‘Got any suggestions for this exhausted wife?’

exhausted-mother

Exhausted Wife wrote: “So I recently read your open letter to shitty husbands, and actually got my husband to read them too. It is like you are writing about our relationship. Completely accurate. A little scary actually and makes me feel sad for us because I can see the same end result happening. We’ve been together for five years, married for less than one, have a 2-year-old and one on the way.
He said that reading your letters was eye opening, and seemed to be making some solid changes… yet here we are a couple of weeks later and the same patterns resurfacing. Leaving all ‘tough’ stuff on me regarding taking care of our son, sitting on his phone/laptop constantly; myself and my son being ignored while he’s watching videos, playing video games, etc. He also has ADHD and knows these distractions cause problems, yet continues to do them. Recently began taking medication to help his ADHD, however I don’t believe that it’s making much difference.
I am at a loss for what to do. I’ve tried everything I can, begged him to change his priorities, tried to make deals with him so he gets some ‘down time,’ given as much as I can, withheld and distanced myself, gotten mad, threatened to leave, left and came back. It’s the same old story.
I’m 7 months pregnant, take care of my son full-time, work part-time and spent an hour and a half the other night trying to get my son to sleep while my husband watched videos in bed. Afterwards, because I was upset, he offered to put him to sleep the next night and give me a break, but it doesn’t change the fact that I needed him the night before but his need to relax was more important than mine. I don’t know how to get through to him. I don’t know if I can even.
Got any suggestions for this exhausted wife? I am afraid that things are never going to change and I’m wasting my time and energy with a man who is more selfish than I can handle.”

This is what the average marriage looks like and why so many are creeping toward divorce.

The classic reasons a husband drove his wife to leave him (or to become seduced by another man giving her attention) tended to be some combination of infidelity, abuse and neglect. Behaviors we all looked at and universally thought: “Wow. What an asshole!”

The majority of modern divorces aren’t like that. They’re just two regular people we all know and believed were a great couple until one of our mutual friends tells us over lunch: “Oh my God. Did you hear that Katie and Mark are getting divorced? They seemed so great together!”

Most broken marriages today fall into the generic silo of “Irreconcilable Differences.”

When I was a kid, I didn’t know what that meant. I was raised in a conservative Catholic household where divorce was considered sinful. So, mom, why did you leave dad and move us 500 miles away when I was in preschool? I often wondered.

It scared me that I might one day learn that dad cheated on mom, or hit her, or was a neglectful prick (which would have been super-inconsistent with my experiences with him).

And it turns out, none of those things happened. They just “couldn’t make it work.”

My parents were really young and poor. We lived in an Iowa trailer park.

Two kids in their early 20s trying to raise a kid and do the right thing.

I was married four years before my son was born, and my ex might disagree, but I have predominately fond memories of our pre-child marriage. The adjustment from two people doing whatever they want, to everything we do now has a “is this okay for our child?” backdrop to it, is dramatic.

I can’t even fathom how hard it must have been on two young people who knew each other for less than a year.

Historically, mothers bear the greatest burden when children are conceived. They carry the child, deliver the child, try to figure out what the shit is happening inside their minds and bodies as their hormone levels and body chemistry freak out without warning while they also secretly worry about their sexual desirability with their post-pregnancy bodies, and—oh yeah—have a new human being to raise from ages 0-18+ with no instruction manual, and it’s absolutely terrifying at first.

More things change in a permanent and scary way for mothers following the birth of a child than they do for fathers.

So many of the child-rearing responsibilities in our kids’ first year of life fall into the category of what chauvinistic and sexist men overtly or secretly consider “women’s work.” Things like feeding, and clothing, and bathing. Our grandmothers and mothers did it, so we just grew up thinking it was “the way” and ended up dumping our wives with more responsibilities without ever wondering whether it was fair, actively volunteering to help, expressing our gratitude, or providing the emotional and spiritual support necessary to help them not break down.

We men hold our babies and we feel the intense love we have for them. That’s real. But we’re often daydreaming about when they’re bigger three or four years from now so we can start doing all the “dad” stuff with them we remember doing with our fathers. That’s the stuff that really gives us the feels.

We look at our wives caring for our children and we feel the intense love we have for them. That’s real. But we’re often daydreaming about spontaneous weekend getaways, and spontaneous sex against the bathroom vanity, but most importantly—the way things used to be when she was totally into me.

Little known secret: Men often feel neglected and abandoned when their children are born and take all of their wife’s attention from him. But because, A. We love our children above all things, and B. We’re prideful and consider whining for the attention and adoration we crave a sign of weakness, we never tell anyone about it.

New fathers leave an unfair amount of work and responsibility to their wives because that’s often the arrangement they saw play out in their family, in other families, and on TV while growing up.

New mothers resent it, and when they finally break emotionally and say something about it, it comes off harsh and overly emotional, and us husbands—already tender from the radical and unexpected transformation in our relationship with her—react with prideful defensiveness, and withdraw emotionally, because that’s what we do when we feel shame from our partner’s disapproval.

The husband doesn’t understand how much he’s failing her emotionally, and that his cultural examples of mom taking care of everything was some seriously unfair bullshit, or that it’s an ineffective model for making relationships work in 2016. He’s just obliviously derpy-derping through life.

The wife doesn’t understand that his emotional abandonment and failure to meet her needs are NOT the actions of someone who doesn’t love her and can’t be counted on as a lifelong parenting, sexual, and financial partner. They are the actions of a self-centered, oblivious, entitled, immature guy who—with effective communication techniques and the right information—can become marriage-centered, reliable, thoughtful and empathetic.

‘It is like you are writing about our relationship. Completely accurate. A little scary actually and makes me feel sad for us because I can see the same end result happening.’

Everyone is entitled to their feelings. Stuff happens, then we all have a natural reaction. That needs to be okay, even when we don’t always understand one another.

However, I think the statement above is the wrong (and unecessarily cynical) way to think about it.

I had spent months sleeping in the guest room while my marriage inched toward doomsday before I started to get serious about figuring out how to save it. I began having lots of conversations with other married people, praying for miracles, and reading any books or articles that seemed like they might help. I read this book, then had the same realization that millions of other marriages are going through the same cycle and breakdown as mine. While sad, it wasn’t scary. It was a REASON. I felt joy and hope for the first time in months: Holy. Shit. This is happening to EVERYBODY. Not just us.

That means, in general terms, these marriage problems are universal.

It means YOU ARE NOT WEIRD. YOU ARE NOT FREAKS. YOU GUYS ARE NOT ANY MORE FLAWED OR DYSFUNCTIONAL THAN ANYONE ELSE.

These are profound realizations.

And unless you’re someone who believes in unsolvable problems, it means these universal marriage problems have universal solutions.

It also makes it completely illogical to assume that divorcing your spouse and eventually replacing him or her with another person will eliminate these “universal” relationship dynamics. It’s one of the reasons I’m so against divorce of the “irreconcilable differences” variety. Because unless you’re going to remain single forever, this EXACT same stuff in slightly different sizes, colors and shapes are going to crop up with the next partner.

There are no magic partners.

There are only partners willing to give the love needed to keep things together, and those who are not.

And the entire premise behind my writings on marriage and divorce is that there is a HUGE percentage of men who, when they have all of the information (Doing A = emotionally and mentally damaging your wife’s heart and mind, and will lead to divorce and you missing out on at least half your children’s lives, or Doing B = Wife feeling safe, secure and desired, knowing she can trust him to be her steady and reliable rock in good times and in bad, and will lead to a lifelong marriage where you get to grow old together and he gets to feel loved and respected instead of shame from failing at his most important job), will begin to institute changes needed to have a secure and predominately happy marriage.

‘Got any suggestions for this exhausted wife?’

Yes. Thank you for asking.

Allow yourself to question your beliefs about him. About what goes on inside your husband’s heart and mind when you don’t understand him. Question whether the ability to mine every bit of information in there might radically change your perception.

Trust that you weren’t a stupid moron when you married him. Trust that all of the positive things you once identified in him are still true and real. He’s the same man.

Believe in him. Support him. Encourage him. Doing so will fuel him as he works to overcome his selfish habits in favor of new ones which make you feel good instead of bad. He may never understand why these lifestyle changes radically change the way you feel every day, but so long as he understands that they do affect you, and that they are necessary to keep your marriage and family together, he will do it IF he genuinely loves you and your children.

Suggestions:

  1. Try to always speak kindly so that he won’t tune out what you’re saying. This is important, because him TRULY UNDERSTANDING in his mind, heart and soul how critical what you’re saying is to the survival of your marriage, and your health and wellbeing, is the only way he can learn what he currently doesn’t know. Try not to make him feel like you don’t believe he’s good enough. Try to make him understand that you KNOW he’s good enough, which is why this is all so important.
  2. Find information that makes sense to him. While I’m flattered you wanted him to read my blog posts, there is much better information out there, but he must WANT to learn it. He will only WANT to learn it once he grasps the idea that not learning it will lead to divorce and horribleness. He does not get it. Most men don’t. He thinks your mind and body work like his does. We all think everyone does until life proves otherwise. So when you try to explain to him how something made you feel, it makes no sense to him, because he would never have the same reaction. This misunderstanding is essentially the root cause of every male-female relationship breakdown in history. You don’t need to understand how one another feel. You only need to believe it’s real that you don’t understand one another no matter how many times you discuss it, and that it’s BAD. Then, because you love one another and want to stay married, you reprioritize after learning how to share thoughts, feelings and ideas without fighting.
  3. Educate yourself and him on how ADHD commonly affects marriage and relationships, and strategies for overcoming it. I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until more than two years after my divorce. Sadly, I never knew how big of a factor the condition was in my habits and behaviors that drove my wife away. Your husband will not have the same excuse.
  4. Wake up in the morning and decide to love him. Expect and demand the same in return. And then, knowing there will always be emotional ups and downs through the rollercoaster of life, continue to make that same decision every day for the rest of your life. As long as both of you do that, Forever After happens.

Kindly ask him if it’s fair for you to expect him to list “Husband” and “Father” at the top of his Things I Want To Be Great At list. Ahead of his hobbies. Ahead of his job. Ahead of his competitive pursuits.

“Is being the best possible husband and father—ideologically—at the top of your life’s priority list?”

If he says no, there’s nothing left to discuss.

If he says yes, it’s time for him to figure out what to do before it’s too late.

And with the right combination of words, behavior and information, he will. I’ll be rooting for him, you and your children. Very much.

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47 thoughts on “‘Got any suggestions for this exhausted wife?’

  1. scrambler27 says:

    Reblogged this on Rich's Rambles and commented:
    Relationships can be really icky!! But you can get past the icky stuff and make it work for everyone. I like what he says, especially the “life priority list”!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for sharing, Rich!

      I feel like that question: “Do I want to be a great husband and father more than I want to be great at anything else?” is a pretty valid one.

      It’s not reasonable to say your family is your highest priority but then never follow best practices for what ACTUALLY makes us great husbands and fathers.

      But I’ve known for a long time we’re capable of justifying and talking oursleves into almost anything. Maybe guys think working 80-hour weeks and never seeing their wives or kids in exchange for financial security IS being a great husband and father.

      And if that’s how they honestly feel, it’s hard to take that away from them. But I think by definition, you CAN’T be a great husband and father if your wife and kids don’t feel you are one.

      Like

  2. Lucy says:

    Can I just say you are awesome!! It is so cool to see someone take such a devastating personal experience and turn it into such a positive learning tool for others. What a truly magnificent response. I pray this young women and her family are able to truly grasp your recommendations and have the most wonderful fairy tale ending. To her I would tell her: hang in there, see what you want, be patient he will get there. Nothing worth having in life comes easy, but with hard work, faith and most importantly the desire for it to work, it will. I often read your blog for inspiration, to remind me we are all human and my husband, although flawed, like many is a good man just a work in progress. Wherever your story goes you will make a fabulous husband one day to the right women. I just know it. Please keep sharing keep writing. There are many times when I have been standing at the door because I think I can’t take anymore and your insight has given me hope to choose to fight for my family. I know he loves me, I know he is trying, I know my childrens deserve a chance at having their family together. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      You can, Lucy! Thank you.

      “There are many times when I have been standing at the door because I think I can’t take anymore and your insight has given me hope to choose to fight for my family.”

      That means a lot to me. At first, the pain fueled all my writing. Now? This kind of stuff does.

      I can’t thank you enough.

      Like

  3. sassygirl40 says:

    I always suggest “more communication”. If you want help from your spouse with putting the child to bed then say “hey, I’m struggling here can you help me out”.
    Most men are not mind readers. They cannot intuitively anticipate what needs you have and what needs to get done. My best friend has complained for years about how the cleaning and parenting is always left up to her to do, but she for years would never ask for help. She also never trusted that her husband would do things right so she never left him on his own with their child. They are now in therapy, their baby is a teenager and she is FINALLY vocalizing her needs. I find a lot of relationships are the same. It’s not just men not making an effort, it’s also wives not letting the husbands try and judging the husbands on the way they do things.
    Before we had kids I told my husband he would be doing half the work and held to that. He felt completely lost caring for a newborn but I told him what I needed from him and he stepped up. A lot of men would, I believe, but the communication has to be there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      What you’re saying is extremely pragmatic, and I totally agree with it.

      It’s this whole men-and-women-are-different thing.

      Wives watch their husbands disappoint them, and instead of understanding that the husband did what husbands do (in the absence of experience and/or information), they apply their personal feelings to it. “I would have done it THIS way! Since he didn’t, he’s a thoughtless asshole.” And then she feels bad and resents him.

      If she really, truly, deep down, understands how different he is and stops trying to evaluate his behavior through the prism of what she would do in a given situation, she can stop applying meaning that isn’t there.

      Similarly, once he finally understands that doing X makes her feel like he doesn’t care about her or respect (and I mean, REALLY gets it), then he learns to not do things that way OR to effectively commuicate in such a way that eases her fears/concerns/pain.

      I think wives have PLENTY of soul-searching and behavior-changing to do as well to meet their husbands halfway-ish on this journey toward Forever. But as a man, and failed husband, I’m the last person qualified to say anything about it.

      So, I don’t.

      While wives get some things wrong, I’ve long believed men getting their things right will nip most of that stuff in the bud right from the get-go.

      So I encourage men to be great men and take responsibility for their actions and their wives feelings (even when they don’t make sense to him, and even when they’re a byproduct of something he did unintentionally).

      Vigilantly protecting your wife’s feelings and making her feel validated, respected, safe, and desired will eliminate basically everything husbands complain about their wives doing in the first place.

      As for all the stuff wives should be doing better, I leave it to wives to have that conversation.

      Thanks for the great comment.

      Like

      • M says:

        You have wisdom that many do not grasp even with years of experience. My husband and I just celebrated 36 years together and we have had more tough years than good ones. Until recently I had been lax in sharing my feelings until I just was so fed up all I did was scream and cry which only turned my husband away. I am learning that if I address a matter immediately and tell him in a kind and sharing manner he is much more open to hearing me.
        I have also learned over the years that when I ask him to do something I must step back and let him do it with no help or criticism or this is the way I would do it. And not going back and re-doing what he has done. Lowering expectations has helped as well. Who cares how he does something as long as he does it.
        I am sorry you had to end up in divorce to learn these important things. It is good that you are willing to share what you have learned so that others may gain from your experience. Keep up the good words.

        Like

      • Joe says:

        “Will eliminate basically everything their husbands complain about”….but not ACTUALLY everything… and I think you know that’s true.

        Look no further for the reason guys are rolling their collective eyes about this article.

        Like

        • Matt says:

          Yeah, but it’s all just guesswork.

          All these men are so angry about how women have treated them. But ZERO PERCENT of these men have ever followed the Love Your Wife Properly best-practices playbook.

          Show me a guy who does, and THEN his wife makes him super angry all the time, and then let’s talk.

          I went men to lead. By example. Stop blaming others. Stop saying “but what about her!?!?” like whiny ass children.

          Just be a great man. It’s hard. Do it anyway. (Working out daily is hard. But the rewards are great.)

          I’m saying. Do the difficult, “right” (in my estimation) things, and marriages will be strong, pleasurable, sustainable, desirable things.

          Not the suck-ass mess everyone is talking about here in the comments.

          I’m for personal responsibility. OF COURSE the wives have personal responsibility too. But we will let them choose it for themselves as we have for us.

          That’s my stance.

          Marriages will be stronger. Marriages will end less often.

          And that’s my hope for society. Because I think it matters very much.

          Thanks for talking about it.

          Like

  4. That was beautiful, Matt, all if it.

    For women with small kids, that lack of participation, lack of support, feels like total rejection, complete emotional abandonment. What I would encourage wives to do is to remember that our feelings are not always reality, that our perceptions are not always accurate. What is going on in his heart and mind may be the complete opposite of what we think it is. He may actually be feeling insecure, fearful, lost, uncertain what his role should now be. It’s tough being a mom, we have to focus exclusively on the task at hand, the kids, and sometimes we forget that men have feelings too, that they aren’t always failing us, sometimes they genuinely don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing or why. What seems like common sense to a mom, is often very challenging for a man to understand.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you.

      I think you make some nice comments here, though I’m fearful of making men out to be these childlike beings incapable of comprehending what needs done.

      Men invented machines that can fly in the air (reliably and safely) and proved the heliocentric model of the solar sytem. They design and build skyscrapers, and take hearts and other organs from dead people and replace corresponding failing organs inside of living people, and then the people stay alive afterward. Which is insane.

      Men are totally good at stuff.

      Men are perfectly capable of doing a lot of these things. What we are not good at is being psychic, or accurately predicting how our wives might feel about any given thing because male and female emotional responses tend to differ pretty dramatically.

      How can I leave a glass by the sink instead of putting it in the dishwasher?

      Several reasons.

      1. I may want to use it again.
      2. I don’t care if a glass is sitting by the sink unless guest are coming over.
      3. I will never care about a glass sitting by the sink. Ever. It’s impossible. It’s like asking me to make myself interested in crocheting, or to enjoy yardwork. I don’t want to crochet things. And it’s hard for me to imagine a scenario in which doing a bunch of work in my yard sounds more appealing than ANY of several thousand fun things that could be done.

      There is only ONE way I will ever stop leaving that glass by the sink.

      It’s because I love and respect my partner, and it REALLY matters to her. I understand that when I leave that glass there, it hurts her — literally causes her pain — because it feels to her like I just said: “Hey. I don’t respect you or value your thoughts and opinions. Not taking four seconds to put my glass in the dishwasher is more important to me than you.”

      All the sudden, it’s not about something as benign and meaningless as a (quasi) dirty dish.

      Now, it’s a meaningful act of love and sacrifice, and really? Four seconds? Doesn’t seem like the kind of thing too big to do for the person who sacrifices daily for me.

      I don’t have to understand WHY she cares so much about that stupid glass.

      I just have to understand and respect that she DOES care.

      And it’s that simple.

      The man capable of that behavioral change — even when he doesn’t understand or agree with her — can have a great relationship.

      Men want to fight for their right to leave that glass there. It might look like this:

      “Eat shit, wife,” they think. “I sacrfice a lot for you, and you’re going to get on me about ONE glass by the sink? THAT little bullshit glass that takes a few seconds to put in the dishwasher, which I’ll gladly do when I know I’m done with it, is so important to you that you want to give me crap about it? You want to take an otherwise peaceful evening and have an argument with me, and tell me how I’m getting something wrong and failing you, over this glass? After all of the big things I do to make our life possible — things I never hear a “thank you” for (and don’t ask for) — you’re going to elevate a glass being by the sink into a marriage problem. I couldn’t be THAT petty if I tried. And I need to dig my heels in on this one. If you want that glass in the dishwasher, put it in there yourself without telling me about it. Otherwise, I’ll put it away when people are coming over, or when I’m done with it. This is a bullshit fight that feels unfair and I’m not just going to bend over for you.”

      The man DOES NOT want to divorce his wife because she’s nagging him about the glass thing which he thinks is totally irrational. He wants her to agree with him that when you put life in perspective, a glass being by the sink when no one is going to see it anyway, and the solution takes four seconds, is just not a big problem. She should recognize how petty and meaningless it is in the grand scheme of life, he thinks, and he keeps waiting for her to agree with him.

      She will never agree with him, because it’s not about the glass for her. The glass situation could be ANY situation in which she feels unappreciated and disrespected by her husband.

      The wife doesn’t want to divorce her husband because he leaves used drinking glasses by the sink.

      She wants to divorce him because she feels like he doesn’t respect or appreciate her, which suggests he doesn’t love her, and she can’t count on him to be her lifelong partner, thus she must leave and find a new situation in which she can feel content and secure.

      In theory, the man wants to fight this fight, because he thinks he’s right (and I agree with him): The dirty glass is not more important than marital peace.

      If his wife thought and felt like him, he’d be right to defend himself, but unfortunately, most guys don’t know that she’s NOT fighting about the glass. She’s fighting for acknowledgment, respect, validation, and his love.

      If he KNEW that. If he fully understood this secret she has never explained to him in a way that doesn’t make her sound crazy to him (causing him to dismiss it as an inconsequential passing moment of emo-ness), and that this drinking glass situation and all similar arguments will eventually end his marriage, I believe he WOULD rethink which battles he chose to fight, and would be more apt to take action doing things he understands to make his wife feel loved and safe.

      I get the impression people don’t agree with me. That men, literally, do not know their actions make her feel how they make her feel even though she has told him a hundred times and repeatedly gets upset over the same things.

      Telling a man something that doesn’t make sense to him once, or a million times, doesn’t make him “know” something.

      Once someone figures out how to help a man equate the glass situation (which does not, and will never, affect him emotionally) with DEEPLY wounding his wife and making her feel sad, alone, unloved, abandoned, disrespected, afraid, etc… once men really grasp that and accept it as true even though it doesn’t make sense to them?

      The institution of marriage will change overnight. I know it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. j11 says:

    Ah, I feel your pain Exhausted Wife. My ex-husband was somewhat similar. He is a great guy, though he lacked attention to the detail. I totally understand you and hope you will pull through the pregnancy with little stress going forward. You need your husband more now that you are nearer to delivery. The ADHD is a serious affliction. I know first hand since I also suffer from the condition so I can see how that impacts EVERYTHING. I see your side, I also understand the husband’s issue and believe me he KNOWS it’s problematic. Unfortunately ADHD can’t be dropped from his routines like his dirty pair of undershorts. He’s stuck with it until he learns to navigate with it, and acquire coping skills to re-tune and retrain his brain. In addition many ADHD sufferers tend to become addicted easily to activities/stimuli and does require introduction to new stimuli in order to redirect their focus. It’s sort of like draining the brain, take a breather, stepping off one wheel then onto the next wheel until the brain kinda short-circuits and then needs to tune out and rest. He has to learn how to tune out and shut it off in a deliberate patterned way, seriously. As for you sweety, I’m reaching out and giving you a big hug because you have the courage to come here and share your angst and seek some guidance. Give your husband a hug, tell him you dearly love and cherish him, then give him a swift but gentle kick in his arse, so he knows you love him even though he’s a pain in your ass too!

    Hope some of this helps. If you’ve been reading Matt for awhile you are familiar with the soul of a man who gets it. Listen to him well and tell husband to keep his eyes wide open.

    Take it easy and stay well.
    J

    Like

    • Matt says:

      “If you’ve been reading Matt for awhile you are familiar with the soul of a man who gets it. Listen to him well and tell husband to keep his eyes wide open.”

      There aren’t words for how much I appreciate you thinking and feeling this way.

      Thank you very much.

      Like

  6. The ‘doing it all on your own’ part doesn’t go away with divorce. Think you’re ‘alone’ now? Just get divorced, divide up income, see your ex putting efforts to restart a new life with a new woman/family, split time with your own children, and try to live with the fallout of THOSE intense emotions. Divorce isn’t a great solution to the problem being faced…it definitely eliminates some of the feelings of exasperation and frustration pointed at your partner for not understanding and not supporting, but it creates its own layers of discomfort to navigate. I’m on the ‘other side’ of divorce and can tell you first hand it’s not ‘greener’ for me. I wasn’t patient. I wasn’t ‘supportive’ to help lead my ex to understand in a loving way…so my ex found someone who would be supportive. I didn’t feel a partnership in my marriage, even though I asked for one. I was just told I was never satisfied…and I was only with him because I couldn’t find a ‘better man’. I pushed my ‘shitty husband’ so far he left me…and I’ve been left holding the same bag of responsibility. Only now with a brokenness that rivals Matts previous sentiments. Mine just hasn’t gone away. Some of us come out healthier in the end, others not so much. Aspire to be a healthier outcome for yourself…whatever that entails for you. Best of luck

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I won’t tell you that my wife shouldn’t have left me, or that I didn’t deserve it.

      I earned my comeuppance one selfish day at a time over the course of many years.

      But, I was so excited once the lightbulb turned on, and I started down the path of understanding how all of it fit together.

      I don’t know that she ever trusted I’d actually turned a corner, and even if I did, I don’t know whether a human being is capable of just hitting a mental reset button and pretending the past 5-7 years didn’t happen, and be emotionally available for love and vulnerability once the wall has been built.

      Maybe things can’t come back from the dead. I don’t pretend to know.

      BUT!

      The one thing I do know is that I really believed what you wrote above. That ending our marriage ONLY made sense if we were going to be single for the rest of our lives. If we were going to meet other people and possibly re-marry one day, getting divorced and putting our son, friends and family through that seemed like an unwise decision.

      More than anything, I wanted her to come to the same conclusion.

      I think you made a really profound observation, and it would be awesome to discuss a guest post or something where you dig deeper into all of that.

      If you want, miss. Fire me a note, if you do. Or just ignore it, and I won’t hassle you about it. :)

      Thank you for the thought-provoking comment.

      Like

  7. tonifoverby says:

    I read the BEST article the other day and now I can’t remember where I read it. But the gist of it was that we expect entirely too much out of marriage these days, that back in the day people didn’t marry for love, they married out of obligation and protection; and then later, even if they did marry for love, they each had very defined roles–women/home, men/work–and those were not disturbed. Expectations were low. And surprisingly, people were happier.

    Now we live in a time when everyone wants everything. Women want to have amazing careers AND be fantastic mothers AND have the phenomenal romantic love. Men want a ton of money AND a boatload of playtime AND their cake and eat it too from supermodel wives who do it all.

    The problem with all of the above is this: for generations and generations and way more generations before us, the whole men/work women/home was understood, the norm, and accepted. It wasn’t until very recently in time that all these roles changed, and now women and men are expected to be, for all intents and purposes, both women and men.

    Women are expected to be able to barrel through careers with little to no thoughts of our children. Problem is, we are wired to care. That’s what women do.

    Men are expected to be like “mini-moms” now. Problem is, men aren’t wired to care “as much” as women. It’s just the way it is.

    I understand I’m making sweeping generalizations and also not very politically correct statements. Doesn’t change that science, biology, and thousands of generations before me prove this point.

    I think we’ll eventually realize it was better the other way, but for now, we are stressing ourselves out to the point of insanity trying to fill all these roles we were not meant to fill.

    On a side note, for all the talk we do about having zero time for anything these days, we actually have entirely too much time on our hands. There were not enough hours in the day long ago to worry about such things as what husbands and wives “should be doing.” Stuff just had to get done, or you didn’t eat, you didn’t sleep, and you didn’t survive. I think there was a benefit to that, in some respects. And it’s probably why marriage lasted as long as it did. If we really took the time to ponder the concept of one woman and one man forever and ever, there’s a good chance not a single one of us would be married in the first place.

    Sorry this was so long.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Please don’t ever apologize to me for long, thoughtful commentary. I loved this.

      Politically correct, politically schma-rect. (Whatever that means.)

      I defy someone to paint me as some overly offensive and insensitive sexist using divisive language.

      Men are men.

      Women are women.

      There are some biological truths attached to both of those things, which we are wise to accept and deal with if we want functional relationships to happen.

      I mean we can try to use our cars to haul a bunch of things as if it were a truck, and we can try to drive our truck as if it were a car, but in both instances, performance is going to be severely lacking.

      Because cars are cars, and trucks are trucks.

      Your recounting of that article was strong. Points, well made. And if you can find it again, I hope you’ll share it with me because I’d really like to read it. I think evolutionary science, as well as cultural norms/expectations are a huge component to all this.

      I think it’s a great comment, Toni. And I hope you leave more of them no matter how long they are. Thank you for being part of the conversation.

      Like

    • Right on the money. Politically correct or not.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sofia says:

      This whole “men/work, women/home” may have been true for generations in your ancestors’ culture, but it’s not true for everyone, so it’s not a human thing. In fact, all over the world now and in the past, men and women have done the work of farming, side by side, and maintaining the home (whether it’s constructing, repairing, maintaining). Yes, women who have children are the primary caregivers, but women have also “worked outside the home” (whatever that means, given that in many cultures, especially agrarian-based ones, communities were primarily made up of homes – and people, including men worked right outside of their homes). Women have worked as healers, as water bearers, as teachers, as scholars, as artists, and scribes, and musicians, and dancers, and so many things. This is not political correctness, this is fact and history. Anyone who has studied the history of humanity and people throughout the ages (beyond 18th century England) understands that men/work, women/home is a myth. This is not about “political correctness” — in fact, the people who perpetuate this myth today have their own political agenda.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Jayne says:

    Reblogged this on D i a r y I n c a r n a t e and commented:
    This blog both reminds me that my decision to divorce was correct but it also reminds me of the fact that not all men are like the man I married and had kids with and lived through this particular scenario with.
    I don’t know what I would have told this woman. I’m sorry to say that being pregnant and having a young child AND a husband who doesn’t help with the kids – leaving it all to her with no emotional support breaks my heart just thinking of being there. I want to magically erase the him but he’s the dad and she needs help yesterday. It’s hopeless unless he magically changes with the help of a leprechaun. This problem is systemic within our society and it will remain so until men understand things as Matt does. I’m laughing because I know it’s not a role you EVER intended when opening up on this blog. I love your mind and your word “derpy derping” but most of all I love your rounded perspective on all parties involved. This post encompasses everything that tears a marriage down. You lay it all out so well. If only we learned things through others’ experience. P.S. Birth Control is a good thing and that damn well includes Vasectomies!!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you so much for sharing, Jayne, and for all the nice things you wrote about me.

      I believe this stuff very strongly. That it would change everything.

      And that would be really good.

      I appreciate you spreading the message. :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jayne says:

        I’m not the best advocate because it takes an incredible amount of intention and focus, second and third to the will to change but I believe you always put the healthiest spin on these inevitable difficulties of marriage. : )
        All that said, I still believe in people making things work.

        Like

  9. pisces31084 says:

    You’ve done it again. You just nail it every time. Great post! Every man should think like you do. For real. Just awesome that you “get it”. And I try to use what I get from reading in my everyday life. I have no suggestions for “exhausted wife” cuz i am in a similar situation myself. But enjoyed the read very much and i wish her the best of luck.

    Like

  10. rougedmount says:

    A woman who is 7 months pregnant and who is raising a toddler and potty training them, alone, doesn’t have a lot of free time or emotional energy to spend on someone trying to get them to understand that playing video games and not helping them when it’s desperately needed, is not the adult thing to do, let alone a having anything to do with being a good husband.
    She needs to come to terms with the fact that for now, she IS for all intent and purpose, a single mother. For the next 20 months, she will be alone in a marriage and alone as a parent and she will learn that she can do it all herself because she will be forced to. Once her 2nd child is 18 months old, then it’s time to make some decisions. Does she stay? Does she go? Has he worked at including himself? At being a father? An effective husband? Why is it her job to teach him how to not be a shitty husband?
    It is FAR easier not having an ineffectual spouse there than have them as a constant source of antagonism because they aren’t helping with anything or interfering with all you are trying to establish as a normal workable routine for these babies. It is much harder to stay married to someone who isn’t as focused on being the best version of themselves as possible, for the benefit of your kids.
    Sometimes it’s simply impossible to raise kids while sharing a house with the person who refuses to acknowledge your struggle and who hinders your progress because of it.

    Like

    • Vasilda says:

      Rougedmount — you’ve captured the frustration so well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • BR says:

      “It is FAR easier not having an ineffectual spouse there than have them as a constant source of antagonism because they aren’t helping with anything or interfering with all you are trying to establish as a normal workable routine for these babies.”

      Yep. My husband worked out of state for 1 1/2 years, and although that contributed to a chasm in our relationship that we’re still recovering from, my day-to-day life with a toddler, a part-time job, and two volunteer activities was still much easier then that it is now with him living at home.

      When people say that being a single mom is hard, I believe them, I know it would be. But is it harder than being married to someone who makes you feel like a thirty pound bowling ball is tied around your ankles? No, I don’t believe that. I’ve lived without him and it was much easier.

      And I have heard, and tried, the advice of speaking positively to my husband and “cheering” him on so that he has the confidence to change. But, ugh. Really? Once again, it puts the health of the relationship on my shoulders because I have to be the one to initiate the change. Again. Just like I do every time.

      For once, I want him to say “I got this, babe”. And then get it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow!! Just Wow!! To hear ‘I got this babe’ would send me into a gleeful bout of cartwheels and summersaults (and I’m waay to old for that). Being a single Mom IS hard work! Been there…fine that!! BUT having 5 children (4 from previous marriage, 1 with current bf of seven years) and getting very, very little to no help with the kids or really anything having to do with the home or so called ‘women’s work’, all while being criticized endlessly for not performing my duties up to par, or as well as he things they should be done. I do truly believe it would be easier as a true single Mom! I at least wouldn’t have the constant reminder of how things ‘should’ be! All I ask for is for him to back me up. Whether it be with disciplining, house rules and especially what I believe should be a universal rule of not talking back or disrespecting your parent(s) AND that hitting your Mother is NEVER ok, regardless of the child’s age. In my opinion I can enforce these rules til I’m blue in the face, gradually gaining ground……but by my partner dismissing them. Saying nothing. NOT having my back. Essentially undoes everything I have gained! By not having his support and him not voicing himself is telling the kids that it’s ok. It makes me feel like he doesn’t respect me enough to stand up for me. And if the ‘man of the house’ doesn’t respect me then why in the hell should the kids think that they should respect me either? Just because I say so? It doesn’t work that way!! iF I were the only adult in the house then I would and could steadily enforce these issues and eventually overcome them.
        This is why I often feel it would be easier on my own! Even though I am not technically a single Mom, if feel as though I will always be playing the roll as one with the added difficulty of having that thirty pound bowling ball tied around my ankle!!
        I’ve tried being his cheerleader! Listening to and supporting him! Expressing my appreciation! Stroking his ego! And unfortunately now have resorted to giving what I receive, in dire hopes, and somewhat of a last ditch effort, that he might realize that what he needs and was getting from me and is now lacking, is very much the same what I desperately need and do not receive from him!! Validation!!
        After all we are on the same team! We play different roles but that should NOT in any way make one of us better than the other!! If I support, appreciate and respect his role…I should receive the same in return! Yes, he is the bread-winner but just because he brings home a paycheck and I don’t should not make me inferior or any less in need of ‘me’ time or undeserving of doing any activities outside the home kid-free!! (occasionally grocery shopping by myself should not be the only time I have alone time….God forbid adult time with a friend without kids in tow).
        I was recently divorced from a 20 year abusive marriage with an evil narcissistic man. Trying to do the best I could for myself and my 4 kids. Not in a rush to get into another relationship or expose my children to another man unnecessarily! We dated. He was fully aware of my 4 kids and occasionally joined us for outings & family activities. Our child was not planned! He eventually chose to stick around for our son. I’ve made it 100% clear that he does NOT have to stay & that I would never keep our child from him if he isn’t ready for or want the responsibilities that come with this ready-made family that includes 4 kids that are not his, just to be with his son! I may be wrong but I was and still am under the impression that by him choosing to stay and be a part of our family that he was willing, ready and capable to love me, our son AND my other four kids! All of us!! Because of us!
        There are times when I feel likes he acts like I hid the fact that I had kids…or holds it against me…Which I most certainly did not hide my children, I just didn’t ‘push’ him on them or them on him in an effort to spare any broken hearts should they get attached and our relationship not work out!! I would not have persued a relationship with him if I had any thoughts that he had an issue with the fact that I did in fact did have kids and that it would or could be an issue in the future!! In my opinion some of this relies on his shoulders too as he had no business getting into a relationship with someone who already had kids if this was something that he did not want!!
        Long story short….families comes in many different sizes, colors and blends! If you enter a relationship with someone with kids, PLEASE for everyone’s sake don’t go in halfway. If you’re in, you’re in, 100% with no hesitations! Do the best and be the best you can be….For your partner…..For the kids…..For you….For your family!!

        Like

    • Nate says:

      Yeah…..my wife works 2 days a week, goes to school on my dime, drives a nicer fully loaded suv than 90 percent of americans ever will, hands me the kids and respinsibilities when I come home from work, and uses things like a cup next to the sink to belittle me. That’s okay though she doesn’t need to appreciate the income, the best union healthcare on the planet, or my broken back from working all day. She is better than me. Just ask her she can justify everything including why its an abomination to leave a glass by a sink. Oh dear I wish I remembered what feeling like a person was.

      Like

      • rougedmount says:

        Are you upset because you do not want to actually take care of your children because you worked outside the home all day and feel like your ‘job’ is done and it’s too much work to take care of kids after working all day?
        When you come home, do you expect to be left alone and to do what you want and not put dishes away if you don’t feel like it? That sounds like a teenager, not an adult with shared parental duties with a partner.

        How many days do you want her to work outside the house?
        If you bought her the car, then why be upset that she drives it?
        How old are the kids? Who takes care of them all day, every day, when you are working?
        Who manages the house? Makes and takes kids to Dr and dental appointments?
        Who makes the meal plans and buys groceries?
        Who cleans the house, the fridge, the toilets, the stove, the ceiling fans?
        Who cleans the house, makes the beds, gets kids ready for school, makes kids lunches, goes to parent teacher meetings, does homework with them after school?
        Who enrols the kids into activities and taxi’s them back and forth to them?
        Who changes the clothes seasonally and organizes kids room, birthday parties, shops for Easter, Halloween and Christmas?
        Who does laundry, organize kitchen cupboards, donate unused clothes and toys?
        Who teaches the kids to pray, takes them to church, teaches them about nature and sustainability and gardening?
        Who cleans and disinfects, toys, counter surfaces, door handles, light switches?
        Who gets up at 3:46am when a child vomits and administers medication that you know is not expired and available in the medicine cabinet?
        Who makes vet appointments and teaches the kids how to care for an animal?
        Who makes sure the bills are paid on time and gives the kids an allowance to teach them about finances and personal money management?

        Why do you stay with someone who belittles you?
        Then again, how is demanding that you put things back where they belong actually ‘belittling?

        How do you want to be appreciated for earning a salary and choosing to work for a company with healthcare benefits? Besides being able to leave dishes on the counter if you feel like it, so that she has to pick up after you?

        Finally, if you hate it so much, then leave. Then when you come home from work, you can single parent by yourself and leave all the dishes out that you want. Depending on where you live, it will terminate her healthcare coverage, she will be entitled to a percentage of your income for childcare, unless you’d like to file for sole custody and then that would force her to get a full time job.

        One assumes that if you have children and she is belittling you and considers you an ‘abomination’ that you are undergoing marriage counselling to improve the communication level you have because you feel a responsibility to co-parent effectively with the woman you chose to marry and mother your children. What does the therapist say?

        Why do you resent her so much because she doesn’t want to pick up after you?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Matt says:

          (Asking good questions is the key to pretty much every pursuit of knowledge. I realize much of these were somewhat rhetorical, but you asked very good, thought-provoking questions for anyone who hasn’t given this a lot of macro-level thought. Thank you for that. These conversations matter.)

          Liked by 1 person

      • Reed French says:

        Nate, sounds like you have contempt for your wife and you’re headed for divorce. Is that the direction you want to go?

        Like

  11. John says:

    Seems a petty reason to bring up the (D) word. Being raised Catholic that’s not a word used lightly. You should have known that person before you got married. Yes there are households where the man is king (Not mine). If it works for them great, both should have known this before they married. He is a slob, great she should have known. Seems today’s marriages are held to a lesser degree than before. For better or worse, there is your warning, heed it. Quit complaining about your marriage over a cup or teaspoon. Get life in perspective. I’m sure when you went to visit him at his house you could see if there was a dish in the sink. There’s your sign. We as a people are not quick to change. Look at the whole picture of what you are getting into. You knew your peeves before you got married.
    Don’t settle just because you clock is ticking. Find the right guy first. Do it right. It goes against that Catholic code but he’ll try living together, better you find out before you marry that he is a slob or you just don’t really love him the way you thought. If you do marry this guy divorce him before you have kids. The kids always come first. I would like to know who is going to tell the kids daddy just doesn’t do everything mommy wants him to do, or the other way round. Mommy and daddy may feel better after a divorce but the kids don’t. You be lucky if they are not permantly scared, or even afraid to enter marriage themselves. Look being married has nothing to do with what he won’t do for you. You won’t get it all, nor will he. Taking the time before you get married will let you know what he is will to do to make it work. Enjoy your path you have chosen, find your middle ground ,and have some fun. Worry about the big things that are most defiantly coming your way. There are almost always more bad times than good. But those good times will be the ones that you remember.
    There are no (Leave it to Beaver) families out there. And if you think you found one, remember there are no! Do I leave a dish in the sink hell ya! I do the dishes, clean the house and yard. I take the boys to basketball, and mend the wounds as they come. The wife does the same. We worry about the important things in life like do we have $ for food and rent, I don’t want to hear any thing so petty as, hey did you leave this cup in the sink when you know I did. Ya its four seconds to put it away. But sometimes just sometimes it feels good to let that cup in the sink. Maybe it gave me that 4 more seconds with you and we both feel good.

    Married almost 30 yrs.
    4 kids.
    Happy most of the time.
    She made me who I am!

    Like

  12. AngelD says:

    Over all, I’m seeing a lot of good in what you write. You get that there has to be an emotional connection,but this article makes me think you might be missing a piece of that puzzle. There was a wonderful, immense, in depth discussion about emotional connection and the work it involves, which is also usually considered “woman’s work” and how much work it actually is. It can be draining as much as the housework and the child rearing, etc.
    If you are up to hearing the female side on a larger scale, you might check out
    http://www.metafilter.com/151267/Wheres-My-Cut-On-Unpaid-Emotional-Labor

    Your comment that “unless you’re going to remain single forever, this EXACT same stuff in slightly different sizes, colors and shapes are going to crop up with the next partner” is actually addressed there – it’s what a lot of women choose after trying and trying and trying, and realizing that a lot of guys don’t really want the relationship as much as they want to be free of the work involved. The ‘two weeks then it all slides back’ problem is pretty common, IF they were scared enough of losing us to make the effort in the first place. We’ve spent our whole lives being hammered with the idea that we are supposed to put everyone else first, and they spent their whole lives having women cater to them. The idea that they have to change now… that’s not what they want to hear.

    Like

  13. A Bucket of Fish says:

    As an ADHDer (predominantly inattentive), the website adhdmarriage.com may be helpful to Exhausted Wife. The site is predominantly for spouses of ADHD folks, rather than for ADHDers themselves, and there’s lots of good info and support for exhausted spouses!

    Unfortunately, when neurodevelopmental disorders enter the game, even knowing what’s wrong won’t always fix the problem. It will absolutely help, as Exhausted Wife noted, but it’s even easier for us to fall into old habits than it is for neurotypical folks.

    The most helpful thing Exhausted Wife can do with her husband–and I pray this is a viable option for her and her spouse–is to make sure he is listening and knows she is not speaking from a place of anger (if he gets set on the defensive, you won’t get through to him; irrational or not it’s the way things are), and then say, “Hey, that thing we talked about? The thing that hurts me/will hurt our marriage? It’s happening right now. I love you very much, but I need you to stand up.” Then it’s on him to Stand Up and Do A Thing.

    Although if he’s one of the ADHDers who has troubles with executive function–google “executive dysfunction”–then things will be a bit more difficult and you may need to spell things out for him a little more precisely. I’m sorry. I wish it were easier. I promise we’re capable humans, we just…only seem to operate under last-minute panic, and that’s not usually helpful in a marriage.

    Like

    • A Bucket of Fish says:

      Additionally, with that said, it should not be on Exhausted Wife to change her entire marriage. Neurodevelopmental disorder or not, we CAN change our behavior. It’s hard(er than it would be for someone with a neurotypical brain), especially if there’s other stuff going on in our lives, but we CAN do it. There’s a fine line between having a reason and having an excuse, and I can’t identify that line for anyone but myself, but it’s there. Some days will be better than others and improvement may be slow, but if there’s NO improvement after several months then something is wrong beyond the ADHD. Be aware of that, as well.

      What it comes down to is that you’re trying to wear a new groove where there wasn’t one before. The old groove is deep and an easy track to fall into. But the new groove CAN be worn in and down over time, so try to pay attention to whether there’s unhealthy resistance going on from Hubby’s quarter.

      Like

  14. Steve says:

    From a recovering shitty husband, thanks for your insight and words. The kind of hit me hard knowing that I could have been doing better. They have certainly helped me to understand what I can be doing better to keep my 20 plus year marriage healthy. 20 years that have been up and down, which is somewhat normal. This particular post hits home because effective communication and action is needed from both husbands and wives. 100%/100% as you noted in another post. I can’t speak for all husbands, but a few things that wives can probably do better (at least mine can) are:

    1. Show genuine appreciation when your husband helps out. Don’t be sarcastic and say “Finally.” Don’t express your built-up frustration that things haven’t been happening for the last X number of years. These things are belittling and not in the spirit of a what a recovering shitty husband is trying to incrementally achieve to help save the marriage. Help him be part of the solution by you also being part of the solution. Just a simple “thanks for doing the dishes” shows you noticed that he’s making an effort.

    2a. Most men at their most basic level simply want respect. While to you “the little things” matter, they do to us as well, but in a different manner. As much as you want to tell your husband that apples should be cut in slices, just be appreciative that he is at least cutting them in chunks. Same goes for onions, by the way. Be happy that he is making an effort to cook. Unless of course it is a recipe that calls for slices, then by all means communicate that it is. Men generally don’t follow instructions (or maps, thank God for GPS!) and this is indicative of the male mentality. It’s not that we don’t care about how you feel it should be done, it is that most men take on an “I can handle that” mentality. Perhaps we are not big on the details, but we don’t want to feel disrespected and made to feel shitty when we are making an effort. This is a slightly different, but similar argument to the glass by the sink. And by the way, my wife expects me to leave my glass out and next to the sink every day. To put it in the sink would be a waste of clean cups and of space in the dishwasher. To each her own, I guess.

    2b. Try not to criticize us in front of the kids. This is actually about mutual respect. Try to have our arguments or criticisms made behind closed doors. Well, unless we are doing something completely idiotic that will bring harm to someone. And by criticize, I don’t mean constructive feedback. Kids pick up on this negative criticism and it breaks down the chain of authority in the household. This goes to the old school/new school argument above, but I believe that kids should see a father as an authority figure. I’m not intending this to sound like I believe in authoritarian parenting and I don’t want to get into the whole submissive wife argument here, just more that kids should learn to respect authority, which helps to keep a happy home.

    3. On that note, yes, as Matt observed, tone matters. Yes, we recovering shitty husbands understand that you have been telling us the same things for years and are probably angry from it. However, now we are actually getting it. Maintaining a friendly tone no matter how much you want to yell or argue your point is completely counterproductive. You see Matt and other men saying “but I was nice!” even if their behavior was otherwise shitty. It actually matters to us. Most men that I know are treated relatively nicely at work. Should a family speak with hateful tones to the people they are supposed to love them most? Be nice.

    4. Be patient, and don’t expect an immediate and complete 180. If your man is just starting down the unshitty path, don’t sabotage the efforts by immediately dumping everything on him. He will get overwhelmed. It’s just like lifting weights. No novice is going to go in and bench press 300 lbs immediately. But, if he adds 5 lbs to his bench press every time he goes to the gym, eventually the discipline will allow him to lift that much. Be patient, don’t expect too much too soon. It will be difficult, I’m sure. But, to insert another cliche, you can’t turn around a ship on a dime.

    5. Men need a bit of downtime, too. Going along with #5 above, yes we love you, yes we love the kids. Once in a while we just need to take a walk or sit with the headphones on to decompress. It’s not that we are intentionally tuning you out, although you might think this on first glance. Perhaps play along by inviting us to listen to music while doing dishes. And, I love my kids dearly, most Fathers probably do. But once in a while I want to walk out and do an errand alone and clear my head. You probably want the same, and we fully expect that. Resist the urge to offer the kids to go out with Dad EVERY single time he walks out of the house. You can’t clear your head with a couple of kids in tow. And yes, I fully realize that this probably could be the start of a Shitty Dad blog.

    6. A blowjob or sex every once in a while wouldn’t hurt. And while we understand that you are exhausted, we have kids sleeping in the next room, haven’t felt loved for X years and you need to feel love to have sex, etc., this is important for men. We get it, you think that we think with our penises, which is probably true to an extent. If your husband is making consistent efforts to improve things that he previously didn’t realize were so very important (thanks Matt!), perhaps you can do the same. SEX IS IMPORTANT. It has a physiological impact that kinda makes men feel like they can conquer the world. There are plenty of studies to support this. They will be more confident and will tend to want more, and will go the extra mile more often. It’s kind of Pavlovian, in a weird way.

    I apologize if this comes across as preachy. I’ve loved reading the blog so far. Once in a while, though, it does come across as wives agreeing how shitty we husbands are without realizing that once in a while you can also make efforts to be unshitty, too. **ducks for cover**

    Like

    • Steve says:

      OK, I just re-read my post. A couple of things. I may have possibly come off as condescending in a few places, but that was not at all the intent! Sometimes it is truly difficult to communicate tone via the written word, except for people such as Matt who is so eloquent at it.

      Also, on number #3 I meant to say that nice tone = productive, angry tone=counterproductive. And in #5, I refer to #5 above, which is actually #4, which was the previous #5. Thanks for following along. :)

      Like

  15. Lauren says:

    “Trust that you weren’t a stupid moron when you married him.”

    This is hard… I have long convinced myself of this lie that I was a stupid idiot. It IS a lie.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you sincerely for the enlightenment.

    Like

  16. Reed French says:

    Respect, gratitude and patience are good tips for any healthy relationship. BUT if you are recovering from being a shitty husband (and bravo on that), it is your job to not only be better but to win her over again. It’s not her job to help you be less shitty.

    Like

  17. Jeff Strand says:

    Exhausted wife, you have too much on your plate. You shouldn’t be working a job at this point.

    Like

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