ask sharideth: letter #2

this is an excerpt from a comment here on the blog.  since it was asked publicly, i’ll answer it publicly.  i also clicked on his blog and did some reading.  i had thought to broaden the scope of my response to reflect what i found there, but frankly, it would be impossible to deal with all his issues in one post.  one blog of his alone has sparked 3 more that i’m working on.  ugh.  i’m not going to direct you to the comment or his blog because i don’t want to inundate this guy if he doesn’t want that.

Dear Sharideth,

You say this is a blog for men, but I don’t know one guy who puts that much thought or effort into anything that doesn’t have wheels or knobs or buttons or lights.

…I’m going to tell you something and ask you what you think it says about me?

In the first year of our marriage my wife left me a note in an envelope on my dresser. Inside she listed things we should talk about. It scared me. I didn’t want to talk.  I put the note back in the envelope and pretended that I didn’t see it, until finally it disappeared and she never even brought it up, and guess what? everything worked out fine.

dear cowardly lyin’ to yourself,

i’ve read a whole bunch of your blog and if the “everything worked out fine” is only according to your definition of that phrase, everything is so not fine.  your wife worked up the courage to communicate with you about things she felt were important and you blew her off.  you were afraid and didn’t want to talk.  not well played.  how long was it before she felt like she could talk to you about anything more significant than dinner reservations?  based on your own words from your blog, i’m guessing she holds out until she’s so fed up, she has no choice but to say something.

i’m going to let you in on a secret that has apparently been kept from you.  you are not alone in your marriage.  take a minute to let the shock sink it.  if she has something to say, you need to listen.  not just stay quiet until she’s finished, nod your head and wait for her to give up.  really listen to her.  otherwise you are putting far too much stock in your own opinion and fears and not even in the ball park of enough respect for hers.

your fears, your lack of feeling, your shoulder shrugging response to the world at large has no place in a marriage where you have vowed to love, honor and cherish.  disregarding her feelings, ignoring her warnings that something is wrong and withholding emotion will eventually diminish any feelings she has for you.  if it hasn’t already.  it’s going to take a whole other blog to deal with what that will do to your children.

you think everything is fine because you want it to be and because you choose to feel so little that “fine” to you, is seriously busted to just about everyone else.  that doesn’t make you cool or special, it’s just really sad.

i really hope you realize the value of someone else’s thoughts, feelings and value before you realize you’re alone.

oh so sincerely,


for the rest of you…

fear of emotion, fear of conflict, fear of rejection…all these things lead to withholding of understanding, lack of open communication and hurt feelings.  all of it is avoidable.  take time to listen.  open yourself up to being wrong.  be aware that the person you’ve committed yourself to is on shaky ground too.  shore each other up. build a foundation of communication that compresses into bed rock over time as confidence in each other compresses and solidifies what could otherwise be sinking sand.

okay, enough geological analogies.

what are some things that you fear or hold back from in relationships?


9 comments on “ask sharideth: letter #2

  1. Mandie says:

    This is awesome. Thanks for being blunt. It’s really quite refreshing.

  2. David Robbins says:

    Was this guy serious? Wow. Great response, Smith.

    God bless his wife, man.

    • he was, indeed, serious. i also kind of felt like he was trying to prove something with the way he ended the post. but maybe only to himself…

      • Sy says:

        Just a couple of more things. I promise. First thank you for letting my rebuttal stand and not deleting me. Second, to you, Sherideth I can’t respond to your first reply because frankly your banal analogies just made you sound like you were running for office, but congratulations on honing in on my closing remark, yes that was indeed tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. Do we ever know if things are really going the way we think they are?
        I think we only need to look to Ashley Madison for the answer to the question.
        (this reply probably does deserve to be deleted)

  3. Jenn says:

    Thanks for these posts – I love them because you’re blunt, but also because there is a lot for the rest of us to learn.

    So what do I hold back? Well, my sh*tastic childhood to age 26, my dysfunctional family and all that business. It’s incredibly hard to try to fall in love with someone while trying to shove all the skeletons you walk around with back in a closet – knowing as with all crammed full closets the goods are going to come pouring out. Even worse knowing that those skeletons have been enough to have good long term friends leave because they don’t know how to be your friend and love you knowing about your sh*t. But that being said, despite the rejection I have learned you hurt yourself if you cannot be honest with those you love. Because you are by that act, unwilling to trust, unable to empathize, unable to be vulnerable – all those things which you crave being offer back to you – trust, empathy, compassion, vulnerability.

    For the record I don’t hide my past, it is what it is, and me being ashamed of it only gives people power back who had no right to it in the first place.

  4. Wow, this made me really sad.

    Not that his motivation for meeting his wifes needs should be fear, but it seems as though if the letter “finally dissapeared” it may have been because she found someone else would listen to her.

    I believe men and women communicate differently, but blatantly ignoring someones advances to engage tells me there is something much deeper going on.

    Still sad.

  5. This dude is afraid of his wife. It’s kinda nice how he admits it here, but that’s the bottom line: he’s afraid of his wife. He tried to act all macho and control the situation by ignoring it, and that made it “go away,” but he didn’t actually change anything by his course of actions.

    • sy says:

      I wish I had gotten back here sooner.Thanks for all of your views.
      I was trying to decide on who to respond to and Zech, baby, you drew the short straw because you were the most off-base.
      Did not like your “macho” remark. I’m anything but, I don’t even watch or know much about team sports and my ignoring of the letter was an attempt elicit real communication instead of in the form of a letter.
      I wish I still had it, because the part that scared me were some emotional issues.

      I do not discuss emotional issues with women, my wife or any other, Been down that road too many times, they get all emotional, you take them seriously and actually think you’re going to help with something and then (and this is a pretty verbatim quote) “oh that. that was before. you’re still thinking about that?”
      I will absolutely walk away and let them cry, and it’s not being macho, it’s just to maintain my sanity, because I know it will blow over.
      One more thing Zech. I want you to look over your head. Check it out, I actually made “Joy,” “sad.” Is that profound or what? OK maybe not pro, but definitely better than amatuer found.
      If you can’t appreciate the irony/humor (wryness) in that observation maybe you need to loosen up and stop denying your own feelings, but if you smiled even a little, I think there’s hope for you.
      On the other hand, if you smiled but you’re afraid to admit it in this forum, because of what the others might think,I understand.
      I mean, I’m not totally insensitive.

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