Why after 5 years I’m hanging up the pen name. My real name is…

     Stephen Waldo. My wife’s name is Kalee Waldo and my daughter’s name is Eden.

     I made a quick video to talk face-to-face about why I originally started the site under a pseudonym, and why I’m hanging it up now. If you prefer to read about it, scroll below the video for a slightly more detailed explanation.

     Please note that “Jacob” will be phased out of Husband Help Haven over the next couple weeks. Future email newsletters come from inside@husbandhelphaven.com, so you may want to add that email address to your contacts.

It All Started at the End of  2011…

     When I started Husband Help Haven in late 2011, my parents had just finalized their divorce, and I was dating a girl that I loved more than I’d ever loved another person. I knew that this was the girl I would marry, but I was terrified that our relationship would end up like my parents’ marriage… Futile, miserable, lonely. Doomed.

     I couldn’t get myself to commit to a relationship that I didn’t KNOW would succeed, so I decided to learn how to protect my future marriage. And, having learned the ropes of blogging from my freelance writing biz, I decided to make a website of my own as an outlet for what I learned. Thus, Husband Help Haven was born – part side project, part journal.

3 Reasons for “Jacob”

     When I was first planning Husband Help Haven, there were three big reasons I decided to start the site under a pseudonym:

  1. I was solo freelance writing and my name (Stephen) was my brand.  I knew potential clients would Google my name, and I didn’t want to have to write for my clients. I wanted Husband Help Haven to a place where I could be open and honest… A personal project, not a work one. (For those interested, you can find my old portfolio site at stephenwaldo.com)
  2. My parents were freshly divorced and feelings were still raw. I knew that a lot of my initial work on Husband Help Haven would be critiquing my parents’ failed marriage. Using a pseudonym allowed me to be direct and honest about my beliefs without risking embarrassment or hurt feelings for my family.
  3. I was young and lacked confidence, but I knew I had good ideas. I was afraid that if men looked up my name and saw how young I was, they would discount my advice solely because of my age.

     For these reasons, I came up with a pen name – Jacob Elichmann. On October 3rd, 2011 I published the original Husband Help Haven Mission Statement (you can read it here) under that name. Two months later I finally got up the nerve to publish my first blog post about how to express yourself to your wife. I’ve written under the name Jacob ever since, including two books and 50+ blog posts.

Why Stop Writing Under “Jacob” Now?

     The biggest reason? Using a pen name is keeping me from helping more men. Once it became clear that Husband Help Haven was turning into more than a side project, I thought I could just deal with using a pseudonym. But, as time went on I became convinced that I had to start writing under my real name.

     I’m tired of meeting men in real life who need marriage help, and when I tell them about Husband Help Haven I have to also tell them, “Oh, by the way, I write under a pseudonym on there.” It makes it seem like I have something to hide, when really it was just a decision I made many years ago and never un-made now that it’s irrelevant.

     Plus, the original reasons I had for writing under “Jacob” are no longer there:

  1. Today, Husband Help Haven is not a side project; it’s my full-time job and my passion. Helping men become the best husbands they can be — especially in the midst of marriage crisis — is what I want to be doing for a long time, perhaps the rest of my life.
  2. My parents know my beliefs about marriage, they know how I feel about their marriage, where things went wrong, and how I think a marriage should work. My dad has read Manly Marriage Revival. We’re all on the same page, but I’m glad I got to have those conversations on my own time.
  3. I’m still relatively young, but I have tons of experience. I’ve personally corresponded with 1,500+ men going through separation and divorce, over 25,000 men have come Inside the Haven to get help with their marriage, and I’ve written two full-length books.

     So, there you have it. Those are the reasons I originally started Husband Help Haven under the name Jacob, and the reasons why I’m hanging up the pseudonym now.

     Lastly, though I hope this is assumed, I’m saying it anyway: 

     All of the life experiences I’ve shared on Husband Help Haven are real.

    My parents’ divorce, my struggles with porn, my wife’s postpartum depression, just to name a few… These are all true. The only difference is that my name is Stephen, not Jacob. And my wife’s name is Kalee, not Michele; Michele is her middle name.

     Thank you to all of you reading this. You’ve helped make the Haven what it is today, and it has been my honor to be any help, no matter how small, to you as a man or your marriage… Hopefully both! I hope you will continue to help me spread the word about the importance of men stepping up in their marriage.

     I will finish with the signature I sign every email with, but finally now using my real name. For the first time ever…

Much manly love, — Stephen

Waldo family photo

Stephen (me), Kalee (wife) & Eden (daughter)

P.S. My fingers automatically typed ‘Jacob’ after signing ‘Much manly love,’… Going to take a while to build new muscle memory :)