? Do you see other men treating their wives and partners like this? Do your friends experience this too? No, I don't suppose it really is very usual. What it is, is either very bad manners, which is why when you remind him, he sorts it, or he is a passive aggressive twat who chooses to do this rather than confront you on your own, when he knows you can talk back.

crispyporkbelly Sun 15-Jun-14 19:32:48

I'd embarrass him 10x worse. Maybe by asking him something really loud over everyone like 'remember when you shat your pants, Tim?' And smile sweetly

Walkacrossthesand Sun 15-Jun-14 19:33:48

It might send him a very clear and powerful message if you say you're going to a work BBQ but you're going without him because of his track record of being rude and dismissive to you in public....

expatinscotland Sun 15-Jun-14 19:35:18

I would not take him to the BBQ, and tell him why.

kaykayblue Sun 15-Jun-14 19:35:20

Extreme viewpoint - could it be that he is having an affair and wants to act distant from you in public in case he gets caught out? It's a hugely extreme possibility, but if there are other troubling behaviours then it could be worth thinking about.

Also, no, this isn't normal. It is normal for couples to speak to other people during the evening and just really see each other "in passing" during the evening. But that's at busy parties, and not all the time. And it's very different to someone deliberately belittling you in front of others and blatantly ignoring you.

wyrdyBird Sun 15-Jun-14 19:39:36

I think kaykayblue has a point. If he has never been like this before, it suggests there's something going on in his life that you're not aware of.

ICanHearYou Sun 15-Jun-14 19:40:17

I would most certainly not take him to the work BBQ and I would be very clear about why.

I am assuming the rest of the relationship is amazing for you to want to stay with this prick?

Back2Two Sun 15-Jun-14 19:42:38

Definitely don't go with him to the work bar-b-q.
And if he asks why, just explain simply and straightforwardly.

AnyFucker Sun 15-Jun-14 19:43:07

Cherchez la femme

This is highly unusual, Op, and you will find there is a very obvious reason for it when it all comes out in the wash

Incidentally, how do you bring yourself to act favourably towards him when you are alone when he trats you like a piece of shit in public ?

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 15-Jun-14 19:43:31

I agree I wouldn't take him to the BBQ.

I'd also call him out if he started picking me apart in public.

Ask him loudly why he's acting like a "Billy Big Balls" in front of your friends?

Does he generally have good manners? Pick one of your mutual nice polite male friends in the group and show him how he should behave?

"Friend X, would you mind taking my coat please?"

"Friend X, would you mind very much going to the bar for me please, while I check my coat?"

I bet he steps up when he sees how very polite men behave, or if he doesn't he'll look like a right twat.

ThankYouShopkeeper Sun 15-Jun-14 19:43:51

You say you have done some reading - have you read Lundy Bancroft? This is a red flag (I know that term is being overused on here atm but this genuinely is).

cantbelievethisishppening Sun 15-Jun-14 19:45:56

kay. I wondered that but didn't want to mention it as it seemed a bit far fetched. It is almost as if actively wants to show that he doesn't care about his DP

EverythingCounts Sun 15-Jun-14 19:46:01

I wouldn't take him to the BBQ. I would also decline any social events with him for the immediate future, and if you get an invite out from mutual friends I would tell them you will come, but on your own, as your husband has not been good company when out lately and you want to relax and enjoy yourself. Keeping quiet about bad behaviour is what types like him rely on.

divingoffthebalcony Sun 15-Jun-14 19:48:49

Incidentally, how do you bring yourself to act favourably towards him when you are alone when he trats you like a piece of shit in public ?

That is a very good question.

CrotchMaven Sun 15-Jun-14 19:54:58

What happened last year?

I have a friend whose husband does this. I never see them together, probably because she knows what I would say. He can be a shit to her at home too, though.

What on earth does he gain from it? There's always a payoff somewhere. Call him on it by not socialising with him, like the others say. That way you get to enjoy the occasion and also you'll see how he reacts, either directly at the rebuff, but also if he starts acting out in other ways once that route is closed to him.

He sounds horrible, for what it's worth.

Optimist1 Sun 15-Jun-14 19:58:11

Best case scenario : He's grossed out by couples who are excessively "couple-y" in public (constant PDAs, gazing into each others' eyes all evening, etc, etc) and this is his way of avoiding those traits.

Worst case scenario : He's trying to manipulate you into being unreasonable/having a row to deflect from something he's feeling a bit guilty about.

Only you know which end of the spectrum your husband is closer to, OP.

NearlyMonday Sun 15-Jun-14 20:08:25

I won't take him to the work BBQ, and I will tell him that he's so hit and miss in public, that I can't risk being dissed in front of my colleagues.

I can't fault him in any other area of our marriage, and I don't think he's having an affair. But sometimes he behaves like a complete arse in public and I wish he didn't. We already socialise less than before because of this; I initiate less arrangements with other couples these days.

There is another couple in our circle who have the same issue, and the women concerned has the same views as me - she can't understand why a man who is normally fine, decides to behave so badly in public. And when I researched this on the internet, absolutely loads of material is available, which is why I thought it wasn't unusual?

I'll check out Lucy Bancroft.

Humansatnav Sun 15-Jun-14 20:19:50

When my ex did this it was because he was hitting on other women.

NearlyMonday Sun 15-Jun-14 20:22:52

My first husband had affairs, I know the signs, and this just doesn't feel like an affair-related problem.

NearlyMonday Sun 15-Jun-14 20:26:15

It's almost like he forgets his manners sometimes, and if I pull him up during the evening he improves, and if I make a point of reminding him to behave decently just before we go out, then that works too. But he shouldn't need reminding.

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