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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."

Altocumulus Wed 12-Dec-12 00:45:35

Lisianthus, You are of course totally right. I will take on board what you have said and try harder next time.

lisianthus Wed 12-Dec-12 00:38:26

No you haven't! Not a single person on this thread has said anything criticising their current spouses. On the contrary, a number of people have said how great their current spouses are. There has been some criticism of previous spouses. Feminism is for women who think highly of men, in that they are not willing to settle for the idea that men will always treat you badly and that you should expect that and accept that.

Altocumulus Wed 12-Dec-12 00:05:51

Ladies, what can I say?

Of course respect goes both ways, but I have definitely found a monstrous regiment here who are far too critical of their spouses.

drjohnsonscat Mon 10-Dec-12 13:24:30

agree Eldritch. That was pretty much "you don't agree with me so you must be nagging bitches" all dressed up as discourse.

EldritchCleavage Mon 10-Dec-12 12:40:45

I seem to have found a self-selecting group, many of whom are pissed off with their DPs and DHs

Oh, no you don't. I am most emphatically NOT pissed off with my DH. My mother isn't pissed off with my father. My sisters are not pissed off with their husbands, either, by the way. Perhaps we're just not middle class enough to fit your whiny problem women profile. But it is more likely that your profile, like Tim Lott's article, is a load of dodgy woman-blaming nonsense.

Darkesteyes Sun 09-Dec-12 15:26:00

Alto what i meant by being a fighter is that i now fight to be heard. Its a result of being brought up under the suffocating mysogyny of Catholicism.
If you want some idea of what Catholicism thinks of women google "Magdelene Laundries"
The last one of those closed as recently as 1996.

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Sun 09-Dec-12 11:09:00

Alto, I had a horrific first marriage. I have high standards these days - and I have a wonderful husband for whom I have a lot of respect. Crucially, respect goes both ways and he treats me respectfully too.

Darkesteyes Sun 09-Dec-12 02:13:27

You say you grew up to be a fighter but do your attitudes create successful relationships? My Irish sister-in-law, a practising Catholic, has created an exceptional relationship with my (very difficult) youngest brother.

Youve said it all really. Youve just got the hump because as a CHILD of one of these relationships i have experienced it first hand from the point of view of the child.
Oh and what youve said in the paragraph ive copied and pasted proves my previous point in the previous post beyond all doubt so thanks for that favour however obviously dubious the intention! grin

SinisterSal Sun 09-Dec-12 01:03:58

I don't get your point Altoculumus. Why on earth wouldn't you respect your partner? And if you don't, why would you stay? It's not like singledom is certain death!

BTW I'm not pissed off with DH. He's flawd, naturally but overwhelmingly great. Or else I wouldn't be with him, nor him with me. So goesfor a lot of the people on this thread. I think you have grasped the wrong end of some stick, somewhere, possibly quite a while back in your past...

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 09-Dec-12 01:00:16

ALtocumulus: The reason you can't get laid is because you are an inadequate whinyarse and an evolutionary dead end. This is progress for the gene pool.

Men who retreat into bitterness and bleating because they were born into a more enlightened age than their percieved Good Old Days when women Knew Their Place are slowly but surely being bred out of existence. Up your game or face extinction, mate.

SinisterSal Sun 09-Dec-12 00:57:55

That's very nice for you Dromadary. I would love if as many people as possible had a lifestyle that suited their own particular personalities and aspirations. most feminists would get behind that - that's why they are the ones advocating the dismissal of gender roles, so that everyone should reach their own potential rather than being shoved into a box which may not fit. I know SAHMs WOHMs SAHDs WOHDs, some love their role, some don't - it's a personality thing. Pre-emptively gendertyping is ridiculous.
If men don't feel able to challenge that assumption, they'll have to man up, quite frankly, women have had to do so. I know it's difficult, but like anything else in life, it won't be handed to you on a plate.

BelleDameSousMistletoe Sun 09-Dec-12 00:38:43

Actually, and much more seriously, have a look at the Relationships board. It staggers me that anyone would want another relationship after some of their experiences.

I'm sure there are disrespectful wives just as there are disrespectful husbands. The thing is, as has been mentioned above, the women don't tend to bolt because of the children.

I'd suggest it's a problem for both women and men.

BelleDameSousMistletoe Sun 09-Dec-12 00:33:32

I may be a fantastic bloke... wink

I couldn't be with someone that I didn't respect and I assume that works both ways.

Maybe the men who have the "disrespectful" wives are, in fact, not that great?

Altocumulus Sun 09-Dec-12 00:21:42

Yup, @BelleDame

Many British women have very high standards and have somehow lost their partners and have no chance of finding any others.

That's been my experience over the last 20 years. Or has yours been different? Have your high standards led you to some fantastic bloke?

BelleDameSousMistletoe Sun 09-Dec-12 00:12:48

Although, actually, most of my American friends are much less likely to put up with any disrespect than most Brits I know.

BelleDameSousMistletoe Sun 09-Dec-12 00:08:17

If you want respect, earn it.

Maybe British women simply have higher standards.

Dromedary Sat 08-Dec-12 23:52:28

I think there's some sense in what he says. I think that stay at home mums often have it easier than their husbands/partners. For instance, I'd much rather stay at home with young children (and far more so with school age children!) than commute a fair distance to work, then work 8 or 9 hours in what may be a tough and insecure job, knowing that I am the sole wage-earner and have to stick with it whatever, then commute back home and be expected to do childcare and housework. The usual assumption is that it is the mother who will stay at home or work part time or take the less key job, and I expect that some men who would like to take on that role don't feel able to challenge that assumption.

Altocumulus Sat 08-Dec-12 23:41:35


What you don't say is whether your parents have a good relationship. Your mother was a female misogynist? What about your Dad? I was brought up in a very happy and respectful Catholic family, but know that many others were less healthy.

You say you grew up to be a fighter but do your attitudes create successful relationships? My Irish sister-in-law, a practising Catholic, has created an exceptional relationship with my (very difficult) youngest brother.


Yes. We need to put our partners first. That is the fundamental truth of relationship success.

I'm new here and seem to have found a self-selecting group, many of whom are pissed off with their DPs and DHs, so I'm obviously not preaching to the converted.

Altocumulus Sat 08-Dec-12 23:18:56

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

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Fri 07-Dec-12 22:38:09

The piece is also heteromonogamist normative wank. Lots of people don't have any interest in or awareness of his boohoo middle-class-men-aren't-worshipped-any-more crap. Because lots of people are single, gay, childless, polyamourous. Heteromonogamy is neither 'natural' nor compulsory, and the sexist heteromonogamous setup of male master and female slave is totally unnatural. That's why it's reinforced with propaganda and violence.

Startail Fri 07-Dec-12 22:17:35

I think there is a fair bit of truth in this.
Yes we should put our partners before our children, at least sometimes.

Work is many men's avoidance tactic, DCs are many women's, If couples don't want to drift apart they need to find a way to shelve these things now and then.

Darkesteyes Fri 07-Dec-12 21:52:55

My mother is basically a female mysogynist. We couldnt be more different from each other.
Hearing the way she and my dad talk about other women (i started a thread in Chat a couple of months back about the way she was blaming and gaslighting the survivors of Saviles abuse. The hatred and vitriol that comes from them both regarding women certainly makes me see why some men would go for a woman from a more mysogynistic culture. Hope ive explained this ok.
I grew up with this so know what im talking about. But its made me into a fighter. It also affects you psychologically though. I would be a liar if i said it didnt.

Darkesteyes Fri 07-Dec-12 21:42:03

Alto my mother is Italian. And part of the reason for the relationship being stronger is a lot to do with Catholicism and what that mysogynistic religion tells women that they should put up with.
And then they try to pass these attitudes down to their daughters.
Having watched my parents relationship (dad is British i know EXACTLY why it looks like it works fron the outside believe me!!

Altocumulus Fri 07-Dec-12 21:17:58


Some interesting responses.

@Joanofarchitrave - Really interesting historical perspective!

@EldritchCleavage - The jokey ads about male uselessness come from extensive research by ad and market research agencies amongst British women over the last 20 years. I know this because my wife carried out a lot of the research! The ads work because they tap into a deep, inchoate well of dissatisfaction amongst mainly middle-class women about their spouses and indeed their lives. The thing is, their lives are for the most part far better than any comparable cohort in other countries, but the dissatisfaction is taken in with their mother’s milk. It’s a particularly British thing.

I am generalising, you are right about that, and a lot of what I’m saying comes from personal anecdotal experience, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. I spoke in my last post about the fundamentally different attitudes of French and American women. Might I also add that with one exception, the strongest relationships amongst my immediate circle of friends and family come from couples where the female partner is Irish or Italian. There is a complete commitment from these women that is lacking in the British partners of other friends.

With one exception. The strongest, healthiest and happiest relationship amongst all my friends and family is a British couple where there is complete and utter devotion and commitment to each other, despite some very difficult times in the past. As Tim Lott said in his Guardian piece, spouses must make each other the most important element in the family. These friends have done that, and have raised two very sane and happy children to adulthood, but their focus for each other was always paramount and they have the best life imaginable.

Yes, EC, women often do get the thin end of the wedge, but that’s not really the point. Tim Lott hit upon something very important.: the importance of female commitment to the relationship. Total? If it works and is reciprocated you’re both in heaven. Partial? Better than life on your own, but a bit crap, really. I should know, I’ve had 25 years of partial commitment.

joanofarchitrave Thu 06-Dec-12 19:15:41

I have to say, I would look at it differently. I would regard the general 'all men are bastards and have tiny dicks, and my partner is a pain in the arse' kind of attitude to be pre-feminist - blaming difficulties in life on inevitable aspects of gender, rather than saying this is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour whether you are male or female. Jessica Mitford wrote about the attitude of some women she worked with in a department store in the 30s who regarded men purely as despicable meal-tickets; she found their views profoundly alienating but (since she was a communist) also saw them as a function of capitalism. Feminism should really allow us to move beyond any 'battle of the sexes' crap but it's very easy to get sucked back into it.

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