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Author Topic: Mirror-Work Return Stories Part Three

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Mirror-Work Return Stories Part Three
#80: October 12, 2023, 12:27:22 AM
My most honest answer to this is threefold…
I think every single LBS asks themselves this question at some point, often repeatedly.
I think it is perhaps not the same answer for everyone or every situation
I think, for me, love is as love does and they self-evidently reach a point when no, they don’t bc no one who liked us, let alone loved us or even valued having previously loved us, would do some of the things they do in the way they do them.

My own answer….which may not be the same for everyone…is that I honestly don’t know now how much or how little of my former husband’s half of our shared life was true or not. I know that he behaved like someone who did for decades, with me and others, consistently…..until he didn’t. Which is why we were all so shocked. If he did love me, all I can conclude is that his version of love turned out to be rather different from mine, more about feelings than choice and commitment, more situational than fixed, more conditional perhaps in ways I didn’t know.
But I honestly don’t know.
My task became how to make peace with what I did know and what I didn’t.
I know what I felt and how I expressed that feeling in how I lived my half of our life. I know what I chose to do with those feelings after BD and for a few years after that. Even now tbh, I know how deep and solid my love was bc of the small residue of it that governed how I acted and how I think about him now. It’s not the same but it’s not nothing.
At the same time, if I am trying to be honest with myself, I have to admit that people who love you, who value your existence, who care enough about you to want good things for you even if they no longer want to share their life with you, simply do not do some of the things my former husband did. And once the initial dust settled post BD, he had many opportunities over at least a couple of years to change that…and he didn’t. In fact, with hindsight, his behaviour got more cruel and more selfish over those couple of years…in the first few months, there was a glimmer now and then while he was perhaps one foot in and one foot out.

All of which rationally suggests to me that, whatever his version of love was or is, it was not the same as mine. That it was perhaps much more about what I did for him or how that made him feel than about me, if that makes sense. More about attachment or utility, than love or valuing me as a human being. Which isn’t a very nice or pleasing conclusion tbh  ::)….but it is the most honest one I can see years on. That these kinds of folks don’t do love in the way that I understand it…that they, perhaps unconsciously, behave like they do….until they don’t. And that this is about who and what they are in their bones, and really not about us at all….even if we got caught in the swell of it unwittingly.

If my xh ever got in touch with me and claimed differently….bc to be fair, none of us can really know the truth of someone’s heart, can we?….I would now be profoundly surprised. And I don’t think I would believe him bc I can’t see how one could join the dots and fill in the gaps or trust what was true after so many self-evident not truths and behavioural choices that had nothing to do with love, respect or even kindness. Once upon a time, i would have believed the exact opposite. I honestly believed he loved me…in the face of a lot of evidence of not love….until I couldn’t….and then I didn’t. And I still find that a rather sad and sorry thing bc it feels, sometimes, like part of my life was stolen in some way, that I was conned or just plain foolish, that it was deeply unfair to pay the price I paid for believing differently.

But I think the most honest answer is I don’t know. I don’t even know if he knows.  :)
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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.


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Return Stories Part Three
#81: October 12, 2023, 12:30:09 AM
Do we genuinely believe our MLCers loved us all along?  That the love is still inside of them, just suppressed by depression? 

The two MLCers I’ve spoken with did not talk about this love at all.  What motivated them for wanting to return was that their new life sucked way worse than their old life, so they wanted their old life back.  Not because of some romantic attachment to their LBS.  But because it’s better than than the crappy situation they engineered. 

Sure over time a friendship and love can grow.  But that’s not the reason for their return.  At least in the two cases I know. 

Can the vets here comment on this.

Hi Why,

I am no vet and I have no personal experience, but from what I read in Shock-sis story, yes the feelings of love come back fully when the fog is lifting. She writes it a lot of time, by example here
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M 44, W43. Married 18 years, together 21
3 children D17, D15, S6
OM discovered Dec 22, BD Jan 23 (few days after)
W still living at home
Aimer, c'est donner sans attendre de retour et tout acte est prière, s'il est don de soi (Antoine de Saint Exupéry)
Love means to give without expecting return, and every act is a prayer if it is a self-gift. (thanks OffRoad !)

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Re: Return Stories Part Three
#82: October 12, 2023, 03:07:19 AM
I can only speak for my H who is now out of the fog , expressing remorse and regret and wishing it had never happened.  He is still a little self absorbed but he has told me quite clearly that he still does love me as much as he did before. 
However, I am a different person now and not the wife he "abandoned".  I still love him as the father of my children and yes I still see the good man that he used to be but I also now see the things I didn't see in our marriage because at times he did manipulate me and I was a people pleaser and fixer.  I see that some of those aspects of him are still there and that is not what I want out of any potential restored marriage.  There is also a deeper issue that H needs to apologise and reconcile with S too - but this he doesn't understand the damage he caused S who wants to write H out of his life altogether.

So now our relationship whilst very much reconnected is not that of a "couple" aka husband and wife together. Nevertheless he always introduces me as his wife - I'm the one who says he's my husband but by the way we're separated.

IMHO  @WHY - The MLCers you spoke to are possibly not out of the MLC crisis yet -choosing to return to a former life simply because it's better than the c**p one they have now means that they haven't done the work on themselves. It's a bit like a mountain climber who wants to climb Everest and makes several trips to visit it but only gets as far as base camp because it's easier than climbing up to the summit.
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BD march 2013
Stay at home MLCer
OW for 3.5 years - finishing Autumn 2016
Reconnection started 2017.
Separated 2022 (my choice because he wanted to live alone) and yet fully reconnected seeing each other often.

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WHY

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Re: Return Stories Part Three
#83: October 12, 2023, 04:55:05 AM
IMHO  @WHY - The MLCers you spoke to are possibly not out of the MLC crisis yet -choosing to return to a former life simply because it's better than the c**p one they have now means that they haven't done the work on themselves. It's a bit like a mountain climber who wants to climb Everest and makes several trips to visit it but only gets as far as base camp because it's easier than climbing up to the summit.

I think this is my whole point.  Us LBS define success as the MLCer “doing the work on themselves” when they show full remorse and refind the love for the LBS. 

But these two MLCers I spoke with went through MLC 20 years ago and have made new lives for themselves.   They both regret what happened and wish they would not have left.  And wanted their own lives back.  But LBS wouldn’t take them back.  And they both wanted their lives back because it was better than their miserable fantasy that didn’t work out.  NOT because they had some undying love for LBS. 

Do the work = refind the love for the LBS
Come to though MLC = they both did, no more escape and avoid
But come through MLC does not = love for the LBS

I think the vast majority of MLCers get through their journey (sure some get stuck forever, but the majority get through it).  And most of them want to return. 

But how many actually “do the work” and refind the love for the LBS.

Hence I have to conclude.  The love for LBS is NOT suppressed by depression and always hidden in there.  But dependent on the MLCer doing the work.

This is quite the revelation. 
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Return Stories Part Three
#84: October 12, 2023, 06:12:43 AM
Now that I think about it, I have a personal experience of MLC or MLT : I also was in crisis since around 2/3 years before BD. This was a very mild a big crisis : no affair, only fantasy. But I was in a kind of fog and I was grumpy. My crisis ended brutally when I discovered W's OM and the fog was lifting few days ago.
All my feelings came back very strong. It was also the beginning of the work on myself.
So for me W's BD was a trigger to work on myself. It is likely that I feared to loose her and I expected her to come back in a short time. Now i continue to work on myself but not for her anymore, for me. I have lost her already and I don't want to come back in the past.

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M 44, W43. Married 18 years, together 21
3 children D17, D15, S6
OM discovered Dec 22, BD Jan 23 (few days after)
W still living at home
Aimer, c'est donner sans attendre de retour et tout acte est prière, s'il est don de soi (Antoine de Saint Exupéry)
Love means to give without expecting return, and every act is a prayer if it is a self-gift. (thanks OffRoad !)

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Re: Return Stories Part Three
#85: October 12, 2023, 07:58:00 AM
Quote
The two MLCers I’ve spoken with did not talk about this love at all.  What motivated them for wanting to return was that their new life sucked way worse than their old life, so they wanted their old life back.  Not because of some romantic attachment to their LBS.  But because it’s better than than the crappy situation they engineered.


Quote
But these two MLCers I spoke with went through MLC 20 years ago and have made new lives for themselves.   They both regret what happened and wish they would not have left.  And wanted their own lives back.  But LBS wouldn’t take them back.
WHY - Above are your 2 quotes and I answered the first because I understood that they had actually returned to the marriage.  It is clear that this is not the case and so my answer is technically nul and void or moot.

I read the first quote as they had returned to the marriage but not for love at all but for self gratification and ease of dealing with their oncoming issues.   Hence my response.

This is always the challenge with interpretation.

However do I agree with this....? 
Quote
The love for LBS is NOT suppressed by depression and always hidden in there.  But dependent on the MLCer doing the work.

Each situation is different.  Acorn's H returned very quickly and had always loved her.  Stayed's H returned after 4 years or so and his open letter to the forum  (which is in resources I think)  starts with the words  " I have always loved Stayed"
My H has stated that he knew he always loved me even during his 3.5 yr affair with OW.

My knowledge of depression is quite intense; I had reactive depression after BD and needed 18 months of therapy.   Two out of my three children have had serious bouts of deep depression (including suicidal thoughts and tendencies) over the last 15 yrs or so. The one thing that they both have maintained is love for their family and tried hard to learn how to handle their depression, to accept it, to live with it.  And, at no point have I or their other sibling or friends felt that they had suppressed love in their depression. 
Their depression is based on their lack of love for themselves and not others.

My S 26 who regularly vents will often say " I love you so much Mum but sometimes I just don't want to be here in this life anymore"    That is hard to hear as a parent and TBH an MLCer's depression and commensurate behaviour pales into insignificance.
My D (now 32)  who ran away from home at 16  for 18 months in her first serious encounter with depression, has since said , she never stopped loving her family - she just wanted out and she didn't know what she wanted but anything other than what she had.

Depression is where someone cannot love themselves no matter how much they love others.  I genuinely don't think you can create a simple answer to whether an MLCer hides their love for the LBS and suppresses it.  An MLCer hides and suppresses who they are because their level of depression is so great - they cannot face their own truth or themselves. 

Unfortunately they show it through harmful and hurtful words and actions believing that they no longer love and not just the spouse but their children too.

Quote
Us LBS define success as the MLCer “doing the work on themselves” when they show full remorse and refind the love for the LBS


 I do not see "success" in anything to do with MLC.
 I equally do not think that when an MLCer shows remorse or regret, it means that they have done the work on themselves.  No - to me,  it just means that they have recognised what they have done and are choosing to apologise for their actions.
Working on oneself is a choice and some LBSers and MLCers will do this.  Maybe together or maybe apart.  They might find a new level of love for their partners.  They may also find that they will love the person for who they once were but are unable to love them fully again.

Each situation as Acorn often says is "an example of one"
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BD march 2013
Stay at home MLCer
OW for 3.5 years - finishing Autumn 2016
Reconnection started 2017.
Separated 2022 (my choice because he wanted to live alone) and yet fully reconnected seeing each other often.

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Return Stories Part Three
#86: October 12, 2023, 07:59:13 AM
I just watched this documentary on Amazon called "Desperately Seeking Soulmate" about people joining a service to find their twin flame. It made me sad for people.  "Love" and attachment are so often conflated, I don't think people realize they're doing it. And I don't think many people have EVER actually really thought about what love means to them, like REALLY thought about it. If they did, many would have to face that what they've called "love" their whole life has actually been magical thinking to some degree. The romanticized idea that love is something we can't choose, something that happens to us that we're powerless against, has never made sense, and so to me, the idea of buried love doesn't make sense.

I might think of it more as "Will the MLCer ever possess the emotional intelligence to understand that we weren't the cause of all their problems and that they could have continued to intentionally build a life with us as partners had they not had an immature romanticized view of love that led them to believe we failed to fulfil their needs but someone else could do that for them?" A partnership requires two people to be committed, intentional and able to communicate even the most uncomfortable things, so if one or both parties believe that love is a "force that takes hold of us and we can't help it,"   well, then imo, that's antithetical to a healthy partnership. I would be more inclined to believe an MLCer had truly done some introspection if they came back and said, "I truly did stop "loving" you because what I believed was "love" was immature and selfish and therefore, unsustainable," rather than someone who claims they buried their love like a dog with a bone.
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“The desire to be loved is the last illusion. Give it up and you will be free.” ~Margaret Atwood

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Return Stories Part Three
#87: October 12, 2023, 09:19:03 AM
I should have mentioned I spoke to a 3rd MLCer.  Same story.  She returned after 3 years because she couldn’t handle seeing her H with a new woman, and her current situation absolutely sucked. 

That’s 3/3.  I strongly believe that the only reason they return is because their new situation is miserable and fantasyland did not work out.

Because the two MLCers that tried to return and LBS would not let them.  They came through MLC.  They reached acceptance and built new lives.  But they did not have that romantic love for their wives when they tried to return.  And they do not have it today all these years later.

The third MLCer eventuall remarried and loves her husband and is happy (cause he made changes lol).  So I think that love was developed later on in this new relationship.  And wasn’t the old suppressed love.  She made it clear she returned because her new situation sucked. 

I’m just not buying it that the love is suppressed all along.  I think it’s gone and a new love has to be developed, which is what we call “doing the work”.

If you’ve hated someone.  And I mean outright hated someone for 3-7 years and tried to destroy them.  You don’t just wake up one day and say oops, my bad, I actually still love you all along.  You probably realized your new situation is a disaster, have nostalgia about what you once have, and try to return to that to see where it goes, because the alternative is miserable. 

At that point, catching feelings for someone who loves you and cares for you when you’re so vulnerable and lost in the world makes sense.  Sure it’s easier to fall in love with an old flame because you have history and connection. Like and old high school sweetheart.  But it doesn’t mean that you spent all these years in between “always loving” your high school sweetheart.  especially if you spent the last few years trying to destroy them. 

No.  I believe it’s a new love that needs to be developed and the original love is gone forever.  MLCers need an opportunity to develop this new love through reconciliation. 

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Return Stories Part Three
#88: October 13, 2023, 02:50:39 AM
This is an interesting topic. I believe that 'love' requires us to be intersubjective. Our sharing of experiences, feelings etc, creates meaning and a bond between two people. Obviously put, it's relational. When a personal loses a sense of themselves, in MLC/identity crisis, it would seem unlikely that they function intersubjectively, because you have to know yourself to relate in this way. I think this is why it takes the crisis person so long to introspect (if they ever do), because often there is an emptiness inside (often described by the MLC) - so how do you reflect on a void? I don't know the answer regarding  my H and love. Each time I meet him he acts very much like he is still attached to me. He looks at me with 'love', he cries, he wants me to hug him etc. He seems like a lost toddler, arms outstretched for someone to pick him up. I don't think that has to be me (clearly, given recent events). He told me once that he feels that he has to love people twice as much, to get back half, but actually, I think he is so preoccupied looking for love, that he is actually gives less. In other words, his childhood bereft of unconditional love and always having to meet the needs of his M, meant that he has always been searching for it.
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Return Stories Part Three
#89: October 13, 2023, 05:03:34 AM
Yes very interesting topic : what is love ? For Christians, it is a name of God, the greatest I believe. To add one pov of this topic, I had last night kind of revelation about my W : the person with whom I interact is not my wife currently, she is a wounded 12 year old girl who has lost her father then who has been abandoned by her mother. She is in deep pain, she has no husband, no children, she is angry towards her mother and her brothers (except younger one that she took care of).
I know from our dating times that the wounded child has always been inside my W, she was not self-confident, she was afraid of being abandoned by me. I knew it and I did take that knowledge in account. We had a great marriage and a lot of good moments, W grew a lot alonside me, I grew a lot alongside her. But I was never able to heal her.
Now the wounded girl has taken the control, and my beloved W is prisoner inside. Will she come back again ? I don't know. In the past I had a W 99% of time, and 1% glimpses a wounded teenager. Now it is the contrary.

I suspect the wounded teenager to not love our children. She behaves as if she loves them but there are hints that the person in control does not. No blame : the wounded teenager needs to be loved and is not able to love currently, first she needs healing.

I am not working in medical field or psy, what I write in this post makes sense for me and it helps me to detach and to not react to the crazy words or actions of W.
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M 44, W43. Married 18 years, together 21
3 children D17, D15, S6
OM discovered Dec 22, BD Jan 23 (few days after)
W still living at home
Aimer, c'est donner sans attendre de retour et tout acte est prière, s'il est don de soi (Antoine de Saint Exupéry)
Love means to give without expecting return, and every act is a prayer if it is a self-gift. (thanks OffRoad !)

 

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