A lot of people have sent me this article and asked for my opinion on it.
SHE DIVORCED ME BECAUSE I LEFT DISHES BY THE SINK
On one hand, I think this is great. There are some nuggets of wisdom that this man articulates very well that can’t be said enough.
“If he KNEW that—if he fully understood this secret she has never explained to him in a way that doesn’t make her sound crazy to him”
This is great but this is nothing new. It’s only new to this writer because he is finally listening. It finally matters, because he lost something that he valued, even though he never showed that he valued it.
Communicating about the importance of valuing the other person’s needs, large and small, has been a subject of relationship experts for years. As much as this guy would like to suggest he just never realized that when his wife asked him to do something that it actually mattered, he knew. On some level, he knew but he did not care. He did not think there would be consequences because it didn’t matter to him and his opinion had more weight than hers. He did not actually respect her needs and wants. He did not care for her as an extension of himself or his pride would not have gotten wrapped up in wanting to be right and fight over the importance of the cup.
“I fear I wouldn’t have worked as hard to change my behavior as I would have stubbornly tried to get her to see things my way.”
Duh, we know this. You are divorced. You did stubbornly hold onto your pride and ego and that is why you are divorced.
“Telling a man something that doesn’t make sense to him once, or a million times, doesn’t make him “know” something.”
If you care, it doesn’t have to make sense. Does it make sense that a woman enjoys a $50 bouquet of flowers that dies in 4 days and stinks up the kitchen? Do men do it when they care? Yes. Do they know why? Mostly not, probably. But it doesn’t matter. They see the result. It makes her happy and that brings him joy.
Does a man call a woman in the middle of the day to see how she’s doing and if she’s alright because he’s concerned she can’t make it through her day? That her work will cause her to give up and go home?
No, he calls because he cares and wants to hear from her and feel connected. He wants to be a part of what she’s going through, so she will know he’s there for her.
Love doesn’t make any “sense.” Caring doesn’t have “rules.” In fact the more in love you are the more ridiculous some of your actions seem.
You ripped a bunch of rose petals off of perfectly good roses and threw them on your bed? Are you crazy?
No, just trying to create an action that demonstrates effort, attention, good will, excitement, pleasure. Why? Because he cares. He’s invested in her joy. He knows he can create moments to give her pleasure.
As much as this man would like to imagine that he suddenly figured out the magic secret, the truth is, when you CARE, you don’t need to know the secret. The secret is only important when you are FAKING IT. When you care, you act out the secret without thinking. It requires no thinking.
Sometimes you do need to fake it. Sometimes you are tired and you aren’t feeling it but you know that it’s important to show your interest and affections because you are invested in building a life together. So you try to create good habits in your relationship: a kiss good morning, not going to bed angry, involving them in plans, warming up her car in winter, bringing him coffee in bed. When you are building a healthy relationship you find things that matter and you keep doing them until you CAN’T.
But too often people only do these things when they feel moved to do them. Anyone in a long relationship with kids and jobs and the hassles of life knows how drained we all begin to feel. There are times we barely feel “moved” to do the necessary things, but we do them, because if we don’t pay our bills or go to work or wash the sink, we will face clear consequences.
Women KNOW that when a man is in love he will move mountains. He will go to the end of the earth. In fact this woman remembers when this man went to the end of the earth or something similar, for her. She remembers what he was like when he was moving the sky and the stars. So when she asked him to move a cup and he’s like, nah? And she asked over and over and over and he’s like “nah?” Then, finally he’s ANGRY he has to move the cup? And it’s an affront to his identity? Either he checked out long ago or he was never really in it to begin with.
This is true of marriage these days too. Divorce is a consequence. Marriage doesn’t relieve you of the burden of working together and showing affection, concern, interest, love and respect. Marriage means you’ve built-in a hefty consequence for stopping.
So, now he’s divorced because he cared more about his pride and ego than about his wife. And she could tell. She could tell because she asked over and over and got nothing. And then after she asked enough times, he dug in his heels and she got resistance. At first he was indifferent to her needs, which is confusing, because maybe there were other ways he was showing he cared. But then she got resistance which to her was an announcement that it’s not just that he doesn’t notice her needs, but he acknowledges them and has decided they don’t matter. Her needs don’t matter. And I’m willing to bet that when he dug in his heels on the cup, he also dug in his heels on several other things that hadn’t even been an issue before.
And now she’s divorced because she looked at everything he did as a statement about her and a competition. She was in competition with the cup. She was in competition with his leisure time. She got attached to being a martyr who does everything and it became her identity.
They were both married to their pride and egos. They chose their pride over each other. How warm is that pride keeping them at night, now?
“There is only ONE reason I will ever stop leaving that glass by the sink. A lesson I learned much too late: Because I love and respect my partner, and it REALLY matters to her”
We are a generation of people who have forgotten how to care. And what’s worse, we have now made it a badge of pride not to care, to give no fucks, to stand our ground, to ensure we get for every give. And as such, we end up using each other and feeling used. We steal affection for a night and give nothing back. We juggle multiple partners to ensure we aren’t investing too much in one place. We protect our pride above all else and sacrifice our loved ones at our feet over promotions, adventure, a younger hotter model, and the false security of thinking if we give nothing we will lose nothing and therefore never feel pain again. It’s all bullshit though. The ones holding tightest to their affections are the biggest cowards. The ones clinging to their pride are the most insecure. The ones hoarding love are the most in pain.
Get over yourselves! Let go of your pride! Start living! Life is going to fucking hurt. Over and over. No one gets a pass! Wrapping yourself up in indifference isn’t going to change that. It will just delay all your pain until the end when you realize that you missed out on everything that matters.