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Author Topic: My Story Steady as she goes...

C
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My Story Steady as she goes...
OP: March 03, 2021, 10:49:46 PM
Previous thread:

https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11657.0;all

Third thread’s a charm? Nope, I’m not referring to reconnection - my goal is for this to be the thread where I get to a place of real, healthy detachment. I feel like I have come a long way toward that place, despite the challenges of a relatively close clinger and being the owner of an overly analytical personality.

From my last thread, my W’s rental place has been month to month. Her landlord was asking her about April and she decided she doesn’t want to be there anymore. I had some idea that she was considering other places, so I asked her what she wanted to do, and she said she wanted to come home. So it appears that sometime later this month, she will be moving back home.

I have no indication that this is the beginning of reconnection or even really a touch and go; in my mind it’s more like she’s going to become a live-in MLCer once again. As for boundaries... yes, no OW while living here. I will have to figure out what the rest will look like. The fact is, she’s here probably 6 days a week, from the time she gets ready for her day until it’s time to get ready for bed. She has meals here, she brings her kitten here. She helps out in the kitchen and with pet care. So I know a lot of live-in MLCers live almost separate lives, but she hasn’t been doing that these past couple of months so I would have to re-assess if she becomes dismissive or disrespectful.

Most importantly, I am truly in a place of no expectations. In my mind, nothing has changed except that she will be sleeping here. But I’ve changed. I’m not observing her or trying to read her mood or letting her mood affect mine. I’m living my life on my terms, and there’s room if she wants to join me at some point. If she does, I’ll want to know she’s in it for real - no sliding back into old habits and assuming it’s all okay. And if she doesn’t decide to walk alongside me, it’ll be her loss because my path is a pretty awesome one and it makes me happy - but no judgment, because she needs to walk the path that makes her happy.

So as thread 3 begins, that’s where I am. My posting had slowed because not much was happening and I was mostly feeling pretty content in my life. Things might pick up now that she is (supposedly - I will believe it when it happens) moving back into our home. But I think I’m prepared for it. And reasonable timing, too, as the one-year anniversary of BD1 is in about 10 days. With any luck, this thread will be like paint drying. But I welcome any input, wisdom, advice, questions, 2x4s... it’s all greatly appreciated.
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Steady as she goes...
#1: March 03, 2021, 11:05:34 PM
Well, that's an interesting turn of events, Curiosity.
And you sound calm, steady and realistic.

There are others here who can talk from their own experience of a live in or a returner better than me, so I hope they will swing by. My only thought from the cheap seats is that there is probably an awkward balance between sensible 'no expectations' and reasonable adult expectations of someone who lives with you in a way that is not self centred cake eating lol. But I am sure you will figure this out for yourself as you go  :)
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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Steady as she goes...
#2: March 03, 2021, 11:55:35 PM
Following along but no "words of wisdom" from me as my MLC'er is history and I have grown forward in my own life...
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Me - 58, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 14, D - 10
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

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Steady as she goes...
#3: March 04, 2021, 05:41:23 PM
Attaching
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F
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Steady as she goes...
#4: March 06, 2021, 04:03:48 PM
Attaching
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M 48
H 41
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Married 5yrs, Together 11yrs
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#5: March 07, 2021, 02:34:57 PM
You sound very calm. Mine also wanted to move in but I refused as I am not ready. Following along
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Me 45
H    48
Married 13 yrs no kids
BD May 2019 (I moved out Nov 2019)
EA or PA with ex gf (not sure), H spent 3 nights with the hoe during our vacation in July 2019, it was a friendly encounter according to H
H wanted D April 2020 but didn’t file it
Contact never stopped, H now wants to reconcile
Me not sure

C
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Steady as she goes...
#6: March 07, 2021, 04:54:58 PM
We'll see how it goes... and I'm not assuming that it is definitely going to happen (most likely, yes, just because she is unlikely to have made other arrangements for when her lease runs out at the current rental at the end of the month). Basically, since we had that conversation, she has been a little more communicative - nothing about the relationship, of course, but just more likely to reach out for small talk via text when she's at her rental, and more likely to ask me to join her for coffee or to sit on the couch together when she's here and we both have a bit of free time. Still... the one night she stayed over, she had trouble sleeping and apparently clenched her jaw during the night; and if we are both taking a nap, she struggles a bit to get to sleep. So she seems to have some underlying anxiety around sharing a room, and I don't know what that will mean for her staying here long term. During the waking hours, though, she is clearly looking to spend more time in my company - plus, there are a few incidental touches here and there, and she always gives me a hug when going back to her rental - not a quick, one-armed hug but a real one. For a while, on the days she wasn't here for work, I wouldn't necessarily hear from her at all, and that really doesn't happen anymore - plus, some of her admin-type work could be done at her rental place and she chooses to come here to do it. So in summary, I would say that our interactions and her comfort in our home are moving in a positive direction at the moment, but there is absolutely nothing I would interpret as a sign of her definitely wanting to reconnect or reconcile or anything at all like that. I am enjoying the positive interactions for what they are, keeping my expectations at zero, and keeping any thoughts of relationship discussion way, way out of my mind.

I have heard it said here that the ones who return, always come home too soon and they're not done baking yet. I think that's very likely to be true in my case too - even if this is more midlife transition than crisis, we are only a year out from BD1 and that's pretty quick, especially for a wallower. I believe that I am mentally and emotionally prepared for the constant presence, mostly because it's been nearly constant for the last month or so as it is. However, there's a big difference between having her here all day, 5-6 days a week, but sleeping elsewhere - and having her living and working here all the time. I am definitely going to be mindful of taking time for myself - getting out of the house at times, making sure to meditate, focusing on my writing and other hobbies more. I am also prepared for the possibility - maybe even likelihood - that she will be here for a while and then decide she needs space again, and that's okay. I guess I won't know how I actually feel about it until or unless it happens, but as a theoretical, I believe I will be as okay as I am with this whole thing.

Lest anyone think I am somehow avoiding the underlying issues or denying the effects her MLC has had and continues to have on me, I'm not. I do acknowledge and accept that she betrayed me (emotionally, if not sexually), she abandoned me and our marriage and our home and pets and life, she has lied to me (at least by omission), she has gaslighted me (and probably herself, too), she has emotionally traumatized me. I acknowledge and accept that these things are real and true. I also accept that it is very likely that I will never know why she did these things, and there's a good chance she won't ever really understand it. And I don't love that, but it's the way things go - the most I will likely get (and there's absolutely no guarantee of it) is some sort of genuine apology and amends. And it's entirely possible that what I will get is a touch and go, with her moving out, seeking an OW, and cycling away from me again. She's not reconnecting - she's not ready for that and there's no guarantee that she ever will be. But part of the decision to stand is the acceptance that the MLCer will be on a roller coaster throughout this entire process, and this past year (especially the 7-8 months since I discovered this forum) has taught me a lot about strength and detachment, and I have learned a lot about my own self-worth and what I bring to a relationship. And I think that will serve me well during this next phase.
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Steady as she goes...
#7: March 07, 2021, 05:07:36 PM
Curiosity -
As you are aware, self care is so important.
This will be an emotionally tumultuous time for you as she starts moving forward with moving back in (if it happens, as you say).
Be kind to yourself.

Most MLCers never give an apology, until they are out of their fog and on the far end of healing, from what I understand. 
Basically what I"m saying, is don't expect it especially in the near future.

Good luck during this changing time.

Sea
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C
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#8: March 08, 2021, 01:26:33 PM
I don’t think there is such a thing as too many reminders about the importance of self-care. Same with “no expectations.” Especially on days where she makes it really easy to have expectations...

With the CDC releasing guidance for fully vaccinated people, we are making plans to meet a friend for outdoor dining - W, MIL, myself, and this friend. W and I walked around in the yard this afternoon celebrating the blossoms on our fruit trees and looking forward to our next batches of lemons and apricots, and our first batch of limes. We talked about how nice it would be to take a real vacation when conditions allow it. And she has been shopping online for replacement furniture for our den, so we took measurements to see whether the sizes would work. So very easy to let the mind drift into future planning from there. But I’m not - the fact is, a vacation would be nice and I will take one when I can safely do so, regardless of what happens with her. The fruit harvest will be lovely regardless of who is here to enjoy it. The furniture will be a good fit for the room regardless of whether it’s our shared furniture or not. So I can have those conversations and not turn it into an assumption that somehow everything will work out between us.

Since we had the initial conversation about her moving back in when her rental agreement is up, we haven’t have any further discussion about it at all - not even a mention. And I think that’s good. So much of what I have seen here is that whether it’s a touch and go or a reconnection effort, they are often like scared kittens - best to stand back a little and let them explore the space on their own terms rather than approaching them. And I think that by expressing interest in the furniture and the yard and things like that, by helping more with the chores, she is mentally making our house “home” for herself again. That isn’t about me at all, it’s about the space and surroundings. Meaningful reconnection with the pets, with MiL, with friends, with me... those are things that could happen down the road, but there is no guarantee.

From a personal standpoint, I find myself quite amazed at how the anger seems to have just gone away. I don’t feel like I’m suppressing anything, I don’t find myself resenting anything or shutting down or wanting to lash out. And I have certainly cycled into that frequently in the past several months. I don’t even know that I feel much pity or disdain or any of those things. I just feel... open to whatever comes. Excited about my own future and my current life. Happy with where things are in my career and hobbies and family and friendships. And as it relates to my W, I am appreciative of the time we spend together, grateful that we are both here and healthy, open to exploring whatever activities we both want to share. I am aware that she still has concerns and trepidation, even doubts about what she wants for herself. And I certainly have questions about what our future relationship will be, who we each will be as life goes on. For now, though, I feel like I can genuinely accept that it’s not the right time to be asking those questions, and I can genuinely appreciate the good and roll with the challenges.

Certainly, if and when I reach a point of frustration or cycle back into anger or resentment, if triggers arise and I am in need of a good vent session, I will put that vent session here. I have no interest in painting a falsely rosy picture of this whole thing and I know that it is extremely likely that rosy days might well be more the exception than the rule.
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C
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Steady as she goes...
#9: March 11, 2021, 09:07:56 AM
Journaling...

Still not a word about my W’s plan for moving back in (or not) this month. She’s still around often; we talk about our day quite a bit, make small talk, but nothing of substance. She is back on her phone a bit more and is talking about the fact that she’s sleeping poorly, and how exhausted she is. She had been making a point of hugging me tightly every time she left, and even occasionally touching my hand or my back or shoulder in our conversations; that seems to have lessened recently. Still, she makes a point of asking about my day and she does help with chores around the house when she’s here, in ways she hadn’t been before. I’m not stressing about all of this, just noticing it and acknowledging that she is probably struggling quite a bit now. The specifics of why she’s struggling - I don’t know and don’t want to overanalyze it. She is welcome to come talk to me about why she’s struggling, but otherwise, she will deal with it or not in whatever ways she chooses. I can’t resolve it for her and even if I could, it’s not my job.

The move, if it does happen, is a local move of about one mile. It would take several trips for her to move things using her car, but it’s all small items; no furniture or anything particularly bulky. So it could happen over the course of a single day and wouldn’t require any assistance, meaning that the fact that she hasn’t said or done anything more about the move doesn’t in any way mean it’s not happening. As I’ve said, I’m preparing for it mentally and emotionally, but also prepared for the possibility that she will change her mind and get a different rental place.

I have been talking quite a bit with friends, some of whom have at least a little understanding of the midlife identity questions that can happen, but really no experience with true MLC. They are happy that I have found this community; a little nonplussed about the concept of standing, detaching, just accepting the fact that the MLCer is going to blow things up and they need to work through it, and moving forward with our own lives; a little bit uncertain about what MLC is, exactly, even if they do understand that there are some dramatic shifts that can happen in midlife. But they also accept that this is what I am doing, they acknowledge that our marriage seemed solid and mutual and loving prior to all of this, and they know who I am so they understand my commitment. They have been exceedingly supportive and wonderful. It’s been really good to reach a place where, when we talk, it’s about more than just MLC and what is happening in my life - I leaned on them a lot for a while, and they provided a lot of support to me. Now we are at a point where we can support each other - and I want my friendships to be reciprocal relationships just as I want my marriage to be.

The fruit trees are in bloom here! Living where I do, winters tend to be mild so I haven’t always appreciated the arrival of spring as much as I did when living in places with cold winters. But something about this spring is making me hopeful - not about my marriage so much, but about life in general. There’s the prospect of things opening back up, travel, being able to see friends and family. Days are getting longer and warmer; getting outside and exploring new places is possible. There is much for which to be grateful, and I am.
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