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Should strangers really be advising women to leave their husbands?

(174 Posts)
mamabrownbear Wed 18-Sep-13 08:12:22

On many threads on MN the general default response seems to always be LTB. I find this really sad and potentially dangerous.

Yes obviously there are situations when it would be best for everyone involved to end the relationship.

However, sometimes I think it's tired exhausted women needing someone to understand them, sympathise and help. Not judge on what little facts a stranger gives you and tell them to make life altering decisions.
Personally I don't think I could advise anyone to leave their partner unless their well being or children's is in danger. I wouldn't want to influence a friends decision on that, let alone a stranger.

I get the impression there are a lot of strong women out there and MN is a safe place to discuss problems. But the solutions on offer seem very black and white sometimes.

I expect to get flamed but it does upset me when a woman is told to leave her partner by people who don't know the full story. We used to be able to talk to our partners and figure things out. Yes life is short but its also hard work sometimes but hopefully worth it...

Morgause Wed 18-Sep-13 08:14:36

It's my belief that a lot of posts asking should they leave or asking if partner's behaviour is unreasonable are from women who want to leave but are afraid to do it and want that decision ratified.

If a woman is being gaslighted she needs an outside view to point out what's going on.

WayHarshTai Wed 18-Sep-13 08:15:09

Personally I don't think I could advise anyone to leave their partner unless their well being or children's is in danger

Could you point out where people have said 'leave the bastard' when the above isn't true?

I've been on MN a very long time and I can count on one hand the times I've seen LTB that hasn't been for very good reason.

confused

It's a good counterbalance for everyday life where women (mostly) put up with all sorts of shit just to be in a relationship.

People don't leave their partners because of some off the cuff comment on Mumsnet.

presumably they wouldn't be posting asking for advice if they could just "talk to their partners and sort it out"

you have a bizarrely rose-tinted view of "the olden days"

JustBecauseICan Wed 18-Sep-13 08:15:39

Yes they should.

Because their friends and relatives rarely have the guts to say it.

ALittleStranger Wed 18-Sep-13 08:17:12

Personally I don't think I could advise anyone to leave their partner unless their well being or children's is in danger. I wouldn't want to influence a friends decision on that, let alone a stranger.

What is your definition of wellbeing in danger?! I suspect the problem is it's a slightly higher bar than for many of us.

Sigh this has been done to death. People don't actually rush to LTB. The reason it can look like this is because this board is full of wise and horribly experienced women who know exactly which way the script is going to go when a new poster says I have a funny feeling. The collective wisdom here is a fabulous resource and it does make clear when the writing is on the wall for a relationship. The support is extremely well intentioned and a lot of what looks like rushing is making sure the OP has protected her and her children's resources.

Is it "worth it" to talk something through with a partner who repeatedly cheats on you, treats you like an idea, provides no support with the children, puts your health at risk etc etc?

Walkacrossthesand Wed 18-Sep-13 08:19:15

I guess that the wise women reading the posts can often see that the poster's 'well-being is in danger', when the poster herself is so enmeshed that the situation has become her 'normal'...I'm also often struck by how accurately the 'vipers' can predict the next stage of an unfolding abuse/cheating scenario, in a way that the stricken OP can't. LTB is short-hand for 'you are wasting your time trying to change this relationship, which has all the hallmarks of abuse'. I've seen plenty of threads where counselling/working at it has been the advice given too, where these 'red flags' aren't flapping.

CailinDana Wed 18-Sep-13 08:20:25

No amount of "LTB" from strangers on the internet would convince someone to leave a loving stable marriage.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 18-Sep-13 08:23:09

Yes. It provides a nice counter to the general view of society which is "Oh he's just being a man. You should try talking to him. Or give him more blowjobs. I'm sure it will all blow over."

Nobody has to follow any advice at all, if someone doesn't like it, nobody forces them to stay on the thread. I have never in almost 5 years of being here heard of a horde of mumsnetters descending on someone and dragging them away from a perfectly good (or even horrendously abusive) relationship.

I cannot express how grateful I am to Mners for giving me permission to let go of my relationship, giving me space to talk about it, helping me realise what should be standard in a relationship and hence making me less tolerant of anything less, helping me stop minimising all of the shit that was happening to me. As my four year old would say, I am a hundred of thousand of glad. (Sorry, it's too early to think of anything more emphatic!)

Well I was in a relationship that wasn't very good but not awful & I am so glad I posted & had well written 'ltb' type responses that made me realize that no, he wasn't hitting me etc & I wasn't perfect either but it was a shit relationship that wasn't the right fit for me.

All my family & friends were a bit non committal with their responses & I just wanted a straight opinion from people who weren't involved and wouldn't lie to me/sugarcoat it smile

StrangeGlue Wed 18-Sep-13 08:25:28

I haven't seen any 'ltb' when it hasn't been for the individual's or their family's benefit. What I see most is people in horrendous relationships which have become their norm and they need someone, anyone, to care for them.

This is the most valuable board on here IMO.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 18-Sep-13 08:26:01

And what Cailin said. I am now in a happy and stable relationship (soon to be marriage.) You would have to completely and utterly brainwash me to get me to believe that my relationship is anything other than awesome, even on the worst day.

The fact I didn't take much convincing last time speaks volumes, even if it took me a long time to act.

Editededition Wed 18-Sep-13 08:39:22

I do often see LTB comments - but they tend to be later arrivals on threads where people have been holding up a mirror to the poster's relationships, and telling them that what they are experiencing is neither normal nor healthy.
Abused women have frequently been isolated from normal support in RL. They learn to doubt themselves, and can lose all sense of what is normal or abnormal in the way they are treated.
It is notable that, as posters are acknowledged and encouraged, more and more details tend to be revealed which point even more clearly to an abusive situation.

If all those "LTB" threads have enabled even a few women to lose their mental fog, realise that they are living a miserable mockery of life, and that the way they are treated is wrong on any number of levels, then the vipers of MN are offering the most amazing service.

Do I think women leave because of what they read here? No.

Do I think it gives some women the strength to know that they CAN change a miserable life. I really really hope so.

towicymru Wed 18-Sep-13 08:48:14

Most of the LTB comments I see tend to be along the lines of "make him leave to give you space to work out what YOU want". Personally I think this is good advice.

I don't think someone would leave a relationship based on the advice froma stranger online but it probably does get them to evaluate their relationships from an outside perspective.

I did agree with one poster wholeheartedly who said LTB - he had taken the OP's last hobnob grin

I think reading the relationships threads is bloody scary. There are so many women in relationships they think are normal, which are so obviously abusive from an outsiders perspective.

In the last couple of weeks there have been men sulking and threatening to have affairs if their wife doesn't have more sex, women who have been struggling to pay for clothes for their children because they have to pay for everything from child benefit whilst their husbands earn good salaries, women who have men who are violent when they're drunk - but lovely the rest of the time so that's okay isn't it?

As someone above said, LTB, is shorthand for "you're in an abusive relationship but you can't see it because it's become normal for you". The frog in hot water analogy is a good one, and sometimes it does take strangers on the internet to wake a person up to reality.

I didn't realise my ex-marriage was abusive until I came to mumsnet. Seriously, I thought under-mining comments, grabbing my crotch when I came back from a night out with friends to check if I'd been having sex, and threats and actual violence due to jealousy, were "normal". If I had mumsnet back then, and had posted about how miserable my marriage was, maybe I'd have LTB a couple of years earlier and saved myself some heartache.

MatildaWhispers Wed 18-Sep-13 09:01:33

I don't think people do LTB as a result of comments from internet strangers, but MN can be the catalyst for the realisation that they need to at least seriously consider accessing rl support. Because the reason they feel like they are banging their heads against a brick wall is because they are in an abusive relationship.

JustBecauseICan Wed 18-Sep-13 09:02:33

V good post from WGC.

And all true.

JemimaPuddleduffed Wed 18-Sep-13 09:03:34

mamabrownbear your OP is quite a turnaround from your previous posts on. Are you ok?

JemimaPuddleduffed Wed 18-Sep-13 09:04:10

Should read on this issue. Sorry. Sleep deprived.

FanjoForTheMammaries Wed 18-Sep-13 09:04:11

People often post a snapshot though. If DH and I are exhausted we can have awful arguments and it is just the tiredness talking. I could easily post then and be told to LTB and we actually have quite a good relationship. People need a full picture before advising it.

But most people know that their relationship is probably ok overall or they wouldn't feel the need to post.

Most posters seem to have an overall feeling that things aren't right.

MadBusLady Wed 18-Sep-13 09:10:10

Yes. It provides a nice counter to the general view of society which is "Oh he's just being a man. You should try talking to him. Or give him more blowjobs. I'm sure it will all blow over."

^ This.

I think if you've only ever known or been in relationships with men who are basically normal, nice, reasonable people (whatever their suitability for you) it can be hard to believe just how totally inadequate in all these respects a small minority of people are. There really are some men you can't just "sort things out with".

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 18-Sep-13 09:21:40

That's true MadBusLady. The way my relationship is now I can't imagine a problem that we couldn't sit down and talk about, or come to some arrangement with, even in the unlikely scenario that the outcome was that we were too different and should part ways. That's why I'm marrying him! grin But the only relationships I've ever had which were like this before have ended very quickly. It's totally not my "norm" at all, so I can find it very easy to imagine how a calm discussion could turn into a full on argument or be turned around and make you feel like it's all your fault or seem to be resolved but actually be followed by such sulking that it all becomes pointless or the idea of talking about issues can just seem totally impossible in the first place.

I do sometimes wonder how different the last 10 years would have been if I'd ended up with DP at 16 like I would have done if we both hadn't been terminally awkward grin I doubt we would still be together now, but if he was my first relationship I think my expectations would have been totally different.

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