An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 3

I know a birthday girl. I just met her husband. I don't know if they'll make it. But I really want them to. And I believe they can.

I know a birthday girl. I just met her husband. I don’t know if they’ll make it. But I really want them to. And I believe they can.

I met a shitty husband last night.

And I liked him. First impressions go a long way with me.

And I don’t think he’s a bad guy. Not at all. But I do think he’s a shitty husband.

He’s 34 like me. He reminds me of me five years ago. He’s not a father, and that can be a disadvantage for guys from a maturation standpoint. Sometimes, you don’t really figure out what unconditional love looks and feels like until you hold your child.

And I think that revelation—that recognition of what it feels like to love something more than yourself—can be a very useful tool in a marriage.

Applying the Love for Your Children to Your Partner

Anyone who has ever been in a relationship for any reasonable amount of time understands the infatuation phase—while the most fun—can’t and won’t last.

Just the smallest amount of effort can do wonders for her emotional security, which is directly correlated to how much she wants your penis touching her.

Infatuation and lust will get you so far, then you’re inevitably looking to recreate that feeling with someone else sooner or later.

And sometimes, during the eternal pursuit of that next passionate romance, you just end up breaking a bunch of things.

Families.

Friendships.

Children.

Yourself.

But with a little self-recognition and awareness, we can combat this.

With the realization that the grass is most certainly not always greener—that there is no perfect partner with whom you’ll never have conflict or disappointment or hurt feelings or dissatisfaction—you can learn to stop trying to change your partner. Or change partners.

And you can start trying to change yourself.

There’s only one constant in the lives of those people you know who are constantly in and out of unhealthy relationships. And that’s the individual who keeps putting his or herself there.

They are the common denominator. And that cycle must be broken.

It can’t happen until those people learn how to be honest with others. And more importantly, with themselves.

Once we accept that it’s not going to be lovey-dovey happiness forever, we can move on to learning how to love in ways that matter. In ways that are sustainable.

1. Stop making it about you.

Stop asking why that person doesn’t make you feel the way they used to. Or why all of these things keep happening to you.

2. Make it about them.

Ask yourself how you can make your partner feel the way you want to feel. How you can make good things happen for them. Lead by example, even when it’s hard. Even when you don’t feel like it.

3. Choose to do that every day, forever.

The same way your parents did for you. The same way parents choose to do that for their children—even when they’re acting like little heathen assholes. THAT’S real love. Because it’s not about how we feel. It’s about the choices we make.

I’ve Already Seen This Movie

And it has a tragic ending.

That’s what I was thinking last night when I saw her being ignored by her husband. Literally, the entire night.

The birthday girl.

She looked magnificent. And I’m not sure he told her once.

She misses his company and attention because he has a pretty inconvenient work schedule. But I don’t remember him standing next to her.

I don’t remember him kissing her. Touching her arm. Whispering in her ear. Even just a nice smile from across the room to let her know how happy he was to see she was having a nice birthday.

I’ve seen this fucking movie.

I starred in it.

I played the male lead.

Because that was me. Not doing all of those things I so desperately wish I had the opportunity to do now.

I didn’t tell my ex how perfect she looked. Not enough. I didn’t make sure she knew—without a doubt—how much she was loved and wanted. I was too busy telling jokes and talking football with my friends when we’d all get together.

Guys, you have got to get better at this. I have got to get better at this, should I ever have the opportunity to try again some day.

Don’t do the thing where you ignore them all night and then try to have late-night drunk sex because you’re feeling horny. Please.

Just the smallest amount of effort can do wonders for her emotional security, which is directly correlated to how much she wants your penis touching her.

Tell her you love her. Whisper that you want her. Make eye contact from across the room. Smile. Touch her. Pay attention to her. Maybe when she least expects it.

Care about the things that she cares about—NOT because you give a shit about how her hair color didn’t turn out like she wanted or what color she painted her accent nail or whether she’s wearing new shoes or why she chose to carry that particular purse or handbag that night. Not because you like talking about the same things as her, because maybe you don’t.

That’s okay.

Care about the things she cares about BECAUSE she cares about them. That’s the reason to care. That’s the reason it matters.

Because these things matter to her.

This applies to her hobbies. Her hopes and dreams. Her career. Her passions and interests. Her stories about her friends or family or coworkers that maybe you don’t really want to listen to.

Fortify your relationship by doing the little things. Every day.

Do that, and there will be an every day.

Don’t? You might be sitting right here feeling sorry for a birthday girl who deserves the world and an oblivious husband who doesn’t know the damage he’s causing.

Tequila Makes Me Smart

Ever drink a bunch of beer and vodka, and then switch to a perfect salted-rim margarita on the rocks and start solving the world’s relationship issues with a fellow divorcee from Scotland in an open-air rooftop bar?

Me too!

Dear Jesus, you should hear me pontificate after eight or nine drinks.

The funny part? People think I’m smart! I con them with my above-average vocabulary and my cocksure attitude on subjects I may actually know nothing about.

I don’t know if any of this shit has merit. I don’t!

But, cocksure or otherwise, I do think I can identify the marital sins of my past. And I REALLY want to help men avoid going through what I’m going through. I REALLY want children to have the opportunity to grow up with both of their parents under the same roof.

This doesn’t have to be a pipedream. It doesn’t have to be so goddamn hard.

It just takes two people willing to give more than they take. Two people trying to out-give one another. Doesn’t that sound fun? Isn’t that something everyone can get behind?

My marital sins were on full display last night. The oblivious husband was me. And the birthday girl was my ex.

And it doesn’t have to be like this.

They are two good people. Two kind people.

She loves him.

And I don’t know for sure, but I just vibe that he’s a good man—a good man who loves her back.

And I know they can make it.

And I want them to make it.

And I believe if he only knew what I knew—felt what I felt—that he’d dig in and try his very best to make sure she felt the way she needs to feel for this to not fall apart.

Loved.

Safe.

Needed.

Appreciated.

Validated.

Respected.

Desired.

If they can make this happen, maybe I can be at her birthday party 10 years from now. Maybe she’ll be smiling. Maybe he’ll be smiling. Maybe it will be at one another. Maybe everyone who sees it will privately Awwwwww. And maybe they can be what the rest of us envy.

Happily. Ever. After.

In real life, it doesn’t look like it does in the movies.

But it can be beautiful.

And I still believe in it.

You May Also Want to Read:

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 1

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 2

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 4

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 5

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 6

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 7

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 8

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 9

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 10

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 11

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 12

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 13

…..

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66 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 3

    • Danielle McGuckin says:

      Poor Matt! You’re like every other ignorant, clueless, unmanly guy. As Perer Cetera so beautifully sang, “you don’t love what you got, until it’s gone and I found out a little too late.”
      You’re wasting your breath. Just like you can’t teach your children until they find out for themselves, you can’t teach selfish/ignorant men either.

      My husband just threw me under the bus when his daughter moved in. Apparently I am a “dictatorial tyrant” for wanting one room in the house (my bedroom by the way) to be off limits to his 17 year old daughter, and for not wanting his x to waltz into my hone without a by your leave, or to babysit his x’s other children (his daughters half sisters). No! She can lay in my bed whenever she likes. I a, new t allowed to have any say at all! Her mother and half sisters could probably move in if she wanted! He might even pay for their private school education as his x would love that.

      Now I’m the wicked step mother because she cried when he said we weren’t babysitting for her mother. Heaven forbid that a grown woman doesn’t want to share her bed with her 17 year old stepdaughter, or have his x waltz in whenever she likes and give her a nasty surprise to be discovered standing in her kitchen, or babysitting his x’s children to another man!

      Marriage over. Lovely guy, but a completely disloyal asshole. And I’m the one with the problems apparently, cause I don’t want to babysit his x’s other children!

      Like

      • Matt says:

        Unmanly, eh?

        Friendly suggestion: Think long and hard about –

        A. How you define that.
        B. Why you think you know who or what I am.
        C. Whether your asshole assumptions might be part of the problem.

        Good luck.

        Like

        • Danielle McGuckin says:

          Dear Matt,

          I wasn’t referring to you at all, to my husband actually. Which, you are right, is being an asshole. I should have known better than to write my anger on a website when the wheels had literally just fallen off and I was crying into my second bottle of white wine.

          It’s been a really tough time. SD has just moved in after we relocated back home from overseas so that hubby and she could spend time together. My Dad just recently passed away, I have a new career to deal with and a new job and to top it all off, hubby changed his mind about having children after we have lost 3 in a row and had agreed to trying one more time (this was before SD moved in). I think your poster Ashley is right, I’m trying to control something in my life because I feel that I have absolutely no control and no say in anything.

          It was a mistake on my part to post anything at all in my state.

          Please accept my apology and perhaps remove my transgression. Hopefully one day I can get to where your poster Ashley is at. You’ve both given me something to think about and I thank you for that.

          Even though it’s all done and dusted now, it looks like I owe my hubby an apology too.

          Thank you

          Like

      • Ashley Mosteller says:

        I don’t understand any of this. My “step” daughter can lay in my bed whenever she wants…She is my child, her siblings from whoever are her siblings therefore automatically under the umbrella I consider as “my kids” his ex and I get along better than he and her do. Kids are ALWAYS to come first. Granted, you and your husband should discuss in private and make the decisions as a unit but the ex is the mother to my “step” daughter, or as I lovingly refer to her “My baby mama” and although I would have some boundaries set she is more welcome in my home than many others and if she needed a place to stay guess what? My husband’s ass is on the couch and baby mama and I share the bed…No sexual or disgusting thoughts for you crazies out there either. Ever heard the phrase “it takes a village” well imagine what kind of adults we’d be raising if they had a whole team if living parents behind them? I’m guessing you don’t have children and are somewhat a control freak who didn’t really understand what it meant when u said “for better or worse or what all that entails”

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Shannon says:

    This is great..and def what girls( at least ones I know) want. My guy is a great man but could use a little education on this topic. Sometimes its easy to be taken for granted. Wish he had read this instead of me.
    You’re great Matt..seriously! You’re a great friend as well. Your awareness can only make the next relationship better but dont try to hard. You dont need to!

    Like

  2. imdoctorwho says:

    husbands have a lot to learn from this <- an understatement! Another great post Matt!

    Like

  3. Lk says:

    Amen. Simply great and great observation. I myself will try to follow the 3 ways to love your partner. #2 will be the hardest. I have started the dangerous mind game that the grass could be greener on the other side. But luckily it has remained a thought. Men try so hard with their male friendships, excelling at work, and anything sports related. But they cannot try that hard with their long term relationships. My girlfriends say it all the time- it is the little stuff. ALWAYS. Just because you told me I looked beautiful 7 yrs ago doesn’t mean you can never say it again. We know we look good, we just want validation from our partner. Because if we hear it from someone else, and that someone else is a male, then we will start thinking about that male. And that is when you start thinking the grass just may be greener on the other side of your fence.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      It’s hard to to give, give, give and get nothing in return. It is.

      The only reason I am not killing myself (metaphorically speaking) over guilt from being a not-so-great husband during the early part of marriage, is because of the end. The final two years when I just kept working harder.

      It has absolutely changed my life for the better. Even though the marriage crashed and burned. But now I know how to be a good spouse. And I can sleep at night.

      I don’t want to encourage men and women to be door mats. To get emotionally beaten down by their partners and just love back with a big, fake smile on their face.

      But I don’t think the answer is to throw our hands up and scream and blame everyone else when things don’t go our way.

      I think the answer is to rise above it. To be strong and brave and lead by example.

      I believe it’s in all of us to give more than we take. And I think most of the time, our partners will be able to take the cue and learn how to give back.

      At least, that’s my hope.

      Like

      • Tajali says:

        Rock On! I just found your blog and I am feeling impressed and respected. i teach Empathy and communication (to everyone who is interested) but mostly children an parents and couples. What you are taking about his Empathy. Understanding and respecting what your partner, parent, friend values—and being present with that.
        I also (from profession and experience) knows that it goes both ways. Men need to be heard and respected—it’s in different “code” than women. The challenge is our culture and the messages to men are don’t feel, (weak) don’t have a need (vulnerable) and certainly don’t communicate it to anyone. With all the guys I have worked with I see this is not true.

        I appreciate your writings so much, I am going to be sending your link to my clients. While I hear your regret and possibly grief, you are transforming this in education and respect for not just women—but for MEN. Thank you.

        Like

      • Shin Dee says:

        Thank you. Somehow your blog encourages me

        Like

  4. […] An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 3 (mustbethistalltoride.wordpress.com) […]

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  5. Reblogged this on Pushing our limits and commented:
    I’m not saying I know any “Shitty Husbands”, I’m certainly not calling my Sir a shitty husband, because he’s AWESOME. But this is some really practical advice for ALL husbands. All of these tips WILL make you’re wife happier.

    Like

  6. […] An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 3 (mustbethistalltoride.wordpress.com) […]

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  7. littlekeiko says:

    Argh, had a long response and then WordPress ate my post *bad boy*. Let me try remember what I was trying to say… this is an excellent post Matt, great advice for husbands and definately wife-approved ;) I feel sorry for the birthday girl, but I want to give her (and others in the same situation)advice as well. Lots of the things you said goes both ways. So for the women out there with shitty husbands… Don’t let him ignore you. Remind him why he fell in love with you, show him how much you still desire him. He might think you are content, when deep down you are truely unhappy. He’s a guy.. sometimes they can be totally clueless. Talk to him… tell him whats on your mind and if it’s too difficult to put into words, speak with your actions, but please don’t wait until it’s too late. I’m also hoping for a happy birthday for shitty husband and birthday girl a few years from now, or even next year ;) A little effort can do a lot of healing!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      This is great. Thank you for contributing to this. And thank you certainly for validating these ideas. I don’t know that they’re true. I just think they are.

      I appreciate you reading very much.

      Like

  8. […] is on the fast track to being a shitty husband. He’s almost EXACTLY like the guy I wrote about in An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 3. He’s almost exactly like I was for many of the early years of my […]

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  9. Holy crap. You hit the motherload with this one. I’m sitting here sobbing. Good, bad, all of it. H now does things like this and has over the past 3-4 months. I’ve waited 26 years. I saw glimpses of it in the beginning and I wanted whatever I could get. So I settled and the glimpses faded. It took a breakdown to figure out the train was never on the track to begin with. Not intentionally off track, just on the didn’t-know-where-the-track-was track. I have no idea whether or not I can effectively work through all of this and H doesn’t either. It’s arguing beside the point really. We are far from even disliking each other. It’s simple: I’m afraid to let him see all of me because I’ve been hurt. He never healed from his first marriage to Satan. Thus, we brought our respective bags ‘o crap with us and here we are. Everybody’s got ’em.

    ***

    Still in the game.

    As the Fat Lady rose to sing, I bitch slapped her and told her to sit the hell down. Then H knocked her out.

    The end doesn’t matter. Only now matters.

    It takes two very ballsy people to take a time out to grow up the rest of themselves; they have every intent to be better in all relationships, not just with their partner. It’s big man. Reeeeeaalllllyyyy big.

    I’d better sleep. I’m bordering on delirium. My students love that about me. heh.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I’m so sorry you sobbed. Wishing you good things. Thank you for caring so passionately and working so hard to make life better than it is.

      It’s inspiring to the rest of us.

      Like

      • The tears were cathartic and a good thing, believe me. That means I can feel things and I’m not numb. That means I recognize what H has been doing in terms of effort. Bittersweet. Yeah, I needed to find your blog and somehow the Universe helped me find it. :) (that’s the way it works, I guess.)

        Keep writing!

        Dharma

        Like

  10. You should become a “Marriage-Fixer” … where were you when I needed you to have a chat with hubby??? Love your writing!!!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you so much.

      Being a “marriage-fixer” would be awesome.

      Like

      • In that case, perhaps you should fix mine! My marriage is quickly approaching “the end” legally, where there is no turning back. I think I’ve moved on, but know I love hubby dearly. IDK … just thinking out loud :)

        Like

        • Matt says:

          :)

          Well, no one fixes marriages outside of the couple.

          And if we’re going to be in the metaphor business–and I tend to play in Metaphorland a lot–maybe fixing something broken isn’t nearly as good of an idea as you and your husband simply rebuilding something fresh and stronger from the ground up.

          I’m really sorry you feel like the end is here. I hope you can find some healing this holiday season.

          I would love to help. I wish I knew how.

          Like

  11. sunandsalsa says:

    You are a wise man, and you have wise words. So glad I stumbled upon your blog.

    I’m praying for my brother-in-law to move on from #1. I see the effort my sister is putting forth after his affair, yet he can’t see past the “him” monster that he has become. Maybe I’ll share your blog with him…but I’m not sure he can admit he’s the problem. Time will tell.

    Thank you…

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I’m so glad you did too, and it means a ton to me that you think it matters.

      Thoughts and prayers for your sister and brother-in-law.

      Like

  12. […] An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 3 […]

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  13. […] An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 3 […]

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  14. themerryrecluse says:

    Man am I glad I found your blog – I was just about to give up on the entire male population, but now I know for sure that guys are actually capable of both feeling and articulating genuine human emotion.
    I want so badly to share your writing with my partner, but I know he would be angry and say that I am trying to belittle him and make out that all our problems are his fault.
    I just want our son to grow up in a happy loving home, and I hoped that picture would include two parents, but I am not sure how much longer I can successfully fake happiness. Kids are clever :)
    Keep up the great writing!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I am constantly frustrated by it all. I’m sorry and I wish I knew what to say.

      I agree with you that showing him something some guy wrote on the internet is capable of doing more harm than good. Most guys interpret that as “you’re not good enough.”

      We tend to be even shittier after that.

      I wrote yesterday about how I would have done so many things differently had I just realized in those moments how important they were. I think most (but sadly, not all) men are that way.

      They key is effectively communicate how important the moment is. How important right now is.

      And I honestly have no idea how to do that because I was (am?) horrible at listening to people criticize me.

      I like to think about the fact that there is the perfect combination of words and actions you can say and perform to make him understand.

      There is the optimum way. And if you get close to it? Nothing has to be permanently broken.

      I hope you find that. Whatever “the way” is that makes sense for you and your family.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Like

  15. themerryrecluse says:

    Love your blog, you have certainly gained some solid insight in your time.
    Wish I could share this with my husband, but I know it would make him angry since the resentment he harbours toward me since I gave up work to care for our son manifests as passive aggressive denial of our problems or any emotion that stems from them.
    It’s enough to me for now to read these and remind myself that human beings are capable of growth, and that men can learn to be in touch with their own emotional needs and those of others.
    Thanks for giving me hope in working at building a loving family x

    Liked by 1 person

  16. krystal says:

    I’ve been up reading all of your blogs and crying. I realized this is my husband. I googled my husband is a jerk and this website popped up. My husband likes to go out to the bar to catch the games, get drunk and leave me at home with our daughter. He’s the guy you’re describing when you were talking about not helping around the house that often because he’s the bread winner. He also can be a jerk then expects sex in the middle of the night. I have told him he can be mean at times and he says I’m too sensitive. Which may be true I am pregnant with our second child. Sometimes he just looks like he would rather hang with the via then be at home with his family. The only thing is we both agreed divorce is not an option and because of this I think he has become comfortable in what he’s doing because that isn’t an option. So what’s a girl to do? I’m unhappy. I

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Hi Krystal. I’m so sorry I’m just getting to this comment. Sometimes comments on older posts can get lost in the shuffle a little bit. I didn’t mean to ignore you.

      I call this the 1960s Man Syndrome. (I’m making that up. That’s the first time I’ve ever said that. But I’ll probably start using it.)

      I’m not an expert on this stuff (yet), but there seems to be two kinds of men.

      1. The kind who will never evolve. Who will never muster the courage and strength and unselfishness required to make marriage work. (They think marriage is something it’s not because of the way their grandfathers treated their grandmothers, because of the way their fathers treated their mothers, because of what they see on TV, and because NO ONE teaches us any of this shit growing up. It’s a problem.) He will say to you: “This is the way I am and you knew it when you married me. Stop trying to change me!”

      2. And there’s the kind who will evolve. Because they love you.

      Once that man understands how dark and ugly and horrible and lonely and afraid you feel on the inside BECAUSE of his actions? He’ll work very hard to make the changes necessary to keep your marriage and family together.

      He might not “get it,” Krystal. He might not understand yet. Because of immaturity, inexperience, a lack of wisdom, how he was raised, etc.

      Some people (most, probably) have to learn life’s important lessons the hard way. It’s really inconvenient for all involved.

      ………

      If your husband is in Group #1, there are no easy answers, and you won’t know ’til you know.

      If your husband is in Group #2, then your only job is to HELP him understand. How you speak to him (tone of voice, choice of words) will make all the difference in the world.

      The reason men and women have so much conflict is because it’s impossible for us to know how the other feels. Men often talk to women the way they talk to men because it’s what makes sense to them. Women talk to men the way they talk to women because it makes sense to them. But the person you’re trying to communicate with doesn’t get it at all.

      Some people want to deny gender differences because they think it’s politically incorrect to act as if men and women are different. Which is ridiculous.

      It’s politically incorrect to suggest men or women are BETTER than the other gender.

      But until people understand the science of how men and women are fundamentally DIFFERENT, we can’t learn to communicate with each other in effective ways. It’s why you have the same fights with your husband over and over and over again.

      He thinks and talks like a man.

      You think and talk like a woman. (Totally normal and okay!)

      But neither of you understand one another. Neither of you make sense to the other.

      You cannot reconcile differences or feel safe in your marriage until you do.

      Please read that book I recommend (I’ll link to it at the bottom of this comment.) if you want to understand the science and the evolutionary reasons for why we are the way we are (during the tribal caveman days, all the male and female traits that causes problems in relationships today were necessary to ensure our survival when the threats (more physical in nature) were different than they are in 2015.)

      If you want to discuss further, you can reach me at mbtttr@gmail.com (that’s three Ts).

      Good luck, Krystal. I’ll be rooting for your marriage and family.

      http://www.amazon.com/Improve-Marriage-Without-Talking-About/dp/0767923189/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431960252&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+improve+your+marriage+without+talking+about+it

      Like

    • jenny says:

      Funny Krystal, I googled “I married an asshole, now what”

      Like

    • The Guat says:

      Krystal … I find that I found this post way late … Almost a year now that you’ve commented and I wonder how you find yourself. How’s your situation going? I ask, because I’m this wife too. I’m the underappreciated taken for granted wife who speaks up, and not in a sassy way either, but it only seems to get turned around and nothing gets resolved, because I’m not heard. He doesn’t “get it,” so I was wondering a year has passed now … So hope things have improved for you

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Gina says:

    Matt, I just found your blog and I so appreciate your honestly and can totally relate to what you have written. I only wish my husband would read it and realize how his inaction is destroying our marriage. We’ve only recently married but he has stopped showing he that cares. I don’t ask for muc. just small expressions but he seems to not want to make the effort. Ive talked to him several times to no avail. I just pray that things get better,

    Like

  18. jenny says:

    seriously…20/20 hind-sight. Any guy reading this because his girl sent it to him because he’s a shitty husband, is going to read it and toss it aside. They DON’T think they are shitty. It’s some narcissictic bull shit that men have ingrained in them from cave-man days. I wish to god they would take this to heart, but they won’t.

    Like

  19. toolongtolivethisway says:

    This make me cry as well. My husband to a tee…except the part where he was not doing those things described above because he was having affair after affair. Those other women were getting what I wasn’t. Adds an entirely different twist to the situation. Now that he is giving me those things and becoming what you have become, I don’t think I want him. Sad, especially for my children.

    Like

  20. Jay says:

    I just awakened today to the fact that really sank in deep into my skull…I have been an major leagues ASSHOLE all of my 30 years of “marriage”. You don’t realize anything matters until you lose it all. I am no divorced yet, but I think wife’s reach her plateau of tolerance and willingness to looks for ways…, so I send your article (link) to my son, the only child from my failed marriage.

    Like

  21. elle says:

    I’ve just learned a lot from this. What I’m learning, to my chagrin, is that I’m in many respects a shitty wife. My husband suffers from depression and some diabetes, and those two things together sometimes add up to him being off-the-grid for everything except the bare essentials, and sometimes for those things, too. We are the working poor, and although he’s working now, he has to be prodded over and over to submit his invoices to the company he works for (he’s a contractor) and he’s horribly bad at keeping track of paperwork. I’ve created tools and tricks for him that he says are helpful but he doesn’t use them. At home, he spends most of every evening either in front of the tv or in bed, napping. Our sex life in basically nonexistent. Some days, the only time I can talk to him is in the ten-minute interval when we’re both getting dressed in the morning, and then he’s impatient. He is cranky all the time, and I go to great lengths to avoid making him angry — not that he’s ever lifted a hand to me; he hasn’t, but his anger and negativity are contagious, and I’m trying pretty hard most of the time to stay positive. He’s let his grooming slip to an alarming degree; he doesn’t take his meds properly because he says they make him feel lousy, and he’s recently taken to piling garbage in the livingroom next to his chair. Getting him to take out the garbage is a nightmare. BUT. He takes incredible care of my very elderly parents, who live with us, and goes out of his way to make them feel loved and respected. On the weekends, he patiently takes me around to a lot of places he wouldn’t be caught dead in, like fabric stores and yarn shops. He drives miles out of his way to get special food for our sick and elderly cat. He does most of the cooking and marketing for us, and is always buying me little treats like grapes and things he knows I particularly like. If I do laundry for him or bring him a drink or a snack, he thanks me. When he meets new people, he tells them all about his wonderful wife, and says I’m the brains of the outfit (which I only wish was true). He tells me he loves me every single day. I still want to help him be healthier and a lot less cranky and a lot better at managing his paperwork, but I can see how lucky I am, and if I ever forget it again, I’m going to come right back and read this. Thank you for giving me a better perspective.

    Like

    • els C says:

      Dear elle,

      People who hate paperwork will not get better at it, whatever you do. It seems that you are much better at paperwork than he is. Why do you not suggest that you two work out a way so you can do the paperwork -say, on Monday night he gives the data and you use the devices you suggest to work out the paperwork and send the invoices. In the beginning it will be a lot of work, for there will be a backpile, but that will become less. You will have more money and it will take away one more reason for depression.

      The TV, not being able to do the paperwork, letting the grooming slip, not being able to throw things away…..I have been there too recently. Apart from being over tired, my levels of vitamin D3 and C were too low. I started to take extra vitamin D3 and C and felt a lot better. Let him have those level checked. It is an easy thing to do and if this may be the cause taking those pills may not solve the depression completely, but will definitely help to make life a lot better for both of you. I can now sort out piles that I wasn’t able even to look at half a year ago. However, keep in mind that a change will take time and make sure you don’t overdose, for that will cause problems too. Maybe the doctor can help.

      Diabetes is a horrible disease. It makes you feel lousy and tired and making you feel hungry right after your copious dinner. I started to have cravings for sweet things and started looking for them in the house, like a junk looking for heroin. I, who was able to walk through isles and isles of sweets, even chocolate, in the supermarket without paying attention. I was looking at myself during those searches (which I tried to hide from the rest of the family) and was horrified that I was ding this. But I was not able to stop. Fortunately, I have everything under control now: my blood sugare levels have dropped and the bad habits are slowly disappearing. Exercize will helped too, especially strolls outdoor; after 15 minutes of walking outside I felt loads better. Even when it was cold and overcast.

      If the depression lifts, talking about things will become a lot easier. Hope this is of use.

      Apart from this, me and my husband feel this blog is right helpful. He was – and partly still is- a shitty husband, but is willing to listen. Now we both have to relearn to talk and listen to each other. As we have not been doing that for a long time, it is hard. I started feeling neglected, just like your blog explained and that made me putting myself in my stronghold, just to prevent to be hurt over and over again. So I didn’t give him compliments for the good things he did, like he didn’t do for me. It is very difficult. What if I start complimenting him and he takes that as a sign that everything is hunky-dory and he is a good husband for me? Not easy.

      Wishing you all the luck with this situation. Don’t be afraid to take him out for lunch or something without elderly parents and start to talk about little things, unrelated to your troubles. It helped us, but it is difficult to break a routine of not talking to each other any more. I found out that doing this and starting with some compliments started to break the ice. Maybe it will be enough for you….

      Like

      • Jay says:

        When I first learned about this webpage, I was searching for answers to understand, contain and resolve the critical boiling stage my marriege had reached.

        My wife had called me an “asshole” many a time, yet I always took it as something cute like butthole. Then things continued to progress, until we no longer talked anymore. Lots of thing
        Where taking place as well, such as work related stresses, entering the 50’s, kids graduating college and leaving for good to jobs far away from home. All of these small pebbles built up stresses that like a geological fracture at some point will give and releasing all pent up tensions in a single irrational burst.

        That’s how it went with us. There was talk about divorce or separation, we engage another couple for mediation and even sat down to draft a set of rules.

        I packed my bags and took a 70 day Caribbean solo adventure, one way ticket. Shipped camp gear to a general delivery address and left. I found a place to crash and from there took trips to remote wilderness spots, to rough it out, catch my own food, fit an overnight camp and lay to dissect my future alone. Been alone and away, taking a break from our seemingly crappy lives is the best way to put it all in the right perspective. Been away and under your own rules of play is king. Yet, I found myself that it was too great, too easy to simply bail out from a 28 year relationship, no matter how bad it had become. That same time granted my wife the liberty to do as she saw fit, doing things her way and taking a test drive of what it means to take care of a 3k sq.ft. home solo, like I do. She had also been able to identify a great stress producer, her job. She chased after another opportunity within her department where the daily grind was less stressful and made the switch. I came back to find my old best friend, and wife. We haven’t gotten in a fight in over a month. All is not perfect, but what in this World is? Relationships change and both parties are equally deserving and introspection that is realistic, an internal evaluation of ones real motivations for expressing feelings that we can’t quite grasp or don’t care to accept.

        I learned how to not be an “asshole” by Googling Wikipedia’s meaning of the word. I did that when I realized I was witnessing the dissolution of my marriage, right before setting the sails of understanding by taking that solo trip.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. TLR says:

    wish I could get more men to READ this!! Change isnt possible when they believe nothing is broken….

    Like

  23. Sallie Bragg says:

    I just found these this morning on a link from a FB friend.
    Today I’ve been divorced for two weeks.
    Why? Because of feelings that I was not cared about, valued, or respected.
    Yes, he paid the bills.
    No, he did not have affairs.
    He just wasn’t here.
    After reading several of these I can now name why I was driven internally to file for divorce in the first place.
    If men do not evolve and if women cannot become conscious of themselves and what they need and express this from the beginning of the relationship, this is what they’ll keep getting.
    If I would have seen these 6 months ago, before I filed for divorce, I can honestly say that in a last ditch effort that I could have shown him these, but it would not have made a difference. He would have became angry and said that I, and these letters were full of shit.

    I will sit alone until I know myself so well I can say what it is I want and need from the beginning of a relationship.
    Thank you so much for these letters. It is too late to save a marriage, but they will come in handy on the slim possibility of a future partner.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Matt says:

      I’m very sorry to hear that, Sallie. I think it’s clear to you that I understand. I’m sorry for being like your husband was, but I appreciate very much you supporting this post-marriage effort to make a positive contribution.

      I don’t necessarily seek redemption here. But when I read nice things like your comment, I get to feel it a little bit.

      And I lack the vocabulary to accurately express how meaningful it is to me.

      Good luck, Sallie.

      The recently-divorced period was really hard for me. I hope you get to your next chapter as soon as possible.

      Thank you for reading and your nice note.

      Like

    • Jay says:

      Sally, please read my September post, right when I felt all was lost and then today after enough to time transcurred to experiment with what it felt to be free. I posted my views today. Your husband couldn’t have matched my level of arrogance, there is always hope.

      Like

  24. AnonymousHeart says:

    I’m pretty sure your words may have just mended a broken 13 year relationship & 4 very hard years of marriage. If not, than I’m quite positive whatever relationships we seek in the future will be exponentially better off. Whatever made my husband stumble across you’re blog at 4am after a hard fight was the same driving force that put us together in the first place. In reading this, I realized I was feeling things that scared me & found within your words to my “shitty husband” the words that this broken wife needed to hear. Reading this I laughed, smiled hard, cried harder. I don’t know you, but I could swear you knew me. Im Birthday Girl or the new mom, exhausted at the hospital with a newborn or the wife crying alone in bed because I want to spend time with my husband. Time will tell whether or not you have helped him. But you have saved me. “Thank you” seems like a lack-luster thing to say after the epiphany you just served on such an honest platter. So instead I’m going to continue to follow your work & share your words with everyone willing to read them. You’re a rare breed, Matt. Best of wishes.

    Like

  25. The Guat says:

    Yup. This was again definitely on point. Sorry I missed it when it was first posted, but you definitely hit the birthday girl moment as I’ve had a couple thought the years. The sad part of it all is that I’m constantly expressing my expectations, there are no surprises and he can never say I don’t know what she wants because when he used to ask me I would tell him. It’s sad to be here and and read all the other responses of wives who are I the same situation … Just hoping the husbands can read this from another guy (not something coming from their wife) and be like all right, yeah maybe I can do things for her That will help make our relationship better. I can manage to be nice, just nice and thoughtful and show up. That would make a huge difference. Thanks for the post so glad these thoughts are out there in the universe, maybe they’ll help someone out.

    Like

  26. Billy W says:

    Hi, I’m a shitty husband, and I’d like to show how much I love my wife and how I want her to approve me. We’re married for 10 years now, and everyday is a routine. Now we’re in the situation that I don’t feel like she likes me anymore, we don’t talk about feelings anymore.
    I wonder how to start this talk about feelings again while I kept on resented by her. She always criticize me for little things that I do for home and kids, and therefore one day I decided to minimize my effort to ease up her work at home… But that’s definitely a bad decision.

    Another thing, smartphone & TV consumes me, and during the night I’d rather watching Youtube of sports while she’s watching another Youtube channel in her smartphone.

    So, I don’t know where to start… I suppose I just start with the doing & the talking & the small-small attention, and ditching the smartphone & TV… Any further suggestion Matt ?

    Like

  27. Marcie says:

    HAHA! Like some of the others, I too googled “my husband’s an asshole” and ended up here. This is a great blog. Too bad more husbands don’t read this before it is too late. My husband told me today that he wants a divorce. It seems I am a shitty wife in his eyes although he fails to tell me how. We have two children (6 and 7) and been together for 16 very trying years. See my lovely husband has a bad habit of infidelity which of course is all my fault because, well, who else is to blame, right? Anyway, I mostly wanted to say that you sound like a terrific guy who learned a tough lessen a little too late. My husband is about to be taught the same lesson but I doubt he will learn from it. I am a very strong, successful, independent woman who just wants someone to share my life with that will love only me. So the question remains…where are all the guys that have already figured out how to treat others with respect?! I can’t seem to find a good guy no matter how hard or where I search. I am so sick of all of the games. Why can’t these stupid ass supposedly grown men get their head out of their ass!!! Just saying…

    Like

  28. Joey says:

    Hi Matt – I only read one article so far but it was right on the money. Kudos to you for trying to educate men of the world out there. As a woman it basically feels like a lost cause trying to get a guy to see where we are coming from, there is no possible way of bringing up an issue without causing a fight or the other person to feel like they are not good enough.

    It really is the little things that add up and matter. I am on holiday right now with 5 days to go, haven’t actually had a meaningful, pleasant or enjoyable day with the other half. Every day has been either with his friends, his family or he is drunk with friends or on his i phone constantly. How nice it would be to hold hands with someone who actually wants to spend time with me. I feel like if you actually have to ask for that, its a pretty good sign that something needs to change! Maybe you can tell us women, what is so alluring about i-pad games, social media and getting drunk? Do men even value a meaningful conversation? Should I just end my marriage, move to an isolated island and herd goats? It would seem like a much less complicated and disappointing lifestyle. It feels like a pretty average existence in life at the moment.

    Like

  29. Tina says:

    OH my god, marry me😀

    Liked by 1 person

  30. TA says:

    So very true and I don’t know shit about marriage!!!!

    Like

  31. chubaoyolu says:

    the depth and emotional rawness of this article could have only come from one with true life experience. I enjoyed reading every word. Thank you for having the courage to share this advice… it could very well be of incalculable importance in the lives of many.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Reading this “letter” made me cry, because too often I was the “birthday girl” with the husband that ignored me all night, for the last twenty years. At first I thought we were just two very independent and secure people and that it was healthy for us to be able to mingle and enjoy a party separately, and yet together, as a couple. We were a social team, tackling a party or event. Working the room for the greater good!

    But as time went by, I felt that he basically had me there to prove that he was living life correctly by bringing his “plus one” or “the beautiful wife” to parties and events. Checking the box. I was window dressing, and no he never told me how great I looked, kissed me for no reaso or gave me knowing glances across the crowded room (sometimes I would lose him at functions with over 400 people, only to eventually find him outside, smoking cigars with the guys without even thinking about me or where I was) and many times I was his designated driver at the end of the night with late night drunk sex a definite expectation – because what isn’t more sexy than a man that ignores you all night long and then wants to hump you before he passes out?

    Thank you for putting it into words and letting me know that it wasn’t just in my mind, and that maybe (just maybe) there may have been another husband or two that watched it happening and thought the same thing you’ve written “sitting right here feeling sorry for a birthday girl who deserves the world and an oblivious husband who doesn’t know the damage he’s causing.”

    Like

  33. I am absolutely amazed at how everything i am feeling you seem to be able to put into words. I have been with my hub for 10years. And for awhile everything was great. Even when we struggled. But over time. He stopped putting me first. I still pushed for his attention and affection. I even told him how i felt. But he only managed to make me out to be the bad guy by not saying something sooner. Then he would go about stepping his game up. But it was short lived. He goes back to being comfortable. Back to expecting me to always be there. I was a task that could be pushed aside until he felt he had the time and wanted to put in the effort. I used to always tell him. I want you to want me. And to show me that you want me. Now the tables have turned. I finally broke down. But i have not completely given up. I just need a break from it all. Always fighting for love. Always giving direction. Like at the very least signing a birthday card before you give it to me. He admits to his lazy behavior. And begs me to stay. I don’t want to throw what we have away. 2 children. Great family and friends. But i do not want to feel that hurt again. The pain of not being enough. The anger from doing far more and being told to do even more. With his excuse being. “I work all the time”. If the kids get sick. I am expected to be the one to call out. Because he makes more than me. But that puts my job at risk. He pays no mind to that. It breaks my heart to have such feelings rushing around. I only want him to be my partner. Stay up joking around. Laughing. Creating memories. Having fun. Instead i just feel drained. I have to jump threw hoops to get family days set up. He cant be working. And he doesnt want me venturing on my own. Sex is always about him. Never about me. But he has stepped up. He has taken more actions to actually planning something for special occasions. I still wonder if he will get to comfortable again. And i worry that will cause me to really dislike him rather than just being disappointed. I do not want to hate this man. But i cannot stay to be in pain. Any ideas?? Also after things settled and i agreed to work on us. I found he has been drinking. A lot. He wasnt really hiding it but he wasn’t in a hurry to tell me anything about it. He lied to my face. I drank some of his soda. Only to taste vodka. He really told me it must be expired. Its bad soda. Then pours it out. Takes out the trash and goes to get his hair cut with our son. I called him out. 3 hrs later. Is this what i should expect to happen forever. I didnt make a big deal out of it. Just told him how messed up he was. And the lie was worse then the drink. I didnt fight. I didnt yell. I didnt cry. But it still weights on me

    Thanx for reading

    Like

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