An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands

man-shrugging-shoulders

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.

[NOTE: I felt like I cracked a secret life code when I understood for the first time WHY my wife would want a divorce. It changed the entire world for me. I have to credit the book “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It” for putting me on the right path. Maybe it can help you or your partner, too.]

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

What Qualifies Me for the Job?

Nothing.

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.

And THIS IS GREAT NEWS.

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.

Like this post? Hate it? You can subscribe to this blog by scrolling annoyingly far to the bottom of this page and inserting your email address under “Follow Blog via Email.” You can also follow MBTTTR on Twitter and Facebook.

399 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands

  1. Ryan says:

    She doesn’t know either mate! She’s just as hurt and just as as confused about the future, regardless, that she’s the one initiating the seperation. She’ll be getting heaps of support from friends and family and that’s exactly what you need too! But she’s a few months ahead of you on the rollercoaster of emotions because she has been thinking about it for a while now. Her moving out might help the situation, more than hurt. It might feel like an finality type of action but it will give you guys space that being couped up in the same house cannot do.
    As insanely hard as this next part sounds, it is the best thing you can do.. That is, go no contact for weeks, if not months. No calling her, texting, emailing or accidental bumping into her in person. Know that, she too, will be thinking about you every moment she has alone, just like you will of her. That’s why emotional support is upmost important! You’ll manage to have moments, if not hours or even days, without having to deal with emotions taking their grip on you and feel happy, if you surround yourself with loved ones. It’s not about avoiding your feelings, if you have the right support, pour your heart and soul out to them. It’s a heck of a lot better doing that than doing it to her any more, yet. Dealing with it alone spells doom and it becomes increasingly hard to not to “just check up on how she’s coping.”
    She will contact you. She will be wondering how you’re coping. When she does, or if long enough time passes that you are truly ready to contact her, do so graciously. If you get back together, there will be time to let her know all about your emotions and you can cry with her. So don’t jump immediately to doing that but instead, try wooing her like you would if she was another girl you never had a relationship with before. Hard as hell, mate, but you will handle it all so much better and increase you chances of success with a plan similar to this.

    Like

    • mike2583 says:

      Letting her go is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. The no contact part will be complicated though. I’m dealing with some medical stuff and she wants to be involved with all of it. But as hard as it sounds, I understand she needs to be alone with herself for a while. And so do i. Ooooooweee i didn’t know the range of emotions I have been experiencing were even a part of me.

      Like

  2. Discarded says:

    I wish we could your blog out there. Not just to shitty husbands, but shitty wives too. I wasn’t the perfect wife, but I was pretty good. When my husband left, the kids were shocked. They said they always thought I should have left him. Still, I tried. I begged him not to leave after 22 years and tried to make him happy. It just made him walk all over me. I finally let him have his divorce. The point is divorce sucks. Self entitled people suck. My son and I have paid a hefty price, so his father could try to relive his teenage years. It’s not OK. When you make a commitment, build a life and family, it’s not ok to throw it away, except under extreme circumstance. It has been 9 months out from divorce and I still feel like an emotional wreck. It is going to take a long time to heal. This shouldn’t happen as often as it does. I am losing faith in humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam says:

      Thank you. I am going through this now. Except I have four kids in the mix. I am not sure what to tell them. I don’t feel horrible now for begging him to stay. He is leaving in August and I haven’t told anyone yet. He says he needs to do this for himself. I think he is going through a mid life. But is it normal for the husband to not want anything to do with the children he created?

      Like

      • discarded says:

        It’s been a few months, sorry. I don’t follow this blog much. I hope you are ok. I believed my ex to be in mid life also, but that is a debatable diagnosis. If you need support, I recommend Chumplady.com. I have found tremendous support there. Yes, these men will even abandon their children. It is like an alien took over the body of the husband you knew and loved. There is no way to understand it.

        Like

  3. Elizabeth perrz says:

    Hi I’m Liz n I feel ecsacly neglected.buy my husband

    Like

  4. […] Good men can be colossally shitty husbands. You can have all the character and professional skills in the world and still demonstrate gross incompetence as a husband and father. […]

    Like

  5. […] Source: An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands […]

    Like

  6. Rebekah Verbeten says:

    I love how you write…humble, honest, enough snarky humor to not be preachy, and direct (even when it may not be taken well by many). A friend shared your glass on the counter article on Facebook and I’ve read through your open letters over the past few days.

    As I did I kept thinking ‘that could so easily have been us.’ My husband (9 years this July!) and I have had quite a few discussions about how REAL communication…amazing how the actually listening concept adds to the interaction!…has saved us so much conflict and heartache over the years. We were very good friends first, then admitted we were essentially dating and have long considered that to be vital to our relationship. We default to being friends when we have a difficult conversation. We default to ‘how can I help this person feel better?’ and ‘how can *I* help make sure this doesn’t happen again?’ rather than the ‘this is ridiculous’ approach that is so often referenced in your writing and the comments. We figured out how to communicate before all the messy emotions got involved. It also helps that we met at the beginning of college and helped form each other into adults…we joke all the time that we trained each other before we even started dating!

    Love is a choice/verb is another many times repeated conversation. We have had disagreements and hurt feelings and stupid choices. We have also chosen to own our mistakes, do what we can to not make them again, and not hide anything. It is not easy, but from what you have written, it is many orders of magnitude easier than what you went through. I am so sorry that is what you experienced in order to learn what you did. Thank you for putting it into words. I can say that (at least for me) these things that you talk about have, in a way, saved my marriage many times over because the little things haven’t added up the way grains of sand add up to become the Sahara.

    It takes effort. It takes vulnerability. It takes forgiveness and grace. It takes trust and tenacity and choosing to love every day or every hour or every minute for however long necessary. But it works. And it is so very worth it. I hope you get another chance, because as far as I can tell from your writing, you’d do a pretty good job of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Nice story. Kind comments. Thank you.

      I like hearing about people who are doing it right, who see the big picture, and who choose and feel love as I believe it really exists in Life.

      I think we label a bunch of other things Love that actually aren’t. Muddies the waters.

      Thank you for making time to read things and leave a nice comment.

      Like

  7. Shirley says:

    I am not financially able to leave the marriage. I don’t want to throw in the towel but it is tiring working, taking care of the house, cooking, raising our daughter ALONE. My husband never hears me. His response to everything is you don’t know the pressure I am under at work. I don’t have anything to say to him anymore. I don’t care how his day went anymore. I am exhausted and have nothing left.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nikcole says:

      Hi!!
      Shitty wife here married to a shitty husband for 15 years… your comment caught my attention because if I had a time machine I would go back ten years to when my hubby said those word, “you don’t understand the pressure I’m under”. I realize now that he wasn’t complaining to compeat or blow me off he was being vulnerable opening his heart and instead of dropping my walls to give him the affermation he was begging for I ripped him apart for acting like my feeling didn’t matter.
      I’m sharing this with you because if your husband is still willing to be vulnerable with you then your relationship still has life. I know it’s hard going first but dropping the wall of self righteous anger will show him you are there as his wife. You’ll be amazed I promise if can catch yourself in those moment you will endure a lot less pain and your relationship will grow. Remember the action is what’s causing you the pain not the human.
      Good luck.

      Like

  8. Ufuomaee says:

    I really love what you are doing here! I also have a ministry for preparing singles for marriage, and helping married people to fight for their marriages (I wrote The Marriage ABCs on my blog, blog.ufuomaee.org). It is weird how being broken suddenly qualifies us to teach others how to not get broken and how to heal. Thanks for allowing yourself to be used in this way. God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Megan says:

    Wish my husband would wake up and see the disaster we are headed for. Despite being honest with him about how he makes me feel. I simply do not understand how a spouse refuses to learn to understand the person they vowed to love. I married for life, for better for worse, in good and in bad… but how long do you stay with a shitty husband?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. […] Good men can be colossally shitty husbands. You can have all the character and professional skills in the world and still demonstrate gross incompetence as a husband and father. […]

    Like

  11. Pinky says:

    I tink u awesum

    Like

  12. Pinky says:

    I cant say the same bout taking vows..i was married at 17 pregnant.and since then life ended..im living dead thought it was bad then..23yrs later its worse..hes successful made me leave my top job to cook n clean an now he sleeps in the spare room..i get sworn vulgar languages becos i ask him if he wants sumting 2 drink..i cant go nower..i will live according to his rules cos he bought the house yet for 15yrs he was unemployed an i took care of him..on mothers day he calls da shots so we get to visit HIS mom an dats ok..wonder on fathers day if we can visit my dad.. lol .i often tink of killing myself for my miserable life..an yet he will say im ungrateful..an im making his balls heavi if sumting has 2 happen 2 me..i have never ever been unfaithful to him..i sumtimes tink of doing it just to get back at him

    Like

  13. […] do it throughout the oft-read Open Letter to Shitty Husbands posts, and this very gender-oriented way of storytelling—for better or worse—is featured prominently […]

    Like

  14. Daniel Johnson says:

    Hello everyone.

    Like

  15. Ann says:

    I’m going through breast cancer. My husband has been great helping me with dinner and gets the kids to help with chores. He generally is a nice person. If you ask him to do anything outside of the routine he flips out. Last night after my chemistry treatment my dog came inside limping. I said she needed to go to the vet and he flipped out at the table. Crushing and putting his hand on his head. I tried to overlook it and willing to forgive. On the way there he called me torationalizing why he shouldn’t take our dog to the vet. Really? Then I was watching a movie with the kids and his attitude was you cN watch this tomorrow I want to watch my movie, half way into puts. I gave him a look like are you serious and again pitched a fit and said fine you watch yours and walked away. I couldn’t take it so I left and went to bed. He’s a nice husband but very selfish and very much into himself. Nothing has changed after 22 years. He also refuses to discuss my what bothers me and says that’s the way he is or has an excuse for it. How do I survive? I live my life and he lives his. I don’t try to change him. But after a hysterectomy and now breast cancer I am seriously rethinking my life. Cancer changes a person and you can never go back to life as normal. So I have a lot to think about.

    Like

    • Anna says:

      It’s like dealing with Jekyl and Hyde, isn’t it?! One minute he’s holding your hand as you’re being prepped for surgery, and the next he’s absolutely livid because you’re not thrilled to hear that he has invited his obnoxious son (complete with useless wife and three screaming kids) for a visit while you try to recuperate. The only possible reason I can think of is that these men haven’t outgrown the need to be the center of their universe, and they crave an audience to witnesses how “wonderful” they are…

      Like

      • Beryl says:

        Annna,
        Most of us wives think we have to spoil and coddle these husbands to make them do right. We don’t need to exalt a man and kiss his a_____. Come in ladies.
        But we should not have to stress ourselves over one little frail human to get him to act like a grown man. If only we would put our foot down and not allow them to take us fir granted, just once. So tell him to stop putting everything and everyone, line his relative, ahead of us.
        One thing, a wife should not tolerate, is for a husband to invite his relatives into her house without discussing it with the wife first, esiecuslky when she is in bed sick. This is outrageous… people

        Like

  16. Jess says:

    I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for many years. Ten years ago, I decided to back back to school, and my wife not only supported it, but she encouraged it and became the primary income earner. I had aspirations to become a doctor. As the years passed my grades began to slip, and as my grades began to slip, so did my anxiety and panic attack – as well as my desire to continue doing this.

    I kept it from my wife because she had dedicated so many years to see me succeed. She continued working in a career where she made good money, but she hated her job. Anyway, the classes were getting harder, and the fact that we added a third child to our family didn’t help the cause. In 2012, my wife was in a bad car accident but she still continued to work and see me through my education. There were times that I just wanted to fail my courses so there would be no pressure to do it anymore, but I couldn’t do that to her (or, by extension, myself). Side note – after our third child, she gained a lot of weight. It had little to do with my sexual desire. My anxiety had more to do with it than anything else. My problem was that I didn’t know how to show love as much as I could simply say it. I was not romantic, and I hardly gave an effort because I may have taken my marriage for granted.

    Getting back to the topic, in 2015, I left for a trip to Taiwan in a time that was SO crucial that I really should not have gone. I hadn’t seen my brother, who lives there, in a few years, and this was the opportunity of a lifetime. My wife begged me not to go. She cried and shivered, and I just ignored her. She was still having pain from her accident (having post concussive disorder and nerve damage). Moving forward, at the end of 2016, she started skiing regularly and lost a bunch of weight, and in February of 2017, she decided to go on a skiing trip with a bunch of guys she worked with at the ski lodge, where she took a seasonal job. In addition, we had a 20-year-old who completely disrespects me and my wife seemingly didn’t give me much support. Maybe I was wrong. I don’t know everything she says to him. I made an ultimatum that either he moves out, or I move out. Stupid!

    First off, I don’t have an income, a car, or anywhere to go. Why in the HELL would I say such a thing? And, saying that, how is my wife supposed to receive that and not think it had nothing to do with her, personally? Upon returning from her trip, she almost left me.

    Here’s the conclusion. I had an awakening! I saw clearly. My wife almost leaving me was not the reason, but it WAS the trigger to take a thorough look at myself. I was a careless, loveless, asshole. I deserved to be dumped. But I not only owed it to my wife to be the man I never was, I owed it to myself. I’m in the best health I’ve ever been at age 42. But now – my wife goes to CrossFit every day, has plans to get back with these guys on a ski trip again in January. Which I’m TOTALLY NOT comfortable with. Because she takes a bottle of booze with her, and I question her judgement when she drink (long story – save it for another time). And I’m either on the verge of going on a different path in my education OR getting a job. This will allow some space between us, which can be good, but it’s also the part I fear.

    Despite all my efforts of how wonderful things have been the past two months, she said that even if I remain in my current happy, loving state, it may not be enough for her to go back to where she was with me, to accept me, to love me the way she once did. And that scares the hell out of me. I don’t want to lose her. I don’t know what to think, what to do, how to act. I don’t want to overdo my happiness or love to her because I’m afraid it is becoming a shock to her and that it may drive her further away. Alternatively, I don’t want to act scared, bummed out, depressed, or restrict myself from her when I want to be close to her, because that might also drive her away.

    I feel either way, I’m leaving myself vulnerable for disappointment. I want to protect myself. If I give her my all, or very little – either way, if she ends up leaving me as a result of either scenario, I will curl up a die inside. I just don’t know what to do. She told me this tonight. I doubt I’ll get to sleep. I’m starving for some food right now, but I can’t eat. I can’t get my mind off of it. I would appreciate any advice. Thanks, all!

    Like

    • Maddy476 says:

      If you don’t do anything, I think she will leave so I wound suggest you do something. The 5 love languages is a good book. You need to show her you love her and why. What specifically do you love. Read the book. Good luck

      Like

  17. yu says:

    Nope. There’s right and wrong. Otherwise you won’t mind if I walk up and kick you in the balls. You were abusive. Neglectful and self-involved. That’s abusive.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Of course there’s right and wrong.

      What if two people are arguing about whether beach or mountain vacations are better?

      What if two people disagree on whether chocolate tastes better than vanilla?

      Who is right? Who is wrong?

      Slow your roll, Captain Accusation. Maybe go have a drink or something.

      Like

  18. mama says:

    Being a woman I appreciate that you get it! At times you start to doubt yourself and thinking that maybe you are just nagging and being a bitch. I’m at the stage where the “nagging has stopped” not sure what’s to come. Kids come first, so I maybe one of those in it for the long haul. I made my bed years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Nate says:

    Matt great columns. So I identified with so much of what you wrote about yourself, at least regarding the “nice guy but apparently shitty husband” part. I do get that I can only change myself. However, I have NEVER refused my wife’s sexual advances, both because I just wouldn’t, but also because she never makes sexual advances. We only have sex when the stars magically align, I actively pursue, and she eventually agrees. Nothing like unenthusiastic pity sex. So back up for a minute (15 years specifically) and I gave my wife my almost full attention and best efforts. Basically did all the stuff you said we should do to NOT be a shitty husband. And no, I’m no naive enough to think I was perfect…but I really did dote on my wife quite hard. Now as the years moved along and my sexual advances and attempts at romance were time and time again rejected, a piece of my soul died each and every time. Now, I suppress my sexual advances but also refuse most of the doting, romance, etc. that the early years saw. We are still married but its in shambles. My wife needs me to do all things you say we husbands should do…but still would withhold sex. So, the ultimate question is this: how can a husband be expected to be loving, compassionate husband but live in a sexless marriage?

    Like

    • Bob B says:

      Hi Nate. Just because she doesn’t want to have sex with you doesn’t mean she is withholding anything. Sex is not a currency you earn by being a good partner. If you are in a sexless marriage and unhappy about it, TALK TO HER. Invest in therapy with each other or alone. It may turn out she doesn’t view you as loving or compassionate and that’s why she doesn’t want to be intimate with you. It’s not a punishment, it just means something is probably going on that requires an actual discussion. Also, if the sex is unenthusiastic, why would you continue? If she is clearly not into it, then you’re a creep for pushing her. Maybe she wants sex that makes HER feel good and not just sex that will shut you up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kim says:

      I was that wife, I hate to admit it but it’s true. We married when I was a teen, he was my first everything but I was not his.

      After MANY years I finally figured it out. After a long exhausting day of being a stay at home mom the last thing I wanted to think about was sex. All day of little people groping, gabbing and climbing all over you kinda makes you want not touched. I counted down the minutes until the kids bedtime just so I could shower alone.

      Women need to feel loved and appreciated by their husbands in order to want sex. Men on the other hand need sex to feel loved by their wives. Pretty shitty circle if you get off course….

      There’s no way you could possibly show her you love her to much. Doing less may make you regret it later.

      18 years and still going strong here :)

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Jane says:

    Well i probably dont belong in this sight because we arent married yet but are planning on it. Im pregnant with our second child and i have two other kids that arent his. I read everyones storys and im afraid if we get married its just going to be a shitty marriage. He has no respect for me and has even cheated and lied to me in the past. Hes been physical with me when i get upset cause his apathy and lack of respect for my own thoughts drive me nuts. He even admits to not being on my “team”
    I know a relationship shouldnt be like this and if it wasnt for me being pregnant again i wouldnt stay with him. I have serious doubts about marrying him anymore…even with the kids. But i want my kids to be happy and i dont want another “baby daddy”
    We just got in another fight cause he wasnt listening to me.. Told his brother all about what happened(our motorcycle was just stolen but police caught the guy) but came upstairs and got on his phone to watch stupid youtube videos. I was trying to tell him my worries ( its actually his bike but i put title in my name for a licence plate…he us illegal and cant get a drivers liscense) Im going to press charges to the bike thief but im worried about lying. He tells me im just a scardycat and wont listen to me. I feel he doesnt really care abiut me…us..doesnt care if he gets deported uts all worth it to him so he can have his freedom and ride his bike. I think hes too selfish to marry but i feel im stuck with this asshole. Theres so much i havent said i just feel like i should be with someone who respects and loves me… Im scared to marry him…scared for my miserable future but what choice do i have?? Be a single mom with 4 kids??? I hate my life sometimes..

    Like

    • KatJean says:

      A single mom with 4 kids who has respect for herself and doesn’t live with an asshole. Yep, that’s better than living with an asshole the rest of your life. And it’s better for your kids too. I have 4 kids, married 22 years. I wanted to leave many times but was always afraid to. Now I’m finally doing it and it really sucks, but it also feels like a huge relief.

      Like

    • LCat42 says:

      please please please don’t marry him. It will NOT get better. From someone who know…

      Like

      • Maddy476 says:

        Agreed. Do not, I repeat DO NOT marry this person. Start planning now to get out of this terrible relationship. He will not change and it won’t get better, but I can guarantee it will get worse. I swear on my Mother’s grave.
        You can have and deserve a better life. Start planning to get a job to support yourself. I did it. You can too. I was able to walk away in 2015 and I’ve never been happier. Ask yourself this: “would you want your daughter to be in a relationship like this?”. “What advice would you give her?”
        Trust me.

        Like

    • Susan999 says:

      Why would you allow yourself to get preggers a 2nd time with this guy when you knew he was a bum? Please do not marry him! It would only get worse. I have empathy for your situation – 4 kids, no good man in the picture, it’s going to be tough. But respect yourself enough to say no thank you to this guy. Focus all of your energy on your kids for now. Think about what’s going on with you that makes you chose someone like that as a mate, someone you treats you like shit. Why would you want to be in a relationship with someone like that, never mind marry them. it’s the 21st century – birth control is widely available. Use it! Last thing you need is a 5th kid. Peace.

      Like

    • Tammy says:

      Having 4 kids and being married to an ass is equally bad , if not worse than being single with 4 kids. He will never treat u the way u deserve , do not forfeit being happy for a man that has so little respect for you. You will cause the children harm by allowing them to live this way . They deserve so much more from you. Do u believe any child wants to see their mom miserable. I know they will grow up and resent the hell out of him for his lack of character ‘or worse yet, be just like him . Children learn by example, with loving parents that honor one another. U deserve to have happiness and peace. As does everyone.

      Like

  21. Brodrick says:

    So what. I was a shitty husband.

    Like

  22. […] hefty  Yourtango, Mustbethistalltoride, goodmenproject, […]

    Like

  23. Angela says:

    I really enjoyed reading this blog. A lot of this resonated with me. I wish there was an option to download all of it in pdf format so that I could print it off and keep a copy at home to read every now and then.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      That’s an interesting idea, Angela. Thank you very much for suggesting it.

      Like

    • KatJean says:

      I like that idea too! I want to give this to my teenage sons so they don’t walk in his footsteps. I want to give this to my daughter so that she will know not to put up with this bullshit. As for my husband, well, we’re already in the process of divorce because of this behavior.

      Like

  24. […] But I WAS a shitty husband. Accidentally. Unaware. Thoughtlessly. Not on purpose. […]

    Like

  25. […] “Must Be This Tall To Ride” is written by a man who uses lots of strong language and who doesn’t write for or to Christians in particular. Yes, you should still read this series of posts. […]

    Like

  26. Hurting Wife says:

    This was exactly to a T my marriage. And now I know there’s nothing I can do to fix it. He has to figure this out on his own. I’m tired of crying myself to sleep. Just so drained hurt and sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. […] I got this question from a husband wanting me to help him find a way to get his wife to read the An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands series, which now stands at 14 volumes. He didn’t say whether he considered her, or himself, to be a […]

    Like

  28. David Brian Holcomb says:

    I am told I am shitty husband and fear we may divorce and she wants more kids…advice

    Like

  29. […] often get bent out of shape about series of posts called An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, as well as one called Your Wife Thinks You’re a Bad Husband Because You are […]

    Like

  30. Msd says:

    I dont want to divorce my husband. I think I have to.

    Like

  31. Steve says:

    Hello Everyone.

    About a year ago I posted a comment here. These letters were really talking to me! At the time, my wife and I were still together, and I had hope we could stay that way.

    On December 26th, she asked me to leave.

    On Jan 1 this year, I moved out.

    Now I am living across town. I don’t have to endure her anger anymore. I don’t have to feel guilty if I want to do something. I am pretty much free to do as I like now. That part of living with her, the negative side, I don’t have to live with that, and that is a relief!

    I wish we were still together tho. I know we could be happy together. We know each other like no one else does. Together, as a team, we are much stronger. Everything about battling life is so much easier when you are part of a team!

    I miss having someone to hug.

    Maybe some day we can get it back eh?

    Like

    • Maddy476 says:

      It is unfortunate that you couldn’t stay together. I also had a lot of anger toward my husband. I think it’s important to figure out why she was angry. I think most men think women are just nagging, angry, bitches, when they aren’t. Women become that way when their needs aren’t met. When their husbands don’t listen, dismiss their feelings and don’t put in effort with the kids and house and all family household responsibilities. Women are tired of dealing with men who are selfish and end up being another dependant. Every woman I know says Men are selfish. Maybe all men could organize a nice family breakfast for everyone instead of heading out to the golf course, hockey rink or wherever.
      I’m sure there was absolutely no reason for her anger.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That guy says:

      Totally agree with you! Find a wife from the Middle East like I did! I’m not married yet but looking like it goes that direction. Westerners are infected from young age! Women taught to be like men and men taught to be submissive to everything, no one has any social skills and being a house wife and a mother is looked down on by other women like they gave up on their life or settled! Western culture was never like that before but that’s what it is now. I’ve dated many foreign women and they know how to treat a man, how to be a woman and keep up their appearance and they do not have unusual expectations like needing the rich guy or the guy that looks like a Hollywood actor or both. Then their is all the craziness like mansplaining and other garbage lol Americans are so crazy!

      Like

  32. […] was reading a blog post “An open letter to a sh**ty husband” (excuse the language) by a divorced single […]

    Like

  33. Catherine says:

    At last I can put into words what is wrong with my marriage. Thank you. I have been feeling lonely in a marriage for years now and I have a husband that actually does nothing wrong. But he doesn’t pay attention to me at all, I organise the whole household and all activities concerning the kids. I even have to organise date nights and holidays or else absolutely nothing happens. I go to him for conversation, never the other way around. I have tried to talk to him so many times. Wasting my time. Finding myself just doing my own thing more and more. It scares me. Others have paid attention to me and I have enjoyed it so much that a man actually wants to have a conversation with me! I know I am good looking. I have never cheated on my husband but I am scared that if someone comes along that really pays attention I might be in trouble.

    Like

  34. […] When given the choice, I often chose myself and my preferences over her and her preferences. Fact. […]

    Like

  35. Morgan says:

    I’m so happy I found these articles, thank you for sharing. I’ve tried many many different things on my end, and working on myself as well but the results are always the same and I end up feeling even more hurt and lonely each time. Do you have any advice on how to get a man like this to read some of these articles? As you know, he never thinks there should be any reason for my feelings of abondonement, anger, and hurt. When I’ve tried approaches or to have him read something of how I’ve felt in the past he didn’t read it or select a few words like “shitty husband” and think that I’m trying to make him feel worthless, when the last thing I want is to make him feel bad because that just leads to more pulling away and longer nights with his buddies. Or if it’s something relationship building I want to try, he tells me he will try things (tells me what I want to hear) then completely avoids it, like we never talked about it. If I bring it up again he shuts down and won’t talk to me or says “whatever you want” even though what I want is to understand him and compromise. I’m sorry for the lengthy comment, but would love if you did have suggestions to read these or even the book you recommended. I sincerely thank you.

    Like

  36. neilct72 says:

    I am a shitty husband

    Like

  37. farwa says:

    love this. Just how I am feeling. starting to get fed up and bored of not being understood.

    Like

  38. That guy says:

    Bunch of cuckled western bullshit! Why I would never marry a westerner again! Fool me once with liberal bullshit shame on you! Fool me twice with liberal bullshit shame on me.

    Like

  39. Tracie says:

    Brilliantly written. You made ALL the points. I sent this to my husband IMMEDIATELY as last night I made the very calm and logical decision to leave him. He and I may NEVER work, but maybe this will help him in his next relationship, and good luck to him…

    Like

    • Maddy476 says:

      Congratulations on making your decision. You will be much happier.
      I did the same thing. 2.5 years now. No regrets. No looking back.
      Every man and woman in the planet needs this information. Couples need to read and discuss. The heck with traditional marriage counselling. All the info is here.

      Like

  40. Monica says:

    What an honest post! We all have been on the wrong side of our marriage only to find we let things go to far. Hopefully we wake up before it’s too late. Thanks for your thought. I’ve been reading this book on the topic too.

    Like

  41. Bert says:

    I am a shitty husband. Your article fits me to a T. My beautiful wife of 18 years is divorcing me and I am a wreck. I just never realized what I was doing to her and now it’s too late.
    Do not take your wife for granted and lose your family.
    I wish she would come back but screwed up big time

    Like

  42. Ester says:

    Have any of you heard about Alison Armstrong’s work? She has spent a lifetime studying men and believes that if we, as women, can begin to understand men, then many of the hurts we feel will disappear because we will suddenly realize that the men in our lives aren’t actually being selfish, they just see everything very differently than women do. Their actions are motivated by entirely different things than we think they are.

    The problems happen when we think the opposite gender should behave the way we do. There is so much about how men behave that is honourable, that women just can’t understand until you take the time to learn about it.

    She also teaches men and women how to listen to each other, how to appreciate each other, and when there are lots of arguments happening, she teaches how to make deals that end up making both parties giddy that they get to do life in a new way.

    She explains that there are predictable stages that men go through in life, and if you can get a grasp on each phase, you will be much better equipped to handle problems and you will understand how to relate to a man, and appreciate him for who he is.

    She has discovered that sometime in their 40s or so, most men will go into a phase where everything they were working so hard for in their lives/careers over the past 10 years suddenly seems pointless and everything about their life gets called into question. Armstrong calls this “the tunnel” and it comes between the Prince phase (when a man is building a career like crazy in order to support a family) and the King phase (when a man finally comes out of the tunnel after having done a lot of agonizing soul searching to decide what he wants to give and what he is no longer interested in giving – in all areas of his life. When he finally figures this out, he has reached the King phase). It is often when a man is going through the tunnel that women no longer recognize their husbands, and men no longer recognize themselves, it is a tough time, and many marriages don’t survive it, especially if both parties have no idea that this is a normal part of life and have no clue how to get through it. There is so much to learn!

    I (honest to god!) don’t work for Alison Armstrong, I am just a person who is looking to make life better between me and my husband, and so have been on a mission to learn more about why he does what he does. Wanted to share some of this learning in case it helps any others out there!

    Like

  43. CJ says:

    Wow! I respect your honesty. I wished my good friend’s ex would have be so humble and honest in the beginning. But, no he waited until everything exploded and the poo hit the fan to get his act together and it was too late. She tolerated countless lies, unstable environment due to his excessive drinking, cursing, staying out late, an extra “gal pal” here or there on the side. Hey, but he brought home the bacon so that’s all that mattered back then. Mr. Corporate Powerful thought the world revolved around him. At least he finally admitted he was a.) compulsive liar b.) womanizer c.) financial parasite to her. Years later he finally has since realized life, love, marriage, and finances are not a joke. Destroyed countless lives with his lies and malignant attitude. But, guess now that the karma train came tooting back around he’s not thinking everything is so kosher and funny now. Time to grow up and get serious when people aren’t going to tolerate the BS anymore. Took her long enough to wise up and grow a backbone and stop being such a damn doormat to him. I don’t understand if men know they are shitty why they even bother marrying? Just stay single and don’t waste peoples’ time, money, or effort. It’s sad and sorry. Thanks for your honesty!

    Like

    • Denise says:

      Beautifully put I don’t think women have outrageous expectations from there husbands when all eecwant is to keep your vows and appreciate what you have. Your spouse is far more important than anyone else out there so why treat even strangers better than them. Men grow up we aren’t your mothers!

      Like

  44. HardLessons says:

    Shitty ex here.
    I did what I wanted when I wanted to
    my ex was a good woman that tolerated a ton
    I liked my free time to myself
    Hey I worked hard! I deserved every time I was off to hunt, fish, golf, and watch sports.
    Overwhelmed by a job I hated = when I was off from job I hated = my FREE TIME
    so I contributed washing a dish or two here or there once in a while, but a woman is better at it anyway, don’t you think?
    Clothes and cooking? Again aren’t women better at that stuff?
    Bills being organized? No one could organize better than my ex
    Taking care of any child duties? She was the best.
    Running errands…..don’t women like to get dressed up and go do that?
    Family functions or gifts? Again women aren’t good at that kind of stuff
    taking care of aging parents…my ex had a lot more patience than I did
    What man doesn’t like trucks, cars, motorcycles, boats, toy airplanes, ATV’s? Yep and I would spend my hard earned cash on them before worrying about a damn new dryer.
    I was good at providing and good at taking care of things, but showing affection, hugs, kisses, saying I love you and really meaning it, not so much, so now this efficiency is kind of lonely, I don’t have as much free time as I thought I would, dating “other women” is not all it’s cracked up to be, doing a pile of dirty dishes sucks now, everyday! Washing clothes ain’t that much fun, eating tv dinners is getting old, couldn’t tell you if I own a 401 k or if the water bill was paid or not, not seeing family members the right way, having child duties to do on my own with no help, and running errands and grocery shopping all sucks up my free time
    so I guess lesson learned, pay attention to what you have before you don’t have it anymore

    Like

  45. Katie says:

    I have come to the conclusion, after being married for almost twelve years, that I am married to one stupid man. The reasons for this, he has brought me to China, where the air is bad, the water and food are dangerous, the driving is unsafe, and my kids are almost run over by scooters on a weekly basis. Does he care? No! God will protect them. When we were making the decision to come to China, he told me his salary would be twice as much as it actually is. At first, I thought he lied, but he just calculated the exchange rate wrong. We cannot afford to fly home every year like he promised we would be able to do (to see family and to get out of the polluted environment) because he is making half of what he thought we would make. We also cannot pay off the debts that we aquired before coming here because he is making half of what he thought he would make. The reason I have debt is because he spent the money that I saved to go to school on Christmas presents for his family. The guy is a complete idiot. He thinks he is the most wonderful person on earth because he plays on the church worship team.

    Like

Join the Conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: