Letter to the Husband

Letter to the Husband


This marriage isn’t fair to either of us. It never was. I married you for selfish reasons and now I am staying married to you for selfish reasons. And I think you’re doing the same thing.

I don’t think that I ever loved you like a wife should love her husband. I think I’ve always loved you like I would love a wounded animal at the side of the road. I saw your brokenness and wanted to rescue you and help you fix it. (Sadly, wounded animals try harder!)

So, I selfishly married you because I needed your incompetence to help me substantiate myself. In short, I needed you to need me. Co-dependence drove me back to you over and over again, but recently I began to realize that I don’t need your need to validate myself.

The first year we were together, you broke up with me three times, but I couldn’t live without you (or so I thought) so I kept begging you to take me back. Each one of those times you let me back into your life.

I wish you hadn’t. I wish you had left me to learn about myself on my own. I wish you had left me to have my heart broken by others. I wish that I had enough courage then to stop going back to you, enough self-esteem to tell myself that I didn’t need a “plus one” to be whole.

I chose to let your needs consume me and it caused my whole life to stagnate. Watching you neglect your body over and over again to the point of terminal illness finally opened my eyes. I don’t want us to be miserable any more. We have tried to “make it work” before only to end up right back at Square One every single time. Change with you seems to only be temporary. Once normalcy appears to have been restored, you go right back to your “old ways” because the problem is “solved”. I am not going through that cycle with you again.

By staying with you all this time, attempting to take care of you, I forgot to give myself (or discover for myself) the things that made/make me happy. All of my likes and dislikes were dependent on your likes and dislikes. I gave up my own self because I thought that if I was more like you, if we had more in common, our marriage would be better, that you would love me more. I had no inner strength and tried to find happiness in destructive things: food, drugs, etc… But, those were empty things that only made me feel worse about myself and I started to resent you for introducing me to such self-destructive behavior.

I failed all of us. As a result of my own personal insecurity I forced myself into your life, forced you to want me, forced you to marry me and then have children with me. Now I am unfairly forcing our marriage to stay together because I am too scared to ask for a divorce. Too scared of your reaction. Too scared of the guilt I will feel for forcing you to waste so much of your life with me. Too scared that you will not let me go, now that I finally want to. Too scared of your complete inability to take care of yourself. Too scared that you will continue to neglect your body and that my daughters will be the ones that have to start taking responsibility for your incompetence.

And even after all of that forcing (and all of those reminders that you have two teenage daughters AND all of the reminders that your daughters will end up marrying someone just like you!) I still can’t force you to take care of yourself. Now I am able to see that. Now I am able to see that for the entire time I have known you, you have never really loved yourself. And if you can’t care about you, how can I possibly expect you to care about me or worse, our children? How can you possibly take care of my needs (or anyone else’s) if you go out of your way to ignore your own?

I am done “forcing”… If you want your body to slowly rot from the inside out, you just go ahead and let it. No amount of caring on my part will change how you feel about yourself, obviously. And, please keep telling your two lovely daughters that you won’t live to see them graduate or live to see your grandbabies, you just go right ahead – that is your choice.

The entire time we have been together, I haven’t been able to give you the “best me”. I haven’t been able to give myself the “best me”. With you, I didn’t even know that I had a better me than what I was. So I stayed.

Three years ago I finally met my “best me”. I like her. She is happy and uplifting. People want to hang out with my “best me”. While I’ve been hanging out with my “best me” I have seen that forcing myself to be around you brings out the “worst me”. I am constantly frustrated with you and your total incapacity to follow instructions, to listen, to care… In fact, each day I am absolutely appalled at your seeming refusal to give a shit about anyone but yourself. It takes all of my emotional strength to communicate with you – especially when you are putting in the same lack of effort as always.

I didn’t meet my “best me” until someone else introduced her to me – someone who showed me that he can need me, but that I can also need him. Someone who showed me that I am sexy, smart, and that I am a fun person. He helped my spirit blossom. He helped me learn what “makes me tick”. He helped me learn that I don’t need his flaws to make me feel vital. I don’t think that you ever helped me learn anything good about myself. In fact, I don’t think that you ever even encouraged me to be a better person…

Every night I go to bed wishing that another man was there to keep me warm, to love me, to satisfy my needs. That is not fair to either one of us.

I dread weekday mornings when you come home from work. I dread Saturday mornings when I have to get up early to drive you around on your errands because you are too irresponsible to get a driver’s license. That is not fair to either one of us.

Are you happy with our marriage?

Not me

Is this how you want to spend the rest of your life?

Not me

Is this marriage everything you ever hoped for?

Not me

Did you ever imagine that your wife would be happier sleeping on the couch instead of with you?

I never did…

I want to come home one day and find that you have packed up everything and left me.

I want to stop sitting down in your shit

I want to stop slipping in your pee on the bathroom floor

I want to stop reminding you to turn off the lights and the TV every single day

I want to sleep in a bed

I want to be able to trust my partner

I want to be able to depend on my partner

I want to know that my partner cares about me and is concerned about my happiness (or unhappiness)

I want to WANT to go home at the end of a long day

When I think that I have to go home to you every single night, it makes me cry because you don’t (or won’t? or can’t?) do any of those things for me.

That is most definitely not fair. Not fair to you. Not fair to me. And definitely not fair to our daughters.

I have asked you to “step up” countless times before. I have also told you that “stepping up” doesn’t mean just this one time, it means forever!

I have given you enough “do-overs”.

I want to have enough strength to hand you this letter…


23 thoughts on “Letter to the Husband

  1. i wish so much i didnt understand every single word. i wish that you didnt have to feel the way i know I felt when you experienced it and then wrote about it. i wish i didnt know what would happen if you stayed another 10 yrs.. because i do. i pray that you are braver than i was. don’t waste the precious years…you don’t get them back.

      1. you realize that “we” ..you and I are actually living in an abusive relationship, don’t you? That part of the paralysis of our staying has to do with the psychology of long term, unhealthy relationships. That we have taught our kids through example what a relationship should or should not look like, depending on their mental makeup. Its been 26 yrs for me…a life sentence. Your post was hard for me to read.. and triggered me because I get it.

        1. I don’t know how to respond to your comment… It was hard for me to read what you said also 😦
          Sometimes I feel like the abuser and other times I feel like the abusee. I let my husband take advantage of me to the point that it has crippled his maturity and inner growth. I know that these were also HIS choices, but I can’t help like feeling I played a major part in fucking up his life, too.
          Maybe that silly feeling of responsibility is what’s holding me back…

          I have to be honest, though, you usually impart such wisdom that I am completely speechless afterwards.
          But, I ALWAYS appreciate your words. Thank you for your help! 🙂

        2. I’m not sure when this was written but please have the courage to give him this letter.
          The two cliched phrases that others said to me on my blog and which gave me strength to take action were
          ‘life’s too short/you only have one life’ and
          ‘you deserve to be happy’
          I let myself become a victim, no more.
          I wish both you and rougedmount strength and happiness, however you find it *hugs*

          1. I have said most all of these things to him already. Some of them several times… He doesn’t hear what I say. In some ways my husband is very much like Rougedmount’s: the denial mostly. Doom-n-Gloom goes through his life ignoring as many problems as possible.
            I think that it’s going to take Thing #2’s happiness to really get me jumping here. She has such low self-esteem. She isn’t suicidal or anything, but sometimes she shows symptoms of deep depression and sometimes she acts like she’s psychologically abused. I have been seriously thinking about getting her therapy. She has a very strong personality and I would like to see it come back out of her again. I miss her childish bubbliness. But, she is also 16 (and she has tendencies to “play the martyr” just like her father, so it’s hard to tell if she’s not just manipulating me).

            Thank you for your kindness and support. I want to do what you say, but don’t know where to even start. I always have excuses… *sigh* Like I don’t know how to get him out… I’m pretty sure he is incapable of taking care of himself… He might die soon; that would make things easier… See?

            I think I should stick with the idea of getting therapy for Thing #2. That might clear things up all on it’s own.

  2. What an honest look at your situation. So much pain knowing that it’s over and not being able to leave. Wanting more, but knowing you made the box in which you reside. I know this pain too and hope you find the strength you need.

  3. New follower here, hello! (Wave)
    I am currently reading through your blog from the beginning. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.
    For your sake I hope you can find the strength to give him the letter. Life’s too short to be so unhappy. Can I add some more *hugs* to the mix? 🙂
    I don’t really think I’m qualified to give any advice, but something a friend once told me keeps ringing in my head as I read your story. Something to the effect of, “would you rather give your child(ren) the idea that they should suffer with a bad choice? Or show them what it means to be strong enough to chase after your happiness, knowing that they can never be happy if they see that you aren’t?”

    I wish you the best, and look forward to catching up with your blog.


    1. Hi, Bunny – Thanks for the follow. I wanted to go to your blog and thank you…
      And thank you for the extra hugs – I will always take a hug!

      You say very wise things and you are right — I don’t want my daughters to suffer with their bad choices rather than trying to be strong and be happy.
      For some reason, I am letting my guilt hold back my choice. Also, I have one daughter that will hate me for leaving her dad. I know that she is 15 and cannot possibly understand my 20+-year problem, but I am worried about losing her love and respect when I tell her father that I can’t be married to him and live with him any more.

      Another very wise friend told me that I will make this move/change when I am ready. She told me not to get frustrated with myself because I can’t (emotionally) make this change now… I will be able to do it when it is the right time…

      Thank you so much for your wisdom! I will definitely remember what you said about choices 🙂
      And I will now hug you back!!!

      1. I’ll gladly send you an invite or approve any request to follow. I’m in hiding from DH and family, you see. 🙂
        Your friend is right. you *will* make a change when YOU are ready for it. And I understand your guilt. It’s a heavy thing to carry. As she said, be patient with yourself. I hope my comment didn’t come across like me telling you to leave him. I know sometimes that that’s the hardest decision to make. and then actually following through with that decision can be twice as hard…
        *more hugs!* Have a virtual coffee (or tea, if you prefer), kick your feet up, and be proud of yourself for writing this letter, even if you never give it to him. It takes guts to write things down, especially in a public place like this. You know where you stand and what you want/need; and knowing’s half the battle! (G.I. Joe! Heh.)

        All the best,


        1. I didnt take your comment that way at all! I put this blog out there because I want people to give me their opinions. 🙂

          But, I appreciate the support. It’s so strange to me that there are so many women out there in this situation.
          Thank you, Bunny
          ~ Smittenwithhim

  4. I could have written almost every word. My soon to be ex-husband was exactly like that. I can’t even tell you how amazing it was to get away from him. You can’t take responsibility for him. He is an adult, too. And also an abuser. I really hope you can move on.

  5. Sounds like me with my ex-husband he did nothing to help, would not keep a license, was an asshole etc… I left him on X-mass day 14 years ago. I felt so good walking out that door, I took one bag, my daughter, $200 and I started my life over.

    I ended up with another lying, cheating, addict but at least this one is owning up to his bad shit and doing everything he can to change and be a better person.

    If your as unhappy as this letter makes it sound like you are I seriously consider a major life changing event. Happiness is out there you have to stop letting it eleude you.

    1. Thank you, Sweetie! There is hope. I have filed the divorce papers with the court and now I am waiting to hear back when our court dates will be. Barring any complications, everything should be done by the end of the year. He should be out of the apartment sometime shortly after that.

      I appreciate your support, Lucas!! Thank you for being here and chiming in when you can ❤

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