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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...

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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