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Author Topic: My Story Alvin's 6th: When You Believe

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My Story Alvin's 6th: When You Believe
#70: March 21, 2020, 05:34:46 AM
Journaling... Life always keeps putting up new opportunities to grow & learn. Here's a sample of one... 

I went shopping for some groceries yesterday, and ended up having a nice chat with this LBS gal I've come to know at the shop. I was the only customer, so we were able to talk maybe 15-20 minutes.  We talked general stuff and current world situation, and she then shared how worried of COVID she is (scrubbing her hands after each client ), and how hard it feels to be single and alone in time like this; that if and when she gets sick, there is no-one to look after her, cat, or her aging mother; and how different it for us with family.

Feeling and surviving your own loneliness is one thing.  Seeing the loneliness of another LBS (especially one you have come to like as a friend) is different creature.  Part of me just wanted to give her a hug and say "I know precisely what it is alike".

But I knew my boundaries. That I'm married man, that she's single... So I just said "I know it's hard, If you ever end up sick or in hospital, just a give a  shout - I'm sure all of us around you will figure ways to help you. You are not alone."

Once W came back home, I shared her some of our talk.

And all of a sudden I had this realization.... about core differences between "just friends" vs EA.
 
When you are genuinely "just friends" with some person, you do share your life and activities with them with your spouse.  And you let your friends know of your spouse/family (not all the nittygritty sensitive stuff, but all the main elements).  And even if you enjoy time with your friends,, you still prefer spending time with your family/spouse even more. 

But if and when you are having EA, you keep them with yourself and make them a priority.  Bit like W did and is still doing to some extend... If I didn't accidentally see some random messages she gets from EA, I would not even know EA still exists (and I acknowledge that likely I am underestimating the amount of contact they still have)... But I'm not poking.  This is one of those areas where W must make the choice. Either me or either EA... I doubt she even fully recognizes she is having EA.  But it's a pile of $h!te I'll leave for MC to turn upside down. 

Alvin.
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« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 07:17:14 AM by AlvinTheMaker »
Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years
Me: 43, W: 41 (Acts 20-25) - a low energy live-in wallower
BD: Feb 2019
Kids (at time of BD): G19,G18,G14,G12,S5

On LBS diet: started at 281 lbs, now 265 - goal is to lose 66 lbs while being suck at this

*** 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. ***
*** “Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.” ***
**** Security is mostly a superstition...Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ****

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Alvin's 6th: When You Believe
#71: March 23, 2020, 07:38:53 AM
Journaling... and W's back to her shell.... The shell is curious thing. I get it is equal of boundary for her. But I'm not really sure how much or how well she is aware or in control of her own boundaries... She's all ok with S5 and G12 and G16 these days. Spending time with them, apparently enjoying it...   Not really sure what's the situation with G18 and G19.   When they are visiting us, she's treating them like all other kids. The minute they walk out of the door, she creates no contact with them unless it's strictly business... And I'm definitely on class of my own, getting the royal quarantine treatment, where responsibility of any kind of contact falls on me. 

I pulled her into a dance on Saturday morning. She said "listen to lyrics, this is really not a song to dance".
So I pulled back and continued dancing alone.     

I asked her out for a walk, once on saturday once on sunday - nope,she wanted to chop wood or just be alone. 
So I went alone for a walk 

I watched Suicide Squad on saturday night - she watched it too. Six feets away.
So I let her have the physical distancing she wants to practice.

I did spent most of weekend in my man cave - building gift for G12
She did not come to check me at all entire weekend.  The kids did (S5 even made me a gift). 

Her sleep rhytm is once again all over the chart... on friday night she passed out on the couch around 10PM; I woke up few hours later when she woke up and made her bed on the couch. On saturday I woke up at night and stumbled with her gaming/chatting at 2AM.  She just run off to bathroom saying 'I know I'm stupid doing this at this hour' -  even though all I said was a drowsy 'good night'.... She's doing all the punishing herself. 

Eventually on late sunday night I felt a compelling urge (frustration) to ask "does she see her own behaviour from my perspective (and summed up the weekend)"....    She admitted she does recall the individual events, but then said she cannot piece them together as single fabric like me.  She felt we were having a nice weekend. Sigh.

Yes, I am frustrated.   

Alvin.
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« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 07:41:20 AM by AlvinTheMaker »
Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years
Me: 43, W: 41 (Acts 20-25) - a low energy live-in wallower
BD: Feb 2019
Kids (at time of BD): G19,G18,G14,G12,S5

On LBS diet: started at 281 lbs, now 265 - goal is to lose 66 lbs while being suck at this

*** 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. ***
*** “Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.” ***
**** Security is mostly a superstition...Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ****

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Alvin's 6th: When You Believe
#72: March 23, 2020, 08:43:05 AM
Hey Alvin,

Oh yeah..... I know what you're talking about. From one weirdness to another one.

I think it's a backstop.... they move forward, it's looking better, and then they take a step back to survey the landscape. Seems normal enough. We want them to keep going forward, but it can't be that way. Forward, forward..... one step back. Hey, you are dancing with her  ;)

The good thing is once she looks around and sees that it's still safe... she is free to move forward again.
Seems like she's made some good movement.

-SS
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W - 38
M - 42
Together 24 years, M 21
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019

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Alvin's 6th: When You Believe
#73: March 23, 2020, 12:05:11 PM
Hi Standing,

yes, a dance it is. But it is very hard to say if it is 2/1 or somethng else; or possibly a mixture of many different types of dances...

I had late night walk and came up with analogy that describes the whole situation... Our crisis is lot like COVID situation.  I've been trying to stick with the recommended routines all year, trying to get her along as well.  And she's like one of those crazy old ladies down the road who refuses over this and that.

I actually went to extreme and shared this radically honest (IMHO) view with W.  She can disagree with me, but it still won't change the facts that she has simply rejected most of the suggestions  - majority of them coming from sources that are healtchare professional and experts in their fields....  This is lot of the same thing as she is rejecting a lot of COVID advice (going to work even if she coughs and sneezes several times each hour - allergy she says -as if she had this superpower that would allow her to see what it is). Sigh.

W said:  "I don't feel as such. I've never said no to anything.  There is all sorts of advice out there, and I don't know who's advice to trust".

Not sure if  this  is just passive-agressive behaviour; or just (un)masked indecisiveness, or just plain old avoidance of responsibility; or just lack of trust.  Or maybe bit of all (and something else)...  She's definitely out in some very bizarre zone.

Alvin.
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Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years
Me: 43, W: 41 (Acts 20-25) - a low energy live-in wallower
BD: Feb 2019
Kids (at time of BD): G19,G18,G14,G12,S5

On LBS diet: started at 281 lbs, now 265 - goal is to lose 66 lbs while being suck at this

*** 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. ***
*** “Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.” ***
**** Security is mostly a superstition...Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ****

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Alvin's 6th: When You Believe
#74: March 24, 2020, 11:46:33 PM
Journaling... and the bizarre dance continues.

The other night I headed into MBR instead of telly and sofa. I had headache and in general I felt like I wanted some space between us.

About hour later W came to door, asking if she can come in.  I said yes, and she sat to her (old) place, drinking her tea.

And then we talked (another episode of 'night at Frasier's, LOL)..

She wanted to know more how this "emotional control" thingie I have talked works. She wanted to know: "Can't I just think away my frustration?"

I said: "I could, but the frustration I feel is already a healthy tamed version of original unhealthy negative feeling.   And this frustration is no longer coming from unvoiced expectations, but from the fact that you are not responding to explicit requests I have voiced aloud, nor giving any kind of alternative approaches that would be win-win. And it's been like this for over a year..."

Then I showed her what I was reading  -  Small things Often by Gottman - and quicly showed a diagram about 6 hour rule.   And I said "this is the kind of advice experts, who have spend decades working and observing married couples, recommend. It's been shown to work.   It is what I have been following one-sidedly, trying to get you along by changing my own behaviour. And to some extend you have followed. But this list here is like the minimum - we are doing maybe quarter, likely less.  And it is not because of me. And I'm not happy nor satisfied with the situation... But frustrations are part of adult life. I'll survive of them. "

Fast forward a day... W said she had read the page I showed. So I asked "...and?"

"There are things I've been doing. Like talking about my day when going to work, and coming back. And occasionally I do ask about your day."

"...and?"

Silence....  Yeah, sigh. Not sure if she was expecting some positive feedback/praise, or something else. I was hoping she'd do what any rationale person would: let's roll up the sleeves and start following the plan...  Sigh the brains of MLCrs.... Oh well, I headed to MBR and continued working on my DIY-class on drawing. I spend an hour making a sketch on lily of the valley. 

She's having her first private MC session tomorrow... I did ask if she has prepared in any way (in the end 45 minutes is short time, and unless she's prepared it will be wasted).  She said she has got some questions and topics she wants to discuss.  And she said that as MC knows us and our sitch,  it means she does not have to start explaining it from the scratch...  Of course she shared no further details of any of the topics she's got planned.

Alvin.
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Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years
Me: 43, W: 41 (Acts 20-25) - a low energy live-in wallower
BD: Feb 2019
Kids (at time of BD): G19,G18,G14,G12,S5

On LBS diet: started at 281 lbs, now 265 - goal is to lose 66 lbs while being suck at this

*** 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. ***
*** “Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.” ***
**** Security is mostly a superstition...Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ****

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Alvin's 6th: When You Believe
#75: March 25, 2020, 08:00:23 AM
Hey Alvin,

I wouldn't expect such from her about what goes on there... but you never know.

So she wandered into MBR, that great!!! Easing back in seems so slow, but not to them. I wouldn't be surprised if she just plops down in there one day like she's never been gone. Very weird process.
You'll be like "What??? Now??? Um.... Hi..... ?????" and she'll be like "Why are you all weirded out?" and play a game on her phone.
And that'll be it. *BOOM* New normal.

LOL!!!

-SS
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W - 38
M - 42
Together 24 years, M 21
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019

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Alvin's 6th: When You Believe
#76: March 25, 2020, 10:46:37 AM
I wouldn't expect such from her about what goes on there... but you never know.

Agree with you.... it would be nice to be fly on the wall, but maybe some things are better to be unseen/unheard.

Oh well, in 24 hours time I'll be much wiser.


I wouldn't be surprised if she just plops down in there one day like she's never been gone. Very weird process.
You'll be like "What??? Now??? Um.... Hi..... ?????" and she'll be like "Why are you all weirded out?" and play a game on her phone.
And that'll be it. *BOOM* New normal.

OK. Now you got me scared.... LOL.


Alvin.
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Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years
Me: 43, W: 41 (Acts 20-25) - a low energy live-in wallower
BD: Feb 2019
Kids (at time of BD): G19,G18,G14,G12,S5

On LBS diet: started at 281 lbs, now 265 - goal is to lose 66 lbs while being suck at this

*** 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. ***
*** “Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.” ***
**** Security is mostly a superstition...Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ****

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Alvin's 6th: When You Believe
#77: March 25, 2020, 04:01:51 PM
LOL Alvin.....

I'm sure there's plenty of  :o still to come.

Mine opened up about her IC very briefly the other day while on a walk: Their last convo was about images that W has been obsessed about since all this started (Waves, Butterflies, a Phoenix, forging in fire, etc.). I already had put all that together and what it means..... but to W it was a revelation (com'on, it's obvious). The simplicity is astonishing, but that they do it in a 100% safe place is the important thing..... then they are open to thought and are free to express all of it (hopefully).

Stirring the pot with different scenery.......  ;)

-SS
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M - 42
Together 24 years, M 21
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BD - 27th April 2019

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Alvin's 6th: When You Believe
#78: March 26, 2020, 09:57:07 AM
Journaling....

Damn....W's MC canceled because of illness. Possibly/likely COVID related so they will not be taking anyone in at least for a month (but likely longer).
So I decided push things onwards on my own once more. In the end I've got nothing to lose, but a lot to gain.

First, I raised the issue of MD, asking W has there been any progress. It turns out she has booked MD for beginning of April.  Of course she did not speak anything to me.


Then I decided to lift the EA issue on the table. I was hoping MC would have been the one to deal with this pile of $h!te, but sometimes life gives us lemons and all we can only try to make lemonade to best of our ability...  I asked W to do the quiz at https://husbandhelphaven.com/wp-content/uploads/The_Emotional_Affair_Quiz_PDF.pdf  and think of EA when responding to questions. She was confused "why". I told I would explain later based on the results.
 
She spent 5-10 minutes working her way through the questions, and was about to give me the printed sheet.  I just said "no thanks, I don't need to know the details. Just tell me how many Yes-responses", handing her the second page that contained scoring advice.  She scored 5/15, which pretty well matches what I thought. She's having EA, but not knowing  (or at least trying to hide/mask/refuse) the fact she's having one, not fully understanding the implications of it to our relation.   

And I was prepared for what was coming (all that time spend on reading/education paid off)...   

First came the wave of questions  with just one aim: trying to get rid from the feelings of guilt and shame that came when EA was exposed. Can't I have friends when I'm married?  What's the meaning of friends if they can be only superficial?  Why can't I share my whole life, $h!te and joys with others? How do I know how much or little of me or you or marriage they have talked of?    What if EA is not the cause but a symptom (she said she was unhappy and detached way before EA)?  Are you asking me to end my friendship for marriage?
 
Cue the second act...   The accusations towards me... how my past behaviour pushed her into it.. How she tried to communicate with me, but I did not listen. 

Cue the third act....  The poor victim cry followed by pity and self blame....  She called herself as big pile of $h!te (tens of times).  Self-bashing of her own stupidity.

I dodged bullet after another,  educating her tidbit after tidbit about the sinister dynamic that having EA brings into a marriage, drawing simple illustrations to make my message simpler and more effective.  Trying to stay with facts (her behaviour, my behaviour and the dynamics) and refusing to be dragged into talks of what is/was right or what is wrong (just saying many issues she raised are something she should talk with MC first, not me).  Eventually it boiled down to humbling observation of her behaviour: if she has felt the marriage had been so bad for years,  then why has she stayed but not sought professional help, but instead went and fell into third party as emotional resource.   I told she's no $h!tety person, otherwise I would have never chhosen her as my wife,  or would have brought the topic on the table way earlier.  But she's deeply troubled IMHO, maybe lost because of other issues, and has made many $h!tety decisions that have made the original issue even worse.  But everyone makes mistakes and many do get lost with life at least once... She does not need my forgiviness, she needs to forgive herself to begin possible recovery. 

And then I guided her to final act....  What matters most is what she is going to do next. Not the past, but present and future. .

I told her that the reason we are having these serious talks is because she avoids counceling and other requests to progress I have made.   And that I have no plan to stop having these talks until she signs up and commits to professional help, or either of us walks out. ... She told she now gets it. 

I told her that I had not talked of EA earlier because I hoped/thought she realized herself her own situation, and I hoped MC would digg into it instead of me. But a further delay with MC left me with hard choice.  I am not going to play sitting duck any longer than I have to  (she said she understands I want to move on with life)....   Eventually I said  "having EA when married is equal to trying to have the cake and eat it.    IMHO you can't have both.  You must choose either me or either EA, but you cannot have both as neither relationship will not grow nor heal as there is not enough energy for splittting.. But this is something I don't expect you to decide now.  It is something you should discuss first with your MC when it happens, as MC's usually don't like working with patients who are having affairs (twitch again). Just my opinion....   

She was astonished.... any of that other stuff does not matter...?  I said: It surely matters, but for survival of marriage this is likely the most important one. And MC is specialized of saving marriages, or at least they should be.  But this is another topic you should discuss with your MC.  I explained her that I can see at least four plausible causes for current situation (bad marriage, mental health issues,  EA, hormonal issues),  and most likely option is that all four are interralated and screwing not just her head but also our marriage.  But I'm no expert and way too involved emotionally, which is why she must talk to professionals (I have already straightened my heade, and more, at least for now)....  But what I can do, and have been trying to make her do, is to take the step into possible recovery. They are the same steps  for reviving marriages regardless of the underlying reasons.   But the fix is going to be hard work, requiring commitment.  I have spent a year working my ass off, learning all these things, and now she just needs to follow my steps. Take the leap of faith. To trust me again.
 
Then I asked her "So we have this 6 hour rescue plan by Gottman, pretty much the best piece of knowledge the money can buy.  Are we going to go onwards with it or not?  As you have said nothing particular, and you have refused a somewhat similar plan before,  I assume we are not to proceed together?". 

This fired the negative counter reaction I was expecting... "You always assume things before I get a chance to think it over. It is something you always do...  Yes, we can try it. "

I said "good, we'll get the ball rolling tomorrow morning".

And she headed to bathroom and to her bed, and I followed to my own.
 
She seemed dead exhausted after the talk... But I slept better than in many months. All the cards are now on the table. Maybe it was just me, but I could swear I saw the word "cheater" burning her soul  (though I did not use that word , nor inffidelity;  I just used more safe terms "emotional affair" and "crossing the boundaries of marriage"). 

In the morning...  She showed now sign of us having a very serious talk.  The mask was clearly and strictly on, but I think I was able to sense the underlyilng turmoil...  But she kept following the plan, precisely.  Quickly asking  about my plans for the day and wishing me a fun day preschooling kids in the morning;  responding to my (family) whatsup message - sharing part of her day with us all ,  and when she got back she brought once again a tiny gift for me,  and shared about her day even more than before.... And of course I did my part  sharing about my day (like I've been doing all the time).  And gave her a quick kiss on the forehead (still far from the 6 second kiss that Gottman recommends; but I'm taking it with babysteps).

These will be some very interesting waters to sail....   

Alvin. 
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« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 10:00:56 AM by AlvinTheMaker »
Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years
Me: 43, W: 41 (Acts 20-25) - a low energy live-in wallower
BD: Feb 2019
Kids (at time of BD): G19,G18,G14,G12,S5

On LBS diet: started at 281 lbs, now 265 - goal is to lose 66 lbs while being suck at this

*** 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. ***
*** “Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.” ***
**** Security is mostly a superstition...Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ****

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Alvin's 6th: When You Believe
#79: March 28, 2020, 02:49:32 AM
Journaling...

Mego's story featured a very good question - how do some of our partners explain the “wanting to get back together” but also keeping "third wheel" in relationship.

It got me thinking the grand scheme of things...

I've been lately reading  some stuff from MarriageBuilders website - especially the section about (emotional) affairs: why they develop (communication breakdown of unmet emotional needs),  why they are so damn difficult to break (limerance fog, takers/ego on both sides), and why they are so damn hard to recover (resentment on both sides). The article series in there is definitely well worth reading.  The real nugget IMHO is  however the "why they juggle between two options".   The author gives away three theories (and these can be both alternative and complementing with each other): 

1)  the original spouse is the "safety net"
in case things don't work out with EA/PA/OW, the original spouse is available as plan-B.
I would vision most clingers to be candidates of this group.

2) neither original spouse vs. affair alone is "good enough" to fill in all the emotional needs
From MLCr perspective he/she's the price, but stuck in limbo as none of the relationships in his/her life alone fill all the needs. This yilds to cake eating, as no single party is enough.

3) when relationship (either with original spouse or with EA/PA/OW) is coming to end, they do get depressed/anxious (somewhatt normal reaction to loss of major relationship)  and they keep using the "ghost" of that relationship as emotional crutch over transition (and this transition can lead into all new relationship with someone new, recreation of old relationship, or no relationship at all).   

Maybe this here could be seen as one perspective "into the tunnel".

And maybe this triplet is also the force that keeps LBS attached with MLCr (in the end all humans share the same core)  - except for us the "affair" is with ourself/being alone.   And when we can let go, we become "free" from our fears/limitations.

I have a hunch my wife's sitch falls to options 2 and 3...


On more personal side... 

After some backsteps, things are cooking up nicely with W again.  She's talking more than in very long time: lots about her work and people in there. And she's doing some minor openings of more personal things (talking of her family, how they are doing etc stuff she kept hidden or need-to-know basis for 12 months).  Longer hugs.  What's all new and pretty stunning is that W desires a spring picnic with me and kids.  It's been way too long since last time she wanted to spend family time with all of us.  And as I was videochatting to G18 yesterday, W came next to me to join the talk  (they have not talked in well over a month - whereas I've been maintaining weekly calls)..... So some parts of the 6 hour plan are coming well filled, and would hopefully pull the remaining parts onwards as well,   It's all about babysteps and patience. 

Last night I gave wife one more tool -  https://www.marriagebuilders.com/emotional-needs-questionnaire.htm
She seems so lost with what she wants from relationship and marriage, and maybe/hopefully this would help her discover herself.  And maybe it would help me see what are the areas where I could/should improve to meet her needs (as having EA is clearly a sign there are some areas where I have failed).... I did the quiz myself few nights back, and the results were pretty much what I thought they would be.

One step at a time, one day at a time. 

Alvin.
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Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years
Me: 43, W: 41 (Acts 20-25) - a low energy live-in wallower
BD: Feb 2019
Kids (at time of BD): G19,G18,G14,G12,S5

On LBS diet: started at 281 lbs, now 265 - goal is to lose 66 lbs while being suck at this

*** 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. ***
*** “Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.” ***
**** Security is mostly a superstition...Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ****

 

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