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Situation….
Married less than 5 years…no kids, both spouse still under the age of 30. One spouse has an affair.<p>It seems like the majority of the time it is the BS who initially tries to save the marriage. From what I can tell on this board most of the time…there are children involved. <p>OK…let’s say there are no children involved…would you still be so committed to trying to save the marriage? Or would you entertain the possibly of not going through the work of repairing the marriage and moving on?<p>How many know for sure…that if there were no children involved, they would have already divorced?<p>
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If I didn't have children from this M, I would have my divorce decree well in hand and have been moved across the country by now. No doubt whatsoever.

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I would still try to save my marriage. I married her because I love her, and I want to share my life with her.<p>The children are a wonderful and fulfilling by-product of that love, but they have nothing to do with this or my decision.<p>I believe that if anyone is willing to answer that they'd be "long gone" if it weren't for the children, they are making a mistake in trying to rebuild their marriages. They should just divorce.<p>Rebuilding a marriage just for the kids is to deny yourself and your spouse what fulfills you and is a mistake, IMHO.

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Hi W & W,<p>Yes, I still tried to save our marriage even tho it was childless ... not only once from infidelity, but TWICE!<p>And .. and ..., my ex fathered children WITH 2 OW while we were married, and he and I with none.<p>He certainly sucks rocks.<p>Jo<p>[ May 05, 2002: Message edited by: Resilient ]</p>

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I thought long and hard about that very question. Because I wanted to make sure I didn't "stay for the children". Honestly, if we hadn't had our son, I think we would have just quit much sooner...and that would have been unfortunate. But the fact that we have a son caused me to think and rethink the repercussions of what divorce meant. As time went on and the resentment faded...I found myself having more and more respect for my H...and came to realize I did still love him. <p>I think it's easier to move on...but what do you gain by skipping the "hard stuff"? The fact is any relationship is going to go through "stuff"...maybe not the same stuff...but there obviously is NO GUARANTEE with a "new" relationship either. If you can actually learn and grow with THIS partner from the experience, I think your chances at a successful relationship are better.

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No. If there were no children involved I would have moved on immediately.

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I'll speak from the child's perspective here...My Dad was a WS and my Mother stayed for the children. <p>She ended up becoming a very bitter woman...unfulfilled and mean to her children, whom she eventually abandonned. She resented us for taking her happiness away. <p>As an adult now, I still have major issues with my Mother. The ironic thing is, my Dad and I are very close. He was a [censored] to my Mother but he always treated us great.<p>I wish my Mom had kicked him to the curb...my childhood would have been a lot better. My siblings are still very messed up because of it.<p>Think long and hard about staying "for the sake of the children" they may not thank you for it in the end.<p>Happy parents make for happy children.

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<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Spacecase:
<strong>I believe that if anyone is willing to answer that they'd be "long gone" if it weren't for the children, they are making a mistake in trying to rebuild their marriages. They should just divorce.<p>Rebuilding a marriage just for the kids is to deny yourself and your spouse what fulfills you and is a mistake, IMHO.</strong><hr></blockquote><p>Since I'm obviously willing to answer that way, I think I'm qualified to provide some perspective on it that you may not have. [img]images/icons/grin.gif" border="0[/img] <p>I have been married and divorced before, and there were children from that union. When you have lived that experience, you understand very well that divorce does not accomplish what you expect it to. When you have children with someone, whether married or not, you will have a lifelong relationship with them WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.<p>All divorce does is change the relationship, in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worst. You are able to change the boundaries, but you also release control of a whole lot, and how that affects you and your children is totally dependent upon the ex-spouse.<p>Just as within M, you can only control yourself. However, within M, you are usually able to maintain better boundaries regarding the safety and well-being of your children, especially if you are the primary caretaker. After divorce, the other parent is able to make unilateral decisions about your children's welfare that can be in total opposition to what you believe is in their best interest, and there is pretty much nothing you can do about it unless you are able to convince a judge of your POV.<p>If there are no children of the union, then you can divorce and need never have contact with that person again. You can make a clean break, AND you can also do the necessary self-confrontation and evaluation necessary to prepare you for your next R. You don't have to stay in the M to do that.<p>Deciding to stay in the M because there are children involved and you recognize that you are connected to this person for life regardless of whether you are married to him/her or not is not the same as staying "just for the kids" like it is some kind of martyrdom. At this point, it is still in MY best interest to manage my lifelong R with this man in the setting of M.<p>The decision to rebuild in the case of a M with children as opposed to the case of a M without children does not presuppose that the M will be unfulfilling to either or both partners. If you accept what Dr. Harley says about rebuilding, it is supposed to result in a fulfilling and satisfying M for both partners, so obviously the very act of rebuilding demonstrates your intention to provide a marital environment that is fulfilling to both partners.<p>In the case of a M without children, you can still attempt the same rebuilding process, but you also have the opportunity that the person with children doesn't have--new building with someone else without the baggage of previous infidelity.<p>If you move on to someone new when children are involved, you of course take all the baggage with you, so you might as well stay put and explore the potential of the original R and make sure the best it can be is worse than the worst it can be after divorce, and unfortunately, there are many of us here who can tell you just how bad it can get after divorce with children. [img]images/icons/shocked.gif" border="0[/img] [img]images/icons/frown.gif" border="0[/img] <p>Twilight,<p>I also have the child's perspective, the grandchild's perspective, and the great-grandchild's perspective (of divorce), not to mention the divorced BS mother perspective. Of course, there is no way to know for sure, but along with the possibility that your mother would have been happier divorced from your father, there are also the possibilities that it would have made no difference in her mothering or may have even had a detrimental effect.<p>The long-range studies demonstrate that even a less than satisfying M for the parents is better for the children than divorce. I know I have certainly seen the detrimental effects over four generations.<p>[ May 05, 2002: Message edited by: Conqueror ]</p>

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Conqueror,<p>I respect your position, and will readily admit that each person is bet suited to making their own decisions.<p>My position is that if your mind-set is that were it not for the kids you would bolt, I would seriously question your ability to truly re-build under the guidelines espoused by MB and others. I think not. Those are very, very tough to accomplish, and they require a degree of change, sacrifice, devotion, and self-analysis that, IMHO, requires complete and true committment. If the proper level of committment isn't there, I don't believe it can be done. And if the only thing that makes you "commit" are the children, then I have to question it.<p>I believe that when a parent makes such a high-cost personal sacrifice for the sake of the children, it is invariably the children who end up bearing the burden of that apparently "self-less" decision. Resentment will invariably build and manifest itself in some form or another.<p>It is better, IMO, for the children to have 2 separate but happy parents, than 2 parents that are together but personally unhappy and un-fulfilled.

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Conqueror...first let me say that as a newly single parent, what you wrote is very, very true. I am one of those people who can attest to the horrors of divorce.<p>Even though, leaving was the right thing to do. I just didn't love my husband and never would...never did.<p>Let me ask you this...if you knew that your spouse was only staying married to you for the sake of the children...would you really want to hold onto that marriage? Isn't that unfair to you?<p>I have big issues with staying for the children...yes the fall out of divorce, (especially one like mine), can be horrendous, but I also believe that it will be ultimately worthwhile. I would not want to teach my daughter that it is okay to stay in a loveless marriage, that brings unhappiness to everyone in the home.

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My original position was that everything should be done to protect a child from being raised in a single-parent home. My opinion is changing to be that a child needs good parents, and if one is spending so much time holding onto a marriage that s/he is unable to parent, the child is better off with divorced parents.

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waiting and wanting,<p>I will still try but I will be the first to file after there no sign of my plan A is turning around WW. In short I will not be this patience and be the doormat of the year. ( I did it to try to save my M and to get 2 D CC ).

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FYI - on the "you probably aren't rebuilding for the right reasons" idea:<p>SH said to me in our first session:<p>"If you didn't have kids, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. You would be gone."

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Would I have tried to save my marriage without kids yes <p>However I would not have try as long as I did (2 plus yrs) as if it had not been for the boys<p>My STBX would have left me with no looking back what so ever if we hadn't had our sons

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My now ex-W had her EA about 4.5 years ago. We never had any kids. I wish I had gotten the D then -- unfortunately, fears about the financial difficulties, friends and family opinion, etc. kept me from filing. I finally got around to it last year, though... She really started pushing for kids and I knew that there was no way we'd survive that. Maybe I would have wanted to save the marriage... if I hadn't read all of the details in the emails that she and the OM sent back and forth as well as the phone recordings of her making fun of me because I was so "clueless" about what she was doing..

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I had been married for FOUR MONTHS and had no children with him when I found out about his internet EA with an old girlfriend. I never considered staying with him at all until he begged me to give him a chance. I thought I would stay long enough to be able to say I "gave it a try" and then dump him. <p>Well, here I am 2 years later and we are deeply in love! Who woulda thought?!

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I wouldn't have come back, because after I left him, I felt good. I came back for my son and ended up getting pregnant, only to have him leave me three weeks later. He came back, "for the kids". To come back for the kids and stay together for the kids is ok---as long as your not fighting all of the time, as long as the environment that you build for your children is a loving and peaceful on---IF it CAN'T be--it's not doing the children any good. One of the reasons I left after having my baby was FOR my children. After having my c. tell me that my h. would ruin my children, there was no debate left. I would've stayed endlessly if it hadn't been for my son. I LEFT FOR my children. Sorry if this sounds strong, but it's something that I'm having to defend.

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The best way I can put it is that I didn't stay for my son, but my son gave me the strength and reason to fight.... If I didn't have my little boy, it would've been easier to run like hell and get the hell out of Dodge so to speak....not that that would be the best thing to do...but a heck of a lot less painful...I think I will be a MUCH better person because of this. I would've never looked so deep into my self if my son didn't give me the courage to stick around and DO IT.

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<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Spacecase:
<strong>Conqueror,<p>I respect your position, and will readily admit that each person is best suited to making their own decisions.</strong><hr></blockquote><p>I agree, which is why I give my perspective based upon what I believe *I* would do given my experience and observations of others' experiences. If a childless spouse wanted to rebuild their M, I would support and encourage them to do so. The difference between a childless BS and a BS with children is that the childless BS has more palatable choices available.<p> <blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr><strong>My position is that if your mind-set is that were it not for the kids you would bolt, I would seriously question your ability to truly re-build under the guidelines espoused by MB and others. I think not. Those are very, very tough to accomplish, and they require a degree of change, sacrifice, devotion, and self-analysis that, IMHO, requires complete and true committment. If the proper level of committment isn't there, I don't believe it can be done. And if the only thing that makes you "commit" are the children, then I have to question it.</strong><hr></blockquote><p>You are entitled to your opinion, but it differs from Dr. Harley's. Dr. Harley's contention is that by following his suggestions for rebuilding your M and putting forth the EFFORT no matter how much you may doubt the outcome and even if you absolutely hate each other, romantic love can be restored to the M. His testimony is that he has seen it happen over and over in his 30 years of experience helping couples recover from infidelity.<p>As we all know all too well, a M damaged by infidelity the majority of the time has at least one spouse, if not both, in a state of lack of commitment to the M. It isn't the commitment that makes the difference, according to Dr. Harley, it is the following of the plan of recovery. He encourages you to trust HIM because from where most of us are standing, it is hard to believe that the M can be rebuilt.<p>Commitment to one's child is a very high form of commitment that people actually will sacrifice their very lives for--that is nothing new. There is nothing inherently wrong in deciding to work on your M because you have children with your partner, just as there is nothing inherently wrong in deciding to work on your M because you want to for some other reason.<p>It is the WORKING on the M that is the important factor. Feeling follows action. Obviously, if you follow Dr. Harley's principles you are committed to following them, else why bother? That is the only commitment that is needed at the outset. Just as in any courtship situation, the commitment is a natural byproduct of the feelings you inspire in each other. Dr. Harley is telling us that this can happen. Those who have followed Dr. Harley's plan of recovery testify to its efficacy.<p>I have no personal knowledge of this yet since my H is not following the Harley plan, but why should I or anyone else prematurely throw in the towel when that option hasn't been fully explored? Even if the initial wait is prompted by the presence of children? How can doing what is in your child's best interest be a mistake? Parents sacrifice for their children every single day, at least if they are good parents. That is basically what parenthood is--putting a dependent human being's needs ahead of our own wants and desires.<p> <blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr><strong>I believe that when a parent makes such a high-cost personal sacrifice for the sake of the children, it is invariably the children who end up bearing the burden of that apparently "self-less" decision. Resentment will invariably build and manifest itself in some form or another.</strong><hr></blockquote><p>You appear to be making the presumption that someone factoring in the fact that they have children of the M into their decision automatically deposits them into a narrowly defined pigeonhole. Just because I have children with this man and that tips the scales in favor of attempting to rebuild the M doesn't mean that it falls into some specific resentment-building category. As with any decision that majorly impacts a child's life, a loving parent will give that factor the weight it deserves in the decision-making process.<p>It is basically the same as any other decision you need to make for the well-being of your child and yourself. You weigh all the options and decide which is best based upon that. As I said in my previous post, in many cases, like mine for instance, it is in both MY and my children's best interest to remain in the M for the time being. I will be unhappy about my H's infidelity regardless. Just as with my ex-H's infidelity, it is a scar I will bear for life. Divorce will not change that.<p> <blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr><strong>It is better, IMO, for the children to have 2 separate but happy parents, than 2 parents that are together but personally unhappy and un-fulfilled.</strong><hr></blockquote><p>This is bilateral presumption. Separation does not guarantee happiness, nor does staying together portend permanent unhappiness and unfulfillment. Both are a mixed bag most of the time and have a lot to do with what you personally make of your life, whether married or unmarried.<p>The whole premise of Dr. Harley's body of work is that the so-called loveless M can be restored to contain the all the love it once had and even more because of the new foundation of care, protection, time, and honesty. The only way to find out is to try. He routinely recognizes couples' reluctance to believe it can work, so he urges us to just try it because, as pretty much all of us can attest to, WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE!<p>Twilight,<p>I'm sorry to hear about your difficult experience with divorce. I've never seen any pleasant ones! I hope your story has a happy ending.<p>As for my H staying with me because we have children together, I already presume that, and/or it could be for any of a myriad of reasons--could be wanting to avoid being a 3-time loser at M, not wanting to face his family with what he did, not wanting the financial consequences, lots of possibilities. Few people in such a damaged marriage decide to stay together because they're madly in love with each other or whatever reason led them to marry each other in the first place.<p>If I understand Dr. Harley correctly, it doesn't matter so much WHY you try to rebuild as it is that you TRY. If you follow his suggestions and rebuild the feelings you once had for each other, in the end it won't matter what your initial motivation to try was. He also maintains that as the romantic love is rebuilt, the resentment fades.<p>I don't have personal experience with this yet, but my decision to allow my H to move back in and attempt reconciliation with him was mostly based upon those farther down this road who had been successful in rebuilding their feelings of love for each other after infidelity. I had to place my trust in them that it CAN happen because where I'm standing it is difficult to believe, and I sure can't trust my H.<p>I didn't want to go down the hellish road of divorce again unless I was absolutely sure that remaining in the M would be a worse hell. So far, it is not. The divorce choice is a known. The potential of this M is currently an unknown. There is not enough information available to draw a firm conclusion yet.<p>So, I have been following the plan regardless of what my feelings are because I won't know what feelings may result until I reach the limits of the plan. My H claims it has worked for him, that he is in love with me, so maybe if HE eventually Plan A's ME, I may fall in love with him again. I just don't think I have enough information yet to rule out that possibility. If he Plan A's me for a reasonable period of time and it doesn't work, or after a reasonable length of time he refuses to Plan A me, then I will have different factors upon which to base my long-term decision.<p>Whether any of the efforts I've tried this time around would have worked had I known about them at the end of my last M, I don't know, but I do know that I made the mistake of thinking that divorce would provide some kind of relief from the pain, which it did not and in fact added MORE pain and distress that continues to this day 13 years later. The effect on my children has been devastating, and I will have to live with that for the rest of my life.<p>I've learned that it is rarely a good idea to make decisions with long-term consequences in the midst of trauma. Better to examine and exhaust all options first before trying to jump out of the frying pan so you can hopefully avoid jumping into the fire.
---------------<p>For clarification about my decision: The children was not the ONLY, or even necessarily the decisive factor.<p>My H gave me an STD as the result of his infidelity. If I had gone to the doctor and discovered that in a timely manner when I first suspected he was having an A, he would have arrived home to find the locks changed, my attorney's business card on the door, and his stuff delivered to his parents' house. There would have been no discussion, and all contact would have been limited to court appearances with a third party handling visitation transfers until I was recovered enough to deal with him as my children's father.<p>And this course of action would have been followed with the same set of children involved.<p>The reason that did not happen is because I didn't find out about the STD until AFTER he confessed his A, apologized, requested to come home, and committed to do ANYTHING to rebuild the M. I thought I was agreeing to recovery and rebuilding of the M. I soon found out that "anything" didn't really mean that, and there were multiple D-days, but by that time I had read SAA and decided to give Plan A a try, one of the factors in that decision being the difference between this H's actions after infidelity and my ex-H's actions after infidelity.<p>If my H had not ended contact during Plan A, I would be in Plan B right now. I made a decision to follow the plan regardless of my feelings about it, which everyone here knows can be a violent roller coaster ride. The plan gives you an anchor to hold onto.<p>So, my point is that a lot goes into any individual's decision of whether to rebuild the M or not. If the person has children, that is an important factor. The advantage the childless person has is that their decision does not affect dependent children.<p>[ May 05, 2002: Message edited by: Conqueror ]</p>

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Well, its late and I really had a full day and have no business logging in here to spout my mouth off, but this I can't pass up.<p> <blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Spacecase wrote:
My position is that if your mind-set is that were it not for the kids you would bolt, I would seriously question your ability to truly re-build under the guidelines espoused by MB and others. I think not. Those are very, very tough to accomplish, and they require a degree of change, sacrifice, devotion, and self-analysis that, IMHO, requires complete and true committment. If the proper level of committment isn't there, I don't believe it can be done. And if the only thing that makes you "commit" are the children, then I have to question it.<hr></blockquote><p>I'm in recovery. I stayed because of the kids. If I didn't have kids, I would have run and never looked back. And frankly, I doubt my husband would have come back. We were that miserable.<p>We have a better relationship now than we have ever had in the pervious 11 years.<p>We've got a stronger recovery than many who are here that stayed because of "love". <p> <blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>I believe that when a parent makes such a high-cost personal sacrifice for the sake of the children, it is invariably the children who end up bearing the burden of that apparently "self-less" decision. Resentment will invariably build and manifest itself in some form or another.<p>It is better, IMO, for the children to have 2 separate but happy parents, than 2 parents that are together but personally unhappy and un-fulfilled. <hr></blockquote><p>Before you go any farther with this opinion, get the book by Judith Wallerstein, called "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce". After following three groups of children for 25 years into their adulthood, the results of her research completely blows apart much of the conventional wisdom in our society that says a happy divorced parents are better than unhappy married parents.<p>And I also want to point out that while I agree that emotions, including resentments, have their way of coming out no matter how hard you suppress them, your assumptions don't follow logically.<p>Your comments seem to be based on the assumption that a couple who reconciles for the kids are simply supressing anger and resentment.<p>That's not what is going on in my case. I didn't WANT to take my husband back, but I did, because my kids needed him, and my kids were safer with us together. I didn't take him back unconditionally - but he was taking the actions that I needed to rebuild trust. We have spent the last year working through much of the anger and the pain and the hurt, on both of our parts. My children are NOT bearing the brunt of our "resentments". My children are for the most part, happier and less fearful about the future.<p>A parent who is selfish enough to take out resentment on their children if they remain in the marriage aren't going to become responsible adults that protect their children from their post-divorce resentments.

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