Author Topic: Interacting with Your MLCer What do you think it means to Pave the Way  (Read 844 times)

Offline RollercoasteriderTopic starter

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Interacting with Your MLCer What do you think it means to Pave the Way
« on: July 05, 2019, 10:56:13 PM »
What do you think it means to Pave the Way?
How do you define Paving the Way?
What do you believe it entails?

I'm asking because I have seen a lot of misunderstandings of this concept and would like to write a blog post about it--once I get the new blog's email sending system set up. So I want to address some specific misunderstandings or even questions. I've already started writing the post based on what I've read in posts, but would like a wider response to see how widespread any misunderstanding may be.

Offline Standing Strong

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Re: What do you think it means to Pave the Way
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2019, 11:04:02 PM »
Kindness. Consideration. Shown and communicated empathy.

I think all these happen with genuine words, along with actions.
Doesn't have to be big, just things which are important to them.
Don't expect anything in return or that they even notice. I think they notice everything but it conflicts with the story they tell themselves (maybe elves did it!!!)


W - 38
M - 41
Together 24 years, M 21
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019

Offline Treasur

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Re: What do you think it means to Pave the Way
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2019, 11:11:00 PM »
I'm glad you are revisiting it bc I think some people believe it means you can 'Nice them back'. And there is very little anecdotal evidence to support that and sometimes the cost to the LBS is very high. I have never really understood the purpose of it but I chose to try hard to treat my spouse with respect and all the grace I could muster bc of who he was and who I am. As far as I could tell, that influenced him not a jot but it helped me hang on to who I was regardless.
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

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

Offline Nerissa

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Re: What do you think it means to Pave the Way
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2019, 01:47:50 AM »
I think it is intended to mean that we should try to be the best version of ourselves we can be.  To live well and honestly and remain  compassionate when we interact with our spouses. To welcome positive contact but to maintain boundaries of respect on both sides.

In practice, with a very hurt lbs, hoping for a return and putting that need and the very understandable need for contact with the mlc spouse above everything else, it can mean losing boundaries and keeping oneself open to being hurt by not detaching and telling oneself one is paving the way.

I think people often forget or are in too much pain to understand just how clear you were, RCR, about boundaries for your own health in your own case.  Or sometimes people have spouses who are behaving in a really quite disordered way and then boundaries are really important.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2019, 01:49:03 AM by Nerissa »

Offline Thunder

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Re: What do you think it means to Pave the Way
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2019, 02:59:07 AM »
I took it to mean, in the beginning they are still very unsure of themselves.  They are confused, do they go or do they stay?  One foot in, one foot out.  It's a time where you can plant seeds because they are still listening.

It's a time, before they go into the tunnel, where what you say to them, or how you act towards them, may have an effect down the road.  It may be things they start to remember when they are coming out of their fog.  They may remember the kindness you showed them, the support and patience.

Even just a "I have faith in you that you will figure this out."
A quote from a recovered 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."

Offline Acorn

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Re: What do you think it means to Pave the Way
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2019, 06:08:59 AM »
This is how I understood ‘Paving the Way’ early in my LBS journey.

It is important to note that it wasn’t PTW itself so much, but ‘for whom’ and ‘for what’ that I focussed on. 

I interpreted PTW as being for MLCer.
I interpreted PTW as being for an outcome, namely, reconciliation.

As a newbie, my intention was get my H love me again and return to marriage and Paving the Way sounded like the best title for ‘how to get your MLCer back’ handbook. 

(From my readings of threads, especially those of newbies, I’m not alone in this way of thinking.)

‘Perfect!  Now I can do something to fix this MLC mess’ was my thinking.  That is a nicer and kinder expression than the cold truth about what I was trying to do - attempting to manipulate another person in an attempt to bend him to my personal goal; often pretending who I was not; shaping my time and effort to suit what I thought were his needs and wants; bending backwards to make myself appear as an attractive force to him. 

Not a flattering observation of myself.

This way of looking at PTW placed H and reconciliation smack in the middle of my life. 

‘Hey, am I doing what I’m doing to stage someone else’s comeback to whatever?  H can pave his own way, thank you.’ dawned on me once I recovered some wits.

My personal interpretation of PTW changed then.  Instead of Paving the Way for someone else and with an objective, namely, reconciliation, it became about paving my own way. . 

From then on, PTW meant to me:

- Being my authentic self.  For example, be kind and compassionate because that’s who I am, and not because of any ulterior motive to woo him back.

- It is about building my own path, not labouring to build a road for H, just in case he might walk on it toward me and M.

Perhaps the best way to ‘pave the way’ is to focus on LBS’s own healing, learning and growing.  If MLCer ever opens his eyes to LBS, he will see a strong, resilient, self-sufficient, empathetic, authentic person who overcame one of the worst trials in her life and living every day with joy and thankfulness.  In my view, that is the essence of Paving the Way and being the Light House.  ‘Paving’ is a state of ‘being’, not a ways and means, in my view.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2019, 06:26:50 AM by Acorn »
Live-in MLCer
Feb 2015: BD.  H has a Nuclear meltdown. 
Apr 2016: Affair discovered
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

Online Mitzpah

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Re: What do you think it means to Pave the Way
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2019, 06:09:43 AM »
Paving the way means to me to make sure that I put up no obstacles to turning towards me, maintaining healthy boundaries that protect me from further damage yet do not make it impossible to contact me in an honest, safe manner.

It means making sure I am honest, respectful and sincere in all my interactions whether with my MLCer or with any other person of my acquaintance.

It means being committed to being consistent, calm and constant in all my interactions. Being honest to who I am and what I believe in so that there is no doubt as to where I stand.

This towards anyone and everyone, not only my h.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2019, 06:14:13 AM by Mitzpah »
M 57
H 57
S 27
S 25
D 24
BD 13 Dec 2010
Divorced 27 Feb 2015 (30 years marriage)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11

Online One day at a time

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Re: What do you think it means to Pave the Way
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2019, 06:36:48 AM »
I'm glad this thread started. I remember being very confused about "Paving the way" as a newbie.. How to find a good balance between PTW and being a doormat.. And also confused by the constant message that there was nothing we could do about their crisis and yet, PTW was important?

In the end what I did was to take the emotion out of our interactions. Treated him with compassion and respect, showed him it was safe to talk to me, not in a buddy kind of way, just calm and light conversations so he didn't feel attacked when he interacted with me. I also showed him by my actions that I would be open to talk to him in the future but I was letting him go to do what he felt he needed to do.. And then I moved to the side and off he went.

H - 42 (40 @BD1)
M - 42 (40 @BD1)
Together 15 years, M 8 @separation
No kids
BD1 - 26th Aug 2017 (Not happy, life has no purpose, "we have problems")
BD2 - 22nd March 2018 (Marriage is over, we want different things, confessed EA with someone 12,000 kms away although "she means nothing")
H moved in with parents 11th May 2018 (I asked him to leave as couldn't handle the EA rubbed all over my face)
H moved abroad 29th Dec 2018, not sure if OW will join him or if they are still in contact.
Confirmation H is with OW in her home country  - 3rd June 2019

"One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change"

Offline seahorse

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Re: What do you think it means to Pave the Way
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2019, 07:29:12 AM »
Good discussion -

Paving the way is all about unconditional love.
Being there for them when/if they need you.
Holding your tongue when you want to say nasty things.
Being patient, kind, understanding.

Others refer to it as being the "lighthouse".

That being said -- it is NOT about being a doormat or allowing yourself to be abused.

It's treating your spouse as you would want to be treated.

Seahorses have one mate for life...

Offline Nas

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Re: What do you think it means to Pave the Way
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2019, 09:08:46 AM »
Early days, I too thought paving the way was a means to getting my H back: respond to each and every contact with "fake it till you make it" positive responses, regardless of the circumstances and how detrimental his actions/choices were to me.  "Make him see that you are a source of light, you love him despite his actions, you are the one who has been and will always be there for him..."

I'm 4-plus years out.  On Monday, 4 days before the 4th anniversary of his abruptly moving out, I got a message out of the blue on Messenger (I still don't know his phone number or email address - not even sure I have his correct mailing address for that matter).

First contact since my parents died in February (I contacted him when my mother died, 3 weeks later he messaged me when he heard my father died.  Very alien, distant message, he told me to "hang in there.")

It was what in the very early days I would have considered a very positive contact:
"Hi. How are you? How is your health?"

There once was a time when I would have seized on this message as proof he cared, that he was "peaking out," that I needed to respond nicely to "pave the way" for him to know I hadn't given up on him.

But I've spent the last 3 years receiving ZERO financial help from him and barely hearing from him while he's built himself a new life.
In that time:
I was diagnosed with cancer and endured chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries - he never checked in on me , not once. (though he was receiving updates on me from his mother). While I was in chemo, he got a new phone number and the longest we went without contact was a year, and when he did contact, he apologized for the lack of contact by saying that "My phone went through the washing machine last year."  ???

He euthanized our beloved dog and I found out about it on Facebook.  When I contacted him to ask for the dog's collar, he responded like a toddler who knew mommy was mad.  He promised to send it.  He never did. (That was a year ago).

My mother died, then three weeks later, my father died.  While attempting to plan my father's funeral (and sell his car, which some jerk promptly stole the license plates off), I was also dealing with some stressful changes in the status of my cancer.

All of that, while still managing to do freelance work enough to pay my bills and survive.
All of that, with NO help from him and him changing his phone number and email (and I think his address), making my ability to contact him extremely difficult.

"Hi. How are you?  How is your health?"
How would one respond to that?  I have NOTHING right now.  Financially deceived before BD, left behind at BD, used up most funds on a lawyer pre-cancer, completely abandoned post-cancer, already in financial ruin and then cancer completely finished me off.

Again, early days, I would have responded to his message positively and calmly, thinking I was "paving the way."

Now I think about myself first.  What good will responding do ME?  He is still controlling the contact by sending a message via the only avenue HE's left open and expecting me to respond via that avenue while still having no other way to reach him.

It's a VERY difficult thing to attempt to rebuild your life after MLC.
It's become even more difficult for me to need to completely rebuild from the ground up, while not even knowing how much more life I have.  I recently read an article about how cancer robs you of the ability to plan for longer than 3 months at a time (the time in between scans). 

Yet, I have NO CHOICE but to rebuild and I am in a place where I have to plan for the long term while living in a situation where I've been essentially robbed of the ability to plan long term.  I live in 3-month increments, but have to rebuild from the ground up for a life I hope will be many years longer.  I believe it's a unique position to be in, and one that I would not wish on anyone.

If anything, I'm paving the way for him to have the opportunity to think about what he's done by NOT responding to his cold, oddly worded out of the blue message that does nothing to address the fact that I am struggling beyond imagination and he's done nothing to help.

But I no longer worry about paving the way - he has to come to realizations about what he's done to me on his own, if he's ever going to come to those realizations.  He may never.
Married 8 years at BD, together 16.
BD March 2015
H moved out July 2015
I found out about OW March 2016 (She went to high school with H, long distance EA since September 2014, became PA November 2015)
H moved 1100 miles to live with OW June 2016
I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer June 2017
H became a vanisher


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