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My random thoughts on Relationship threads..

(66 Posts)
Andy1964 Wed 19-Mar-14 17:29:54

I've been reading and posting on here for a while now. some may agree with my views and advice and some may not but hey, we all deal with things in different ways and that's ok.

There does seem to be some common issues that couples/families need to deal with though.

Couples/Families don't seem to have the ability to talk honestly with each other. From a guy's point of view I kinda get it because in general we don't seem to be made that way. It's either too embarrasing to talk about or we don't want to upset the status quo. It's a guy thing but it does not help us! We, as a gender, really need to open up more and be prepared to discuss things regardless of how uncomfortable they are. My wife and I learnt to communicate even though we both thought we were good communicators.
There is no shame in seeking help from outside sources/proffessionals (councellors) so if you are having problems please learn to talk to each other, don't row, have an adult conversation. A row will only serve to get everyones back and defences up. Walk away from a row and come back to have a conversation when the time is right. I can't possibly do any harm!

Sometimes we make the wrong decisions in taking a partner, we don't often, as a race get it right, first time round. Reading through some of the posts on this board horrifies me. Some partners (mostly guys on here) are really not worth wasting anymore of your time with. Don't be afraid to LTB please. Yes it will be hard to start with, it will be upsetting, your world will fall apart, you won't be able to stop crying, all you will want to do is curl up in a ball and forget everything but it WILL get better and you WILL be better off. This may come as some very harsh advice but sometimes you really do need to just get on and do it and roll with the bad times.
Even if you don't have a support network of friends and family there are many other forms of support including some of the experieced posters on here, you just have to seek them out.
Chances are if you've mad a mistake in choosing a partner and it comes to it you will be happier on your own than with some of the horrible guys some of you post about.

So conversations, accepting that it's ok to have chosen the wrong partner and having the balls (insert female equivallent) to LTB are my sage pieces of advice.
Very generallistic I know so what other general peices of advice would you give given the general theme of posts here?

Walkacrossthesand Wed 19-Mar-14 17:55:45

What I've learnt, from time spent on this thread, is that people are not always what they seem - but if you listen carefully to what they say, and pay heed to what they do (ie don't make excuses for bad behaviour), you have a chance of sussing out the bad'uns before you get too far in.

MrsIrony Wed 19-Mar-14 17:56:19

I couldn't agree more. I have to admit to spending almost 20 years in a marriage I should have pulled the plug on about 6 months in.

My reason for not doing this? Fear. Fear of failure. Fear of being a social outcast. Fear of being alone. Fear of never meeting anyone else. Fear of not coping financially and fear of never having children.

When I finally did make the break the fears were still there. But they were just that - fears. No reality really. Nothing life threatening happened to me.

The fear of being alone was ridiculous now I come to think about it, because I was lonely in the marriage any way. Many of my friends haven't even noticed any difference as I socialised on my own any way.

Almost a year after leaving I am beginning to feel that it's all OK. I had probably 3 months of euphoria knowing I had made a very ballsy decision. Then probably 3 months of sheer hell as I thought I'd made the wrong decision. And now the last 4 months of knowing it was the right decision and looking forward to a more peaceful fulfilling life.

I also went through a period of thinking I still loved him and wanted to be with him. This coincided with discovering that he had been on dating websites for several months (probably before we split). This was just the shock of not having the family set up that I missed and realising that I wasn't the b all and end all of his world as he had claimed I was. I equated missing something/someone with loving them. They are not the same.

But I will add all the conversation in the world made no difference. I was dealing with unreasonableness and unrealistic expectations on my part. We could not discuss. He would not leave an argument and come back to it and discuss it rationally. Our belief sets and expectations were too far apart - miles apart. As the years went by they got further apart instead of closer together.

I will tell anyone that will listen, not to suffer in silence. If you can't discuss and resolve or accept the differences in each of you, then don't keep picking at a bad wound. Walk away and let it heal. If that healing takes place with you separate then so be it. If you both truly care about each other, that will be enough to mend any arguments. If those arguments can't be mended it is probably due to a lack of care and respect. Love is surely based on care and respect. Without those a couple can't function it seems to me.

I have learnt some very valuable lessons over the last year. One of the greatest is that you can't change another person but you can change how they make you feel and how you react to them. If someone makes you feel a certain way that is because you let them.

Offred Wed 19-Mar-14 23:19:10

Good post but it's not a guy thing it's a people thing. Good honest communication is quite a difficult thing. There is a lot of pressure on women to be good communicators and bear the brunt of the emotional work in a relationship where men are let off the responsibility of communicating. I do agree men need to view this as their responsibility too but that doesn't stop communicating actually being difficult and both men and women finding it hard to talk to each other in long term relationships.

Lovingfreedom Wed 19-Mar-14 23:46:39

I guessed before reading this thread it would be posted by a man...why? Genuine question

Keepithidden Thu 20-Mar-14 00:00:39

Lovingfreedom - Is it because it is offering thoughts/advice rather than seeking them?

Red - Yes, traditionally it's the men who won't talk and the women who will. I've learnt that to be rubbish. Although the media and culture seem to portray it otherwise RL doesn't bear that out. Certainly in my own life people seem to be as bad as each other.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Mar-14 05:45:24

I would extend the solution beyond 'talk honestly' or 'communication' and upgrade it to 'talk assertively'. Quite often (and there is a slight gender bias towards women) there is a lot of tippy-toeing in relationships with people staying quiet and putting up with unhappiness rather than risking causing offence, hurt or disapproval. Few want to be seen as the bad guy. Doesn't have to be abuse or bullying present for this to happen. There's a lot of quietly miserable simmering and self-sacrificing going on that leads to resentment and silence.

Communication and being honest is a good start but I think it has to be done assertively. Passive communication solves nothing.

daffodildays Thu 20-Mar-14 07:26:05

Lovingfreedom, I think that is a good question. I had no preconceptions regarding gender about the poster a d efore I opened the post, I did however think this will be a happily married offering his wisdom on the collective outpourings of the unhappily married.

Without getting sidetracked into whether men are more likely to feel they can offer straightforward and global solutions to individual issues, I think the following in response:

LTB is easy to say, it is much harder to do.. Even in seriously abusive relationships, the r/s will have had some good moments and the person being abused holds on to them. And is conditioned into thinking it is all their own fault anyway. More generally, there are massive social expectations around marriage, so people stick with it. More so if dc are involved.

Also, at a population level, women will suffer economically if they leave, because of gendered expectations around caring, which mean the person earning more tends to be the husband. If you have given up work or reduced hours, leaving presents an economic challenge as much as anything else, more so if dc are involved (half of non-resident parents don't pay any maintenance)

That is not to say that people should not leave, just that it is often very difficult. It is easy to sit there and say you can do it, even if you have no support, have you actually tried that? It is very, very difficult. Not saying that it cannot and should not be done, but realising you need to LTB is the beginning of the journey out, LTB is a process not an endpoint .

HelpfulChap Thu 20-Mar-14 07:39:23

My over-riding thought when reading most relationship threads is one of how lucky I have been. I can't believe what some people have to go through. Horrendous.

I do sometimes wonder what the other side of the story is though.

EirikurNoromaour Thu 20-Mar-14 08:01:53

Lovingfreedom because it's mansplaining! Even though it's not bad advice in the main it's delivered with an air of 'as a man, my opinions are intrinsically interesting to you ladies, so let me tell you all what I think'
No offence OP, you can't help it, you're a man wink

hookedonchoc Thu 20-Mar-14 08:13:00

Some great advice there. I agree about talking, I always think if you are too embarrassed to talk to someone you really shouldn't be having sex with them. I think kindness is incredibly important and much underrated. Basically if you can't make the effort treat your partner as kindly as you would want to be treated, and vice versa, what is the point.

bobbywash Thu 20-Mar-14 08:16:12

My main view of relationship threads is people generally are too quick to say LTB, especially when a man is said to have done wrong (and often they have).

Generally and obviously the views given are so one sided that it's impossible to accurately judge the whole situation and background and give a balanced response.

Eirikur - I trust you were posting that with humour, as if not it's another example of the huge gender bias that exists

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Mar-14 08:18:33

"My main view of relationship threads is people generally are too quick to say LTB, "

You can't read many threads... hmm

BillyBanter Thu 20-Mar-14 08:26:43

I occasionally wonder what the other side of the story is. So many threads about abusive mothers and MILs who are also wives and I think, well do they start threads on here, and if they do some of the threads we read must have an other side which would show it is the OP who is actually abusive and have a very skewed deluded image of the situation. But then I think maybe abusive people don't start threads very often. They 'know' they might get answers they don't like, perhaps.

LemonDough Thu 20-Mar-14 08:28:25

I'm not sure I've ever seen such a brilliant example of mansplaining on MN & I've been here years.

It should be saved and offered up whenever anyone asks for a definition of mansplaining.

Ledkr Thu 20-Mar-14 08:30:32

I think that often we only get a mere snippet of the issues.
I also think that posters often tell the op to leave or end the marriage with little real insight into how that actually feels.

I did LTB when I found out about his affair but it was the hardest decision I ever made and I always try to remember that when offering advice.

Some people who say LTB would be surprised at how very hard that is if it happened to them.

That said, I'm so glad I made my decision, I wouldn't have had the happy life I now have.

Offred Thu 20-Mar-14 08:55:56

I'm always interested in this "people are too quick to say LTB" just what do people think the consequences of people on an Internet forum suggesting you should break up would be?

The world generally heaps pressure on people to stay together, even in really, really toxic situations. Actually it is fine to leave someone just because you want to, I don't think anyone (healthy) has ever left their partner because someone on the Internet told them to. I think lots of people have ruined theirs and their children's lives by staying with someone because of this idea that you shouldn't be too quick to leave though.

Keepithidden Thu 20-Mar-14 09:27:40

My main view of relationship threads is people generally are too quick to say LTB, especially when a man is said to have done wrong (and often they have)

Generally and obviously the views given are so one sided that it's impossible to accurately judge the whole situation and background and give a balanced response

This is why I like being a man on MN, you get the unadulterated opinion, there is significantly less sympathy on male-OP threads and a lot more fact finding. I.e. what do you do? What did you say? Did you listen? etc... It cuts through the more empathetic stuff that often serves to get in the way on similar threads started by females. Although I'm sure that also serves a purpose in itself.

I would add though that I don't believe MN is sexist or necessarily gender stereotyping. I think it could be a case of Posters being aware of the societal backdrop from the two points of view.

Andy1964 Thu 20-Mar-14 10:59:50

FWIW I've no idea what mansplaining is ??

The reason for my post, there seem to be a couple common themes to the majority of posts and that those posts can be answered in one of two ways, by talking through issues and by leaving an abusive relationship.

Yes, I'm happily married but this is my second time round, the first was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. I was that person who wanted to curl up in a ball and hope that everything went away, I was that person who cried themselves to sleep every night.

A few of you have made some good points though. It must be harder for women that it is for men. I agree that they burden the lion share of sensible communication, ashamedly my wife does, but I'm glad she does. Although we learnt to communicate several years ago (through councelling) it's still generally my wife who starts the conversation.
That's ok though because its the way we work together as a team in our marriage.

As a guy I guess I don't really understand how hard it is for a woman to leave a relationship. Yes I've done it, yes it was hard, yes I was devestated so from my point of view (until I read some of your replies) leaving is what I had to do and in the end I was happier alone than with the cheating, lying, bitch.
I can't begin to imagine what it is like for some of you, I can't begin to imagine what it's like to be trapped in an abusive horrible relationship.
but my point still stands, there are many organisations out there that can help women so if you are in trouble then please seek these organisations out because you are never really alone.

I have no motive for posting this other than for debate and maybe someday someone will read it, the replies and make a life changine decision, for the better.

Lovingfreedom Thu 20-Mar-14 11:07:39

I think everyone should 'share and be nice'. It's the only rule we have in our house grin

Offred Thu 20-Mar-14 11:13:07

FWIW your wife taking the lion's share of communication is not you working as a team and I'd say it is something that is a risk to your relationship. You need to get it out of your head that communicating is easier for women, it isn't, women are just required to do it and therefore expected to put the effort in.

LyndaCartersBigPants Thu 20-Mar-14 11:45:29

As someone who LTB after getting some wonderful advice on here, I agree that people shouldn't be afraid of being alone as I was definitely lonelier in my marriage than I ever was once I left.

However, I had the good fortune to have married someone with a modicum of decency, who does pay CSA + a little bit more, who does have the DCs once a week and who wasn't violent or disruptive when I wanted to end it.

I have also met someone else, who has brought a lot of happiness into our family.

However, it hasn't been easy. I'm reliant on my ex's financial help and tax credits to supplement my PT income. I struggle to find work that fits in with 3 DCs after many years as a sahm. I have had to battle with every single utility company to get my own name put onto accounts that were previously in both/his name. I still have to regularly ask him for passwords and security details for things that hadn't even occurred to me when he left 2 years ago. I still have his surname as I can't face the upheaval of trying to change that on every blinking account I have. It's a never ending battle to extricate yourself, and I'm tired of the fallout - all this, as I've said, with a cooperative ex.

I dread to think what it would have been like if he'd been been obstructive. It's easy to make the decision to leave, but doing it fully can take years. However, I will never again put up with a relationship where I don't feel happy 95% of the time.

I'm guilty of clamming up and not wanting to talk in case I rock the boat or say something to make it worse. Luckily DP is a big talker and likes to get things out in the open, so we resolve issues pretty well. I agree that it's odd how many people seem fearful of talking to their spouse. It is the foundation of a relationship.

daffodildays Thu 20-Mar-14 12:49:50

Yes, there are organisations who will help you, and thank goodness for that, but let's not underestimate the strength it takes to leave a controlling, abusive relationship with dc involved and a partner who does not accept it is over.

I ended my first marriage as there was an OW. And do you know, emotionally hard, yes, but good God, a breeze compared to trying to get out of my second marriage, and I have a reasonably good job and a good lawyer.

It can take a long time to LTB, and yes, every voice saying it is okay to go or you actually need to go helps but I think it is also important to understand the complexities involved, so the response is not, well, why do you not just leave?

daffodildays Thu 20-Mar-14 13:31:50

Sorry, am also wondering about your language. 'Cheating, lying bitch' seems gratuitously offensive. I empathise with how you felt in your first marriage, but am struggling to think that I would ever use that language about my first husband. Yes, she behaved badly, but don't you think, all these years later that maybe it is time to let go? Especially as you describe yourself as happily married now. Why not just describe her your first wife, why dehumanise her so offensively?

daffodildays Thu 20-Mar-14 13:32:30

as your first wife, I mean

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