Author says wife rightly divorced him for 'occasionally' leaving dirty plates by the sink
"Caring about her should have equalled putting the glass in the dishwasher"
Author Matthew Fray says his wife was right to divorce him for occasionally leaving his dirty cups and plates by the sink and has advised other spouses to learn from his actions.
Mr Matthew's wife who felt mistreated and unloved left him just after his 34th birthday, taking their four-year-old toddler with her.
Despite being devastated at the time, the Ohio-based author writes that in retrospect, he understands the decision and believes she made a “wise choice”.
Mr Fray, who has since left his marketing job to work as a relationship coach, wrote: "I often left used drinking glasses by the sink. Occasionally there were plates, too, deposited on the counter just inches from the dishwasher."
The ex-husband also confessed in his new book, titled "This Is How Your Marriage Ends," to draping his clothes over furniture or throwing them on the floor rather than putting them away.
"That’s what made her leave me." he said.
Mr Fray continued: "While I was married to her, I thought she should recognise how petty and meaningless it was in the grand scheme of life, and I repeated that train of thought for the better part of 12 years, waiting for her finally to agree with me. But she never did."
Mr Fray realised his shortcomings after years of reflection, saying: "It wasn’t just about the glass. It wasn’t about dishes left for her to sort, or laundry on the floor. My wife wasn’t some insufferable nag who had to have her way all the time.
"It was about what these things said to her. And what they said was: I would always choose my feelings and preferences over hers. That she was married to someone who did not respect or appreciate her.
"That while she rarely made a decision without thinking about how it might affect me or our son, I barely ever considered how my actions affected her. That not taking four seconds to put my glass in the dishwasher was more important to me than she was".
The author writes in his book that he spent years believing he was a "good man," but the fact is he said, "good men can be terrible at marriage and frequently are".
He continued: "At root, I didn’t value her feelings. On the contrary, I treated them as silly, ‘girly’, an inconvenience. On autopilot, as a matter of habit, I defended my point of view and effectively called hers wrong, overemotional or crazy.
"I think I believed that my wife should respect me simply because I had exchanged vows with her. I loved her but I didn’t regard her individual experiences as equally valid to mine."
Mr Fray writes that his regrets are simple: "I should have communicated my love and respect for my wife by not leaving tiny reminders each day that she wasn’t considered or respected.
"Caring about her should have equalled putting the glass in the dishwasher, and reliably taking care of an equal share of child-related stuff so she could chill out and worry about one less thing.
"It should have meant picking up the washing and thoughtfully not treading dirt into the floor she had worked hard to clean.
"Loving someone exists in a million little things that say ‘I love you’ more than speaking the words ever could. If I’d worked that out years ago — and how I wish I had — I would still be married today."
This Is How Your Marriage Ends, by Matthew Fray (£16.99, Profile) is out April 7