It’s Me, Not You

June 13, 2016

in Uncategorized

“It’s not you, it’s me” is a common phrase used by women* trying to get out of a relationship without a fight. If it’s not him, then he can’t do anything to change or fix it. He has to just let go because she’s said it’s all her. Of course, many who say this actually think it’s very much about him, they’re just trying to avoid an ugly scene. 

In reality, much of what we feel about our spouse is about us, not them. We enter marriage with beliefs, many of which are false, and expectations, many of which are unrealistic. These things have nothing to do with our spouse, but they affect how we see and relate to our spouse and profoundly shape our marriages.

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I don’ mean this as blame, and I certainly am not saying your husband is without fault. This is more along the lines of removing the log from your eye. Before you can remove the log you must see it. The problem is we are blind to the lies we believe, the wrong ways we see ourselves, and our unrealistic expectations. 

One place I see this, and hear it often from other men, is women who have a “kick me” sign on their back. (Or maybe “kick me” written all over their body.) They seem to think they deserve a cruddy life. Having accepted it as their lot in life they do nothing to change and subconsciously sabotage their husband’s attempts to make changes. They say they hate it, but they work to keep things as they are.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I have plenty of my own stuff to deal with.

*I suppose men have said this too, but I doubt it’s common. We are more about blaming, not avoiding a fight.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

K June 13, 2016 at 8:03 am

Or – they’ve taken to heart the notion that you can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself. And they’ve made all the changes they know how to make and they’ve had all the conversations they know how to have. And if it really depends on me changing me, and I’ve tried everything I can think of, and he offers up no other suggestions or changes himself, then what else is there?

I think it’s a cry of desperation, of I’ll never be good enough for you and I’m so darn tired of working so hard to change so that you’ll love me the way I need. I think they’re not being manipulative or coy. It is a truly felt need of women: if my people aren’t happy (if my husband doesn’t want sex, if my kid can’t make it to school, etc.) , I must be doing something wrong – or at least not doing enough of something right.

I think it’s the final word of someone who doesn’t think the other person is to blame. He’s who he is; I’m just having a hard time being me around him. It’s admitting I’m a bad wife, a bad person, a bad Christian. Because I have limits and I can’t live this life a minute longer. And I’m ashamed of that, because other people can do it, so why can’t I?


Tina June 13, 2016 at 1:34 pm

And as far as accepting the junkie life goes, maybe the reason why your wife doesn’t lose weight, buy nicer clothes, go to the gym, take you up on your offer of a salon or spa, etc. is because the last time she actually did it to make you happy, she had so many guys hitting on her that treated her way better than you do that she nearly gave in and cheated on you. So, she gained the weight back and refuses to lose it again or stop looking frumpy until your other problems are resolved to keep herself away from temptation.


Paul Byerly June 14, 2016 at 10:29 am

@Tina – There are certainly women (and men) who choose to not look as good as they can for fear of being tempted by others. And while an unloving or unresponsive spouse can be part of this, I’ve seen it where this is not the case.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Contempt Free MarriageMy Profile


Paul Byerly June 14, 2016 at 10:31 am

@K – “It is a truly felt need of women: if my people aren’t happy … I must be doing something wrong – or at least not doing enough of something right.”
I know many women feel that way, and it saddens me a great deal. Far too many women are beating themselves up for things that are not their fault or are beyond them fixing.
Own your stuff and work on it. Don’t own or waste your time on other people’s stuff.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Contempt Free MarriageMy Profile


IntimacySeeker June 14, 2016 at 11:43 am

I wore the “kick me” sign for many years. I did not believe I should be treated well, nor did I believe I had any responsibility to let others know I expected to be treated well. In addition, I assumed too much responsibility for helping and fixing others. Learning appropriate boundaries around responsibilities is an ongoing process. I have not mastered this by any means, but am certainly healthier than before and am more likely to offer a thoughtful response than deliver an emotional reaction.


Paul Byerly June 15, 2016 at 7:23 am

@IntimacySeeker – It’s difficult to less someone wearing a kick me sign even if you want to! I’ve seen people work hard to prevent good things. It’s as if they fear some horrible thing will happen if they are happy.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Pride Goeth Before the DivorceMy Profile


Sarah June 14, 2016 at 12:31 pm

I think it is me. He’s not bothered at all by our marriage problems and shrugs or huffs at my concerns or calls them excuses to be miserable. I grow more unhappy every day. I miss my old life as a confident, strong, happy, independent woman instead of the quiet, withdrawn, lonely, sad one that I have become.


Paul Byerly June 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

@Sarah – Could all be defence on his part. I think men are far more willing to put up with a poor relationship, but that does not mean they are immune.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Pride Goeth Before the DivorceMy Profile


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