Rian Stone posted a link on Twitter the other day, it was called, “The Hamburger Meat Moment.” It’s actually a pretty good read for a few reasons. One of the reasons is that it appears, and I say appears, because we all know that there’s no such thing as “women on the internet,” that it was written by a woman.
It’s not often that I see a woman have a “moment of clarity” and be able to take some accountability for her actions, but it appears that is exactly what happened here. The woman nags her husband over buying the “wrong” kind of hamburger meat and she gets on his ass and then watches him shut down over it. Then the realization hits her. She brought that response on. Her nagging on him was the reason that he shut down:
I saw his face gradually take on an expression that I’d seen on him a lot in recent years. It was a combination of resignation and demoralization. He looked eerily like our son does when he gets chastised. That’s when it hit me. “Why am I doing this? I’m not his mom.”
Like I said a moment ago, it’s not been often, at least in my experience, that women can recognize and realize that something they said or did was what caused their husbands or boyfriends to respond the way they do. I give kudos to her for realizing this.
That’s not exactly why I’m writing about this though. I’m writing about this article because of how much it reminds me of my past life. Reading it was like going back in time. Back to when I was married and my now ex-wife would get on my ass about one thing or another.
There was two incidents in particular that stick out to me:
I remember one time, when she first moved in with me, she opened the dishwasher and saw that I put the forks, knives, and spoons with the handles down and the sharp ends up. That wouldn’t do for her. Don’t get me wrong, she was “nice” about it, but she made a big deal about it, stating something along the lines of “being a klutz” and that she could see herself sticking her hand in there and jabbing herself with either a knife or the prongs of a fork or two. From then on, the forks and knives were placed in the dishwasher with the “pointy ends” down. It wasn’t a big deal to me then, nor is it a big deal to me to this day. It is something I remember though. It was the beginning of things to come.
One of the last things that I remember my ex-wife getting on me about was “not having an opinion.” You need to understand something about my ex-wife, and maybe some of you can relate, but my ex had an opinion on everything. I’m not exaggerating when I say this. She had an opinion on anything and everything from the weather, to whatever celebrity was doing whatever with whomever, to religion, politics, sex, and money.
If you have gotten to know me in real life you’ll realize or know that I don’t give a fuck about damn near anything. It’s not that I’m not aware of things going on around me, because I am, it’s just that I don’t care about the majority of things unless they have a direct immediate impact on my life. If they don’t have that impact, or especially if there is nothing that I can do about it, I don’t give a fuck about whatever it is. It’s easier that way for me and I can then focus on the things that do affect and impact me. There’s only so many fucks to give.
I remember her asking me my opinion about whatever it was at the time, and I told her that I didn’t have an opinion about whatever it was. I didn’t care. I was totally indifferent to the subject that she was discussing. It didn’t impact my life in the slightest, so fuck it. She was astounded that I didn’t have an opinion on it. It totally blew her away. I remember me saying something along the lines of, “it’s not a big deal,” and “it doesn’t affect me.” It turned that conversation into an argument of sorts for about 10 minutes or so.
What did I do at the time? I checked out. That’s what our relationship became towards the end. Her harping and me turning a deaf ear to what she was saying and me ultimately checking out altogether.
I’m not saying this like I think she was a bad person or that I was a victim because neither of those things are true. She’s not a bad person and I was certainly no victim. I allowed it to happen to me because I never spoke up until I got a “gut full” and it was too late because I had had enough.
“What this constant nagging and harping does is send a message to our husbands that says “we don’t respect you. We don’t think you’re smart enough to do things right. We expect you to mess up. And when you do, you’ll be called out on it swiftly and without reservation.” Given this kind of negative reinforcement over time, he feels like nothing he can do is right (in your eyes). If he’s confident with himself and who he is, he’ll come to resent you. If he’s at all unsure about himself, he’ll start to believe you, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Neither one is a desirable, beneficial outcome to you, him or the marriage.”
“If he’s confident with himself and who he is, he’ll come to resent you.” That is completely accurate. That’s what happened in the case of me and my ex-wife. I came to resent her. One thing that the author never mentions in her article though, is what the major consequences can be. Sure, the guy can avoid her or resent her or a bunch of other behaviors as well.
He can also leave when he has had enough. He can leave the relationship and go on to find another one where hopefully he learns his part in the play and he learns to set his own boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable and he’s able to call her out on it if and when that time comes.
I’m not advocating that leaving is the easiest and only option. Sometimes leaving isn’t feasible for a variety of reasons and I understand that. But it is an option, and sometimes it’s the only reasonable option.
I don’t know if “nagging” or women “correcting” behavior is a feature or a bug. Maybe it’s both, maybe it’s neither. Maybe it’s something else entirely. I do know that it does happen. It happened in my marriage and to a much lesser degree, my last long term relationship. Carl from Black Label Logic calls it “Death by 1000 Concessions,” and maybe that’s exactly what it is.