An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 12

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(Image/Staten Island Advance)
(Image/Staten Island Advance)

Sometimes you hear about some married guy banging his coworker or one of his wife’s friends or one of his friends’ wives, and you think: What!? Why!?

Sometimes you see guys with super-gorgeous wives (Hugh Grant with Elizabeth Hurley, Tiger Woods with Elin Nordegren, or someone you know in real life, etc.) and you find out they hired a prostitute or had some cheap affair, and you think: What the!?

Sometimes guys appear to be in functional, happy marriages with a couple kids and everything going according to script. Then out of nowhere you hear they’re getting divorced because he was sleeping with someone else. How could he? Why would he want to?

There’s a lot going on here.

Lesson #1 – Physical attractiveness matters little 

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman, author of The Truth About Cheating, reported 88 percent of men who cheated did so with women they didn’t consider more attractive or in better shape than their wives.

Sexual attraction is a funny thing. Show me a photo of an attractive woman making a suggestive face and dressed provocatively, and sure I’m going to think she looks good. Girls walk by me every day who pass the Sure, I’d sleep with her test.

I mean that strictly in a physical attractiveness pass-or-fail kind of way. I think all men do this. When I see a woman, and I know absolutely nothing about her except how she looks, the only judgment to be made is whether I’m physically attracted to her.

Most of the time, that’s the extent of our relationships with people we see but don’t know. But sometimes, we have the opportunity to observe people and talk to them. This is the stage when physically attractive people can become unattractive in a hurry. Or people you find only moderately attractive grow in your esteem because you find out something admirable about them or discover a sexiness that shines through in less-traditional ways.

If she is unkind, judgmental, self-absorbed, uneducated, lacks emotional depth, or demonstrates interest in things I don’t value, she becomes unattractive. That’s always disappointing. When something ugly on the inside ruins the pretty shell.

Sometimes you meet someone and discover she loves the same music you do, or the same books, or learn about some other similar interest or passion. Maybe you find out she volunteers to help people. Or is exceedingly kind to strangers. Or practices the same faith. Or roots for the same sports team. Or is a brilliant doctor.

You feel your heart do the thing hearts do.

That’s the good stuff. It’s all well and good when you’re single like me. This dynamic also happens unfortunately with married people.

It’s why the vast majority of affairs happen between people who meet at their jobs or while practicing a hobby.

Being “hot” means precisely dick. Physical attractiveness in a long-term relationship matters most in the context of health and psychology. The argument for exercise and being in good shape is to live a long time. (Better sex, too.) It subconsciously demonstrates that you value yourself. We are naturally attracted to people who respect themselves and demonstrate self-confidence.

Which leads to the heart of the matter…

Lesson #2 – People cheat because they want to feel something

Neuman the marriage counselor said it but we didn’t need him to: 92 percent of men said sex was not the reason for the affair.

“The majority said it was an emotional disconnection, specifically a sense of feeling underappreciated. A lack of thoughtful gestures,” Neuman said in an interview with CNN. “Men are very emotional beings. They just don’t look like that. Or they don’t seem like that. Or they don’t tell you that.”

Men do not want to participate in activities in which they perform poorly.

It’s the primary reason husbands and boyfriends don’t want to go skiing or salsa dancing or to an art class with their wives. It often has less to do with a lack of interest than in a man avoiding volunteer activities in which he might not succeed.

Guys tend to pursue jobs and activities in which they demonstrate proficiency. It stems from a psychological need to feel like we are winning, or at least progressing toward victory.

You will never read me blame my ex-wife for our divorce. I don’t believe it and I’ve never said it. But if someone were to ask me what she could have done to improve our marriage, this subject would sit atop the list.

She is emotionally colder than I am. Depending on mood and environment, she is not always warm with strangers and isn’t afraid to use a biting tone with people who disappoint her. Because I’m wired the way I am, that behavior sometimes comes off mean and bitchy, and I find it very unattractive.

When it’s directed toward me, I feel disrespected, unwanted, unloved, and like a failure. It also makes me angry because I’m predominantly nice and friendly and have little patience when the courtesy isn’t returned.

I have always believed I was capable of bigger and better things than a ho-hum life in suburbia and a cubicle job. Out of every person I know, my wife was the least likely to make me feel believed in or rooted for. The feedback was primarily constant disappointment.

That is a bad thing for a guy to feel if you want your relationship to work out. That does NOT justify the emotional abandonment my wife felt in our marriage. Nor would it justify someone cheating on their spouse. But I think it’s wise to be aware of WHY humans sometimes behave as they do.

Lesson #3 – People cheat because they are bored 

“Self-control is vital to our success. People who have good self-control tend to be both more popular and more successful in many areas of life,” according to PsyBlog. “Those with low self-control, though, are at risk of overeating, addictions and underachievement. Unfortunately, as we all know to our cost, self-control frequently fails. Part of the problem is we overestimate our ability to resist temptation.”

Psychological research shows that self-control is a limited resource. We need to understand how our bodies work and our limitations if we are going to be the best versions of ourselves. (Read: Top 10 Self-Control Techniques)

Let’s be real: People get bored with one another. I bet there are no two people you could put together who wouldn’t eventually tire of one another (at least secretly).

But to be fair, we get bored with EVERYTHING.

When you get your first massive high-definition TV, you sit around watching movies and ball games and even random nature shows on Discovery because it’s fancy and new.

When you first get your new car, you get this little jolt of excitement every time you climb into it and you hope all the people looking at you think you look successful and amazing. (They don’t.)

When you first hear a new album from your favorite band, you’re super into it and play it over and over again.

When you first get that new video game, you play it and play it and play it because it’s fresh and fun.

But INEVITABLY, every single one of those things lose their shine. You get used to them and eventually take them for granted.

Unfortunately, this same phenomenon happens (but to a lesser extent, thankfully) with people.

Combine boredom in marriage with a disengaged spouse who is connecting emotionally with a new friend at work? Someone who pays attention and makes them feel special?

Prepare for fuckery.

The Grass Is Not Greener 

So, here’s the big, annoying (but important) rah-rah speech.

If there is something VERY wrong with your marriage (abuse, addiction, infidelity), this doesn’t apply to you. But if you’re a guy like me? Just a typical guy in a typical marriage suffering from staleness after kids and a few years? Please think.

You’re either a person who wants to be alone, or a person who wants a partner.

I’m 97 percent certain you’re the kind of person who wants a partner because you already have one.

And if you’re a person who wants a partner, it stands to reason that if you end your current relationship, you will eventually find yourself in a new one. Then, guess what?

THIS EXACT SAME THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN.

I wish that wasn’t true. I wish there were magical partners in which it was all giggles and orgasms and freshly baked cookies that didn’t make you fat.

But it is true. The problem is NOT your wife or girlfriend. The problem is YOU. (Go easy on yourself. It’s not your fault you’re a human being. But it IS your job to do something because when something’s wrong, those with the ability to do something about it have the responsibility to.)

There’s a saying: The grass is greener where you water it.

Once you come to terms with the fact there aren’t exotic underwear models with whom you’ll never have fights and always have hot sex, it’s a good idea to walk yourself through the logical eventualities of partner selection.

You can choose the single life. More power to you.

But if you’re someone who wants (needs?) a partner, you MUST accept that conflict and hardships will arise with everyone.

Monogamy is a choice. One NO ONE forces you to make. But once you say “I do,” or even just promise your girlfriend? WATER YOUR LAWN.

We exercise self-control, because if we didn’t, all of our monogamous relationships would end (you don’t think she fantasizes about other men?) in total disaster.

If people simply acted on impulse without restraint all the time, everyone would be dead, sick, in prison, or running for their lives.

Love is a choice. You wake up in the morning, and you decide: I’m going to love my wife today no matter how I feel. Even if I get angry. Even if I get sad. Even if it doesn’t seem like she loves me back. I choose to love her.

That, and only that, is how you make your marriage last a lifetime. Doing that every day.

Maybe if you’re really frustrated with how your wife makes you feel, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how all the bad things will go away if you DID start doing that.

Maybe that’s how you save your soul.

Maybe that’s how to find Happily Ever After.

Maybe you could start right now.

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. 10

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 11

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 13

…..

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108 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 12”

    1. I wasn’t particularly confident about this one. That’s why I took an extra day to publish it.

      I appreciate you reading it. It’s always nice the gut reaction isn’t: What a bunch of crap.

      Thank you very much, Annie.

      1. I’ve been married to my HS sweetheart for 39 years in July. I can attest to this being the absolute truth – we survived the ‘grass is greener’ myth, life’s challenges and are here to say you gotta WATER YOUR OWN everyday if you want it to grow and thrive.

        1. 39 years! That’s fantastic. You don’t hear that story enough anymore. Congratulations to you both.

          To many more.

  1. sometimes you end up married to someone that doesn’t see the inside of you no matter what. over time, it becomes very discouraging. perhaps they are a truly wonderful, loyal person; a terrific parent; a fun friend; an attractive partner with a good libido…. but after years and years, when connected as you say by work or some other commonality, if a deep emotional “click” surprises you, if communication blossoms and is reciprocated, the vulnerability is immense. succumbing is wrong… just wrong. and when both parties know that, and want to choose right instead, returning to emotional disconnect and superficiality is devastating, even when you love your spouse and want your family together.

    i have said before, your letters are very apropos for this shitty wife, betrayer of spouse, and emotional weakling. i wish there were a way to emotionally equalize couples that you describe as your wife and yourself… one dramatically more emotional than the other. i wish had never chosen to fall… i never knew trying to stand again would feel so impossible.

    i admire your passion for fixing marriages and i find a lot of your writing spot-on. this left me feeling conflicted, which probably means i have a lot to learn. and i thank you for that prompting.

    1. I just want people to be the best they can be in all walks of life, and near as I can tell, marriage is an area that’s REALLY important but people in them don’t behave every day as if it is. It confuses me. I like to think and write about it.

      If you feel conflicted, don’t assume I know something you don’t. But it does probably mean there’s a lot of thinking and talking to do.

      We have all these things in our lives that really matter. The stuff that has to trump the other stuff.

      Love, I think, has to be at the top. Even when we’re not “feeling” it. Life is hard and shitty sometimes. People feel needy. Like victims. I’ve been there a million times.

      In the end, we ask: What’s the choice that’s consistent with loving those I profess to love?

      The right thing is always the truthful answer to that question.

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting. No need to be self-flagellating with me. We all do things we shouldn’t. I have little tolerance for finger pointing.

      I only care about who you want to be today and tomorrow.

      We don’t know each other, but I get the impression you want to the best-possible you.

      That will always be enough for me.

      1. That is all I want is to be enough for my husband. but I do not think I ever will be.

  2. One thing for sure is to practice good manners. Saying “thank you” takes two breaths and means so much. Don’t hold grudges. In fact if you do hold onto them with everybody don’t get married. Have the same sense of humor. Give each other breathing room. Try to realize that 99% of the time whatever shitty thing it is is not the fault of your spouse. During a couple of harrowing years, physically, my husband and I each had an advocate and at one point I actually saved his life. If your spouse acted like an idiot in public wait till you get home and ask if something is the matter. Criticism is NEVER appreciated. EVER.

    1. It’s so true. Common courtesy. People have an incredible capacity for forgetting.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  3. I love this Matt. Well said.

    Besides feeling respect, being perceived as proficient, I think men really desire to “be seen.” It’s a bit like a kind of intimacy.That can be challenging for women, because what is on your outsides is not always what is on your insides. To look beyond what men present physically and to try and see what lies beneath the surface is not so easy, because men rarely communicate these things effectively and they don’t look the part.

    Those who have had affairs often tell me they just wanted to feel appreciated, respected, and “seen.” That’s actually what smart dancers and prostitutes play off of too, that desire to be seen. It’s kind of sad, because casual sex only provides a temporary illusion of being seen and often leaves men feeling emptier then ever.

    It’s a very human need all people have, a desire to be recognized and appreciated for who and what we are.

    1. I think you summed up a super-challenging, complex human relationship thing very well here. Thank you for adding to the conversation. I appreciate you reading, and I’m glad you felt the content mattered.

  4. Love this, and the thoughts in it mirror my own philosophies towards relationships quite closely.

    “And if you’re a person who wants a partner, it stands to reason that if you end your current relationship, you will eventually find yourself in a new one. Then, guess what?

    THIS EXACT SAME THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN.”

    This is something that many people don’t seem to understand. But when you hear stories of affairs, or broken relationships where after 6 months to 2 years someone realizes they made a mistake and wishes they could go back, it’s because they’ve finally come to that conclusion on their own.

    Unfortunately many people believe that if their relationship failed, it was because they didn’t find “the right person”. If they could just find that person, everything would be great.

    That approach is so broken, and it allows someone to absolve themselves of blame for the breakdown of the relationship. After all, sure they could have done a few things differently, but they weren’t really that compatible after all.

    Conflict happens, and we treat conflict as a bad thing. But conflict is actually good when handled right. Conflict is an opportunity to understand each other better and strengthen the relationship.

    I could go on with this topic for pages and pages. But in any case, great post.

    1. Thank you for checking it out. Awesome to hear from you. I’m glad you’re co-signing. At the end of the day, almost all of this boils down to personal responsibility. People looking in the mirror and taking control.

      Everyone has to find their own path. It’s sad we have to break so many things along the way.

  5. Great read. especially coming from being cheated on. He still wants to make it work I’m not a big fan of fighting or doing anything for this marriage anymore.

    Going to check your archives and see if you write anything about reconciliation.
    Because now the man wants to water his lawn after cheating on me for 2 years with my ex-best friend.

    1. NH I know Matt didn’t get back with his wife, though I still think this seems possible he never writes that it is and he knows the situation better obviously. But I’m a big believer in “where there’s togetherness there’s hope”. It’s why I didn’t “separate to decide what to do”. Because once you separate you make that the default. If you’re still together then there’s still contact to improve on. If I ever did separate I would go no contact (as much as possible given we have kids).

  6. I’m probably not the first person to say it, but maybe the book project should be the collection of letters to shitty husbands. The early ones are the reason I started following this blog. Everything else has been just as good.

  7. Great post! You are so right – the grass is greener where you water it.

    I have this quote on my wall:
    “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude … I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you … we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

    The one thing I have learnt through my shitty marriage (both of us) is how important my/our attitude is. These days it just isn’t so shitty. 🙂 This last time it took ME doing the changing, the watering and slowly that grass is getting greener and greener in my own yard. Watering another lawn in never worth it.

  8. Good post, Matt. The thing is, cheating shows there is a gap, a hole, a flaw, in you. But what happens after that matters. Matters hugely. Do you get it, and do whatever it takes to redeem the lawn? Or do you continue to blame your partner, sulk, whine, and talk about “it’s 50/50 to make this work”. That went out the window when they cheat. Getting back to par is all on the cheater. And some get that…but many do not. Do they “get” that it’s like Groucho Marx and no one who will cheat with you is worth a dime? Or do they keep idealising them? Again, some get it, many don’t.

    Even if you get it, you don’t get an entitlement to redemption. It’s all hard work and with no guarantees.

    Think about all the other addictive and destructive behaviours people engage in that ruin a marriage. Domestic violence. Emotional violence (affairs count here too). Alcoholism. Substance abuse. I hope we’ve all moved beyond blaming the victim at all ever for any kind of domestic violence. That is about the abuser, never the abused. We didn’t invite it, cause it, provoke it, exacerbate it or drive them to it. The same goes for cheating. The other kinds of addiction, which are just as destructive, people don’t tend to blame the spouse because there’s no another “person” involved. But here the “person” (for convenience let’s say mistress) is irrelevant, and not of value either – see above if they’ll cheat with you they’re showing what they are worth. No, the “person” might easily be booze or fast cars or amphetamines, anything else that is just a tool for self-destruction.

    My favourite line at the moment is “it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world…but for Wales!?” or in this case for alcohol, drugs, or a woman willing to cheat with you…!

    Paul said an interesting thing once about why he felt like blaming me for his emotional disconnect (actually caused by depression): “I was arrogant enough to think that if I was here, everything should be perfect, because I am me, and you should just be ecstatic all the time to have me.” Very telling, very true. A narcissistic streak is pretty common in men – or in the women they cheat with. Unlike true narcissistic personality disorder, you can fix it, you can become self-aware. Question is whether it’s all too late then.

  9. Ultimately, it’s up to us to create the kind of relationship we desire. It won’t “just” happen like in the movies. It is so true that, “THE EXACT SAME THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN.” Challenging, imperfect, but doable. Thanks for your insight.

  10. the grass is always greener where you water it – wonderful thought. the trouble is after you’ve let the grass die, it takes a lot of water to get the grass to grow again. Santaya said it best about history – “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” We must learn from our past behavior, because our past dictates our present and our present influences our future. Always a good thoughtful read. thank you. have a blessed day and week to come.

    1. Well my favorite is the grass may be greener on the other side but it still got to be mowed. When we move from a broken relationship to one that we think will be better, we will bring the same poison with it that killed the other lawn.

  11. Great post! Especially liked your point of “The grass is greener where you water it.” Agreed!

    But even with all your excellent insights people sometimes just simply want to (and act on) getting the high you get from having sex with a new lover. The seven year itch is a saying for a reason.

    Yeh, you pretty much make that sex-drive point also but you want to add on other factors that collectively lead to cheating. But again, sometimes it IS just the sex. As my now ex-wife said in the truth telling crucible of marriage counseling, she was going to “live to the fullest”. That including having sex with whomever she wanted. As she said, the “forbidden fruit” of extramarital sex made the sex “very exiting”. And she wanted that. … She led a secret life for ten years. It only ended when one day I got a call one day from one of her jilted lovers. The guy had fallen in love with her, proposed, and then got laughed at because he was just a sex toy for my wife. Hell, my wife was “cheating” on with another lover at the time he proposed.

  12. I think we all just want to be appreciated. And some of us should probably stayed alone. But you are right, once you commit it’s your responsibility to water your own lawn.

  13. Strange isn’t it Matt? We walk through life, fall in love, marry or at least commit to another person and then figure out they and we might not be well suited. We try, we work hard, we wake every morning and say, ” will be kind, I will love this person no matter what”. Yet the no matter what is harder than we ever thought. We are not evenly yoked, we are not equally committed to kindness or love.

    That sharp word.
    That failure to cheer the other on.
    That failure to give space.

    Strange, how we fail to communicate our needs or hear the needs of the the person we claim to love. I am learning lately that communication is everything, saying clearly and early, this is what I want in my future, who I am and what I need. This means everything, it is all of what is important, the rest is window dressing.

    When we do this, it becomes easier. Easier to say yes and no.

    As for physical boredom, sexiness. Matt, that is all in our heads. Trust me.

  14. Great post!

    This is my favorite: “The grass is greener where you water it.” This is so true.

    The hardest thing for me to face — aside from getting over the fact my Ex cheated — is knowing (by the looks of things), my Ex is getting it right in his 2nd marriage. He making the effort(s) he never made with me (and he fully admits it). That hurts. Being cheated on hurts, but watching him get it right with his new wife hurts even more. The message I am receiving is: I wasn’t worth it. He couldn’t be bothered trying with me.

    1. GFAL– just a quick note to affirm your sense of hurt and say you’re not alone. When I found my ex’s text messages to his lover, the one that hurt most wasn’t the erotic one, but the one that talked about how he wanted to work to be the partner she deserved. I didn’t merit that kind of consideration, clearly. I’m not sure that anything about the whole sordid end of our marriage hurt worse than that.

      “And the license said you had to stick around
      Until I was dead.
      But if you’re tired of looking at my face,
      I guess I already am.”
      — Liz Phair, “Divorce Song”

      1. @ttravis — thank you.

        I don’t want to say I take comfort in knowing I am not alone but I take comfort in the fact you understand how I feel. In 2013, before I went *no contact* my Ex stood in my kitchen, leaning up against the kitchen counter and said, “You don’t understand, it is different with her. I truly love her. I do. I love this woman, I do I do I do.”

        OUCH!!!! That one cut DEEP.

        Love those lyrics from Liz Phair. Thank you for sharing.

  15. ‘Out of every person I know, my wife was the least likely to make me feel believed in or rooted for. The feedback was primarily constant disappointment.’

    No wonder you emotionally abandoned her if that’s how she made you feel!

  16. This was right on Matt! I only wish that my husband stumbled across this! The laundry not dirty but worn thing… I didn’t know it wasn’t just one of his habits but all men do this! lol
    Read this at a time when we can use the help and I wish we had someone like you to help us fix our marriage. After 12 years together and a perfect marriage we’ve somehow become doomed. Please help us I love my husband and family!

  17. Korey Burkhart

    The crazy thing about me leaving this reply is because of my wife. She forwarded it to me at first glance of it I was like really. We are separated at the moment. I cheated on my wife not once but now twice. Do I love my wife , yes I do. But we started growing apart we have been married for 20 years. We have 3 kids two girls the youngiest a boy, great kids. I thought it was all her fault blamed her for my unhappiness things not being what I believed they should be. Then I read the stories o boy what a total ego all for myself a shitty husband and a father I am. She had all the stress the kids the bills her job and then me on top of it all. And here I was just being mad I didn’t get the attention I thought I deserved from her. The sex that she was suppose to give. How wrong I was a total you know what. Women are different it’s just a fact how could she make love to me when she didn’t even like who I was. But after reading I called her and told her that I’m sorry for being the shitty husband. I have had a awaking of major scale men. I don’t know if I can save my marriage but I do know I wake up every day and wish my wife and my children happiness and love. After reading these stories I have read a few more books one I would advice all to read. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. And also A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. I have learned that in all relationships you must give and give without wanting anything in return. Just give lose the ego guys it will destroy you. It’s not who you are. How good would the world be if everyday we just gave to each other. Instead we think with our ego it’s all about out feelings our wants. If we don’t get what we want why do we give what anybody else wants. Give to all around you. Wake up every morning and say I love my wife I love my children and everything you do that day ask yourself how will this affect the people around me. You will know if you get a calm feeling do it but if you get that I don’t know feeling don’t. Live for the day gentleman the now. That’s all you can control. You can’t change the past and you can’t predict the future. But you can live in the now and that’s all you can control. Show her even though she has had a bad day that you are their for her that moment. That’s all you can do. That’s all any of us can do. But you have to be aware and work everyday to live in the now. That’s all you can control. Good luck. Shitty husband living in the now. And my wife is the reason why!!!

  18. Brilliant observations! Men and women can both learn from your letters! Thank you for being brave enough to publish such truthfulness. Hopefully I can try to understand my spouse a little better now and repair our marriage before it’s too late! Thanks a lot!!!

    1. As women do, I thought it was all my fault. The usual not good enough, do enough, pretty enough, etc. Thank you so much for your insite. My husband could have written your blog. Very uncanny. Thanks again! ?

  19. I love this series. Happened upon them tonight while looking for articles on how to tell my husband everything you’ve so eloquently stated within these writings and I haven’t been able to stop reading. I think numbers 4 and 10 are my favorites and I kind of hate to admit how much the entire collection resonates with my personal experiences right now. I will not be showing them to my husband, however, because 1) he doesn’t read for fun and is very proud of having read only one book his entire life, 2) he is exceptionally talented at handing me the blame for everything and I am exceptionally talented at taking it, and 3) I just don’t think he’d “get it” like I need him to.

    I just wanted to send you a sincere thank you for putting all of this into words. I am sure I’m not the only person whose feelings have been validated by your posts. And it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

    I can’t wait to read the rest of this site.

  20. Buh… I thought my first comment didn’t post b/c I couldn’t remember my password so I had to go make a new one and log in again and I didn’t see my comment so I commented again and I was going to write the same thing a second time (which, now, I wish I had) but, instead, I decided to express something a little different, seeing as how I was getting do-over from the comment gods. And *now* I’m rounding it all out with a third! Only, *this* time, you’ve got that exquisite run-on to keep you company! () Feel free to delete any/all of these… You have my blessing! lol.

    1. How about we keep this one? It’s my favorite of the three. 😉 I’ll delete the other two, but not without a hint of sadness.

  21. I’ve stopped crying. I cried for two years. During my marriage, I told him that I refuse to be his mother, I refuse to be/become a nagging wife in spite of him going out at all hours of the night. Occasionally, we would talk about our feelings and small things would pop up like not having enough cash for a bill. Or more recently, off hand comments like this one “My financial and sex life are extremely private. I don’t think I can trust you with either.” (I had an affair 2 years ago and we separated and got back together to make our marriage work. We had not been intimate for 3 years prior.) My response was “Why are you still here?” He said that he thought we could still work it out. He’s accused of cheating on him so frequently even to this day and I am not. I’ve gotten so fed up that I installed spyware on the beloved computer he uses and found evidence of his cheating on me for the duration of our marriage which is eight years. I found evidence of his family supporting his habit. Pictures and chats and video evidence of his lying a** with other women whom he has called friends for years. Now I know why they are so close.

    I have plenty to say to him but I don’t want to be manipulated into forgiving him just yet. I know it’s the christian thing to do, but I’m so mad, hurt and angry, if I speak to him I’ll loose it. We haven’t talked in the lat 24 hours and we live in the same house! Honestly, I’m disgusted with myself because I still love him but I know if I don’t end it this will continue. It’s killing me to stay quiet while shopping for an attorney.

    Funny, all the times when I told him how I felt whenever I was frustrated and he pretended to listen, I bet his a** will listen when he’s served.

    I’m done.

    1. I was in a relationship with a man who was a cheater. He cheated on is wife, he cheated on me, and he’s cheating on is new wife, and I could tell her, and make everything blow up in his face, but I won’t because my son really loves his step mom, and she’s a nicer person really. What I realised about my sons dad is that he enjoys cheating. He likes the drama. I’ve had two partners who are like this; they get off on pitting two women against each other, people who engage in this type of manipulation are really sick. Stop thinking about what the Christian thing to do would be, because is it the right thing for you to do for yourself, and your own peace of mind? DTMFA-dump the motherfucker already, you deserve better.

  22. Wonderful post Matt. Your posts are one of the few I always try to read when I see them. Your insight is clear and right on. I think the one advantage of divorce is that we can clearly see (if we choose to) what went wrong and how to fix it so it does’t happen next time. Are you noticing that it’s helping you with new relationships?

  23. I can’t bear my husband any more. Anytime I’m angry or upset over the fact that he can’t take his eyes off his smart phone or the television to pay attention to what I’m saying, he says it’s not worth his attention and I’m being annoying by bothering him with whatever subject was beneath him – literally has said “why should I have to stop looking at my phone to listen to you talk about stupid shit?”. I touch him, express my desire for him, caress him, and the most I get is a pat on the leg. He keeps doing the same things that annoy or upset me over and over again, because it’s not important to him how I feel about anything. He dismisses my tears or upset or frustration and tells me I’m a “nag”, when I tell him that I need more affection I apparently just want “to be the centre of attention”. When I tell him that I had a cold undemonstrative parent and am unwilling to put up with being married to another and that his refusal to even contemplate that a request for affection is a reasonable request, and that he is the way he is and that I just have to put up and shut up, will eventually destroy our marriage, then apparently I’m “threatening” him and he’s so “sick of this shit, there’s the door, if you want to go, then go, don’t care anymore”. We have a small child, a son, and I don’t want him to believe that this is the way men should act, as well as a baby girl on the way (I’m 8 months pregnant) and I really think I just need to accept that if he hasn’t got his shit together by now

  24. I can’t bear my husband anymore. 5 years together and 100 arguments about his cold behaviour and lack of demonstrative affection (but I have changed, he says, he pats me on the leg reguarly now, and anyway, in his own words, why should he have to feed my need for [any] attention? I obviously just want the world to revolve around me – his words again), the fact that when I’m upset or angry (because he has done the same thing that has made me upset or angry a hundred times before) I’m being a “drama queen” or a “nag” – dismiss me dismiss me – I just can’t stand it anymore. Whenever I’ve raised the issue that if we continue like this I will end up leaving because I had one cold cruel non-demonstrative parent (the other died young) and I had no intention of suffering the same by choice in my adulthood and why can’t he go to counselling or change, the response is “This is the way I am, this is the way I was when you met me (Lies – he was lovely and listened to me and paid me attention and acted like he cared about me), and I’m so sick and tired of hearing you complain about this shit, there’s the door, if you want to go then f*ck off and go”.

    I love him and I still feel really attracted to him, but we have a young son and I’m 8 months pregnant with a girl and he still hasn’t got his sh*t together and never will. We’re supposed to be moving abroad in two weeks and I’ve finished up at work and spend all day packing cleaning and trying to sell our things, as well as looking after our son, and the work just continues when he gets home and sits down to ignore us by looking at the television or his smartphone all evening, punctuated by angry sighs when I ask him to do anything – and I have to ask – because I’m busy. Yesterday we had a big argument and he was just a hurtful ass as usual, because we’ll be getting a housekeeper in the new place and I wanted to get his opinon on what duties she should have, and he just kept grunting and looking at his smartphone until I got annoyed and asked him, as I have a million times before, to stop being so rude and put his smartphone down and pay attention to what I was saying, and his answer, as usual, was “Why should I? You’re always talking, why should I have to using my phone when you talk to me? Why do I have to pay attention to this stupid sh*t? I grew up with a maid, they do everything you want them to” – despite the fact that we’re talking about domestic help in two different countries,a nd I have actually researched this issue and he hasn’t. By the end of another pointless and upsetting argument, I was done with him, because despite the fact that I must have said a million times that I was upset because he couldn’t find it in himself to just put down the damn phone and interact with me, he insisted that really I just had to be right all the time and was wasting his time getting his opinion on stupid things and that he had no opinion (couldn’t be bothered to think enough about anything I ask him and therefore actually form one).

    Frustrated, upset that I have managed to fall in love with someone who basically doesn’t give a crap about me, worried about perpetuating the cycle and my children choosing partners who are cold to them,spending all day crying and lying down between continuing to pack and having the painful contractions I’ve been having on and off for a week….Lying to my son and telling him that no, mummy isn’t sad and crying…Wondering when enough is enough…

    Can’t get through to him, feel so alone. Anytime I bring up any of our issues and say when you do A it upsets me or I feel awful because of B, he overrides me and insists it’s actually because of some stupid reason C. A typical sentence he uses “So what you’re saying is you want me to do things even when I don’t want to/So what you’re saying is I have to do what you say because this is a dictatorship” even when I haven’t said anything like it, and he then convinces himself that’s what I’ve said.

    Heartsick. Tired, Exhausted. Upset. What do I do.

    1. Wow Dee, I’m not Matt, but I can’t help but respond. He does not want to change. I would separate and if that doesn’t make him see what he can potentially lose, then divorce. You can’t make someone value you and the longer you allow yourself to be treated poorly, the longer he will do it. He is not nice and isn’t interested in working on your marriage, but half the problem is that you are putting up with this kind of behavior. He clearly does not and may never value you, but you don’t want your kids to grow up thinking that’s what a marriage should be, do you? Leave and find someone who loves and values you. You deserve that.

  25. Just finished reading all volumes. Matt, you’re a good man. Couples struggling need to read all volumes front to back. At the end of the day, the thing that matters most is that you chose to love every day 100%. That’s for the ladies too. 🙂

    1. There is, but just for me. Fixed. 🙂

      Thank you very much for reading and saying nice things.

      Some of these things have mattered to some people. More than I could have ever asked for.

      Good luck to you, Jacqueline.

  26. going through a divorce now and I have read every one of your posts. If ONLY my soon to be ex husband could be as insightful, caring, remorseful as you, I know we wouldn’t be in this situation. I have tried for years to live w/ the emotional abuse, the alcohol abuse and lack of care from him and recently discovered on top of all that, infidelity. With a young son, I went back and forth on whether I should “stick it out” until the son turns 18 to divorce. But I’m realizing I can’t live my life anymore in a marriage where I am more lonely than if I were single.

    IF i ever enter into another relationship after this (I know everyone says they won’t coming out of a divorce but i REALLY don’t want to), I hope I will meet a man that realizes the things you realize about love being a choice you make every day, that the grass isn’t greener and that you are killing You might have been a “shitty husband” at one point but seeing as insightful are you are now, I feel like you would make a woman very happy one day soon. Good for you.

    1. Hey. Please, please, please forgive me for not writing back sooner.

      I appreciate your kind words of encouragement.

      I am so sorry you are going through the divorce, and I too, hope you’ll only engage in a relationship with someone who grasps most of these ideas.

      I don’t think it’s some “englightened” or “elevated” state of being.

      This, near as I can tell, is REQUIRED to even have a chance at making a relationship last forever.

      Everyone deserves a partner who gets it. And when we’re single, we have enormous power to pull that off.

      You have my best wishes throughout the upcoming healing process.

      Please don’t ever settle.

      Love is HARD. But it’s not hard to find out if the person laying next to you truly understands what it actually looks like.

      Not on the good days.

      On the bad ones.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  27. Hi Matt,

    I just sat here for, oh, I don’t know, maybe close to two hours now reading through your entire “[An] Open Letter to Shitty Husbands.” Several times, I found myself close to tears. I found myself nodding, thinking back on my childhood, and again, fighting tears. I also found myself thinking, “Man, what a dick!”

    I’m a 22-year-old female, living with my husband-to-be in the shittiest little mobile home that has ever existed. We don’t have human-babies, but four furbabies – 3 cats and an old, dilapidated dog. We met on the very first day of our freshman year of high school – so over 8 years now – and we have dated off and on since, for a total of five years. Things were rough growing up, but despite the troubles, the dueling families (running joke in school was that we were “Romeo and Juliet,”) we always managed to find a way back to one another.
    We stopped talking for a few years at the end of high school. It was hard. I missed him so much. Honestly, neither of us can even remember why we broke up. Maybe I was being silly. Maybe he was being silly. We were both ignorant, didn’t know who we were yet, what we wanted. We’ve moved on, accepted that things happened, and do our best to learn from what we can and relish in the glorious memories of Monster-fueled nights of childish banter in the town’s graveyard with our little clique of friends. He was, is, my hero. I suffer from Manic Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. My teenage years were the hardest to cope with. Self-manipulation eventually became a hobby for me, but by our sophomore year, he sat me down and through tear-filled eyes, made me promise that I’d never leave him, even if I left him. I promised – 6 years and I have not harmed myself nor have made anymore suicide attempts. He is my “knight in shining skinny jeans.”
    We began talking again while I was attending beauty school. I needed someone to come in for a haircut, as the school I was attending was a bunch of fuckasses and required you to earn them more money so you could graduate in good standing. What a scam. Either way, through a bit of pushing, he agreed – and I lopped off a few good inches and he tipped me $10, a pack of smokes, and an awkward goodbye. We talked briefly through Facebook for awhile, though not frequently. Things were awkward. I loved him still. So much. I missed him, wanted him. Needed him. I felt the same from him.

    October, 2013 rolled around and I was working at a call center for Charter Communications. I made a few co-worker buddies and one of them was college-aged with college friends who threw house parties every weekend. I went to a few, but by the second one, I was calling, texting, begging, very much needing my then-ex to be by my side because he was the only person I could trust. I had a female friend there with me all the time, but infatuation with her new boyfriend was high – I didn’t want to keep her from that, though she stuck by me. She was a good friend in that aspect and to this day, I respect her beyond words.

    He came. He came to me. He sat by me while my friend enjoyed the company of her new boyfriend and I was safe from the groping hands of drunken pervy men. I missed him even more. He was always like that, keeping me safe from harm. I missed his warmth.
    Halloween night, just a few weeks later. I had to call him again. My boss was partying with us, too. (Weird, I know.) Him and other men were grabbing on me, trying to coax me to other places and my friend I could see was desperate to be with her new boyfriend. I called him again.

    “I’ve already started drinking.”

    “There’s people grabbing on me and I don’t know what to do and I can’t go home – Mom’s probably asleep.”

    “Stay outside and I’ll try to get there, okay?”

    My hero once again. And again. And again. My reason for living, my reason for being. My reason for everything. My life, my world, my rock, my shield.

    He cuddled me on the co-workers couch that night, keeping me warm and safe from the people that resided there and those that stayed after the party. We woke up early and went to sleep at his mother’s. I remember that night – he clambered on me, forcing me against the kitchen sink and giving me the most longing kiss I have ever felt from him. I melted. I think a little part of me even died a little inside, resurrecting in a brilliant flash of fire, phoenix wings illuminating the night and sending sparks flying to the stars. I needed him. We began dating again on November 1st, 2013.

    Three years have passed and while we have remained strong, I still find myself missing him. I find myself missing bits of me, too. And while I very much want to agree with you on a whole lot of points you have made in this post about “shitty husbands,” I have found so many similarities coming from my own stupid ass. I’m a shitty wife. And I think he might be a bit of a shitty husband, too. But hey, I guess at least we’re shitty together.
    You’re a wonderful writer, Matt, and your “Letter to Shitty Husbands” is so moving and I wish so much I could send this to my husband-to-be without making him feel self-conscious and hurt. We have known each and have been together for so long in comparison to our short lives, that we have essentially grown up together and have gotten to know each other’s every single, dirty little secret. We have known each other so well, that our feelings will alter at random times during the day and when we finally get to speak to one another and ask how the other is doing, we respond with, “Huh, I took a shit at 10:30pm, too.” (Seriously, you have no idea how many times we have timed our poops together by accident.) However, I still have trouble finding ways to communicate with him. That’s always our issue – we can’t talk.

    I have found so many things that he does – or doesn’t do – in the various “volumes” of your letter. When he was still a child, he was diagnosed with ADHD. I cannot describe in words just how difficult it is as his lifemate to tolerate his immaturity and his obliviousness. Anything fancy, anything shiny, anything with big, flashing lights, anything new… He needs it, wants it. Can’t do anything without his phone in his hand, but can’t do anything with his phone in his hand. Multitasking is impossible for him, but so is focusing on only one task. It’s so hard, so insanely nerve-racking. I have yelled and screamed at him sometimes, and he’ll only look up and say, “What? Huh? Did you say something? Oh…”
    He’s so “forgetful.” Say he’ll do one thing, never does.

    “It makes her feel worthless.”

    “It makes her feel unloved.”

    You hit the nail on the head, Matt. I wish so much I could get him to see that and I think reading your letter may very well do that because he just doesn’t like to listen to me most of the time. I hate complaining about him to people because I complain a lot. (About everything in general, but most of the time I do complain about him, though he is about all I have in the societal world.) I despise it because… He just does so many horrible, heartbreaking things. And, really, it’s silly things! So silly! And what’s crazy? Most of it stems from his ADHD!

    He is… Amazing. Phenomenal. My hero! I love him. Frankly, I don’t think I’ll ever leave his side. We still give each other the googly-eyes from across the room, send each other naughty messages and texts. We play childishly and horse around (got a few broken noses, too!) The times we were apart were taxing. So many people were hurt by our break-up, too. Saddened we “didn’t work out.”

    “You guys were so cute together!”

    “Oh my gosh, you guys were too perfect, though!”

    “You guys got along great, what happened?”

    Sometimes things happen and today, I am ever so glad that they are in the past, but the things that happen now are… New. “You never truly know a person until you live with them,” and have I ever learned this. Lazy, irresponsible, and worse with money than I am.
    He works 60-80 a week in a physically demanding factory job. I feel horrible for asking his help with housework, but… Well, it gets hard. It’s not easy. Not by any means. Not easy to try to squeeze in all of the housework and the cooking, making sure this and that and those things are done before he gets home so he has somewhere comfortable to come home to. It’s not easy to take inventory of the food supply and to budget $35 to feed yourself, your husband-to-be, and your furbabies (or human-babies) for the week, or even the next two weeks. I tried doing all of that and swing a full-time job and I’ll tell you right now I was more depressed than I had been since high school. I quit my job, started taking care of the house more, and frankly, he gets laid more, I get laid more, and we have a decently clean abode and things are okay.

    He did all of the housework once for me one day while I was sick and bed-ridden.

    “Never again!”

    “What?”

    “Never again! I don’t know how you do it. It took me all day to get the laundry done, it’s STILL not done, and the dishes took over an hour. The vacuuming, the cleaning… How?!”
    “I don’t know, I just… Do it?”

    You know how good that made me feel?! I WAS EMPOWERED. I COULD DO ANYTHING. I KEEP THE HOUSE CLEAN AS A WHISTLE AND I MAKE HIM FEEL DAMN GOOD DOING IT!

    But… You know how you said you shouldn’t ask yourself, “What do I get in return?”
    I ask myself that a lot.

    “Well… Where’s my attention?”

    “When do we get to go out of the house and do things together, instead of stay inside, cooped up as he filters through Reddit and I stare aimlessly in the main town of my online RPG game?”

    “When do we get to cuddle when I want to?”

    “When? Where? Why? WHY?”

    And I get sad. And he comes running to me. He showers me with love, with attention, he reminds me why I love him and he pulls himself out of the dark void of the cellphone and the internet world for a little while, just to make sure I’m okay.

    He’s not a bad person. I guess he’s not really that much of a shitty husband, either, only sometimes.

    I wrote a really long letter to you. I’m sorry for that. I’m a writer, too, and well… I’m sure you know, sometimes things just… Flow. (Ew.)

    I wanted to provide to you some kind of insight that while things may all seem black-and-white to you, there’s a whole lot of color in the world, too. I kept hearing that “if you don’t fight, your relationship isn’t healthy.” Well, by no means do I mean that couples should fight all the time, but… If you fight, you care, don’t you? I know that’s not always the case, but it’s something to suck on for awhile, I guess. Maybe you will rethink your actions, your ex-wife’s actions, everyone’s actions in your life.

    I also wanted to provide to you that sometimes there’s a damn good reason why you do the things you do. I still think you were a pretty hard asshole to your ex-wife, but the fact that you’re sitting here today, writing this blog in the hope that people will read it and attempt to better their own relationships is amazing and I hope that she will read it, if she hasn’t already, and she will at least move on knowing that you have learned from your mistakes. You have achieved something that not many people do – you had an epiphany. And… That’s beautiful. A little bit of faith has been restored in humanity for me. I, too, really hope that it spreads through the internet world and people will also begin to have their own realizations and begin to remember what love is really about.

    As someone who is living with their significant other that suffers from ADHD, I will probably always be putting out more than what I will ever get. But there’s so many things that I know that I also do wrong and reading “A Letter to Shitty Husbands” has made me realize those things once again, or things I have realized for the first time. I’m a shitty wife. But that’s okay, because I’m going to work on it.

    I guess one of the pluses that my husband-to-be and I share, though… We’re too god damn stubborn to leave one another anyway.

    You have a beautiful soul underneath all that shit, but you’re doing great at cleaning it all up. Keep up the good work… I hope that you decide to continue writing “A Letter to Shitty Husbands” and publish it as a self-help book. I’d like to purchase it one day… And I hope the last volume will end with you finding peace within yourself.

    P.S. I again apologize for the long letter. You struck up a long-lost muse, I think. Depression is a hard thing to overcome and I pride my husband-to-be to be able to deal with my insanity. He was my muse once-upon-a-time… There’s so many things I miss about us. Maybe if I work harder, I can get him to understand – he is more of a visual learner anyway.

    Also… Thank you.

    1. No, thank you for taking time to write such a long, thoughtful response.

      I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am that I just read this for the first time. It’s easy-ish for me to lose track of comments on any post that isn’t the most-recent one posted.

      This should come as little surprise to you since you read all the letters, and live with your husband, but I was diagnosed with ADHD about six months ago, and only then, and the couple weeks leading up to it while I was reading a shit-ton on ADHD did I begin to see how big of a role that can play in all of this stuff we talk about here.

      It’s very hard for people to understand how oblivious and forgetful people with our type of brains can be, especially because we’re super-high functioning in other areas.

      “Smart guy acts dumb!? He must not give a shit!!!”

      You might have thought that a little about me not responding to your very thoughtful note.

      But really it was just me quickly approving the comment so it would post a month ago, and forgetting to come back, and respond.

      You cover an enormous amount of material in your comment. More than I’m capable of addressing (because I’m at the office and I should totally be testing and proofreading emails right now), but I read every word.

      I wouldn’t say I think everything’s black and white. Life, and certainly love, is chock full of nuance.

      And I wouldn’t say you NEED to give without expecting anything in return. Not in a macro-sense. You’re totally allowed to wonder what’s in it for you if you feel like you give more than you take every day, without getting the same treatment in return.

      What I would say, is that what we NEED for an optimum marriage, is a partner who is committed to the idea of giving without expecting anything in return and the intestinal fortitude to do so ourselves.

      It’s not reasonable to expect one person to be selfless every day forever, while their partner takes advantage of it. Pretty much no one is strong enough for that.

      But if someone is willing to give without expectation KNOWING their married to someone who also gives without expectation, then I think both people are always getting what they need, while also fulfulling the needs of their partner.

      No marriage works with just one person doing things right. Always, always, always takes two. Marriage is a two-person job. Otherwise, you’re just roommates who bone.

      But I’m writing to guys to take responsibility for themselves. To lead the way in selflessness in the hopes that by doing so, their wives will have a great marriage, and in turn, give to him.

      Wives fuck things up too. I just think husbands do it way more often, and that much of the “bad” things their wives do would never happen in the first place if they didn’t do stupid, thoughtless shit.

      I promise to start pointing a few more fingers at wives, the day it seems like husbands around the globe are pillars of marital excellence while their wives are destroying their marriages and lives.

      I hear from a lot of people in horrible marriages. Unless every single person is a dirtbag liar, husbands accidentally (or possibly intentionally, God forbid) screw up their marriages and relationships all the time.

      Just by being themselves. Not even by being “bad” or “jerks” or “assholes” or “shitty.”

      A small change in focus. A steadfast commitment to excellence, which many guys make about other aspects of their lives (physical health, career, hobby, whatever), and the world changes.

      That’s what this will always be about.

      You’re a fantastic writer. Put that lovely talent of yours to awesome use, please.

      I appreciate your very personal, very thoughtful comment immensely.

      Thank you so much for reading and writing. And again, I hope you’ll accept my apology for this tardiness of this reply. It truly was an oversight and not a case of me intentionally ignoring something.

      I think you’ve probably heard that one before.

      I can assure you that, at least sometimes, it’s totally true.

      Hope you’re having a great day.

      1. Hi, Matt. Thank you for responding (and also apologies on my late reply, as well!)

        I’d love to see your thoughts on where women fuck up. It’s always where the man botches things. Women are oh-so-perfect, all the time, don’t hurt us, we’re fragile. But oh no, we could never step on your toes!

        I’m sorry to hear about your recent ADHD diagnosis. I really hope you find a way to self-medicate with homeopathic treatments, rather than with the pills the docs will give you. I hear nothing but horror stories. Good luck in working on that obstacle in your life! (I hear weed does wonders.)

        It isn’t by any means. Not for you, not for anyone in your life. I still deal with the struggles from my hubs. And I always will. On the other hand, he helps me with my inner turmoil. I love him very much. We still have our problems, but have intentions of soon beginning our own little form of marriage counseling – to improve our lack of communication.

        If my hubs wants to focus on his life-long passion of creating music, he already knows I support him 120%. What I wouldn’t give for him to experience what he has always loved… Doesn’t exist. I would give everything. He’s a wonderful musician. I wish he had the drive he once had when we were kids. He can still lull me to sleep and bring a smile to my face with his guitar, even if his fingers are clumsy. But I’d still give everything for him to be happy and achieve that dream of his.

        A few years ago, I went into a pretty bad downward spiral of depression and self-hate. I dropped contact with all of my friends and most of my family and the only thing I did was sit in my room, cut my wrists, drink away my pain on days that bleeding couldn’t mask it anymore, and listened to The Doors. It took me a long time to realize that I am THE MOST important person in MY life. I feel everyone should feel the same. If making music and achieving his dream would make my hubs happier than he would ever be with me, I would be happy knowing he achieved something very few in this world ever could.

        Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m selfish and would probably hide in his suitcase.

        My reply is short this early morning… Mostly due to a barely functioning brain. (Insomnia is tons o’ fun.)

        I am picking writing back up now, actually. (Hence my reply.) Maybe you’ll find some free time and a focused brain someday to take a gander. Prepare some chocolates and tissues, though, I’ve been told I can bring tears and bad thoughts.

        Hope things have gotten better for you as of late.

  28. In a desperate search for literature that might save my marriage, I found this (no pressure!) amd was shocked by what I read in the best way possible. Each post was written as though you crawled into my brain and found words to describe my desperation in my marriage. I cried (fucking ovaries) during each volume because of the clarity with which you described my suffering and the optimism you maintain, thoughout. I texted a link to my husband with a few meaningful quotes, and perhaps he will make it though the first volume…
    My husband is one of these “good guys” who would never cheat, works hard at his job to provide for his family, and gets his feelings hurt when I say he has failed me. Despite some of the really lovely moments we have had, there is a marked emotional absence, on his part, on a daily basis which leaves me feeling like the Grand Canyon opened up inside my chest. Trying to point it out only makes the space wider, and deeper, and I wonder if he even knows the potential our relationship really has.

    My husband takes his “not dirty yet” pants and tosses them on the floor next to the laundry hamper, belt and underwear still attached, looking like an emaciated shirtless ghost. After countless efforts (like hiding his belts and always putting his dirty clothes on his pillow) failed to help him see how inconvenient his habit was, he cried “Can’t you tell by now that I am NEVER going to do anything different with my pants?!” So, I sent him your quote about your own pants. Although you claim to have realized all of this “too late,” I figure that means my husband might be able to learn “just in the nick of time.”

    I agree with so much of your presented female perspective – I do want to be the woman my husband married, or ideally an even better, sexier, more confident version – but a lot of that growth is possible only with his (or someone else’s) help. I think what makes the Knight attractive to the Princess is how he is two men at once. He is a terrifying master of weapons who wears an outfit made of heavy-ass metal and bravely accepts his fate at every turn. He also lifts his visor to look deeply into the eyes of his lover while he offers a tenderly picked rose coupled with sweet words. The most important part, though, is that the Knight is never seen giving in to the temptations of the enemy, or drawing his sword on the Princess. His priorities are always straight, much as the happily married man’s are.

    In long and short, thank you. You have given me hope and a tool for solving my problems.

    1. I never want to hear about someone in pain or a struggling marriage, but it means so much to me that people sometimes find this stuff helpful or cathartic in some way.

      Thank you for taking the time to write (and write well!).

      My sincerest best wishes for you and your husband as you try to sort it all out.

      It’s like insanely simple and insanely complicated at the same time.

      But I think MOST people when they understand that one path leads to divorce and the other leads to forever, will always choose the right things.

      The problem is simply not knowing how. But everyone can learn. And I pray they will.

      1. Thank you for the kind words and the compliment.

        Much to my surprise, my husband read volumes 1-8 last night while taking notes! He told me that he wants nothing more than to just snuggle me until I feel safe again, and then we did. We were kind to each other and talked about our goals, and he plans to read the remaining four volumes soon.

        So, I have decided that you must be a God and also that I am a really lucky lady! We have a lot of work to do, but the future looks much brighter now 🙂

        Thank you!!!!!!!!!

        1. This was really awesome to read.

          I don’t think people believe me, but it’s true: MOST husbands do not want to hurt their wives. Quite the opposite. They just don’t “get it.” And I don’t mean they’re dumb. It’s just REALLY hard to understand how different our wives’ brains and bodies can work sometimes. And when it all starts to fall into place for us, we feel really empowered because now we have an actual chance to have our wives love, want, respect, admire, appreciate us the way we all crave, even if we never say it out loud.

          Hopefully, you feel him putting you first more often than not. And hopefully you’re making him feel wanted and appreciated and respected in return.

          Do it everyday, and I’m pretty sure you’re unstoppable.

          Thank you for writing, Sarah. 🙂

  29. Omg u hit the nail on the head! I printed every volume for my shitty husband to read. He won’t read them but I am hoping he will. You are awesome! If i was not married I would want to hang out with you!!!! Your ex wife should consider working things out with you!!!

    1. Hi. Thank you for saying nice things.

      Favor request: Please don’t tell your husband he’s shitty and hand him these posts and tell him he’s not good enough.

      That works zero percent of the time.

      But maybe if you say “I do not want to make you feel bad. But I love you and I want our marriage to be the best it can be. And I read something that helps explain how I feel and why I think we have arguments. And I was hoping you’d take a look because I really want you to understand me so we can have the best lives possible.”

      Or something else nice.

      When you say “Hey asshole! See! This is the shit I’ve been talking about!”, I promise you won’t get any of the results you want.

      We’ve got pride and ego problems.

      I blame nature. 🙂

      Thanks for reading. I hope you guys can find some common ground.

      1. Lol! I won’t say hey asshole… Although I may be thinking it. Thank you so much for telling me how to say it though. I will give it a try. If this does not work I am at my wits end. Wish me luck lol 🙂

  30. Amanda Szyszkowski

    Wow I just read all 12 letters once I started I couldn’t stop. My sister in law told me about them and it really hits home….I want us to work out but it is hard work to stay with someone…thank u for giving me some insight.al

    1. Thank you very much for reading. It’s REALLY hard. Yes. I think it gets a lot easier when both people “get it,” and both are prepared to give to one another and talk about all this stuff as it happens.

      Most of the time two people simply think their partner is mean and/or crazy, and they tolerate it for a little while right up until they don’t anymore.

      The part I’ve always had a problem with is that we just go out and pair up with someone new again. People like orgasms and hate loneliness.

      But unless they work out whatever they need to work out inside themselves and make sure they’re having these hard conversations with their new partner, the next story tends to have the same ending.

      It’s a sad thing all around.

      Good luck to you and your husband. Here’s to hope.

  31. I was told this morning that he wanted me to stand or walk the entire duration of his work shift so that *I* could see how tired *he* is and why *he* needed to sleep in. Mind you I am the mom of our two kids, who kept me up basically all night, I also babysit his nephews who live with us, and put out enthusiastically every time he has asked, despite telling him a year ago that I wanted to leave him. You know what I did today instead of what he suggested? I sat, and read all of your open letters. I won’t cheat again, but you can bet your ass that Im not going to keep rolling over for this. I love him, I appreciate him (and the life he has provided us), and sometimes I even still respect him…but I would rather leave him and be completely alone, than stay. I know he loves me, but he is everything youve described. We aren’t married, we’ve been together almost 10yrs, but I found this by googling “bad husband”. I wish I he could read every single one of these posts, particularly #1 & #4, and one towards the end I cant remember. Thank you for writing these. I’ve given and given and given, Im sure he feels the same, Im tired of giving.

    1. Hi. Sad story.

      While the phrase “I’m tired of giving,” is not something I want to celebrate (unselfishness is the hallmark of functional relationships), I absolutely understand what you mean.

      You’re tired of your giving not being reciprocated, or even appreciated.

      The whole unselfish thing only works if everyone is unselfish. If one person gives and gives and gives while the other takes and takes and takes, it’s only a matter of time.

      You sound finished. I’m afraid I know what that looks like.

      I didn’t start to understand how this stuff works (and I still may not) until she’d already reached the point of done.

      There was no coming back.

      I hope there’s a chance to keep going. I understand that, sometimes, you just run out of gas.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      1. Well, Im not in any position to leave anytime soon and am committed to my responsibilities to our kids, so there’s always time. Mentally though, Im finished. I realized this morning that his redeeming qualities aren’t that rare. I could find them in 100 other men and women (Im part of the lgbtq community), and everything else he gives me, I could give myself. I would rather he pull his head out of his ass, but that doesn’t seem feasible. I’ve been to therapy to work on myself, Ive read books, attended webinars, spoken to male relationship advisers….all of which have asked me why I stay. I don’t have a valid reason anymore, I just have no way to go and a million excuses of why Im needed here.

        Thank you for a fast response, it was certainly unexpected, and much appreciated. Im hearing you. Truly.

  32. I read all twelve volumes today. I also screenshot several excerpts and texted them to my husband. I hope he’ll read the full versions!!!

    1. Hi Annabelle. Thank you for taking the time to read this stuff and care. I appreciate it very much.

      I hope something good comes for your efforts to make your marriage strong.

  33. I just read every single one of these.
    And I am truly hoping that my husband will see them in the history and take a little while to read them, before he inevitably starts playing his video game and ignoring me every time I say I want to spend time together. I have the problem of being the one who wants sex, however he would rather jerk off than even try. And my emotions are irrational always….sheesh. I just really really hope he reads at least one of these. Because I am at the point of leaving now. Really leaving. And I am really not even sure he would mind…:-/

    1. I’m so sorry, Kelly. If it isn’t obvious, what you’re experiencing is happening all the time, every day, everywhere.

      It’s sad and wasteful.

      I’d like to think he cares more than you believe. The problem tends to be, by the time he figures out what’s wrong and adjusts behavior accordingly, your heart is so broken and resentful (understandably), that all of his self-improvement and marriage-saving efforts will be in vain.

      You won’t care, because it’s impossible to not think: “Where the hell was this for the past (however many) years now that all my walls are up, and feel like I can’t trust him ever again!?!?”

      It’s extraordinarily frustrating. Because if everyone could just understand this in their early 20s, so much of this brokenness would never happen.

      Good luck, Kelly. The holiday season is upon us. And sometimes, it squeezes out a little magic.

      Thank you for reading and leaving this note.

  34. I wish my husband took just 50% of your advice. We would be in a better place. I love him and want to be with only him but I feel undervalued, second to his mom, and alone. I’m considering a divorce but we have a baby and I’m hanging in there for her and because I still have some hope for us. I always admire other men how they treat or talk about their wives and I get sad and wish my husband would treat me so.

  35. Thank you so much for this I though I was the selfish wife for wanting my husband to understand my feeling. He always tells me that I should be glad that he never cheats on me and all he does is work hard for us. We have been together for 13 years and just purchase a new home. Last night while he was bringing the Christmas tree in the house he scratch the roof on the cieling . I got upset not for the fact that he scratch it but for the fact that it gives me one for thing to do and I can’t count on him fixing it. So as I was telling him how I felt he started to mock me instead of just looking into my eyes and tell me it’s ok I got it and truly mean it. For some reason or another the feeling I felt was different then tha rest I can’t explain at that point I felt like my world crush down. Like he had hit me right on my chest and it physically hurt because the though that came to mind was this man doesn’t love me. Trying to explain and validated my own feeling thinking I’m just being a bitch to my husband I came to your post. I have been reading and crying because I’m at the point we are hanging on. My husband knows I’m not happy I almost left 4 years ago but I stay because I wanted to give us a chance because I love and care and wanted to be with him. im still here because I feel that I’m going through my own mourning that our marriage is no more and that there is nothing I can do to help him fix it. I’m hanging because I have a little of hope that one day he will come through the door hug me hard and tell me that he’s been wrong and that he will do whatever it takes to get me to trust him to take care of me. Day by day I feel I just get more sour like I’m loosing my self like I’m no longer myself but this dry, sour , selfish, ungrateful wife. I though about sharing this with him but I think what’s the point.

  36. You have a lot of wisdom and I really like reading your posts. When does it happen that we find fault with each other rather than seeing our best side? When do we pick fights for no reason? It’s so frustrating! I an still committed to my marriage, but sometimes I feel like I am the only one. There is no person who I would rather spend time with, but sometimes I feel like I am the only one of the two of us who feels this way! Well in any case, I guess I will just have to keep trying…what other choice do I have? I’m sorry for your experience and best wishes to you for having gained some wisdom and peace in the meantime. -Gemma

  37. Thank you so much for writing these! I read them all today and I can’t believe how dead-nuts accurate you are with what I’ve experienced, both in my failed marriage and now in a partnership with someone who unfortunately does have addiction problems and abusive tendencies…. But I still prefer that over the emotional abandonment I experienced in my marriage…. At least in this relationship he is willing to acknowledge his role in our relationship problems and work on it and change too. It’s not all left to me, yapping like a chihuahua on deaf ears. I related so much to everything you wrote.

    1. I am recently married after dating for 8 years. My now husband has always gone on getaway trips with his guy friends. Since July, he has gone away four times, and will be going to scotland for two weeks with the guys. We have done nothing together, nor do we have plans to do anything together since the honeymoon. I hear him talking to his friends saying, ” she’s cool with it. She lets me fo what i want.” Well, i teach and have my summers off. I am thinking about renting a house up north during this time since he will be gone fir 1/3 of yhe time I’m off. He got so mad and blew up ag me saying he’s so disappointed with me and I’d didrespected him. Funny, when I mentioned this to him a few weeks ago he had no response. I made the decision based on his conversation with his friends about how he was not opposed to extending his scotland trip so he could have more time to party. He is also so much like wjat you describe in your blogs-golfs 1-2 days on the weekends, goes to the gym with his friend every night and often to dinner leaving me to fend for myself. Drinks excessively and acts like a coolege frat guy-he’s 54!!! When we go to parties, as soon as we walk in, he’s off doing shots and trying to make everyone laugh. I may spend about 5 minutes being graced with his presence. Then, once the party is over, and he’s drunk, he all of a sudden loves me and wants to make love to me! Ha! Guess what? Not interested! He calls me crazy and asks why I need him to make sure I have a good time. Well, news flash, I don’t. It’s not as if he pays for anything for me. I’ve seriously got one foot out the door. What can I do?

  38. Mrs. Walking On Egg Shells

    Thank you, Matt!! I loved reading your letters. How can I nicely suggest that my husband read these without angering him? Should I just print them all out and leave them somewhere?
    From Mrs. Walking On Eggshells / Doormat /PEACEMAKER WHO Does Everything She Can To Not Piss Him Off Because He Gets Pissed Off For No Reason at all/Works FT/PT Mom/Whose Husband Is Always Angry And Thinking I am Conspiring Against Him When I Am Not And Would Never Dream Of That

  39. Thank you for your incite. It really hit home and I often felt like you were talking about my own life. It’s good to know I’m not alone, but also sad that so many other people feel this way too. I felt vol 4, 10 and 9 the most, although all of them were good. I couldn’t stop reading. I really wish your words inspire others and we all find a little hope and a lot of change.

  40. Hi there! I am an EFT couples therapist. I just discovered your blog and it is so helpful. I am going to send some of my clients here. I so appreciate your honesty and the vulnerability of writing some of this hard stuff. I especially resonate with you expressing your feeling of disrespect, anger, and hurt. So often with my male clients, I know that is there but it is so hard to convince them their partner really does need to see it is there too and that the “never enough” attitude has a huge impact. I recently had a female lose it in session and become quite mean and say, “Why don’t you stop me? Are you just going to take this? Am I getting through?”I often think of the song “Say Something (I’m Giving Up On You)” when I hear this. I wish more men knew how important it is to express the hurt and anger over disrespect because more often than not, women are really just pushing for some kind of engagement in these disconnected times (I realize I’m talking in hetero-normative terms) and often get carried away in poking the bear. I think of the Irish proverb, “Strife is better than loneliness” and I think that is what is happening. However, it pushes partners even further apart and I appreciate your transparency in sharing your own experience. I think more people need to hear this kind of stuff.

  41. Hi Matt. Loved reading your open &honest journal. I read vol1-12 & looking forward to vol13. There were so many topics covered, interestingly there is a topic you did not cover but I would love to hear your thoughts on the following subject… Been with hubby 20 years, & he habitually stares at “females” when we are out in public. I do not care if he looks as he looks at everyone-literally. I am not afraid of him cheating on me or finding someone else. He is a good guy, he’s nice, like you & very passive & thinks he’s not doing anything wrong cause he says its not lustfully he just looks. But I’ve been going thru this long enough to know the difference in just a look & a stare(& its when he stares that I get upset). I personally don’t care enough to look at other guys, so its not done in retaliation. We’ve had the same argument for years. I have told him how it makes me feel & he tells me i’m jealous & I feel threatened & he don’t understand why I get upset. For the record, I’m not unattractive, I’m not overweight & everywhere I go people tell me I look great. If it weren’t for those people I’d never realize it as he can ignore me like nobody’s business but out in public EVERYONE else interests him -some more than others. I feel as though I have been a really good wife all these years despite his actions. I am very physically attracted to him still, so theres no doubt in his mind that I want him, cause we sometimes argue over that, as he’d rather watch tv. I never considered him a “shitty” husband before but I have serious doubts about whether or not he is part of our marriage or if I’m just trying to make something work that otherwise wouldn’t if I wasn’t the one putting forth all the effort. I am curious about your point of view regarding this topic as I used to feel pretty good about myself but I’ve been beating myself up over not being “good enough” for years till I’m not sure how much more I can take before I snap. Any thoughts?

  42. These are great posts, and this is probably not your typical response –but they have reminded me that I’m married to a really good guy. Not just a nice guy, but a good guy, and a good husband. I truly believe in my core that being a good husband and a good father is his number one priority, and you are so right that this is at the heart of everything else. We have our ups and downs and problems and some big fights, like everyone else, but he shows up to play every day. We don’t always get the results we’re hoping for, but you’ve reminded me that I need to verbalize more that I see how hard he is working alongside me, and how much I appreciate his efforts. I notice in your posts that you advocate some resources, and we read one together in our pre-marital counseling twelve years ago called Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti that I think is great and gave us some tools and a common vocabulary that we still use to this day. Here’s one I’m going to use as soon as he gets home: “Thanks for taking care of X. I really appreciate that you Y. It helps me Z. Thank you.” I think it’s strange that there’s a lot out there teaching us how to “constructively criticize” each other but not that much out there teaching us how to effectively praise and appreciate each other. He’s going to recognize the tool, but it’s still nice to hear, right? But– Oh my Lord, the blue chair. We’re going to fight about the blue chair until we die. (That’s where he leaves his dirty-not-dirty jeans.) 🙂

  43. Matt,

    I have just read several of your blogs in a row. I couldn’t stop. I followed the link on Facebook, as I’m still healing from leaving my husband for many of the reasons you have discussed, and the infidelity angle to boot. After 10 years together, it’s been a ride for sure. I left him 2 years ago and took the kids. There has been some issue with anger also, but I came to realize I just couldn’t do it anymore. Not only was I wondering why the kids and I were not good enough to be around, and everyone else was, I was left to do most everything around the house. I tried talking to, only to be received as crazy. Typical.
    Put it all together, and naturally, it had to end for the sake of everyone’s sanity.
    I do have to add that he isn’t a bad person, but is certainly lost. I hope he finds a better version of himself one day soon as I have had to.
    I must also say I played a part in the demise by getting angry, though justified, and I have much higher standards of house maintenance and moral rectitude that he didn’t share. I may have compromised more, however, if I thought for a moment, that he felt any empathy for my feelings. Some people just don’t, male or female.
    Your writing is truly on point, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I have also sobbed no fewer than 12 times on the last hour.
    Bless you and your mission to help others find themselves and attempt to save their marriages.

  44. I’ve gone through all twelve of your letters and am so thankful and amazed to have stumbled on to this tonight. My husband and I have been married almost a year, together 7 years and have had the SAME argument several times a year for the last 7 years. I have never found a way to communicate my feelings of distrust, fear, my decreasing desire to please him– and through your writings I find a voice I have so desperately needed. I cried reading through because you validated everything I’ve felt for so long and because I finally have a way to express to him what I need with my words and with yours. I cannot express my gratitude.

  45. Matt,

    I feel like your honestly crawled into my head and put into words what I have been feeling with my husband. I feel like we are at a point in our relationship where I have one foot outside the door and one foot inside. If he would be willing to TRY, I would want to, too. But he seems to think everything is fine, and I’m just being stupid. Oh, he’ll throw in some words if he think I’m getting too serious, but he never follows through and later laughs at me that I “actually believed” him when he said he would do something.

    We don’t have kids (thankfully) so there is no one but the two of us who would be affected if we divorced. I want to try and get him to read this, though I doubt he will. It’s very sad, but I am tired of being his mother, his lover, his caretaker, his accountant, his secretary and never his equal or him my partner. A little support and appreciation would go a long way in this case. Honestly, ANYTHING from him at this point other than more expectations and criticism would help.

    You sound like a good guy. I hope that you great things for your life; if that is to get back together with your ex-wife, or just have a good, strong relationship so that you can jointly raise your son together and find relationship happiness with other people, then that is what I wish for you.

    Sincerely,
    Diana

  46. I have been gobbling up your blog like a victim of emotional starvation. All of my LTR’s have failed because I was the glue holding it together, all of my partners have done the shitty things you are begging men not to do.

    I have been shitty myself though, in the sense that I was shitty to myself by being a drug addict, and actively seeking out a partner who would also be my enabler, and that’s all we were to each other in the end, so of course the relationship didn’t last past five years, and I’m surprised it lasted that long. I quit using drugs, he didn’t, and wouldn’t, so I kicked him out. I was sick of not being appreciated, or respected. I was sick of being taken advantage of, and what people don’t realise is that anytime you are taking advantage of your partner, no matter how small it may seem, you are abusing them, and you are abusing the relationship. Period.

    When you don’t do the little things your partner ask of you, and wait for them to do it, because of whatever reason you have in your head, you are taking advantage of your partner, and that’s abusive. I have learned that that are a million ways that we abuse our partners, and we don’t even realise it, or think of it as abusive, but I can tell any partner who is lazy about housekeeping, that it is abusive, and tiresome. Why would I feel like giving my partner any sexual gratification when I’m physically and emotionally exhausted from being their caretaker all day? My last partner did not understand this, and everything wrong was my fault. his favourite thing to say to me was, “It sounds like a personal problem to me”.

    My last partner noticed a communication breakdown. I stopped talking to him, but I did this because he stopped listening, and was probably never listening. Always listen to your partner, and don’t blame, because when you blame, you deny yourself the experience of empathy, and compassion, and it is through empathy and compassion that we are able to understand other people, and their needs, and their motives, but we have to listen first, and accept our own responsibility in the problems we have in our relationships with others. I had enough compassion for him to understand that he had been given zero home training. he was a coddled son, and his parents were dysfunctional. This is sad, and I felt sorry for him, but not so sorry that I didn’t make his meth smoking ass get the fuck out of my house, because I do know one thing about life; it goes on. I know that if I work on myself personally, that I will have more happiness in ALL of my relationships, romantic, or otherwise.

    I wonder sometimes if I should show him your letters to shitty husbands, as I think that they also apply to live in partners. But then I think, nah, I don’t owe him shit, BUT, I will show them to who I am with now, because the man I’m with now is the fucking bomb ass shit, and I love him, and I want it to work out forever, and he’s so sweet, and receptive, that I know he would listen to what you have to say.

    What advice can you give to women though, about men? What can you tell us that would make us better partners as well? Can you give us some insight on how to deliver a message in such a way that a man would listen? Because sometimes it IS how you say things to a person that decides on how they interpret that message. I’m curious.

    If you get around to reading this, and have a response for me, thanks a million. And thanks a million anyway for your great insights.

    @{–

  47. Hi Matt,

    Ok the not dirty yet clothes thing- this seems to be a culture wide issue- so what about a furniture solution? Perhaps a hook on the backside of the headboard or behind the curtain, or on the back of the chair a hook and a hanger, or in the closet an open-sided travel/fabric bag ( with dryer fabric softener sheets or a febreeze thingy)
    or a throw to go over the items/area….
    For socks and underwear, what about under the side of the bed -a bag or bin hooked or velcro-ed to the bed frame- don’t have to bend over just kick it in. Then drag the container out to empty at laundry time…
    Those removable hooks from scotch(?) come in clear plastic and several strengths (5lbs), and can be moved if a location didn’t work,

  48. Was at a class a while back and we did an exercise to get our need for appreciation met.
    Because a need is a need is a need.
    So I asked five people I was friendly with to call every day for two weeks and tell me they appreciated me. They could leave it as a message….
    Three followed through and called. However one really was nourishing, she said a different thing about me each day that she appreciated about me.
    My needs were met, I didn’t feel a need for appreciation for about two years after that.
    To this day I remember the specific things that one person said, and feel healed and soothed/ nourished with each recall.
    I also recall the tone of voice and emotions communicated of kindness encouragement and liking that were communicated by all three.

  49. Loved your letters. I know I need to fix some of me, but I also know my husband does some of what your writing about. I could give you examples; however, not on a public forum.

  50. Pingback: An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 13 | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  51. Your blog came to me almost like an answer to my prayer. I read all your volumes btw. Anyway, for several months, I asked myself why the hell my ex just didn’t get it…messiness bothers me, leaving remnants of one’s lunch in the sink after brushing one’s mouth is not OK, among other things. Our relationship just didn’t work because of his constant dissmissiveness (too lazy to check if that’s even a word), and me refusing to give in to the complete disorganization that was/is his life. I DIDN’T get why it was so hard for him to just try to please me in that sense. He basically made me feel like you did to your wife. Mind you, I have a Master’s degree, own my own house and car, no credit card bills, good credit score, decent human being. I’m a catch! And although I don’t resemble the likes of Megan Fox or Kim Kardashian, I’m not exactly a “knuckle dragging swamp monkey” either (I read that somewhere in the internet hence, the quotation marks). I’m easy on the eye with some precisely drawn eyeliner and lipgloss. I put up with a lot from him. I tried to understand that he was going through a rough patch financially and all these other things that I refuse to divulge because it even embarasses me to remember. There was a lot of love between us though, or so I’d like to think…even talks of getting married and having a baby. We even disagreed on some boy names. But it just could not and would not happen. He ghosted me basically…the last time we spoke (it was on the phone btw, not even in person), he promised to call me the next day and never did. Fast forward to 7 months later and he wants to “talk” to me at 1 something AM. I refused that time and about 2 times after that. He decides to ask if I wanted to welcome the new year by copulating with him…completely forgetting/conveniently ignoring the fact that we haven’t seen or spoken to each other in at this point, 8 months. I don’t exactly hand out my goods all that easily, so I’m not sure why he would think I would rush to have our genitals meet up once again after basically becoming strangers.
    Point of my long ass story is just that I am forever grateful for you having the scrotum to write this blog. Yes, I am known to be absolutely vicious (just verbally) when I’m upset, but I would’ve avoided all that had he and I read this and tried to make some sense of it in our weird, rare-unicorn type love affair. For whatever reasons that the universe knows and I refuse to hypothesize, we weren’t meant to be. But at least I now know I can forward the link to your website to my next suitor, should he need suggestions. If he choses to be enlightened like you were, great! I’ll send you my wedding invite to your email. If not, then I’ll continue happily loving myself, contemplating on which type of cat I’m going to begin to adopt first. Cheers to you! Keep slaying, King, keep slaying!

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  53. I have a shitty husband. He’s a fine person. His older sister thinks he can do no wrong, he was promoted at work, he has friends in almost every state, etc etc. But he’s a shitty husband. Come to think of it, he was a shitty boyfriend & fiancé. He once told me he “wasn’t in love with me anymore”. Somehow, we’ve been married almost 10 years. No kids, thank god, because I can’t trust him to be a father. He can’t take care of himself, so why would I want to have more of him?
    Anyway, all 12 volumes outlined my life, except for the divorce part. Hasn’t come to that yet, though I wonder if he’d be surprised if it did.

    He’s been gone a lot this year, for work & play. While he’s gone, all I do is work. Work-work, housework and I have a small freelance business that kept me busy over the past few months. When he’s here, he sits on his ass. While I continue to work. Then I mention something I would like to do (concert, car show, antique fair, rare beer tapping) and it always falls on another day he’ll be gone, or a day he’s in town but promised his time somewhere else.
    This happens over & over until I have a breakdown & end up crying for hours. I have one of these episodes every 6 months or so. He gets extremely angry at me when it happens. I never lay blame, never start the fight, never yell or call him names, but he “can’t take anymore of it” and walks away from me.
    I think it was volume 5 where you explained that your ex did this, too. When I read that part, the tears came. I felt understood & alone all at once. The sitting inside on nice days, the sports that are more important than everything else, the friends who are always more important than me, the list never ends.

    I can’t believe how much of this could have been just me, writing to my shitty husband. It’s amazing, really.

    Not sure why I’m responding, somehow this is make my me feel better for the time being. But then again, I know I’ll be alone & ignored the rest of the weekend, because he’ll be out playing without me.

    1. Get some friends or hobbies and don’t sit around waiting for him. You need to make you happy!!

      1. I had a husband like this too, so I did that. Got friends and hobbies and didn’t wait around for him. Then I didn’t need him any more. What’s the point of having a spouse if your life is essentially being single, but not having the freedom to have romantic connections to anyone but a person who acts like they’d rather be elsewhere?

    2. Jane, I get it. It’s good to vent with others who share your pain. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate it.

  54. I just want to let you know how great (& entertaining) your writing is to read. It has opened my eyes & softened my heart to the fact that maybe my marriage could be saved.
    Your mind to paper is amazing: please continue to write.
    Do you have any published books?

  55. Wow! I didn’t realize when I typed “shitty husband” in the net that I’d actually have something worth while to read. So, thanks for being honest and taking a hard look at yourself. It’s been very helpful to get a husband’s perspective on the subject.

    That being said, my husband isn’t always shitty. He’s depressed and for the most part I understand. But… my feelings on depression are not to allow defeat to settle in. I’m a fighter, and my husband, well, not so much. And yes, I agree that men are very emotional. I think more so then women.

    I’ve been married 12 years, with an additional 5 years dating. We’ve known each other a long time. I knew when I married him it was going to be a rough ride, due to his history of failed relationships. As for myself, I was practically fresh for the picking, with old fashioned values. Just the way I was raised. Lately though, I’ve been struggling with the thought of leaving him. I won’t do it but, it’s really been a lot of work keeping this relationship from going estray and frankly I’m tired. I just want a break! I love him dearly and never want to hurt him. And, I take responsibility for my part in this marriage where things aren’t right.

    I bring this up because I feel as your ex-wife did…. alone and unheard, especially lately. My husband spends a huge amount of time on the net, learning new things. His mind is a sponge. Like your ex-wife, I want to go out. I want to do things outside these 4 walls. I want to enjoy life with my best friend, my husband. The problem is he’s a total and complete home body. We are not equally yoked this way. So, I go out without him. PERIOD.

    Where the shitty husband part really comes in… I want to be affectionate with him, but it’s mostly always on his terms. And that’s shitty of him to do to me! Since he’s not feeling right, my needs always get put second. Or, is it shitty of me to be selfish, only thinking of how much I want him to caress me? I’m not even referring to sex. Just affection. I don’t know the right answer. All I know is that it sucks.

    And my final two cents worth… He’s a nice guy. He’d do anything for me. At least he says so and sometimes its true. I think this is where the major misunderstanding is: Guys who say they’ll do anything for their wife and who are sincere about what they say when they say it; and guys who actually do anything for their wife. Big difference. Actions speak louder than words. I just wish my guy had more action. That’s all I ask. All I ever wanted.

    Keep us informed of your discoveries. It’s very enlightening. 🙂

  56. Love my little girl

    I have been married for almost 3 years..we both have very stubborn natures, and I know that I’m part of the problem , but I don’t know how to make it stop. We have a beautiful daughter, and I want to try to correct these issues before she can remember the fights. Bye the way, this is a wife and mom writing this, but I want to save our family! Reading these post have really made me think…

  57. This post takes away the desire of ever wanting to marry, because it is so brutally honest and true. Men really don’t care of beeing a good husband, just provide and that’s it, and nowadays not even that they do properly. Why do they marry anyways, if thet don’t care about anything regarding their wifes, and are selfish and the wife has to accept everything, while they do not want to change one inch, or admit they are wrong or did a mistake??? The biggest issue is, since they have it all, specially to fornication and related abominable and women denigrating media, they don’t have to do any efford anymore. If they would follow this things and also believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and follow what is written, the marriages would not end or be so miserable as they are. And if women wouldn’t be so easy to get and not exploited as objects, that would also chamge the situation. It is so sad. Goodly men are everyday more difficult to find.

  58. I wish I could get my husband to read this! However my husband is much much more shittier than you ever could have hoped to be. Prostitutes, affairs, alcoholism, verbal abuse, money hiding, & a pathological liar. Wow! When each issue comes up on their own they feel huge but not irreparable. I need to leave.

  59. I have a unique situation, I have a great husband ina shitty situation. We live with my mother on a huge property, so that doesnt help anything….I won’t go into it all, I’d have to write a novella, but a cliff notes version. I started menopause at age 28, a good 20 25 years early, i lost my sex drive, it died an immediate death and gained severe depression. His sex drive tanked also because he started a medication at that same time. 3 years later, 3/6/17 after living with pecks on the cheek and one armed hugs, basically like siblings more than spouses, (yuck! Im still so angry at myself) but otherwise being together alllll the time, being best friends, and never fighting, working from home together,(it’s how I absolutely KNOW he’s never cheated. He knows and is appalled at the fact that he is the only man I’ve ever been with that hasn’t cheated on me. It’s hard for me not to be terrified he will someday. Especially since he pushes against any & all of my efforts to keep things interesting and new. He also wont let me initiate anything, if i try, I’ve guaranteed that I wont get any that day or night.)

    But anyway, 3 years later I wake up one day to an old friend having died of cancer. Something cracked open in me that day. It snapped me out of depression to say WTF have we been doing?! I absolutely adore you, 3 years just disappeared, now I’m terrified because I feel I just woke up today and realized I’m not a girl anymore. I’m almost 33. I don’t want to get old, I don’t want to ever lose my husband to death or anything else, (regardless of the very sad fact that all truly successful marriages end in death) I started freaking out in a HUGE WAY! I still am actually, mostly amplified by menopause horrificly hellascious mood swings.

    We had gone so long without a physical relationship that in the physical sense I felt like he was a stranger. Like I needed full consent to even touch him, he would make me so nervous and bashful just looking at me. It gave me butterflies and the chills and it was amazing! I wish I could induce it again. I actually got to experience that feeling of being with someone new all over again, but with my husband of 9 years, it was insane. I never thought I’d feel those butterflies again. We were insatiable for about 3 weeks, giggling like teenagers, sneaking off to get something sexual in, anything we had time for without being caught by kids or family. Then one day it stopped after about 3 weeks. I had been crying on and off the whole 3 weeks, devastated at the time lost, wondering how I neglected him, and he, I, for so long! I want(ed) to make up for lost time, I wanted to breathe new life into our marriage so it never, ever got stale again! He had no interest in my fun or my ideas and everything came to a screeching halt. Now I’m lucky to get it even once a week. He says over & over how he’s still absolutely in love, attracted, still desiring me, he enjoys it whenever we do actually get intimate, he just doesn’t want to do it much. I said that makes no sense! You enjoy it, you want me, but you don’t want to have fun & feel good?! I have a higher drive by a lot now. I’d be thrilled to go 2 or 3 times a day, but at least once a day! I’m going crazy!

    I even put an offer on the table trying to entice him, he can have as many BJ’s as he wants, any time, any place, with ZERO expectation of reciprocation or sex, as often as he’d like! 10 times a day, if he wants, I’ve even studied up & learned how to full on deep throat like in porn! In 4 months he’s taken me up on it 3 times, and twice I just went for it, he didn’t even ask for it. I’m at my wits end! I cant imagine how many men would kill for their wife to be literally begging to deepthroat them! I have always been a sex kitten, always sexually comfortable, adventurous, and insatiable. It’s not something that’s just come up, he knew I was like this from the start, long before we married. We just passed our 9th wedding anniversary & together for 12. I’m so lost, I try to talk about it in a non accusatory way, using “I feel like” instead of “you do this…” but it never goes well, suddenly our communication has broken down. When we weren’t having sex, we never, ever, ever fought! Maybe twice a year, but now we fight 3 or 4 times a week. There’s no way we could be better not having a physical relationship, that’s just too depressing to even think about. Its not like Im some hardass either, I use to be a bit crazy when I was depressed, but I understand the importance of respect, I didn’t as a younger girl, (why aren’t we teaching our daughters to respect the men in their lives that deserve it?) I have struggled to stop my snarky jabs that amounted to a lot of disrespect in his eyes. I have read about 80 self help books on marriage and improving myself. I just can’t seem to get anywhere. I’m so confused on how he says things yet he doesn’t actually want what he professes to like so much.

    Okay, so sorry for rambling on and on on your blog. These entries are brave and I appreciate you sharing your pearls of wisdom! I know I will find many things in your pages that will help me to feel better and hopefully give insight on what to do or how to handle or cope with my troubles. If you make it through my whole comment and have any additional wisdom, I’m all ears and oh so appreciative for a males perspective. My husband isn’t like the men they talk about in these books, he isn’t as visual, I can’t use a lot of the tips they give because it simply just doesn’t apply to him, even though he’s a very masculine man. I’m just lost and confused, cold and forgotten.

    1. AnitaTaco,
      You are me, in my previous relationship (apart from the menopause and all).
      My girlfriend had a more or less standing offer for as much oral sex she wanted, and all the cuddling, stroking, massage in between. And she claimed to be very attracted to me. But still, nothing. She would turn me down for weeks or months on end. When we finally got around to to it, she would end up, panting “Wow, that was fantastic! Why don’t we do this more often?!?” All I could do was to bite my tongue, because the next day the cycle would start again.
      I tried repeatedly to approach her and find out what she would like, and what I or we could do differently, but no ideas or solutions.
      I don’t think I am very much like the men you read about around here or in self-help books. At least I’ve been told as much, by girlfriends and a lot of other people I’ve met.
      Yet, I am too lost and confused, and alone since many years.

      Thank you for your perspective.
      /K

  60. I wish my husband could/would read this post (#12). I think this is what happened to him three years ago. I would get frustrated with him for things like how he loaded the dishwasher and sometimes express this by yelling at him. To me, these were short, fairly rare occurrences that were over quickly and far out-balanced by my love for him. He never had to use an alarm clock because I would wake him every day with a kiss, cuddle and “I love you.” My husband would write me amazing cards for anniversaries, birthdays, etc. about how happy he was and looking forward to more decades together. Then, suddenly he announced that he no longer felt loved enough or respected enough and he didn’t want to try to make things better. Two weeks later, before he had actually left or told our kids he was leaving, I suddenly received a notice of legal papers filing to dissolve our marriage. I found out 10 months later that he in fact had hooked up with his college girlfriend from 20 years earlier and had begun an affair with her even as he was telling me his leaving was all my fault.

    He currently continues to carry out that infidelity – publicly, including lots of social media posts where he has on occasion published terrible lies about me (that he later had to take down) when he’s gotten mad at friends who’ve tried to tell him to go home to his family. He also continues to live separately from me and our children. But, we are at least technically still married. (No decree, thank God.) I took what he said and immediately looked for ways to improve myself as a wife, expressed more love and respect to him – even now – and even negotiated to get him to attend some marriage counseling sessions where he admitted his impressions that I was somehow “controlling” didn’t mesh with actual reality. He’s even said I am so amazingly nice to him now. We can only change or control ourselves and our own actions, and can only live up to the standards we set for ourselves. His actions are bad choices, but I found an inspiring program for people who want to try to save their marriages and chose to keep loving him and treat him well without regard for whether he “deserves” it. I just wish he could see his own actions through the lens you shared. While he’s done terrible things with the infidelity, etc., he has a good heart deep within and I still remain true to our vows for better or worse. This has been a pretty long “worse,” but posts like yours could break through the wall he tends to have up.
    Thanks for posting.

    1. I super duper hope that you didn’t take that cheating a-hole back. Sounds like a self absorbed crappy person if you ask me. Been trying 9 months with my infidel and we have two small children. He went on a dating app and got himself a girlfriend. I’ve got my responsibilities in order and managed to be the breadwinner for the first several years. Now, during a worldwide pandemic he chose to get a girlfriend and have unprotected sex with her?! Good thing I shut it down before he got anyone pregnant. He will do it again even though he swears he won’t. Screw those cheating lying jerks. Let them go and may there be a better role model down the relationship road. Good luck to you- Dr. DumbBrunette

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