Midlife Crisis: Support for Left Behind Spouses

Midlife Crisis => Our Community => Topic started by: Acorn on August 06, 2021, 11:54:51 AM

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on August 06, 2021, 11:54:51 AM
Oops, I forgot to thank FW and Torn for reading along in my last thread.  Thank you!

To anyone following along, welcome!

The last thread ended with me advocating for children, young/teenagers/young adults.

I also expressed my regret that I was a bit tardy in getting to the business of focussing on myself and the kids.  O well, what matters is that I did eventually take my eyes off H and turned my attention to me and our children, who were in deep distress at having been emotionally abandoned by their father.  H was such a devoted and dotting father until he did 180 on them.  No wonder they were in shock and didn’t know how to cope with their grief.  Helping and being there for them became my priority. 

I left my H totally to himself and his crisis.  I was willing to listen if he wanted to chat about himself and his crisis but I did not give any diagnosis, advice, lectures, and other sundry know-it-all cr*p (well, I’m not his mom or therapist), and as long as he respected my boundaries. The boundaries were: NO OW (after I found about about A) and NO disrespectful behaviour.  Get involved with OW again, I know a really good divorce lawyer.  Disrespect me with your angry outbursts, I walk out the room. 

And I got busy with my life — my kids, my job, my friends, my hobbies and my walking.  San H.

Sample of one.

My last thread: https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11619.0;all
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Curiosity on August 06, 2021, 12:05:57 PM
Acorn, sticking with you in this next leg of your journey. I have learned a lot from your sample of one lessons during my time here. I am grateful to you for continuing to share your story.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on August 06, 2021, 01:22:34 PM
Acorn- I went back to your beginning threads and read through. Wow!!! So much good information in your story. Thank you for sharing so much through the years for is newbies to go back through and learn from.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: FaithWalker on August 06, 2021, 07:17:21 PM
Attaching
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on August 07, 2021, 06:48:40 AM
Thank you, Curiosity, Tornup and FW!

To clarify: I wrote, ‘I did not give any diagnosis, advice…’ etc.  I should have said ‘I stopped giving any diagnosis, advice…’

Looking back, I can tell you that I was every bit as nutty as my H for some time after BD.  When I first came across the concept of MLC, it was a Eureka moment.  ‘Now I got him pegged,’ I had thought, and proceeded to educate him about his ‘condition.’  Not only did I try to teach him, I also made a well prepared verbal presentation on all the wrong choices he was making. 

Not only was he unappreciative of my stellar efforts at helping him, he reacted  contemptuously and angrily.  And then he moved on to total indifference and simply ignored me with blank eyes and silence.  Yeah, my hubris and condescension were breathtaking; I would have ignored me, too.

When we were well into reconnecting, I apologized to him for my arrogance and rudeness.  He was a good sport about it.  He said, ‘consider it forgotten.’

O well, you live and learn, don’t you. 

Have a great weekend!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Nas on August 07, 2021, 07:55:58 AM
Thank you, Curiosity, Tornup and FW!

To clarify: I wrote, ‘I did not give any diagnosis, advice…’ etc.  I should have said ‘I stopped giving any diagnosis, advice…’

Looking back, I can tell you that I was every bit as nutty as my H for some time after BD.  When I first came across the concept of MLC, it was a Eureka moment.  ‘Now I got him pegged,’ I had thought, and proceeded to educate him about his ‘condition.’  Not only did I try to teach him, I also made a well prepared verbal presentation on all the wrong choices he was making. 

Not only was he unappreciative of my stellar efforts at helping him, he reacted  contemptuously and angrily.  And then he moved on to total indifference and simply ignored me with blank eyes and silence.  Yeah, my hubris and condescension were breathtaking; I would have ignored me, too.

When we were well into reconnecting, I apologized to him for my arrogance and rudeness.  He was a good sport about it.  He said, ‘consider it forgotten.’

O well, you live and learn, don’t you. 

Have a great weekend!

Thanks for sharing, Acorn. I can also share that I too very brazenly informed my husband that he was having a midlife crisis. And I’m certain I did a bit of moralizing and lecturing in my desperate attempt to gain control of my out of control world.

Do you know what I learned also happens when you tell someone who cares only about themselves and views you as an object that they are having a midlife crisis? Congratulations, you’ve just handed them a tailor-made excuse and justification for all of their rotten behavior.  ::)

It’s funny you use the word arrogant because I literally said that to my former H at one point. In the first few weeks after BD, I informed him he was having a midlife crisis and then also later apologized for arrogantly telling him how he was feeling, as if I knew more than he did how he was feeling. I mean it was like a tornado of emotions in me and I was jumping from taking all the blame to desperately trying to figure it out and back to taking all the blame. And this was before I knew the extent of what he was really up to. All I knew at that point was that he had turned into some kind of robot with massive pupils and no facial expressions.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Dragonfly33 on August 07, 2021, 08:59:36 AM
Do you know what I learned also happens when you tell someone who cares only about themselves and views you as an object that they are having a midlife crisis? Congratulations, you’ve just handed them a tailor-made excuse and justification for all of their rotten behavior.  ::)

You’re so right abou this NAS. My h tells me every time we talked about what he did and the whole affair, he would tell me he had a MLC and he didn’t know what he was doing. Lol 🙄🙄
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: rosetintedglasses on August 07, 2021, 06:43:43 PM
Hey Acorn

Welcome to your new thread.

Rose 🌹
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on August 14, 2021, 01:43:57 PM
Thank you, Nas, Dragonfly and Tornup, for sharing your thoughts. Rose!  Good to see you, and welcome to my thread!



H and I had an interesting conversation in regards to his ‘troubled period,’ as he called it, while gardening side by side the last few weeks.  We used to have a beautiful formal French garden which became quite informal (an understatement!) and wild over the last few years.  Turbulent MLC period may have had something to do with it. ::)

Among other things, we chatted about the process of overhauling the entire garden and how much time and effort we are investing in order to have a lovely garden again.  We’ve been pruning, weeding, pulling out weeds and diseased shrubs, planting new ones, etc.  Two busy bees. 

He was quiet for a while (thinky time) and then he commented how his ‘troubled period’ was like getting rid of the old garden and planting a brand new one, though the new plants were similar to the old ones and the garden layout was almost identical to the previous one.   But he chose each plant with much care and planted all of them himself according to his own design.  And it was the hardest work he had ever done… 

This is not the first time he shared with me his individuation/finding himself process.   

I had(!) to ask him a question.  ‘After you resolved the issues to your satisfaction, did you feel the need to go back to some of the ‘escape from myself’ activities or the mental state of the ‘troubled period’  so that you could say a final goodbye to them and close that chapter for good?’

He looked at me quite puzzled and said, ‘why would I do that?  You have either resolved the issues, or you haven’t.  If you have, there is no temptation to go back.’

…..

Who would have thought we would literally ‘rebuild’ our garden as well as our marriage and family! 

Sample of one. 

Have a great weekend!

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on August 14, 2021, 02:15:37 PM
Acorn-
It must be so nice to get a logical response that is layered in reality. I can remember asking my XH on needing to go back to escape coping mechanism and getting a drawn out response on he didn’t know how to explain it, but he isn’t trying to hide anymore. He is facing reality. He shortly went right back to escaping mechanisms.

I think your H simple and to the point with the puzzled look has to be so comforting. The voice of clarity!! How sweet it must be
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Curiosity on August 14, 2021, 07:59:59 PM
Acorn, I so appreciate your sharing of your reconciliation and rebuilding story, and the wisdom you have gained along the way (as well as the lessons and wisdom gained by your h). It may be the story of one person and one family, but some themes are universal, or nearly so. I love the analogy of the garden, and also the conversation about the need (or lack thereof) to revisit their points of crisis.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on August 29, 2021, 09:39:15 AM
Thank you, Tornup and Curiosity, for sharing your experiences and thoughts.  :)

……

H and I have been working side by side in our garden for a while now (our summer project) and it is turning out to be quite the talk-fest.  We chat about anything and everything, from the mundane to our innermost thoughts. 

Yesterday, we were excitedly talking about the sudden appearance of tender new growths (almost overnight!) on trees and shrubs that were severely pruned back in the last few weeks. That led to us discussing apparent ‘suddenness’ of what’s been unfolding in Afghanistan and how the degree of suddenness seems to be in the eye of the beholder. 

We agreed that, in some life events, the suddenness is total and complete to the people involved in them and to the observers.  In other events, they are viewed as inevitable, even anticipated, by some with deep insider knowledge, but a complete shock to others.

Well, that convo eventually arrived at sharing our personal experiences from 6.5 years ago.  What happened then was a nuclear BD to me but it was an inevitable collapse of dam for H. 

I said to him I did not see those fracture lines in his ‘dam’ at all and it seemed to me that he did a 180 on me and our kids overnight.  He explained that, for quite a while, others saw what what he let them see and he wanted to see for himself also.  It’s not because he wanted to hide the state of disquiet in him from me, it’s just that he did not know why/what was bothering him, how to dispel it, or had any words to describe it.  He thought he was going crazy and wanted to cling to sanity by maintaining normalcy, albeit superficially — kind of ‘fake it till you make it.’ 

Based on what he shared over the years and he articulated clearly yesterday, he was not wilfully withholding communicating with me about whatever was brewing inside of him.  He just did not have the words for it and he was clinging to ‘normal’ by his nails and trying desperately to climb into it. 

I would like to note that our conversation did not evoke any emotional discomfort in either of us. I think that’s a positive sign of healing. 

Sample of one. 

Have a great Sunday!


Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Standing Strong on August 29, 2021, 09:50:03 AM
Following along (as always)....... love reading about your story.  :D

-SS
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: HeavenlyFocus on August 29, 2021, 04:48:28 PM
Well, that convo eventually arrived at sharing our personal experiences from 6.5 years ago.  What happened then was a nuclear BD to me but it was an inevitable collapse of dam for H. 

I said to him I did not see those fracture lines in his ‘dam’ at all and it seemed to me that he did a 180 on me and our kids overnight.  He explained that, for quite a while, others saw what what he let them see and he wanted to see for himself also.  It’s not because he wanted to hide the state of disquiet in him from me, it’s just that he did not know why/what was bothering him, how to dispel it, or had any words to describe it.  He thought he was going crazy and wanted to cling to sanity by maintaining normalcy, albeit superficially — kind of ‘fake it till you make it.’ 

Based on what he shared over the years and he articulated clearly yesterday, he was not wilfully withholding communicating with me about whatever was brewing inside of him.  He just did not have the words for it and he was clinging to ‘normal’ by his nails and trying desperately to climb into it. 

Thank you Acorn,

Your sample of one has been so helpful to me as I continue to work through the collapse of my W and our marriage.   In hindsight, I can see some of the fractures in my W and how she was trying to keep it together until her dam Collapsed.   Don't know if I'll ever insights from her as she is still running away in her crises but you and your H's story is so helpful.

HF
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on August 29, 2021, 09:13:43 PM
Quote
He explained that, for quite a while, others saw what what he let them see and he wanted to see for himself also.  It’s not because he wanted to hide the state of disquiet in him from me, it’s just that he did not know why/what was bothering him, how to dispel it, or had any words to describe it.  He thought he was going crazy and wanted to cling to sanity by maintaining normalcy, albeit superficially — kind of ‘fake it till you make it.’

My XH said something similar. He knew he wasn’t right, but thought he would be able to pull it together, but it just got worse and he was embarrassed to tell anyone that he thought he was going crazy. He let it go for years until he cracked and started using bad coping methods.

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on August 30, 2021, 09:52:12 AM
Thank you, Standing, HF and Torn, for following along!

…..

I feel obliged to add that I try not to guess what’s in his head and just stick to what he tells me and proves with his actions.  (I can just about hear UM’s ‘don’t try to taste green with your elbow’  ;D) My tendency in the early days of LBS-hood to conjecture or assume what’s in another person’s head, make prognoses, or credit myself with the power to change another person has been quite diminished.  I’m hoping to keep it that way. 🤞

Tornup, just to clarify:

According to my H, ‘I think I’m going crazy’ period was around 6-7 months, though that was plenty long enough for him — because of the excruciating pain — to describe it as ‘for a while.’   He said he was mostly happy, content and enjoyed life until that period.  No wonder he was bewildered about his descent into emotional upheaval and felt that he might be going ‘crazy.’  It was such an unfamiliar territory for him.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Standing Strong on August 30, 2021, 01:36:30 PM
Hey Acorn,

Just curious..... that whole "I think I'm going crazy" period, W did that for a bit and said that too (repeatedly).
I'm wondering if he described it to you while it was happening. In W's case, she described it as "loud" and "many voices".
Would be interesting to know how a male MLC'er describes it. Did he?

-SS
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on August 31, 2021, 06:40:45 AM
Just curious..... that whole "I think I'm going crazy" period, W did that for a bit and said that too (repeatedly).
I'm wondering if he described it to you while it was happening. In W's case, she described it as "loud" and "many voices".
Would be interesting to know how a male MLC'er describes it. Did he?

Hi SS,

Disclaimer first:

 I cannot guarantee my recall accuracy.  I must confess I have forgotten a lot of details surrounding H’s crisis, particularly the earlier times.  As I heal and move forward, my memories of the MLC era seem to fade and disappear.  H is the same way.  Not sure why.  You would think it was one of the most memorable events in our lives!   

….


if I remember correctly, H did not mention ‘going crazy’ in those months leading up to BD. He was very quiet, brooding, distant and withdrawn.  It’s only recently that he shared with me the words, ‘I thought I was going crazy.’

If I may, I would like to put forward my view that how much/little or what the crisis person says has more to do with the said individual’s personality traits and background/history than their gender.  (I admit I went with quite the troglodytic approach to forming my opinion — a general impression.  Look at the bright side; I am not so deep in the cave that I think my opinion equals objective truth.  ;D)

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: UrsaMajor on September 01, 2021, 02:24:37 AM
Attaching now that I am back from vacation
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on September 05, 2021, 10:04:33 AM
Happy Sunday!

Thank you, Big Bear, for following along! 

I love gardening.  I don’t mind the benefits of gardening with H — he does all the heavy work. ;D  However, I would be amiss if I did not mention another benefit — he occasionally talks about his crisis.  Another shared moment, another brick in rebuilding.

S1 had a minor traffic accident a few days ago.  No one got hurt.  Phew…  It was his fault and he had no qualms taking full responsibility for it.   That led H and me to a conversation about our kids taking/not taking responsibilities for themselves, and how some of our insights into their maturity level can be gained by looking at this factor alone.  We shared some examples of our own experiences of taking/not taking responsibility in the past and how it seems to be in our nature to pass the buck when unpleasant consequences are in our faces.  He said, ‘Yes, I’m a good example of that.  I realized after a while that the first step out of the deep hole was to take full responsibility for digging it.  I’d say that was the turning point of sorts for me.  Mind you, the temptation to stop at realization and not to take it further was very strong.  It’s easy to read the book cover.  But it takes a lot of time and effort to slog through a tome that is all about you.’  Not verbatim, but pretty close to it. 

This conversation prompted me to reiterate my view that LBSs and MLCers/WASs/cheaters are fully responsible for their choices. 

By all means, keep and cherish your love, empathy and understanding for your spouses if they are suffering, and if that is your choice (it was mine), but I personally wouldn’t be proactive in reducing their responsibility on their behalf.  Understanding the background (e.g. MLC) for their choices does not somehow grant them diminished responsibility.  I think we can sometime confuse or amalgamate these two aspects.   

It’s bad enough when MLCer/WAS/Cheater shoves off their culpability to someone/something else.  It’s even more perplexing when LBS does that on their behalf.

The question to ask is about ourselves, and to take responsibility for the way we think. 

Why do some LBSs appear to be keen on reducing the accountability of MLCer/WAS/Cheater for their choices by attributing some or all of it to other factors?  (Please see below for examples)

What do you get out of that?

I have asked myself the exact questions and the answers were not pretty.  However, it was a necessary step in my healing.

….

With apologies to Dr. Rosenberg — [……] are added by me:

We deny responsibility for our actions when we attribute their cause to factors outside ourselves.  [We deny MLCer’s/WAS’s/Cheater’s responsibility for their actions when we attribute their cause to factors outside himself]

# Vague, impersonal forces—[He left because he was in the ‘fog’]

# Our condition, diagnosis, or personal or psychological history—[He is having an affair because he is in MLC/depressed and confused]

# The actions of others— [OW manipulated him]

# The dictates of authority—[his counsellor said he should leave marriage if he is unhappy]

# Group pressure— [He wants D because he hangs around with the divorced]

# Uncontrollable impulses—[He could not control himself in the face of temptation]



These are not easy to wrap one’s head around.  I emphasize that the purpose of understanding the meaning of responsibility is not about sticking it to MLCer/WAS/Cheater.  But it is about clearly seeing who is responsible for what and refraining from diminishing personal responsibility for oneself or one’s spouse — and doing so without anger or vindictiveness; but with love, empathy and understanding in your heart.

I suggest that understanding ‘responsibility’ is crucial in seeing reality and moving forward with both eyes open. To deny or lessen your own or other’s responsibility is to deny reality.

I do not think it is a coincidence that H started healing when he completely stopped blaming other people/things/conditions and took full responsibility for his choices and started to look within himself for whys. 

Looking back, the same can be said for our relationship.  We could start seriously reconnecting when both of us stopped blaming factors outside of ourselves — while recognizing extenuating circumstances — and took full responsibility for the way we each behaved and reacted. 

Sample of one.

Enjoy your long weekend!





Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: HeavenlyFocus on September 05, 2021, 11:15:42 AM
Looking back, the same can be said for our relationship.  We could start seriously reconnecting when both of us stopped blaming factors outside of ourselves — while recognizing extenuating circumstances — and took full responsibility for the way we each behaved and reacted. 

Hi Acorn,

This is so critical.  There are extenuating circumstances that led to my W's MLC and some things within our marriage that were impacted by the circumstances.  I have tried to really focus on my life and take responsibility for my own behavior.  Leaving my W to figure out her life.   Time will tell if she eventually confronts here own behavior or choices or just continues to blame me.   Grateful for your continued story about how you and your H have taken responsibility and moved on with life.   

HF
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: xyzcf on September 05, 2021, 12:43:02 PM
As usual a very insightful and helpful reflection. Thank you as always for sharing.

Quote
He said, ‘Yes, I’m a good example of that.  I realized after a while that the first step out of the deep hole was to take full responsibility for digging it.  I’d say that was the turning point of sorts for me.  Mind you, the temptation to stop at realization and not to take it further was very strong.  It’s easy to read the book cover.  But it takes a lot of time and effort to slog through a tome that is all about you.’


Quote
I suggest that understanding ‘responsibility’ is crucial in seeing reality and moving forward with both eyes open. To deny or lessen your own or other’s responsibility is to deny reality.

Quote
I do not think it is a coincidence that H started healing when he completely stopped blaming other people/things/conditions and took full responsibility for his choices and started to look within himself for whys.

In the marriages that I have seen that have survived MLC, there has been recognition of what the MLcer did while in crisis and an acceptance of their personal responsibility. I don't think that there could be a marriage without it.

There are also, as in my own case, the complete lack of ownership for anything. No dialogue, no explanation and certainly no discussion at all about what went down. Nothing, absolutely nothing. In earlier years, I tried to open up a dialogue between us. After being met with stoney silence, I stopped for it was causing me more pain that he would not interact with me at all on this.

So my personal opinion is that unless the MLCer resolves their crisis AND wishes to return to their marriage, as with all other things related to MLC, you cannot force someone to accept or admit responsibility for their actions. Those who have vanishers are certainly not able to connect in any way.

My priest very early on after BD, after he spoke to my husband summed it up well. "There is a complete disconnect between Mr. xyzcf's heart and his head".

 
Quote
Understanding the background (e.g. MLC) for their choices does not somehow grant them diminished responsibility.  I think we can sometime confuse or amalgamate these two aspects. 


I agree, it doesn't diminish responsibility. For some LBSers , it can help to find a way to move forward and do what they need to to find a life without their spouse.

I am going to use an example from my own personal history. I have a heart blockage and I don't tolerate medication that is needed to lower my LDL. I am a nurse and I worked in CCU. I have researched and explored all that this means and what I need to do to slow down the progress of this coronary artery disease. I have recently seen another cardiologist for a second opinion. I continue to learn all I can about this disease. The more knowledge I have, the easier it is for me to make the lifestyle changes I need to slow down the progression. I will also reluctantly start an injectable medication every two weeks, if I can tolerate any side effects from it and if not, that is sort my last thing that I can do.

I am like this in every aspect of my life. I want to find out as much as I can and that frees me to proceed.

So I think, based upon other threads that speak to this idea of wanting to know what causes MLC and how it progresses, I think there is a misunderstanding that this is not a healthy way to proceed on our journey.

Thus, and this is my own personal belief that I don't really understand this statement:

Quote
Why do some LBSs appear to be keen on reducing the accountability of MLCer/WAS/Cheater for their choices by attributing some or all of it to other factors?

I am not reconnecting even on a tiny level with Mr. xyzcf regardless of the contact between us. Thus, the issue of responsibility has no place other than my own inner work looking at how I can become a better person because of this experience.


Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on September 05, 2021, 12:57:32 PM
Quote
I do not think it is a coincidence that H started healing when he completely stopped blaming other people/things/conditions and took full responsibility for his choices and started to look within himself for whys

Then there are the ones that seem to take responsibility. Mine says it is all him. He changed. He doesn't know how to get out of where he is. So, he just ruminates things in his head over and over with no solution except self pity. He can see he has issues, insecurities, guilt,shame …. All of it, but wont work through the toughest aspects to deal with better coping. He would rather run and start a new life that is not as good. That he is still not happy, but that he doesn't have to be reminded of all his mistakes and pain.

I have brought up that you take all that with you, but he doesn't see it that way. He sees it as not having to look into the other persona's face that he did it to anymore. In the end I guess it is just an inner strength that some have that they are able to move past the cover and others just would rather try and keep the book shut. Regardless of whether the they have peaked at slime
of the chapters or not.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on September 06, 2021, 11:49:15 AM
Thank you, xyzcf and Torn, for reading and commenting on my thread.  It’s lovely to read what others think. 

I hope I can type because my fingers are aching from pulling out the last of the ivy ground cover in the backyard. ( >:(!!!!!!!).  H is working today (on public holiday!) and I was determined to finish by myself what we started some time ago.  Never, ever plant ivy in your garden.  Grrrrrr. 

Quote
So I think, based upon other threads that speak to this idea of wanting to know what causes MLC and how it progresses, I think there is a misunderstanding that this is not a healthy way to proceed on our journey.

If I may, please.

My view is that LBS’s information gathering on MLC is very helpful, especially in the beginning.  (I’d say to newbies to go for it.)  All the MLC info you collect gives a name to the unbelievable changes — seemingly overnight — in our spouses, and that is a good thing.  You want some plausible answers to reduce the bewilderment factor. 

After a certain point, though, you (general ‘you’) heal a bit and are encouraged to change your focus — ‘eyes off MLCer,’ ‘mirror work,’ ‘personal growth,’ etc.  You proactively change your focus, and then, hopefully, you experience favourable changes in yourself. 

The following quote by a Canadian writer encapsulates my thoughts which I have in my collection of lessons:

“What you focus on grows, what you think about expands, and what you dwell upon determines your destiny.”

Just my opinion. 
…..
Torn, from my sample of one, I saw that H’s awareness of what he had done was the first step of a thousand mile restitution journey.  That took place after he more or less resolved his issues.  May your H take another step, and then one more, and keep going. 

Enjoy the rest of the day, folks!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: xyzcf on September 06, 2021, 12:44:32 PM
Quote
After a certain point, though, you (general ‘you’) heal a bit and are encouraged to change your focus — ‘eyes off MLCer,’ ‘mirror work,’ ‘personal growth,’ etc.  You proactively change your focus, and then, hopefully, you experience favourable changes in yourself.

I agree Acorn.  We are amazingly resilient beings and healing occurs and we find ourselves in a different and hopefully better place.

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on September 06, 2021, 12:57:49 PM
Quote
Torn, from my sample of one, I saw that H’s awareness of what he had done was the first step of a thousand mile restitution journey.  That took place after he more or less resolved his issues.  May your H take another step, and then one more, and keep going


🤞 I know its a long process and longer for the ones that fight it. Your story gives us hope. Thank you for continuing to share it
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on September 06, 2021, 02:08:19 PM
Ok, I bagged up all the ivy.  10 huge garden bags of it.  Good riddance!  I don’t want to see any more ivy for the next decade. 

Continuing from where I left off.

After some time has passed, LBS may come to the realization that she really need to wean herself off cherry picking her crisis spouse’s words and actions and reading the tea leaves in order to make them fit into MLC concepts and stages. 

It is my view that stepping back from constantly bathing your brain in MLC concept and stages may help you see reality.  MLC lens can distort what you see or see what’s not really there.

With more healing and detachment, LBS might even come to see that MLC may or may not be the only possible explanation for what is going on with her spouse. And you consider the possibility of other mitigating factors, such as marriage that has been dysfunctional for many years, clinical depression, complicated grief disorder, personality disorder, substance addiction, habitual lying, serial cheating, etc.  Add MLC to the mix and things get complicated.  People are complicated, too.

Just my opinion.  Sample of one.

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Curiosity on September 06, 2021, 02:24:48 PM
Excellent discussion, as always. It’s entirely possible - and essential to reach a place of healing - to realize that no matter how much fog was present, no matter how many enablers they were surrounded by, no matter how many extenuating circumstances existed… the actions taken and the words spoken were because of choices made by the MLCer. And yes, both people have to realize that and own it and accept it. And further, it is just as important to recognize any frailty that may have been present in the relationship before BD, to recognize that that frailty lies in choices made by both people, and for both people to work to do better, whether in a reconciled relationship or in their future relationships. Early on, taking responsibility can feel like shouldering the blame for something that you either didn’t cause, or at least you alone didn’t cause. Moving forward, though, taking responsibility feels completely liberating, because it means you are in control - not of everything, but of your own path forward, of your own response to whatever might arise.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: UrsaMajor on September 07, 2021, 02:55:30 AM
Torn, from my sample of one, I saw that H’s awareness of what he had done was the first step of a thousand mile restitution journey.  That took place after he more or less resolved his issues.  May your H take another step, and then one more, and keep going. 

Enjoy the rest of the day, folks!

This is one of the points that I think gets forgotten about often... The LBS is so enthusiastic and fearful that the Mid-Lifer just might begetting their head out of their .... fog... that we (the royal collective "we")  might forget that the REAL work for the Mid-Lifer can ONLY get started once they have dealt with and begun resolving their own internal issues that brought them to that stage in the first place. Anything else is really a "false start" and more akin to a cover-up rather than really dealing with the initial causes of the issue to begin with.....

It’s entirely possible - and essential to reach a place of healing - to realize that no matter how much fog was present, no matter how many enablers they were surrounded by, no matter how many extenuating circumstances existed… the actions taken and the words spoken were because of choices made by the MLCer. And yes, both people have to realize that and own it and accept it.

(https://media.giphy.com/media/l3fZLxC6KrjxVsW5i/giphy.gif?cid=ecf05e47ngowqu7hj0gv10fat52jylaswqtgjkd3qljf0vo7&rid=giphy.gif&ct=g)
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on September 07, 2021, 08:04:53 AM
Thank you, UM, Curiosity and HF (apologies for omitting you in my previous post) for sharing your thoughts. 

…..

The LBS is so enthusiastic and fearful that the Mid-Lifer just might begetting their head out of their .... fog... that we (the royal collective "we")  might forget that the REAL work for the Mid-Lifer can ONLY get started once they have dealt with and begun resolving their own internal issues that brought them to that stage in the first place. Anything else is really a "false start" and more akin to a cover-up rather than really dealing with the initial causes of the issue to begin with..... 

You put your finger on an important point, UM. 

I’m willing to bet my 10 bags of ivy clippings that any significant amount of work done on the issues by MLCer are, more often than not, unseen and unheard.  Those little changes LBS observes in MLCer’s mannerism, interaction level, interests, a little smile here, a few words there, are not all that meaningful, I suggest.  Arn’t those fluctuations just part of being human, not necessarily any sign of working through issues? 

Moving forward, though, taking responsibility feels completely liberating, because it means you are in control - not of everything, but of your own path forward, of your own response to whatever might arise.

You nailed it, Curiosity.  I couldn’t agree with you more! 

If you do not fully own your feelings, behaviours, decisions, and everything else that springs forth from your own mind and body, you have little agency to fix it, either.   Such common sense but sometimes it goes AWOL. 

….

I would like to pay tribute to HB on my own thread  (Her passing was mentioned in the thread, ‘Rest In Peace: When someone dies.’)

Her wise guidance in the turbulent times after BD was invaluable in charting my own journey. 

Thank you, HB.

Rest In Peace.


Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on September 18, 2021, 10:41:10 AM
Happy Saturday!

I was grocery shopping yesterday.  Suddenly, I heard a lady barking at someone with intense irritation, ‘Don’t stop the cart right in the middle the aisle.  Are you blind or stupid, or both?’  I turned around, fully expecting to see a hapless child being verbally abused and humiliated in public and shaking in his boots upon hearing such toxic invective.  It was her partner…. He sheepishly responded, ‘sorry, honey.’  I was stunned... The couple appeared to be in their 50’s.  When I came home, I made a beeline to my computer to look for some articles on Violent Communication in my folder, ‘Life Lessons.’ 

Becoming acquainted with ‘Non Violent Communication’ and, it’s opposite, ‘Violent Communication’, was a sort of turning point in my manner of interacting with others, and also one of the main reasons I completely stopped shooting ‘truth darts’ at H.  I’m not talking about stating and applying my boundaries to protect my dignity.  ‘Truth darts’ as I practiced were a shining example of Violent Communication and they further eroded the precious little bit of relationship that was still in existence between H and me.  Refraining from Violent Communication and changing over to Non Violent Communication has had a positive impact on my relationship with my H, especially as we were starting to reconnect.   I can see how that change was no brainer.  When you choose to communicate violently, you reap the consequences —nothing good…

Back to my ‘Life Lessons’ folder.   

I found the following article on Violent Communication in the folder — most likely a NVC training site.  I do remember editing it slightly to personalize it for me and my situation. 

Violent communication is communication that limits liberty, denies recognition of needs, diminishes the worth of a person, and/or blocks compassion.

Violent communication is often the result of using manipulative or coercive language that induces fear, guilt, shame, praise, blame, duty, obligation, punishment, and/or reward.

Violent communication happens in speaking and listening (and in thinking, through self-talk or imagined conversations).

Common ways that violent communication occurs are through:


- Moralistic judgments and evaluations of others

Typical examples include insulting, putting people down, labeling, criticizing, or diagnosing.
 
- Denial of responsibility for our own feelings, thoughts, and actions


 Typical examples include blaming our feelings, thoughts, and actions on others, vague and
impersonal forces, authority, policies, rules, regulations, social or gender roles, or uncontrollable impulses instead of our own choices and needs.

- Demands

Typical examples of demands include an implied or explicit threat of blame, punishment, or reward.


- Blocking compassion

Typical examples revolve around intellectual understanding that leads to trying to “fix” a situation
by providing feedback that advises, one ups, shuts down, educates, corrects, explains, or interrogates a person.
 
If we speak violently to others, they may do what we want by our inducing fear, guilt, shame, praise, blame, duty, obligation, punishment, or reward.


When you try to control others this way, the questions to ask yourself are:

What are the costs in terms of the relationship between me and others if I communicate this way?
How ‘good’ is my goodwill? 
Is it self-serving?


Sample of one!  And, yes, I’m rather keen on NVC. 

Have a great weekend!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: FaithWalker on September 18, 2021, 07:28:14 PM
S says that his MLCer F speaks to him like a drill sergeant.  Sadly, this type of communication is all too familiar.

And not to ignore the plank in my own eye, I have been guilty of it as well.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on October 02, 2021, 01:37:17 PM
Thank you FW. 
And not to ignore the plank in my own eye, I have been guilty of it as well.
You and me both!

…..

H and I have been spending a lot of time together while planning a long trip out of the country. We chatted  a lot and solved a lot, if not all, of the problems in the world.  ;D He also asked me some questions in regards to my mental landscape during the turbulent period.  Naturally, the topic of detachment came up.  We had quite the conversation on the topic and it prompted me to consider more deeply about some important components of my detaching process. 

When my detachment was in its incipient stages, I became aware that there were some prerequisites before I could make any meaningful steps towards healing and attaining peace in my centre. 

At the top of the list was that I had to accept the truth.  Not ‘MY truth’ as per trendy psychobabble, but objective and indisputable truth.

Objective truth was that our marriage of nearly 3 decades was no more. 

Objective truth necessarily precluded me from making assumptions about what was going on in H’s head, analyze his words and behaviour, or predict the future.

Objective truth shone a bright light on my cognitive biases. After I had read various concepts on MLC and its supposed stages, my mind forged a pathway through which I processed H’s behaviour to fit in with what I had read — rather warped and blinkered thought process. 

Objective truth was that compartmentalizations of pre-BD H and post-BD H was really me performing an Olympic level mental gymnastics to find excuses for H’s unacceptable behaviour and denying his accountability.  Objective truth is that a person is the total sum of everything that emanate from him. 

Acceptance of reality.  That was the beginning of detachment with love and empathy. 
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on October 02, 2021, 02:17:49 PM
Acorn- your post could not have come at a better time. I needed to read every word of it. Thank you
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Nas on October 02, 2021, 02:24:35 PM


At the top of the list was that I had to accept the truth.  Not ‘MY truth’ as per trendy psychobabble, but objective and indisputable truth.



I love that you made this distinction. I hear the phrase "I'm speaking my truth" all the time as a shorthand for people to verbalize what they want to be true while avoiding what is actually true.
"My truth" (code for "my feelings") changed multiple times early on, but THE TRUTH never did.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: xyzcf on October 02, 2021, 02:32:33 PM
Quote
At the top of the list was that I had to accept the truth.

I think that perhaps as a defense mechanism, it might be hard to accept the truth, but eventually the LBSer will see it and more importantly feel it.

Quote
Acceptance of reality.  That was the beginning of detachment with love and empathy.

Acceptance of reality. I agree wholeheartedly! I also think "acceptance of reality" might be a better phrase to use than "detachment". Not sure why, it just makes a bit more sense to me.

Lovely as always to hear your thoughts Acorn!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: JohnnyBravo on October 02, 2021, 03:39:42 PM
Yep, that's my big hurdle (more like a Berlin Wall): Acceptance of reality. Good words, Acorn.

JB
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Reinventing on October 03, 2021, 12:48:40 AM
I would say "acceptance of reality" is what happens in the head and that "detachment" describes the emotional healing that comes with acceptance of reality.

Once we accept reality, then we detach and turn our focus, energy, and time on ourselves and not on them because we accept that we can't change what they choose to do and be and that the marriage as we knew it is over, whether a new one is built from the ashes or not.

Essentially it's not what should be, it is what is. It's not what we hope it to be, it is what we are actually experiencing. It's not a dream life, it is this precious life we have to live.

We fully learn that the only person we can control is ourselves.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Curiosity on October 03, 2021, 02:38:59 PM
Great discussion, and Reinventing, the way you describe detachment as the emotional healing process that comes after the logical acceptance of reality makes so much sense. I think that this whole process, both the acceptance of THE truth rather than MY truth as well as the detachment, is the very heart of our journeys… and I think that for each of us, the distance between THE truth and MY truth has a lot to do with how long it takes to really get started on that journey.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on October 03, 2021, 03:46:41 PM
Great conversation!! I think it is easy to get lost in the “my situation is different” also. When you can see your situation in everybody’s story, but you still deny you are in that total circumstance. I have had to really face reality this week and realize my XH is in a much deeper crisis than I wanted to admit and not only am I not helping him by hanging on, I am most likely hurting him. So, If it is hurting him and for sure hurting him. Detach detach detach!!! It took me way to long to get to this conclusion.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on October 17, 2021, 10:10:28 AM
Thank you, Tonr, Nas, xyzcf, JB, Reinventing and Curiosity, for reading and adding your observations on this thread.  Much appreaciated! 

……..

It appears my husband is (and has been for a while) where he can share with me how he felt and thought during his crisis without getting triggered and revisiting the place of deep despair.  He acknowledged that he recognizes I’ve been at that healed place longer than he has and that he can see he may share his crisis experiences without worrying about hurting me or our relationship.  He also told me that he feels compelled to share his experiences with me, his wife/best friend of decades. 

So, he talked about what he had to do before he could even think about digging himself out of the deep dark hole he was in — Acceptance of Reality.  I nearly fell off my chair when I heard those words.  He was surprised at my reaction and asked why.  I told him ‘acceptance of reality’ was the trumpet call to me to climb out of my very own black hole.  We agreed that it was up to each individual to respond to that call.  Or not…

We wholeheartedly agreed that Acceptance itself does not get you or your loved ones very far, if at all, but acting on it and changing your behaviour will.  We talked about how easy it would have been to stall at accepting reality, and how much internal work was needed to actually change our mental state and behaviour to be accountable for that reality.  He gave an example: the acceptance of the reality of his adultery, intense drinking, addiction to buying ‘things,’ would not have made  much difference to him, me, or our relationship if he didn’t do anything about it.  ‘I had to translate that into action.’ 

I should add that this is all in hindsight.  He is now able to look back and put words to his experience.

Just a sample of one.

Have a great day!


Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Nas on October 17, 2021, 05:49:16 PM
Thanks for the update, A.
This is a topic I’ve been thinking of a lot. It reminded me so much of something I read recently as I was having a panic attack trying to come to terms with some things around life and the future and treatment and next steps. It fits so perfectly I just had to share it:

“When we practice acceptance, we’re just saying one thing: yes, this is happening. That’s it. And paradoxically, that yes then frees us up to start changing the situation or changing ourselves in relation to it.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inviting-monkey-tea/201902/accepting-reality-feels-unacceptable

“To accept what is offers us permission to finally be authentic with ourselves, to fully be in our own company. When we can say I accept that this is the way it is—even if I hate it and don’t know what to do about it—then we can at least be in the truth, which ultimately, is the most empowering, brave, and self-loving place from which to create our life.”
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on October 17, 2021, 06:15:28 PM
Quote
   He gave an example: the acceptance of the reality of his adultery, intense drinking, addiction to buying ‘things,’ would not have made  much difference to him, me, or our relationship if he didn’t do anything about it.  ‘I had to translate that into action.’ 
what was that action that made the difference?
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: terra on October 17, 2021, 07:41:18 PM
Actions speaking louder than words, as well.

I caught a radio programme the other night in which the speaker reiterated that when we cannot change our circumstances, maybe the first step is to change our perspective. It struck me as wise, and I am still contemplating how that fits into my current ...circumstances. Maybe it is a sidestep from acceptance of reality? Or a precursor to it?

Always good to see your updates, Acorn; so glad you and your h are doing well.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on October 18, 2021, 08:21:21 AM
what was that action that made the difference?

He stopped affair, drastically cut down on drinking, stopped spending $$$ on frivolous distractions, etc. In short, he was taking actions that reflected his attitudes and lifestyle of pre-BD. 

I must say that he didn’t spend much energy on narrating how he owns this and that.  Besides, what’s the point of stating the obvious?  Facts are there for all to see.  Words of admission and intentions are kind of redundant, in my opinion. It would have taken only a few minutes and even less number of calories to state what an ass he had been or what he was planning on doing.  What really counted for him and me was his deliberate and consistent actions over a long period of time until those actions became a way of life and part of him. 

“When we practice acceptance, we’re just saying one thing: yes, this is happening. That’s it. And paradoxically, that yes then frees us up to start changing the situation or changing ourselves in relation to it.”
//
“To accept what is offers us permission to finally be authentic with ourselves, to fully be in our own company. When we can say I accept that this is the way it is—even if I hate it and don’t know what to do about it—then we can at least be in the truth, which ultimately, is the most empowering, brave, and self-loving place from which to create our life.”

Ha!  Here I was writing a whole post about ‘Acceptance.’  The above quotes are the dictionary version of that.  Acceptance — It’s a start.  It’s has a great potential.  It’s the hard work that comes after that will make any difference to one’s life, isn’t it. 

I caught a radio programme the other night in which the speaker reiterated that when we cannot change our circumstances, maybe the first step is to change our perspective. It struck me as wise, and I am still contemplating how that fits into my current ...circumstances. Maybe it is a sidestep from acceptance of reality? Or a precursor to it?

Or, widen our perspective? 

In the beginning of LBS-hood, it’s easy to restrict LBS’s perspective to a tiny pinhole view where ‘MLC’ explanation becomes the mother of all explanations for the (ex)spouse’s change of heart and his actions.  Who knows, focussing on ‘MLC’ diagnosis as the root of most things we don’t like about the errant spouse and our situation, pays some kind of emotional dividends to LBS.  Maybe the false assumption that the end of MLC heralds the return of (ex)spouse plays some role as well? 

Just my view. 
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on November 03, 2021, 07:59:28 AM
I did not think I would have anything more to share on HS, seeing how far removed we are from H’s crisis days. 

But then, H’s ‘tool box’ made an appearance. I thought it was important enough for me to record it. And because I’m tired of auditioning what to pack in my suitcase.  (Do I really need to take 6 pairs of shoes? Feel free to wade in with your opinions, ladies.  ;D)

We have been busy preparing for a long stay overseas.  There are a thousand and one things to take care of before we leave.  H is making sure that the house is ready for the winter and everything within and without is in tip-top condition.  I smile and sigh with contentment as I see him tackle one task after another, accompanied by his beloved old toolbox, which he bought more than 3 decades ago just before we got married.  You should see it. It’s such an ugly thing — it’s bright orange, the lid doesn’t close properly, it weights a ton.  But H wouldn’t trade it for anything!

One evening last week, we were talking and chuckling about his battered old toolbox.  Our conversation took a very different course when he started reminiscing about his ‘emotional tool box’ as he was trying to get out the hole he dug.  (By the way, he does not blame anything or anyone else for his ill choices.  No mention of the fog, impulses, temptations, infulences, situations, etc. Not even a hint.  If I was allowed to choose only one indicator that he is completely out of his crisis, it would be his taking 100% personal accountability — no blaming, no excuses.  Zero, zilch, nada.)

He shared with me a maxim that you cannot use what you don’t have.  You need to proactively look for the emotional tool box you did have before the crisis.  He explained the ‘tool box’ analogy this way:

It is not enough to find the tool box — you need to open it and examine what tools are within it. 

Even that is not enough — you grab the tools and start using them. 

Most importantly, you continue to use those tools until they become another set of hands for you. 

In my view, H’s tool box included many useful tools.  Before his crisis, he was emotionally mature, responsible, reliable, analytical, practical, persistent, and an ‘action over words’ person.  The tools/traits/maturity were rediscovered and utilized. 

Our ‘tool box’ conversation lasted over 3 hours and the above is a distilled version of it.

I had thought a lot about his ‘tool box’ explanation since then, and his sample of one adds a bit of flesh to my theory that he was able to extricate himself from his crisis and the mess he made, only because he already had what he needed within himself.  If he had been emotionally stunted and relied on others to prop him up (consciously or unconsciously) before the crisis, I do not believe he would have dug himself out of the hole.  There is no miracle.  Just a lot of hard work with the tools you already have.  Sample of one, of course. 

Back to packing my suitcase(s).  How many pairs of shoes…
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Nas on November 03, 2021, 08:35:17 AM
Only 6 pairs of shoes, Acorn? That's my definition of "roughing it."  ;)
Thank you for the update. It's so generous of you to share your H's words with us, and IMO what he said is so important: you cannot use what you don't have. If you didn't have a solid emotional toolbox before the crisis, it's not going to just appear to you like a reward in a videogame - "collect enough gold stars and you'll earn an emotional toolkit." Wouldn't that be nice. But just like anything else, you have to apply yourself and make a concerted effort to learn what you don't already know. Otherwise, I'd be better at math!
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: marvin4242 on November 03, 2021, 08:40:42 AM
I had thought a lot about his ‘tool box’ explanation since then, and his sample of one adds a bit of flesh to my theory that he was able to extricate himself from his crisis and the mess he made, only because he already had what he needed within himself.  If he had been emotionally stunted and relied on others to prop him up (consciously or unconsciously) before the crisis, I do not believe he would have dug himself out of the hole.  There is no miracle.  Just a lot of hard work with the tools you already have.  Sample of one, of course. 

Thanks for the update. And I just want to say in my opinion this is GOLD and is the core of why the idea that MLC is just a "process" and you just stick it out is flawed. This part is critical to whether someone going through MLC has a chance to find footing and start finding a way out or now. And I fear many don't have the required "tools" once the house falls down to even start.

So its both hopeful and a note of caution. I know I can not tell you whether my wife, who was very self aware and had a lot of tools before all this, has the right ones to ever recover.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on November 03, 2021, 09:03:10 AM
Thank you for sharing. I think that all is so true. I think also when they slip they tend to then loose some identity or maybe question it and then hide behind the stronger spouse. I can look back and see where my XH started asking my opinion on so many things. When he left I think those cane back to bite me. He said “ I have never been strong, mature, self reliant, moral etc… you just were always good for covering for me.

I think for many they have a hidden insecurity that they have to find out the cause for. My XH had so many go traits. I actually looked up to him as the voice or reason. In the end he was fighting insecurities and mirror those around him to get through. There is a deep sense of not having a personal identity. At least with my XH.
I find those that make it through…there thoughts are such an amazing piece of a puzzle to have
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Nas on November 03, 2021, 09:33:00 AM
Just wanted to add in experience, it was so unbelievably heartbreaking when I took an honest assessment and realized my former husband did not have the kind of tools beforehand. It took me a while to get there and the realization was almost another BD, but a necessary BD I hit myself with. As I was packing up to move states and rebuild, I distinctly remember tearfully wrapping up a specific item and then unwrapping it and putting it aside to donate instead of take with me, and I actually said out loud to myself: sometimes we have to break our own hearts with the truth. Reality can be very painful to face sometimes, for both MLCers and LBS.
(sorry for the gloomy follow up)
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Curiosity on November 03, 2021, 10:19:04 AM
Acorn, thank you so much for continuing to share, even beyond what you had anticipated. This information is so important - both your words, and the discussion prompted by them.

They can want to heal, want their lives back, and even be looking for the tools to help them get there. But if the tool that they actually need is one that isn’t in their toolbox, they will continue doing incomplete repairs until they actually go out and find those proper tools.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Treasur on November 03, 2021, 11:19:00 AM
Ditto with Nas on the shoes  :)
I have been known to take four pairs just for a long weekend.....
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Songanddance on November 03, 2021, 12:46:13 PM
Several pairs of shoes in a variety of colours ( I love colour co-ordination) and put quite a few of those in H's suitcase too!  You carried the marriage and walked those emotional miles - he can now carry those shoes with gratitude!

I like the analogy but fear that following his stroke, my H has lost some of his capacity to regain or develop the emotional tools he didn't even know he had!  :o ::) ::) ;D
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: 9393roo on November 03, 2021, 01:44:40 PM
Thanks for continuing to share Acorn.  It does mean so much. 

Quote
Several pairs of shoes in a variety of colours ( I love colour co-ordination) and put quite a few of those in H's suitcase too!  You carried the marriage and walked those emotional miles - he can now carry those shoes with gratitude!

I love this analogy! 
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: xyzcf on November 03, 2021, 06:46:50 PM
I like to travel light so have learned to take everything in black and white but that is usually for a shorter trip.

I wanted to add that the LBSer also needs "tools" to be able to rebuild their marriage. I would suggest that the most important tool is the ability to forgive their spouse.

I also believe that an important tool is to be approachable..if you are still wanting a relationship with them.

I think it takes a great deal of courage for the MLCer to approach their spouse and family to attempt any kind of reconcilation. The LBSer's openness is one tool that might allow the MLCer to approach and start the process of reconnection.

It is not a guarantee, but it makes sense to me regardless of what the outcome will be.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Seahorse on November 04, 2021, 08:05:52 AM
Acorn - Thank you for sharing, indeed.
Interesting thought about the toolbox.
My husband has never been “handy” so his metaphorical toolbox is probably quite empty.
Perhaps his rusty tools that he does have can be dusted off and used for his good at some point.

Enjoy your trip.
I hope that it is wonderful for you both.

Sea
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: UrsaMajor on November 04, 2021, 08:12:15 AM
OK, I know I am going to Hades for this but .....

Acorn, you have perfectly described the major difference...

Either the MLC'er HAS tools in their box or simply IS a tool....

(https://media.giphy.com/media/reJOGQ43nNeGk/giphy.gif)
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: KeepItTogether on November 04, 2021, 11:09:21 AM
Well I definitely don't think my H has the tools, and never did. But I also knew this prior to BD. I think he has (DEEP DOWN) a kind compassionate heart. But a mature, responsible adult? Not quite. I personally have no clue how to navigate that. It's easy to say, "He needs to do the work." Much harder in practice.  Especially when he is a stage 5 clinger.

As always, thank you for your insights Acorn. I know both you and your H have done the work. And it is paying off.

As for the shoes, bring them all. I usually pack a second suitcase dedicated to shoes. A girl needs options.  ;)
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: UrsaMajor on November 05, 2021, 03:13:10 AM
Especially when he is a stage 5 clinger.

I think I found a picture of him!

(https://media.giphy.com/media/l3V0d6rmSuzSwcb0Q/giphy.gif)
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: terra on November 06, 2021, 06:03:38 AM
I’m barefoot except when shoes are explicitly required. So I usually wear one pair for traveling and pack *maybe* a second pair — the opposite of the traveling pair. If I travel casually, pack the elegant pair; if traveling elegantly, pack the flip-flops. I don’t like baggage claim or waiting, I prefer to make the most of whatever destination from the moment I set foot on the ground, so always travel light and with intention to bring back more than I carried in.

;) Travel light. One casual/comfortable pair, one more dressy/formal. We were born without shoes and it’s possible we really don’t need as many as we wind up with!

About toolboxes and tools, h had an impressive 3-car garage full of the best, and he used them expertly. I loved that about him, and that it wasn’t just for show or status. He knew how to do all the things, like no one else I ever knew.

I visited him one summer after he’d made off with ow2. Guess where the tools and toolboxes all were?

Nowhere to be seen. Not a single tool or toolbox in sight, not even in the new garage.

I own a set of screwdrivers and a claw hammer, a set of small jewelry pliers and such, a knife sharpening stone, a pocketknife, a pair of embroidery scissors, and a ton of ink pens. I hope those wool be enough for me; lately I feel I travel a little too light in the toolbox respect too.

I hope your away trip is full of wonderful amazements, good food, and the best of good times. (((HUGS)))
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on November 06, 2021, 07:16:09 AM
Wow, thank you for ‘wading in’ in your wellies/gum boots about the shoes!  I have decided on 4 pairs.  I usually travel incredibly light but this upcoming trip is for several months, covering 2 continents.  So, I think I’m doing well with just 4 pairs. 
 
Thank you also to many who shared their insights on this thread.  I would like to let you know I read every word very carefully and appreciate them. 

…..

If I may clarify:

My post was mainly about H using his pre-existing tools to resolve the issues that sparked his crisis. 

Yes, he also used those same tools to recompense and rebuild the relationships he had broken during his crisis.  However, there had to be prerequisites to reconciliation that were the matter of the heart, not of the ‘tool box’ — love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness (cancelling of debt and no settling of scores) and, above all, the desire to reconcile.   And on both sides. 

Sample of one.

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on November 19, 2021, 05:51:56 AM
Thank you, Nas, Marvin, Torn, Curiosity, Treasur, Song, Roo, Xyzcf, See, UM, KIT and Terra, for reading and commenting on this thread!

…..

Hello from a sunny place! 

Another noteworthy string of conversations, important enough for me to document here.

We’ve had a lot of time to chat while travelling to a place for an extended stay.  Long layovers and extra long flights were conducive to unhurried and focused conversations. 

The purpose of this trip reflects our adjusted attitude toward our place in the world we share with billions of souls.  Previously, we had talked many times about the trend, ‘It’s all about ME!,’ that has been unashamedly trending for many decades around us and in which we willingly participated.  My marriage, my partner, my family, my achievements, my job, my worth, my thoughts, my opinions, etc., etc.

Nothing wrong with any of these, except when the ‘MY’ aspect overwhelms everything else and life is all about I, me and myself. 

I’m thankful we could converse more deeply about this topic while travelling.  It was another brick in our bonding and rebuilding process, the chief tool being the act of conversing, more than the topics, though very interesting and important.  We tried to practice focussed listening, considered answers, and seeing each other’s point of view without judgement or making assumptions.

H and I discussed the goals we had been pursuing in our adulthood.  Happy marriage and family, nurturing and educating our children, professional achievements, financial security, a comfortable home, hobbies, etc. 

We heartily agreed that personal pursuits such as listed above are worthwhile and important.  We also agreed that we were quite deep into them and that we now need to expand our horizon beyond ‘ME and US’  before we grow too old and feeble to do it.  Hence, this trip.

It is worth noting that H’s and my personalities seem to have changed very little over the crisis years but we made some adjustments to our attitudes and perspectives, especially in regards to how we see ourselves in relation to the world around us. 

It is also notable that my husband mentioned his ‘crisis’ as being a transitionary period, during which ‘I, me and myself’ was taken to the extreme, and by the end of it, that intense focus on self started to diminish and the awareness of others and their humanity came into sharper focus and expanded well beyond his past scope of it. 

There have been many discussions on the definition and causes of emotional and psychological crisis, which we commonly refer to as ‘midlife crisis.’  Some say ‘fear of aging and/or death.’  Some say ‘identity crisis.’  Some say ‘to tackle FOO issues or childhood traumas.’

For my H, ‘it was an existential crisis gone rogue and I did a lot of damage to the people I loved most.’ — his words.

I can see in hindsight that FOO issues were the flame starter, not the main fire, of his crisis which had to be resolved before he could embark on defining his own identity and purpose in life.  The ‘age’ factor comes in, too — not the ‘gee, look at that number on my birthday cake, waaah!  I wanna stay young forever!’ kind, but that he lived long enough and accrued a fair amount of life experiences to ask all the questions that had been simmering inside of him for a while. 

Sample of one.

By the way, I took only 4 pairs of shoes. 

Have a great weekend!


Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on November 19, 2021, 06:10:23 AM
Quote
kind, but that he lived long enough and accrued a fair amount of life experiences to ask all the questions that had been simmering inside of him for a while
Such great insight. Did he share what the questions he needed to ask and answer were?  Sounds like such a healing and emotionally connecting trip for you both.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: JohnnyBravo on November 19, 2021, 07:56:16 AM
Glad to see your update, Acorn. Thank you.
JB
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on November 29, 2021, 12:42:00 AM
Thank you very much, Torn and JB!

Did he share what the questions he needed to ask and answer were? 

As I have an aversion to making assumptions about what is in another person’s head, I will answer your question with what my husband shared with me many times during and after his crisis.

He asked himself the usual identity/existential questions.  Some of them are:

- Who am I really?

- What is the meaning of life?

- What is the meaning of my existence?

- Do I really believe in God or was I brainwashed?

According to my husband, the process of defining the above questions, plus many more, was like walking up to the starting line. That was the easy part, though it took considerable time and pain.  (‘It was a walk in the park, compared to what came next.’ — H)

Again, according to him, his real challenge and battle lay in the pursuit of the answers to the questions he posed to himself.  Wrestling with those questions took most, if not all, of his emotional energy for a long time.

I hope I have adequately answered your question, Torn.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on November 29, 2021, 03:19:42 AM
Thank you Acorn, I think those same questions could very well be the same questions that started the escape as well, no??  First they make them run and then they make them evaluate?? Very interesting. Thank you for sharing
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on November 30, 2021, 06:36:03 AM
I think those same questions could very well be the same questions that started the escape as well, no??  First they make them run and then they make them evaluate??

Hi Torn,

Are you asking about my husband or wondering about MLCers in general? 
Maybe they are rhetorical questions? 
I can’t tell.  Sorry…

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on November 30, 2021, 07:11:00 AM
Sorry, I seem so clear to myself 😜🤪 Just a “in general”  that those very same questions may be asked by the MLC’er when they feel they need to escape their life and then need to be asked again to come through the crisis??
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on December 01, 2021, 02:33:20 AM
Thank you for the clarification, Torn! :)

Quote
those very same questions may be asked by the MLC’er when they feel they need to escape their life and then need to be asked again to come through the crisis??

You don’t truly know unless the person in crisis tells you what’s in his head  — presenting consistent contents over many convos, not some thought that momentarily popped up and then fizzled out in 5 seconds to be never seen again. 

One can speculate on what’s going on in another’s mind until cows come home but all it accomplishes is strengthen LBS’s confirmation biases and hinder detachment, I believe.  (Ask me how I know about it. ;D)  Speculating is like a colourblind person with both arms in plaster trying to taste green with his elbow (© UM) There is no way UM can come up with a suitable GIF for this one, haha!

Just my view. 
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: UrsaMajor on December 01, 2021, 03:28:03 AM
Speculating is like a colourblind person with both arms in plaster trying to taste green with his elbow (© UM) There is no way UM can come up with a suitable GIF for this one, haha!

Challenge accepted.....


YUM YUM!  GREEN!
(https://media.giphy.com/media/B2yx2waduwLy6bdeUY/giphy.gif)
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: marvin4242 on December 01, 2021, 04:51:08 AM
Speculating is like a colourblind person with both arms in plaster trying to taste green with his elbow (© UM) There is no way UM can come up with a suitable GIF for this one, haha!

You challenged him and he rose up to meet it! Snap!

 8)
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: HeavenlyFocus on December 01, 2021, 05:46:03 AM
Awesome GIF UM!   Made my day this morning.

HF
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Nas on December 01, 2021, 06:04:27 AM
Well done, UM. That image both amuses and disturbs. 😂

Thank you for the clarification, Torn! :)

Quote
those very same questions may be asked by the MLC’er when they feel they need to escape their life and then need to be asked again to come through the crisis??

You don’t truly know unless the person in crisis tells you what’s in his head  — presenting consistent contents over many convos, not some thought that momentarily popped up and then fizzled out in 5 seconds to be never seen again. 

One can speculate on what’s going on in another’s mind until cows come home but all it accomplishes is strengthen LBS’s confirmation biases and hinder detachment, I believe.

I just wanted to add that not only can we never at any point truly know what’s going on in another’s heart and mind, often we LBS say a lot of things to the MLCer/WAS early on that inadvertently feeds them lines they then repeat back over and over to manipulate and play on the LBS’s sympathies. I would believe absolutely nothing unless and until any AP is gone and they show unmistakable signs of growth in themselves. Jmho
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on December 01, 2021, 06:25:10 AM
I agree, Nas. It takes some time and distance to step back and see things from a non distressed mind of our own as a LBS. Once we can do that then we realize we truly are not playing on the same team. We just have to sit in the dug out and let them complete their own game which may have many extra innings we did not anticipate. I have never been a fan of baseball ( for what it’s worth) The games are very long and boring……LOL ⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on December 17, 2021, 12:38:54 AM
Thank you, UM, Marvin, HF, Nas and Torn, for reading and commenting. 

UM, that GIF is priceless!   Thank you for the laughs. It illustrate very well the futility of trying to figure out the motives and intentions of another person.  The sooner LBS lets go of that pointless exercise, the more they can focus on living life well.   

Nas, you mentioned an important point which I have seen in my own situation. 

I would believe absolutely nothing unless and until any AP is gone and they show unmistakable signs of growth in themselves.

AP and all other crisis choices/behaviour needed to be gone, before my H could focus on his inner self.  Looking at his issues was a diagnostic process, the first step.  Having the ‘diagnosis’ does not heal a person.   Healing from his issues was quite something else — a long, painful and arduous process.  But his desire and will to heal was indomitable.  I think you would understand that…. ((((((HUGS))))))

Sample of one.

…..

While auditing my ‘Life Lessons’ folder that I started soon after BD, I came across the following story, which I would love to share with you. 

I remember fondly how the story encouraged me to change how I viewed my situation and live with gratitude for the countless blessings in my life —to focus on ‘what’s left’ and not on that ‘broken string.’   

Here it is:

Many people regard Itzhak Perlman as the world's finest violinist. Perlman took up violin after contracting polio as a child. He since has barely shuffled along in his braces, clumsily swinging his caliper crutches in a monumental struggle just to get onto the concert-hall platform. An assistant carries his precious violin for him. Perlman is the only violin virtuoso who has to sit to play.

Perlman was only a few bars into a violin concerto with the N.Y. Philharmonic Orchestra when a violin string broke. He waved his bow to the conductor to stop. Perlman refused to get up and get another violin. Instead, he removed the broken string from his instrument and signalled the conductor to begin again. Perlman then played the entire concerto on the three remaining strings of his violin. Enthusiastic applause greeted him at the concerto's end. When it had finally died away, Perlman said to the hushed audience, '“You know, it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can make with what you have left. Sometimes life is best played with what's left.”

Wishing you a great weekend.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: UrsaMajor on December 17, 2021, 01:56:39 AM
THAT is an awesomely inspiring story regarding Perlman!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Curiosity on December 17, 2021, 09:37:03 AM
What a wonderful and insightful story! Thank you for sharing it.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: HeavenlyFocus on December 17, 2021, 03:44:10 PM
Thank you Acorn for sharing this story.  I needed especially today.

HF
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Nas on December 17, 2021, 04:13:20 PM
Love that story, A, and also love that you keep a “life lessons” folder. 😉
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Pacman on December 17, 2021, 06:56:04 PM
Following your story. Sounds like some positive steps. I will keep watching with best wishes and hopes for you.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on December 17, 2021, 10:22:41 PM
Thank you for following along, UM. Curiosity, HF, Nas and Pacman!   I’m glad you appreciated the Perlman story.  I find it very inspiring and encouraging. 

…..

I just noticed the following tagline, Pacman, I would like to comment on that, if I may, please.

Quote
Quote form a MLCer "From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did." Hope this is true!

My hope is that this person eventually came to realize her statement was about blaming another person for her tardy ‘awakening.’ 

She may have woken up (if she says so), however, I suggest that she is still lying in bed and not doing much if she did not attain enough emotional maturity to take 100% accountability for what happens in her own mind-scape and still passing the buck to her H.   Accountability 101. 

I am wondering aloud if crisis and the accompanying craziness end for most MLCers but emotional growth does not necessarily happen.  (Just a little musing on a lazy Saturday.) 
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: marvin4242 on December 18, 2021, 12:51:48 AM
Acorn thanks for the update and sharing your experience as always. I was reading your insightful comment about the quote and something struck me. That applies more to us, the LBS, than the NLCer. The sooner we  let go of understanding, controlling or “fixing” and “helping” our MLCer the sooner WE may experience OUR awakening.

I think that fits your comment about taking full responsibility.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Pacman on December 18, 2021, 01:37:27 AM
Thank you for following along, UM. Curiosity, HF, Nas and Pacman!   I’m glad you appreciated the Perlman story.  I find it very inspiring and encouraging. 

…..

I just noticed the following tagline, Pacman, I would like to comment on that, if I may, please.

Quote
Quote form a MLCer "From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did." Hope this is true!

My hope is that this person eventually came to realize her statement was about blaming another person for her tardy ‘awakening.’ 

She may have woken up (if she says so), however, I suggest that she is still lying in bed and not doing much if she did not attain enough emotional maturity to take 100% accountability for what happens in her own mind-scape and still passing the buck to her H.   Accountability 101. 

I am wondering aloud if crisis and the accompanying craziness end for most MLCers but emotional growth does not necessarily happen.  (Just a little musing on a lazy Saturday.)
That is a very insightful way of looking at it. Thank you. We tend to see only what we want to see I guess.
This whole situation has been about blame so far. So I see where you are coming from.
Not to hijack your story.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on December 18, 2021, 02:39:58 AM
Marvin, by Jove, you are right!  Thank you for placing the mirror where it belongs — in front of LBS.  What LBS’s ‘awakening’ entails would make an interesting discussion. 

Pacman, ‘hijack’ away!  Any thread can be a place of discussion, I believe.  As long as we are learning and growing, who cares what thread we use, eh!

We tend to see only what we want to see I guess.

If I may ask you a question, Pacman, what did you want to see in the quote?   I’m really curious!

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Pacman on December 18, 2021, 03:02:25 AM

If I may ask you a question, Pacman, what did you want to see in the quote?   I’m really curious!

I guess hope is what I saw out of it. Hope that one day we could reconnect.
That one day she might see out of her current affair idiot and realise that we had 23 years together. Some great time and some crap times.
But that is what life and marriage are about. Enjoying the best of times and working through the bad.
But I feel that society in general has become throw away and that when things get too tough it's easier to walk away.
The whole narrative that everything was horrible and so bad that she had to choose to have an affair and leave our family with 2 new grandchildren (5 months and 6 weeks old) has me absolutely dumb founded.

At the moment the "grass is greener".
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: JohnnyBravo on December 18, 2021, 05:11:11 AM
I find that same hope there.

(Thunder has that quote in her .sig, so I hope people aren't just noticing that statement now because Pac is a newbie. As am I.)
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on December 18, 2021, 05:49:32 AM
Quote
Quote form a MLCer "From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did." Hope this is true!

It’s kind of interesting if you read it more than once, because it almost has the introspective view of the LBS or MLC’er that has made it through the worst, right?? All you great minds saying focus on you, turn your head to their shenanigans. They have to work it out and you have to work it out, but that work is done separate and you both have to do it separate or you BOTH impede what the future will be. Move forward or stay stagnant. IMHO
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Nas on December 18, 2021, 06:03:47 AM
What LBS’s ‘awakening’ entails would make an interesting discussion. 



I'd really welcome this IMO very important discussion.

As to the tagline/hope - I remember that quote. I believe it's from Denjef, who shared her story of her own *MLC while also standing for her marriage as her H had an *MLC. (*everyone MLCer is different and MLC is not a "diagnosis).

Here's what I'll say about hope. Hope is great. Hope is necessary. But finding hope within yourself is very different than finding hope by looking at others. It's very, very natural to look at others for "hope," but what it really gives you is a baseline for comparison and a general idea that something is possible.  It's very important to come to a point where you hold hope in yourself (yes, hope that you might reconcile, but mostly hope that you yourself will be okay) because what happens in someone else's life will never dictate what will happen in our own lives. It does give us a bit of hope to hold onto, but that needs to be balanced with the actual reality of our own lives. Otherwise, we end up trying to jam the basic square pegs of our own situations into holes shaped like...I don't know, what's the most complex shape in the world?

Sometimes a square peg is just exactly what it looks like, a square peg. Sometimes viewing things wholly through an MLC lens distorts them unnecessarily and makes them more complicated than they really are.  I say this with empathy because we all do it and it only really ends up wasting precious minutes of our lives, and we don't know how many of those we have.

I seek out and read stories all the time of people who have lived for decades with triple negative breast cancer. They give me hope because they show what's possible. But they're not me and I'm not them. I can read their stories, but I have to walk my own road, because what they did might not work for me and it could be really catastrophic if I just did exactly what someone else did because it worked for them. For example, when I was first diagnosed, I was given a choice between two treatments. One was standard of care, proven to work in a majority of cases. The other was a clinical trial. I ended up on the standard of care and read many stories of survivors who went through this treatment and were thriving, and I thought since I was doing the same thing they did, I'd be fine in no time. But the treatment didn't work for me. But it worked for so many, and it was supposed to work for me, and for that reason, I didn't protest when the doctors kept me on it even when I said I felt the tumor was growing. And my cancer progressed, and then we changed course, but by then, damage was done. That's an extreme analogy, but just to say that every single situation is different and you can look to others for hope, but be careful not to compare at your own expense.

Sorry Acorn, talk about a hijack!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: MadLuv on December 18, 2021, 06:58:20 AM
Gosh, I feel for me I thought I was there so many times, but then a trigger would happen and nope!! For me it was pure exhaustion in the situation, time and stop loving him more than me. That was the biggest turn for me. I had put H before me for so long it was hard to change that focus.

Also, when I lost my D14 I learned to look at people who had it worse. Suffered more before passing or living with never a moment of clarity or peace. I am not an overly religious person, but I do believe that what is going to happen is going to happen. That our lives are predetermined in a way, so it helps to give up trying to control what is uncontrollable.



Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on December 20, 2021, 02:44:07 AM
Thank you, Marvin,  PacMan, JB, Torn and Nas, for following along and taking your time to respond on this thread! 

….

Thank you for graciously indulging my curiosity, Pacman.  :)

I can tell you I also saw ‘hope’ initially, and I stopped begging, etc., erroneously assuming that I had some influence on H’s crisis trajectory and that a rosy future of our relationship was somehow baked into that trajectory.  That’s hope gone rogue and crossed over to quasi-fantasyland.::)  From my personal experience, I believe that it may help LBS move forward with more vigour if they unhitched the crisis outcome from the relationship outcome. I suggest that proactive and purposeful unhitching does help with seeing the reality, detachment, and, therefore, healing, as it helped me.

Back to ‘hope’ — As Nas kindly explained, using her exquisitely vulnerable personal experience as an example, I believe hope can be positive and therapeutic, as long as one does not cross into the realm of delusional thinking via contorted extrapolation.  Delusional thinking is  explained as ‘a false belief that is resistant to confrontation with actual facts.’  Yes, cherish hope, by all means, but with both feet firmly planted in reality.  (By the way, Nas managed to cram so many important and insightful observations into her post.  I’d say It’s worth reading carefully and read it again.)

There was one silver lining in changing my behaviour, which was based my faulty assumption that I had the power to influence H’s crisis, is that I eventually realized how degrading and pathetic it was to beg, plead and cling.  I asked myself, ‘lady, where is your dignity, eh?’  Eventually, I got with the real programme — H could not hide his contempt for me, his eyes were firing hatred at me, and then I became nothing to him, just a piece of furniture.  Why would I beg anything from someone that does not want me?

About accountability:

When I settled down a bit, the importance of taking full personal accountability for yourself and not putting the blame on your condition/diagnosis/personal or psychological history, the actions of others, group pressure, the societal trends, etc came into focus.  Once your eyes are open to this, you can not unlearn this vital lesson.   You immediately recognize when you are passing the buck to something or someone else.  You recognize with more alacrity when someone else is passing the buck — funny that.

Meandering post as H and I celebrate our wedding anniversary.  We talked about how precious each day is, how important it is to not forget the lessons we each have learned, and to live in gratitude. 
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on December 31, 2021, 04:11:57 AM
Good afternoon!

Our family is scattered on 3 continents at the moment.  The first time ever our family has  been apart for Christmas and New Year’s eve.  This is how life goes, eh!  Kids grow up, become independent, leave home, make their own way in the world and purse their own dreams.  We are grateful that our children (early to late 20’s) are spreading their own wings with such enthusiasm and determination, yet keeping a strong connection with each other and us, their parents. 

To mark the end of 2021, my husband and I together composed a message for our children, expressing our deep love for and appreciation of them.  We wished them God’s blessings and offered some very gentle life advices.

H sent it off to the family chat group and, behold, he had attached his personal reflections!  I am quoting a small part of it as it is similar to what he shared with me very recently.

“When I reflect on my life, especially the last few years, I see a winding path with ups and downs, some rocky parts and (extreme) dangers on the way.  As you have witnessed, my faith was weak and at times it often seemed to be completely gone.   However, even at those times I was not alone but see (in retrospect) that God was with me and He was graciously carrying me…”

He went on to express his deep gratitude for their love and patience throughout the ‘turbulent years.’  He marvelled at how they did not lash out at him in contempt but unfailingly showed respect for his dignity, even though he behaved appallingly.  And that they taught him many life lessons. 

I think our children would really appreciate his post scriptum.

…..

Wishing you peace and joy in the new year. 


Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on January 07, 2022, 11:29:58 PM
Happy New Year!

I have been thinking for some time that there was one important piece that was still needed to put into place in our family rebuilding.  I could not define what that was.  I could not even start to guess.  While communicating with our 3 children (early to late 20’s) incessantly via family chat over the Christmas and New Year, this missing piece showed itself.  I felt the next level of peace settling in my heart and witnessed the same happening with H and our children. 

As I have written previously, H communicated to them how much he appreciated that they showed respect for his dignity and did not trample on it, even though his behaviour, especially toward his own family, was atrocious.

One child after another replied to his ‘appreciation’ message.

D told him that H taught her about intrinsic dignity in everyone, no matter who. S1 and S2 affirmed the same.  (They joked that H used to go on and on about ethics, and how some of it must have rubbed off on them.) 

Each child told him in their own words that they could plainly see his immense struggle and that he was not ‘right’ internally.  That realization gave them the grace to give him space and pray for his healing.

What I gathered from all this is that H has been sure of their love for some time; now he has seen that they respect him as their father and teacher.  That greatly added to H’s sense of gratitude and peace.  I see and feel it. 

So, affirmations of respect was that last missing piece.

I feel in my centre that the final piece of re-knitting our family has fallen into place.  All the things (and there was a lot!) H shared with me regarding his crisis experiences in the last few weeks while on holiday are not significant or journal-worthy to me any more.  I’m putting all that into the the basket of ‘that’s how life is’ and move on.

I wanted to journal this important milestone in our family.  Perhaps, it is my last post?  (Never say never, though. ;D)

In case this is my very last post on HS, I would like to gently suggest that we recognize intrinsic dignity of everyone, especially our crisis spouses, and refrain from denigrating, infantilizing, scoffing, vilifying, moral superiority complex, and other actions and attitudes that block us from affirmative living and relating.

Wishing you peace and joy in 2022. 

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: xyzcf on January 08, 2022, 07:47:48 AM
Thank you Acorn for these words.

Quote
Each child told him in their own words that they could plainly see his immense struggle and that he was not ‘right’ internally.  That realization gave them the grace to give him space and pray for his healing.

My daughter and I have talked about this. That she can also see that something happened to her father and that he is not the man either of us knew, helped to verify that I wasn't making this up or denying reality. We both still see it and I have always seen MLC in this light. Something is really broken in him.

 
Quote
I would like to gently suggest that we recognize intrinsic dignity of everyone, especially our crisis spouses, and refrain from denigrating, infantilizing, scoffing, vilifying, moral superiority complex, and other actions and attitudes that block us from affirmative living and relating.
[/b]

"Love one another as I have loved you".

This spouse, this father of our children, this man I love, this broken human being, this person who has hurt me so deeply....yet  respect for him as a human being frees me to continue to love.  When I first came to HS and read RCR's words about unconditional and agape love I shook my head for this was not the way the world views what he did. But I learned that it was more healing for me to accept him, the man he is and leave him in God's hands. My part is only to love and that I can continue to do.

Happy New Year and may God bless you and all those you love.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Nas on January 10, 2022, 06:18:52 AM
Acorn, I hope you’ll pop in from time to time, but let me thank you here for your posts and for sharing your sample of one observations (that imo often contain important insights that are applicable to many). Your wise words have been an invaluable part of my healing journey and I thank you for the time you’ve given.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Curiosity on January 10, 2022, 11:23:54 AM
Adding my hopes that you will drop in occasionally with updates, but whether or not you do… thanks for all of your perspective, insight, and wisdom, all of which you offer with kindness.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: FaithWalker on January 12, 2022, 06:01:54 PM
I also hope that you will visit from time to time.  Very happy to see everything falling into place post-mlc for your family. 
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on April 21, 2022, 09:52:52 AM
Hi all,

It’s been a while. 

It’s nice to visit HS and read a few posts!

I confess it is heartbreaking to see new cases. I’m musing if we need to hear some unpalatable but objectively true aspects in dealing with MLC situations sooner rather than later — preferably, in plain and direct words. 

How many people are standing on the assumption that the end of MLC is likely to yield loving marital relationship?   So LBS waits for the crisis to end…

If MLCer’s return is not covertly read into the concept of MLC stages and its outcome, I dare say it can be quite liberating and empowering in charting your own course and mindset.  Since that’s what I cultivated for myself and it helped me greatly, I highly recommend it.

In my sample of one, I would say that one of the first steps to living each day meaningfully and joyfully was to see the reality that our marriage was obliterated at BD and to cease to conflate the end of crisis with reconciliation.  In other words, unrealistic expectation was dialled down to near zero. 

Just my view.

Have a great weekend!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: xyzcf on April 21, 2022, 12:25:50 PM
Quote
I’m musing if we need to hear some unpalatable but objectively true aspects in dealing with MLC situations sooner rather than later — preferably, in plain and direct words.

How many people are standing on the assumption that the end of MLC is likely to yield loving marital relationship?   So LBS waits for the crisis to end…

 I think we do a really good job of focusing on the LBSer and offering practical support concerning finances, self care, benefits of therapy, information about MLC and setting boundaries.

Many people write about how when they first came to HS, they were convinced that their marriage would survive and and then give their story of how they came to realize that this was not going to happen for them. I don't know of anyone who came here without looking for some kind of information to help "save their marriage".

I disgaree with what you are proposing.

The five stages of grief:

"The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – are often talked about as if they happen in order, moving from one stage to the other. You might hear people say things like ‘Oh I’ve moved on from denial and now I think I’m entering the angry stage’. But this isn’t often the case.

In fact Kübler-Ross, in her writing, makes it clear that the stages are non-linear – people can experience these aspects of grief at different times and they do not happen in one particular order. You might not experience all of the stages, and you might find feelings are quite different with different bereavements."

It takes time to work through these stages, time to heal, time to believe that our beloved is no longer the person we had loved for decades.

Standing, which is only one way for the LBSer to proceed in their lives, is a very individual decision and is based on the  beliefs of the LBSer. Cultural, familial, religious beliefs that are very ingrained in each person.

For some, marriage is a permanent sacrament. I am one of those. If I had been told, espeically in the early days,  what some members here believe to be true, aka, that MLCers do not come back and that marriages cannot be reconciled, that would have caused even greater shattering than already occurred.

Each one of us ultimately comes to our own conclusion about how we will live our lives, what our boundaries will be and what we are comfortable living with regarding the end of our marriages.

One of the things that is told to newbies is that their old marriage is over and that is true. Another thing they are often told is that this is not a marriage issue, which is also true but very very hard to comprehend, at least initially.

What you seem to be proposing, and please correct me if I am wrong, that we relay the "real truth about MLC" from the start to newbies which I presume is what happens on sites like chump lady. I don't see Hero's Spouse as that kind of forum. I actually would have been turned away if I had been given that kind of "advice".

I personally would never have benefitted from that. My own journey required me to explore my belief system and judge it according to what is right in my life.

It's not our role to question other's belief systems and their religious convictions.

 
Quote
So LBS waits for the crisis to end…

It sounds like you feel LBSers continue to wait for the crisis to end so that their marriages can be restored. In the many years I have been on HS, there might have been a few people who got stuck there, but the majority of LBSers are focused on rebuilding their lives and there are many many success stories here of how wonderfully LBSers have healed and moved along in their lives.

Just my point of view.
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Ready2Transform on April 21, 2022, 03:18:07 PM
I tend to go with xyz on this. While we can make decisions about what path we'd like to eventually be on, especially in the early days, there is very little we can do with our mind that will immediately change what is in our hearts. And standing too, is a process. At any given time during the five plus years I was standing, I was standing for a different reason, that fit where I was in the process at that point. Relieving expectations is something we have to arrive at, and I think we can *want* to get there, and that that does matter (I think I'm agreeing with you on that, Acorn, if I'm understanding correctly), but the neural pathways that become what our actual beliefs and purpose in standing or not take time to be built. Just my opinion, but really, no one is doing it wrong if it's what feels right to them. Only if they were hurting themselves or those around them (which is subjective, especially when we're just reading one side of it here on the forum), should they really be challenged in changing.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on April 21, 2022, 04:48:47 PM
Xyzcf and Ready, thank you very much for sharing your point of view, much of which I agree with. 

I guess my main point is that conflating the MLC outcome with that of marital relationship is unhelpful if that is the main reason for standing. 

For the majority of people, the reality of the situation necessitates some or complete dissipation of the said conflation over the years.  However, the emotional and financial cost can accumulate over those years and it can take quite a lot time and effort to recover.  Hence, my musing that tough love could perhaps be shown sooner rather than later.

It is no brainer that one has to be mindful of how/when certain observations and advices are shared, and the main purpose of that would be to encourage LBSs to direct their focus on themselves and children (if you have them) and not confer the responsibility for your own joie de vie and contentment on another person’s crisis trajectory. 
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: xyzcf on April 21, 2022, 05:15:11 PM
Quote
the main purpose of that would be to encourage LBSs to direct their focus on themselves and children (if you have them) and not confer the responsibility for your own joie de vie and contentment on another person’s crisis trajectory.

I very much think we do that. When people ask for the number of reconciliations, some members state very clearly that there are few. When people ruminate on their MLCer's  we do "suggest" that they focus on their own needs including seeking legal advice and filing if necessary for their financial safety. Or to go no contact if their spouse is causing the LBSer lots of anxiety and problems.

Each time a newbie tries to get an "answer" about what is likely to happen, I do not see others giving them false information, but rather direct them to ways that they can grow and heal.

 
Quote
Hence, my musing that tough love could perhaps be shown sooner rather than later.

Ok, maybe this is my own response to the use of the term tough love for an LBSer.

Many LBSers have been diagnosed with PTSD. The trauma of having one's life blown apart is immense. Lots and lots of therapy to heal from this trauma and other issues that are revealed from this life's experience.

To me, this is not a "tough love" type of work. It is a work of encouragement, support, understanding and sharing that it gets better.

Especially since we are not in the LBser's living room nor do we know all the circumstances of their lives.

I never really liked the term "2x4"'s although I get why sometimes it might be helpful for an outsider to point out patterns that they are seeing in the actions of the LBSer...but again...individuals with a variety of situations and the need for someone to understand the pain that they are experiencing (because the outside world just wants you to get over it and find someone "better"), that to me is the value of having people further along in this journey as they share their thoughts with newer members.

We have debated for many years, what number of crisis are 1) resolved and 2) result in reconciliations and there is no way to measure this because there are too many variables.

When the site first started, RCR's calculations were that a MLC lasted about 2-3 years. She changed that over time to 2-7 years. But we have now seen MLCers who continue to be in crisis much longer than that and indeed some who may never resolve their crisis.

Telling people straight out that no, it is highly unlikely that your spouse will return or come through their crisis (which doesn't mean they return to the family) would in my mind be a cruel thing to say, especially because we just don't know.

For those of us with a strong faith, we can trust that whatever the outcome, God is running the show and His will will prevail.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Nas on April 21, 2022, 05:19:54 PM
Very, very early on in my time here, someone  made the comment to me that I should win the prize for having one of the worst MLCers in terms of behavior. And that was before most of the real craziness had come to light. The trajectory of my life has certainly not gone the way I thought it was going to even in those foggy early days when my heart was broken in a million pieces. I cannot imagine how much worse it might’ve been had I not been told on this forum from day one by Ready2Transform and Medusa that my H had recoupled and was gone most likely for good.
I certainly did not want to hear it the first time I heard it…or the first 50 times I heard it. But I definitely needed to hear it. And after I moved 700 miles away, I was so grateful to them and others who told me what I didn’t want to hear - I was grateful every day when I looked out my window at my beautiful new view and started building my new life as “just me.” I was grateful that they gave me that truth bomb (that truly at first felt like a bomb) every time I did something new in my new city or met someone new and didn’t spend time pain shopping by listening to gossip or looking at social media or trying to decipher my former H’s insane troll logic.
I’m grateful because in the time between BD and my cancer diagnosis, I was able to have a little time for me - where I was remembering that I matter and my needs matter, instead of solely focusing on him and the heartbreak and the cruelty, and I have memories during that time that I really do cherish.

It is true that we are all different and that it does take time to get your footing. If I could give anyone a word of caution though, I would say try as hard as you can to stop focusing so intently on the insanity, don’t waste time trying to read into your MLCer’s words or actions and take time for yourself to live your life. I only got that brief window before my cancer diagnosis and if I had spent that time focusing on what was instead of what a future without my marriage could be, I really don’t think I would’ve survived.
Just my sample of one experience.

ETA: I would be very curious to see how many LBS are actually diagnosed by a professional with PTSD. I don’t mind saying that I strongly dislike the colloquial use of the term. Diagnosed PTSD is a serious concern that needs to be dealt with under professional guidance. I was diagnosed with cPTSD due to the way the rapid succession of end of my marriage, an advanced cancer diagnosis and my parents’ deaths reawakened severe childhood trauma (meaning I was not diagnosed because of BD alone) and my understanding is that when a ptsd diagnosis is given, treatment for ptsd is then offered in the form of EMDR, CBT, etc. Most active members of the forum don’t discuss being in such treatment (but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening). Talk therapy is actually not useful for PTSD, or at least I was told that very emphatically by more than one provider when I was diagnosed, and my journey with it has been brutal and often overwhelming. It’s not an easy journey by any means and it’s not a diagnosis I would wish on anyone, nor is it to my understanding something that is self-correcting or “fixable” by just riding it out.
Regardless, if a person is diagnosed with PTSD and is under the care of a professional, that gives them the tools they need to handle hearing a tough truth on this forum. I guess I don’t really understand the idea of not telling people the reality of the situation they’re finding themselves in. Even RCR herself says most don’t come back.
Every single person can choose to have hope that they will reconcile, but that’s a personal choice.
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Ready2Transform on April 21, 2022, 08:00:01 PM
Quote
If I could give anyone a word of caution though, I would say try as hard as you can to stop focusing so intently on the insanity, don’t waste time trying to read into your MLCer’s words or actions and take time for yourself to live your life.

Amen!!

You were an incredibly strong LBS, even in the beginning though. I think you got to acceptance and started your own inner work at a speed that I wish I'd been able to. And I agree - the realities of this should never be sugar-coated. I think we're all in more agreement than not.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on April 22, 2022, 06:45:23 AM
Thank you very much , xyzcf, Nas and Ready2, for taking time to post your responses.  Much appreciated! 

….

I, for one, appreciate the terminology ‘2X4’ —© UM — and the judicious usage of it.  I regard it as a ‘medicinal’ form of support.  It can taste bitter but may do a lot of good for you if you take it onboard when applicable.  Nas has given us a good example of it. 

My view is that, in general, LBSs on HS have more than adequate emotional intelligence, maturity, strength and discernment to take in 2X4’s/tough love and learn from them.  Timing is important, of course. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Curiosity on April 22, 2022, 07:12:32 PM
Interesting discussion… as is often the case here! I think that I’m general, this forum finds a good balance between gentle, caring reminders for the LBS to focus on him/herself and the kids (if applicable), and the judiciously administered redirection or 2x4 when needed. I know that I got almost obsessive with my overthinking early on, and the feedback I got was always helpful in getting me back to my own journey. I haven’t felt like there was any shortage of reminders to protect myself; in fact, I have been advised to proceed with caution regarding what very clearly feels like genuine reconnection.

None of that is to disagree, Acorn… I think the reminders to focus on oneself and leave the MLCer to their own journey (whatever that might be) are essential. And I also think it’s very appropriate to say that there is no guarantee the marriage will continue, and to reinforce the importance of the LBS building a life for himself or herself without relying on the MLC spouse or partner. That’s been a consistent message from longtime members here, whether they are healing MLCers themselves, LBSs who have reconciled, those who have reconnected, and those who have moved on. I think the specific details of what “protect yourself and focus on your own path” will look very different depending on the spouses and the marriage, but generally speaking I feel like the level of diplomacy versus the perhaps harsher truths is pretty nicely balanced here.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: OffRoad on April 24, 2022, 11:41:56 AM
For my 2 cents, I don't think any of this is one size fits all. It depends on the person, where they actually are in their grieving process, their particular personality, etc.

There are some that come here so distraught, all they feel is their pain and are incapable (at first at least) of hearing anything about protecting themselves, etc. They are too overwhelmed to get there just yet.

Some come with ONLY the goal of restoring their marriage.  Nothing else will do.

Some just want to know what happened, why their world blew up.

It takes a different way to get each of these types of people to where they can see that the only person they can do anything about is themselves. I personally believe telling people it is a good idea to protect themselves and their finances is never harmful. Telling them right away that most mlcers don't come back might be--that can wait for the dust to settle in their lives.

Timing can be very important.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Dragonfly33 on April 24, 2022, 12:02:51 PM
There are some that come here so distraught, all they feel is their pain and are incapable (at first at least) of hearing anything about protecting themselves, etc. They are too overwhelmed to get there just yet.

Offroad I have to admit I was one of these. For over a year from BD, my H had full access to my account. I was so scared to block his access from account to push the triggers that he may repel me even more. I didn't understand what was going on at the time of BD. I wished it was a nightmare and then I woke up in the morning realizing it was real. I thought my story would end differently. I thought my h was different. The whole thing was so hard to process and digest. Your world suddenly turns upside down. But one thing I really appreciate was the understanding from the veterans. The reassurance that I was not crazy. Some I must say were quite pushy with their reminders but at that time I was very upset. I didn't understand. Looking back,  I now understand why. I was delusional that my H would come back to his original self. I could not accept the reality that was in front of me. In my case my H came back and I thought we were reconciling until I realize we were not. I could not live with a man like that. A man who was so self absorbed. I still don't know how my story would turn out but I am trying hard to focus on my self and how I can move forward. I learned to not monkey brain anymore about what my H is doing or who he is with. Though there are times, my mind sometimes drift to that direction but this time I am aware. Healing I think is a very long process and I have to admit I am still far behind.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Treasur on April 25, 2022, 12:09:01 AM
I must admit that I agree with Off Road on this and the importance of trying to meet people where they are at a given time. Plus of course recognising that if I didn’t know what was going to happen in my situation, I surely don’t know what will happen as an outcome in yours lol.

If we have a job here, I suppose I think it is to reinforce other LBS’s strength in dealing with the situation they find themselves in.  Sometimes to suggest ways they might find it; always to cheer them on when they do. Like metaphorical physiotherapists  :)  Looking back, that meant different things to me at different times.....feeling reassured that I was not crazy, feeling a little less alone, feeling that even though I was alone in RL there were people on the planet somewhere who cared about my small successes and that I kept going, people who could be kinder towards my many failures than I could at the time. Feeling heard and seen, I suppose, put most simply. Bc the feeling of being erased, bereaved and threatened simultaneously was horrific for me and I was completely out of my depth with it. I needed a kind village and I was very fortunate to find one here and then later in RL.

Healing is a long process, Dragonfly, and sometimes a strange one in my experience. I think most LBS here would say or have said that they felt ‘far behind’ against some invisible notional clock. Again, in my experience and from others stories here, I think the clock is a fallacy. And not often a very helpful one. Not many folks here would seem to experience it in that kind of straight line Broken...Not Fixed...ah ha, Fixed kind of way. One sort of evolves towards it, I think, and tries to balance faith that you will get there without an end goal of what being there looks like. Just exactly what you say you are currently doing. The devil, and the angels lol, of healing is in the micro-detail of the process I think now. An hour, a day, a few weeks, months...and those moments when you are surprised almost to notice that your thoughts and feelings and being in your skin feels better. That you feel stronger in some way. As fellow LBS, we can offer and encourage and validate and even nudge......but that process is a very personal one with some common elements perhaps but also some parts that are more unique. Jmo.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Trustandlove on April 25, 2022, 03:21:10 AM
Just adding a few words to this discussion, I definitely agree with OffRoad and treasur on this.

I found HS after I had already been in this mess for about 3 years, this place helped restore my sanity.  And I am definitely with those who say that things need to be said slowly, when people are ready for it.

I came here wanting to restore my marriage, I was put straight right away that this wasn't a "save your marriage programme".  But, crucially, this was the one place that showed me I wasn't nuts for believing in my marriage and my family.  And that I wouldn't be nuts if I did take him back, if that had been an option. 

Again, crucially, this was all done whilst emphasising the importance of taking care of myself and my children, financially and otherwise.

I struggled to understand the concept of detachment, but slogged on anyway, slowly, VERY slowly, getting there, or at least some semblance of "there".  I was probably the most terrified person here, looking back.  But I kept going, one foot in front of the other. 

I disagree with the idea that people wouldn't find support for standing here, I think just the opposite.  There are many other sites that will tell you to kick them to the curb, that they never come back, all that.  This was the safest place I found and I still believe it is that.  I was't thought nuts for having hope, even whilst being taught the difference between hope and expectation. 
 
As the years have passed the lessons I have learned here have benefited me in all areas of life.  I can't say that I am standing at this point, but neither am I "not standing", if that makes sense.  I'm not in another relationship.  I have built a life for myself and my now grown children, one I am proud of, even if it looks nothing like what I had imagined my life would look like at this age.

My former H lives another life that has nothing to do with mine, or my children's, really, and I can't say one way or the other if I would be open to anything with him, on any level.  I don't think about it as it's not something that is on the table as an option.  Should it ever become so I will deal with it then. 

Realising that we aren't the ones that are nuts, that this absolutely unbelievable thing actually did happen, is the great gift of HS, I think.  And learning to see it for what it is, not to excuse it, as well.  I, like so many others, did excuse a lot of behaviour because I just couldn't believe that my sweet, lovely H would ever behave like that.  Learning to see it for what it is, in our own situations as treasur says, learning that it is OK to become angry about it, learning not to be a bitter witch as well, all that has had huge benefits in so many areas. 

So much of that comes with time, and more of that than we could ever imagine, I think.  I don't think there is any way to skip going through all the stages ourselves, any more than an MLCer can skip anything. 

It's like that saying that I used to hate -- if you get hit by a car on a pedestrian crossing, the car may be completely the one at fault, but it's still you that has to learn to walk again.  And here we can help each other to do so. 
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on April 25, 2022, 08:40:12 AM
Thank you, everyone, for your valuable contributions! 

Warm and empathetic welcome and the advices regarding self care, paying attention to financial security, working on detachment, etc. are invaluable and immensely helpful to the newcomers and not-so-new members.  This is documented on every single thread, and it’s wonderful that many have shared gratitude for the welcome and sensible advices.   I add my voice to the chorus!  (Really, there is no need to be defensive as we are all on the same side, Team HS, here.) 

……

If I may circle back to my original post, please.

My main point was that conflating MLC stages with that of relationship is unhelpful to LBS.  (I see this conflation as a significant hinderance to no expectations and a true detachment, where you count no marital relationship dividends on the outcome of your spouse’s crisis.)  I hope you can see this is a matter that is quite different in character from oft-repeated and valuable messages such as ‘live as if they are not coming back,’ or ‘they seldom come back.’

I was musing aloud if that conflation should be one of the things LBSs need to be aware of, sooner rather than later. You know, a case of ‘take your time but please hurry.’

Of course, any sensible adult would know to mind the timing and the specifics of the situation, and to deliver the message with clarity and empathy. 

Wishing you all a good week!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Treasur on April 25, 2022, 10:20:37 AM
I remember, Acorn, the first time you posted about that as one of your own realisations in reflection.
It struck me at the time like a wet haddock in the mush (in a good way) bc it was so very logically obvious but I hadn’t ‘got’ it. Yet you expressed it so clearly that I did get it....and it came as a kind of relief to me tbh. It is obvious, isn’t it? If someone else’s crisis is not caused by me/our marriage, if they are separate things, why would I see a resolution of someone else’s crisis as necessarily involving me/our marriage either. Apples and pears. And yet tbh for the longest time I did. I had a model in my head that went something like....him resolving his crisis = him returning to a normal person = him returning to being like the person I knew who loved me so much = our marriage being restored. Now, I guess I see a lot of potential slips between cup and lip at each stage of that rather linear process  :)

Why was it a relief to me then? Hmmm. I think it let me give myself permission to stop trying so hard to build a bridge to something I couldn’t understand and self-evidently had no control over at all. But with a kinder eye towards why I tried. I have no idea if my xh has in fact now resolved his crisis in his new life or how close or far he has circled round back to the kind of person he was. I hope he has - I loved him too much for too long to wish him to be mired in that kind of self-destruction and unhappiness - but I can see the two things as separate things now in a way that I could not for a very long time bc you shared a hard-won reflection of your own.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Curiosity on April 25, 2022, 11:27:48 AM
Thanks for circling back on this topic, Acorn - and you’re right, that bit of nuance is extremely important. Also, it’s important to remember that that message can be conveyed in a very neutral way, and therefore it can and should be a part of the conversations we have here. And while it is necessary for the MLCer to get through their crisis if the marriage is to be restored, getting through the crisis does not mean the marriage will be restored. Conversely, if the marriage is not restored, that doesn’t necessarily indicate that the MLCer is still in crisis. This is inherently a difficult thing to hear, especially while someone is dealing with abandonment and betrayal… and it’s probably not the first thing an LBS needs to hear. But you are absolutely right that conflating the two situations is not helpful and likely impedes the LBS’s growth and healing.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: OffRoad on April 26, 2022, 12:08:16 AM
I seem to be having semantics issues. If the original thought was "End of MLC" <> reconciliation or restoration of relationship, I don't see where anything written here conflates those two, but perhaps I am missing it being as I never expected "End of MLC" = reconciliation or restoration of relationship. I just wanted the reconciliation or restoration of relationship part. The MLC seemed to explain WHY it happened. I wanted to know if there was a checklist of things I could do to fix it. :P

Unless someone posts "once he/ she gets over his/her mlc, we'll be together again", I would have no idea if they conflate end of mlc with their relationship. The ones that do conflate the two are usually in the "I want my relationship back no matter what" camp and nothing people say really changes their mind. They still have to get there when they get there if they get there. No amount of "tough love" will get them there on someone else's timeline.

While I acknowledge the validity of End of MLC does not necessarily  = restoration of relationship,  it is equally valid that End of MLC COULD = restoration of relationship. Who am I to know? I suppose it's why I prefer "You don't control other people. Take care of yourself. If they come back, you'll be in a great place for that. If they don't come back you'll be in a great place."

Words to the effect of "Your spouse could come out of MLC and still not come back so don't put those two things together" would have left me feeling like "What's the point of even trying, then?" when I first got here, and while true(in my case there was no point in trying), I was not ready for anything that direct until xh's move out 18 months later.

So backing up, Acorn, might you explain to me why you conflated the two, as it appears you might have? What was it that gave you the idea there was some kind of guarantee(?) that at the end of mlc, you'd get your relationship back. I mean, you did, so there's that though perhaps it is quite different. But is there something inheritly flawed with choosing to stand for your marriage, hoping it will be restored when mlc ends as long as the stander keeps moving their life forward for themselves no matter the outcome?

I'm sure I'm just not getting it for some reason.
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Songanddance on April 29, 2022, 04:57:06 AM
Quote
While I acknowledge the validity of End of MLC does not necessarily  = restoration of relationship,  it is equally valid that End of MLC COULD = restoration of relationship. Who am I to know? I suppose it's why I prefer "You don't control other people. Take care of yourself. If they come back, you'll be in a great place for that. If they don't come back you'll be in a great place."

I'm with you on this OR.

However perhaps what we should take into account is that conflating the stages of MLC crisis and relationship is a subjective process.  Each of takes on board what we are told when we join and each of us adapts to suit us at that time.  However that is always a moveable feast.  Yes we have had LBSers on here who have been adamant that the MLCer will return when "it's all over" and they have refused to look at themselves in the process.  Yes we have had LBsers on here who have advised a "kick them to the curb" approach.  However the advice will always be given subjectively and equally received subjectively.

So if some LBSers choose to conflate the stages with the relationship and believe beyond all doubt that the MLCer will return once "it's all over" then that is their choice; I don't think it's because of the advice they are given, it's because that is the narrative they choose to tell themselves.

Quote
But is there something inheritly flawed with choosing to stand for your marriage, hoping it will be restored when mlc ends as long as the stander keeps moving their life forward for themselves no matter the outcome?

And here's the rub as as far as I am concerned.  I was initially so convinced that when H came out of his crisis he would begin to value our marriage and me again, heck he really did all the "right" things for connection and then it stopped.  Now 9 years on from BD (and I've only just realised that in writing this that BD anniversary was last month), we're living separately in 2 houses and living our lives but we're in regular contact and getting on much better.
Technically and legally we are separated. But he still refers to me as his wife and he is seeing a therapist weekly.

Is he at the end of his crisis - who knows?  I just know that I am in a great place right now. Yes I have been standing but I know now that my narrative is different and evolving and not controlled by any expectations
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Treasur on April 29, 2022, 06:18:51 AM
That’s a very good and honest point made, Song, about the narrative we choose. And that it is our right to do so. And that it evolves.

I also think that - and perhaps this is more of an issue for those of us a few years on from BD - it can be a tricky balance to not force our current narrative on someone else, particularly in those first few months/years, and also avoid unintentionally feeding a narrative which might be unhelpful or damaging to an individual as well as an unknown outcome. Bc tbh we can’t know a whole bunch of things with any certainty, either about our own situation let alone someone else’s. The best we can do I suspect is try to step back enough to see the patterns and trust our own instinct in the moment. But gosh, I think most of us here remember that stage of flailing around looking for some kind of certainty when the world as we knew it has been tipped on its’ head.
Title: Re: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Songanddance on April 29, 2022, 01:15:52 PM
Quote
it can be a tricky balance to not force our current narrative on someone else, particularly in those first few months/years, and also avoid unintentionally feeding a narrative which might be unhelpful or damaging to an individual as well as an unknown outcome.

Exactly.  The outcome of what happens with our MLCers is unknown.  Our own personal outcomes are essentially unknown but unlike an MLCer we learn to begin to shape our own individual outcome which has to be flexible because of other external and unpredictable factors.

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Treasur on April 29, 2022, 01:58:23 PM
You know, on further reflection, I wonder if the first step for most LBS is to accept the uncertainty of any outcome at all involving their spouse. From ‘will they turn up when they said they would to pick up their kids’ to ‘will they lie about x or do y or blame me for z’. Maybe that is in reality what enables us to begin to detach from their actions and shift our focus to other things, that acceptance, the ability to say idk? Sounds simple but, as we all know all too well, it is not an easy step and takes most of us quite a long time.....
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on May 07, 2022, 08:54:51 AM
Thank you, Curiosity, Treasur, OR, and Song!

…..

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers on HS!

While I was out walking early this morning, I spotted a little bunny, peacefully tucking into its early morning feast of spring greens.  As I approached, it panicked and then ran right into a wild rose bush and got hopelessly tangled in it.  What else for me to do but gently remove all the dead thorny branches so that it could escape and go find its mommy. 

This brief encounter with the helpless baby bunny reminded me of my own precious children who were bewildered and heartbroken because of H’s emotional abandonment of them at BD.  They didn’t know which way to turn — just like that little bunny — because their mom (yours truly) was rather wrapped up in her sadness and then her obsession with fact finding mission into the land of MLC. 

I regret that I took my time turning my attention away from H and his crisis and redirect it toward the needs of our children.  O, how desperately they needed my attention, love and nurturing — my heart aches when I reflect upon this.

I sincerely hope you do not take as long as I did to leave H to his crisis and redirect my attention to the needs of our precious children. 

My sincere good wishes to the mothers on HS and their children.  (((((((HUGS))))))

……

A few have asked via private communication if my H changed for the better after his crisis. 
I’m sorry I do not have enough time right now to do justice to your query right now — My house is about to be invaded by our children this weekend.  I will try to answer that next week. 

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on May 12, 2022, 05:34:31 AM
Is he better (I assume you mean ‘a nicer human being’) than he was before MLC? 

I used think so but I realized that it was only because his replay behaviour was so atrocious that any minor decent gesture from him looked quite angelic in comparison. 

In many (most?) aspects, H is mostly back to who he had always been before the crisis — his character traits, values, social interaction style, taste in the arts, and his fondness for dad jokes.  And dad jeans are back, too.  ;D

One notable difference from his pre-crisis era is his outlook on life that is more relaxed, positive and outward-looking.  I guess that is a reflection of his inner peace, which is the result of having resolved his FOO and identity issues. 

(I’m going to veer off a bit here and mention that he didn’t have any significant baggage outside of his MLC issues to contend with — for example, marital woes, health problems with him, me and kids, financial and professional difficulties, troubled children, personality disorder or other mental condition/illness, etc.  I wonder if the absence of other significant life troubles made it easier/simpler for him to focus on resolving his MLC issues.  Just a thought…)

Is our relationship better, compared to pre-MLC era?

I don’t think it’s better or worse.  It’s just ……. different.  My assessment could change as time goes on, of course.

H and I fully accepted quite a while back that the bell of the crisis period cannot be un-rung.  Therefore, a new relationship is being forged by  purposefully investing our attention, time and effort in us.

We do not regard our reconciliation as an expected or inevitable byproduct of the end of crisis.  H and I made a choice to commit to marriage, being well aware of the enormity of the undertaking.  Making that choice was over a considerable period of time and as evidence mounted that we could make it work. 

Sample of one. 

Have a good day!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Curiosity on May 12, 2022, 09:51:14 AM

(I’m going to veer off a bit here and mention that he didn’t have any significant baggage outside of his MLC issues to contend with — for example, marital woes, health problems with him, me and kids, financial and professional difficulties, troubled children, personality disorder or other mental condition/illness, etc.  I wonder if the absence of other significant life troubles made it easier/simpler for him to focus on resolving his MLC issues.  Just a thought…)

Is our relationship better, compared to pre-MLC era?

I don’t think it’s better or worse.  It’s just ……. different.  My assessment could change as time goes on, of course.


Not to minimize the significance of the rest of this update (it was all absolute gold), but these are the parts that stood out to me most as someone who is on the path of reconnection. Things are a little different when there are underlying complications (in the case of my W, some anxiety and depression that are familial and that were present to varying degrees throughout her adult life). So, while it’s essential to remember that every story is a sample of one (and that reminder is always appreciated, Acorn), the presence or absence of complicating factors might substantially impact how complete their healing is.

And the other point, about how the relationship is now, is really food for thought. My experience at this point is that I feel fundamentally different, and therefore to me the relationship feels fundamentally different. I’m not sure it looks all that different from the outside, though. It’s not constant hearts and flowers and romance; it’s not even the exhilaration that sometimes comes when you truly connect with someone new. But it is open communication, honesty, mutual respect, genuine acceptance, and love. It’s not that the rest of the world melts away when we’re together, we each see how the other is walking though this world, and we offer support when the other person needs it and independence when they want to navigate something on their own. It’s the kind of thing that might have almost seemed cynical to the more idealistic version of me that I used to be, but it feels more solid and sure and real than anything else.

Thanks for always offering such valuable insight, Acorn. Even though it’s always a sample of one, it’s always relatable.
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: FaithWalker on May 27, 2022, 05:08:10 PM
Reading this a bit late, but better late than never on these golden tidbits.  I definitely am glad when my focus returned to the children as well.  I try not to harbor too much guilt over the time it wasn't, but in my situation we were deeply ensconced with my brother and SIL pretty quickly, so they were able to offer some support to the kids.  Thank God for them!
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on June 05, 2022, 11:03:53 AM
Hi FW, I’m glad for you that you had a robust support system.  That matters a lot to the LBS and the family.

Good for you, Curiosity, for being detached (and consequently, to be objective) enough to see and acknowledge the pre-existing factors in your spouse’s crisis. Life and people are complicated, aren’t they. 
….

Some MLCers may have been carrying significant burdens such as emotional immaturity, a high degree of codependency, clinically diagnosed (not a layperson’s guess) serious mental illnesses, extenuating family or work circumstances, etc., and MLC is just one more factor which is added to the already mile-high mountain of troubles.  Some may even have been a serial cheater, had a wondering eye, of doubtful moral character, or an abuser. 

You can’t explain some or all these things away by citing MLC and, if LBS does that, it builds a barrier to seeing the truth about their spouse and the situation.

We talk about MLCers disappearing down the rabbit hole of MLC.  By exclusively choosing MLC explanation for things we don’t like about MLCer’s behaviour and the choices they make, we can get caught up in our own MLC echo chamber of sorts.

I suggest that practicing extreme detachment is the way out of that particular rabbit hole/echo chamber and acquiring a holistic view of the persons (both the MLCer and oneself). 

Just my view.

Have a good weekend!


Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on June 26, 2022, 10:00:55 AM
I would like to pick up from where I left off in my last post — our long conversation last night on the subject of ‘control’ reminded me to write up the rest.  I vaguely remember dashing off somewhere midway my last post.  If you are a bit like I was during his crisis, you might want to know a MLCer’s description of his crisis experience.   (Disclaimer: a sample of one!)

My husband mentioned last night his considerably diminished need for control — one example of his changed attitude to life after MLC. 

Before his crisis, he hadn’t met a problem he could not solve. ::)  Mainly because he auditioned and chose the problems that he was capable of solving. ;D  And then a serious problem entered his life that was uninvited and seemingly unsolvable: deep anger and excruciating emotional pain.   He had no power to stop these ‘problems’ from entering his life, nor did he know what caused this intense anger and pain, let alone resolve them.  He described himself as ‘spinning out of control.’  Enter Replay.  (If I was tech-savvy, I would put in an appropriate GIF, such as something nasty hitting the fan.)

I mentioned in my previous post the pre-existing elements in MLCer’s person and their life circumstances before their crisis.  H’s need for control, OCD-like tendencies, his family history of depression, an immense pressure related to his responsibility for the biggest work project (which had been going on for years) in his life, etc. were all well established before MLC. 

It took me a long time and a decent dollop of detachment to see his MLC as a part of the whole picture of his person, and not as a single and whole definition of him. I do think that helped me to maintain empathy for him throughout his crisis. 

There.  The post is complete.

Have a great Sunday, folks! 
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: UrsaMajor on June 27, 2022, 05:50:08 AM
He described himself as ‘spinning out of control.’  Enter Replay.  (If I was tech-savvy, I would put in an appropriate GIF, such as something nasty hitting the fan.)

(https://c.tenor.com/_dwGfu2UOEQAAAAd/merda-no.gif)
As you wish....
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Imgood on June 27, 2022, 11:14:12 PM
   UM - ^^^ Nailed it!   😂
Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on July 01, 2022, 06:24:08 AM
O no, you didn’t, UM! 😂😂😂
….

Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canucks!  Canada is 155 years young. 

May you enjoy a day of celebration with your family and friends.   BBQ and fireworks are on the menu for us, like just about everyone else in Canada. 

Cheers!

Title: Rebuilding our marriage and family
Post by: Acorn on July 01, 2022, 06:25:09 AM
O no, you didn’t, UM! 😂😂😂
….

Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canucks!  Canada is 155 years young. 

May you enjoy a day of celebration with your family and friends.   BBQ and fireworks are on the menu for us, like just about everyone else in Canada.  We are hoping the forecasted rainstorm stays away during the crucial evening hours.

Cheers!