Men, if you want to stay married.

I recommend that you take the time to read this guy: https://mustbethistalltoride.com

Be warned, some of what he has to say is going to kick you right in the teeth. I’m going to be bold and say that you probably deserve some of it. Actually, if you identify yourself in his work then you deserve every bit of that tooth kicking.

As for my story, after spending time reading through a few posts it felt as if scales had fallen from my eyes. I was finally able to realize in some ways just how blind I had been. How my arrogance and comfortable perch upon my “high horse,” (I still hate that term,) proceeded to give me the justification that I was right and she was wrong. That all of my actions were justified and she was just <insert negative adjective here.>

He recommends and I concur that you start here.

Unfortunately, I didn’t discover his blog until too late. I only discovered it after She had calmly and unemotionally informed me that She wanted a divorce. The way that the news was delivered made even my emotionally stunted lizard brain realize that this time there was going to be trouble.

I can’t remember who said it but I have since heard a truism about women. I’m paraphrasing here but I believe the following to is true in that: “You can never really tell the moment a woman first decides that loves you but there is no mistaking the moment that she decides she doesn’t.”

So, I did the only thing I knew how to do to solve a problem. I began to work my ass off at it. However, in an attempt to not repeat the failures of the past, for the first time ever I listened to her and started working trying to come at problems from a different angle. To my credit, my efforts were noticed and had an effect. I rode the wave of satisfaction on a job being well performed. I was going to fix my marriage.

In my arrogance and ignorance I even told her that I was going to eventually propose marriage to her again and that I was knew she was going to say yes. How presumptuous of me. Even worse, I actually believed it. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was remaining willfully ignorant to other forces at play in our relationship.

The funny (funny hmm; not funny haha,) thing is that in an ironic and cruel twist, it’s my embarkation on this journey of self-discovery that allowed me to identify some of the ways that she was damaged too. Some of the things that had been so frustrating and infuriating about her finally made sense. Although she had told me she no longer loved me and wanted a divorce last August, she remained willing to keep trying one last time. On the whisper of a hope that we could make it work. I’m grateful to her for that.

That hope died on January 26th, 2019 when I made the decision that we needed to call it quits. This time, I’m wanting the divorce.

How did that happen you ask? Welll…I’m not sure when I started really realizing and identifying areas where her behavior and my behavior and a combination of our behavior became harmful to our cave kids. But I finally see it. I am also really starting to see areas where She was damaged as well (this is the part where I try really hard to be careful of my words so as not to fall into the trap of self-righteousness,) and what this causes her to do or say or believe. You want an example? Ok. For example: many of the times that we had fought in the past and I had thought she was just being crazy was actually a response to damage inflicted upon her by her past. She wasn’t crazy at all once you understood where that behavior came from. Specifics? Ok. Specifically: because of the ordeal that was her childhood she has a significant need for control. When she doesn’t have control she lashes out or uses anger in an attempt gain control. It’s not excusable but it’s understandable when you you realize that this is a learned behavior from her childhood. Bear in mind, I’m not excusing it and it’s not a good thing. What’s even worse is that my childhood sucked ass too which caused me to also have a significant need for control. Both of us are willing to fight (we fight differently but it’s still to the death,) for control. As you can guess, this is one of the areas that we struggled with.

She has her shit and I have mine. I’m trying to own mine. Thus far, I haven’t identified where is doing the same. Which means that our kids are put in a never-ending series of battles between She and I. That doesn’t work for me anymore. (What’s scary is that I suspect that I haven’t even come close to discovering all of the ways I screwed up our marriage. I’m guessing that I’m only just dipping my toes into that pool. Eventually I’m going to have to jump in. It’s going to suck, I’m sure of it.)

I’m getting a bit off topic here but it’s my blog and it’s doubtful that anybody is going to read it anyway.

Back to this guy. It’s humbling to admit but he helped me change the course of my life and discover some of the ways that I think I could be a better husband, father, and man.

I wrote him an email approximately last September in order to do a couple things. I wanted to thank him and encourage him for the work he was doing. I also shared a brief synopsis of my situation and how his work was manifesting itself within me. I believed then and I believe now that what he is doing matters. His willingness to share the pain of his experiences is making a difference in families. It’s giving some of them a future.

He was kind and reverent in his response. He told me he was rooting for me. I didn’t know it at the time but I really needed that. I hope he knows how much I appreciated it.

Which brings me to a wish. I wish Husbands and Wives but especially Mom’s and Dad’s could all find a way to get their shit together and have joyful and fulfilling marriages. I know that isn’t the reality. The reality is that marriage continues to be under assault both within and without the marriage itself. From things that happened before and during the time when two people vowed to love each other forever.

To that I say this: We can control ourselves and nothing else so please….Husbands….Dads….Men….own your shit. Be an active participant in your life and figure out where you are falling short. Then fix it. Your family is counting on you.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Men, if you want to stay married.

  1. “…We can control ourselves and nothing else so please….Husbands….Dads….Men….own your shit. Be an active participant in your life and figure out where you are falling short. Then fix it. Your family is counting on you.”

    This concept is very important to all of our relationships. That is part of what MustBeThisTallToRide Matt tries to convey to other men. However, I am not a big fan of his, because of his perspective on marriage. Specifically, he effectively seems to refuse to consider his ex-wife’s part in the failure of his marriage. He seems to believe the failure was a zero-sum situation, where recognizing her fault somehow reduces his own culpability. I consider that inaccurate, and likely to cause problems in existing marriages. Placing a wife on a pedestal of supposed perfection is not healthy.

    I applaud your willingness to consider and mention your ex-wife’s bad behavior in the failure of your marriage. I believe this is far healthier for you, as long as you do not focus entirely on her fault and fail to work on your own weaknesses.

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    • I appreciate the thoughts. (FYI, first comment on this crappy ‘lil blog of mine, congrats and thank you.)

      So there’s the rub, right. It’s not one-sided at all. Going back to MBTTTR Matt, it didn’t escape me that he speaks of the one-sided responsibility. I think that people (although I’m primarily focusing on men for the time being,) need to first admit and understand their own responsibility in the breakdowns of their relationships. It’s too easy to simply focus on what the “other,” did or didn’t do. Whether he willingly writes as if he has the sole responsibility in his separation is consciously done or not is something that I don’t know and it isn’t for me to say anyway.

      I think the first step in seeing truth is to identify the areas where our vision is skewed. Which is why I recommend starting with him. YMMV.

      It’s only after I started to identify areas in myself where I was incorrect in my way of thinking that I was able to accurately determine the areas that she was completely wrong in hers. Previously I had just assumed she was wrong because she didn’t agree with me. There is a big difference between the two and a big step forward for me. I hope I’m articulating this correctly.

      There are great husbands who are married to terrible wives. That wasn’t my situation. I was actually a pretty shitty husband in many ways. I was a great provider and protector. A great friend and a pretty good roommate. I couldn’t imagine a situation where I wouldn’t do something for my family. But I was a shitty husband when it came to meeting the emotional needs of my wife. Fundamentally I think comes partially from having shitty role-models growing up (another blog post perhaps,) and partially because I just wasn’t ever able to cut through the hubris and identify the root causes of both my and her behavior. This isn’t an attempt to shift blame from me to something else but as a way to understand what and why I felt as I do.

      That said, my wife wasn’t that good of a wife either. At least not to me. It wasn’t because she didn’t try. My house and children were always clean and well taken care of. She was a great homemaker and the best Mom that she knew how to be. She worked her butt off to try and make life easier for all the people she cared about. Sounds like every mans dream, right? Except that her upbringing wasn’t all that great which caused her to be unable to cut through the hubris herself. At least, not in any meaningful or sustained way. So, she also came at this with skewed vision. She has a significant part to play in this herself.

      I forgive her for the things that weren’t done intentionally. For the ways that she intentionally hurt me, I accept and understand the place that it came from. Or at least I think I do. I don’t think I’m ready to forgive quite yet but on the other hand, I’m also not that great at remembering it either so it is mostly irrelevant.

      Fundamentally, I can’t worry about that any longer. I wish her well and hope she is finally able to identify her part in this which would give her peace as opposed to the weight of anger that comes with blaming others.

      Very rarely is it all one person or the other. I know it wasn’t for me. I think that in many cases the events and feelings that occur are the sum of what has occurred in the past.

      Ultimately, both she and I married poorly. I wasn’t the right guy for her and she wasn’t the right girl for me. It’s unfortunate, but it happened. The important thing is how I am going to learn and grow from this. Which is the only thing I can control anyway.

      There are no victims here.

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      • “But I was a shitty husband when it came to meeting the emotional needs of my wife.”

        How so? Perhaps you are familiar with Willard F. Harley, Jr., Licensed Clinical Psychologist and author of the best-selling book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair-proof Marriage. In an article on his website, Why Women Leave Men, he says that women leave men primarily for “mental cruelty”, usually husbands being indifferent, failing to communicate, and demonstrating other forms of neglect. The next most common reason is “neglect” itself, including both emotional abandonment and physical abandonment. Do any of these describe your marriage?

        Based on his work, he considers the following to usually be the five most important of “Her Needs”:
        – Affection
        – Intimate Conversation
        – Honesty and Openness
        – Financial Support
        – Family Commitment

        In my mind, the first three are obvious emotional needs and the other two have a strong emotional aspect. Do you see any of these five as issues in your marriage?

        “Sounds like every mans dream, right?”

        No, unless you only want a maid, cook, and nanny. From what you write, I only clearly see one of the usual five most important of “His Needs”:
        – Sexual Fulfillment
        – Recreational Companionship
        – Physical Attractiveness
        – Domestic Support
        – Admiration

        Were these needs, other than Domestic Support, issues in your marriage?

        For your information and purposes of comparison, my ex-wife said I didn’t meet her emotional needs but when asked to explain and provide examples of how to meet them, she could not do so. On the other hand, I definitely wanted sexual fulfillment and clearly communicated this, but she did little to meet this need.

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