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I Need All You Husbands To Listen Up

A recently-divorced family friend came over a few nights ago. He was going through a rough time and needed to vent/cool off. The night started pleasant enough but as the booze continued to pour, he began discussing his breakup – and things got somber… pretty fast.

According to Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s “Five Stages of Grievance,” my friend is still in the angry stage of his divorce. Though I can’t speak from personal experience, I believe that when it comes to divorce, the anger stage is the most detrimental and hardest to get over.

Anger and resentment are toxic to your mental state and those around you. I’ve witnessed many families make crucial decisions in the throes of anger that had long-term, consequential ramifications. Anger is like an explosive – everything it touches turns to ashes and carnage.

What anger also does is not allow the prisoner of the emotion to think clearly. Everything is convoluted, and decisions and actions pass through rose-colored glasses. Or, I guess in this example, blood-colored glasses.

Our friend was angry in that way you can tell he’s teetering on the edge of dissolving into tears or punching holes in the wall. It’s the kind of visceral emotion that anyone in proximity can feel. Divorce is messy, ugly, and devastating. Anger, while not helpful during a massive life change, is certainly understandable and probably unavoidable.

But as I listened to our friend drunkenly berate his soon-to-be ex-wife, I started to get a little irritated.

To be fair, I don’t know his wife. I don’t know their history or what got them to the point where they decided they could no longer be married. But those details aren’t important to me, and it’s not what got me fired up as I listened to this man discuss the terms of the divorce.

“She wants the house, full custody of the kids, alimony and child support. That selfish b**** never worked a day in her life and now she feels obligated to take all my hard-earned money. This is crap, man. Why do women have to be so damn selfish?”

To be honest, it wasn’t the lack of respect he showed for the mother of his children. It wasn’t the fact that he used offensive, crude terms or that this woman wasn’t there to defend herself (after all, if there’s anything I’ve learned in life when it comes to a breakup, it’s that there are ALWAYS two sides to every story.)

What got my blood boiling is the sentiment that “because she was a stay-at-home mom, she never worked or contributed in any way, and as such, she was leeching off HIS money and had no right to do so.”

Unfortunately, I’ve heard this argument (or something along this sentiment) more times than I can think to count. It’s such a common “dig” at women that it seems to be par for the course.

So, because this seems to be an all-too-common problem, I want to shed some light on the issue. So, I’m going to need all you husbands out there to put down the pitchforks and listen up because there are a few glaring problems with your argument that you seem to overlook (whether purposely or accidentally).

  1. I assume when you two decided to have children, you as a partnership weighed out the pros and cons of one of you staying home and taking care of the children.
  1. If you both decided that she (or I guess in some households he) would stay home while the other worked, then it should be incredibly clear to you that this arrangement is one in which you both gave up something. You took on the financial burden so she could be a great mother to your children. She gave up her freedom and a source of income to take care of your children.
  1. I was a SAHM for the first two years of my child’s life. We were blessed to have the ability for me to do so. However, the change was scary and not just because I was suddenly in charge of keeping a human alive and happy; being a SAHM was particularly nerve-racking because I no longer had full control over my life. I went from making my own money, paving my own way, and paying my own bills to suddenly being COMPLETELY dependent on someone else. Think about that for a second, especially you men out there who worked hard for your money and are proud of your career. Imagine suddenly having to relinquish that. Imagine losing everything that made you secure and gave you your identity for the sake of your family. How scared would YOU feel if you relied solely on another human to make sure you got fed, had a roof over your head, and had the means to take care of your kids. Think about going from being an independent person to suddenly relinquishing that and leaving it in the hands of your loved one. It’s rough, no matter how much you love being a stay-at-home-mom and a wife.
  1. Now, I want you to think about how much it would cost you if your wife had worked. If you opted for daycare, the cost is about $1,000 a month. What about a maid? Someone has to do the laundry, cooking, cleaning, toilet scrubbing, etc. Maids go for about $25 an hour so, even if you needed a maid once a week to do a good cleaning, it’s probably another $400 a month. You’ll need to pay for swimming class lessons, someone to mow your lawn, shuttle your kids around, go grocery shopping, and take them to doctor appointments. Oh, and toddlers are notorious for getting sick ALL. OF. THE. TIME. so I hope you or your wife can leave work at the drop of a hat because I promise you, you’ll be getting a phone call from daycare at least once every two weeks. These are all the things you have to think about if you don’t want your wife to be a stay-at-home-mom.
  1. Now, let’s fast forward 15 years, and this woman has been a stay-at-home-mom this entire time and is now getting divorced. You think YOU’RE freaked out? At least you have a means of income. Your wife is now thrust into a world she isn’t used to, suddenly having to do all the things she did before but also being forced to find a job or means of income on top of that. How many employers do you know who hire people who have been out of the workplace for fifteen years? Would you hire a stay-at-home-mom who hasn’t held a corporate job for over a decade? More than likely, the only places that will hire her are on the level of something like The Dollar Store – and such jobs are not going to provide enough for her and the children.

So yeah, guess what? You actually DO owe her half your money. You actually DO owe her alimony and child support. I know it sucks. I know it’ll put a burden on you and I am empathetic to that. But guess what? You signed up for this. 15 years ago when you two agreed she would be a stay-at-home-mom, you should have known that you were putting her in a vulnerable situation and the possibility of divorce would lead to this. You have nobody to blame but yourself.

You can’t ask your wife to be a stay-at-home-mom, praise her for being a wonderful role model while you love her, then, when you decide you hate her, decide it’s unfair that she asks you for half of your earnings. Her survival has hinged on your for year after year after year. I promise you, as much as you are freaked out about how all of this will transpire, so is your wife.

Sell the house and split the equity. Give her what she and the kids deserve. Be a man and stop complaining that she’s out to get you (unless she really is, in which case, refer back to my “anger never helped anyone in life” retort).

I’m going to need you husbands to try and put yourself in your ex’s shoes. I’m going to need you to try and understand that you can’t simultaneously ask a woman to give up her independence and financial security and then get angry when she asks for her fair share later down the road. I’m going to need you husbands to stop referring to you exes as selfish witches because you refuse to take responsibility for your part in all of this.

I’m going to need you husbands to start acting like real men, not little boys.

 

 

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About Mcclain W.

18 comments

  1. Our little boy attitudes are probably the result of not WHAT she wants but HOW SHE ASKS FOR IT. Have a little respect, ladies – regardless of how mad you are.

  2. Now that you have had some time, re-read what you wrote. See any comparison to what he said? Yes, you both outlined one side to the exclusion of the other. You even included the ridicule of him. Now, you need to watch what happens between now and the time the children involved grow up. If she denies him visitation, he has to suck it up and not see his children. If he doesn’t pay support, he’s tossed in jail. And it WILL get worse, if the current level of acrimony is any indication. Since you were so accurate in you statement that you do not know their history, the best way to help your friend is to be a sympathetic ear, and gently ask if his ex didn’t contribute in the ways you have assumed she did — you may help him to see the other side of the story. But keep in mind, that he may be right. My wife does little, and assumes she does it all, too. Such complaints and lack of vision are certainly seen on both sides in a separation.

  3. As a mom of two great, grown people and a registered nurse of 4 decades, I liked you article and concur with its conclusions, as that is good for the resilience of the child. I do think you could apply this resilience to yourself, and what you teach your next gens about democrats, which you called the worst…I could never call myself a true parent in a democracy and foster such prejudice, when we are so much the same in our love and limits of kids. I won’t even say I am a democrat, as I vote as a conscientious citizen and an ethical human, which means I consider all candidates. Please join me in the essence of constitutional democracy instead of party polarity, as you have much to say of worth, but the rest will find you…I see so many who were like you, have come to the time they are terminal, and spewing this venom is what they think made them sick…and Democrats can’t be blamed, nor government save you. If you have faith, follow those doctrines; real faith never teaches hate, though interpretors and false idols do. Lastly, look those children in the eyes; they will see you as a throwback, a fear filled person who could not accept the growth of the world, and they will write you out of the future, because they cant take that bad baggage with them. Shame, because I can see you love them so.

  4. I apologize; I was posting this response the article about “Raising them Tough”. For your “Husbands- Listen up” I was quite impressed, and thank you for your balanced consideration of shared parenting and divorce. I have said as much to many through decades, but you did so with clarity, kindness, and a kick!

  5. Men should automatically get custody of children after a divorce, as in the good old days. This frees the woman to find a job and work full-time without worrying about the kids. This way, he could keep the house and pay for its upkeep and have a place to raise the kids. As we all know by now, female headed house-holds produce criminals, so automatic custody will go a long way to alleviate the social problems which result from divorce and irresponsible fathers.

    • Firstly I want to say that I really enjoy this blog and it solid family values.
      This article to ex-husbands is the first one though which I feel is pretty biased against men and written from a narrow-minded point of view.
      Correct, men used to get automatic custody of children, many years back. It’s a real shame that it’s changed -by judges practicing judicial tyranny & others?- to mostly the mother receiving almost automatic custody.
      The mothers may feel like they’ve won when they have the children most of the time, using frivolous arguments about disruption of routine to deny weekday sleepovers of kids with dad.
      The reality is that the kids, and ultimately society, are the biggest losers of moms “winning” this battle.
      Go to any prison, whether male or female inmates and your NUMBER ONE common factor for 90% plus of inmates is an upbringing with varying degrees of fatherlessness.
      Satan absolutely loves mothers and situations where kids are with mom most of the time, because if he can get rid of the father, he’s at least 80% there towards destroying the family.
      If dad is behaving like a dropout and not wanting to have contact with the kids, then different story (he probably experienced fatherlessness himself and to needs to deal with that), but there are many many fathers out there who are denied contact for even 50% of child’s time, by all sorts of shenanigans and excuses that the moms have dreamt up.
      Perhaps it’s just as much a case of divorced moms acting like women and not little girls.

  6. Mcclain W…what have written is a pretty fair statement. However, the story is not complete by any means. I know first hand how a rebellious wife can be. Some wives start out very happy to be a SAHM. Over the course of time, they become complacent with their duties. Once this starts to happen calamity starts to enter the marriage, issues start to spiral down, the matrimony of marriage is now jeopardized. Your claim is for the husband to suck it up and be a real man with his money, yet your story is stricken of any verbiage of instructing women to also suck it up and do their duties as mutually agreed upon. Women these days strive for the equality that men have, yet wives are fully aware of legal financial freedom that courts will provide them with if it gets hairy…this my friend creates a motive and it also creates a narcissistic mentality in women of today’s world, a tension that only ill/weak minded men put up with!

  7. I am a stay at home dad and internet marketer. I wake up each morning to see ho much money I made while I was sleeping. Thankfully, my wife knows and appreciates how much I do around the house. I wonder how much of disparaging comments were due to his being hurt, the alcohol talking for him, and yes, the jerk factor?

  8. As a husband of 36 years ad dad to a 30 and 28 year old I’ll weigh in.
    My wife’s been a SAHM from 1987 when pregnant through our kids’ high schools in 2008, then at home as my in-laws’ nursing home and hospice. Mother in law passed at 90 last September, 92 year old father in law still living with us. We talked about kids before marriage, both agreed we’d try to live off my income. This was 1982.

    I agree the wife deserves what she’s getting, with one caviat.

    In 1977 ‘No Fault’ divorce was passed. A spouse could divorce for any or no reason receiving 50% of all accrued together assets. Marriage became a business venture. Divorce rate skyrocketed from 15% in the 1960’s to 50% by 1980, 70-80% initiated by women.

    Not know the divorce cause here I’ll extrapolate on a possibility.
    What if his spouse had another living situation all lined up–she met someone.
    She walks away rightfully and legally with 50% of all assets.
    She then moves right in to another situation possibly being provided for by a man as a much richer woman.

    My point is not all women today are virtuous and innocent. Nor are men.
    But No Fault opened the door to women potentially making a financial killing on divorce.
    Would a man be understandably bitter if the case?
    Happened to my doctor brother in law.
    Was he served well when his wife left saying she ‘hasn’t really loved him for 15 years? Good reason to have married, then divorced him?

    Otherwise, I completely agree with Conservative Mom

  9. Post navigation
    Food For The Journey New Catholic Planner Keeps Christ in Your Life
    The Sad Legacy of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
    Posted on February 19, 2016 by SBrinkmann
    ekr bookMV writes: “I was looking for books on death, dying and grieving, all of which I have spent 49 years dealing with in one way or another. I found books on the above subjects by author Elisabeth Kubler- Ross. All of the books looked harmless except her book entitled: Dreamtime and Inner Space: The World of the Shaman by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross . . . and Holger Kalweit. Is Elisabeth Kubler-Ross New Age or something else that Catholics should stay away from?”

    This is an excellent question and yes, Catholics should definitely avoid the writing of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

    As I document in my book, The Learn to Discern Compendium, Kubler-Ross was a famous psychiatrist and thanatologist (a person who studies the medical, social and psychological aspects of death).

    Born in Switzerland on July 8, 1926, she was the smallest of triplets and grew up in a strict Protestant home. She married a fellow medical school student, the American-born Emanuel Ross and moved to the United States. It was in US hospitals where she encountered what she felt were deplorable conditions for the dying who were often left to die alone and in pain.

    In 1969 she authored the groundbreaking book, On Death and Dying, in which she annunciates for the first time the five stages of grief. She also reveals her secularist state-of-mind by asserting in the book that belief in life-after-death was a form of denial.

    But that all changed during the 1970’s when she became interested in near-death-experiences and began to get involved in spiritualism, mediumship and other ways to contact the dead. Scandal ensued after she became associated with a so-called psychic named Jay Barham who conducted séances that included sexual relations between participants and entities from the spirit world.

    Convinced about the reality of spirit guides, she eventually moved to California where she founded a healing center called Shanti Nilaya (home of peace) which she wanted to make into a network of retreats “affirming survival of the spirit after death in the form of a living entity.”

    She suffered a series of strokes in 1995 and was confined to a wheelchair. Shanti Nilaya closed and she moved to Scottsdale, Arizona.

    In this interview with SFGate in 1996, she is old, alone (her husband divorced her in 1976) and bitter about life.

    “My only regret is that for 40 years I spoke of a good God who helps people, who knows what you need and how all you have to do is ask for it. Well, that’s baloney,” she told the reporter. “I want to tell the world that it’s a bunch of bull. Don’t believe a word of it.”

    The occult ruined the life – and death – of this once brilliant woman. By the time of her death in 2004, she had lost all credibility with the medical community. A year after her death, she was awarded the “Loose Screw Award” by Psychology Today magazine.

    Her life story should serve as a warning to all that no matter how educated and prominent, sooner or later, involvement in the occult will always end in disaster – either here, or in the next life.

    • Yes I’m not surprised that she was undone by the occult. All occult activities are demon inspired. It is sad. From your report how sad, it sounds like she rejected Christ at the end of life. Those who die in their sins are lost and without hope. Involvement in the occult will always end in disaster unless one repents and puts faith in Jesus Christ alone for hope in this life and the one to come

  10. Thank you for this article. It’s helpful to see it from another perspective.

  11. After having gone through a bad marriage and having proved to the court I was the wronged party in the divorce I was treated like a leper by the court. She got the kids even though I proved she was abusive to them and she got the house she said she hated living in every day, the best car (I bought both of them) and had to pay Child Support far above what I should have. Even though I was a Good Husband and Father the court said basically because I was a man I was automatically at fault. Case closed. I have seen so many good men in this country lose everything because their wives decided they wanted to destroy the marriage and the man it sickens me.

    Since the divorce she has call 911 on me twice for abusing our kids and it was so obvious that nothing was going on the officers apologized for having to put me through it. When I told her if she called 911 on me again I’d have her arrested she called Child Protective Services making more false claims which I proved. I tried to have her arrested for what she had done and the magistrate refused to do so because she was a woman. When I reported HER for child abuse and endangerment and I had physical proof CPS REFUSED to investigate basically because she is a woman.

  12. Hey McClain, very insightful article. Thanks for that refreshing article. Truth is, as stay-at-home moms go, many women, have the ability to have best of both worlds and that starts when their babies start kindergarten. Believe me its possible. In my upcoming series Employable Mom, I will talk about those issues. Stay tuned, and please share your commentary.

    Thanks again.

  13. it takes two to tango…

  14. In my 21 yr marriage, as the woman, I was the financial breadwinner, took a short break to have kids, before which I purchased a business for my husband to run and create a career path, while I did the books. I became disabled, got disability until I could be ready for surgery, had surgeries and returned to work at the same time youngest was in school full time. My husband made some decisions that had negative consequences, such that we had to sell the business, and he had unsatisfactory performance at subsequent jobs. We jointly decided to sell our home in the down turn, then our oldest had a devastating illness and when he was disease free, one month later, my husband announced he wanted a divorce. Until then, not a day went by that he didn’t tell me he loved me.

    I want everyone to know, I loved him. I built a life and family with him. Everything was ours and we worked for the same goals. I would have done anything to keep our family together – and counseling didn’t change my ex-husband’s decision. So divorcing means everything is split. I didn’t forget my ex being there for me when I was unable to work, but he chose to not remembering me being there for him. Spoiler alert: unresolved relationship issues manifest and divorcing means you will be dealing with your own stuff, your former spouses stuff, and your children’s pain. It was hard for me to give up my career to “mommy track” then return to it, in silicon valley, an era later.

    I accept responsibility for my life, my choices and raising our children. Daily I am constantly looking for a way to finance my midlife/senior years on my own, while coaching and helping my children navigate life. I’m still the same mom, but realistically, I can do less for them, and I am working on making peace with that.

    I don’t want to talk about my ex, unless it’s with my therapist or BF and I need too. I just want to be happy. I’m still a woman. I’d rather be in a relationship that is fulfilling than one that has a monetary benefit.

  15. W without more facts about what happened in the marriage no one can comment intelligently.

    However there is a good chance everything is true. She got bored and the guy down the street made her feel special. While he was working to support the family she wasnt being faithful. She doesnt deserve the house and she has no constitutional right not to work nor does she have the right to deny him his children or force him to support her new boyfriend. Just because she is a woman doesnt give her any entitlements.

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