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Abuse and control - it's OK if it's in the interests of preserving monogamy...

(28 Posts)
solidgoldbrass Fri 12-Aug-11 19:52:48

Inspired by this thread OK women telling other women to put up with abuse because 'you need to work at relationships if you have children' is not uncommon, but the one that gets me every time is this idea that abuse, control, totally unreasonable behaviour is all fine if you are worried that your partner might breach monogamy.

Portofino Fri 12-Aug-11 20:11:26

I have been reading the Equality Illusion after many recommendations here. Dittany, I owe you a big apology for my wanky ignorance. You have taught me a lot. This book should be set text in ALL schools.

I agree SGB. Relationships shouldn't be that hard work (especially not for that length of time). I must admit I don't understand some people's investment in wanting to keep other people's relationships going if they are unhappy (which this woman clearly was). One thing the world doesn't need is another bad relationship!

And the control thing is so significant in that thread as is the behaviour by her partner who could act how he liked and felt entitled to judge her on her previous sexual life. I mean wtf!! angry

Portofino Fri 12-Aug-11 20:12:40

That was a bit of a hijack, SGB, sorry!

Portofino Fri 12-Aug-11 20:13:32

The scariest thing is that some posters advised her to work at it!

Portofino Fri 12-Aug-11 20:17:09

I posted on that thread about my ex. He was totally under the thumb of his mother. I praise the lord we never had kids together - the very thought of the 2 of them having an influence on a child of mine makes me feel ill. And the thought that there ARE people in this situation....

solidgoldbrass Fri 12-Aug-11 20:21:34

Yes, the people who get the most insistent that people should 'work at' a relationship with a jealous, controlling abusive partner because the abuser insists it's all about maintaining monogamy are the ones so fucking blinded by the cult of monogamy that they can't see anything else.

SirSugar Fri 12-Aug-11 20:35:11

My H worked very very hard to preserve my monogomy through threats and coersion. After he died I found out he'd been fucking about all over the place; which I had guessed he was anyway. Projection at its finest.

TryLikingClarity Fri 12-Aug-11 20:50:29

<Right, settles down to read>

I saw this thread when SGB had just started it, then went and read all 8 pages of the one she'd linked to. Very interesting, very startling and very close to the bone at times.

I'm starting as a volunteer with Women's Aid soon, have been doing training, and some of the things on that thread made my heckles stand up on my neck. I haven't actually been abused by a partner, so I can't say I understand, but have heard a lot.

I think this thread is a good idea and I really hope the OP from the other thread gets herself and her DC into a better place soon for their futures.

Exactly Sir Sugar - projection is often the case.

snowmama Fri 12-Aug-11 20:52:38

I saw that thread it was close to the bone and couldn't post on it, but SGB you are 100% correct...I see it excused all the time.

AgentZigzag Fri 12-Aug-11 22:41:03

I saw the thread as some posters saying anyone who showed X types of behaviour is abusive, and anyone who would stay with that person is weak, not only for putting up with the behaviour, but not complying with the judgement made about the relationship.

I've been in relationships that would be defined as abusive, (sometimes where it's me that's the controlling/abusive one) and even though I knew it wasn't right, there are so many other complicating factors than just the black and white judgement it's abusive, when it comes to deciding to end it.

I personally wouldn't be able to put up with the OPs partners behaviour, but that's not to say I can't understand why she might want to give it a go.

It's not that I disagree with any advice suggesting she leaves him, but she's not 'wrong' to stay, because that's her decision.

And I definately don't think understanding why she wants to stay would equal encouraging a woman to stay in an relationship that some have defined as abusive.

sunshineandbooks Fri 12-Aug-11 23:16:49

Agent I think you're coming at it from a different angle to me, but you're raising a good point about how there is a difference between understanding why someone stays and actively condoning it.

One of the major problems abused women experience is "condemnation for "putting up with it" which is almost as common as the "don't over-react, you have to work at relationships" comments. Women in unhealthy relationships often cannot win, which is why so many stay - if whatever choice you make is wrong, you may as well stick with the one that involves least upheaval.

Whenever I deal with abused women I try to focus on the abuser's behaviour and pointing out why it's wrong rather than focusing on the woman's response to it.

AnyFucker Sat 13-Aug-11 00:25:53

I got a lot of shit on that thread, and also dealt a lot out

Thanks for starting this one, sgb

I am monogamous through and through

I don't think, however, that a "relationship" is worth having to try so hard

The OP on that thread was a young woman at the beginning of her life

Her partner was systematically destroying her spirit, and her individuality

I may be monogamous, but I am an individual

I speak to who I like, when I like, and so does my DH

if I had to change my "self" to stay married, I would not be able to do it, I would move on, and so would DH

I cannot ever condone advice to "work at" a relationship that is abusive

because the work is one way....the more you give, the more they take, that is the definition, right ?

the thing is, the ones who say "you have to give him a chance" often melt away never to be seen again

the harsher ones, who point out all the pitfalls stay

they might say "I don't agree with your decision" but when that poster comes back a few weeks later, who is there ?

the "harsher" regulars who try and reassure women they don't have to put up with that shit, that is who

solidgoldbrass Sat 13-Aug-11 01:20:33

I don't have, and never have had, a problem with consensual monogamy AF. When monogamy has to be policed and enforced by means of sulking, tantrums, whining and indeed physical violence then I have a problem with the idea.

AnyFucker Sat 13-Aug-11 01:24:19

and that is where you and I are in complete agreement, sgb

AnyFucker Sat 13-Aug-11 01:26:11

the op on the thread in question is quite clearly not in a relationship with a monogamous partner, actually

which makes his abuse of her all the more shaming (for him) and a deal breaker (for her)

AgentZigzag Sat 13-Aug-11 02:11:15

I totally agree sunshine, the often asked 'why the fuck don't they leave?' question is suggesting the person's made their bed now they've got to lay in it, ie they're staying because it's only a simple choice between leaving and not leaving.

But this ignores everything else that complicates the situation, complications that can make it very difficult for that person to leave.

At either ends of the 'spectrum' of abusive relationships, it can be pretty obvious to other people that the person should leave if they're routinely enduring physical abuse, or they're overreacting if their DH has been out twice this month and they think he's having an affair.

The OPs relationship I thought was more blurred, and I wouldn't agree that the information she gave about her partners behaviour indicated there was a forgone conclusion to it, set in stone that could never be changed by either of them.

If that were the case nobody would ever try to get through any bad patches they might have in a relationship.

And regardless of whether posters think there can only be one valid option to the posters situation, the evidence that the OPs decided to stay says otherwise.

snowmama Sat 13-Aug-11 06:59:58

I don't think this thread is doing the 'why don't they leave question' though.

It is pointing out that if the partner (or even friends and family) do the whole emotional blackmail, lay on the guilt about any aspect of peoples personality, and generally control and command tactics to maintain the relationship ( and my point would be I see these tactics more often than not ).....then really you have to start questionin how monogamy is often enforced.

As above I have no issue with consensual monogamy (and true in that one partner is not doing something on the side)....but I would argue that is far rarer than people would like to admit.

pallymama Sat 13-Aug-11 07:54:48

If a woman or man has cheated on their partner, then I don't think it's unreasonable for the partner to ask that they avoid contact with the OW/OM. In fact, for any reason that the partner might have, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask. But if the answer is no, then they have to abide by that. As soon as you start applying pressure, through emotional blackmail, threats, sulking etc, it's abusive.

I was actually a little shocked by the number of posts professing that the OP needed to work at the relationship, as if she had been doing something wrong! If she wants a 3 months trial, then that's her choice, but it is not her who needs to work at it, but her partner. I found the number of people who think a woman talking to her exes is wrong, disturbing. I can't quite put my finger on why, but it creeps me out!

nooka Sat 13-Aug-11 08:02:14

That was a sad and slightly weird thread. It seemed that some people just weren't reading what the OP was writing at all. When you are stuck in a really hard place I think what you want most of all is to be heard. Especially if you have a partner that has been actively not listening to you for many years.

I wonder whether part of it is the very strong message that women are given (possibly not always explicitly) that the health of their relationships is somehow their responsibility. I know it is very common for women who have experienced infidelity to spend a lot of time wondering what they did wrong - for myself I remember how important it was for me when my counselor told me that I wasn't responsible for his actions.

My parents still talk to a number of their exs (my godfather is an ex of my mother, his wife is an ex of my father) and they are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary next month. There is no reason this should be a dealbreaker.

BelleDameSansMerci Sat 13-Aug-11 08:31:51

Bloody hell...

I'm not sure those responses were about monogamy/maintaining it so much as projection of their own fears or denials. Although perhaps I missed some nuances as my irritation with some posters increased.

The OP on that thread was so young too. sad

WoTmania Sat 13-Aug-11 09:10:56

I've just read the first 3 pages and given up. I don't get the 'talking to exes is wrong' brigade. Do these people not understand that a) you can have platonic relationships with the opposite sex and b)some people can move on from sexual to platonic.
that bloke sounds like a controlling arsehole and they are a definite example of why staying together isn't always best for the kids.

solidgoldbrass Sat 13-Aug-11 09:29:46

I've also seen threads that suggest it's OK to be a complete shit to a partner indefinitely if s/he has breached monogamy. I don't get this, either. Surely there comes a time where you either stop punishing the partner and being hell to live with, or you end the relationship.

TrillianAstra Sat 13-Aug-11 09:50:32

No it's not, don't be ridiculous.

(I find responding only to titles to be very invigorating)

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