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Originally Posted By: MrWondering
However, if you are reading this thread wondering if your spouse is crazy too, absent a previous diagnosis, I caution you that although waywardism is a characteristic of many disorders and waywards tend to demonstrate other diagnostic characteristics WHILST wayward, waywardism alone is not a mental disorder and MB can and should be still attempted first because it's unlikely your spouse is truly mentally ill. Unfortunately, way too many betrayed spouses spend way too much time trying to psycho-analyze and internet diagnose their wayward spouses...time that could much better be spent fighting the affair, learning the MB program, taking care of themselves, taking care of their families, working at their jobs, etc.


Agree with this. Dr Harley warns against diagnosing your spouse. I have seen so many betrayed spouses show up here with some type of diagnosis they read on the internet. I view this as a form of denial along the lines of "mid life crisis." Like Harley says, almost ALL the couples who show up for help here have some type of personality disorder. It doesn't mean the program won't help them.

I don't understand what you are getting at, JediKnight, unless your goal is to discourage people from saving their marriages by cherry picking any and all radio clips about disorders. Do you understand that BS's latch onto stuff like this as a form of denial?

JediKnight, what is the POINT?


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Melody
I am posting this information because it is very informative
I hope it will help people.
I in no way whatsoever encourage anyone to leave their marriage over an illness or disorder or whatever it's called.
I personally struggle with this issue because marriage is for "in sickness and in health" and obviously as Dr Harley says we have to maintain boundaries in cases of health or safety issues.

Please don't start accusing me of various motives

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MB Radio link:

Dr Harley addresses in second part of this segment, Electric Fence Personality.
He said people are born with this and explains exactly what it is and how it affects relationships.
He explained people with this disorder "have to get their way."
They have a personality that is very hard to live with.
(this description from Dr Harley matches the description of a mental emotional disorder quoted from Dr Harley on Page 1 of this thread)

Men with this disorder often end up in prison and women end up being demanding and angry.

Part 1 (near end of segment):

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=02449#

Part 2:

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=02450#

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Originally Posted By: Jedi_Knight


Please don't start accusing me of various motives


If I were a newly betrayed spouse, I would LATCH ONTO this thread as an explanation for my spouse's wayward behavior so I wouldn't have to face the hard truth. Do you know how many BS's show up here believing their spouse has some type of disorder and needs "therapy" when all that is wrong is that they are wayward? Waywards of any kind, alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, adultery, mimic narcissism and bipolar behavior.

Another way that is used to the detriment of a marriage, is that a wayward uses these labels as an excuse to run off to "therapy" for a few years to get his head right. [while the marriage dies on the vine] One such case that comes to mind is SusieQ's husband.

Like I told you earlier, I can identify with almost everything you posted about your wife. Yet, I have not been diagnosed with a disorder, other than almost scoring off the chart on Dr Harley's personality test. Yet, I am in a fully recovered, romantic marriage.

Like Dr Harley said in one of his radio clips, almost EVERY PERSON who shows up for help has a personality disorder. It doesn't mean they can't have a great marriage. I am proof of that!!


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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I have also heard Dr. Harley say that mental disorder is part of the natural aging process. Old people often are and become progressively more paranoid. "Disorder" is natural....and people live with it successfully everyday without hurting others, robbing banks, committing adultery, become "love addicts", etc.

True disorders, bad habits and compulsions sometimes help explain situations...none of them excuse anything.


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Originally Posted By: MrWondering
I have also heard Dr. Harley say that mental disorder is part of the natural aging process. Old people often are and become progressively more paranoid.


shaddup!! Quit talking about me!! sigh


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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MB Radio Link:

Dr Harley gives another great explanation of Electric Fence personality.
He explains with these types of people, you have to cater to their needs in order to keep them with you.

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=01458#

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Wanted to emphasize this quote from MrW's excellent post:

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley

I'll admit that I've seen a few cases of insanity among struggling couples. But it's much rarer than most people think. Those I've treated for serious mental disorders have tended to be single, not married. The process of courting usually eliminates from contention those who are truly insane. So why would a spouse conclude that the root of their marital problems is found in the other spouse's mental disorder? One answer is that it usually deflects attention from their own contribution to the problem. Instead of joining in a mutual effort to solve their marital problems, with each accepting some responsibility, one spouse wants the other to be "fixed." Extensive therapy is usually suggested giving the "healthy" spouse the right to sit on the sidelines waiting to judge the final result.
here


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted By: Jedi_Knight
MB Radio Link:

Dr Harley gives another great explanation of Electric Fence personality.
He explains with these types of people, you have to cater to their needs in order to keep them with you.

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=01458#


Been here almost 12 years, never seen one.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted By: Jedi_Knight
I personally struggle with this issue because marriage is for "in sickness and in health" and obviously as Dr Harley says we have to maintain boundaries in cases of health or safety issues.


This is what troubles me when these issues get over discussed/emphasized on infidelity recovery forums. Betrayed spouses typically come to this board (and other forums) for two reasons:

1. To figure out WHY their spouse is cheating on them
2. To figure out how to get their wayward spouse and family back.

If the answer to number 1 is coming to the conclusion that their spouse is disordered or some kind of sex addict they will either buy into:

1. He/she isn't fixable and your life will be miserable if you stay with such spouse so you've got to divorce [the most common advice on addict and disorder support forums]; or,

2. I vowed "in sickness and health" and it appears my spouse is sick so I have to stay but because he/she is sick MB won't work. Instead I'm gonna let my spouse off the hook, not do any work myself (since it's obviously all them) and let's get my sick spouse into "treatment".


Then there's the problems with "treatment". Most 12 step programs do not include the spouse. In fact, they attempt to get the "sick" person to disassociate themselves individually with anything that triggers their "addictive" outbursts. Often marriages get defined as CO-DEPENDENT (which they are supposed to be unless your spouse is an addict - not the other way around). So the addict now spends an inordinate amount of time going to meetings attended by other addicts, male and female alike, getting love and support from them versus their spouse whom they are to avoid and not talk to about things.

Either way...the betrayed supportive spouse gets crushed.

Point is...it's dangerous to focus to much attention on mental disorder and addictions. They are real and do happen occasionally, but as you work the MB program and stick to your boundaries if your spouse is truly disordered they won't be able to do it and you'll just end up separated in Plan B healing yourself while awaiting a likely divorce down the road (or life-long separation if divorce just isn't your cup of tea). Eventually...while you are in Plan B, their hurtful illness, sickness, addiction will rightfully become THEIR problem to fix/medicate if they want you, the betrayed spouse to even bother considering a further relationship/recovery. This will be YOUR plan, on YOUR terms and with YOUR boundaries versus sending your "sick" spouse off to treatment, focusing on THEIR needs and crossing your fingers that THEY will be "cured". The healthy betrayed spouses matter too (lest they become "crazy" themselves).






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MB Radio Link:

Dr Harley addresses a caller that says his wife will commit suicide if he leaves and mutilates herself. Dr Harley said she would probably be diagnosed as BPD.
He said he thinks its a personality trait and encourages the caller to cater to her needs and to stay married for the sake of the kids.
Dr Harley says she fits the category of Electric Fence personality. He said in cases of personality disorder the spouse needs to be generous and loving

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=00658#

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Mr Wondering,

In the link above Dr Harley encourages a spouse to stay in there if at all possible.
A common theme throughout his radio show is "the children" and he seems to be primarily concerned about what is best for the kids.
He said in several clips that if your spouse has a mental disorder then you should cater to them if at possible, especially if kids are involved

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Originally Posted By: Jedi_Knight
Mr Wondering,

In the link above Dr Harley encourages a spouse to stay in there if at all possible.
A common theme throughout his radio show is "the children" and he seems to be primarily concerned about what is best for the kids.
He said in several clips that if your spouse has a mental disorder then you should cater to them if at possible, especially if kids are involved


That contradicts what you say he told you, though. That should tell you that you are misinterpreting his message.

In this clip, he is describing someone who is so extremely mentally ill that he considers the spouse disabled [self mutilation, suicide threats] in the same category as a spouse that might have Alzheimers or some type of brain damage.

It is NOT a common theme, though, that he tells spouses to stay in abusive, neglectful marriages.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted By: Jedi_Knight
Mr Wondering,

In the link above Dr Harley encourages a spouse to stay in there if at all possible.
A common theme throughout his radio show is "the children" and he seems to be primarily concerned about what is best for the kids.
He said in several clips that if your spouse has a mental disorder then you should cater to them if at possible, especially if kids are involved


This guys wife wasn't cheating on/abusing him.

He also was describing what he thought other psychologist's would be calling/diagnosing this guys wife with the personality disorder of Borderline Personality Disorder. I think his advice was more along the lines of what the guy should do with a wife with those traits (that some psychologists would call BPD). Stick it out for the kids especially since she's not likely disabled enough to lose the kids in a custody dispute and thus, the kids will suffer under her traits moreso without him there to run interference.

Perhaps Dr. Harley weighed it out in this situation and considered (with limited information) that to actually suggest separation/divorce to the husband of a possible BPD with an attachment disorder (thus the realization of her greatest fear) where kids are involved is likely gonna cause more problems FOR THE KIDS than it will for the spouse.

Had the wife been cheating on him with an affair partner...I think such weighing out would have reached a much different conclusion (the harm to the husband of staying and "catering" to the unrepentant wayward spouse is worse than the harm to the kids).

Your mileage may vary

Last edited by MrWondering; 11/26/12 12:32 PM.

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MB Article:


What to Do with an Emotionally2
or Physically Disabled Spouse

Letter #1

Dear Dr. Harley,
We've been together for 20 years, happily married for 17, and have two teenage sons. Since I returned from a 3 day business trip 5 weeks ago (my first in 4 years) my wife has accused me of 1. having an affair, 2. trying to hide assets, 3. threatening her, 4. wanting to hurt the children, 5. tapping her phone, 6. bugging the house, 7. not loving her. 8. planning on leaving her for a younger woman, etc. I haven't done any of these things.

I love my wife with all of my heart. She has now locked me out of the house and gotten a restraining order preventing me from contacting her or my kids. She has always been slightly paranoid, and now she has gone off the deep end (At least with respect to me. She is still fairly rational and normal with everything else). She will not talk to me at all, she throws away my letters and she accuses the counselor we were seeing of lying to her and now she won't go to a counselor either.

What should I do?

B.R.



Dear Mr. B.R.,
Your wife is probably suffering from a paranoid disorder. It is usually a problem that gets worse over time, since in many cases its underlying cause is damage to the brain which, itself, deteriorates over time. Most people who are known to have a degenerative neurological disorder are somewhat paranoid.

Some people are paranoid at an early age, which could reflect an early brain injury. One of my clients that I saw for the first time at the age of 16 had a serious head injury when she was 6. She is now 38 and on rare occasion manifests some paranoid symptoms, but is married with three children and has steadily improved throughout her lifetime. It's a rare but encouraging example.

Some of my clients with serious paranoid disorders have eventually divorced their spouses, with everyone who cares for them, including their loving spouses, trying to stop them. I have gone to extraordinary lengths to try to prove that their paranoid fears are unfounded, but rarely does "proof" have any effect.

Sometimes medication can control paranoid thinking, particularly when the person is experiencing schizophrenic or manic symptoms along with being paranoid. But you describe a pure state of paranoid thinking in your letter, and medication has not been very successful in treating it. Psychotherapy is also somewhat unsuccessful, although there are instances of full recovery.

As you discovered, after taking your 3 day business trip, people that suffer from paranoid thinking don't like their spouses to leave them alone. I believe that your wife may eventually let you back into her world again. If she does, don't ever leave her again overnight. The more time you spend with her, the less chance she has to imagine what you could be doing behind her back. Also, stress clearly increases paranoid thinking, and when you're with her she will be less anxious.

For a while, you may suffer stress from all her accusations, and it may even make you very angry. But I would not argue with her. Simply reassure her that you love her, and promise you will never leave her overnight again. That may settle her down. Also, call her regularly throughout the day. The more of your time you give her, especially when she has your undivided attention, the fewer symptoms you are likely to observe.

People with a paranoid disorder imagine all sorts of plots designed to do them in. Some are dangerous to live with because they are convinced their spouses are planning to kill them. I have counseled paranoid clients that have tried to kill their spouses in what they think is "self defense." Whenever I have a client who threatens to kill their spouse, I advise a separation until there is evidence of remission.

In your case, there does not seem to be any danger, so I would encourage you to make every effort to reunite with her. I think she will probably respond to you efforts within a few weeks, or at the most, a few months.

Make several efforts each day to talk to her, and when you can, tell her that you love her. Tell her the truth, never go along with one of her fantasies just to try to get along with her. If she demands that you confess doing something she imagined, gently tell her that you would never do anything to hurt her. Give her regular reassurance that you care about her and don't let yourself become so frustrated that you end up saying something that would hurt her feelings.

Dr Harley

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Originally Posted By: Jedi_Knight
Melody,

For clarification Dr Harley did encourage me to be in Plan A indefinitely if there was any possibility of shared parenting.
I assume in my case as in the radio link above, his primary concern is the welfare of the children.
He said if I can obtain sole custody, to enter Plan B.


But you were getting divorced. He did not tell you stay married for the sake of the children. In the radio clip above, he placed that spouse in the same category as one who has a debilitating illness, such as cancer or Alzheimers.


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MB Article:

Depressed Spouse

Dear Dr. Harley,
I have been married to my husband for two and a half years, and we've been together for four years. Throughout almost our entire relationship, my husband has been either mildly or severely depressed. His job creates so much stress for him that it affects his entire life, but I fear it's not his job that makes him miserable. He has a lot of emotional baggage from his past that he denies affects him, including his adoption at birth and the murder of his sister ten years ago, neither of which he has dealt with, and to sum it all up, he feels he has no value as a person.

On the other hand, I have learned, by spending most of last year in therapy, to reclaim my self-worth and value my needs as I once did before I met him. He has grown quite resentful as I have come to these realizations, because when I married my husband, I was in denial about the significant problems that already existed between us. I thought that my love could fix all of his past hurt and make him truly happy at the same time. (It was his challenge to me when we married that since everyone in his life has always left him, I would too someday, and I was determined to break that pattern for him.) Well, my "love" has fixed nothing, obviously, and all I have gotten for my efforts is resentment that I have changed. My change is that I now value my own needs as much or maybe more than I do his, and I only want him to reciprocate for all the attention and love I've given him.

We tried marriage counseling together last year, and he resented our therapist for constantly "blaming him" for our problems. I never interpreted that she did that, but it was what he chose to see, so nothing was accomplished in the effort. We stopped going when we moved away, and never resumed in our new city.

I seem to have a need to stay with this selfish, disturbed man. I do want to make him happy and myself happy, but when I try and explain my needs and what I want, he is defensive and doesn't listen. He demands, "What do you want from me?" and calls me names (moron, stupid, idiot). He is a control freak, and I have just about reached the end of my rope. As I'm sure you realize, he has to learn to love himself before he can be an equal partner to me, and I am going to try one last time to get us into therapy. I don't have much hope, and I just want to know if you perceive that I am doing something wrong. He says that I only pick fights and complain constantly; that my problem is that I just don't understand men. He generalizes that all women are annoying and that men really want to be with other men, with few exceptions. He values his male friends and treats them like gold, but I don't receive the same priority, I feel. He says that I am wrong, but I say actions speak louder than words.

What have I not done? I am tired of being expected to put him first, and he is resentful of how I now ask for my needs to be met rather than automatically meeting his, and have mine eventually fall into place like before. I feel that he has years of self-analysis ahead of him before he can be at the same level of self-love and self-knowledge that I am, and that I am married to a man that feels more like a child to me than a husband. He wants me to "mommy" him frequently, and that has killed my physical reactions to him, about which he is also resentful on the rare occasion that he has a sex drive. So, what do I do? I really have so much doubt that I fear any effort on my part or his part will net no great returns. How do I overcome this doubt, or should I just cut my losses and chalk it up to trying to change someone from the start? Please help, I could really use the guidance.

A.J.



Dear A.J.,
From your description, you married a man who has "used up" the love of many women. I'm sure that others in his past have come to many of the same conclusions as you have. Your husband probably has a serious depressive disorder, and he's probably been that way, off and on, most of his life. It's certainly no fun living with someone who's depressed, and I would imagine that if he doesn't overcome his depression soon, your name will be added to the list of women who've left him. However, there are proven ways to help him out of his depression that may save your marriage.

Apparently, you lived with him before you were married, and you probably had a better relationship then. You may have met him when he was in a more energetic part of his cycle, and since you married him, his cycle has turned to a less energetic form of depression. He may have periods of temporary recovery that last days or even weeks, but the recoveries are less frequent and don't last as long as they used to. His depression doesn't keep him from his job, but it makes his work miserable. When he comes home from work, he may try to relieve his suffering with alcohol.

If I'm right about this man, his problem may be almost entirely biochemical. The juices that flow through his brain make him depressed. Lots of people are that way, and without medication that stops depression, there's not much they can do about it.

Granted, he's probably done plenty to make himself even more depressed. The way he has treated the women in his life has caused them to leave him. That's pretty depressing. He's probably done all sorts of things in a state of depression that has made his life pure hell for himself and anyone around him. After someone's been depressed a while, it's hard to know what causes the depression, biochemistry or the behavior of the depressed person, because his behavior also makes him depressed.

I won't lay all of his problems (or even the majority of his problems) at the feet of his depression, however. He probably has a lot to learn about caring for a woman, but his depression has given him a handicap that makes him socially disabled, at least when it comes to marriage. Regardless of how hard he tries to please you, his depression makes him a miserable man to be with. He simply cannot meet your emotional needs while he's depressed.

Depression is the most common of all emotional disorders. Everyone knows what it's like to be depressed from time to time, but that's not what depression, the emotional disorder, is all about. It is not the sorrow we feel at the time of an important loss, but rather, it is an irrational feeling of hopelessness when there is evidence for hope. The emotional disorder, depression, leaves a person blinded to his opportunities, unaware of his potential. The longer he is depressed, the more opportunities he misses until his life becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy -- he always thought he was worthless, and finally he proves it because he stops doing anything that's productive.

Whenever a spouse I counsel for marital problems suffers from severe depression, my first item of business is to treat the depression, not the marital problems. The treatment, however, is much simpler than most people think. Anti-depressant medication is the ticket. It greatly relieves, if not eliminates entirely, a depressive state so that the spouse I counsel can succeed in meeting the other spouse's emotional needs. As his depression is lifted, he seizes opportunities both in his marriage and at his job, that makes him more successful. In the end, his self-esteem is restored because he finds himself successful in achieving his life's ambitions. I do not believe that counseling to improve self-esteem, apart from showing people how to be successful, ever really improves self-esteem.

The approach that I use to save marriages looks at the present and future for solutions. I encourage you not to worry about your husband's past, his self-esteem or whether or not he loves himself. After he is treated medically for depression, focus your attention on the way you treat each other in the here and now.

Your biggest hurdle will be to follow my Policy of Joint Agreement (Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse). His depression has made it impossible for him to follow that policy, and by failing to follow it, you have both been developing habits that make you increasingly incompatible. You are coming to a point in your relationship where you will be so incompatible that you will not be able to live together anymore, and you will end the relationship. When his depression lifts, he will be in an emotional position to learn new habits, habits that will restore compatibility to your relationship. By following the Policy of Joint Agreement you will eliminate all the things you're doing that grate on each other, and you will substitute behavior and activities that make both of you comfortable.

If either of you feels you cannot follow that Policy, it means that you are willing to gain at the other's expense, and that will eventually ruin your relationship. When you follow the Policy of Joint Agreement you create compatibility by taking each other's feelings into account, especially when you don't feel like it. When you feel the most self-centered, that's when you need it the most. If you cared about each other all the time, you would follow the policy instinctively, but in every relationship, there are times that we care far more about ourselves than we care about our spouses. So by following this rule day in and day out, you keep your relationship healthy when your instincts would tend to ruin it.

You and every other couple can have a terrific relationship regardless of your past. Granted, your spouse's depression must be treated, and, in my judgment, anti-depressant medication should do the trick. But his past has left him with all sorts of unpleasant habits which must change before you can have a happy marriage. If you follow the Policy of Joint Agreement as soon as his depression lifts, you will have that relationship.

If anyone reading this column is suffering from the disabling condition, depression, help is already available to you. Medical science has found an incredible cure that should leave you free to solve your marital problems intelligently and completely. Don't ignore it, take care of it now.

Dr Harley

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MB Article about Electric Fence Personality


Dear Dr Harley,
My husband and I have been married for 5 years. He is a very caring and wonderful person. In most ways, I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else.

But our sex life has been unfulfilling ever since we got married, and the longer we have been married, the worse it has been for me. Prior to marriage, sex was spontaneous, creative and uninhibited. I actually thought that sex could not get any better. The problem lies with me. I do not find myself attracted to him physically any more. I try to avoid sex with him and I give him lame excuses. His desire for me is still very strong and I find myself very confused and wondered if I do not love him anymore.

I had an affair recently. It ended because my lover left the country. This man and I had an affair a few years ago before my husband and I got married. It was really only to fulfil my sexual needs, the excitement I craved, the touch I longed for from having sex with someone new or different.

Now that the affair is over, I am even more confused. I feel like I am trapped. My husband loves me but I feel choked. I don't really want to have children. I am frightened of the responsibilities and commitment that is associated with having children. I have a dog and I sometimes resent him for taking away my freedom. I feel that marriage is nonsense. I find myself challenging the concept of marriage and children. I am overwhelmed with confusion, not guilt.

I don't know if my problem is a marital one anymore. Deep down, I wonder if I really want to make things better between my husband and I. How can I become interested in him sexually again? I don't understand how that can be achieved.

A.Z.



Dear A.Z.
Your letter reflects two separate problems. The first is about a loss of sexual interest in your husband that has been growing worse since you were married. The second reflects the remnants of withdrawal that you may be experiencing after your lover left you, and that may compound the sexual problems you are having with your husband.

In this letter, I will only address the first issue, your growing loss of sexual desire after marriage. For the infidelity part of your question, I refer you to last week's Q&A column, Four Rules to Guide Marital Recovery After an Affair. But before I get to the first issue, I will comment briefly on infidelity and how it usually effects sexual desire in women.

One of my cardinal rules for married couples is never see or communicate with a former lover. And always let your spouse know who your former lovers are, so that he or she can identify the foxes whenever they are in the chicken coup. The rule is not only thoughtful (who wants to see your spouse with a former lover!), but it is also a safeguard against the affair reigniting. In your case, that's exactly what happened when your husband was out of town, your affair reignited. You had the affair to gratify your sexual need, but it had the effect of making your sexual problem with your husband worse.

When most women have affairs, even when sex with their husbands was great before the affair, it's usually lousy during and after the affair. Women usually have trouble dividing their sexual desire among several men, and an affair usually ruins sex with their husbands. So part of your sexual problem is just getting over the affair, and re-establishing a romantic relationship with your husband. Other things being equal, it usually takes about six months after an affair has ended for sexual desire to return. But in your case, other things are not equal. In your case, sexual desire has been steadily decreasing since you were married. That's the problem I will address in this letter.

Since you have been married, you have lost sexual interest in your husband. And yet, it was there before marriage, and it was there after marriage -- for another man. So there's obviously nothing wrong with you sexually. There's another problem -- it may be your personality. But don't despair. Marital problems can be solved regardless of personality characteristics.

Psychologists are known for their interest in personalities, and I'm no exception. I have even created my own names for the host of personality types I've encountered.

First, I should explain what a personality is. It is a characteristic way of approaching life that makes the choices of an individual somewhat predictable. For example, a people-pleaser personality is one where the person goes to a great deal of trouble to make sure that everyone likes him or her. So whenever a choice is made, the question this person asks is, which alternative will make people like me? That's the one they choose.

Another example is the perfectionist. This person makes choices so that when the decision is made, it is perfect in every way possible. It must always be the very best alternative. Would it surprise you to know that these people are usually very indecisive? They can't make up their minds, because the perfect choice is very elusive. I don't believe that there really are any perfect choices. But then, I'm not a perfectionist.

People usually have several personalities all wrapped up into one person. So a person might have a people-pleasing personality and a perfectionist personality. As you may well imagine, such a person would be a bundle of nerves.

I think you may have what I call the "electric fence" personality. People with such a personality walk down the road of life with an electric fence on each side of the road. And they are faced with a serious disadvantage -- the stroll is at night, the flashlight they use to look ahead is very dim, and the road takes sharp turns. That makes it difficult for them to see the electric fence, and they often stumble into it. As long as these people are on the path, they are usually very happy and optimistic about life. But, when they touch the fence they get a rude shock, and will do anything to get off of it and back onto the path. Once back on the path, they are happy again.

Referring back to my definition of personalities, you can predict the behavior of an electric fence personality when they touch their electric fence -- they do whatever they can to back away from it. If you seem to be pushing them onto the fence, they will fly into a rage in an effort to escape, because it's so painful. They usually don't know where the fence is located because of the path's sharp turns, and their dim flashlight, so they are stumbling onto it quite regularly, and expressing anger whenever it happens.

Once off the fence, however, they usually return to a very happy state, and try to forget the incident. Since the path takes sharp turns, they give up hope of learning from the past experience, because the fence will be somewhere else next time. So they figure it's best to just forget the whole thing.

These people have very little insight into what makes them happy and sad. That's why I use the analogy of the dim flashlight and sharp turns in the path. When I have a client with such a personality, I often seem to understand their likes and dislikes better than they do themselves, because my flashlight seems to be brighter than theirs. I remember what their last electric fence looked like, and the next one looks very similar. Their lack of insight makes them very impulsive and great risk-takers because they don't seem to learn from their past painful experiences. But their lack of memory of failure also makes them very optimistic and cheerful, as long as they are in the middle of their pathway.

Someone with an electric fence personality is often joined by others on his or her path. Those people are not effected by that individual's electric fence. So they can wander off and on the pathway, through the individual's electric fence, and remain unscathed. They will often encourage the person to follow them, but once the electric fence is touched, he or she cannot follow. If they try to force the person to follow, he or she usually flies into a rage because the shock of the electric fence is so painful.

Obviously, the way to get along with someone with an electric fence personality is to follow them on their path, because they cannot usually follow you on yours. These electric fence people may seem very selfish and uncompromising, but you would behave the same way if you had an electric fence to prevent you from going just anywhere on the path of life.

People with electric fence personalities have a terrible time with rules, because rules often lead them into their fences. As children they have trouble with authority for the same reason. At first, they try to follow rules and obey authority, but the pain of the electric fence is so great that they soon learn to be a rule unto themselves, and they ignore what others tell them to do. Abandoning rules, in turn, usually leads them into all kinds of trouble, and many of these people end up in prison.

People with electric fence personalities are also very likely to divorce. Since they have such difficulty adjusting to someone else, they usually marry someone who happens to be on their path for a while. But when that person leaves the path, it's much to painful to follow, so they divorce and move on to a relationship with someone else on their path.

As you might expect, people with electric fence personalities also tend to have affairs after marriage, again, because the ones they marry usually leave their comfortable pathway. They are the ones that originated the saying, if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with. So when a spouse leaves their pathway, they switch to whomever will walk with them on their pathway next.

If you have the electric fence personality, it would help explain why you feel the way you do about having sex with your husband, and why you have had an affair. While you were dating your husband, he was on your path with you, and you had a great relationship (but then, you'd have a great relationship with almost anyone who walked with you on your path).

But as soon as you married, something tragic happened. I suspect that in your effort to accommodate your new husband, you tried to follow him off of your path right into your electric fence. Panic set in as you suspected that marriage would trap you into a lifetime of electric shocks. The great relationship with your husband turned into a mess when you found him on the other side of the fence much of the time. He was no longer your friend because he was not on your side of the fence anymore.

To make matters worse, making love to him meant you had to endure those electric shocks. Instead of wanting to make love to him, you felt forced to make love to him. And people with electric fence personalities don't want to be forced to do anything. They have learned the hard way that people who make them do something are usually making them endure the electric fence, so they have a natural defense against demands.

Things went from bad to worse regarding your sexual relationship with your husband, because every time he wanted to make love to you, you felt those electric shocks. Besides, he wasn't even your best friend anymore. He was just someone you married.

Granted, he didn't make very many demands on you, and he didn't really want you to suffer. It was easy to give him excuses, and before long you did not make love to him at all. But looking at him through the fence made you realize that you and he had become incompatible.

One day a man who you had known before your marriage joined you on your road, and the passion of your earlier relationship blossomed. You probably would still be having your affair today if he had stayed with you on your path. But about the only thing that could have ended the affair, did end it. He left you alone on your path.

Now, you are again looking at your husband on the other side of the fence. You are wondering how you can get on his side of the fence so that you can have a fulfilling marriage. That's impossible, but maybe he can join you on your side.

People with your type of personality often view marriage as a trap, because they have had so many experiences trying to follow the lead of others only to find themselves shocked by the electric fence. A marital commitment to these people means a life of suffering, trying to be something that makes them very uncomfortable.

What you need a new approach to marriage that gives you the freedom to stay away from your electric fence by having your husband join you on your pathway. As soon as your husband figures out a way to get on your side of the fence, your sexual relationship will be sensational again. But where should you begin?

First and foremost, abandon your habit of being dishonest. People with electric fence personalities learn from early childhood to be dishonest because that helps keep them off the fence. When their parents tell them to do something that will make unhappy, they don't do it. Instead, they lie about it and say they did. Or, when their parents tell them not to do something that would keep them on their path, they do it anyway, and say they didn't. They get into the habit of being dishonest, because honesty gets them into so much trouble.

But you are not a child anymore, and your husband is not your parent. You can tell him the truth without necessarily getting into trouble. In fact, if you were to get into the habit of telling him the truth, you would get into much less trouble. He would discover your fences as soon as you touch them, and with an understanding that you would both back away from them, the experience would be a minor inconvenience. Before long you would be happy again, back in the middle of your path, with your husband by your side.

There's nothing in your personality that prevents you from being honest. In fact, you probably want to be honest. People I counsel with electric fence personalities usually tell me anything I want to know about them because they understand that I won't try to make them do anything. If you could be honest without the risk of being dragged into the electric fence, you would be honest with your husband, too. So I challenge you to try it out with him.

Tell your husband everything you told me. Tell him how you feel about having sex with him, and tell him about your ex-lover. Tell him that you don't want a divorce, and that you want to live with him for the rest of your life. Also tell him that want him to be your favorite lover, but your passion for him has somehow evaporated.

When you were first married, something he did, or you did, got him on the opposite side of the fence. Talk to him about what it could have been. Why was it that marriage ruined your sexual reaction to him? Was it the feeling that you were now required to make love to him -- that he now expected it of you? Was it that he began taking you for granted in bed? Did he stop giving you the time and attention he had given you before you were married? Had he stopped meeting some of your important emotional needs? Or, was the way he made love to you better before than it is now?

Think it through with each other, and don't assume that you will have all the answers right away. It may take quite a bit of searching before you discover a way of helping him over the fence so that he can join you on your path.

One question that may occur to both of you is, what if he has the same personality as I do? What if he also has an electric fence, and if he tries to join me, he gets shocked by his electric fence?

While that is sometimes a problem, the way you describe your husband, I think that it's you who is keeping him off your path, and not his fence. I would encourage you to begin with that assumption. If he expresses discomfort whenever he tries to accommodate your feelings about sex, then maybe his fence is more of a problem than I first assumed. But if you allow each other the right to escape the fence when it shocks you, the worst thing that will happen is that you sit looking at each other through the fence. Keep trying to find a way to join each other without making the other person suffer shocks.

If you can be honest with your husband about the nature of your problem, and have agreed that neither of you should suffer when you try to implement a solution, then you are in a position to solve the problem. These are the steps I suggest you take to help your husband get on your side of the fence.

1. Set ground rules to make negotiations pleasant and safe.

Before you begin to discuss your sexual problems with your husband, agree with each other that you will both follow these rules: (a) be pleasant and cheerful throughout your discussion of the issue, (b) put safety first--do not threaten to cause pain or suffering when you negotiate, even if your spouse makes threatening remarks or if the negotiations fail, and (c) if you reach an impasse, stop for a while and come back to the issue later.

Under no conditions should either of you be disrespectful or judgmental of each other's opinions or desires. Your negotiations should accept and respect your differences. Otherwise, your conversation will not be pleasant and safe.

2. Identify the problem from the perspectives of both you and your spouse.

Be able to state each other's position regarding your sexual issue before you go on to find a solution. What do you want in a sexual relationship and why do you want it? What does he want and why does he want it? Be careful to avoid negative expressions, and try very hard not to match a negative comment with another negative comment. If one of you expresses pessimism, or even anger, don't counter with an equal dose of negativity. Instead, try to sooth the person who is negative and if that doesn't work, take a break from the discussion. Avoid arguing with each other at all costs. If you can't discuss the issue without arguing, take a break and come back to it later. That's the way you will keep your distance from the electric fence.

3. Brainstorm solutions with abandon.

Spend some time thinking of all sorts of ways to handle the problem, and don't correct each other when you hear of a plan that you don't like -- you'll have a chance to do that during the fourth step. Your husband may suggest that the best way for you to renew your sexual desire of him is to just have sex with him whenever he wants. That would nail you to your electric fence for sure. Don't respond to his suggestion in a disrespectful way, just write it down along with other suggestions. If you give your intelligence a chance to flex it's muscle, you will have a long list of possible solutions.

4. Choose the solution that is appealing to both of you.

From your list of solutions, most of the solutions will satisfy only one of you but not both. However, scattered within the list will be solutions that both of you would find attractive. Among those solutions that are mutually satisfactory, select the one that you both like the most. If there are none that meet with your mutual approval, go back to brainstorming again so you can get a longer list of possibilities.

When couples have a serious conflict, I usually suggest a test of solutions before actually implementing any of them. That allows them to consider worthy alternatives even though one spouse may not yet be enthusiastic about it. The suggestions that may sound appealing may, in practice, not turn out to be very successful. On the other hand, there may be a solution that may not seem too useful, but in practice, it solves your problem.

The Policy of Joint Agreement should be your marital guide in life (never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse). If you had followed it at the start of your marriage, you would have not found yourself impaled on your electric fence. Once shocked, you would have jumped back, and started to negotiate with your husband. Such negotiation would have brought him back to your side of the fence, and your aversion to having sex with him would never have materialized.

The Policy of Joint Agreement is your friend. It protects you from pain and guides you right down the middle of your path. Remember, you don't have to do anything unless you are enthusiastic about it, so it will never lead you into your electric fence. But it will lead your spouse past your fence and onto your path where he would become your enthusiastic friend and lover for life.

You now have an opportunity to save your marriage that you may not have had for some time. Your affair has ended, and you are emotionally prepared to build a good relationship with your husband. As you consider ways to improve your desire to make love to your husband, remember how important it is for your lover to be on the same path you are on. He must be your best friend, the man who you share every aspect of your life with. Try honesty and the Policy of Joint Agreement. You and our husband will be lovers again in no time.


Dr Harley

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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Originally Posted By: Jedi_Knight
MB Radio Link:

Dr Harley gives another great explanation of Electric Fence personality.
He explains with these types of people, you have to cater to their needs in order to keep them with you.

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=01458#


Been here almost 12 years, never seen one.



Sad thing is nearly every Betrayed Spouse that shows up here just after D-day with a still active wayward at home will read that article and think it completely explains their situation.

I reckon almost all wayward appear to have an "electric fence personality disorder" when most are just run of the mill waywards.


FBH(me)-51 FWW-49 (MrsWondering)
DD19 DS 22 Dday-2005-Recovered

"agree to disagree" = Used when one wants to reject the objective reality of the situation and hopefully replace it with their own.
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Another thought...

What's even worse...when some betrayed spouses read this information and think it's sooooo applicable that they'll print it out and show it to their wayward spouse....

"SEE Honey...Dr. Harley says you have "Electric Fence Personality Disorder".


We all know how much waywards are receptive to being taught...so imagine how receptive they will be to being [internet] diagnosed. They'll get a lot of mileage out of making fun of how crazy YOU are with their affair partner or better yet...use the information in a divorce/custody battle in a claim that YOU are the one that actually has a personality disorder and you're obviously projecting your issues onto them.

Mental Health professionals and court evaluators are more than aware that when one person is pointing the finger claiming another is emotionally or personality disordered that that person has three fingers pointing back at themselves. Bi-Polar and Passive Aggressive types are FAMOUS for this so let THEM be ones pointing the finger at you first and you be the one calmly indicating they are clearly projecting.


FBH(me)-51 FWW-49 (MrsWondering)
DD19 DS 22 Dday-2005-Recovered

"agree to disagree" = Used when one wants to reject the objective reality of the situation and hopefully replace it with their own.
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