An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 10

Comments 157

trust-torn

My wife felt unsafe because she could no longer trust me.

She didn’t feel unsafe because she thought I would physically hurt her or because she thought I couldn’t protect her if someone else tried.

She didn’t stop trusting me because she worried I might have sex with someone else.

My wife stopped trusting me because she determined I could not be counted on to be the partner she needed. As a parent. As a housemate. As a lover. As a financial partner.

It wasn’t the big things that brought her to that point. There often aren’t big things in marriage.

It was the little things. Often, it is the little things that scratch and claw and chip away at the integrity of a marriage until the union and its participants look nothing like they did when first formed.

She was a youthful, fun, vibrant, happy, joyful young woman.

She grew tired, weary, anxious, frightened, sad and angry.

I begged and pleaded for the girl I knew to come back once I stopped recognizing her. I grew sad and angry when she couldn’t or wouldn’t. I blamed her for not trying.

But I think maybe she wanted to. I think she wanted to feel like her old self again. But she simply couldn’t.

Because she couldn’t trust me.

So she kept her guard up.

Because she didn’t feel safe.

Men (I) Have a Problem

And I think maybe women have this same problem but because of the state of the world in which we live (where men sometimes literally believe they’re better than women), I think the male version is worse.

Men think and feel and experience the world around them in certain ways. We experience things, see things, hear things, digest information, and come to what we consider to be very rational, very logical, very sensible, very correct conclusions.

When you think you’re right, everyone who doesn’t see things the same way must be wrong. Thus, your wife or girlfriend is “wrong” A LOT.

For example, despite loving our wives, forsaking all others, being willing to die for them, and spending every day trying to earn more money and respect and admiration for and from them, our wives often FEEL unloved.

And because we don’t think it makes sense for them to feel unloved based on all the things I just listed—because we think it’s crazy, irrational and unreasonable—we pretty much ignore all suggestions to the contrary.

I am mocking and sarcastic. It is a brand of humor my friends and I have enjoyed for as long as I can remember. When I call my male friend a name or laugh at him about something, it is understood that he is my friend, he is loved and respected, and that by virtue of me wanting to be around him and wanting him to be part my social circle, that the comments and laughter are in fun and not mean-spirited.

My wife did not appreciate my mockery and sarcasm directed toward her. She was my wife and deserved a higher standard of treatment, she said.

She was right.

I accidentally hurt her feelings a lot. I NEVER did it on purpose. So I always got pissed when she’d get mad at me over something I did unintentionally.

But.

The “intent” argument only works the first time.

If you’re out hunting and you fire a shot that accidentally kills someone in a nearby home you didn’t realize was there, you are unlikely to be charged with murder or homicide. Because it was an accident.

But if you go out hunting again to that same spot and accidentally kill a second person due to negligence? Have fun in prison.

My crime wasn’t hurting my wife’s feelings the first time. An accidental one-time offense is almost always forgivable. My crime was hurting my wife’s feelings repeatedly, even after she explained why it was happening.

Because I don’t respond to things the same way she does, I never really changed, and expected her to adjust to my “correct” way of thinking and feeling and behaving.

Go ahead and keep that up guys and let me know how it works out for you.

She’s going to fall in love and have sex with someone else, and she’s probably going to tell him and her friends what a chump you are.

You’re not going to like it.

The Thing About Trust

I don’t like to sound like I know everything, because I don’t know anything about you or your life or what you think and feel.

But what I think I’ve learned is that when I feel and experience something, I can feel confident that MANY others have felt and experienced it too. Because we’re not so different, you and me.

…..

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I started coaching in 2019. Clients and I work collaboratively through current and past relationship stuff in order to improve existing relationships or to prepare for future ones. Other clients are trying to find themselves after divorce or a painful breakup. We talk by phone or video conference. People like it. Or at least they fake it really well by continuing to schedule future coaching calls and give me more money. If you’re going through something and think I might be able to help, it’s really easy to find out for sure. Learn More Here.

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I think most men think about trust in the context of infidelity.

I think one of the major hang ups guys have about committing to a relationship or to marriage when they’re young is that by doing so, they’re effectively promising to never have sex with anyone else again. I don’t know whether men like variety or options or freedom or what, but that’s a big deal when we’re younger.

I thought of marriage mostly as agreeing to a permanent girlfriend. By agreeing to marriage in my early twenties, I thought I was agreeing to have an exclusive relationship with my girlfriend forever and to not have sex with anyone else.

And that’s dangerous because a girlfriend isn’t that important and is reasonably easy to replace.

A wife?

In some respects (if you meant your vows) is irreplaceable and a piece of your soul gets poisoned and dies when you lose that fundamental part of you.

You take it for granted. You take her for granted.

Like your eyesight. Or functioning legs.

But they’re really important.

And you figure it out when they’re gone.

The trust is rarely about whether she worries about you cheating.

It’s more about whether she can trust you to not hurt her emotionally. About whether she can trust you to help her by not sabotaging her efforts to keep your house clean, or to plan activities with family and friends, or to be a reliable parenting partner.

We had this little stand in our bedroom. I have this thing—especially with jeans—where I wear them once or twice and consider them too clean for the laundry basket, but too dirty to fold and put away. Laundry limbo, if you will. I used to throw them on this stand in the back of our room.

She didn’t like it because it made the room look disorganized and she prided herself on a clean and tidy home.

She’d get mad at me because I kept thoughtlessly doing it even after repeated attempts to get me to stop.

Men think: Why’s she making a federal case about this? Is a pair of jeans sitting out somewhere in my bedroom where no visitors come really THAT big of a deal?

We rationalize it with our sensible, logical brains. And we don’t necessarily work very hard to change the behavior because: “She’s not going to leave me over laundry!”

No. She’s not going to leave you over laundry.

She’s going to leave you because she can’t trust you to be her partner because you don’t even respect her enough to put your laundry-limbo jeans in a different location.

“If I can’t trust him with this little teeny-tiny thing,” she thinks, “how can I ever trust him with my heart?”

You’re Like a Child

And in EVERY other situation in life, I’d tell you that’s a good thing. Kids laugh 200-300 times a day and love life and are happy and innocent and free. Adults are miserable.

We must never stop playing and laughing and dreaming and seeking fun and adventure.

But in a marriage? Being like a child is bad. That’s why children can’t and don’t get married.

Your wife used to be a girl.

The girl you fell in love with because she was beautiful and fun and playful and wanted you and made you feel good.

And now she doesn’t act like that anymore. She’s worn out. Angry. Short-tempered. Frustrated. Disinterested in your penis. And seems to not even like or respect you anymore.

And now you’re angry and resentful, because your mom never treated your dad like this, or because you thought she was just going to take care of you the way your mother always did.

You’re angry because you haven’t changed that much, but she has, and you feel cheated because she said “I do” and now she’s acting like the man she married isn’t good enough.

You feel unwanted, disrespected, and ashamed.

But, probably without realizing it, you did it to yourself.

Because you have a home, and finances, and maybe children or pets or possessions of significance. You’re not kids anymore. But you still act like one. When you playfully mock your friends or your wife. When you leave your pants out, or a dish in the sink, or forget to do that thing you promised on your way home.

And all these little things add up.

Why are you making such a big deal about this!?, you wonder.

And now she CAN’T be a kid anymore. She can’t play and laugh and live carefree anymore. Because you are. And if she does it too, nothing will ever get done.

The clothes will never get washed. Meals will never be made. The kids will never have what they need.

You refused to take the next step.

So she HAD to.

And now she’s angry, resentful, sad and afraid.

Because you’ve left all the adult work to her.

But, more importantly?

You left her with no choices. And now she doesn’t get to be who she used to be.

And you want that girl back.

But she can’t come back.

Because there’s no such thing as time travel.

But the clock’s still ticking.

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. 3

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. 11

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 12

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 13

…..

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157 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 10”

  1. I wish my ex husband could read this! My marriage was very similar to this. To this day he still doesn’t get it, but I have learned that it is his problem and not mine! 🙂

    1. They’re often hard lessons to learn. Perhaps the fortunate ones get another chance someday. But maybe they don’t.

      Thank you for reading. I’m so glad it made sense to you.

    1. Thank you so much. But this isn’t about me anymore. I’m always dreaming and hoping and praying that just one guy reads it and does the thing where you go: “Holy shit! That’s just like me!” And then they realize if that part of it is just like them, maybe the inevitable divorce and brokenness part is, too.

      And maybe they start to view life and marriage and themselves through a different prism. A more-accurate, more-honest one.

      And maybe change occurs. Real change.

      And maybe one little kid like my son, or like me when I was 4 gets to live with a happier mom and dad for the rest of their childhood.

      If that happened even once, my life will have mattered. And the heartache I used to feel every day for a very long time will have not been in vain.

      Thank you for reading this and being thoughtful enough to write this note. I appreciate it very much.

  2. This is what my husband was like 2 to 3 years ago. He made a LOT of progress, but we’re still getting a divorce. The surprising part is that he’s the one who wants it. And after all the heartache, I’ve agreed.

    Thanks for your efforts in reaching out to men. We women appreciate enlightened men helping other men.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your marriage, Eilene.

      Adults get sad. Because life rarely works out they way we wanted or hoped or thought it would.

      We chase happiness in the wrong places. I think he’s probably doing that. We probably all do that.

      Thank you for reading this. I wish I knew what to say.

  3. wow, Matt. Not sure where you unearthed all this from but there was a lot here. You could have turned this into two posts…trust: part one and part two. That’s how much you have!! This wasn’t my experience but mine is not the normal. I know so many people who live with this kind of life as their reality. You make me wonder if the life of the slow suffering wife is actually worse than the atomic bomb experience I had…finding out about a lifetime of infidelity on one day and him leaving, one sad and shocking day later. so much sadness in marriage.

    1. There are a thousand examples like these little instances in a marriage. On their own, they’re not a big deal. Collectively, they represent a fundamental lack of respect for your spouse.

      Sometimes, you just have to do things because they’re important to the other person.

    1. I would never call you that. But obviously I know exactly what you mean. I’m glad you get it, and I very much appreciate the co-sign.

      1. I reserve the right to call myself whatever I like! 😉
        I recognise so many of my own failings here. A very honest post. Of course I’m sure that you are being too harsh on yourself but then its better to recognise our weaknesses than deny or remain ignorant of them. Well spoken out sir.

  4. I don’t think your experience is so different than what a lot of go through. Marriages go through there ups and downs and if you are determined to work it out, you end up with something really special. Just keep trying.
    Leslie

  5. I love this! I love how you take responsibility without the ‘yeah but”. Obviously it always takes two. You are not solely responsible for the demise of your marriage but it is refreshing to hear someone say ”Yes, I messed up. I can see that now and I’m sorry.” More of us need to put pride aside and do the same. It’s not that its men’s fault or woman’s fault, we are all one half of a relationship and we all need to take ownership of what we contribute. Thank you Matt for a great read this morning.

    1. Thank you for understanding.

      A lot of people read this stuff and interpret it as me thinking everything’s my fault and men are responsible for all the bad in marriage.

      I don’t believe that at all.

      I just believe I need to take responsibility for what I did, and men need to take responsibility for what they do.

      It’s not my job to point fingers at my wife or other wives and criticize them because I don’t understand what it’s like to be a woman or a wife or a mother. Only other women can do that.

      I want people to own their shit. I’m trying to own mine.

      I really appreciate that you get that.

  6. That line about, “you didn’t take a step, so she HAD to” is spot on. I for one felt like that prior to my own infidelity. And it took years of being worn down before I finally thought–well if he won’t change…..then I will.

    As others have already said, this is spot on!

    1. Thank you for reading it. This is another in a long line of realizations that most marriages suffer from the exact same problems.

      I happen to think this is good news, because if everyone has the same problems, then I think that’s gotta mean, most people can fix them with the same solutions.

      But I’m not the brightest.

      I appreciate you visiting and commenting very much.

      1. I am actually going to ask my husband to read this. For years I kept hammering away, “I feel like I am doing everything. When are you going to grow up? Step up and lead our family?” Meanwhile, he sat on his hands, unable or unwilling to make even basic decision within the context of our marriage. It drove me nuts-for years in fact. And I spoke about this on my blog that I suddenly had a “yes” husband–a wet noodle if you will. No backbone, no gumption, just a passenger along for the ride.

        There was no real fighting. There was just agreeable silence. I don’t know about you, but conflict to me is healthy. The exchange of ideas and thoughts drives discussions, passionate ideas for the future whether that be long term dreams of travel or mundane things like remodeling a house.

        I love what you wrote….the whole, “you didn’t step up, so she HAD to”. I haven’t been able to express it so eloquently myself but I think I will need to ask your permission to use that line when I divulge more of my story.

        But that just hit home for me. Years of being the one to “step up” wore me down. I yearned for an alpha male like no other. And eventually, I thought if he doesn’t change, then I will.

        I don’t have a crystal ball, but I would wager most marriages suffer from the same problems too.

        Thanks for posting and keep writing!

        1. By all means, use what you will. I didn’t coin that sentence, or anything. 🙂

          I’ve been writing these posts for a year and a half now. These 10 Open Letter posts. I was kicking around different themes for Vol. 10. And I was I was talking to a female friend when she started talking about how she misses feeling young and having fun and being able to just let go.

          She said her marriage made that impossible because her husband was ALWAYS that way and highly unreliable with things both big and small. And that, over time, she grew unable to be relaxed or vulnerable or carefree because she could never count on him to be the strong or mature or responsible or protective one.

          She essentially said: “I’m fun! But I just couldn’t be with him anymore because it became unsafe for me and my children to just let go.”

          That’s when I knew I had a good topic.

          Because I think both men and women have seen or experienced this dynamic on some level. I’m so glad it resonated with some people.

          Thank you again.

    1. Thank you very much. I get scared about sharing my work away from here and making it seem as if I think it deserves a wider audience. I always figure, if people like something enough, it’ll get out there.

      It means a lot that you liked it. Thank you.

  7. I really admire and appreciate all the Shitty Husband posts, but this time I think you’re taking ownership of things that should not end a marriage.

    You had that same sense of humor when your ex met you. When she dated you. When she married you. And now, YOU’RE supposed to joke differently because it hurts her feelings? Unless you’re publicly humiliating her, how about SHE develop a thicker skin, rather than try and change something intrinsic to your personality?

    And the jeans thing? C’mon! And I’m the most OCD person you ever met, when it comes to a clean, uncluttered house. Unless you were letting the house look like an episode of hoarders, couldn’t she just roll with it? Ask any happily married couple for 40 years how much annoying crap that had to put up with from each other. You have to learn to look away. If not trusting him to put his dirty jeans in the right place turns into not trusting him with your heart, perhaps some therapy is in order.

    Go a little easy on yourself, Matt! How about, for 2015, you step down off the cross? We could all use the wood. 🙂

    1. This is a broad generalization: But I think you’re more like a guy on this subject. ALSO. You’re a first-ballot nomination for the Sarcasm and Mockery Hall of Fame. You’re pretty much a badass at those things. (Which you already know.)

      I would need 250,000 words to list all the little things I did throughout the course of my marriage to help drive the wedge. I agree with you. I do. On their own, the jeans thing, and my way of being funny shouldn’t be marital deal breakers.

      However. I think if you’re going to marry someone, nothing can be too little or insignificant if it upsets or hurts your spouse.

      And also, I think men have to take responsibility for men bullshit and women have to take responsibility for women bullshit. It’s just not my place to point fingers at people who don’t think and feel like I do and tell them how to think and feel.

      But for all the guys out there that do what I did, and maybe don’t realize they’re going to ultimately end up divorced over it? I just don’t think a friendly “Hey, you’re fucking up, dude!” warning is a bad idea.

      I really appreciate you telling me to take it easy on myself. And I appreciate what I consider to be your sensible approach to adult relationships.

      But I think the reality is that many, many, many wives feel frustrated by this dynamic, and that over time, it poisons many other aspects of a relationship and breaks a marriage.

      Seems silly. The power of leaving your dirty clothes lying around. But it’s powerful, just the same.

      Thank you for reading and saying hi. Means more than you know.

      1. I’m actually being INDUCTED into the Sarcasm and Mockery Hall of Fame next month.

        You can attend the ceremony, if you wear a clean damn pair of jeans. 🙂

  8. Hi Samara (waving madly from over on FB, LOL, small world,eh?) I think the jeans incident is metaphorical for the multitude of seemingly small things that add up to a lack of respect for the other person. It goes both ways, though, if both partners are inconsistent in their dedication to meeting the other’s needs, once they know how important they are to their partners, then the trust is gone. Without trust, love and desire evaporates.

    1. Peep! What’s UP? *waves madly back*

      If the jeans were a metaphor, why didn’t someone TELL me?!

      I love what you wrote. “Inconsistent in their dedication to meeting the others needs.” But of course, you would understand that.

  9. Wow. So awesome that you are able to put this into words. You’re so right.

    I didn’t know how to say it in the way that you just wrote, but I knew exactly what he had to stop doing.

    He resisted at first, like you talked about, but I was dead serious.

    It might sound like an old paradigm but Men (really) are From Mars… lucky for me, he downloaded the book.

    1. Is that a happy ending, then? A guy who figured out how to save the marriage BEFORE it was too late?

      I very much hope so, because that’s a great story.

      1. Yes – OMG. We are so much closer now.

        I owned my part right away – and told him so. I just let certain things go for too long and stopped talking about the things that were important. The things that I felt hurt by.

        Things he wouldn’t like if I did to him.

        Not the laundry, or whatever. But nothing abusive or harmful, either.

        I’m just a girl, you know. And maybe a little bit oversensitive. I’m still sensitive but I have been able to set boundaries and let other things go.

        For a while I told him I didn’t like being around him. And I felt kind of bad about myself, too. My confidence was not so great. But I had decided that I didn’t want to leave. I just didn’t want to be around him until I figured out exactly what I needed to change about myself.

        I had some growing up to do, too.
        And now he respects how I feel and that’s what I need in order to feel safe. Safe enough for adventures.

        We laugh easily and have fun.

        And I can relax and be intimate and open because I know he respects how I feel and would never hurt me.

        It was a scary moment though.
        Now we’ve been married 23 years.

        1. What a fantastic story about marriage. About what it really looks like and what it takes.

          Thank you for sharing. And congratulations to you both.

  10. I just pray that my ex comes across your blog and actually reads it and absorbs it. Cause this was my marriage and then some. And he still doesn’t acknowledge his continual wrongs and wonders why we still get into arguments and why I feel the way I do even after NUMEROUS attempts to explain it to him. I’ve stopped explaining. He’s his gf’s problem now. Let her have all the fun with his selfishness.

    1. This blog isn’t particularly popular so it seems unlikely that he will. But I can’t tell you how much I like to hear that you think this is relevant and that this would have made a difference in my marriage or others. Because the more guys read wives or ex-wives co-signing on some of these ideas, the more likely they may be to start believing them.

      Thank you.

      1. I wish that were true. Before blogs, I used to keep a written diary of how I felt and the things he was doing to make me feel that way. And he actually read it, and told me my feelings were BS and I was making him out to be a villian and that is not the way he is and yadda, yadda, yadda. Basically, he was telling me that everything I wrote was stupid and he blamed me. For his actions. And how he was treating me. And how I was feeling. And that I needed to change. So, some men can change if they want, but only if they want. Some people can’t take the truth about themselves. They only want to believe that they are Superman and infallible.

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  12. This is so sad, but at least you are someone that can learn from mistakes and see where you went wrong, a lot of people in your situation seem to be able to just put the blame on the other person and not see any of their own faults at all, doomed to make the same mistakes.

    1. It’s bad that I tend to learn the hard way all the time. But it’s good that I actually learn.

      People sometimes have a real problem with self-reflection and accepting personal responsibility.

      I’m sure I do, too. But I’m always trying.

      Hope you’re having a happy new year.

  13. You left out a reeeeeally important key component where “trusting your guy” is concerned- porn. I divorced my x over it and it’s a lot bigger problem in relationships than many people consider or will admit to. Of course, it’s viewed differently, but to me, it’s the same as cheating; the only difference being you can’t get an STD from it and you can’t knock it up, but either way, a very precious thing (love/trust in the relationship) has been destroyed. Once destroyed, it’s not so easy to see the person in the same light. Naturally, so many people are like, “what’s the big deal?”, but I can’t help to think they secretly want to be ok with it so THEY can be unfaithful somewhere. They’ve already been justified if their partner’s done it, eh?

    You bring up a lot of really good points here and it’s obvious that you know the inner workings of the strange and enigmatic creature that is “woman”. :0)

    1. Well, I don’t know how much I know about women. But I’m glad it appears I’m guessing correctly. 🙂

      Pornography is a relevant topic, and a legit factor in breaking down a relationship, when used by one partner to effectively replace his or her spouse or significant other for sexual gratification.

      I try to keep things real here, but I don’t know whether I’ll ever be brave enough to write about things like that.

      In time, perhaps.

      1. I think that’s a wise declaration. You know it’s funny, if a writer is able to incorporate just enough humour into his or her post- even if the subject is dead-serious (think: Aussa Lorens) chances are, he’ll still win over the audience to a high degree. That’s not to say a person could (or ever should) spin “rape” or something equally harrowing into a knee-slapper but injecting a bit of humour always seems to be that necessary ice breaker in semi-serious to not-so serious topics. I think porn teeters on the edge of that tightrope (depending on one’s perception going in, of course).

        I read a post once by an associate pastor who decided to out himself concerning his porn addiction. It made for absolute intense reading! People just don’t do that, you know? He had a strong, positive reaction. I was interested in the whole transaction and observed it as a case study of sorts, but it was fascinating to watch the scales tip from “extremely vulnerable” to “winning over every person who read his post”- not only that- the majority of the readers each had a story to share also. It seemed as if no one had been untouched on the subject, by either a confession or story of someone who’d suffered from it. (Yes, like a disease.) His voice throughout remained understandably serious, but it ended up being a multi-tiered therapy session for all. interesting stuff. :0)

        But yes, again, it’s wise of you to know your boundaries and respect them. ;0) By the way, this isn’t meant to sound like an insult, but your writing is really similar to that of Stephen King. Not in content, but in both style and voice: Short sentences that pack a punch with a considerable amount of unbiased introspection. I enjoy reading your work. My next semester begins next week but perhaps we’ll meet again. :0) Great to meet you.

  14. Lisa Du Bois Low

    Well said! You pretty much summed up the universal (and fundamental) core of most marital problems. I’m sharing this EVERYWHERE. Your words have the power to heal. Not only others, but yourself! Bravo.

    1. Hi Lisa. It means a lot to me that you think so.

      Thank you for reading and considering it relevant enough to share.Please have a great weekend!

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  16. Reblogged this on bopeepmeetsmrwolf and commented:
    This post could have easily been titled “Open Letter to Shitty Doms”. I stumbled across Matt’s blog a few months ago and he is pretty insightful. OK, he will probably freak out when he realizes this post has wandered into the darker more shadowy, but ohh so much fun side of WP, but bear with me here. I ACTUALLY am trying to “edumacate” people and demonstrate that a D/s relationship is not that different than a vanilla one.
    Remove the BDSM from the equation and substitute Dom and sub for Husband and wife ( or wife and wife, or husband and husband, or husband and wife and wife, or whatever arrangement you happen to be involved in….). Trust and consistency are important foundations to any successful relationship. Sorry Matt, try NOT to run screaming from the room, D/s is not all about whips and chains…okay, well sometimes it is :). The rest of you go check out Matt’s blog, he seems like a decent guy.
    Enjoy!

    1. I’m super-sorry it took me so long to write back, Bo. It was an oversight, not intentional!

      Rest assured I’m not easily shocked or offended. For reasons that escape me, quite a few readers from the D/s world have been reading and supporting me from very early on. I appreciate it very much.

      As I do this kind comment and your willingness to share my work. Thank you so much. I hope you have a beautiful day.

      1. Matt, you are welcome, and please realize that what you write holds true for our lifestyle just as it does for the “vanilla” lifestyle. D/s relationships are built on the same trust, emotional investment, and respect as any other relationship. Thank you for your writing, I do hope that some day you won’t have a need to be so hard on yourself 🙂
        Peep

  17. My husband does the same thing, He’ll say something about what, or how I’m doing something, then he’ll say. You know I’m just kidding. Well sometimes it still hurts my feelings, & makes me cry. He’ll just kind of laugh & say I always joke with you. WTH you don’t have to keep saying the crap. God knows I love the man.

    1. It’s good to remind ourselves that when people hurt us, oftentimes it’s the last thing they wanted to do.

      Sometimes we get mad because of the pain AND because we think they did it intentionally or allowed it to happen through carelessness.

      But with guys? We sometimes are just so dense and oblivious that we hurt you badly on accident.

      Men with brains can be reasoned with and made to understand this dynamic and institute changes.

      And in a marriage? Not only is it not too much to ask for. But it’s critical to the relationship’s survival.

  18. Matt, this is it exactly. This is all of it, in one post. It encapsulates the entire ‘you don’t have to love what I love, only love me enough’.

    Thank you so much for this one. I tweeted it and shared it on Facebook.

  19. When I knew I would divorce I tried to reason with my ex and explained how I always worked, never hit her and helped with kids kids etc. She said, “those things are normal and expected.” I didn’t get it for years up until that point. I grew up in a broken home. Not just broken but with men in and out, most violent with addictions. As a kid I always promised myself one day I would have a family of my own and my kids would never see me hit their mother. I’d get up each day and go to work and when I came home they would have food and would not be afraid.

    As a kid I thought that would make me an outstanding father/husband. In the end it wasn’t enough and it shouldn’t be. Going to work and not beating my wife made me normal. The emotional neglect and disconnect made me a shitty husband. Your letters should be read by all husband because most don’t even know they are being shitty.

    1. You may or may not know just how much sense this makes to me, Vince.

      But yeah. Me, exactly. “I’m nice! I have a decent job! We have a decent home! I say ‘I love you’ and mean it! I must be a great husband!”

      Sometimes, we just don’t have all the facts. It’s shame it’s about one of the most important things human beings experience.

      Great to hear from you, sir. I’m so sorry it took me a few days to get back to you. Major oversight, and a total accident.

  20. You didn’t quite find opportunity in the conversation, the motions.  Second time around, apologize.  Everything in life decays, so you have to make the relationship special or otherwise it would fall apart; it has to mean something to you; she has to mean something great to you, even if she has transitioned with age.

    The goal would be to be childlike at heart, not childlike in irresponsible practice.  The adult has to get by, and excel with all of the skills learned growing up.  Bringing it out in her again would be another goal…

    But there are also signs that it wasn’t meant to be.  You learned; time to learn more.

    1. I’d say this sums it up rather neatly and accurately.

      Really appreciate you taking the time to read. Thank you very much.

  21. Wow, Matt, once again you hit the nail on the head. That was unbelievably true for me and my ex-husband. I have a feeling all this self knowledge will make you amazing in your next relationship.

    1. Thank you, Fran. If any personal good (and I hate to even write it that way) could ever come from my divorce, it would be that.

      Tangible growth that benefitted others and myself in the future.

      One can hope. Thank you very much.

  22. oh Matt Matt Matt…your words make my cry because I would give anything if my husband had 1/10th of your insight. I miss the girl I used to be more than my husband ever will.

  23. I’ve read every single one of these letters now, and they’ve taken the wind out of my sails. It’s incredible really. This is exactly, almost down to the smallest detail, what I’m going through. I’m pre-divorce, but I’ve told myself I’ll give it 3 more years, until our youngest is 6. And I have some way to support myself, and maybe somehow my husband will care. I know I’m not ready to leave, just because I’m not ready to face his complete apathy to my leaving. I just hope I can make it through the next few years and not totally lose myself.

    1. I am so sorry for not replying to you. I’ve been far, far away. But I’m back now.

      Thank you for reading these. I’m so glad you understand. Selfishly, it means what I’m writing matters and sometimes when I’m doubting myself it really helps to hear that.

      I’m also happy for you because it’s important to realize you’re not the only one. You’re never the only one.

      This book is a game-changer:
      http://www.amazon.com/Improve-Marriage-Without-Talking-About-ebook/dp/B001PSEQ6U/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424889919&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+improve+your+marriage+without+talking+about+it

      I wish you well, Megan. Thank you for writing.

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  33. Thank you Matt for your blogs. I have read and re-read everyone of them just to make sure I wasn’t imagining how each of them described how my marriage is going. My husband and I will be married for 10 years next week but everything seems to have gone downhill, I doubt I have to explain how not so nice google search made me stumble across your posts. In every one of them there was a disagreement, an event and/or a feeling that I have lived or what have you. I sent them to my husband to read and of course he falls into the same roll as always, I’ll read them later, oh I forgot, everything I do I do for you and the kids, I read the first one…yes I’m a shitty husband since you say I am, etc etc. *sigh* he just doesn’t get it, but I appreciate the posts I don’t feel like I’m so crazy and that maybe I AM the problem anymore. Because of your post I don’t feel like I’m the only one that feels like this, as though I’m just a horrible, nagging, over bearing needy, spawn of Satan wife. Even though my husband does not seem to care I do hope that ONE husband who’s wife wants him to read this does and makes the change. Even ONE marriage changed, ONE divorce stopped because of your strength and courage to share your experience is worth it. Thank you so very much again. And I do hope that if you find someone again that she realizes just how lucky she is.

    1. I’m never quite sure what to say when I get a note like this.

      But I’m so glad I could be a small part of helping you realize that you’re not alone. This is what happens to almost all of us. We hit rough patches and have crises of identities and take each other for granted and fantasize about lives we don’t have even though they would have just as many problems.

      You’re not crazy. You’re just a person.

      And he’s not a shitty asshole. He’s just a person.

      And I hope you guys can figure out how to speak to one another because I’ve really grown to believe that it’s that simple.

      Our ability to speak to one another and effectively communicate the thoughts and feelings we have.

      Men, I think, roll their eyes at that sometimes. Maybe everyone does.

      Maybe that’s why half of marriages fail.

      I won’t believe they have to. Wishing you peace, and hopefully, joy, Amanda.

      If you both decide to choose it, you’ll have forever.

      Thank you for reading and leaving this note. It means a lot to me.

      1. Thank you for your response, I never told him that he was a shitty husband, but on occasion that he was acting like an ass, he read the first post and figured that since I sent him the link that I was saying he was. His usual thing just agree because it is less effort. I have asked him to read the rest in hopes that maybe just maybe his eyes will be opened. I know in no way am I innocent in where our marriage is currently at and I accept my fault in it. Hopefully he does read this andsee able to recognize what I have been telling him. But regardless Matt I can say that I forwarded these blogs to my best friend’s husband and he read them. She called and said that for the first time in a long time she is feeling like they are back on the same page and that she has her husband and partner back. Your words and experience have made a difference for them and it seems others. Keep up the amazing job

        1. What a great note.

          I’m not inclined to assume these things I wrote brought your friend and her husband back together, but it is possible that he read something that made sense to him. And regardless of whether those words played a role, I’m so flattered you cared enough to share.

          Again. Wishing you and your husband my very best. Thank you so much for your positive feedback and encouragement.

  34. This article made me cry. My husband and I are at the point in our marriage where we can’t even have a normal conversation without fighting. Been married almost 3.5 years…been together almost 7. No kids. There is probably a reason for that. I feel that we cannot communicate anymore. I am just so full of resentment for all the awful things he’s said to me over the years that I just cannot love him the way I used to anymore. We are no longer intimate either. I feel I have one foot out the door and am really upset about it. I’ve told him repeatedly that he makes me feel like I don’t matter in his life, yet it goes in one ear, out the other and then plops down in front of the TV for hours and ignores me and the next day wakes up fine. If I am not fine, well..that’s my problem. I really don’t want to end my marriage but I just don’t see any hope. I do so much for him and our household and I get disrespected constantly. I am treated like an after-thought…like I am getting in his way. I don’t want to ramble on…I’m sure you get my point. I am sick about this. I just want to be happy…and maybe I have to be on my own in order to do that. Thanks for listening.

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  36. Have read all your letters. Most brought me to tears because they resonate with my feelings. The feelings that I lock away so I can continue in my marriage, and so my kids can have both parents living together. 19 years of marriage with 4 kids. My husband is a nice guy. He is who he is. Marriage counseling and reading articles like yours didn’t help our relationship, because my “nice husband” just doesn’t understand. The thing that helps me is to remember, “it’s not about me”. It’s okay to stay for the kids. I look for reasons to have joy through their eyes. I’m not being beaten, he’s not drunk, he’s not verbally abusive, he’s not having affairs.(If someone’s spouse is doing those things -leave). I’m just lonely and incredibly exhausted from all you’ve described. God spoke to my heart one day when I was ready to leave. (This is a big no no for a Christian). But God said, “leave the marriage if you want – or trust me to go on a journey and learn how I (God) love.” God showed me how His love gives, and gets very little in return. His love is lopsided- He does most of the work. So I started looking at my marriage as a walk with God. If He can love me when I am crappy and inadequate, I will “love” (action not feeling) my husband regardless of his shortcomings today. That was 5 years ago and it’s gotten better. Marriage circumstances are mostly the same- But allowing God to be my strength and companion has renewed my hope and joy. Reading your letters opened those feelings I’ve tucked away and choose not to dwell on. Instead I’m dwelling on the laughter I see on my children’s faces, the family dinners with all 6 of us, the appreciation that my husband has also chosen to continue in our marriage (he says he’s never wanted anything else), and the hope that one day in 60 years I can sit on the front porch holding hands with my “shitty – husband” and watch our grandkids play. Your letters perfectly communicate to the heart of a woman about what many husband’s are oblivious to. I hope they point men to a change of mindset. But if, in the meantime, your spouse stays ignorant, there is Hope for your heart. God sees the unfairness of your marriage and cares. Maybe your spouse won’t change, but God will be the comfort of your heart and give you strength. (Not being preachy). Especially if kids are involved. Thanks for writing such candid letters. You are a true friend of men! Hope one day by a miracle your family will be restored. If not, your son and ex – wife are still blessed by you today.

    1. Thank you very much for this honest, heartfelt note, Kristynn. I really appreciate you reading, and your words of encouragement. They mean a lot.

  37. My wife alerted me to your letters and told me, you’re a shitty husband, read what he has to say. You see, I cheated on my wife. I AM a shitty husband. Not only have I, do I behave the way you tell all of us who would listen, to not behave but I took her heart out and stomped on it when she found out I had had an affair. I wasn’t even man enough to be able to admit I had done it. She found out from someone else. As I go through the process of trying to regain her trust, I work every day to try to be a better husband. But I think the problem is that while I know what I should do, I’m somehow incapable of consciously going thru the actions. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s because I’m too damn selfish ALL THE TIME. And my intentions don’t seem to come to fruition. And the result is that almost every day, she cries, almost every day, she’s angry. She said to me today, is it too much to ask to have 3 days in a row that I don’t cry. No, it’s not too much to ask. It’s 5 months after she discovered my affair and I still haven’t made her feel loved and wanted like I had when we were first together. She’s threatened to leave me, to just walk away from the pain. Pain that I’ve caused her.
    I don’t want that but somehow I’m powerless to make the right choices to make the changes I need to make. I’ve admitted I’m powerless over my addiction but I can’t move past forgiving myself and overcoming the shame of what I did and I flounder in this pool of indecisiveness, I fear I’ll lose my wife…then I’ll lose my family. Posts like yours are helping me focus attention on what I AM not doing well.
    Thanks for reminding me that I’m a shitty husband. I need to be reminded of that often, so I can start the process of NOT being a shitty husband.

  38. This is my husband practically word for word and I have tried to tell him. He is astonished that I have asked for a divorce. I’ve spent 10 years trying to tell him.

  39. No she can’t come back. That wife was me. Divorced for many, many reasons but mostly it comes down to broken trust that, like you say, has nothing to do with infidelity. You are very wise and insightful. You totally get it, all of it, completely. Thank you for your writing. It has been hard to read because it describes my situation spot on.

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  41. Oh yes, it is about trust. And especially about trusting your husband not to hurt you. It’s funny that I stumbled over this blog on my Facebook feed just a few days after I found out my husband has a son from a previous relationship that he never told me about.

    Yeah, how’s that for broken trust? He knew 27 years ago that the mom thought he was the father — though she had slept with other men at the same time — but he never bothered to follow up. And he never told his daughter from his next relationship. And he never told me, not when we met, not when we moved in together, not when we decided to get married.

    Not when he saw the young man’s name on his DAUGHTER’s Facebook feed because the man had approached her years ago and they became Facebook friends. Not when the man sent a friend request to my husband a few months ago.

    I found out last. His daughter, my beloved stepdaughter, couldn’t keep it a secret anymore (can you blame her?) and told one of my daughters, who told her sister. I found out when my daughter blurted it out the other day. She said she thought I knew. As if I would have also kept it to myself.

    If you ever read this, Matt, I think you’ll understand that it’s like the glass beside the dishwasher. He didn’t love me enough to share with me or give me the chance to understand or even to make the decision, 16 years ago, that a man with a hidden son would not be a great stepfather to my daughters. He didn’t love me enough a few months ago when the man contacted him.

    I don’t trust him not to hurt me again. I don’t believe things he says anymore. I don’t think he loves me.

    This is the second great betrayal, by the way. He also never told me at the beginning of the relationship that he has anxieties about sex. After the “honeymoon” period, the sex life dwindled away to a point that no one reading this would ever believe — yeah, I must be crazy.

    Thanks for writing these. Like I said, I just discovered them today. Funny how life works.

  42. Oh yes, it is about trust. And especially about trusting your husband not to hurt you. It’s funny that I stumbled over this blog on my Facebook feed just a few days after I found out my husband has a son from a previous relationship that he never told me about.

    Yeah, how’s that for broken trust? He knew 27 years ago that the mom thought he was the father — though she had slept with other men at the same time — but he never bothered to follow up. And he never told his daughter from his next relationship. And he never told me, not when we met, not when we moved in together, not when we decided to get married.

    Not when he saw the young man’s name on his DAUGHTER’s Facebook feed because the man had approached her years ago and they became Facebook friends. Not when the man sent a friend request to my husband a few months ago.

    I found out last. His daughter, my beloved stepdaughter, couldn’t keep it a secret anymore (can you blame her?) and told one of my daughters, who told her sister. I found out when my daughter blurted it out the other day. She said she thought I knew. As if I would have also kept it to myself.

    If you ever read this, Matt, I think you’ll understand that it’s like the glass beside the dishwasher. He didn’t love me enough to share with me or give me the chance to understand or even to consider, 16 years ago, whether a man with a hidden son could be a great stepfather to my daughters. He didn’t love me enough a few months ago when the man contacted him.

    I don’t trust him not to hurt me again. I don’t believe things he says anymore. I don’t think he loves me.

    This is the second great betrayal, by the way. He also never told me at the beginning of the relationship that he has anxieties about sex. After the “honeymoon” period, the sex life dwindled away to a point that no one reading this would ever believe — yeah, I must be crazy.

    Thanks for writing these. Like I said, I just discovered them today. Funny how life works.

  43. This one made me cry. I miss getting to feel like a child sometimes. I miss being that girl.

  44. I’ve been able to rationalize away so many of your arguments…to internalize and see where I can try, as his wife, to understand the male brain better—to give my 100.
    But this one…this one is IT. How many times can I cry and say “you are hurting my feelings”….How many times can I calmly explain that I LOVE to laugh… but that it hurt so much when I realized we were ALWAYS laughing AT me- and it hurt even more that he wouldn’t stop when I told him. Now I feel like all I do is scowl and walk away.
    And he’s a great guy. And I’ve been able to stay home with our kids and mostly indulge myself as I see fit and I should be happy…But I am the only one who does anything about managing our lives.He deposits a paycheck and helps around the house with a minimum of prodding. For this I should be grateful I suppose.
    This letter wrecked me—If I muster it up to show him, I thank you in advance for whatever comes of it.

  45. This is very insightful. I believe 100 percent that my husband would never cheat on me; I fear, however, that this is the only sort of trust he feels he must keep. He is a deeply good man, a man who wants to be good to me and our son and who works hard. He has pulled the brunt of the practical weight at our home for three years while I have battled an evil enervating disease that robs me of not only of my former career but almost all my confidence. And I know he resents this (even though I did 80 percent of the housework and child care previously). I understand that he is stressed and I feel ***terrible*** about it. And guilty. But what I do not feel is trust. He misses his wife the mom; I can’t be safe to gripe about how I miss being able to keep up the house b/c he takes it as an art I on his efforts. He misses the bubbly, happy girl he married; I can’t feel safe weeping to him about how saddened I am that physical pain and exhaustion make me a less engaged mother. I can’t feel safe telling him I’ve had a nightmare. Telling him I’m afraid I’ll die and leave our child motherless. Telling him *I* miss who I used to be. Any emotional I burdening will stress him out, and so I must shield him from the stress so he will stop screaming at our child and going on about how unfair his life is. It IS unfair. And I feel terrible about that. But why do I have to protect him from *my* fears, and why won’t he talk to me about his instead of yelling? In a sense I am still mothering him, every time I wake up in the middle of the night sobbing and terrified and choose not the refuge of his arms but the fetal position with my pillow stuffed in my mouth. B/c I don’t want to further hurt him, make him more vulnerable. But if we could be open about our vulnerability with each other, THAT would be trust.

  46. And Matt? I admire you tremendously for taking your pain and trying to turn it to good for others. Your efforts to help people work on their marriages when you still clearly feel so much personal pain bespeaks an empathy and goodwill the world needs more of. Thanks for taking the initiative and time. I appreciate it and know many others must do so as well. Hang in there.

  47. Guys tend to bond by jokingly abusing each other, something I did not understand myself as a child so I felt bullied a lot in elementary school when in hindsight it probably was not intended as bullying. When all that was going on however I resolved in my heart to never make somebody else feel the way I was made to feel, so I’ve always spoken kindly to my wife, or if provoked to anger just kept quiet rather than say something I would later regret.

    I must say however that this mental rule of “If I can’t trust him with this little teeny-tiny thing, how can I ever trust him with my heart?” is a rule that that will harm any relationship. You can’t go into marriage with the plan that you will withhold your heart from your spouse unless they conform to doing everything you want them to do. It is a completely unrealistic expectation and people with that rule are overlooking that they themselves are not living up the standard they set for their spouse. There has to be more charity so differences that can’t be fully resolved in a win-win manner can be tolerated without resentment.

  48. I want to show my husband this…but I genuinely don’t think he would care enough to read it.

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  51. I am in the opposite situation. I am the wife and I have done this to my husband. He hasn’t divorced me yet, but for a while he was seriously considering it. He told me he still cared for me, and we should still be friends, but that he couldn’t trust me as his spouse. See, we both work full time. I work about 50hrs a week and he works about 80. It’s stressful, it’s hard. But I decided that he had no right to expect me to regularly do house cleaning. After all, I was just as tired after work as he was… here’s the rub- when we got married, I promised that would be my primary responsibility. No matter our work situation. Because he promised to always be the primary bread-winner. I promised to Keep our tiny apartment homely for him. Nothing over the top- just clean, tidy, comfortable. But I didn’t. To an extreme and shameful degree. And then I made excuses as to why I didnt. I broke the promise and then tried to justify my actions. The ultimate breach of trust… now I’m working overtime to undo the damage. Here’s hoping it isn’t too late.

  52. Seriously I have been in tears while reading your posts.. I’m not a man.. Just a really lonely woman who wants nothing more than to find who she used to be. I am a married mother of 3 and pregnant with our 4th. My children are my happiness, they give me a reason to get up. Our two boys are very much mamas boys my daughter is reaching out to her dad. Lots of times its lonely at night.. Kids and I talk over dinner while he plays video games.. I clean most of the time and still can’t get ahead of his work clothes laid around. I have often thought of divorce, but then I think about our kids. I wouldn’t be able to afford a house or a car payment. So usually I am alone at nights . He may lay in bed next to me, but there is nothing but resentment when he falls asleep and leaves me with the kids. I hate pretending that my life is wonderful . I’m tired , pissed off, wheepy and ready to move forward ..

    I respect you, your one of the men that get it . I am sorry about your wife leaving and being distant from your son.. I can’t imagine the pain of being away. Sometimes it’s painful to find out what we should have known all along.

    Keep writing, maybe one day you can show your son.. He may not get it at first, but his daddy is a wise man.

  53. Hi, I was wondering what you thought (from a guy/husband perspective) about a husband who has friends who have done & said very disrespectful things towards his wife? I am very confused because I haven’t ever been treated this way before the last couple of years. He says that they’re jealous-I don’t see that-it always feels like anger, resentment & maybe even hate. He can’t understand why I have gotten so upset when these situations have occurred & I don’t understand why he doesn’t get upset. They are friends that he has had for a very long time-but, they are also the ones who took advantage of him & always put him in bad situations & we’re happy to let him make bad choices so that they were not alone. It seems very black & white to me. However, I have always handled the situation very carefully because I don’t want to hurt him. My question is why did he continually allow this to happen & he has stayed friends with them? He says that I don’t have to see/spend time with them (but I have since these things have happened & I was very nice) but he still talks to them on a daily basis & I feel very hurt & alone-& while I felt like it before-I think it was the first time I realized my husband was not someone I could depend on to protect me-(I don’t need to be protected-that’s not the point)-but I feel very betrayed because I’ve calmly explained in detail numerous times why I feel this way-which I didn’t need to, he already knew. He’s the first to say he would never treat someone else’s wife that way so it adds insult to injury & I don’t understand why it is okay for me to be treated these ways-& then he continues these friendships. I’ve told him numerous times that I am not asking for him to stop being friends with them & that I would let it all go if he would just say something like “hey man, that’s my wife & just like you’d be upset & have a problem with me talking to & doing the things that you did to your wife…I’m upset that you did/said those things to mine. If you feel like apologizing, that would great-I would be happy to do it if the tables were ever turned & I had been disrespectful towards your wife” I don’t feel like that’s asking too much-I didn’t even demand an apology-I just asked him to stand up & say that what they’d said/done was inappropriate & if they were really friends they would treat his wife (who they’ve only met 4 times in 4 years) with respect-at least for his sake, if not for mine. Can you please explain why he would rather act like it never happened when he knows it is something important to me? Why is it that big of a deal to say something like that to the couple of friends he has that have done these things?
    I’m extremely confused. I am not trying to take him away from/keep him from his friends-& I’ve never said anything like that. Sometimes I wonder if he just actually really believes that as a person, a women, a mother-& even as his wife-I don’t deserve to be respected. I regret ever even asking him to (nicely) stand up for me because it caused me even more hurt…

  54. Sorry but you won’t get away with this either. You can’t wish for love out of thin air, cry when you don’t get it and then somehow reason your way into it being someone else’s fault. No one is responsible for anyone’s happiness; if you being as you doesn’t make someone happy, then that’s tough. If you are abusive that’s another story, but not making someone happy does not qualify as abuse. And, just like with abuse, the other party can sometimes be enabling, whether this is putting up with the abuse and expecting it to stop or just simply expecting a romance and chemistry where there isn’t one doesn’t make someone else to blame for your unhappiness; you were free to choose your partner, unless you weren’t. A husband just like a wife has duties yes, but those are mutually objective aims, literally objectives of a marriage, safety, security, comfort, well-being. But, notice that these things can easily be feelings and emotions as well as cold hard objectives and that’s the beauty of marriage—but, again, it’s the beauty, the aesthetic, the subjective, the love that you can’t force out of thin air; your obligated to do your duties but you are not obligated to make someone feel loved. If your wife feels unloved then you likely do as well, it’s a two way street people; you get what you get and you don’t get upset, or you do and you decide if you want to stay or not, if you want to take up the challenge of learning about someone and understanding who they are, or not; watch them and help them grow, not try to change them into something they don’t know or want as though they were some device with user-specific settings. Don’t destroy love because you don’t understand romance or why you don’t have it, even children understand this and they learn that crying only gets them so far. Seriously it’s like crying for day to be night or night day, and especially because we humans are just that, ups and downs, fluctuations and if we don’t recognize where we are we’ll never see progress.

  55. So perfectly said!! I was in a relationship for 4 years and I always had to be the responsible one and it literally sucked all the fun right out of me. I felt like I was his mommy, not his gf at all.

  56. Reblogged this on Undiscovered and Exposed and commented:
    So I know I haven’t been posting as often as I used to. Time has ben tight. But I finally took some time for myself, and somehow I came across this blog, and I am in love with these posts. I finally feel understood and not crazy for feeling the way I feel. This post here explains exactly why I am having issues with Cody. If anyone is struggling in a relationship, please give these posts a read, very informative and extremely helpful!

  57. I feel like you totally get it! My bf (28) and I (28) have been together for 2 years. We have had a very difficult year and both have called it quits multiple times (he 2x, me 4x).

    We have agreed that when he is upset over something. He likes space. When I’m upset over something, I like to talk about it, resolve it (no matter how long it takes) and go to bed happy with each other.

    Only about 4-6 months ago can I say that I have understood that he just needs space for him to relax. And whenever he is upset over something I have done or work related, I give him space vs taking his attitude personally. Simply because I don’t want to cause any more unnecessary pain for him.

    For the last 4 months we have argued about how every time I’m upset over something, he ignores me and we go to bed without resolving it. By the next morning the hurt that I felt is escalated and becomes more personal.

    We argued a few days ago. He talked about how much money he made (100k), and about things he is saving for next year. I sweetly added “and for a riiiing”. And he responded “I’m not thinking about that for another few years”, and I’m not getting you an expensive ring, no more than 1k. He recently bought a Michael Jordan Jersey for $1200, so the ring comment was really offensive to me. I cried, he hugged me and said don’t cry, I had to go to work so we left the convo pending. I got home from work, he asked me if I was still upset, I said yes. He walked away. I went to the bedroom, thought he would come to bed and we would just talk, he never did. He slept on the couch.

    Next day, same thing, he asked if I was upset, I said yes. He walked away. An hour later asked me if I wanted to talk with a tone in his voice. I said I respect that he needs more time before we have the marriage talk (even though we have talked about it many times before and he never reacted this way) but it hurt nonetheless, and that the ring comment made me feel offended. He gave excuses, was pissy. I asked him why he walked away multiple times, especially since I was hurt and we have talked about him walking away and ignoring me in the past. He said that he thought that I needed time to reflect. I asked him why he would think that since every other argument that has led to a breakup is because he ignores me and the problem and it creates anxiety for me vs dealing with it.

    We went back and forth on it. I began to feel very insecure, compared him to an ex (5yr relationship) which escalated the situation farther. I began to feel that I couldn’t trust him and that he will won’t ever listen to my feelings vs assume what’s best for my feelings. Next thing I know I broke up with him. He said he didn’t want to break up and that when you love someone you make it work. I agree, but feel like I am the only one making changes in the relationship and always caving.

    I want to make it work, but I feel helpless. I want him to be my future husband. But I don’t want to keep arguing over the same thing just with a different context. Every time he reacts this way I feel betrayed, ignored, unimportant and disrespected by him, I understand that he probably just doesn’t get it, but is there anything I can do/say. Or at this point is trying to make it work simply crying wolf.

    1. Do you live together? It doesn’t really matter. Your course of action is not to marry or have children with someone who treats any problem you may have with him as if you are a petulant child who needs to be put into time out, until she comes around. Get your own life, start going out with friends, start having and doing fun things without him. If he sees you aren’t going to have a life that revolves around his mood swings and silent treatment and you are no longer letting his childishness upset you and get you down, he will have no choice but to either change or leave. Either way, you have your answer, right? Also, a relationship in which you both try to gain power over the other by breaking up – 6 times in 12 months!! – is never going to work. You and him are a bad fit. Whether he responded to your power plays by becoming passive aggressive or you responded to his power plays by trying to engage him is now irrelevant – this relationship has become an unhealthy death spiral dynamic of both trying to seek power over the other to be heard – that will be miserable for both of you. I have never seen a relationship recover from this death spiral of breaking up/making up without intense outside help. It is time to put your energy into something more healthy. Yourself.

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  59. Jeremy McLeroy

    My wife found this and it seems to be the best way to get thru my thick delusions. Thanks for sharing your pain. I have a lot of steps to take to make real change but am committed to the first ones I can see from here.

    1. Thank you for the note, sir. Appreciate you taking the time to read through this and work on your relationship.

      We like to say and think that it shouldn’t be “work,” but I think it always is.

      No matter who were with. No matter what our life circumstances. I think relationships always require more effort than most of us seem to think (guys, anyway) heading into them.

      Changing beliefs is painful.

      It’s awesome that you’re willing to deal with it for the betterment of your marriage/family.

      Worth it.

    2. The only delusion you need to see thru is the reality of intersexual dynamics between modern spouces. This guy has a feel good message for shlubs but will doom you to failure and misery. I have a harsh message of truth offensive and shocking, but will save your sanity and your relationship. Quit flagelating yourself on the floor. Your wife will despise you for your meek self-abasement and pandering. Everything you think is fucking wrong and this circle jerk site is making a pussy out of you

  60. I’m afraid my husband and I are heading in this direction. When our daughter was born seven years ago, we did the math and realized it was actually cheaper for me to be a stay at home mom. Over those seven years, not only has he reverted to acting like a selfish child himself (just as our eldest is beginning to understand it’s not all about her), he’s taken to undermining my authority with our kids, mocking me, and treating me like I’m a mentally incompetent employee. The final straw is that I started back to work part time this year, and he’s done exactly jack to help out at home. I love him, and I want our marriage to work and don’t want our family to fall apart, but looking ahead at the next fifteen years until our youngest is 18, I honestly don’t think I can do this.

    1. When did you stop giving him regular sex? When was the first time you falt out said no to the nookie? Get it?

      1. Wow…Let me enlighten you on something. When a wife sees her husband as someone else she has to clean up after, nookie is the very last thing on her mind. I’m guessing you’re either single, or your significant other is secretly stewing in anger because you expect her to do everything, as well as take care of your needs. Did it ever occur to you that husbands can be the ones to say no to nookie? Even when wives do everything they can to take care of themselves, keep the house running, and work?

  61. Lynette Jacobs

    You get it. All of it. I even stuck around for about a year hoping he would get it and we could reconcile. My kids (not his) wanted him to get it. They saw how miserable I was and wanted me happy again.
    I move out in less than a week now and I feel he can’t wait for my departure and will only miss my kids.
    I love him so much. I keep moving forward with the move and I’ve developed new friendships to assist me with pushing forward so I don’t go crying back. So many friends have told me how proud they are of me for leaving, I don’t feel proud. I’m broken. When it’s clear you weren’t worth the effort, everyone’s point that he wasn’t in love with me proves to be true- you just keep going through the motions, trusting God that life later will be better. It’s just a crazy nightmare that has gone on and on, waiting for it to turn fairytale. Waiting for him to get that intimacy is non-negotiable in a relationship and that I am all woman and one to cherish and nourish. I’m not an idiot like he treats me, I’m not irrational- only madly in love begging for his attention and affection.
    But, like I said, time is closing to an end. You can’t force anyone to do anything. I am staying strong, moving forward to a new life. This blog has helped validate my situation and I thank you.
    I’m a human being with a broken heart who appreciates other human beings for all their understanding & support…and I will move on.

  62. My husband is a nice guy but a shitty husband. After more than 20 years and 2 kids I’m on the verge of asking him to move out.
    I was that woman who loved life and found joy in so many things but over the years he’s just sucked that out of me. He has no motivation or goals in life – I don’t mean having aspirations to be a CEO or anything like that, he just refuses to be a grown-up man. I’ve always been the one who’s been responsible (not by choice but by necessity) for managing finances, organised birthdays, gifts, school stuff, kids appointments, house and car repairs and so on. I’ll ask him to take kids to doctor ormdental appointments, remind him the day before then get a call from doctor or dentist asking where my child is because he’s forgotten. He’s forgotten to pass on important messages which have had consequences that I have had to fix. I have tried so many times to get him to take responsibility, because firstly it’s unfair for me to, and secondly, if something was to happen to me he needs to know these things. I’ve even told him I feel like I’m his mother and he thinks it’s a joke.
    He has work (agency temp work), and I have a permanent job. He works nights so we don’t see each other much either, but refuses to look for anything else. On top of this I have to help my parents out who are unwell and frail as my only sibling lives interstate.
    Then he sulks because I’m too effing tired to give him any. He even had the gall to sulk because he had a weekend off and I wasn’t home because I had to go to the hospital as my dad was seriously ill and almost died.
    I totally resent him now. He has promised so many times to take charge of a couple of things but never does. He has undermined me with the kids. I am trying to get them to get their chores done when they need to be done, not when they feel like it. They see their dad not bothering, so they don’t unless I kick up. They come to me when they need something, support or advice, because in their words, “dad won’t do anything “.
    We are now middle-aged, in more debt than ever (another thing he promised to take care of but didn’t) and his attitude is always “well that’s the way things are”.
    I don’t want to be put on a pedestal or looked after. All I ever wanted, which we spoke about many times over the years, was financial security, enough to live on and some put aside so we don’t need to stress. I wanted to grow old with this man, still laugh with him, hold hands in our old age and be happy. I want him to be a partner that I can trust to take care of some things when needed, and to take charge of other things. Him not wanting to grow up has in turn made me angry, upset, and devastated that I have to cause pain to my children in getting their dad to leave. If I don’t, I’ll hate him and will get nasty, which I don’t want to do. I’m tired of hiding myself away and crying every day because I’m so unhappy and overwhelmed.

  63. Found this as I am making my marriage exit plan. I have been trying to find a way to articulate all the emotions and you hit the nail on the head in each volume. Thank you. The husband I am leaving would never read this because as he says “I’m not the one with the problem. I haven’t changed.” But if, in the unlikely event, I am in another serious relationship, we can read this together. Thank you.

  64. I’m in the middle of getting divorced right now. Thank you so much for writing this. I could never find the words to explain it to him, to myself, or to others. All I knew is that he makes me feel bad about myself, that I don’t trust him, and that I lost huge parts of myself along the way. I cried reading this. You’ve really helped me.

  65. Pingback: Ways wives ruin their marriages | Katie Sterling

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  67. My husband says this is typical women blame the man for everything. This is my husband “the roof is leaking, sends me a pic of water damage on the wall, says you need to call the home warranty people, I’m going hiking”

  68. Thank you for putting these things in writing. I thought I was the only messed up asshole that dug himself into a hole this deep.
    I’m reading like crazy and doing my best to dig out but I think I need a bigger excavator. She hasn’t left yet, that’s good right?. When the opportunity arises though……
    I have spent most of my time digging with a shovel labeled ” she does it too” . Let me tell you, that one digs really fast in a downward spiraling hole. It doesn’t dig uphill well, mostly not at all. I am a good person and a nice guy, just not a good husband. I provide, but not emotionally. I help, but in the wrong ways, I’m a fixer, not always a good thing. Especially when it comes to listening. I hear the problem, I want to fix it for her, I have to blurt out the answer like the class know it all. No dumbass. That’s not what she wanted. Just listen and be understanding, that’s all. Communication is a big problem for me at home. I’m an alpha, I’m a cop, I’m big, I’m strong , I’m intimidating , I’m used to telling people what to do and solving problems. All these things do not help when you are dealing with problems at home.
    Thank you again Matt for some sort of marriage instruction manual for dummies.
    Goose

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  70. But what about when SHE’S the one who doesn’t pick up her clothes, or put the dishes In the dishwasher, or do any laundry, or spends all weekend in bed refusing to spend time with the children, or makes no plans, or cuts out on family events, or spends all day drink and high? What then? Stop pretending it’s all men’s fault. Some women are just assholes.

  71. Keep in mind that the actual definition of “sarcasm,” as distinct from “irony,” is the intent to belittle and mock someone else as a personal, human target.

    And the one thing a relationship cannot come back from is disdain. If you don’t respect someone — you belittle and mock them — you don’t respect them. You have demonstrated disdain for them. They will not come back from that, nor should they.

    The worst human beings I have ever dealt with in my life would sneer at any attempt on my part to put up boundaries. I would say very calmly and professionally, in a private setting, “I do not appreciate it when you do X.”

    Response? “I dO nOt ApPrEcIaTe It” — just repeating my words back to me in a whiny, mocking tone to demonstrate that my dignity was hilarious to them.

    In some cases they would go to my bosses and tell them that I was the unreasonable one for asking not to be mocked in front of clients.

    That’s not at one workplace, that’s at most of them, and always from men.

    Sarcasm is mocking of an individual. Always. By definition. Your “sarcastic” sense of humor was at the expense of your target, which it sounds like was often your wife. Not cool.

    I hope you know this, but you still seem to be clinging to some kind of partial excuse like “oh she just didn’t appreciate my grand wit” — no dude, she saw your wit for what it was and she had too much self-respect to be target practice for your self-satisfied amusement.

    Know the difference between jokes and abuse? Jokes make OTHER people laugh.

  72. Heres the thing, yeah I’m a guy and I do a lot of bad things, but does that mean shes completely unblameable? You tell someone that “its all your fault” enough times, and youre going to plant the seed in their head that every thing is their fault, even if it isn’t. I agree with a lot of things in this blog, but i dont agree with all the blame veing placed on a single person. Me and my wife have been on edge with each other for weeks now. She has a mood disorder and will get mad at me for talking too much or blow up on me because the dog won’t stop grooming the cats and threatening to take her to the pound, meanwhile she threatens that she will boot me out of the house if I so much as say anything she construes as mean or rude, so I have to sit quietly and listen to her tell me its my fault shes in a bad mood, its my fault the washing machine broke, its my fault the house isnt clean (i single handedly clean the house every day on top of a fulltime job because she has anxiety and cant clean) amd that I’m being abusive because I’m lazy and i dont care about her. So I’ll ask, is it really all my fault my relationship is hitting the pits?

    1. Hey Cody.

      I don’t agree with placing blame on anyone either.

      What I’m for is taking RESPONSIBILITY for making your relationship the best it can be. Blaming (others or yourself) doesn’t help at all.

      Try not to think of it in terms of bad things happening and who’s to blame.

      Try to think of it as bad things happening that might not happen once both people are taking on the responsibility of not hurting the other.

      That builds trust.

  73. I’m back and again this is SO ME! You desribed me and I want to get it back but I don’t trust him and he doesn’t trust me. I’ve been saying it for years… and his response is, “it’s not about trust. Don’t make this about trust.”

    That of course is in response to me saying he doesn’t trust me. Two years later, I had a panic attack crying after another vacation ruined, in bed while he slept and clear as day it became, “I don’t trust him.” And it was never about infidelity or that he’d hit me… it’s exactly what you said. I don’t trust he will change, wants to change, knows how to love and wants to.

  74. Wow…. I had tears on my face more than not at the accuracy of every single word I read. I was/am her and you apparently are kin to my husband!! Every feeling good and bad ever felt is explained perfectly by these words!
    I want to be the old me and I want him to keep all the promises but he hasn’t and I won’t ever be her again! At least not with him! ?❤

    1. I’m really sorry, Stacie. Thank you for reading and sharing. It was nice to read that it mattered. I wish it wasn’t at the expense of you feeling this bad. Rooting for you getting to be the old you again. I know just what you mean.

  75. Enjoying your blog- appreciate many of the insights. This one got me a bit spun up though. Making sure she can ‘trust’ you with the little things is a hell-trap of its own. Basically it is entering a spiral where you have to do everything her way and exactly as she wants/demands or she can’t ‘trust’ you and is justified in throwing a tantrum. That is how I read it anyway. It seems like if you condensed this post down into a sentence or two it would be “Throw away anything that resembles yourself and do everything her way, including thinking, and maybe she will be nice to you”. Sounds more like a lifetime of trying to ‘earn’ her approval to me bro. You reading this differently?

  76. “You’re not kids anymore. But you still act like one. When you playfully mock your friends or your wife. When you leave your pants out, or a dish in the sink, or forget to do that thing you promised on your way home.

    And all these little things add up.

    Why are you making such a big deal about this!?, you wonder.

    And now she CAN’T be a kid anymore. She can’t play and laugh and live carefree anymore. Because you are. And if she does it too, nothing will ever get done.

    The clothes will never get washed. Meals will never be made. The kids will never have what they need.

    You refused to take the next step.

    So she HAD to.

    And now she’s angry, resentful, sad and afraid.

    Because you’ve left all the adult work to her.”
    —————————————————————————————————
    That is so spot on in our relationship and so have been the other articles. My husband jokes around like a child and keeps on telling me that I am too serious. I am tired and overwrought. I am working full-time and I am supposed to be studying for final exams. Others studying for the same exams are putting in 44-50 hours on top of a full-time job. Essentially it is the same as working two full-time jobs. I am unable to quite put in those hours but I do put in the equivalent of almost another full-time job worth of hours – so at least a decent part-time job. These are very hard fellowship exams (I am a doctor) with a 50% failure rate and cost $10K.

    My husband has hardly worked at all since coming over from overseas. He has had a few hours here and there but nothing substantial. He has hardly bothered looking for a job. I have done nearly all the looking for him. I put in hours and hours into trying to find work for him and I also wrote a stack of job applications for him…..which did result in some job interviews but no full-time job. We have a mortgage where we are living and that responsibility, plus all the living expenses has fallen to me. You may think, “Oh, she is a doctor” but I am a GP registrar with a large university debt. GP reg’s here in Australia are not paid well. I had a 20yo patient come in telling me that she does disability support work….she is being paid MORE per hour that I am and she has NO qualifications! I’m seriously thinking that I am in the wrong line of work! Despite all that, I have all the financial responsibilities on me! Every job that I have proposed that my husband do there is always something wrong with it and he complains about it.

    Before he married me my husband promised that he would try to get work. I have no idea what he does all day but his lack of trying to do anything about getting a job has made me bitterly resentful. We do NOT have children, so I am at a loss as to what he does with his day! I suspect he watches YouTube videos or plays on his playstation. If we had children and he was looking after them then sure, I could understand that he was pulling his weight by having to care for children. However, he does not do much more (other than recently) than the food shopping and cooking dinner which is ONE meal a day. I make my own breakfast and normally make my own lunch. The last week he has been making my lunch because I had complained about the unequal share of work but he has complained bitterly about it. I almost wish I were just making my own lunch so that I don’t have to listen to the complaining.

    So, yes, he does the shopping and cooking dinner but he complains ALL THE TIME about cooking the dinner! I just shake my head. We have been married since March 2019 and I have been working full-time all that time and studying. He has not had a full-time job and has done virtually NOTHING about getting one!!!

    He now does hang out the laundry that I put on but not long ago I was putting the laundry on and hanging it out….and then he got upset when I expected him to help me hang it out. At one point there was his pile of clean laundry in the second room. Eventually I just stuffed it into his wardrobe I was so sick to death of having to look at it. Currently, there is a pile of his clean clothes on the floor again! When I get my laundry, as busy as I am, I try to put it away as soon as I have time so that things look tidier. Our coffee table has been covered in his crap. I often wash up and I put the dry stuff away. He will oftentimes, now that he is helping a little more (after I had a meltdown), just leave the dry stuff there (washing up or laundry) and he just puts the wet stuff on top of it or hangs it up. I have told him that he really needs to put the dry stuff away first. The apartment is messy. I have told him time and time again that I don’t like the mess. He then just tells me that my room at my parents was not that neat. He saw it just after I had finished med school. I was exhausted after that and I had books and stuff everywhere. When I moved to this apartment I kept it clean and neat. I feel like I am living with a child. I feel like I am the adult and I am having to care for a child and I HATE it!!! I with he would grow up and act like a responsible adult! Seriously, I pay all the bills. I do just about everything around here. I have even paid for him to come over here and paid for everything to do with the marriage and visa. The visa and legal bills alone came to over $20,000!!! I even paid for him to go back last year and visit his mother for 6 weeks. All up, I estimate that he has cost me well over $100,000 and that is a conservative estimate. I have spent MORE on him that on myself!!!

    He complains about just about everything!!! In fact, he also complains that he does not get to do the things that he wants to do….like play golf or play tennis or go out or watch football etc. etc. etc. I have sacrificed everything! I feel like if he actually WORKED then he would have EARNED the right to have time off to play. The fact that he has not worked or earned this really makes me angry that he believes that he should be allowed to have fun when I do not get to have fun!!! I pay my bills before doing anything that I want to do….you know….like a responsible adult. I have not been able to do things I want to do for YEARS!!! This attitude really grates on me. I would LOVE to be able to do things. I have not even seen my friends for ages. It makes me angry that he would complain about not being able to do these things when he could not even do them back where he came from due to lack of funds but now he seems to expect that I should fund him having fun whilst I work myself to death!!! Can you believe that…..he did not have the money to do these things back where he came from but NOW, being here with a wife….the person he should be looking after as he vowed in his wedding vows…..he complains because he believes he is ENTITLED to having fun even though he is not doing anything to earn the money so that he could afford to have fun.

    In the other articles it talks about mocking his wife. Yes, my husband does that all the time. Every day he mocks me. He finds it hysterically funny. I keep on telling him that I do not find it funny and that I don’t like it but he just continues to do it. He does NOT listen to me.

    He hates being here in Australia and has told me right from the beginning that he does not want to be here. He complains all the time and tells me that he is homesick. If we were not married, he would go back in a heartbeat. He misses his mother and his mothers dog more than wanting to be with me. He has not told me this recently but previously that he wished that he had never married me.

    He tells me that I am grumpy. I am not grumpy I am frustrated. I am tired, stressed, and frustrated that I KNOW that I am carrying ALL the responsibilities and the weight of the relationship. I am not one to divorce and I do not want a divorce, I want him to grow up and act like a man. I want him to at least TRY to get a job, no matter if he gets one or does not get one. At the very least I want him to TRY and get some skills so that he can be more employable.

    As for what you said about not wanting sex….no, I do not want sex with my husband. Our sex life has been a disaster from the start. On our wedding night it was in all seriousness the WORST NIGHT OF MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!!! My honeymoon first night of sex ended up with my husband curled up wildly sobbing that at least if the sex was great it would have been something. I never had any problems with previous partners. In fact, one previous boyfriend chased me for over 12 months wanting to get back with me because the sex was so good and my last boyfriend we had seriously the most amazing sex!!!! We had sex at least 1-3 times a day and I orgasmed at least 90% of the time with NO clitoral stimulation. My husband has NEVER really looked at me with any desire. I know that more recently he has tried to make me feel desired but I know that it is just him trying…..it is not natural. My husband told me that he prefers masturbation to having sex because it is less messy. He cannot understand why I would be upset about that….he thinks that by telling me that he fantasises about having sex with me whilst he is masturbating that it would make me feel honoured. I’m thinking….ummmm…. the fact that he would rather masturbate than have sex with me when I am right there is actually insulting. What if I told him that I would rather masturbate than have sex with him? I bet he would not be too happy about that. Quite frankly it has totally turned me off having sex with him. If I were a cheating woman I would have left him ages ago! Previously I wanted to have sex at least 3 times a week but he is far more interested in his right hand. Even when we have had sex he brings himself to orgasm with masturbation. It makes me feel so undesirable. I keep myself fit and healthy. I eat healthy and I exercise 6 days a week. I have other men that are interested in me….just not my own husband. Emotionally I feel so distant from him.

    The stupid thing is that my husband is like how the author describes. He is actually a nice person. He would never harm anyone intentionally. He has a soft heart. He genuinely tries to do the right thing. He does not drink or smoke or do drugs. He does not cheat on me.

    The problem is that he is only interested in what he is getting himself. Often he talks over the top of me and interrupts me because what he has to say must be far more important than what I have to say. He often only thinks about what he wants in life and forgets that I am a person too. My problem is that I realise that I cannot always have what I want in life and often you have to be a grown up and do things that you do NOT want to do.

    This marriage has been the BIGGEST and COSTLIEST mistake of my life. I feel like I am being crushed under the weight of a million bricks!!! I feel overwhelmed by all the things I have to do. I cannot do everything!!!

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