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AIBU to assume that the majority of people in the relationships forum...

(58 Posts)
Joysmum Mon 11-Nov-13 09:26:48

...are there because they have had (and are still hurting from), or are in the middle of, unhappy relationships?

DeepThought Mon 11-Nov-13 09:29:42

Goady much

happy to be shown I am wrong natch

Repeatedlydoingthetwist Mon 11-Nov-13 09:31:04

Does it really matter why people are there OP?

SPsDoesntLikeChaffingFishnets Mon 11-Nov-13 09:31:49

Why does it matter?

VodkaJelly Mon 11-Nov-13 09:31:56

no, people are there to give advice, same as every other forum

Purple2012 Mon 11-Nov-13 09:32:27

Thats natural. You wouldn't post for advice if everything was wonderful would you?

Why else would they be there? hmm

gamerchick Mon 11-Nov-13 09:32:58

No.. but I do know where you're coming from. Do you just read the ones in active convos or do you read the whole board? It might give you more of a balanced view.

Not necessarily. MN has helped me massively over a long period of time, and by going there sometimes even to "hand-hold" is a way of trying to give something back to people who helped me when I was at my lowest.

There are also a great many people who have had shit times in the past and offer others the benefit of their experience. It's good to know sometimes that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that things can get better.

LookingThroughTheFog Mon 11-Nov-13 09:34:23

No. I'm married and happy and not going through any marital problems at all. I'm often in the Relationship forum because I know that people often need support and an outside eye.

I don't think you need to have experienced the problems first hand to be able to sympathise.

onetiredmummy Mon 11-Nov-13 09:34:45

People post because they are having relationship problems .

People answer because they are able to help, have been there and can offer advice, are human and don't want people in need to go unanswered.

I can't really get your point?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Nov-13 09:34:58

YANBU about the people starting the threads. Few would post about a problem-free relationship on a message board. Those responding may or may not have had unhappy relationships but, if they have experienced the same things as someone in difficulty, that is going to make their answers more meaningful and helpful.

Anchoress Mon 11-Nov-13 09:35:10

Duh, the people posting for advice are in difficult, often unhappy situations, usually. Which is why they are asking for advice, obviously. What I suspect you mean, and if so, it's pretty mean-spirited, is that the people who respond with comments are also in unhappy relationships. I assume some are, some aren't, like any sample of the population.

Atari Mon 11-Nov-13 09:35:18

This thought has occurred to me op (but will be hugely unpopular) Lots of outrage and lab advice from people who like you say have been hurt or hurting. Not so much on the it takes two and all relationships require effort front.

Almost be definition - if you have lots of relationships experience, you haven't been that successful. Which could be for all sorts of reasons but i do wonder if it puts you in the best place to offer advice

ebayauctivahelp Mon 11-Nov-13 09:36:11

No. Nor would you be unreasonable to think that people on the General Health thread are not feeling 100% or that people on the Recipe thread are currently involved in thinking about food.

Atari Mon 11-Nov-13 09:36:30

lab ltb

Joysmum Mon 11-Nov-13 09:37:57

It matters because we all post based on our own experiences.

Those with controlling partners are more likely to think others are in controlling relationships, those living with abuse may think others are going to be be abused, those in perfectly happy relationships can't see what all the fuss is about and a bit more relaxed about things.

SilverApples Mon 11-Nov-13 09:40:07

I have the board hidden. There are some amazing posters there, patient, non-judgemental and hugely supportive of many of the bewildered and unhappy who also post there. It's a fantastic source of knowledge and gives some an outside perspective of their situation that they lack IRL.
Not all of them are still hurting, many have survived and thrived after a bad relationship and some just have compassion and skill despite not having had negative experiences.
I don't participate because I am too tempted to yell 'FFS get a grip, remember you are a vertebrate and do something to change your life'
Which in the majority of cases is not helpful.
But I do respect and admire those who can and do help.

onetiredmummy Mon 11-Nov-13 09:42:11

You are massively simplistic. Just because I'm in a stable relationship doesn't mean I ignore those who aren't .

Yabu. And nasty as well.

fluffyraggies Mon 11-Nov-13 09:44:38

Those with controlling partners are more likely to think others are in controlling relationships, those living with abuse may think others are going to be be abused, those in perfectly happy relationships can't see what all the fuss is about and a bit more relaxed about things.

But that's life isn't it? If you confide in a personal friend their own experiences of life will colour their response.

At least on a big forum you can take the general view point given over 20/50/100 answers. MN never pretends to be a professional councelling service.

cannotfuckingbelievethis Mon 11-Nov-13 09:45:09

Bit like assuming you've just came on here and posted that looking for fight....

LookingThroughTheFog Mon 11-Nov-13 09:46:28

those in perfectly happy relationships can't see what all the fuss is about and a bit more relaxed about things.

No. Some of us in happy relaxed relationships can identify abuse when it happens.

Anchoress Mon 11-Nov-13 09:50:46

OP, perhaps you are only able to see other people through the lens of your own hang-ups. Other people in happy, stable relationships may feel that their experience of an equal partnership (assuming we are talking primarily about marriages and partnerships) puts them in a good position to identify abuse in someone's else's situation.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Nov-13 09:50:53

OP... if you don't like the advice you've been given on the Relationships Board you're under no obligation to take it. But, as someone said upthread, if you talk to any group of people you're going to get a wide range of opinions, some of which are bound not to chime with your own. That's the strength/weakness of using a message board rather than a trained counsellor or similar.

LadyInDisguise Mon 11-Nov-13 09:53:41

It matters because we all post based on our own experiences.

You're right and thanks to that they are able to make appropriate comments on subjects other people will never be able to.

EG: If I had been in an abusive relationship, I would listen to someone who had been in the same boat more than someone who has always had a 'lived ever happily after' type of marriage because they would be unlikely to have any idea of what it means.

Of course, because of the way life is, it is quite possible for someone who has never been in an abusive relationship to spot the signs (eg because a good friend/a family member has been there). But they won't have 'lived' to tell the tale iyswim.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Mon 11-Nov-13 09:58:01

What, exactly, were you hoping this thread would achieve?

Lilacroses Mon 11-Nov-13 10:05:38

Yes, perhaps....so what?! I sometimes look on the health thread because I have a health problem so it is a support to me but I also hope to help others suffering from health problems. I think most grown ups have had some sort of crap relationship at some point in their lives, be that a romantic relationship or problems with their family or whatever and so many people have experience that can help others. If I were in an abusive relationship, wanting to get out I would definitely want to hear from someone who had achieved that and knew what it felt like as well as others.

"Not so much on the it takes two and all relationships require effort front."

I have had intense DV training and know all the effects on the children living on that situation.

However, my ex (didn't live with me, not the father of my children) was text book EA, he slowly built it up.

I lurked on the Relationship board and then when I went for a refresher in work on EA, I had a lightbulb moment, some problems can never be "worked on", a relationship should end if certain things are happening.

I missed all of the Red Flags, they were there on the first date. I am still re-building my confidence twelve months on.

I totally agree that a lot of women are conditioned to accept bad behaviour and take on the role of "changer/solver", when they should just walk away.

I am thankfull for the Relationship board.

The advice on toxic/abuse parents/family and how to recover is invaluable.

It is thanks to boards such as these that many women and children (and probably some men) are not suffering from the bad relationships on their lives (of any sort).

My ex could have been following the guidelines in most of the books that I have read, outlining what is abuse.

Thankfully (for their sakes) the two other women he has since targeted, spotted things were not right and didn't get into a relationship with him, as I had done, which I have since identified why I stayed.

"...are there because they have had (and are still hurting from), or are in the middle of, unhappy relationships?"

I don't want to bang on, but there lies the problem, one person being abusive, or treating the other like crap (if you find the word abuse too much), tends to be minimised when it is directed from a Man towards a Woman.

Relationships have Ups and Downs that reflect life, they don't have verbal abuse, disrespect, financial abuse etc.

I am in my 40's, were I grew up, very few women had good relationships. Your own circle friends, or family, may not be a reliable source of support.

Things are improving, thanks to the zero tolerance of any sort of abuse, by some. I have used a lot of what I have learned to inform my DD's what being equal in a relationship really means.

Most of my preconceived ideas have been removed. Looking around me (working class Liverpool), I cannot believe the level of crap the women around me put up with, which cannot be explained, as the men certainly bring nothing to the table.

Joysmum Mon 11-Nov-13 10:28:59

Ah, assumptions from people seeing issues where none exist! This is something I've noticed a lot of on other threads too.

I think it's very positive that there's a large mix of people on the relationships forum because whatever the issue, there'll be someone who has gone through it as well as sympathy and empathy from those who haven't. If I ever get a problem that I don't think anyone IRL won't have life experience of it's such a comfort to have found mumsnet and know I can get some very knowledgeable responses. It's fantastic, but it comes with its dangers, more so where vulnerable people are concerned and that worries me more than a little.

onetiredmummy your post is a prime example of that, you're making assumptions about somebody you know nothing about and this is one of the huge drawbacks of forums. I'm just glad I'm not vulnerable atm because your comment could have really hurt and been damaging. I suggest you be a little more thoughtful in your future posts and maybe get a bit more information before drawing your conclusions as to motives and the personality of the person you are posting about. Please, go back through my posts to see how little information I've given and how big an assumption you are making based on what you know about me.

I'm not 'nasty' to be asking a question, you've no ideas why I asked the question, I deliberately tried to keep the opening post neutral to see what others thoughts were without skewing the responses I got.

To all the confused people that think it's a no brainer and wondering why I'm even asking the question, you're only considering those that actually start the threads, not those that post advice or comment and have never started a thread. It's these people, people like me, who most interest me.

I'm simply curious.

TheFabulousIdiot Mon 11-Nov-13 10:32:23

I have had an unhappy relationship with an alcoholic (It was happy once) and a happy marriage with the usual ups and downs with my DH.

Relationships can be with loved ones, family, friends, in-laws, siblings - all sorts.

I think everyone suffers their own hurts but when I left my 12 year relationship I threw myself into the next one because I didn't want to live my life always thinking relationships are shit. I think that's fairly normal and to suggest that the relationships section is just full of bitter hurt people is silly and a bit simple.

If I can give advice to someone who has an alcoholic partner, based on my own experience, then I will. That doesn't mean I expect all men who like a drink to be alcoholics.

DameDeepRedBetty Mon 11-Nov-13 10:40:03

FWIW I see OPs point, and consciously try to be objective if I'm adding to a thread in Relationships. I have observed terminal alcoholism and severe drug abuse at very close quarters, and I'm hyper aware of it, so try very hard not to assume immediately that a person involved is an addict, although depressingly frequently addiction is part of the problem.

ButThereAgain Mon 11-Nov-13 10:48:32

I think the op asks a perfectly reasonable question and I don't think she should be treated harshly for it.

It is brilliant that woman who are in abusive relationships can post and get impressive advice and support from people who recognise abuse for what it is and help to confirm the op in her perception of her partner's behaviour as unacceptable. That's particularly valuable because so many social forces collude to prevent abuse being called by its name

But the relationships board is also used by people who are just trying to handle a whole range of non-abuse-related relationships problems. And problems in which they might sometimes correctly judge themselves to be at least as much at fault as their partner.

Sometimes people get wrong advice which doesn't match their situation, sometimes that is advice that wrongly calls the partner abusive. That's fine though because when you post on a forum you are speaking to a whole load of people who don't know you and who have their own preconceptions. You have to have the strength to take the advice that seems relevant and discard well-meaning but mistaken contributions.

That only gets difficult if posters push their own advice too hard, without sensitivity towards a vulnerable person or towards their own limited understanding. Because it is often hard for an abused woman to accept her situation and find the courage to act, I suppose it is legitimate for posters to push a little bit when their diagnoses of abuse aren't accepted. But that is a very very difficult line to tread and there is a HUGE responsibility on posters to step back and stay silent if they can't be confident that their advice is helping rather than pressuring, or missing the mark.

I think I see where you are coming from OP, I have occasionally lurked in Relationships but almost never post. I choose to assume that those posting in support are doing so because they genuinely want to help and feel the need to give their time and energy in this way. I am frequently bowled over by the quality and depth of the advice offered.

I don't post, not because I have no experience with unhappy relationships but, because I find that if I hold off the post button for a few minutes someone will come along and say what I wanted to say but a whole lot better.

LadyInDisguise Mon 11-Nov-13 11:24:53

The thing is, it's impossible to get a balanced pov from a forum and yes some comments can be hurtful and some comments such as LTB can be destructive because it's just impossible to get the full picture from a few posts.
There are cases though where things are more clear cut. Abuse, alcohol problems, cheating partner etc... are prob some them.
Others where the situation is much more complex and actually involved mistakes from both sides (but you only get one side of the story).
And others too where people just can not get the situation at al and the advise is just completely wrong (I've experienced that).

But as to why people actually post even though they've never posted before. I think it's simple tbh. We all have had issues in our relationships. It's part of life. And quite a few of us also want to support and help. So we share.
It's not just about relationships tbh. I know that when dc1 was little, I was amazed at what some posters were posting on the parenting threads and how wise these women were. I thought there was no way I would be able to give advise like this. And then dc1 grew up, I had dc2 and I realized that, having a much better idea of what I was doing, I could give some good advise too. So I did. Even though I had never posted about my own issues.
But I knew that the reading I had done had influenced me, I had learnt things I didn't know (and would not have heard about) thanks to these threads.

Sometimes people get wrong advice which doesn't match their situation, sometimes that is advice that wrongly calls the partner abusive. "

I have never seen the partner wrongly called abusive by the majority. The behaviour has been abusive and has been called such, but I have never seen the majority ( there are occasional over reactions but these are the minority), say to a woman end your relationship for good, based on one incident.

I have seen posters say that the DH needs to stay elsewhere, based on one incident, as they need space and that is correct. Things can escalate quite easily and everyone has the right to be safe in their own home.

But that happens on every thread across MN (except possibly the Craft section).

I disagree with a lot across AIBU, especially about giving money for presents, shaving everywhere and enjoying fancy dress (which I agree with).

I would worry more about DA being minimised that the odd over reaction. When I first posted in that section, the effect on the children wasn't being addressed enough.

I am glad some if the pussy footing around has stopped.

JinglingRexManningDay Mon 11-Nov-13 11:33:04

I give advice on the relationship board because I have been in an abusive relationship and I remember feeling so lost and alone afterwards. I don't ever want anyone who has come through abuse to feel like that,even if I'm just words on a screen I can be comforting and supportive words.

Thumbwitch Mon 11-Nov-13 11:36:49

We do post, based on our own experience - what else can we do? But that's what makes the advice more useful, surely?

I have some experience of a mildly abusive relationship with a pathological liar, who thankfully left me and moved onto someone else. I can therefore see signs of it in other people's behaviours. I couldn't see the signs while I was still in that relationship. This doesn't mean that I automatically assume that ALL men are pathological, abusive liars.

I also have experience of the way a man will change and re-write history when coming out of a longterm relationship. I have experience of not believing how low he could sink, the depths to which he would stoop. I was told by my own mother and gave her loads of grief about how "he would never do that" - well guess what, he did. And many other men do too - again, not all, but most.

tangerinefeathers Mon 11-Nov-13 12:25:46

As others have said, I think the people who offer advice and insight do so with the best intentions, a vast majority of the time. Some people are very wise and give kind, empathetic responses - possibly based on their own experience, possibly also because they are outside the situation so can see things the OP can't.

Others just seem to go there to hurt. For example, posting 'You're being over the top x' is not one of those wise, insightful posts. And the x seems really insincere fake. Just so you know.

onetiredmummy Mon 11-Nov-13 12:43:16

On the contrary Joysmum, I was basing my replies on the information you gave.

Firstly your opening post & title says that you assume the people posting in the Relationships forum are or have had unhappy relationships. This is not true. Your implication is that people such as these clearly do not know what a normal relationship is & as such should not be advising others.

Your comment: * those in perfectly happy relationships can't see what all the fuss is about and a bit more relaxed about things.* is simplistic & patronising as you are basically saying because I'm in a stable relationship I am relaxed about other people's abuse & downplay it. Again not true.

With these inferences in mind can you really not see why I would think your posts nasty? May I also point out that this is not just my view, there are others on the thread who accuse you of being goady & trying to start a fight. Perhaps this is also because your thread was neutral so people could not see why you were asking.

I post a lot in different boards & in Relationships as well. TBH if you are vulnerable & get hurt by being called nasty then aibu is not the place for you. Perhaps one time I will be fortunate enough to be able to help you or vice versa (as I have my own thread this morning) but being called thoughtless by you is infuriating.

firesidechat Mon 11-Nov-13 12:44:01

I've probably posted twice in response to an OP in relationships. The reason that I don't post more often is that I have zero experience of abusive relationships or infidelity. I've been very happily married for almost 30 years.

Sometimes the only people who can help with relationship issues such as these are mumsnetters who have experienced it for themselves and come out the other side. Of course there is a risk of too many ltb type comments, but I have a lot of admiration for those who take time to help others through some very difficult and distressing situations.

sparklysilversequins Mon 11-Nov-13 12:55:30

Probably. So what?

Joysmum Mon 11-Nov-13 13:16:46

There's a great range of responses on here and I'm glad I asked the question.

There's a big difference between posting for debate and trying to pick a fight. I love programmes like Question Time and The Jeremy Vine Show that take a topic and debate the issues and are less likely to get in a bun fight.

Again, I'll say that having history and issues is no bad thing and I think it's a reflection of people's experiences if they think it is. I had to kiss a fair few frogs in my time before found my husband. That hasn't always been plain sailing either but it's a better relationship as I learnt from my past.

I genuinely believe most people are good people and that most situations can be solved by talking things through and better communication. Even in the cases where it can't be solved, I also think the termination of a relationship, be it with a friend, family member or partner, needs to go right through a process to ensure it's not worth saving. This seems to be lacking sometimes, not always.

Of course if hubby had posted about some of our differences in the past he'd have been told to leave me, if I posted about things then I'd be told the same, when reality is that people do have arguments and disagreements.

Reminds me of my daughter once coming home telling me she'd been bullied at school. This is something I'm very sensitive to as I was bullied myself. When I asked her about it, it was just that some people didn't agree with her!

I digress.

I guess it's only natural that more people will have experienced issues that are still raw and that affects the advice given. I do the same as I only go on my weightless forum when I need to focus. When all was well I stopped.

Backinthering Mon 11-Nov-13 13:23:17

Actually it's people in happy, healthy relationships who are well placed to help those thst are not make sense ofbeing in an unaunacceptable situation.

CailinDana Mon 11-Nov-13 13:23:29

From a feminist point of view I find threads like this one very interesting. They pop up fairly regularly and usually say pretty much the same thing - that the people posting on relationship are biased or have some sort of agenda, ie they're telling women to leave relationships when those women should stay and work on the relationship.
Thing is, I've been on MN for years and I've never ever seen a thread where the OP has posted about something genuinely minor only to be told s/he's being abused. In fact in a hormonal fit of rage I once posted a really petty thread about my (totally non abusive) DH failing repeatedly to empty the bin and I was (rightly) told to unbunch my knickers and give the poor fecker a break.
I think that women are so strongly socialised to "work at" (ie accept heaps of shit) relationships that seeing so many women identifying shitty beaviour not as something the woman has to."deal with" but as what it is- totally unacceptable - can come as a shock.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Mon 11-Nov-13 13:25:02

CD, you mean you haven't LTB yet ? wink

CailinDana Mon 11-Nov-13 13:26:39

Joys - if you could describe a situation that illustrates your point it would be useful.

flippinada Mon 11-Nov-13 13:30:16

Maybe they are, but why does it matter? There are few people who don't have a story to tell - and peer support can be invaluable.

My own experience of relationships is that it's mainly populated by kind, thoughtful people who give up their time to offer help, advice, support or just a listening ear.

flippinada Mon 11-Nov-13 13:32:23

Good post * Cailin* - much more eloquent than mine.

CailinDana Mon 11-Nov-13 13:33:19

Nah Mist, I keep him around for his coffee making skills smile.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Mon 11-Nov-13 13:33:58

< approving nod >

Geckos48 Mon 11-Nov-13 13:34:24

YABU, I have posted in the relationships forum while upset about aspects of my otherwise healthy and happy relationship.

MadBusLady Mon 11-Nov-13 13:38:10

Oh good, another one of these.

Grennie Mon 11-Nov-13 13:38:34

YABU. I am in a very happy relationship and sometimes comment in the relationships board.

ABitterPIL Mon 11-Nov-13 13:39:29

I am yet to meet a person who hasn't had ups and downs in any relationship, platonic, familial or otherwise.

As the very very vast majority of people have experienced downs in a relationship, the very vast majority of the people on the relationship would have experience too. It is a non question.

Joysmum Mon 11-Nov-13 13:46:21

Cailindana I will if I think of something specific I will.

I guess it's just that I think it's natural for those going through something to be more sensitive to it than those who aren't and when combined with people who may be feeling very sensitive and vulnerable this could be quite damaging.

Take something simply like a headache, a migraine sufferer will be wondering if their friend might be developing migraines, those who have lost loved ones through brain tumours are worried about ruling that out, others with sleep issues may think there's a chance of a night time bump on the head, as a glasses wearer I may think its time for another eye test. There's many reason why and our experiences shape us to think mainly of the ones that have been most relevant to us in our lives.

I picked the relationships forum specifically because it something I can relate to that includes vulnerable people, people who see their thread getting caught up with members more interested in fighting amongst each other and forgetting the original question.

I've had too much time on my hands recently and one thing I've found very interesting is to catch up on older long threads before I began lurking and to read only the posts written by the original poster, then to read everything. It's amazing how different my perspective is when I'm swayed by the thoughts of other members. Again, I should point out it's not me looking for a fight, just something I find fascinating.

AnandaTimeIn Mon 11-Nov-13 13:56:57

if you have lots of relationships experience, you haven't been that successful.

It really depends on your definition of successful.

Mine is being able to live independently, live the life I want to and if someone comes along to compliment that, great. If not, no problem.

EdithWeston Mon 11-Nov-13 13:57:17

I think YABU, but I see where you're coming from.

I think you are assuming that all regular posters on Relationshios threads deliberately hang out in at forum. Now, some might, but others (like me) use MN from Active Convos and click on threads from any forum that catch our eye at that moment.

Also, I don't think you need to have a particular background from your own relationships to spot issues in someone else's posts (which may or may not be presenting the whole story anyhow).

I think there is a level of commonality of advice - not as black and white as portrayed by detractors (I don't mean you, OP, but it's something that crops up occasionally), but based on a couple of things: the majority demographic of posters who are in LTRs that are meant to be monogamous; and the general concept that Michelle Obama summed up as "good relationships don't hurt"

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