Maybe It’s Time to Leave

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I feel dirty suggesting that leaving a relationship might be a good idea. But honestly? It might be the only way he learns.
I feel dirty suggesting that leaving a relationship might be a good idea. But honestly? It might be the only way he learns.

My ex-wife reads this blog and probably often thinks: “Fuck that fucker,” even though she’s pretty nice to me most of the time.


Probably because I wasn’t like this when we were married, and sometimes when I write things, ladies will ooh and ahh because they believe I would make decent boyfriend material because I come off more enlightened than all the Neanderthals they date or marry because I am now more enlightened than most of them.

And she probably thinks the entire scene is a massive pile of bullshit.

Hard to blame her.

As with most situations in life, there’s a lesson to be learned here.

Sayonara, Hombre

Ignoring the fact I just sexed up Japanese and Spanish, and ignoring the fact that I REPEATEDLY have pleaded and begged and advocated for people to choose to love and be strong in marriage and fight the good fight even when it’s hard and inconvenient… I wonder…

I wonder whether leaving is the only way to know for sure.

To know whether he loves you.

To know whether he respects you.

To know whether he’ll fight for you.

I don’t know. I just wonder. Because that is how it worked for me.

I met my wife when I was 18—a drunk college freshman at a keg party. She looked, and was, spectacular in every imaginable way. At one point, in the middle of our conversation, I had to excuse myself to vomit in the bathroom. And she still married me.

There’s a joke there somewhere. But I’m busy trying to make an important point amid all the bad words and language-banging. A fantastic writer named Mark Manson made this important point first:

Most people only commit to action if they feel a certain level of motivation. And they only feel motivation when they feel an emotional inspiration.

I’ve won sympathy from hundreds—maybe thousands—of women here because I was crying and scared and missing my son and uncertain I could ever find someone to be with me again.

And that was real. I wasn’t faking. I actually cried. I was actually scared. Still am.

“And they only feel motivation when they feel an emotional inspiration.”

You weren’t there all those nights. Countless nights. Dinner was through and the kitchen was cleaned. And there she was on the couch, presumably open to suggestion. Presumably waiting for me to take the lead and show initiative. To do something together.

Anything, really. Talk. Laugh. Hold. Hug. Kiss. Cum.

But, hey! She was busy watching HGTV! I’ll go do this other thing I like to do!

So, I’d play online poker or watch football or go do this other thing that didn’t involve my wife—the person I loved the most but clearly wasn’t motivated to show in any meaningful way.

Sometimes we’d talk and she’d cry when things got hard. I’d try to comfort her but it wasn’t authentic because I felt secure in the relationship as demonstrated by just how much I took the entire thing for granted.

So, she was never comforted.

The hurt and frustration continued to build.

Me watching 24 on Netflix. Me playing poker. Me immersing myself in pursuit after pursuit, but never pursuing her.

Men don’t always realize it because we’re so focused on infidelity as the primary breach of trust in a relationship and a marriage’s worst crime. And it, along with physical abuse, is VERY bad. But men don’t always realize that emotional abuse can sometimes hurt worse.

Men leave their wives alone in the marriage. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I left my wife alone in our marriage.

And then one day, it all breaks.

Au revoir, marito.

Fuck that fucker.

But I Am Different Now

There is a fundamental part of me that will never change. We are who we are. But we do have an incredible capacity to grow and change and evolve as we learn and experience new things.

And I’ve learned new things. The hard way. And I’m a better person for it.

And maybe most people have to learn things the hard way for changes to stick.

I am a father. And I was a husband. And these things mattered to me very, very much. They defined me, which is why I felt so lost when one of those things went away.

I felt lost and sad and broken and angry. You know what that is? Emotional inspiration! And it works.

From Mark Manson: “And we’ve all slacked off for lack of motivation before. Especially in times where we shouldn’t. We feel lethargic and apathetic towards a certain goal that we’ve set for ourselves because we lack the motivation and we lack the motivation because we don’t feel any overarching emotional desire to accomplish something.”

Emotional Inspiration → Motivation → Desirable Action

My beautiful, crying wife feeling sad and alone wasn’t enough to get me to take desirable action.

Fuck that fucker.

So, without even trying, my wife did the perfect thing to help me finally overcome lethargy and apathy. She checked out, and eventually left.

And now? I’m me. Nice to meet you.

If you’re a hurting spouse or girlfriend, you’re just like millions of other women who fell in love with millions of guys like me. I want so badly for him—especially if he’s a father—to love you the way he’s supposed to. To keep your kids’ parents together. To show your sons how to be a man. To show your daughters what love is supposed to look like. To stand as an example to friends and family and neighbors for what it means to do love and marriage the right way.

Because that’s what we’re called to do. To serve something greater than ourselves. To lead through service. To love through action.

But, we are, inevitably, human.

And sometimes the inertia is so strong, and you’re out of tools in your arsenal to try to get him to move, and you’re out of energy to look for another way.

It’s against EVERYTHING I want to stand for. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t the only thing that will work: Maybe it’s time. Maybe that’s the only way to inspire real change.

It took her leaving for me to ask the right questions. For me to recognize some truths I’d been running from.

And maybe it will for him, too.

There’s only one way to find out, and it doesn’t have to be forever.

But today is today and he’s not the man he promised to be. He’s not the man he’s supposed to be.

I wasn’t either. So, I can’t begrudge her resentment.

Fuck that fucker.

But look at me now.

55 thoughts on “Maybe It’s Time to Leave”

    1. Well. I don’t think so, Leslie, nor is that necessarily what’s best for all parties. But I appreciate that you think I have redemptive qualities.

      I just think it’s really hard to motivate people.

      Leaving can be an effective way. Seemed worth discussing.

      1. How about changing your ways instead of leaving? I keep thinking about that child of yours that has got to be hurting.

        1. Without question, the ultimate goal here has always been to do my small part to help keep families together. Ones already together. And ones to eventually be together.

          But marriage has always, and will always, take TWO. That’s by definition. No one person can do it alone.

          The way I learned how to do things write was to go through the pain of rejection and separation.

          So, I’m floating the possibility that perhaps a large percentage of men will never learn what I’ve learned until life circumstances require they no longer be complacent.

          Like me.

      2. My husband left. Almost two years ago now. Although there’s been plenty of moving on and leaving since then, not a day goes by that I don’t have a life changing epiphany of someway I hurt our relationship. There is no way to win that back no matter the things I learn or my redemtive qualities. I understand your post divorce writings more than I can express. ❤ keep going. Xo

    1. I’m having a hard time responding because of the whole gender-reversal thing you just slapped me with, sir.

  1. I love you, Matt.
    And not in that I-wanna-have-sex-with-you kind of way, but in that you-have-learned-a-lot-thanks-for-sharing kind of way.

    Thank you <3

    1. “…not in that I-wanna-have-sex-with-you kind of way…”

      Ha! You and everyone else! 🙂

      Seriously. Thank you. Positive feedback helps me believe that writing all this isn’t in vain.

      That it’s worth it. That it somehow matters.

      Thank you for that.

      1. My pleasure.
        And don’t get me wrong, I could like you in that I-wanna-have-sex-with-you kind of way 😉
        I just don’t think that was the point. LOL!

  2. My husband and I agree that our breakup a few years into our relationship, before we were married but after having lived together for a year, was one of the most important phases of our relationship. We loved each other so much, but came to the conclusion that it wasn;t enough. So we quit, permanently. I left the state. I refused his later pursuits. It was utterly devastating for both of us, that time. And then, one day I told him I would see him. And the next day he was there and we are now, years later, so very happily married and in love and parents of the greatest kid ever.

    Sometimes you have to leave and it has to be for real.

    And sometimes that will make changes happen. And they, too, will be real.

    1. That’s a really wonderful story, Kelly.

      And THANK YOU, for getting it and providing context. Because my stomach was in knots when I hit Publish. Because I was afraid it would seem like I was advocating divorce or broken homes.

      God knows I’m not. But maybe not everyone will see it that way.

      I just know, in my own life, it took the worst-case scenario to change my heart and mind.

      I was NOT a bad person. I was just a lousy husband. I was bad at marriage.

      I think there are many, many guys like that out there. Sometimes, an emotional wake-up call can change everything.

      People ARE going to leave. I just hope those sad chapters end up as part of stories with happy endings.

      Thank you for your contribution to that.

  3. I was glad to see these thoughts. I have read other post of yours and I got to be honest sometimes they really piss me off, maybe that is because they hit home, but also I think there is this sort of super-detached, wise man, vibe to them that becomes frustrating in larger doses. You have acknowledged this passivity problem a number of times and again I think that is my issue too and why it bugs me when I see it reflected in your own writings.

    I am a younger married man, with three beautiful boys, and have experienced a lot of things you describe here. I hope and I am pretty sure my situation is different then yours though because in my relationship we haves worked out a lot of these issues out openly. I think that’s the key to relationships, being willing to be vulnerable and honest, and let things get ugly.

    Here’s the thing Love is not a static matter and in a long relationships you go through a lot of different strange variations. Sometimes it does feel like coworkers and housemates, sometimes it feels like sibling, sometime it feel paternal, but then when you get a big picture view of the whole, you reach an even more profound sense of Love and appreciation. But if you Divorce and abort this mission, you will never discover these higher levels. That’s the beauty of things like “better or worse”, or culturally supported marriages, is that they emphasize this roadmap.

    I am glad your Ex reads this blog, hearing that made me leave a comment today. I know I am just random dude on the internet, and my own experiences bias my opinions, but like others have said for some reason I hope you all end up back together! As an outside viewer it is beyond frustrating to see such happiness squandered over such silly shit! And I thank you for emphasizing this point to my own brain.

    That said, even if you don’t end up with your Ex, whoever and whatever you do next, do it with some fucking passion man! The same passion you but into these posts. That’s the real lesson and truth of life, lukewarm, passive attitudes are a mental cancer. Not to get too conspiratorial or ranty, but I think there is a system of emasculation which is promoting these conditions. Bad health, jerking off, office life, removal of aging rituals, etc. have a led to generations of broken, arrested development adults. To solve this problem we need remove these bad habits and relearn good behaviors.

    In other words, get off the fucking computer, get out in the sun, exercise and build your body! Unlock your inner alpha and carpe fucking diem! Good luck friend!

    1. Most people don’t bother to tell me that I piss them off sometimes. I really appreciate you doing so, because I get a little too much back-patting around here.

      Listen. You’re a husband and father. You’re there, doing the work every day. I’m not. Because I fumbled the ball over and over and over again. What can I tell you about being a husband and father? Nothing, I’m guessing. I try hard to repeat the phrase: I don’t know.

      Because I don’t know. I really don’t. Not much of anything. But. I do know that marriage is really hard. And I know that divorce is absolutely brutal. And I know both as a child and a father that I do not want ANYONE, ever, to get divorced if it can reasonably be avoided.

      I think I learned something about life and marriage. And I see it as my responsibility to write about it. And maybe every single woman that writes back and says: “You get it!!!” is totally full of shit and unworthy of the kind of treatment and sacrifice it takes to make a marriage work.

      But I don’t think so. I promise I’m never intentionally a douchey shitbag. That just happens accidentally.

      Your closing was strong. We’re a bunch of weak, entitled, selfish beings much of time. And we DO need to remove bad habits and replace them with good ones.

      Always trying to be better, sir. I’m glad you’re taking care of business. It makes the world better.

      1. Thanks for your thoughtful response. After I posted my comment I felt bad that I sort of took the “holier than thou”, wise man approach too, which ironically I had just busted your balls for.

        Mostly what I was trying to say, in a strange insulting way maybe, was thank you for challenging me and for being open in your own life. I know it takes a lot of courage to make yourself vulnerable like this for everyone to see and I know it must be hard digesting everyone’s response to your personal feeling, but you are showing a lot of grace in that.

        I look forward to reading your blog in the future and seeing how your own journey develops. I’ll let you know next time I read and you get me really rowdy again! 🙂

  4. I’ve been reading your blog since wordpress sent me an email telling me I should. Like you I am a divorced father, but I’ve recently gotten custody of my 14 year old and 8 year old daughters. Everytime you write something, I think to myself, “That’s exactly how I feel.” When I tell people stories from my life, I come across as enlightened and intelligent, and any other positive adjective you can think of. Internally, I think to myself, “you don’t understand how big of an a**hole I am.” The women that I come across since my divorce adore me, and even more so now that I have custody of my daughters, but if you’d ask my ex wife, even though we’re amicable, she’s sum me up as less than stellar.

    I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your writing, and it’s therapeutic to read it. I hope you continue to do so.

    1. WordPress sent you an email telling you that you should be reading my blog?? Madness.

      Rest assured, I understand exactly what you mean and appreciate so much you saying it. Thank you for reading and caring and thinking and trying. Thank you for being a good father and always trying to be a better man. I can’t think of a more noble quest.

  5. So I read yesterday’s post to my husband last night. His first words were something to the effect of, “I am having a really hard time digesting what you just read to me because it feels like an attack. But I know there was a lot of wisdom in that. So I want to go back and read it later when I’m not so tired. But I feel my defenses up which worries me because then I think, why? There must be some truth in there that applies to me but I don’t want to admit it yet…”

    In any case, I think my husband had the same initial reactions as amcmulin914 above. And unfortunately, I think most people don’t make a change until they HAVE to. Or until they lose someone. Motivation to change starts from within. It’s not until lives get so uncomfortable that individuals look inward and think, “What I have been doing isn’t working. Maybe I need to be the one to change?”

    Again, a great discussion and post! Very thought provoking stuff–for both my husband and I. Glad I found your blog.

    1. I’m glad you did, too! But I always shudder when I think of a man being shown any of this stuff with the message being: “SEE!? SEE!? You’re an asshole and this guy figured it out! Why can’t you!?!?”

      Because men are extremely sensitive to feelings of shame, where women tend to react strongest to issues related to fear and trust. Positive reinforcement and a gentle proactive approach will always work better than anything that can be perceived as: “You’re not good enough!”

      That said, I know you’ve been through the ringer and back and are still trying to figure it all out in your personal life. It means a lot to me that you think any of this is relevant, and I’m so flattered you thought it was share-worthy. I hope I didn’t sound ungrateful just now. Because I appreciate your time very much. Thank you for reading and sharing this story.

      It does make me feel good. I just fear it will have the opposite effect on your husband.

      Pride is a very powerful thing.

  6. One thing I’m grateful for is despite my questionable judgment in partners until funding my awesome guy a year ago is that I learned A LOT at a young age (I’m 23, divorced, have a son whose father hasn’t been around ever). And no, I don’t regret it nor do I feel ashamed of how I got into situations. My ex husband may have cheated and then become emotionally inept but the worst thing he did to me is question my intelligence. Seems like you have come to learn a lot as well. I’d buy you a beer.

  7. Yes, exactly.
    Sometimes when I feel really discouraged about my marriage and am lying next to G in bed unable to sleep because of his buzz saw snoring, I imagine him gone forever, maybe from a heart attack or maybe because we’ve called it a very long tedious day and divorced. I already know how sad and lonely and regretful I will feel. How I will hate the quiet. And the truth is, it’s not just a possibility. He will be gone someday. We all will be. I know it seems like such a depressing Debbie Downer thing to think, but I will usually feel a rush of affection and appreciation for him. That we have made it this far together…that he puts up with me, after all.

    1. That was sort of beautiful, K.

      One of the best books I read last year was from Austin Kleon (either Steal Like an Artist, or Show Your Work!). One of his daily practices is to read the obituaries in the New York Times.

      That simple practice allows him to stay mindful of how precious life is and to always seize the moment, and also to be kind and empathetic to others.

      It’s so genius in its simplicity that I’m kind of pissed I haven’t already adopted it as a habit myself.

      Thank you for reminding me of its importance.

      What you just described wasn’t the mushy love we see in romantic comedies. It was the real kind. And it makes me feel good to read about.

      So great to hear from you, K. Cheers to 2015.

  8. So I am a single mom. I walked away 3 years ago and by then it was too late. My husband was emotionally gone. He and I got married young, I was 19 he was 21. We got pregnant on our honeymoon and that was the beginning of the end. We never learned to be husband and wife before we had to be mom and dad. ..and that is a hard reality to swallow. We had our abbreviated seasons of contentment, but never real happiness. So, 1 month after our 11 year anniversary, I moved out.

    By the end, my marriage had become a soap opera. My husband of 11 years had an ongoing affair with my 19 year old sister. He was 33 at the time and while the age difference is weird, of course it is the family relationship and betrayal that hurt the most.

    What I have learned through my experience is this. … I have no control. I could not make him love me, or stop loving her. All I have control over, is me. I control how I respond to the hurt and in some small way, I have a little control over how much my children hurt because of it. While I do not condone their continued relationship, I am cordial. I do not talk badly about them to or around my children because I cannot bring myself inspire my children to hate. So, I moved on. I’m happily engaged to be remarried to a wonderful man and things are looking up. With regard to sometimes needing to leave a relationship to basically test it, just be sure you don’t wait too long. ..and don’t play testing games in a relationship that you were never happy in to begin with. … because your spouse may fight for you for a minute, but then where will you be when you had freedom and gave it up for the same old shit 3 weeks later?

    I read your blog because it gives me hope. (In no way comparing you to my ex, just learning about relationship struggles in general) It has shown me that people do learn and evolve and it makes me look forward to a future with a loving, attentive man, who I can help to build up and inspire him to continue to be great. As for my ex and my sister….well maybe they deserve each other?

    1. That’s quite the story.

      I really don’t have words. I only know it’s hard being a person sometimes. And I get it wrong a lot.

      But, I give a shit. I really do. And if there’s good-person formula out there that I can find and share with others, I’m going to keep looking for it.

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing what must have been, and may still be, an excruciating thing in you and your family’s life.

      1. It has been a rough journey. I enjoy reading your blog because it thrills me to see someone recognize that they have faults. I know that I was not the best wife that I could be for him. What I have come to understand and really grow from is learning that people are people. I now understand that I know very little about what my peers may be struggling with. They maybe a lot like me and hide from the world whatthey are battling. No one outside of our close friends or family even knew that our relationship was bad. We had a cookie cutter upper middle class existence. We were in leadership in our church, I volunteered in my children’s classes at school, we paid our bills and still went to bed at night dissatisfied with the life we were living.

        While I would not say that “happiness” is the defining product of a good marriage, because happiness comes and goes much like a tide, even in the strongest marriages, there was a subconscious sigh of relief when I broke free and began to learn that someone could be interested in me for all the right reasons rather than just because we committed to staying together when we were still basically children.

        I have a long way to go as I rebuild my faith and trust, but my children are, by the grace of God, happy. And to have them in my life, I would do it all again, a hundred times.

        1. Seems to me you’re doing a great job being a human being, then. I think anyone who has been through any particulalry challenging times as an adult can relate to that.

          Once again. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s important. And it mattered.

  9. While I somewhat agree with you, I will add a caveat to what you have said. If you separate, if it is bad enough to leave and you have exhausted all means to fix what is broken, do not under any circumstances return without fixing the problem first.

    Leaving just to test the commitment isn’t enough. There are people in this world who will leave simply as another means to cause harm, to hurt. My ex did this to me though I didn’t realize this was his intent at the time. I allowed his return without demanding we fix what was broken, thus it continued to be broken for another 2.5 years. He left again, thinking he could force my hand I suppose. This time, though it hurt again and I was scared, the only hand he forced was the hand writing the check to the divorce attorney.

    Yes, sometimes leaving is the only thing left.

    1. This is insightful and I agree. I also am fearful I’m coming off here as advocating marital separation. And I would never do that.

      I’m just thinking out loud (sort of) here. My wife didnt actually have to leave for me to start connecting dots. I knew how serious it was months before the other shoe dropped. It was simply too little, too late.

      It took something harsh and drastic to make me grow. I’m merely wondering to what extent that same dynamic would apply to others.

      1. I think it applies sometimes and for good cause. There are times when space and distance helps. Where distance and space allows both to breath, to learn what the other does every single day that makes life more palatable, easier for the other. There is never just one person at fault (except in cases of abuse).

        But if there is only one person willing to take the hard steps to fix what is broken, it will never work.

  10. You really are awesome. Give yourself credit, you deserve it.

    That drifting away that can happen in relationships, communication, communication, communication. Women especially have got to state what they need. It’s very difficult because half the time we haven’t got a clue about what we want. It would be very nice if men would simply read our minds, but most are not particularly good at it.

    My husband likes to say, “I’m here, aren’t I?” Well yes, but you aren’t really “here.” That’s actually been one of the most challenging things to try and communicate, because men and women’s brains tend to work so differently. “Being there” is such a vague concept to try and explain, but most women really need to feel that connection.

  11. i think you hit this one out of the park. Actually, I’m going to share this with my Mr. Will he read it? Maybe not but it’s worth a shot. I completely agree though.

    You should probably give yourself a little more credit too.

  12. Sometimes your stuff scares me, just because I can see how easily it could happen. And I know what you mean about feeling like you come off to wise and perfect– I feel the same way sometimes, telling my stories. I’m like… “OMG I’m not THAT stupid anymore (I think?) but I’m still really quite stupid.”

    Also– crazy that your ex-wife reads your blog. That’s intense!

  13. I was right there with your x while reading the first part of this, “F’ that f’er.” But then you said you were watching 24. It’s 24! That’s different. 🙂

    On a serious note, we do everything right “in retrospect”. Because we’re able to view it while emotionally muted. We can see clearly after the smoke has left the camp sight- know what I mean, hombre? In our marriages, we’ve got to bills and diapers and dirty socks and trash to change- baths to take and alarms to set- it’s easy to get sidetracked. Really, it’s only in the quiet of our own pain- after it’s all over- that we can take our first honest look at ourselves. Until then, we’re too hyper-focused on our spouses and what they’re doing wrong.

    I’m hoping that your x wife is able to sit quietly somewhere and do some solo introspection. She might ‘ve initiated more quality time with you herself. Or laid hot stones on your back while massaging your feet after work- etc. (Goes both ways!)

    1. Thank you for all that. Some funny and wisdom in there. But the big one was at the end where you suggest wives must also accept some responsibility for nurturing a marriage. And it’s, of course, true. But I just don’t think it’s my place to talk about those things as I can never, and will never, understand what it’s like to be female and/or to be in a challenging relationship with a man.

  14. This is so accurate. My ex husband left his morning cereal bowl in the sink ALL the time. It drove me crazy because we had a dishwasher. My boyfriend now does the same thing but with his glass. I will definitely be sharing this article with him. Thank you for finally getting it and putting it into words what I have been trying to explain for 10 years.

  15. Excellent piece, Matt. I wish I had read it years ago. It might have been the catalyst I needed. I found out my husband was unfaithful several years ago and it was the final blow for my self esteem. Reading about your ex’s sadness and the lack of respect hit home for me. But I didn’t have the courage to walk, nor did I feel I deserved to be respected. So I stayed. The better news is that this crisis was a wake up call for my husband who finally recognized and feared that I would leave. We’ve now been married 25 years and are so much better, but I still have that underlying feeling that I’m not respected because he never had it for me in the first place (infidelity was not a one-time thing). The internal emotional struggle has been awful for me because that little voice who tells me to be strong and that I deserve better is stifled by the other one that says, “you reap what you sow.” I wish he could be as insightful and honest as you’ve become.

  16. Hello I need some advise on my situation. I have been in a relationship for twenty years that I fought for from the beginning. I was always trying so hard and doing things to make him want to be there. I always felt like I took second place to alot of things. Eventually I started giving up and long story short after many years of not feeling good enough and being married to a drunk I have moved out. Well now he suddenly wants to change and work things out but I don’t feel like I can waste any more time on this relationship. I am 44 and if I go back an waste more time I might be alone for the rest of my life. Thoughts please

  17. Wow, Matt, this is exactly the situation I’m in. Have sat and waited for years. Have prayed, have sought counsel, with and without my husband. Have worked on fixing my marriage , but true, one can not do it alone. Marriage, two, a partnership. Mine never was. I’ve finally given up checked out a long time ago, but stayed in it. Sitting and waiting for my partner to show up. Finally realized, I’m wasting away. Filed for divorce a month ago. Life starts again. Not doing it to see if he’ll change. If he does, I hope some other woman one day becomes the beneficiary of his ‘enlightenment.’ It will not be me. Done, moving on. Thank you, Matt for writing this. Validation, don’t feel so guilty now.

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  24. The phrase “Humor me” works wonders.

    It acknowledges that no, the partner may not be 100% rational or 100% right about 100% of everything, all the time. It also allows partners a face-saving opportunity to back down from any control-freak-type behaviors…or an innocuous outlet for said behaviors. (My own control-freak realm is the dishwasher. Not only do I never leave a dirty dish in the sink, I also study the best ways to load items into the dishwasher so that everything is both clean AND dry with each coffee mug tilted so that no water can accumulate in the punt, which is the little indentation you’ll sometimes see in the bottom of mugs, glasses and bottles and I told you I was a control freak about this one particular thing. The dishwasher is timed to run at night when everybody is asleep and stress on the power grid is minimized, but not so late that the dishes will be too hot to handle come morning – although, just in case, if I happen to be up in the middle of the night to take a pee or something and the dishwasher has finished its cycle, I will open it so as to release some of the heat and I’ll shut up about the dishes now.)

    Since you said yourself that we guys will never know what it’s like to be female, then it follows that the ladies will never know what it’s like to be guys, no matter how long a marriage runs. So instead of agonizing over the unknowable, allow each other a couple of humor-me’s every day and you may be surprised that so many other issues are (somewhat) (more) easily resolved.

    1. There’s a place for common sense and pragmatism to win the day. Always.

      It’s not an easy thing to put in a headline and write about in any way that anyone would ever want to read, though. Pragmatism is boring. Common sense is easily ignored because everyone ignores things that are “common.”

      I completely agree with you. These are such difficult conversations to have in writing. That’s why I’m super-stoked about the podcast project I intend to launch in the very near future (weeks, not months). Because in conversation, you can actually touch on these important ideas you’re sharing in a way I think fewer people will be inclined to tune out.

      Appreciate you checking this out and sharing your wisdom.

  25. I remember reading this post a little over 2 years ago when my husband first told me he wanted a divorce.
    I was in a vulnerable, desperate place emotionally, and couldn’t bear the thought of losing him. A month or two later, he had an affair under some extenuating circumstances that I don’t have the time or energy to share right now. He told me again that he wanted a divorce, and it seemed like he meant it that time. He moved on with this other woman and started to prematurely make future plans with her after only a couple weeks of seeing each other.

    He realized the err of his ways, and broke up with her, but remained firm in his desire to end our marriage. We lived together, yet separated, for about 6 months. In that time, we found our way back to each other again, emotionally. First through friendship and then eventually through romance. He recommitted to our marriage that January and we were happier and healthier than we’d ever been for about 6 months, then he started to change again.
    There’s a lot to the story I can’t tell, but just know that his change back to his old behaviors and habits was somewhat expected, but still so disappointing and depressing.

    Fast forward 10 months to right now.
    I’m scared again, but know his narcissism will never change. He will always want and expect to get everything he wants, even at the expense of me and our family. He’s proven that more than once, and he’s doing it again.
    I know I need to leave. I’ve finally made peace with it and am trying to feel safe and ready to do so. But I hesitate deep down because I know he’ll never learn from it anyway. I hesitate because part of me thinks I should just keep loving him despite his deep flaws. Isn’t that what love truly is? Loving without conditions? Loving every aspect of a being, despite their flaws, or even because of them?

    I struggle so much to know what to do. I don’t want to be alone, but I often feel alone anyway, even when we’re together. I know I deserve better. I know he’s never going to love me unconditionally the way I’ve chosen to love him.
    The question is, what do I do with all of this information? How do I make e decision to leave? If I’ve stayed through all the bullshit he’s already put me through, why leave now? How much more will I have to endure?

  26. Pingback: Adding Spice to Your Love Life Through Routine and Predictability | Must Be This Tall To Ride

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Matt Fray

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