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Author Topic: My Story Wife in MLC - please share your thoughts/opinions/diagnosis

M
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Recap/Update:

W contacted a realtor who will be out next week to look at the house and her daycare business and give us an idea of what we are looking at as far as a sale. W wants to sell both and is motivated to do so. I will also be making an appointment with a mediator tomorrow. I am seeking primary custody of my S11 and S18 (while he is an adult, Id like to keep the boys together if possible).

As far what I have been doing, I went to IC Friday. IC says she doesn't see anything that screams D is necessary in our sitch. W is in replay and is projecting her anger onto me and making the fall guy. This is likely triggered by her unresolved issues as an adoptee.

Our interactions remain civil. She texted today to ask how the boys liked the hockey game I took them to last night. Still occasionally offers to small things for me. I find this behavior bizarre and fear she thinks divorce is going to be this "friendly." I just keep an even keel and try to validate as much as possible. I struggle at times with what to do. Focus on mediation and get the best deal I can? Hang in longer and make her do all the work for a D?

Appreciate any and all feedback.
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Hello,

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I struggle at times with what to do. Focus on mediation and get the best deal I can? Hang in longer and make her do all the work for a D?

If you are in the process of divorce, you do what is in your best interests and the interests of the children. Remember, no one wins in divorce. You do the best you can and survive.

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W contacted a realtor who will be out next week to look at the house and her daycare business and give us an idea of what we are looking at as far as a sale. W wants to sell both and is motivated to do so.

The reason why I stated the above is that she is motivated and already moving through the process. If she had filed and was taking her sweet time, then make her work. In this case, she is moving rapidly and you need to protect yourself.

Just my opinion,

Ready

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"Always look in the mirror and love what you see."

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W is in replay and is projecting her anger onto me and making the fall guy. This is likely triggered by her unresolved issues as an adoptee.
...
Our interactions remain civil. She texted today to ask how the boys liked the hockey game I took them to last night. Still occasionally offers to small things for me. I find this behavior bizarre
...
Appreciate any and all feedback.

Let me paraphrase what you wrote...

YOU feel she is projecting anger onto you.  But  are you sure it is anger, or is it some other emotions coming through this way?
And is that feeling about you or something else?
You used word "likely triggered by", which hints you have nothing certain about what that specific moment is about?

If you don't have it from the horse's mouth, then don't second guess.
Show a bit of empathy towards her, and ask (what is the worst that can happen - a bit more of the same? Things really can't turn worse)....
Say something like (paraphrase it to your own wording/style)....  "I notice you seem a bit frustrated. I'm sorry you feel that way. Can you tell me what is wrong? If possible I would like to listen and understand if I could help you out with it"
You are not trying to play nice with her, you are trying to show you notice how she feels and that you are trying to understand what it is all about.  Just like you would do for a small kid who's raging for some reason you have no clue. 

And then listen to what she says. Don't take any of it personally, as everything she says is about HER feelings and HER needs. 
Just listen - don't react, don't try to fix. 
And then show some empathy. Validate how she feels (no matter how crazy it might feel for you).
And if her unmet needs are something you can easily assist and they don't harm you, then please do help her out.
 
That anger/frustration/whatever is coming for some reason, and it is because she likely feels some of her feelings are not validated and some needs are unmet.  She may behave like crazy, but even crazy people have got feelings and needs, and they seek validation and understanding the same way as anyone else.  If you push against them, of course you will get a negative response.

And then repeat this approach for awhile. It will likely take some time before she notices you are trying to approach things differently...

What you are doing right now is not clearly working for you two. So why do you keep doing the same and expecting a different result?  Just my view from the cheap seats...

Alvin
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« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 11:02:54 PM by AlvinTheMaker »
Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years
Me: 43, W: 41 (Acts 20-25) - a low energy live-in wallower
BD ("I don't love you"): Feb 2019, 
BD2 ("I don't want to fix this marriage."... D filed May 2020
Kids (at time of BD): G19,G18,G14,G12,S5

*** Every person on the planet is like you - a human being, most likely doing the best they can. Some are just more in control of themself than others ***
*** There are things you control and things you can't control, but what you can control is your attitude towards things you can't control. ***
*** You're not going to master the rest of your life in one day. So relax. Master the present day. Then just keep doing that every day. ***
*** Without trust fear is the only possibility. Place your trust in your own wings. ***

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What you are doing right now is not clearly working for you two. So why do you keep doing the same and expecting a different result?
Alvin, this seems a bit harsh. M47 is facing a legal process where his home, custody of his children and finances are at risk. 6 months in and a 20+ year marriage. His situation is quite different from yours (pause for empathy perhaps?) and I see nothing in his posts to suggest that he is not trying to behave in a reasonable and civil way with a W who is hellbent on divorce and splitting assets currently.

Empathy is not agreement of course and validation e.g. I hear that you feel...is a useful tool in something like mediation perhaps even if it is one-sided bc it can defuse conflict sometimes.

However, the tough truth M47 is that once a legal process is on the table imho, the game changes and securing your own interests and what is best for your kids becomes the priority. Which doesn't mean that you can't behave in a civil and respectful way. But a lot of LBS here got screwed in a divorce process bc they were rather too concerned about the feelings of the fleeing spouse and not concerned enough about their self-interest.

Ready's advice sounds wise to me. I am truly sorry that this is how things are right now. I sense in your posts a tension between dealing with things practically vs wondering how speedily proactive you should be about a divorce you don't want. While I'm sure feeling a sense of shock that this is even happening. Which is normal. My best advice is to understand the legal advice on the pros and cons of being proactive vs letting your w drive the ship. To go slow and steady in your decision-making. To remember that your w is firing you from your h job so it is no longer your responsibility to 'do things for her' in the same way you did without being an a$$hat about it. To behave in a way which is in accord with your own values and that you think you would feel ok about in years to come.

And your concern about your w thinking that you will be friendly post divorce? Well, I wouldn't worry about that too much. Partly bc she will think what she thinks anyway. Partly bc you can always politely say no. Mostly bc you will work out your boundaries as a stbxh/xh as you go and a certain level of polite friendliness probably helps in co-parenting. But friendly is not the same as being friends and you will work it out as you go....and in a legal process for a divorce you don't want, your w is not your friend right now in the current circumstances unless she starts behaving like someone who places as much care on your needs as on her own.

But I am truly sorry that you are having to deal with this at all and know how painful it is to dismantle your life in this way.
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« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 12:23:39 AM by Treasur »
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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Quote
What you are doing right now is not clearly working for you two. So why do you keep doing the same and expecting a different result?
Alvin, this seems a bit harsh. M47 is facing a legal process where his home, custody of his children and finances are at risk. 6 months in and a 20+ year marriage. His situation is quite different from yours (pause for empathy perhaps?) and I see nothing in his posts to suggest that he is not trying to behave in a reasonable and civil way with a W who is hellbent on divorce and splitting assets currently.

Treasur -  all in all I don't see the situation between M47 and myself that different.  About 5-6 months back both I and W were somewhat deeply stuck. We had talks of divorce, custody etc. and filing would have been the next step. And I was relatively certain the worst would happen (and per advice given I was and still am prepared to all of it).  But here we are now, still together, from DEFCON-2 to DEFCON-4....  What changed back then was me... You know what they say is the easiest way to start a war?  A defensive act...  I started dropping my defensive acts, and started building and showing (unilateral) empathy instead. One small act at a time, day after day. And that got the ball rolling slowly between us two, my W is beginning to open up the issues underneath. Where it leads us into nobody knows yet.  But showing a bit of empathy at time like that got us two off the edge.... And yes, it took a lot of courage. But at that point I really had nothing more to loose. If I would not try to change things, I would lose everything I hold dear.  If I would fail in my attempt, I would lose everything I hold dear. But if I succeeded, then there was hope. Of course I am just sample of one.

My point is that it's never too late to try to change things... IMHO There is a reason M47s W is moving the way she does, and until he understands what that reason is and learns to validate her feelings, things will not get better between them two.  And IMHO the way M47 can understand what is going inside that head of hers is empathy.... Empathy has got nothing do with becoming a doormat or giving anything away.  It is all about you finding your inbuilt system to genuinely listening and understanding what is driving other person, and then responding the right way (without any learned rules).

As far as legal issues would go... my personal advice to M47 would be to leave it to lawyers as much as possible. 

Alvin
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« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 05:22:58 AM by AlvinTheMaker »
Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years
Me: 43, W: 41 (Acts 20-25) - a low energy live-in wallower
BD ("I don't love you"): Feb 2019, 
BD2 ("I don't want to fix this marriage."... D filed May 2020
Kids (at time of BD): G19,G18,G14,G12,S5

*** Every person on the planet is like you - a human being, most likely doing the best they can. Some are just more in control of themself than others ***
*** There are things you control and things you can't control, but what you can control is your attitude towards things you can't control. ***
*** You're not going to master the rest of your life in one day. So relax. Master the present day. Then just keep doing that every day. ***
*** Without trust fear is the only possibility. Place your trust in your own wings. ***

m
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About 5-6 months back both I and W were somewhat deeply stuck. We had talks of divorce, custody etc. and filing would have been the next step. And I was relatively certain the worst would happen (and per advice given I was and still am prepared to all of it).  But here we are now, still together, from DEFCON-2 to DEFCON-4....  What changed back then was me...

Alvin you are globalizing a short term set of facts in your particular case to everyone. This is dangerous at best and highly damaging at worst. I have not shared my story but I had many swings, months at a time, from absolute MLC depths to almost normal. I knew even then these were temporary, from everything I understand and from wise advice given.  My wife suddenly declared she wanted a divorce right after 4 months of almost returning to normal and our relationship being back to 70% of pre-BD. And this was almost 2 years out. And this is not uncommon. That's why its called a rollercoaster ride. And there was absolutely no triggering event. And she had returned all the way back to the BD shark eyes, level of pain and confusion by then. And I've shared before the day before my wife came home a wise vet from another forum called me and said "expect her to announce she wants a divorce." I smirked when she told me. She nailed it.

Please do not assume this temporary improvement is permanent or has much to do with any approach. Maybe your wife is simply questioning her marriage, maybe she is going through a MLT. Or maybe this is one of MANY swings yet to come. That is why I strongly urge newbies to listen to the experience of people with many more years of experience than you, or even me (and I am ahead of your curve by a bit).

Everyone should choose what works for them, but please don't be so sure you are on a path, not just yet. If you are that is great and I hope it continues in the direction you wish. And I will cheer for every positive step of healing and growth. But it may be a bit presumptuous and arrogant to think from so little experience that your advice will work out for others, where your story is very near the beginning. And you are assuming your actions have much impact, what if you are not correct and there is no direct cause and effect as you believe?

Please thread carefully.
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M
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Thanks for all of the feedback Alvin, Treasur and Marvin. Every bit of it is helpful!

I know that I should never give up hope, but I also believe divorce is just a piece of paper. W is dead set on moving on from the M and her "new friends" (many of whom are D) and her pro-divorce therapist have convinced/validated her beliefs that she got married too young, ILYBNILWU, and nearly every other piece of the MLC script. There is zero doubt she is in MLC. There is also zero doubt she is convinced she needs to end the M to find "happiness."

She has told her parents she is going to pursue D. I have to think of myself and my kids. Now is the best chance to get an agreement I could live with. What happens down the road remains to be seen. I won't ever say never, but any type of R will be hers to pursue when and if she is so inclined.
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That sounds wise, M47. I did all the things Alvin said as my H was an 18 month live in. It didn't matter. He eventually left anyway and I am grateful I had already secured my half of the bank accounts. Each MLCER is the same, yet different and we have to choose the best path we can, given whatever situation we have. I'd ask my mlcer a simple question a d he'd SCREAM at me. He couldn't even tell me why he was so angry, so validation was useless in those cases.

You are doing well.
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When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

M
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Realtor due at the house in a few hours. W has been out all weekend and has done absolutely nothing to prep the house in any way. She is currently scrambling to get S18 and S11 out of the house for when realtor will be here. As for me, I woke up, ran to get coffee and donuts for the boys and made chili for football later on. Que sera, sera.
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M
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Realtor visit went reasonably well. House/wife's business going on the market at end of February. W says she needs to find a job and does not know where she is going to live. We had a brief custody discussion (S11) and she mumbled that she wanted what's best for kids, and whoever lived in a town with a better school system (likely to be me) should be custodial parent. Said she "didn't want to fight."

Initial appointment with a mediator slated for this coming Friday. If you have been following my sitch, W has been staying with a female "friend" every night since July. She insists she wants a D and has told her family and a couple of close friends she is going to get a D. While it wasn't my first choice, I see no point in waiting around until she files and puts me on the defensive. I don't know that I could ever take her back given the breakdown in our trust, and I would always be thinking that she is going to leave, is having a PA, etc.

I continue to work on myself, and am focused on getting the best possible agreement for me and my kids. She needs to work through this by herself, there is no way around that fact.   
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