Do You Know the 10 Signs of a Selfish Spouse?

The act of selfishness in a marriage can lead to a destructive conflict of interests between spouses. Most of us believe our partner could never turn into one of those spouses their significant others always complain about. Unfortunately, it’s a sad reality for some married couples.

In the past year, we’ve come across several individuals at Marriage Means Moore claiming that their partners are being selfish and that it’s affecting their marriage. For example, one of our recent clients told us their spouse doesn’t help them around the house anymore, preferring to go out with friends every single time.  Another one claimed the same thing, but the issue this time was their sex life. Apparently, their partner had become distant in bed, neglecting to care for anything other than focusing on their own pleasure.

Reason Behind Selfishness

While the reason behind selfishness was worlds apart in both cases, we couldn’t deny that both individuals had a valid point. After all, a person’s selfishness knows no bounds when they decide not to care. Whatever the cause might be, one thing was clear to us – having a selfish spouse can wreck a marriage from the inside out.  That is because if your marriage doesn’t end your trait of selfishness, your selfishness definitely puts an end to your marriage soon enough.

In this article, we’ve kept our focus on how being selfish impacts your marriage and what you can do to deal with the issue at hand.

10 Signs of a Selfish Spouse

Even though your partner might act lazy and laidback at times, that doesn’t necessarily make them a selfish person. While their behavior can be infuriatingly annoying at times, selfishness goes way deep. To make things clear for you, we’ve listed ten of the most common traits of a truly selfish spouse:

1- They Expect Their Comfort at the Expense of Your Comfort

You could be prepared to do everything in your power to make your partner feel comfortable, but a selfish spouse doesn’t reciprocate those efforts. It’s true that you might have to put yourself out of your comfort zone time and again in a marriage, but the effort is mutual from both sides.

2- They Always Expect You to Clean Their Mess

Imagine coming back home to a complete mess after a long, tiring day at work that was supposed to be your day off. While you were working, your partner was relaxing at home at the expense of your comfort since they expect you to take care of everything. That’s undoubtedly selfishness.

3- Their Pride Comes First

With selfishness in play, pride always comes in the way of a happy marriage. Selfish people stand their ground instead of taking the initiative and expect you to admit your fault, even when there isn’t any, to begin with.

4- Their Perspective is the Only One That Matters

Perceptiveness has the power to shade any statement with a color that lies on the opposite end of the color wheel (i.e., your implied sentiment). A selfish partner twists your words around and takes your actions in the worst possible way, burdening you with guilt.

5- They Neglect Your Needs, Every Single Time

If your needs keep piling up on the bottom of your spouse’s priority stack, it’s apparent that they don’t consider your interests as their interests, effectively nullifying the spirit of your marriage.

6- Their Career Becomes Their Life Purpose

It’s always a good thing to focus on your career and make a good life for yourself. However, neglecting your marriage and putting all your efforts and time into your career is a pure act of selfishness, especially when your partner is doing their best to keep everything balanced.

7- It’s Your Life But Always Their Choices

From day-to-day decisions (i.e., buying Christmas presents) to life-altering choices (i.e., choosing a career), all your life’s decisions are a product of your spouse’s demands and preferences when you’re in a selfish marriage.

8- They Lecture But Never Implement

It always benefits a couple when one partner cares enough to make plans, like constructing a budget. However, lecturing someone to follow a plan but not sticking to them yourself is a big indication of selfishness in a marriage.

9- They Demand Intimacy But Never Offer Any

Physical and emotional intimacy is a beautiful thing but only until both partners are consenting. These acts don’t have to be consensual for a selfish spouse as long as they are getting their needs met.

10- They Neither Appreciate Nor Support Your Dreams

A selfish person always thinks they are the best thing to happen to you. Moreover, no matter what you do, they keep finding faults with your plans, never appreciating or supporting your dreams.

If you can relate to even some of the signs mentioned above, it could be because your spouse is deliberately selfish, or they at least possess some traits of selfishness.

3 Damaging Consequences of Selfishness in a Marriage

Sensing when your relationship is taking a bad turn and trying to mend things accordingly is crucial for recovery. However, a selfish spouse doesn’t realize when their marriage is turning sour, which effectively leads your relationship to suffer through the following three consequences:

1- Emotional and Physical Distance

Selfishness in a marriage always creates undesired distances between couples. When one spouse keeps indicating with their actions that their own comfort is the only thing that matters to them, it automatically fabricates a conception of selfishness in their partner’s mind. Sooner or later, the hurt party starts to distance themselves emotionally and physically from their spouse when their needs keep piling on the curbside.

2- Shutting Down Out of Guilt or Shame

Having an inferiority complex is a complicated human behavior.  When you start degrading someone who loves you dearly, they soon begin to feel dejected and emotionally lost without your acceptance. At least, that’s how selfishness starts to affect you in a marriage initially. It’s also not surprising how this feeling may lead someone to think they’re not good enough for their partner. 

Not to mention, this behavioral complexity isn’t something a person can get over in the blink of an eye with a few apologetic words. In reality, self-criticism and lack of self-esteem can easily seep into each part of your life afterward, in and outside your marriage.

3- Marriage Dismantling

Eventually, dejection turns into bottled-up anger, which further leads to misunderstandings and conflicts between couples. Caring for each other is a basic requirement in relationships, especially marriage. When this fundamental need remains unfulfilled, the marriage is bound to get dismantled and go downhill in a drastic set of events.

Marriages never demolish overnight. On the contrary, it takes months and even years of selfishness to abrade the fiber of your relationship, resulting in a broken marriage. After all, when someone keeps chipping away at your marriage bit by bit, your once sacred relationship remains nothing but a contract between two people who verbally promised to support each other in the good and the bad times.

8 Ways to Keep Selfishness Out of a Marriage

Being selfish is a human trait that we all possess to some extent, and it is even essential at times to use this emotion to your advantage to move forward. For example, you can’t hope to make a promising career without being a little selfish from time to time. However, when this egoistic trait enters into a marriage, it only leaves destructive marks all around it, making your relationship look like an emotional battlefield.

Hence, to make a mature relationship work, you have to put in all your efforts to keep the element of selfishness out of the picture. Here’s how you can do that in eight crucial steps:

1- Communicate, Stop Complaining

Constructive communication is the key that you can effectively use in your favor to pop the self-centered bubble your spouse chooses to live in, either knowingly or otherwise. You must listen to your partner without interruption, gather your thoughts, and only then form a logical argument so that you can both see things from each other’s point of view. No matter how inconsiderate you think your partner is to you, you’ve to put a lid on the complaining, as that’ll only make them defensive. Instead, explain and discuss things maturely and try to convey your expectations realistically.

2- Understand the Cause

Moreover, you should understand the problem’s crux that keeps triggering your spouse’s selfish behavior. Don’t hesitate from diving deeper to realize the cause, as that’s the first step to tackle the problem efficiently. Your partner’s selfishness could result from something you did, or there could be a wholly different reason altogether. Either way, you’ve to keep your disappointments at bay and keep communicating honestly to get to the bottom of the issue.

3- Prioritize Making Decisions Together

Making a decision, no matter how big or small, should always involve agreement from both parties. Therefore, you need to make it clear to your partner that your say is just as important as their opinion and that it should be factored in when making a final decision. Feeling left out is the first thing that leads a marriage into a pit hole. That’s why it is crucial to make this happen for the betterment of your relationship.

4- Focus on the Positive Side

There could be nine out of ten times when your spouse proves to be a selfish partner. However, on that one particular occasion, they might choose to put their family first. When you’re in the communication phase, trying to work things out together, choose to focus on that one occasion instead of the nine unpleasant events. It doesn’t mean you should forget what they did to you and forgive them. Instead, concentrating upon the positives gives you the much-needed boost and motivation to keep going until the problem resolves without making your partner feel suffocated.

5- Stand Up for Yourself | Be Assertive

Having stated the last point, it’s also essential to remember that focusing on the positive side doesn’t mean you should back down when your partner repeats the same mistakes. You can’t keep quiet and hope your spouse will change all of a sudden one day. If their actions are consistently making you suffer, it’s time to speak up! However, you should never assume an aggressive role, as it’ll only result in a bitter fight. Also, it’s best not to yell at them or raise accusing fingers. On the contrary, you must use your words carefully and ensure they’re as powerful as your feelings.

6- Let the Guilty One Take Their Responsibility

There’s a good chance you might be taking responsibility for every single thing, not giving your partner the chance to make up for their selfish act in the first place. If that’s the case, you’re only encouraging them to keep going on, taking you and your efforts for granted. You must let your spouse do their part for the family by making them realize the first time they do something wrong and effectively end the potentially detrimental pattern.

7- Never (Ever!) Let Them Take Advantage of You

Furthermore, don’t ever let your partner take advantage of your good intentions. If your spouse keeps resisting all your attempts to change their behavior with you, it might be an indication that you’re stuck in a deeply toxic relationship. However, before you conclude that, you must give yourself and your spouse a valid chance and not call them selfish based on a few incidents that are a normal part of all relationships.

8- Talk to a Professional Marriage Coach

To assess the health of your relationship and give yourself and your spouse a chance to work things out, you should be able to turn towards a neutral party that listens to your problems with a rational and calm mind.  For instance, talking to a professional marriage coach or a life coach can go a long way to re-establish the foundation of your marriage effectively since they can form a genuine impression of your situation far better than anyone else in your life.

At Marriage Means Moore, we strive to take your barely functional marriage into a happy one within ninety days! You can schedule your first first appointment with us to see if our services are to your liking. Moreover, in the meantime, you can check out our resources that we’ve put together to help you through your relationship at all its stages, from dating to parenthood.  Lastly, you can refer to our book, How Communication Saved Our Marriage, to encourage better communication with your partner.

By Antonio & Laura Moore | Relationship & Marriage Coaches | July 18, 2021 | Marriage Means Moore Inc.

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