he said, she said: do you feel respected in your relationship?



  1. I know this post and topic is about a broader issue, but I think in this case the problem that arose wasn’t in the initial actions, but in the way you both analyzed them and continued the discussion/argument. When Phil first said he felt disrespected, instead of getting a bit defensive and explaining why going to eat something first was so important, Stephanie could have acknowledged it was kind of silly to initiate a conversation and then put it on pause — maybe you both could have laughed a bit at the situation and continued the conversation together while getting something to eat.

    I think ideally both of you should be able to learn from these kinds of disagreements… because there are probably comparable situations where Phil is inadvertently disrespectful, and both of you can either choose to escalate the problem with being defensive, or acknowledge the error and move forward together.

    The key is — I think in this case (and probably most cases for most couples) the disrespect was unintentional, not passive aggressive. It’s when you intentionally start doing these things to eachother that I think you’ll need to worry.

  2. You know I think you’re talented and amazing. You know I respect your mothering skills and your ambition and achievements. There’s just one thing…and it’s what I tell my darlings all the time.

    It isn’t a ‘prize’ to get married. Just because you find the love of your life doesn’t mean you should then turn on them and do everything within your power to torment them…to aggravate them…to demean them. Same goes for Phil. What the hell?

    Seems to me, if you are ever lucky enough to find someone to love who loves you in return, you should cherish them. It’s rare. It’s precious. How about working on ways to make the other person better…build each other up…bolster each other for the hardships of life. As my wise mom says (she and dad are celebrating 50 years of marriage next June) – make your home a ‘safe place to fall’ – take the time to ‘pat and fluff’ each other and send each other out in the world better, stronger and safer.

    You’re heading to a bad place, in my opinion. Peck at each other enough, you will kill whatever is there. My daughter was in the school play this week, and one of the best parts was this story:

    “In the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific some villagers practice a unique form of logging, If a tree is too large to be felled with an axe, the natives cut it down by yelling at it. Woodsmen with special powers creep up on a tree just at dawn and suddenly scream at it at the top of their lungs. They continue this for thirty days. The tree dies and falls over. The theory is that the hollering kills the spirit of the tree. According to the villagers, it always works.

    Ah, those poor naive innocents. Such quaintly charming habits of the jungle. Screaming at trees, indeed. How primitive. Too bad they don’t have the advantage of modern technology and scientific mind.

    Me? I yell at my wife. And yell at the telephone and the lawn mower. And yell at the TV and the newspaper and my children. I’ve even been known to shake my fist and yell at the sky at times.

    Man next door yells at his car a lot. And this summer I heard him yelling at a stepladder for most of an afternoon. We modern, urban, educated folks yell at traffic and umpires and bills and banks and machines – especially machines. Machines and relatives get most of the yelling.

    Don’t know what good it does. Machines and things just sit there. Even kicking doesn’t always help. As for people, well, the Solomon Islanders may have a point. Yelling at living things does tend to kill the spirit in them. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts….”

    Just a thought.

    1. @ 3 Teens- I’m sort of annoyed with you.. WHEN Are you starting your own BLOG?!?
      This was superb. I am relaying the tree story to as many friends I can, lovely reminder. THANK YOU! This was fantastic.

      @ SK- I think you have put enough out here but no more Phil/SK videos. This will cost you your marriage. And sadly, as much as he loves you, it will happen. Please consider no more airing in public. This marriage is precious, much too much to have it for all of us to see. You are seeking counseling so that’s good. But this will be the final nail if it continues. And that would be the real ‘tragedy.’…

  3. Bravo-three teens mom! Spot on.

    I’d like to add, taping these arguments, bad idea. Something to dredge up years later, or let the baby Beers watch? uh uh. Start taping the good stuff, the funny silly days so there are always only good memories that leave a positive impact.

  4. If I told my boyfriend the same thing, that I needed to go grab something to eat and I’d be right back.. he would have laughed and came and got something with me.. or joined me in the kitchen to finish talking while I ate..

    I don’t know Stephanie…

    I know I’m not you and that I know nothing of your daily life with Phil and maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge, but each new video I see of him makes me like him less and less.

  5. You two crack me up! Phil, I call what Stephanie did to you the “the dump and run”. My husband sometimes does this to me (and I to him) and occasionally I’ll run to the bathroom, grab a huge wad of toilet paper and hand it to him. “What’s this?” he’ll ask. “Well, since you just took a dump on me, I figured you might need some TP.” Huh? The first time I did this he was totally peeved, but he did get it. And now, when one of us starts to “take a dump” on the other, we stop and take a breath. Are we really interested in hearing the other person’s opinion or input, or are we just venting? If we’re just venting, we let the other person know that they are not obliged to give feedback. And sometimes, we realize our spouse is not the person to vent to, maybe a friend would be better.

    Now we can chuckle about it because it’s an inside joke; we institute a “No Dumping Zone” in our conversations. But we get that we have to respect our partner’s opinion and respect that they are willing to offer input it if we ask. And when they do, we respect them by listening.

    The best bit of advice I can give is to ask yourself if you would act in that same manner to a professional peer in a business meeting. Would you ask a peer’s opinion on a subject, then get up, run out of the meeting room and grab something to eat when they were ready to answer? Of course not! Although it may be hard to see at times, you and Phil ARE business partners who both work from home and manage your careers.

    1. amen to that! i couldn’t have put it better myself!

      And Stephanie, you really are a wonderful person, but sometimes (and this comes across mostly in the videos) it’s your tone that can perhaps be driving Phil mad.

      I think you both need to be a bit more sensitive to each other and learn to listen to each other first. I have to say I commend Phil for actually pausing what he was watching to listen to you…it shows he cares! So I understand why he would be annoyed with you when you just got up and left.

      1. Author

        I knew when I posted this video that I came off as a complete jackass. We’d tried recording it earlier, and it didn’t “take.” Our voices weren’t heard. So I over-enunciated and yelled, and yes, when I watched it I absolutely cringed. It certainly doesn’t portray me (or Phil for that matter) in the best light, but what it does, and the reason I posted it, is give a glimpse into our dirty linen drawer. It’s what’s real in our lives right now. It’s what we discuss in therapy.
        The truth is, I hadn’t asked Phil his opinion. I’d told him something exciting, something I felt proud about, and I just wanted him to feel excited and happy for me, proud of me, mostly. I honestly hadn’t intended to vent or get his opinion, but as soon as I made the comment, he took it as an opening to discuss it, to take what I’d told him in another direction, wanting to expand on it, talk about how to replicate the scenario I’d shared, etc. The point is, I hadn’t known I was beginning something, and as soon as I realized it, I told him I wanted to hear what he had to say, but I needed to eat something first. I was very calm about it at the time, because there was nothing to NOT be calm about… until he reacted the way he did, screaming at me about how I just disrespected him. I mean, throat rattling screaming. And I was shocked, and tried to reassure him that it wasn’t personal… but he was already enraged.
        So we discussed it in therapy, and we both thought other people might gain something in seeing what we go through, and how we’re learning to work through it together. Because at the end of the day, we love each other very much… even (and sometimes maybe even because) we disagree.

  6. I don’t see what’s the point of doing these videos? Marriage is such a private affair and just building an audience into the very essence of your relationship doesn’t seem…smart.

    One thing is to write about it and vent, but you and Phil seem successful and satisfied enough to not be doing this for money/attention. I just don’t get why battle each other on your blog? Boredom?

    1. I think the point of these videos is perfectly clear. Have you seen how few comments Stephanie’s posts generate these days? Traffic must be down and yet these videos of the most personal aspect of their lives get people interested. When you make your business your personal life, it is easy to lose sight of what you may be sacrificing. Example One: Jon & Kate Plus 8.

      Be careful, SK — you might be a success, but what good is it if you lose yourself and your marriage in the process.

  7. I think you are all getting it wrong. The purpose of these videos has nothing to do with Stephanie/Phil relationship but that is how so many of you see it. It is a conduit for bring up common issues couples have to spark a discussion. I find it incredible so many readers find it relevant to give an opinion on people’s marriage or who they are from an edited snapshot of a 2 minute video. BIG PICTURE PEOPLE!!! Keep posting these. They make me look at how I think.

  8. These are great and very helpful to me and my relationship. Once again I thank you for putting it all out there and making me feel less alone. Just like your writing about feelings and situations that you have been in, Here you open yourself up to criticism by being honest and “out there” which in turn makes me forward your blog to friends and ex boyfriends. Thank you!

  9. I LOVE these videos!! Please keep them coming. They are so very, very real and are tremendously helpful to those of us struggling with our own relationship issues. I think it’s great that you 2 are so comfortable with your relationship that you can put stuff like this out there. It normalizes it. Yay Stephanie and Phil!

  10. Bravo! You all are making steps in the right direction. The incremental progress adds up. It is obvious that you all love one another and both appear to have the stamina to make this a wonderful and healthy marriage.

  11. This video feels like an attempt to prove that Phil is a jerk but it definitely backfired. The question of respect was CLEARLY a dump and run.
    Not too hungry to bring it up but too hungry to listen to the answer….
    I have a tendency to personalize everything my egocentric boyfriend says but still, I think it’s fair to assume that most people would have translated that to What I have to ask is important but what you have to say isn’t.

    I think it’s great that you’re (sort of) able to talk about it though.
    I probably would have kept my mouth shut, secretly hated my significant other and impulsively brought up the conversation as ammunition in an entirely unrelated scenario, months later.

    Here’s an idea… next time you’re too hungry to listen, invite Phil into the kitchen with you to continue the conversation while you make a sandwich.

  12. These videos are great. Thank you for putting it out there. I typically read your blog through RSS and don’t even come to the site. Now that I’m in the middle of a break up I need a dose of SK archive.

    Thank you and keep on keepin on.

  13. I wonder how you could spark the discussion you would like to here without video or engaging Phil. Writing these in a blog post would be self serving and one sided. A written post would get you critique on your writing style rather than content. Your decision to post video is enthralling,smart and courageous.

  14. You did disrespect Phil. I have done the same. What you thought of was yourself. You needed to vent and when done you regained your appetite. I know I need to show more empathy in my relationship from seeing this. Phil’s verbalization of his feelings made me see my husband’s point of view as I do what your readers call “the dump and run”.


  15. I’m a lurker who has never commented but felt I should to say “Good for you Stephanie!” Yes, you could have been more sensitive to Phil’s needs here. You could have tried to see someone elses perspective. You could have treated with him with love rather than dismissivemess. I believe after seeing yourself on video and reading the comments you are smart enough to see this.

    More He said/she said. They are compelling.

  16. Whether you are weaving a perfectly put blog post or filming your days, I love your honesty and filterless living. I also love how you show yourself to bring out bigger issues that we all confront. So much more than Dooce who today posted a video introducing her dogs. You challenge us while she has become someone who mocks. You have stayed real. Thank you.

  17. Phil seems to have an acute grasp of what is going on and how he feels. Perhaps there is a better way for him to say it but in this video it is clear to me you attack him for having feelings rather than look to make him feel better. Do you see this?

  18. I like Phil.
    I like you.
    Your videos, I no like.

    Maybe if you posted your sex video, I would like, a lot.

  19. Very Clear readers are down? I beg to differ. Her freaking server went down last week due to too much traffic! I know I for one try not to comment as often as I used to as it always brings trolls.

    Love the new look blog, the new sections and the consistency of your voice. It must be difficult always having people question you, your motivations. Thank you for showing me I can work on my relationship and it isn’t giving in.

  20. i don’t know how these videos affect your marriage, but i find them very interesting and they always force me to face issues within my relationship.
    but wow, watching you guys bicker, makes me think you all fight dirty! i only say that because i see myself in it a little….

  21. Most people act one way in public while living a life behind closed doors which leads them to divorce. I find this video healthy and I’m glad to hear Phl’s perspective. I agree there was a lack of respect.

  22. From a guy’s side(Yes my girlfriend sent me the link) I can see where Phil felt slighted. He made you a priority then when it came to his needs you made you a priority. Seeing it on video 1- Made me laugh cause I totally relate but 2- Made me want to make sure I always ask myself if I am showing her love in all my actions.

    Good luck to you two.

  23. I can see both sides to this issue. Bottom line is when you are in a relationship you need to be sensitive to the other person. Now go have make up sex!

  24. These videos are fun and serious at the same time. Good job! I side(if I can take a side) with Stephanie. Phil should be more sensitive to her appetite than his wants. A woman’s gotta eat.

  25. Love your outfit. Now that that is out of the way, Maybe you two could set more ground rules in your discussions. It seems Phil is quite rigid in his belief system and you are loose. That makes for friction. Can’t wait for the next installment!

    Thanks for doing these.

  26. Respect is the very foundation of a marriage. If you don’t have that, you have nothing.

  27. Geez I love this. There seems to be no end to the issues we all face. Takes someone with your strength to bring them out rather than ignoring. I side with neither of you here. This issue will continue to occur. The point is how to deal once it occurs. Communicate, be nice. Be thoughtful.

  28. I loved Straight Up And Dirty so much. It showed me to care and concentrate on myself rather than give a man the power over me to define me or bring me happiness. I see through these videos how difficult it is even for you to balance this. You are still fighting even though you are obviously in a loving relationship. Phil could be less rigid and you more open to his needs. C.O.M.P.R.O.M.I.S.E.

  29. I laughed so hard at this. You two obviously love each other. Thank you for showing that discussions or arguments can be had under the umbrella of true love. Keep filming and I’ll keep watching, learning, loving your voice!

  30. Stephanie, I have been reading your blog for a while and I enjoy your writing but these videos — the affect of your voice combined with Phil’s obvious inflated sense of self and the palpable irritation that exists…the whole thing makes me cringe.

  31. It must be so hard to be everything for everyone. Either people like your writing or they like your look or they hate your style or they dislike your attitude or they love your ability to think of interesting topics and situations or they are angry you are so open or they….you get what I’m saying. All you can do is be yourself which means show the many facets of yourself. Write when you feel like writing, do podcasts when you get the bug, shoot a video when you feel the medium works well for it. In the end you are doing just fine being you and that is all any of us can ask for. Last I looked you didn’t do anything to me or any reader/viewer other than challenge us and that is exceptional.

  32. Oh man, Stephanie, I have to say I agree with many of the posters above. Your voice when you talk to Phil is so abrasive, so angry…Do you ever try to see things from his POV? I mean, step outside your self-righteousness for a minute, replay the video and listen to yourself, pretending this is the voice of someone you don’t know. Look at the disgust on your face when he talks to you, the way you constantly attack him. I have to say that if I were Phil (and if it weren’t for the twins), I’d have left long ago.

    I’m hoping this is all an act for the camera, but even in your Rachel Ray clips (and throughout SUAD, which I could only stand to read because it was funny in spots…), you seem so angry at the world, so combative, and so very self-centered.

    Like parenthood, marriage is supposed to teach you to balance your own needs with someone else’s, look outside yourself and try to understand viewpoints different from your own. I can see what an amazing mother you are, so why can’t you realize that Phil is every bit as worthy as your kids (and you) are? I’m serious, try to look at yourself in the video above objectively, and maybe you’ll see what many of the posters above are seeing. Stop yelling at Phil and act like a loving, caring adult if you want your marriage to last.

  33. Man, Phil comes across as such a pompous arse. You just wanted a sandwich for f*ck’s bloody sake. He clearly believes his opinion is the holy grail of life itsveryself (yes I know you asked for it, but honestly). If anyone comes across like a two year old, it’s him.

  34. So a conversation about being respected in your relationship, ultimately got resolved in therapy because you were disrespectful to Phil in asking him about respect.

    Phil says he dropped everything to pay attention to you, but “dropping everything” apparently is hitting the pause button while watching something important enough that he can’t remember what it was. Why not just un-pause it and catch up with your wife after she eats? She seems to have gone to some lengths to say she wanted to hear it.

    Yet, neither one of you really seems all that upset in the video, you’re both laughing. 3 teens post was great and I hope you take it to heart –


  35. I think you should ask yourself why you are posting this. It’s not entertaining or edifying, but deeply personal and troubling. I don’t have an opinion re: “who’s right” (nor should I), but think that presenting this to millions of people can’t possible have a healing effect on your relationship. I feel icky just knowing the neighbors might have been privy to an argument my husband and I had. Maybe I’m dense, but what is the point of revealing this?

  36. My husband and I have had similar arguments. I see Phil’s point about it being disrespectful, but I also see that you tried to assuage the frustration you anticipated by telling him that you were interested, but just needed a minute to get some food before you could listen. You are both clearly opinionated people who have definitive ideas on how you think you should be treated and what you want…I have to concur with several of the responses above in that marriage is about compromise, service, and caring for your partner. My husband has been ill for the last couple of years, not nearly as seriously as Phil has been, but enough that it regularly interferes with his ability to do basic things that I think he should do for our family – I have had to learn, painful as it has been, to be compassionate, to put aside my expectations, and to be grateful for what he DOES, instead of angry at what he doesn’t. This video isn’t about Phil’s health issues, but the principles of compassion and forgiveness are universal to all marriages, regardless of circumstance. You are still together, you’re going to counseling, you obviously love each other enough to try to make this work, but I question whether any love can withstand the beating you guys are giving yours with the demands you make on each other to fulfill perhaps unrealistic expectations. Someday it won’t be fun to fight anymore, the make-up sex won’t be worth it (or will be nonexistent) and you might wish you had been a little softer, a little more giving, a little less in love with your own opinion. Maybe the other person is right, a lot, even if you would have done it differently. Maybe we’re supposed to approach things differently, maybe there’s a reason we are made male, and female – different. Maybe marriage is about learning to appreciate the differences instead of fighting about them.

  37. I love the Solomon Islanders story. My heart knows it is not far from the truth, even if my scientific brain wants to believe otherwise.

    If nothing else, your own soul does always hear how you treat others/fellow beings in general/yourself… it records you being the angry, yelling spirit, or you being the kind, supportive, nourishing soul. It reinforces yourself as a certain kind of spirit, don´t you think?

  38. Stephanie~ I could have been watching me and my husband. Honestly, I’m thankful you post these videos–it helps to know that we are all a part of the same human condition and marriage is ridiculously hard work. Thank you for your candor and bravery in sharing.

  39. I love these videos. Why don’t you get a sponsor and do them with producers and professional production values. I know we all would watch as we do now.

  40. The solution is a smaller house. In our house, you could be in the office, living room, dining room or kitchen and still hold a conversation with someone in any of the above-listed rooms.

  41. Does anyone else think that Phil looks totally emasculated in these videos? I can’t even believe he allows them to be published. I say this not to be mean but to consider what you put out there in future posts- I know it’s easy to be so close to a subject that you lose sight and perspective… I think that is what is going on here, I say this so you know even from a female perspective – it is painful to watch.

  42. I don’t know, can’t shake the feeling people like watching this kind of stuff in the same way they like tabloids.

    It’s tremendously personal. I’m struck by the egocentricity of postig it. Yes, bloggers need a certain degree of that. But I don’t know, this is TMI about your relationship. Even if just a snippet. I’d leave this stuff for my therapist’s office.

    As for Phil’s laughing: what else would he do? He looks totally henpecked. Although other times he’s come off as a real dick.

    It’s troubling that even with his ailment, you can’t give him his due here.

    Like I said. TMI about too little. It’s not a full picture, so no one comes off lookin’ good.

    So what purpose does it serve? I certainly don’t need to see someone else’s dirty laundry to be reassured that mine is normal. I already know that everyone goes through this.

  43. The thing that is hardest for me and my boyfriend of 5 years to grasp is that when it comes to feeling respected / disrespected, it is not how you feel you are treating the other person, but how the other person receives it. If you do something that you feel is not disrespectful, it doesn’t matter because the other person may feel it is. Five years and we still have that same problem.

  44. stephanie you did not do anything wrong. by going to p to discuss something, you were showing that you are interested in his feedback. excitement about it drove you to bring it up. i have low blood sugar and sometimes i start feeling famished or hungry from one minute to the next and i have to eat. p is supposed to be the person you can trust and who loves you the most. if he loved you that much, wouldnt he want you to feel good, not be starving? its one thing to be disappointed or act a little irritated but to yell at you like it was the worst thing ever? that sounds like verbal abuse, or something bordering on it. honestly, he seems very tough to get along with.

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