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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.


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.

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.

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 18-Sep-13 10:22:41

The threads on here are heart breaking. Women continually abused in every way. What percentage of the women in these kinds of situations post on here? I doubt it's even 1%. So, how many horrible, abusive twats are there out there? I had my own stupid arse who couldn't keep it in his trousers and that was bad enough but the stuff on here? The violence? The sexual violence? The financial control? The lies? The despicable nature of some of the men? I'm surprised there isn't more LTB responses than there are.

What is so bloody important about being a relationship anyway? Is it really worth more than a woman's safety; well being; autonomy over her own body? I can't believe that it is.

And, I am not an embittered old bat - I am in a relationship now with a loving, kind, consideration, caring and great man. Why shouldn't everyone have that opportunity?

Sometimes the responses do seem very black and white. But what else can strangers give? I don't think that even the most distressed OP would believe they would get a response tailored to them specifically. All that can be commented on are the facts the OP picks out. And more often than not they are the deal breakers.

When I was with my EA,FA and PA ex, I remember one incident where he stole my credit card and withdrew £600 cash. I called police and he was arrested for assaulting the officers that responded (he still had the money so I got it back.) Anyway, my parents were round later that day, while he was still in the police station, I told them what happened, and my own mother told me I should work it out with him!!

I stayed with him for a further 18months and had DD1 before I found the strength to leave. My own mother knew he beat me, she knew he paid nothing into the house. She knew how bad he treated me and still she believed that was better than me being single.

If I had posted on mumsnet then....well, my life wouldn't necessarily be better now, but I would have been supported in my feeling that it wasn't right and that I deserved better.

FanjoForTheMammaries Wed 18-Sep-13 10:30:17

I agree there is a place for LTB BTW ..if cruelty/violence/infidelity are involved

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 18-Sep-13 10:30:42

I agree MadBus - on MN the angle is more often "Well why isn't he..." and encouraging posters to look at what that is actually saying about their DH/DP's attitude.

"Why don't you make a rota for the housework" becomes
"Why doesn't he feel the housework is his responsibility" or "Why doesn't he respect the work that you do"

Which could be a catalyst for LTB, or it could be a useful discussion opener to open the DH's eyes to his own privilege and blinkered view. From there (or if this has already happened a million times with no dice) then it goes onto "Well, is this relationship actually working and productive for both of us, or just for you?"

I have used housework as a specific example because it is a common one that can either be caused by general male privilege not really thinking OR it can be a symptom of abuse when the man believes the woman exists only to serve him.

Same for DHs who think nothing of going out more, doing very little childcare, all of those other things which can be a misunderstanding/non thinking thing but can also be a symptom of a severe attitude problem and potential abuse.

00ricecakes00 Wed 18-Sep-13 10:32:00

I was very glad of the LTB posts I received at the end of July after finding out about my husbands affair with best friend. We had had a very loving relationship of 20 years, I had had a very traumatic few months of thinking he was breaking down and being sooo concerned about his mental health, so it had got to the point even on learning about the affair, I was still more worried about him. The LTB's helped me get perspective that none of what I was experiencing was acceptable, and to accept no matter what was going on in his head, I needed to protect myself and daughter. I was in shock and still am, and the advice really helped. Starting divorce paperwork today.

EldritchCleavage Wed 18-Sep-13 10:35:25

Honestly, this topic again?

First of all, what you're describing is not what I see on these boards. The times I think that 'LTB' is posted too hastily or unreasonably are very few.

And secondly, the reason that MN may seem 'black and white' is that is differs from the prevailing culture which is all about women being saints and martyrs, putting up with it, keeping families together and striving to 'understand' their men.

I think MN is a necessary corrective to all of that. For many posters it is probably the first time anyone has considered their feelings, wants and needs as having as much validity as those of everyone else in the family.

Meerka Wed 18-Sep-13 10:49:14

Being pretty new to mumsnet I've found it generally very supportive and usually people are pretty considered in their advice - and notably, a lot of advice comes from people who've got a lot of experience.

There are times when it seems a few people think all men are bastards and I think that maybe some of the advice is a bit glib now and then, but mainly as someone said above, experienced people can see from the outside the warning signs and how things tend to develop and the advice seems genuine and thought-through.

Having said that it also seems really important to remember that we generally only ever hear one side of the story. Sometimes you can see from specific incidents that things really aren't right in a relationship - unfixably wrong - but I do sometimes wonder about the other side of the story.

umlungen Wed 18-Sep-13 10:57:16

I think there should be a much, much stronger MNHQ warning at the top of all Relationships threads, pointing out that black-and-white thinking prevails.

People seem to be saying that extreme views are a necessary corrective to mainstream thought - if that's so, then MNHQ should make it clear that that is what is to be expected on this particular board.

Dahlen Wed 18-Sep-13 10:57:35

Again? hmm

Let's just say that 80% of all marriages/relationships are blissfully happy. How many of the women in those are going to post on the relationships board of MN? Very few (unless in response to a thread).

The people starting threads on this board are seriously unhappy. They do not represent most relationships, and therefore the men described in them to not represent most men. Therefore the advice on here is not skewed or anti male or any of those other criticisms.

If you had an equal number of men posting threads, you'd probably get an equal number of responses telling him to leave her. Presumably that would make some posters feel better, but no one should lose sight of the fact that most people's relationships problems aren't anywhere near bad enough to have bothered posting in the first place, so the responses on here say absolutely NOTHING about most people's attitudes to relationships in general.

EldritchCleavage Wed 18-Sep-13 11:00:37

People seem to be saying that extreme views are a necessary corrective to mainstream thought

Not what I said at all. For starters, I don't accept that the views expressed on MN are extreme.

DuelingFanjo Wed 18-Sep-13 11:04:25

Usually there's a lot of detail in the posts that get the response 'leave the bastard'.

Maybe you could give some examples of behaviour that shouldn't result in advice to leave?

There was someone posting on here last week saying that women treated much better on here than men when it comes to relationship advice but I think that's balls. people (Regardless of sex) are given advice based upon the facts they present in their OP or the information they give in follow up posts.

If someone posts that they are not in love with their partner and they are having an affair or about to have an affair OF COURSE the advice should be 'leave' - it should always be 'leave and then have a relationship' rather than 'stay and just have an affair anyway'.

Telling people to stay in relationships where they are clearly unhappy and are doing something, or are about to do something, that will upset the other person (Like have an affair) is just bad advice.

DuelingFanjo Wed 18-Sep-13 11:05:07

oh - and there's definitely someone on here at the moment posting different relationship problems trying to prove that men are given a hard time when women aren't.

Lweji Wed 18-Sep-13 11:10:12

We used to be able to talk to our partners and figure things out.

If we are able to do that, we don't need to post here.

Most women who get LTB have tired of talking to their partners to no avail.

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.

And what people often get is not a simple LTB, but be prepared to LTB and make sure he's aware of it if things don't improve or talking to him doesn't work.

Dahlen Wed 18-Sep-13 11:12:57

I'm not so sure people did talk to their partners and work things out. I think what actually happened is that one person gave up and became steadily more unhappy. Sometimes both.

I actually think that before MN I was much more likely to stay in a relationship that wasn't good but wasn't bad because I felt there had to be a big reason to leave one & you couldn't walk away unless you really justified it.

When actually, you have the right to be happy & if a relationship is making you unhappy & isn't likely to improve then you don't need to justify yourself to anyone.

I really do think that too much emphasis is placed on the idea that you have to work at relationships and try every possible option before calling quits. You may do, but only if you want to & it's worth it.

I wish my DM had been able to come somewhere like MN and get advice to leave. Instead, she stayed in an increasingly abusive relationship which has affected my life and that of my siblings.

I also wish I'd had MN to point out the abuse I was receiving from my XH.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 18-Sep-13 11:19:56

Hear hear Eldritch. And Orchardkeeper.

For those calling for a warning - MNHQ are not responsible for the content of people's posts or for posters' opinions. If you feel that a post is attacking or bullying then you are free to report it. But no, we absolutely do not need a warning that you may find pro-women views here. FFS! shock

Dobbiesmum Wed 18-Sep-13 11:20:40

Sometimes even the wisest person can't see all viewpoints when they're on the inside of a situation. Posting on here can help them see things in a different way.
I posted on here a week or so ago about an issue specifically because I knew that I would get varying views on what was going on, and that's exactly what I got (along with some technical knowledge). I got no LTB's because it wasn't necessary but 'talking' on here stopped me from going into a discussion with DH mob handed and throwing accusations around.
As it happens all is well with us, in part thanks to the measured advice I got here.
Many of the posters on here have unfortunately been where the OP is, know the score and can sometimes even predict what will happen next. I've never seen an unecessary LTB.

TheFunStopsHere Wed 18-Sep-13 11:21:03

Like several others here, I got told to LTB, and so I'm grateful for it.
I also got tons and tons of support and advice. No regrets and only thanks for the clear thinking of the Relationships board when I was incapable of it myself.
By the time I posted here, I thought talking to my partner and working things out was still an option. It took others to point out I had done that over and over again and that I was the only one talking and the only one working things out. Alone. I am grateful that the Relationships board effectively gave me the permission that I couldn't get from myself or my family to LTB.

I think the relationship advice on MN is very good. I'm happily married, but would not have known how to react to friends going through abusive relationships (and support them in ltb) if I hadn't read such good advice on MN in the past.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 18-Sep-13 11:26:17

I am also very glad that my DM left my DF when she did. I believe divorce and/or separation is far less harmful to children than growing up in a toxic environment. I have never seen a child harmed by divorce, only by the way their parents behaved during and around the divorce. And usually if the parent cares little enough about the children to be a dick about divorcing, then they were probably being a dick in the marriage as well. Seeing an unhealthy relationship play out is potentially extremely damaging to children.

cestlavielife Wed 18-Sep-13 11:28:57

"just leave him" may be the wake up call someone needs to think -"what? that's ridiculous. of course i dont need to leave him" (i was just having a bad day/so was he/etcetc)

or it might be the wake up call to thnk " hell yes i do have that choice"

you really cant blame an anonymous internet forum for the break up of family life as we know it!

people post, read, then they the poster make a decision one way or the other. they might use posts to validate their thinking or not. if it makes people think and analyse their own thinking (like a good therapist/counsellor who reflects back to the person) then all is good.

had i been on MN about seven eight years ago and posted here I know i would have had the LTB response and probably it would have helped me LTB much much sooner thereby saving a lot of was actually a trained profressional counsellor via GP who asked me the question why dont you leave now? (i had said "it's not working but obviously i cannot leave until the dc are grown up bla bla bla" ) that helped me think heck that LTB was an option ... sometimes hearing/reading/being asked why dont you LTB is the kick you need to evaluate everything.

and if you dont need to LTb -well you not going to are you? " iam leaving you because Mn told me to" ... if someone says jump in the fire and it's not right for you you wont do it.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 18-Sep-13 11:30:20

I guess that's where the difference in opinion lies, anyway. People who are scared of "LTB" generally think that children having two parents in the same house is some holy grail, unless one parent is extremely abusive. They believe that separated parents are more damaging than two struggling parents who aren't enjoying their lives/relationship.

I could probably make a sweeping assumption that people who believe this have either never experienced living with a single parent/separated parents, and have never experienced living with two people who are unhappy with each other either.

RinseAndRepeat Wed 18-Sep-13 11:34:24

I was miserable in my previous relationship but I didn't know why. I thought it was my fault, because I was a selfish, useless person. Like my ex used to tell me all the time.

My self esteem was so low and I doubted myself so much, you could've told me black was white and I'd have gone along with it.

I originally posted on MN because I wanted to know how I could be a better partner. I thought if I could change myself maybe eventually I could make him happy.

Of course I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. But at the time I had no idea there was such a thing of that there was a word for what my partner was doing to me. I thought I just needed to 'try harder' and 'work at it'. The collective wisdom of MN helped me realise that I didn't need to put up with that shit. And with the support of some lovely MNers over a few threads I found the courage to leave.

Since then my life has improved immeasurably. I have an amazing, loving, respectful partner and am expecting a baby.

I'm so glad MN told me to LTB. If they hadn't I really believe I would still be with him. Tying myself up in knots trying to fix the relationship. Living half a life and treading on eggshells because I'd be scared of him kicking off if I went out with friends too late or whatever.

If you've never been in an abusive relationship (and lucky you!), you'd never understand how empowering it can be for someone to tell you you have permission to leave.

EldritchCleavage Wed 18-Sep-13 11:39:54

And people who react strongly to Leave the Bastard are (in my limited experience) often very much more blase about Leave the Bitch.

In our society, men aren't expected to put up with mistreatment from their female partners, whether it is abuse or affairs or whatever. Women generally are expected to put up with those things from men.

Only on MN do I see humane advice that isn't about gender or conventional expectations, more about what is right and bearable for the poster and her/his children.

RinseAndRepeat Wed 18-Sep-13 11:51:22

It's better to be in no relationship than a shit one that makes you unhappy.

Being part of a couple is not the be all and end all. And I think that unhealthy belief is what keeps a lot of women trapped in unhappy relationships.

My own parents stayed together for 30 years until one of them died. But their marriage was shot and abusive and they should've split when I was a child. In fact I wish they had. I think I would've grown up with much better boundaries for my own relationships and wouldn't have been as vulnerable to an abuser.

skyeskyeskye Wed 18-Sep-13 12:28:24

I never just say LTB, except in cases of DV. If a poster comes on and says that they want to overcome an affair or whatever, then they need RL stories and experience and help not LTB.

I came on to MN after my XH walked out with no warning. Afterwards I discovered thousands of texts to OW on his mobile bills. I came on here wanting advice on how to get him to come back because he was obviously having a MLC because who in their right mind just walks out of a marriage and on a 5yo DD with no discussion and no warning. MN opened my eyes to the fact that the texts were not acceptable, were an emotional affair and that my XH had checked out of our relationship. I went against all advice because I wanted to try and save my marriage and MN was proved right and I was proved wrong, when he led me a merry dance and treated me like shit while I was trying to get him to come home.

I wish I had been stronger, I wish I had been able to kick him into touch instead of chasing him, but I felt that I had to do everything that I could to try and save my marriage.

Following his final mean behaviour, thanks to MN, I saw a solicitor and divorced him within months. That meant that I protected my house from the debt that he got into after he left me.

So thanks to MN, I did finally take advice and deal with the situation, but to start with I ignored all the LTB and tried to get him back.

Just because people post here for advice, doesn't mean that they have to take it. You will always get different opinions anyway and can't possibly follow all of them.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 18-Sep-13 12:46:58

"it does upset me when a woman is told to leave her partner by people who don't know the full story"

My observation is that, if someone has come to a message board of strangers with a relationship problem, they are at some kind of crossroads. They are not looking to be told what to do most often, but usually looking for confirmation that 'this isn't right, is it?'

When in the confines of a marriage or a partnership it's so difficult to get a different perspective. They might have no-one to use as a sounding board or, if they have friends and family, these people might not want to get involved or they have their own motivations for wanting one outcome over another. I'm very sure that a lot of the people posting here reveal details that they have never shared with anyone else. We're a kind of 'Wailing Wall'...

So whether the responses are 'LTB', 'stand by your man' or something in between, I think (except in DV cases where I know people have taken away genuinely life-saving information) what we achieve is 'food for thought'. A different perspective.

So don't get upset.

BeCool Wed 18-Sep-13 13:15:11

I've been reading the MN/Relationship boards for several years now and I don't recognise what you are saying OP.

I do not think at all that LTB is a general default response here.

TheTitleSaysItAllReally Wed 18-Sep-13 13:22:32

I posted over a year ago and was told to LTB. Within hours I had made the decision to leave and posted about it. I posted about financial and emotional abuse. I suspect that to the OP that would look like a decision influenced by random strangers on MN.

BUT I knew deep down that I wanted to anyway, I just don't think I had at that point accepted it myself. I needed a whole pile of understanding and validation for me to believe that a) it was necessary and b) ok.

FWIW I did not disclose at that point that there was also physical and sexual abuse, the physical abuse was also directed towards my dcs.

There was no physical danger in my first thread and yet I was told to LTB. It was the right advice. I suspect I am not alone.

Sadly many of us on here have experienced this and so know what to look for in the stories of others. There is a very well known example of here where a poster came on asking about something completely different yet it soon became apparent through the gentle questions of other members that everything was not ok. She was given the same advice and was challenged many times. She's now out and happy and safe.

If it had remained at understanding and sympathy I strongly suspect that this poster would now be a child fewer than she has. Yet no such danger was apparent. Thank God for those people saying LTB.

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

WeAreSeven Wed 18-Sep-13 13:39:30

People don't post on Relationships about minor niggles with their partner. If it's a small thing that's bugging them, they moan to their friends about it. Unfortunately, women who are in abusive relationships don't tend to have a lot of friends because their partner has engineered it that way.

If dh annoys me, I might have a bit of a moan to my friend or my sister. If I were having major problems. I'm not sure I would. . In fact my dsis was in an abusive relationship for a number of years and I genuinely had no idea. I was one of the people around her who would say "You are so lucky to have X, he's so nice"
What I didn't see was the side of him that he only showed when he was alone with her and their dd, which was worlds away from his public face.
There was no MN back then but if she had come on and described him, she would have been told to LTB and that what she was experiencing wasn't normal at all and that it wasn't her.

schooldays Wed 18-Sep-13 13:41:31

Its not just random people out of the blue saying LTB (at least i hope not cause i just LTB). Its people who are very experienced in the subtelties (sp) of abuse. Prob most have experienced it themselves. And alot of mn'netters tell the pattern and how it will continue

This veruses RL people (inc. counsellors) who have not experience of what the woman is going through are completely useless and giving advise. They are shocked and then dont want to say anything negative in case couple work it out, and generally dole out useless advice and misunderstand the situation completely.

I have had my mother telling me she was going my "bang mine and H heads together" when i told her the way he threatened me. And i have even been blamed for marrying him in the first place! Lke i knew this was ahead of me.

umlungen Wed 18-Sep-13 14:08:56

Yes, it is true that in the main the people giving the LTB advice are people who have left abusive relationships and are very experienced in the subtleties of abuse.

MadBusLady Wed 18-Sep-13 14:11:47

schooldays that's terrible. I think people mean well, but they find it hard to believe that there are some situations where blame really shouldn't be "fairly" apportioned between a couple, where it really is all one person's fault. It outrages a lot of their assumptions about the world - including their assumption that they would know an abusive monster because that person would come with horns, or a handy sign attached to them.

garlicbaguette Wed 18-Sep-13 14:13:15

I'm no longer interested in this kind of thread. It happens every time we get an influx of new members. You're all very welcome, but perhaps you should just watch & listen for a while instead of piling in to tell us we are all wrong.

In my six (ish) years on here, there has only been one thread saying "I LTB after posting on here, now I regret it." That poster turned out to be fake. There have been HUNDREDS, possibly even thousands, of heartfelt thanks from posters who saved themselves and their children from a lifetime of abuse and fucked-up values. Very man come back here, to help others.

All you need to do is read the bloody forum, to see the truth.

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 18-Sep-13 14:26:26

I really, really wish someone had told my mum to LTB before I was put through 16 years of abuse at his hands.

She was also of the opinion that she could talk things through, talk him down, protect us by talking and talking but when she wasn't around to do the talking the abuse happened.

I really wish her mother had said 'he's abusing your children! You have to protect them!' instead of getting the 'don't air dirty laundry' and 'well we just have to put up with it' crap.

This is the change; women don't have to just put up with things anymore.

Lweji Wed 18-Sep-13 14:33:38

Yes, it is true that in the main the people giving the LTB advice are people who have left abusive relationships and are very experienced in the subtleties of abuse.

And who have first hand experience of how wonderful it is to be without said bastard abuser/or bitch, for that matter.

Lweji Wed 18-Sep-13 14:34:37

Also, when posters come with minor niggles, or are in the wrong, they are also told so very clearly. smile

mamabrownbear Wed 18-Sep-13 14:37:34

I posted this question after reading a post this morning by an exhausted woman who was quickly advised to Ltb when there was probably so much more to the situation. A few posters were helpful trying to pick it apart for her, others just assuming things and telling her to LTB. It's so hugely important for people to have somewhere to go when they need to talk and its great that this exists so that anyone who has been through similar situations can help.
Some posters have said great stuff, some have said stuff which just confirms a few things for me but I won't go into because I'm not here to "goad" or pick fights. That seems a pointless use of everyone's time.
I'm not in an unhappy relationship. It's hugely happy but it can also be hugely hard. I expect there will always be hugely hard parts still to come. But I'll work really hard make my life hugely happy as much as possible.

Offred Wed 18-Sep-13 14:38:44

If it is the sex pest thread you refer to, no-one has said LTB.

mamabrownbear Wed 18-Sep-13 14:39:37

It wasn't

Offred Wed 18-Sep-13 14:40:21


Lweji Wed 18-Sep-13 14:40:29

So, is it one thread or many threads?
And which one, if you want to justify your position?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 18-Sep-13 14:42:14

I think it's also important to let people know that no relationship should be 'hugely hard'. It's another myth that needs popping - 'you have to work hard at a marriage' - in a similar way to 'you must stay together for the kids', 'you're responsible for keeping the family together', 'it's your job to make him happy'... and the other guilt-inducing messages women have been brainwashed with down the decades.

umlungen Wed 18-Sep-13 14:42:43

Maybe we need Relationships to be split into 2 topics:

Relationships Abusive
Relationships Rather Annoying

TheTitleSaysItAllReally Wed 18-Sep-13 14:42:50

I'm not in an unhappy relationship. It's hugely happy but it can also be hugely hard. I expect there will always be hugely hard parts still to come. But I'll work really hard make my life hugely happy as much as possible.

I'm sure that you didn't intend it but that has come across as really smug and self-righteous. It also strengthens the belief that I should have tried harder. On some level I accepted when I posted the first time that I wasn't happy and that things weren't right but on another level I thought I wasn't in an unhappy relationship.

I worked really hard to make my life hugely happy as much as possible for over a decade and a half. I failed. Not because I'm a failure but because with an abuser you can't win. Fact.

umlungen Wed 18-Sep-13 14:44:39

But, TheTitle, not all partners are abusers. Yours was.

Offred Wed 18-Sep-13 14:44:49

No-one thinks they are in an abusive relationship when they are umlungen

Offred Wed 18-Sep-13 14:45:54

And sometimes LTB is entirely appropriate when neither party is a bastard, simply when the relationship is over.

umlungen Wed 18-Sep-13 14:47:14

It's not logical to say that everyone who posts in Relationships is in an abusive relationship. I know that has been said upthread, but it's not true.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 18-Sep-13 14:47:36

Few who think it's normal to work 'hugely hard' at a relationship realise it's plain wrong. You even see appallingly sad posts where someone has been assaulted, insulted, ignored, or mistreated in some other way and then they ask .... 'But it would be my fault if I broke the family up. How can I try harder to make this relationship work?'

Plain wrong.

Offred Wed 18-Sep-13 14:49:25

No, not everyone is. However it is often abusive and a well known fact that abuse victims don't think they are being abused. If they did they would leave.

Lweji Wed 18-Sep-13 14:50:36

Sometimes we even get "you are a bastard, leave the poor soul". shock

Editededition Wed 18-Sep-13 14:51:01

I am not sure that the OP needs to justify, as this isn't AIBU, but do think that the follow up posts tell a lot more about the viewpoint than perhaps intended?

OP, you say that your marriage is happy with hugely hard parts. I wonder if reading through threads here has made you question whether - on balance - you should LTB. That's not wrong - just about every marriage will have rough patches. You have obviously balanced out the equation and concluded that having lots more very hard parts to come, is OK for you.
Thats fine. Thats what MN is about. Hold something up for inspection if you want to, to see if your thinking is straight.

The thing is, women don't hold those things up for question unless, somewhere deep down, they are fairly sure that things are badly out of kilter. For some, your very hard parts might equal 'totally out of kilter' because marriages aren't supposed to have repeated very hard parts, which can be identified as recurring ad nauseum in the future.
Others might be content, as you say you are - and those people don't tend to post.

Do you worry that, if you posted, the reaction would be LTB.
That's what I read between the lines.

TheTitleSaysItAllReally Wed 18-Sep-13 14:53:35

Offred Absolutely. My financial abuse also included making me feel like I was shit with money. I came on to ask how to be less shit. I thought he was controlling with money because I was so rubbish. I'd got the horse and cart the wrong way around.

Not everyone who posts is abused, of course not. But in general most of those who say LTB are aware of abuse, the script of abuse and the blinkers that abused women have over their eyes.

I really don't think many people just say LTB because communication is poor or a couple are too tired to value each other or anything like that.

Editededition Wed 18-Sep-13 14:53:57

can we add a third....
Relationships - just wasting webspace!!

BIWI Wed 18-Sep-13 14:58:17

Editededition - OP has already had that advice, and very recently.

I'm sorry, mambrownbear, but your relationship does not sound as if it's hugely happy, (on the basis of your own posts,) and I suspect that you - like very many posters on the relationship boards - are somewhat in denial about this.

If people are telling you to leave the bastard, I think that you have to ask yourself why they are saying that sad

Editededition Wed 18-Sep-13 15:10:24

blush I obviously missed that.
Was it on this thread, as thought I had read right through?

Makes a whole heap more sense now, though.

fromparistoberlin Wed 18-Sep-13 15:14:04

"Do you worry that, if you posted, the reaction would be LTB.
That's what I read between the lines."

well I cant speak for OP, but I felt that way myself, still do


Lweji Wed 18-Sep-13 15:21:04


Just read a recent thread of yours.

Yours is not a hugely happy relationship.

You are having to put up with a lot. sad

Editededition Wed 18-Sep-13 15:26:09


KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 18-Sep-13 16:12:40

One thing I think this forum is great at is patience with victims who aren't ready to leave, yet. I think most posters know that it takes a while to be really ready to leave. Sometimes I see people getting frustrated that their advice isn't being acted upon, but not as much as on other forums. I try to avoid expressing that frustration myself, because I want the op to feel welcome to come back when her attempts to work it out fail.

BIWI Wed 18-Sep-13 16:16:40

No, Editededition, on another thread that OP started in Relationships. sad

I have always thought that the amount of advice given to women to bin unsatisfactory men is the best and most useful thing about MN. I can see it actually contributing to a massive and very positive social change - women refusing to accept shit treatment from men and refusing to accept the idea that it is their responsibility to please and placate abusive men and manage a man's behaviour by submitting to him so he won't beat or rape them, or spend all the family money on himself, or refuse to do any domestic work at all.
Because the more women realise that relationships are not compulsory and certainly shouldn't be 'hard work' that is done by them alone, the more men will have to either up their game and treat their female partners as human beings and not just 'women' - or men will become less and less relevant and the really useless ones pretty much extinct.

I agree with solid


Mamabrownbear, your husband is an emotionally abusive alcoholic fuckwit. That's what I posted on your thread in August and that's still true. I'm sorry you don't feel ready to ltb or accept that yet, I understand 100% what it's like to have a tiny baby and the dawning realisation that your supposed life partner is actually a selfish booze hound who is actually quite horrible to you.
I doubt you will LTB for many months or even years (I didn't, no judgement here) but that doesn't mean it's the wrong advice for you, and many many other women.

RinseAndRepeat Wed 18-Sep-13 17:00:45

Woah, OP I just read your thread from August. I would not describe your relationship as healthy or normal. Your husband sounds vile.

It doesn't sound like you're in the right place to accept the sort of advice you're inevitably going to get. Bit maybe hang around the relationships board and read some other threads. You'll learn a lot and the penny will soon drop.

I couldn't live with someone like your husband. And I don't think you or your DD should have to either.

CailinDana Wed 18-Sep-13 17:01:08

Totally agree solid. MN is one of the only places I've seen where the prevailing attitude is that relationships are about two equals taking equal responsibility for the home the children money and the relationship itself. Far far too often women are told that men behave a certain way (carelessly, selfishly, abusively) and oh but isn't it annoying but there you go that's life. BOLLOCKS. It is not normal it is not acceptable and it is ok to leave.

StraightJacket Wed 18-Sep-13 17:01:11

What Solid said!

<gives her a round of applause>

expatinscotland Wed 18-Sep-13 17:09:00

What Solid and Erich said. You are in an abusive relationship with an addict.

RinseAndRepeat Wed 18-Sep-13 17:18:03

The most dangerous part of an abusive relationship is the good times. Because those are what make you think the rest of the shit is bearable.

No shit is acceptable. Ever.

I remember coming home from work and my ex surprising me with plane tickets to Thailand. He used to send me flowers to work; once he sent me a flat screen TV. Everyone in my office thought I was so lucky. On the day of my mum's funeral he got up early and made all my family breakfast. He went to Africa and built a school for orphans.

But despite all that, he was still an abusive cunt.

TiredDog Wed 18-Sep-13 17:18:56

I fought and fought for my marriage

I worked hard, tried to talk... When I had reached suicidal feelings, when he had drained us dry financially, when abuse had been physical, verbal and emotional I left

Wish so much that I had been given LTB advice before I wasted all those years trying

I possibly would have been resistant to that advice because facing up to marital failure is hard

Diagonally Wed 18-Sep-13 17:26:35

I'm confused. What exactly would the problem be if 100% of the posters advised to LTB actually did?

Are you concerned from a social perspective? Or that they might later regret it?

I doubt very much many people get to the point of filing divorce papers without being pretty certain it is the right decision for them.

At which point the poster will be taking RL advice from various agencies / legal professionals anyway.

lurkinglorna Wed 18-Sep-13 17:29:22


Hands up those who did it....hmm

CailinDana Wed 18-Sep-13 17:34:46

Society engineered it so marriage was essential for women and leaving a marriage had huge consequences. An unmarried woman couldn't inherit, couldn't get decent pay for her work, couldn't have a child without being labelled a whore and the child a bastard,basically had no adult life without a man. So women had to "work at" marriage, meaning they had to put up with whatever they were given. That's not the case any more and yet people act as though leaving a husband is the end of the world. Of course separation and divorce are hard on children but I don't see how it is ever better for a child to grow up in a house where the parents just don't get on or worse still where abuse is happening. The idea that a "complete" family is better no matter what is just mad.

motherinferior Wed 18-Sep-13 17:40:12

Frankly, I have at least one friend who I just bloody wish would leave her husband. She is constantly trying strategies to "make it work" and I just wish she would go. It is draining a lovely woman dry. Friends and I often agree we think she should LTB. And still she doesn't...

It takes quite a lot to decide to LTB, generally.

WeAreSeven Wed 18-Sep-13 17:46:05

The thing is, that in every problem page we have read since we were young, we have read "Relationships need to be worked on."
That is true up to a point. There always is a little give and take.
But if one person persistently takes, takes, takes to the detriment of the other person, then no amount of "work" on the other person's part will change that.
You can't "work" abusiveness and cuntishness out of someone else.

MadBusLady Wed 18-Sep-13 17:53:45

confused Lorna, you sound way more agitated than everyone else.

lurkinglorna Wed 18-Sep-13 17:55:06


If my relationship turned sour/nasty the MN is exactly where I would go for advice. AFAIK I don't know anyone in real life who has been/is in an abusive relationship. Obviously it is more than likely that I do, but they haven't disclosed this to me. Therefore I don't know anyone who can say to me "My relationship was like that, I left and my life was much better" or "I stuck that for years and he didn't change". I think that the only people saying LTB in some women's lives may be posters on MN. And they may be a very important voice.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Wed 18-Sep-13 18:20:26

Let's face it, if a RL friend tells you about something awful their husband has done, you might think, 'Why the HELL would you want to live with this utter cock?!' but you can't actually say it.

Because your mate will not LTB, and you will be 'that evil bitch who tried to split us up'.

But a stranger can tell it like it is.

mammadiggingdeep Wed 18-Sep-13 18:22:54

Got a cousin who: has been head butted, punched, called names, name a few. Oh how I wish she'd ltb....she's been told by other people to "work at it". Work at what?????? Being a punch bag?

Anniegetyourgun Wed 18-Sep-13 19:07:08

I had already decided I had to admit failure and LTB, and was working towards it but still feeling terribly guilty, when a friend pointed me in the direction of MN. Well, what an eye opener. The number of women posting about things their H had said that was exactly the words XH used... little tricks of his that I thought were unique... the cycle of abuse, where you think "at last he's getting it", you've come to an understanding, knocked one unacceptable behaviour on the head - only for another to creep out of the woodwork just when you were getting comfortable... the realisation that however hard you work at it, however reasonably you discuss it, however cunningly you negotiate, you will never win because the goalposts will forever be shifting. Because your man does not want the same things you do out of a relationship. He does not want a partnership of equals. He does not want to understand or to be understood. He likes you on the back foot, weeping gently, then he can be the kind comforter and scoop you up and make it all better. Wtf? He's the one that made you cry in the first place! He's the one who wangled things so that he's the only one you can turn to when you're upset. Fuck it, my supposedly unique relationship was all documented on here, and in books, articles and websites I found out about through MN. (To be fair, my brother linked to a page describing emotional abuse at around the same time. He's not so daft either.)

I let go of the guilt, and instead felt shame that I had been so taken in. And then after a while I let go of the shame as well. So many other women, fabulous women who are clearly not stupid or weak at all, have been taken in in the same way; I am in excellent company. Now I rejoice in my divorced status because it is a badge of honour, like the scar of a war wound. I've been though shit but I got out. It's just a pity it took a quarter of a century (!) to cop on.

And no, I don't hate men. I have four sons, the aforementioned brother, and a whole bunch of really excellent male friends. They're all great. What I hate is men who behave abusively. I'm not too keen on women who behave abusively either, but as I haven't been married to one (though I certainly have come across a few) hearing about them doesn't rile me up to quite the same extent.

Lazyjaney Wed 18-Sep-13 19:08:10

All posters say LTB some of the time, some posters say LTB all of the time, etc etc.

I see that a few posters have almost told the OP to LTB too.....

mammadiggingdeep Wed 18-Sep-13 19:24:28

Anniegetypurgun.....brilliant post!!!! Exactly my experience.

And yes....that hint of "bitterness" that people refer to- it isn' stems from that badge of honour you describe. You KNOW how good the poster will feel once they've recognised and left abusive relationships. I have friends and sisters on wonderful relationships and to them I would advise them to compromise, work at it etc. I have other friends who are sad and who just don't get anything in return for the work they alone are putting into the relationship. Some others (my cousin) are not only getting little from their relationships but are being abused and destroyed as a person, confidence, esteem, love of life.
Some relationships are bad, some are good. Some just aren't worth sticking with and it's not a failure to ltb.

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 18-Sep-13 19:26:03

I don't think that many people would deny that relationships are hard work at times. That's life, and mostly, there's enough good stuff in there to make the work worthwhile.

However, if you see a situation where one partner is doing ALL the work, and the other is making them feel rubbish while they do so - how are you meant to respond?

I think it's hard to say over the internet whether someone is 'just very tired' or whether they're shouldering the load of the whole relationship. If they suddenly had 3 good night's sleep in a row, would all their problems be solved? Or would they still have a partner who was draining the life out of them?

It's tricky. I try not to overuse LTB. However, when you're reading a thread and you're literally aching for the person, man or woman, who's living it day after day... well, sometimes it's hard to bite your tongue.

YoniTime Wed 18-Sep-13 19:30:11

I've seen some threads here recently where the woman is reluctant to leave, despite the man being violent and horrible and despite people telling her it would be best to leave. It's so sad.

So LTB is obviously not some magical word that makes women leave good or bad relationships. I really don't understand your worry OP. I worry more about those who are stuck in dangerous, abusive relationships.

mammadiggingdeep Wed 18-Sep-13 19:37:29

Yes yoni, agree. I don't understand the ops worry. People being encouraged to stay in relationships is far more worrying. The idea about " people used to talk", no, a lot of people were in bloody unhappy marriages. They were stick together whether they like it or not. My port grandma has neighbours cross the street to avoid her when she divorced on the 1950's.....her situation was so bad she had to leave her children behind. She obviously didn't do it lightly yet she was judged for it. Thank god we've moved on!

Lizzabadger Wed 18-Sep-13 19:38:05

Mamabrownbear your husband is abusive and you are in denial.

mammadiggingdeep Wed 18-Sep-13 19:38:06

Bad typos....sorry

mcmooncup Wed 18-Sep-13 20:07:24

I've been on here for 10 years and when I arrived I didn't even know what an abusive relationship was. Turns out I was only flipping well in one ! I genuinely had no idea I was until I put a thread on here. And I got the LTB responses (although LTB is a relatively new MN acronym).

I cannot express my gratitude to the wise people who posted on that thread. They got it immediately and framed my confusion almost instantly and it all started to slip into place.

If I had asked my friends, they would have had no idea and indeed used to say things like "just get going with having sex and you'll get into it" even after he had , coerced and bullied me into 'cleaning his pipes'. My friends were (an many still are) like me and have no idea about abusive relationships.

I see mumsnet as an oasis of reason about relationships. I have never seen bad advice for women. It is not a coincidence that abusive men (like my ex) DETEST Mumsnet. He even mentions it as a reason why our marriage "failed" now. So bravo Mumsnet.

DarceyBissell Wed 18-Sep-13 20:24:12

The fact is that many people who get the LTB advice on here keep coming back with more tales of how unhappy they are and what a bastard DH is. I can't imagine these women, who are in denial about their situation, are going to act on any advice they might get here.

BeCool Thu 19-Sep-13 10:42:13

Might be better to turn the question around and ask "Why would you seek relationship advice from strangers on MN?".

The answer would probably be because they've been lurking, can see what happens on here, and need/want some advice and support. Or just a good moan/vent.

Capitaltrixie Thu 19-Sep-13 11:54:47

Look friends & family in RL often just don't give good advice! When I was in an EA relationship, my narcy mum said 'oh well, six to one, half a dozen to the other'. Fuck that shit! ('scuse French).
MN has given me some solid pointers about healthy relationships AND educated me further about some quite intricate relationship dynamics. There has been some damn good advice from some very wise posters on here.

Understand (sort of) where you're coming from if you're thinking along the lines of some sort of duty of care (?) but 'fraid I just don't agree with you on this one OP (and for the record, I haven't observed 'LTB' to be any sort of default on relationship threads..), but if what other posters have said is true about your situation, then I do hope you're ok.

lurkinglorna Thu 19-Sep-13 13:24:21

i think way back when i got my divorce, i was getting a lot of "projection" from others

- "oh, you should be grateful to have someone so "nice"."

- "i tolerated my shit marriage for ages, why can't you be the same?"

- "oh how DARE you come out a couple months post separation being all presentable and content and getting male attention, that's "surprising".

translation: why aren't you wearing a sackcloth and ashes and weeping on how your life is over to validate my POV and make me feel better over myself. i mean the thought of anyone not being "grateful" for a nice professional man who doesn't beat or cheat is unthinkable, right?)

i don't even see these people any more, of course smile, wasn't even a mumsnet user then!

Switchedtoeatingbutter Thu 19-Sep-13 13:51:52

I used to work really really hard to make myself happy and have a good relationship with my husband.
Then i finally followed MN's advice, and l(eft) TB and have found its fucking easy to be happy when you don't have to put up with shit all day every day.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 19-Sep-13 13:55:52

@Switched.. that made me smile. All these women chasing to the doctors and getting prescriptions for ADs so that they can 'put up with shit all day' are another group that gets forgotten. A few 'LTBs' in the right ears might just save the NHS billions in unnecessary meds and therefore be regarded as public spirited.

RinseAndRepeat Thu 19-Sep-13 14:11:23

Yes I find it fascinating how many women on the relationship board mention they have problems with anxiety or are on AD's. I can't help thinking it wouldn't be the case for 90% of them if they escaped their shitty relationships.

My own issues with anxiety and phobias disappeared pretty much as soon as I was free of my abuser.

Switchedtoeatingbutter Thu 19-Sep-13 14:15:41

See LTB is a public service!

Although I suspect the AD's will be prescribed to all those poor men, like my exH, whose lives have been ruined by their nasty wives that refuse to put up with their shit any more.

My exH still texts me almost a year later asking when I'm going to 'come out of my bad mood' hmm

Capitaltrixie Thu 19-Sep-13 14:37:52

Public Service indeed smile

Saw a quote recently that said words to the effect of: when you think you're anxious or depressed, maybe you're just surrounded by arseholes!
Never truer.
I had a similar experience to you Rinse

Editededition Thu 19-Sep-13 20:00:42

My own issues with anxiety and phobias disappeared pretty much as soon as I was free of my abuser

YYY - I often wonder how common this is.

I was classed as a chronic depressive, on and off AD's from teens onwards with a couple of really bad bouts. Narc mother, abusive SF and deeply abusive husband.
Over a decade ago, I went NC with parents, and two years later divorced the other.
I have not had one single day of depression since.
Not one depressive episode. Have not required ADs at any point.

You have to wonder.

BusyCee Thu 19-Sep-13 20:49:58

At the risk of inflaming the ire of Offred again, and to directly address the OP, rather than any of the following posts, I think part of the problem is that we all interpret information through the filter of our own experience. This happens in RL as well as here, but here there tends to be less information to base your advice on.

In reference to yesterday's thread that Offred mentioned; I am lucky enough never to have been in an abusive relationship. However have been in plenty with men that don't express themselves effectively (and as a result say stupid and counterproductive things). I also have plenty of examples where I made a situation worse because I said something stupid. As a result, when I responded to the OP my post was colored by my own experiences. This may not have been appropriate, either for the character and personality of the OP, or for the situation. On the other hand it may have been an extremely useful perspective.

I don't presume to know about Offreds life experiences, but wonder if they might concur? It's a well understood aspect of psychology

What that means, in the context of the OP here, is if everyone understands that principle, and uses their judgement, this is a great forum for robust debate (which can descend into a bit of a scrap) and getting plenty of diverse perspectives, but probably shouldn't be used as the primary tool for making life decisions.

haverer Thu 19-Sep-13 22:00:59

On tentatively asking AIBU about some god-awful abuse from my H, I was shocked to hear LTB. I'd only known abusive relationships (parents and my own) and had thought them to be what every marriage was like behind closed doors.
I don't like to think about what would have happenedto me and our DC if I hadn't posted here and been told to LTB. And when I did LTB I didn't know the half of it. We were in real danger.
So when a woman posts on here and describes a clear case of controlling and abusive behaviour, I pay it forward.

UnexpectedStepmum Thu 19-Sep-13 22:08:50

I put up with some godawful abuse in a prior relationship (details are on the Stupid shit cheaters say thread). My RL friends said that maybe I should be more understanding, and accept that there were some issues I needed to rely on friends for instead. I stayed for a couple more years, my confidence and self respect eroded. I wish I had known Mumsnet then.

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 19-Sep-13 22:13:58

If anyone makes a decision more momentous than buying a particular shampoo because a poster recommended it, or trying Lidl because lots of posters rave about it, simply on the basis of an anonymous Internet forum they are rather foolish.

But if something a poster says resonates and a reader thinks, "Hmm, maybe what I have been accepting as normal isn't the way a proper relationship should work" and then takes steps to consider their position, I consider that a Good Thing.

FWIW, I think MN detractors often mix up the LTB refrain (which is actually very very rarely heard, thankfully) with the more general pro-female bias and occasional anti-male bias and use it to label all MNers as men hating, relationship ending harridans.

Offred Thu 19-Sep-13 22:35:40

I'm not sure what you're getting at busy. I think it is pretty obvious that both advice is influenced by experience and that no-one makes life changing decisions because of an Internet forum.

However on the other thread the issue was not people saying things clumsily because they can't express themselves well. It was someone using another person's body for something that person didnt want.

I do think it is telling that you write about men being poor communicators and clumsy in the way they put things. Men are not worse at communicating than women other than how they are affected by social conditioning IMHO. Men are taught to be and allowed and enabled to be poor communicators often by a society which has believed for thousands of years that a woman's job was communication and diplomacy.

Offred Thu 19-Sep-13 22:38:07

However I will add that the behaviour described on that thread was sexual abuse. I am not surprised a couple of people did not agree because women are commonly raised to believe that sexual abuse is just sex or just how men are.

Slightlylessluscious Thu 19-Sep-13 23:24:05

I lurked on MN when going through my own separation and found it hugely helpful, even when I secretly believed that the advice given didn't really apply to my situation (it did).
Re the three sentence "what a cunt" posts mentioned by a poster early on in this thread: I quite like those posts! They make me laugh and they inject a bit of levity into the conversation....(might just be 'cos that word makes me snigger!)

SummerDad Thu 19-Sep-13 23:24:18

"Should strangers really be advising women to leave their husbands?"

Yes and no. Some strangers could be very wise and empathetic while others could be just naive and merely projecting their own experience to the situation of the original poster.

I was lucky to have the first type on my issues but more than often, I have seen posts where people just jump to the conclusion LTB without even bothering to enquire about the basics and simply assuming things.

Like any other piece of advice, it is up to the original poster to use their own judgement before acting on it.

bebopanddoowop Thu 19-Sep-13 23:40:32

I agree with the OP

Lazyjaney Fri 20-Sep-13 07:09:36

It has it's place when used sparingly and in context to the OPs post, and then has a very powerful impact.

But IMO it is overused here by some people, their posts are absolutely predictable, almost a "LTB - now, what's the problem" mindset. Gets to it's most absurd when you get 2 threads the reverse of each other and the advice to both is LTB

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 07:18:03

Not sure I get that analogy lazyjaney since if both people are unhappy together LTB is not invalid is it so when each side is posted LTB could be very valid advice.

I think for me the people who are really worried about LTB are the people who prioritise keeping a marriage together unless there is abuse.

TiredDog Fri 20-Sep-13 07:25:50

I think LTB is just one option and a choice that many women including the OP cannot bear to consider. So it's useful to have it put 'on the table'

As has already been said some women cycle around with multiple threads discussing how to change the situation, how to cope personally with the effect on them, worry about the effect on their DC...further threads about how to try and change him... Etc

LTB acknowledges that sometimes you cannot change a person. Whether you are prepared to tolerate a miserable existence or not is your choice. You can rarely change an abuser.

I think some abusers have a sad background to their behaviour. My ex had bipolar, others its alcohol addiction..others it might be poor socialisation in childhood or having grown up in an abusive family... However sad that is for the abuser, however you want to cure them and make everything all right....the facts still remain you cannot change that background. You cannot stop that abuse. Everything you try does not minimise the impact on you. So what are your options. Suck it up or ...LTB.

I wish I'd left sooner. It took me to become suicidal before I removed myself and my DC. They were suffering as well, but his fear of what it does to the DC blinded me to what it was already doing.

Lweji Fri 20-Sep-13 07:35:00

Once I got married, leaving stopped being an option on the table.
That is why I put up with exH, tried to work at it and managed over 10 years of a crap marriage.
Until the violence stopped.

I do believe that not having the option of leaving on the table is detrimental.

Often it's not said here to LTB but to make sure they know that's the outcome if they continue the behaviour. Then it's their choice. (although personally now, I'll leave rather than hope for a change)

BlackeyedSusan Fri 20-Sep-13 07:36:53

yes absolutely. it saves lives.


how many times do you need to be punched in the head before it does lasting damage? or perhaps the next time he threw a sharp implement at me?

mn got me to see how terrible his behaviour was with the ltb for lesser things on other threads.

Lucylloyd13 Fri 20-Sep-13 07:49:25

I think that there is a danger that threads can build up a self-fuelling head of steam, and any poster will invariably give only one side of the story.

But mumsnet is about a shoulder to cry on, not a temple of balanced advice. At it best it should encourage us to ask the right questions, not deliver the answers.

Lweji Fri 20-Sep-13 08:25:17

Ups, not
Until the violence stopped, but started!

Lifeasafish Fri 20-Sep-13 08:42:45

My tuppence - relationships saved my marriage.

I posted under a different name with a specific major issue (but not abuse). My thoughts were all jumbled and Relationships held a mirror to my marriage, indicated what was wrong and I didn't have to put up with it but also how we could 'fix' the problem.

Relationships, listened, asked, examined, diagnosed and advised. I was encouraged to consider all options and I did.

I invited my husband to read the thread, which was painful for him but he took it on board as he was shown 'the mirror'.
It made him determined to change his life and he sought counselling for himself and for us as advised (this bought up underlying ptsd which was causing the problem but thats by the by). Because of relationships he was able to get the right help to be able to live life wholesomely and found the strength to save us. I did nothing but have patience, support from the sidelines and wait btw.

I gave him 6 months to sort himself/us. Fast forward a few years and recent experiences have shown that my marriage is in rude health, and both of us are happy and content with it.

I got maybe 1 or 2 ltb but others did question if they were being hasty and in any case I was prepared to do that anyway, life is too short to live unhappily.

In my opinion if relationships consensus is ltb there will be a good reason. And I agree fully with sgb and many others.

Relationships is a public service, it saved my marriage.

Lifeasafish Fri 20-Sep-13 08:43:26

Hasn't taught me to be succinct though...

fromparistoberlin Fri 20-Sep-13 09:45:47


flowers back atcha

I also 1000% agree that firneds give shit advice, sorry to fromparis mates!

"he is depressed"
"have more sex"
"move DS2 into his own room"
"lets have a girls night out to cheer you up"
"i have similar, its normal"
"lets go for a spa weekend"

bless em... but MEH

garlicbaguette Mon 23-Sep-13 16:00:53

What a fabulous post, Life smile Here's wishing you and DH a long & happy future.

alreadytaken Mon 23-Sep-13 16:16:13

to answer the OP - sometimes but perhaps not as often as happens on mumsnet. We only get one side of a story and sometimes people do need to put a bit more work into their relationship. OTOH sometimes people need a lot of support to escape relationships that are clearly harmful to them and their children. Internet strangers can provide that support when the OP may not have felt able to open up to people in RL or their abuser appears charming in public. Sometimes its only other people who have been in that situation who can recognise that this is a bastard and the right response is LTB.

pigletmania Mon 23-Sep-13 18:45:05

I think when the op is being abused of course she should LTB, or if the poster is being treated badly by her op, as some relationships are bad for their health

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