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TFC, the only thing you can do is to hang in there with a good Plan A for as long as you can, then go to Plan B. That's Dr. Harley's program and it's about the only thing that can work. So long as you’re in Plan A, please resist the roller coaster rider as much as you can.

Let's summarize what has been going on for the past few weeks, okay?

First, your WH is in NC, so far as you know. On the other hand, he has been in contact with your OM and OMW until comparatively recently. (That, btw, is something I’ve not encountered out here before.) Second, he shows no sign of being at all remorseful and, in fact, defends his right to have had an affair of his own. Third, he has made some overtures toward “getting along” as friends. At the same time, he's keeping you at arm's length. Finally, he's showing signs (if I'm interpreting your words correctly) of becoming comfortable with the relationship in that condition. Okay so far? I can’t think of anything to add to that. If you can, please do.

I think you are beginning to feel, on a deep level, your husband’s detachment and unwillingness to commit to you...both in his words and actions. I suspect the sub-conscious mind reflects such a realization with a sense of foreboding. Does it seem to you there is a cynical component to your WH's actions...something aloof and calculating? I get a sense of a hidden agenda that disturbs me. Does it seem that way to you?

TFC, if this continues much longer, I think you must strongly consider implementing a dark Plan B sometime soon. The better Plan A you do, the stronger Plan B becomes...and the darker Plan B you do, the better the contrast between how WH is forced to live in the darkness and how fine it could be if he commits to the marriage.

There is a point of diminished returns in Plan A, past which a wayward spouse becomes relaxed and contented because he or she isn’t really forced to deal with much strife. Because there is no confrontation about the marital relationship, and the partner seems to accept a less intense relationship, the WS can begin to get accustomed to the new situation. When you sense that point coming, I think you need to set as great a Plan B in motion as you’ve done a Plan A.

I think your best plan is to hang on as long as you can in Plan A and then pull the trigger on Plan B. Regretfully, I see most of the past two weeks as a false recovery period. Perhaps you can stay in Plan A long enough to see what WH’s “surprise” is in two weeks, but that might be a watershed moment. If he doesn’t seem to be moving toward a commitment, and Plan A accomplishes that only about 15% of the time, Plan B might be in order.

TFC, it strikes me you might consider calling Dr. Harley’s radio program and present him with the facts of the past few weeks such as how long you’ve been in Plan A, your husband’s apparently comfortable detachment (if you agree with that analysis), his lack of remorse and, finally, your newfound premonitions of a doomed marriage. The radio program is a chance for contact with the good doctor and his wife for some priceless advice. What do you think?

LH

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First off, your synopsis is right on. And I am finding that my distress over his lack of willingness to commit to working on the M leads me to feel that the M is doomed. Let's hope it isn't, but I cannot help but feel that I need to now open my eyes and realize that we may very well not work out. It breaks my heart to think like this.

Because I had a bad day yesterday and this morning, H decided to go ahead and tell me the "surprise" ... he is coming home from his trip a day early to be home for Mother's Day.

So, here we are. I generally feel there is way too much distance between us, then he throws morsels my way and I eat them up like a starving animal!

I agree that to stay in Plan A as long as possible will be my best bet. I don't want him to get too comfortable in Plan A, though. And I don't want him to just be building up a friendship with me that only leads to D. As much as I like him, I can't see us being D and being close friends - I think it would hurt too much.

Btw - I forgot to mention that we discussed ENs the other day. His top needs are listed below. If you have any advice to how to help in meeting some of these, I'm all ears (or eyes, really):

Sexual Fulfillment, Openness & Honesty, Financial Support, Admiration, "Freedom" (that's one he added on his own)

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Well, it's surely nice he's coming home a day early but, with all due respect, it's little more than a gesture. To me, a man arranging to be at home on such a day is a thing to be taken for granted, rather than something for which he expects you to be especially pleased. When (a) he tosses out such crumbs as this but, (b) still doesn't answer text messages or calls you make to him and, (c) when he keeps you emotionally at arm's length when he IS around…then coming home a day early seems to me to be a pretty empty thing.

SF is routinely at the top of most men’s EN list. It’s no surprise. Openness and Honesty may be a reference to your affair but, whether it is or not, it’s a good thing for both of you to have in your ENs. I have to wonder if he thinks it would be a good thing for him to give you, as well as receiving it from you?

It’s good, from a strategic point of view, that admiration and financial support rank are on his list. Those, plus SF, are things he won’t be getting in Plan B. Their loss will make Plan B that much more effective.

As to how you can meet them, the first two are self-explanatory. You’ve mentioned meeting his needs in one area and I’m sure you’re making a great effort toward radical honesty. Since he mentioned it, perhaps you might want to review that policy in SAA just to make sure you’ve done everything you intended to do.

Financial support: I suppose he wants the best job he can get…the one where the rewards are the greatest. It may be something on his mind now as a justification for traveling so often (something that causes stress in the strongest of marriages) because of the better pay. Admiration, to me, is something that is earned. It’s curious he wants admiration, but he’s been acting in a distinctly unadmirable fashion. I wonder what a psychologist would have to say about that?

To me, him adding “freedom” to his list of ENs was a snide, spiteful thing to do. If he wants his freedom, he can file a petition in family court and he knows it. I see signs he wants his cake and wants to be able to eat it too, to coin a phrase.

I think if it wasn’t an empty, though unpleasant, gesture…then it’s the attitude of a person only half a step away (if that far) from deliberately going on the prowl for another affair. It worries me, so I’m going to hope it was just an attempt to manipulate you into getting closer to him (to admire him more?) so as to prevent him from realizing his “freedom.”

Will you consider calling Dr. Harley’s radio show? You are just as anonymous on the air as you are here, you know?

Comments from other MB folks? Come on people. TFC needs the input.

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Two of our ENs are the same: SF and O&H. We can easily meet the SF need, and have both been much better about O&H. Financial support I can certainly understand. I know everyone here takes issue with his travel schedule, but I knew his profession when I married him and knew that there is no way to success in his career without traveling. Its just something that doesn't bother me - though I wish I could meet him out of town.

The "freedom" EN was something that I think he threw in there to be humorous and spiteful. He wants to do what he wants, when he wants and knows that M doesn't always allow for that. He is seriously cake-eating here, and I know it. The lack of remorse and total justification for his A says to me that he still feels that what I did was "worse" and that he gets to be in control of the M from that point forward, regardless of what he did. I feel that the future of the M should be POJA'd, but maybe I'm addicted to MB! <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I agree that his actions are rather un-admirable. I just told my best friend this a.m. that it was like (in his mind) he was able to get away with not returning call & TMs because he was "surprising" me by coming home for Mother's Day.

And, while I always like Longhorn's advice ... it would be nice to get input from others as well.

I'll consider calling in to the radio show this week.

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Believer, JustLetGo, johnstwin, JustLearning, JayBan, rwinger ... where did you go? If any of you have something to offer, please do - I can take it! <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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Longhorn has been giving you great support. Have you really meditated on his posts? <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

L.

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I have indeed ... he's the only one posting to me, so I tend to read, respond, re-read, re-re-read, etc. Longhorn had asked for more help a few posts back, so I was trying to let others know that I am open to more responses as well as the great advise from Longhorn. I have truly appreciated having his guidance and wisdom ... it has kept me more at peace than I thought I could be.

Orchid - I got a couple of opportunities to use your RB technique, and it was great! Thanks for keeping a link to that in your signature and for all the other great advise you offer here. You are an inspiration.

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So what is your plan from this point forward?

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I am sort of struggling with this ...

I know my H better than anyone, and I have a gut feeling that if I go into Plan B he'll go back to his OW or find someone new to have an EA with. I also know myself, and not talking to him at all might drive me insane.

So, I suppose the best plan of attack is Plan A - a solid, perfected Plan A. I have been good at it thus far, but it has been waning. Seems to me that I need to do a FANTASTIC Plan A to re-up his interest level. I think I also need to be a little less accessible to him though. Not playing games, per se, but just not always being so readily available. I must admit that Plan A has been really difficult over the last week though - I'm so frustrated with how things are going that I'm finding difficult to maintain focus on being positive.

I will try to call the radio show tomorrow too, see what the Harleys have to say.

What do you think about this plan? Does it need some adjustments?

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Plan A is NOT an attack plan. You need a strategy.

L.

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What do you suggest?

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TFC, I’d like you to read another thread out here, one started by Sadmo. Please review…study it…very, very closely. [color:"blue"][b]Here[/b][/i][/color] is a link to her thread.

Sadmo is an extremely prolific writer in her posts, by which I mean she posts frequent updates and goes into a lot of detail on how her day went and what her interaction was with her WH. I think you’ll see yourself in many of the things she has to say. In fact, in your last post, you said precisely what Sadmo did a couple of months ago.

Read her thread, TFC, because what has happened in her story is a tragedy. If you read it closely, you’ll see a woman progressing from wanting very badly to recover her marriage to a point where she is today seeking a divorce without going any further in her strategy than Plan A, if indeed she had a strategy. Now...it wasn’t because she didn’t know about Plan B. She was advised long ago to go into that plan, but she was afraid it would drive her WH farther away.

It may have had that effect but I doubt it. I don't recall the last time I saw a thread where that happened. Thing is, he was already living separately from the family and only coming around when he got the urge. Essentially, he was keeping her on the line while he sat on a fence, eating his cake and giving her just enough to keep wanting more of her ENs met by him while he explored other relationships. He was using Sadmo as his backup plan just in case he didn’t meet someone new and exciting.

As you read her thread, you’ll see this became increasingly obvious to Sadmo. She lost her self-respect and I’m sure WH’s respect, though he may have enjoyed what he saw as her submissiveness to him. In Sadmo’s posts of the last few days, you’ll read how Sadmo finally reached the tipping point and allowed her anger to spill over into bitterness and retribution.

It’s not that she wasn’t advised to go into a nice dark Plan B to conserve her love for her husband. Orchid, Mulan, and any number of other people asked her to set one up but...she was afraid it would drive WH away. Today, without doing a Plan B (or a substitute for Plan B we call a “180”), she’s going directly from Plan A to divorce court.

Isn’t it ironic? She was afraid any action she took would drive him away...and now she’s the one [i]pushing him away as hard as she can. In the space of two months, Sadmo has gone from desperately wanting to salvage her marriage to a woman who cannot stand the sight of her husband.

TFC, when you’ve studied Sadmo’s thread, please come back and answer Orchid’s question again, okay?

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OK. I am going to study her thread now ... can you brief me on "180"?

And, I thought Plan B was for use when one has a wayward spouse ... does it work the same even if the A is over?

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A "180" is something a BS does when Plan A hasn't had the desired effect and the WS will not move out of the family home. Some have referred to it as an "in-house" Plan B, but I try to stay away from that description because it creates confusion.

The "180 Degree List" comes from a post on another website by an individual by the name of Michelle Weiner Davis. It's been brought over to MB and can be found here.

[color:"blue"] [b]180 Degree List[/b] [/color]

Patience though, TFC. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. You have plenty of time to take a look at Sadmo's thread and then we'll all help you get back to a good strategy. Then, we can all run through some particulars, okay?

Hang in there, Lady.

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In a sense, your husband still is wayward because he won't even consider committing to recovery. In fact, except for the fact you don't think he's still in contact with OW, he meets all the criteria of a wayward spouse, does he not? He's still fixed on the idea he was entitled to his own affair and is withdrawing credits from your Love Bank (LB) almost daily. He could draw this out indefinitely if he's allowed to, so a mechanism is necessary to get him off that fence.

This would be a good question to pose on the radio show.

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Well, I stayed up late last night studying Sadmo's thread. There were so many similarities! I can't wait to discuss it! No radio show call-in today - I have a meeting at work. Hopefully I can tomorrow.

Will begin discussing the me/Sadmo situation soon.

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand ... what excellent timing Ark has! His post today about Plan A was probably much needed for me! So, because the TFC-Sadmo Diaries will take much longer, I'll start with what I noticed from Ark's Plan A ...

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These are the mistakes I've made in Plan A:

Mistake #1 - PLAN A must have a time frame for ending BEFORE it begins....
Mistake #2 - push for the apologies...and woe to you who get it without true meaning because you will not have true remorse... (though I haven't pushed H for an apology, I've been expecting one)
Mistake #3 - PLAN A is never ever about getting a committment from the WS to do something....

This comment from Ark hit home the most:
Quote
People that do plan A well find great freedom and creativity in the doing and giving and meeting of ENs...

people that expect their needs to be met...
flounder and get crushed....

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Mulan said this to Sadmo:
Quote
Sad, what you have here is a man who suddenly found out that yes he CAN have it all - he really can have all the fun of dating AND still have a wife and kids who will sit at the house and wait for him and be weeping with relief when he finally gets around to coming home!

I submit it's not the "free-wheeling single life" that he's so into - it's the idea that he is so great and so special and so different and such a king of the world that it's okay for HIM to be both married and single at the same time.

He loves, loves, loves sitting up on that fence, and you can be sure that his butt will stay firmly attached there forever unless and until something knocks him off.

Think hard and look close - what are you doing that enables him to sit up on that fence? What could YOU do to change this situation?

This is something that I've thought a lot about - or should I say festered over? While my H isn't "dating", he is acting like a single man. And I seem to be an "enabler" a lot of the time ... my H has all the benefits of being both married and single! And all because I'm too scared to upset the status quo - even though I can't stand the status quo!

This is the one major thing that makes me believe that doing the 180 plan might be to my advantage. However, my H can be very manipulative and he likes to turn things around on me. So, if I were to do 180 or Plan B, he would say something like - "Well, you're the one who wanted out. You're the one that quit [insert verb here - i.s. caring, having SF, etc]." He is masterful at this! Which is part of my fear in upsetting the status quo.

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Yes, Ark is an exceptionally gifted individual and has a number of fine posts out here. One that I recommend to people all the time is her "Be Still" thread. I think I've given you a link to it before but if not, it can be found here.

[b] [color:"blue"]Ark's "Be Still" Thread[/color] [/i][/b]

Mulan is another fine lady and expert on the MB program. She has exceptionally clear insight into the problems people experience and I highly value her input.

I saw your post on Sadmo's thread. I was pretty sure you'd see a lot of similarity between her case and your situation. Things aren't exactly the same (they're more like parallels than duplicates) but I think you can learn from the pros who posted on Sadmo's thread.

Your WH is indeed becoming entrenched in a new persona. There’s an old C&W song about someone being married and acting single – I just can’t quit locate it in my collection to replay it. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Your husband wants his "freedom," as he put in his EN list, but he also wants you sitting at home as a fallback plan. Frankly, unless something happens to jar him out of this pattern, he can keep it up for years, and I’m inclined to say he’d be indulging himself with brief affairs or ONS’s from time to time. If something doesn't influence him to recommit to the marriage, those will be years of grinding agony for you and your daughter.

A 180 might be the way to go if you do not want to consider the possibility you might need to do a legal separation when you implement Plan B. Before you go that far though, you need to go back to Orchid’s question and outline your plan for how you’re going to proceed…and what your time limit for each phase is.

Now…are you comfortable proceeding with Dr. Harley's program using the criteria that until your husband recommits to the relationship, he's still a WH? Since you've indicated some discomfort with that definition, I hope you call the radio program to see what Dr. Harley's opinion is. I’m going to wait to hear what you get from the radio show or from SH, okay?

BTW, I think when your husband tries to throw things back on some action of yours, he’s using a manipulation method that is very similar to a form of emotional abuse known as “gaslighting.” The term comes from an old black and white movie (circa 1940, and a re-release in 1944) where a husband uses the technique to terrorize his wife. [i]People use gaslighting to deflect criticism of themselves and to avoid taking responsibility for whatever they find uncomfortable addressing directly…and honestly.

Here is a thread about gaslighting started by our friend, Mulan. I think you’ll find her first paragraph incredibly illuminating. I believe your husband is using the technique as a ploy to keep you off guard and powerless. As you can see, it’s a control technique, one that keeps you back on your heels and perpetually on the defensive. After all, if it’s always your fault, you can’t be “right” in any discussion, can you? In such a circumstance, he appoints himself as the one in charge, and the technique confirms his status in his and your mind.

[b][i] [color:"blue"] Mulan’s Thread On Gaslighting [/color] [/i][/b]

I think it would be a good idea to educate yourself on gaslighting and practice how to turn it aside. Don’t fall for the technique and prepare yourself to redirect the discussion back to the correct channel.

For the example you use, perhaps something you could use is to initiate a dialogue about ENs and which ones he wasn’t meeting that made your marriage vulnerable to you having an affair? Just a “for instance.” I’m sure you could find your own calm reply. It’s a matter of attitude. Don't be afraid. The status quo can be changed.

ttyl

LH

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