Your Wife Thinks You’re a Bad Husband Because You Are One

See that guy in the back? He's probably employed, faithful, easy to get along with, and generally nice to people and his wife. That must also mean he's a good husband, right?

See that guy in the back? He’s probably employed, faithful, easy to get along with, and generally nice to people, including his wife. That must also mean he’s a good husband, right?

We have a problem, guys.

I don’t know why we have the problem, but if you want to have a non-sucky marriage, it will help to acknowledge this, then work daily to overcome it.

You think your wife is unfairly critical of you. That she’s ungrateful. That she’s always coming up with a new problem or complaint with your behavior. That she’s constantly nagging you about something, and usually at the least-convenient times after a long day at work.

You think your wife is a little bit crazy. She’s upset and it’s a total freaking mystery to you because you would NEVER get upset over something so little and insignificant, right? So, she’s crazy. Hormonal. She must be. It’s the only logical explanation.

You think your wife has a problem with priorities. You would never start a fight with her for leaving a towel on the floor of your bedroom. It doesn’t really matter! Or over forgetting to set out the chicken to defrost for dinner. We can just order pizza and eat the chicken tomorrow! Not a big deal! Let’s not fight over silly things!

But more important than that, she was the person you gave up your bacherlorhood and individuality for. Of every person on planet Earth, she is the one you proposed to and vowed to faithfully live with forever. And you’ve probably sacrificed a lot for her, right? Maybe she decides what town you live in, and what house you bought, and how the house looks, and mostly dictates the general rhythm of your lives. Maybe you go to work every day, handing over entire paychecks so she can decide what to do with it. Maybe you let her drive the nicer of your two cars. You feel like you’ve dedicated the majority of your existence to being her partner for the rest of your life, and you’ve done so mostly complaint-free. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Your ONLY complaint is that she’s always on your ass about something. Can’t you just chill out and not give me shit, since I NEVER give you shit!?, we all think.

It’s because, despite our imperfections (which to us feel the same as theirs—we just don’t complain about theirs much) we know we’re pretty decent guys.

We know we love our wives and families, and every time someone suggests our love isn’t good enough, we get a little bit prideful and a little bit pissed off. Especially when it’s our wives.

I get it. I felt the same way.

You Have a Problem with Relativism, and It Will Probably Earn You Divorce

I don’t cheat on my wife. A lot of husbands do. Since I don’t, I must be a good one.

I don’t hit my wife. A lot of husbands do. Since I don’t, I must be a good one.

I don’t drink excessively or do drugs. A lot of husbands do. Since I don’t, I must be a good one.

I have a job making good money and provide for my wife. A lot of husbands don’t. Since I do, I must be a good one.

I’m a good guy and a nice person. A lot of husbands aren’t. Since I’m a good, nice guy, I must therefore be a good husband.

Then we make it worse.

Because we’re so good at logical reasoning and leaving emotion out of it unlike our idiot wives, we surmise that her complaints about us lack merit. We’re good husbands! We just established this! So she’s being an unfair bitch right now, but she’ll get over it if I just go watch TV in the other room!

Moving forward, every time our wives complain about us, we chalk it up as another bullshit nag-fest because A. She’s complaining about this insignificant crap I would NEVER complain about, while ignoring all the actual important things I do every day that matter! and B. I’m a good husband, and this is the same fight we always have, and she’s obviously full of shit.

I Have Bad News, Kid

You can be a great guy and be a bad electrician.

You can be a great guy and be a lousy dancer.

You can be a great guy and be a shitty husband.

Relativism is a funny thing. I certainly dabble in all kinds of it. I always figure, if there’s a God, I’m in good shape spiritually because I treat people kindly while not murdering, raping, kidnapping, stealing, fighting, vandalizing, abusing, etc. It’s a logical fallacy. It’s one I use to make myself feel better and avoid making difficult and disciplined lifestyle changes.

And I’m sorry, guys. Just because you make a bunch of money and avoid having sex with other women on business trips and tend to not criticize your wife’s choices as much as she does yours, doesn’t make you a good husband.

Marriage isn’t graded on a curve. Just because millions of assholes are getting an F and you’re getting a C-, doesn’t mean you deserve a pizza party for making your imaginary Honor Roll. C- grades are shitty regardless of how many guys are doing it worse than you.

Marriage grades are strictly pass or fail.

HALF OF ALL MARRIAGES END IN DIVORCE. Of the ones that don’t, how many of those appear to be fun, loving, satisfying relationships? Look around and decide for yourself. In other words, even if you aren’t divorced, does that mean you’re succeeding in your marriage?

I have a son in second grade. He’s awesome. But he’s a complete tool bag sometimes when we’re working on math homework and he guesses the answer wrong by a digit or two, and then defends his wrong answer by saying “I was close!” before telling me he doesn’t want to learn how to do math because he doesn’t feel like it.

There’s no “close to correct” in math. It’s either correct (and for the purposes of second-grade math, there is only ONE right answer and an infinite number of wrong ones), or it’s not. I think marriage is exactly like that.

You can’t almost get marriage right. You can’t be close to being a good husband.

You either ARE a good husband (which requires a daily display of strength and heroism and fortitude and courage and discipline and empathy and wisdom and knowledge and love), or you’re not one.

We get defensive. We buck and protest and point fingers and deflect.

But you know.

Dude. I know that you know that I know that you know that you’re a little bit selfish and that you frequently make choices that are easiest for you, often at the expense of your wife’s preferences. You do it all the time.

Sure, I know you just forgot, sometimes! I’m the freaking king of forgetting. But when you don’t create a system to not forget anymore (that you have that thing on Tuesday, or your wedding anniversary, or to pick up the dry cleaning, or whatever) so that your wife knows she’s loved and respected enough for you to take care of things and demonstrate you can be counted on, you reinforce feelings of mistrust that make her feel afraid and insecure about her entire life.

That will end badly for all parties, even when it seems so insignificant to you in the moment.

There are many ways to die.

Instantly, from a bullet.

Or imperceptibly slow from undetected cancer.

She can trust me to not cheat!

Sorry, man. No one gives a shit. If basic assurances of sexual faithfulness didn’t come with the most base-model marital packages, marriage would cease to be a thing. She already assumes she can and should be able to trust you to not bang other chicks. It’s best to not expect pats on the back for your restraint.

If you’re still reading, you might be tired of being lectured by some divorced asshole on the internet. You might be wondering why—if I’m so brilliant about marriage—mine ended.

It’s because I had a problem with relativism and it earned me a divorce.

Everyone’s different, so maybe divorce won’t be bad for you. For me, it was the worst thing that ever happened, and I cried a lot more than a man should, and dying didn’t seem so bad for a while.

And you know what I thought about every day for the next year or two while I was struggling to get my shit together? If I’d spent every day giving 10 percent more to the person I loved above all things, my wife and son would still live here and my life would be much happier.

Because, I wasn’t a bad guy. I was just a bad husband.

And if I had it to do over again, I’d have made better choices—choices that might still be available to you.

Maybe you can start right now.

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76 thoughts on “Your Wife Thinks You’re a Bad Husband Because You Are One

  1. swo8 says:

    What if you’re not a bad husband but your your wife thinks you are?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Men know the difference. I’m not worried about a man so skilled at life that he inherently knew how to be good at marriage, because almost no one figures that out.

      I’m sure there are legitimately shitty, unfair, evil wives out there. Law of averages, and all that. But they also know who they are.

      I’ll leave the preaching-to-wives business to women who understand what it’s like to be a wife. Because I do not, and it’s not my place.

      Liked by 3 people

      • swo8 says:

        Good answer Matt.

        Liked by 4 people

      • johnnykatz14 says:

        I have been asking this question for a year now.

        Found out my wife was pregnant, we moved across the country and I started a new job all within the same month. My wife warned me at the beginning, and told me, “I will see you on the other side.”, knowing that it would get ugly, and stupid, and hormonal, and she also asked me to not be an A-hole through the process.

        Through the 9 months of pregnancy +3 months postpartum, we lost sight of that thought and she kept thinking that I was an A-hole, and that our marriage was doomed and NOTHING I could do would stop that.

        I started reading everything I could to work on me because I DO have plenty to work on.

        The haze is just now starting to lift and its like “Oh hey, there you are” as my wife’s hormones and my infant son’s life stabilizes.

        Its not fixed, but I certainly have hope that not all things in life are permanent. Sometimes things are temporary, or hormone based or weirdly circumstantial, but either way, I am accountable for how I love my wife and can always improve.

        I appreciate Matt’s comment:

        “You either ARE a good husband (which requires a daily display of strength and heroism and fortitude and courage and discipline and empathy and wisdom and knowledge and love), or you’re not one.”

        I am not an evil husband, but if I am not a good husband, then it makes me a bad one.

        Sometimes women are temporarily crazy. Just don’t ever mention that to their face and keep working like they are not.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Matt says:

          Thanks for being one of the guys who immediately goes to work on himself when things get messy. Even when you’re not the problem, it’s still the best move.

          I smiled when I got to “Oh hey, there you are.”

          Sounds like you’re hopeful, if not confident, that everything is going to be okay. I’m so glad.

          But here’s my favorite part:

          The turmoil triggered you into problem-solving mode. Instead of choosing avoidance or other women’s vaginas, you chose information.

          And now, you probably have a much deeper understanding of who your wife is and what her needs might be, and how you two accidentally drive one another apart for any number of reasons. When you “get it,” you can do something about it. Something constructive and connecting that keeps you all glued together.

          You’re my favorite kind of story, and I hope things continue to improve in your family’s life, and that your little son gets to grow up watching love and marriage work how it’s supposed to.

          Then maybe he can do the same because of what he learned from you.

          Then maybe your grandchildren can, too.

          It matters. Thank you for reading and taking the time to share a part of your story here.

          But mostly, thank you for being part of the solution.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Josh says:

            My fiance is bi-polar. Which means that sometimes she thinks that I am the devil and she should fuck other people. Send our dog to the pound, and call a restraining order on me, just because she can. Guess I’m a bad husband.


      • Josh says:

        I dont think that shitty people know when they are being shitty people. Isn’t that the thesus of your origional post? So if women are being shity and leave thier husbands because they can. (ITS EASY TO FIND A SUB and You may as well find the most of what you can get, because you already got this easily, so more shouldnt be too much harder) How is that the good persons fault.


    • mickrussom says:

      Pretty much. One of the primary drivers of strife is two fold – dual income with multiple kids makes life very, very hard. For some reason some people validate themselves through work but could never be bothered to ask if the intimacy they share with you is even half-hearted at best. I’ve seen first hand more desire to please the workfplace, which treats my SO badly while I would do anything to not treat her badly and for whatever reason my SO wouldnt give a passing thought about intimacy but wants to stay overtime to finish useless stuff “on time”. Intimacy is about connection – too, stonewalling, not talking, not being intimate, this stuff takes its toll. The other major issue is mind-reading. Men solve problems. So women need to present a list of problems that need solving. Do laundry. Grocery shop. Repair . A lot of women suck at communicating what they need to stop being upset.
      I have to say as well mountains of counselling and therapy have only racked up bills and done nothing to help. And I could be a good guy but a bad husband. First world problems.

      The man in me will do nearly any task
      And as for compensation, there’s little he would ask
      Take a woman like you
      To get through to the man in me
      Storm clouds are raging all around my door
      I think to myself I might not take it any more
      Take a woman like your kind
      To find the man in me
      But, oh, what a wonderful feeling
      Just to know that you are near
      Sets my a heart a-reeling
      From my toes up to my ears
      The man in me will hide sometimes to keep from bein’ seen
      But that’s just because he doesn’t want turn into some machine
      Took a woman like you
      To get through to the man in me

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Billy says:

    An excellent post. So sorry it ended badly for you :/

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very well written Matt. You should talk about this in schools, where the teenagers are :-)


    • Matt says:

      Thank you, Irene.

      I do keep thinking about how to talk to younger people about this stuff. Someday. I appreciate the encouragement very much.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WshIKnw says:

      That’s the answer to the marital crisis in the US, Irene. Why aren’t we teaching all teenagers life skills, like how to understand the opposite sex, how to be a good spouse, how to be a good parent, how to be a responsible adult, how to be a happy person? We put so much focus on productivity. How about some focus on happiness and well-being?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. tonifoverby says:

    Love, love, love!!! Every word is true!!!


    • Matt says:

      I appreciate that, Toni. Thank you very much for taking the time to read and leave a nice note. Wishing you and your family a very happy and blessed holiday season.


  5. Nomorebullshit says:

    Everytime I read one of your posts I wonder why years after your marriage you are reflective enough and man enough to realize what you did wrong and be sad about it. My ex and I are going through divorce now and I moved out in October. He has no sense of taking any responsibility for how awful of a husband he was to me. Even though he was an alcoholic cheating a hole who barely did anything with his son. I really don’t think he would even think for a second what he did wrong and how it caused the divorce. He’s very happily dating his new whore.


    • Matt says:

      If everyone was wired like me, we’d really be able to make a bunch of progress with this marriage stuff. As it is, I continue to be discouraged by how radically different opinions and philosophies can be about all these things we talk about.

      Step 1 is admitting you’re responsible for whatever life circumstances you find yourself in today.

      When a man is incapable of starting there, and spends his entire life in Finger-Pointing, Teenage-Boy Land, there’s really no conversation to be had.

      The bottom line is that young people just don’t know what they don’t know, and they get married because “We’re in lovvvvvve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

      And they’re stupid idiots because every young person is a stupid idiot without exception, and then they have to learn the hard way, and most people can’t behave with strength, decency and maturity, when they’re experiencing “the hard way.”

      We freak out, act like children, and do and say dumb things. (I still sometimes do this at 36.)

      Finding a way to make relationship psychology a more significant part of formal education, and arming young people with the information they need to make better choices would seem to be the best thing we can do about it.

      I wish I knew where to begin.

      In the meantime, I’m sorry that I think about this stuff all the time while your ex doesn’t, and I wish I had an answer for why.

      I’m sorry this is what you’re dealing with this holiday season.

      Here’s to 2016, miss.

      The one thing I know for sure is that if that happened to you this year, next year is likely to be much better.

      Positive thoughts heading your way.


      • anitvan says:

        “Relationship psychology” Huh. There’s a name for it. That’s what I think about too

        Liked by 1 person

      • Josiah says:

        “And they’re stupid idiots because every young person is a stupid idiot without exception, and then they have to learn the hard way, and most people can’t behave with strength, decency and maturity, when they’re experiencing ‘the hard way.'”

        As a young person, I am very hurt by that.

        But you’re right.

        Not completely though.

        Not every young person gets into drugs, has lots of sex, or gets into crime.

        However, that doesn’t mean that only certain people get get an easy question with the most obvious answer wrong on a test. It can happen to anyone.

        It can happen to anyone.

        Now, I may be just a young boy (15 years old) and I probably shouldn’t be here anyway, but I disagree. Although I, personally, have my faults, I am not stupid. I am just learning, growing, experiencing. I know more than people of my age know, but at the same time I don’t know a lot of things. Still, I don’t appreciate being called “stupid.” God knows I don’t like being called “stupid.” My mother called me the same dang thing.


        • Matt says:

          I can’t remember whether you’re quoting something I wrote or not, Josiah, but please don’t take me too literally.

          I use lots and lots and lots of hyperbole in my writing.

          If I make a mistake, I may refer to myself as a big, fat, stupid idiot. But I’m not big nor fat nor particularly stupid. (Relativism. Ivy Leaguers might think I am.)

          If I wrote that all young people, without exception, are “stupid,” please trust that I playfully mean that all young people don’t know what they can’t know, and that it has NOTHING to do with intelligence or ability or character. I’m also including 100% of people who USED to be young.

          Older people got “smart” by learning from all their “stupid” mistakes.

          15, good sir! The last thing I’d have been doing at 15 was reading things like this. I’m not sure whether to be impressed or feel sorry for you! (Also a joke.)

          Thank you for taking the time to read things here and share your thoughts. I believe you’ve set the all-time age record.

          Don’t tell my mom you read this, please. She’ll admonish me for my language again.

          Josiah. Our mothers are amazing, and deserve our love and gratitude.

          But please don’t let people call you stupid, and please don’t ever stop standing up for yourself.

          Find what you love. Pursue it relentlessly. Believe that tomorrow (or hell, maybe even 10 minutes from now) could easily be when the next best day of your life happens.

          Best of luck, good sir.


  6. ttravis says:

    More than your usual brilliance here, Matt. As you know, I’m interested in the “why we have this problem” issue, but getting into that could come later. Right now you’ve identified the problem, sketched out how it presents itself, and suggested that it can be addressed by the average guy. Important work.

    I’m interested in hearing your suggestions on how men might “create a system so that they don’t forget [to defrost the chicken, etc.] anymore.” You’ve mentioned struggling with this kind of organizational thing in the past. I’d say that every married woman I know, of every age, is extremely frustrated by the sort of default cluelessness their husbands manifest around these kinds of issues. Men’s learned helplessness about dealing with the complex details of domestic life (described well in this article: results in a serious inequality in household labor that leaves most women I know feeling incredibly resentful, not to mention exhausted.

    Note that I call this “learned helplessness” because, remarkably, men who claim they are just “not hard-wired for scheduling/details/thinking all that shit through” can master massive amounts of detail about sports teams, execute large projects at the office, and often play chess really well. When men say they can’t remember to take the chicken out to defrost, or praise women for being “naturally” good at things like that, what they really mean is “that’s ‘women’s work,’ which is inherently uninteresting/slightly disgusting to me, and I can’t be bothered to do it. As a woman, you’ve been trained to do that kind of shit work all your life, and that suits me just fine.”

    To go back to your larger theme, men who say this kind of thing out loud these days are often regarded (by the kind of people who read this blog, anyway) as real assholish louts. But the “nice guys” you’re talking about here engage in this exact mental process. By never voicing the logic that underpins their “cluelessness,” and talking instead about how men are from mars and women are from venus, or about how the genders are “hardwired” to behave in certain ways, we can keep the issue safely out of sight– and remain totally frustrated with why our relationships are so fucked up. Thanks for starting the conversation that gets it out in the open.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      This made me feel good. Thank you so much. I also appreciate the depth and thoughtfulness you put into this aspect of relationships.

      As a biased and defensive guy, you’re likely to hear me say things about how I find most women to be infinitely better at mental juggling, schedule management, and all-around multitasking than me.

      I don’t know whether I believe, on this specific point, that gender is a factor. I need to read more.

      But I think your label of “learned helplessness” is fair.

      Go to any large-scale family gathering on Christmas Day and just watch.

      More than nine times out of 10, I bet, most of the men will gather around the basketball game on TV, or an outdoor area if the weather permits, or whatever open bar setup might exist at the party.

      Meanwhile, most of the women will be going back and forth between the kitchen and dining room, putting certain foods away, cleaning up the place settings, and either rolling their eyes at, or openly mocking (and in this case, perhaps deservedly so) their husbands.

      I don’t know that this is happening as much today, but at least with guys my age (which is mostly who I’m writing about), so many grew up with moms who sort of did everything.

      Our grandmothers did EVERYTHING. So their daughters grew up thinking that was just the way it was.

      Those daughters became our mothers. Life (because of higher education and changing economics with women in the workplace) dictated some logistical tweaking in the household, but MOSTLY mom was still doing everything: Cooking, cleaning, laundry, doc appointments, running us around to extracurriculars, grocery shopping, etc.

      So guys my age mostly watched two generations of women doing all the “women’s work,” which I totally agree is a bullshit thing to call it, but it’s also psychology programmed that this is just “the way.”

      So, our generation (I’m right on the Gen X/Gen Y dividing line) is the first where our wives frequently work as many hours and make as much money as we do, but we all still modeled our marriage dynamics after the ones we grew up watching without accounting for 40+ to 50+ hour work weeks from our spouses, because we’re sometimes thoughtless apes.

      Combine that with all the preexisting things that cause problems between husbands and wives, and it’s little wonder we find ourselves here.

      We’re probably at a pretty major transition period RE: marriage as an institution.

      It’s either going to continue to crumble and deteriorate and scare people away. (Which I perceive to be bad for children and humanity.)

      Or we’re collectively going to become more enlightened, change mindset, alter behavior, and just do a better job at excuting best marital practices.

      Fingers crossed it’s the latter.

      Always great to hear from you.

      And yes, I’m sorry the stupid book isn’t written yet. I think about it a dozen times a day and feel bad each time.

      Hope you’re well!


  7. jgroeber says:

    “I know that you know that I know that you know that you’re a little bit selfish…” Best line ever. For all of us, actually.
    (One of my favorite MBTTTRs for 2015. And you got it in just under the wire.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Your opinion carries much weight with me, Jen, so thank you very much for liking it. I hope you’re children are appropriately geeking out for Christmas and that their parents feel prepared for the final wave of the year-end Holiday Onslaught.


  8. […] written it many times before: Good men can be shitty husbands. They’re not bad men. They’re simply bad at marriage. The same way people can be bad at […]


  9. Jannette says:

    Very well expressed. :)
    I’m sorry it had to end up that way.


  10. Amy says:

    Yesterday my husband admitted his career takes priority because it brings in the money. We were happier broke. We’ve been married 15 years, I’ve been detached going on a full one now. I found Open letters while googling how to handle his words. My pillow is drenched, he’s snoring beside me, oblivious. Again. He gave me my Christmas present early this year, grinning because he thought he got it right this year, fifteen years….can’t recall that I’ve always preferred silver jewelry over gold.
    Your words are everything I’ve hoped he would someday realize, but he’s no reader and though only 38, he has a much older outlook on seeking help for crazy lady issues.
    I was going to ask for advice maybe on possibly another way of getting through to him, but I understand now.
    Love must be tough. He’s gonna have to feel it. Heck, if he doesn’t find a way to remind himself gold or silver, he’s certainly not going to follow any recommendations.


  11. Jason says:

    Your argument lacks even internal logic. If you do the things your spouse wants you to do and they still get pissed off at you that’s a problem. Relativism? Come off it. I don’t have a problem with relativism. You have a problem with objectivism. When you treat someone objectively well they should not treat you like shit. Kid.


  12. Pedro Luciano says:

    SO. no negative comments allowed?


  13. Dustin says:

    I agree that relativism matters. The problem [for your argument] is that it is a double-edged sword: The husband’s perspective should also matter. Not just the wife.

    Your math analogy is a bit off. Marriage is more like reviewing a book. Someone can give a book 3 out of 5 stars, and someone else may give it 5 out of 5 stars….for the same book. This makes sense because “what makes a good book” is subjective. There are some objective things (like using proper grammar), but for the most part, it is subjective.

    Some things in marriage are objective. For example, if Spouse A agrees to take out the trash, and they fail to do so, then they’ve made an objective mistake. (Albeit a small one, not worth fighting over.)

    But leaving a towel on the floor of the bedroom or bathroom is not an objective mistake. Some people feel it should be allowed and others feel you should clean it up right away. This, like many other things in marriage, are not objective mistakes. They are subjective areas.

    And here’s the kicker: I’m the one who thinks it should be picked up right away! But if I gave my wife a 3 out of 5 stars; and nagged her simply because she’s messier than me, then that would make me an unhappy jerk.

    My ultimate point is this: You SHOULD grade your spouse on a curve. (No one in the world is an exact 100% match for you, and nobody is perfect.) And they should do the same for you. That’s part of being married.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I haven’t read this post in a long time, Dustin, so I’d need to re-read it to to discover what I wrote in here that conflicts with the comment you just left.

      For the record, I agree with everything — every single thing — you wrote here.

      So, I apologize if you (and possibly others) feel as if the content contradicts it.

      I’m going to try to take some time later to re-read this through the prism of what you’ve written here.

      Thank you for reading and leaving this note. If you and I have a disagreement on reasonable expectations for husbands and wives in marriage, I haven’t discovered it yet.


  14. SG says:

    The time of “Happy wife, happy life” mentality needs to stop.
    It is a marriage and a union that is supposed to be 50/50 and not where one is only there to make the other happy.
    Both partners need to meet halfway. It should never be one sided.
    The husband deserves just as much respect and recognition as the wife.


  15. MaybeBad says:

    Yeah, I can see how I hate this post. I’m reading this now, just after I saw my 1.5yr old son eating food from 2 days ago, he found on the floor. The carpet in the living room also uncleaned for the same.

    Sure, I’m upset. But I’m doing it. Wife starts yelling from room to just read a book, put the boy to sleep and I say it’s fine. And it is, but I’m just a bit irritated by this all. Not to mention the wife whines all the f*cking time about not having a good job (she has almost 3 days off a week, works less than a mile from home) and I’m the “a-hole” who screws up life because I can’t take the whining from the kids, the wife’s whining, my job…which has pretty good benefits by the way on top of making more money than the wife.

    Well, wife says it’s my fault. I killed her drive. She wants to do tattoos and style hair. OK. Have fun. Goodbye.

    Relativism? My fault? I’ll take all the blame I told her, Take everything from my job but gas money and food – I’ll even beg Daddy to let me live in the basement. Why?

    Because in 3-4 yrs I know I’m good enough to double my income, love my kids to death (just as I do now, I hope to die if I get a divorce with no custody rights). Wife? No dreams, no goals but to whine about tattoos and hair styling, OH and how it’s my fault…Relative?

    Me a bad guy? Over 15 years I have become a bad person. My wife leached off me since I was 18 and she was 16. In our 30’s now it’s all my fault. Her parents wouldn’t even feed her a decent meal and I was working my ass off in my teens, I taught her how to do EVERYTHING. Now I’m a bad guy, a bad husband when I get upset cause she can’t vacuum everyday – when I was going to do it anyway. I hate my life, seriously. I hope to die so my kids can get my life insurance – which the wife has none of.



    • Matt says:

      For many couples… like, most… one person goes to the other and tells them something is wrong. Or that something makes them feel bad.

      Then the other person will disagree.

      It’s USUALLY the wife telling the husband that something he does or says makes her feel bad, and then he denies it. Tells her she’s wrong or.crazy.

      She says something hurts. But that same thing doesn’t hurt him. And because it doesn’t hurt him, he doesn’t think it SHOULD hurt her. So he tells her she’s responding inappropriately. He tells her that the things she thinks and feels every second of her life are wrong.

      He’s a bad husband. NOT because he’s a bad person. He may be an excellent person but he’s a bad husband.

      Being a good husband is a skill. Like being a good football coach. Or being a good auto mechanic. Or being a good electrician.

      But when she says something about him being her husband that’s not okay, he denies it. Turns it around on her. “I’m not a bad husband! You’re a bitchy nag!”

      If a guy fixes cars for a living and shit goes wrong all the time once he’s done, and his customers say he’s a bad mechanic or auto tech, how dumb does he sound when he denies it? When he tells them they’re wrong?

      Just because he thinks he’s a good mechanic doesn’t mean the customers were satisfied, or even that he objectively did quality mechanic work.

      Same is true for husbands.

      Sometimes, wives complain about something being wrong. And the marriage is breaking, of not fully broken. And she says “you do all things that hurt me! You’re a bad husband!”

      He may be a GREAT person. A great guy. But a substandard husband.

      And the person best-equipped to provide that feedback is his wife.

      All this is ALSO true in reverse. I just don’t pretend to know what wives feel so I write about husband stuff.

      Maybe some of it applies to you. Maybe it doesn’t.

      But I’m sorry for the headline.

      I think someone can be an AWESOME person but lack the skills to be a good spouse.

      I’m not even saying you’re a bad one.

      I’m saying, in most cases, IF a guy’s wife suggests he’s a bad husband, he–without realizing it–is probably getting some important aspects of good husbandry wrong.

      He doesn’t see it. He doesn’t feel it. He doesn’t agree.

      But that doesn’t necessarily make it untrue.


      • Jason says:

        I think you are exactly right. Some of us might not want to admit it because of pride. I have been married for 15 years and I just realized I don’t make my wife feel protected enough. She would get mad at little things that didn’t make sense. It wasn’t about the little things but the bigger problem that I never saw.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Josh says:

        This is why people who dont believe in god; should not get married. When you live by different standards it doesnt matter who good you do. Esspecially if someone’s standard is how good they feel at that time. Are you her husband or her court jester?


  16. Melissa says:

    This is spot on. I am married to a great man, but a shitty husband. Day after day if asking for the same thing. ” Put your kleenex in the garbage please/ put your clothes in the hamper please/ walk the dog please” and countless other things and person should be able to do for themselves without being asked. Then day after day I have to get more angry in order to get him to do it. Like these are adult responsibilities and I’m not your mommy. So I stop asking. Now tissues/ clothes are everywhere, and dog pissing on the floor. And who has to clean it up? Me that’s who. After Xmas holidays he’s is out of here, I have two children not 3! Doesn’t matter if you don’t cheat or if you provide enough income or your a nice person and never complain. We want men who are self motivated, and don’t treat us like maids.


  17. Sherry says:

    Bravo! Congratulations to your conscious awareness of your personal awareness !
    And by the way, we all should look and do something about how we behave and treat other people….we Women as well! 👍


  18. G says:

    And what if you are a husband in an abusive relationship? Ya see, I grew up in a household that was genuinely respectful and appreciative. It was an environment based on the expectation of working together and for one another. Sure we had some disagreements, disputes and moments of pettiness, however, it was a household of fairness and equality. I am in a marriage that does not share these tenants as I am often ridiculed and under appreciated. Not to mention I am often outright insulted, scolded and bullied. This on-going home life affects my sleep and my work, and has impacted my ability to function positively in other social settings as I now doubt my own self-worth. No matter how hard I have tried to do as she asks or to meet her requests I am still a failure and/or I am reminded about what I have yet to do or what mistakes I have made in the past. I used to keep a journal in order to vent my frustrations and express my feelings of hopelessness. As i would read them over I began to realize that I lived with an emotional abuser and manipulative partner. Yes, I am not perfect by any stretch and maybe I am the reason she dislikes various areas of her life. However, when does forgiveness replace resentment, or acceptance replace insults? And one of the worst things is I have no one to tell and no where to go (except my psych) – Who is going to believe that I am the one that is bullied and fragile? I’m the guy and I am suppose to be strong one, and in all likelihood the one that is the abuser. And if I leave the home and the relationship it will look as though I am the bad one that left. Who knew that I might be a victim?


  19. john says:

    This is the most sexist article written against men.
    I am tired of all this one way “woman rule the world, they are the master and men are the slave.” Relationship.

    This is discriminatory sexism, I feel sorry for many men in North America. That’s why 50 percent of adults are divorced or many adults are still single and probably will never find love; there’s now a adult teenage lifestyle for people in 30s…. Marketing teams call them the Millenials, I think many of them are “wacked out”. They produce children in their 40s and end up dying when their children turn 25, no more grandparents, split families, bad mothers, depressed father’s and children that need emotion and parental support, this is mostly gone… no more culture only media sponsored social moods (which is a very strong form of propaganda).

    Men and woman are equal, in Americas people go from one extreme to another.

    Hope this changes, the generation after this will understand better about the torment of broken families and want to re establish family values.

    When the one sex are empowered with rights above the other, it gets abused. Same goes for race, religion or other.

    People need to start being ” selfless” and start supporting each other… individualism is selfish and self centred, will destroy any relationship.


  20. Randy M says:

    I agree with most everything written in this article. What I think is missing is the same type (different content) for women.
    I, too, am a divorced father who wasn’t perfect, but tried to be a good husband. It does take two. It takes two people with both feet inside the circle who want to preserve and improve their relationship. It can’t be all about her or him, or one is being short-changed. You both said vows, you both had a veto as to your previous relationship becoming a marriage. You both need to put oars in the water and row.
    Thanks for the points made for husband behavior modification.


  21. Terry says:

    I don’t know what you did over the years to do it but accepting responsibility is hard….especially when you “feel” they don’t appreciate you. I’m scared to lose my gf and my baby girl. She Nevers wants to get married until I show myself as grown and capable of making mature decisions. I feel as though I do…I realize my effect on her yet can’t help but feel my lack of initiative is a direct effect of her actions towards me. Since the beginning she hasn’t been the kissy one. It bothers me and no matter how much I try to talk about it it’s always “I am that way!” Or “it’s your fault” and I get the last one but if I weren’t horribly depressed I would feel my every day actions matter. Did you feel the same before your divorce…..did you feel you were doing right and if so, was it with enough certainty about cause and effect like I “feel” I have. I say feel like that cause I assume I get it but obviously don’t or wouldn’t be here. Either way thanks for the post….very nice and in depth when being to the point. I hope you win them back….


  22. Josh says:

    Well, if Im the first to say this I will be surprised. You are rationalizing; as if everything was in your control. Do you hoestly belive that you were in control of her? If you were than being a “perfect” husband would have made the difference. But how were yoh in control when she was a litle bit too cold and you didnt offer her your shirt because she didnt say anything? Or the countless other times she judged you from her own point of view. Maturity goes both ways, even if someone is perfect doesn’t mean that they wont be called a creep and be crusified. Merry Christmas.


  23. Dude says:

    Thank you. As i type, i’m fighting with my pregnant wife in the other room, and it’s 6am. I don’t know what i’m doing to deserve the shouting and madness, but i know now that W/E the reason, it doesn’t matter; i just want to help her overcome any issue with me by fixing the problem, which i’m understanding, is me.


    • Matt says:

      Humility will take you far, sir. If you can find it within yourself to remain steady and patient and understanding (ALWAYS work your ass off to try to understand where she’s coming from — out of genuine curiosity, not to challenge her), everything will be okay.

      I’ve never been pregnant before, but I bet it’s terrifying and horribly unpleasant across the board.

      I don’t know much, sir. But I know that child’s best life has mom and dad raising her/him together.

      I didn’t do a very good job keeping that in mind when I used to fight. When I used to try to win.

      Building and protecting the family is winning. Anything working against that is counterproductive and self-sabotaging.

      At least, that’s where I’ve come out after four years of thinking about how it all went so wrong.

      It’s a real show sometimes. And damn it, they’re just WRONG sometimes, right? That’s how it feels. Unfair. Wrong. And subjecting ourselves to it seems ill-advised.

      Because no one tells us what to do.

      In those moments, our brains tell us it might be easier if she wasn’t there. Because then we wouldn’t have to put up with that shit anymore.

      When you’re in that moment, your brain isn’t considering all of the amazingly good things that exist in life because of the marriage and partnership. We ignore the 99 good things and react only to the one bad thing.

      Had I had a better sense of how much worse the loss of the 99 good things was than exercising humility and patience even when it was inconvenient, life would be a lot different today.

      Guys don’t talk about this stuff until it’s destroying us and fundamentally changing our lives. If you don’t have anyone, you can reach out at MBTTTR[at]

      But there’s nothing I can offer more helpful than this:

      1. No matter how insane or confusing it seems, your wife’s reactions and feelings make PERFECT SENSE to a person with her chemical makeup, perspective and life experience. And if you can find it within yourself not label her different way of being as “wrong,” and instead work to understand it, like solving a mystery, amazing things will happen.

      2. When the goal is to strengthen the relationship (and make her feel loved in the way SHE feels loved), then disagreements becoming relationship-strengthening opportunities, and not another footnote in our tragic divorce stories.

      Wishing you and your family well.


  24. Ryan says:

    Matt, in conclusion it sounds like a lot of people just shouldn’t get married, probably about half of marriages shouldn’t happen. If being a good husband is a skill, I don’t think I can learn it, and I shouldn’t be married anymore.


  25. Pascal says:

    Wow just blew my mind…
    This is exactly exactly my life, at one point I thought my wife hacked my phone, I started to look around for the camera !!!
    Your only wrong about one thing
    I am not a bad electrician
    Funny you even said that….
    That’s exactly 110% how I feel, but I think she finally had enough, so looks like I’m looking at new place to live and child support payments, I work 12 hours a day to come home and get shit on, and now a divorce, I’m keeping the kids, I wish I still had some friends but they stopped calling years ago cause they know the answer!! So if you tell me I only have a few months to live you wouldn’t see me cry!!!! I don’t even have emotions anymore, I got 3 settings: work . Avoid. Sleep


  26. WshIKnw says:

    We have to learn these things. Women won’t give us a chance to learn. That’s why the divorce rate is so high. Most men aren’t born knowing how to please a woman. And when we hold on to her for ten years, we assume we must be doing a good job to keep her that long. Unbeknownst to us, she begins talking to a new male coworker about her marriage. He makes sure to take very good notes about what she complains about her husband. And he begins wooing her, making sure to show that he is very strong in the areas she complained about. Her husband is now in a competition with someone​ for his wife’s love. The husband is completely oblivious to the fact that he is in this competition, while the other man is pushing as hard as he can. Who do you think comes out the winner? The wife cheats. Her heart suddenly becomes as hard as a rock toward her husband. She blames him for her adultery. She leaves him, spilling his guts on the floor. Won’t have anything to do with him. He’s left alone to put himself back together. He realizes now what an idiot he was, but there is nothing he can do. What she wanted out of him was nothing compared to what he’s dealing with now. But he can’t rewind. And he can’t control his wife. He can only make himself the best man he can be, and maybe someday she’ll come back to him. There is an epidemic of walk-away wives. It’s a sad thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Casey Grimes-Finley says:

    This was all so true.I loved this article!It hit the nail right on the head regarding my own marriage.Thank You for this insight.Casey Grimes-Finley,Chicago,Illinois

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Jennifer Eckenrode says:

    Can’t. Find link toemail this to me, please help


  29. Sam Mason says:


    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Hell yeah! Sweet feedback and substantive criticism. Hearts and minds everywhere will surely be changed.

      Thank you for the thoughtful, and impressively written feedback. You demonstrated sound judgment and reason, and the sage wisdom included should serve as a huge help for people seeking answers.

      Scholarly and masterful, sir.


  30. Dumb idiot story says:

    Your are dumb ass fucking idiot, those like you should burn in hell, dumb fuck, illiterate piss of shit

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I don’t think you know what the word “illiterate” means. Which, in the context of this comment, is pretty funny.

      “Burn in hell,” you said. Just so we don’t misunderstand each other…

      You believe that when we die, each of us will go to either heaven or hell, depending on whether we were — in simple terms, good or bad people.

      And you believe that me, and all those like me, should be condemned and damned to an ETERNITY of suffering and fiery torment? People like me who challenge certain behaviors in marriage, and encourage people to love each other and preserve their families?

      Just out of curiosity, who goes to heaven?

      All the super-awesome people who call strangers “dumb ass fucking idiots,” and “dumb fucks,” and “illiterate pieces of shit”?

      I have a little boy I’m trying to raise. So if I should be teaching him to call people names on the internet instead of learning things and being kind to others, that would be good to know.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Craig says:

    I was reading this and it was literally a mirror image of my life in many ways.
    Thank you for giving me something I can relate to and advice on how to address my downfalls that have affected my wife, of which I have some major ones.


  32. UMESH CHAND says:

    First time I found something new and logical
    Now I can work on my strength and weakness
    But what about those persons who keep provoking my wife


  33. John Demire says:

    For some unknown reason it seems that men are always the bad ones, like all women are some gift from God who are just perfect. Are you kidding me! There are just as many worthless, mean, and nasty women as there are men. Men should be just as careful who they are with as a woman should be. Everyone puts on a show of who they want others to think they are but it cannot be maintained forever. Eventually the true individual will shine through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I hope you don’t believe I disagree with any of that, or that any of the very-true things you said contradict anything you read here.

      All true, sir.

      I just only write about guys and husbands, because I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be female or a wife. I’m always hopeful there’s a wife or ex-wife out there writing the other side of this same story.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I totally agree. ESPECIALLY the facade part, and being courageous enough to just be your damn self with the person you want to marry, because it’s a REALLY bad idea to get married to people you don’t know OR to people who think you’re someone else.

      That tends to end badly. #currentdivorcerate


  34. Red6 says:

    Fuvk man, hit me right in the feels. I’m in the midst of a self imposed pity party due to my own ignorant POS relativistic ways. Your article made me cringe at myself, and I feel worse now. But at least it’s pain from honesty, and not a self contrived sob story of my own imagining. Thanks for the heads up, good luck


  35. Ken says:

    If this makes a bad husband what makes a bad wife…feelings are real for both men and women and who decides when the limit is reached the person with feelings or without…..i could say my wife is a bad wife because I have a high sex drive and she does not work with me on it. Note I am not saying to just have sex but to work with me on this issue…..i am not disagreeing however questioning the concept that the wife still is having feelings and we are expected to “handle” them who about the man’s feelings….although society has push us to not have them in many cases or at least pretend. Men have the highest suicide rate in the country not women considering what you went threw and the words you used where do a person feelings end and another’s begin. Where is bad husband and bad wife meet?


  36. Jordyn says:

    This is dogshit.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. John says:

    Opinions like these seem outdated and full of unrealistic expectations. What about holding both people in a relationship accountable for the outcome? Are you saying that being herioc and wise and empathetic etc on a daily basis is a reasonable expectation for anyone?? What about the seeming double standard – is this fair to men or anyone to expect them to be any less human, any less fallible or fragile than anyone else? Is it OK to suggest that men are not entitled to simply be loved for who they are as a person? Or should men be required to constantly earn love not for who they are but for what they can do or provide??? Your ideas seem misanthropic and reek of Stockholm Syndrome.


  38. Phillip Harrell says:

    This is bullshit! I have read books my wife asked me to read. I know her fucking love language. I listen to her feelings and thoughts uninterrupted offering no solutions i give her my time. I plan dates and get away’s i take care of things around the house, i dont forget dates or dry cleaning or whatever else she fucking wants, what about what i want? She blames me for shit that I didnt do she bitches and complains constantly no matter what i do. Women do this because of pussified men like the one who wrote this. I have been one too. Not anymore fuck this shit. This is why men die first putting up with unnecessary bullshit.


    • Matt says:

      Phillip. I think you should consider the possibility that you were an excellent husband, and that none of this applies to you.

      I want to believe I can trust people to know what does and does not apply to them.

      If this doesn’t describe you, then I think it’s pretty obvious that you needn’t be upset by it. Because it’s totally irrelevant.

      It only matters IF it matters.


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