She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink



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.


Shameless Self-Promotion Note About My Coaching Services

I started coaching in 2019. Clients and I work collaboratively through current and past relationship stuff in order to improve existing relationships or to prepare for future ones. Other clients are trying to find themselves after divorce or a painful breakup. We talk by phone or video conference. People like it. Or at least they fake it really well by continuing to schedule future coaching calls and give me more money. If you’re going through something and think I might be able to help, it’s really easy to find out for sure. Learn More Here.


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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4,507 thoughts on “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

  1. […] When you choose to love someone, it becomes your pleasure to do things that enhance their lives and … […]


  2. […] would you please stop leaving that dirty glass by the sink? I try hard to keep the kitchen looking nice. Can you please just put it in the […]


  3. effiethan says: Expecting your partner to tell you what to do and what needs to be done is putting most of the work onto them, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      This is easily one of the two or three best things I’ve ever seen illustrating this relationship dynamic I spend so much time writing about.

      It’s brilliant. I hope anyone who sees this and who hasn’t seen that comic before, will take the time to check it out.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Casey Nishikawa Morrin says:

      I’m glad someone posted this here. I was thinking of that exact “mental load” concept illustrated by that comic when I read this post. I’m glad it’s still making headway out there.


  4. featheredcanvas says:

    I think you just helped me figure out why my last several relationships didn’t end up working out (being the female in the relationship) and finally my own brain makes sense. Thank you from three years in the future.


  5. “Now, it’s a meaningful act of love and sacrifice”

    But even that’s not the ideal situation. You’re still seeing it as a task performed to placate your wife, rather than something that’s an integral part of the relationship and home you’ve built together. You shouldn’t see it as a token of love; it’s basic home and relationship maintenance. While doing it with the motivation of keeping your wife happy will alleviate some stress, the fact that it isn’t second nature shows where the real problem lies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Matt says:

      I’d like to make the case that it’s as simple and dispassionate as good habits vs. bad habits, Katy.

      A meaningful act of love and sacrifice is a positive motivator to do a thing. Rather than the reluctant submission to do some crap thing your partner is nagging you about.

      The goal, from my perspective, is to turn it into habit.

      And I hope it’s obvious that I’m not limiting it to “the dish.”

      But ALL of these incidents we are all blind to.

      Not everyone cares about dishes by the sink.

      So in other relationships for other people “the dish” is something else entirely.

      How we speak to one another around the in-laws. Being punctual for our partners who stress about arrival times for events and social activities. The brand of apple cider we buy at the grocery store. WHATEVER.

      Just loving our partners enough to RESPECT their individual life experiences as being equally valid to ours and then acting accordingly.

      I agree with you that it’s not ideal. This life is not ideal. Human behavior and psychology and emotional baggage is not ideal.

      So we choose to love above all of it. And for people like me, we dedicate our brains to mindful development of positive habits that reduce instances of emotional pain and negativity and disconnection in our relationships so that they can flourish.

      That’s the intended message of this inexplicably popular poorly written blog article. 🤷🏻‍♂️


  6. […] semi-famous example from this blog and my marriage is the story of me leaving a dish by the sink, and how my habit of doing that led to my […]


  7. Reblogged this on All the times I failed and commented:
    always repost. always.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. […] disagreeing with them. I just can’t believe real-life human beings with functioning brains read that post and came away with: “Yep. It was literally about dirty dishes, just like the headline said!” […]


  9. […] disagreeing with them. I just can’t believe real-life human beings with functioning brains read that post and came away with: “Yep. It was literally about dirty dishes, just like the headline said!” […]


  10. Gladram says:

    Just want to say thank you for writing this article. It contains everything I have felt and thought all these times… I face the communication challenge you mention in the article with my husband. I have forwarded this article to him. I really hope he is able to understand me afterwards…


  11. […] “dishes” post received more misogynistic comments than I care to count, and a ton I couldn’t approve because I […]


  12. Heather says:

    Feeling that a partner isn’t respecting your wishes by leaving a glass in the sink? Sure. Divorcing them for it? That is irrational. No one is perfect and a relationship is about accepting that. My partner leaves dishes in the sink all the time, I wash them. I care about my partner and metaphorically speaking I hope they would wash any dish I leave in the sink as well and still care about me at the end of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Except that it’s not just one glass by the sink. It’s all the myriad other things that you have to tell them to do because they can’t be bothered to see what needs to be done (pick up your dirty clothes, brush your teeth, throw your trash in the trash can instead of leaving it on the table, and on and on). ..and instead sit on the couch playing games or watching TV while you are doing the vast majority of the work. You and your partner sound like you actually share the work and look out for each other. If you haven’t experienced this, be very, very happy, because it’s a terrible way to live.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lilie says:

      Heather, your comment just shows you totally missed the point of this post and what Matt explains all over this website about how his « lack of caring » ruined his wife’s feeling towards him. Of course it’s not about the glass itself, especially when it’s not important for you. Like you, I totally don’t care about dishes in the sink, I am much more messy that my man. But when I would be asking one million times about a little thing that would matter for me (closing toilets, not leaving wet towels on the ground in the bathroom, or dishes in the sink), I wouldn’t feel respected. It’s not about divorcing because of a glass, it’s about divorcing because you lost the feeling of being respected. And it’s not about respecting your WISHES, it’s about respecting what MATTERS to you.
      Maybe your don’t get it because there are just NO things you care for, that your husband doesn’t respect, and then I am incredibly happy for you.
      My man cares for things which really seem petty, irrational, not important (to me), but it matters to HIM, so I try my best to improve myself and take care of those things. I expect the same from him, and I never feel so loved and cared for, than when he cares about things that matter to me.


      • Don says:

        Yeah, this mentality definitely was a factor in my divorce and I’ll own that. A contributing factor was being made to feel I couldn’t do it right in the first place though so why bother. But I choose to own my response because I could have tried to explain how I was being made to feel and try to change my behavior but didn’t.


        • MT says:

          Don – I do understand where you’re coming from, and my intent isn’t to insult or offend you in any way, but hopefully offer some perspective, and perhaps gain some perspective from you. There are many instances where my husband and I have this issue; I am not picky at all (trust me, I am nowhere near a neat freak), but where I take issue is that many times when my husband does a chore, it isn’t that his style is different (i.e. folding laundry differently), it’s that he completely half-asses it, and I end up having to redo the chore. For example, if he vacuums the floor (which is very rare), there’s still dirt all over the place, or he say he “cleaned up the kitchen” but only put dishes in the dishwasher, but left the counters, sink and table untouched. But I honestly feel that he purposely feigns incompetence in an effort to get out of doing chores. I’m not implying that is what you were doing (I sincerely hope not); I guess my point is that women shouldn’t have the sole responsibility to bear the mental load of all the household work, and we should be able to rely on our spouse to competently handle these things without our direction. I often feel that I am nothing more than a glorified babysitter for an adult child; I cannot rely on my husband for a lot of things, and it makes me feel frustrated, exhausted, and alone.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Catherine says:

    Most women they like tidiness and order, and women work with their eyes more than a man.
    Men don’t care whether there is dust all over the house or whether a bathroom is untidy, although women do! Why?
    Women are child bearers, nest makers like birds they like to keep their shit in order.

    Why on earth do most men throw clothes on a floor? Would you throw an expensive Armani Suit on the floor?
    Well I feel it’s a dominant thing and a territory thing, it’s like when a dog pees on a tree or a male cat that sprays.
    If you can understand all that then great, that’s good.

    So if some men keep behaving like animals then just treat them as such, put their food in a dog bowl and make them eat their food on kitchen floor, tell them if they want a shower to attach a hose to the outside tap and shower, but remember at the end of each night to put the Cat/DOG out before going to bed.

    Happily married to a man who picks up his shit every day.


  14. […] Would you please just put this glass that you like to leave sitting by the sink in the dishwasher? Please? It would mean a lot to […]


  15. Edna L Taylor says:

    I have to ask, do you have Asperger’s? My husband has that and ADHD and this blog resonated with me because THIS is what I have been trying to get across to him for, well, years. That when he continues to ignore my wishes and doesn’t do the simple day to day tasks, it makes me feel like I am not important and that that he simply does not care. Now, I understand that an Aspie brain is MUCH different from a neurotypical brain, but it still makes things very difficult, even with that understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      ADHD, yes. No asperger’s or any other atypical neurological condition of which I’m aware.


    • Patrick Langston says:

      Three powerful words… Let it Be.. what do you care about most? Your husband or the house? It may be possible that he feels he is being demeaned as well, some people are sloppy sometimes, sometimes people get depressed etc and they don’t maintain themselves and their surroundings to keep it in the most ideal coneition, sometimes for a very long time.. do you think he feels good about it?…. this is just how it is. PEOPLE ARE NOT PERFECT… Once again PEOPLE ARE NOT PERFECT… Learn to love your husband no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT. Unconditional Love is a powerful tool. It is amazing to know that you will be loved no matter what, as broken as we are we will be healed by love. But if we hold that love away from eachother until we are healed then we have it backwards baby. Wayyy backwards. Love isnt something you hold over someone’s head as a potential reward for them doing what you want. True love knows no bound. Sometimes we forget what love means.. we think it means no dishes by the sink.. we think it means flowers on our anniversary or a birthday card on our birthday but this isnt love..these are things. Dishes by the sink are dishes by the sink and does not represent the vast amount of love that your husband has for you. He loves you.. let him show it without putting so many conditions on it… this is unconditional love. Love drives us to do amazing things and I promise if you show your husband unconditional love he will show it in return, one way or another. The dishes might be left by the sink but when your having amazing moments, amazing sex, amazing unconditional love… the dishes by the sink wont matter when your orgasming back to back it’s hard to think about how big of a deal a couple dirty dishes are. Are dishes getting in the way of an amazing sex life for you? Do you hold out on sex if the dishes arent done? Because your holding it from yourself as well. Is the stress you create from a dirty dish really comparable to the amazing stress relief of an amazing sexual experience with your husband, trust me afterwards he will have plenty of energy to the dishes and come back for another round, shoot he might even start rewashing dishes to get them as sparkly clean as possible for his amazing beautiful wife that shows him love no matter what. You deserve it, he deserves it. Love unconditionally first and trust that the rest will fall into place, why place conditions on love when you can have it all, wherever, whenever, no matter what, EVEN IF THE DISHES ARE DIRTY :))


      • Ana says:

        I’m going to be honest. Nothing turns me off more as a woman than having to pick up sweaty gym clothes from the bathroom floor next directly next to the dirty clothes hamper and put them in the dirty clothes hamper. So no, it’s not ‘withholding’ sex. Sometimes I’m just too annoyed to be turned on.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Patrick Langston says:

          Well have fun being annoyed and I’ll have fun being turned on. The orgasmic energy of the universe is pretty amazing. I’d rather spend more time in that then the negative energy of annoyance That’s unfortunate you get annoyed by things out of your control. Maybe you’ll learn to let things go that are out of your control, usually micromanaging has things turn out exactly as you expected.


        • Patrick Langston says:

          That’s also pretty awesome that your husband goes to the gym, but you don’t focus on that do you? Perhaps you just focus on the things you don’t like, and so you keep getting more of it ;)


          • It’s amusing and irritating that you have literally no appreciation of the fact that you are exactly the type of person this article is about. And belligerent about it too like it makes you superior in some way to disregard the feelings of others. It’s great to talk about “letting it be”, but here’s the thing, if we “let it be” (the glass for example,) you will just keep walking by it until there are four glasses, and five, and six. It never ends, and maybe we just don’t appreciate having to live in filth because you’re too entitled to pick up after yourself. SO we’ll “have fun” being annoyed, and you “have fun” getting divorced, k?

            Liked by 2 people

            • jennifer brown says:

              Right on, sister. Thank you! Most of us are tired at the end of our work day, too. If there is energy to cook, then clean up after that, and deal with kids, pets, to-do’s like laundry and grocery shopping and whatever other daily household things that need to be done, and the house is put to sleep, then someone (ahem, other functional adult) can’t be bothered to clean up after his precious self, that’s gonna get old FAST.


            • Patrick Langston says:

              Haha I showed my wife this article and my comments and she completely agrees. Some people care way too much about little things and let it get in the way of loving eachother first. Like the wife who gets mad cus her husband wont buy her that new dress, so she stops giving him attention until he buys it for her. Or she gets mad because hes spending more time with friends than with her, so she stops showing him as much affection because she feels she isnt cared about, so she stops caring, and it creates a cycle.

              What I’m saying is dont let material things become such an obstacle in your relationship that you start treating your partner as a lesser individual. There are reasons hes acting the way he is and it’s likely partly because it’s become his identity. Because every day he is told he doesnt care and made to feel guilty and it is reinforced into his identity by you. He does care, but you won’t give him that credit (because he doesnt put away dishes so everything else he does for you doesnt count) communicate, stop acting like a prideful uppity brat, your not his mother and when you start acting like his overbearing mother he will start acting like a dependent child. What I’m saying is that their is a dynamic going on that is continuing the habits and thought processes that are making your relationship the way it is. If you keep going about it the same way you have you will continue to get the same results. When you start to let things go then it takes the pressure off of you can start to look at things from a different perspective and treat eachother respectfully. When you decide that loving him is most important then he will start to do things that reflect the love he feels. But if you decide hes not worthy of your love then he might just decide the same, and show it in his own way. It’s a cycle of negative emotions.

              Nobody wants to feel like a child who cant clean up after himself, when you keep treating him this way and making it his identity and not giving him the benefit of the doubt, assuming that because he doesnt do something then he must not love you or care about you at all. This is a perfect lesson in letting go. One day you could just decide you wont let it effect how you feel about him, and you will still treat him like a capable individual.then he might start acting like one.

              You might feel that he shows disrespect physically by not putting away dishes, but how you speak to him and treat him as a result can be seen as disrespectful too. Its emotionally damaging to be treated like you dont care or love your wife and if you keep believing it and acting accordingly then that might be exactly what you get.

              Or maybe dishes are really that important to the point that you should take it as an opportunity to assume your husband is a helpless piece of shit who doesnt care about you.


            • Patrick Langston says:

              I’m in an extremely fulfilling relationship and we are very good at keeping things neat and tidy. But we have different ways of going about things and we dont force eachother to do things our way or withhold love or treat eachother lesser because of our mistakes or bad habits.
              My partner and I understand that eachother is not perfect and sometimes we do things that to the other is interpreted as unthoughtful and uncaring. But we communicate and continue to treat eachother with respect no matter what.

              We dont get passive aggressive and treat eachother like selfish individuals. We continue to communicate and get things done because we care about eachother and we remind eachother that although we are not perfect and sometimes hurt eachother intentionally or unintentionally, at the end of the day all we truly want is to be loved by one another, and this is what drives us to be productive caring individuals. The dishes always get done, sometimes a dish is left by the sink but one of us will wash it at some reasonable point.

              We dont assume that the other did it to hurt us. There have been points in our relationship where I mostly did the dishes, even after a long day of work. I have asked her to help and she has forgotten at points, but I continue to love her and dont let it effect me to the point that I stop treating her with the love and affection she deserves. Sometimes she gets depressed and stressed and lazy and I end up taking up the slack, sometimes the other way around… but we dont read into it as a sign we are not loved and cared about. We stay grateful and appreciative for the ways that they DO show they care. We say thank you and understand that eachother is not perfect. But this is why it always works out, the labor of dishes and housework are shared.

              We dont tally up how much we’ve done vs how much the other has done and let it become a gauge for how much we think the other cares or loves us. We understand we all have pitfalls.

              We continue to love eachother unconditionally, because a dirty dish by the sink is only a dirty dish by the sink, and either of us can wash it at any point. One of us might be lazy for a period of time but we let eachother be lazy sometimes. At the end of the week we always have a clean house, whether I do most of the work, or she does most of the work, or if its shared equally.

              We continue to love eachother and remind eachother of how much we mean to eachother, and we dont let the dishes be the deciding factor of how much we love or think we love eachother.

              Liked by 2 people

      • zeebea says:

        You aren’t listening. You are fighting the fight.

        You argue that dirty dishes by the sink shouldn’t matter in a relationship. You argue that caring about dirty dishes by the sink to the degree that it becomes a deal-breaker is irrational and stupid, thus completely invalidating the feelings of anyone to whom it does matter.

        Ring any bells?

        This exactly is the problem.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Patrick Langston says:

          My main point is that you are expecting him to change the way he treats you before you change the way you treat him. Sure you shouldnt have to be the one to change first but someone has to take the initiative or your going to continue having the same experience.


  16. Grace says:

    Coming from the woman’s perspective here: my husband I both come from large families-he has 8 siblings, I have 13. I discovered somewhere along the way that having dishes piled and laundry everywhere really bothers him. . It doesn’t bother me as much. So because I love him, and I value his mental sanity, Ive gotten into the habit of making sure those two areas of our household are cleaned. Obviously not always. There are plenty of times when he does it, especially on the weekend. But I do it because I noticed it stresses him out, and I want him to be relaxed in our home, not going over to the sink as soon as he’s back from his 12hr shift because the dishes stress him out. It’s just loving him the way he needs to be loved.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. cestmoi01 says:

    Seriously, bitches need to chill… You can always do the dishes later. Isn’t more important to spend time together and on kids than having a spotless hole 24/7. I feel sorry for men getting nagged on and told what to do every second. He is not a babg and if you are a clean freak clean it yourself af long as he keep up with his responsibilites. Here it is my husband doing the dishes like all the
    Time, no matter if it is 1 am
    Or 1 pm, and somwtimes he tells me if he doesnit think i put it correctly in the dosh washer and damn it is annoying. But we each have our thing and we don’t force one another to do things and we never complain about the other not doing enough and we have two children. Sometimes i would almost wish my dh


    • Or, HE could always do the dishes later. But he won’t, that’s the point. As for “bitches”, you sound alike a brainwashed one. If that works for you and your “dh”, that’s great, but don’t look down your nose at women who don’t want to have to “nag” their husbands to pick up after themselves (stuff we teach out CHILDREN how to do, but yet are “unreasonable” for expecting a grown adult to do? Okay, sounds legit.)




  19. Matt says:

    [ . . . “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.” . . . ]

    Love means to many women that her partner is her soul mate – an extension of herself. She believes that upon falling in love the identities of both partners merge into a single shared identity – the couple as an indivisible new entity. This merging of course happens with no changes to her own identity, which is what makes the man she has chosen to love so special to her. He appears to identify exactly as she desires.

    When her partner fails to perform exactly as she desires in any given situation, significant or insignificant, she doubts first his love for her. If love is a merging of identities, she reasons, a man can not have thoughts, feeling or actions different from hers. If he does, then she questions his sincerity and of course feels unsafe, unappreciated, and disrespected. She can not trust him to be exactly what she wants in any given situation. Then, every little thing becomes a issue of testing love (obedience) where noncompliance justifies her continued anger and resentment.

    Many men experience this understanding of romantic love much in the same way that the crew of the USS Enterprise experienced the Borg’s attempts to assimilate them.


    • Mickisue says:

      MANY women? No. Maybe many girls. Women understand that marriage requires commitment by both parties to consider the wellbeing of their partner as equal to their own.

      Which is why, if you are the one who does most of the cleaning in the kitchen, that it’s disheartening to see that your partner doesn’t care enough about your wellbeing to even put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

      I’m lucky in that; while my husband isn’t skilled at cleaning the cooktop or the vent hood, he does clean up after himself.

      I used to be married to a man who, on the 3 or 4 nights a month that he was responsible for dinner for himself and our kids (meaning he had to heat up and plate the food I’d prepped before leaving for 8.5 hours in a busy labor and delivery area, wouldn’t even put the dishes in the sink.

      I’d come home to dirty dishes on the table, and many nights, exhausted from nonstop work, would stand, in tears, cleaning the kitchen at 12:30 am, so I wouldn’t have to clean it before I could feed my small children.

      Note that I used to be married to him. That wasn’t the only reason. But it was one of them.


      • Matt says:

        [ . . . “Women understand that marriage requires commitment by both parties to consider the wellbeing of their partner as equal to their own.” . . .]

        Well said, I don’t think we are in disagreement.


        • Patrick Langston says:

          One theme I’m noticing with this article qnd comments is that it places men and women into different boxes. At one point you say “men and women have different emotional responses to different situations”, yes, ultimately this is true to some extent but that is because our habits, rationale and values may be different. Women tend to be conditioned to place more importance on certain things than a man might be expected to. Like appearance for example.
          Women may care and put more attention into how they look and are perceived by others.

          But this could also be true for a man, but generally women do more to perfect their appearance. (Make-Up, Shaving their body, dying hair, fake nails, wigs, etc.) Women tend to focus more on appearance and it is a great way to attract a Male. Men tend to be the pursuer, they usually initiate the conversation. Men tend to be more aggressive and dominant. Some women like strong men to take care of them and the man might like to provide for his partner, to take care of his wife (of course if he is financially capable).

          Some women might want to be financially independent and some might even want to provide for a man (this may seem strange in relation to our current societal paradigm)… but their are outliers.

          At the end of the day we choose how we want to relate with another, how we conduct ourselves as humans (putting aside gender stereotypes). Sometimes we identify completely with our gender and how society or others tells us we are supposed to act, or how we have seen others of our gender act. For example an old woman knitting is typical. An old man knitting is not seen as typical, we might expect him to be a carpenter or doing some sort of woodwork as a hobby.

          But maybe a man wants to learn to knit.. maybe he wants to make his own pillowcase… is he considered more feminine now? What makes knitting feminine. Let’s say he paints his nails, does that make him more feminine? If he paints them black then he might be in a heavy metal band but if he paints them pink what does that mean?

          We tend to put things into boxes and assume that because someone or something is X then it must be Y. Let’s say a man is talking in a high pitch feminine sounding voice, you might assume they were homosexual. A “queer” or “faggot”, “gay”, “twin-flame” it’s called in one culture. But what if they had a medical condition that effected their vocal cords and they actually really didnt like their voice because they were far from homosexual. Let’s imagine the same scenario for a female with a deep voice, we might assume that they are also homosexual. A “lesbian” or “dike”, (I dont know too many terms for a homosexual female). All of these words can shape our view of these people and who we think they are and how they might behave and treat us or themselves, much based on our past experiences.

          Sometimes we have experiences and we make correlations that might not be completely true, we might do this out of fear, it is a survival mechanism. Let’s say you touch a hot stove as a child and get burned and so whenever you see something that looks like a stove you are scared to touch it, even if it’s not turned on. You may have made the corrrelation that all stoves will burn you, without understanding that not all stoves are turned on or hot.

          We might put things into boxes without realizing it and think we have it figured out but it might be assumptions we made from fearful thinking. We are scared to get hurt so we avoid any experience that we have decided might cause it, we place people and things into boxes of “bad” and “good” based on how we judge them. But how we judge, and further how we treat them because of our judgement causes them to react based on our judgements.

          If we treat them as bad people and say things that reflect our negative opinion of them then they may act negatively in return, thus affirming our judgements. But another without negative judgement may show their admiration for the individual and in return receive a positive reaction, affirming their positive beliefs about the person and influencing future experiences.

          We all have different experiences and different reasonings, our biology does affect our emotions and the way we perceive things but at the end of the day we much want the same thing, and we are all united in one common similarity, we are all humans trying to make the most of what we have and we think just as much alike as we do differently.


      • WhatHappensWhen says:

        To be fair, men don’t marry girls. They marry women who they think understand what you just said – that people have their own identities and if she (or the reverse, he) think the other person is going to become them and do EVERYTHING they wish and want, that person is setting themselves up for disappointment. The overall premise in this thread is that people need to adapt. But there is no way on earth either partner should adapt to do EVERYTHING the other person wants. There are stories on both sides but people have to stop thinking their partner will be exactly like them – otherwise why marry or get together and live in the same house at all?


        • Mickisue says:

          Of course men marry girls. Just like women marry boys. The problem is that they look like adults. It’s just that they are, at their cores, incredibly immature and self involved.

          I don’t expect my husband to put me above himself. I do expect him to consider my needs, along with his own, and to make decisions based on what is best for both of us.

          If you actually read the blog post above this incredibly long comment thread, you’ll see that the author is acknowledging that he failed to do that. He decided that what mattered to his ex was of less importance, because it wasn’t personally important to him.

          An example from my choices. My husband enjoys driving a fairly long distance to visit a college friend, a couple times a year. I don’t like him. He’s crude, thinks being insulting is humorous and treats his wife like his servant.

          But as long as my husband doesn’t follow that example, it’s HIS friend, not mine. He gets to relive his younger days, I get the house to myself. The fact that I truly don’t understand the attraction doesn’t give me the right to dismiss it.

          The fact that you don’t understand why a few dirty dishes left out, day after day, is a trigger for your wife doesn’t give you the right to d code that it shouldn’t matter to her.


    • Mike says:

      Love means to many women that her partner is her soul mate – an extension of herself. She believes that upon falling in love the identities of both partners merge into a single shared identity – the couple as an indivisible new entity.

      Yeah, I do see this “merger” phenomenon quite often in problem couples. (Not a representative sample of course). I’d disagree in that I don’t think it is more prevalent in one sex than the other. It takes two to merge. And it’s an unconscious process. Men, just as much as women, can sometimes see their “other half” as an extension of themselves, and wonder what exactly has gone wrong when she or he fails to act like that.


  20. […] most of you know, back in early 2016, I published a post with this title, and then all hell broke loose. A few days later, it was the most popular thing on the internet […]

    Liked by 1 person

  21. losers says:

    I’m wondering why Patrick Langston has soooooo much time on his hands to belittle and berate those who are definitely not married to him. Since he has all this extra time he should go out and other couples by assisting the wives who are frustrated by cleaning up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eileen says:

      I personally love how PL lectures us from his completely myopic sex-centered male point of view, classically oblivious to the priorities of the vast majority of women.


      • Patrick Langston says:

        You dont have to be a female to go through this same struggle. Women can be lazy as well. I’m not a relationship therapist so I apologize if I sounded like a know it all, I’m just providing my perspective. Every case is different and I dont know you life. Maybe your husbands are just hopeless POS slobs and your relationship are doomed. I wouldn’t know because I’m not living your life. Sorry to have said anything.


        • Eileen says:

          No, it was just your waxing endlessly poetic about sexual contact being the pinnacle of relationship nirvana. I enjoy sex, and it’s one means of expressing my affection, but it certainly doesn’t trump my intellectual/emotional needs, and it’s definitely not the end goal.


          • Patrick Langston says:

            I never said it was, that was more about unconditional love than about sex. My partner loves sex as well, we have very high sex drives and it’s great, of course that’s not the “pinnacle of our relationshil”, that we be quite shallow. We have deep conversations and connect in many different ways and if we have a disagreement we talk about it, we dont assume that the other is doing something just because of their gender.


          • Patrick Langston says:

            That came from my experience of seeing couples who constantly argue and have constant tension and dislike for eachother quirks and behaviors. They stop being attracted to eachother and included is that they stop having sex, I and my partner (female, also not myopic or sex centered) believe that sex is very important in a relationship, also being patient with one another and understanding our mistakes and flaws and not assuming that it is being done to hurt the other or because they dont love us. Now you would probably know what’s right for you in your relationship and if your husband truly doesnt care about you that’s up to your own judgement. I’m not going to say I know your relationship better than you do.


      • Patrick Langston says:

        And that is honestly very generalizing of you and very narrow minded to put all men into a category of myopic sex-centered beings, I believe that point if view is quite nearsighted and hypocritical, to generalize all men as such. Some women think they have men all figured out and some men vice versa, that’s where they go wrong. It’s not all black and white… take off your lenses of generalizations, presumptions, and preconceived notions and you might see theres another way to look at it.

        The reason I started getting more direct is because a lot of people here seem to be pedaling the idea that men and women are completely different beings with completely different mental workings and that everything women say is right and men are just stupid lazy slobs (because that’s what they have experienced). Im sorry your relationshio didnt work out but that doesnt reflect who I am or any other man. We think much alike as we do differently and if you stop pretending like you have everyone figured out and stop putting everyone into fun little boxes so you can pretend like you have them figured out you might actually be able to communicate and come to some terms and agreements. But maybe youd rather be right in your assumptions than give them a chance to hear their side of the story and actually understand. “From my myopic sex-centered male point of view” you dont even know me woman, and I’m not going to pretend like I know you either. Because I don’t, but if you want to actually have a conversation without generalizing then I’m happy to have one.

        And to the person who said “how do I have all this time blah blah blah” theres plenty of time in a day, I’m just alarmed at how much people generalize and get upset when you tell them they dont have everything figured out.


  22. […] I realized what was at stake when she drove away with our son in the back seat, and then I sobbed in my kitchen and threw up over and over in the sink next to which I usually set that drinking glass. […]


  23. JLa says:

    This article brought back so many memories – Years of trying to be heard, seen, understood only to be met with “If you don’t like it, then leave” – so I did after 20 years. When the movers finished loading the truck, he was crying how could I do this to him – I asked for the thousandth time if he would go to counseling with me – he said “You already made up your mind & I will never speak to you again.”
    It is NOT about the glass –


    • Mike says:

      It should be about the glass. She didn’t give two craps about him. She only cares about herself. He should have dropped her for being a dictator. Any man listening to this garbage should really pay attention and see how women do very little for men in marriages and the failure will always be blamed on him. Getting fed up with the bs.


  24. a.e.k. says:

    “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.”

    Translation: He does NOT LOVE or RESPECT his wife because he also is REFUSING to LISTEN to her and is CHOOSING to continue to NOT LISTEN to her and LISTENING IS PART OF RESPECT AND LOVE.

    So when she tells him she is informing him and him not learning is him making the point again and again that she is not important to him and he is not trustworthy for her.


    • Mike says:

      That is such a load of garbage. I deal with this crap myself. None of you would be saying the same thing about a wife not having sex with her husband. Marriages are one sided now and if it wasnt for kids it wouldnt be worth it at all. Having to deal with self righteous entitled women that make up things to be worse than they are sounds like a raw deal. Women are killing marriage.


      • Matt Dreadwind says:

        I agree Mike, a load of garbage. Top to bottom. Nevertheless, it would be to your advantage to stop being frustrated by the behavior of self-righteous and entitled women. You can’t change them; you can only change yourself. Your life can only ever be meaningful after you have taken the time to decide who you would like to be. If you want satisfaction and happiness, you have to put in the incredibly hard work necessary to make yourself a better man. You must work with an intensity and commitment that others might call obsession.

        A man’s purpose in life is to achieve, as nearly as possible, his creative potential. This requires growth, and growth requires tearing down the established and re-building. It’s not easy and it doesn’t end until you die. There exist limitless avenues through which a man may pursue his creative potential:
        Rock climbing;
        Building custom cars;
        Building custom houses;
        Building anything (google Sam Maloof);
        Martial arts;
        Foreign languages; . . . the list is endless. A relentless pursuit of excellence in any creative endeavor will be unlikely to result in complete mastery, but it will surely bring about profound changes in the spirit of the pursuer. Pick one, anyone, these are just tools to forge a better you. Distinguish yourself. Only once you have become master of your own spiritual growth, will you be worthy of a meaningful relationship with someone else.

        Your ideal mate will be one who embodies your values and acts on them with an integrity that you admire. You will recognize her only when you clearly know your own values and act with the same integrity.

        Should you commit to spiritual growth, you may discover that self-righteous and entitled women have every right to live as they choose, but they don’t impact your life in the least.

        What’s your path to distinction?


        • Matt says:

          It’s not a load of garbage, Matthew. Learning how to notice, respect, honor, and then behave accordingly RE: Things That Matter to Your Partner, is the #1 skill people must learn to effectively navigate healthy human relationships.

          Ironically, you describe that very thing quite well above. Living an authentic life and valuing yourself and then only letting people in who treat you with the requisite amount of love and respect.

          That’s all I’m talking about here, only in reverse. Some people care about things we don’t care about. If we want to have healthy and mutually beneficial relationships with them, we must honor and respect these things they care about BECAUSE we care about them.

          It’s not a load of garbage. It’s just difficult for people to behave as if they care about things they don’t care about, or to do inconvenient things simply because someone else wants us to.

          But sometimes, that’s what a healthy, lasting relationship calls for.

          I’m not advocating for marriage or relationships here. People can and should remain single if they want to.

          But since more than 95% of people will engage in relationships that look and feel like marriage, or actually marry, I think it’s useful to talk about things that will end those relationships. Sometimes very unpleasantly.

          Thanks for commenting.


          • Matt Dreadwind says:

            I’m sorry Matt, I intended only to empathize with Mike’s expression of frustration that the women in his life are not more like what he desires them to be. I failed to recognize how my comment might have been received by you. I apologize.

            When people commit to a relationship without having first fully integrated their own values they tend to make decisions according to their desires because there are generally no other guideposts. There is no central unifying theme in such relationships but there are insecurities, doubts and worries. Differences of opinion are often received as disrespect. Without knowing explicitly what values drive the relationship toward fulfillment one can never know when demands made of us by our partner should be respected or whether respecting them would be detrimental to our own well being. It is not unheard of that certain people feel compelled to achieve a sense of control in their lives by attempting to control the other things in their life – including their partner. Submission to such demands may seem empowering to one partner but it is really diminishing to both.

            I don’t think you can do it “in reverse” unless you advise on how to recognize when your partner’s demands should not be respected without having first examined one another’s values. That is why your comment thread is so long on this post.

            Values come first.


  25. Melissa Moar says:

    Good read, definitely will show my partner this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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