Tag Archives: Shitty Husbands

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands, Vol. 14

(Image/hellopretty.co.za)

Because I failed to create any type of plan or structure to ensure preparation and acknowledgment of special occasions like Valentine’s Day, our wedding anniversary, my wife’s birthday, etc., my epic ADD-ness, procrastination and sometimes lack of money created a bunch of negative or lackluster moments in my marriage.

When two people are in a romantic partnership together, there’s always a little bit of give-and-take as it’s impossible and impractical for each partner to satisfy exactly half of all shared responsibilities.

But when someone doesn’t get anything back when they give, give, give, they eventually run out of energy. They eventually stop giving.

Until the final couple of years of our marriage that I should have (but didn’t) recognize as the End Times, my wife was always incredibly thoughtful and an organized planner about almost everything, including things specifically for me.

It wasn’t a courtesy that I returned. I’m prone to procrastination and poor calendar management because I’m all kinds of ADD that was undiagnosed and unidentified during my marriage. I got comfortable. Lackadaisical. And lost sight of the importance of investing in my wife and marriage.

She put effort and energy into doing things for me, and planning things for us to do together.

I did not return that same level of effort and energy. I very rarely took the initiative to plan shared activities for the both of us.

For YEARS.

And now I’m divorced, and this EXTREMELY EASY THING TO CORRECT is a significant reason why.

Here’s the simple truth: When you make conscious, mindful, regular investments in your wife and marriage, and create opportunities to do fun things together, and demonstrate as a matter of routine that you have HER and the BOTH OF YOU top of mind and are investing effort and energy in your togetherness… you probably have a strong and healthy marriage.

And when you don’t?

You end up like me.

It Wasn’t Always That Way

I was still 18 when I met the girl who would give birth to our son 10 years later.

A mutual friend had been talking about hooking the two of us up for months. My future wife was super-involved in school activities at the university we attended, whereas I mostly just drank beer and smoked weed at awesome parties.

She was the feature baton twirler for the marching band during football season.

She was a competitive ballroom dancer.

She was on the dance team for the college basketball season.

She always had practice or a part-time job to go to, or homework to do, so she was never at any of our parties. After months of being told we’d make the perfect couple, we’d still never met.

Then one night, I heard she was going to be there—at the off-campus apartment where most of our freshman-year parties took place.

I was drinking and smoking and having a great time with my best friends like almost any other keg-party night, so I wasn’t ready for her to walk in.

Insta-smitten.

She’s the kind-of pretty that makes your stomach hurt. Smiling eyes. Gorgeous cheekbones. The kind-of smile that makes you mirror one back to her, even when she isn’t looking.

She was smart. Funny. Easy to be around.

She was everything teenage-me could have ever wanted. Everything except available.

Our mutual friend didn’t realize my future wife was dating someone. And even if she wasn’t, she didn’t have free time to actually date, nor am I sure we’d have ever made it while she was being super-responsible and I was being super-irresponsible.

Our “perfect-togetherness” would have to wait.

We stayed in touch. A phone call here and there. A hug and friendly chat somewhere on campus whenever we’d cross paths.

I dated someone for a couple of years in there, and so did she.

But here’s why I’m telling this story: One random afternoon while I was riding around with one of my friends, I had him stop at a store because I wanted to buy flowers and a card for this gorgeous blonde I was crushing on.

Just something to let her know I was thinking about her.

The Framed Greeting Card

It was the kind of card that folded from the top down.

She’d kept it for a few years in between me giving it to her, and us getting together in a couple’s capacity when we were 22.

I liked that she kept it. I liked it a lot.

It sat in a little horizontal frame on a dresser or nightstand throughout our years together. I read it a few times, but I can’t remember what I wrote inside, and I don’t think it mattered.

What mattered was me taking the time to get a card and flowers, to write a thoughtful, personal note to her. There was no particular occasion or reason to.

I had just wanted to.

Call it a broad generalization if you want, but I think girls like it when you do something for them—just because.

For more than a decade, that little card sat there.

Once a cute, heartwarming reminder of a thoughtful guy who would call a Life timeout simply to invest in making the woman he loved feel good. For no other reason than he wanted her to feel good.

But later, I think that little card became a disappointing reminder of what might have been. Not a symbol of goodness. A symbol of a guy who is capable of making her light up and feel good, and who day after day after day, seems to choose stuff he cares about, and doesn’t seem to think much about her at all.

A little card that’s almost certainly not hiding in her nightstand drawer—but decomposing in a garbage landfill somewhere.

Waste.

Which is fitting, because a waste is exactly what this was.

Just an everyday text: “Thinking about you.”

A weekly phone reminder to plan a mutual (or family) activity for the weekend.

A conscious effort to prioritize this concept of investing in and giving energy to things that benefit our partner, or actively demonstrate that we value and appreciate the person to whom we promised Forever.

That we want them.

That we love them.

That something we do for them is worthy of sitting out as a reminder of something good and meaningful. Something that won’t be discarded to rot in the ground, buried and forgotten forever.

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Are We Actually Trustworthy in Relationships?: My Radio Interview with Lesli Doares

radio on air microphone

(Image/kathurley.com)

The concept of trust in relationships and marriage is a funny thing, because whether we say “I trust [insert person here]” is so dependent on whatever we are trusting that person to do.

I trust my mom. I trust her as much or more than anyone I’ve ever known.

But I don’t trust my mom to safely fly and land a helicopter, or perform LASIK eye surgery, or draw up blueprints for a natural gas-fired power plant.

We hear or read the word “trust,” and it means to us whatever it means. But, word to the wise: Maybe it means something else to the people you love.

Men Vs. Women on Trust in Marriage

I’m going to venture bravely into a little Mars/Venus territory, while reminding everyone who gets heartburn over this that I’m NOT saying these things are INHERENTLY true to men and women. I’m saying when you observe men and women, you can observe them to be GENERALLY true.

Growing up, then dating, then being married, I perceived conversations regarding the word “Trust” in relationships to revolve around sexual faithfulness, around physical safety, around financial responsibility RE: reliable employment, around abandonment, and around criminal behavior.

A man who will not cheat on his wife; nor physically strike her; and who will always go work and provide financially for shelter, food, healthcare, etc.; who will never abandon her now or with children, and who can be trusted to not engage in criminal behavior that might lead to incarceration or bringing danger to the family from other criminals, always seemed to me like a guy you could trust.

Thus, I thought my wife could trust me.

But then, I learned the hard way that my wife could NOT trust me, and it was because of a bunch of things I didn’t know could make a person feel unsafe.

When she didn’t feel heard, when she didn’t feel paid-attention-to, when she didn’t feel desired, and when she didn’t feel respected because of behaviors I thought I was entitled to, and that I thought she sucked for getting upset about, she eventually stopped TRUSTING me.

She couldn’t trust me to care about her, because she didn’t feel cared for.

Me saying I cared, or me telling her that my actions indicated I did care despite her “crazy emo-girl feelings” DID NOT solve the problem.

My actions bred mistrust. She told me so. And then I basically told her she was wrong, adding yet ANOTHER incident to her See? I Can’t Trust Him pile.

I think maybe I’m not the only guy to do this.

The excellent people at The Good Men 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 GMP.

Afterward, she reached out to see if I would join her Happily Ever After is Just the Beginning! radio-show podcast to discuss it, and I agreed.

This is the second time Lesli has graciously invited me on her show (you can listen to the first interview here, if you want).

Thanks again, Lesli!

Listen to My Conversation With Lesli About Trust

You can listen to or download the podcast episode here at Web TalkRadio, titled “From ‘You’re My World’ to ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately.'”

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The Taxonomy of Married Men, Vol. 1

taxonomy illustration

(Image/aiim.org)

Tax·on·o·my – /takˈsänəmē/ – The classification of something.

Here’s the breakdown:

1. Husbands

All husbands fall into one of two camps, which for the purpose of this exercise, require defining.

A. Good men.

A good man is the kind of person you’d let spend the night in your house without hesitation. A good man can be trusted to care for your children and pets. A good man is generally kind, honest, reliable, respectful, polite, loving and demonstrates loyalty and commitment to his family, friends, co-workers, teammates, etc. A good man is not perfect. But his Pros in the character department far outweigh his Cons.

B. Bad men.

A bad man does not care — even a little bit — how his actions affect others. He hurts people physically and emotionally without remorse. He cons people in order to take advantage of them. He lies. Cheats. Steals. Rapes. Murders. Abuses. He is toxic to himself and everyone around him, and his toxic behavior is intentional. His behavior can legitimately be described as EVIL. He revels in chaos, drama and dysfunction. He takes pleasure in others’ pain. A bad man is a constant danger to himself and anyone near him. His Cons far outweigh his Pros.

I am not going to waste thought and space on men who are bad. I lack the maturity and patience to explain to a stranger who is unlikely to be reading this or to ever care what I say, why knowingly marrying, or intentionally remaining married to, a BAD man are shitty life decisions.

2. Husbands Who Are Good Men

All good men who are married fall into one of two camps.

A. Good husbands.

A good husband performs the duties of marriage with skill and competence. His success is usually most apparent to his wife, who often feels loved and secure every day of her life, and who loves and respects him in ways she’s only ever felt for her children and her very closest family members. He is often appreciated by his in-laws, admired by his friends and neighbors, secretly or not-so-secretly wanted by women who covet the things he provides his wife and family in their own lives, and has very little drama or life stresses at home with his wife and/or family as a result of human conflict.

B. Bad husbands.

A bad husband is shitty at marriage. No matter how GOOD of a human being he is, he blows ass at the complexities of human relationships. (Note: This puts him in the 95% of everyone who at times struggles with the complexities of human relationships. This does not make him stupid or incompetent or unfit necessarily for anything good men are suited for. It just makes him bad at marriage. Throughout human history, good men have been bad at many things, like singing and dancing, or constructing high-rise buildings, or playing the piano, or carving ice sculptures, or solving advanced mathematics.)

I am not going to waste thought and space here on men who are good husbands. They’re awesome. I appreciate them. I hope you do too.

3. Good Men Who Are Shitty Husbands

All good men who are bad husbands fall into one of two camps.

A. Men who don’t know they are bad husbands.

Either these men don’t know they’re bad husbands because they don’t know what shitty husbandry is and/or no one has ever taught him that he’s one, OR anytime someone (usually his wife) says that he is, he doesn’t actually believe it. (Note: I believe, of all married men in existence, the VAST majority — I’m talking 85-ish% — fall into this category.)

B. Men who know they are bad husbands but want to be good.

This is a very bad spot to be in, because to arrive here, one usually has to have a miserable, failing marriage wreaking so much emotional havoc, stress and anxiety in our home lives, that we FINALLY decide to ask ourselves the right question: What can I do to help fix this?

An Earnest Search for Answers Uncovers Life-Changing Truths

One night at dinner, my wife said: “I don’t know if I love you or want to be married to you anymore.”

I reacted poorly and selfishly, making it entirely about me. I pouted and started sleeping in the guest room, from which point every day got a little harder and more difficult over 18 months before she chose to move out and end our relationship. But months before that, something in me snapped. I wanted to — needed to — understand why this was happening.

I knew that I loved my wife. I knew that I wanted to stay married. And I thought because I was a good man, and because we shared a son, our entire adulthoods, a home and many friends, that we should be able to pull through.

All you need is love! Right? RIGHT?!?!

Wrong.

Just 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 marriages.

One night, I found myself reading a book called “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It”. The book is written by two long-time marriage counselors who used their experiences with clients and years of notetaking to explain common marriage problems and how husbands and wives commonly experience them.

The experience of reading about random married couples having IDENTICAL conversations and reactions as my wife and I had a profound effect on me, and set the stage for the fundamental shift from who I was to who I am.

Here’s What My Brain Did Afterward

Realization #1

Wow. Our marriage problems are so common that generic, made-up stories in a marriage book totally NAIL my marriage. These exact same marriage problems are affecting almost everybody.

Realization #2

If these marriage problems are this common, that means my wife and I aren’t somehow fatally flawed. We’re not NOT soulmates or freaks unfit for marriage. These marriage problems are practically universal and we don’t have to feel ashamed for having them.

Realization #3

If nearly all marriages suffer these common problems, then that means it’s foolish to get divorced with the intention of replacing your spouse with someone else. Because these same problems will ALSO exist with that other person. If my wife and I love each other, our son, and both generally prefer marriage to being single, the most logical course is to work hard on this marriage, rather than trying to start new relationships as middle-aged divorced single parents only to inevitably have to work hard on THAT relationship, but with the added suck of all the family and friends breakage, and losing so much time with our children.

The Most-Asked Questions of Hurting Wives

It’s one of two, but they both mean the same thing.

Either “You get it! How can I get my husband to read your stuff or understand what you now understand?” or “What could your wife have said or done to help you understand this before it was too late?”

Tomorrow, in Vol. 2 of this post, I’ll attempt to lay out what I perceive to be The Things Good Men Who Are Accidentally Bad Husbands Don’t Know.

But since it will inevitably cover plenty of familiar territory, you can get a preview by reading what I think is among my most helpful posts, Cracking the Code: 7 Ideas That Would Have Saved My Marriage.

It’s hard to be the guy desperately trying to save his family while his wife has checked out of the marriage because she’s been beaten down emotionally so much through the years without him — a genuinely good dude who simply sucked at marriage — realizing it.

And now he KNOWS. Now, he gets it.

But she’s done.

Few relationships come back from the dead. It’s a pill that’s hard to swallow.

But the value of understanding where we went wrong, how to avoid being shitty husbands in the future, and how to teach our children to have healthy and functional human relationships can’t be overstated.

I have to believe all the good men will agree.

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Why I Wrote “An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands”

Families matter. And if you believe your husband doesn't think so, there's a good chance you're wrong.

Families matter. And if you believe your husband doesn’t think so, there’s a good chance you’re wrong.

“Wow. Your marriage is a complete replica of mine except I haven’t walked out yet and you sound a bit more attentive than my husband. I wish he would read your blog and consider it, but he probably wouldn’t cause he’s an asshole.” – Anonymous blog comment

Because a lot of wives are unhappy in their marriages, many of them turn to the internet where they type things like, “my husband is an asshole,” or “shitty husband” into Google.

Maybe they’re looking for advice on how to cope with a bad marriage.

Maybe they’re looking for other wives who feel like them.

Maybe they’re looking for a shred of hope that the life they dream of isn’t completely impossible.

More and more, they find one of the “An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands” posts. Usually Vol. 1. What that means is, hundreds of strangers every day—people who have never read anything else I’ve written, nor understand my motives, nor realize I wrote it two years ago when I was totally broken—are stumbling on that post.

I think it’s a bad post. It’s poorly written and lacking any semblance of the wisdom and understanding I’ve acquired in my search for knowledge.

But one thing is clear: The message is resonating. Because people keep reading and sharing.

There’s something here that matters to people in pain. And that, I understand.

What’s a Shitty Husband?

Lee wrote me, “Understand that not all husbands are shitty…I found myself disagreeing with your choices fairly quickly while reading, and I can see how you ended up where you are now.”

Laura wrote me, “You aren’t a ‘shitty husband’ for being human. And labeling yourself as one isn’t making anybody feel better.”

Let’s get something straight. I like the word “shitty.” And I’m not afraid to use it loosely, because it’s a funny word and an attention-grabbing one in a headline.

Some husbands get drunk all the time, are never home, screw other women, hit their wives, and all kinds of bad things no human being should be.

I CANNOT HELP A MAN LIKE THAT.

A woman who marries a man like that probably has really unhealthy boundary and self-esteem issues, or experienced an unplanned pregnancy and decided to marry the father in an effort to do what she felt was best.

I can only help one kind of guy. And I think there are millions of them. And so much of what I think about and write about is for them, their wives, their children, their extended family and friends.

The kind of guy I can help is the shitty husband who doesn’t know he’s shitty.

Guys who get drunk all the time, are never home, screw other women, hit their wives, and all kinds of other bad things, KNOW they’re shitty. They know and don’t care. They do not empathize with their hurting spouses. Unselfishness and improving the lives of his wife and family are not concepts he ever thinks about.

The kind of guy I can help is ACCIDENTALLY SHITTY. A regular guy with an honest desire to keep his marriage vows, raise good kids, and have the kind of family most of us dreamed about when we agreed to get married in the first place. A guy who takes immense pleasure from imagining him and his wife sitting on the porch together 40 years from now, watching grandchildren play in the yard.

I can help the guy who truly loves his wife.

I can help the guy who doesn’t understand why he and his wife always fight about the same things.

I can help the guy who never considered that men and women can describe the exact same situation completely differently with neither of them being wrong.

I can help the guy who doesn’t understand how his wife can feel lonely and unloved even though he’s physically present.

I can help the guy who is too ashamed, embarrassed or afraid to be 100-percent honest about sex.

I can help the guy who feels flattered by the cute girl at work because she makes him feel good, and doesn’t understand why his wife doesn’t do that anymore, nor how dangerous it is.

I can help the guy who doesn’t know what to do when his wife is grieving from the death of a loved one.

I can help the guy whose wife is worried about money and long-term security.

I’ve written it many times before: Good men can be shitty husbands. They’re not bad men. They’re simply bad at marriage. The same way people can be bad at archery, or advanced math, or baking muffins.

Being active and engaged and communicating effectively in marriage is a learned skill, and many men don’t know how to do it because their grandfathers lived in the Mad Men era, and their fathers followed in the same footsteps, or were never around at all.

Being a man in 2015 is so much different than it was 60 years ago. And to succeed, we must evolve.

I write for good men who are getting it wrong and who can and will respond to new information that makes sense to them. I was 33 years old and married for seven years before I understood what I know now.

Men are frustrated because their wives “change” throughout the course of their marriages, especially after becoming mothers.

Men are frustrated because their wives don’t make them feel confident, respected, trusted or loved like they used to.

Men are frustrated because their wives have lost sexual interest.

Men are frustrated because their wives make them feel like they’re no longer good enough for them. Despite all of the changes and sacrifices he has made, she trusts him less, and ‘nags’ him more.

Men are frustrated because their entire lives look nothing like their hopes and dreams, and they feel depressed, and no one understands, and there’s no one to talk to about it.

But really, everyone understands. And you can and should talk to people about it. Especially your wife.

I think I now understand how and why all these things happen. It was completely lost on me during my nine-year marriage. And I think there are a bunch of guys out there just like me.

And I think if every man understood what I know now (especially early in their marriages!), they would radically change the way they behave and communicate in their marriages.

Men are happier when their wives are happier, and most men simply don’t understand why their wives become unhappy. They’re not intentionally neglectful. They are accidentally neglectful. And everyone’s lives will be better if they figure it out before the inevitable affair or divorce.

Broken marriages, broken homes and divorce are really awful things to experience. As children. And as adults.

Not everyone is going to care what I have to say. Probably most won’t.

But once in a while, someone is going to stumble on this stuff and have the same sort of eureka moment I had when this all finally clicked for me.

And even if he’s a great guy, he’s probably a shitty husband. Probably accidentally so.

And his story can have a happy ending.

His children’s stories can have happy endings.

His wife’s story can have a happy ending.

So, yeah. This is all a little bit about me.

But it’s a whole lot about them.

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This Isn’t Advice, and You Shouldn’t Take It

advice

I do not write an advice column.

I don’t want to be a life coach, I don’t think I’m smart and I don’t believe people’s lives will be better if they act like me.

I don’t think I’m better than anyone, I don’t think I’m an expert in anything and I don’t think anyone should listen to me.

I failed Intro to Computing TWICE my freshman year of college. This challenging class included the basics of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. I failed it because I liked smoking pot and having fun more than I liked going to that class.

When I was the editor of my college newspaper, I let a story run with an anonymous source who claimed to be a sophomore female student in the College of Pharmacy’s honors program. She was bragging about how much she liked taking the drug MDMA, which most of us know as Ecstasy.

Turns out there were only eight sophomore female students in the Pharmacy honors program that year, and our source WASN’T one of them. I never bothered to vet her ahead of time. Maybe I was high. She had lied about being in the honors program. And eight completely innocent students at my university were made to look like assholes.

But really I was the asshole.

I used to lie about the cost of candy I was selling for school and pocket the extra money.

I accidentally let my car insurance lapse earlier this year and drove around for a while not even realizing I wasn’t insured.

I forget shit all the time unless it’s something I’m super-stressed about or have a reminder note written.

I’m not particularly intelligent. I’m far from being the responsible adult I aspire to be.

My dad has been divorced once.

My mom has been divorced twice.

And I’ve now been divorced. I cried like a total pansy a bunch of times for months afterward.

I don’t have a fucking clue what a super-healthy, super-functional marriage looks like from the inside. And I’m really sorry if anyone is or was under the impression that I did think that.

Some People Don’t Think You Should Listen to Me

I don’t disagree with them.

I wrote a series of posts called An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands. They’re my most popular posts by a mile, because I think sad and pissed-off wives like seeing a guy figure out why his marriage got toxic because he did all the same stupid things their husbands do. I think these women are hopeful that maybe their significant others can come to the same conclusions I did. I think these posts validate all of the things they feel and that they’ve tried to explain to their husbands and boyfriends for years. And finally! A guy gets it.

And I do.

I do get it.

And I think it’s devastatingly sad that so many guys don’t seem to give a shit just like I didn’t seem to give a shit until it became pretty clear that my marriage was fast-tracking to divorce.

It took that fear of losing my marriage—that motivation to avoid it—to exert the energy to learn what was happening in my relationship. I read books. I prayed. I talked to people.

And it started to become really clear how all these little things I had been selfishly and obliviously doing for years made my wife feel how she did.

Anyway, An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands Vols. 1, 4 and 6 get shared a decent amount on Facebook. (For the record, Vol. 4 and Vol. 6 are the only ones I think have much value. Vol. 2 is a preachy, shitty post and I should take it down because it reads like a total asshole wrote it. No one likes being preached to.)

I’m not privy to any of the comments people make about those posts on Facebook.

But a couple days ago, someone shared Vol. 1 on Reddit and a few readers were not impressed. I was able to check those out.

From “terminite”:

“This article, and the other volumes I read look more like the manifesto of a depressed and guilty man who thinks he is the sole reason his wife left him. He talks as if he ruined their marriage because he didn’t treat her like a princess… Then goes on later to say that you both have to give 100% to the marriage – Did she treat him like a king? The volumes I read were overtly abrasive and erroneously absolute, I guess to hook the reader, but it’s hyperbole and generalizations out the ass. I don’t think people should read too much into a recovering divorcee’s self-help writing therapy.”

The writer made that last sentence bold to emphasize it.

And terminite, I’m sure, is right. You SHOULD NOT read too much into a recovering divorcee’s writing on marriage. It’s not as if I was good at it.

But let’s get something straight, because it’s REALLY important:

I write about marital things, shouldering the lion’s share of blame and responsibility, and encouraging men to do their part in their relationships because I think it’s really important to take responsibility for your place in life.

Who am I to tell women what they should do as wives? I don’t know the first thing about being female or a wife.

But I DO know what it’s like to be a dude. I DO know what it’s like to be a husband. And I DO understand how I contributed to my marriage’s demise.

I figure I have two choices: I can either point fingers and scream and pout and call my ex-wife a bunch of names and blame everything on her.

Or.

I can be an adult and take responsibility for what I did and let the rest sort itself out.

Of course I don’t think my ex-wife got everything right. I was a ragey sonofabitch for a while after she left. Of course I felt justifiably pissed off dozens of times during our marriage.

But I’m not going to sit around telling men to just stand their ground and keep doing what they’re doing when I KNOW half of them are going to end up divorced if they do, and another large chunk will spend years suffering through a shitty, loveless marriage “for the kids.”

Someone has to lead. Someone has to apologize first in a fight. Someone has to be the first to call for peace during war. Someone has to be a “big” person and swallow their pride and put their marriage ahead of their selfish, petty wants.

Why not the husband?

“terminite” continues:

“We’re obviously not getting his whole story. The Masters example is a poor one, I think. I’m certain he fucked up greater than that, and much more often. And probably a lot of little things that compounded into years of resentment.”

No. You’re not getting the whole story, terminite. I was married for nine years AND I have a shitty memory. I could write an encyclopedia-sized volume of fuckups if I could only remember all of them.

From “saturdayd”:

“I really think you’re right in saying that this isn’t a reliable source of marital advice and more him trying to process what he felt went wrong.”

She seems to get it.

From “dominodog”:

“I agree. I don’t know why his marriage failed but can guarantee it wasn’t because one Sunday he wanted “me” time instead of going on a family hike that his wife wanted.

“It appears to me this guy has no idea why his marriage failed and I don’t know why anyone would take his writing as good advice.”

I don’t either, man. I don’t either.

From “gddammit”:

“He probably did this all the time to her. I am always alone and doing things alone. When my husband is not working, all he wants to do is watch TV or be in another room from me. We have only been married 3 years. It’s hard and it makes me sad. I don’t know if I am unreasonable in the way I feel, and I often wonder if he is telling me the truth when he says he loves me.”

… 

I don’t give advice. I’m not in the advice-giving business.

I’m in the storytelling business.

Matt did X. X= something shitty.

The result was Y. Y = something REALLY shitty.

And in the final analysis, maybe a couple people will be able to identify with my experiences and make the choice to not do X so that Y won’t happen and ruin their lives.

That last lady? The sad wife? She’s sad because her husband is essentially the same guy I was. He takes her for granted. She likes “Real Housewives” and “The Voice” and romantic comedies. And he likes video games and watching football and movies with explosions.

So he hangs out by himself to do what he wants to do. He might not even realize he’s causing harm.

But he’s committing marriage’s worst crime, after infidelity and abuse.

He’s leaving his wife alone in their marriage.

And someday it’s going to break.

That’s not advice. That’s just really good guessing.

I got a little defensive when I saw people treating my post like I was trying to be a marriage counselor. Part of that is because I’m naturally defensive. It’s one of my shittiest traits.

But another part of that is because I really don’t want to be seen as a guy who thinks he “knows” anything.

I don’t know anything.

I only know that sometimes I read or hear things, and combined with relevant life experience, I sometimes have some “Ah-ha!” moments that make me grow and be better.

It would be really cool to write stuff that helped people have some of those “Ah-ha!” moments once in a while, and God-willing, maybe end up in a happy, healthy relationship because of it.

An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands is just a clickable headline. I don’t really believe all these men are “shitty” husbands. And I don’t believe that men are always the assholes ruining their marriages.

But I do believe there are some small, subtle things that a man CAN and WILL do if he knows that doing them will be the difference between being married or being divorced.

I don’t think I’m smarter than you.

I don’t think I’m more insightful than you.

I CERTAINLY don’t think I know any more about marriage than people who are actually still married.

I just think there are a few guys out there that don’t know they’re getting marriage wrong and might recognize a few commonalities in my story.

And just maybe they’ll ask their wives the right questions.

And maybe then they’ll make some changes.

And maybe then everyone grows just a little bit more, loves just a little bit more purely, feels just a little bit happier.

None of this is advice.

It’s just a story.

Just a story with a bunch of blank pages waiting to be written.

Just a bunch of blank pages hoping for a happy ending.

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