Start Here

Matthew Fray - New York Times

Here I am looking derp-tastic in The New York Times. (Image/The New York Times – Angelo Merendino)

Hi. I’m Matthew Fray.

I work as a relationship coach as well as write and speak about marriage and divorce. Let’s call it self-help or personal development without all of the cheesy bullshit that I hate about self-help and personal development.

I’m currently writing my first book and considering opportunities in scripted and unscripted television. I’m represented by Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

You can read about me in The New York Times, read my essay on emotional labor in The Sunday Times (UK), The Sun (UK), or in Australia’s; read my short story in The Daily Mail (UK), hear my interview on the nationally syndicated radio program “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” as well as on National Public Radio. I was a featured subject matter expert in bestselling author Warren Berger’s “The Book of Beautiful Questions” (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018).

My writing is featured in several places, including The Good Men Project, POPSUGAR, Thought Catalog, The Huffington Post, Babble, Elephant Journal, and many more.

I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. (Not true.)

I try to write and speak about relationships in ways that might have resonated with me a decade ago when my head was still inserted firmly up my ass. I do so in hopes that I might share effectively some of what I needed to know to succeed at marriage and be the kind of guy that I always wanted to be.

I do this work because after my marriage ended, life got really hard for a while—even things I perceive to be pretty easy like breathing, and not crying at the conference table during work meetings. My parents divorced when I was little, and I didn’t much like that either. Writing all of it down helped me. Some people who read it say it helps them too.

I believe divorce is the biggest social crisis of our time. Helping people understand how they accidentally sabotage their relationships and providing people with relationship skill-building tools is the thing I have to give.

I’m not a doctor. I’m not an expert. I’m not particularly smart.

But some people say that the way I say things or write things helps them understand ideas and make sense of their personal relationships in ways they previously had not.

The things that destroy our relationships work like cancer. Like people who used to smoke a pack a day or work with asbestos on construction sites with little to no understanding of the dangers, I think most people want their romantic relationships and marriages to be happy and last forever, but end up getting sick from things they didn’t recognize as deadly. Some people come back from that. For others, by the time they detect the problem, it’s already too late.

But we raised awareness about the dangers of tobacco use, and now fewer people use it. We raised awareness about the dangers of asbestos, and now people wear proper protective gear when working with it.

So too will it be with relationship health. NOTHING affects our lives quite as profoundly as our closest relationships with the people we share homes and children with.

With enough awareness, maybe we can prevent many of these bad things from happening.

It’s a fight worth fighting.

Here Are Some Ideas That Help People Overcome Relationship Problems and Pains

Some readers have been with me from the beginning.

Maybe today is your first visit, which is either awesome or horrible depending on just how shitty your life feels right now. I’ve been there. It was very bad in the early days following divorce.

That pain is what launched this place. The scars and memories are what keep it going.

I’ve written more than 600 posts here at MBTTTR. Some have been read by a few dozen people and my mom. Others have been read several millions of times and published in a bunch of languages.

There are a handful of articles I’ve written that seemed to land with people the most.

Maybe you’ll find something useful. Or maybe you’ll think it’s all a bunch of crap. Only one way to find out.

Read These Awesome (or Possibly Sucky) Articles:

She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

  • Read 4 million times here, and several million more in other places
  • Several readers said this post saved their marriage
  • Other readers said it was bullshit and that I’m a moron

Is Your Spouse Hurting You On Purpose?

  • I think intention matters
  • This post contains a deceptively simple trick for discovering your partner’s intentions
  • The comments section of this post contains awesomeness

She Feels Like Your Mom and Doesn’t Want to Bang You

  • Super-common problem reported by wives who lose sexual interest in their partners
  • A conversation starter RE: the link between sexual attraction and feelings of respect
  • Great title on this one

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands

  • There are actually 14 posts inside, like a Russian nesting doll that hates divorce
  • These make lots of sad wives cry
  • In Vol. 13, I discuss masturbation in marriage, and I often wonder what people like my mom or friends or coworkers who read that think. Publishing that took more courage than usual

Why Couples Always Have the Same Fight

  • Most couples have the same fight over and over again and it really sucks when you’re in the middle of it
  • HOWEVER, I was really happy when I realized my wife and I weren’t the only ones
  • If you recognize The Same Fight happening while you’re in it, you can break the cycle and save your marriage

Safety and Trust in Relationships: Those Words Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean

  • This post is geared toward men, and part of a series of posts I called The Things We Don’t Teach Men
  • This idea is probably more important than you think
  • Bonus points if the headline makes you think of “The Princess Bride”

The Power of Understanding

  • Unless you’re married to a psychopath who is secretly plotting evil things, most fights and most pain felt in those fights are a result of simple misunderstandings
  • Yes, I meant that, because it’s true: You don’t understand each other even though you speak the same language
  • Maybe this can help you bridge the divide and feel less confused or angry

Is He The One?: How to Know Whether You Should Marry Him



Must Be This Tall To Ride is a metaphor for not being good enough. We all feel inadequate in certain situations or with certain people. It’s a bad thing and no way to live.

I think about, talk about, read about and write about the human experience as I see it in an effort to live better. To stand and walk taller.

I can be better today than I was yesterday. And I can make that same choice again tomorrow. I hope you will too.

It’s awesome that you’re here. Thank you.

Subscribe to MBTTTR

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505 thoughts on “Start Here

  1. Hendrick says:

    Congrats on your thought catalog work! Came across your page today and hope you keep writing and sharing your work! Hope your 2018 has been well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sally says:

    Mr. Must, I’m one of the too-many-to-count wives who believed in their man. My bad, as the kids would say. Thank you for choosing to stop being an asshole. That’s very cool. I choose to stay with an entitled, narcissistic jerk who thought betraying me for 30 years was no big deal as long as he didn’t cross certain lines. He was recently diagnosed with an aggressive, incurable form of cancer. We’ve got four kids. Hence I’m here for the duration. My jerk tells me I’m too afraid to leave; quite the contrary, I’m afraid to stay, but I’m courageous enough to do so for the kiddos. He won’t ever give me credit for that or anything else, because he would interpret that as a criticism of him. Eeeerrrrgggghhh.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heywood says:

    This is straight up pathetic dude. If it is actually true that you were dumb enough to be 100% at fault in your marriage why should any reader take anything you say here seriously?

    The fact that you are somewhat articulate speaks otherwise. Please get some counseling, you need it.


    • Matt says:

      Oh, there’s little doubt I need counseling.

      But since I never even came close to saying I was 100% at fault in my marriage, I’d say you’re talking out of your ass and thus must wonder why I should take you seriously?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Deborah Sterkowitz says:

        I’m thrilled I found this website / blog. Marriage and long-term, relationships, specifically marriage are never 100% the other person’s fault. How you respond, what you think, say, do makes a different in what the other person thinks, says, does. Hello reality.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Amanda Judge says:

    Im a mom of 3 girls with a Iraq veteran husband who suffers from ptsd and tbi


  5. Ann says:

    I found this site by searching “Shitty husbands” because I have a shitty husband and what you wrote described my husband to a tee. I left your site open on the iPad we share hoping he reads it and maybe thinks about our marriage and maybe changes? And yes I have tried talking to him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I’m sorry, Ann. Totally get it. I’ve been getting this more than ever lately so I shit you not, I’m making a little e-book and it’s sole purpose in the world will be to serve as an ice breaker for this very thing.

      I want to title it and write a perfect intro to help a man read the seven or eight blog posts that readers have told me should be included (edited and rewritten), because they’re the ideas they most want to relay to their husbands, but usually result in a fight when they try.

      If I do my job, I will create a document that minimizes the crappy emotional responses men have to feeling criticized and hopefully help them better accept these ideas designed to communicate the pain their wives are feeling and trying to express in order to strengthen/save their their marriage.

      It’s something I want to release as soon as possible. I hope it doesn’t disappoint you.

      Oh! And while I’m at it, I’m making the Open Letters into a second one, because I figure: Why not?

      Hopefully they can help someone.

      Thank you for reaffirming that this is a useful project I’m working on.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Barb Gudgeon says:

      If he’s anything like my husband he will say this is crap. I eventually left him, took my kids because he abused them as well. We have been apart over 30 years now and he still says that I am the crazy one. Oh, by the way, he is on his 4th wife…

      Liked by 1 person

    • highlander225 says:

      Lol. I did the exact same thing. And I am soooo glad I did! There was also a link to a Scary Mommy post that was pretty fucking hilarious as well but it certainly did not have the amount of content this blog does. I love how he tells it like it is and never describes himself to he anymore better than any of his readers. Heywood, who said Matt was pathetic in his comment above is just the kinda guy that could really benefit from this if he was willing to go there. It’s been well over a year since this was posted. I kinda wonder if Heywood still feels the same way?


  6. Marina says:

    Thank you very much for your site. Put a lot of things in prospective for me, helped me to better understand my whole marriage and its impact on my well being. I just wish an “Open Letter To…” was not named that way.
    For all the same reasons listed in the blog. This header will push targeted audience away. Women will read it (because they are the ones who will type those words in Search engine and find your articles). Most of men who actually don’t need to read it- will read it. Just because they are curious of the subject and want to actually improve their relationships.
    The ones who do need to read it- will not even skim it. They are good guys and good husbands, married to hysterical freaks who should have had a lobotomy done prior to marriage. Or at least shut up and smile for the rest of the life, with help of alcohol and Xanax.
    BTW, it is amazing to me how many marriages around me stay together, with the help of huge dosages of drugs and alcohol taken mostly by wives. However, to be fair- by some husbands too.
    Good luck with your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Thank you for checking it out, Marina. I appreciate the support and feedback very much.


    • Barb Gudgeon says:

      Wow Marina, I have no words, just Wow!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Frankie G says:

      Marina- You must be a narcissistic idiot to say women need a lobotomy. Grow up and realize this blog was created for people with struggles. Apparently, your high horse keeps you from having any. So do the world a favor and google something that starts with chronicles of a snob. You’re a disgrace. I’m disgusted with women like you. Uh, I’m sure your spouse really enjoys your stuck up attitude. Women who read your post will have little faith and trust with other women because of your lack of compassion.


      • Chrissy B says:

        Lmao wow, I think someone needs to reread Marinas post because they totally missed the sarcasm in it!


      • latenightblond says:

        Sorry, Frankie – her point kind of whistled past you without being caught. Unfortunately, sarcasm doesn’t always translate well. She was simply stating the opinions and beliefs of certain men which stop them from understanding why they should change, which is why they’d be the last to ever do it.


  7. […] I’m just some asshole writing on the internet, and EVEN IF I was totally ‘right’ about their prospects of having a healthy marriage and […]


  8. 16eparis says:

    You mention “Shitty husbands” – makes me ponder…for one to be a ‘shitty hubby’ would they also be likely a ‘shitty brother’? Actually, guess what – my ‘shitty brother’ is divorced too! But, I wouldn’t want to place him in any grouping, with regards to your great intro page here…he truly is on a level all his own, and no, that’s ‘not’ a good thing! I was stunned to see the comment from ‘heywood’ – have no clue where he came with his thoughts – but then again, I’m ‘not’ him, and we are all ‘different’. So, I’m ‘not’ “knocking” him personally, cause I don’t know him. You should write an article, on this ‘logic’ or ‘thought’: when people (most often women…) say: “You need to marry a man, who treats his mother well. Find out how he treats his mother, if he’s good to her, or better, he’s a gem! If he’s shit to her, stay far away from him, he’s toxic”! (btw, yes, my ‘shit brother’ would be in *THAT* grouping! He hasn’t seen his mom in about 15 yrs since dad died – he’s divorced, everyone loves him, most hate me (but i could care less about that part….) I’d be curious to see/hear your take on ‘men who treat their moms like gold’ and ‘what their outcome’ is with regards to relations etc… From what a 90 + yr old female neighbor once told me: “you take such wonderful care of your mom, women like this with men & my mother told me to marry a man who loved his mother” – I guess 90-year-olds and up *do know* what they’re talking about! Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  9. Chantell Lee Bertollini-Brooks says:

    I want to huddle in a closet and read every post..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:


      It’s like your very own 7 Months in Heaven game, except your friends aren’t huddled outside and nothing particularly fun happens. I recommend taking a drink or five in with you each day.


  10. Briana Tremone says:

    Hey Matt,I just read your blog for the first time today. I like it and I like you. Here’s something you’re going to love (I’m trying not to sound religious about this, but it’s the most massively useful tool I’ve ever seen for human interactions)
    The title is:
    NonViolent Communication A language of life 3rd edition Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD

    After every chapter there are questions, and he tells you whether you are or aren’t in agreement with him on that answer – ’cause you got it right when you wrote something lto the effect of “make sure you and the other person are actually hearing what each other
    I’ve bought this book, like, 13 or 14 times and I keep giving it to people. It works! Marshall has (had – he died) a track record of conflict resolution that’s almost unbelievable. If you’re starting to make helping people be what you DO (and I totally support your decision BTW) you’re going to love this.

    Also, If you like Bene Brown, look up Esthar Perel on you tube. She’s also a beautifully insightful couples therapist.(and her accent is delightful.)

    I think you can do a lot of good in the world. Average guys don’t have a lot of other average guys to talk to who know this stuff.

    I’ll come back and check out how you’re doing. More power to you brother.


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Aaron Brown says:

    Hey there, Matt!

    Just read you’re blog about treating your ex right. What a great read! It’s so true. My ex and I are very similar. We we’re married for almost 19 years and have 3 kids ages 20, 18, and 6! We’ve been divorced for a little over five years now. Yes. Kiddo number three was conceived after the papers were filed. We do holidays together, birthdays together. Hell man, we do everything together still! It hasn’t always been this way, but we came to a realization that all of the stupid shit we argued about just didn’t mean anything anymore because we weren’t together anymore. It changed our lives! I love her and always will. I can say the same thing about her. I’m a over the road truck driver so my schedule is very crazy and unpredictable. She’s so patient and understanding. I give her money for the kids and none of it is in the courts at all. Our children are the center of our lives and they have reaped the benefits of this in so many ways. She is my best friend and more of a partner now than she ever was when we were married. My parents often joke that we have a better divorce than most people’s marriages. Keep writing, man! Wisdom from failure is priceless and you, like me, obviously failed and learned. I’ll send all of my buddies to read your stuff!
    Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      This is quite the story.

      I really liked it. Thank you, Aaron. To your family. And to living well on your terms instead of what others might want or expect. Awesome.

      Cheers to all of you.


    • Carys says:

      This all sounds amazing, though I cant help but wonder how she feels about it all. Relieved perhaps. It’s lovely that it works for you. ♡


  12. Tracy Brown says:


    Write the book and hire a brilliant PR person to just put you on a couple key media spot!

    I haven’t even consumed your whole site yet, but it is obvious the universe provided you with quite the lesson and perspective for this 2nd act. (I am sorry though that you had to endure the pain to learn it, but that is the case with some vital lessons.)

    In the very least, I have new ideas on how to communicate via analogies and can take a deep breath at knowing that at least one male gets the glass thing. (I’ve said I would prefer he walk through the house with both middle fingers extended because at least that is clear, non-passive aggressive communication about intent. Ha!)

    Save the glass. Save the world. (Or at least my personal sanity.)

    Seriously, write the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm, I wondered how I kept getting visitors to my little cave from here. I now know the reason why.

      Keep fighting the good fight, Matt. Although my marriage is/was irreparably broken, it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be better, stronger, and wiser moving forward. Your work was a catalyst for some much needed change of perspective on my part, and I remain grateful to you for this.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I just found your blog and I love your work. I look forward to catching up.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Just came across your blog. I love your blog❤ I’m a blogger as well and I have to say you have such a unique way to put things in perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. great blog – interesting comments – aligns with “extreme ownership” and honest self reflection that speak to both sides of my brain – self loathing and resentment ; )

    I see a lot of comments from men here about “what about her side of the equation”?
    Are women ever expected to reflect on their own part of this – how they are shitty too?
    I feel that way too…

    This feeling, is a total distraction though, as I admit my contribution of shittiness is real and certainly above 50% contribution. I do need to be better…

    I am in a constant struggle to keep head above water – always feeling like a failure
    Being with her makes me feel like my life is one continuous apology
    I look forward to being asleep as it’s the only time that I’m free

    But, I can’t forget to bury my own needs – they too are a distraction that can only fuel my own resentment.
    The trick is to bury all your feelings and not to forget to fake the “joy” part – this is necessary otherwise she will call you out for this as well.

    Being in a marriage is work – men are the workers and women are your supervisor.
    It is annoying being a supervisor – the incompetence of your workers is hard to stomach.

    Good luck to you all – no joy for the damned!


  16. Laura Ross says:

    Wow wish I’d discovered this 3 years ago when I was divorced. Realise I’m still a work in progress as Divorce can have a devastating effect on you and your self-esteem. From a very newbie blogger thank you so much for inspiring me!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Matt says:

    How can I live through this burden?
    This will be fairly long but I’ll do my best to summarise. I’ve spoken a lot over the years about being verbally attacked by my wife. Called loser, stupid, dumb etc.

    We came out to Australia in 2011 and she straight away started working hard and taking her frustrations out on me. I was also working hard. We started from a position of next to nothing.

    I’ve worked stable full time jobs to pay the bills and ensure we were stable. But I’ve needed her help along the way to chip in with them.

    However, it was her parents and her work in real estate that was instrumental in us getting our first home and eventually building a portfolio.

    I continued to work but was critical of her bad language towards me. She sacrificed so much of her health working long hours and not eating properly. Her Chinese friends look at me and ask why I’m slightly overweight when she is deathly skinny. They blame me for not taking good care of her…But I have repeatedly told her to slow down and eat properly. She ignored this. Her every waking moment is about how to earn money.

    She pays for her expensive handbags and jewellery and even financed our recent European trip.

    We have to tent out one bedroom in our apartment to afford the child care fees. I’m balancing my debt the best i can whilst working shift work with a lot of night shifts and taking the lions share of caring for our 18 month old son…

    Her parents make the sacrifice of coming out from China to live with us and help take care of our son. My parents live a couple of hours away and dad is still working full time shift work as well.

    Recently she has said things like she hates me so much and wishes she wasn’t with me because she feels like a man and I’m the woman in the relationship.

    She often says she looks down on a man that wants to come to his wife to ask for help. That most men my age (I’m 36) will have the family organised and have investments etc. That they organise to pay for trips and surprise their wives with nice presents etc.

    I’d like to do that but I’m paying all the bills for our apt including expensive car loan. I’ve tried to explain to her these things but she doesn’t listen. I’ve been called useless and accused of doing nothing for the family despite how I’ve looked after most of the housework and spent so much time to look after our son. I’d come off night shift and stay up for hrs to care for him on weekends or stay up until midday to take him to the daycare and clean up the home. Then get up for his dinner.

    I am a responsible person. I put the family first and work both in the home and outside. I also study. I try my best to manage.

    She claims that if she gets a cancer diagnosis from her poor health, that she will straight away divorce me and want to be left alone.

    Yep kick me in the guts for standing by her and trying my best. My best is never good enough. I’m too relaxed for her etc.

    But she makes me feel like I’m a hopeless man and loser with no way to make the family good.

    It’s damn hard.


    • Myheartsinparis says:

      She sounds like a shitty wife, put downs and name calling are certainly not admirable behavior. It sounds like to me you have a shitty wife that you actually need to walk away from.


  18. Sharon Kass says:

    I read the recent New York Times article about you. While your services are no doubt valuable, and cognitive-behavioral counseling is as well, stubborn problems–including marital ineptitude and nonmarriage–should be treated with depth psychotherapy. Narcissistic personality disorder, affecting both men and women, is a huge problem in this country.


  19. Brendon Hutchins says:

    Thanks Matt

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ishani says:

    Please get some credentials? If you’re serious about this work, treat it seriously.

    I could anecdotally cure coughs and colds because I’ve had them too but surprisingly enough, people still need to see a doctor. Who is trained and qualified to handle illnesses.

    Regardless of any good that’s come from your side career, people deserve more than armchair psychotherapy if you’re going to charge money so they can talk to you.


    • Matt says:

      I’m not practicing medicine, Ishani. I’m trying to help people reframe the stories they tell themselves about their partners actions, emotions, intentions, etc.

      I’m trying to help people empathize.

      Forgive me, but I don’t care about framed documents on walls. I care about whether the message connects and can be a catalyst for good.

      I’m in favor of learning more. Being more. Always.

      But I don’t need a rubber stamp and a “you’re good enough, Matt!” in order to try to help people.

      The people who work with me decide for themselves whether talking to me helps.

      No one who actually talks to me worries about whether I’m in this for their money.

      I don’t promise to help people. I promise to try really hard. And people will choose to talk to me based on whether it actually does help.

      People deserve to not hurt at home in their marriages and relationships. You’re so right.


  21. Lacy says:

    Hi! I love your content. I came across it after a Google search for “how to get along with your shitty husband”. No joke. He’s deceived me, makes promises he can’t keep, disregards my feelings (I feel this way because of what you did. Him: no you don’t) and I 100% feel like I’m either raising two kids (our young daughter gets the hang of things faster then he does) or his mother. Do you have any of this information in a podcast somewhere? He’s not much into reading, especially if I ask him to, but there is a higher chance he’d listen if that’s available somewhere. Especially the open letters volumes. I read all of them and there’s so much in there I tried to explain to him in our arguments but he just doesn’t get it. There’s a higher chance he’d get it if it came from someone else. Although he didn’t really take any of the advice from our therapy sessions, so maybe I’m just beating a dead and selfish horse here… Arghh. You no idea how many fictitious conversations I’ve had with his mother where I confront her about how poorly she raised him. I just hope our daughter doesn’t attract a copy of him into her life when she’s older.

    Thank you!


    • Matt says:

      Hey Lacy. I haven’t done a ton of audio work at this point, but it’s something I intend to do more of. I do have an audio version of my my article “8 Ways Good People Invalidate Their Partners and Ruin Relationships.” Link is at the top of the article.

      I’ll consider making audio versions of the Open Letter posts. Thank you for planting that seed.

      I don’t think I have ever said this in a comment because I don’t like being a self-congratulatory douchebag who tries to get money from people, but I do one-on-one coaching work and some people think I don’t suck at it.

      Far be it from me to imply that the therapist did an ineffective job of communicating with him, but just maybe he didn’t consider the messenger credible for one reason or another. You didn’t marry and have children with this man because you calculated he was an evil, lazy bastard.

      You married him because you wanted to. Just maybe, that guy’s still there.

      I like to believe it’s worth fighting for.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting.


  22. Mark Smith says:

    Wonderfully expressed


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