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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...

eatriskier Wed 18-Sep-13 09:24:33

Sometimes validation from strangers that you aren't the mad one can weigh far more than from friends and family. I know people who have said posting on here and/or other forums finally made them see sense. Not in a way that they LTB because they were told to, but that they realised they were being abused in their relationships. Sometimes people need the view of people who do not know them or their partners.

Sparklysilversequins Wed 18-Sep-13 09:29:49

I got told to LTB. For aggression that turned into physical abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse, alcoholism and just general all round he hated his wifeness.

It still took me a further three years to go. I don't think anyone would

A. Be posting unless it was already pretty bad.
B. Actually leave on the advice of randoms on the Internet if things weren't already pretty horrendous.

Health Visitors tell women they are looking after to come on MN for advice etc. My friends wife is one and she told me that she does it where she suspects abuse but can't be sure so that the women will read it for themselves here on MN and realise.

I don't think I have ever read LTB on here unless it was needed.

BIWI Wed 18-Sep-13 09:32:44

A search of your name reveals that you are not in the happiest of relationships. Is your OP a reflection of the advice that you have been given?

I've seen a lot of incredibly helpful advice given on the Relationships boards, by women who clearly have particular experience of difficult and unhappy relationships.

And 'leave the bastard' is not just chucked out at people willy nilly.

I think, personally, it can be incredibly useful to ask 'strangers' for their views, because then the emotion is stripped out of the equation. It's a really good opportunity to get someone else's perspective on a situation where an OP may not be able to see things clearly.

It's also a really good opportunity, through the act of writing out and explaining a situation, for an OP to stand back and think a bit more about what is going on. And then, from questions that others posters may ask, to think things through from different angles, and to reconsider things that their partner is saying/doing.

So whilst I don't think that the kneejerk response should be 'leave the bastard' (if ever it was), I do think that asking people here for advice can be incredibly helpful.

When I first posted about my relationship on MN and got a LTB I was shocked. Surely it wasn't that bad. No one in rl was saying that. Surely marriages are work?

It took me years to actually LTB. What a waste of time.

I was being sexually, physically and emotionally abused. With hindsight it's obvious and the dcs and I are so happy now.

But I thought it was normal. I started off asking for advice on how to be nicer to my h because I felt so frustrated all the time.

I needed someone to look at the actions and see them for what they were.

No one leaves because of a few LTBs, they leave because if there are issues, and you are advised to look at actions and not listen to words, you get to see the truth of your relationship.

Sparklysilversequins Wed 18-Sep-13 09:34:26

And another thing. I have also never read a thread where someone who was told to LTB came back and said you told me to LTB and it was a mistake! Those that come back to update without fail say "thank you, I am so much happier now".

WaspInTheHouse Wed 18-Sep-13 09:35:17

The "full story" is often just excuses for the abuser though, sadly.

Plus, often in a situation you can't see all the possible ways people are being harmed. My parents had a shit marriage. The damage to the children in that situation happens. Also, it ends up polarising children's opinion into the good parent and the bad parent. If my parents had split up I could have had a relationship with my dad. As it was because of living in a house of anger, silences and simmering resentment, I was not allowed. I also had to be my mum's support as a teenager, from listening to her feelings about my dad to listening to her speak about children she cared for who died. That should not have been my role. But she also didn't have friends outside the house.

The effects can be dramatic or insidious. The only positive I can take from it is that I will never ever live in a household like that again. It's not worth it though.

Reading on here has made me understand my mum, why she stayed, why she felt she couldn't leave, why she thought love was the most important thing, why she prioritised my dad over my oldest sibling who wasn't his. But many lives, including my dad's, would have been happier if there was advice around like the short hand of LTB.

Oh and since leaving many people in rl have said that they wished I'd left him years ago but didn't think it was their place to say.

youvegotmail Wed 18-Sep-13 09:35:46

I agree, OP. I don't think the LTB crew would make anyone actually leave (based on that alone) but there is a lot of sourness generated by some of the replies on here. I think that the skewed slant on men/relationships that some posters have could put a negative spin on things and make a difficult (but not awful) relationship harder to fix.

I see a lot more 'He's awful, he's out of order, he's a bastard' type responses than I see helpful advice about how to move forward and improve things.

WaspInTheHouse Wed 18-Sep-13 09:37:46

My post makes it all sound like it's my mum's fault. My dad could also be scary and broke things in anger and possibly did things to my mum that I'm not aware of and am too cowardly to ask. But he's dead now and it complicates feelings because I wanted to be closer to him, he wasn't bad to me. So sadly the anger, less over the years, is towards my mum. But I know she didn't have as much agency as I like to believe she had.

youvegotmail the truth is that in many cases, women have tried to talk, to have discussions, but the men don't want to hear it, or they gaslight, or make it all the woman's fault.

It's important for women to be told that they are not responsible for another person's actions. Abusers don't want to change their behaviour, and a woman cannot change the behaviour of an abusive partner, only he can change his behaviour. What we can do is change how we respond to that behaviour.

Often moving forward and improving things is about looking at the relationship from a fresh perspective.

If a woman has told her husband she is struggling to manage on the pittance he "allows" her financially, and he does nothing, or gives her a couple of quid more and thinks that's okay - what should the woman do to improve the behaviour?

If a man is abusive when he is drunk and the woman has said that she doesn't like that behaviour, and asks him to drink less, yet he continues, what should she do?

If a man has extramarital sex and blames it on the woman for not having enough sex with him because she's knackered from holding the family together, what should the woman do?

Are men really that stupid that they need to be told how to behave like a mature and decent human being? Or does treating them like immature sex-driven beasts who need molly-coddling really "improve" anyone's marriage or just paper over the cracks?

Offred Wed 18-Sep-13 09:47:28

Mail, you're the poster advising the woman on the previously mentioned sex pest thread to compromise more and have sex more because her poor h feels rejected... <sigh> why doesn't this response on this thread surprise me?

Sometimes the most helpful advice is pointing out when someone is being treated badly and helping empower/encourage them to decide what to do about that not encouraging people to stay in a marriage no matter what.

Offred Wed 18-Sep-13 09:48:32

I certainly don't have a low opinion of men, just of abusive behaviour.

youvegotmail Wed 18-Sep-13 09:54:06

I'm obviously not talking about abuse or infidelity. I'm not saying there are never clear cases of LTB - of course there are.

But many, many, many relationship problems are just that - problems - they are things to be worked through, and there is often a very anti male perspective on here. There were recently two concurrent threads. One was where the woman had taken a 20k loan to buy nice things for the house - not telling her husband - and the husband had found out and was angry with her. Response? He's a controlling bastard, you have every right to take a loan, you were paying it back, he sounds selfish, why did he put you in a position to not be able to tell him. etc. Second thread was a man who had a credit card debt, accrued while they were bf and gf but before they lived together that he had not told her about. Response? He's a liar, kick him out, if he could hide this what else is he lying about, he's betrayed your marriage etc etc. There is very often an anti-male slant on here and it's not helpful for those who actually care about their relationships and want to preserve them and move forward in a constructive and positive way.

Offred It's not a 'sex pest thread' - it's a thread where a husband is wanting to have more sex than he is currently having and handling it the wrong way. I did not tell her to compromise and have more sex, I advised her to talk to her husband and try to regain the intimacy in her marriage, which I feel is important. You told her he was sexually abusive for trying to instigate sex with his wife! Get a grip.

Offred Wed 18-Sep-13 09:56:32

No mail for having sex with her when he knows she doesn't want to, for threatening her with an affair if she doesn't do it more, for deliberately preventing her sleeping when she is exhausted, for banging on about his "needs" and bullying her in front of the children...

Offred Wed 18-Sep-13 09:57:54

And honestly you think this is normal and clumsy behaviour from a living spouse... <eee>

Offred Wed 18-Sep-13 09:59:31

Ha! Loving..

WaspInTheHouse Wed 18-Sep-13 10:00:25

It only feels anti-male because society is so pro-male.

fromparistoberlin Wed 18-Sep-13 10:04:45

what annoys me are three sentance ill considered posts like

"He did that?
what a cunt
I'd leave if I was you

they are ill thouight out and lacking in compassion

and they occur ALOT whatever anyone says

bleedingheart Wed 18-Sep-13 10:05:53

People posting on here about marriage difficulties are not going to leave their partner because a stranger on the internet tells them to.

If my H and I have a fight due to sleep deprivation, I'm not going to post on here and be advised to leave him, lets not be facetious.

I really feel that people have the wrong idea about the people posting. Yes, many have experienced abuse and cheating but that doesn't make them misandrists who think all men are evil.

I get so sick of people saying that posters want people to be single and bitter 'like them,' when really these posters are reaching out to women in a shitty situation who are told by society that you have to pout and put out and hold on to your relationship at all costs, regardless of the personal cost.

If I want to be concerned about something, I'll be concerned about the shedloads of abusive partners out there who marry people, have children with them and then treat them with cruelty, malice and contempt.

FanjoForTheMammaries Wed 18-Sep-13 10:06:45

Bleedingheart..someone did just that this morning. .re sleep deprivation induced fighting

youvegotmail Wed 18-Sep-13 10:07:13

LOL Offred you're just making stuff up now! In front of the children - what?! Deliberately preventing her from sleeping?! Go back and read.

Or, you know, stay here and post a few more times in a row about why you're right... grin

MadBusLady Wed 18-Sep-13 10:09:07

Agree, Wasp, and the way society views relationship in particular is pro-male.

IME many people IRL give well-meaning advice to women who are having relationships problems which usually begins "You should make the effort to...", "You must talk to him about...", "Have you tried..." - pretty much regardless of how much of a shit the man is being or how much he seems to care that there's a problem.

We are so conditioned to think of it as women's work to run, monitor, improve and "work on" relationships we don't even think of the above kinds of sentences as pro-male. But they are.

Jan45 Wed 18-Sep-13 10:12:49

I agree, and I too find it quite depressing, I've been flamed a lot on here for not advocating LTB but if the OP is not contemplating leaving then why suggest it, surely other avenues should be explored before ending a relationship, esp if children are involved.

bleedingheart Wed 18-Sep-13 10:17:37

Sometimes people are so blinkered and worn down they don't even know leaving is an option. If they have family members telling them to work it out (often for their own reasons) or no family or friends because they have been isolated, they might need someone to say 'this isn't acceptable, you don't have to stay.'

Fanjo I hadn't seen that thread.

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

The way some of you are posting would suggest that other posters only ever post 'leave the bastard' and that simply isn't true.

Counselling (or councilling, as is often suggested grin) is often suggested (either singles or couples), along with ways to talk through a problem.

But where abuse is described - or suspected - then leaving the man is often something that the OP needs to consider especially if there are children involved.

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