What’s Next For MBTTTR?

Comments 29

(Image/The Bridge)
“Shit or get off the pot,” is a fairly common idiom where I’m from.

Aside from evoking troubling images of Jesuit standoffs and triggering my (somewhat exaggerated, but totally real) bathroom-related phobias, it translates loosely to “Make a decision, you mook!” or “Start actually doing the things you keep saying you want to do!”

It’s also one of those times where it’s more okay than usual to write or say bad words. #smallwins

This blog has been a great project for me since drunkenly posting my first amidst my darkest days as a human being 40 months ago.

But we need to get serious about next steps. It’s time.

I hope you’ll help.

I want to do and be more than some random idiot writing the same stories using different metaphors over and over again on his blog.

The conversations we have here about marriage and human relationships matter. Maybe more than anything.

We all have our own individual goals and interests and dreams and pursuits. Things we chase, perhaps because we believe there will be some great sense of reward, happiness and forever-satisfaction if we ever get around to capturing it.

But no matter what is going on in our lives—no matter how wealthy, or accomplished, or “successful” we are in those individual pursuits—the quality of our human relationships is the most influential factor in how good or bad our lives are.

When we have conflict with those we’re closest to—spouses, partners, siblings, parents, children, friends, co-workers—life can get unpleasant in a hurry.

Only deteriorating health can affect us more profoundly, but even in a worst-case scenario, the unhealthy person who loves and feels loved can speak honestly about a life well lived in ways physically healthy people with crappy relationships cannot.

This. Stuff. Matters.

What Do You Want?

People ask me for books.

People ask me for coaching.

People ask me for membership forums.

People ask me for video content.

People ask me to speak to groups.

It remains difficult for me to wrap my head around that. I still think of myself as little more than some idiot blogger.

And I’m mostly right about that. I AM mostly just an idiot blogger. But for the right people, I’m something else too.

I am—for the right people—able to communicate concepts they’ve been unable to communicate in their biggest life problem regarding the things and people they care most about. Their marriages. Their families. Their close personal relationships.

Their very way of life is threatened by the brokenness that creeps in sneakily through the years, poisoning our hearts and minds, further damaging our already-shitty translators so that we can’t understand each other, adding anxiety, fear, shame, guilt, depression, cynicism and apathy to our already-heavy loads.

It’s terrifying when you feel doom coming.

It cripples you when the bombs finally drop.

There is no amount of money, material wealth, fame or “success,” that can help broken humans wake up in the morning happy to be alive when EVERYTHING hurts. People try to numb it with alcohol or drugs. Distract from it with escapism or sex. But there’s nowhere to run.

It follows us. Tries to consume us. Tries to kill us.

Until we unbreak.

There are many brilliant and scholarly people out there who fundamentally understand what it takes to heal the broken. People who are smarter and know more than I ever will.

But—and this applies to every husband, wife, person in an argument, politician, lobbyist, etc. who has ever lived—how much does it matter how true or right what you’re saying is if no one ever listens anyway?

My gift or purpose or value seems to be my ability to frame relationship problems in ways that resonate with people.

So, even if I never bring any good ideas to the table, if my ability to effectively communicate important concepts to the right people can be the difference between a family or marriage staying together and thriving, or breaking and creating life-long regrets, then—no matter what—I have something to offer.

I really care about the things I write here. It breaks my heart to see or hear about children crying as they wave goodbye to one of their parents. More than three years later, it still breaks my heart to wave goodbye to mine.

So, What’s Next?

I must decide. We must decide.

I think it makes sense for me to eventually transition Must Be This Tall To Ride into a multi-contributor publication. I think it makes sense for me to build out my own site, where perhaps I can combine my passion for these subjects and desire to help into something tangible that actually CAN help.

It seemed asinine to me to position myself as any sort of relationship expert or fake-ass therapist. That’s not what I am.

I am, for lack of better terms, a translator. An explainer. A decent question-asker.

And perhaps there’s a place for someone like that to work more directly with humans trying to find their way through difficulty, or who want to avoid it altogether.

I want to collaborate with others to create content of lasting value. I want to write books. And have conversations. I want to discuss the formulation of programs and curriculum developed by the appropriate thought leaders, tailored for the appropriate audiences and executed in ways that create fundamental, paradigm-shifting change in the way people think about their human relationships.

People are afraid, sad, angry, broken, and the thing that can help heal those wounds most effectively is the simple realization that we’re not alone. That others are fighting the same battles.

My story is your story.

People don’t read this stuff because they care very much about things that happened to me.

People read this stuff because it connects with them on a deeply personal level, and because things I thought, felt or experienced are the same types of things they think, feel and experience.

It was never about me. It was always about them.

All of this, if it ever has the chance to matter, must be about you.

Please help me take this thing somewhere where good things can happen. Good must spread.

It must.

If you care about the things we talk about here, I hope you’ll share any ideas or suggestions you have about evolving into whatever comes next.

Thanks, everyone.

29 thoughts on “What’s Next For MBTTTR?”

  1. completelyinthedark

    You know, sometimes it’s about taking a rest. We’re not all machines. And look at all the great work you’ve done already. Life-changing for many people. cheers MM

  2. I look forward to the alerts that there’s something new from you. You’re my catharsis. I hope you continue MBTTTR, but it is all about what’s best for you. I will definitely buy any book you write.

  3. *LOVE*

    I want to help! (I have no idea of in what capacity or if that is even possible, but I am willing to do whatever I am able as it comes up.)

    I love the thought of a curriculum that could actually be shared in high schools, or in other arenas where adolescents/ young adults participate in.
    I even recently thought that maybe you could write a book aimed at highschool and college kids about relationships. I remember seeing a book about surviving highschool that was aimed at Jr. high kids. It was pretty funny but offered some valid points and considerations.
    Highschool kids (especially boys) may not be thinking about marriage per se, but talking about how to be in relationship in a way that is fun and relatable would be huge.

    You outlined something’s you’d like to see happen.
    Taking one step at a time, with each step building on the next is the most sustainable way to go about it.
    So, I have to give it back to you and ask- what is the most reasonable next step?
    But I think it’s freaking awesome that I am reading this post!! 🙂

  4. May I speak selfishly for a moment? (Oh man…this is going to be uber selfish…you’ve been warned). DON’T DO ANYTHING ELSE!!! I’m only having a childish tantrum about this because I feel like all the bloggers I’ve been following lately have recent book deals which have taken them to exotic places, put them on the Today show, and taken them out of my life forever. They’ve gotten “big for their britches” as the kids say.

    However, that being said – your message is clutch (yes, I’m trying to bring that word back), and I wouldn’t have found you if I didn’t Google search “do I have a shitty husband?”, and everyone who needs to read your perspective may not ever Google that themselves. So…is there a way for you to spread your message without ending up on the Today show? Maybe I can settle with you ending up on Live with Kelly Ripa….because who doesn’t love Kelly Ripa?

  5. Great stuff, Matt. For quite a while, I had been thinking of contacting you about your book you’re writing! And I need to start pulling the trigger on several things like that that is been thinking of the future!

  6. Your ability to distill these ideas to the fundamental is incredible. I stand with completelyinthdark. Take a break for a few…days, weeks, maybe months. If you want to colaborate, maybe work with some of your regular commenters to let them share their observations a little bit. I think that stepping back for a while from this platform that you’ve launched will change your perspective a bit.

    Step back for a while. See this differently. Let it set in. THEN look towards the next evolution. This is YOUR story. Write it as you see fit. I may not speak for all but I think most of us support you.

  7. I think it would amazing to move this conversation to a wider audience. Not sure what vehicle you should/would use, but I feel like this blog and ALL of its content should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in an intimate relationship. My marriage has ended but I found your dishes post JUST as I was making the decision to get divorced. Reading it momentarily gave me hope (AHA! HE GETS IT! OMG I JUST NEED MY HUSBAND TO SEE THIS). So, I blasted off a few of your links to my husband and tried talking about it. Ultimately, and unfortunately my husband is not one of the good guys who do shitty things. He’s also a pretty shitty guy too. And that combination of shitty behavior from a shitty guy who is never wrong and so coddled by everyone just made reconciliation impossible. My divorce feels isolating a lot and coming here gives me such a great sense of community that fuels me into each week. You have been very honest. Truly. Possibly the most honest voice on divorce and how crippling it is because we still have to navigate our days doing things, walking around, smiling and pretending that our world isn’t exploding before our eyes. You also helped me understand things about my husband I never did previously. A lot of what you say about upbringing and societal norms re marriage resonated with me. In particular, my culture makes the “work” of marriage unbalanced and very difficult for women. It really takes so much emotional intelligence, empathy and compassion to make a relationship work, and men in particular, are not often taught this. I say all this to say, anywhere you take this, people will follow because it is THAT important and it touches everyone. I’ve shared your posts with other married friends to start conversations with their husbands. I’ve shared it with my gfs with boyfriends. I’ve shared it with my mother and father because from reading here, I connected so many dots that I just didn’t realize were connected before and my parent’s marriage really influenced how I was in my marriage as well. It’s relevant across the board. I’m even very much a reader of Mark Manson now because of you. Keep going forward. Expand or not, just keep doing this stuff. Thanks also for always answering emails.

  8. People are afraid, sad, angry, broken, and the thing that can help heal those wounds most effectively is the simple realization that we’re not alone. That others are fighting the same battles.- This sentence is why you need to keep writing your blog! But maybe also take a step back from thinking so much about how it should evolve and just let it. I started writing my blog (I may have been a little buzzed when I posted my first story too lol) to heal myself and funny thing is I found other people were able to relate to what I am writing and actually followed me (still surprised and humbled about that). I’ve been called brave (this makes me shake my head no, no, no), gifted (no), real (yep), honest (yep). My point? I am still writing for me – it makes me happy, sad, conflicted, you name it, I’m feeling it. I’ve had people tell me to just keep writing and that’s what I will do.I am telling you to just keep writing – you’ll figure it all out. As you evolve so will your blog and your book or wherever your path leads. Follow your gut and don’t sell yourself short. People follow you for a reason – they’ll keep following no matter what path you choose.

  9. Matt, thank you for your generosity and humility. Nobody can know the right steps but you. And I think it’s wise to reach out for suggestions from your audience. Maybe a parallel story could help?
    My extra-curricular activity has revolved around physician health for a while now, and recently it has accelerated in exposure and opportunity. In the last two years I have presented locally and nationally, to physicians, other medical staff, and now corporate execs. It all happened really organically, because I talked anybody’s ear off whenever they let me. Eventually people knew what I was about and invited me to share with their tribes. It looks like a lot of people know what you’re about, and have approached you to engage in different forums, too. I encourage you to take a perspective of curiosity, and just start trying things out. Go give a talk, participate in a panel discussion, or tackle a short-term writing collaboration. You never know what will work until you try it, and you don’t have to commit to anything big right away. I think the key is always to be true to your own mission. It will resonate with those on the same or a harmonious wavelength. Once you find them, then you can decide together what the next steps are. No matter what, you will learn and grow, and it seems to me that that is what you’re after, too. Best wishes! ?

  10. I like Dr. Cheng’s suggestions and approach. Trying different things on a small scale seems like a solid way to see what just works and is the best fit. But here’s the thing, Matt, if you’re looking to progress the blog into a different forum it’ll take time and energy. Change always does. So what are you going to do differently in the rest of your life to make that work?
    You don’t have to answer that but it’s something to think about. It’s a question I ask myself whenever I’m looking at taking on a new venture. We have a finite amount of time and energy to spread around. It’s like peanut butter on bread (extra chunky 🙂 ), if we move some here there’s less left over there. So where will the metaphorical peanut butter needed to morph the blog come from?

  11. Fantastic Matt! I don’t know what I would do without MBTTTR, hope you continue … And you do have a gift and I’m so thankful you are sharing it! What about a MBTTTR book? Or a book or two/collection of the open letters? I would love to have those, in a book, in the house to highlight and mark-up for the husband! I’m looking forward to whatever is next!

  12. All I can say is, DO IT! The continuum of learning is:

    Unconsciously unskilled (you’re a happy doofus because you don’t know what a doofus you are)

    Consciously unskilled (you finally know what a doofus you are but don’t know what to do about it, a painful place to be!)

    Consciously skilled (you now know what you’re doing, but it’s hard, you have to think about every single thing you do and how you do it, how to do it)

    Unconsciously skilled (it’s a breeze! You are highly knowledgeable and skilled. Right responses just come to you automatically.)

    The reason you can connect with people is because you are somewhere in the consciously skilled range. This is the best place for a teacher or mentor to be! The experts you study and cite are unconsciously skilled. They don’t remember the steps they took to get where they are, so they can’t walk someone else through them. An expert who becomes unconsciously skilled but stays in touch with the process becomes a superteacher/super-mentor. (See “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell.)

    I learned this in training as a reading specialist, now retired. I still tutor, and I can bring literally anyone from non reading to appropriate grade level in less than a year of weekly sessions or a couple months of daily sessions. I’m a Super-teacher in this one small area. There’s a nifty chart for this.

    Got, Matt! Change our world!

    Big hug,


    1. April, thank you for this! It looks like s very useful and easily applied framework. And we all live at each stage for different things! A great tool for self-exploration! ?

  13. I realize I am taking up more than my fair share of space on this, but I did have some lingering thoughts …

    I sort of want to drag the needle across the record in regards to my previous comment, because I think your voice is speaking mostly to people at risk of divorce (which is the entire married population and most of the children who will one day grow up and get married).

    And while things like knowing yourself, empathy and loving others, ie: having friend relationships to having romantic love and marriage, are all a part of that it was the pain of your divorce that opened your eyes to understanding what you were missing in regards to all those other elements.

    For whatever reason, I have had my own sort of “vision” for MBTTTR. It may not be your vision, Matt- but I can share mine if that helps at all.

    I can totally see you talking to men’s groups.
    I can totally see you talking to high school students (you could be the guy who gets them out of class early- only way, way cooler)
    I can see you speaking at Ted to other “thought leaders” about the need for this conversation.

    These are outside of the blog. It can take some preparation time, but reaching out to mens groups (in churches, in fraternities, where-ever ..I dont know where you men hang out) in your local area would not be something that needed to be consistently maintained.

    Is public speaking a scary thought?

    If you want more consistent and real participation, maybe you can do a sort of mens small group meeting where you can develop relationships and talk about this stuff.
    Maybe you can start with one or two of your friends, and maybe a few of their friends, and few of their friends, friends. ..

    I can see the blog being a resource for people that are divorced, struggling to stay married, and people who just are interested in personal growth and learning how to be more themselves, and more loving in the world.
    It can be a resource for both those just wanting to read your’s and other contributer’s posts, and a resource for connecting people.
    There would need to be a extensive changes in the format. Maybe the blog part could be open to the public, but any sort of support forum would be for subscribers.

    This takes energy, and resources. Are there people you can recruit to help develop this?

    I can see you finishing and publishing your book (s).

    I guess it goes back to what I asked before- what is the next reasonable step?

    Is it finishing your book?

    Whatever it is-

    What do you need to do to get there?

    What are somethings that will help you do what you need to do to get there?

    That’s all I have.

  14. Matt,
    I have benefited tremendously from MBTTTR. I literally remember typing the words ‘shitty husband’ into my search engine and up it popped like a golden nugget of wisdom when I needed it most. It has done as much or more to shift my thinking than anything else I’ve tried over the years. The primary value for me was the source; the voice of an ‘everyman’ who somehow was able to tap into the energy of the intense pain generated by a broken relationship and move beyond shame and blame into an objective evaluation of what contributed to it.
    I am in agreement with linds01 that this content somehow has to be delivered to an expanded audience; the ‘pre-shitty husband set’, if you will! I also think it’s critical to promote your ideas of how parents and mentors of boys and young men inadvertently contribute to the development of future shitty husbands through cultural norms that seem harmless and even beneficial, but subsequently have negative consequences in future relationships.
    In gratitude and with best wishes – you are making a difference!

  15. Matt, this is the best idea you have shad yet, start in the school
    systems, I would suggest going big. “I want to discuss the formulation of programs and curriculum developed by the appropriate thought leaders, tailored for the appropriate audiences and executed in ways that create fundamental, paradigm-shifting change in the way people think about their human relationships.”

  16. kirstencronlund

    I definitely think you have something to contribute to an even larger audience – through more writing, through coaching, through speaking to groups. I’d love to collaborate with you on this (even coach you through the process if that helps). I think I might have something valuable to contribute to your process because of my study of psychology and relationships – and my training as a coach. Let me know if you’d like to chat. kirsten@cronlund.com

  17. Someone wise once said, “Love is the horse, happiness is the cart.” I concur with MM that you take the time to rest and reflect. Your audience won’t dry up or your collaborators disappear. I also liked Dr. Cheng’s suggestion to try things incrementally, as experiments. We have to try, fail, improve or give up, to grow. As a perceptive and caring person, I’m sure you will make good decisions if you tune into what you love and what inspires you. Best of luck.

  18. I’m sure that whatever you decide to do Matt, you will do well. One reason is that you possess some gifts; intelligence, humor, writing ability, and a curiosity about the truth. The second is that you have received the grace of a spiritual awakening from the default set, egocentric state of humanity to a more global one. Some people seem to benefit from your blog because they wake up from some confusing pain they were unaware they caused by being self-centered. Others realize the source of their suffering is that they’ve been assuming they were in an egalitarian relationship and had spent a lot of fruitless effort trying to make reality fit their expectations. When I am at a crossroads, I like to seek out quiet time on a retreat or seek the advice from the wise individuals I’ve gotten to know. You’re ideas are like a ray of hopeful light, and I admire that you want to stop the pain you felt. I think you are in a unique position to do so.

  19. “…how much does it matter how true or right what you’re saying is if no one ever listens anyway?”

    I think you are presuming that “listening” means “doing what I say”. In many cases, we listen to what is said, but do not act accordingly, even if we agree that we should.

    “I think it makes sense for me to eventually transition Must Be This Tall To Ride into a multi-contributor publication.”

    That sounds good, but what happens if the various contributors disagree with each other? Much like a business partnership, it is likely to be unpleasant or difficult.


    Perhaps a brief sabbatical is in order. Take the time to evaluate what you have done and said. Review your posts and develop your ideas to be the basis for a book or speaking. If not a complete break, just commit to only 1 post a week, perhaps reviewing a concept you find important.

  20. I’m very often impressed with the wisdom and discussion in the comments. I’m sure many of the commenters are bloggers, too, and have a post or two they’d love to share. Perhaps if you saw something you thought would resonate, you could reblog and/or have some guest posts. Expand your “experience base” by bringing in other perspectives on similar lines of thought.

  21. So, I’ve been wondering if I should comment for days but the events of the election last night helped me frame my response about the importance of your message – however distilled and delivered.
    As a Canadian and a woman I think the reason Clinton was not elected over her obviously less fit for public office male counterpart – it was painfully obvious in Obama’s speech this afternoon. He was “proud” of her job as Secretary of State as opposed to respecting the job she did. It’s her right to be proud of herself. I can be proud of my kids.
    I have been sole breadwinner for my family of five for 15 years in a male dominated field (with the school debt of a small country you have referred to)- and my husband may be proud of me for that, but does he respect it ? I don’t feel it by his actions and words. But I know that’s his issue, not mine. It is my job to demand the respect I deserve.
    As long as we have to demand respect vs expect it your message is necessary and imperative for my daughter to live in a world that deserves her.

  22. What you do is definitely worthy of a larger audience, and also suitable for monetization, if that’s a goal. Selfishly, I’d hope for a continued WP presence because the platform makes it simple for me to follow a relatively large and vigorous network of preferred writers efficiently. I have noticed when bloggers leave WP I tend to lose track of them because my own participation can be fitful. Lots of ways to accomplish that–keep the blog but post teasers and links to a standard web page, for example. As for the video content, I hate being forced to listen and watch to something I could more easily read. I’m an old guy, of course, but autoplay videos irk me. Sitting through bandwidth-gobbling commercials for shit I’ll never ever buy irks me too. I think many of the ideas you suggest would be great–other perspectives and voices would add to your brand and, if you select carefully, can be fruitful as host and contributor fan bases cross over. Whatever you choose, keep us posted–and good luck.

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