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.

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

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.

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293 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands

  1. Maddy476 says:

    Thank you for your kind and articulate feedback. Yes. I agree that communication is number one for sure.
    My ex was emotionally unavailable which seems to be a common problem with men. I’m not perfect so I don’t want that statement to come across as finding fault. How do we get men to become more emotional and women less emotional. I think fundamentally we are all the same. We need to accept each other’s differences and learn how to understand that we are just wired differently. I like to use sports analogies because I think it’s something men can relate to. I think if a professional athlete told a guy how to do something better, the guy would just so it and not ask questions. With my ex, I would ask him to do something and instead of trying to understand why it was important to me, he would dismiss my feelings and think I was nuts He would roll his eyes and turn and walk away. Clearly disrespectful. This is the same man that promised to love and honour and cherish me when we said our vows.
    There are certain exercises one must do to remain a professional athlete. No one questions the work involved or required. None of us seem to understand the same level of work is required to have a happy, healthy marriage. We just assume it will sustain itself. I say kudos to everyone trying to figure it out. I’m still trying.

    Like

    • Michelle Buse says:

      Thank you this brought tears to my eyes. I’m happily remarried but this brought me back to my first marriage and very similar life to what you wrote. It is sad because divorce was so hard on my sons then at 5 and 8.

      Like

  2. […] Hearing her tell it, you’d think I was a shitty husband. […]

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  3. […] like being a good man and being a good husband can be mutually exclusive things, so too can love exist in the shittiest and most painful of […]

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  4. […] Our marriages don’t fail JUST because we’re shitty at marriage. […]

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  5. loren says:

    So what do you do as a wife of a crappy husband? My husband isnt terrible but i dont even feel like i should tell him how i feel anymore because he doesn’t listen and does whatever he wants anyway. We have child 2 on the way and im terrified because unless things get really bad he still does whatever he wants .. aka partying drinking smoking. My son cries when he leaves and it doesnt even phase him.

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  6. […] Project ran one of my posts about this trust conversation (which originally ran as Vol. 10 in the An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands series), and then marriage counselor, coach and author Lesli Doares read it at […]

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  7. UpsetWife says:

    God, I wish my partner would wake up and start getting it like you have. I sent him your posts, after the millionth argument of the same thing, but I doubt he will even look at it. He just does not understand the damage he’s doing to our relationship and nothing I say will ever get him to understand. I’ve just gotten to the point where it doesn’t even hurt anymore, because our relationship is beyond dead. I’m just biding my time getting things in order so I can leave. It sucks. I hope for his sake he can wake up enough to not repeat the same mistakes with his next partner.

    I’m sorry you had to learn the hard way and at the cost of your family. Sadly, not enough men will read your posts and learn from your mistakes; they’ll just continue to destroy their own families with their selfishness. Because the men who truly need to read this won’t.

    My husband put such a bad taste in my mouth that I’m planning on just being a single co-parent for the rest of my life. And that doesn’t seem as sad and depressing anymore.

    Hope things work out for you, Matt. Glad you at least wised up post divorce and are trying to save marriages doomed by shitty “nice” husbands.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. […] It creates contradictions. Internal human ones that probably don’t make sense to anyone who has read the magical “These Are The Things That Make Sense” book, and are likely responsible for concocting the subset of people I call Good Men Who Are Shitty Husbands. Of which I was/am a member. […]

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  9. […] And as a STAUNCH advocate of free speech, I’ve always been inclined to let comments stand. I’ve been called plenty of bad things, and those comments are easy enough to find if you feel like reading through 4,000+ on the dishes post, or any of the predictably cliché blame-shifting ones from butt-hurt guys in the Shitty Husbands posts. […]

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  10. Taryn says:

    What makes a “Shitty Wife”? If I were to even share this with my mediocre spouse, he’d claim you’re taking all the blame by the sounds of this article (albeit, I feel you’ve hit the nail on the head). -wifey

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  11. Bruce Lee says:

    I’ve been a shitty husband. My wife is craving for attention and sometimes I don’t know how to show her that I love here. I have put my family and friend ahead of her in the past and I do feel I’m holding on to this relationship via a thread. One more large messup and I feel it will be over. We have been together for over 10 years, married 2.5 years, we have 3 young girls under 8 and it would break my heart if my wife left me. I wouldn’t blame her, the things I’ve done to betray her emotionally, not standing up for her. I’ve never cheated on her but I might aswell have, doesnt seem any different to the hurt I’ve caused. Your first post has really resonated with me, maybe I do have a chance to save my marriage. I need to read vol 2. You’re right I think Im a good husband but I’ve been shitty. Going to work and being nice to the kids or trying to be supportive is not being a great husband. Being normal is not being great. I need to be exceptional where she’s excited about me. I’m sorry you had to go through this to write this. I must take away value from your writings to save my marriage.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. JL says:

    I’m 29, the husband is 41. Been together nearly nine years. Lost my virginity to him, and he’s been the only one since.

    I always wanted a good romantic life and have always been considerate and highly giving in that department. Researched how to make him happy since I had no experience, always tried to make him happy. Him, not so much. He was with so many women before me (bragged about it to me), asked me to let him have threesomes, and basically treats me like old news (after only two months of being married he told me he was bored and that I was not sexy anymore because he’d had me enough). Mind you, I was a VERY attractive (thin & curvy) twenty-year-old, 4.0 grade average, faithful, energetic with so many hobbies. I’m still very attractive today, just not as young, actually weigh less than when we first met, but a little heavier than when we married. When he told me that, he was 32, sat at home all day after work, and was a divorcee whose income went straight to child support. I used to admire him because he was so great at his high-level job.

    Why did I marry him? At that time I was a very conservative Christian who believed that once you had sex with someone you were their mate. Did not believe in divorce or anything. Wanted one sex partner for my life. Waited 20 years for Mr. Right. I had an extremely low self-esteem but that wasn’t due to him. Stupid patriarchy movement and homeschooled. When I started seeing him my parents were furious and we lost contact. So, I was with him, alone, being told every day that I wasn’t smart, wasn’t sexy, was worthless. He said he’d kill me if I cheated on him.

    Several years later, after being thrown down and choked, having him place cameras in the house to make sure I didn’t masturbate while home alone (crazy, because he does it all the time instead of having sex with me), and not allowing me to have friends, I FINALLY LEFT.

    But, went back a week later because he promised counseling. We did seven weeks. Marriage improved. Yay.

    Two years later we had a baby. She’s the love of my life. Sex life became very slow (not my fault, he always pushed me away when I’d try and I’d often cry myself to sleep). Still, the house was peaceful, no crazy arguments.

    I recently moved halfway across the world for him to have a better opportunity in his family company (huge hotel company) in his home country (SE Asia). I’ve been lied to so many times that I am so tired. We left car debt and credit (in my name, because, guess what, his credit is horrible) card debt that he promised me he’d pay. Nope. No money! But he paid $8,000 for cameras and lenses, $3000 for a new drone, and $2,000 for Rottweilers. Plus sooooooo much more. He has a spending problem. Never spends on us, though. As I write this I hate him more! It’s hard to see my life lined up like this and see it all together. His income isn’t what we were promised (his family lied to us about the negotiations). He lied to me about how often I can go home, and did not pay child support to his first child for nine months (finally borrowed money because I threw a fit and paid it all off last month). He doesn’t even call his fist daughter, 11 years old. She wants him to but he’s abandoned her.

    Now, my choice is this: stick it out with a neglectful husband (he doesn’t even call me on his business trips, would rather watch porn than be in the bed with a loving wife) and father (completely ignores my child and just sits and smokes all day outside or is on the computer) or divorce, go back to the USA and be a single mom,working out $50,000 in debt?

    My parents are divorced and I have great step-parents. But, I was still scarred. I don’t want my daughter to go through the stuff I did. I also don’t want her to see my marriage and think that’s all there is in life. I just don’t know what’s best for my daughter. I don’t want her to go to public school in this country, and we can’t afford private schooling as we had planned, because, you know, lies.

    I’m dying inside.

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    • AdhdButStillTrying says:

      Put your daughter and you first. Debt will never kill you the way he will. He won’t stop racking up debt anyways- FACT! Bring any evidence to court request annulment and file with irs on fraud claims for him.
      Salvage yourself. A selfish father who already neglects kids will continue to do so.

      I am married, fighting, but married and trying to keep us together. But I care and love her and am working on consistency.
      I’m young, too, but my dad took til his 60s to realize the damage he’d done (and he wasn’t even as extreme as your spouse). That being said I don’t see what he will do for your family anymore. Don’t forget his perspective in making your decision (aka, he’s already been married/impregnating others and that didn’t stop him from where he is now…. you aren’t different to him. The porn habit proves it, IMHO)

      My one last suggestion is choose an English speaking country to move to instead of back to USA (I understand the cons here and think there are plenty of serene places; Canada, Norway, maybe Oceanic countries would fit for you).

      This is my advice for your and anyone with your situation. If a husband is that blatantly awful its time to consider your own blood-related child.
      I can say this advice isn’t for anyone reading it whose husband makes genuine attempts with the same outcome. STICK THOSE ONES OUT and instead change (like this author says) the method of fixing. That’s a responsibilty you have as a wife to stick with your dumb, mistake ladden husband- because that’s all of us. Your social responsibility is NOT to be used as property or neglected or used as fraud.

      If your husband is worth it, or rather, not not-worth it, then try something else like;
      Step by step take away one self-accounted issue (example; first decreasing, then stopping making interruptions while talking for any reason- joining in in agreement or interjecting opposing thoughts) and work from there.

      We are fighting through a slew of mental and physical disorders but even with nights like tonight we have really improved things. It’s possible, and it’s helping us flourish individually and together.

      Good luck. Don’t forget to pray and simply request “please help me….” and go from there.

      Best,
      A dreadfully tired dad, whose wife passed off this article tonight after my brain shut-off in a fight, but tomorrow well be right back at working on the new job/move.

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  13. Fiona says:

    My husband is a good man whom everyone likes. Me included. But he is a Cro-Magnon mess-maker and ruthlessly determined that it is his right to be so, only occasionally offering an admission that he is ‘not very good’ in the domestic department. And occasionally washing up but not drying up and putting away. Sod the dishwasher and washing machine. Managing the tedious, unending fill, empty, repeat cycle here is ‘my job’, like many others too excruciating to list but you get the idea. He does lock up! I deliberately do not, cunningly knowing he will because he’s security obsessive; I have him over a barrell here, excuse the pun. But still, he ain’t doing it for me is he?
    Perhaps my hubby having had a combination of parents who only expected his sisters to help around their home and being institutionalised at boarding school followed by the services is to blame. You only stack your meal tray on the racks and keep your own cupboards tidy in the last two so never really learn to co-operate in shared space and, more importantly, why it matters so much to do so. All of which means I suffer from Housemaid’s Resentment. And massively regret at not establishing the rules better when we were love’s younger dream and I stood a chance of influence. Let myself down back then because love is blind.
    Thesedays, the worst thing is his explosions of petulant rage at being “criticised” when I even bring up the subject of his habits, let alone complain which I also can’t stop myself doing most weeks at some point. It is teeth-gritting to be forced clear up, from the surface I left clean earlier, a jam and crub splatter pattern, a knife with butter up the hilt, a jam jar with the jammy top put on skew-wiff and bread left uncovered to go stale after my husband has made himself a sandwich. Clearing up the mess takes almost as long as the sandwich assembly. He unconscionably justifies the glaring inequities by telling himself that what I do is simply ‘what women do’. We do have a cleaner once a fortnight but I prep the house and pay half. Cleaners don’t do everything so I’m still kept busy with tidying everyday as well as sorting food etc etc
    Some women/men obviously want their partner to be their ‘golden goose’, seeking to duck the earning side of being in a relationship in return for quietly allowing the other to have more power. We, however, state to others that we are equals and that is pretty much the case on paper. We have no children of our own, have near identical careers and contribute a similar amount to the shared costs of life. He often earns a more, however, and pays extra sums into our shared account. In balance, I contributed my not insignificant inheritance to a flat I found and bought but which we regard as ours. I currently still have quite a bit more equity in it but this could change. Either way, he will be able leave half of it to his son one day. So why do I not deserve to be treated as an equal? Not as the effing housemaid? I’ve shown him the article above but will be shocked out of my boots if he makes an effort for long. I never want to leave him so I feel he sees this as his trump card despite him not wanting a divorce either. Any advice?

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    • AdhdButStillTrying says:

      HI there,
      Let me give it a shot.
      Again I’m a young millenial. Married for love over a realistic relationship.

      I come from a home where the kids were put to work, but in a Annie type way. Such that being the youngest I was passed on everything extra/the majority.
      Including dinner prep, dinner, table Setting, serving, cleaning up, dish washer, locking up, turning off every thing in a 30 room house. Large, but we lived like we were broke.

      My wife was a chore-monger by her mother’s doing, but here we are today.; I completely run the kitchen, she literally does nothing.
      But I understand her issues and why she doesn’t and we’ve worked out an attempt at give and take.

      My point here is that he is wrong for thinking that way. But you are wrong for approaching it.

      A few ideas; don’t change the way you fight him on it verballly expecting a different outcome.
      Instead prove it by simply not cleaning. Tell him you are going to cover your cleanliness and him his.
      This will take patience as you will suffer as you make your point.
      Don’t clean up after him. He’s not too dumb to figure it all out but you have never quantifiably shown that its not your job as a female like he believes.
      Being firm in that one position, but normal with your relationship should help if you give it a chance.

      Have you asked him if he feels like there is anything that makes him superior, adding more value, etc ASIDE from gender?

      Try to get him to explain himself in an honest way, that YOU won’t fiight. Don’t agree on your head, but understand and listen. That attention should help him hear himself out loud and start waking up.

      Write out a two column expectation with him. …
      Inclusive exercises, not attacks on his character or your overwhelming emotions.

      Just my husband thoughts

      Like

  14. Mary says:

    Insight and analysis by males is appreciated.

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  15. […] thing and give it a good chance to go the distance. I think I know what people need to give because I spent a nine-year marriage NOT giving it which predictably ended in ways impossible for me to recognize in the thick of […]

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  16. Fedup says:

    Thanks for writing these! Unfortunately my husband’s so shitty, after me sending him the link explaining that it’s too late and I’m only sharing for his future relationships, he STILL thinks everything is fine. What an idiot. Smh.

    Like

    • AdhdButStillTrying says:

      It’s abrasive to men to see that they are “shitty husbands’

      Men are cold OFTEN because a lack of an empathetic/sympathetic role model in their life.

      Pointing in the general direction, a man will still get lost as he wanders to where you’re pointing. That’s the same as sending this link.

      DON’T DO IT WIVES. DON’T DO IT.
      READ IT TOGETHER OR FOR YOURSELF, BUT DON’T SEND THIS.

      Men go walls up, brains off, cold-feelings increase from there on. It’s really useless and futile at that point.

      Once again if the problem is COMMUNICATION then not communicating and expecting him to be on the same page regarding these articles is wrong on your part.

      Like

  17. Aaron says:

    Nice work!! I see a lot of me in this and definitely try to be more giving, but…… What does a husband do if his wife is emotionally abusive? Tells me “Can’t you do something for me without asking for anything in return?Constantly criticising and publicly shaming her husband and sees sex as a “want” rather than a need? Something that is “rewarded” (without enthusiasm) for reaching an ever moving goal posts. I put in all I can for our family and the slightest error will result in sharp criticism and complaining about the criticism results in accusations of paranoia. If I behave like a shitty husband, what can she do? Withhold sex? Oh wait, she does that anyway!!! Why bother trying to please an empty well!!!

    Like

    • AdhdButStillTrying says:

      Well depending on her background, she might have symptoms of or full-out personality disorder. If you look into and can genuinely confirm. Youre out of luck. Then choose kids vs freedom but know both hurt.

      Good luck

      Like

  18. JC says:

    Thank you for writing this. This is me, right now, today being a shitty husband. I have a tendency to become hyper focused on things and family is the first to get put by the wayside. I don’t want them to feel like they’re unloved and I want to be there for my wife and I want to pursue my business. I know what I need to do, I just suck terribly at the execution. How do I juggled and stay on track?

    Like

    • AdhdButStillTrying says:

      Oh! I feel for you so much.

      Amongst feeling like you’re actually holding together the family in any real-world literal sense, we husbands I think I can say collectively, forget women love in the world of emotions.

      For us- I’ll do it later, because if I’m late for work my boss won’t promote me coming up, so we won’t be able to continue to afford, etc etc.
      For them- fuck the world, my husband doesn’t even care that I’m upset he cares about what those non-wife people think/want. How unimportant am i?

      At which point your only choice is to retract, apologize, and reassure.

      PITFALLS-
      Don’t try to clarify. Big mistake hahaha.
      Don’t rationalise- she won’t
      Apologize and retract because you love her and care about her well-being NOT A DEEP DOWN IMPLICATION THAT YOU SUCK AND ARE ALWAYS WRONG. But being insecure about that difference will actually come off as ingenuine.

      WRITE IT DOWN.
      Your brain CAN’T juggle it.
      Paper can. So help yourself and separately help her too by showing your steps to caring more.

      STOP ADDING IN BUT, SO, OK, THEN , AND ETC. QUALIFIERS KILL APOLOGIES.

      Like

  19. […] Let the record show that until proven otherwise, I maintain the stance that Shitty Husbandry (which is mostly accidental) is the No. 1 cause of faile…. […]

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  20. Megda says:

    Thank the heavens!

    I thought I’d never come across a man who actually sees things this way.

    My experience (although not married, but in several serious long-term relationships) was exactly the same. Except for the guys ditching me because “They always thought I was strong, independent and cool” and all of a sudden I was all “serious and inflexible” (because I freaked about them not having their s**t together and where the heck this was supposed to go).

    I definitely have shortcomings of my one and am probably not done working on myself to be ready to be in a serious long-term relationship – but it’s kinda astounding to see how many guys believe that simply physically sitting next to someone is “being there” and “showing up”.

    The only difference I experienced so far is that those guys jumped ship sooner rather than later and rather quickly got with a younger, “less complicated” gal. So none of that “it hits men harder” stuff. Although, to be quite frank, I sometimes wish it was so… *boo me*

    Keep up the great writing. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. durandconnie says:

    Been with my husband 30 years but we have no relationship…I told him a couple of months ago that if he wanted to begin again we could but he would need to woe me. We never did this in the beginning. We met at a bar. i got pregnant and ended up with 2 children and married. I now have 2 grandsons whom I adore but I don’t love my husband. We won’t get divorced. We are not happy. He only cares about his retirement goals and being able to do what he wants one month a year (vacation for 3 weeks). We don’t talk much. When I try to explain why I’m not happy and what I need from our relationship he claims that I am nagging. Funny…the I tried to talk to him today and the last time was six months ago. Before that…was a couple of years ago. It is good that we have two separate rooms to go to…to watch TV and we each have our own bedrooms. If it wasn’t for my grandsons there would be no life. Recently I’ve had a friend commit suicide…I miss her youth (22 years old and full of life). Thank you for your article. Con

    Like

  22. Maddy476 says:

    Con, I was with my husband for 28 years. Married 25. Also met at a bar. Married too young. Didn’t know what to look for in a partner. Left a year and a half ago and never been happier.
    You will still get to see your grandchildren. Find a way and get out. You will be glad you did. I promise. Find the money, borrow the money if that’s what you need to start over. You still have time. Life is too short to be unhappy. You will be less alone one you are alone. Hard to understand at first but when you are lonely in a relationship, it’s better being by yourself. You can do it !!!!!

    Like

  23. […] An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands […]

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  24. John c. says:

    Nice read,going through all of this for some time and it’s really difficult. I will say that reading your blog can help many good men know they are not alone. My own personal thoughts have been somewhat easier to understand and process after reading this post.thank you for sharing your personal shit for many to read and learn from.

    Like

  25. Ryan says:

    You nailed it, mate! Spot on. You put men’s behaviours in a way that doesn’t demonise us but certainly isn’t ideal or nice for our relationships. I, too, have painfully lost my family.(in that we are no longer all together under one roof).
    It’s hard because I just wish I had caught onto the hints she made before it was too late. I think guys, tending to be more logically driven, on average, will just say straight up what they have a problem with, no matter how blunt or offensive it may be.
    We may dwell on something for a bit but, eventually, it will be laid out on the table in it’s raw form.(sometimes immediately but usually in an argument after we’ve built some pent up anger about it) Any which way, it gets stated clearly in an unadultered, non blushed up way.
    We make the mistake of thinking that before she snaps and finalises her decision to cheat/leave, we will recieve a strong wake-up call lecture from her and we will have time to hastily get our shit into gear, at least i did.
    Then it hits like a tonne of bricks. And her decision is made already, set in concrete. And we’re like “oops, fukn damnit, i should have seen that coming.” It becomes so obvious, afterwards, when you get an outside perspective on it all.

    Like

  26. Very interesting blog and comments. I suppose no one is completely innocent in any marriage. My situation, second marriage, older husband, both educated professionals, and he lets me do everything even though I still work and he has retired. It has gotten so old; all of the usual things husbands do for wives, I do, and all the usual things wives do, I do. It just gets so old, and I’m so over trying to have a decent relationship. I am pleasant, but that’s all I can manage. Today I took down the Christmas decorations, he saw me struggling to take apart a heavy tree, and seriously, he left the room. When I’m wrestling with something like that, I just don’t think I should have to ask for help! The tree is heavy. It is in three pieces, and he just glances at me struggling and walks away. He doesn’t help with the difficult things, and he helps very little with the simple things, but only with simple things. I work, clean, cook, handle finances, gift buying, children’s appointments, … everything.This is just one example of just about how everything works in our lives, I handle 90% and he handles maybe 10% of responsibilities. He takes out the trash twice a week, and sometimes he grocery shops, but only to get his sugar addiction taken care of. He doesn’t cook, never has, so his shopping is rather ridiculous. If I didn’t go to market after work, we would have only processed food in the house which I cannot eat. He was an alcoholic but quit drinking and smoking (after a heart attack), quit soft drinks after ruining his esophagus, quit mints after ruining most of his teeth, but moved on to cough drops (because after all, they are legitimate, right?), and so continues to ruin his teeth to the tune of $4000 this year. One addiction over, and another starts. He hides and hoards candy. Anyway, you get the picture, no help with anything of substance. He will hint at wanting to do something together, but ignore that I’m too exhausted to be able to. I was a fool to marry again, being as I left my first husband with four children, because I was doing everything, and I knew I always would. I feel like such a fool; I married not one, but two men who obviously wanted their wife to also be their mother. It’s too exhausting to be both, not to mention disgusting and ridiculous. At least I have my children and my Dad who are just great, who love me, and help me and I them. Husbands though, I wasn’t so lucky. I feel so stuck as we are older and it would be such a difficult thing to divorce; finances, my family home and such being all intertwined. I don’t hate him, but I certainly don’t love him. I just feel stuck, and unhappy. I do everything I can think of to try to get some happiness in my life, but it definitely isn’t in my marriage. When, and if, I become a widow, as I am 15 years younger than he, I will definitely not consider marriage again. I don’t trust myself to choose wisely in relationships.

    Like

  27. Maddy476 says:

    I really feel your pain and understand. i think relationships boil down to communicating expectations. I think if a woman details her expectations and the guy doesn’t do it, there’s a problem. I think we also expect men to think like we think and they just don’t. They are wired differently. I don’t want to come across as man bashing because I love men but the fact is – men are thick.
    I have discussed this with many female friends. Those that are wives, managers supervising men, etc. Alll the same observations. Women can handle multiple things, men cannot. Their needs are very simplistic. Women are much more complicated with layers of complexity and the ability to sense things on a multitude of levels at same time. Men aren’t wired that way. It’s up to us to communicate and set expectations. Same for men, really.
    They need to communicate their expectations. My heart aches for you.
    I hope you can work it out. If not, I encourage you to leave and be happy. It’s better to be alone than lonely in a relationship. I am happy now and look forward to the rest of my life.
    Here’s to a great 2017 !!!!

    Like

    • Ryan says:

      After a lengthy conversation with a friend i’ve had an epiphany. This is not as complex as it seems. Basically, men need to change their attitudes and adapt to modern life, but its easier said then done. Emotions cause men to stress a whole lot more than they do for women.
      It’s instinctual. Prehistoric men, on the hunt or in a bloody battle, had to overide their emotions or face certain death. Having emotions in times of imminent danger will cloud judgement. Clouded judgement will kill you. Thinking logically and having emotions running high never go hand in hand simultaneously. It’s either one or the other. So men developed a flight or fight response to when emotions kick in. Adrenaline pumps and that causes stress. Especially for a modern man in situations where there is no life threatening danger and emotions are running high. They feel they need to take action, grab a spear and slay the mighty beast before they die. Not sit patiently listening and empathising. Thats just how men react to emotions. This is not theory, scientists have experimented on this subject and men’s stress level’s really do spike much more than women’s, in response to emotional stimuli, such as hearing a baby’s crying.
      Now im not justifying men’s behaviour like arguing irrationally,(fight) bottling up or walking out of a room mid-conversation.(flight) Its rude and terrible behaviour especially to a loved one and supposed life partner! But it is our fight or flight reactions kicking in. When our partner is telling us about something thats happened to them that day or a problem theyre having, most men react by wanting to solve it immediately, we look at it logically and try and find a solution. Women dont want their problem solved or be critisised for their actions. And they can be very logical themselves. Here’s the kicker…
      All women really want is for their man to listen to what theyre saying or feeling and have those feelings justified or validated by their man to them.
      Unfortunately, most men usually react to problems by trying to find a solution but women aren’t seeking a solution. They want to figured it out themselves. Theyre big girls. Strong and independant. They want us to empathize with them and validate their feelings. If they wanted it solved, they’d tell us they were lost for a solution.
      Unfortunately, as a result of their woman not getting the response to what they were truly after, their “shitty husband,” gets left feeling confused and not helpful or capable to add the stress from the emotions he’s feeling from it all.. Why isn’t she happy when i’ve just solved her problem she brought to me to help her figure out? Naer nerrr.
      She didnt want an answer she wanted you to understand why she feels the way she feels and then validate those feelings to her. Ill give you an example.

      Wife calls husband ” Hi honey, im going to be late home, ive got a flat tyre and it’s pouring rain and people are just staring or honking at me as they drive past..assholes”
      Husbands replies, “Babe, that’s sounds awful, what pricks, have you got racq’s number? ill have a warm bath and dinner ready for when you get home. Love you.”
      Now thats an ideal response his wife would melt for. But unfortunately, i think most men would respond something more like this.
      “Have you got racq’s number? Nevermind, i can call them for you. How did you get a flat? Well, if you thought it was going flat on your way to work, why on earth did you try and drive home? I love you. Be safe.”
      Men, thinking theyre giving what their women is asking for, a logical solution to her problem and a bit of critisism so she might remember to not repeat her mistake. Naer nrrrr. Wrong. Who’s response is more likely get more attention, affection, sex and cuddles that night and a more loyal and pampering wife in the long run? Thats right, contestant number one. Number 2, you are just another shitty husband.

      The end.

      Like

    • Ryan says:

      After a lengthy conversation with a friend i’ve had an epiphany. This is not as complex as it seems. Basically, men need to change their attitudes and adapt to modern life, but its easier said then done. Emotions cause men to stress a whole lot more than they do for women.
      It’s instinctual. Prehistoric men, on the hunt or in a bloody battle, had to overide their emotions or face certain death. Having emotions in times of imminent danger will cloud judgement. Clouded judgement will kill you. Thinking logically and having emotions running high never go hand in hand simultaneously. It’s either one or the other. So men developed a flight or fight response to when emotions kick in. Adrenaline pumps and that causes stress. Especially for a modern man in situations where there is no life threatening danger and emotions are running high. They feel they need to take action, grab a spear and slay the mighty beast before they die. Not sit patiently listening and empathising. Thats just how men react to emotions. This is not theory, scientists have experimented on this subject and men’s stress level’s really do spike much more than women’s, in response to emotional stimuli, such as hearing a baby’s crying.
      Now im not justifying men’s behaviour like arguing irrationally,(fight) bottling up or walking out of a room mid-conversation.(flight) Its rude and terrible behaviour especially to a loved one and supposed life partner! But it is our fight or flight reactions kicking in. When our partner is telling us about something thats happened to them that day or a problem theyre having, most men react by wanting to solve it immediately, we look at it logically and try and find a solution. Women dont want their problem solved or be critisised for their actions. And they can be very logical themselves. Here’s the kicker…
      All women really want is for their man to listen to what theyre saying or feeling and have those feelings justified or validated by their man to them.
      Unfortunately, most men usually react to problems by trying to find a solution but women aren’t seeking a solution. They want to figured it out themselves. Theyre big girls. Strong and independant. They want us to empathize with them and validate their feelings. If they wanted it solved, they’d tell us they were lost for a solution.
      Unfortunately, as a result of their woman not getting the response to what they were truly after, their “shitty husband,” gets left feeling confused and not helpful or capable to add the stress from the emotions he’s feeling from it all.. Why isn’t she happy when i’ve just solved her problem she brought to me to help her figure out? Naer nerrr.
      She didnt want an answer she wanted you to understand why she feels the way she feels and then validate those feelings to her. Ill give you an example.

      Wife calls husband ” Hi honey, im going to be late home, ive got a flat tyre and it’s pouring rain and people are just staring or honking at me as they drive past..assholes”
      Husbands replies, “Babe, that’s sounds awful, what pricks, have you got racq’s number? ill have a warm bath and dinner ready for when you get home. Love you.”
      Now thats an ideal response his wife would melt for. But unfortunately, i think most men would respond something more like this.
      “Have you got racq’s number? Nevermind, i can call them for you. How did you get a flat? Well, if you thought it was going flat on your way to work, why on earth did you try and drive home? I love you. Be safe.”
      Men, thinking theyre giving what their women is asking for, a logical solution to her problem and a bit of critisism so she might remember to not repeat her mistake. Naer nrrrr. Wrong. Who’s response is more likely get more attention, affection, sex and cuddles that night and a more loyal and pampering wife in the long run? Thats right, contestant number one. Number 2, you are just another “shitty husband,” even though you were just as affected and in just as much distress over your wife’s plight as number 1.

      Men need to learn how to express themselves empathetically to understand and connect with their partners and their rewards, more often then not, will be 10fold.

      Women, it never hurts to understand men a but more too. Know that they do, from time to time, need alone time to rejuvinate and solve their own problems. Its why the concept of man-cave came to be. Too full on of emotions on too mych of the time will stress men the fuck out and ultimately will kill them slowly. Hence men die so much younger, on average.

      The end.

      Like

  28. Maddy476 says:

    I love you Ryan. LOL. You hit the nail on the head, except if I had a flat tire , I would want my man to come fix it or come and get me. Women want to feel like they come first. Not the hockey game. Men can watch sports of course but it’s prioritizing. Don’t go golfing while your wife is having a miscarriage.
    Take the time to shop for a thoughtful gift. Take time to wrap it and get her a romantic card. If you aren’t getting enough sex at home, it’s because you aren’t fulfilling her needs emotionally and that means paying attention when she talks. Women also have to pick the right time to talk…not in middle of 9th inning. Communicate, communicate, communiate.

    Like

  29. Ryan says:

    Oh! It gets even better! Here’s the double kicker… Oh, just you wait till you hear this part!… Are you ready?
    Us, men, we….. Dont…..Even….Have….To… Do….It…….Every..Single….. Day….maybe like once every other day. Shit, i’m sure some of us would be doing a Hell of a lot better if we did it once a week! Isn’t that great!? And you know what happens after we get it down pat for the majority of times or at least the really important times? (and lets be honest here, its not all That Often either, when it’s a biggin’ occasion, one we cant miss) That’s right, Johnny! We get more nookie, but that’s not the end of what we shall recieve.
    Our spouses will develop a whole new steadier temperment. When we can be their rock, the one who can calm that ocean of emotional havoc for them, they’ll re-blossom back into that rose they once were when we first met them. Women are beautiful creatures, you see, but do you know why? They’ve got this shit down pat since like preschool.
    Men also Love to have what we say and do, responded to empathetically. We just take it for granted from our ladies and when they start pulling back the reigns a bit on being supportive and admiring of you because of your lack of connection to feminity, that’s when you start feeling like shit and start treating her worse, exasperating the hard time we’ve been having in our relationships.
    As we dig deep into that pea-brained emotional intellegence sector in our brains more and more, and our relationships become more harmonious as a result and not only do our wives love us more, we too, love her more and more. Women are just waiting and aching for that connection and they give it back tenfold when their man is a master of this response technique. To wrap up this lesson, guys, i’ll end with this.
    Connect with our wives through simple empathetic responses and we get LESS stressed out immediately because her emotions will be soothed from it and in the long term, she will be so much more at an equilibrium with her own emotions. Overall, we will get Less emotional exposure from her in total, thus less stress. And THAT’s the most logical solution. Ultimately, we get what we always wanted from it all. A logical answer to a way forward.

    My work here is done. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. […] I’m not blogging about what shitty husband I was, I’m writing marketing content designed to influence people to buy or sign up for something. I […]

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  31. Stuart dunton says:

    I have been with my wife for 8 years I thought I was helping her as I didn’t realise it she was actually helping me she looked after me and our 4 children and she even took in my other 2 kids 7 years later I cheated on her for the first time and I have regretted this I thought she forgave me but then 1 night she leaves me I didn’t see the signs that she was still suffering from that night I took her for granted she was my best friend my rock and my life Jayne Dutton I love and miss you baby girl and I’m sorry you deserve better than me as always my love for you will never change xxxx

    Like

  32. […] I was oblivious to most of my missteps as a husband, I was fully aware of this—something I’ve noticed about myself from childhood: I sometimes […]

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