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I think I am actually speechless. Apparently the reason why men bolt is because

(94 Posts)
UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 24-Nov-12 22:02:43

... They are not respected enough by their wives.

Tim Lott's column from the Guardian today:

"I'm going to stick my trembling head above the parapet this week and reveal what men secretly talk about when the women aren't around – at least the men I've known over the past 20 or so years. Contrary to myth, they hardly ever talk about sex. They almost never bitch about other men. They do talk about football, music, films, television and politics. They do value humour highly. They banter, josh and wind up. And sometimes they talk about their marriages.

Some men are happy in their marriages and don't have much to say. Others are reluctant to speak out. But many are frustrated. None of these men are cavemen. Most are fully signed up to feminism in one form or another. Yet the same issues crop up time and again.

Those dissatisfactions in full:

1) Credit. Husbands with children feel they don't get enough credit from their wives. This is especially true when the man is the main wage earner. Going to work every day and taking financial responsibility tends to be seen as a privilege, an "escape" from childcare. But like childcare itself, a nine-to-five job can be a privilege and a burden.

2) Respect. Husbands sometimes feel they don't get enough respect from their wives, who stereotype them as childish and failing to address their responsibilities properly. Men are infantilised. But perhaps men are just living up to expectations.

3) Priorities. Men are a low priority for their wives compared with work, children, friends etc. I once asked my wife to draw up a list of her life priorities. I think I scraped in at about fourth.

Please, sceptical women readers, whose lips I sense curling collectively, don't write in with comments such as "diddums" and "It's your turn to feel like that after six centuries". It's crass and dull. Children need fathers, as well as mothers, whom they can look up to.

Perhaps wives would also feel better if they respected their husbands more. I have mentioned before that I attended a marriage course last year. It taught a very shocking thing – that you should put your partner first. Not your children, or your work, or your friends. To a lot of women that is a cop-out, a throwback to the 1950s. But wouldn't they expect to be put first? Yet this expectation can be a one-way street. To many modern women, a man is seen as ultimately dispensable. Perhaps he is. But you can't expect any man to welcome the news.

It is easy to sideline these observations as whining. But perhaps that's just a way of not facing reality. Fifty years of feminism has meant that the grievances of the wife are sanctified in a way that the grievances of a husband are not. If a woman has a problem, it tends to be taken seriously. If a man has a problem, it tends to be waved away or patronised out of existence.

(Or so men tell me. So don't shoot the messenger. Anyway, this isn't a story about "women", but people in long-term relationships.)

To make sure that no one felt I was speaking out of turn, I emailed this article to half a dozen mates. No one did. The replies were not angry. They were moving and rather sad. Many men nowadays don't, on the whole, feel great about themselves. Men suffer from low self-esteem just as much as women do.

Wives can choose to listen or not. All I can note is that in all the relationships I've seen die over the past 10 years, it's always been the man who bolts. Perhaps it is that allegedly intractable male vice of irresponsibility.

Or perhaps there are valid reasons that the refractions of gender politics renders invisible – and the wilful blindness only becomes apparent when it's too late."

LookBehindYou Sat 24-Nov-12 22:06:34

I do think men are often infantilised and your 'diddums' pretty much backs that up.

BeerTricksPott3r Sat 24-Nov-12 22:08:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FermezLaBouche Sat 24-Nov-12 22:09:47

I don't think the "diddums" came from the OP, LBY. hmm

LynetteScavo Sat 24-Nov-12 22:10:22

This is so fucking complex, I don't know where to start.

2Men who bolt", and" it's always been the man who bolts".....because they are not respected by their wives, or because they are more willing to leave their DC than their wife.

Nothing is this black and white.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 24-Nov-12 22:12:19

Just to be clear - it's not my "diddums" comment, I've just copied and pasted the article...

LookBehindYou Sat 24-Nov-12 22:13:05

Fermez thanks for pointing that out and sorry op. Have just had a small row with a friend about the 'credit' thing so bit too soon.

EdithWeston Sat 24-Nov-12 22:13:42

Yeah, I can agree that both sexes face problems in long term relationships.

But the choice whether to examine that, take responsibility for working to improve the relationship and all that goes with it, is up to the individual man or woman. So he appears to be saying that relationship maintenance is up to the female partner only, and men are helpless creatures who need to have it all done for them, else they just leave?

Wouldn't it be so much better if they actually looked hard at what was happening, and committed as an equal partner with equal responsibility?

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 24-Nov-12 22:14:25

I've never really liked his column, but this one was just bizarre.

Of course, his reasoning must be spot on because six of his friends didn't disagree with him. hmm

ATailOfTwoKitties Sat 24-Nov-12 22:16:46

I attended a marriage course last year. It taught a very shocking thing – that you should put your partner first. Not your children

Errm, why?

Seriously, do they teach this? That you should put the 'needs' of another fully functioning adult above those of children?

ATailOfTwoKitties Sat 24-Nov-12 22:19:20

and no, I wouldn't expect him to put me first in a crisis either, not above the offspring. Is this odd? I wouldn't have thought so.

Mollydoggerson Sat 24-Nov-12 22:21:08

Why can't men voice these concerns to their wives if needs be?

EdithWeston Sat 24-Nov-12 22:21:38

Because you will have been a success at raising your children when they leave you as fully functioning adults themselves. The whole process is about letting go.

Your spouse/partner is (perhaps) someone you want to stick at your side, after the DCs are gone, so it's worth the investment. By both.

waltermittymistletoe Sat 24-Nov-12 22:22:53

Wives can choose to listen or not

Phew. Thank god he gave us little wifeys permission huh?


BOFingSanta Sat 24-Nov-12 22:25:59

Even if you agreed with the thrust of what he was saying (and there are some reasonable points in there), I don't understand why any of it is a justification for men "bolting". From what I've seen on here, men who leave almost always leave for somebody else. And that makes all of it sound like a bit of a pathetic excuse to shag around. It's easy to do something shitty if you can blame the person you are betraying.

EdgarAllanPond Sat 24-Nov-12 22:29:36

"If a woman has a problem, it tends to be taken seriously."


so they never get told they are 'humourless'? 'over-sensitive' ? 'lacking perspective'?

EdgarAllanPond Sat 24-Nov-12 22:30:00

he's just trolling, really.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 24-Nov-12 22:32:44

I think I could stomach this argument if he said - people who don't treat their partners with respect will have bad relationships. What is all this man /woman stuff?

ProphetOfDoom Sat 24-Nov-12 22:33:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LynetteScavo Sat 24-Nov-12 23:24:50

I certaintly don't buy the "partner comes first" thing.

Children come first every time.

I would be horrified if DH put me before our DC.

EdgarAllanPond Sat 24-Nov-12 23:40:03

yes and children come first because we are both adults.

Brodicea Mon 26-Nov-12 12:12:12

Here here Edgar

I have noticed how men are often infantilised in the media: adverts where dad is silly and daft while mum is capable and in control (although with superhuman abilities to go to work AND cook and clean and shop). This probably drives home this idea that Dad is 'just a big kid' which i think can be damaging to male self-esteem.

But, the things in the list just seem to be the flip side NOT of women's 'lib' but of women having to take more of the labour burden overall: women have less time, less money, less energy. And the whole 'script' of the family STILL expects the woman to work at pleasing her man, once all her other work is done.

The real message of this research is that men have to find their own place, reject infantilisation and assert the place of man in the family. But, yet again, the message of the article is that the responsibility for mens happiness is that of the woman. grr.

MoomieAndFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 13:00:26


and partner comes first, before kids, ffs

samandi Mon 26-Nov-12 13:06:22

*I think I am actually speechless. Apparently the reason why men bolt is because
... They are not respected enough by their wives.*

I think that’s a perfectly acceptable reason for bolting, and not sure why it would cause anyone to be speechless. I would bolt if I wasn’t respected enough by my partner too.

It’s also fair enough to want to be given credit for being the wage earner, not being treated like a child and being given a high priority by your spouse. Not sure if the husband should be given a “higher priority” than young children though.

The way the article is written is rather off putting though, and yes, rather whiny.

mcmooncup Mon 26-Nov-12 13:10:24

More women instigate divorce than men.

So, erm...........yeah, thanks anyway.

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