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Lostva,

Thinking about the letters you sent to your H...

I have reservations about giving him the illusion that it's all palsy-walsy now and I accept everything. On one level I do, on another I don't. I also don't want to give him the illusion that the A is the basis for a future friendship. This is one thing that concerns me about Plan A-type communication.

Frankly, I'm not sure he's worthy of my friendship. He's my husband, and I have to accept him as that -- but I don't have to accept this kind of treatment from a friend. Friendships are optional.

How did you draw a line in the sand, if you did? I just got an elaborate travel itinerary from my H, who will be traveling through Europe with OW. Whoopee. I was cc'ed with a bunch of his office colleagues, etc. At least it gives me a month-long break.

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<small>[ September 25, 2003, 06:01 PM: Message edited by: AD. ]</small>

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I suspect there is some truth to that. It's all a bit strange.

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Hmmmm....that's not an easy question. I really thought for a while that he had found his (gag) "soulmate" and he wasn't coming home. In all my soul-searching, I figured out that one of things we had let go WAS being friends. I thought, at that time, that I wanted to be his friend, no matter what. You must remember that PT was 25 years younger than me...that's a lot to compete with.

I'm a little strange. I knew that feeling might (and probably would) change, but I decided that having him in my and dd's life as a good friend, considering all we had shared for so many years, was a better alternative than parting enemies. So, that's what I did. I'm still friends with my ex (dd's natural father, although he hasn't raised or supported her) and it doesn't bother me at all - there are no "twinges" (and I have many more reasons to dislike him). After sharing so much with a person, not speaking would feel worse to me.

Robert is such a fine man. Even through the mess, and you can check all my posts, I never deleted a single one, although some were lost during some reconstruction, I knew that something must seriously be wrong that a man I had known and respected for so many years could turn his back on everything HE had always believed in. That kept me going. People generally don't change from good and honorable to scum of the earth permanently. But very good people do make very bad decisions.

Boundaries...I didn't have many, I don't guess. I read everything I could about affairs, listened to the old-timers here (we had some wonderful mentors) and so I was really prepared for the nonsense that he'd throw my way - even to the point of knowing how I wanted to handle it when he did. He really treated me with a fair amount of respect, considering he was inhabited by aliens at the time. I didn't usually get all in a tizzy about something he did that was hurtful because I already knew it was coming and it was normal. WS's are gonna act like idiots and JA's and that's just the way it is. It's part of being a WS. Besides, the more he "followed the book" and behaved normally for a WS, the more chance he might continue to do so and, if he followed the plan, this thing would fizzle out. Either way, I had a plan of action and I function well that way.

Oh, yeah, back to boundaries (didn't anyone ever warn you I talk wayyyy too much?) I didn't generally let him yell at me - I could quietly calm him down. Although once when he was scared, and called me to fuss, I let him 'cause I know that's how he deals with scared and I thought it was pretty cool that I was the one he sought out when he was that upset. That meant he was trusting me again with his feelings. I asked him not to bring her HERE anymore (yes, I mean my home, OUR home). It was very odd...they lived an hour away, in a much larger city, yet he brought her to our town to my doctor, to buy a Christmas tree, to get the car fixed. So I asked him not to. He stopped. He acted clueless that it would bother me. Oh, and I asked him not to refer to me as his ex-wife since we weren't divorced yet. He looked weird, but he stopped doing it in front of me anyway.

He asked me for some of his favorite recipes 'cause she didn't really know how to cook (I'm actually pretty good). I laughed and said "no". He said "what if I promise you I'll do all the cooking?" - smiling. I laughed again and said I didn't want her eating my recipes either. He laughed, too. He asked for extra Christmas ornaments and decorations 'cause she didn't have any (his mom made wreaths and stuff for their new house, but there was nothing for the tree - now THAT'S another funny story). I just laughed again and winked at him as I said "I just KNOW you're kidding!". He laughed and shrugged.

Like I told you, we didn't talk about "us" at all after dd week. I really kinda enjoyed being his friend again when I did see him. After a few months, he started actually calling here when she wasn't around (I think I started an EA with him! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Smile]" src="images/icons/smile.gif" /> ) just to talk. He'd chat about work, family, hunting, even PT sometimes (I listened to complaints, tuned him out when he was excusing some behavior or making excuses for her). I encouraged it. I missed his friendship and I missed his talks. Our time together and our conversations began to be fun again.

Things just got easier. Contact got easier. I wasn't fretting and crying every day. I'm not saying I didn't want my marriage back, I most certainly did. But I didn't obsess QUITE as much. LOL

I don't think I let him think I accepted it, I continuously frustrated him, wearing my rings (he asked WHY, and I told him it was cause I was married - he rolled his eyes) telling him I loved him at the end of each visit and conversation (just once, at the end and he'd always say "you KNOW I'm getting a divorce to marry PT, right?" I'd just say I wanted him to be happy and smile.). He left a lot of stuff here and I left it as if he were living here. After the first couple of times, I also told him that if he was coming to move stuff out, I had to be here, he had to face me when he did it. He left it here. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="images/icons/wink.gif" />

Although all our situations have some similarities, they're still different. You have to handle things the best way for you. I've read on other posts about the length of time to Plan A. My Plan A was for about 2 months before he left and 7 afterwards, with no Plan B in sight. Frank's was longer by a few months and both our marriages are wonderful now. If I had ended it earlier, while they were still in "honeymoon phase", I don't think I'd be here. But when SHE fell apart, I was still the lighthouse in the storm. And he didn't just say "I'm coming home" and expect me to weep with joy...he asked if I'd have him and we talked a long, long time. I wasn't being a doormat, I was treating him with respect and he returned it. I think it was Gary Smalley who wrote that honoring a spouse is a gift you bestow upon them WHETHER OR NOT they deserve it. That stuck with me and that's what I tried to do. I think it showed.

I didn't choose no contact when we reconciled; I didn't even ask. I kissed him goodbye and sent him off to work and to her escapades (she kept trying for more than a year and she is very, very good at this!) every morning. I did this for ME, not for him. I needed him to send her away because he didn't want her around, not because I asked him to (although I believe he would have) and I didn't want to worry that, months or years down the road he would run into her and feel all warm and fuzzy and I'd panic. Nope, I couldn't handle that. And, btw, he did get rid of her - had her transferred. But by then, she was such a non-issue that I hadn't asked about her in months and he forgot to tell me that she had been gone off the job for a long, long time! She didn't matter to either of us.

That wouldn't be the best solution for everyone, but it was best for some of us. The same with my letters, our friendship, everything else. We took the Harley's basic principles and customized them. It's not that unusual. I remember Steve counselling someone "back in the day" to continue Plan A for a long, long time, even after their WS had moved in with OP. He customized according to personalities and situations. Plan A is about trying to meet your spouse's needs, if you can. But we expanded the definition just a bit. Affairs rarely happen in perfect marriages, although they can when emotional problems are involved. Although only the WS bears the responsibility for going outside the marriage to handle problems, both partners are responsible for the state the marriage is/was in. This sort of wake-up call is the perfect time to look inside ourselves and see how we might be a better person or a better spouse. It gives us power and strength. It makes Plan A so much easier. And we learn the lessons we need to know in order to make this marriage (should we reconcile) or other relationship what it should be. I think that's how self-growth got so tied into Plan A for some of us. Because it's important. And without it, should you reconcile, you have the same old people, doing the same old things and that could mean the same old situation. Most of us want something better.

I know, I know, I talk way too much. I always have. And before you think I'm telling you what to do, I'm not. I tell everything b/c knowing about me and my choices makes it easier for you to decide what to keep and what to throw out. I learned something from EVERYONE who talked to me, even those who disagreed and especially my WS friends. I didn't do things exactly like them, but I learned and put it all together. And, like others on this site, I combined the wisdom of the Harleys and other successful MC's and writers into something that worked for me.

You've already determined that your H has problems. These problems may or may not be something that he is ready to overcome. Or that you feel you can help him with. Maybe that's the first step for you. Can you deal with him if he never ever gets the help he needs? If he doesn't, will this repeat? You have to answer that question first. Giving him something new to react to will shake things up, but you have to know deep down that you can live with what you've had in the past and be happy.

You have a lot of power here. This marriage may or may not be over now, but it most certainly is the moment you decide it is. And that decision has to be the one that's best for you.

So now I've rambled forever and said nothing. If I've left out something important, let me know. I'll check a few more times before I disappear again. But you can always have my email addy if you need it.

Lori

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Yes, addy would be great. Lots is changing. Do check back. I have an appt., but will be back later...

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Many thanks, Lostva. A few quick answers: this situation is, I suspect, volatile. I don't know how the psychological pieces are going to fall. I don't know what the total bill is going to be -- so I don't know if I want to pick up the tab yet. I'll have to wait and see.

I was putting up with a lot before the A -- a porn problem, weird immature stuff that hadn't been worked out, clinical depression, a lot of repressed anger. Even the kids (including his own) don't want him back.

I'm loyal, and I'm willing to consider a joint future. But the bill keeps going up, and I often suspect we're heading towards a crash. What kind of crash, I don't know yet.

Point is, we can't go back to what was. We've moved past that already. What's he willing to do to change all this? Until he hits the wall, he won't get real. And he may not get real in any case. We'll have to wait and see.

He doesn't have friends. So being "just friends" is a way to enable him, from one perspective. It's not that I want to be enemies, but I may have to move on.

This has all been brought on by arrogance, weakness, a sense of entitlement and invulnerability, and a lot of personal problems and personal history.

I'm willing to help him -- but sometimes we have to face the mess in our own diapers.

Do send on your addy.

<small>[ July 29, 2003, 01:56 PM: Message edited by: A.M.Martin ]</small>

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Like I said on the other thread...you know him and the situation best. I don't seeing you losing your head here, you seem to be thinking quite clearly, so trust your instincts.

Lori

<small>[ July 29, 2003, 07:08 PM: Message edited by: lostva ]</small>

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Got it. Thanks.

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Got it. Thanks.

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lostva:

You're an inspiration!

I think it's important for people 2 realize that the MB methods are very customizable, and some things can be left out of the process in favor of others.

I get a chuckle still, knowing what PT stands for! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="images/icons/wink.gif" /> Man, can that gal cook, or what? WHAT! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Big Grin]" src="images/icons/grin.gif" />

regards,
-2long

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Thank you, 2long! I'm a bit grumpy today and your compliment made me smile. It might be a pretty good day after all.

You know, I eventually told Robert about PT. We had MB friends visiting us and calling (Frank - PLEASE HELP, Cheryl - CeeCee, Viki, DeWayne - Heartpain) and we referred to her as PT all the time. Besides my posts are all here and I gave him my sign on and password - no secrets here. By the time he was told, we were far enough along that he was fairly amused - but shocked I could be so catty! In fact, he finally understood why, when I was to pick Frank up at the airport when he came to visit us, I bought a box of PopTarts on the way. We had never met and that's how he knew who I was! I just help the poptarts over my head! LOL

It's good to hear from you.

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lostva, I still remember you and at odd moments I think of your posts, and the way you recovered your marriage and rebuilt it. I'm an oldtimer. In fact, yesterday while putting things away in the garage, I noticed our boxes of Christmas ornaments and that triggered the memory of Robert asking you for some ornaments for their tree (he and PT's) I continued musing, thought about his asking for your recipes.

Later while washing the kitchen floor and waxing it, (it takes me a long time!) what went through my mind was a phrase about the two of you were busy working on your marriage. And that's why you didn't post much any more.

Just thought you'd like to know, people you've never met think good thoughts and have good feelings for you, and smile when they remember your story.

That you've made friendships through the Boards is heartwarming and important. I think those are the bestkind of friends. You share the values of strengthening your marriage and using the Harley methods.

God bless!

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That's so sweet, Belle, thank you. I remember you as well. Sometimes it seems so very long ago since I was here all the time.

I actually have some very good memories of my time here. There are friends I'll hold on to forever, there are others that I'll never ever forget. So many people touched my life and inspired me to be a better person.

Oh, and it takes me forever to scrub and was the kitchen floor, too! LOL

I'm so happy you stopped in this post.

Lori

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Hi Lori,

I just wanted to stop and say Hello again. It has been awhile. You know, one of my fondest memories was just laughing and laughing about the post that brought Pop Tarts into the MB world. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Smile]" src="images/icons/smile.gif" /> I can still remember as it evolved. It was soooo natural, and it fit so well. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Smile]" src="images/icons/smile.gif" />

Just seeing PT on this site again makes my day.

I do surely hope that the people you are helping realize just how specialy you are. Your Handling of your marriage was one of the coolest things I have ever seen here.

Must go, just wanted to say hi!

God Bless,

JL

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lostva:

Not 2 threadjack, but I've been thinking about your story a lot the past few days, and wonder if you could hie yourself on over 2 ol' 2long's thread and give me a boost or 2...

It's been, or maybe it's becoming a bad week for me. My W's last day on this job is 2day, but she hasn't had 2 deal with RM since week before last... ...and yet she's still talking 2 him...

I wish I had some of your courage about now. Got some 2 spare?

regards,
-2long.

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Hi, JL! It's so good to hear from you. Believe it or not, I still smile about some of the PT stories myself! LOL What a wonderful group of friends we were. Hope you're doing well. I miss reading your posts....always so calm and full of wisdom..wish I could say the same!

2long, my friend, I must confess that I had already read your "change" post before I started posting on this one. I wanted to see how you were doing. I've only got a 1/2 second tonight, but I'll be back.

You've got tons of courage, it shows through this mess and I'm in awe. But I'll catch up again and try to post in the next couple of days, ok? We're moving DD into her first apartment (she's a sophomore in college a couple of hours away and they only have housing for freshmen), so we're running around like crazy people (and I'm feeling old 'cause my "baby" is making her own nest - sheesh!)

I promise, though, I'll be back. I'm around for a few more days, anyway.

TTYL

Lori

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As long as you're around, Lostva -- any insight on why my H is giving me the cold shoulder and silent treatment? Previous two ex-wives were not treated this way... The first was far more acrimonious than this split, the second very friendly.


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