Why Divorce Hurts Men More Than Women

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sad guy after divorce
(Image/The Huffington Post)

First things first: DOES divorce actually hurt men more than women?

I think there’s plenty of researched and anecdotal evidence to back up that it usually does, but I have no idea. I typed it into Google and was greeted with a mixed bag of headlines on the first three results pages.

Does it really matter? I’m not trying to make the argument that divorce hurts men more than women. I’m more interested in sharing my take on WHY it does—in situations where it actually does.

The Obligatory Broad-Generalizations Disclaimer

The following is a broad generalization and should in no way be interpreted as me believing that wives are ALWAYS “better” at marriage than their husbands. Of course that’s not true.

I love the Cleveland Browns even though they always suck. Do they REALLY “always” suck? Kind of. But the Browns sometimes win too, just like there are guys out there who are phenomenal relationship partners struggling with female partners who aren’t.

It’s impossible to write things that encapsulate every mathematically possible scenario in existence, and this post is not suggesting that men or husbands are inherently worse at relationships than women, nor always the “worse” spouse in a troubled relationship.

I am Make Broad Generalizations Guy.

It’s hard to write about this stuff another way.

And since I write about relationships and divorce a lot, I often make generalizations about wives/husbands, girlfriends/boyfriends, and women/men.

Sometimes, people take offense. Sorry.

Men Struggle More After Divorce Because They Lose More Than Their Wives

I believe wives, while not flawless nor without responsibility in failing marriages, are the objectively BETTER spouses on a few fronts in typical marriages.

First, I think wives are better at Life Management (and Emotional Labor).

I think most of the time, wives/girlfriends/women demonstrate more proficiency than husbands/boyfriends/men at things related to family budgets, long-term scheduling, meal planning, organizing academic and extracurricular activities for children, social calendars, sending birthday and holiday cards, running errands for upcoming events, RSVPing, sending Thank You notes, remembering anniversaries, as well as performing routine cleaning and house maintenance, like laundry, vacuuming, changing sheets, cleaning bathrooms, etc.

Second, I think wives/girlfriends/women are better at Relationship Skills which are absolutely CRITICAL to having healthy and lasting marriages, friendships, parent-child relationships, etc.

Skills like:

  • Mindful, active, present LISTENING
  • Humble apologies or admissions of mistakes
  • Empathy (the ability to identify and acknowledge another person’s pain and share the feeling. NOT sympathy. NOT pity. Empathy. “I get it. I’m here with you.”)
  • A willingness to set ego aside for the sake of a partnership, and admitting they don’t have all the answers but want to figure them out together for the long-term health and stability of the marriage/family

I think men, because of the whole Man Card socialization thing, equate FUNDAMENTALLY necessary and critical relationship things such as honest, vulnerable conversation; understanding the link between sexual appetite and physical/emotional labor things at home; being emotionally available for his sad or hurting spouse; with being Candy-Ass Girl Things.

Maybe their grandfathers and dads and uncles and friends growing up all reinforced that: “You’re a man! Men do this!” while totally ignoring that all the “candy-ass girl things” are REALLY DIFFICULT. Like, extremely difficult. The amount of discipline, simple heroism, sacrifice, strength, perseverance, etc. needed to perform these skills at a high level is a lofty and noble place to aspire.

The men who can do it are AWESOME guys.

About the Man Card and Man Stuff

I’m not asking guys to stop being guys, nor am I asking guys to be effeminate or stop doing whatever man stuff they like to do now.

I am asking guys to recognize that they’re accidentally negligent.

I think it is in large part because they feel entitled to do or not do certain things that have everything to do with Man Card socialization.

You can be an alpha-male badass who commands the respect and attention of everyone in any room you’re in, AND also demonstrate a high-level understanding of what your partner requires of you to have a happy, healthy, stable relationship.

Men don’t necessarily need to stop doing things, or stop being things, that are a part of them as much as they need to START doing a few things that would totally change the climate of the modern male-female relationship.


Shameless Self-Promotion Note About My Coaching Services

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


The problem is NOT that guys recognize that relationship problems would go away if they changed a few simple things, but stubbornly think: “To hell with that! I’m going to keep doing it this Man Way, because I love it when my wife is miserable, and getting divorced sounds awesome!”

The problem is actually that many men truly have a particular belief system, live according to that belief system, and don’t see their actions (or lack thereof) as being relationship or marriage-killers.

Most guys have lived their entire lives without anyone having EVER said anything like that to them, except for his sad and angry wife he thinks is overly emotional, or outright WRONG during disagreements regarding her feelings and opinions concerning their relationship.

It’s a sad state of affairs.

Men Often Have More Life Skills to Develop Post-Divorce

I think when men and women divorce, wives (especially mothers) move on and get along pretty well once the emotional pain subsides.

And I think that happens because they were so accustomed to doing all of the emotional and logistical life management work anyway, that not much changes for them in terms of the day-to-day rhythm of life. They were always doing all of this Life work, anyway.

But, men?

Sometimes they’re shitty at laundry, dishes, meal planning, keeping track of the calendar, and knowing when and where the kids need to be, or what they need for those events.

Men often learn the hard way how difficult it is to manage all those things competently while juggling work responsibilities and whatever social life might remain once their wives aren’t there to plan that either.

Throughout the marriage, she had been meeting his emotional needs by virtue of being there in the house, and taking care of Life things for him, and relieving him of many of the child-rearing stresses.

But he wasn’t doing the same in return, which in addition to being exhausting for her, also made her feel like his mom which is why she stopped wanting to have sex with him.

If he has a kick-ass job, maybe he provided financial security, some of which went away for her after divorce. And maybe if he’s former Special Forces, or law enforcement, or a champion kickboxer, and she doesn’t feel comfortable with the idea of self-defense, maybe she loses some sense of safety and security when she’s home alone or with children.

But mostly?

Men lose more in divorce than women and it’s because (in my estimation) they didn’t give enough during the marriage.

And the scariest part of this pattern of neglect and emotional abuse is that the vast majority of guys are NOT bad men, or abnormally large assholes.

They’re just guys who didn’t know better. But hopefully now, they do.

Because now, we have choices.

At least one of them is heroic.

176 thoughts on “Why Divorce Hurts Men More Than Women”

  1. This is broad generalization and I get what you are trying to say. It hits men harder, the emotional loss and loss of family, later and sometimes harder. And it’s not something you can just ‘get over’ by sleeping with someone else, or in essence ‘move on’.
    However, research after research shows women suffer more financially post divorce. Many women fall into poverty along with their children post divorce.
    Post divorce, children usually live with their mothers, which means she has to feed, clothe, house herself and her children on one income, probably reduced income if she can’t get good childcare. This can cause undue stress, depression, anxiety etc. And don’t get me started on child support, that whole thing is a joke. All a man has to do is find a new girlfriend, father new kids and he’s off the hook for his previous kids.
    Also, if you are reasonably attractive in your prospects, meaning you bathe regularly, have a stable job, have your own apartment/house, a man will be able to move on to new relationships much faster. Divorced women with children are seen as people with baggage.
    Again I am grossly generalizing, but this is what I find amongst my social circle. I was raised in a single parent home as well.

    1. Good points, especially if the man refuses to pay child support or alimony, which many many men do choose to do!

      1. I worked with a man who had been divorced from his first wife 16 years ago. He divorced in Alabama, and he was not making much money back then. He paid alimony of $500 a month, or $6,000 a year. I asked him why after 16 years he was paying alimony. He said in Alabama, anything goes. He was making a 6 figure income, and the judge might say, you are making so much more than your ex, you can afford $1,500 a month. Or the judge might say, 16 years is enough to the ex-wife, from now on, you get zero. So he did not want to take a chance of having it raised, and she did not want to take the chance she would lose it. They kept the alimony the same. He called it his $6,000 insurance policy. BTW where is the outrage from women on taking alimony 16 years after the divorce? When is enough, enough?

    2. All a man has to do is find a new girlfriend, father new kids and he’s off the hook for his previous kids. On what planet has this ever happened? Stop paying child support by having more kids? Not in Texas

  2. Excellent post. Thank you Matt. Every post has a pearl of wisdom or many pearls of wisdom from someone writing from the heart. You write from the heart.

  3. Hey there, I sent you an email (from sbcglobal.net) regarding your comment left on my blog a couple of weeks ago, no reply, so it may be in S P A M.

    You missed a whole bunch of stuff.

    Loss of income
    Loss of connectivity with family (in most cases)
    Now you have to support two households
    Loss of sense of self worth (especially if ex view you as the problem)

    I could go on, you’ve really only scratched the surface…

    1. Mr. Watts. You are not the only one who was baffled when Matt did not mention what you listed below. All he needed to do was talk to a few divorced men, but he chose not to. And to understand why, is that Matt is more interested in the accolades from the fairer sex than objectively analyzing male/female relationship issues. And I will expand more on your list.
      Loss of income (a)
      Loss of connectivity with family (in most cases) (b)
      Now you have to support two households (c)
      Loss of sense of self worth (especially if ex view you as the problem
      (a)Under our current legal system, who has the least amount of incentive to make a marriage succeed? When a girl is young, she plays with baby dolls and later Barbie dolls. Later, she gets a Doll house with a Ken to complete it. When the girl become a woman, she wants real babies, and a real house with a real Ken to pay for it all. If the marriage succeeds, she keeps the house, the kids and Ken and his pay check. If the marriage fails, she keeps the house, the kids and Ken’s pay check. It is a win win for the woman, no matter who was at fault. If he was cheating, she keeps the house, the kids and Ken’s pay check. If she was cheating, she keeps the house, the kids and Ken’s pay check. If both were cheating, she keeps the house, the kids and Ken’s pay check. Do you see a pattern?
      (b)The wife using the children as a weapon against the father. We all know stories of the ex-wife making it difficult for the ex-husband to see his kids. We all know of stories of ex’s telling bad things about their former husbands to the children.
      (c)Furthermore, child support and alimony are based upon his ability to pay rather that what actual costs are to live. The life of the man and his ability of live it come after his ex-wife and children, not mater what.
      Loss of self worth is part of a,b and c.
      Matt I have a few question for you? How was it that you were clueless about what Mr. Watts wrote? Have you ever written an article covering what he mentioned.
      Attached is an article that might stun you.

      I am female. I support equal rights for all human beings. I am strongly against interfering with another human’s perception of gender which I feel feminism is presently involved in.

      I would never have understood MGTOW if I hadn’t been doing research on the phenomenon of female emotional dysregulation during divorce. What you will find in researching this area is that women in increasing numbers are starting to display behaviors associated with personality disorders in their marriages and during and after divorce.

      Women who are otherwise psychologically healthy are now becoming emotionally dysregulated during their marriages, often leading to disordered behavior towards their spouse.

      People who work in family law have had to become familiar with the practice of female domestic violence and abuse towards their ex-spouse, parental alienation, criminal accusation during divorce proceedings, custody revenge, abuse of the family law system to attempt to destroy their ex financially and carefully carried out plans to ruin the future lives of their exes after the divorce is finalized.

      Because those outside of family law still assume that women are not capable of engaging in this level of violence, criminality and anti-social behaviors toward their family members, especially when they are in other parts of their life meek and mild law-abiding citizens, any attempt to publicize this phenomenon is routinely met with derision.

      To accept that this kind of behavior is common in women within domestic environments shakes our core beliefs in two ways.

      One, it causes the liberal or feminist part of the Westernized population to question the long-held notion that patriarchy is the cause of female oppression. We now have the unique vantage point to find out what women do after they are freed from oppression.

      In hindsight, we find that abuse of power is a human, not a male tendency. For the first time in history we now see that females are equally capable of abuse, violence, oppression and revenge as men.

      The second way in which the crisis in female emotional dysregulation shakes our core values comes from the conservative part of the Westernized population. Personality-disordered behavior in women flies in the face of the conservative notion of the pureness and sanctity of women, particularly in areas of sexuality and the role of women in society as a protector of the family.

      With the advent of the Internet, men who have found their family and personal lives destroyed by emotionally dysregulated spouses have been able to connect with other men who have been through the same experience. They have compared notes and realized this is a very common social phenomenon.

      Early on the men’s rights movement made an attempt to educate others on this crisis, but because of peoples’ unwillingness to let go of their belief about women as a class that must be protected, attempts at education about a new generation of dysregulation in females was met with ridicule and from feminists was met with political attack.

      The men’s rights movement was unsuccessful in getting anyone to believe that a considerable portion of the female population was engaging in behaviors associated with Cluster B personality disorders behind closed doors.

      It is no surprise that men who have had their family life destroyed by personality-disordered women and have talked to hundreds of other men across the internet who went through the same experience are now willing to go underground to try to warn other men of this crisis in mental health through anonymous forums and blogs.

      But it is very sad that the only way for men to stay out of psychological harm until these laws and precedents are changed is for men to say no to the institution of marriage and romantic entanglement. However, it is perhaps the only way to send the necessary signal that this crisis is a real problem that although painful for those who cling to old beliefs, must be addressed.

  4. Right on point! My ex didn’t know how to do ANYTHING. He didn’t even know these things needed to be done, or that someone was even doing them. He took it all for granted. It was very hard on him. I tried to help him. It was sad and laughable how much he didn’t know. And even more difficult, he doesn’t know how to keep the TV and internet or printer working; and he doesn’t know how to do home maintenance, repair or upkeep because I did that too. Try telling someone (with very limited technological experience) how to do these things long distance. It’s been very hard for him, but it’s also been self-gratifying when he has been able to learn how to do something.
    I hope your followers really listen to your message, it’s an important one!

  5. You know I am consciously trying to teach my son this stuff. Like a recent conversation about thank you cards and how he needs to know when and who to send them to. Not my job. I did help him with the addresses.

    And another one about how when someone is on the hospital you need to ask them what they need and do your best to give it to them. Because they are in the hospital. Not just “visit” a close relative but take charge because they are sick (to take a recent example from my life 😉

    I am constantly amazed these things are not obvious but they are not to many people in my sad experience. Plenty of clueless women too in my experience but girls get more training/expectations about emotional labor kind of stuff. Men are used to not having to do this stuff and can choose not to when it’s not convenient. Some of it is ignorant, some is a choice in my humble opinion.

    The only way I can see forward is to explicitly lecture and train my son and explicitly ask my husband for things that I think are obvious but he does not see.

    And do all that without coming across as critical or too needy. Yeah more emotional labor there for the ladies. I get so emotionally exhausted by it all but that is the job to be done. But it sucks to be frank.

    1. “The only way I can see forward is to explicitly lecture and train my son and explicitly ask my husband for things that I think are obvious but he does not see.

      And do all that without coming across as critical or too needy. Yeah more emotional labor there for the ladies. I get so emotionally exhausted by it all but that is the job to be done. But it sucks to be frank.”

      More emotional labour for the ladies to be sure. I saw a very encouraging youtube clip where male feminists talked about exactly this. That not only do oppressed groups (n this case women) have to suffer the effects of oppression, they also have to spend time and energy educating people (the very few who are genuinely interested in making a change and facing their own internalized entitlement etc) how not to oppress them.

      I’m a white more or less hetero woman (I believe we fall somewhere on a scale), the next time I want someone of colour/gay/trans/ to enlighten me on the everyday often hidden discrimination they face, I’ll be sure to both acknowledge this extra burden they’re now performing for me, and I’ll at the very least buy them coffee or something.

      1. I like your coffee idea. I know I am privileged in so many ways myself. I try and be empathic to how reasonable men can be resistant understanding and acknowledging the burdens that women still face in 2016.

        But yeah we should at least get some Starbucks for our emotional labor. Lol

  6. I really wish the men would listen to the wives BEFORE it gets to divorce. Many women , me included are not trying to stop our husbands from having a life, just balance it more and communicate more in an adult and talk to each other as partners not as if one person is “better than”/”more important than” the other. Most husbands don’t listen to the wife’s great relationship advice and they have a big ego and then the man “wins” and gets to have his big ego…. all alone ….ironic…..

  7. This post came at a good time. I recently tried to explain to my husband why I still felt like I was carrying so much more of a load than him, even though he thinks things are pretty equal because he takes out the trash every now and then and watches the kids while I shower. I had him try and imagine how much more he would have to do if I suddenly died, and not just do, but like you said the life work, the mental load of keeping track and managing everything. In all truth, if I did die, there’s a lot that just wouldn’t get done, but I had him try and think about our kids lives being pretty much the same, meaning he’d really have to pick up and take on everything that i do. Again, I know it really doesn’t work that way but it was for arguments sake. Then I told him how I imagined my life if he suddenly died and what new things would be on my plate. The truth was, my life would not be all that different, while his would be dramatically different.
    I was talking about dying only because I was afraid to say divorce.
    Did it work, did he suddenly “get it?” Has anything changed? Nope.

    I don’t think he’llever understand unless I walk out that door. And even then….

    I’m in therapy now but he won’t join me. I’m trying to find my own happiness, even if it means he’s not in the picture. I wish he was though. I wish it didn’t have to be this way.

    I think the only reason I have not left is because if I did, I’d be leaving the state to go back home. I don’t have anyone in this state and no reason to stay except him. But taking his kids across the country seems cruel. And it’s probably not legal.

    1. Linda, if your experience is anything like mine, you’ll need to be MUCH more direct before things changes. Have you tried telling him that you’re unhappy enough where you’re making plans to physically move across the country with the kids? Because he may not “get it” until you start packing.

      Sadly, that denial seems to be really strong with some men. (Probably women, too, but I just don’t know of many.) My ex didn’t take me seriously until I had filed for divorce – and by then I was mentally checked out and it was too late.

  8. I think this difference in men having to learn to do all the emotional labor and life management is why there is a gender gap in men wanting to remarry vs women.

    Here’s a quote from the pew center using census data from a few years ago.

    “There are definite gender differences on this question: Most currently divorced or widowed men are open to the idea of remarriage, but women in the same circumstances are less likely to be open to the idea. Among previously married men, 65% either want to remarry or are not sure; 30% say that they don’t want to remarry. Among women who are currently divorced or widowed, only 43% say they may want to remarry, while 54% say they are not interested.”

    1. This is a big part of it. Also, related to this (but perhaps on a tangent) something that has been interesting to me… it has been a year & half since the split with my ex and I am still nowhere near even wanting to date again or have a man in my life. I love the freedom and no-compromise lifestyle of being single.

      But interestingly – the men that are in my life, whether it be family or friends, have a very difficult time understanding why I am content alone and why I say things like “I don’t know if I’ll ever want to get involved again but if I do it probably won’t be for another decade or so.” They spend a lot of time convincing me that it isn’t necessary and I’ll meet someone and yadda yadda. Like it’s difficult for them to understand I really honestly don’t want a partner. I had one male friend who – beginning just a few months after the separation – would regularly ask me if I’d met anyone or if I’d gone out on dates yet, almost as if he was concerned for me because I wassingle.

      But the women in my life? They all understand. It’s like they hear my situation and say “Yep – I can totally understand why you’d want to not be involved with anyone.” And I also hear a lot of “if anything ever happened to my marriage I wouldn’t be interested in moving on to another person either.”

      I think it’s very, very related to this. Because I think our culture is in an awkward phase when it comes to marriage – in the sense that for some reason, somehow, men still have a very skewed idea of how much work it takes to run a household and that it is somehow acceptable to go to a job for 40 hours a week and have that be your only contribution to this thing we call adult life, leaving the remainder (a 24/7 job with zero vacations or weekends) to their wife.

      And let’s face it – what man WOULDN’T be motivated to have that kind of life again? And conversely, what woman WOULD be motivated to have that life again? Not me. Never again.

      1. Hi Beth! I have absolutely nothing to add to this conversation, but I wanted to say “Hi!” :), and to echo Matts words that I am glad to see you here. I was going to give you a shout out last week, and I am sorry I didn’t!
        Also, wow- I didn’t know that book series became a TV series! I read Dragonfly in Amber about 20 years ago when I was going through a sci-fi, time travel phase (we all do that,.. don’t we??) ::)
        I may tune in to it…you have a great taste in books!! 🙂

      2. THanks Lindsey!

        Yes – I also read the books ages ago and got through the first 4 and then stopped reading. I watched the first season online – because of where I live, the only place I can watch anything is if it’s available on Youtube so it’s rare for me to watch anything but I bought the first season and it was great! The actors really made the characters come alive for me, and since season 2 isn’t available yet I’m re-reading the books again 🙂

  9. “I think when men and women divorce, wives (especially mothers) move on and get along pretty well once the emotional pain subsides. And I think that happens because they were so accustomed to doing all of the emotional and logistical life management work anyway, that not much changes for them in terms of the day-to-day rhythm of life. They were always doing all of this Life work, anyway.”

    True. That is because men often have relationships in order to escape the emotional side of life. They come to depend on their wife to just handle all the life work so they don’t have to. Women can help to prevent this kind of dependency by refusing to pick it all up in the first place, as moms, and later as wives. It’s not so much the physical tasks, as it is the emotional ones. I remember not wanting dad to look after the baby because I was afraid he didn’t know what he was doing. The only way to learn is to actually do it, and that means probably not living up to a mom’s impossible standards. Women can do a lot to help men by letting go of control, by not picking up emotional responsibilities that do not belong to us.

    1. I agree with this totally. I wish I’d learned earlier in my marriage that I’d almost need to force my husband to get out of his comfort zone when it came to this stuff.

      1. I totally agree with you and Insanity that part of the problem may be letting go of control
        and giving up on maternal gatekeeping. I am exhibit A that thst is not the biggest problem ( not saying you were saying it was)

        Accepting influence. (Have I mentioned this before? ;). Per Gottman’s research, the critical factor in a happy marriage is whether the man will accept influence from his wife.

        I was and still am baffled and frustrated by all the things I am expected to do by society, friends, family, doctors, schools, jobs, etc. simply because I am female.

        I have been actively pushing back against this since childhood but it NEVER ends. Latest example, my daughter is on the school dance team (how did this child come from my genes? 😉 There is a booster club for this. My husband and I were going to the first meeting but then I find out that it’s just for the moms.

        The many, many errands and fundraisers and food responsibilities and all the other things I have would rather have a root canal than do are somehow expected solely of ME because I am the female. This kind of stuff appears foreign and unfair to me even though it does not seem to anyone else.

        Why don’t I just not do it? Well,because I don’t want to hurt my daughter. That’s often the answer isn’t it? Believe me, I can’t tell you how many things I have, like many men, refused to do. Like at a job where somehow I was thought to be in charge of planning the birthday celebrations.

        Or telling my husband that I didn’t want to change diapers either so we would not be having children if he wasn’t going to do the nasty gruntwork of pârenting. ( and he did accept my influence for basic fairness and is a great, very involved dad).

        But there’s a price to push back at these expectations and unwritten rules. Sometimes people think you are not a team player, or not a good mother or wife and will tell you so. Sometimes your husband thinks he got a raw deal compared to other husbands and why can’t he just do what they do. Sometimes I get so, so tired by it all as I’m sure many men do at pushing against man card expectations.

        And that’s why having your spouse’s back matters. If you accept influence from each other and work hard to empathize with the external and interval expectations both genders have it makes you partners to fight all that instead of fighting each other.

        But as the research shows, men do not accept influence from women as much as the other way around. And that is the thing that will screw everything up.

        Because it’s not the actual things that matter as much. It’s the sense of being alone and your husband not seeing or caring that you are carrying the weight of life management on your back. A job that rightly should be shared by two people. Partners in life.

        How you divide it doesn’t matter the research shows. Do you both want a traditional split? Cool. Do you both want an egalitarian split? Do you want to budget and both want to hire out as much of this crap as possible? Cool.

        What matters is accepting influence from each other and being partners in figuring it out TOGETHER in a way that both people feel treated with respect.

        Women don’t get divorced because they are doing all the life management and grunt work. They get divorced because the husband won’t accept her influence to acknowledge the burden and work with her to share the burden.

        The problems in my marriage are directly related to this. Many areas my husband has made adjustments. As I said he is a very involved, great dad to our kids. He is sympathic to the sexist expectations. He was willing to be the only man at the Dance mom meetings lol. (Still planning my revolution a bit later ;).

        But because he does that and other, he thinks that is all he should do. He resists accepting influence for splitting the TOTALITY of the grunt work because he does more than most men in his mind. Yes, that may be true but it is still not a fair and respectful sharing of life management and leaves too much on me.

        And he resists my influence to try and work it out. So there is the rub. Still working on it.
        I am trying to figure out how to not be so angry and resentful and be slightly empathetic to how hard it is for him. Still working on it.

        Accepting influence. The secret to marriage.

      2. Gottmanfan, if and only if you don’t mind sharing:

        What does your husband say when you tell him exactly this? That while it’s true that he does more than most men, his part of the overall burden is still smaller than yours and so he needs to take on more for it to be a fair partnership? (But that you’re open to discussing what can be cut out etc)

        You’re a very intelligent and dedicated person obviously, so I imagine you’ve already thought about this: You say he’s a very involved dad, so have you tried playing the card (ugh, that it’s necessary in this day and age to play games) that he’s setting a bad example for your kids? And especially that he’s making it more likely that his daughter will end up in a dynamic where her health/career/studies will suffer as she exhausts herself doing more than her fair share for someone who in this very moment might be a young not terribly impressive teenage boy, playing x-box, eating pizza and picking his nose?

      3. Yes. To this day I still “almost have to force my husband” out of his comfort zone, although all I am really doing is not picking up emotional things that don’t belong to me. Conversely, he also pulls me out of my comfort zone, because where I would withdraw, he likes to confront things.

      4. Donkey,

        You said “What does your husband say when you tell him exactly this? That while it’s true that he does more than most men, his part of the overall burden is still smaller than yours and so he needs to take on more for it to be a fair partnership? (But that you’re open to discussing what can be cut out etc)”

        He simply does not agree with the premise that I do more of the necessary things than he does. He views it as a matter of personal preference and choice. He is right to a certain degree and I have tried my best to accept the differences between us in terms of organization and maintenance.

        But he often underestimates the amount the this “female” crap I have expected of me despite my loud protests. Why am I in charge of thank you cards? He will agree but then just now follow through. And then I get called by the older relatives who didn’t get their thank you cards. In recent years I have directed them to him but the relatives will view it as my responsibility because you know I’m the girl.

        In terms of house stuff, he views it as if I want something done I should either take care of it or hire someone to do it. He doesn’t care so it’s not on his plate in his mind.

        Some things even he would agree are not optional. He was supposed to arrange for the roof to be replaced for almost 3 years. Just didn’t do it. It falls to the bottom of his list because he doesn’t care about it. That’s the kind of stuff that really drives me crazy.

        I finally caved and arranged for the new roof when it a few tiles blew off in a hailstorm.

        Part of it has to do wth the differences between us with independence first vs togetherness first. I would like more of a partnership approach to make decisions together even if we split them up. He would like each of us to decide what needs to be done separately. We are trying to find a reasonable balance between the two styles now that we understand this root issue.

        Look none of this is really about the roof or thank you cards? It’s about “are you there to share life with” Will you go passive and just withdraw? Can we accept influence from each other?

        I’ve approached this wrong too. I get soooo annoyed and angry. I get depressed and anxious. He’s not the only one who has not handled it ideally. I just did not understand it.

        I do not understand grown men who don’t know or take responsibility to how to take care of basic stuff. I don’t care what your mommy and daddy did when you were growing up. You’re grown now. There’s YouTube. You can learn.

        See my contempt? Plenty of stuff I’ve brought to the table. He would say I was very rigid in what should be done and didn’t accept his influence and style enough. And I would be very angry in how I would present things. Some truth to that so I’m trying to acknowledge and change my shit I bring to the party.

        It’s really not about the actual topic. We’ve had this toxic mess so long it’s about do we trust each other. He doesn’t trust me emotionally. It takes a long time to heal years of emotionally hurting each other.

        He recently got more life insurance which had been on his list for YEARS. It was a source of anxiety for me which he knew. I see that effort to finally get a good amount as a declaration of his commitment and love. Much more than roses or diamonds. Because the real thing we are trying to rebuild in our marriage is trusting each other again.

        I’m working on a nicer, more empathetic approach and response to him. That will be a declaration of my commitment and love to him. Because that is what he is missing to be able to trust me. His main thing he says to me is “can’t you just be nicer?”

        Accepting influence and trust. (The Science of Trust is one of my favorite Gottman books for a random Gottman reference 🙂 )

      5. Gottmanfan – this, everything you have articulated, is a tremendous reason why I am so incredibly resistant to the idea of being married again. Because really – why would I?

        You would think, in theory, that two people getting married, they would share life’s burdens and it would be simpler. But it ends up being the opposite, at least for most women I know. Not a very good bargain, in my opinion.

        I know ONE man who seems to *get* it in a true sense, and I’m glad for his wife (although for all I know, she may be the one to do The Things!).

        It’s funny – I was watching the Outlander show, and in spite of the fact that I’d read all the books, I saw something I’d missed in the books. It was an “ah hah!” moment, and made me think of you. Perhaps one of the reasons why Jamie is such a “romantic hero” is because he accepts influence from his wife Claire.

      6. Ruralbethany,

        I understand why you aren’t interested in getting remarried. It makes me so sad. Because it’s true. Only 66% of men accept influence. Odds are the average women will marry a man who will make it difficult to have a happy marriage because if that.

        But that leaves 33% of men who do accept influence and another percentage of men like Matt who have learned that they need to do things differently should they remarry.

        And if you ever do decide to date again, you will know exactly what to look for in a man. Number one priority accepting influence. You get that and everything else can be worked out. I agree with you, without that marriage will be neutral at best, two people doing their own thing living together or miserable at worst.

        PS. Haven’t seen Outlander but it makes me smile to think you thought of me and Gottman.

      7. Ruralbethany,

        Darn typos. The stats are 66% of men do NOT accept influence. But I’ve said it so many times here that everybody probably knew that anyway. 😉

        1. It’s good information to repeat,Lisa 🙂

          Beth I am with you that maybe a romantic relationship isnt all it’s cracked up to be.

          It’s really nice to have someone who you know, and trust and care about, and who you have gone a certain distance in life with and have grown to know them (I can put in some really froo-froo language and call it their “essence”, or their “being”, but I’m going to make it simple and just name it as “them”) even more. But, those are rare cases, and I’m afraid it happens between rare people. Am I being cynical by thinking that? I dont know.

          I am figuring out what kind of person I would like to get to know, and be attached to and I am faced with the fact that person may not exist.( And if by chance there are a handful that do, would they reciprocate? would they be older than 15? Would they live on the same continent? ..:)

          But, those things that I am hoping for in a romantic relationship (apart from sex, sadly) may be more freely given and received in other (but just as real, and just as significant) relationships.

          I think it’s the blue print that says that has to be a spouse. … or exclusively a spouse.

          It was mentioned before- about putting all your expectations on one person, and then being extremely disappointed by them being unable to meet them.

          The marriage relationship should always come first, true, but I dont think it should be to the exclusion of other significant relationships.

          My plan is to engage all interactions/relationships from a place of authenticity and be thankful for whatever it is I am given, and whatever it is I can give.

          So, yes, there is a high likelihood that joining a monastic order of nun’s that allows a little cover band side action may be a good alternative. :)…
          The funny thing is, I’m not even joking!! : P

      8. Well actually those statistics are more heartening than I thought! Because I just know so very few men who are equal partners with their wives without all the BS.

        I think I’m taking a route similar to Lindsey – it was another recent post where Matt referred to a female author of a book that was going through a divorce after being much lauded for working it out with her husband – she said something about having had to put herself back together after the crisis, she then found out she was a completely different person.

        It made me realize, that’s kind of what I’m doing. My biggest crime in my marriage was being somewhat of a pushover, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I adapted to his behavior instead of challenging it. I thought that’s what good wives did – accept the bad behaviors as “flaws” and I didn’t rock the boat.

        So right now I’m taking the time to just live my life end enjoy my singlehood, to heal and put myself back together the way I want to be – a woman who will refuse to accept the bad behaviors, who won’t adapt to these things. I’m not counting on ever finding someone again but I think I’d pretty much be screwed if I can’t successfully make myself into that person… because then I’d just repeat my same behaviors. So that’s where I’m at. Still, very skeptical and doubtful, but maybe in a decade or two I might change my mind 😉

      9. Hey Beth,
        I’m cheering you! I hope this posts below what you wrote at about 1:15 this afternoon.
        No relationship will be very good without at least 2 whole parts.
        And, it may be (I certainly hope it is) true that a whole part doesn’t need that kind of relationship.
        Healing is kind of bitter sweet- and I think the process helps you even after you healed. You know yourself better, can live a little more assured.

        1. Oh what a great way to put it- two wholes 🙂 I have to admit I really just simply enjoy it, being alone. So much simpler and easier than accommodating someone who doesn’t return the favor.

          1. Beth, I can get that. Less burden, more space and freedom. You don’t have to wait for someone else before deciding what to do (in regards to anything).
            There is a lot to be said and enjoyed about single hood.

  10. Great post, Matt. I’ve been mostly offline for a while and this was a very good one to come back to 🙂

    I really identify with this. I’ve tried to articulate it – to my ex before we split, and to friends.

    Like Linda said above – If you take a really close, honest look at your life – tell me, what would change for your spouse if you died? What things would they have to then take up the mantle on? And conversely, if your spouse died, what would change for you? How drastically would your life be different, day to day?

    I think perhaps it’s hard for people to visualize. I remember when I was initially in counseling with my ex, discussing divorce, out of bitterness he once said “I don’t see how you think life would be any EASIER without me.” I didn’t know how to explain it to him.

    All of the little things he constantly left to me. And, in a huge way. all of the emotional labor that was required just to keep him on track on what HE was supposed to do.

    Life was, indeed, much much easier without him. For him, conversely, life became infinitely more difficult.

    On an emotional standpoint, also, I had the advantage of the “leaving” spouse. Emotionally, my ex was a completely wreck after we split. Not only did he suddenly have to manage his own entire life on his own, he also had to deal with the emotional fallout of losing his wife that he just thought would be there forever.

    A mutual friend of ours has asked me on more than one occasion why I seem so cold and collected and non emotional about our split.

    My answer is this: I grieved for my marriage. But I had been grieving for my marriage for approximately 9 years of my 10 year marriage. By the time I was ready to end things, I was finished grieving. I was not emotional about it. The only thing I was sorry about, at that point, was the effect it would have on my children. But I had already finished my grieving, and I was already “over” my spouse. So, for me, it was emotionally a relief – a positive change. For him, it was very negative.

    1. Right. I’ve been that very same guy before.

      The difference between me and some of the other guys I’ve come across is that I figured out that most of my problems were self-inflicted, even when I meant well.

      That’s hard for a lot of people to understand.

      But I think it’s important.

      Thank you for the kind words. Nice to see your name pop up here.

  11. Eh, I don’t know about this. I’ve never been thru a divorce nor will I ever be, but I’ve observed others who have. From what I’ve seen, it’s the woman who comes out the loser.

    My good friend Hank and his wife divorced after 16 years of marriage and 2 kids. She immediately had to snag onto the first guy who came along – Hank calls him Shamu cause the guy weighs like 300 pounds. Seriously, he is so huge he can’t leave the house wearing anything but sweat pants. He’s in his 40’s and never been married cause no chick would have him, and he has a dead-end job but for now it seems steady.

    Meanwhile Hank plays the field, dates lots of hot chicks, now has a steady girlfriend with a million dollar 401k who wants to marry him, and Hank is now out of debt and doing better than ever in his career. His was under so much stress with his wife that he became an alcoholic and addicted to prescription drugs, now he’s totally clean and healthy. He says just not having to put up with his ex-wife’s nagging and bitching has made a new man of him.

    I see this pattern over and over. Look at Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame. Her ex re-married to a hotter, younger broad and has made a family with her…they now have a couple kids and seem very happy. Meanwhile, Gilbert married an old man in Indonesia who needed a Green Card. She brought him back to the States, and now they have divorced. She has no one at this point. She never had children either.

    My wife mentioned she sees the same thing with divorced moms at school here in our area of Texas. Their former husbands typically re-marry and end up with younger wives. While the wives are reduced to getting all dolled up in make-up and miniskirts every day (even just going to school or the market) in an attempt to lure some guy in. One of these divorced moms in particular is now in her 50’s and still sporting that pleather miniskirt all over town. But at that point, it begins to get a bit pathetic. (This one often says “Girls, take it from me – hold onto your husbands”. My wife always gets a kick out of that, she thinks to herself “Uhhh, yeah. Some of us were smart enough to already know that”)

    We also have friends just going the thru a divorce now. The guy is already dating other (younger, of course) girls. His soon to be ex, on the other hand, is truly screwed. In her mid-40’s, and Mother Nature has not been kind – she looks in her 50’s. Her sex appeal is gone at this point, and she’s coming out of the marriage with no assets, no property, and a sick father to take care of. Her looks are gone. What can she offer a new husband? What are her prospects?

    So anyway, that’s been my experience. I have just about never seen a case where it works out well for the wife post-divorce. And if she has small kids in tow, it’s even harder – who wants to deal with that?

    1. See- I’ve heard this argued before, in a sense, but I guess it always just comes down to the difference between a person who feels they need a spouse in order to be complete in their life or to be taken care of.

      It’s an interesting mentality because for those who are in it, it is like speaking a different language when you tell them “no, I’m cool being single.”. They just don’t get it.

      Saying that a woman is “screwed” because she has no sex appeal is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Women are not defined by their sex appeal and we have a lot more capabilities in life than just “snagging another man.”

      Having said that I would suggest that the divorced man who immediately moves on to another woman is merely pushing off what his wife did onto a new woman? If he is able to “snag” another woman, whether younger or not, immediately after the split, then he doesn’t have to deal with the painful realities that are adult life. He just immediately inserts a new person to do the emotional labor, make the sandwiches, do the laundry, and whatnot.

      So, better off? Perhaps. But probably not in the long run, since those things that initially caused the divorce remain unaddressed and are not dealt with.

      1. “Saying that a woman is “screwed” because she has no sex appeal is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Women are not defined by their sex appeal and we have a lot more capabilities in life than just “snagging another man.”


        That sounds good on paper. And indeed, some of these newly divorced women will say things like “I’m done with men” or “I don’t want to ever even date, much less remarry”. But it’s whistling past the graveyard. Most of these women are in their 40’s. They have many years still left ahead of them, and after a couple years go by they start to realize how lonely they are.

        Like the animals in the Ark, we are made to pair up. Just having an apt filled with cats gets old after awhile. Always having to cook for one, not having anyone to care for you when you’re sick, make vacation plans with, go out with other couples without being a third wheel, etc…all this gets hard to take.

        And sure you can have girlfriends, but most of them are married and spending their time with their family. Plus, there is the loss of status in the eyes of other women – it gets embarrassing being alone for a long period, as women can be very catty and judgmental, e.g. “What’s wrong with her that she can’t get a man?” and “Why would I take advice from you? At least I have a husband!”

        And loss of sex appeal is a very big deal, though you may not want to admit it. Because it is one of the biggest attractors for a man. Without sex appeal, and esp if the new divorcee is also broke, finding a QUALITY man to commit to her is going to be like winning the lottery. Men fare better here, for two reasons – they lose their sex appeal more gradually as they age (think Sean Connery, Michael Douglas, Sam Elliot, etc), and it isn’t as high a priority for a woman as it is for a man.

        Again, I see it with my buddy Hank. His ex-wife had to settle for Shamu, because no other chick ever wanted him and that’s all she could get as a divorced mom with 3 kids. And even Shamu is better than her just living alone for the rest of her life and having no one. Meanwhile, Hank is dating plenty of hot chicks, who are all looking to lock him down. When they get too clingy, he moves on. But he MAY eventually marry his current girlfriend because she has no kids or baggage, is easy going and doesn’t nag, respects him as a man and does what he tells her, and is financially stable with no debt and a million dollar retirement account (that sure doesn’t hurt, lol)

        In short, Hank has options galore…while his ex has very few. And I’ve noticed this to be the case most every time. So again, to quote the divorcee above, “Girls, hold on to your husbands!”, lol

      2. Beth,
        Small men with small minds…
        The only reason someone would say these things to a woman is to hurt them- to make them feel and believe less about themselves than they really are.
        Why would he do that? Because he essential has no power except through fear and abuse. He’s scared- a scared little man.

      3. BlueBlazeIrregular

        “…does what he tells her…”

        Five words which speak volumes about the buddy and the commenter.

      4. Well – I’m 36, been split up for a few years now, already have kids, don’t need a man, have my own house and property, run my own business, etc. I’m even building my own home with my own hands out of my own pocket.

        My life, my self, my worth, all of me – is not defined in my sex appeal, what kind of man I can “land” or any of it. I would be perfectly content in the rest of my life, what I have accomplished, and what I continue to accomplish if I remained single.

        If I happen to come across someone in my life who will be a true and equal partner to me, then great. But I’m not holding my breath and I’m certainly not looking for someone to swoop in and “save” me.

        I suspect this is a demographic thing. People tend to surround themselves with likeminded people, so it baffles me that you seem to think that most divorced women in their middle years are so desperate for a man that they would wear miniskirts and doll themselves up to go shopping… in my world, women like that are a rarity and isn’t so much indicative of female behavior in general, as it is a deeper psychological issue that makes her think she’s helpless or without value unless she has a man.

      5. PS – it’s interesting, you are proving the exact point I made earlier – men seem to find it unfathomable that I’m not interested in finding someone else. Women seem to get it. But it’s almost like men who hear it, take it personally.

      6. “BlueBlazeIrregular says:

        Five words which speak volumes about the buddy and the commenter.”

        Good catch! I didn’t even see that at first. Puts things into perspective, eh?

    2. Maybe the woman wants yo be alone? Why so harsh on the woman and letting the men get away with cradal snatchin?

  12. Well, far be it for me to knock the joys of sex appeal and the delights of marriage, but honestly if I were married to a man who perceived women as only having sexual value and spoke so disrespectfully about us as human beings, I’d think I’d much prefer to just die alone, broke, fat, and surrounded by cats.

    On the bright side, reading the words of some of these ‘spherians, reminds me I really dodged a bullet and won the love lottery. So, step one in relationships, if you find a man who can only feel good about himself by knocking you down, dump him quickly and find a bigger man.

    1. “I’d think I’d much prefer to just die alone, broke, fat, and surrounded by cats.”

      Like I said earlier, lots of new divorcee’s SAY these things (and possibly even mean it at that moment in time), but as years of loneliness and side glances from other women go by, they change their tune. So they scramble to find a guy, only to be shocked to discover the very low quality of the kind of guy they can “pull”, for anything more than NSA sex (and not even the sex, if they have truly hit the wall and lost their sex appeal – i know some women in this category already by their mid forties)

      1. Not to be impolite here, Jeff, but the truth about men is that they are just as desperate and lonely as women are and there are billions of them on the planet. So there are a whole lot of monkeys on the monkey tree. God is a God of abundance.

        So, while men like Jeff will rather superficially tout the alleged horror of having sex with a 40 year old woman, the truth of the matter is that men are actually so desperate for human contact and sexual relations, they will actually have sex with sheep, and in prison, with one another.

        No matter what you try to do to edit the sexual equation, women will always have the upper hand. See, there’s this thing called biology. It takes about two seconds in a Walmart to understand that while men may brag with much bluster and bravado about their attraction to young, hot, super models, the vast majority of them are just grateful to settle for some human contact.

      2. “Like I said earlier, lots of new divorcee’s SAY these things (and possibly even mean it at that moment in time), but as years of loneliness and side glances from other women go by, they change their tune.”

        Okay, sure – but can you accept that this is your view based on your limited view of the world and what you’ve observed in your circle of friends/acquaintances?

        I mean – do you really, truly think that a woman can’t be happy without a man? And her only value is in her sex appeal and therefore if she is not sexually appealing her life is worthless?

        Just the same as my view is based on my limited view of the world and my experiences? Because the kind of women you are describing, in my head, live in Las Vegas because that’s the only place in my life I’ve ever encountered women so desperate for a man to validate them.

        You talk about “side glances” from other women but the funny thing, I have gotten nothing but support and “OH I TOTALLY GET IT” from other women.

  13. Linds,

    Really? Stating what I have observed to be the case with my own eyes is fear and abuse? LOL Are they “hate facts”?

    I would say rather that it is those trying to cover up the truth who are being unfair to women. There’s a whole industry dedicated to selling women “divorce porn” (Eat, Pray, Love is a perfect example) and all too many fall for it. They realize what they have done only when it’s too late…not to mention the damage it does to the kids.

    Don’t be afraid of the truth Linds. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

    P.S. I know you and the other female commenters here are all Special Snowflakes. But let me tell you, what I said in my prior posts is not to gratuitously make women feel bad…it’s to get those who romantisize divorce to take a more realistic look at what their Sexual Market Value and Marriage Market Value will be, post-divorce. Because you can bet they do not realize the hit they have taken to their SMV and MMV as a middle-aged divorcee (possibly with the baggage of kids), as compared to the SMV and MMV they recall from their salad days when they were young, single, at peak attractiveness, and baggage-free. And when they realize how its changed, it will hit them like a ton of bricks!

    1. Jeff your twisted understanding of what you see with your own eyes is NOT how the majority of the world, nor God sees things.
      The fact that you come to a place that is predominately women and tell them they have less values, or no value because they don’t suit yours, or any mans purpose is wrong- and yes, designed to be hurtful.
      You reallly need to ask yourself what part of you gets satisfaction out of that.
      I have no doubt that you won’t hear me, and you will insist on staying in that moldy, rotten cocoon of yours, but one day you will have to face yourself.
      You can do whatever you please- I know ultimately you won’t get away with it.

  14. IB- word. 🙂
    Huh, just huh- he who says women are like lucifer because they refuse to submit, is himself trying to bring creation under his reign and control.
    What a hypocrit and liar.

  15. Linds, all I have done is give my opinion, based on what I have observed with my own eyes. I did not attack you or anyone else. And you attack me and verbally assault me by calling me a “hypocrite” and “liar”?

    Do you have any idea how offensive you are being? Why all the hate? What has gone on in your life to make you so bitter and hate-filled?

    I will pray for you.

    1. Jeff,

      We all have our personal feelings partially based on our life experiences and anecdotes. What you described seeing with divorced friends has led you to general ideas about big groups of people.

      I both agree and disagree with some of your points based on my own life experiences. But let’s see which ones are backed up by data from large groups. Always good to challenge our assumptions with facts as I’m sure you’ll agree.

      Jeff you seem like a man who cares deeply about these issues. Hopefully we can all have good respectful discussions that are based on ideas and facts with our personal reflections too.

      Here’s a recent analysis of remarriage. I will provide the link in another comment if anyone is interested in reading the whole thing. (Don’t want this comment to get in moderation because of the link)

      “Remarriage by AgeRemarriage is on the rise for Americans ages 55 and older, even as younger generations who have taken the plunge once are becoming less likely to have remarried. What has not changed is that older adults remain more likely to have remarried than their younger counterparts.

      Remarriage generally becomes more common with age—not surprising, given that it takes some time to enter into one marriage, exit that marriage and then enter into a subsequent one.7 Only 29% of previously married adults ages 18 to 24 (admittedly a small group) had remarried in 2013, compared with 67% of those ages 55 to 64.

      But the likelihood of having remarried has dropped sharply for those younger than 35. Among the small group of young adults who had already exited their first marriage, fully 72% had remarried by 1960. In 2013, only 42% of young adults who had been divorced or widowed had remarried.

      Remarriage is Rising for Those Ages 55 and OlderOver that same time period, the share of previously married adults ages 35 to 44 who had remarried dropped substantially (from 76% to 57%), and the share who had remarried among those ages 45 to 54 declined modestly (from 69% to 63%).

      The trend in remarriage among adults ages 55 and older has gone in the opposite direction. In 2013, two-thirds (67%) of previously married adults ages 55 to 64 had remarried, up from 55% in 1960. And 50% of adults ages 65 and older had remarried, up from just 34% in 1960. These increases may in part be fueled by rising life expectancies. Some suggest that longer lifespans have contributed to increasing divorce at older ages as people realize they have many more years to live and want to find fulfillment in that extra time. The same factor may be contributing to increases in remarriage among older adults.

      Gender Gap in Remarriage

      Remarriage More Common Among Divorced and Widowed Men, but Gap is NarrowingAmong those eligible to remarry—adults whose first marriage ended in divorce or widowhood—men are much more likely than women to have taken the plunge again. In 2013, some 64% of eligible men had remarried, compared with 52% of women.

      This may reflect, in part, the fact that men who have been divorced or widowed are more likely to want to remarry than are similarly situated women. Some 29% of eligible men say they want to remarry, and 36% are not sure, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey; only 30% say they do not want to marry again. In contrast, just 15% of previously married women want to remarry, and 27% are not sure; about half of these women (54%) report that they do not want to remarry.

      While the gender gap in the likelihood to marry again is notable, it has narrowed over time, as men have become somewhat less likely to remarry, and women have become somewhat more likely to do so. Today’s 12-point gap was a 20-point gap in 1980, when 66% of eligible men and 46% of women had remarried. In 1960, the gap was even larger—70% of eligible men had remarried, compared with 48% of women.

      Gender Gap in Remarriage Persists at Oldest AgesThe gender gap has closed mainly among younger and middle-aged adults who are eligible to remarry. Divorced or widowed women ages 25 to 54 are now about as likely as men in that age range to have remarried. Among those ages 55 and older, the gap remains substantial.

      Looking at educational attainment, the gender gap persists across groups but has narrowed most dramatically among those with a bachelor’s degree. In 1960, among college graduates, only 40% of divorced or widowed women had remarried, compared with 75% of men. By 2013, that share had risen to 52% among women, but had fallen to 67% among men. In less-educated groups, remarriage among women has remained stable during this time period, while it has declined markedly among men.”

      1. You and I are both right in our assumptions that men are more likely to remarry. Although it is related to older age, more men remarry over the age of 55 but the rates of remarriage between the ages of 25-54 age range is about the same. This is interesting to me, maybe because women live longer so the odds favor the men after 55?

      2. Interestingly some of this may also undoubtedly reflect that men are more likely to want to remarry.

      Just a couple of observations from the data. There are many other factors in other parts of the analysis like race, education etc.

      I will give the link in another comment. Very interesting and some surprising (to me) stuff. Cool graphs too. 😉

      1. Jeff,

        In case you didn’t want to read all that let me summarize my takeaway.

        Men are more likely to want to remarry.

        Men and women are roughly EQUALLY likely to remarry between the ages of 22-54.

        Men are more likely to remarry after the age of 55

        There are many other factors that affect remarriage besides gender such as age, education and race.

    2. oh, aren’t you innocent. Getting attacked by us rebellious women.
      You know, I have patients like you. They instigate and instigate and then whine and cry when someone hauls off and hits them in the face.
      You are entitled to your opinion. I feel obligated to let you know, if you didn’t already, that it is extremely offensive.
      It would be like me going to a Jewish Veterans meeting and telling them they should have been exterminated.
      I really question your motives for voicing your opinion here and wonder what you expect to come of it?
      I’ll just say this last thing, and drop the mic. I have a lot more, and better things on my plate for today….
      One day you will get sick- one day you will be weak and vulnerable and will need help. 90% of the people that help you when you are in a medical crisis, or are just old and sick are those over-educated rebellious women you seem to de-value so much.
      There is no getting around it- one day you will need a nurse. We have a motto- Love Fiercely, but Take No Shit.
      We know how to save your life, and we know how to seriously fuck you up and get away with it.
      Just something to think about.

      1. LOL! Linds, you’re really going to have to stop threatening to step on their oxygen tubing. Those kinds of pre-emptive confessions can be problematic in court. They tend to call it premeditated. I suggest a good pre-emptive insanity plea 🙂

        In all seriousness however, what really got me interested in all this, was nursing an older man, a pick up artist, a red pillian, who absolutely broke my heart. He was so filled with regret, with his failure to ever find intimacy with a woman, with all the time he had wasted, how he had never been able to find what he was seeking, how he never even understood what he was looking for. I would go to my car every day and just burst into tears.

        So all the bluster,all the arrogance and bravado mean nothing to me anymore. If anything I find it somewhat cute, because I know the truth of what really lurks in their heart, about how badly they want intimacy with women,and how men can be their own worst enemy.

        1. Ack! You may be right- no, I’ve never harmed anyone knowingly or otherwise. Just saying that he will be weak and in need someday and the very people he seems to think are lower than pond scum will be the ones to keep him safe.

          1. Ahh, now you’ve gone a revealed the secret root of what ails us in gender relations. We are vulnerable and dependent on those we perceive as “lower then pond scum.” So we try to assert our need for control. This is true of both men and women.

  16. Gott,

    Interesting reply, appreciate your input. I always said, I was relying on my own observations and wasn’t citing any data or studies.

    And to Linds: lady, you are sincerely deranged. Because I expressed a different opinion from you, that you don’t agree with, you go berserk and start threatening to kill me (and get away with it) if I’m ever under your professional care? Do you realize you would probably (and deservedly) get fired if your supervisor knew about this? Do you even care how mentally unstable and completely deranged you sound right now?

      1. Beth,

        Exaggerating? Are you kidding? Merely because I expressed my observations of divorced people I have known (never personally insulting Linds) and she didn’t agree with me…she threatened me thusly:

        “There is no getting around it- one day you will need a nurse. We have a motto- Love Fiercely, but Take No Shit.
        We know how to save your life, and we know how to seriously fuck you up and get away with it.”

        So,yeah. I’d say she’s mentally unstable and deranged. Should someone with such a sick mindset even be a nurse? How many poor patients has she “fucked up” and “gotten away with it” because they said something she didn’t agree with?

        She is a sick individual.

        1. Jeff- see this is the problem you read words like ” we can seriously fuck you up” and you make gigantic leaps to “threatening to kill you.”
          Two things- I never said it would be me, and there are all kinds of ways to fuck you up.
          What I was saying is one day you are going to need the people you hate so
          Much and they are going to have a level of power and control of the situation. They can help you out, or not.
          I’m saying it would be wise to not treat women like they have no value outside of your opinion of them.
          And just to prove you wrong- this 15 lb overweight, middleaged, over-educated, 8th grade drop out got invited for a long weekend to San Francisco, The Red Woods and The Pacific highway by a wealthy, handsome,middle aged, intelligent and humorous man.
          I think some of your assumptions may be inaccurate.
          Out. For real this time…

        2. I don’t even really know how to say this. Mentally unstable, deranged, and a sick individual. I think you’re exaggerating, bigtime.

          Having said that, it isn’t like you’d listen to me so I’m not even going to bother going into it. Except to say my first thought was… “Gosh this guy is a textbook gaslighter” and to be glad that I wasn’t your wife. That’s all.

    1. Well you do think woman are lesser and their perspective should be ignored and subscribe to Red Pill/ Rad Trad ideas! I’d be mad too. Don’t put bullshit on the web unless you want to get threatened, take responsibility for your behavior and words, you can do it

  17. Gott,

    One more thing. Although at a certain age, the data might show equal re-marriage rates…I think more of the women are “marrying down”. Certainly based on my own experience, as for example Hank and his ex (though I know plenty of others).

    But even so, I’m sure the vast majority of people who want to marry or re-marry will be able to so. A lot depends on what their deal-breakers are and how much they are willing to settle for something less than their ideal.

    1. Jeff,

      In terms of marrying down, I assume you mean education and income levels. I’m sure the data is there and it would be interesting to see if you’re right. I do know that there are more women than men graduating from college in recent years so for that group they would be more likely to marry a man with less education than the other way around. Maybe I’ll look into it later.

      It is more likely that older men marry down in terms of age as I seem to remember the piece I posted saying that 16% of older men marry women who are 10 or more years younger than they are a much higher age difference compared to marrying younger.

      And, of course, women tend to earn less than men so most men will marry down in terms of income.

      1. I didn’t mean education and income levels necessarily, when I said “marrying down”. Men and women view these things differently. While high income is pretty much a plus in anybody’s book, I don’t think education is very important to men (provided the girl is not an 8th grade drop-out).

        So for example, if a divorced man remarried to a younger, objectively prettier and sexier woman…I think in his eyes and most other people’s he has “traded up” or “married up”, even if his ex had reached a higher educational level or had somewhat more earning potential.

        A woman’s youth and sex appeal are HUGE to a man, and come in at or near the top of his list. And if the girl is also easy-going, likes to cook and take care of her man, and gives him sex regularly…then most men would consider her a real treasure and would quickly snap her up and provide for her. And would do so almost regardless of her education or income levels.

        This is why young, pretty girls are the rock stars of the sexual marketplace. They are at the apex.

      2. Jeff,

        Ok, now we’re getting to some really interesting ideas!

        1. How much does physical attractiveness matter in dating and marriage?

        2. Does the importance of attractiveness vary by gender?

        3. What other things are men/women willing to be trade for a less attractive mate and does this vary by gender?

        I’ve got some thoughts and a few links to consider.

        I agree with you that physical attractiveness is important to men in choosing a person to date and marry.

        It is also important to women. As one small example the name of Matt’s blog Must Be This Tall To Ride is a wink to the fact that many women in dating strongly prefer tall men over average and shorter men.

        You may be familiar with the matching hypothesis. Studies have shown that most married couples have similar characteristics. Similar levels of attractiveness, education etc.

        The mismatches in education that were common 50 years ago have vastly changed. Most college educated marry those with college educations not a high school diploma for example.

        Physical attractiveness tends to be most important in initial stages of attraction. After the initial stage, other things matter too.

        You pointed out a few possibilities for men to be attracted to in a woman like being a good cook, being easy going, regular sex etc. Many men also want a partner to contribute financially too. All this varies by culture and individual of course.

        So, in general I agree that for most men having an attractive wife who is easy going, likes to cook and the care of life managing and has regular fun sex will make for a happy husband.

        For most men attractiveness is a necessary but not sufficient condition for picking a spouse.

        Now again in generalities, for most women attractiveness is also important. And again most couples are similar. But I agree that some percentage of women will trade financial security for a level of attractiveness.

        Most marriage partners are similar in ages but It is far more common for the man to be older than the woman in relationships when there is a significant age difference.

        Women value other things as well. As I so often cite, Gottman’s research shows that the key to a happy marriage is for the husband to accept his wife’s influence.

        Because MOST (66%) men do not naturally do that many women will trade some attractiveness in a man for a husband who treats her well and will really listen to her and be willing to compromise.

        And as I’m sure you’ll agree, a good marriage has to endure despite declining attractiveness as we all age and possibly get sick. So while attractiveness is definitely a part of marriage it can’t be the most important part as time goes on.

        Well just a few thoughts on an interesting topic.

      3. Gottman,

        I agree with most of your points. I would add that complementary religious/spiritual beliefs are also important for long term stability

        As far as declining attractiveness with age, I think this is a key reason for women to marry young. If she gives those years of youth and beauty to her husband, in a way he will always remember her like this – he will look at her through “wife goggles”. So he will tend to see her as perhaps still a 6 or 7 even when her aging has caused her to appear to be a 4 or 5 to objective observers. But if she wasn’t married, those “objective observers” would be her prospective dating pool – yikes! Not good.

        By the way, the “wife goggles” theory has some backing from how people view their kids. Don’t most parents view their daughters as prettier than a typical stranger would?

        Just another reason I will be encouraging my daughters to marry young. Meaning by their early 20’s. At that age, they are the rock stars of the marriage market place, and can lock down a really good catch…esp if they are also feminine, sweet, caring, soft-spoken, submissive, eytc,

      4. Jeff,

        I agree that compatible spiritual/religious values are important.

        I like your “google” metaphor. Definitely when we have fond and loving memories, it can help to get us through tougher times. I can see how the same thing would apply to physical attractiveness too.

        And I think there are “love goggles”. Like you mentioned parents see their kids scribbles as art and love makes us see our ordinary kids as very special.

        Same is true in a good marriage, “love googles” help us see our spouses through loving eyes, believing and seeing the best in each other.

  18. I believe men lose more also. One resason…they lost the RESPECT of their wife, and respect is a dire need to men.

  19. Just as a general comment- I do want to say that I regret my words. Not because of what anyone else thinks, but because of my own self respect.
    Do I think things like I suggested happen? Yes. Have I ever acted in such a way, no.
    I want to rationalize it and say “I’m supposed to protect my patients, not some seriously misdirected mysoginist on the Internet.” But the truth is, I am supposed to protect the public. So threats, or intimidation is obviously not appropriate.
    From the exchanges I have had with Jeff, he seems to project and exaggerate and deny. He will point fingers at everyone, and have incredibly asinine reasons why he shouldn’t try to understand a point you are making (like because you are a women, or you are not of the same faith). That’s fine (BTW- Lisa G. you are so much more of a woman than me!- it’s like you’re an idiot whisperer! ) In my opionion that is a sign of some pretty fixed and maladaptive behaviors, and though he denies it, it likely causes him some significant issues in his life.
    That is even more reason my words were wrong.
    However, I don’t beleive that he is sooo mentally ill as to not be culpable and accountable. I believe he knows right from wrong, and gets a little bit of satisfaction from feeling superior.
    Jeff is allowed to be Jeff.
    I will handle him like I would other people that I have to deal with, even though it is extremely unpleasant, and that is handle him as little as possible.
    He is not fun, or redeeming or even remotely intelligent.
    I freely admit I’m not perfect and this is a limitation.
    I sincerely regret lowering myself to the level I did.

    1. That’s all well and good Linds. Now imagine that I (as a man) had made those threats to you (obviously, you being a woman). You and the female commenters on here would have gone bananas – screaming that I am violent against women, I’m threatening you, I’m sick and deranged, someone should call the police, etc.

      Take some time and truly think about it. (Although what do I know…as I apparently am not even “remotely intelligent”)

      1. You have a point, Jeff- women can be highly reactive to threats given by men.
        I will give you that, but I really wonder if that isn’t because it is an easy tool have used to control women and children in the not too distant past.
        I would be willing to have a civil conversation with you, but I do genuinely question the intelligence of a man who immedietly strikes defensive posture when someone disagrees with him. You have accused me of that several times, but the truth is that is what you. I can’t take you seriously when you respond that way.
        It looks like really, really poor debate tactics and lowers the level of conversation to name calling and flaming. That is not what I want to do. I agree I don’t agree with your opinion, but I would listen to it if it weren’t so insulting. That is what I want you to understand- it is not your ideas or thoughts, it is how and to whom you are presenting them to. You even directly posted something not only incredibly insensitive but down right insulting to someone who was making a comment to Matt about her marriage. It would be really good to understand that no matter what you think about other people’s marriage it is something incredibly personal and should be respected.
        I will admit I was wrong, and I will even tell you- I am sorry, Jeff that I intended to intimidate you about being in need one day. Why do I think you will use that is the exact reason why you refuse to read or consider anything I just wrote?
        I am not trying to insult you by pointing out how you immedietly jump to defense mechanism. We all have them. But the fact that you are an armory of them tells me your really not thinking or experiencing things from a complete perspective. The thing is- if you let down your defenses and stop taking the posture of wanting to fight, then everyone else would to. But, man- if you come in with your dukes up, everyone else is going to start throwing punches.
        You are welcomed to join us, and we can even disagree- but I just want to do it in a civil manner. (When you say things that directly insulting, that is not a civil manner.) …that’s all I have,Jeff.

      2. Jeff- just as a good faith gesture, I don’t mind telling you that no, my life isn’t “that great”. This came up at the right time, in the right way through the right people, (with whom I couldn’t go without they’re help). And it is sorely needed.
        That’s why I come here- because my life isn’t that great, and its something I want to change. I come here because it is educational, supportive and just plain entertaining at times. It helps me in the process of change.
        That is why it really upsets me when statements are made that seem designed to tear people down and cause harm.
        I don’t know if you can read this and take it for what it is, but I am laying down my weapons,ok- because they don’t really get us anywhere- they just weigh us down.

  20. Linds,

    I just don’t know why you have this obsession with me. I came on this thread to make a passing point that in my experience, men generally fare better after divorce. Which is different than what Matt said in the OP is his opinion.

    I didn’t address you or make any reference to you…but as usual you come barging in to make all kinds of rude comments and insults against me personally. Now, I have a pretty thick skin…but this obsession you have with me is actually pretty creepy. I don’t know what issues and problems you have in your life that are causing this strange behavior, but I wish you would get over it. Why are you so obsessed with me?

    Oh, and this bit you posted made me laugh out loud – you can’t even keep your lies straight. You are BOTH over-educated AND an 8th grade drop-out? Lol, yeah I’m sure you’re being honest here….

    “And just to prove you wrong- this 15 lb overweight, middleaged, over-educated, 8th grade drop out got invited for a long weekend to San Francisco, The Red Woods and The Pacific highway by a wealthy, handsome,middle aged, intelligent and humorous man.
    I think some of your assumptions may be inaccurate.
    Out. For real this time”

    1. Jeff- everything you wrote came out of a need to defend yourself.
      And I didn’t lie- I dropped out in the 8th grade, went back to school and have 3degrees- working on my 4th and final one. That’s over educated by anyone’s standards.
      It’s a bit of a paradox, but I like those. And at least it shows you are paying attention.
      Even though I really don’t credit your response with enough validity to argue it, for the sake of peace (and some self improvement one part) I will take the time to demonstrate why I believe your words are just defense mechanisms.
      It won’t be today- but hopefully by weeks end. Sound like a plan?

  21. Linds,

    You can save yourself the effort. Just because you have some bizarre obsession with me, doesn’t mean it goes both ways. If your life is so wonderful, go live it and stop trying to prove something to me or convince me of something. I really don’t care…although I know that’s shocking to special snowflakes like yourself.

    Your desperation for approval is getting awfully tiresome.

    1. Jeff, I can assure you I have no creepy obsession for you. My creepy obsession is for someone who is completely different than you. :). In fact I’m pretty sure that you responded to a comment I wrote to either Beth or IB. So no, I didn’t enter into a conversation with you, but you started one with me.
      But that’s just a red herring.
      That’s a defense mechanism.
      I’m trying to make peace with you.
      If you don’t want to, that is fine- but we have to respect one another and be courteous of one another. That could mean just not reading any comments writen by the other. I am ok with that.
      Or, I just won’t read yours. That’s ok,too.
      What I would rather have of course, is some genuine dialog that didn’t involve passing insults back and forth.
      Either directly or indirectly.

      1. Linds,

        Yeah, uh no. I’ll pass on the dialogue with you. I’m good.

        If you check the convo I’ve been having with Gottmanfan on this thread, you’ll see the kind of replies I like responding to – ones that make interesting points that aren’t overly emotional. A lot different that your constant whining that I’m making you feel bad with my opinions, I’m a small minded man without any intelligence, etc

        And you actually think I would have any desire to have a dialogue with you…because after all, you’re a special snowflake, lol. Talk about delusional!

  22. Another factor is that people get more bitter and cynical as they get older. I’ve often thought this is over-looked, esp by women. In other words, if a woman waits till her 30’s to marry (or finds herself a divorcee and is looking to remarry), and esp given that women tend to marry older men…there’s a good chance many of the men she will be potentially dating have been put through the wringer in a divorce. They may be reluctant to out themselves in that position a second time. They have a skeptical, cynical mindset about marriage..,and even about women in general.

    Again, I see this with my buddy Hank. All the gals he dates want to get married, but after going through what he has, he tells me he has no desire to marry again. Instead, he just plays them and takes them up on the sex they offer…but without offering the commitment they’re looking for in return. He’s def a little bitter, and I would think this is fairly common. Whereas a guy in his late 20’s, who’s launching into his first marriage with a gal in her mid 20’s, is likely to be a lot more inclined to view things optimistically and romantically.

    And then there’s just the fact that people living alone for a whole decade before marriage are likely to be very set in their ways and unable to adjust to the compromises of living with a spouse. I saw this with an ex-girlfriend who had been living alone in her own house for many years. By way of contrast, my wife never lived alone – she went from living at home with her parents while we dated, right to living with me as her husband.

    Just more reasons in favor of girls marrying at a younger age.

  23. I love your blog, and you have a point. I do think men struggle for the reasons you state. But I also agree with some of the comments disagreeing with you. The divorced or single moms I know get positively screwed when it comes to continuing to shoulder the majority of the child rearing and all the logistical details associated with that (school, sports, appointments, etc). The fathers are often baby sitters, and unreliable ones at that. Not always – my own brother in law divorced and took on primary custody of the kids with an ex who bailed. But I think it’s the exception.

    1. Hello Wifey,

      I totally believe that many fathers get screwed when it comes to custody after divorce, but I also hear examples of basically what you’re describing. The moms want the dads to be involved, but the fathers in question are unreliable and don’t step up.

      Personally I believe that shared custody after divorce should be the general rule, with many legtimate exceptions of course. So that no fit parent gets excluded from their kid(s) life, so that kids don’t get denied a relationship with a fit parent, AND so that no parent unfairly gets burdened with the cost and work load of mostly solo parenting.

      I get that children are a blessing, but I can imagine they’re exhausting. And when it comes to dating post divorce, if you barely have child free time, it’ll be hard. And obviously, many potential partners will be much more likely to want to date someone who both has time and energy to invest in the relationship, and who won’t have kids from a previous relationship living with them the majority of the time. Personally, I could be open to a living-apart-relationship with a man with kids (and I do believe those relationships are seriously undervalued in our society) , but I seriously doubt I would live with someone with kids from a previous relationship living with them. Fulltime or halftime. But then again, if a man only saw his kids once a month or whatever (assuming they were still young) and this was not for what I’d consider a good reason, I wouldn’t want to live with/date him either even though the kids would be less of an issue (sorry to use the word issue). Because that kind of attitude towards his responsibility as a dad would be off-putting to me.

      But not everyone feels the way I do. I know of both men and women who have chosen to live with partners with kids from previous relationships. I admire people who can do that with integrity and respect for both themselves and others.

      1. (If it wasn’t clear, of course many fathers are totally involved after divorce too)

        1. Donkey,
          I’ve seen all kinds of scenario’s around custody of children. In my experience it is usually those who were shitty dads to begin with who don’t make the effort after the divorce. (And I know plenty of men whose hearts are ripped out because they cant see their children.)
          So, the woman is in a lot of ways no worse off that when she were married. I think that is what Matt and others were saying.
          The money issue is a big one, of course. And again, the only men I know who don’t willingly pay child’s support, likely didn’t contribute much to begin with so hypothetically the woman isn’t losing much there, either. On the topic of child support, if it is the mother who gets majority of the custody the man cant get around paying child support. Where I live he will have his wages garnished if he misses payments.
          I really am not sure what happens if they have split custody. – If the woman still gets a percent of child support or not. (We still don’t get equal pay, so…) And there is the rare case that the woman pays the man child support. I wonder if that is becoming more normal?
          I know the scenario used to be pretty bad for women (I grew up one of those poor latch-key kid types). But, I’m thinking the picture has changed recently.
          It’s still not an ideal situation by any means. Especially emotionally.
          I think a lot of the emotional fall out, falls on the kids. Donkey, your comment made me think
          about 2 scenario’s I know of where the mom “complaining” about the Ex- husband to the kid, or within the earshot of the kid, is almost to the point of abuse.
          That is the stuff that seems so fruitless and hurtful- that kid walks around not being sure if it’s ok to love his father. (This can happen on the flip side, too- but in both of the cases I am thinking about it, the men were getting dragged through the mud.)
          I know that happens, especially when there is a lot of anger involved.

          Your comments about not living with another persons children from a previous marriage made me think of some step parenting books I have read. (I thought I needed to at the time…)
          It does sound pretty dismal for the “outsider”, but I think with time you can build your own relationship with the kids. Like everything else it requires awareness, effort and intentionality. And a lot of little knife wounds to your heart…. :).

      2. By the way, I know what you mean about the guy not taking responsibility for his kid being off putting.
        I recently met someone who moved down from Chicago- he is living like a teenager, and having tons of fun. Then he mentions his 2 teenage sons that get to see him twice a year and I fell bad for him, like really bad- because he doesn’t know what he is missing, but I think I know what they are.

      3. Donkey, you are right that some dads get pushed out and mothers are generally favored when it comes to custody arrangements. I guess I’m referring to more of the “traditional” arrangements that the majority of the divorced families I know fall into – Mom cares for the kids most of the week. Dad picks them up for 2 nights a week, but sometimes not if work is bad. Sometimes not if he wants to go on a trip with the buddies. Sometimes not if he’s got a bad cold (not all! I also know some dads who religiously reserve their weekends for the kids – no exceptions. But it’s not the majority that I’ve found). Dad often ends up with lots of child free nights a week and back in the dating scene sooner (I have seen this both in divorce scenarios and with widowers. It’s actually been really shocking to me to see how quickly men who lose wives young get remarried in a short amount of time. I think part of it is that more people within and outside the family step up to help out a single dad. Being a full time single mom is not considered shockingly hard to people the way it is with dads. So widowers get out there for wife #2 way sooner. And help is more readily available so he has the time for it. Just what I’ve seen, personally). And expectations are just lower for the divorced/single dad. If kid survives and is eating and getting to school, everyone thinks dad is amazing. Meanwhile, mom better also be on the PTA, getting glowing reviews at work, throwing fabulous birthday parties, and maintaining a clean organized house where she serves organic non-GMO meals.

        Having seen the effects on children of divorced who see girl/boyfriends come and go, I personally love your approach of a living apart relationship. I’ve seen people make that work exceptionally well. I’ve also seen people make the other scenarios work. It really comes down to the 2 parents and their attitudes towards each other and the entire situation.

      4. Hi Wifey,

        I think we’re mostly in agreement, I was just trying to also acknowledge that not all divorced dads who don’t see their kids as much as mom sees them have that arrangement by choice. I hope I’m making myself clear. 🙂 Possibly you were just acknowledging my acknowledging. 😉

        “And expectations are just lower for the divorced/single dad. If kid survives and is eating and getting to school, everyone thinks dad is amazing. Meanwhile, mom better also be on the PTA, getting glowing reviews at work, throwing fabulous birthday parties, and maintaining a clean organized house where she serves organic non-GMO meals.”

        Yes! And I think this goes for moms and dads in general. Which is one of the reasons I’m very much on the fence about having kids (assuming I’d be able to have them and have a willing partner and all of that). I’m just not sure I’d be able to handle all the external and internalized pressure and still maintain a modicum of wellbeing.

      5. Yes, I getcha. The therapist my husband and I have seen for the past year has always been very anti separation even when we were super escalated and could hardly be in the same room for that reason (it’s better now! haha) – it could be used against my husband in a divorce and custody scenario. It actually really annoyed me, though I understand it.

        Don’t let all that BS stop you from having kids. If you’re a confident person in general and trust yourself, you’ll be fine. It’s just really important to give your own instincts and brains the freedom to do their job and not get bogged down in every new study or viral post. Find a good pediatrician and some common sense, and you’ll be fine!

      6. “Don’t let all that BS stop you from having kids. If you’re a confident person in general and trust yourself, you’ll be fine. It’s just really important to give your own instincts and brains the freedom to do their job and not get bogged down in every new study or viral post. Find a good pediatrician and some common sense, and you’ll be fine!”

        Aww, thanks! 🙂 I have some work to do on the confidence part. You have kids? In any case, I’m glad you and your husband are doing better.

      7. Yes, Donkey. Two. 🙂 In fact, I better go get their butts to the pool and wear them out for the evening since I’m headed to dinner and movie with the girls. Hubby is currently napping 😉 LOL. It’s okay. He made breakfast while I slept in. Thanks for the chat! Have a great weekend.

      8. All of this just makes me terribly terribly sad for the kids of our society and for my own. Pain in divorce is real for the adults and for the children and there’s no realistic way to both hide it and process it at the same time. We’re all stuck between a rock and a hard place once one party gives up and walks away. There will never be an optimal outcome and there’s plenty of blame to go around for all the stuff on both sides of the relationship that needs to be appropriately owned but most of it wont be.

        All I can come back to as a generality is don’t make babies EVER if you aren’t willing to both stay with your partner AND love that person sacrificially even when they are screwing up.

        And all I can come back to for my own situation is owning my stuff while also acknowledging the wrongs on the other side of our marital coin that were never owned and ultimately tossed aside, knowing I’m still trying to do all the appropriate and necessary emotional work for myself and for my relationships with my children in the aftermath, praying and praying for my kids, for the wisdom of the guardian ad litem and the judge, praying and praying for the alcohol abuse to be seen according to the light of truth and to limit the future impact he can have to further damage everybody, but also praying for him to someday accept healing and become good for these wonderful kids who deserve so much better. It’s all an outrage and a crime. But court systems seemingly can never be set up for to really do well at this sort of thing.

  24. Hummed and hawed a bit on whether or not to respond to this one (especially due to some of the commentary above).

    Regarding who “fares better” after divorce, I think it comes down to whoever is the most emotionally healthy person.

    And yeah, that’s often (but not always) the woman.

    Of course there are also different ways to measure who fares better. Finances is definitely part of it, as is emotional health.

    Divorce sucks. No matter who is to “blame” for it, there’s fallout – often with peoples hopes/dreams and world-view coming out significantly impacted. There is often guilt, sadness, and a sense of feeling like damaged goods.

    One thing I’ve observed is that the damage of a failed marriage often leads people to be (understandably) jaded. So although they may date or even marry again, they are less likely to allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to have real connection again.

    Some guys are asses, and everyone has both good and bad sides. But there are still a lot of guys out there who are looking for healthy relationships where both people are valued – and not just looking out for themselves. Same with women I believe.

    1. ” But there are still a lot of guys out there who are looking for healthy relationships where both people are valued – and not just looking out for themselves.”

      I believe this too!

    2. Drew and Donkey,

      ” But there are still a lot of guys out there who are looking for healthy relationships where both people are valued – and not just looking out for themselves.”

      I wish I could believe this but I just don’t. And the research is equally pessimistic. MOST men do not accept their wife’s influence. Her dreams, emotions, thoughts just don’t matter to him as much as his own.

      I hate that it’s so often true but it is both in my life experience and in my reading of the research. Of course women suck too just not as much as men. 😉

      1. Well, if “a lot” can mean 33% or so, then yes. That’s a large minority at least. But if “a lot” must mean the majority, then you’re right, there aren’t a lot. :p

        “Her dreams, emotions, thoughts just don’t matter to him as much as his own.”

        This is just so depressing, but true for the majority of men, as the research sadly shows. And as has been hashed out many a times on this blog, there are many men (not all) who *believe* they’re treating their wives’ dreams, emotions and thoughts as just as important is his own, but they’re just not. Even when she’s crying, begging him to accept her influence in some way, saying the same thing over and over, he doesn’t think he’s hurting her, he thinks she’s wrong/irrational/crazy and so he can just do his own thing and she’ll come around and see the right way (=his way) eventually.

      2. Yeah I try and stay even handed but in the case of saying that a lot (assuming a majority is implied) of men are looking for a relationship where both are valued I don’t agree.

        Maybe they think they are valuing her equality but he’s using his criteria and not really working in a true compromise attitude to both get their needs met.

        Women have to learn to do all kinds of things to attempt to get the majority of men to give her equal respect. Sometimes it works if the man is willing.

        But many times the energy required to constantly have to set boundaries/ beg for your humanity/ etc. is too exhausting and humiliating over time and the wife files for divorce.

        And is often happier despite the horribleness of divorce because she has her self-respect and personhood back.

      3. “Maybe they think they are valuing her equality but he’s using his criteria and not really working in a true compromise attitude to both get their needs met.

        Women have to learn to do all kinds of things to attempt to get the majority of men to give her equal respect. Sometimes it works if the man is willing.

        But many times the energy required to constantly have to set boundaries/ beg for your humanity/ etc. is too exhausting and humiliating over time and the wife files for divorce.

        And is often happier despite the horribleness of divorce because she has her self-respect and personhood back.”

        Sadly, I agree, I believe this happens a lot. Like, he doesn’t expect her to stay home and do all the housework and so he believes he’s being egalitarian. But if she wants to have the house cleaned more often than once a year, he won’t cooperate to make that happen. Stuff like that ad nauseam. I think you and I agree that boundaries are a necessary relationship skill that well differentiated people must learn, but almost constantly having to fight with the one who’s supposed to love you for equal respect and influence… Yeah, doesn’t sound very fun. We need a partnership revolution in society in my opinion, truly an internalization of democratic principles.

        Take care Gottmanfan! <3

      4. I can appreciate what each of you is saying in this mini-thread. A part of me hopes to have a healthy relationship someday with a good guy. But at the same time I’d far rather not than to risk having anything to do with whatever percentage of men accept no influence and who tend to pull out the 4 horseman as part of how they cope with a woman in their life. No thank you, and even when I look at the studies I’m aware there are other factors not accounted for.

        As y’all know I was never looking for a modern feminist version of having my influence accepted. But then the influence is a broad concept that covers a lot of other things.

        I’d have rather supported his career and had him support me in my very different goals and needs, but now I’ve seen so much evidence that lots of guys aren’t any better at that than they are at the seemingly more difficult job of trying to manage to totally independent career lifestyles as if they won’t clash.

        And it goes round and round as it turns out that just being nice rather than abusive is fairly difficult for a lot of guys. But then it also turns out, from what I’ve seen here on this blog, that even guys who want that modern version of equality and think they are striving for it struggle just as much…and round and round.

        So many permutations to consider. And then we each have to narrow the numbers down by our personal requirements. For example I’d want a man who loved me as many men seem to be proving to be incapable of loving a woman because they are first wedded to their own egos and to the 4 horseman, but also who loved God more than me and more than himself, further cutting the numbers down. So I’m doing the work to know I can be OK with or without a man, while trying to stay open to it and build that trust in God and in mankind that allows for seeing that there could be a really good guy out there somewhere…and maybe even that I can be capable of my end of he relationship again someday, which to be frank I’m not right now.

        And I love seeing you here, Drew. Your good qualities are helpful to see. I’m praying for you and your wife that y’all can build and grow together till death!

        1. Hmmm….I’m thinking. So, I am going to write some thoughts, and ask some questions- but I’m not intending to be “making a statement” about what I really believe- because I just don’t know at this point.
          What I am thinking is that while I know there are some extremes to what is called feminism, I don’t even really consider those extremes as such. Elevating either gender over the other, and emulating some of the worst behaviors, just to be “equal”, is not what I consider feminism.
          For me it was always just a political movement that created a way for women to be more fully who they are.
          Women who do well in careers typically for men, or get excited by sports that are typically considered masculine should have the opportunity to do those things. In those situations it isn’t so much as women taking on a masculine role, as much as it is the role is being broadened into a mulit-gender role. (After all, I think it was the fact that men had more liberties to play sports, or do jobs, than women, and so those things were just naturally associated with masculinity
          I know in marriage it is easier if everyone knows their roles and function in them.
          If a woman is completely fulfilled by being a mom, and a wife- then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In this situation, it is still necessary for a man to function in his role.
          (And mom, I hear your grief- I get it. He didn’t function in his role.)
          A lot of times now days women work, and so there is an even greater need for men to adapt to and function in relatively new roles.
          Apparently many men are kind of failing in that. Both in the practical chores, and in the relating/empathizing part. (I believe relationship is really important for the emotional well being of most women…most, not all.)
          So, women get to do all the work, and get none of the reward.
          Enter: The Current Blog Post.

          Apart from some very extreme ideas about gender’s and gender roles, The kind of guys that Matt does aim to write to (in spite of us unruly women taking over…:)..either don’t get this, or don’t know how to make changes.

          Some of the questions that I am thinking- ARE we asking men to change their masculine nature? I mean is it really something that is biologically pre-determined and we are asking too much of these guys?

          If it is socialization, It seems like we are coming out of a time that was highly self focused, and created a self protective insulation. I feel like many adult men MAY have a small “pack”, but still function in a mostly isolated way. IE- they don’t influence, and aren’t influenced.
          I don’t know if that is completely true, but I’m thinking for those who don’t go to church, (or didn’t grow up in a church ..and even some that did), or don’t have established friendships- these guys may be even further removed from socializing and relationship orientation.
          That is on top of the man-card socialization they likely do have.

          So, I don’t know- this may all just amount to rambling, but where it is going is really the question of – do men want the relationship (the actual relating part) as much as women do?

      5. Hey Fromscratchmom,

        Glad to see you here and it of course warms my heart to hear you talking some Gottman language. (accepting influence, 4 horsemen etc). 😉

        As I’m sure you know, accepting influence is an attitude and skill of being willing to consider and make decisions taking into account the other persons thoughts, feelings, wants etc. It is equally applicable in very traditional and very liberal gender theologies/viewpoints of relationships. It’s really just kindness and thoughtfulness you know? Conveying honor and respect to each other.

        Here’s a quote from Gottman on this topic.

        “There are still husbands who simply refuse to consider any opinions their wives air, and never take their feelings or ideas into account when making decisions. They simply and openly refuse to share power with their wives.

        Some men claim that religious conviction requires them to be in control of their marriages and, by extension, their wives. But no religion justifies a man being a bully.

        Gottman has studied couples who believe the man should be the head of the family as well as couples who hold egalitarian viewpoints. In both kinds of marriages, emotionally intelligent husbands have figured out the one big thing: how to convey honor and respect.

        All spiritual views of life are consistent with loving and honoring your spouse. And that’s what accepting influence is all about. Would you really want to make decisions that leave your wife feeling disrespected? Is that really consistent with religious beliefs? A marriage can’t work unless both partners honor and respect each other. That’s true whatever your belief system.

        In many cases, men who resist letting their wives influence them are not even aware of this tendency.

        There’s often a glaring clue that the fundamental problem is the husband’s unwillingness to be influenced by his wife: When she becomes negative, he responds by escalating the conflict. In come belligerence and the third horseman, defensiveness. She becomes furious and he becomes flooded, which leads him to stonewall — the fourth horseman. Their marriage has just taken a nasty tumble down the cascade toward divorce.

        If he had listened to her vent her anger without being defensive or belligerent, she might have calmed down. Then together they could have come up with a solution to the problem.”

      6. Here’s another quote about the effect men accepting their wives influence has on the marriage.

        “Just because you accept influence from your spouse doesn’t mean that you never express negative emotions toward your partner. Marriages can survive plenty of flashes of anger, complaints, even criticisms. Trying to suppress negative feelings in your spouse’s presence isn’t good for your marriage or your blood pressure.

        The problem comes when even mild dissatisfaction on the wife’s part is met by a barrage from her husband that, instead of toning down or at the most matching her degree of negativity (yelling back, complaining, etc.), goes beyond it.

        The wives of men who accept their influence are far less likely to be harsh with their husbands when broaching a difficult marital topic. This increases the odds their marriage will thrive.

        Any man who isn’t sold on the need to accept his wife’s influence more should consider the many pluses. Marriages where the husband resists sharing power are four times more likely to end or drone on unhappily than marriages where the husband does not resist.

        When the man shares power, the four horsemen aren’t so prevalent. In large part this is because his wife is far less likely to use a harsh startup when she’s upset. Because she’s not angered, frustrated, or humiliated by her husband, she is apt to begin difficult discussions without being critical or contemptuous.

        Another reason these marriages fare so well is that they have a firm foundation for compromising. The better able you are to listen to what your spouse has to say and to consider her perspective respectfully, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to come up with a solution or approach to a problem that satisfies you both. If your ears are closed to your spouse’s needs, opinions, and values, compromise just doesn’t have a chance.”

      7. Y’all are so right on the money with what I need to be mulling over! I don’t know if I’ll ever be looking for or willing to trust in another man, but coming to terms with all of these concepts is still necessary either way!

      8. I know there are a lot of people with bad experiences, but I still have to believe it. If I give up on believing in that, I give up on believing in people in general – and I can’t/won’t do that.

        That said, I think people will always put their own interests first – and that’s probably not a bad thing. It’s really more a question of where they place the needs/wants of their partner. In my perfect imaginary little world, their partner is a 1a to their 1. Yeah, people look out for themselves, but looking out for their partner is just as important.

        When you talk about accepting influence, I think it comes on a spectrum. If someone won’t do it at all, then they aren’t interested in a relationship (partnership), they are really just looking for someone to take care of their needs – without expecting to reciprocate. That’s crap.

        I would like to think though that peoples partners do actually accept influence more than we realize. It’s just that hedonic adaptation causes us to take for granted the cases that they do accept influence, and instead we focus on all the times that they don’t, so our perception is skewed.

  25. There is a very real relief if you have been neglected emotionally, once that leaves, you feel more like yourself, have more time to consider yourself in your own life, once that emotional labour disperses and the things you had always been doing stays, there is no change besides relief and maybe a little grief.

    I too second the idea woman don’t rush to remarry cuz they don’t need to, just dont need it, meanwhile certain men, of various levels of neglectful and abusive personality habits/traits, need someone to beat, to look after them, to control, to do their emotional labour and clean up after them, they need it! That’s why you see a lot of male divorcees and ltr living with after the break up/divorce a quick marriage, a year or two after!

  26. Wow. There’s been a seriously huge load of controversy. There are so many people here too conscientious to label anyone a troll. I couldn’t bring myself to read all of it. At a certain point you have to just scroll on through and shake the dust off your feet after you’ve seen more than enough evidence of …Evil? Delusion? Deceit? …God knows what it is. And that is good enough. It’s perfectly OK for me to not know what’s behind it when someone on the Internet comes off that badly.

    I’m going to throw a reference out that some geeks will get. Watch the “Heart of Gold” episode of Firefly. Great caricature of the type who claims religion but harbors extreme evils toward women on the inside. I get why people care and see value in trying to face a wrong to right it. But sometimes we’re much healthier and overall much better off to recognize it as wrong and move on rather than to engage with it. Don’t spend your energy doing emotional labor engaging with one who can only crap all over you and use your efforts to spread more yuck. (Especially over the Internet? Or even if it is just Internet stuff?) grow your boundaries. *wink wink* Go blow off some steam with a good cry or a punching bag or at the gun range or with a good belly laugh or all of the above…lol…and if you watch TV at all, watch Heart of Gold. 😉

    Matt, I’m glad you’re writing this blog. I didn’t think it was a post for me to engage with given all I’ve been going through…too close to my own traumas and dramas. Obviously it’s all good in your view that we don’t all fit with certain broad strokes, or maybe just in this moment, think that we don’t fit. *wry grin* And I’m beginning to come out on the other side anyway, or at least see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I’ll get to be a real boy again someday rather than a codependent puppet on the strings of an abuser. I thank God for that! He is so good to me!

    1. By the way I recently overcame my Luddite-ishness enough to make a WordPress account. I thought it might make a few things easier with all the blogs you folks are writing. But I have yet to figure out how to post comments as the person behind that new wordpress page. *embarrassed chuckle*

      Feel free to tease or to have pity and explain!

      1. What’s the name of your blog? I think (though I’m a WordPress Luddite too) you have to use the name of your blog as your comment name here and then your name will link to your blog.

        Please correct if wrong knowledgable WordPress people out there.

        1. I think you have to go to Gravatar, fill out all the correct info, and it links that way. (If you fill in the appropriate URL line.)

          1. I don’t recall the exact steps. I know I just had to exit out of the gravatar screen to get to the blog screen, and I was automatically linked ever after.
            If you play with it enough, you can usually figure it out.
            Except for anything Apple- I can NEVER figure anything out on an Apple!
            Cavelady, Bam! Bam!

    2. Fromscratchmom, you said:

      “As y’all know I was never looking for a modern feminist version of having my influence accepted. But then the influence is a broad concept that covers a lot of other things.

      I’d have rather supported his career and had him support me in my very different goals and needs”

      I had a discussion with another lady a while back on the blog, who also said that she was more traditional. And although I fall more into the modern feminist version than you, I still say, like I did to her, that traditional or not in what roles you have isn’t the issue.

      I then gave the example of my mom and step dad who, granted, normally have a more so called modern arrangement (they both work, both do housework). But he is super duper handy and spent a lot of time fixing/builing a cabin of theirs (mostly his). Sometimes my mother came along, and by mutual agreement, she did the indoor stuff, cooking, cleaning etc. And the point is both that this was a mutual agreement made by the two of them, and that he recognized that what she was doing was necessary and time consuming labour too that he then didn’t have to do (just like she didn’t have to work on the cabin).

      And, importantly, he didn’t slack off (unless he was sick or something) on his end of the deal. If fixing up the cabin was agreed to be his job, he’d follow through in a timely manner.


      thanks so much for the Gottman quotes. Very on point. 🙂

      1. That makes sense, Donkey.

        One thing that is really still unsettled in my mind is how to view and explore all of it during a time getting to know someone rather than later finding out that suddenly after exchanging vows this guy no longer accepts any influence. Suddenly he’s full of the 4 horseman. That fake thing people do before marriage, apparently sometimes without even having a clue that they did it, is a killer!

        The original serial cheater I married when I was 19 definitely knew and did it on purpose, as he fully admitted later when we were having a conversation about if we should try to make a marriage work for the sake of our son…the same conversation when he said I’d just have to accept the real him, girlfriends on the side and all. But this marriage of over 19 year now that I’m still legally stuck in for not much longer, I hope, was totally different and I think he really didn’t know himself. And he’s worse off now than e er before with his grip on reality. (There’s some BIZARRE stuff he’s coming to think/believe and paste over top of reality lately! But luckily I finally got smart enough to just not respond at all.)

        1. FSM,
          I think your gravatar (or whatever you want to call it) is working! 🙂
          I wonder if the bizarre beliefs are residual from how he is coping. Either with more substances, or with denial. it is really, really hard to not blame someone and to accept our part in it. It is much easier to twist the facts and accuse other people.
          An example in my own life- I really did not fit in to the church I had been going to for 4 years. It was mostly young couples and lots and lots of children. But, I liked what was preached so I stayed. They really elevated community as something very essential for mental well being and for spiritual maturity. I am like- “Yes, Please!” – I agreed, and I really felt like God had spent the few years previous getting it through my head how much church/community/other people in my life is necessary . Except, the idea of community to them was also that it was “organic”- which I give credit to. Yes, real relationships in real life that are formed from real connection IS what can make community a safe place, a healing place and a place to grow. BUT, I didn’t fit. I don’t have kids, my experiences growing up weren’t like theirs, ect. ect. And they weren’t going to exert themselves to bring me in. I was left our of a lot of gatherings, I helped in the nursery, and got to know some of the kids but the parents were hard as hell to get to know. Everyone else seemed really tightly bonded.
          So, it being a church for crying out loud, It upsets me. And I want to blame the people, and the pastors. I really do. I don’t like seeing them in town. I get mad.
          But, I cant really blame them for being who they are and living their life and not having the time or the inclination to include me. I have to have enough in me to say- youre right. This isn’t enough for me. I am not getting what I need out of this relationship, so I need to make efforts to go find better. ect.
          There is no direct person to blame in the situation. Whose responsibility is it? I wouldn’t want a bunch of fake-ish interactions, anyway.
          But I feel cheated, I feel like I put in my quarter but I didn’t get my gum ball. And it makes me upset. Someone needs to be responsible for all this upset, right?

          I think it is a one of those things we humans do. It can become a problem when we absolutely don’t take any responsibility for the situation, or our own life, so we make up a different version of reality. One where we can salvage our ego and self image.

          Take of your self, and stay safe. Not meaning to put thoughts in your head- but just be cautious.

      2. Fromscratchmom,

        I’m not sure, but my hunch is that as you heal (and by you I really mean all of us), your bullsh*t meter will be more accurate. It’ll more accurately react to both your own bullsh*t and the bullsh*t of others. Even if we’re not sure if something is mainly ourselves being unreasonable or mainly someone else being unreasonable, or perhaps a clashing of values that requires some creative third solution, a compromise or perhaps even a break up, at least we can know we don’t know and take time to process before doing anything hasty. And this isn’t just romantic relationships obviously.

        If you have a sincere willingness to “next!” someone (or practice some other boundary where appropriate) pretty soon after an issue shows up AND the guy isn’t willing to accept influence even after you’ve put in good faith effort and self reflection, that will eliminate a lot of frogs. And I also think that often some part of people will pick up that you’re the kind of person who won’t accept being treated like a doormat and they’ll self select themselves out of your way if they want someone who will.

        Also getting really clear about some of your dealbreakers (though we can’t know everything in advance) and being very frank about this (for instance that you’ll only date men who’re interested in marriage if that matters to you, men who’s place you deem to have an appropriate level of cleanliness, and folks who start talking about how awful their exes were without any self reflection will get nexted right away. Whatever you deem necessary).

        I also think putting your foot down on some things early on can be effective in creating a foundation of “this will be a mutually respectful relationship or no relationship at all”. Say, if someone talks with contempt/sarcasm to you, calling them out on it and saying that you’re willing to discuss whatever they want, but only when they can speak to you respectfully.

        To be clear, I don’t think any of this is fool proof! We can all get conned, mistreated in various ways (aswell as being asses ourselves).

        Maybe a good test would be to see if guys you’re dating will be willing to read a long section from Gottman about accepting influence. 😉 I get that many will put on a good show at first though. But still, could be interesting to try it out. :p

      3. Linds, I totally get where you are with that. It is unfair and it is NOT according to God’s plan for a local congregation that there should be people who are basically ignored or not included. My soon-to-be-ex monster and I were both fairly naturally introverted and I kind of struggled with that. Who can you blame when you know part of the answer is to do better yourself reaching out to others? But still, it matters and no one is blameless as long as they are one of the people not reaching out to you and not showing you the love of Jesus Christ here on Earth. Being in a stronger congregation without having to drive 50 minutes to get to it is one of the reasons I am interested in moving although thanks to the monster I made be held hostage here in Ohio for a couple more years. I am much better off for that now that I have been driving way out into the countryside for church for the last few years. There are definitely a few who are showing me the love of God as I’m going through trials and they were kind and loving enough to keep praying for my other half to return to the Lord too, which I think is important. I need support but I don’t want it at the expense of what is real and right in God’s eyes, if you know what I mean. Yet even with having some great folks right now at church, I’m hoping sooner or later to go back to Georgia or Florida for many different reasons after having been in Ohio for 19 1/2 years now. I know a lot of people in both places and I know of really strong congregations where I already know people or know of the reputation they have like the church in Thessalonians “…and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing…” I know of a great group like that in Gettysburg PA as well, but I’m longing to return south and hopefully far enough south for winter sunshine. lol.

        God loves us. Remember how much!

      4. You may be right about my meter, Donkey! I guess I see the beginning of that at times such as when I knew better than to respond to these most recent accusations because whether I do or don’t won’t have any effect on how he wants to view me or whether he will still marinate his brain constantly or even if he believes the reality of the sky being blue. I know in a sense he is grasping at straws wanting to feel justified and feel like he is a good guy and can move on in good conscience, free to do as he pleases. There is simply nothing I can do for him to alleviate his guilt or change his circumstance that he chose for his future. His guilt complex that he tried so hard to make about me actually came from childhood. I guess if I want to tell people who to never marry, its a guy with mommy issues, or maybe a guy who you can see his mom and dad constantly treating each other badly.

        Boy do I have a willingness to next someone. lol. I better not get in a position to have to until it calms down a bit. 😉

        Yes, I think my deal-breakers are smarter now than they were before. I won’t put up with whiny or passive-aggressive. I won’t put up with sarcasm and contempt directed at mom and sisters. For Anitvan, I never would have put up with a Rance Burgess character! I find it totally mindblowing how some people now are publicly proclaiming themselves to be just that guy. The internet is a surreal place.

        I love the Gottman reading idea. I always loved reading and being read to. (Lucky that I am already healthy enough to remember fondly how much I loved the ex’s voice and still not care to put the rose colored glasses back on or get stuck emotionally/mentally/spiritually in any other way.) Also I’m a non-fiction girl sometimes so the whole thing would be unusually fabulous to me in more than one way. I kind of wonder if I’ll still have a “type” after this. If I ever did, it was that I tended to fall for guys who would rank pretty high for IQ. But I wonder who would I be attracted to now?

        I love the way you are so straight-forward on calling yourself and me out in being a mess or terrible sometimes too! Yes! I need to own my mistakes and learn and grow. In future I just need to do that growing as a solo act from here on out or only with a real man both deserving and demanding a real woman rather than someone I can only be a codependent mess with because he is that much of a mess himself.

  27. Since I’m on a roll with the Gottman quotes above I thought I might as well post this quiz on accepting influence that gives a good sense of what it looks like.

    Accepting Influence Questionnaire

    Read each statement and circle T for “true” or F for “false.”

    1. I am really interested in my partner’s opinions on our basic issues. T F
    2. I usually learn a lot from my partner even when we disagree. T F
    3. I want my partner to feel that what he or she says really counts with me. T F
    4. I generally want my partner to feel influential in this marriage. T F
    5. I can listen to my partner, but only up to a point. T F
    6. My partner has a lot of basic common sense. T F
    7. I try to communicate respect even during our disagreements. T F
    8. If I keep trying to convince my partner, I will eventually win out. T F
    9. I don’t reject my partner’s opinions out of hand. T F
    10. My partner is not rational enough to take seriously when we discuss our issues. T F
    11. I believe in lots of give and take in our discussions. T F
    12. I am very persuasive and usually can win arguments with my partner. T F
    13. I feel I have an important say when we make decisions. T F
    14. My partner usually has good ideas. T F
    15. My partner is basically a great help as a problem solver. T F
    16. I try to listen respectfully, even when I disagree. T F
    17. My ideas for solutions are usually much better than my partner’s. T F
    18 I can usually find something to agree with in my partner’s positions. T F
    19. My partner is usually too emotional. T F
    20. I am the one who needs to make the major decisions in this relationship. T F

  28. And here’s the scoring for those who choose to figure out if they really do accept influence of not. 😉

    Scoring: (it sounds confusing, but we promise it’s very simple!)
    1. Give yourself one point for each “true” answer, except for questions 5, 8, 10, 12, 17, 19, 20.

    2. Subtract one point for each “true” answer to questions 5, 8, 10, 12, 17, 19, 20.

    6 or above: This is an area of strength in your relationship. You willingly cede power to your spouse, a hallmark of an emotionally intelligent marriage.

    Below 6: Your marriage could stand some improvement in this area. You are having some difficulty accepting influence from your spouse, which can cause a marriage to become dangerously unstable. The first step to righting the situation is to understand just what it means to accept influence.

    If you scored 6 or above on this questionnaire, congratulations! Remember that this doesn’t mean that you can simply skip working on this skill. As with all levels of The Sound Relationship House, attention and effort are required if you want to nurture a stable and healthy bond. If you did not score high, do not panic. By using the Gottman Method to work on accepting each other’s influence, your score is bound to increase.

    1. Thanks, Hon!

      (Haha, turns out I can’t do it from my apple products either. At least I can from my pc!)

  29. One memory I have: When I left, I gave my ex a spreadsheet of all the utilities – which ones he needed to call to put in his name, date action was required, etc. (They won’t let you put utilities in someone else’s name; the new billing contact has to do it.)

    A week later the electric company showed up to shut off his power and he called ME because clearly this was MY fault and a way I was trying to screw with him.

    What else could I possibly have done? Nothing. But this is a classic example of the stuff Matt is talking about.

    1. Eeek!

      Do you think a small part of him very deep inside knew he was being unreasonable, or do you think he honestly believed through and through that it was your fault?

      1. I do believe he felt I did it on purpose to screw with him. To this day, he’ll tell you why our marriage ended was “everything was fine, then one day she went nuts and left.” So. ??

      2. I would seriously be interested in hearing his reasonings for why this was your fault. I may of course be missing something, but I can only conclude that he is delusional to some degree about this. You gave him all the needed info, neat and tidy in writing.

        Or did he think you, despite giving him the info, were colluding with the electrical company to have his power shut off or something?! That you asked them to do it or whatever?! If he thought that, him thinking it was your fault would make more sense at least. :p

  30. Heading to my sit in on my first group session. This will be my church for the next several weeks.
    Luck and prayers appreciated!

    1. Oooh, I wasn’t aware you were doing something like this. Good for you. Good luck! 🙂

      1. Thanks Donkey! There seems to have been some communication problem (not unusual…) No group. We’ll probably make a psychoeducational group, but what I understood was that 2 of us would be co-facilitating a group that was already ongoing. (I was really looking forward to it, maybe even for the things I could get out of it : ) ..
        Thanks for responding though. It seems like I talk to you guys more than I do people I know in person. (except for the rare few). That’s just how it is right now.
        Hope its not off putting.

  31. I hope any single young men reading these comments isn’t suckered into trying to implement a marriage where both spouses are equal. In my experience, that is a prescription for failure…and it is also directly in contravention to God’s law, i.e. “Wives, submit to your husband as to the Lord”.

    Men, it’s fine to take your wife’s preferences into account as you would any piece of data…but in the end, you have the final say on any moderately important decision. You must be clear on this, and she must accept it willingly and happily. Otherwise, don’t marry her. That simple.

    And with marriage being such a risky endeavor for men nowadays, with all the laws and the courts and even popular culture against you, this requirement for a loving, devoted, obedient wife is the LEAST of the requirement you should have in place…in order to justify the risk of marriage in the first place. Other requirements should be: she cooks for you, is a great housekeeper, will make a great mother, is sexually enthusiastic and will “put out” for you on demand (“no” should not exist in her vocabulary), will not withhold sex as a weapon, will follow your direction in religious and spiritual matters, will defer to you in questions of how the children should be raised, isn’t a spendthrift with your money, and respects you as the head of the household. Oh, and doesn’t nag.

    When you come across a girl like this, marry her. And then raise your daughters to grow up to be like this…and they will marry well.

    1. This is stupid, lol, don’t date, don’t marry, don’t bother! If your gonna be this demanding and into getting your dick wet, don’t bother with marriage, just don’t…

    2. Jeff Strand said, “I hope any single young men reading these comments isn’t suckered into trying to implement a marriage where both spouses are equal.”

      The Bible teaches that men and women are equal in value, worth and God’s gift of new life.

      Jeff Strand said, “In my experience, that is a prescription for failure…and it is also directly in contravention to God’s law, i.e. “Wives, submit to your husband as to the Lord”.

      As someone pointed out earlier using the pew study, YOUR experience is not
      is not Universal.

      The Bible teaches that men and women are equal in value, worth and God’s gift of new life. Does that mean that men and women are going to function the exact same way? No. However, that does not change the fact that men and women equal in value, worth and God’s gift of new life. Indeed, the Bible says that wives should submit to their husbands, and that does not change the fact that men and women are equal in value, worth and God’s gift of new life. It’s not one or the other; it’s both.

      Jeff Strand said, “Men, it’s fine to take your wife’s preferences into account as you would any piece of data…but in the end, you have the final say on any moderately important decision.”

      That’s not biblical. Nabal also believed that he had the final say on important decisions, and one of his decisions almost got him and the men in his house killed. Nabal’s wife refused to comply with his foolish decision and took David and his men food and drink. Nabal made a foolish decision in that situation, but his wife made a wise one. As a result of her decision-making, she was able to prevent David from killing Nabal and the men in his house (1 Sam 25).

      Jeff Strand said, “You must be clear on this, and she must accept it willingly and happily. Otherwise, don’t marry her. That simple.”

      No she doesn’t. That’s not biblical. On the other hand, if a potential husband is demanding that he has the final say on any
      “moderately important decisions” sister don’t marry him. That’s a huge red flag. He just may be a man like Nabal, and men like that make terrible husbands and fathers and cause their families unimaginable grief.

      Jeff Strand said, “And with marriage being such a risky endeavor for men nowadays, with all the laws and the courts and even popular culture against you, this requirement for a loving, devoted, obedient wife is the LEAST of the requirement you should have in place…in order to justify the risk of marriage in the first place.”

      Marriage is a risky endeavor for men and women. It always has been. That’s really not new.
      Likewise, there are plenty of modern laws, courts and popular culture against women. The news is full of examples. For example, Alyce Common was fired from her longtime job at a Christian organization for failing to reconcile her marriage, although she complied with everything they asked her to do. The courts sided with the organization, although at least two men at the organization had divorced their wives, and were not disciplined or fired. The federal court ruled in favor of the organization.

      Jeff Strand said, “Put out on demand.”

      That’s terribly misguided, especially coming from a man professing Christianity. While I certainly agree that husbands and wives should not sexually deprive each other, your wife is not your own personal porn star. There are certain times when a wife can and should say no to sex with her husband: illness, he’s committing adultery, sexual transmitted disease prevention, unhealthy sexual positions. She doesn’t have to say yes under those circumstances.

      Jeff Strand said, “will follow your direction in religious and spiritual matters”

      Yeah, that’s what Jim Jones the cult leader told his wife, Marceline Baldwin, and we all know what happened to her.

      Jeff Strand said, “When you come across a girl like this, marry her. And then raise your daughters to grow up to be like this…and they will marry well.’

      There is absolutely no guarantee that virtuous women will marry well. Men who are faithful to God and their wives are hard to come by (Pro 20:6). Just look at Anna Duggar’s marriage.

      Jeff Strand said, “Also, a man must follow his mission in life (usually, but not always, this will be his career…since this will be how he supports his family). A wife’s mission is to support her husband in following his mission.”

      You make it sound like the husband’s mission is his job, while the wife’s mission is her husband and children. A man’s first ministry is his wife and kids, after God.

      Jeff Strand said, “This feels natural aan
      to her and is a comfort to her.”

      Again, you don’t speak for women. You are not a woman, so you really don’t know what FEELS natural or comfortable to a woman. You only know what you have heard. Women (like men) are not monolithic. Therefore, what might feel natural and be a comfort for one woman may not be for another.

      1. Correction: Alyce Conlon was fired.

        I also wanted to add Genesis 21:12 to the assertion that husbands have final say on important decisions.
        God told Abraham to do whatever his wife told him to do concerning a very important household matter. In Genesis 21:12, the wife made the final decision on an important household matter. The husbands always and automatically have final say on important matters assertion is not in the Bible. There isn’t a chapter and verse in the Bible that states that a husband has the final say on important decisions. However, there are 2 detailed examples, Abigail and Sarah, where wives made the final decision on important family matters.

    1. Read the linked article, didn’t care for it. While it’s fine to work on reducing the amount of selfishness in your life, I disagree with the author that your goal in marriage is to make the other person happy. As a matter of fact, before I got married I told my wife “Don’t expect me to make you happy – that’s not my job. Only you can make you happy”. She really took that to hart and even after all these years, she gives that out to other women as marriage advice.

      Your goal in marriage should be to fulfill your role as a husband or wife. In both cases this means you love your spouse. For the husband it also means you provide for her and protect her (and the kids), for the wife it means you submit to him, respect him, and devote yourself to the raising of the children.

      Also, a man must follow his mission in life (usually, but not always, this will be his career…since this will be how he supports his family). A wife’s mission is to support her husband in following his mission. This feels natural and to her and is a comfort to her. But if a man makes his wife be his mission, he is Jair asking for trouble, esp that his wife will lose respect for him.

      1. Jeff, I’m not going to intentionally engage with you further. You’ve made it abundantly clear in several different comment sections that you reject Ephesians 5:25, I Peter 3:7 and numerous other passages. I’m making it a point in life to avoid ongoing futility with unrepentant users and abusers. I’ve avoided directly engaging in any mini-threads you’ve been spewing your masculinists hate and ludicrous claims to only calmly stating opinions no matter how vile, unhealthy, or cretinous previous comments were. And I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your anti-biblical teachings to other men or to everyone and your claims of not caring for your wife’s feelings or your disdain for your general responsibilities aside from your life’s quest for money out of any threads I’m involved in. It’s not my responsibility or position in life to teach you anything over the Internet. But I do have standing before God to love and follow Him and to be careful whether any men I put myself under the power of or even mildly associate with are godly or quite the opposite.

      2. Wow, fromscratch,

        I read your reply to me like 3 times and I still have no idea what you said. Oh well, such is life.

    2. I really enjoyed that article Scratchmom. Kind of funny, I just wrote a post for tomorrow about making one another happy. So while I understand we are all responsible for our own happiness, who wants go into a marriage with someone busy declaring, “it ain’t my job to make you happy?”

      1. Pretty much no one with good emotional, spiritual, and mental health, certainly not when that’s their reaction to the perfectly valid and well stated point of making the spouse happy in place of making yourself happy. But we can have hope for those few in the world who are great guys, those who will love and lead and care for and protect a wife as their own body so to speak. I believe it was in the comments under one of your own posts where one of the good guys commented so beautifully that he was going to do more to help his wife feel the love and protection she already had from the Lord and to know where it came from. God is good to show us the great ones here in this broken world.

      2. who wants go into a marriage with someone busy declaring, “it ain’t my job to make you happy?”

        Well, I do. And my wife did. Fifteen years later and counting, it’s worked out great. Btw, I previously dated a girl (and even got engaged to her) who thought it was my job to make her happy. I ended up calling off the engagement and breaking up with her (which she took very hard). She called me out of the blue last year after many years had gone by – she did eventually marry, though never had kids. Anyway, her life is falling apart…husband divorcing her, her family has disowned her, she put her soon to be ex-husband in jail a couple times so he now hates her guts, she has no money and is about to be both homeless and without a car. She struggles with depression and trying to maintain some kind of mental stability. And all I could think about is, what a bullet I dodged!

        Just goes to show, how important a decision it is to marry the right person.


      3. IB, are you laughing now? Come on from our separate ends of the Internet, share a silent moment of irony gallows humor with me. LOL

        1. None of us can really marry “the right person, ” Scratchmom. We can only be the right person ourselves.

          I pray God gives you a big dose of gallows humor because she who laughs, lasts. 🙂

      4. I’m with you there. IB. It’s the essence of life, becoming more like the person God want me to be, isn’t it? Thank-you for all you do to let your light shine, to encourage and uplift. 🙂

      5. I also had read that article some time ago. Just wanted to tell you ladies that you are awesome 🙂 I love this community Matt has created. My personal thinking is that no one else is responsible for my happiness. I so so so agree with the “two wholes make a good marriage” idea.

        However, if I’m in a marriage, that person is responsible to ensure that his actions are not causing a general unhappiness in me (and vice versa of course), and to understand that loving someone does, in fact, mean that you look for things you can do to make them happy, and that their happiness and contentment does, in fact, play a role in your decision making.

        1. Agreed, Beth-
          With the community here, and with two wholes (who will want to make each other happy, even if it isn’t their job!..:)

  32. My ex didn’t suffer any hurt and pain AT ALL! And if he did, he sure hid it well in the bosom of the heffa that he left me for. He cried for a little bit in the beginning and then went on about his merry way like I was merely a dream that he had been dreaming for 15 years. But there was no hurt from him like the one that you were describing. Sorry, Matt, but this article I’d have to politely disagree with you on. To this day, he can not and will not show any kind of cordial politeness to me. And it wasn’t me that decided to divorce, it was all of his own volition. I’m sure there is the most minute part of him that is (was) sad, but it didn’t last long at all. Narcissists can bounce back quicker than a jack rabbit.

  33. Hello, Hello Hello!!!

    I have missed you all so very much. Those of you who would “rather light a single candle than curse the darkness” welcome back. I am so glad that our “warrior poet” has joined us again and or course ZombieDrew. Lisa, and Anitvan, from scratch mom, Donkey, linds01 and all you lovely folk — you add so much to the conversations here. Keep The Lights Lit!!

  34. Hey, I really wanted to weigh in after reading your article. Firstly yes, I agree it is a broad generalisation and not meant to be taken too much to heart.

    One thing that struck me about what you said is that men do not give enough during their marriage.

    I hope it is ok on here to disagree with you. Mine is also a broad generalisation. But men, I believe, on the whole, sacrifice much more and give so much more to a marriage than women. Men are far from self entitled. Men are sold this idea of sacrifice being a great thing in return for having stability and endless love.

    The reality is though, than no matter how you sway it, men, in marriage, in general are the main money earners. And they must be, because women have a genetic urge to procreate and bare children. It is ingrained in them.

    Somebody explained a mans view to me on children and it really struck me:

    (In general)

    Men do not want children. They love their wife enough to want her to have children and when the child arrives, the man will give his life for that child with unconditional love.

    The difference is, women generally always want children (not necessarily a husband), but men want children when they know they will have one, as in, when one is on the way. And they do it because of the love for their wife (or partner).

    While she stops work, he works harder to provide. And as there is only one of him, he must be at work, not at home. He pays the bills. And he tends to the jobs around the house. He is the one expected to by the flowers and the little gifts.

    While, in general, I have seen many men AND women physically unhealthy and lazy en masse, the men I know who actively live a healthy lifestyle and strive to achieve bigger financial goals, expect more credit now and more guarantees in return for what they are expected to give and to sacrifice. Otherwise, they see no point in committing to the one relationship. Why? Because while it seems defeatist, the statistics are overwhelming that marriages and long term relationships do not survive, so why commit?

    There are so many life skills men can learn to make this world better. Committing to a relationship that will drain his life force is not an option.

    If a man has children, he should love them with all his being, regardless of what his ex wife is telling them. But in their absence, he should use all his new spare time to create abundance in adventure, career, finance, health and international romance. There is definitely a path to follow for men.

    Anything I saw i expect to come across as sexist. It is not my intent. I am a man and I see what men give of themselves and are expected to give. Even democracy was created by men. If women wanted to create Google, they could have. Same for Facebook. Same for Microsoft, Apple, Virgin… all of them. These creators sacrificed their time for a greater cause that left a legacy. When you think right and do right, life will become right.

    Men can be very emotionally responsive to women. Sometimes, men just want to solve the problem. Men can be humble and can listen. That said, there seems to be more outlets available for women than for men to seek counselling and support in divorce. Men just will move n with their lives. Hopefully they can do it in a constructive, meaningful manner.

    1. I agree with a lot of what you said here.

      You come close in a couple of spots to saying something akin to “Men are better than woman at [insert thing here],” and that’s where I stop short.

      There are a group of people who would say that women have been denied opportunity to do and create in business, and spent their entire lives being told who and what they should be (not an entrepreneur), instead of being encouraged to explore and conquer as most boys are.

      All that said, I agree that men sacrifice a lot.

      Here’s where I come out:

      All of us — men and women — should define what we want and pursue those things.

      If men want to pursue business, money, individual hobbies, casual dating, etc, then THEY SHOULD DO THAT.

      But when we add “Marriage” to that list, the game changes. Marriage requires certain things. And in my estimation the average man doesn’t have a clear picture if what that looks like when he’s 25 or whatever and getting married.

      In marriage, one must rise up and give what’s necessary to make marriage a good thing. And most of us don’t, BUT, most of us don’t because we don’t know what those things are.

      I think people should get married if they want, and avoid it if they don’t.

      And I think it’s our responsibility to help young people KNOW what marriage takes. Currently, we are failing our youth, just as previous generations failed us.

      They didn’t fail us negligently or because of laziness.

      They just didn’t know either.

      We must change how this works.

      I’m not advocating marriage nor the single life. I’m not telling anyone who they should or shouldn’t be.

      But I am, humbly, I hope, suggesting that GETTING MARRIED AND SCREWING IT UP is a major societal problem, and we should be attacking the root causes of the problem rather than going ape shit with MGTOW and/or certain segments of the feminist community.

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