She Divorced Me Because I Was Nicer to Strangers Than I Was to Her

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couple fighting in public
(Image/Bao Moi)

I was usually nicer to strangers than I was to my wife.

People I didn’t know and would never see again. I treated them with patience, courtesy and politeness.

But the person who lived in the same house, gave birth to my son, and did more for me than anyone else? I often didn’t extend those same courtesies to her.

While I was oblivious to most of my missteps as a husband, I was fully aware of this—something I’ve noticed about myself from childhood: I sometimes treat total strangers better than the people I love most.

From age 5 on, I lived with my mom nine months out of the year. I lived with my dad, who lived hundreds of miles away, the other three months (school breaks).

I was observably nicer to my dad than my mom.

Throughout my relationship with my wife, she would point out instances when she felt I was being mean, or impatient, or thoughtless toward her, and that it hurt her feelings because as she was feeling that way, she could see me being kind, patient and thoughtful toward others, even strangers. She wondered why I couldn’t treat her that way, too.

My defense was always something like: “I LOVE you. I married you. Everything I have is yours,” arguing that should somehow earn me the benefit of the doubt.

I don’t know why I did that, felt that, or thought that.

I have a little boy in third grade who I love in ways I don’t know how to articulate. He’s my favorite everything.

But sometimes, I’m kind of a dick to him, and I hate it.

When he gets crumbs on the floor, or makes some mistake that is probably super-standard for little boys in third grade, or otherwise “fails” whatever expectations I have for him in a given moment, I sometimes respond with anger and a little harshness.

Sometimes I imagine if the last words I ever said to him were angry or prick-ish, and then I died in a car accident or something.

I almost feel like crying when I mentally put myself there.

I was nicer to other adults than I was to my parents.

I was nicer to other people than I was to my wife.

I was and am sometimes nicer to other children than I was or am to my son.

We know that we love the people we love. But the people we love only know we love them when they see, hear and feel evidence of that love. They don’t just psychically or magically feel good because of our thoughts and intentions.

When we are nicer to others than we are to them, they can begin to question whether we actually do love them.

I don’t know what that does to a parent when their child treats others better than them as I’m still in My Dad Can Do No Wrong Land, which will surely go away in the next couple of years. Not looking forward to finding out what that’s like.

Bad things happen to children who feel unloved and unaccepted by their parents.

And bad things happen to people who feel unloved, unwanted or rejected by their spouses.

All because we sometimes treat strangers better than people we love.


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As Always, You’re Not the Only One

The term is “selfobject.” And you and I have “selfobject needs” and when these needs go unfulfilled, we lose our sense of self, feel shittier about our lives, treat ourselves and other people worse, and inadvertently damage all of our relationships, including our marriages.

Psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut figured this out and coined the term in the mid-twentieth century, and therapist F. Diane Barth illustrated it with examples from one of her married-couple clients in her excellent article “Why It’s Easier to be Kind to Strangers Than Our Partners” which I discovered by typing almost that exact phrase into Google.

“At some point in every relationship, partners, parents, siblings, friends, and even children provide psychological and emotional functions for us that we cannot provide for ourselves.”

Most people—even non-parents—can probably relate to married couple Bob and Ann.

The couple struggled for years to conceive a child.

When they finally did, they welcomed a colicky newborn into the world who cried nonstop every night for a long time.

The first thing that happened was all of the happy things they’d imagined in their heads about starting a family looked and felt quite different in real life. It was supposed to be amazing and feel good. But mostly it was exhausting and felt bad.

Bob and Ann both are stressing out, big-time.

Ann feels like a crappy mother.

Bob feels helpless but tries anyway by offering suggestions. The suggestions anger Ann. She cries and lets him know how much harder he’s making it on her.

He withdraws. She feels abandoned.

This is totally NOT how I thought this would go, they think.

Stress is hard on marriage and relationships even when the stress is good, like moving into a new house, taking a new job, or bringing a new child home.

“It is also common not to have compassion for one another during these times, even though it would seem that it would be exactly the most useful emotion in the moment,” Barth writes. “Why is it that we can be compassionate and kind to friends, relatives and even strangers in ways that we cannot muster for our loved ones?

“The answer is in part found in the meaning of compassion itself. One of the keys to compassion is empathy, which author and speaker Brené Brown defines as the ability to take another person’s perspective, to understand and appreciate what they are feeling. We expect our loved ones to do exactly this for us. Ann expected Bob to appreciate how badly she was feeling about herself as a mother, for instance. She also needed him to recognize how hard she was trying and to tell her that she was not a bad mother simply because her baby was not being soothed.

“But, as happens in relationships, Bob also had needs. In particular, he needed Ann to help him feel okay about himself as a partner. He needed to believe that she would know how to soothe their baby. And he desperately wanted her to let him know that they were going to be the family he had imagined they were.”

Kohut said people require “selfobject needs” to be met just like they need oxygen to breathe, from birth to death.

Kohut explained that humans use the RESPONSES of certain others—our romantic partners or parents or children or friends, etc.—to help us maintain a healthy, balanced, positive, stable sense of self.

In other words, we make those closest to us an actual part of ourselves, and those people provide important psychological and emotional functions for us that we can’t give ourselves.

We literally rely on loved-ones’ behavior to guide our beliefs about ourselves, and to know the person we believe ourselves to be and see in the mirror while brushing our teeth.

And when those others stop providing the responses we’re conditioned to expect, or that we grew accustomed to, we’re not really ourselves anymore. We stop being the person we thought we were.

And when people in marriages or romantic relationships of any kind become someone else, everything tends to break.

But you know that already.

Because it’s not just you. And it’s not just me. And that often makes us feel better to know we’re not in this alone.

But I don’t really feel that way about this, because it’s another in a LONG and distinguished list of things that cause divorce that WOULDN’T cause divorce if we were simply aware of it before it happened, or as it was happening.

I’m aware of many areas of my life that could use improvement. Sometimes, I take steps to make things better. Sometimes, I let bad habits continue to make my life worse and erode my relationships.

Even when I understand that my words and actions are accidentally hurting someone I love and care about, I still sometimes say or do those things thoughtlessly.

Maybe that will always be.

Or maybe some habits are simply harder to break, and I’ll get there one day.

I didn’t know how to make my wife feel loved.

I don’t know if I would know how to make her feel loved now.

I only know that a bunch of bad things happened because I was unaware of how my words and actions made her feel, and then everything got sick and died.

But you can’t treat an illness that you can’t diagnose.

And maybe now that we’ve identified it, we can do things better.

You deserve it.

And so do all the people who matter most.

If we can treat total strangers with kindness, using polite language and thoughtful action, I think we might be able to do the same for our spouses.

And since I don’t have one of those, I’m going to have to count on you find out.

62 thoughts on “She Divorced Me Because I Was Nicer to Strangers Than I Was to Her”

  1. I just think it’s amazing how self-aware you are. I’m sure it took time and effort to get to where you are but I applaud you for doing so. It’s always interesting to read your posts because they’re so informed. 🙂 Keep it up.

  2. So true, and yet so challenging to alter that dynamic. It has to do with familiarity. We get so comfortable with our loved ones. We trust they will continue to be there for us and forgive us when we are unkind because they know us so well. It takes a real inner strength to rise above and be present enough in the moment to treat our loved ones the same respect and kindness that we do for strangers. Not easy.

    Good topic.

  3. I completely agree that we sometimes treat others better than our spouses. I can excuse it. But what I cannot excuse is ignoring my complaints when I say something about it. When I ask repeatedly to treat me different, using clear and direct words, and you still don’t change, then I have nothing more to give. And I check out. So NOW is not the time to try to save this marriage. That ship has sailed. I’ve moved beyond hope to resignation and there is nothing left to save.
    It seems that men (or at least my husband) heard me telling him what my problems were with our interaction but because he was not uncomfortable, he saw no need to change. Nevermind that I was uncomfortable with his behavior, he wasn’t so why bother to change. But now I’m emotionally gone and he is trying to move heaven and earth to get me back but even now when I tell him exactly what my problems were, he cannot give me what I need. And he never asks what he can do to make it better. I guess I can see why he doesn’t ask how to improve our marriage, why ask for help if you always know the answer? If he had a problem with a stranger, or co-woker or friend, he’d ask what the problem was, listen and seek a solution. But with me, he not only didn’t ask, he didn’t try to change until it was too late.

    1. My husband is totally that kind of person and when i talked things out with him slowly, he tend to attack me or any family members if harsh words, blamed something that is not making sense when we comment something bout him. I dont know what to do.. should i leave him or hope that someday he’ll change

      1. Yes Pink, leave him. People who treat others better are not human beings yet. They do this, to satisfy their need of being appreciated by everyone. Do not be afraid of leaving such a person, who will take you for granted for the rest of your life. I know you are not happy, and you know deep inside you deserve to be a happy person.
        Just go for it, and dont listen to I will change stories. Such people made this their lifestyle and they enjoy it.

    2. KJCJ, very healing to read that I am not the only one…. the same thing is happening to us. Over and over again I gave him the benefit of the doubt, tried again, nothing ever changed. Then I completely shut down and he will never ask what is wrong (OK, he knows what is wrong), will never do anything to change it. For him love is about making jokes, giving cards and flowers and saying every morning and evening I love you, not about what comes from the heart but with other people, especially women, he is incredibly empathetic. I have had too many terrible experiences in my life, needed great twilight years, on my own or with someone, he promised them to me but seems intent on wrecking everything. After trying over and over again so many times I gave up. I can’t talk to anyone because to the outside world he is Mr. Perfect, who would believe me? We were supposed to be on this enlightened journey, artistically working together, he promised me that this was my time to shine after being in the background all my life, now we are heading for disaster. Life has lost all the meaning to me. What is there left over at my age? How could he be so cruel and still trying to show that it is all my fault, it is I who don’t see all his efforts to support me… I am a victim of abuse in my last marriage, he promised me that he was different but what I got was more of the same. Always frustrated, always making me feel bad about myself, which of course only exists in my imagination!

  4. We live what we learn. Growing up with alcoholic parents the game was ‘don’t let anyone know’. It was crazy and violent in the house, but we acted like everything was great outside it (even though we were never seen together as a family). Even though I did not drink I had the anger of an alcoholic and treated strangers and friends much better than my now ex-wife. And guess what? Tried to play the game ‘don’t let anyone know’. Had a nervous breakdown due to the divorce and break up of the family and realized I need to do everything the opposite of my natural incline. I’m kind of an ass to lots of strangers but not to my wife.

  5. This post is so timely in my life. I wonder if we don’t allow ourselves to get close to the ones we love or who we are supposed to love. Maybe the learned behaviour of managing non personal relationships or friendships is so ingrained in our though processes that we use this to prevent giving ourselves wholeheartedly to another person called our spouse. Maybe the pressure to continually be open and vulnerable is just too much. Polite conversation which may occur for just five minutes in relation to ones lifetime is easy. The complication of giving oneself wholeheartedly is the crux of the issue with long term relationships… I don’t have the answer but definitely recognise my husband who is now my ex of 26 years in your article. Extremely poetically written.

    1. That’s what my husband used to say! That he was nicer to friends or to strangers because it required less effort because the interaction didn’t protract into days on end. He could muster the energy to be pleasant if he only had to maintain it for a few hours. But not if he had to do it day in, day out, at home with his family. He simply found it too draining! I still cannot believe anyone when they make that claim. What a cop out. How ridiculous.

      We are divorced now. And now he treats me much better. Because we simply don’t spend much time together. So during the few hours when we do interact (like take our daughter out for dinner as a family), he has the energy to behave pleasantly towards me. I always said he was a great guy, as long you weren’t married to him!

      But that does not “fix” anything or comfort me. The fact is, people who let themselves off the hook when empathy/compassion becomes too much of an effort don’t deserve to remain in intimate relationships, imo. If you treat the waitress with more consideration/empathy than you treat me, you are too weak to bother with. I am so much happier being apart.

      1. Mine also said he could be nice to everybody else because he ‘saw them less’. When he once answered my “good morning, how did you sleep’ with “None of your f****** business” and I asked him if he spoke to his co-workers like that and why did he think it was ok to speak to me like that – he simply had no answer because he knew he would never say that to another living being. I wish I had of left him that very day instead of sticking around for years more.

  6. Immediately following this read, my son dumped an entire bowl of ravioli down the stairs. It seems some of us may have to put this post into action sooner than others.

  7. May I ask, were you truly “unaware” of how your words and actions made your wife feel? Or, did you not believe her and dismiss her feelings (or think she was being unfair/ ridiculous) when she actually told you how you made her feel?

    1. In my experience, there was complete awareness but with the assumption that I would always forgive him so it was okay to be a dick, as long as he apologised after. I always thought apologies were a recognition of wrongdoing and a promise to try not make the mistake again but years of apologies later, I realised that his apologies were empty… an excuse to keep treating me like a dick and not feel bad about it. Ultimately, it was my mistake in providing boundary-less, unconditional love.. he never made any effort to change because he knew I’d always forgive! Boundaries of what behaviour you will and won’t accept, are so important and need to be established early in any relationship, otherwise you end up a doormat and once you’re there, there’s no changing it.

  8. Certainly very apt and true… we tend to treat those we love with the least respect and only realize our idiocy after they are gone. It truly takes a consciously consistent effort to avoid this fate in your relationships. Thanks for sharing so bravely as usual. Happy new year.

  9. Excellent stuff. I think people also compete in a destructive way. You meet my needs, then maybe we’ll see if what you have said really still matters, or or some variation on the theme. My husband told me plenty of times over the last twenty years that he only did whatever things he did because it was so terrible for him to be stuck with me and my son or in later years he said things that were broader references to all of us , me and all our children…basically that we were the cause of his behaviors, a somewhat more abuser-ish version on the theme.

  10. Thank you for writing this and sharing it. I really resonate with this, and it parallels some of my own experience.

  11. “We know that we love the people we love. But the people we love only know we love them when they see, hear and FEEL evidence of that love. They don’t just psychically or magically feel good because of our thoughts and intentions.” Holy sh*t…. #NailedIt

    ..and that is why the expression, “You know I love you, don’t you?” is one that I abhor. It triggered me when my ex said it, and it triggers me to this day. It is such a lazy declaration – it abdicates all responsibility on the apathetic partner’s part to put in the work required to make your partner feel loved, appreciated and cherished. So let me get this straight.. not only are you not making me feel loved, I’m expected to be my own cheerleader?!?.. which I did for a while.. “Well he does love me cuz he’s here, so it must be something lacking in me that I’m not receiving or feeling his love.” or “he’s doing his best,” or “I shouldn’t make him responsible for what I didn’t get from my father.” What a glorious feeling it was when I finally had the epiphany that it wasn’t my responsibility to pick up the emotional slack for him. Tragically, even when I very clearly expressed that HE was going to have to make the effort and put the work into making me feel loved (and I was willing to do my part as well), he just couldn’t deliver. He brought home a ‘relationship’ book and said “we should read this” I said whachu me WE?? I suggested he go to individual therapy, as our marriage therapy kept him distracted, and supported his thinking the problem was the ‘marriage’ (i.e. OUR problem).. NOPE, he didn’t need it. That’s when I threw up the deuces and said I’m out…✌️ I am a ride or die kinda girl.. but when I can’t even see that you are willing to make the difficult and challenging adjustments individually in order to make the dynamic b/w us better.. well then.. my work here is done. And I apply this blueprint to all my situations & relationships.. work , personal & otherwise.

    Anywayz… it’s always validating to know that other people have experienced similar complicated issues within a relationship as I have. Thx for putting yourself out there Matthew?

  12. “Why is it that we can be compassionate and kind to friends, relatives and even strangers in ways that we cannot muster for our loved ones?

    …The answer is in part found in the meaning of compassion itself. One of the keys to compassion is empathy,We literally rely on loved-ones’ behavior to guide our beliefs about ourselves, and to know the person we believe ourselves to be and see in the mirror while brushing our teeth.

    And when those others stop providing the responses we’re conditioned to expect, or that we grew accustomed to, we’re not really ourselves anymore. We stop being the person we thought we were.”

    I’m confused: So because Matt’s then-wife did not receive the responses from Matt that she was conditioned to receive; she stopped being the person she was, because Matt’s lack of compassion for his then-wife was due to his lack of empathy for her, and he lacked empathy for her because she was one of his loved ones? What??? I am so confused.

    Are you saying you lacked compassion, and you don’t know why? I want to say you’ve answered a question in this post, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out what that answer is. You were a jerk to her, but nice to strangers or friends. She told you how it made her feel. You didn’t care, didn’t feel empathy, for various reasons that you’ve written about in other posts, and eventually the whole thing got sick and died. We get that.

    But help me understand the answer to the question:
    “Why is it that we can be compassionate and kind to friends, relatives and even strangers in ways that we cannot muster for our loved ones?”

    WHY do we allow ourselves to NOT muster empathy for loved ones? WHY do we give ourselves permission, grant ourselves the luxury, of dismissing the feelings of those closest to us?

    Was this question answered??

    1. The answer may be different for different people but my own failings in those areas generally revolved around being hurt, becoming self-focused in my pain, a d then not being able to stomach complaints and criticisms from the man who was constantly hurting me. But it would also be honest to say that the same effects sometimes spring out of health problems both physical problems and clinical depression at various points.

  13. Oh yes,my husband and I both suffered from that affliction, Matt. I remember, I used to really get upset when he was nice to strangers, even friends, but not very nice to me. I used to pray about it and one day I got a fortune cookie in a Chinese restaurant that said, “always treat your husband like an honored guest.” Something clicked there and I realized I never did.

    We’d clean the house for company,we’d get out the good dishes, everyone on their best behavior. It was totally backwards from the way it should be. We should give our best to those we love, not to strangers. It was very convicting and so I changed. The good manners came out for hubby,the good dishes, all those things we save for a special occasion. We forget, we are the special occasion.

    Hubby’s way better today, not perfect, not refined, he still scowls at me while turning the charm on for strangers, but it’s gotten 100% better. I had no idea how awful I was to him either, until I was challenged to treat him like an honored guest and had to bite my tongue a million times a day until it began to come naturally.

    1. This is so absolutely true. A similar sentiment is behind the idea of dating your significant other; we put so much effort into new relationships, but as time passes, we let our efforts fade away.

      Everyone likes to feel special, worthwhile, and loved. And while of course it’s easy to say “but you know I love you”, which is true, we all need to actually feel that love. We need to feel like we are worth our partner’s time.

      I’m glad you found your fortune cookie. I hope others find theirs as well.

    2. Oh gosh. I think this 58 year old corporate lawyer is going to get a tattoo.

      On my forehead, so I can see it every morning in the mirror.

      And it will say:

      “We forget, we are the special occasion.”

      1. I did this too. I changed the way I treated him. I cleaned up my side of the street. He became even more petulant and it seemed was almost goading me to become the person I had been. I persevered. He got worse. It was hard being so respectful, nice and polite to an arsehole but I did it – for years. And now I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that my divorce was not my fault and I did everything in my power to change our marriage. I have no regrets treating him so well. My only regret was staying so long and losing so much self respect in the face of his rudeness. I would never continue to be nice to a stranger who was continuously rude to me. I would avoid that stranger. I now avoid my ex.

  14. I Can't Remember What Name I Used Last Time

    “I didn’t know how to make my wife feel loved.”

    Sometimes asking works, followed by screwing up, asking again, trying something else, screwing that up, asking again…

  15. Hey Matt, since while you are wisely and kindly owning your own stuff you sometimes get a ton of push-back from folks who would rather see both sides at the same time or even just blame for your ex, I thought you might like to see this example that the other side does get represented out there in blogland.

    [It happens to be set up from the point of view of problems with the love language of service which I was unfortunately “cured” of ever expressing or understanding growing up in one of those homes where my dad had such angst and perfectionism that he just taught everyone that they could ever be good enough to be loved. But a,though I tend to really have empathy for those whose partner has that as a primary love language and struggle with the opposite, I think set-up speaks right into the hearts of a ton of those who participated in your viral blog experience.]

  16. Hey Matt, thanks for sharing this post. My husband and I are going through the exact same challenge as we speak. It has been happening for years but has been getting worse since we had a child. I blame him for not communicating and not being there, but after reading your post I realise that it’s a two way thing. I’m certainly as much to blame as he is. Recognising the problem is always a very important step, but I’m not sure I know how to solve the problem. We’ve been trying harder but it feels like we’re taking one step forward, two steps back. Any thoughts?

  17. Sadly reminds me of the day I told my husband I wished I was one of the neighbours instead of his wife – I’d get the best of him then. Apparently I have to earn it by being more affectionate and I’m not doing it well enough. Doesn’t get the chicken/egg thing goes both ways.

  18. This is sort of kind of what I commented on your last post. Sorta.

    Interestingly, my ex used to tell me “don’t talk to me like you talk to your employees” – he was not a fan of constructive feedback, apparently. 🙂

  19. That failure of mutual empathy is probably the cracking foundation of most failed marriages. It isn’t about the dirty socks on the floor or the nagging. It isn’t even about men or women behaving badly in their own special ways. It’s mostly that one partner wants the parental style empathy and support of the other but wants to return only the empathy happy smile of gratitude response of a child. I’ve seen both husbands and wives who want to be the beloved child. I’ve seen it in gay couples, and I’m sure it happens to bis and trans and everyone else on earth trying to have a relationship. The trouble is, the child-partner doesn’t want to turn around and offer that adult empathy and support to their parent-partner. Parents aren’t supposed to need that from them. It makes them angry and mean – how dare mommy-spouse be scared and alone and need comfort? That isn’t part of child-partner’s job! They are being betrayed, and life is not supposed to work that way! They are entitled to a mommy for life. Or a daddy.

    When you have a partner like that, you are completely and utterly alone. Scared. You know that when you are seriously ill, your partner may not be able to step up and take care of you. They will be upset, but that is not the same. You feel sad every day when your partner criticizes when you are trying to share something that hurts. If you are agonizing over whether the dog needs to be euthanized or could benefit from possibly pointless painful treatment, your spouse will not share the decision with you and will offload their own distress and guilt afterwards by telling you that you made the wrong decision, making you feel like your heart is physically breaking in your chest, all the while obviously failing to notice that you need some emotional help from them. In fact, demanding that their insatiable need be satisfied instead. And only theirs. Because you are not really a partner-person to them, you are mommy-spouse. Loved, but not in a way you want to be loved.

    You step up when your partner is really sick and take care of his physical needs, his household responsibilities, and keep up with his doctors, then you despair when you return home from surgery, exhausted and hungry, and he says “just tell me if you want me to do anything!” and disappears into his den. He knows how to cook, but in this situation, he’s so upset about mommy-spouse being sick that he needs emotional comfort and would insist on step by step instructions, absolutely withholding empathy. And with empathy, physical care. He does not know the correct name of the surgery you just had.

    When you have a partner like that, you don’t have a partner. And that’s when you start wondering about leaving. Or trying to explain that all this isn’t just about dirty socks or dinner.

    I’m not proud that I get so frustrated that I retaliate and don’t provide empathy and get us going in a downward spiral. I’m working on that. But I can’t take this much longer. I speak for many mommy/daddy spouses. We are lonely. And the key here is that I don’t know if child-spouses would ever do it differently, other than a few surface habits. And I know that if I leave, my husband will be bewildered and devastated and still love me. I probably won’t because we have been living this stupid pattern for a stupidly long time, but I am bringing it out in the open at home and hoping for something new.

    1. This is my life! And it started on our honeymoon! Husband took me to his favorite place on earth as was OFFENDED that I didn’t instantly just do all things his Mom did for all the years they went there growing up. I had NO IDEA what I was doing wrong. He informed me 2 decades later. And everything in my life just clicked into place. I have been trying to have a grown-up marriage and he has been trying to get me to Mother him, but then also be mad about being treated like a child. It’s honestly impossible.

      We teach a class together with another woman and last week he made a phone call in the middle of class without informing either me or the other woman. I asked him to please let us know if he’s going to need to make a phone call during class as that’s a common curtesy. He said, “Oh, yeah, I apologized to [the other woman] last week for not letting her know.” Guess who didn’t get an apology – that would be me.

      I told him that he needs to stop treating me like his wife – it’s never been good for me. Treat me like a stranger, then there’s at least some chance I’ll get the curtesy and respect his gives everyone else. And if things don’t change big time around here, I will be a stranger because as soon as the kids are grown up I will be moving out.

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  22. I feel this exact way with my husband. I know he is a kind and loving man of God… but he takes me for granted by extending that love to everyone but me in the way I need to feel loved. I express this to him every time we are at a breaking point and it has yet to get any better. My only solution is to not be with him but I love him. I don’t love the way I feel neglected by him.

  23. Thank you for your words
    If I wasn’t sure that my husband would never reveal such a thing – it’s a description to a tee
    And though I’m a little worried to see that this is a real thing and that there are so many different but same stories
    I’m hopeful knowing there are enlightened ones like you that can help
    I want you to know your doing a great thing by sharing

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  25. Thank you for sharing…it takes bravery to see
    Our faults and to work on ourselves. I
    Passed this article to my husband..who
    Treats others nice and is verbally abusing
    To me (wifey).

    1. How did your husband respond to the link? This relates to me as well. I’m not by all means perfect. And a lot my anger and bitterness has to do with my husband acting and treating others better than me. I hold grudges. Which makes him treat others even more better than me. Spends time talking via phone/text/ even in person with friends, neighbors, acquaintances; And nothing with me! We are married couples just tending to our kids, house, work. That’s it. No conversations. I honestly don’t ever see him admitting to this behavior. It would all be my fault why he acts like this. As he has stated before. Saying his coworkers/ friends respect him and don’t act like me. And so I get the mean, belittling insults. I’m your wife. The mother of your children. And yet I will stay and suck it up and dwell with more bitterness and recentment. What should a person do?

  26. Love your neighbor says the Bible and it starts at home period . I struggle with this as so does my wife but until you face it and stop denying it will it improve . Family first then everything else . If you’re the best employee or partner you need to apply that at home

  27. It is often forgotten how we have done the same things…have forgotten to love everybody, especially those of our own households, but, as a reminder not to do this again, we get the experience of the pain of being forgotten, and or of forgetting significant others, especially, to allow us again to put ourselves in another’s place, and to be humble and accepting while so doing.

  28. Pingback: How Accidental Sexism Ruined My Marriage (and Might be Ruining Yours) | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  29. Im to exhausted to explain my story but I can happily say I’m glad I’m not alone. Its crazy their is a term for this behavior but I just thought it was border line verbal abuse of some sort lol. Its not funny, I’m quite sad and a little fed up but I’m hopeful now that I have a topic to explain to a marriage counseler.

  30. Still confused about why he isn’t treating me as good as others

  31. I understand this concept from the other side. My husband is passive aggressive and steps up the kindness to others when he’s angry at me, which is often. His kindness and friendliness extends to many others, not just strangers, my sisters, his daughters, coworkers, even the dog. I’m hoping we can figure out how to work through this, it doesn’t look good at the moment. Thanks for your perspective on this. Praying God heals the wounds in you that led to the behavior in the first place and for healing for your ex wife and son as well. God bless. ~ J

    1. Thank you, J. Wishing you equally good things moving forward. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to leave this note.

  32. Debra V Townzen

    My husband is a mean and nasty person. I treat and talk to him way nicer than he has ever done. I keep trying and he gets more and more ugly-acting. What ought I do?

  33. my fiance is the same way and it hurts me..he says the same thing.. “I love you!! I come home to you!!” But how am I supposed to know that.

  34. Pingback: The Idea That Would Have Saved My Marriage and Might Save Yours | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  35. I have been married for 15 years together for 16. I’m starting to feel like maybe people are just not meant to be married for so long. Where there once was passion, excitement and desire. There is nothing left but complacency, boredom and most of all resentment. I mean I can’t change my husband. I have tried! Those horrible sneaking feelings of *if any other man would show me an ounce of kindness or caring I would get the f**k out of here feeling has crept into my core* we have children together. I mean I don’t take these feelings lightly. I never wanted to feel this way. But here I am. Writing out the story of my life to the black abyss of the internet. In your comment section. If you get this far. Thanks for reading. I really am enjoying your article’s.

  36. This rang so true to me on many levels. To the point where it sounded like my own words.

    I have hit the point today where im done living my life to make sure my other half is happy or constantly biting my tongue in empathetic thought so she isn’t hurt from a single careless unthoughtful word. All the while slowly suffering with internal dialogue and taking her shi* with barely any regard for my feelings.

    Sometimes I just sit in silent reflection on interactions with her and other people in my life and realize some people are just on different levels. I wish we all just knew where everyone stood on certain things or a level guide existed for everyone that shows everyone on a scale of 1-10 on everything you want to know. Empathy, compassion, love, hate, confrontational……… At least it wouldn’t waste years of your life trying to gauge everyone you interact with on a daily basis.

    I don’t want to go on and on, but I wanted you to know your journal entry is amazing Matt and makes me happy to know such insightful intrinsic people like yourself exist and gives me hope. Have a great day everyone.

  37. This is exactly what’s been happening to me for a very long time. I hate how my marriage is and want it to end. He sees nothing wrong with how he treats me and it causes me unbearable pain to think that I matter that little. Why am I not more important than others??

  38. The Very Truth

    With most women being such low life losers themselves, they’re the real reason why the divorce rate is so high that are caused by most women to begin with.

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Matt Fray

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