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“I Messed Up And I Ruined My Marriage”: Husband Is Shocked Wife’s Life Is Way Better Without Him
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“I Messed Up And I Ruined My Marriage”: Husband Is Shocked Wife’s Life Is Way Better Without Him

Interview With Expert
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Becoming a parent can alter your entire world. Moms and dads often talk about the immense love that they feel for their children that they didn’t even think was possible prior to having kids. But having a child is also likely to impact the relationship between two parents, for better or worse.

One man recently shared on Reddit how having a baby led to the downfall of his marriage. Below, you’ll find the full story detailing all of the regrets this father is now having, as well as conversations with Nia Williams, Relationship Therapist and Life Coach from Miss Date Doctor, and Dr. Kathy McMahon, President and Founder of Couples Therapy Inc.

Becoming a parent can completely change a person’s life

Image credits: Tima Miroshnichenko / pexels (not the actual photo)

Unfortunately for this man, it led to his wife realizing that she didn’t need him around anymore

Image credits: Arina Krasnikova / pexels (not the actual photo)

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Image credits: Taryn Elliott / pexels (not the actual photo)

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Image credits: Puzzleheaded_No3393

“It’s very common for couples to experience challenges in balancing responsibilities after the arrival of a baby”

To learn more about how relationships between parents tend to change after introducing a baby into the mix, we got in touch with Nia Williams, Relationship Therapist and Life Coach from Miss Date Doctor. Nia was kind enough to have a chat with Bored Panda and share her thoughts on this situation.

“It’s very common for couples to experience challenges in balancing responsibilities after the arrival of a baby,” the expert noted. “This period often brings significant changes to the dynamics of a relationship, as both partners navigate the demands of caring for a newborn while juggling other responsibilities. The adjustments can indeed take a big toll on the relationship as couples may find themselves feeling so overwhelmed, exhausted, and stretched thin becoming so irritable.”

“Sleep deprivation, changes in routine, and shifting priorities can all contribute to heightened stress levels and potential conflicts between partners,” Nia continued. “However, it’s essential to recognize that these struggles are a normal part of the transition to parenthood and very standard for the process, and with open communication and mutual support, couples can navigate this period successfully with no issues.”

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One huge mistake that the father in this piece made was ignoring his wife when she informed him that he wasn’t pulling his weight. “Listening to your partner when they express concerns about unequal distribution of responsibilities is crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship,” Nia shared. “Ignoring or dismissing their feelings can lead to resentment and further strain the relationship.”

“To address this, it’s important to engage in honest and empathetic communication. This involves actively listening to your partner’s perspective, acknowledging their feelings, and working together to find solutions that feel fair and balanced for both parties,” the expert continued.

Image credits: William Fortunato / pexels (not the actual photo)

“By fostering a sense of teamwork and mutual respect, couples can prevent resentment from building up and strengthen their bond in the process”

“Changing behavior to ensure equitable participation in caregiving tasks is key. This may involve dividing tasks more evenly, being proactive in offering help, and being mindful of each other’s needs and limitations,” Nia explained. “By fostering a sense of teamwork and mutual respect, couples can prevent resentment from building up and strengthen their bond in the process.”

We were also curious if the expert was familiar with the idea that single parenting may be easier for some individuals. “While it’s not universally true, some moms may find that single parenting brings certain advantages or a sense of relief compared to being in a strained or unsupportive marriage,” Nia told Bored Panda.

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“The reasons for this can vary widely and depend on individual circumstances. Single parenting may offer a greater sense of autonomy and control over decision-making, as well as the ability to establish routines and parenting styles without the need for compromise,” the therapist explained.

“Additionally, some mothers may find that they experience less conflict and emotional strain when they are solely responsible for caregiving, particularly if they were previously in a challenging or unsupportive marital relationship,” Nia noted.

“However, it’s essential to recognize that single parenting also comes with its own set of challenges and stresses, including financial strain, lack of support, and feelings of loneliness,” she continued. “Ultimately, the experience of single parenting versus being in a marriage is highly subjective and influenced by various factors unique to each individual.”

Image credits: Helena Lopes / pexels (not the actual photo)

“Balancing the demands of a new child with work, chores, self-care, and the relationship itself often pushes couples to their limits”

We were also lucky enough to get in touch with Dr. Kathy McMahon, President and Founder of Couples Therapy Inc. Dr. McMahon took the time to write detailed advice that this father could definitely benefit from hearing. “What did you do? You put your own needs at the center of the universe while you were married, and believed you were more valuable than you actually were,” the therapist shared. “That lack of insight into how harmful your behavior actually was provided a painful outcome for you.”

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“Your story is a heartbreaking but important cautionary tale for many couples struggling to adapt to parenthood,” Dr. McMahon continued. “As a clinical psychologist, I can assure you that the challenges you and your ex-wife faced are very common. It sounds like when you were married, you got a lot of free time, and left your wife with very little.”

When it comes to finding an equitable split of responsibilities with your spouse, Dr. McMahon recommends determining how many minutes or hours each person gets to have absolutely no responsibilities for childcare. “That might mean leaving the house for many young mothers,” she explained. “Who gets to sit on the couch after dinner? Who gets to take a Friday night for dinner with friends? Who has to ‘ask’ for the other to ‘babysit’ vs. ‘inform’ the other where you’ll be and when? These are all power dynamics around free time.”

But Dr. McMahon noted that “naptime” isn’t actually free time because babies unexpectedly wake up. “Think of it as ‘secondary time’ if you must, and add that into the equation,” she added.

The expert acknowledges that the transition to having a baby is one of the most stressful periods for a couple. “Balancing the demands of a new child with work, chores, self-care, and the relationship itself often pushes couples to their limits,” she noted. “It’s sadly not unusual for this strain to take a heavy toll, as it seems to have done in your case.”

“One key insight from renowned relationship expert Dr. John Gottman is the importance of the ‘friendship system’ in a marriage,” Dr. McMahon says. “This refers to the positive regard, affection, and mutual support between spouses. Gottman went so far as to do a ‘sexy pin-up calendar’ for women showing hunky guys doing housework and childcare! His point was that this behavior is sexy and attractive to women because it shows respect and friendship.”

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Image credits: MART PRODUCTION / pexels (not the actual photo)

“Focus on being civil, cooperative, and supportive of her as a fellow parent, regardless of what the future holds for your relationship”

This friendship can quickly be eroded when one partner feels the other isn’t pulling their weight. “This leads to a dynamic Gottman calls ‘Negative Sentiment Override,’ where even neutral interactions get viewed through a negative lens because so much resentment has built up,” Dr. McMahon continued.

“At this point, with your soon-to-be ex-wife experiencing you as more of a burden than a helpmate, it makes sense that she would find single parenting comparatively easier,” the therapist added. “She no longer expends energy being disappointed by or arguing with you. This in no way excuses your behavior, but perhaps provides some insight into her perspective. Think back on exactly why she has ‘one less problem without you.’ While it might not help you for this relationship, it will be crucial in any future love affairs.”

Going forward, Dr. McMahon encourages this father to take full responsibility for developing his parenting and household management skills. “Babies do gradually become more independent, which will ease the intensity over time, but the early years are universally demanding,” she explained. “Parenting classes, books, and support groups for single dads could be immensely helpful as you build your childcare abilities. And try not to shift your adult burdens onto your growing child. As the saying goes, they never asked to be born.”

“Remember too that your son is in daycare during your weeks, so you do have some windows to rest, complete chores, and catch up on work,” the expert noted. “It may help to sit down and make a realistic schedule for yourself. Bedtimes are often erratic in a new home. Once you learn how to create a soothing bedtime routine, you may find more time to yourself in the evenings.”

In terms of this dad’s relationship with his ex-wife, Dr. McMahon says the most constructive thing he can do is consistently show up as a capable, involved co-parent. “Apologize sincerely for your past failings without any expectation that it will change her mind.”

“If you do still love and miss her, express your regret for not being a true partner and your wish that you had done things differently, making it clear that you respect her decision,” the expert continued. “Focus on being civil, cooperative, and supportive of her as a fellow parent, regardless of what the future holds for your relationship.”

“My heart goes out to you in this painful time. Please be compassionate with yourself as you navigate these challenges and changes,” the therapist writes to the father. “Commit yourself to being the best father you can be and trust that if you put in the difficult work of growth and healing, you and your son will come through this stronger.”

It’s unfortunate that the man in this story learned his lesson too late to save his marriage, but we can only hope that he’ll learn how to balance all of his responsibilities for the sake of his child. We would love to hear your thoughts on this story in the comments below, pandas. Then, if you’re interested in reading another Bored Panda article discussing a similar situation, look no further than right here.

Readers shared their brutally honest reactions to the situation, as well as suggestions for the father

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sheila_stamey avatar
Sheila who?
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ok. I don't usually like AITA posts but they got me. "It doesn't require a vagina to be efficient ". I lmao in my little hospital bed. It reminded me of the time my pastor's wife, upon him turning to her and asking while in the hand shaking exit line at church, "BTW, where is *whatever object I can't remember *?" And she scorched back, " I will never understand why you think an uterus is a homing device!" And stomped off!

jlkooiker avatar
lenka
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Your pastors wife is my new hero. In a similar vein, We once had a house full of people for a birthday. My young son spilled some water and I told him to wipe it up. He went to the cupboard, grabbed a cloth and made a very half assed swipe over the water. I interjected that he wasn't really trying. MIL said "Oh, he's just a boy. They're not really good at this kind of thing". Before my brain could engage with my mouth out came the words "He's not cleaning it with his penis". MIL: shocked pikachu. My husband simply offered our guests more coffee. My son made more effort and managed to wipe the water up *on his own*. lol

Load More Replies...
tamrastiffler avatar
Tamra
Community Member
1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"I can't even ask for less time with my son because I can't afford the child support"...which implies you'd willingly p a w n off the care of the child YOU HELPED CREATE because it's just too hard for you. What a useless idiot.

heatherphilpot avatar
Hphizzle
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

“WTF did I do?” Nothing. You did literally nothing. Two words for you, sir: GROW UP.

Load More Comments
sheila_stamey avatar
Sheila who?
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ok. I don't usually like AITA posts but they got me. "It doesn't require a vagina to be efficient ". I lmao in my little hospital bed. It reminded me of the time my pastor's wife, upon him turning to her and asking while in the hand shaking exit line at church, "BTW, where is *whatever object I can't remember *?" And she scorched back, " I will never understand why you think an uterus is a homing device!" And stomped off!

jlkooiker avatar
lenka
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Your pastors wife is my new hero. In a similar vein, We once had a house full of people for a birthday. My young son spilled some water and I told him to wipe it up. He went to the cupboard, grabbed a cloth and made a very half assed swipe over the water. I interjected that he wasn't really trying. MIL said "Oh, he's just a boy. They're not really good at this kind of thing". Before my brain could engage with my mouth out came the words "He's not cleaning it with his penis". MIL: shocked pikachu. My husband simply offered our guests more coffee. My son made more effort and managed to wipe the water up *on his own*. lol

Load More Replies...
tamrastiffler avatar
Tamra
Community Member
1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"I can't even ask for less time with my son because I can't afford the child support"...which implies you'd willingly p a w n off the care of the child YOU HELPED CREATE because it's just too hard for you. What a useless idiot.

heatherphilpot avatar
Hphizzle
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

“WTF did I do?” Nothing. You did literally nothing. Two words for you, sir: GROW UP.

Load More Comments
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