An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands


I was a shitty husband.

And it’s not because I’m a massive jerk, or abusive, or particularly difficult to get along with.

I was a shitty husband because I didn’t respect my wife’s thoughts and feelings about things I mistakenly believed didn’t matter. When two people disagree, both think they’re right. Which makes the other person wrong.

But sometimes there is no “right.” Sometimes, there is no “wrong.”

You liked the movie. She didn’t. She likes salsa dancing. You don’t. Nobody is right or wrong. But we treat one another like that’s the case. That what I think and believe and feel is right. Therefore, you must be wrong.

I was a shitty husband because I promised her in front of hundreds of people we knew that I would love and honor her all the days of my life. In good times, and in bad. And then I didn’t do that. I didn’t do it in the bad times because I didn’t “feel” like it. Because it wasn’t easy or convenient.

For years, I put my wants and needs ahead of her’s. Not for the “big things,” which is all I thought mattered. I put me first in all the “little things.” Disagreements about housework, passively leaving her to manage our schedules, and the logistics of caring for our son.

She tried to talk to me about it. But I didn’t listen.

I thought she was nagging. Complaining. Being needy. Being a bitch.

I thought because I was a nice person, and that I’d made sacrifices for her, that I was a good husband. I thought because I didn’t do a bunch of bad things some guys do that I was a good husband. I didn’t realize it until much too late: Good men can be bad husbands. Just like good men can be bad at designing bridges, or bad at water-color painting, or bad at water skiing.

We don’t want to hear bad things being said about us. Especially from those we believe we sacrifice daily for. So when we do, we don’t listen. We justify our behavior. Rationalize it. Get defensive. And angry.

We disagree with them, and tell them they’re wrong. Sometimes we tell them they’re crazy. Sometimes we raise our voices or call them a name.

Divorce is the great social crisis of our time, and not enough people are talking about it. Two good, smart, nice people marry voluntarily, and deny it though they will, it’s a coin toss as to whether they’ll be married a decade later.

I tell my story so that maybe other people won’t get divorced like me.


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


The Posts

Vol. 1

I was in a lot of pain and blaming my ex-wife in the immediate aftermath of her leaving. Vol. 1 represented the first time I began learning to accept responsibility for my very large role in destroying the marriage.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 1

Vol. 2

I got into a really preachy phase with my writing. I’m sure it was annoying because clearly I’m an asshole who doesn’t know anything. But my heart was in the right place.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 2

Vol. 3

I was at a party and I had a tiny crush on the married birthday girl, and I watched her husband ignore her all night (and already knew him to be a less-than-ideal partner). The whole scene made me sad because it reminded me of how I used to treat my ex-wife.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 3

Vol. 4

There’s a really scary phase during a couple’s slow descent to divorce that many husbands don’t realize is scary. When a wife finally snaps and decides to leave or have an affair, her personality often transitions from sad and angry to resigned and apathetic. An observant husband will notice the change immediately. But before she snaps, there’s a period of time in which she’s trying to save your marriage. She wants to be married to you, to love you, and to be together for your children. And in her last-ditch effort to reach you, you often dig in your heels in “manly” defiance. “Stop trying to change me!” If you love winning fights and getting your way more than you love your wife, then you probably deserve what’s about to happen.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 4

Vol. 5

Yes, guys. You have to help around the house. Not sure if you checked the calendar lately, but it’s not 1960 anymore. No matter how insane you think it sounds, she WILL divorce you for leaving a dish by the sink.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 5

Vol. 6

You can destroy your marriage by trying to be “nice.” By letting your spouse make all the decisions. You think it’s a nice gesture, letting the other person have their way. But really? You’re killing them, their respect and desire for you, and it’s all going to break one day. All because you don’t want to be responsible for making plans two weekends from now or scheduling the kids’ dentist appointments or planning family meals. Maybe it’s time to rethink your priorities.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 6

Vol. 7

Men are generally very competitive creatures. I know I am. But despite that, men AREN’T competitive about marriage. And by that, I mean, they tend to not work hard to be the best husband and father imaginable as a measure of pride. They strive for greatness at work, or in a particular organization or social club or hobby. But men don’t seem to think being the best at marriage is a worthwhile endeavor. Considering it’s one of the most-important things we do in this life, and we have such a high failure rate, I wonder why that is.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 7

Vol. 8

What starts at an early age on playgrounds, turns into a relationship killer in adulthood. Men using jokes, sarcasm and mockery to belittle their wives and girlfriends both privately and publicly. It may not be intended to be cruel. It often isn’t. But the recipient of those “jokes” often feels as if it’s cruel. Beat her down long enough, and only one of two things can happen: She’ll leave you for someone who respects her, or you’ll break her and she won’t be the person you married anymore. Maybe she already isn’t.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 8

Vol. 9

Guys like “Me”-time. Maybe everyone does. But a lot of time when husbands and fathers do it, it looks and feels to his wife and children like he isn’t interested in them or that he’d rather spend time alone than with his family. When guys get married young, they often think it’s going to be just like having a permanent girlfriend. That marriage is basically just promising to never have sex with any other women. Sometimes, no one teaches us that marriage isn’t about us. That it’s actually for the person we’re marrying. No one teaches us that the key to sustaining love and happiness isn’t taking. It’s giving.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 9

Vol. 10

Wives sometimes turn into someone else throughout the course of their marriages. Men don’t like it because the person they married is gone. Women don’t like it because they lose the fun, innocent version of themselves they remember from their youth. Husbands lose their wives’ trust. Not over the big things, most of the time. Over the little things. Men won’t change, so their wives MUST. Resentment builds. And much of the time, everything breaks.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 10

Vol. 11

I think married couples who are sad and angry about their lives and relationships make the mistake of trying to “fix the marriage.” They spend all their time trying to figure out how “we” can do things different, and how the other person can make changes to make life better. But I think people need to work on themselves to fix the marriage. To look inside themselves and figure out how they can be their best self. Two people working to be the best versions of themselves have a great chance to succeed. Two people expecting the other to change on their behalf seem doomed to a life of sadness and frustration.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 11

Vol. 12

Cheating is never okay. We don’t want to do it. We don’t want it to happen to us. Almost everyone agrees it’s a horrible, destructive thing. Yet, it keeps happening over and over again. Even with a very decent spouse at home. Even with children and a seemingly happy life. I think it’s important for people to understand WHY this happens, so they can be more self-aware, and so that spouses can work to fill the voids people try to fill with extramarital affairs.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 12

Vol. 13

Maybe somewhere, there’s an example of pornography and masturbation radically improving marriages and relationships. Anything’s possible. But what often happens while couples are slowly drifting apart is that husbands turn to porn and masturbation for sexual relief. Some people don’t think it’s a big deal. I think I’ve seen and heard enough evidence to convince me that heavy porn consumption and masturbation, especially if it’s being hidden as part of a secret life, can negatively affect marriage, and not always in ways people think it will.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 13

Vol. 14

Of the many things I didn’t do that might have resulted in a successful marriage, my failure to mindfully plan fun activities and make tiny time investments to communicate how much I valued my wife and our marriage is probably the most egregious. There’s no excuse that doesn’t ultimately end with: Thousands of times I could have made a slightly different choice to focus on her and us, instead of me and whatever else. And I didn’t. Of all the things that could have saved the marriage, this would have been the easiest to do differently. In some respects, that makes this my greatest relationship failure.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 14

I Provide Relationship Coaching and Divorce Support Coaching Now

I’ve always liked that I wasn’t a thought leader or subject matter expert about marriage, divorce, or anything in the family therapy realm. After several years of writing here, I’ve heard from hundreds, maybe thousands of people who believed THAT was my secret to connecting with people. I am NOT a counselor or therapist, and I’ll never pretend to be.

What I am is someone who can sometimes bridge the divide between two people struggling to connect with or communicate effectively with their spouse or romantic partner.

If you are searching for a better way to connect, or as if the end of your relationship is inevitable and you are seeking a support network, maybe I can help. To learn more, you can email me at with “Coaching Request” (or whatever) in the subject line, or you can visit the Relationship Coaching & Divorce Support page here.

What Qualifies Me for the Job?


But I have a funny little brain and it works like this: There is nothing exceptional about me. Not a thing.

I am the averageiest average person alive.

I possess average intelligence, average physicality and average skills in many facets of life. I am average looking. I earn an average income. I live in an average house in an average town. I had an average upbringing. And now I’m just your average divorced dad stumbling through adulthood.

You know what I think that means?

I think it means A LOT of people can relate to me. I think it means that the mistakes I made and the things I think and feel are JUST LIKE all of the mistakes you make and things you think and feel.

And I’m willing to write it down.

And I have absolutely no idea why that helps people. But I know that it does. It helps people.

Shitty Husbands Abound

You know a shitty husband.

You are one, or you are married to one, or you were raised by one, or you’re friends with one.

Shitty husbands ARE NOT always bad people. Sometimes they are very good people who are simply not very good at being married.

You don’t have to be abusive or neglectful or adulterous or deceitful to be a shitty husband. You need only put your wants ahead of your spouse’s.

You do that enough times?

All while not listening to her pleas for help? Her cries for attention? Her desire for emotional and intimate connection?

She’s going to start having sex with someone else and leave you, or she’s going to WANT to, which is equally bad. It’s true.

These An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands posts are consistently among my most popular posts.

I like some of them more than others because some are poorly written. But what I’ve heard time and time again from frustrated wives and ex-wives (and some husbands and ex-husbands) is that they recognize the truth in all of this.

Male-female relationships tend to follow the same patterns and tend to result in the same conflicts.


Because if we’re all experiencing the same afflictions and symptoms, then we can all fix it with the same treatment and medicine.

Losing my family was the worst thing that ever happened to me.

I’m cool now because a lot of time has passed, and a lot of healing happened. But it was all very, very bad. And I don’t want other people to have to go through it. Especially children.

Not everyone is going to make it. We’re human, and we fail.

But there doesn’t have to be this much brokenness in the world. So many marriages fail that don’t have to.

It makes me sad. And I believe it can be better.

And this is my small contribution to trying to be part of the solution.

I hope you’ll join me.

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689 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands

  1. Sandra says:

    Not one person in his family came to my mother’s funeral mass. Not one! There was no phone call explaining what happened. Granted, my MIL had suffered a heart attack and had a quad bypass 2 mos. prior but was released from rehab 10 days before the mass. And it was just a funeral mass with a breakfast afterwards. One hour out of their day, but they couldn’t be bothered. Even if only 1 of them showed up, things would be different. After 3 days of being quiet, I let loose on my husband. He went over there (he didn’t want me to go ‘cuz he was afraid I would give his mother another heart attack) and spoke to his mother, stepfather and sister. They had no excuse. They blamed one another. Seeing how hurt I was over this, I thought he would distance himself from them since it was what I needed to do. He didn’t. He continues to visit them and they all act like nothing happened. I can’t get past this…I tolerate them for Easter and xmas. Other than that, I keep my distance. I guess he doesn’t understand how their total lack of sympathy made me feel. Especially when my MIL stresses the importance of family, family, family. His connection to them causes a big disconnect with our connection. He just doesn’t get it. He is a nice guy, and unfortunately, that is not a good thing in this case.


    • Maddy476 says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss Sandra. It’s extremely difficult to lose someone you love, especially your Mom.
      I can really relate. My husband left me in my home town city the day after my Mom’s funeral. It’s 3.5 hours away from where we live. 3 days later, we had the interment at the cemetery and I stood there and buried my Mom with no husband or kids for support. He took them home too. I had no way home because he took the car. I had to take the train home from my own Mother’s funeral !!
      It’s unforgivable and I knew at that point it was over.
      I recommend reading the “emotionally unavailable man”. I agree your husband just doesn’t understand. You have to spell it out for him in black and white. He (and most men – except for Matt) cannot connect the dots.
      We have to connect them for them. Explain your expectations and what it means to love and support one another. If he can’t stand up for you, I would suggest skipping all activities with his family. No one needs that. You are worth much more. Good luck


  2. timothy l michel says:

    That’s nice. Everyone should take responsibility for their mistakes and attempt to rectify them. So where is your website foe shitty women? They are out their too, no doubt about it. So rise to the challenge my friend. Both sides of the coin must be examined.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boss Baby says:

      This is an excellent example of something a shitty husband would say. Thank you for the specimen and good luck! 💩

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jon Reynolds says:

        Well he is right. Sorry to burst your I am woman bubble. Every year statistically men are running the other way from you women. If I were your husband I’d be out before the door hit me in the…


        • theresa says:

          I hope you do so because woman dont want or need man like you in their lives. There is enough shitty man out there lazing around the house not willing to help or maintain the house or even pay for the house and gas water electricity bills despite insisting wife dont work to take care of children instead of paying for childcare


    • I don’t think I could roll my eyes any harder than I did while reading this. He is speaking from his own personal experience as a man and, to quote him, a “shitty husband”. How the hell is he supposed to do that from a woman’s perspective when he is not a woman? Think a little.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ellie says:

      There you go! In the interests of fairness, an article depicting how women can be shitty to their husbands.

      Except, unlike on this post, the women responding to the men are generally sympathetic of the men’s pov.

      I’m amazed when I see how defensive some men are. Too busy with their “But I’m a good guy / I can do no wrong” image to actually try to understand what is being said.


  3. Michelle says:

    Are you single!? I wish I could find someone just like you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michelle says:

    How on earth do I get my husband to take me seriously or read something like this without filing for divorce? Nothing I try works he is full of denfenses and justifications and I’m at my wits end. I love him, I want to be with him but it feels like it’s killing me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Susan says:

    I asked my husband to read your “dirty dishes” article, which I thought was so enlightened of you to write, and I thought would be the break through article he/we needed for me to get through to him. Instead, I heard how yes, every man feels this way and how women should just tell the man what she wants instead of him magically knowing what she wants. In short, he didn’t get it. I tried to have a conversation about what I thought he was missing from said article and the ultimate end of the conversation was this, in my future requests I am to tag along at the end of my request the words “for me” As an example: Would you take out the garbage “for me” I am at a loss…..I cannot express my sadness and frustration. I tear up as I write this. I just don’t know how to get through to my husband. He doesn’t see the pain he causes. Everything you write is spot on about him, but he doesn’t see it. Then what is a wife to do??

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] job of explaining what she really wanted in a way that made sense to me? Yeah, I think so. I think I’ve demonstrated that I truly understand the problem, and I think I could have understood it while I was still married if the message was delivered in […]


  7. Cerise says:

    Well, i am getting divorced in a few weeks. This is the second time my still husband has plugged the cord. We were married for a year, I lost my father and ended up in debt paying for his unfinished business within that year. I was really devastated. While I dealt with my father’s passing my husband kept pestering me for failing to fulfill my duties and on top of that blamed me for everything (I tried my best but I was really depressed). In his head I was 80% responsible of the failing of our marriage and he had only 20%. I know I am not perfect, but I really didn’t feel he understood me, nor validated me. I addressed him the things I didnt like about our marriage and he would blame shift on me to make me feel awful and pathetic. After taking so many therapies finally I realized that I was married to a man that was a bit of a narcissist. In his words he had no problems and was right all the time. It was draining for me.

    Kind of wish he read your blog before :(


    • Lyn Te says:

      it could be worse. My husband threw a hard shoe forcefully straight at my head and eyes and send me reeeling in absolute agony. It turn out i had suffered post trauma concussion. Brain bleeding and swollen and it was pure agony and i feel like burning on fire. Yet he go behind my back to my sister text her its my mouth. He cant stand it anymore. He hurt me. i got my sisster texting me so you rich people, because we own 2 houses as cant sell, throw things at each other. hospitalise? feel better? He then tell my kids he had harder skull than me and had no pain. just scratches. This happened when we were on holiday that i procure throughtout from searching booking paying and asking him to buy air tickets or photo copy passport as backup and all the while i had to suffer from his constant shouting and telling me off. On holiday, they upset the baby and i know he was hungry and went downstairs for food. dad gave him a box of pringles which big bro , naughty whack it off his hand and food fell onto floor. child upset, big bro and big sister ignored him and happily eat the breakfast husband cooked for them but not for the 11 year old who was hungry. I came down and console him and told off big bro. They ignore me and claimed its an accident and i told them off for not looking out for youngest who are hungry. Instead they happily eat their breakfast then had a go at me and the child to which i put them back in their place. Husband not happy and big sis walked out the door and husband threw shoe at my head. nobody call the doctor or ambulance and the youngest wanted to call but was stopped by husband and big bro and sis. Needless to say i knew my marriage was over years ago when i was in car accident and because i cant do anything or pay anything, husband was particularly nasty and vindictive, Not take me to hospital, not get food for me. Play the father buy food every weekend he is home and sneer at me and kick my eldest son out because he tried to explain to dad not to waste money. Use the money to pay for house and food cook at home. He got more violent when my kids found out he got little 2 year old girls socks, toys , beddings presents and omega hi q for 2 years old in the back of his car boot and baby food receipt.and his bank account statement for child care. His parents been grooming him since we were married 20 years ago. He tried to leave and i left him with all the kids. so he stayed. His argument originally was, when man leaves, woman have to look after the kids and no job, no money and he wont have to pay. WOW tallk about western culture values and he is chinese.


  8. Joan says:

    I am contemplating divorce from my husband..its very sad to me..counseling for 1 year but later found out he was only going to “vent” so he would not take his frustrations out on me..Its always been a battle, I could do 100 good things but he would find 1 thing that I did wrong or not good enough..if he did something to hurt me, he would not take accountability but blame in on anything or anybody else..stating I’m overly emotional or crabby and that’s why I am really upset..I recently got a promotion and now make more money than him..he contributes 80 $ per week for groceries, as I do..we ran out if bread, I said he could run up to the store as I was at my son’s concert..he said, I dont give you 80$ per week to have to buy a loaf if bread..idont understand anymore, I’m exhausted..I do not feel connected to him nor happy..confused and do not know what to do:( I told him a month ago, I’ll clean, cook, do everything around the house, I only ask that you treat me right..but here I am again, I screwed up because he didnt have bread


    • Sandee says:

      He sounds very selfish and rather than own up to issues being his fault, he makes you feel small and incompetent. He is not being a partner in any sense of the word. Time to cut your losses and hold your head high. He is dragging you down, sister!


      • Maddie476 says:

        I totally agree. Time to cut your losses. You will be happier without him and it’s such a great feeling, you won’t believe it. You’ll wonder why you stayed so long and put up with that crap. You deserve better. It also sets a good example to your kids in that you value yourself.
        Be happy.


  9. Martin says:

    Hello, From a very shitty husband! This website was forwarded to me by of course my wife. I have read some of the above comments and from a lot of the comments its “leave him” or he’s selfish! You know what a lot of you better look in the mirror and take a long look. I urge my wife to go find someone better all the time. I am tired of her having every holiday off which includes Thanksgiving week, Christmas week, February break, Spring Break, Jewish holidays and the whole summer. She works for a school district and basically doesn’t need to take any annual leave. I work for the Govt.

    I get six hours off a pay period. I am down to seven hours of annual left right now because of all the trips we have taken in the past year and she tells me I didn’t manage it right because I took an extra day here and there and now I have no time. I am tired of her planning events without even asking me. “Oh were going to so and so’s tomorrow night”. First I heard of it! Never ask’s about if Im interested. “Oh I’m taking the weekend, book club is going out to blankety blank. ” Do u mind are you and ——– gonna be okay” meaning leaving my daughter and I at home. Oh I’m meeting so and so for dinner.” Taking her sweet ass time coming home from work while stopping at Kohl’s, TJ Maxx or Walmart. Mean while Tuesday Thursday and Friday mornings I take my daughter to school for Orchestra practice and clubs and I am boarder line late because my wife and daughter are always arguing and we can’t get out of the house. After work I have to rush home to relieve the sitter Monday, Wed, Friday and Tuesday and Thursday pick her up from aftercare. I take my daughter to all the school dances since pre-school into fourth grade, have one next Friday. My wife has never taken her or went with us!

    My job has me working outside in every bit of weather that can be thrown at communities in the northeast. Yes that is my choice but the money is pretty good since I have been promoted a couple of times and I am retired military and it is ten minutes from home. She hires cleaning ladies to come in twice a month and after they have been coming for awhile starts complaining about the job they are doing. We been through a lot of cleaning ladies. I caught one that she picked up from a girlfriend on our outside security cameras coming and going after two hours when she was supposed to be here for four hours and paid a $100 dollars. “Oh stop criticizing me, you find a cleaning lady!” “We have to clean the house because the cleaning ladies are coming and then complains that they are not doing a good job.!

    Complains about my hobbies, I love Ham radio, My daughter has the TV and I web surf and listen to HAM radio and talk with people around the world from my living room while my wife is playing “Word Chums” with relatives.
    I am also told all the time that I am the example my daughter needs for how a man is supposed to treat a woman. In other words if I treat my daughter badly that is what she will expect in how a man is supposed to treat her and of course gravitate to that. Well that shit runs both ways. My daughter yells at me and repeats a lot of what my wife says to me. ” I don’t listen, I’m lazy, I don’t do anything, You spend to much time on HAM radio” My daughter is ten. They are never interested in what I would like to do. “Hey lets go bowling”! Lets go four wheeling on the beach and take the dog” “Let go geocaching and a hike” Then I get told about how we can’t go because of the ticks! You can’t do anything in the northeast if you are going to worry about ticks!
    My wife made a comment to me onetime after I broke my leg at work, broke in two places, surgery, a big deal! She was helping me in the shower and she yells at me and says, “Her life sucks and sucks even more now!” I’ve never forgotten that. She says she worries about me being able to take care of her later in life, Well baby I have the same worries after some of your comments! I have popped positive for Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever. My back is shot from Osteoarthritis and I have a Titanium rod in my leg with screws in my ankle yet I go to work everyday in Rain, Wind and Snow. Thx for listening and let the abusive comments begin!
    A very shitty husband

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandy says:

      Being a planner myself, my poor husband gets 4 hours of PTO per month. And 2 wks vacation. He’s allowed to carry only 16 hours of PTO at the end of the year into the new year. If he has anything left that is. He knows that I am a planner and appreciates that because he would not want to be involved other than packing a suitcase and leaving. it works for us. As far a planning something that does not involve him, I have…with his permission. I love the Seahawks and went with a male friend to see them in their stadium for a 5 day weekend back in 2016. He was more than happy to let me go since he is not a football fanatic. He is into RC cars and cruise nights. Definitely not my thing. But he is more than welcome to attend any such events with my blessing as long as I don’t have to go. The only issues that come up involve his family. They are very needy and selfish people. I keep my distance from them as much as possible.

      It sounds to me like you are running on empty and have no time or energy to do anything for yourself. Sometimes spouses are too caught up in their own issues to even notice or hear their partners’ point of view. A third party may be able to open up the communication between you and your wife. She needs to hear what you have to say and I wish you both the best in trying to mend your marriage.


      • Martin says:

        Thank you Sandy, Things have seemed to calm down since then.


      • HH says:

        After reading the comments I think it’s safe to say everyone is shitty in some way. My most recent shitty action- sending a rude text to my husbands cousins wife on his phone. I know that’s terrible and I do regret it. My reasons, which I recognize don’t excuse the behavior-
        1) a few years ago she informed me that I was not to call or text her husband as she did not share him. That being said, during my decade of marriage, she has consistently called and texted my hubs about everything, including things she could contact me about. So that’s a weird double standard. Doesn’t even have the decency to forward texts to both of us, but I’ve blown it off until nine thirty last night. Husband seems to think this is normal.
        2) like I said a decade of marriage. I have reached out to her as a friend and always been pushed away. I have been hung up on once, but she usually just doesn’t answer calls or respond to texts. In social settings she blows past without looking at me. He says that’s just how she is.
        3) she has gone so far as to criticize my clothes and actions and my children who are frankly better behaved than hers ever were though my son can be a handful. My hub says “she has reasons for saying what she says”.

        So all this being said, I believe I could blow her opinions and behaviors off if I felt I had my husbands support. But I don’t. He always defends her, saying she is “stressed” or that “her blood sugar is probably messed up” (she is diabetic). I totally know that it was shitty of me to be texting other people on his phone. After our brief conversation today I did learn my lesson and will not do that again. He is right, it was wrong of me. Shitty. But am I wrong to feel that it is shitty of him to defend others bad behavior and rudeness towards me? There are other times and people but this is the person I have had the most issues with over the longest period of time. Again, I know my actions last night were wrong. But I also feel that his actions over the last ten years have been wrong. I feel like as long as I meet a certain “behavior standard” and keep my mouth shut I’m acceptable, but if I call shit on someone else, then I’m held on trial. This can’t be normal.


    • Maddie476 says:

      Martin, based on your comments, I’d have to say I’m on your side and think you need to find a way to talk to your wife. Communication is number one and it sounds like you both have different expectations of want you want and need out of this relationship. You both have to pay attention to each other, do common things together and spend time alone as a couple otherwise you are just roommates. Good luck.


      • Martin says:

        Maddie thank you for your comments. She does call me roomie though but most times she is content to lay around with the dog. Sometimes I think she is just seeing if I care.


        • Maddie476 says:

          Maybe time to sit and have heart to heart. What do you need from her? Are you still in love with each other. When the kids are gone, how will things be? What will you do together?


    • Mgoots says:

      You sound like such an amazing husband! I would kill to get that kind of support. Your wife sounds like she doesn’t appreciate you. You don’t sound like a shitty husband to me, especially given the baseline I have… if she can’t appreciate all that you do and respect you, I think you are doing the right thing by focusing on your kids. Keep being a good dad if she can’t accept you trying to be a good husband…


    • Allison says:

      Hi Martin :)
      Sounds like your wife may be projecting her own behavior on you. Makes you feel like the crazy one and like you’re just angry all the time? It also sounds like you are giving a lot of yourself and maybe it doesn’t feel like a fair or equal investment. Have you ever read anything about narcissistic women? I assure you it could be enlightening given your description of your home life. Good luck:)


    • Kg says:

      I would be elated to have a husband that does as much as you! You sound like the Male version of me. I take care of everything and it’s just expected. My husband is disabled and I do a ton of stuff daily. I dont compmain… but he sure does! If it helps, just know you are not alone


    • Toast says:

      This is epic and I’ve kind to f enjoyed hearing this story. I doubt you’re a shitty husband. Your wife sounds like an absolute delight


    • Lyn Te says:

      hi martin,

      sorry to hear that. It seems that your situation is like mine except i am the woman, not the man. my husband would instead hide in a separate room doing whatever he wanted watching videos, fb, etc etc and never spend time with kids after work or weekend. I do everything under the sun for a marriage apart from paying for food as he insist i stop working to look after kids so that he dont have to pay for childcare. Try to enjoy spending time with your daughter . i know how you feel as i keep running around the household including chauffering, help kids to make friends whilst his mum told him no need to lift a finger. You worked too hard at work. Try talking to your wife on how she relates to you. try to put a little romance back. Hopefully she will come to realise how you feel . My husband is totally uninterested in the marriage unless i can pay for things and do everything as per his parents instructions. At least look on the bright side. you got no in laws from hell destroying your marriage. So perhaps its salvageable. good luck


    • Lotus says:

      I just saw this, as I’m new to this site. I don’t know if you’re still around or will see this. I just wanted to say, I can understand your emotion in your last line most of all. “Let the abusive comments begin.” I feel like that’s what you’re bracing for. I’ve read your situation. I believe you have done your best to voice valid concerns. You should know that having emotions and worries is not what makes you a shitty husband. I don’t believe you are one. Toxic patterns? Sure. I hope you’ve found a way to advocate successfully for what you need from her. Everything you said was fair in my eyes. I hope you are well. :)


  10. Ashamed says:

    My ex raped me. He did all the shitty stuff you talk about but only unconscious women wrapped in climgfilm unable to breathe while being raped turned him on. I wish I’d left ten years sooner the day I saw the files he downloaded. He actually thought I was his to do what he wanted with and never saw me as a person. He told everyone he was shocked I left and that he always did the right thing. In court his opening remark? Im Christian grey and she is shit in bed. Read the freedom programme material so you do not prop up abusing men


  11. […] about many of the realizations I’d made about how I was showing up in my marriage (spoiler alert: like a piece-of-shit husband), and today, despite being a divorced single guy, people pay me actual money to coach them about […]


  12. […] you have any idea as to the thought process of a shitty husband (who isn’t a Dick who gets off on abusing his wife) who makes that ok in his mind? That after 9 […]


  13. Josh says:

    Holy shit. I am a shitty husband. How did I not realize it? I really love my wife and I am terrified of losing her. I googled “why can’t I make my wife happy” and this website came up. The answer to the question seems pretty straightforward… Try. Care. Maybe start with the things she has asked me to do instead of giving her excuses for why I can’t. Thank you for making this website. I hope I still have time to learn to treat her better and earn what I have.


    • Maddie476 says:

      She also wants you to listen to her, pay attention to her, plan to take her to dinner or a movie. It’s exhausting for women to plan all the social activities or have to tell their husband. We want you guys to put a bit of effort in and do the thinking. We want an equal partner not another child. Not saying you are that way.
      Men and women think very differently. Instead of dismissing our feelings and treating us like we’re crazy, just try to listen and understand.
      Men want to solve our problems but what we really need is for you to listen. Say “how can I help”. The fact that you recognize there’s room for improvement and you’re trying means you’ve already won !! Congrats.


    • Lyn Te says:

      Hi Allison, I think we should give the wife a chance to say her side. My husband constantly does destructive things at home and turn around to claim it’s my fault with twisting the facts. It’s exhausting. Maybe Martin is an angel. Neighbours and his work colleague think so of my husband. But his parents had groomed him to be an ex and do everything an ex would do. No discipline or boundaries for kids. Undermined all my efforts to teach the kids right and they were beautifully well-behaving and hardworking as a child. Unfortunately, as they get older and my in-laws do not like to hear how well they did academically and outside clubs, they told my husband they don’t like my kids to listen and obey me, their mum. so hubby since then shout, fight, hit me whenever I told them to go read a book or clear their room. Now the older ones being 17 and 20 are just a right prat like him. Refused to eat food unless brought to their room and even then get swear at. dear daddy the one with the job and money. He brings their food to their room and no need to eat in dining room, no need to bring down their own dirty dishes, no need to clean own room. leave it all to mum. Needless to say, their grades dropped drastically and now they even lack the fear of failure or motivation to do better because of their laziness encouraged by daddy. Squandering money we can ill afford because dear daddy loves them and gives them 120 a month to throw around on buying useless things and order takeaway instead of eating home cook food with me and the 2 younger kids. But according to my hubby, he is the good guy, working hard and looking after his kids. But no one sees or blind to his abusive manipulative vindictive vicious personality eg narcissistic behaviour. He gets more and more arrogant as the years go by with more experience and support from his parents to be a shithole. perhaps I should have left years ago instead of still being here because my kids need a father. I wasn’t thinking of myself being shouted at beaten up in order to protect my kids from him. Now he plays the Mr nice guy to them and buys gadgets and ipad with no boundaries and they like it. It’s exhausting and an uphill struggle for me all these years and makes me feel suicidal and want to leave the kids so they can find out his true colours. But he will then shout at them and hit them as i am not there anymore.


  14. K says:

    Any thoughts on how to help a husband see these things before it’s too late? I am the wife of a husband like this. While I desire affection, emotional connection, and to feel like someone loves me, I don’t want to have an affair or be with someone else (I have decided that marriage and relationships are not worth the risk and hurt, so if my last efforts to save this marriage fail, I will remain single). My husband used to be a kind, loving man. Now he is cold, distant, critical, belittling, mean and sometimes verbally abusive. He cannot go even 3 days without raising his voice or insulting me. He cannot say what I’ve done wrong, and tells me to “stop it” when I try to discuss our problems with him. Nothing I do is good enough, what he needs is more important than anything else, nothing he doesn’t care about is worthy of his time or attention. I am depressed and constantly anxious to the point of being physically ill, wondering what will set him off next, and trying desperately to avoid angering him. I would like to recover my marriage if possible, but am to a point where I think the marriage might be dead.


  15. […] was reminded of how egregiously I failed my wife while watching a recent Mindvalley video featuring Jon and Missy Butcher, called 9 Daily Habits […]


  16. Deacon's mom says:

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom, although sadly you had learned it too late to save your marriage. Everything you’ve shared so relates to my soon to be ex husband….sadly, our almost 26 year marriage has been totaled due to these and more. I hope that your shared wisdom can help to save others from throwing their wedding vows in the trash like my husband did. It is a painful, hurtful process to go through. Betrayal is unforgivable.


  17. Anonymous says:

    This is exactly spot on in my situation. I’ve been trying to get this through to my husband for a decade now that all I want is for him to take charge, put me first, think and plan in advance…LISTEN….I hate repeating myself 🤦I hate begging for attention or for him to stop and think about “how will this affect her” before doing or saying things. My husband has literally always been my BEST friend, and an amazing father, AND he cooks AND cleans! BUT I tell him all the time that “that right there is an example of you being a shitty husband” when he ignores me, cuts me off, puts his friends and family before me, doesn’t acknowledge the sacrifices I’ve made to be with him (I left him in 15; he begged for a second chance and swore he’d do counseling and focus on changing…got back together in 16 and no promises upheld). I think he thinks I’m joking? Or he just doesn’t care? He’s a great man and I try to be the best spouse I possibly can for him and the best example possible for our children…but he never points out any of the good. My birthday goes unnoticed. Along with anniversaries, mother’s day, Christmas. I’ve always surprised him with something for every occasion…When he says I’m “crazy for doing this!” I jokingly hint back “I do it in hopes that one day I might get a surprise from you for something!” 🤷 He DID attempt to surprise me for my most recent birthday…with a cold-brew coffee maker. I am NOT a coffee drinker…😣 He knew this and said “well you liked your sisters cold brew coffee the other I went and got this”. I mean…I have never gotten a massage, or a facial, or a “night out with friends”…or been surprised with a date night that was planned in advance by him…he has never once taken me on a date. I’ve never gotten anything hand made/written from him or anything he could have my kids do for me (thank God for their daycare that makes sure these are acknowledged!) I do/ have done every bit of this for him…and more…I fought and won full custody of his oldest kids for 7 years, I fought and won him getting child support dropped that he paid almost $1k mo for, I fought and won for him to get his 15 year old record expunged, I have gotten him almost every job he’s had and now have started his own business for him and doing extensive amounts of hours of marketing and preping….I have sunk a decade of my life into him and US. Like I said, he’s amazing is every way possible…besides connecting with me as a husband and communication! I asked him to read this article…we’ll see if he does….


    • Maddie476 says:

      I’m sorry for your pain. I think you have a roommate / extra child. Stop doing everything you are doing for him. Look after your kids and yourself and that’s it. From my experience, men have delicate egos. Don’t tell him it’s another example of shitty husband. For every tiny think he does, you have to tell him it’s awesome, how much you appreciate what he does etc. It might be worth a try. I didn’t have the patience for that. I’m separated. My choice.
      Life is too short to not be happy.


  18. […] common for people to be surprised by the idea that I didn’t know that I was a shitty husband, while I was being one during my nine-year marriage. People, I think, struggle to believe it, […]


  19. cinemachine27 says:

    Long story short, every article I share, every book I beg him to read, every time I cry for love and give ideas how to help me feel loved turns into a deflect and blame game.

    These letters are articulate, easy to read and relatable.
    Looking back, do you wish your wife access to and had sent you a link to read something like this?

    Thinking about sending the link but am exhausted of the repercussions of trying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I am sorry to tell you that Me from 6-7 years ago more or less responded as your husband is responding. It’s soooooo nuanced and emotionally/psychologically complicated why this happens. Please don’t chalk it up to morally bankrupt neglect. He REALLY believes he’s being treated unfairly, as if you’ve moved the goalpost after the rules of the game had been established before you started playing.

      He doesn’t SEE the pain you feel because identical circumstances and/or actions by you don’t cause him to feel them.

      This is the part guys commonly miss in this scenario. They make the (logically sound) argument that something is occurring and you’re attaching negativity to that is NOT negative for them. Thus, you must be confused or mistaken.

      They suffer in the emotional intelligence and empathy department, forgetting and/or being blind to the idea that they too can hurt from things that don’t hurt others.

      If their best friend dies, and they feel horrible about, and then they overhear a group of stranger complaining about the inconvenience of having to wait for the funeral procession, he’s probably going to be upset about their total lack of respect and empathy.

      But really, it makes sense for them to care about the moment relative to their own lives. Whoever died was a total stranger to them.

      Perspective is such a powerful thing.

      He simply needs to conclude (accurately) that things hurt you, literally, that don’t hurt him.

      Then he needs to care enough to learn what these things are and how to avoid them because NOT hurting his wife is a core value and pragmatically bad for your relationship.

      It shouldn’t be this hard.

      But it’s this hard.

      He needs to see the pain. Possibly feel it. So that his brain and body recognize harmful things as harmful things, which can then be avoided moving forward.

      I wish there was a textbook way to do it.

      He needs to be willing to invest the time and energy to understand before he can understand.

      Any instance of you suggesting he needs help is only reinforcing his emotional reaction to what he interprets as you saying he’s not good enough.

      He needs to know he’s good enough, no matter what anyone else thinks.

      He needs to know you think he’s good enough.

      And he needs to know that all of these efforts from you are NOT to criticize, or get him to change, or to in any way suggest he needs help.

      You are simply trying to communicate what’s inside of you clearly and effectively, and wanting to learn how to understand him better as well, because once you both approach disagreement with curiosity and a cooperative effort to solve the mystery together and understand each other, you won’t feel hurt like this anymore from many of these moments, and he won’t feel attacked and criticized when he understands you’re making a bid for connection, and not trying to hurt him.

      Rooting for you. ❤️


  20. […] then, of course, in all of my blind ignorance, my marriage continued to slowly—very slowly—deteriorate, one dinner or car-ride conversation like this at a time, until it felt like my wife hated me, and […]


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