03 December 2013

You Don't Need No Man

My Dear Friend-

I'm going to go out on a limb here and share my story in the hope that it will be helpful to you.  As I always like to say- take what you want and leave the rest.

I want to challenge you on something.  I want to question your statement that you "need" your husband to offer daily manifestations of his love, help you around the house, and be a leader for your children.  Those things are all keys to a healthy marriage and a successful family life, but I know you, and I know you are strong, and I think right now that you can find peace and happiness without them.

I used to be a sponge for Pete's love, desperately seeking approval and validation from him, longing for his attention.  Eventually his addiction became so unmanageable that he was incapable of offering me those things.  In fact, he usually did the opposite.  Made me doubt myself, left me emotionally alone, withheld his love. 

As long as I continued to expect Pete to meet my needs, I felt disappointed and angry.  I was oozing with resentment toward him.  He failed and failed over and over and it was making me miserable.  Eventually I had to let him go. I had to find happiness and personal worth outside of my relationship with him.  I didn't say so to him, but maybe I could have said something like this.

"I'm relinquishing you from the obligations I've imposed upon you to make me happy.  To fill my cup.  To meet my needs.  I'm letting you go.  For the time being I'm determined to be dependent on myself for those things.  I have good people to love and support me.  I have children to fill my cup.  I don't NEED you right now.  You are free to find recovery, or not. But I'm going to let you off the hook.  For now.  I'm willing to let our marriage fall apart for awhile, with the hope that it will give you the space you need to join me in fixing it down the road." 

It's just a kill your own damn buffalo concept.  If you want to have family prayer, initate it.  If the garbage is full, take it out. 

I know it sounds so fiery feminist, maybe because it is,  but


When I did this at first I was just being a martyr.  I was vindictive, and determined to guilt him into change. "I hope he feels like crap when he sees that I mowed the lawn" - type feelings.  But eventually it became an empowering and liberating way to live.  I DON'T need no man. 

I know that in the big picture husband and wife are one.  It's a relationship that enhances our joy.  But that wasn't/isn't the reality I'm living in. 

I love you friend- I know you are strong and you can find the emotional place you are searching for even if your husband never becomes the man he can become. 


  1. I had a similar conversation with a client recently-- she was struggling with school stuff, and she was talking about how hard it was that her partner wasn't supportive. We had to sort through to identify that she would be successful and able to do all of this if she were single, so she doesn't need her partner to get through this-- but gosh, it sure would be nice if he would be willing to help. So we talked about how she could communicate that she wasn't expecting him to provide for her needs, but that it would be meaningful to her if he did. It created a space where she wasn't dependent, and framed the relationship as an opportunity rather than an expectation.

    We don't need someone else. And personally, it's more exhausting when I place the expectation on someone else to do something and then am disappointed when they don't than it is to just do it all myself. I just need to remember to make self-care a priority so it doesn't get sacrificed to take care of everything/one else.

  2. This is soooo true. I hope others who would benefit from this realization, see your blog post!!! I spent 10 yrs looking to my husband to fill my emotional needs. He was COMPLETELY unable to do so (for many reasons). I endured unnecessary, self imposed anguish and misery! FINALLY, God saw fit to allow me to realize my emotional needs could be met by God. I also agree with the big picture, marriage between a man and woman is part of God's plan. However, the minute I removed those expectations I had for my husband and marriage...our marriage GREATLY improved. For the past five years later, I have had a "happy" life that is not solely dependent on my husband.

  3. I just love you, Jane. And I miss you like crazy.