Battered Man Syndrome (Or, “Women Aren’t Happy Because of Men”)

If a woman tells you her ex-husband left her because she was a “bad wife” and didn’t give him enough sex, how would you respond?

…Personally, I don’t have a problem with people taking ownership for their role in a dysfunctional relationship.

But, I have a feeling most Americans would be reeeeeeally uncomfortable with the idea that it’s the woman’s fault when her husband leaves. 

So why do we love articles in which abandoned men blame themselves?

There’s this article, where a man confesses he should have done the dishes more.

And this article (by the same guy), where he calls himself a “shitty husband” because he didn’t care about “the little things.”

I’ve also seen different versions of this article being posted and going viral on social media for several years now:

 

In all of these examples, the man focuses on HIS weaknesses and HIS selfishness…only to conclude that he deserved being left (though none of them were actively abusive toward their ex-wives).

“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 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...

I tell my story so that maybe other people won’t get divorced like me.”

Again, I’m not opposed to men (and women!) being open about things they’ve done wrong.  

I’m glad there are men who try to understand the perspective of their ex-wife, even after it’s “too late” and their exes are now remarried to the type of men they’d always fantasized about…

(Okay. A little tongue-in-cheek there. But, really, taking personal responsibility is good.)

If you’re someone who cheers when both men and women take personal responsibility, then you and I are on the same page!

But if you’re the kind of person who thinks it’s somehow different when a woman says, “I should have made the effort to see how important sex was to him!” then we’ve got a double-standard to address. 

All of these articles were brought to my attention during a conversation with several women who believe it’s valid for women to divorce their husbands if they’re not happy.

Not because he hit her.  Not because he was maliciously neglectful. But because he doesn’t make them feel a certain way.  (If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can read the original conversation here.)

It started when Matt Walsh recorded a live video discussing how women can–intentionally or unintentionally–wear down their husbands and destroy a marriage.  One of his commenters (Whitney) wrote: “Let’s put the focus on what men do to destroy their marriages, because women are usually the unsatisfied ones wanting a divorce.”

I thought she was joking at first because I couldn’t believe someone would say that women-leaving-men is a sign that MEN are doing something wrong…?

But, after some rabbit trails, she confirmed yes:

“Men do stuff like chronically not listening, not being courteous, not carrying their weight around the house, not being open to their wife’s influence, etc. All while thinking they’re good men and good husbands. These things destroy a relationship over time… then men are dumbfounded when the woman just doesn’t want to put up with it…”

So, what do you think, Reader?  Are those good reasons for divorcing someone you promised to love “for better or worse?”

And–if so–would you also agree if I said, “Women do stuff like chronically nagging, thinking they get to define what counts as ‘equal work,’ making their feelings more important than their husband’s, and refusing sex. These things destroy a relationship, but women are dumbfounded when a man just doesn’t want to put up with it [and leaves].”

Is that okay?

Again, if the love and respect thing goes both ways, then we don’t have a problem.  But the ladies with whom I was speaking yesterday just could not accept that expecting chores and expecting sex are exactly the same.

The women kept gushing over the articles (written by men) which validated their feelings that chores are symbols of respect:

12.14.17 Women Want Total Control (Dishes)

So I wanted to find out whether the 4-5 women in the thread ALSO have “acquired the ability to examine themselves” and validate their husbands’ feelings about sex?

I asked, “What would you say if the articles were written by a woman…about how [the divorce] was her fault for ‘learning these lessons too late?'”

I only got one response, and it was very long and rambling. But I’ve highlighted the important stuff:

12.14.17 Women Want Total Control (edited)

Here’s what I got from that comment: Women always have good reasons for refusing their husband’s requests.

When a man won’t do what his wife wants, it’s because he won’t make the effort to understand her feelings. But, when a woman won’t do what her husband wants, it’s still the man’s job to put himself in her shoes and understand her feelings.

For some women (like those I spoke with yesterday) it’s ALWAYS about her perspective and her thought-process and her interpretation of what’s happening.

It’s selfishness. And it’s really, really hard to be married to someone like that, regardless of whether it’s the husband or the wife.

The bitter man would be bitter whether or not his wife had sex with him. (She’s just a convenient scapegoat.)

But, likewise, the bitter woman isn’t bitter because she really works harder than everyone else on the planet.  She’s bitter because she tells herself she’s not getting what she deserves.

I respect any person–male or female–who focuses on his/her personal responsibility to consider others instead of feeling sorry for themselves.

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6 thoughts on “Battered Man Syndrome (Or, “Women Aren’t Happy Because of Men”)

  1. Jasmine Ruigrok

    I have very little time for people who complain about things people do but don’t communicate it to them. All these women are saying huzzah that this guy figured out the problems after his divorce, but if you want to talk about owning your own blame, it appears devilishly manipulative and deceptive for a wife to hate things her husband is doing, fail to communicate it, wait for him to guess, and when he doesn’t, leave him feeling well justified. What a crock.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Well, I can’t speak for every relationship. But I know that in my first 1-2 years of marriage, I did a LOT of “communicating about what I want.”

      Thank God, I finally had my eyes opened by the word “nagging.” lol. One of the things Christian women are taught subtly that I didn’t even realize until I became a wife is that, if you FEEL like you’re not being supported, it’s because he’s not treating you “like Christ.” He’s failing to be a leader. He needs to “step up and be a man.”

      I don’t think I’m the only one who needed to learn that happiness comes from being content with the work you’re able to do by the end of the day–not from making sure you’re content with what YOUR HUSBAND has accomplished by the end of the day. 🙂

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      1. Jasmine Ruigrok

        Oh golly, I didn’t mean that far of a pendulum swing. Communication is a two way street and shouldn’t be all about what you “want”, either.

        If someone’s relying on someone else to make them content then they’ve already missed it. Someone else’s head is not the place to keep your happiness.

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      2. mrsmcmommy Post author

        Agreed. (And I know that’s not what YOU meant! Just something that crops up in a lot of new marriages, if both parties aren’t taught to watch out for their own selfishness…)

        I really wasn’t INTENDING to be a nag when we first got married. But it hit me like a brick when I realized that’s exactly what I was doing, by treating my husband like the enemy, or like he needed me to be his conscience. Things got so much better when someone explained to me that, if I’m always telling Luke how to lead, I’m actually leading. Lol.

        He’s a good guy!

        I think all relationships work best when we focus on what WE contribute to a situation. (And I don’t mean focusing on how awesome we are, when nobody appreciates us. Ha!)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. insanitybytes22

    You’re talking about Matt, Dishes by the sink Matt. He’s pretty cool, blogs a lot about marriage and relationships, about his divorce. Some of us love Matt not because he’s a bad husband,but because he’s a good writer. There is of course, more to the story than just a dish left by the sink.

    I’ve tried to speak of submission over there a few times but well, there are a lot of trolls on the internet and people often equate submission with oppression. Truly though, when women can submit to the fact that he alone cannot make you happy, submit to the fact that some emotional and spiritual needs can be met else where, and then submit to the man himself, marriage can be really,really good. Submission rather than making you powerless, can actually be freedom, empowerment, even happiness. Kind of a weird dynamic, but to not submit is actually to hand your power away. Women are than forced to be at war with something we can’t really fix, like a husband’s communication style or his house keeping skills or how he makes us feel.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      I saw that he referenced you in one of the posts, Insanity! I thought, “What a small, virtual world!”

      And I totally agree about the submission-empowerment dynamic. I’ve discovered the truth of that for myself. It’s very hard to explain for someone who doesn’t really WANT things to get better. (We all know some people like that.) But, ultimately, that’s why I can’t say I disagree with what Dishes-By-The-Sink Matt wrote.

      If he has found freedom in taking responsibility, then good for him! I just hope his ex-wife and the many women sharing his blog posts can do the same.

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