7 Ways Men Push Their Wives' Buttons

We love our men — even their really really really annoying habits.

Last updated on Jul 10, 2023

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You love your S.O. You really do. But, sometimes, you wonder how it is that you've made it this far without turning to homicide.

Deep down, he's a good person and, well, obviously he completes you. But you just hate it when he throws his dirty clothes on the floor — right next to the hamper — no matter how many times you ask him not to. And the coffee table is a mishmash of his dirty dishes. And dude. It's not as funny as he thinks it is when he "plays the drums" on your thunder thighs.


Stay strong, readers. Remain calm. You're not the only one experiencing bouts of agitation with the man you love. Below, are 7 more things men do that get on women's nerves. Unsurprisingly, a lot of these complaints involve housecleaning.

Here are 7 ways men push their wives' buttons:

1. Poke her. Prod her. Push her to the limit

"My boyfriend has ADD. When he starts to get bored he will poke at me — my stomach, my arms, my ears, or my nose, wherever he feels will be most irritating to me at that moment. I used to just let it go to ease his short attention span, but then I started getting even. Luckily, he is much more ticklish than I am, so when I go back at him he squirms and tries to break away, swearing he’ll stop. We both get a good laugh out of it… and I get a limited time of peace!"


– Beth, 23, in a relationship for one year

RELATED: 5 Reasons Your Husband Doesn't Help Around The House — And What To Do About Each

2. Narrate every moment of your life together ... in song

"My husband will find a tune that is sufficiently annoying and then put everything that's happening to that tune. Recent favorites have included the theme song to Alvin & the Chipmunks, and "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga. This is a particularly difficult annoyance to deal with because he picks catchy songs, and hours later I find myself singing things like "w-a-l-k... walking the dog." My default defense is to ignore him because laughing and getting ticked off seem to be equally encouraging."

– Nicole, 27, married for 1.5 yrs and together for 6


3. Shut down in the middle of an argument

"My husband travels a lot for work, and if we get into a fight over the phone, he will hang up on me, because he knows that I hate it. When we were still dating, this tactic worked well. I would call back crying and blabber on irrationally. Now, I've learned not to get upset and not to call him back. Inevitably, he calls back (typically within 5 minutes) apologizing up and down, and speaking in a calm and rational voice."

– Alicia, 29, married 2 years

RELATED: Men And Women Reveal The 8 Things They Loathe Hearing From Their Partner

4. Let your neat-freak self take over her life

"I married a clean freak. My husband can't sleep until the dishes have been done, the mail is alphabetized and he has a "clean" inbox. Read: Every single email in every single inbox has been dealt with or deleted. Fine. It's better than having to pick his socks up off the floor, but I can't stand when his neat freak tendencies mean he gets all up in my life, too. It finally came to a head when he got so on top of his to-do list that he actually washed out a glass of water I'd just poured myself."


– Carrie, 35, married not quite a year

5. Let your slovenly ways engulf your home in clutter and grime

"What really pushes my buttons are the bad household habits my husband can't seem to break. For example, he has an uncanny knack for shaving a week's worth of hair off his face within one hour of my scrubbing our bathroom sink.

Even though he wipes down the sink when he's done, he never gets everything, and I end up with stray stubble floating in my water glass when I brush my teeth. He's also blind to the fact that we have a towel rack attached to our shower door; he much prefers to drape his wet towels over the top of our bedroom door, despite my repeated reminders that I never dust up there.

Finally, I'll never understand why he can remove every condiment from our fridge when he's foraging for a snack, but can't manage to put a single thing away when he's done. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found a successful method for dealing with this misbehavior — I nag and plead with him all the time, but my cries for help fall on deaf ears. It's a good thing he's so wonderful in other ways — otherwise, I'd already have him living in a cave out back."


– Annie, 34, married for 2 years

RELATED: 12 Things Women Think Guys Like (But Are Actually Huge Turn-Offs)

6. Try to help her out... only to make things worse

"My husband pushes my buttons when he helps around the house. Don't get me wrong; I can definitely use the help! But he always, somehow, does chores and errands that don't need to be done or that I normally handle. For example, last week he decided to do the laundry.

This normally falls under my list of responsibilities, for a reason. All of my beautiful white sheets turned pink! OR he'll do something completely unnecessary like rearranging my bookshelves. The absolute worst is when he walks around the house re-decorating! He'll hide things he doesn't like (a picture frame) or decide we need to replace all of the throw pillows."


– Penelope, 32, married

7. Accuse her of being melodramatic when it comes to her health

"My husband Leo is pretty great. More than anything, I push his buttons — and instead of pushing back, he totally calms me down. He is the Superman of Calm. But the one thing he doesn't do is clean our cat's litter, which in a small NYC apartment like ours needs to be done almost every day in order to keep it stank-free.

Of course, he says he cleans it often, but I've purposefully not cleaned it and, lo and behold, five days later the living room reeks and the litter box looks like a sculpture of the Grand Canyon, with turd hills and urine valleys. I've just given up since he's so great about everything else. But I told him when we get pregnant, I'll have my revenge since I won't be able to touch the thing for nine months. Leo actually thought I was making up "toxoplasmosis." Thank goodness for Wikipedia!"


– Danielle, 31, married for two years, together for seven

RELATED: 5 Things That Make Women Hate Men

Steph Auteri is a freelance writer and editor. She's been featured in Playgirl, Time Out New York, American Curves, New York Press, Nerve, and other publications.