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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248 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands

  1. Maddy476 says:

    Women, I ask you.,,,would you rather marry a jerk like this or be alone?
    Quite frankly Rhett, I would rather be alone. If your wife had her own money, she would leave. I make more money than my ex-husband and realized I deserved better and didn’t need to put up with his crap anymore.
    I truly and honestly feel sorry for your wife. I wouldn’t care if you were rich or had a huge dick, or both.
    You sir, are a moron.

    Scarlett

    • Jeff Strand says:

      Let me get this straight. You’re divorced and bitter. I’m happily married, for 15+ years now, and blessed with children. My wife is happy as a clam and regularly thanks me for the beautiful life I have given her. In many ways, even after all these years we still feel like we are on our honeymoon,

      And you call me a moron and “feel sorry” for my wife? Just because we embrace traditional gender roles? LMAO! And you wonder why you have a failed marriage under your belt, right?

      Well, I don’t wonder…it’s perfectly obvious to me, sweetie. But let me guess, it was ALL his fault? lol Look, you could have just respectfully disagreed with me and said “glad you and your wife are happy, but not sure that’s for me”. Instead, you chose sarcasm, insults, and pettiness. So I can’t say I’m really surprised to learn that you’re not wife material.

      You can change. Whether you do or not, is not up to you.

      • Jeff Strand says:

        “is up to you”

      • Maddy476 says:

        Jeff, sorry for the delay in replying. I was away with work deadlines and trying to think how to reply. I told my friends about you and they said not to even bother replying. They said you are just looking for attention and enjoy stirring the pot.
        I have to admit, I do wonder why a guy who is happily married is trolling a website for people who have complicated relationships and are unhappy. Some are working on it, some didn’t make it but we all have one thing in common and that is that we are reflective and looking for answers. We are trying to improve and understand complicated dynamics. We want to know that we aren’t the only ones who are thinking the way we think and feeling the way we do. We are human. Judging from all the posts I have read, I am not alone.
        It is not my fault that I was born an alpha female, any more than is it your fault for having antiquated views of marriage. I am glad that it works for you and your wife. Chances are you were raised this way in a specific religion, which I think is a cult and vehemently oppose.
        I choose to be more spiritual. Yes, perhaps my initial response was petty and mudslinging. You can’t possibly know what it feels like to be a woman because you are not a woman. Women have been working on equality issues forever and I think your attitude isn’t helping. I worry about your daughters. How are they going to become doctors and lawyers and leaders and future Presidents if they are in a submissive relationship.?
        My ex-husband and I have alot in common. We still like each other and are in a amicable legally separated phase. Not divorced yet. If I use your theory of the man being head of the household and making all the decisions, my marriage would have been in even more trouble. I had to take control of the situation. As life moves on and you get older, things happen. (BTW honey – I am way older than you, so sweetie was quite a funny phrase to me because you don’t know who you are talking to) I could be 60 and be running my own company. I could be 30 and running my own company,or maybe not. You don’t know. I could be beautiful (people tell me I am) and I could kick your ass on the golf course or in a hockey rink or on the soccer field. You don’t know. You don’t know that I look great in an evening dress and am considered very sexy by many and I look 10 years younger than I really am. Again, not my fault for being an alpha female. I can’t help it. I am athletic and I like sports. I am who I am, just as you are who you are. I just don’t want to see your daughters being robbed of THEIR dreams. If you teach them both sides and LET THEM CHOOSE, then you have done your job as a parent. My ex is a good guy, just a shitty husband as Matt has described. All his fault….I will let you be the judge, although we both know that God is the only true judge. My ex had entrepreneurial fantasies and lost a ton of money. (I estimated over 10 years, I lost about $300K) Some people might not be upset by that, but I was. I supported him financially for 10 years. My Mom died suddenly and in a heartbeat my life was turned upside down. My husband left me the day after her funeral and went home with the kids. Two days later I stood in the cemetery and buried my Mom with no husband or kids for support. Worse day of my life and he wasn’t there. I had to take the train home to a city 4 hours away.
        I was awesome wife material and any guy would be lucky to have me. Unfortunately my husband forgot how awesome I am. We were together 28 years, married for 25 (think of Al and Tipper Gore) .
        I am raising two boys and hope they find a woman just like me. Independant, fun adventurous and smart. I pray to God Hillary Clinton wins, otherwise you are all going to want to defect to Canada !!!

        Toodles.

    • Jeff Strand says:

      Scarlett,

      Wow, that’s quite the post you left in response to me on Mar 11. Guess I must have gotten under your skin.

      First of all, you “worry about my daughters”? Seriously? You don’t know me or my family. Do you worry about my son as well? Honestly, saying something like that makes you sound mentally unbalanced.

      Secondly, being an “alpha female” isn’t what you think it means. Acting like a man and having masculine qualities doesn’t make you attractive to a man. Most men are attracted to women who are sweet, demure, thoughtful, caring, submissive, trusting, loving, feminine, soft, and so on. They are at least neutral to, if not outright turned off by, women who are loud, brash, sarcastic, independent, career oriented, overly educated, outspoken, ambitious, and so on.

      Because the masculine is attracted to the feminine. Yin seeks yang. They complement each other. For example, women like you often say how you want to compete with men. What you fail to realize is that men want to love women, not compete with them.

      A smart woman understands this. Believe me, my daughters will. And no way will they be doctors or lawyers. Our fondest hope for them is that are blessed with a loving family of their own one day and that they will make good housewives. I anticipate that their marriage market value will be quite high, so the odds of this outcome are very good.

      Also not surprised you have a contempt for religion – I’ve never met a feminist yet who didn’t. Part of your rebellion against all things traditional, I suppose – like Lucifer, you cry out “Non serviam!” Just another trait that makes you unsuitable for marriage imho. I wouldn’t consider you wife material.

      But hey, you have your fabulous life…with your career, your sexy black dress, your look of 10 years younger, etc. So enjoy all that. As for my wife and me, we’ll stick with what we have – a home filled with love and laughter and joy. And we look forward to grandchildren in our later years.

      Good luck to you.

      • Dee says:

        Dear Jeff,

        Please kindly go away. Some of us are here reading because we have genuine problems in our marriage and are looking for any insight to help our situation. We don’t need you rubbing your awesome life in our faces.

        Thanks,

        Someone whose life truly sucks right now and doesn’t appreciate you being condescending

    • Andre D says:

      Jeff, it’s awesome to hear your story and read your comments about your marriage. I’m glad that some people still get it. I don’t suppose many who are bashing you will ever change their tunes. But, oh well, that’s their loss. It’s good to know some people still have some values that work out in a fantastic marriage. Best wishes to you and the entire family.
      Andre

  2. Jeff Strand says:

    By the way Scarlett, just because I expect my wife to submit to me in all things (which she does)…this doesn’t mean I don’t take her thoughts or wishes into account. Quite the contrary. But once I have reached a decision, that’s it. As head of the household that responsibility is mine alone, and it’s my wife’s role to respect that and abide by my decision. Which she does.

    I can’t imagine marrying a woman who would think and do otherwise. And any man who does, I don’t believe has thought this thru. Or else he doesn’t think he has any other options.

    Sad.

    • Sanderson says:

      You’d be hard to take seriously even without the hideous arrogance and insistence that your way is the ONLY way simply because it happens to work for two people you know.

    • Isabel says:

      Omg. Jeff…you might want to check to see if your wife has secretly packed her bags. If I were her I wouldn’t tell you what I was really thinking. You seem to be Mr. Superior. Just a word of truth from someone who has seen this scenario a gazillion times

  3. laura says:

    matt, i don’t know if it’s intentional and forgive me if it’s not supposed to be, but your funny. i find your subtle sarcasm very refreshing. i have been silently reading these post for while now because i am currently being divorced by an asshole who think women are here to serve him. i have supported him for 5 years, all the while being cheated on, stolen from, well used. And i quit. I got tired of being verbally, financially and finally physically abused. now that his broke-ass is getting an inheritance, he wants a divorce. he wants me to continue to live/take care of him, but without any claim to “his” money (which the only thing he spends money on is beer and dope). i’m not going to continue to complain or whatever on here. i try to be a private person, but oh the lies i’ve heard. Just wanted to thank you for the “dipshit, low-iq, misogynists” comment. :) btw, i am one of those southern women whom was raised to be subservient to a man. I have met one yet that qualifies as a “god” yet.

    • Jeff Strand says:

      Laura, sounds like your husband has some growing up to do. Sorry to hear things have gotten so bad…it’s amazing to me how many miserably married people are out there.

      You say you were “raised to be subservient to a man”. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that – as a matter of fact, that’s how my wife and I are raising our daughters. But there’s a caution that goes with it – you have to choose very carefully who you marry, especially focusing on his character and maturity level. As a wise man once said to a new groom, “If you want her (your new wife) to submit to you, you’re got to give her something to submit to”.

      For example, Sandra Bullock married Jesse James – a tattooed biker guy who cultivates a bad boy persona, was twice married before, and whose previous wife was literally a porn star. Then she’s shocked he cheats on her and proves to not be husband material! Seriously. People have to make better choices. Some women aren’t wife material. And some men aren’t husband material.

  4. Jeff Strand says:

    Matt,

    This is a reply to your comment to me that ended with “thank you for being mostly civil”. For some reason, I wasn’t able to click on a REPLY button to the comment.

    First of all, I appreciate you taking back what you said about my marriage consisting of me bossing my wife around. In the same way, I take back having called you a mangina. Reading more of your stuff, it’s clear you are quite sincere and a decent person. I may not agree with you on everything you say, but that’s cool. People can disagree.

    Again, it’s not that I’m trying to say that my way is right for everyone. It’s just that I think a lot of young men are not told that they are real traditional-minded women out there to marry. And worse, they may be told they are a hateful misogynist if this is something they desire – you know, a wife who will submit to their leadership and respect them as the head of the household. I’m just trying to get the word out that this kind of marriage is out there and available, and there’s nothing wrong with desiring it. And it really is so beautiful. I hope that makes sense to you.

    Finally, I just want to quibble on a couple quick points. My marriage is not a “dom/sub” relationship. I don’t tie her up or spank her, and she doesn’t call me master. Our marriage is simply traditional – meaning, what was considered a normal marriage up until a few decades ago. I am the head of the household and she is the nurturing caregiver. We embody traditional gender roles. That’s it. No whips and chains are involved.

    Lastly, you say 50% of all marriages end in divorce. While that is technically true, it can be misleading. If a couple getting married meets the following 3 attributes: 1. They are both college graduates 2. They are both white 3. The woman has attained her 25th birthday — then such a couple has a 90% chance of staying married for life. It’s true, Google it yourself. My wife and I met all 3 of these requirements (only just on the age, she was 25) and so statistically we should EXPECT to never divorce…only 10% of such couples do.

    All the best to you, wherever life takes you.

  5. Maddy476 says:

    Jeff, are you a Jehovah’s Witness?

    • Jeff Strand says:

      Nope.

    • Barbara says:

      dear scarlett – what the hell would being a Jehovah’s Witness have to do this this? Being in any healthy, loving, respectful, God fearing (Jew, Witness, Mormon, Catholic ,Islam, Methodist, Baptist, Hindu etc., etc.,) can be good or bad depending on the commitment of the people involved and the balance of respect.

  6. Barbara says:

    oh boy….. respect for each other – that is it, you can love someone and still not want to be with them because he or she has no respect for you or themselves. Nice guys finish last? maybe, but selfish people finish last and alone.

  7. Maddy476 says:

    Barbara,
    Jeff believes in submissive relationships. I have never heard of such a thing except for someone I know is a JW and believes same thing.
    If he was a JW, it would have given me more perspective as to where he is coming from.
    Hope that helps.
    Cheers
    Scarlett.

  8. Audrey says:

    I loved reading all your articles. I have been married 5 years and everything you wrote is true. Thank you….made me laugh, made a tear cause I don’t think my husband will realize in time.

  9. FWIW I must have hit the jackpot as far as husbands go. Married him 41 years ago, the day after my 18th birthday. We do have a pretty traditional marriage, although I did work for a few years. DH changed diapers, and he washes dishes, etc. He also listens, helps with household chores. He spends a lot of time with the grandchildren, lets them use his tools. He is a good man. Now, if he didn’t have all these wonderful qualities and was lazy or unresponsive to conversation, I don’t think a traditional marriage would have worked. Some women seem to be managing to stay with their husbands when the man is bossy, critical, unengaged , and never lifts a finger. I don’t think I would have stayed with that kind of husband.

    • Matt says:

      Loved reading this. Thank you very much for sharing. Congratulations on 41 years!

      • You’re welcome. Rereading what I wrote, it sounds a little ungrateful, like the marriage is all about “me.” I am very grateful – and I’m working on being a better wife to him. How can I bless him? How can I help him? I get that he’s wonderful – i want to be a wonderful counterpart. The other day he was asking me if I wanted another ring – or some jewelry. I said no, “memories, not minerals. Let’s just spend time together.”

        He was talking recently about how it is when you are young, and first married, and you have all these goals and you’re running down the bridge of life, ticking off stuff on your list, and then all of a sudden, you are 60, and you see… up ahead… the END OF THE BRIDGE. And you want to stop, and slow down, and enjoy each moment.

  10. So reassuring to know I am not crazy…you’ve put in words what has been cycling in my brain like Saturn’s rings for the last 15 years.
    I don’t talk about it anymore- or nag – I’m too busy with everything and everybody in the house. But sometimes I stop and look around. Shrug, sigh and keep on doing what I normally do.
    I posted your page in my Facebook with the hopes he’ll read it (I blocked everybody else- so he’s the only one who can see it). If not, I’ll shrug again. Oh well.

    • Maddy476 says:

      A friendly suggestion….I wouldn’t be so polite as to wait for him to read it. In my opinion guys need direction. They aren’t good at connecting the dots.
      I would print it out and ask him to read it because it’s important to you. You have to spell out what you want changed. If he doesn’t change, then live your own life on your own terms and be as happy as you can be. If he can’t put an effort in, then you know where you stand. If he is a sports guy, use sports analogies. Guys are very good at remembering every golf hole, every shot on every course, yet they can’t pay attention to the person they asked to marry them. If they have to do something to improve their golf swing, slap shot etc, they do it.
      Men really have to wake up. Having said that, it’s not all their fault. It’s just the way they are built. Guys like the chase and once they have got the woman, they give up. Wouk they do that with Giselle Bundchen? I think not.

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

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

  13. […] also the same reason I was a shitty husband, and the same reason millions of men—even ones who are pretty good guys—are shitty […]

  14. ABB says:

    Wow Jeff Strand sounds frightening. What he says goes, and is the absolute final say. Until the day his subservient wife decides that she wants to be an equal in a marriage.

    • Jeff Strand says:

      ABB, yes I have “the absolute final say.” That’s what being the head of the household means. It actually works out really well in practice – maybe that’s why traditional marriage worked so well for so many generations.

      So anyway, I would just consider that a woman who considers traditional marriage roles to be “frightening” is not someone I would ever have married. I would not consider her wife material. And I would encourage young single men out there to do likewise. Because too many men are not careful enough when it comes to choosing a mate, and they often pay a high price as a result.

      • Magzo says:

        omg…you are a complete troglodyte – I’ll bet you’re voting for Trump…

      • Denise says:

        Are you serious??? How about if todays men actually GREW UP OMG I wouldnt put a lot of men I know in charge of a rat nether lone a house, mortgage , kids etc.
        Most women want a traditional marriage what a shame we are in a generation where the men today are not up to it and are overgrown, immature, selfish and extremely childish
        children!

  15. Interesting piece; wish I had known years earlier still better late than never.

  16. Rose says:

    Wow,Scarlett and Jeff you both make great points.Just wanted to give my point of view on the subject seeing as you could consider me submissive.In my marriage my husband works I do everything in the home.When he gets home I bathe him,yea I bathe him almost everyday not because he makes me just because I like to pamper him.Im very grateful that I can stay with my children and guide there education, I dont leave the house by myself often I dont have friends I go out with although sometimes I feel the need to fulfill my own desires may it be work related or socially,I think about what I think a good marriage is made of and ponder if I can balance,and for me the answer is no. BUT I do have a stubborn side I like our lives balanced in everything and I push for it.I agree with Scarlet 100% on the fact that men are nearsighted you cant beat around the bush with them,in fact sometimes even when being direct you dont get your point across.My husbands flaws are mine to help fix and vise versa if he does something wrong and I think I can do a better job because it affects us both I will take the lead weather he likes it or not.My point is no one should catagorize there relashionship. I think team work and everyone feeling apriciated is the apropriate balance in marriage if a womans skills are making money not making pie theres nothing wrong with that but the apropriate person who apreciates that and lives to make her happy is whats important.Geting to really know a personas well before geting maried I think is the key to it all.I just got married Im only 22 and by no means claim to know more than anyone con the subject just my two cents.Matt im so happy for you!!You have realized things that not many men realize in a lifetime and I know you will find someone great to grow old with and your son has a great father that im sure will help him learn from his mistakes!!

  17. Mrs Strand says:

    Hi I’m looking for my husband Jeff Strand. After our most recent argument, I kicked him out of our home. He was supposed to be at his mothers but I found out she kicked him out for being on the internet too long and he hurt her dog when she barked at him. If anyone heard from him or knows where he is tell him he may return home now. Thank you.

  18. […] Fray at Must Be This Tall to Ride. An extended passage here, because his 13-volume Open Letter to Shitty Husbands series is too potent to […]

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

  20. […] still have to read An Open Letter to a Shitty Husband to wake me up to what a donkeys butt I’ve been (an ass squared) – so I can change. And […]

  21. […] married, how to be a marriage partner. It is more than being a good person. Unfortunately lots of good people end up divorced. If you chose an ethical person, they won’t later drag you through the court […]

  22. Stacy Eiberg says:

    Does this apply to shitty boyfriends too? Cause I fee this way mostly everyday! My BF sleeps till 3pm in the afternoon, stays up late but when I ask him to take out the garbage his response is…I just woke up. I’ll do it later…that’s after I spent 2 hours cleaning the house! We start therapy on Thursday but like your articles say, he has to want to change and honestly I don’t think he wants too. 😕

  23. Maddy476 says:

    Nope, he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t have a reason to. I would give him an ultimatum and follow thru. Don’t spend your life waiting for someone to change like I did. Kick him out and tell him to grow up.

    Good luck. You are stronger than you think you are.

  24. […] was struck once again by how common these Shitty Husband traits seem to be. I thought it was interesting how many wives reported “We’re married to the same husband!” […]

  25. Louie says:

    I was sent this link from my wife, currently separated. The same person who has spent the last 10 years regularly hitting me, throwing things at me, calling me all sorts of names, insulting me in every way possible. All of this happens in front of the young kids. She spends at least $1.25 for every dollar I make, much of it on unnecessary and/or completely useless junk that our house and yard are overflowing with. We look like complete white trash because I just can’t keep up with getting rid of things, and there is a perpetual pile of Amazon boxes next to the house. When I get rid of it, it’s back within a few days. If I ever mention the fact that she refuses to do basic things like putting trash in the trash can rather than on the floor, her standard response is that if I want a neater house, I should get a better job so she can hire a housekeeper. And yet, somehow there is only one shitty spouse in the equation, which is obviously me. Ladies, before sending this to your husbands as another way of insulting them, maybe think about the fact that there are 2 people in the relationship, and consider the role you play. Guys, just because someone says something doesn’t make it true. Not everything you do that your wife dislikes or disagrees with makes you a shitty husband. Hell, if I want to so much as record a football game to watch once the kids are asleep, I’m considered the most selfish person alive in my house. Sometimes it’s not you, but her that is the shitty one.

  26. Maddy475 says:

    I am so sorry that your wife is abusive.
    Be thankful you are separated and can live in peace. You deserve better. No one should stay in an abusive relationship. Good luck.

  27. […] 我最近看了有一个博客教:An Open Letter for A Shitty Husband. 写博客的人是一个已经离婚的男人,他告诉他当离婚男人的经验。他本来不喜欢当离婚人,因为他还爱他以前的太太,还有看他孩子的时间也很有限的。 […]

  28. […] bad things “happen” to me, I can always trace it back to how I wasn’t paying enough attention. Sometimes to a thing. Usually, to a […]

  29. Alice says:

    Wow, was just looking around and can’t believe how many people gave up precious minutes of their life to respond to Jeff. Holy hell! Another good one Matt! I have some extra time this morning and get to read and reread some things… I love your blog!

  30. […] Most people seem to get it. Most people seem to understand that it was just one moment that was representative of a macro-level pattern of behavior and decision making which I’ve lovingly dubbed Shitty Husbandry (which you can read about here). […]

  31. Leslie says:

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!!! Just about every single word you wrote is 100% true!!!! My husband is a great worker, great brother, great friend to everyone, he’s just not a great husband!!! He works very hard to provide for us, and exactly like you said, when he comes home he feels that he has done his part and would NEVER, EVER even think of asking me if I need help with anything!! In fact sometimes I really thinks he enjoys watching me run around like a lunatic picking up stuff, and putting it away, while making dining, throwing a forgotten sock or towel in the wash, making phones calls, writing everything done, answering the door, while cleaning up the puppy’s accident on the floor… Sorry that was so long but I cry all the time when I’m by myself, which is a lot, and all he says is… What more can I do you make you happy???
    Or You have the life! You have no idea what stress is!
    Always a belittling comment!!!
    And if I say anything, like you said, I’m nuts or a bitch or I’m “constantly on him”… And I have considered having an affair… Not even for sex but just to have someone talk to me!!!
    So thank you again for your wonderful article!!!!
    I emailed it to my husband and in the subject line I put
    Please read this……

  32. […] marriage was THE Common Modern Divorce Story. And that should scare the shit out of […]

  33. Loved this post! I am in a relationship and think I will discuss this with my bf to see if he agrees or disagrees. Cause if he doesn’t understand it while our relationship is really good. Not sure things will work out if our relationship gets difficult.

    But yes I hope if I get married one day that I don’t have to deal with a shitty husband. And I pray to God that I don’t become a shitty wife!

    Thanks for the awesome post. I will now go and browse through others. Haven’t read one I don’t like yet. 😆

  34. N CD says:

    Matt, I found your site a couple days ago googling “shitty husband” and I have been devouring the posts. You have definitely helped this shitty husband at least start to understand himself and how he can do/be better. Will it help? Who knows, but I will try. I’m sure someone has asked you this already, what does your ex think of all this? Thanks Matt.

  35. […] “a guy” in the way I think of the caricature or stereotype that exists in my head when I’m writing about shitty husbandry—not radically different than how I remember myself not too many years […]

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

  37. Tired wife says:

    I wish my husband read your posts, but he’s too busy doing whatever else he thinks it’s important!

  38. […] Men lose more in divorce than women and it’s because (in my estimation) they didn’t give enough during the marriage. […]

  39. Serena A says:

    I’ve read every word. I’ve cried over every word. You literally wrote my story….and I pray every second that my husband takes as much time to read your words as I did. If he does, our marriage can be saved. Last night I text him the link and simply said “I’m asking you to read this. Please”.

    Leaving my best friend, the man I have fought to keep for so long, the man that makes my stomach tingle and my heart pitter-patter will be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do……but, I’m that wife. The one you wrote about. I’m not sure how much more I can take.

  40. Ken says:

    What about many of us Good men out there that were married at one time to the Low Life Loser women?

    • Matt says:

      Take responsibility for not having good pre-marital boundaries and decision-making? Make better partner choices next time? Write stories about crappy wives?

      I’ve never understood the “Yeah, but…!” reaction.

      Let true things be true over here. It doesn’t make some other thing that has nothing to do with this less true or less real.

      I appreciate you being a good man.

      Whether or not you agree with the premise here, this is about helping people ask themselves the right questions on their journeys toward becoming their best selves.

      Step one: Accept responsibility for where we are today.

  41. Isabel says:

    Great response. If a guy or a women judges how good or bad they are based on someone else’s actions then they will never be responsible for their own actions. Be the best you can be not ok because you are better by comparison to someone else. It’s called being an adult.

  42. Pam says:

    Thank you.
    I found your blog awhile back and have read a good few posts and like them all. You make good points about the different ways men and women think, the starting point for happiness being gratitude, giving versus taking and who is the marriage for, all arguments are the same argument and more I can’t think of at the moment.

    I am married and I love my husband. He isn’t perfect and I’m not either.
    Sometimes I get angry with him because he does frequently act selfishly. I do need him. It’s not easy to get him to understand what I need from him. I try. I try to understand how he feels too. The waffles vs spaghetti thing is good.
    Reading what you write helps me sort it out, I think you’re doing a good thing with this.

  43. […] while we certainly have our Dishes by the Sink arguments and laundry list of Shitty Husband things to talk and think about, perhaps what ails you, or your partner, or your relationship most is the […]

  44. Harry says:

    What a dumbass. Guys have nothing to gain and everything to lose in marriage. Any guy who still wants to get married in this day and age is a fucking loser. Seriously. Btw, fuck feminism.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Harry. You seem like an awesome, well-adjusted, happy person.

      I’m going to take back everything I’ve thought about, experienced and written, and pretty much just go with whatever you say.

  45. […] has said similar words many times. Matthew Fray at Must Be This Tall To Ride has published a series of open letters to shitty husbands that resonate so strongly they […]

  46. […] It’s because I foolishly believe that no rational human could ever think I’m ACTUALLY that passionate about something stupid like peanut butter, just like I foolishly believed that no rational wife could ever ACTUALLY believe that I didn’t love her based on my well-documented Shitty Husband behavior. […]

  47. […] He’s now dedicated a blog to helping men see what they can do to prevent a divorce.  Click here and just read the opening letter and then scan the topics over each “volume.” Please […]

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