This is Why Your Wife Hates You

angry wife

(Image/Psychology Today)

“Why does my wife hate me?”

My initial reaction was to tell you that your wife doesn’t hate you, but the uncomfortable truth is that she might. She might actually hate you. Let’s deal with it.

The definition for ‘hate,’ according to Merriam-Webster, is “a: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury; b: extreme dislike or disgust.”

And that sounds about right.

The reason your wife hates you—or the reason it feels as if she does—is because she’s probably afraid, she’s probably angry, and she’s probably hurt. No matter how difficult it is to believe, and regardless of how unintentional it may have been, YOU are at the epicenter of that fear, anger, and pain.

Your Wife Might Hate You Because She’s Afraid

We all have anchors. Things that steady us even when life gets turbulent.

Families of origin are common anchors. Hometowns—familiar geography—can be an anchor. Social circles. Faith and/or churches. Jobs or specific career fields. Homes we’ve lived in.

Maybe your wife lost an anchor. Maybe she lost many anchors.

I had to learn it the hard way, because—perhaps just like you—I believed I was a good husband. I didn’t cheat, I wasn’t an addict or alcoholic, and I was gainfully employed and willing to give everything I earned to whatever she wanted. I was a nice person. Decent to strangers. Got along well with her family.

When our son was still a toddler, we had a weekend getaway for nice dinners and a concert in the city. Our little boy stayed with his grandparents in the same house my ex-wife grew up in. A beautiful log cabin home her father and uncles literally built with their own hands years before she was born.

At the conclusion of the fun weekend, she and I had dinner with her parents and our son in their dining room. It was a good night. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just, comfortably good.

My father-in-law died the next day. Heart attack. No warning.

One minute, everything was normal. Regular. Predictable. Safe. Steady. Anchored.

The next minute, everything wasn’t.

My wife—in an impossible-to-process blink—lost her longest-standing anchor. The one man who had proved for more than 30 years that he could always be counted on was gone. Just, gone.

Now, my wife not only had her own life to worry about as an individual, a mother, and a wife, but she also had to be an anchor for her mother. While she was grieving the loss of her family of origin, grieving the loss of a future she’d imagined watching our son growing up with more grandfather-grandson adventures, she was forced into the role of being the emotional anchor for her mom as they prepared to sell and vacate the home her father had built with his hands.

I knew right away that I was providing no comfort to my wife during this time. I don’t mean I wasn’t trying. I mean, there was nothing about me being her husband that brought her any peace or comfort. And I kind of resented that until some years later when I finally learned why.

My wife was afraid.

A husband is supposed to be an anchor. Steady. Reliable. Foundational. Unshakeable. But I wasn’t those things. I just didn’t know it yet.

Maybe your wife hates you because she’s afraid.

Your Wife Might Hate You Because She’s Angry

Commonly, young adults ‘leave’ their families of origin in order to create a new family of origin as two spouses, often bringing children into the world, and becoming that anchor—that safe, comfortable, reliable foundation—for their kids.

Thoughtful, careful people don’t rush foolishly into marriage. They take seriously the idea of promising forever to another human being. Of inviting someone into our respective inner family and social circles, and potentially creating precious new humans together.

The pregnancy, birth, and eventual arrival of our baby son at home shined a spotlight on how little I respected the mental, physical, and emotional load my wife carried through pregnancy and becoming a new mother.

Basically, if something needed to be thought of, or planned for, or managed in regards to providing care for our newborn son, my wife was left to do it.

She worked just as many hours as I did. She did more around the house than I did. And for years, that arrangement mostly worked. It was mostly tolerable for her.

But when an additional human (or humans) is brought into the fold, the math changes dramatically. The heaviness—the mental, emotional, and physical toll—increases exponentially. Two people working in lockstep can overcome the new challenges.

One person left to problem-solve on her own while her husband improves his poker game? Not so much.

When she lost her father, she had to face a hard reality: “I just lost the only man I could ever truly count on. The one who promised to always be there for me, isn’t. Every time I express what I think and feel and want, he fights back. He tells me I’m wrong, or crazy, or overreacting. He doesn’t accept what I’m asking for as a request for help. He gets defensive as if I’m attacking him.”

And as she took stock of her life while grieving the loss of her father, assumed responsibility for supporting her mother, all while being an attentive mother to our son and a valued employee at her job?

She concluded the same thing your wife might be concluding: “I only have so many years left on this planet. Do I really want to commit it to a life and a person that makes me feel angry every day? I can’t trust that this person, this marriage, this life is going to deliver all of the promises that were made. Is continuing to choose this really the smartest thing I can do?”

Maybe she tried to reach me some more times after that.

“Matt. Would you please read this book for me that describes many of the things I feel?”

No.

“Matt. Would you please agree that how I feel is just as important, just as real, just as correct, just as valid, as how you feel?”

No.

“Matt. 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 me.”

No.

Over and over and over again, I communicated to my wife—to the mother of my son—that I could not be counted on to love and honor her all of the days of my life, in good times and in bad, even though that’s what I’d vowed to do for her in front of everyone we both knew.

So.

She became angry. I didn’t get it then. I totally get it now.

Maybe your wife hates you because she’s angry.

Your Wife Might Hate You Because She’s Hurt

I would never physically harm my wife. I would never even intentionally mistreat her according to my own gauge for what constitutes treating someone well versus not.

That’s why I was so adamant that my wife was wrong anytime she accused me of being mean or of doing things to hurt her.

I was absolutely certain that I was a good person. That I was a nice person. People had told me so my entire life. I knew a lot of people, and in my experience, they all liked me. I was well-liked and popular growing up. Moreover, my heart was in the right place. I wasn’t secretly plotting to hurt anyone—certainly not the mother of my son, and the only person in world history I had ever volunteered to marry and live with for the rest of my life.

My logic seemed sound enough. Based on everything I have ever known or encountered, I was a nice, good person. I loved my wife. And I was smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong. Good and bad. Stuff that hurts versus stuff that doesn’t hurt.

So when my wife told me about some things I did or said that HURT her, the most logical conclusion was that SHE was crazy. If thousands of people I encounter like me and think I’m a good person, and the ONLY PERSON who ever complains about me is my wife, she MUST be the problem.

It’s a dangerously ‘reasonable’ conclusion to come to.

If my wife is the statistical anomaly, then clearly she’s the one who needs to fix something—not me.

Like a colorblind person totally unaware that other people literally see and experience different colors, I believed—in my mind, heart and soul—that I was a good man, and therefore MUST be a good husband.

It never occurred to me that being a husband was a bit like a professional trade or activity requiring learned skill. It never occurred to me that the kindest, best, most decent men in the world can also be totally shitty at crafting boat hulls, writing legal briefs, or performing heart-transplant surgery.

Very good people can be very bad at certain professions or activities.

Turns out, marriage—along with parenting—is one of those activities.

I hurt my wife over and over and over again, even though I never meant to. Every time she pointed it out or asked me to stop, I told her she was wrong. I suggested she was emotionally unstable, or perhaps not intelligent enough to recognize the real problem.

For years. YEARS. My wife came to me with a problem about feeling actual pain and asking me to help her stop hurting, and a very high percentage of the time, my answer was for her to figure out what was wrong with her, and to learn how to be more grateful, because I didn’t agree that whatever I was doing actually hurt her.

When people hurt for long enough, their highest priority—sensibly—is to escape the source of pain so that healing can begin.

My wife concluded that I had broken my promises to love, honor, and respect her—that I broke my promise to simply CARE for her. Whether I had intentionally misled her, whether I was incompetent, or whether I was willfully refusing to help her moving into the future, this realization caused intense pain for a woman trying to navigate adulthood with a child, with a struggling marriage, and while juggling the pain and stress of losing her father and childhood home as well.

Not only wouldn’t I help my wife feel better, but I was the reason she was hurting in the first place. Near as she could tell, every time she asked me for help, I repeatedly promised to never change. Near as she could tell, she wasn’t important enough for me to respect, or handle with care.

Maybe your wife hates you because she hurts, and you neither help soothe her pair nor eliminate behaviors that cause her pain even though she asks you to over and over again.

Maybe your wife hates you because she’s angry, because every time she asks you to help her, you refuse and then turn her problems around and blame them on her.

Maybe your wife hates you because she’s afraid, because she thought she knew what she was getting herself into when she accepted your marriage proposal, and again on your wedding day when you promised to love her forever. But now, nothing is at all like she’d imagined.

Every day, she hurts, she feels angry, and she’s afraid.

Every day, she feels those shitty, life-sucking things. Because of you.

It’s an uncomfortable truth, a bitter pill to swallow—that you’ve become your wife’s worst enemy, even though you never wanted nor tried to be that. But if you’re seriously looking for the answer to your question, I’m afraid this is it.

This is why your wife hates you.

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117 thoughts on “This is Why Your Wife Hates You

  1. Sam says:

    This is brilliant. Thank you for your vulnerable honesty and self awareness.

    Like

  2. Kristine Marvel says:

    Great post, Matt! Curious what made this click for you? (If you are open to sharing) Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. clear communication and actions, always.

    Like

  4. I dunno about this Matt… I’ve been following your blog for a good six or so years now and it’s strange, I used to get so much enlightenment and insight from the “male perspective” of things that you present. But maybe after so many years and now being in a relationship with a completely different type of man than I’m used to, I’ve started to feel differently about the way women are “supposed” to be thought of and treated in a relationship. For one, it used to be that a man was just supposed to do exactly what you did for her; support her with a good gainful job as you said, be willing to spend those spoils on whatever SHE wanted, help take care of the home and children etc. Seems like you did all of those things and more and what I hear now when I read this post is that it wasn’t GOOD enough for her; she still wanted, nay demanded more. I do understand the emotional component more than anyone; if you recall my own blog from when we first met, I went through so much emotional turmoil it was just bananas. I too always felt I deserved better, and that my guy wasn’t doing enough for me. But this is another thing that’s changed for me which is taking responsibility for one’s own emotions. Anchors are important yes, but I just… I dunno. What I take away from your story this time is your wife being put up on a pedestal, which is lovely and honorable of course, but still never feeling you were good enough for her. We have all suffered and lost. We are all afraid of losing our pillars in the world but seriously, I just think it needs to be said: it sounds like the petty things like not putting a cup away in the sink are just what’s wrong with a lot of marriages today and not in the way you think. I personally believe people divorce one another far too easily and quickly and over a lot of small unbelievable things. We live in a really easy, privileged part of the world and I can definitely say with confidence (having family in a less fortunate part of the world) that those little issues shouldn’t come between two people who love and support each other. Marriage is supposed to be stronger than that. I also feel as well that the woman’s emotions tend to be seen as more important as the man’s and, like I said, I once felt that way too; I was raised with the traditions of the man being the big, strong, invincible protector and the woman is the “weaker” sex emotionally. I’m no feminist WHATSOEVER, but I guess years of relation”shit” turmoil and counseling has shown me that it has to be about the guy’s feelings too and they both need to really appreciate what the other is bringing to the table. So many people don’t do this and they run away at the first sign of conflict. Anyway, I’m not saying I understand every aspect of your marriage; I’m sure there are TONS of smaller nuances no one could ever really know because it’s not their relationship but, I just really feel your wife expected or wanted too much and didn’t realize how good she had it with you. The last thing I want to say as well is that INTENT really is everything, and unless you had some sort of intent to hurt your wife or put her through agony, there really shouldn’t be any hatred or ill will there. I guess I’ve started to really transcend or transmutate from the woman I used to be, because it’s just strange how before I’d have agreed with everything you wrote here but now I just… see it differently. Hrm. I do hope you’re well though and don’t take anything I said too personally. Just thoughts, one ‘walking wounded’ to another.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Words from a woman mean so much more than from a man on his blog. I have wondered for years how Matt could drone on about all the things he should have done to make his marriage work, without stating anything his ex-wife should have done to make the marriage work.

      Miss Barrel, states that both a man and woman are equals in the relationship and are equally responsible for its success or failure after her own life experiences. “Seems like you did all of those things and more and what I hear now when I read this post is that it wasn’t GOOD enough for her; she still wanted, nay demanded more.” “I too always felt I deserved better, and that my guy wasn’t doing enough for me. But this is another thing that’s changed for me which is taking responsibility for one’s own emotions.” “What I take away from your story this time is your wife being put up on a pedestal, which is lovely and honorable of course, but still never feeling you were good enough for her.” “I’m no feminist WHATSOEVER, but I guess years of relation”shit” turmoil and counseling has shown me that it has to be about the guy’s feelings too and they both need to really appreciate what the other is bringing to the table.”

      I never understood how Matt’s self-loathing would come to any good, or his constant trashing of men would improve male/female relationships. Placing a women on a pedestal make for an un-equal relationship. How could this ever be good, (like a master slave relationship)?

      The following paragraphs are from the site below.
      The Misandry Bubble

      The Western World has quietly become a civilization that has tainted the interaction between men and women, where male nature is vilified but female nature is celebrated. This is unfair to both genders, and is a recipe for a rapid civilizational decline and displacement. (Does this look familiar?)

      The Myth of Female Oppression : When you tell someone that they are oppressed, against all statistical and logical evidence, you harm them by generating discouragement and resentment. This pernicious effect is the basis of many forms of needlessly inflicted female unhappiness, as well as the basis for unjustified retaliation against men.

      All of us have been taught how women have supposedly been oppressed throughout human existence, and that this was pervasive, systematic, and endorsed by ordinary men who did not face hardships as severe as what women endured. In reality, this narrative is entirely incorrect. The average man was forced to risk death on the battlefield, at sea, or in mines, while most women stayed indoors tending to children and household duties. Male life expectancy was always significantly lower than that of females, and still is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Matt says:

        You think I “trash” men, Frank?

        Clearly, we don’t know each other well enough.

        Liked by 2 people

        • magzoallday says:

          your blog clearly triggers some Matt – and enlightens others. you have no control over others’ responses.. keep doing what you’re doing – you are putting so much good into the world 🙌

          Liked by 1 person

        • OKRickety says:

          Matt,

          What are the major points of this post?

          1. The husband fails (he isn’t an anchor) so when the wife loses an anchor she is afraid and thus she hates her husband.
          2. The husband fails (he doesn’t show that he always loves and honors his wife) so she is angry and thus she hates her husband.
          3. The husband fails (he thinks what she believes is wrong and blames her) so she is hurt and thus she hates her husband.

          To summarize, the husband fails to love, honor, and respect his wife, so she is afraid, angry, and hurt, therefore she hates her husband.

          I see the husband being blamed, the wife’s behavior considered to be reasonable (even faultless?), and, as is common on this blog, no suggestion that some version of this scenario could ever happen the other way around.

          I consider this to show the primary paradigm used on this blog, so I don’t understand how you can be surprised or upset that readers might consider that you “trash” men.

          Like

          • jeffmustbeleast says:

            I can understand how some people could read the articles and think Matt is trashing men, but they are missing the point of the articles if that is the case. I definitely don’t want to speak for Matt, but it seems to me that Matt is just trying to describe how a wife typically feels when a husband does some very common things that occur in many marriages.

            I agree that in reading the article it can feel that Matt is being too hard on himself, but I don’t think that is the intent of the article. It seems that Matt is trying to explain how a wife might feel and respond to some very common mistakes husbands make in marriage, and in my opinion, it would help a lot of marriages if husbands understood these common mistakes and how it makes their wife feel early on. Matt seems to make it very clear throughout the article that he never intended to hurt his wife. However, his wife was still hurt by his words and actions, and he is willing to own his part in that. It might come across as Matt blaming himself completely for the marriage failing, but I don’t think that is the intent or focus of this article. I think Matt is just trying to focus on common mistakes husbands make that hurt their wives and why a wife might get to the point of actually hating her husband with constant exposure to the same hurts without any sign of them ending.

            Every situation is different, but I know there are many instances where I think the wife was the major instigator of the divorce instead of the other way around. I will admit, I often fall into the same assumption that most people do today that the husband was the primary offender whenever I hear someone is getting divorced. I do think that has been ingrained in our culture today. I believe in most cases, there is mutual fault, and trying to figure out which spouse is more at fault is not only a waste of time, but ultimately damaging. However, having said that, it does absolutely no good in my opinion to start focusing on the negatives of your spouse without acknowledging any of the good that he/she is bringing to the marriage. In a perfect world (and a marriage that is not abusive) both spouses would be trying to focus on the good that their spouse is bringing into the marriage while trying to understand and correct any negative influences they themselves are bringing in.

            Unfortunately, once a wife gets to the point that she hates her husband as Matt describes, she is likely only focusing on the negatives in her husband. This can also work the other way with a husband hating his wife and refusing to see any good in his wife. In either of these cases, is a very difficult, if not impossible, to repair the marriage. Sadly, in at least some of these cases, the spouse may be attempting to repair and correct their behaviors, but can no longer get through. The hurt spouse can no longer accept anything good from them. Like I said above, every situation is different, and we could argue whether or not the hurt spouse is over-reacting and should be willing to forgive and give the spouse a second chance. However, the reality is the other spouse almost definitely contributed to the hurt, and only good can come from them trying to understand and fix those issues. I am not saying that the marriage will always be saved in that case, but legitimately trying to understand and improve yourself is always a good thing.

            I guess when I read the article, it seems that Matt is trying to warn husbands of some very common mistakes that can lead to a wife shutting down and ultimately hating her husband. I would argue that most husbands probably don’t understand how deeply they are hurting their wife, but ignorance doesn’t change the fact that they are being hurt. Yes, I’m sure those same husbands can point to things their wife did that hurt them; and it can get frustrating when the wife never seems to acknowledge her wrongs. However, focusing on that only leads to anger and bitterness. I think Matt is doing the right thing by not focusing on what his wife did wrong; not only because he doesn’t want to hurt her, but because that is not healthy for him either. If any husband wants to become a better husband, he should be willing to look at himself honestly regardless of whether his wife is doing the same thing. To your point, the same applies to the wife. However, it isn’t wise or helpful to focus on what your spouse is or is not doing that is negatively impacting the marriage. This only leads to anger and bitterness.

            Please note that my statements above do not apply to an abusive marriage. Please don’t take this as a statement for anyone to stay in a marriage that is abusive. I understand that some marriages are abusive, and getting out is imperative.

            Liked by 1 person

            • gottmanfan says:

              Jeff,

              You said:

              “I guess when I read the article, it seems that Matt is trying to warn husbands of some very common mistakes that can lead to a wife shutting down and ultimately hating her husband. I would argue that most husbands probably don’t understand how deeply they are hurting their wife, but ignorance doesn’t change the fact that they are being hurt.”

              Yes I agree. So interesting that some read other meanings into a post clearly titled “This is Why Your Wife Hates You.”

              It isn’t titled “This is Why Spouses Hate Each Other.” which would include both perspectives.

              Or “This is Why Your Husband Hates You” which would provide the husband’s common grievances and hurts.

              Like

            • OKRickety says:

              Jeff,

              “This can also work the other way with a husband hating his wife and refusing to see any good in his wife.”

              Indeed. But perspective in that direction is rare here.

              Like

              • jeffmustbeleast says:

                I understand, and I don’t really disagree with you on that. However, I think it is important to understand that Matt is focusing on common things that husbands do that damage their marriage. He seems to be trying to keep the focus on things that are in the husband’s control, and I think that is wise.

                My marriage is not in a great place right now. I realize that this is due to both things that I have done that have hurt the marriage (both intentional and unintentional), and things that my wife has done that have hurt the marriage (again both intentional and unintentional). However, if I focus on my wife’s wrongs (which I can easily get caught up doing), I end up becoming angry and bitter and can easily start rationalizing my wrong behaviors. Once again, this goes both ways. However, I have actively tried to focus on the things that I can change which only involve changes negative behaviors on my part. It does absolutely no good to focus on my wife’s negative behaviors. Does that make sense?

                I believe that is what Matt is trying to do also. If I understand his previous posts/comments, he is not unaware of things his wife did wrong; he just chooses not to post about them in detail since this doesn’t help him or any husbands that might happen to read his blog. If I came on here and read a post about all the things Matt’s wife did wrong that contributed to their divorce, it is very likely that I would read it and see a lot of the same behaviors in my wife’s actions. This might result in me “justifying” my anger, but really this would do me no good in the long run. It is much more helpful to hear Matt discuss things that he feels he did wrong in his marriage that I can relate to in mine. This brings the focus on myself instead and things that I can change to help improve myself and hopefully my marriage.

                I think your main issue is the posts are not balanced because it is focused on Matt’s “faults” without saying hardly anything about his wife’s “faults”. If Matt was trying to write a story accurately stating all the facts about his marriage, I would agree with you. However, that isn’t the point of this blog (at least from what I can tell). It seems that Matt is trying to explain how many wives feel to common marriage mistakes husbands make. Almost everything I read here seems to relate to common issues that husbands make in marriages all the time, and these mistakes happen to lead to a large percentage of the divorces today. If I understand Matt’s intent, he is trying to get across to men what these common mistakes are and how most women feel and respond to these mistakes. For a guy trying to understand what he did wrong in his marriage, this website has been extremely helpful in shedding some light on why my wife acted the way she did to some of my actions.

                I have not gone looking for them, but I’m sure there is a website out there from a divorced wife discussing things that she did wrong in her marriage that contributed to her divorce. If a wife was in a struggling marriage, this might be a more helpful site for her to visit if she was trying to get some perspective on her marriage and what she might be doing that could be harming her marriage. I can say that it would likely not be good for me to start reading articles talking about common mistakes wives make. That isn’t something I can control, and no good comes from me focusing on that. If I understand Matt correctly, I think that is why he concentrates on himself and not on his wife’s past mistakes. Does that make sense?

                Liked by 1 person

                • Matt says:

                  Thank you, Jeff. I would say that sums it up rather neatly.

                  The next time I experience blame and not accepting responsibility for my actions as virtuous and helpful in personal growth/life improvement will be the first time.

                  I can write stuff that prompts and encourages a bunch of angry people bitching and moaning and casting blame on other people for everything.

                  Or.

                  I can focus my efforts and energy on what I, and I alone, can do to be a better person.

                  I can simply do my part to grow and be more and encourage others to do the same.

                  I can’t imagine how approaching it differently could be useful or positive in any way.

                  Thank you, Jeff.

                  Like

                  • gottmanfan says:

                    Matt, Jeff and Okrickety,

                    I see both perspectives as valid.

                    I can agree that for some (many?) focusing on what YOU did to create the problem and what YOU can do to fix it is the best focus. It is the way you can prevent being blocked by resentment and anger.

                    For OTHERS including me, that is not the best focus. And that is where I agree with OKRickety that seeing BOTH sides can be the best focus for some (many?).
(Maybe I disagree that it is the only helpful focus?)

                    I cannot focus on one side of the system and make progress. For me a one sided focus creates a block to progress and mires me in resentment and anger.

                    The point being there are different ways of approaching this that are the “best” for individuals.

                    Matt’s approach is helpful to those that find a one sided view helpful to assuming responsibility.

                    The system view is helpful to me because then I can assume responsibility in the Goldilocks healthy amount rather than too much or too little. And I can understand what the hell is happening on both sides.

                    But that is not universal.

                    Imho both approaches are valid. It is a style difference. Different styles work for different people to achieve the same goal.

                    Reposted here because I accidentally posted in the wrong spot.

                    Like

                    • jeffmustbeleast says:

                      Yeah, I agree that a well-rounded focus would ultimately be best (and likely a more healthy focus). I think in my case, it is important for me to work at understanding my wife’s point of view; and I don’t think I’m unusual in that my tendency is to quickly focus on how I’ve been hurt and justify my own behaviors. Because of that, I work very hard to focus on myself and what I can change, and actively try not to focus on any negatives from my wife. I see negatives from my wife. I don’t think it is possible to completely ignore your spouses negative behaviors when you are hurt. I just try very hard to focus on my issues. I think that can make me seem one sided in focus, and in a way that is true. However, it is a deliberate focus that I feel helps me grow. The opposite focus would have a negative effect on me.

                      Once our marriage is in a better place and my wife can accept hearing how she hurt me in our marriage, the balance will come. However, she is not able to hear that right now since she is still trying to work through her own pain. Since this is not something I can discuss with her, I will only feel resentment if I focus on it. This won’t help either of us or the marriage, so I choose to focus on areas that I have failed and growing stronger while trying to understand her perspective. I find this is the best perspective for me to take currently, and ultimately the only perspective that I can take at this stage in our marriage that can build trust.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Jeff,

                      You said:

                      “I just try very hard to focus on my issues. I think that can make me seem one sided in focus, and in a way that is true. However, it is a deliberate focus that I feel helps me grow. The opposite focus would have a negative effect on me.”

                      I think that whatever works to point toward the right goals is the best tool to use. Sounds like you are focusing on the right things.

                      I think about it like when you are fixing something broken. Sometimes you might need a flashlight and a Phillips screwdriver, sometimes a hammer and a wrench. It depends on what helps to get you one step closer to fixing what is broken. Each tool isn’t right or wrong in themselves. They work for different applications. And sometimes different people can use different tools to the same goal. A drill vs a screwdriver can usually both work.

                      Sounds like you have a good handle on what tool works best for you right now. And maybe in the future different tools will be helpful.

                      The main thing imho is not trying to use tools that are inappropriate for the task in front of us. Like trying to hammer a screw in and wondering why things are worse and not better. 😀

                      And I have now exhausted my tool analogies. 😜

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Jeff,

                      You wrote:

                      “Once our marriage is in a better place and my wife can accept hearing how she hurt me in our marriage, the balance will come. However, she is not able to hear that right now since she is still trying to work through her own pain. Since this is not something I can discuss with her, I will only feel resentment if I focus on it. This won’t help either of us or the marriage, so I choose to focus on areas that I have failed and growing stronger while trying to understand her perspective. I find this is the best perspective for me to take currently, and ultimately the only perspective that I can take at this stage in our marriage that can build trust.”

                      I think you are smart to know this and challenge yourself to only change your side because she is not able right now.

                      I had to do this too. It is VERY difficult but it can be done.

                      It did work though, I built up enough of a different track record that my hubby slowly was able to lower his defenses and see some of his contributions.

                      I admire your fortitude in sacrificing defending yourself because you care so much about saving your marriage. Best wishes your wife can see and build trust in your marriage again.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan said: For me a one sided focus creates a block to progress and mires me in resentment and anger.

                      I strongly agree. It is likely that the “one-sided focus” I perceive in Matt’s posts is a significant part of why I object so vigorously to many of them. It very much resonates with the lousy counseling I experienced where I was considered to be the entirety of the problem and my ex-wife to be healthy and whole and healed of all her past issues. Consequently I am extremely skeptical of the idea that my experience is atypical. In fact, I am quite suspicious that most studies are skewed towards Matt’s perspective. People do lie, or at least convince themselves that the truth is what they want it to be.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      Well that makes sense to me why Matt’s blog seems to viscerally bother you.

                      I don’t understand what you mean that you generalize based on your personal experience of therapy. You mean all therapy is like you experienced it?

                      What are you thinking people are lying about?

                      What studies are you thinking of?

                      By the way, there is a blog that I used to comment on a lot. I stopped because the author’s main premise of relationships based on evolutionary psychology which imho is easy to get sloppy with. It devolves into “we observe x, therefore x must be the way it is.”

                      It viscerally bugs me in ways that Matt’s premise bugs you so I get it.

                      I haven’t commented there in a long time and today I wrote a quick short comment. Which then devolved into being told bad science and sloppy logic imho.

                      Example: “there is no society where the majority of people doing something can mean its unhealthy in that society.” Uhhh the Holocaust to use Godwin’s law?

                      And now I remember why I quit commenting there. She’s a PhD couples therapist by the way. No wonder it’s hard to find good therapy. 👹

                      But people who fit into gender stereotypes seem to find it useful. It’s like the Mars/Venus stuff. If it works well enough for your situation it can be helpful even if based on foundational flaws.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      I don’t understand what you mean that you generalize based on your personal experience of therapy. You mean all therapy is like you experienced it?

                      Obviously, I don’t know what all therapy is like, even in theory. I don’t think I personally know any man whose marriage has been improved or saved by going to therapy. Practically, based on my own experience and anecdotal evidence from men, I think the public, not just therapists, generally believes that men are the true cause of all marriage problems, and women have no fault.

                      Digressing somewhat, I don’t know why the therapy recipients should be expected to know what kind of therapy will be effective for them. I think all therapists should be expected to make that determination. If they don’t provide that type of therapy, then they need to direct the clients toward it. I think it’s analogous to someone with a continually upset stomach. The patient goes to a doctor who examines and tests and, if they cannot diagnose or treat, sends them to an appropriate specialist.

                      What are you thinking people are lying about? What studies are you thinking of?

                      I have no particular studies in mind. However, I recently tried to see how often financial issues are considered the main reason for divorce. I found no great correlation in the various articles (perhaps based on studies). (Well, I did perceive that groups/companies providing financial advice and help were very likely to say financial issues were the biggest reason for divorce. Seems like they have a vested interest.) I would suppose the studies were very poorly done, or people lied about why they divorced.

                      In National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, it states:

                      About 85% of men report that their partner had an orgasm at the most recent sexual event; this compares to the 64% of women who report having had an orgasm at their most recent sexual event. (Note: This includes homosexual activity.)

                      I don’t know how to explain these discrepancies other than lies, or they believe what they think is true (that would be a lot of faked orgasms).

                      Thus I am skeptical of the claims of the so-called experts. This is part of the reason I consider my own experience to be significant in determining my position on any topic.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      I have read a lot about couples therapy, gone trough couples therapy training so have access to what couples therapists say, and I have been to several couples therapists.

                      I say all that to indicate my personal experiences with the topic not just theoretical.

                      Here are my observations:

                      1. Couples therapy is the least effective type of therapy. This is changing somewhat now that there is some research based approaches as opposed to sitting on the couch and sharing what you hate about each other.

                      2. Most therapists are not trained in couples therapy. They receive maybe one class if that with little to no practice.

                      If people go to a therapist not trained in couples therapy, it is like going to an internist to have brain surgery. A doctor is not sufficient when you need special training.

                      3. There are different types of therapy that fit certain personalities more than others. This is analogous to having to try different medications because the efficacy and side effects differ by person.

                      4. Yes this is a burden and yes most people don’t know that. This is why with therapy, just like with physical health, you just educate yourself and be the driver of your mental and physical health as well as relational health. Therapists and doctors are resources.

                      I wish it was as easy as showing up and the professional guides you to health. And for some they get lucky and have that experience.

                      I have found that with medical doctors I have to take the same attitude as with therapists. You have the do the heavy lifting until you find someone you can trust to do it.

                      Even with ones I do trust. I still have to regularly advocate for myself and question the plan.

                      5. What is unique to therapy is that research shows that the number 1 predictor of a good outcome is the therapeutic bond with you and the therapist. That matters more than anything else. Which gives leeway in terms of methodology.

                      But it can be difficult for people like me who are a little bit of a personality outlier particularly in terms of gender (which is why I often get the oh so annoying “you are intellectualizing” complaint).

                      And it doubles the complication to find a good fit in couples therapy because you now have to find someone who “gets” both of you.

                      6. BUT if you know all that, you won’t just stop if you go to one or two or three therapists who are terrible or are just not a good fit.

                      7. Finding a good couples therapist is worse than dating ha ha but it is a numbers game. And with the internet you can do a lot of research and find what therapy method and person certified in that method that gives you a better likelihood of a good fit.

                      It requires pigheaded stubbornness to not give up. Luckily, I am pig headed and relentless like the Road Runner. 😜 Gotta use what you have ha ha. Some weaknesses are strengths in the right context.

                      I will respond to your other stuff in another comment.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      Your perspective did not improve my perspective of couples therapy. I do think it is likely quite accurate (including medical doctors). Since I was and am skeptical about therapy, I had no incentive to be stubborn about finding a good one.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      I forgot to make it clear that I agree with you that “therapists should be expected to make that determination” and direct clients towards what would be a better fit.

                      But for some of the reasons I mentioned and others that David Burns talks a lot about that usually doesn’t happen.

                      Sadly. Because so many couples go to a therapist and when it doesn’t help think that means the marriage can’t be fixed. And that isn’t usually true.

                      Just like I have spent months and sometimes years wandering in the medical desert because doctors refer me to appropriate treatment or specialists who would be effective.

                      The silver lining is I have gotten pretty good at researching medical literature. And in being pig-headed now in finding doctors who are a good fit and who will treat me respectfully.

                      Same is true for all this relationship stuff. The only reason I know all.this.stuff. is that every time I could not find a professional to guide me I researched some more.

                      So now I have gone through a lot of unhelpful (to me) professionals and so I have read a lot of research/books/podcasts in an effort to heal some of it from that direction.
                      Which has worked. But it has been like performing surgery on myself without anesthesia. Sometimes you gotta do what you have to do.

                      But I would LOVE to not have to research all this stuff. Yes, yes I would. Luckily, like you, one of my strengths is I can learn and apply things from books. All that so called bad “intellectualizing” you know. 😜

                      I pass on all these resources in the hope that it might help someone else. So many people are in such pain and they don’t know where to turn for the next step.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      So many people are in such pain and they don’t know where to turn for the next step.

                      And sometimes they turn to this blog and find it is unhelpful to them. I’d like to help them, too.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Do you have other resources to suggest to those that you identify as not finding Matt’s blog helpful?

                      To me, it makes more sense to point them elsewhere to a better fit instead of criticizing Matt’s approach when he isn’t going to change his style.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      You said:

                      “I have no particular studies in mind. However, I recently tried to see how often financial issues are considered the main reason for divorce. I found no great correlation in the various articles (perhaps based on studies). (Well, I did perceive that groups/companies providing financial advice and help were very likely to say financial issues were the biggest reason for divorce. Seems like they have a vested interest.) I would suppose the studies were very poorly done, or people lied about why they divorced.”

                      Oh that’s an interesting topic!

                      I read something about that the other day that I will try and find.

                      Financial stress can be a factor. Stress exacerbates problems. The other reason I think it’s listed as a cause of divorce is because it is one of the main differences you have to navigate in everyday life.

                      It’s not the money per se, it’s the inability to work together in ways that maintain connection.

                      Most topics are about the subject but not really or at least totally about the subject.

                      Sex, money, in-laws, parenting etc are the surface things you argue about while also arguing about how you are being treated.

                      Reasonable people can usually find reasonable solutions. So what blocks that? That is the real relationship issue to address.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      Sex, money, in-laws, parenting etc are the surface things you argue about while also arguing about how you are being treated.

                      Yes, they are really symptoms and not the root cause.

                      Note: I still maintain problems regarding sex has a higher status than the other symptoms.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      Ha ha your notation is noted.

                      I have read that sex is often an indication of the overall health of the relationship.

                      If there are issues that can indicate a relationship problem elsewhere. Either in the emotional connection or in the inability to speak vulnerably to each other about physical problems or sexual needs.

                      So I don’t know if it is higher status but it can represent several layers so in that sense it is more complex.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      You said:

                      About 85% of men report that their partner had an orgasm at the most recent sexual event; this compares to the 64% of women who report having had an orgasm at their most recent sexual event. (Note: This includes homosexual activity.)

                      I don’t know how to explain these discrepancies other than lies, or they believe what they think is true.

                      Well there you go with another complex question😜

                      Reports of sex are notoriously difficult to get accurate answers. Some people consciously lie (males tend to overreport, women underreport for obvious social reasons)

                      Some of it has to do with unconscious assumptions or incorrect estimations. Like when you ask people about their driving 80% will say they are above average which defies bell curves.

                      Part of too is selective attention, we focus on what confirms our beliefs and then make guesstimates on limited data. If a man thinks and hopes that sex is mutually enjoyable he will remember the times his partner orgasms because it reinforces that idea. Memory is not really reliable as we like to think it is.

                      Likewise women may remember their experiences that reinforce their general ideas more. So that may partly explain the discrepancies other than lying. More memory differences.

                      Or the males are having sex with different subsets of people that orgasm more. Or their partners are lying to some degree.

                      Probably some complicated combination of all of the above that needs to be carefully separated.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      You said:

                      “Thus I am skeptical of the claims of the so-called experts. This is part of the reason I consider my own experience to be significant in determining my position on any topic.”

                      I find this fascinating. We are somewhat different here.

                      From all my reading I am less confident in anchoring on my
                      personal experiences. Memory, biases, generalizing errors etc all prevent me from having confidence in my personal experience to be significant. Of course it’s a factor. But to me it’s more something to fight against as much as rely on.

                      And of course I must seek out solid research and expects who know what they are talking about. I don’t trust experts by default. They must earn my trust.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      Even as a child, I found that the supposed truth was not. For example, I found by experience that the answers in my math textbooks were sometimes wrong. Consequently, I still value my own opinion highly.

                      Knowing who to trust is very difficult to do in the psychological arena. For example, the Duluth model was developed using “5 battered women and 4 men as subjects”. How has that been accepted as the gold standard for treatment of domestic violence?

                      I have similar doubts about all of the theories about marriage. I’m going to advocate again for an objective standard.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      I guess I frame it more in terms of judgment more than my experience.

                      The way I trust is to research the research and the politics of why things are the way they are.

                      All of which explain the Duluth model.

                      That is why I like Gottman and Johnson. Both backed by **quality** research. Those are the current two leading models of couples therapy by the way.

                      Finding a good therapist who can apply the methodology is a second problem.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      Can you understand Jeff’s point that the one sided focus is helpful to him even if it isn’t helpful to you or me?

                      Do you agree it’s a style difference and therefore more or less helpful depending on the person’s story/needs/preferences?

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      Sure, a one-sided focus may help some, but it is not the ideal. Similarly to how you describe Laura Doyle’s approach, I see it as incomplete. I suspect it would obscure the true problems of the other spouse’s behavior, which will likely become apparent with time.

                      I don’t think it’s a style difference, but it may be the best approach for that specific time, allowing the tension to decrease and increasing the opportunity for healing and growth.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      I agree that eventually you need some kind of understanding of the system.

                      Matt understands the system. As evidenced by his describing the big aha after reading the book How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. (Which describe the system though fwiw it’s not my favorite because of liberal use of Mars/Venus stereotypes).

                      It is a style choice to focus on explaining to mystified husbands why they wives are so….. fill in the blank.

                      and secondarily what you can do as a husband to change the situation.

                      I think, to generalize, many men just DO NOT UNDERSTAND why their wife is not happy in their marriage.

                      Research shows that, in general, men are happier in their marriages than their wives are. So there is not the same drive to change things.
                      Understanding the why so he can find it “reasonable” and “doable” to change is imho a first step for many men.

                      Unreasonable and set up to fail leads to avoidance for many men.

                      Of course these are broad generalizations and do not fit every pattern.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      There are other resources that take system views. Have you ever heard of “Only You Forever?” (Terrible name imho) The couples therapist who anchors it, Caleb Simoni-Gindell, is a conservative Christian but system based and framed in research which I like. Primarily podcast based.

                      You may like his approach. Let me know what you think if you get a chance to check it out.

                      https://www.onlyyouforever.com/our-team/

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      I much prefer to read material than hear it. I understand it and retain it much better. Those podcasts reinforce my position. (And I hated listening to the woman with the British accent at the beginning of the podcasts.)

                      The approach seems reasonable overall. Not one-sided.

                      In Is Your Own Sexual History Dragging You Down?, I appreciate their perspective. For example, although it is personally still quite triggering, the following shows me they get it (emphasis mine):

                      On the other hand, if the premarital sex was with another person and you are only just hearing about it now then this may represent a major betrayal.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Ha ha didn’t like the New Zealand accent? Did you listen to a lot of the podcasts previously?

                      I agree that I wish they had more written material. I think their approach can be helpful to many people.

                      I think much of the religious perspectives lack scientific rigor so I appreciate that that is a special emphasis of his. He uses Emotionally Focused Therapy as his main foundation as I recall. EFT is specifically designed to be system focused and to not “blame” either side as I will ramble about in another comment.

                      I don’t agree with their complementarian point of view (which I know is closer to your liking 😜) but I think they are pretty healthy in their application.

                      Much of Christian marriage stuff imho is just based on gender stereotypes which again can be like the crutch analogy. Can be helpful to some but doesn’t ask foundational questions of what healthy is.

                      I appreciated that their approach didn’t generally follow that script.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      That was not a Kiwi accent. I still think it was British but it was awful, almost like a terrible impersonation.

                      I have never listened to a lot of anyone’s podcasts. My dislike for verbal instruction extends to religious sermons. It’s a wonder I didn’t fall asleep more often when I was growing up, especially since my father was the minister and he is far from a great preacher.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      It’s not a Kiwi? I thought he said it was but I may have misunderstood. I know he said he has relatives from New Zealand. I am not great at distinguishing accents so hard for me to tell the difference.

                      I noticed he now has a lot of articles on the website that are transcriptions of his podcast. So you can read the info.

                      Lots of good info. Might be worth a look.

                      Maybe that could be a website you could recommend to those you perceive not finding Matt’s blog helpful.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      If she’s a Kiwi, she’s using a “professional radio voice” intended for ads and such. Try listening to NewsTalk ZB. They have listeners call in, so you will hear more typical Kiwi accents.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      I have a pet theory about why some people relate of don’t relate to the “you can only change yourself” or “you focus on yourself to change as the best focus.”

                      My theory is that it’s partly personality based. I MUST understand how things work in order to change. That is why I can’t just focus on myself. I can focus on myself as understood how it affects the system but not with a “you can only change yourself”. It doesn’t make sense to me to think about it that way. I change myself in order to change the SYSTEM. It may not change the way I want of course but it will change the system.

                      Some people are better equipped to focus on emotional outcome. I know people like that that can change by focusing on being more x emotion (loving, kind, angry etc.) I can only do that but seeing emotions as part of a system of change.

                      Some people lead with more narrative based change. Stories can be powerful change agents for many. I think that is why Matt’s blog post went viral. The story tells an emotional truth” that couldn’t be named before.

                      I read the dishes post and immediately said “that’s the pursue/withdraw cycle.”

                      Anyway my point in all this rambling is that people have different personality strengths and weaknesses. I have often been told my way of thinking is a weakness. An unwillingness to feel emotions. But it’s not. It’s just a different style.

                      Because I have been told my style is wrong I am more able to see that other styles that seem wrong to me are not usually. Focusing on one side of a system doesn’t make sense to me personally but I think it can work quite well for others who have different strengths and weaknesses as Jeff has described are true for him.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      The difference between Matt’s premise and Laura Doyle’s is that Matt doesn’t prescribe “happy wife, happy life” (though he is accused of doing that) whole Laura Doyle’s **is** the non rhyming “make your husband the King so you can be treated like a Princess.”

                      Matt is prescribing, ok I have to say it, Gottman’s accepting influence. Not “doing what she wants so she can be emotionally stable and you can have some peace.”

                      Not Laura Doyle’s “whatever you want honey”

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      I change myself in order to change the SYSTEM. It may not change the way I want of course but it will change the system.

                      I’m a little confused. It seems you use system to describe both the dynamics of a relationship and a counseling method or style. Please explain.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      By system I just mean the interpersonal cycle.

                      What I do impacts what he does and loops around and impacts what I do etc

                      When I talk about system in a terms of counseling it means the same thing. Identifying the pattern of interaction.

                      Does that make more sense?

                      When people say “you can only change yourself it doesn’t account for changing the pattern by changing yourself.”

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      Regarding one-sided focus/style difference, I see the one-sided focus to fail to “engage in the hard work of getting both sides to get to normal”. I emphasize “both” because one-sided may help, but it’s not both.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      You know I think it’s a balance on a practical level.

                      Ideally, both people would be eager to change to get to a healthier place. But in reality many people in an unhappy marriage are with a partner who is not willing to change.

                      So then what do you do?

                      Well part of that may be deciding to unilaterally change. The system will change somehow. Many people are then willing to live with a good enough marriage at that point. You have to make the hard choice “is this enough?” Make a deliberate choice with clear communication. Terry Real makes this point quite well.

                      No one is a perfect match. But is it good enough? Or not. If not what are the dealbreakers communicated that the spouse can also decide. Is this good enough? Am I willing to change? What are my dealbreakers?

                      Sometimes those answers aren’t given verbally but by inaction.

                      But imho the problem I have with Laura Doyle is she doesn’t describe it like that.

                      She describes the “crutch” as a cure. The miracle answer.

                      And that imho is foundationalmy wrong. Get the wrong diagnosis of the problem and you can end up with the wrong cure. Like a crutch it can help but it’s not the same as resetting the leg so it heals to be able to walk without a crutch.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      I can understand your frustration at the common conversation about marriages. It doesn’t match your pattern.

                      From what I understand of your story, your wife wasn’t the pursuer and you the distancer. She was not begging you to listen and you wouldn’t change.

                      She was making unilateral changes and didn’t tell you about traumas she endured that affected her and your marriage.

                      Then the couples therapists you went to defaulted to blaming YOU when you were more of the pursuer to get change while she was the distancer.

                      She did not include you in her attempt to heal her traumas that impacted your marriage. She went to others for the support. Of course there is nothing wrong with seeking help but shutting out your spouse will damage the marriage more.

                      She abandoned you. Sexually, emotionally, and finally physically leaving a note with the final blow of divorce.

                      And after all that people default to assuming YOU are the root cause.

                      I get it. I get why you are so angry and hurt. I would be too. You didn’t want the divorce. You wanted to find a way to change your marriage. It wasn’t you that abandoned the marriage. You aren’t like husbands who don’t want to change.

                      You just didn’t get the help you needed in couples therapy. Didn’t know how to reach your wife.

                      She probably didn’t know how to heal without seeing you and your marriage as part of the problem.

                      There are many husbands who want to save the marriage and are willing to seek help and they don’t deserve, you don’t deserve, to be lumped into the husbands who don’t care and won’t change so their wives are forced to divorce.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      She was not begging you to listen and you wouldn’t change.

                      Actually, she probably thought she was begging me to listen. And I almost certainly did not change some things that I should have. However, I think I did change during our marriage. I started behaving like the so-called experts (Christian and otherwise) on marriage said husbands should. I strongly suspect those changes hurt our relationship, but, no, I can’t prove it.

                      However, I know I communicated some of the ways she hurt me (e.g. sex too seldom), but she didn’t care enough to change for very long, if at all. (Although I think she did hurt me in other ways, sex was the only one that really hurt but it was a huge hurt.)

                      She did not include you in her attempt to heal her traumas that impacted your marriage. She went to others for the support.

                      No. She believed she was healed of her traumas before we married. I disagree, with one significant example being our last counselor (20 years into our marriage) asking her to write a letter to her parents about her abortion. I think it took less than one paragraph before she moved to a third-person view. You can’t help someone who denies the problem.

                      You didn’t want the divorce. You wanted to find a way to change your marriage. It wasn’t you that abandoned the marriage.

                      True, true, and true (although I had given up hope of improvement).

                      There are many husbands who want to save the marriage and are willing to seek help and they don’t deserve, you don’t deserve, to be lumped into the husbands who don’t care and won’t change so their wives are forced to divorce.

                      I think popular opinion thinks almost all husbands are glad to be out of the marriage, but I don’t believe this is true. I think a major roadblock to realizing this is truth is that so many women apparently cannot understand that a man can be ignorant of his wife’s discontent. It is another form of discounting others (another way of describing one of Matt’s fundamental theses on this blog), but it seems to be accepted as normal and healthy.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      What were the changes you made that experts advised that you look back now and see were not helpful but possible damaging?

                      It is sad when we we trying to do things “experts” advise and and it turns out to be terrible advice.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      Honestly, I don’t remember for certain. The only generality I perceive is that I used to be very certain of my opinions of the right behavior, and I think I started to excessively “accept the influence” of my ex-wife. I think it caused her to subliminally lose her respect for me. But much of that is conjecture, so I won’t claim it is truth.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      Thanks for clarifying what I did and didn’t guess right about your story.

                      You said:

                      “She believed she was healed of her traumas before we married. I disagree, with one significant example being our last counselor (20 years into our marriage) asking her to write a letter to her parents about her abortion. I think it took less than one paragraph before she moved to a third-person view. You can’t help someone who denies the problem.”

                      This is very sad. As you probably know switching to a third person is a way to numb yourself and disassociate. Which is a sign it isn’t healed.

                      Part of the frustrating thing with people in denial is they deny it to protect themselves but part of that protection is to not acknowledge it even themselves they are in denial. Declaring themselves “fine” and “healed” and “good” is part of that. I have someone close to me that is like that.

                      I think it is a very hard situation for a spouse. One that a good therapist could perhaps help with but you didn’t have that sadly.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      It’s possible the therapist might have been able to help given time. However, I think she was really uncomfortable with him expecting her (as well as me) to make changes. On top of that, I had a vasovagal episode due, I believe, to the stress of trying to work on my marriage coupled with some stress at work. In fact, my heart stopped for between 10 and 15 seconds according to the EMTs who responded to me fainting early in the morning. I now have a pacemaker to keep my heartrate from dropping too low. (A constant presence to remind me of my ex-wife). I think that is a good indicator of how much I wanted my marriage to be better.

                      After that event, I don’t think we went to couples therapy again. I just gave up. I did not want to go through that experience again. (My eyes are tearing up now).

                      Another part of that experience is that I never saw my ex-wife cry during any part of it. I doubt she did outside of my presence, either.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      I am so sorry for your suffering.

                      Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      Thanks, but I wonder if you are referring to my suffering during my marriage, or in my comment here. If the latter, I don’t consider my emotional response (sadness) to my own memories to be suffering. Experiencing that sadness is, I think, a healthy behavior. I will always regret that my marriage failed and I think that sadness, when it occurs (which is rarely), is simply a continuation of the grieving process.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      You said:

                      “ I think popular opinion thinks almost all husbands are glad to be out of the marriage, but I don’t believe this is true. I think a major roadblock to realizing this is truth is that so many women apparently cannot understand that a man can be ignorant of his wife’s discontent. It is another form of discounting others (another way of describing one of Matt’s fundamental theses on this blog), but it seems to be accepted as normal and healthy.”

                      We may differ in our perceptions about what is commonly thought about husbands being glad to be out of a marriage.

                      I don’t think it’s that husbands are glad to be out of a marriage. It’s that he becomes the weekend “fun” dad while the mom still is doing the heavy lifting of taking care of the kids.

                      And often that he dates or marries quickly after divorce often to a younger woman kind of reinforces that idea.

                      Obviously these are generalities with many, many exceptions.

                      It is factually true that men remarry much more often and quickly than women after divorce.

                      I think you are right that women cannot understand that men don’t understand they are unhappy. Because she has usually often verbally told him many times.

                      So in that case it has to do with not realizing that verbal expressions are not enough if someone isn’t getting it. That has to do with understanding her boundary skills are not healthy enough more imho.

                      Like

                • OKRickety says:

                  jeffmustbeleast,

                  My marriage is not in a great place right now.

                  I am truly sorry for both of you. However, I am long past being surprised to hear such a statement.

                  It does absolutely no good to focus on my wife’s negative behaviors. Does that make sense?

                  It seems to make sense because you can only control your own behavior, BUT I think there is more to consider. As I understand it, one of the reasons to define and communicate boundaries  is so your spouse will know how you will respond to their negative behaviors. You must recognize their negative behaviors in order to set your boundaries and respond accordingly.

                  More importantly, and directly to the content of this post, if it does no good to focus on your spouse’s negative behaviors, then WHERE IN THIS POST IS THAT IDEA STATED ABOUT THE WIFE’S “HATE” FOR HER HUSBAND? Her hate is clearly the result of her focusing on the husband’s behavior. By your standard, the wife’s behavior is absolutely ineffective. Matt writes NOTHING to that effect, but instead simply accepts the wife’s behavior as presumably healthy and normal. However, THE HUSBAND’S EGREGIOUS BEHAVIOR MUST BE CHANGED!

                  If I understand his previous posts/comments, he is not unaware of things his wife did wrong; …

                  On the whole, I perceive Matt’s posts to show his wife as doing nothing wrong and the marriage failure to be the result of her reasonable response to Matt’s imperfect behavior.

                  I have not gone looking for them, but I’m sure there is a website out there from a divorced wife discussing things that she did wrong in her marriage that contributed to her divorce. If a wife was in a struggling marriage, this might be a more helpful site for her to visit if she was trying to get some perspective on her marriage and what she might be doing that could be harming her marriage.

                  There may be websites of that nature, but I’d be astonished if there were many. After all, have you ever heard a divorced woman acknowledge that her own poor behavior was a significant factor in her divorce?

                  According to your line of thinking, I would think Matt’s blog should be avoided by women interested in saving their marriage. Instead, I regularly see comments here where it seems the woman is here because she is looking for confirmation of her desire to get out of the marriage. I recommend you read the comments on this site carefully and see how many of the women appear to be interested in “what she might be doing that could be harming her marriage”. On this post alone, I see these examples focused on the husband’s behavior but showing absolutely no indication that her own behavior might be harming the marriage:

                  – “This hits the nail right on the head for me and why my marriage is crumbling.”

                  – “This is accurate for me and part of why I’m divorced.”

                  – “My husband has earned being hated. This article is all him.”

                  In addition, there is the generic anti-male perspective:
                  – “Male privelege on display.”

                  But I find a little hope in this comment:
                  – “But your thoughts have altogether changed my perceptions about him.”

                  Overall, I think women are the ones attracted to this blog because of Matt’s perspective. Of the men who comment, it is not unusual to see them say it’s anti-husband and pro-wife. I suspect many men simply read one post and never come back.

                  Like

                  • gottmanfan says:

                    Okrickety,

                    You said:

                    “After all, have you ever heard a divorced woman acknowledge that her own poor behavior was a significant factor in her divorce?”

                    YES, YES I have.

                    In these comments on various posts I have read those admissions.

                    It is human to only perceive what we look for. We all do it but it works against accuracy.

                    PS I am not divorced but I REGULARLY comment about the things I did/do that were significant factors in screwing up my marriage. There are many examples of other women saying similar things since I have read this blog. And that is in spite of the focus of the blog being husbands.

                    Like

                    • OKRickety says:

                      gottmanfan,

                      I am curious as to your opinion of Laura Doyle and The Six Intimacy Skills (admittedly, her site seems to be more of a marketing tool than a source of information).

                      She says this about herself:

                      I was the perfect wife–until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

                      It’s my perception that her approach is what most women should be looking for instead of looking for reasons to justify ending their marriages.

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Okrickety,

                      Well pull up a chair because I am glad you asked about Laura Doyle😜

                      I have read one of her books and heard her talk on several podcasts.

                      Here is what I think. She is in the same category as John Gray of Mars/Venus fame.

                      What they prescribe can “work” to some degree but it doesn’t get the foundational premise right.

                      Her stuff can do genuine good in teaching how to do “soft startups” and not telling your husband what to do — all good healthy stuff.

                      Where it runs into trouble imho is it doesn’t try to engage in the hard work of getting both sides to get to normal.

                      Instead she advises women to say literally “whatever you think honey”

                      Now I can see that might be helpful as a short term strategy to get out of a bad pattern. But she advises it as a permanent solution.

                      It’s like having a tire with not enough air and fixing it by permanently having everyone lean to the left side. Hey it’s fixed! Uh no the tire is still not fixed. Bad analogy but I used up all my tool ones earlier.

                      In her program you fix a pursue/withdraw pattern by not asking for anything. Instead of both people figuring out the right way to ask and respond.

                      Does it help? I can imagine it can help some people. As I said some people who fit into certain stereotypical types can be helped with these types of things at least functionally helped like a crutch helps to get around.

                      Is it healthy? Well no I’m both cases they do not ask what is HEALTHY. And that imho is critical as a foundation.

                      Well you asked 😜

                      Like

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      To some extent both Laura Doyle and John Gray make the same errors that evolutionary psychology does.

                      They equate what is common with what is natural and therefore healthy.

                      Men are like x so therefore you must adjust to x!

                      Women are like y so therefore you must adjust to y!

                      Adjust to x and y and you will have a happy marriage!

                      But what if x and y are not healthy but just common? Common is not necessarily healthy. It’s just common.

                      What if both people need to adjust to be more z or a or b?

                      Like

                  • gottmanfan says:

                    Matt, Jeff and Okrickety,

                    I see both perspectives as valid.

                    I can agree that for some (many?) focusing on what YOU did to create the problem and what YOU can do to fix it is the best focus. It is the way you can prevent being blocked by resentment and anger.

                    For OTHERS including me, that is not the best focus. And that is where I agree with OKRickety that seeing BOTH sides can be the best focus for some (many?).
                    (Maybe I disagree that it is the only helpful focus?)

                    I cannot focus on one side of the system and make progress. For me a one sided focus creates a block to progress and mires me in resentment and anger.

                    The point being there are different ways of approaching this that are the “best” for individuals.

                    Matt’s approach is helpful to those that find a one sided view helpful to assuming responsibility.

                    The system view is helpful to me because then I can assume responsibility in the Goldilocks healthy amount rather than too much or too little. And I can understand what the hell is happening on both sides.

                    But that is not universal.

                    Imho both approaches are valid. It is a style difference. Different styles work for different people to achieve the same goal.

                    Like

                    • Matt says:

                      I am too emotionally immature and ADHD to systematically address a certain type of criticism as it pertains to my method of storytelling.

                      If someone thinks I’m anti-man, or some sort of emo-cuck to my ex-wife, even after six years of divorce, I simply don’t feel motivated to deal with it or address it.

                      I’m for PRAGMATISM. I’m for—no matter what—doing whatever can be determined to be the most positive, practical, effective method of accomplishing ANYTHING. A marketing strategy, winning a basketball game, building a cabin in the woods, and healing (or preventing) broken, shitty relationships.

                      The best way I know how to address it is to share my scars and mistakes, and the lessons gleaned from them so that it can help anyone who can identify with those stories.

                      I think the proof is in the pudding that it has been a reasonably effective way of doing that.

                      I care about marriages not ending how mine did because I perceive it to be wasteful and avoidable. I think my story is one of the most common stories there is, and I tell it so that hopefully some people recognize unhealthy patterns early enough in their relationships to avoid things going too far, and divorce happening.

                      I care about the adults. I care about the children.

                      I care about the extend family and friends and co-workers. I care about everyone adversely impacted by these painful divorces that I don’t believe would have happened if the husbands and wives simply had more information about and insight into one another—mentally, emotionally, behaviorally, etc.

                      Two good people grow angry, sad, resentful because of things that didn’t have to happen.

                      Kids entire lives are disrupted because of something totally outside their control.

                      Half of those sufferers are husbands. Most of them very good men.

                      Half of those children are little boys who are NOT being taught about effective emotional intelligence, empathy, good communication, etc. They are growing up without the info and skills they need to succeed in the most critical relationships and of their lives.

                      I CARE about these men. These children.

                      I can think of a much kinder way to say this, but I choose not to:

                      Everyone calling me anti-men can go fuck themselves.

                      This is for men. All of it.

                      I don’t want their lives and relationships to suffer unnecessarily because of things they’re entirely blind to and would never do if they knew it was hurting others and/or their families.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Matt,

                      I hear you. I am amazed at the level of patience you show for many comments. You are more evolved than I am in that context.😀

                      I think those who continually insist you are anti-men are seeing things through their own lens of hurt and feeling unheard and victimized by “anti-men” experiences. And I AGREE there is misandry in the world including some of how people talk about relationships. (To take my preferred system view 😜)

                      But, I do NOT think they are accurate in accusing you of being anti-men.

                      Your blog is clear in its intention of helping husbands see things from the wife’s perspective. To the goal of understanding what was previously not understood.

                      So men can respond differently based on a better understanding. It is NOT anti-men. It is designed to HELP men who do not want to be divorced.

                      Like ALL perspectives and chosen ways of presenting things it may not be the best fit for some men. Just as there are many styles of couples therapy. You have to find the one that fits you. But your style is not WRONG just because it is not someone’s preferred way of presenting it.

                      Being deeply hurt makes one sensitive to protecting/defending oneself. I get it. I do it all the time myself.

                      One of the manifestations of that can be aggressively commenting on a blog you don’t agree with the premise. It puzzles me why one would choose to invest time to continue to read and comment on a blog just to argue that the author is wrong. (But there is payoff there to defend against “wrong ideas” seen as pervasive and protect others I guesstimate?)

                      Clearly based on feedback you have helped MANY men. Saved many marriages. So your style helps men. Carry on😀

                      I like to read your posts and interact in the comments. Even though I am not your target audience, my time here has helped me improve my marriage and I thank you for that. 😀

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Matt says:

                      You give so much in terms of time, effort, resources, fresh ideas, and leading by example in terms of how to conduct healthy, productive discussion.

                      Someday, I hope I can adequately demonstrate my gratitude for all of that. I appreciate you very much.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • gottmanfan says:

                      Gottmanfan accepts Visa, MasterCard and venmo😜

                      JK of course.

                      I appreciate so much you allowing me to write so many comments on your blog. Others, I fully recognize, might not be so tolerant.

                      Sometimes, when I am procrastinating on some hideous task, I go back and look at posts and comments from 2-4 years ago and I can SEE how much both of us have changed our perspectives and grown in understanding and some bonus maturity. It really is encouraging to see the change in us both.

                      I feel our goals are similar—we are struggling and learning to figure this damn stuff out so we can help ourselves, our kids, and others to not repeat the mistakes we made that cost us so much. And to learn a different way of being for the future.

                      Everyday we want to get just a little bit healthier and help others too. Here’s an internet toast to that 🍺🍺

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Matt says:

                      Cheers, you. 🥃

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • jeffmustbeleast says:

                    Okrickety,

                    I would agree that a wife who “hates” her husband is not viewing the marriage from a perspective that would be positive for the marriage. I won’t get into whether or not she should “hate” her husband, and whether or not the marriage should be saved. Every marriage is unique, and I can’t use a cookie-cutter answer for a generic hypothetical like that. However, I will say if a spouse has been faithful and is willing to work on the marriage, the other spouse hating that spouse and refusing to see any positives is not healthy for both the marriage and for the spouse that is consumed with hate.

                    I don’t want to get into an argument as to whether or not Matt has a clear picture of who is wife was and what she did. I find that extremely unproductive. However, I will that people in general have very strong memories of how they have been hurt by someone in the past, and I highly doubt that Matt is blind to how his wife hurt him. I still believe Matt chooses what to say based on what is helpful for both him and other people reading here.

                    I have read some articles of wives that have divorced, and ultimately realized that they were wrong and apologized. As I stated, I never went looking a female version of this site, but in my case, it would not be beneficial to me or my marriage. Gottmanfan made a comment above about how a more balanced view is more beneficial for her, and my gut feeling is that is how you feel also. In my case, I need to focus more on myself and what I can change. A lot of this has to do with the stage that my marriage is in currently, so I understand that we may not be needing the same things at this point. I realize that my perspective is coming from my own experiences, but I do feel that Matt’s tendency to focus on typical husband mistakes and attitudes is helpful in general. Too much focus on the faults of the other gender can breed anger and bitterness rather than productive change, at least in my case, and I would suspect many others. I would be very cautious about ever suggesting that someone look into the negatives of another person. Yes we need to understand our spouse so we can have healthy boundaries, but too much focus on the negative can lead to anger and bitterness that is unhealthy. I’m not sure that the point of perfect balance between the two areas is the same for everyone. I think a lot may be dependent on where you are at.

                    Liked by 1 person

        • ej725 says:

          Frank, I think you haven’t paid attention.

          Like

        • ej725 says:

          Matt — I am sure there are a lot of men out there that should read this and never will. I have a friend who is married to the man you just described. It’s heartbreaking. She’s broken and miserable. Spot on, Matt, as usual.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Krista B says:

        Wow. Male privelege on display. Up until around 1900 women were considered property, first of their father, then their husband. Women have only had the right to vote for 100 years. Try really hard to imagine a world where women controlled EVERYTHING and men had to ask permission to leave the house. The oppression of women is so ingrained in our culture that people can’t recognize it, like fish in water.

        Like

        • OKRickety says:

          Krista B,

          Do you think female privilege exists today, or do you think male privilege is still the only game in town?

          Like

        • You write,” Up until around 1900 women were considered property, first of their father, then their husband. Women have only had the right to vote for 100 years. Try really hard to imagine a world where women controlled EVERYTHING and men had to ask permission to leave the house.” Have you experienced any of the above in your life? This is 2019, not 1900. I know you can walk out any house you want, without any man’s permission. I know you can vote just like I can.
          “The oppression of women is so ingrained in our culture that people can’t recognize it, like fish in water.” How oppressed are women are in divorce court? Maybe Matt can detail how fairly he was treated? Or how about this?

          If equality means sending my daughters to war, I want no part of it
          by Amy Vowles

          Jun 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm EST

          https://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/1120821/drafting-women/

          Though our nation hasn’t had a draft since the 1970s, selective service registration remains a reality for young men. I admit that, as a mom to two young girls, the draft is not something I have ever given much thought to. It was only when I heard that Congress is seeking to expand selective service requirements to include both genders that I realized how much I oppose it.

          Like

        • FlyingKal says:

          @Krista B:
          Up until around 1900, and actually for yet another couple of decades, most men were considered workhorses at best, and pawns or slaves at worst. Only the richest top 5% or so really had any voting power to speak about. In fact, 100 years ago when women got “equal” right to vote in many western countries, the men in the same countries often did not receive the same grace, if they for instance lacked the health or strength to do the mandatory military service.

          Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        Frank,

        As we have talked about before, I agree with you that men are oppressed as well as women just in different ways.

        Relating it to relationships a bad marriage in common patterns is usually both sides interacting in ways that make both people unhappy and feeling disrespected and angry.

        Matt is not putting his wife on a pedastal imho. He is deliberately describing ONE HALF of the bad marriage.

        He also describes part of why he was unhappy with his wife.

        Liked by 2 people

        • OKRickety says:

          gottmanfan,

          “He is deliberately describing ONE HALF of the bad marriage.”

          I don’t think I agree. After all, the post claims to explain why your wife might hate you and he makes many claims about what his ex-wife thought, felt, and believed.

          He also makes many statements about how his own behavior was the cause for his ex-wife hating him.

          Like

      • MDV says:

        Wow! I’ve never gotten from any of Matt’s “droning” that he’s “trashing men”! I think he cares very deeply for his gender (and women too of course)
        Matt focuses on men because he IS a man.
        Maybe men can/will get a better understanding from a man’s a point of view.
        I think his whole point though is that he’s taking ownership of HIS OWN shortcomings and being open and honest about those so that otherwise “nice” guys don’t continue to be or become “shitty” partners. He’s letting men know “I get it, we can be douchebags sometimes and we don’t mean to be-here are CLEAR examples of some of those behaviors. Maybe you recognize some of them and should do some adjusting”
        Was his wife uncaring, neglectful, didn’t empathize at times-maybe, but that’s not the point.
        It really has nothing to about what the other person may or may not be doing/did, it’s about what WE are doing. If we can’t search inside of ourselves and understand how we can be a better spouse, partner, lover (insert any relationship really) then we can’t honestly expect the same from our “person”. And we definitely shouldn’t expect them to stick around if their rules and not exceptions are all the things we want/need but our reciprocation is just the opposite. We have to continue to learn and grow for ourselves to be able to give to our loved ones.
        I think that Matt truly believes in the institution of “coupledom” (whatever that looks like) and his site is really just a giant mirror, that he should’ve held sooner, saying “hey buddy (or gal) it’s time to take a REAL look before you eff up what you’ve got or the next one that comes down the pike”.
        Simple as that (with of course intelligence, eloquence and hilarity thrown in) so that all of us regular people have a chance of getting it.
        I get it.
        Thanks Matt-keep doing what you

        Liked by 2 people

    • ChiChi says:

      Hi Barrel Rider,
      I appreciate your sentiments here, and I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but I wonder how much of your feelings around your new relationship (I’m assuming its fairly new) are coloring your current view?
      I’m not saying men are bad or evil, or even “wrong”, at all.
      Matt is unique in that he owns up to his side of things, even if too late to change them.
      From Matt’s words, I can imagine how his wife felt- always beating her head up against a brick wall. He refused to listen or consider that she what she was saying had any validity at all.
      Even if you cant make a logical argument about how you feel, how you feel should be respected by your mate.
      Im in a relationship with someone who may be considered the polar opposite to Matt. Hot headed, not the most popular person- but when I say something to him about what Im experiencing- He listens, and he responds.

      I know when you start a new relationship and all the love feelings are there, we tend to have more empathy. I wonder if some of what you are saying is related more to you empathizing with the your current love. That’s what love does.

      And believe me! There is nothing wrong with that! We need more of that.
      But Matt did demonstrate a considerable lack of empathy towards his wife for several years, and as he pointed out- proved to her that he wasn’t going to change.

      That would be enough for me to leave.

      Liked by 1 person

    • gottmanfan says:

      Barrelrider,

      You said:

      “For one, it used to be that a man was just supposed to do exactly what you did for her; support her with a good gainful job as you said, be willing to spend those spoils on whatever SHE wanted, help take care of the home and children etc. Seems like you did all of those things and more and what I hear now when I read this post is that it wasn’t GOOD enough for her; she still wanted, nay demanded more.”

      That narrative doesn’t match the facts of Matt’s marriage.

      They BOTH worked the same number of hours with “good, gainful jobs.” The “spoils were not brought in by Matt alone.

      It’s important imho to get the facts straight at least before arguing the about Matt’s interpretation of the facts.

      Like

    • WHILE BEING PREOCCUPIED WITH OTHERS THINGS I AM GOING TO ADMIT THAT I HAVE NOT GIVEN THE POST OR YOUR REPLY THE DETAILED READ THAT I, ONE WHO LOVES TO READ TO THE EXTENT OF READING THE COPYRIGHT AND DISCLAIMER PAGES IN ALMOST EVER BOOK I TOUCH….I SKIMMED THIS.

      THERE WAS A CORD THAT STRUCK WHEN YOU SAID MEN’S EMOTIONS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AND THERE MAY HAVE BEEN A REFERENCE ABOUT HOW THE WIFE DID NOT FIND HIM DOING ENOUGH EVEN WHEN HE WAS DOING WHAT YOU OR OTHER WOMEN MIGHT APPRECIATE [EXACTLY HOW MISTRESSES SHOW UP OR SECOND WIVES…BUT THAT IS MORE FOR ANOTHER TIME].

      I RETURNED TO PA BELIEVING I HAD MET MISS RIGHT OVER THE PHONE. I ARRIVED FEB 2 2008, AS I EXITED THE CAB I NOTICED ‘NO WAY IS THIS CHICK 28 YEARS OLD’ … I WAS SLEEPING WITH MY MOTHER’S FRIEND’S AT 19. SHE SAID SHE LIVED IN A GATED COMMUNITY [THE APARTMENT BUILDING’S UNCONCERNED OWNER WOULD ASSURE FOR THE LONGEST THAT THE DOOR LOCKING MECHANISM WOULD SECURE]. WHETHER WORKING OR UNEMPLOYED I WAS CUSSED OUT, CALLED OUT OF MY NAME AND PUT DOWN. WAS TOLD ONCE THAT SHE DID NOT WANT ME TO APPLY FOR A $10 PER HOUR JOB AFTER THE LOSS OF MY $9 PER HOUR JOB OF 2 YEARS AND 3 MONTHS…BECAUSE THE RESTAURANT HAD WAITRESSES.

      OH, WE DID NOT GET MARRIED. IT RAN 10 YEARS [WAAAAY TOO LONG]
      – I MOVED OUT IN 2013 AND UNFORTUNATELY HAD TO MOVE BACK IN, IN 2014.
      – WAS ASKED TO MOVE OUT IN MARCH 2018, SO SHE COULD BRING IN A GUY FROM TENNESSEE SHE HAD BEEN TALKING TO FOR 13 YEARS. IT DID NOT WORK OUT.
      – WAS ASKED TO MOVE BACK IN OCT 2018 WHEN SHE LOST SIGHT IN HER RIGHT EYE.
      – THE DAY BEFORE MY 65TH NOVEMBER BIRTHDAY, SHE HAD A STROKE.
      – I LAST SAW HER TUBES EVERYWHERE IN NOVEMBER. THE SOCIAL WORKER SAID SHE WAS REQUIRED TO LOOK FOR NEXT OF KIN. I WAS ASKED PRIOR TO ALL OF THIS NOT TO TELL HER HUSBAND OR HER ADULT CHILDREN ABOUT THE LOSS OF SIGHT. PRIOR TO THIS I WAS TOLD SHE DID NOT WANT ANY OF THEM AT THE FUNERAL OR TO TAKE POSSESSION OF HER PERSONAL THINGS [WHEN SHE DECLINED THE COMPLETE THE POWER OF ATTORNEY….IT TOOK ALL THAT I COULD DO FOR HER AWAY].

      BEFORE I LEFT CALIFORNIA, I ASKED HER ‘ARE YOU MARRIED [NO SHE REPLIED], ‘HAVE YOU EVER BEEN MARRIED?’ [AGAIN, NO SHE REPLIED’] TRUTH = HER HUSBAND LIVED NEXT DOOR. THEY WERE SEPARATED [WHICH THERE IS NO STATUTE IN THE COMMONWEALTH FOR SEPARATION, YOU ARE MARRIED UNTIL DIVORCE].

      THE POINT OF THIS LONG DIATRIBE IS, I AM NOW AT THE POINT IF I SHOULD EVER GET INTO ANOTHER SO-CALLED TRADITIONAL RELATIONSHIP I WILL COME WITH THIS DISCLAIMER:

      1. IF YOU RAISE YOUR VOICE AT ME, WE ARE DONE.
      A. IF THE HOUSE IS NOT ON FIRE AND YOU ARE TRYING TO SAVE MY LIFE
      B. IF YOU ARE NOT STANDING SO FAR AWAY THAT YOU NEED TO ELEVATE YOUR VOICE FOR ME TO HEAR YOU
      WE ARE DONE! I DON’T CARE HOW GOOD YOU LOOK, HOW GOOD THE P*SSY IS…I WILL NO LONGER TOLERATE THIS FROM A WOMAN.

      I HAVE PULLED UP AND RETURNED TO BEING THE DOMINANT PERSONALITY OF A YOUNGER TIME. I HAVE ADDED THE ELEMENT OF INTENTIONALLY SEEKING OUT SUBMISSIVE FEMALES AND CONCUBINES. IN SEARCH OF 1087 MORE IN MY GOAL OF 1095.

      Like

  5. OKRickety says:

    barrelriderwannabe,

    ‘… I used to get so much enlightenment and insight from the “male perspective” of things that you present.’

    ‘… I just really feel your wife expected or wanted too much and didn’t realize how good she had it with you.’

    From the perspective of this male, it seems you are now seeing more clearly. I encourage you to read your comment as needed, and see if it better explains the relationship behaviors you see both personally and in society generally. For example,why “people divorce one another far too easily and quickly and over a lot of small unbelievable things.”

    Like

  6. OKRickety says:

    Matt,

    Are the following quotations you provide actual statements (or at least close approximations), or are they what you presume your wife though (or artistic license based on what you think she actually said to you)?

    1. ‘When she lost her father, she had to face a hard reality: “I just lost the only man I could ever truly count on. …’

    2. ‘She concluded the same thing your wife might be concluding: “I only have so many years left on this planet. …

    3. ‘Maybe she tried to reach me some more times after that.
    “Matt. Would you please read this book for me that describes many of the things I feel? […]”

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Those are me guesstimating.

      That’s me answering questions I had and that other people have about WHY their wives hate them (or act like it).

      I respect that you don’t think they’re good reasons. That maybe you consider it the byproduct of ungratefulness or a lack of perspective on the part of dissatisfied wives.

      You’re 100% entitled to that viewpoint, and on a case by case, I’m sure I would agree with you viewing a particular couple in isolation.

      Millions of men out there want to know why their wives are angry and bitter. It’s a mystery they genuinely don’t understand or know how to solve.

      My goal today was to answer the WHY.

      It’s hard for some people to recognize because many people don’t think these types of scenarios are valid reasons for people to feel afraid, angry or hurt.

      I accept that.

      But I also contend, in the interest of pragmatism, that people should understand the WHY behind the hurt and anger so that they can then choose a method of dealing with it.

      Tragically, most divorces happen without anyone ever learning anything. Doomed to repeat their mistakes.

      Wash, rinse, repeat.

      Everyone deserves better.

      Liked by 4 people

      • ayjaymackay says:

        “But I also contend, in the interest of pragmatism, that people should understand the WHY behind the hurt and anger so that they can then choose a method of dealing with it.

        Tragically, most divorces happen without anyone ever learning anything. Doomed to repeat their mistakes.”

        — This is so spot on. People can be so resistant to looking beneath the surface to truly understand the root of their problems.

        Liked by 2 people

      • OKRickety says:

        Matt,

        ‘Those are me guesstimating.

        That’s me answering questions I had and that other people have about WHY their wives hate them (or act like it).

        If the statements are solely, as you say, guesstimating, then I am sorely disappointed but far from surprised. I thought your general approach was to keep your ex-wife out of this blog. In this case, I think you have brought her into the blog in this way: Writing thoughts as if they are quotations from her.

        Even if it were written in another manner, you would still effectively be speaking for her. Why do this? You admit you are guesstimating. I believe you have stated that you can only truly speak for yourself and not for her. I think you have moved out of that paradigm.

        More importantly, this post confirms my long-held belief that your writing has been underpinned by your belief that you now know exactly what your ex-wife thought, felt, and believed. I posit that you have made up a theory to explain what happened to your marriage, and it is a large part of the filter (as gottmanfan might put it) that you use in this blog.

        In other words, your “answers” to your questions about your marriage are built not on information your ex-wife directly provided, but on what you think she thought, felt, and believed.

        I understand doing that, but I think I recognize it when I do. Even though my ex-wife provided me with a letter stating why she wanted a divorce, I do not think that I have any real understanding of what she truly thought, felt, and believed. As I recall, she was inconsistent in the letter itself. I’ve made up a theory, but I know it is only a theory. I have no real proof. Perhaps that is part of the reason I have absolutely no interest in ever having another romantic relationship. I am unwilling to do so when I don’t have any real understanding of what happened to my marriage.

        I would have thought that, in all of your introspection, you would have realized that you don’t actually know very much about what your ex-wife thought, felt, and believed. You have made it reasonably clear that you regularly didn’t know during your marriage. I see no reason to think you know now, but I believe you think you do.

        Like

        • gottmanfan says:

          I obviously can’t speak for Matt, but from my perspective what he describes is consistent with what is typical of what (in this case) wives think when they are in this marriage pattern.

          The pattern Matt describes is so predictable that in EFT therapy you can guess with pretty accurate results what each side of the pattern will say.

          “He doesn’t care, he is selfish etc. “she is too needy, critical too emotional, etc.”

          There are different patterns so the key is to know which one you are in. (And there are some individual variations)

          My point in this particular rambling comment is that if Matt is guesstimating, he is doing a good job of portraying a typical wife’s reactions in this type of marriage dysfunctional pattern.

          I could guesstimate a husband’s typical responses based on knowledge of the patterns too. There are, of course, variations but like eggs you diagnose certain diseases the can guess what the symptoms are.

          Like

          • gottmanfan says:

            Not eggs ha ha

            I meant like when you diagnose …

            My problem in couples therapy is that they either diagnose the wrong pattern 👹or aren’t flexible with our individual variations like my Spock-like style doesn’t result in us having the “she is not logical” or him being accused of “just wanting to fix things instead of listening.”

            I never say “I just want you to listen and not problem solve” as many wives do because I love problem solving. 😀

            It is a variation that I think of it as “disrespect” not “fear” as Matt describes. Same general idea but personality and filters give different ways of framing it.

            Like

    • gottmanfan says:

      Okrickety,

      As we have talked about before it sounds like you had a different marriage pattern than Matt did. Your wife was more avoidant and didn’t tell you she was unhappy and surprised you with a divorce (if I understand it).

      Perhaps that is why you don’t relate to and question the veracity of the details of his story. Matt’s pattern was more about the wife asking/complaining etc and the husband not responding or being angry/defensive.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. gottmanfan says:

    I think of it more in terms of disrespect rather than fear. Both sides feel disrespected by the other.

    Spouses make vows to be there for each other. Have each other’s backs. To be able to trust each other like the bond between two police officers where it means life of death to trust your partner to have your back.

    When something big happens link a death and your partner does not have your back, it breaks the trust. And then you know you can’t trust your spouse to have your back. You can’t feel safe so you aren’t really partners anymore. So you must watch your own back. And there is the anger. Like a partner who was supposed to be watching your back but didn’t so you got shot as result.

    Watching your own back is a zero sum game with the other as the enemy.

    And what Matt describes is only one half of the system. Usually the husband feels like he can’t trust his wife either when you get into these patterns.

    Liked by 1 person

    • FlyingKal says:

      I guess that sometimes we do things that we THINK equals with “having our partner’s” back”, even if it is straight against her/his outspoken will, because we think it will be “It’ll be good for you”…

      I suspect I might have related this event before, but here goes:

      A couple of years into my relationship, a young (early 30’s) close relative of mine was suddenly killed in an accident. I was of course devastated with grief and so was my entire family. One day shortly thereafter, while I was still pretty numb and closed-off by the shock, my GF was very insistent that we should go see her (maternal) grandmother who lived just 20 min’s away, because as she said “I haven’t seen her in quite some time and I’d really like to see her and talk to her.” I thought she should/could very well go see her alone, because I was in no psychological shape to socialize, but she was very insistent that I should come along, and “there’ll be only grand-ma there so it’s nothing dangerous”.

      So I gave in and came along, cause I didn’t have the psychological strength to argue about it either. Turns out, when we get to grand-ma’s, they had some kind of family reunion at her house. Which they always had some day around that time of the year. So the house was crowded. And everyone knew about my dead relative, and everyone wanted to either talk about it, or was very intent on NOT talking about it. And after a while I couldn’t take it any more, so I locked myself in a room in the attic and just sat there sobbing for several hours.

      My then-GF said afterwards that she thought it would be good for me to meet some people, and that I would never had come if she’d told me in advance of the family gathering. But she never said she was sorry for putting me through it, and that’s a big part of me losing the trust in her ever having MY back. Because obviously men are
      only allowed to be emotional for a very limited period of time, and only as long as the persons close to them aren’t being uncomfortable with it.

      Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        Hey Kal!

        Not having a spouse’s back is not gendered as your story illustrates.

        I think, as you pointed out about your girlfriend, it is often because the person is focusing on what THEY feel-their discomfort, their needs, their opinion of what you should feel or do. Bad boundaries and lack of empathy/perspective taking once again for the lose.

        I know Matt has written previously about his frustration that his wife was grieving too long and not focusing enough on him.

        My own mother, only a brief time after my dad died, told me I was grieving too long. WTF?

        People are screwed up because they can’t process their own emotions. Sit with grief rather than pushing it away, because negative emotions make people uncomfortable.

        As I have said before, your girlfriend sounds like a shitty girlfriend in many ways. This story is just another example.

        You were right to not trust her because she didn’t have your back.

        My question is how you responded after this incident. Did you tell her this was way, way out of bounds? If so, how did she respond?

        If not, what prevented setting boundaries with her?

        Like

        • gottmanfan says:

          Kal,

          When I asked the question of how you responded it is not intended to “blame the victim.”

          I was just wondering because I know I often have had a difficult time responding in a healthy way to people who don’t have my back or who violate my boundaries.

          So that is what I am trying to explore. What are the defaults we have that keep the cycle going. And what can change it.

          Like

          • FlyingKal says:

            Hi again,
            I think that in general, because of the way I’m wired from my upbringing, I still have a difficult time coming up with a healthy but firm way to respond to people who violate my boundaries. And also because when I try, I rarely get the kind of response I’m lookoing for. So I’m more prone to just shutting off instead.

            Like

        • gottmanfan says:

          And part of the answer of “why your wife (or husband) hates you” is imho we stay too long in relationship patterns rather than standing up early.

          Again not “blaming the victim” just descriptive of how we allow so many accumulations of not having backs that it turns negative and finally into “hate.”

          Like

          • FlyingKal says:

            Gottmanfan,
            And I think the reason we don’t stand up early enough is that we are most often “set up” for situations like this, that we don’t see them coming, that we are mostly stunned by incredulity when they happen.
            Probably because of different thought patterns, or different love languages for those who prefer that terminology, we don’t expect our loved one to set us up like that so we don’t have a suitable retort at hand. And when we finally learn this pattern, I guess a lot of the trust alreadyis lost?

            Like

            • gottmanfan says:

              Good thoughts.

              I do relate to the “stunned” part.

              I can look back now and see that I didn’t respond later after the freeze response wore off. And that set up the pattern for rinse and repeat.

              Until I got so angry I blew up. Which then made it “my problem.” Sometimes I would blow up in the moment which isn’t a healthy response either.

              So yeah hindsight is 20/20 as they say. My goal is try and understand what I did wrong. What people generally do wrong, and what healthy responses are to avoid this stuff.

              Like

        • FlyingKal says:

          Gottmanfan:
          How did I respond?
          When we got there and I first realized the situation I said to her “So you said there weren’t going to be any people here!?” and she answered quite flatly and evasive (as she often did) “Oh I did, did I?”
          Then I tried to keep up appearence, but I could only hold it together for so long, as i wrote in the previous post.
          Later when we went home, hours after me “freaking out”, she said that she wouldn’t try to “set me up” (my words, not her’s) like that again. But she didn’t really apologize for doing it, it was more like she still believed she’d done the right thing, and thereby kind of off-handeldy blamed me for not reacting properly to her idea of “treatment” to get me to snap out of it…

          Like

          • gottmanfan says:

            What a horrible thing to do!

            I meant how did you respond to this. What was your next move?

            “Later when we went home, hours after me “freaking out”, she said that she wouldn’t try to “set me up” (my words, not her’s) like that again. But she didn’t really apologize for doing it, it was more like she still believed she’d done the right thing, and thereby kind of off-handeldy blamed me for not reacting properly to her idea of “treatment” to get me to snap out of it…”

            Like

            • FlyingKal says:

              Right then and there, i was still kind of stunned, in a state of shock, so I didn’t come up with a suitable reply. (A less empathetic person would probably say I was wallowing in my self-pity)

              And I guess that right then and there I believed her when she said it wouldn’t happen again, so mostly it just faded away.

              Like

              • gottmanfan says:

                Looking back now, how do you think you would respond to the same situation if it would happen now?

                Like

                • FlyingKal says:

                  I don’t know.
                  I don’t have a lot of positive experience from trying to stand up for myself and my boundaries. I often feel that I’m emotionally or psychologically “weak”, in ways that people don’t listen or take me seriously in sensitive situations…

                  Like

                  • gottmanfan says:

                    Kal,

                    I would imagine a lot of that is because you don’t have experience of being with healthy people who listen or treat you well.

                    I don’t think you are “weak”

                    You may need to learn or improve your skills but that is things that can change and not a reflection on your character.

                    Also I bet that whatever you are thinking of as weak hides a strength like sensitivity or carefulness or concern for others.

                    Like

            • FlyingKal says:

              Thank you for the exchange.
              I gotta go now. I’m going camping and I’ll probably be offline the entire weekend.
              Just so you know I won’t write any answers for a while. :)

              All the best to you /K

              Liked by 1 person

  8. DS says:

    This hits the nail right on the head for me and why my marriage is crumbling. He admits that he has not been there for me and says he wishes he knew a different way but doesn’t take action to do anything. Over 18 years I’ve cried, yelled, explained calmly, invited him to counseling, recommended books, tried to lead by example and made lists of things we could try. I’ve even asked my husband to read this blog and he has not.

    The point is that many (not all) men do not understand how their wives are anchors for them in the things that they do every day. My husband says that he does know it but clearly he doesn’t really know it or appreciate it.

    The point is that each person needs to be that anchor for the other – the safe place to fall – a teammate. There has to be balance. It will never be 50/50. Sometimes it will be 80/20 or 60/40 or even 90/10 but it can’t be one person shouldering the greater burden all of the time – whether that be the man or woman. This blog is written from a man’s point of view but it is valuable for women too.

    If my husband understood this basic idea of balance, we would not be going through this. I am at the point where the pain to stay is greater than the pain to break up this relationship. This did not have to happen and I am devastated.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tired says:

      That’s because there are husbands who view their wives as Spousal Appliances. No attention really needs to be paid until they smoke or break. Then you get a new one. Sometimes without the original model even being aware of it.

      Like

    • Rebecca says:

      I relate so much to your comments. Especially the parts about wishing he knew a different way but not taking action, and the “over 18 years” through “and he has not” parts. (My ex, who wasn’t yet my ex when I asked him to read Matt’s blog, thinks Matt is “harsh”.)

      Our divorce was finalized just shy of our 23rd anniversary. And this, 1,000%: “I am at the point where the pain to stay is greater than the pain to break up this relationship. This did not have to happen and I am devastated.”

      Like

  9. Freemom says:

    This is accurate for me and part of why I’m divorced. I find some of these comments interesting because everyone has a different line in the sand for what’s “not good enough” in a marriage. It’s hard for us all to compare when frequently just generalities are used. Clearly when behaviors drop further down the extreme end of the spectrum of bad behavior more tend to agree, but those gray areas closer to the middle are exactly that. I do think there is one easy way to know whether ex’s “didn’t know how good they had it.” Just ask men and women if they’re happier post divorce. If the marriage was so great and all these women are just unappreciative of their spouses then all these women would be sad now that they’re divorced. Is that the case? Not for me.

    Like

  10. I don’t read this blog often enough to know whether you mentioned your father-in-law’s sudden death before.

    Which is a pretty enormous factor to leave out of the conversation.

    Becoming a caregiver for a parent can throw a massive wrench into a marriage, especially when the transition happens so suddenly – but then again, the sudden death of a parent happens often enough that it’s yet another one of those things that husband and wife need to talk through long before it happens. If that talk didn’t happen, I don’t know if that’s on you, on her, or on both of you.

    My parents were in bad enough shape that the consideration of their eventual deaths was never far from my mind. (Yay, alcoholism! Yay, smoking! Yay, diabetes!)

    For everybody else out there lucky to have parents whose heads are screwed on well enough and attached to healthy bodies…no, I’m not going to feed you some cherish-every-moment platitudinous glop here.

    Think of ten godawful life-wrecking tragedies and come up with at least parts of plans on dealing with them. They don’t have to be perfect, because they’re going to get smacked around by reality anyway, but even a partial plan will be way better than nothing.

    If mom and dad saved up some money, have them pre-pay the funerals. Write the obituaries and everything, otherwise the funeral home will write them for you and they’ll be tedious boring cookie-cutter crap and your folks deserve better. The obits are one of the easier things to do.

    You can’t flake or go off on your partner when a parent dies, even when the surviving in-law is still firing on all cylinders and can live independently. If they’re not capable of living independently, call your local Office for the Aging (many counties and local governments have one) (full disclosure: I work for one) and they can help get your new situation squared away as best as possible.

    Realize this, though: sometimes a spouse in a parental-caregiving situation will be pulled in so many different directions that they’re going to go through a stretch where they’re going to suck at everything: parenting, spousing and caregiving. The combination of sufficient time and energy to do the right thing by everybody does not exist. It’s all going to fall apart.

    At this point in the marriage, you could be the good husband who puts the dirty glass in the dishwasher without being asked, and gives the counter a just-in-case wipedown too – and you’ll STILL catch a ration from her because that was her glass and she wasn’t done with it even though it was right by the sink which is the universal signal for This Glass Needs Cleaning.

    And you’ll be standing there with a WTF expression on your face.

    I leave it up to others whether that behavior is just frazzled-partner venting, or abuse.

    Like

    • gottmanfan says:

      Hey Brian,

      Good ideas about planning for parents getting ill or dying. You are right it is incredibly stressful and can cause huge problems in marriages (or make you closer).

      You said:

      “I don’t read this blog often enough to know whether you mentioned your father-in-law’s sudden death before.
      Which is a pretty enormous factor to leave out of the conversation.”

      Matt has written several times about how his father in law’s death and his response to his wife impacted their marriage.

      It was a big rupture in his wife’s trust in him that he acknowledges.

      Like

  11. Ronnie SChleiss says:

    I have been reading your articles for well over a year. I am now getting divorced. I finally threw in the towel.

    I will save this article and hand it to my husband as soon as the divorce is finalized.

    I tried my best to get away from that nasty 4 letter word. But I never asked Webster. And Webster makes it sound not as soul destroying (my soul) as I thought.

    My husband has earned being hated. This article is all him. With the added bonus behaviors of years of lying about business dinners “going late” when he was actually in strip clubs. And the affair (who knows, maybe more than the one I stumbled across- shared apple account, his 1st iPhone and his tasteless pics ended up on my phone), and drunk nights and the DWI. And, yes, everyone thinks he is such a nice guy. I am taking our son with autism and leaving. Yep, I hate him. And I am angry. And he is right…I am hostile. Towards him. Deservedly, so.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Being a wife, you’d never just hate, that really is a strong word unless you despise him for something horrific he has done and your just over it. Personally, it isn’t hate but rather its getting ANNOYED or ANGRY they’re completely different feelings I feel. :D But you are right, when you have touched a women’s insecurities, there is no going back really, we would be a hawk right after. #mytwocents

    Like

  13. ashbysyru says:

    You put it plain words, Matt, which I had been trying to figure out with my husband for quite some years now. I know he is good, but somehow I started feeling that he has deliberately failed me. I almost lost my hopes on him and became insensitive to his needs as well. But your thoughts have altogether changed my perceptions about him. It helped me to put myself in his shoes…. Very good read.. Thank you very much…

    Like

  14. […] This is Why Your Wife Hates You: Must Be This Tall To Ride […]

    Like

  15. joey says:

    That was so well-written. I nodded along. I feel like you’ve been watching the same dramas I have. Listening, trying to learn, spreading the truth of it.
    Death is one of those things I’ve seen just split couples in a heartbeat. Grief is so isolating.
    Anyway, great post! Surely helpful.

    Like

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