She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

(Image/jerrywilliamsmedia.com)

(Image/jerrywilliamsmedia.com)

It seems so unreasonable when you put it that way: My wife left me because sometimes I leave dishes by the sink.

It makes her seem ridiculous; and makes me seem like a victim of unfair expectations.

We like to point fingers at other things to explain why something went wrong, like when Biff Tannen crashed George McFly’s car and spilled beer on his clothes, but it was all George’s fault for not telling him the car had a blind spot.

This bad thing happened because of this, that, and the other thing. Not because of anything I did!

Sometimes I leave used drinking glasses by the kitchen sink, just inches away from the dishwasher.

It isn’t a big deal to me now. It wasn’t a big deal to me when I was married. But it WAS a big deal to her.

Every time she’d walk into the kitchen and find a drinking glass by the sink, she moved incrementally closer to moving out and ending our marriage. I just didn’t know it yet. But even if I had, I fear I wouldn’t have worked as hard to change my behavior as I would have stubbornly tried to get her to see things my way.

The idiom “to cut off your nose to spite your face” was created for such occasions.

Men Are Not Children, Even Though We Behave Like Them

Feeling respected by others is important to men.

Feeling respected by one’s wife is essential to living a purposeful and meaningful life. Maybe I thought my wife should respect me simply because I exchanged vows with her. It wouldn’t be the first time I acted entitled. One thing I know for sure is that I never connected putting a dish in the dishwasher with earning my wife’s respect.

Yesterday I responded to a comment by @insanitybytes22, in which she suggested things wives and mothers can do to help men as an olive branch instead of blaming men for every marital breakdown. I appreciated her saying so.

But I remember my wife often saying how exhausting it was for her to have to tell me what to do all the time. It’s why the sexiest thing a man can say to his partner is “I got this,” and then take care of whatever needs taken care of.

I always reasoned: “If you just tell me what you want me to do, I’ll gladly do it.”

But she didn’t want to be my mother. She wanted to be my partner, and she wanted me to apply all of my intelligence and learning capabilities to the logistics of managing our lives and household.

She wanted me to figure out all of the things that need done, and devise my own method of task management.

I wish I could remember what seemed so unreasonable to me about that at the time.

Men Can Do Things

Men invented heavy machines that can fly in the air reliably and safely. Men proved the heliocentric model of the solar system, establishing that the Earth orbits the Sun. Men design and build skyscrapers, and take hearts and other human organs from dead people and replace the corresponding failing organs inside of living people, and then those people stay alive afterward. Which is insane.

Men are totally good at stuff.

Men are perfectly capable of doing a lot of these things our wives complain about. 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.

‘Hey Matt! Why would you 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 guests 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 less-sucky things which could be done.

There is only ONE reason I will ever stop leaving that glass by the sink. A lesson I learned much too late: 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 are.”

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? That 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. Then caring about her = putting glass in dishwasher.

Caring about her = keeping your laundry off the floor.

Caring about her = thoughtfully not tracking dirt or whatever on the floor she worked hard to clean.

Caring about her = taking care of kid-related things so she can just chill out for a little bit and not worry about anything.

Caring about her = “Hey babe. Is there anything I can do today or pick up on my way home that will make your day better?”

Caring about her = a million little things that say “I love you” more than speaking the words ever can.

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Yes, It’s That Simple

The man capable of that behavioral change—even when he doesn’t understand her or agree with her thought-process—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,” we think. “I sacrifice 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 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. She can’t trust him. She can’t be safe with him. 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. 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 think a lot of times, wives don’t agree with me. They don’t think it’s possible that their husbands don’t know how their actions make her feel because she has told him, sometimes with tears in her eyes, over and over and over and over again how upset it makes her and how much it hurts.

And this is important: Telling a man something that doesn’t make sense to him once, or a million times, doesn’t make him “know” something. Right or wrong, he would never feel hurt if the same situation were reversed so he doesn’t think his wife SHOULD hurt. It’s like, he doesn’t think she has the right to (and then use it as a weapon against him) because it feels unfair.

“I never get upset with you about things you do that I don’t like!” men reason, as if their wives are INTENTIONALLY choosing to feel hurt and miserable.

When you choose to love someone, it becomes your pleasure to do things that enhance their lives and bring you closer together, rather than a chore.

It’s not: Sonofabitch, I have to do this bullshit thing for my wife again. It’s: I’m grateful for another opportunity to demonstrate to my wife that she comes first and that I can be counted on to be there for her, and needn’t look elsewhere for happiness and fulfillment.

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?

Everything changes forever.

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4,627 thoughts on “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

  1. Tammy Kinsman says:

    This is the most refreshing insight to a women’s psyche.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christine Bynum says:

    Love it

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Feline says:

    This is such a unique idea for a blog.
    Really enjoyed the essay about the glass by the sink.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charlie says:

    Ok. So let’s just game this out. You start putting all your water glasses in the dishwasher as soon as you’ve used them without letting them hit the counter. Then ….. next time you will hear a
    complaint about how you use so many glasses! Or perhaps that you don’t start the dishwasher when it is some undefined level of full. You see where I’m going here? I think compromise is the name of the game. Maybe you have one specific glass – or a water bottle – that she agrees you can leave wherever you want. And it’s yours to deal with – wash, dry, etc. you decide when it’s dirty & when to clean it & where to leave it. She puts up with this one item & you can relax a bit. Other dishes? You deal with them right away after you’re done using them. I know this is past history, but it’s the principle. Both people in a relationship need to learn to give and accept change. It can be fun & playful too! Maybe she gets you a glass with a funny saying on it. Or whatever. Digging our heels in & losing sight of the power of simple compromise & negotiation is the beginning of a relationship losing it’s charm. My 2 cents. Rock on!!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      In a vacuum, I agree with you Charlie. But this is my story, and in this story, the wife has a million other experiences that tell the same story over and over and over again:

      “I am married to someone who either refuses to participate in the things that matter to me, or he’s simply incapable of ever being that. In either case, I have to choose between the horrors of divorce and sacrificing 50% of my young child’s entire childhood, OR I have to intentionally choose to wake up every day to a life and marriage where every conversation reminds me that I’m not important enough to my son’s father to be considered when he makes decisions. I’m invisible. Unappreciated. Unwanted. Unloved. This is not what I signed up for.”

      It’s a very difficult spot to put a human being in, Charlie.

      Our failure to recognize that feels just like all of the other things we fail to recognize while we’re busy defending our character and telling our wives just how incorrect their thoughts, feelings and beliefs are every time they share them.

      That’s not what love is.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Mike Gray says:

      “Then ….. next time you will hear a complaint about how you use so many glasses! Or perhaps that you don’t start the dishwasher when it is some undefined level of full. You see where I’m going here?”

      Yeah, that is one possible way it could be. That the glass-user, deep down, fears that if they give an inch on this one thing, their partner will take a mile, and they will be “subjugated” as it were. And that fear may not really even have been consciously thought about and examined. I mean, if you really thought your partner was like that, why would you stay?

      But the way Matt described himself, as I understood it, was not fearful of his wife in that way, but simply un-awake.

      “It can be fun & playful too! Maybe she gets you a glass with a funny saying on it.”

      I really like that idea. It has a light touch. It is, as you say, playful, and aware. A million miles from the not-seeing that Matt was stuck in.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sonya says:

      You can talk to her. You can have a deep conversation regarding both of your motivations. You can make sure she does not in fact push it further. You can figure out what is important and what isn’t? The point is not your spouse being ornery, the point is understanding why certain things bother them and not bothering them with said things. Read the article again Charlie.

      Like

  5. Jackie Chaney says:

    This is great!!

    Like

  6. Rochelle says:

    From a female perspective, this is much, much more than the glass beside the sink; In fact, it really is nothing to do with the glass beside the sink at all.
    This is about assumed roles and a lack of reasonably fair participation and responsibility and engagement in the domestic aspect of the relationship/marriage. Which leads to questions about the the other aspects of the relationship in terms of consideration, support, engagement and participation – to name but a few.

    To use the glass as a metaphor, what then becomes of the glass?
    Does the glass get placed beside the sink and then no longer given thought to?
    That then leaves the resolution of the glass being eventually cleaned and returned to the cupboard as someone else’s responsibility.
    Does the glass actually even get reused the next time a glass is needed or is it just an excuse to avoid the responsibility of the resolution of the dirty glass? And then what happens at the end of the day with the glass?

    Wouldn’t we all love to be able to just use a glass and place it beside the sink and not have to give it further thought? Or leave the house and not worry about weather you have a key – just leave that to someone else to worry about? Or even to leave the house and go to do x for an hour, then decide to do something else and 3 hours later return home without a phone call or second thought about family meal times, preparation of food etc? Whose responsibility is it then left to to build a family life?

    Is it any wonder then that you start to feel you are the mother of another child? And then you realise you have to start accepting that this is the relationship that you are stuck with – whether it meets your needs or not. And sometimes, you have to love yourself enough to decide that the kind of relationship you want and need is one with a responsible, self-sufficient, considerate adult who has enough empathy to be able to listen and respond to adult communication in a manner that shows the other person is being heard.

    Like

    • Sharif says:

      On first read, your post doesn’t appear rational. Of course I’m a man so I’m just going to think that. Initially worried about whoever it was on your end of the keyboard.

      Yet another part wonders how well you would agree with the statement, “The way you do something is the way you do everything,” because it sounds like you’re using your husband’s performance on individual things inside the home as individual metrics for how he will perform on everything during the entire life of the marriage, how well he will manage the life of the marriage, in addition to the task of raising your child.

      I get the feeling that it’s bad for your health overall to equally prioritize each task, things to remember, marriage sustainability, the laundry, etc., and your husband’s fitness for raising children in an equally-sized basket used equally for everything. Everything is not equally important: expecting your husband to conform to your standards when your minds, brain structure, and emotions about things are always going to be different is unfair for him and taxing on you because you’re thinking about The Problem every time you see something out of place, and it sticks, and so does the next thing, and the next thing, and whenever else is wrong, until you’ve turned it into a divorce and you’re miserable too.

      Source: Seeing my parents’ marriage disintegrate slow-burn, in part over every small thing my mother considered “not done right.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mike says:

        Hi Sharif, I can tell you that I am a man, and I don’t entirely share your view, so it’s more complicated than male versus female.

        For me, it’s not about evaluating how my partner will perform, nor about prioritizing tasks, or imposing standards for the performance of tasks. It, for me, is about what kind of person my partner is. Are they able to consider another person or not? If I’ve told them several times something is important to me, and they continue to ignore it, without discussion or comment … what does that mean?

        I totally take your point about the kind of partner who insists that everything must be done “right”, (which means total obedience). And if you’ve seen it up close, it makes sense that that is important to you. I would trust Matt to place himself, on the spectrum between “she’s a controlling dictator” and “I had my fingers in my ears”. Both extremes are possible, in my view.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. […] Matthew Fray, un blogueur basé à Cleveland qui a écrit un article viral en 2016 intitulé « Elle m'a divorcé parce que j'avais laissé la vaisselle près de l'évier . » Il a depuis lancé une entreprise où il motive les hommes à améliorer leur mariage. Son […]

    Like

  8. TWC says:

    Since you at least commented with something a bit more substantial than ‘incel’, or ‘I bet you’re single …’ I suppose addressing your response is worthwhile. I am NOT missing the point. You are. As is everyone else in this thread who is advocating for this ‘mental load’ angle. Its utter nonsense. And supremely counterproductive, as relationships are not zero sum endeavors. THATS THE POINT!
    The examples I gave previous are just that: examples. I can also give a personal example:
    I run and own a construction business, and as such, wear many hats, so to speak. I am CEO, CFO, CTO, VP of marketing, HR Admin Officer, VP of Sales, etc..you get the idea. All of that HAS to be done at a level that provides income in order provide for those I am responsible for. It is a 24 hour load…dont even get me started. If I have a bad day, dont meet a deadline/benchmark…I dont get paid. I would say thats just a tad more of a load than that of dealing with the amount of coriander, various childrens’ shoe sizes, where the sugar is, or what sort of life insurance is best. Not to mention dishes, ffs
    THE POINT: I do it willingly, as its an understood contract of marriage. Conversely, I expect my partner to be just that: a partner. Not a cop. Not a child. And def not an entitled POS. This ‘mental load’ crap is just that: crap. If 2 adults act like ADULTS, this 4 year old blog post and the several thousand comments regarding it are unnecessary.

    Like

    • JMC says:

      Same here, female c-level executive, work about 80 hours/week, and my husband handles the household with grace. But know for a fact that the mental load is real and heavy, because at one point our roles were reversed. It’s not imaginary, it’s a sh*tload of unpaid work that in many relationships is underappreciated and unacknowledged.

      I have no problem putting my own damn dishes in the sink and starting the dishwasher, shopping for groceries (cumin vs. coriander vs fennel – it matters), or doing whatever needs to be done when he seems overwhelmed. It’s called empathy and committing to a partnership. I just can’t imagine walking away and telling myself that’s all his responsibility, not mine.

      Liked by 3 people

    • David says:

      Well said. To me, the wife was not marriage material or doesn’t follow through with her commitments. I read this essay when it originally came out. Nothing in the years since has changed my mind. If I remember correctly, they had discussions about this multiple times. She used this as an excuse. Where is the respect for the husband? Where is the consideration about his opinion? Had she allowed a compromise instead of a temper tantrum, they could probably still be together. What other little thing would justify her leaving before the relationship hit a truly big storm. Where is the compassion from the wife for his point of view. Respect goes BOTH ways. IF he had been a slob like mentioned in a previous post, then she would have a case for being disrespected. But A glass out of place because of how a person wishes to reuses it does not show disrespect. It shows she was being a control freak and it was her way or else. That is on her, not him. Been there, done that. Happily divorced. Self-reflection is good in a marriage to keep everything going well. His compromise was sound and she blew it out of prportion. The self-flaggelation is not necessary and possibly counterproductive.

      Like

      • Feline says:

        In the original essay I interpreted the glass on the sink as a metaphor. That is the husband did not care enough about what was important to the wife.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Steph says:

        How does wanting your husband to be an equal participant in the running of the household make a woman “not wife material”?

        It’s fair to not want your husband to not reduce you to an unpaid maid which is what happens if he continuously leaves things (such as dirty glasses) for her to take care of.

        Like

  9. Patti Dewhurst says:

    When I left my first husband, I stuck an apt poem on the fridge:

    It’s your choice.
    Help her with the housework
    And keep her
    Or let her do all the housework
    And lose her
    Then you get to do
    All of the housework
    it’s your choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kathy says:

    beautiful thoughtful thanx

    Like

  11. Rebecca says:

    Wow, the language that you use shows that you still don’t get it.

    This post is egocentric. Half of it is defending your opinion that the glass doesn’t need to be put in the dishwasher. That would be exhausting to live with.

    “One thing I know for sure is that I never connected putting a dish in the dishwasher with earning my wife’s respect.”

    What about putting the dish in the dishwasher because you respect your wife? Not because you’re trying to earn her respect. You’re making this all about you. Your wife was just asking you to stop making her life harder.

    Here’s a news flash to all the men out there. If you make your wife’s life harder than it would be without you in it, there is a very good chance she will eventually divorce you.

    Most adult women are not interested in being another adults housekeeper 24/7. This is amplified if your wife also has a career. Because even when women work, they still shoulder the vast majority of work that goes into maintaining a household.

    Bottom line. Start respecting the person you chose to share your life. If you can’t manage that, don’t expect her to stick around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I might get it more than you believe. I wrote this four and a half years ago.

      But it makes sense that you would take that away from this article, because I’m sure I’d feel the same if I re-read it now. (I don’t read my old stuff.)

      This is a snapshot of how I felt in January 2016. I was a work in progress, and still am.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I couldn’t agree more with the thoughts you shared about relationships RE: how this kind of behavior impacts spouses.

      It’s not okay.

      Like

  12. Krafty says:

    There are a lot of pathologies swarming around such issues. One classic one is ‘you should help do [x] around the house,’ followed by ‘OMG you folded things totally wrong! I’ll just do it,’ followed by ‘he’s so awful he never helps around the house.’

    In other words, sometimes resentment and martyrdom are unconsciously nurtured because they help our lives fit a cultural narrative. Such tropes are potently useful – they can get us sympathy, commiseration, and…an excuse for ending it all. The boorish husband. The petulant wife. The layabout. The nagger. The sexist. The malcontent.

    Of course no spouse will ever anticipate every need or want. Of course love should be about a net positive when summarizing all the pros and cons in a relationship. And of course people can ask for change.

    Sometimes, though, small fights are picked because deep down she just doesn’t love you anymore. She may protect herself from admitting that responsibility by locking on to a transgression that can justify leaving. As many here have said, it really isn’t about the glass in the sink.

    Like

  13. Gianna says:

    Dude, no. I am sorry but you’ve still got it wrong!!! We women don’t want you to do the dishes for US! We want you to realize for yourself that doing the dishes is simply the right thing to do! Same with losing weight or same with anything! Don’t lose weight for us, do it for you!! Otherwise we are still your mother! Know what’s right! Be clean, healthy, and hygienic, for YOU!

    Like

    • You hypocrite bunch says:

      Imagine being so entitled, wow.
      “My way of doing/living/feeling is THE right way and you should know that already, without me telling you, for you own good”

      I hate this cowardly way of thinking so much. You want him to have SPONTANEOUSLY a hygiene level, fitness and proneness to houseclean that perfectly match yours…just so you can avoid responsibility when he says he did all those changes for you and ask what you’re doing in return. Just so you can pretend your presence in his life have no impact whatsoever so you’re not responsible for anything, nor would you have to thankful for anything. That’s just hypocrisy wrapped in self-righteousness.

      Like

      • Steph says:

        Asking somebody to contribute towards maintaining the household isn’t about requiring them to “spontaneously” match your hygiene levels.

        Somebody had to clean the glasses at some point. What do you think happens to all the dirty crockery left by the sink? The magic fairy cleans them.

        It‘s this type of wilful ignorance or just pretending women are being unreasonable for wanting their husbands to contribute to household management that is the issue. It’s not about arguing that only her way is the right way. But leaving your partner to constantly clean up after you is selfish and clearly the “wrong way”. It shows that they matter little to you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Eileen says:

          Man I thought I was in twilight zone when reading You Hypocrite Bunch’s post.

          Like

        • T Clark says:

          Lets just be real here, shall we? How many husbands in the world dont contribute to ‘household management’? Ffs…
          As has been noted, this isnt about dishes or coriander or soccer practice. Get a clue. Wives arent entitled to ANYTHING. Neither are Husbands. Martydom, victimhood, bullshit…they have no place in a marriage. Maybe if both men AND women realized how much their partners do for them, willingly, this blog could fade into the sunset.

          Like

        • jennbb33 says:

          I’ve been telling my kids that the magic fairy does not exist, in the hopes that they don’t end up like this. My ex never seemed to get it. I grew up under the adage “don’t put it down, put it away” and it’s tougher than you might think to get people to change their behavior, when it’s such a simple way to live.

          Like

  14. Patricia says:

    This is amazing insight.
    I wish someone had explained this in male words to my ex-husband, for him to understand.

    Like

  15. Tired of pesky shits says:

    So whoever feel the worst about whatever random shit is entitled to CLAIM change and compliance from the other partner ??

    I do love these post and how it translates really common situations of marital conflict into terms that any man can grasp. Especially since it’s situation men stereotypically can’t make sense of.

    I also love how this post show your own growth and maturity and emotional intelligence.
    I relate much to this situation, but here the thing. What happen when your wife feel disrepected and HURT and alone and all those things you said over EVERY LITTLE SHIT in the household ? Where does it start and where does it end ?
    Should you comply forever and completely twist your habits, routines, behaviours and how you spend your energy to make sure she isn’t frustrated or else live thru permanent conflict in the household.

    I love her so I put the fucking glass in the sink. If she loves me, why can’t she drop that entitlement and learn to deal with emotional frustration. Why can’t she work on herself to understand my love and respect for her is not tied to a fucking glass wherever in the world it could be.
    Why should I have to fight and forfeit these infinite number of battles (as there will ALWAYS be something since it all stems from untreated insecurities and entitlement) while she can’t even care to start looking at this one underlying big constant problem ??

    Like

  16. Jay B Terclinger says:

    I think she left you because you didn’t put 1/10 the thought into washing the glass or putting it in the dishwasher as you do running on and on in this blog, a blog that DOESNT WORK AT ALL if you don’t follow a set of rules of organization 2000x more complicated than keeping a kitchen counter clean.

    Marriage is not a zero s game. You made your choice of priorities as if it was. (FYI, running your blog is not the same as inventing airplanes etc).

    Like

  17. IntrospectivelyWise says:

    I’m a woman. A married woman. I appreciate the hell out of this article. Will be sharing it with my husband in hopes that it can give him the “aha” moment we’re so desperately in need of.

    It must be frustrating to see the many comments of people whose head your well-thought out and analogous point went over. Well done though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not Your Wife says:

      One sided, you give us your perspective of what she was thinking, your perspective on what you thought she thought you should be thinking, but not your perspective of what you were actually thinking at the time.

      Men Are Not Children, Even Though We Behave Like Them

      Pleaaase speak for yourself. If there is anything that will help you in future relationships, it’s that generalizing makes you sound like a daft fool to people who actually understand how generalizing is an ignorant heuristic approach to pretending like your smart and have something figured out that you dont.
      To people who agree with you, you sound super witty and like you have it all figured out. To the people who put more thought into it, you sound like a pretentious, arrogant, subservient brown noser.

      It literally sounds like your just sucking tit for tally points. Is this about what you actually think or what she and other overbearing women of yoir past have convinced you that you should think. Or what you think women want you to think. I understand you are desperate and your ego was shot after getting dumped for a glass by the sink but you took it to mean everything about you and nothing about her. You let the guilt and insecurity of what she told you was wrong with you cause you to cave and take the blame for everything.

      Im sure there were many other reasons why she didnt want to be with you, the glass by the sink was just an out for her, a last straw. Maybe spend some time trying to figure out what it actually was. But if you want to not learn and pretend you figured it out all on your own, and then bash people for telling you that you sound like a feminist, go with that, she was right about everything and you were just a basketcase that took being dumped to finally understand. But you still don’t.

      Like

      • Matt says:

        What if I told you publishing houses in at least six countries are paying me to write a book about it? That you’re still the smartest and I’m still the dumbest?

        I’m not sure that you know as much about what I think/know as you imply. But I do appreciate your time and feedback.

        Like

        • Still Not Your Wife says:

          No you dont appreciate my time and feedback. You have ypur head stuck up your ass and want to tell everyone who disagrees off. Drama sells dude, your post is way over the top dramatic. Feminism sells too, its pretty trendy. You seem to be keeping up with the trend of women who dont want Patriarchy, misogyny, or equality… you go ahead and support the agenda of spreading a matriarchal attitude and creating a philogynistic society, I’m sure youll get lots of feminists publishing yoir stuff ;) Big Success. You really felt the need to flex and boast and validate your point by saing “high status people agree with me so i must be right”. You sound ridiculous.

          Like

          • Matt says:

            Jesus. You’re awesome. Have the best time being you and spreading joy.

            Like

            • Your Husband says:

              I spread joy when its relevant. This is fuel for ignorance. I don’t smile when I read this and my response isn’t joy. My response is frustration that people are spreading polarized viewpoints and generalizing genders as if we can put everyone into a box. If you said
              Men and Women Are Not Children, Even Though (We?)[Many] Behave Like Them [At Times]
              You would be right, and you wouldnt sound like a know it all. Thats what I want, for you to leave room for argument and not state a bunch of correlations and associations you made as fact. Say “this is what i think” not “this is what is”.

              Thats like saying “People are Dumb”. Dumb people are dumb when they are being dumb. Do you see what Im getting at? I apologize for the attitude but its not directed at you its directed at the way you set your words in stone and told everyone you were right down to the tee and they just dont understand yet and maybe never will. Your article could use a bit of improvement in order to filter out the enormous amount of bias and generalization.

              Like

              • Matt says:

                I wrote this in January 2016. In about an hour. There are a million things wrong with it. But it got people talking about the idea of what’s allowed to matter to people.

                It’s an important conversation.

                I’m not defending this article. I’m not saying I’m smart. I’m not saying I’m anything.

                I’m saying you came at me super-hard, and you don’t know what I actually think and/or know because you read one thing I wrote nearly five years ago.

                Like

                • Your Gender Neutral SO says:

                  Fair enough, but you’ve replied recently and your attitude seems like thats exactly what you were doing. Your right, I sound like a sarcastic ass, but only because it take a lot of energy to be particular about wording this not to sound that way. But when I’ve done that several times in the past and it didn’t work, I’m gonna let my frustration be known. You posted this pubicly, you should have expected disagreement and debated and discussed rather than tell just about everyone who doesn’t completely agree they are wrong. It seems you were looking for attention from those who agree and are completely averse to criticism from those who don’t.

                  Like

        • T Clark says:

          Appeal to Authority Fallacy. Robin DeAngelo and IX Kendi had their books published, too…at the top of they went to the top of the charts. Not so long ago, Jordan Peterson had the same experience. And his ideas are in direct contrast to Deangelo and Kendi. Whats ur point here Matt?

          Like

          • Matt says:

            Tell me what you want, please. I don’t engage enough here to have a sense of your point of view or agenda or whatever.

            My agenda is simple: I think relationships suffer big time because of things people don’t realize are the actual problem. And then good people, individually, and as families, feel shittier every day than necessary. I believe that for many of them, a subtle shift in perspective and the replacement of some accidentally harmful habits with more useful ones can result in cohesive relationships and families.

            I don’t want people to suffer if it can be avoided by the things I spend my time thinking/writing/coaching/talking about.

            That’s my entire agenda. My North Star every day.

            Please help me understand what your issues or criticisms or pain points are about what I do, and I will try my best to address it.

            Like

            • T Clark says:

              What I want: an open and intellectually honest conversation about interpersonal relationships, specifically btwn heterosexual people (although obv not exclusively), and the challenges that arise within them: marriage and its attendant challenges, the raising of offspring, how ‘typical’ roles play out, and how they can change, hopefully in order to strengthen relationships rather than not. I’m assuming you have the same goals….it seems so.
              Where I have a problem with the whole conversation is where a lot of folks do: where a single pov (with some variations on a theme) become the othodoxy, and any views that challenge that orthodoxy are summarily shut down. And often met with unabashed vitriol. Women/wives are NOT the arbiters of what makes ‘a good marriage’…neither are men/husbands. Its a RELATIONSHIP. Are we in agreement on this? If so, then lets address the gist of this original blog entry: that your ex-wife divorced you because she felt invisible, uncared for, disrespected, invalidated. Again…its not about the glass by the sink. But that glass is emblematic of all the above, etc. Correct? Now here is where things get dicey: are all those things true? Did you invalidate her? Treat her invisibly? Disrespect her? If so, then yes…you are a douchebag. We are all capable of douchery, and have all been guilty of it, intentionally and otherwise. This includes wives. Believe it or not. And so, wives need to be accountable for their own douchery rather than ‘policing’ the men in their lives. But there is no question that socially and culturally this is not the case. Think of all the tropes…and what they portray. And this in turn leads women to think of themselves as victims first, and adults somewhere down the line. (Btw, many men perpetuate this…seperate topic, tho.)
              Anyway , as has been noted, these issues ALL stem from insecuities….and more often then not, that is something the person feeling insecure has to deal with. So maybe your wife wasnt so invisible and invalidated as she, or you, think. Maybe SOME of the issue is her responsibility. Yet when even a HINT of this heterodoxy is displayed here, it is shunned (i believe you yourself replied to me to ‘watch my dirty mouth…and mothball this blog’. I still have no idea if that reply was serious, cryptic, or what. I also notice that when the inanity of the ‘mental load’ trope gets bandied around, you give high praise to it as a monument attesting to the ‘invisible work’ women do. Yet, when that obvious horseshit gets knocked down like the purile garbage it is, nary a peep. As I have stated elsewhere: women/wives are NOT ENTITLED. To anything. If both parties work on their own shit, and act like adults while doing so…well then, maybe all that pain and suffering you see and write about will be reduced. After all…thats your N Star, right?

              Like

              • Poe15 says:

                “What I want …” If that’s what you want, why don’t you start your own blog, or a reddit conversation or some such thing? Neither Matt nor anyone else here owes you agreement with your various positions.

                I would also like to point out that chances are excellent that Matt knows his ex-wife and his former marriage far better than you do, so remarks such as these – “So maybe your wife wasnt [sic] so invisible and invalidated as she, or you, think. Maybe SOME of the issue is her responsibility” – are pointless, unless you have solid evidence that the woman in question was indeed an “insecure douchebag” (to paraphrase your shorthand). And I don’t really get why you seem so bent out of shape, since I took the larger point in the original essay to be about how Matt didn’t take responsibility for his own shit and refused to act like an adult, as symbolized by the glass near the sink.

                Like

              • Matt says:

                Women are not entitled to anything that men are not also entitled to. Find me one who suggests otherwise, and you and I will have a common adversary.

                I have thoughts about how women (broad generalization here — the gender roles are not static from couple to couple) can participate positively in all of this. I hope you’ll forgive me for spending more time focused on the sorts of things I could do better and the sorts of things people like me can do better rather than point fingers at others. I think it’s pretty lame to point at others and worry about what they’re doing until someone has given all that they have to give to bringing about positive change.

                If you want to ask me about some of those things women might be able to do more effectively (in my opinion), I’ll be happy to share them.

                It’s almost as if you believe that I believe that every couple and individual falls into the exact same bucket. Where they all have the same marriage or relationship problems. Ironically, I don’t think that’s too far from the truth, but not in the way you seem to be suggesting. Everyone’s marriage issues are different, and vary wildly depending on their specific circumstances and personalities. However, thematically, I find them to largely be the same.

                The story goes that two people with positive intentions get together voluntarily and promise to love one another forever, and then years later find themselves angry and resentful and both tend to blame the other person for creating the condition, and then either they stay married and hate one another and model shitty relationship habits for their kids or they divorce.

                Both outcomes are unpleasant.

                There’s a third outcome, though. One in which everyone is together and happy about it.

                I try to participate in helping that third outcome happen because I find the other options sad and largely unnecessary. People aren’t getting divorced to the tune of thousands per day statistically because all women are insane, impossible-to-please, emotionally out-of-control tyrants or because all men are selfish, abusive, narcissistic sociopaths.

                Yet so many people feel that way. And thousands of otherwise lovely people divorce every day and their kids cry about it.

                If you think I’m an advocate for men submitting to their wives, or that I applaud control-freak women policing their husbands, then you’re fundamentally incorrect about what I believe. Maybe that’s because I’m a bad writer. More than likely it’s because you’ve never talked to me before, or even attempted to ask.

                In my estimation, the key data point that you’re not considering is that many women in these situations experience pain. Pain that you, and many men, don’t feel also.

                While you’re (the royal you, not you specifically) busy not feeling pain, and not believing that what your wife is claiming qualifies as a valid, believable, painful experience, you accidentally hurt your wife further, and exacerbate trust erosion in the relationship by simply telling her the truth as you see it.

                You’re not doing anything “bad.” You’re not a “bad person.” You’re not trying to hurt anyone. But the mathematical result of your wife telling you that something hurt her, followed by you saying: “But that’s not what happened!” or “You’re overreacting!” or “But I had a perfectly good, logical reason for doing what I did. Let me explain.” = Wife Hurts Even More.

                Two things happen. 1. She experiences invalidation of her thoughts and feelings, which becomes the new norm in the marriage, and the pain of that happening increases progressively as it keeps happening.

                2. Trust erodes further during every exchange. When our wives say “That hurt me,” and we say that it didn’t, or that they’re too sensitive, or that we had a good reason to do the hurtful thing (which again — good men do this — it’s not some overtly asshole thing — we’re just honestly explaining ourselves with the best of intentions and attempting to defend our character)… when that happens we erode trust further.

                Our wives say “Hey. A bad thing just happened and it really hurt me.”

                And then we more or less promise that we’re going to do it again because of how logical it was, and how innocent and inconsequential it was.

                When our wives report negative, painful experiences, and we tell them it’s all in their heads, or that we’re going to do the same things again in the future, they lose trust in us.

                And a marriage cannot survive without trust.

                Sooner or later, someone is going to leave.

                And I believe, broken down to the earliest point of conflict, the genesis of this dynamic is when men habitually, without thinking, conclude that their wives reported experiences and emotional reactions to those things are WRONG. Or mistaken. Or weak. Or something not awesome that needs corrected.

                And I think when we show up as people who give a shit when our spouses experience pain rather than people trying to sell them on how okay it is for us to do things comfortably even if it hurts them, that we can maintain and grow trust in relationships, and that people can be happy and feel peace in their relationships.

                THAT’s what I believe. Leaving out a ton of nuance depending on the situation. I have to go.

                Like

                • Mike says:

                  Hi Matt! Long time no see…

                  Nice reply. My reaction to a lot of these pieces is, could it potentially apply if the genders were reversed? And usually my answer is yes.

                  Just by one of those awesome internet coincidences, I received today a piece by Ellyn Bader (titled “Clinical Transcript Reveals Symbiotic Yearnings and Hidden Barriers to Commitment”) in which it’s the woman who is disregarding her boyfriend’s pain. She’s not a psycho or an asshole, she’s just … not seeing it. And Ellyn has to hold her feet to the fire a bit. (The technical term “symbiotic” in the title means, the woman thinks that her partner just obviously should see things the same way she does. Familiar story.)

                  It cuts both ways, but it makes sense to me that you might write mainly from your own perspective as a man.

                  Like

      • Eileen says:

        jeezus why do men have to mansplain ALL THE TIME? Even to other MEN? Get off your high horse, you are the pot calling the kettle black.

        Like

        • T Clark says:

          And this..right here…is the crux of the problem. And why we cant have nice things. Strawman after strawman after strawman Poor Eileen…your unabashed smugness betrays your inability to consider any pov other than your own. Which is flawed, at best. Too bad.

          Like

          • E Stephens says:

            Explain your use of strawman in this context

            Like

            • T Clark says:

              Mansplaining, among others.

              Like

            • Have a Real Discussion says:

              Strawman-

              an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument.

              a person regarded as having no substance or integrity.

              Exactly what Eileen did. You used the word “mansplain” to misrepresent my position. As if im a defender of mens POV first and my viewpoint is not individualized and circumstantial but rather generalized as being of no substance due to my gender. But in reality you seem to be a defender of women and generalize all mens thoughts as invalid if they disagree with yours or other radical womens… because you dont wish to have an actual debate where someone is given room to get a word in and prove you might not have it all figured out, even as a woman.

              Like

            • Nobody Is Right About Everything says:

              The original point was to debate about the topic, but it was made nearly impossible to have decent discourse with the complete aversion to differing viewpoints by OP and all his supporters.

              So now the topic is about how the OP and others are defending this guys “10 commandments”, and how it makes him look like an arrogant pretentious fool who is looking for attention and people to tell him hes right, rather than to have an actual discussion. The point of him posting this was for people to agree with him, he can’t handle criticism, he should be careful about putting himself out there with his book… he will likely get constructively criticized by at least a few, but hell see it as a personal attack and his defense will look just like it does now… arms lashing about trying to keep anyone who might break his fragile ego with the slightest disagreement or proof that he might not have it all figured out even this time around. We never have it all figured out.

              Like

              • Eileen says:

                Bluster all you want, my point still stands – pot calling the kettle black. Examine yourself before throwing stones. Btw, not sure where all this ENERGY is coming from – why are you so invested in the musings of a random blogger on the net?! You are a textbook bully, and you speak in absolutes and hyperbole – mature adults don’t do that.

                Like

                • T Clark says:

                  Nice try Eileen…you brought up ‘mansplaining’…no one else did.
                  Again…why we cant have nice things. The poster you are responding to brought up some reasonable, valid, even IMPORTANT aspects of this subject matter. And what the acolytes do? The ol’ Motte & Bailey routine. Its typical, but its inane.

                  Like

                  • Eileen says:

                    Glad you were able to calm down a little.

                    Like

                  • Fun says:

                    Its sad isnt it. Any point I have ever brought up has been dismissed as me being ignorant or wrong because of my gender. The actual points I have made have not been counter argued, just ignored or dismissed. The point of persuasion is to creat counterarguments or to answer the counterarguments, not to ignore them and proclaim all men are stupid children and dont understand relationships except you.

                    Like

  18. Moonflower says:

    Thanks for writing this, it’s extremely helpful to explain my partner how I currently feel. I have enough and considering leaving.
    In my case – the ‘glass by the sink’ is a different thing, nevertheless, equally frustrating that he doesn’t ‘gets it’. It is so sad that someone that tells me he loves me, breaks his promises over and over again.
    To y’all the guys that mentioned compromise: this is not how it works. If something is important for your partner, it should be IMPORTANT to you.
    I do veggies for dinner because my partner loves it, I keep in touch with his family, because it’s important for him, and do countless other stuff because he cares. If it was upon me, I wouldn’t spent a second on those things.
    Why would you need a compromise if it makes your partner unhappy?

    Like

  19. Justin Davis says:

    I have a portion of the kitchen counter that’s mine where I can do as I wish. I leave my glasses and anything else there. If I leave dishes in the sink, she’s not happy, so I just have to remember that. I also have my own bathroom counter that’s my domain about which she can’t complain.

    Like

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