An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 3

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I know a birthday girl. I just met her husband. I don't know if they'll make it. But I really want them to. And I believe they can.
I know a birthday girl. I just met her husband. I don’t know if they’ll make it. But I really want them to. And I believe they can.

I met a shitty husband last night.

And I liked him. First impressions go a long way with me.

And I don’t think he’s a bad guy. Not at all. But I do think he’s a shitty husband.

He’s 34 like me. He reminds me of me five years ago. He’s not a father, and that can be a disadvantage for guys from a maturation standpoint. Sometimes, you don’t really figure out what unconditional love looks and feels like until you hold your child.

And I think that revelation—that recognition of what it feels like to love something more than yourself—can be a very useful tool in a marriage.

Applying the Love for Your Children to Your Partner

Anyone who has ever been in a relationship for any reasonable amount of time understands the infatuation phase—while the most fun—can’t and won’t last.

Just the smallest amount of effort can do wonders for her emotional security, which is directly correlated to how much she wants your penis touching her.

Infatuation and lust will get you so far, then you’re inevitably looking to recreate that feeling with someone else sooner or later.

And sometimes, during the eternal pursuit of that next passionate romance, you just end up breaking a bunch of things.





But with a little self-recognition and awareness, we can combat this.

With the realization that the grass is most certainly not always greener—that there is no perfect partner with whom you’ll never have conflict or disappointment or hurt feelings or dissatisfaction—you can learn to stop trying to change your partner. Or change partners.

And you can start trying to change yourself.

There’s only one constant in the lives of those people you know who are constantly in and out of unhealthy relationships. And that’s the individual who keeps putting his or herself there.

They are the common denominator. And that cycle must be broken.

It can’t happen until those people learn how to be honest with others. And more importantly, with themselves.

Once we accept that it’s not going to be lovey-dovey happiness forever, we can move on to learning how to love in ways that matter. In ways that are sustainable.

1. Stop making it about you.

Stop asking why that person doesn’t make you feel the way they used to. Or why all of these things keep happening to you.

2. Make it about them.

Ask yourself how you can make your partner feel the way you want to feel. How you can make good things happen for them. Lead by example, even when it’s hard. Even when you don’t feel like it.

3. Choose to do that every day, forever.

The same way your parents did for you. The same way parents choose to do that for their children—even when they’re acting like little heathen assholes. THAT’S real love. Because it’s not about how we feel. It’s about the choices we make.


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I’ve Already Seen This Movie

And it has a tragic ending.

That’s what I was thinking last night when I saw her being ignored by her husband. Literally, the entire night.

The birthday girl.

She looked magnificent. And I’m not sure he told her once.

She misses his company and attention because he has a pretty inconvenient work schedule. But I don’t remember him standing next to her.

I don’t remember him kissing her. Touching her arm. Whispering in her ear. Even just a nice smile from across the room to let her know how happy he was to see she was having a nice birthday.

I’ve seen this fucking movie.

I starred in it.

I played the male lead.

Because that was me. Not doing all of those things I so desperately wish I had the opportunity to do now.

I didn’t tell my ex how perfect she looked. Not enough. I didn’t make sure she knew—without a doubt—how much she was loved and wanted. I was too busy telling jokes and talking football with my friends when we’d all get together.

Guys, you have got to get better at this. I have got to get better at this, should I ever have the opportunity to try again some day.

Don’t do the thing where you ignore them all night and then try to have late-night drunk sex because you’re feeling horny. Please.

Just the smallest amount of effort can do wonders for her emotional security, which is directly correlated to how much she wants your penis touching her.

Tell her you love her. Whisper that you want her. Make eye contact from across the room. Smile. Touch her. Pay attention to her. Maybe when she least expects it.

Care about the things that she cares about—NOT because you give a shit about how her hair color didn’t turn out like she wanted or what color she painted her accent nail or whether she’s wearing new shoes or why she chose to carry that particular purse or handbag that night. Not because you like talking about the same things as her, because maybe you don’t.

That’s okay.

Care about the things she cares about BECAUSE she cares about them. That’s the reason to care. That’s the reason it matters.

Because these things matter to her.

This applies to her hobbies. Her hopes and dreams. Her career. Her passions and interests. Her stories about her friends or family or coworkers that maybe you don’t really want to listen to.

Fortify your relationship by doing the little things. Every day.

Do that, and there will be an every day.

Don’t? You might be sitting right here feeling sorry for a birthday girl who deserves the world and an oblivious husband who doesn’t know the damage he’s causing.

Tequila Makes Me Smart

Ever drink a bunch of beer and vodka, and then switch to a perfect salted-rim margarita on the rocks and start solving the world’s relationship issues with a fellow divorcee from Scotland in an open-air rooftop bar?

Me too!

Dear Jesus, you should hear me pontificate after eight or nine drinks.

The funny part? People think I’m smart! I con them with my above-average vocabulary and my cocksure attitude on subjects I may actually know nothing about.

I don’t know if any of this shit has merit. I don’t!

But, cocksure or otherwise, I do think I can identify the marital sins of my past. And I REALLY want to help men avoid going through what I’m going through. I REALLY want children to have the opportunity to grow up with both of their parents under the same roof.

This doesn’t have to be a pipedream. It doesn’t have to be so goddamn hard.

It just takes two people willing to give more than they take. Two people trying to out-give one another. Doesn’t that sound fun? Isn’t that something everyone can get behind?

My marital sins were on full display last night. The oblivious husband was me. And the birthday girl was my ex.

And it doesn’t have to be like this.

They are two good people. Two kind people.

She loves him.

And I don’t know for sure, but I just vibe that he’s a good man—a good man who loves her back.

And I know they can make it.

And I want them to make it.

And I believe if he only knew what I knew—felt what I felt—that he’d dig in and try his very best to make sure she felt the way she needs to feel for this to not fall apart.








If they can make this happen, maybe I can be at her birthday party 10 years from now. Maybe she’ll be smiling. Maybe he’ll be smiling. Maybe it will be at one another. Maybe everyone who sees it will privately Awwwwww. And maybe they can be what the rest of us envy.

Happily. Ever. After.

In real life, it doesn’t look like it does in the movies.

But it can be beautiful.

And I still believe in it.

You May Also Want to Read:

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 1

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 2

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 4

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 5

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 6

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 7

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 8

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 9

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 10

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 11

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 12

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 13


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83 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 3”

  1. Pingback: An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 1 | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  2. Pingback: An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 2 | Must Be This Tall To Ride

    1. OMG! I’m on a 4 wheel drive road up to my axles in quick sand, it’s pouring down buckets of rain and this is where I am in my relationship with my husband right now. Feeling safe and respected would be a great place to start to begin to rekindle my love for my husband in our fragile relationship as of this moment. Thanks for the insight.

  3. This is great..and def what girls( at least ones I know) want. My guy is a great man but could use a little education on this topic. Sometimes its easy to be taken for granted. Wish he had read this instead of me.
    You’re great Matt..seriously! You’re a great friend as well. Your awareness can only make the next relationship better but dont try to hard. You dont need to!

  4. Amen. Simply great and great observation. I myself will try to follow the 3 ways to love your partner. #2 will be the hardest. I have started the dangerous mind game that the grass could be greener on the other side. But luckily it has remained a thought. Men try so hard with their male friendships, excelling at work, and anything sports related. But they cannot try that hard with their long term relationships. My girlfriends say it all the time- it is the little stuff. ALWAYS. Just because you told me I looked beautiful 7 yrs ago doesn’t mean you can never say it again. We know we look good, we just want validation from our partner. Because if we hear it from someone else, and that someone else is a male, then we will start thinking about that male. And that is when you start thinking the grass just may be greener on the other side of your fence.

    1. It’s hard to to give, give, give and get nothing in return. It is.

      The only reason I am not killing myself (metaphorically speaking) over guilt from being a not-so-great husband during the early part of marriage, is because of the end. The final two years when I just kept working harder.

      It has absolutely changed my life for the better. Even though the marriage crashed and burned. But now I know how to be a good spouse. And I can sleep at night.

      I don’t want to encourage men and women to be door mats. To get emotionally beaten down by their partners and just love back with a big, fake smile on their face.

      But I don’t think the answer is to throw our hands up and scream and blame everyone else when things don’t go our way.

      I think the answer is to rise above it. To be strong and brave and lead by example.

      I believe it’s in all of us to give more than we take. And I think most of the time, our partners will be able to take the cue and learn how to give back.

      At least, that’s my hope.

      1. Rock On! I just found your blog and I am feeling impressed and respected. i teach Empathy and communication (to everyone who is interested) but mostly children an parents and couples. What you are taking about his Empathy. Understanding and respecting what your partner, parent, friend values—and being present with that.
        I also (from profession and experience) knows that it goes both ways. Men need to be heard and respected—it’s in different “code” than women. The challenge is our culture and the messages to men are don’t feel, (weak) don’t have a need (vulnerable) and certainly don’t communicate it to anyone. With all the guys I have worked with I see this is not true.

        I appreciate your writings so much, I am going to be sending your link to my clients. While I hear your regret and possibly grief, you are transforming this in education and respect for not just women—but for MEN. Thank you.

  5. Pingback: Pipedream | Hipster Racist

  6. Reblogged this on Pushing our limits and commented:
    I’m not saying I know any “Shitty Husbands”, I’m certainly not calling my Sir a shitty husband, because he’s AWESOME. But this is some really practical advice for ALL husbands. All of these tips WILL make you’re wife happier.

  7. Pingback: My Open Letter To Life | Awkward Teen Learns To Blog

  8. Argh, had a long response and then WordPress ate my post *bad boy*. Let me try remember what I was trying to say… this is an excellent post Matt, great advice for husbands and definately wife-approved 😉 I feel sorry for the birthday girl, but I want to give her (and others in the same situation)advice as well. Lots of the things you said goes both ways. So for the women out there with shitty husbands… Don’t let him ignore you. Remind him why he fell in love with you, show him how much you still desire him. He might think you are content, when deep down you are truely unhappy. He’s a guy.. sometimes they can be totally clueless. Talk to him… tell him whats on your mind and if it’s too difficult to put into words, speak with your actions, but please don’t wait until it’s too late. I’m also hoping for a happy birthday for shitty husband and birthday girl a few years from now, or even next year 😉 A little effort can do a lot of healing!

    1. This is great. Thank you for contributing to this. And thank you certainly for validating these ideas. I don’t know that they’re true. I just think they are.

      I appreciate you reading very much.

  9. Pingback: The Accidental Wounds | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  10. Pingback: An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 4 | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  11. Holy crap. You hit the motherload with this one. I’m sitting here sobbing. Good, bad, all of it. H now does things like this and has over the past 3-4 months. I’ve waited 26 years. I saw glimpses of it in the beginning and I wanted whatever I could get. So I settled and the glimpses faded. It took a breakdown to figure out the train was never on the track to begin with. Not intentionally off track, just on the didn’t-know-where-the-track-was track. I have no idea whether or not I can effectively work through all of this and H doesn’t either. It’s arguing beside the point really. We are far from even disliking each other. It’s simple: I’m afraid to let him see all of me because I’ve been hurt. He never healed from his first marriage to Satan. Thus, we brought our respective bags ‘o crap with us and here we are. Everybody’s got ’em.


    Still in the game.

    As the Fat Lady rose to sing, I bitch slapped her and told her to sit the hell down. Then H knocked her out.

    The end doesn’t matter. Only now matters.

    It takes two very ballsy people to take a time out to grow up the rest of themselves; they have every intent to be better in all relationships, not just with their partner. It’s big man. Reeeeeaalllllyyyy big.

    I’d better sleep. I’m bordering on delirium. My students love that about me. heh.

    1. I’m so sorry you sobbed. Wishing you good things. Thank you for caring so passionately and working so hard to make life better than it is.

      It’s inspiring to the rest of us.

      1. The tears were cathartic and a good thing, believe me. That means I can feel things and I’m not numb. That means I recognize what H has been doing in terms of effort. Bittersweet. Yeah, I needed to find your blog and somehow the Universe helped me find it. 🙂 (that’s the way it works, I guess.)

        Keep writing!


      1. In that case, perhaps you should fix mine! My marriage is quickly approaching “the end” legally, where there is no turning back. I think I’ve moved on, but know I love hubby dearly. IDK … just thinking out loud 🙂

        1. 🙂

          Well, no one fixes marriages outside of the couple.

          And if we’re going to be in the metaphor business–and I tend to play in Metaphorland a lot–maybe fixing something broken isn’t nearly as good of an idea as you and your husband simply rebuilding something fresh and stronger from the ground up.

          I’m really sorry you feel like the end is here. I hope you can find some healing this holiday season.

          I would love to help. I wish I knew how.

  12. Pingback: An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 5 | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  13. You are a wise man, and you have wise words. So glad I stumbled upon your blog.

    I’m praying for my brother-in-law to move on from #1. I see the effort my sister is putting forth after his affair, yet he can’t see past the “him” monster that he has become. Maybe I’ll share your blog with him…but I’m not sure he can admit he’s the problem. Time will tell.

    Thank you…

    1. I’m so glad you did too, and it means a ton to me that you think it matters.

      Thoughts and prayers for your sister and brother-in-law.

  14. Pingback: An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 6 | Must Be This Tall To Ride

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  17. themerryrecluse

    Man am I glad I found your blog – I was just about to give up on the entire male population, but now I know for sure that guys are actually capable of both feeling and articulating genuine human emotion.
    I want so badly to share your writing with my partner, but I know he would be angry and say that I am trying to belittle him and make out that all our problems are his fault.
    I just want our son to grow up in a happy loving home, and I hoped that picture would include two parents, but I am not sure how much longer I can successfully fake happiness. Kids are clever 🙂
    Keep up the great writing!

    1. I am constantly frustrated by it all. I’m sorry and I wish I knew what to say.

      I agree with you that showing him something some guy wrote on the internet is capable of doing more harm than good. Most guys interpret that as “you’re not good enough.”

      We tend to be even shittier after that.

      I wrote yesterday about how I would have done so many things differently had I just realized in those moments how important they were. I think most (but sadly, not all) men are that way.

      They key is effectively communicate how important the moment is. How important right now is.

      And I honestly have no idea how to do that because I was (am?) horrible at listening to people criticize me.

      I like to think about the fact that there is the perfect combination of words and actions you can say and perform to make him understand.

      There is the optimum way. And if you get close to it? Nothing has to be permanently broken.

      I hope you find that. Whatever “the way” is that makes sense for you and your family.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

  18. themerryrecluse

    Love your blog, you have certainly gained some solid insight in your time.
    Wish I could share this with my husband, but I know it would make him angry since the resentment he harbours toward me since I gave up work to care for our son manifests as passive aggressive denial of our problems or any emotion that stems from them.
    It’s enough to me for now to read these and remind myself that human beings are capable of growth, and that men can learn to be in touch with their own emotional needs and those of others.
    Thanks for giving me hope in working at building a loving family x

  19. I’ve been up reading all of your blogs and crying. I realized this is my husband. I googled my husband is a jerk and this website popped up. My husband likes to go out to the bar to catch the games, get drunk and leave me at home with our daughter. He’s the guy you’re describing when you were talking about not helping around the house that often because he’s the bread winner. He also can be a jerk then expects sex in the middle of the night. I have told him he can be mean at times and he says I’m too sensitive. Which may be true I am pregnant with our second child. Sometimes he just looks like he would rather hang with the via then be at home with his family. The only thing is we both agreed divorce is not an option and because of this I think he has become comfortable in what he’s doing because that isn’t an option. So what’s a girl to do? I’m unhappy. I

    1. Hi Krystal. I’m so sorry I’m just getting to this comment. Sometimes comments on older posts can get lost in the shuffle a little bit. I didn’t mean to ignore you.

      I call this the 1960s Man Syndrome. (I’m making that up. That’s the first time I’ve ever said that. But I’ll probably start using it.)

      I’m not an expert on this stuff (yet), but there seems to be two kinds of men.

      1. The kind who will never evolve. Who will never muster the courage and strength and unselfishness required to make marriage work. (They think marriage is something it’s not because of the way their grandfathers treated their grandmothers, because of the way their fathers treated their mothers, because of what they see on TV, and because NO ONE teaches us any of this shit growing up. It’s a problem.) He will say to you: “This is the way I am and you knew it when you married me. Stop trying to change me!”

      2. And there’s the kind who will evolve. Because they love you.

      Once that man understands how dark and ugly and horrible and lonely and afraid you feel on the inside BECAUSE of his actions? He’ll work very hard to make the changes necessary to keep your marriage and family together.

      He might not “get it,” Krystal. He might not understand yet. Because of immaturity, inexperience, a lack of wisdom, how he was raised, etc.

      Some people (most, probably) have to learn life’s important lessons the hard way. It’s really inconvenient for all involved.


      If your husband is in Group #1, there are no easy answers, and you won’t know ’til you know.

      If your husband is in Group #2, then your only job is to HELP him understand. How you speak to him (tone of voice, choice of words) will make all the difference in the world.

      The reason men and women have so much conflict is because it’s impossible for us to know how the other feels. Men often talk to women the way they talk to men because it’s what makes sense to them. Women talk to men the way they talk to women because it makes sense to them. But the person you’re trying to communicate with doesn’t get it at all.

      Some people want to deny gender differences because they think it’s politically incorrect to act as if men and women are different. Which is ridiculous.

      It’s politically incorrect to suggest men or women are BETTER than the other gender.

      But until people understand the science of how men and women are fundamentally DIFFERENT, we can’t learn to communicate with each other in effective ways. It’s why you have the same fights with your husband over and over and over again.

      He thinks and talks like a man.

      You think and talk like a woman. (Totally normal and okay!)

      But neither of you understand one another. Neither of you make sense to the other.

      You cannot reconcile differences or feel safe in your marriage until you do.

      Please read that book I recommend (I’ll link to it at the bottom of this comment.) if you want to understand the science and the evolutionary reasons for why we are the way we are (during the tribal caveman days, all the male and female traits that causes problems in relationships today were necessary to ensure our survival when the threats (more physical in nature) were different than they are in 2015.)

      If you want to discuss further, you can reach me at [email protected] (that’s three Ts).

      Good luck, Krystal. I’ll be rooting for your marriage and family.

      1. Ha! I googled “why is my husband an asshole” and here I am too! It makes me sad I’m here, though. Although now we are separated, because, well, he is an asshole!

      2. Matt needs to put things like “My wife never wants sex” and then maybe the husbands who need this site will find it 🙂

    2. Krystal … I find that I found this post way late … Almost a year now that you’ve commented and I wonder how you find yourself. How’s your situation going? I ask, because I’m this wife too. I’m the underappreciated taken for granted wife who speaks up, and not in a sassy way either, but it only seems to get turned around and nothing gets resolved, because I’m not heard. He doesn’t “get it,” so I was wondering a year has passed now … So hope things have improved for you

  20. Matt, I just found your blog and I so appreciate your honestly and can totally relate to what you have written. I only wish my husband would read it and realize how his inaction is destroying our marriage. We’ve only recently married but he has stopped showing he that cares. I don’t ask for muc. just small expressions but he seems to not want to make the effort. Ive talked to him several times to no avail. I just pray that things get better,

  21. seriously…20/20 hind-sight. Any guy reading this because his girl sent it to him because he’s a shitty husband, is going to read it and toss it aside. They DON’T think they are shitty. It’s some narcissictic bull shit that men have ingrained in them from cave-man days. I wish to god they would take this to heart, but they won’t.

  22. toolongtolivethisway

    This make me cry as well. My husband to a tee…except the part where he was not doing those things described above because he was having affair after affair. Those other women were getting what I wasn’t. Adds an entirely different twist to the situation. Now that he is giving me those things and becoming what you have become, I don’t think I want him. Sad, especially for my children.

  23. I just awakened today to the fact that really sank in deep into my skull…I have been an major leagues ASSHOLE all of my 30 years of “marriage”. You don’t realize anything matters until you lose it all. I am no divorced yet, but I think wife’s reach her plateau of tolerance and willingness to looks for ways…, so I send your article (link) to my son, the only child from my failed marriage.

  24. I’ve just learned a lot from this. What I’m learning, to my chagrin, is that I’m in many respects a shitty wife. My husband suffers from depression and some diabetes, and those two things together sometimes add up to him being off-the-grid for everything except the bare essentials, and sometimes for those things, too. We are the working poor, and although he’s working now, he has to be prodded over and over to submit his invoices to the company he works for (he’s a contractor) and he’s horribly bad at keeping track of paperwork. I’ve created tools and tricks for him that he says are helpful but he doesn’t use them. At home, he spends most of every evening either in front of the tv or in bed, napping. Our sex life in basically nonexistent. Some days, the only time I can talk to him is in the ten-minute interval when we’re both getting dressed in the morning, and then he’s impatient. He is cranky all the time, and I go to great lengths to avoid making him angry — not that he’s ever lifted a hand to me; he hasn’t, but his anger and negativity are contagious, and I’m trying pretty hard most of the time to stay positive. He’s let his grooming slip to an alarming degree; he doesn’t take his meds properly because he says they make him feel lousy, and he’s recently taken to piling garbage in the livingroom next to his chair. Getting him to take out the garbage is a nightmare. BUT. He takes incredible care of my very elderly parents, who live with us, and goes out of his way to make them feel loved and respected. On the weekends, he patiently takes me around to a lot of places he wouldn’t be caught dead in, like fabric stores and yarn shops. He drives miles out of his way to get special food for our sick and elderly cat. He does most of the cooking and marketing for us, and is always buying me little treats like grapes and things he knows I particularly like. If I do laundry for him or bring him a drink or a snack, he thanks me. When he meets new people, he tells them all about his wonderful wife, and says I’m the brains of the outfit (which I only wish was true). He tells me he loves me every single day. I still want to help him be healthier and a lot less cranky and a lot better at managing his paperwork, but I can see how lucky I am, and if I ever forget it again, I’m going to come right back and read this. Thank you for giving me a better perspective.

    1. Dear elle,

      People who hate paperwork will not get better at it, whatever you do. It seems that you are much better at paperwork than he is. Why do you not suggest that you two work out a way so you can do the paperwork -say, on Monday night he gives the data and you use the devices you suggest to work out the paperwork and send the invoices. In the beginning it will be a lot of work, for there will be a backpile, but that will become less. You will have more money and it will take away one more reason for depression.

      The TV, not being able to do the paperwork, letting the grooming slip, not being able to throw things away…..I have been there too recently. Apart from being over tired, my levels of vitamin D3 and C were too low. I started to take extra vitamin D3 and C and felt a lot better. Let him have those level checked. It is an easy thing to do and if this may be the cause taking those pills may not solve the depression completely, but will definitely help to make life a lot better for both of you. I can now sort out piles that I wasn’t able even to look at half a year ago. However, keep in mind that a change will take time and make sure you don’t overdose, for that will cause problems too. Maybe the doctor can help.

      Diabetes is a horrible disease. It makes you feel lousy and tired and making you feel hungry right after your copious dinner. I started to have cravings for sweet things and started looking for them in the house, like a junk looking for heroin. I, who was able to walk through isles and isles of sweets, even chocolate, in the supermarket without paying attention. I was looking at myself during those searches (which I tried to hide from the rest of the family) and was horrified that I was ding this. But I was not able to stop. Fortunately, I have everything under control now: my blood sugare levels have dropped and the bad habits are slowly disappearing. Exercize will helped too, especially strolls outdoor; after 15 minutes of walking outside I felt loads better. Even when it was cold and overcast.

      If the depression lifts, talking about things will become a lot easier. Hope this is of use.

      Apart from this, me and my husband feel this blog is right helpful. He was – and partly still is- a shitty husband, but is willing to listen. Now we both have to relearn to talk and listen to each other. As we have not been doing that for a long time, it is hard. I started feeling neglected, just like your blog explained and that made me putting myself in my stronghold, just to prevent to be hurt over and over again. So I didn’t give him compliments for the good things he did, like he didn’t do for me. It is very difficult. What if I start complimenting him and he takes that as a sign that everything is hunky-dory and he is a good husband for me? Not easy.

      Wishing you all the luck with this situation. Don’t be afraid to take him out for lunch or something without elderly parents and start to talk about little things, unrelated to your troubles. It helped us, but it is difficult to break a routine of not talking to each other any more. I found out that doing this and starting with some compliments started to break the ice. Maybe it will be enough for you….

      1. When I first learned about this webpage, I was searching for answers to understand, contain and resolve the critical boiling stage my marriege had reached.

        My wife had called me an “asshole” many a time, yet I always took it as something cute like butthole. Then things continued to progress, until we no longer talked anymore. Lots of thing
        Where taking place as well, such as work related stresses, entering the 50’s, kids graduating college and leaving for good to jobs far away from home. All of these small pebbles built up stresses that like a geological fracture at some point will give and releasing all pent up tensions in a single irrational burst.

        That’s how it went with us. There was talk about divorce or separation, we engage another couple for mediation and even sat down to draft a set of rules.

        I packed my bags and took a 70 day Caribbean solo adventure, one way ticket. Shipped camp gear to a general delivery address and left. I found a place to crash and from there took trips to remote wilderness spots, to rough it out, catch my own food, fit an overnight camp and lay to dissect my future alone. Been alone and away, taking a break from our seemingly crappy lives is the best way to put it all in the right perspective. Been away and under your own rules of play is king. Yet, I found myself that it was too great, too easy to simply bail out from a 28 year relationship, no matter how bad it had become. That same time granted my wife the liberty to do as she saw fit, doing things her way and taking a test drive of what it means to take care of a 3k sq.ft. home solo, like I do. She had also been able to identify a great stress producer, her job. She chased after another opportunity within her department where the daily grind was less stressful and made the switch. I came back to find my old best friend, and wife. We haven’t gotten in a fight in over a month. All is not perfect, but what in this World is? Relationships change and both parties are equally deserving and introspection that is realistic, an internal evaluation of ones real motivations for expressing feelings that we can’t quite grasp or don’t care to accept.

        I learned how to not be an “asshole” by Googling Wikipedia’s meaning of the word. I did that when I realized I was witnessing the dissolution of my marriage, right before setting the sails of understanding by taking that solo trip.

  25. wish I could get more men to READ this!! Change isnt possible when they believe nothing is broken….

  26. I just found these this morning on a link from a FB friend.
    Today I’ve been divorced for two weeks.
    Why? Because of feelings that I was not cared about, valued, or respected.
    Yes, he paid the bills.
    No, he did not have affairs.
    He just wasn’t here.
    After reading several of these I can now name why I was driven internally to file for divorce in the first place.
    If men do not evolve and if women cannot become conscious of themselves and what they need and express this from the beginning of the relationship, this is what they’ll keep getting.
    If I would have seen these 6 months ago, before I filed for divorce, I can honestly say that in a last ditch effort that I could have shown him these, but it would not have made a difference. He would have became angry and said that I, and these letters were full of shit.

    I will sit alone until I know myself so well I can say what it is I want and need from the beginning of a relationship.
    Thank you so much for these letters. It is too late to save a marriage, but they will come in handy on the slim possibility of a future partner.

    1. I’m very sorry to hear that, Sallie. I think it’s clear to you that I understand. I’m sorry for being like your husband was, but I appreciate very much you supporting this post-marriage effort to make a positive contribution.

      I don’t necessarily seek redemption here. But when I read nice things like your comment, I get to feel it a little bit.

      And I lack the vocabulary to accurately express how meaningful it is to me.

      Good luck, Sallie.

      The recently-divorced period was really hard for me. I hope you get to your next chapter as soon as possible.

      Thank you for reading and your nice note.

    2. Sally, please read my September post, right when I felt all was lost and then today after enough to time transcurred to experiment with what it felt to be free. I posted my views today. Your husband couldn’t have matched my level of arrogance, there is always hope.

  27. I’m pretty sure your words may have just mended a broken 13 year relationship & 4 very hard years of marriage. If not, than I’m quite positive whatever relationships we seek in the future will be exponentially better off. Whatever made my husband stumble across you’re blog at 4am after a hard fight was the same driving force that put us together in the first place. In reading this, I realized I was feeling things that scared me & found within your words to my “shitty husband” the words that this broken wife needed to hear. Reading this I laughed, smiled hard, cried harder. I don’t know you, but I could swear you knew me. Im Birthday Girl or the new mom, exhausted at the hospital with a newborn or the wife crying alone in bed because I want to spend time with my husband. Time will tell whether or not you have helped him. But you have saved me. “Thank you” seems like a lack-luster thing to say after the epiphany you just served on such an honest platter. So instead I’m going to continue to follow your work & share your words with everyone willing to read them. You’re a rare breed, Matt. Best of wishes.

  28. Yup. This was again definitely on point. Sorry I missed it when it was first posted, but you definitely hit the birthday girl moment as I’ve had a couple thought the years. The sad part of it all is that I’m constantly expressing my expectations, there are no surprises and he can never say I don’t know what she wants because when he used to ask me I would tell him. It’s sad to be here and and read all the other responses of wives who are I the same situation … Just hoping the husbands can read this from another guy (not something coming from their wife) and be like all right, yeah maybe I can do things for her That will help make our relationship better. I can manage to be nice, just nice and thoughtful and show up. That would make a huge difference. Thanks for the post so glad these thoughts are out there in the universe, maybe they’ll help someone out.

  29. Hi, I’m a shitty husband, and I’d like to show how much I love my wife and how I want her to approve me. We’re married for 10 years now, and everyday is a routine. Now we’re in the situation that I don’t feel like she likes me anymore, we don’t talk about feelings anymore.
    I wonder how to start this talk about feelings again while I kept on resented by her. She always criticize me for little things that I do for home and kids, and therefore one day I decided to minimize my effort to ease up her work at home… But that’s definitely a bad decision.

    Another thing, smartphone & TV consumes me, and during the night I’d rather watching Youtube of sports while she’s watching another Youtube channel in her smartphone.

    So, I don’t know where to start… I suppose I just start with the doing & the talking & the small-small attention, and ditching the smartphone & TV… Any further suggestion Matt ?

  30. HAHA! Like some of the others, I too googled “my husband’s an asshole” and ended up here. This is a great blog. Too bad more husbands don’t read this before it is too late. My husband told me today that he wants a divorce. It seems I am a shitty wife in his eyes although he fails to tell me how. We have two children (6 and 7) and been together for 16 very trying years. See my lovely husband has a bad habit of infidelity which of course is all my fault because, well, who else is to blame, right? Anyway, I mostly wanted to say that you sound like a terrific guy who learned a tough lessen a little too late. My husband is about to be taught the same lesson but I doubt he will learn from it. I am a very strong, successful, independent woman who just wants someone to share my life with that will love only me. So the question remains…where are all the guys that have already figured out how to treat others with respect?! I can’t seem to find a good guy no matter how hard or where I search. I am so sick of all of the games. Why can’t these stupid ass supposedly grown men get their head out of their ass!!! Just saying…

  31. Hi Matt – I only read one article so far but it was right on the money. Kudos to you for trying to educate men of the world out there. As a woman it basically feels like a lost cause trying to get a guy to see where we are coming from, there is no possible way of bringing up an issue without causing a fight or the other person to feel like they are not good enough.

    It really is the little things that add up and matter. I am on holiday right now with 5 days to go, haven’t actually had a meaningful, pleasant or enjoyable day with the other half. Every day has been either with his friends, his family or he is drunk with friends or on his i phone constantly. How nice it would be to hold hands with someone who actually wants to spend time with me. I feel like if you actually have to ask for that, its a pretty good sign that something needs to change! Maybe you can tell us women, what is so alluring about i-pad games, social media and getting drunk? Do men even value a meaningful conversation? Should I just end my marriage, move to an isolated island and herd goats? It would seem like a much less complicated and disappointing lifestyle. It feels like a pretty average existence in life at the moment.

  32. the depth and emotional rawness of this article could have only come from one with true life experience. I enjoyed reading every word. Thank you for having the courage to share this advice… it could very well be of incalculable importance in the lives of many.

  33. Reading this “letter” made me cry, because too often I was the “birthday girl” with the husband that ignored me all night, for the last twenty years. At first I thought we were just two very independent and secure people and that it was healthy for us to be able to mingle and enjoy a party separately, and yet together, as a couple. We were a social team, tackling a party or event. Working the room for the greater good!

    But as time went by, I felt that he basically had me there to prove that he was living life correctly by bringing his “plus one” or “the beautiful wife” to parties and events. Checking the box. I was window dressing, and no he never told me how great I looked, kissed me for no reaso or gave me knowing glances across the crowded room (sometimes I would lose him at functions with over 400 people, only to eventually find him outside, smoking cigars with the guys without even thinking about me or where I was) and many times I was his designated driver at the end of the night with late night drunk sex a definite expectation – because what isn’t more sexy than a man that ignores you all night long and then wants to hump you before he passes out?

    Thank you for putting it into words and letting me know that it wasn’t just in my mind, and that maybe (just maybe) there may have been another husband or two that watched it happening and thought the same thing you’ve written “sitting right here feeling sorry for a birthday girl who deserves the world and an oblivious husband who doesn’t know the damage he’s causing.”

  34. I am absolutely amazed at how everything i am feeling you seem to be able to put into words. I have been with my hub for 10years. And for awhile everything was great. Even when we struggled. But over time. He stopped putting me first. I still pushed for his attention and affection. I even told him how i felt. But he only managed to make me out to be the bad guy by not saying something sooner. Then he would go about stepping his game up. But it was short lived. He goes back to being comfortable. Back to expecting me to always be there. I was a task that could be pushed aside until he felt he had the time and wanted to put in the effort. I used to always tell him. I want you to want me. And to show me that you want me. Now the tables have turned. I finally broke down. But i have not completely given up. I just need a break from it all. Always fighting for love. Always giving direction. Like at the very least signing a birthday card before you give it to me. He admits to his lazy behavior. And begs me to stay. I don’t want to throw what we have away. 2 children. Great family and friends. But i do not want to feel that hurt again. The pain of not being enough. The anger from doing far more and being told to do even more. With his excuse being. “I work all the time”. If the kids get sick. I am expected to be the one to call out. Because he makes more than me. But that puts my job at risk. He pays no mind to that. It breaks my heart to have such feelings rushing around. I only want him to be my partner. Stay up joking around. Laughing. Creating memories. Having fun. Instead i just feel drained. I have to jump threw hoops to get family days set up. He cant be working. And he doesnt want me venturing on my own. Sex is always about him. Never about me. But he has stepped up. He has taken more actions to actually planning something for special occasions. I still wonder if he will get to comfortable again. And i worry that will cause me to really dislike him rather than just being disappointed. I do not want to hate this man. But i cannot stay to be in pain. Any ideas?? Also after things settled and i agreed to work on us. I found he has been drinking. A lot. He wasnt really hiding it but he wasn’t in a hurry to tell me anything about it. He lied to my face. I drank some of his soda. Only to taste vodka. He really told me it must be expired. Its bad soda. Then pours it out. Takes out the trash and goes to get his hair cut with our son. I called him out. 3 hrs later. Is this what i should expect to happen forever. I didnt make a big deal out of it. Just told him how messed up he was. And the lie was worse then the drink. I didnt fight. I didnt yell. I didnt cry. But it still weights on me

    Thanx for reading

  35. This guy sure gets off on calling men shitty husbands. He is capable of assessing and judging other men after one evening. Note how he positions himself as “the only real man who gets it”
    It’s sickening

  36. I sooo much want my husband to read this – you write about all the things I’ve told him I need time and time and time again and now I just can’t be bothered saying it any more because nothing changes. At least, for longer than a few days. But he IS a wonderful man and a great father, and a ‘good’ husband, but he’s also a shitty husband in that he also ignores me and doesn’t seem to care about my needs, and when I try to get some affection I get rebuffed more often than not. But if I asked him to read this he might think I only see the bad stuff and I don’t want him to think I don’t love him any more or that he’s an arsehole or something. I love him so much and he’s a smart guy but he’s so clueless and he just drives me up the wall.

  37. Wow! As a woman I appreciate everything you said in this post. It’s very raw and honest. I’ve been married almost 7 years, and every single thing you said in this post I’m going through with my soon to be ex husband. Early in the marriage I discovered (on 2 occasions) he was emotionally involved (& that’s all I know of on how far that went) with the woman he told me he would have married if he didn’t marry me. When I found out about them communicating behind my back he denied it, then he said I was being jealous, and insecure. Then he finally admitted it. At the time he threatened me with a divorce because he couldn’t handle the constant arguing about it. I should’ve given it to him, but he sang the let’s work it out song in which I foolishly did. I opened up to him about showing more joy towards me when he sees me when he comes home from work. I asked him to communicate with me to invest a true dialogue of conversation with me as he does with his coworkers and these girls that are “friends” with him. Mind you these girls I didn’t know they were his friend until I discovered the friendships. I thought as his wife I would/should know this information.

    Today, I’m facing the hard truth of my husband is not emotionally connected with me. When I told him the things I needed from him in the past it would always result in “It’s always doing something wrong and you don’t, right?” argument from him when I’m just trying to share with him my needs as his wife. Yes, I can be moody, but something he could never say about me is I wasn’t loyal and honest. I was way too loyal. He would always be open with me when he felt the need to communicate he wanted more sex. He’s too stupid to realize a LITTLE physical touch, communication, and chivalry will guarantee what he loves: sex. I never see any joy in his face except when sex is discussed/performed. The problem with that now is it’s too late. He’s lazy and it requires work. He’ll do those things only when he wants to lead up to sex. He thinks I’m supposed to automatically perform in the bedroom because I’m his wife, but he failed to realize sex for him would be effortless if he would’ve invested a little time in me. Or maybe he simply doesn’t want to.

    Our last and final spat was I found out (yet again) he’s was connected to that same girl on LinkedIn. They don’t share the same profession or school at all, but they were connected. Again, I asked him about this girl. He denied knowing how she was linked to him. I checked the next day to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me and she was gone. I asked him where did she go. He said he doesn’t know, and he still didn’t know how they were linked. After several minutes of ineffective arguing, he told me to go my separate way and he goes his separate way. This time I’m granting his wish. I’ve realized as his wife as a whole I don’t make him happy. I’m finally ok with that.

  38. This just makes me sad because this is my life. When I try to talk to my husband about it, he blames me for being too emotional. I literally just had husband appreciation week with treats and special things for him and he did not appreciate it at all and said I was just stressing him out. I just spent the last hour throwing away the things that I had made for him for the rest of the week. I want to walk away. I dream about it. About being appreciated and feeling cherished. My religion does not allow divorce, otherwise I would walk away. It would be easier to have no one then to be treated this way.

  39. “Just the smallest amount of effort can do wonders for her emotional security, which is directly correlated to how much she wants your penis touching her.”

    No wiser words have ever been spoken by any man I’ve ever met!!! LOL I can’t tell you how true this is. I’m way more attracted to my husband when he can be bothered to take care of his daughter instead of bitching and moaning about his goddamn videofuckinggames.

  40. Wow. A man’s blog and many women comment. And I’ve been reading the women’s blogs trying to figure out what is going on in my marriage. I found out. Thank you. I am a shitty husband and I thought I was doing great in all the “provider” departments. Thank you for the insight into my fecal tendencies and wish me luck in changing my ways. I have not fully lost her yet so i shall follow your blog, follow my heart, and change my ways. And thank you to all the ladies that shared their stories. We listen (some of us if we are smart). I’m listening. Wish me luck.

    1. Thanks, Mark.

      More guys reading then you think. You’re just courageous and secure enough to say something and work to be part of the solution. Really appreciate it.

      1. thank you. thank you for writing these, thank you for getting it. I’m truly very sorry about your marriage. your writing has authentic redemptive and restorative power that I am grateful for, and I’m certain others agree. It’s my birthday next week, and all I want for a gift is for my husband to read these, and begin to get it…birthday girl wishes

  41. Leslie A. Northington

    My first husband called me a few years ago, and said, “I’ve decided not to get married again'” “Really Andy? Why’s that?” “Well, Les, Ive realized, it’s not good for the woman.” I thanked him on behalf of all women kind My second husband called me selfish when I wouldn’t come to pick him up from a gas station he landed at when he got out of jail for yet another charge of domestic battery or something. I told him he was really bad for my health and doesn’t have my best interest in mind. After enduring the last 7 impoverished years of my 14-year marriage to husband #3, the hard worker turned gambler after the recession hit in 2008, who said he “didn’t care” when i finally had the guts to say I “couldn’t do it anymore.” It no longer mattered if he got mad at me for walking away to reclaim whats left of me, or tried to get me fired, or put sugar in my gas tank, obliterated heirlooms, or stormed into my house with an axe smashing things on his way through house and landed at my room where I was visiting with a horrified girlfriend, because I “didn’t answer the phone.” All of which he did. He recently told me I gave up too soon and you don’t give up on the ones you love. I am numb from the pain I’ve endured by these 3 selfish creatures who changed after the vows were exchanged. I want to go back to college and study sociology and try and figure out what happened to our boys. There’s too many like this. I’m fairly certain it was Gloria Steinman’s fault. Shoulder pads and tweed jackets when I still wanted to be a housewife. I remember when women’s lib was peaking, women were bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan, I remember thinking at the ripe age of 8,” I didn’t get a vote in this revolution! I WANT to be a mommy!” The movement emasculated men and gave women a shitty attitude about them, We threw the baby out with the bathwater. We should have been satisfied with equal pay for equal work, we didn’t need to disrupt the ancient primal nature of our roles of male and female. I wasn’t stupid, or a bad picker, they lied. I was a sweet girl from a good home. Cute, funny, great mom, best bj’s, can stretch a dollar and make a shack into a lovely home. I hung in each marriage wayyy longer than I should have and left only when I was positive I tried my best, and leaving was against my religious beliefs , creating a serious faith crisis. I gave it 575%, hoping they’de just knock it off and get back to the great guy I married, the guy who obviously lied. An extreme case yes, but an epidemic. I realize I am the common denominator and it seems assinine to me that I have to fix me, but I never want to end up here again; I’m listening to some Tony Robbins stuff and his pal Joe something, teaching me how to reprogram my mind, and all the cells in my body, instructing me to visualize where I want to be and my mind will gravitate to that vision not to the place I keep reaching despite my desires to be treated with love. On a good note, I’m 55 and have the heart of a 19 yr old, since I’ve yet to know love. Yippee! (I don’t believe men any more and plan on staying single till i die.) I’m developing a curriculum for young lady’s, divorcees, survivors, to educate them in what to know before you marry him. I learned a couple helpful truths. If I help one woman avoid or escape a marriage to a selfish demon, i will leave the earth somewhat satisfied. I’d like to help 100’s of thousands. Thank you for taking care of your half the gender population. I wish i had the degree of a shitty husband as you were. I would have been giddy. It’s all relative i suppose. But seriously, thank you.

  42. Wow. This really does happen more than it should. I can say me and my so are Not to that point….yet, we haven’t been married even a year yet, but I can see it heading down that road. Fast.

    Since your saying you’ve been there before as that guy maybe you have some tips or advice for their SO to get them to actually listen to concerns, not dismiss thaem as ridiculous or an excuse for something.

    Now I don’t know if this is fair but maybe how to get them to understand I shouldn’t have to ask for every little thing for them to eventually get to it. We both share the house it’s both our responsibility not just mine because he doesn’t feel like it. I’m just tired of the days I do work coming home to a sink full of dishes on the days he doesn’t go to work.

    We don’t have children but we plan on starting a family, it’s just I’m terrified enough as it is the process of having one andeven more terrified he won’t actually help raise the child as much as he says he would just based off of his I don’t do anything I don’t feel or want attitude since he left his last job.

    I don’t want to hurt or offend him in any way, but how do I actually communicate with someone like that in a way they will actually listen and try to understand and hopefully just step up. I’ve been trying different things and trying to word things more carefully and thoughtfully, but there isn’t any nice way to say I’m too scared to have a child with you’re SO because they act like a man child. ? It’s really just depressing and disappointing, because I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about that from him since we talked about what we both wanted before even getting serious. Some days it makes me wish I hadn’t married, but I really want to try to work this out some way. I want that happy marriage with him and give us a strong chance at making it together.

  43. Distressed angel

    I’m so happy I found this. My husband goes around in his own little world starting with looking at the papers and some we’ll say “erotic movies” online each day …. then comes and gives me his usual kiss each morning before he goes to work …. comes home from work does some business on pc such as quotes in his office sits down then watched tv for a couple of hours then goes to bed. After reading this it made me realise although he still loves me life is mundane and he’s not upholding his part of the relationship… he wants me to initiate lovemaking and all the rest … I’ve got to a point where I can’t be arsed anymore. This has been a lifesaver for me because I put the post on Facebook in which he saw and read some so we’ll see what goes

  44. Loving this blog, sadly I’m guessing majority of readers are women. The men who need to read this are the kind of men who won’t. Your describing my husband spot-on but I can not see him seeking out this advice or even reading if it’s stumbled upon. Any tips on how to get husbands to read would be awesome. At least then we would know if there’s any hope. Until then, I’m trying to apply your words of wisdom to myself and my actions in my marriage. Proud of you for your insightfulness, you’re going to make someone a great husband once again!

  45. Invisible birthday girl

    I relate to this post so much. Party after party my husband will often break away and mingle. I never thought that weird since I am shy and uncomfortable in social situations. I thought that behavior was normal. So I sucked it up and got through it for over 20 years now.

    For my birthday yesterday, he invited some of my relatives for a dinner Athatnhe prepared, which I thought was lovely and sweet. And here comes the ‘but’ but, as the night wore on it was increasingly apparent he was only interested in talking to my cousin. By this point it was only my aunt, cousin, husband and me sitting at the dinner table. Neither my aunt or I could join the conversation or have one of our own. He kept steering the conversation to her and only she was allowed to continue the conversation. Any attempts of jumping in or changing the conversation to more inclusive subjects were ignored or shortly answered. Here I was sitting so conflicted with my feelings, feeling ignored and less than when he had made this grand gesture for me on my birthday.

    I know my cousin is gorgeous and I am not one that is threatened by it. I can safely say that my family has beautiful women. My cousin also lives an interesting life. So it is natural to be interested in conversing with her. The problem was I didn’t get a chance to talk to her. I was so cast aside, and it being my birthday, put me in a horrible emotional state. What made it worse was at the end of the night when I confronted my husband about it. He accused me of being jealous and insecure. And of course he did nothing wrong. He then finished by saying he will never talk to my family again…I couldn’t deal with the hurt and articulate my thoughts so I slept in the living room after thanking him for the birthday gestures.

    Today I allowed time to settle my emotions and to see if he would check in on me. He didn’t. Not that he didn’t talk to me, but nothing in regards to our conversation the night before. So This evening I told him he should sleep on the couch tonight and he said “no way, I did nothing wrong. I’m sleeping in my bed.” That is when I googled “my husband pays excessive attention to others” and this blog came up. I finally got the validation I needed. I am not the crazy person I’ve been implied to think I am. And, my husband is a good guy, he is just at times a shitty husband. I sent him this blog. He is still on the couch, I’m not sure I’m ready to set this aside, yet again. Hopefully the same message coming from a man will sink in better…and then maybe we can get to celebrate 20 more years of marriage. I can say it has not been easy to get this far and we still struggle to make it work. Today was one of those days where I seriously contemplate being better off alone. Thanks for making me a little less cray today.

  46. I need a Break

    You could literally swap husband for wife in these blogs and have the same outcome… care about his hobbies, what his interests are, tell him you love him, look at him across the room. I mean cold wives happen too. Wives who don’t listen, think they are always right happen too. This is like a one stop wish list for unhappy wives, but literally many marriages have this on both sides. Both sides need to adhere to this and stop being shitty married couples.

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Matt Fray

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