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K - I'm sorry, but <B>no one</B>, knows what is best for me better than I do. A counselor, therapist, psychologist, pyschiatrist, etc., can all help in sorting out emotions and thoughts, they can help you devise plans and assist you in carrying out those plans, but when all is said and done, it is I that knows what is best for me, it is I that knows what I can or can not live with, it is I that knows what I can or can not endure, it is I that knows in what manner I want to live my life, no one else can tell me these things.<P>You have endured much and you are to be commended for that, but it is unfair to others to criticize them for not being able or willing to endure what you have. Everyone's make-up is different, what is good for you may not be good for another, what you may feel is progress may not be that to another. We all have different feelings, emotions, views and limits, can these differences be respected?<P>Steve Harley or any other Harley may be great at what they do, but not for one minute do they know what is best for me.

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FA:<P>If you knew what "was best" for you, you'd probably never have been in this situation. I understand and agree with you that we all have different tolerances for pain, different emotional strenghts and weaknesses---that we're all "unique". I'm not criticizing EB or you for not putting up with what I've done. I am, however, pointing out that when you state that "these methods don't work", that you may not have really tried them under ideal circumstances. And that the Harley's can customize these plans to your situation. <P>For God's sake---my wife HATES the forms and planning that MB traditionally uses in counseling. But Jennifer Harley is flexible enough to pitch that approach and work with her using an approach that she's comfortable with---and I'm betting that it will be successful. I haven't yet been let down...<P>You (and EB) want a marriage that's restored, with no "triggers" about the affair that makes you miserable. The Harley's just might be able to help you with that... but you won't know, unless you try.<P>

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by energizer_bunny:<BR><B>F A,<P>I owe you a world of thanks. You made my day today! Thank you. Thank you for your kindhearted thoughtful and defensive (!!) replies.<P>You made me cry at work. That's not such a good thing <grin> but I appreciated it.<BR></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>EB - thanks is not needed, I have sat where you sit in regards to being attacked for having different thoughts and feelings about restoring marriages and what is or is not a success, and I know it can become very frustrating to not only be attacked for those feelings, but it is also frustrating when you are misquoted, misinterpreted and judged to be a certain type of person without anyone really knowing the "real" you.<P>Despite being told the contrary, you do know what is best for you, no one else can tell you what is best for you. I will stick to my advice to you, give the principles here a chance, give it all that you have, come here and vent when needed, seek counseling if you choose, but no matter what, you and only you, know what you can live with and endure. If it works out for you, then great, you will be one of the success stories, if not, then you will be able to part from your spouse knowing that you gave all that you could and left no stone unturned. <P>Stay strong and good luck to you my friend.<P>

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by K:<BR><B>If you knew what "was best" for you, you'd probably never have been in this situation.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>With all due respect, that is total BullS***, who are you to make that statement?<BR>You know of me only what I have posted, and believe me, you have not gotten enough details of me to make that statement. <P>This is probably not the correct forum for this, but your statement reeks of arrogance, just because the Harley's have helped you in your relationship and obviously know what is best for you, please don't come here telling me that they know what is best for me as well. While I may be in this "situation", it is not because I didn't know what was best for me.........so I guess now ALL BS' didn't know what was best for them, what happened to the WS's part in this "situation"? To make that statement is to put most if not all of the onus for this "situation" on the BS, and that is BULLS***(to others, please pardon my language, but this just galls me)<P>If you feel that others know what is best for you, then more power to you, but I will stand by my statement. <B>No one knows what is best for me, but me</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>....I am, however, pointing out that when you state that "these methods don't work", that you may not have really tried them under ideal circumstances.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Please show me where <B>I</B> made this statement. Read the actual words that I have written, please do not misinterpret me. What I have stated is that EB should give her all to these methods, but that they do not "guarantee" sucess in restoring a marriage, and if she was unsuccessful in restoring the marriage, then at least she would know that she gave it her all.<P><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>You (and EB) want a marriage that's restored, with no "triggers" about the affair that makes you miserable.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Again, where did you read this [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<P>Please go back and re-read what has been stated without the all the "reading between the lines" or the "filters". I am sorry that not everyone, or at least me, don't think like you, or have the same emotional fortitude as you, or have the ability to let others define for me what is best for me. [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<P>Now that this has been stated, can we put this particular subject to rest?<P><p>[This message has been edited by F A (edited August 30, 2000).]

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Ok, I had decided to stay away from this post. I read it when there were no responses and I felt such compassion for you, EB. I wish that there was some way to ease your pain.<P>I've watched as the responses grew...and stayed away. From your original post, I realized that there was absolutely nothing that anyone could say that would help you to see things differently....you're not at that place. But...then I heard that you mentioned me! Well, so now I'm here, only to clear some misconceptions and yes, to once again express my own opinion.<P>Thanks for the compliment that I'm a strong woman. I am, but no stronger than most of us out there. I do believe in Plan A and I do plan to do it forever - my version. Because it's part of me, because it makes sense, because it's not a lot different than the "Golden Rule" or all the little lessons my mom tried to teach me as I was growing up. It's not an effort, it's not a "plan" anymore. It's the way I see life, the way I treat people, which in turn determines their reactions toward me. It IS me. And I like it. And I like it's results. I like that I don't have to battle selfishness so much anymore. I like that my relationship with so many people has changed for the better, simply because I look at things differently. I like me. It has made me strong. I am not a doormat...I stand up for myself infinitely more now than I ever have in the past..I just do it in a different way, and more effectively, I might add.<P>Now, there are just a few things to clear up. You're right, when Robert FIRST came home, I did not mention the affair. It was painful for him, he wasn't ready. I had come to terms with so many things concerning that affair while he was gone that it wasn't so urgent for me at that moment, wasn't necessary right then for my recovery. So, yeah, I held some stuff back for a while. My husband was JUST facing these things, just coming to terms with his actions in his OWN head and he was as raw as I was 7 months before. What would be the point of throwing stuff in his face? Increasing his pain? Not if I loved the man. So I gave him the time to begin to heal. It's that simple. Is talk of the affair "off-limits" now? Absolutely not. IF something pops up in my head, we can talk, without crying, without arguing, with very little pain for either of us. It just doesn't very often. He will mention something that happened to him while he was gone as casually in conversation as whatever happened to him at work that day. And, you know what? I take it the same way. Things really don't affect me much anymore. I'm not pretending, they just don't. We're too busy living life and loving each other.<P>Stay away from triggers? Me? Honey, do you remember that I'm one of those who began week #1 of recovery to go to all the places they went together just to banish the ghosts...to make them OURS, not theirs? I run from nothing, never have, never will. Maybe you mean my deplorable lack of curiosity concerning details. I have mentioned once early on that I just didn't need the triggers. But it's more than that. They lived together, they planned a future together. Doesn't take a rocket scientist. I faced all that and dealt with it before he ever came home. Do I need to know when, where, who was on top? Nope, never have. What on earth does it matter? I've never asked because I don't care, I really don't. Why should I?<P>Do some things get a reaction, make me twinge just a bit. Of course. A statement he made a few months ago concerning PT's body gave me a little "EWWWWW" once. Not because it was a compliment to her, it definitely wasn't! Just because it reminded me of the fact that he spent TIME with that body. "Ewww, Yuck!" But that was my reaction. No heartrending pain, no feeling sick in my stomach, no tears, just "yuck". Did I tell him? Absolutely. He tried to make it better and in his own wonderful style kept digging the hole deeper!!! And we both wound out wiping tears from our eyes laughing at the whole stupid conversation and the bumbling way he was handling it. And it was over. No pain, no nightmares, no nothing. Actually, when she pulls a little trick these days, I get a distinct pleasure that my husband feels she has the ugliest ****** he ever saw! Makes me smile! <P>Just recently I was looking up something in his dayplanner for him and I found a page on which had been written "Robert and PT Dodge" - in HIS handwriting. We THOUGHT we had gotten rid of everything (Robert loves the bonfires, too, Wassi! [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]) I had a moment. Just a moment. Another yuck. No tears, no sick stomach, just yuck. I walked in, asked for a hug. He asked what was wrong and I showed him. He said "I'm sorry", held me tight and told me to go get him a new address book. And then I washed the dishes. It was over, it was done. Nothing lingering. I was fine. Nope, haven't gotten the new book yet. Maybe I will one day, doesn't seem like a big deal.<P>So far, we are a success and we both "Plan A" constantly, even though Robert doesn't have a clue what Plan A is! His suggestion when we decided to build a new relationship was that we be honest with eash other, be good to each other, talk about problems as they come up and be considerate of each other's feelings even when we don't understand them. He calls it the right way to live. WE call it Plan A.<P>Do we disagree? Absolutely! Had a doozy this weekend. We HANDLE those disagreements differently. Do we hold back? No. We did that before and that's part of what got us into this mess. But when we disagree we don't attack each other, we separate the difference of opinion from the person. <P>I'm talking too much and for once I don't care! Sorry NB!! <P>I'm gonna share a story now that I've only shared with a couple of people on this board. When my mom and dad were young and first married, he had affairs (and yes, that is plural). This behavior lasted for several years and she was devastated. They stayed together 'cause you just DID back then, but it was hard. Early on, Papa took a good look at himself and realized that this was not the kind of man he wanted to be, that he didn't want to hurt my mom ever again. And for the next forty years, he was true and faithful. He reached out to her and tried to bring them close. But she had been scarred and simply became more and more bitter. She constantly suspected and accused. She never forgave him, not really, never gave his more mature love a chance. They didn't fight, they just "weren't", if you know what I mean. They both suffered. This bitterness of my mom's affected her relationship with everyone in her life, even her children. It does to this day. I know they loved each other. I know how hard he tried. The only thing he could do to make up the pain he caused her in her early twenties was to try to make the rest of her life as wonderful as possible and she wouldn't let him. When she got cancer a few years ago, I watched my father drop to the floor and cry and pray for his wife's life. And while under anesthesia after the mastectomy, as I was holding her hand and comforting her, in her drugged state, all she could do was cry out for HIM! And he stood there beside her, tears rolling down his face, and said "I'm right here, Hon, I've always been right here" as he held her. For a few short days, while under the effects of medication, she opened up to him, she let him love her and he did. She did the same with me. Once sober again, however, she let the same old barriers come back. I saw the disappointment on his face. Sixty three years old and still hoping he would be allowed to love his wife the way he was meant to. The next March my dad was killed. She misses him so. She cries if his name is mentioned. She still says things like "he caused me such pain, but I still loved him." She's right. For a few short years he did cause her pain. And she always loved him, as he did her. But for forty or more years, she pushed him away, holding his mistakes against him. What a waste. What a waste of love and life. What a waste of the happiness they could have shared, the comfort they could have given each other, the dreams they could have made come true. I understand her pain, I have been there. But I don't understand why she chose (and yes, I mean CHOSE) to hold on to it for the rest of her life. Because of that, they BOTH suffered for another forty years. What a waste.<P>I said it before on my latest update. I will NOT ALLOW a mistake during a period of bad judgement to negatively affect my happiness for the rest of my life. Nor is it fair for this man I love to pay for it for the rest of his...not from me anyway. I am not betrayed, not anymore. He is NOT a betrayer....not anymore. We allowed our marriage, together, to get to the point that something like this could happen. Not anymore. We are a couple who love each other very much, building a future together and that's just the way I want it.<P>So, I don't know if you'd call us a success. But we've learned our lessons. Plan A for me involved self-examination, personal growth, respect for human beings, even those who you are closest to (who oftimes seem to get the least), honesty, compassion, forgiveness. It means looking at the world differently, which results in ACTING differently, which results in changing the way that people react to you. For a lifetime - absolutely. I hope to continue to grow as a person for a lifetime. I don't THINK anymore "is this what I should do, is this how I should act." I just DO and ACT the way I feel. And that's what Plan A has done for me....because the way I feel would have been different a couple of years ago and so would my actions. But, thank goodness, I have grown. I'm not a different person, just more of the person I was meant to be. And I have every intention of becoming even better.<P>So, sorry, EB, I do believe in Plan A. It ALWAYS works - for the person doing it if it's done right. We always come out ahead, we always grow. We always become a better person. We become stronger. We become able more often to get what we need and deserve. We become able to take what life dishes out at us and turn it into something that is good and of benefit us. Life is not perfect and it's not fair. Good people die, things go wrong, good people make mistakes, bad stuff happens. But the fact of the matter is, it is and has always been OUR CHOICE as to whether or not we will benefit or lose from that stuff. Plan A has taught me that I can CHOSE to benefit, no matter what life throws at me. I like that. And sometimes, if we're lucky like I was, it gives us the opportunity to restore our marriages and gives us the outlook we need to keep them strong and healthy. If not, we have what we need for the next relationship along the way. It would not have happened for me without Plan A. It's that simple.<P>Oops, sorry I've talked too much. Actually, I had to cut myself off, you know me once I get started! [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com] <P>Good luck to you. I'm sorry that you feel as you do. There's so many wonderful things out there. I pray for you that one day you will have all the happiness that you so deserve. I mean that with all my heart.<P>Love and prayers,<P>Lori

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Dear Everyone:<P>To me, this thread is a "losing battle". This fight CAN NOT BE *WON*. It's exhausting. I liken it to trying to *educate* my H on why his affair was wrong. On why his OW WAS NOT his *soulmate*.<BR> <BR>Who am I to tell him what he CAN CHOOSE to believe? Who am I to attempt to push my beliefs on my H? Doesn't/didn't he have to come to this realization on his own?<P>Wasn't my trying to push my reasoning on him a disrespectful judgement? Wasn't I *telling* him that he was *stupid* and that I *knew* more than he did???? <ugh--it's horrible when you finally realize all the mistakes YOU'VE made><P>I see this entire thread as the same type of *argument*. I don't even want to fight this fight...it's a no win situation.<P>Besides who's defining success here? Me, you, that person next to you? <P>What is success to me, may be failure to another. Conversely, what another views as a failure may be a *success* in my eyes. Who knows...what difference does it make?<P>EB is able to see/read/hear/etc. and then conclude/take what she wants from the information she gathers. Perhaps EB, based on her own personal definition of what *success* is, does not believe it can happen...or, if it can happen, that it's not *worth it*....YET. I'm not saying that she won't/can't change her view...just that perhaps she is not ready to let go of her current beliefs...and/or reshape her definition of success.<P>Perhaps she's already *found* the *answer* she was looking for(????).<P>I'm a success. MB *worked* for me. I could post my story. EB could find *faults* in my story. EB could question my ability to *perform* in my marriage. EB could *criticize* my success...<P>But my success is MINE.<P>MINE TO ENJOY/CHERISH/LOVE/PROTECT...<P>It is what is it...TO ME. And, after all, isn't that what really matters? <P>Peace to everyone who has found their own personal success...regardless of what method(s) you chose to find it. <P>So, the questions: Does this work? Can there be success after infidelity?<P>And, the answers: Yes and Yes! As with ANYTHING IN LIFE...only YOU can MAKE it what you NEED it to be...If you can SEE IT, you CAN BE IT. <P>Love, Marie (darn it's hard to stay away [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com])<BR>-------------------------------------------<BR>"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin--real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." ~Fr. Alfred D'Souza

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Dear EB,<P>Hi! You have certainly catalyzed an amazing discussion, and your responses are so thorough and carefully thought out.<P>I am sorry about your situation, and your husband's, and the pain you are feeling. I would never have imagined how much pain there could be until going through this myself. And you are still in the worst of it.<P>I think that you have hit on something basic, on a flaw in the way that many of the posters here view the MB principles. There have been some excellent and profound replies, and I would like to add one more attempt to put things in perspective. I can be compulsive about trying to find out what everything means, and have been thinking a lot about this all Summer. But in the end, I don't think that any of us will ever fully understand the affairs that we have been caught in, though we might come close.<P>I have a sense that many posters feel that "Plan A" could be summarized this way: "PLEASE come back to our marriage, since I am now a much nicer spouse than before." I certainly felt that way myself during the many months of withdrawal my wife was going through, as I worked so hard to learn and change and hold things together.<P>But others have pointed out that "Plan A" is for yourself, and they are right. If you are begging your spouse to return to you, to love you, then the dynamics of the relationship are poisoned. Not as badly as by the affair, but still, that behaviour makes equality and love very difficult.<P>Instead, I eventually found that (for me) the only possible attitude was this: "I have changed, and will be a better person and a better spouse, WHETHER OR NOT YOU WANT TO STAY IN THE MARRIAGE. I still love you, and would prefer to work together, but I will divorce you if you want to remain separate."<P>I think that this attitide is essential — I will be this way WHETHER OR NOT THE MARRIAGE SURVIVES. FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.<P>(Sorry about the capitals - it looks like I am screaming. But this is so important).<P>When I finally reached the point where I accepted that I would be happy if I remained married and we healed together, or if I divorced, I felt such peace come over me. But that took me nine months of terrible pain.<P>My wife's affair ended almost immediately upon discovery. We never suffered the endless back-and-forth and continual lying that many here endure. And she was completely honest with me from the day I discovered the affair. But she was so emotionally attached to OM that the pain of his absence, and of the devastation caused by the affair lasted almost ten months, and nearly destroyed our marriage. She had lost almost all connection to me, and that hurt cut me to the core, and her pain was overwhelming.<P>My actions, all the caring and love and consideration I gave, couldn't restore our marriage. About that, you are absolutely right. But they did accomplish two things:<P>(1) They helped me to stop feeling like a victim, a person dependent on the whims of my spouse. They put me in charge of my life.<P>(2) They bought time, time for me to heal and become strong enough to face divorce or rebuilding, and time for my wife to heal enough to look at our marriage again, and at me again, and to see our possibilities. Recovery always takes time, and working on your own behavior helps you endure the waiting.<P>Although our situation was so promising in some ways (my wife was committed from the start to complete honesty, and her partner ended the affair immediately after his own wife found out about it), other factors would have suggested that we had little chance. The affair lasted more than a year. My wife bore his child during it, and lied to me about that during the pregnancy and after the birth, so that I discovered his parentage when I discovered the affair (that was an unbelievable night; nothing in my life compares remotely to that pain and shock). My wife felt that we had nothing to hope for in a marriage - she had made the emotional step of cutting all ties to me and putting all her hopes in him, and came home with me only because she felt there was no where else to go. (And because we have lots of children).<P>You wanted to know about success stories. I suppose that we are very much a work in progress. But we went right up to the brink of divorce. She actually asked me for one. Perhaps we are together now because at that point she could see and believe that my own changes were real, because I treated her with the same consideration I had developed all year, despite the terrible pain of her asking for the divorce. I also told her, indeed begged her on this one point, that I wanted to continue being the father to this child she had borne to OM, but whom I had raised and loved. I wanted to raise him with our other children. And perhaps the fact that I wanted to do that, even if she left me, and OM wanted nothing to do with this boy, finally helped her to re-evaluate everything, and to commit to me, as I had to her. Those few days after her request for the divorce were again something unbelievable, a time of stress and changes and hope that I couldn't have imagined. Years lived in days. By the end, my own feelings for my wife had almost burned out, and there we were - emotionally drained, and both, finally, willing to begin over.<P>We talked. We fought (but fought always under the new paradigm; we could be angry, but I would not be insulting, would not withdraw, would not be defensive, would not be patronizing, would try hard to also see her side, and tried to make certain that each fight brought some resolution, some healing, always an olive branch) and we grew closer with every fight. She finally touched me again, after many months. We began working together on even more things than before (we had been an awesome parenting team even during the worst times of the affair and its aftermath).<P>And we were then given a tremendous gift — OM began (from a distance) to act extremely cruely towards my wife. More pain to endure. But now we were responding as a team, and I was, in some ways, able to protect her. Those events also transformed our relationship. They helped sever more of her emotional ties, and gave us the chance to lean on each other under stress.<P>And now? We love each other and are closer than we were before the affair started. And that despite the tremendous pain of the affair. Not so close in some ways as when we were first married, but also much wiser. And we are changing and growing together daily.<P>So was any of this a success? My sister-in-law (who has been great) summed it up this way. "You have a better marriage than before, and you have a beautiful little boy." And I feel that we are just getting started, that the sky is the limit. Because we will never have the perfect marriage. No one will. Marriages aren't like that, since they involve people. But we are once again a team, a partnership, and have learned an enormous amount. We are facing the future together. I wish there had been a different way to learn these things, but will not throw away the lesson just because of the cost. And our children are (mostly) happy, growing and thriving. They have two active, involved parents. Our youngest child has a family and a father and love and stability, when so many worse things might have happened to him. (He loves me so much, hugs me so much, I can't express to you how deeply moving that relationship is, and how joyful, despite the painful way it came to be).<P>And were the MB principles instrumental in any of this? I never followed them in any deliberate way. SAA was one of the books I read shorly after the affair, and it shook me. But I had already made many of the most crucial changes in myself before looking at it. But that book and others, and the letters here, helped give me the hope to keep on with things when I felt most depressed. And focusing on myself was essential.<P>I had an excellent therapist who has worked with me for almost a year now. He helped me reach the point where I could envision either marriage or divorce as outcomes with the potential for happiness. I can't imagine doing this without counselling. And my wife and I have both talked with friends and family. Their acceptance and support was also crucial for us.<P>Do I still hurt? Absolutely. I am here writing you a letter, instead of having put this completely behind me. But now I feel that I am searching for some deeper meaning in all of this, in life. And so is my wife, in her own way. Perhaps when we have healed enough to develop a joint understanding and acceptance of the past, we will truly be over it.<P>There is something else important. Perhaps more important than love itself, since it helps create the foundations needed for love. And that is respect. It is hard to respect your spouse after they have put you through all of this, and said the things they have said, and done the things they have done. And it seems very hard for the betrayer to respect their spouse, since that emotion just intensifies the guilt.<P>But I have tried to nuture respect, and have been deeply impressed by how my wife has cared for our children, even when near the point of emotional collapse, by the way in which her own skills and career have grown during this turmoil, by the courage she has shown in being honest with me and with others who might have condemned her, and by her courage in looking inside herself and not being afraid to change. She has faced so much pain in her life, starting with having been abused as a child. Nothing justifies what she did, but I understand some of the suffering that helped bring it to be, and respect her courage in trying to re-build a healthy and meaningful life for herself, for our children, and with me. And somehow she also looks more beautiful to me than she had for many years. I enjoy the way we can look into each others eyes again.<P>She is still suffering a lot, and that pain and my pain influence how we act. But I have told her that she was worth this price, though most other people would not have been. That feeling, perhaps, that the person who betrayed you is still deeply worthwhile, is perhaps the only thing that can get you past the worst times. And some of us feel it, whereas others do not.<P>I haven't really said anything about your situation here — only you can judge that. But when we each share a little of our lives, it seems to help. At least it has helped me.<P>I have a few closing thoughts from people much wiser than me. A rabbi wrote, almost 2000 years ago, simple advice for life:<P>- "Remember three things. Acquire for yourself a friend. Find yourself a teacher. And judge each person favorably."<P>All three are essential to survive an affair. (Whether or not you remain married).<P>- And a few hundred years ago, a rabbi named Zusya wept in the presence of his students while on his deathbed. He explained it this way. "I know that, on Judgment Day, God will not ask me why I wasn't like Moses, why I wasn't like David, or why I wasn't like Isaiah, because I was not any of them. Instead, I have realized that God would ask: "Why were you not Zusya? Why did you not live up to the best that is in you?" Turning to his students, Zusya asked, "What then shall I answer?"<P>My hope is that I become the best that I am able to be, and that our marriage will become the best expression of my wife and I together. Not perfect, as measured by some other marriage, or by the MB priciples. But the best flowering or ourselves as husband and wife.<P>And Rabbi Tarfon also taught that we should be cautious about hoping for perfection.<P>- "You are not required to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to abstain from it"<P>But perhaps the most meaningful principle I thought of this year is:<P>- "He who saves a single life, it is as though he has saved the entire world".<P>I couldn't save my wife. None of us can or should 'save' our spouses. Though I could be there for her and help give her time and space she needed to find herself. But I did have a child to think of, besides the ones that we shared going into this, and when I looked at him and imagined all that he might become, I felt that I was part of something much bigger and deeper than myself. I knew that how I acted would change his life, and that he might change the world.<P>I know that you are in pain EB, and wish you peace.<P>StillTrying<P>

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lostva:<BR><B>I will NOT ALLOW a mistake during a period of bad judgement to negatively affect my happiness for the rest of my life.<P>and...<P>Life is not perfect and it's not fair. Good people die, things go wrong, good people make mistakes, bad stuff happens. But the fact of the matter is, it is and has always been OUR CHOICE as to whether or not we will benefit or lose from that stuff. Plan A has taught me that I can CHOOSE to benefit, no matter what life throws at me. I like that.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Gosh Lori, I love you [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com] <high 5's all around!>.<P>Sometimes I get so *down* coming to this forum. I start to think that *good* people don't exist anymore. That it's simply <B>too much</B> to expect people to JUST BE KIND to one another....and THEN I FIND YOU <sigh>.<P>And, once again, <B>HOPE</B> is restored.<P>Peace, ~Marie<BR>-----------------------------------------<BR>"Never deprive someone of hope--it may be all they have." ~unknown

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I believe as FA says there are times when each individual is the best judge of what is best for himself. <P>I'd like to be on target all the time, but there are times when not only is my mindset off-kilter, but my behavior is as bad or worse. At those times I benefit from hearing from people who "know" best. I don't always do what is suggested [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com] but later (giving it time) it may make sense.<P>I think of it as putting it in the "compost heap". What emerges is composed of the input, but not necessarily recognizable.<P>This thread is a dandy compost heap--and I mean that in the most nutrient-enriching, complimentary way possible [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com].<P>------------------<BR>Lor<BR>"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."<BR>(Proverbs 15:1).

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My gosh! I cannot believe this!! This post has taken on a life of its own!<P>Again, I am at work, and I can only stay a moment. <P>Let me tell you though. Talking to me is not a losing battle. I am listening, and I don't think I'm coming across as harsh or judgemental. I don't feel like it anyway.<P>I can see what you're all saying, and I mean EACH ONE OF YOU. Both sides. In the middle even. I am trying to understand, honest I am.<P>I'll check in again later, and look forward to each response.<P>Thank you<P>EB

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Lor - I agree in total with you and F A. One could see that in my earlier posts when I was being encouraged to go to Plan B. Plan A is as old as the hills. Another name for it is: "The Golden Rule"...<P>My point to EB was that if you can't live that way, don't expect to get much from others....<P>--DeWayne--

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I'm jumping on the vent wagon...<P>For the posts that I have posted here, I have gotten some comfort and support. But there are always those people who feel they have to psychoanalyze everyone and tell them what they are doing wrong or have done wrong. That is not support, that is shaming.<BR>Granted, most people here are very supportive and willing to share their experiences, and that's probably what keeps people coming here. I appreciate those of you who have responded with warmth, comfort and friendship. <P>I think too many people assume that everyone's situation is exactly the same and people can be WRONG for the way they feel. People need validation. People need a place to vent- even their darkest thoughts. I think since we are special and unique people we should respect that our situations are not completely the same even if some of the details sound identical. Each of us has our own experience in life.<P>Eb, what you posted was a very legitimate thought on whether this stuff can really work. I have doubts myself because it reduces all situations down to the same thing. I think the MB principles are excellent guidelines for a strong marriage, however, when it comes to affairs, I think it assume a lot. My H is not mentally healthy and that's the reason for his affair, not because I don't meet his needs. It's his parents who didn't meet his needs as a child, and I get the backlash. There is no way that I can fill the holes that he has from his dysfunctional childhood. That's healing that he needs to engender from within. So, it does upset me to be criticized for not meeting his needs and told that is the reason for his affair.<BR>I think that is far too simplistic and I don't think anyone can make that judgment without knowing everything about both of us.<P>I'm sorry for your pain that you are going through...I know of another board that solely focuses on the BS and is extremely supportive. I can send you the info if you want. I'm not suggesting you run away from this board, but I think the other board offers another perspective allowing you to draw a conclusion from your own wisdom.<P>Peace.

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Hey, Bunny.<P>I may have misinterpreted what you said. This is what I read from the first page of posts:<P>"As far as the "real success stories" it takes time to see how things pan out. I have read lostva's postings and she appears to have a success story. My problem is this - she will be in Plan A for the rest of her life. She seems like a strong woman, and a very nice woman too. But can she Plan A forever? She can never bring up the HELL her h caused her? She has to cry alone? She can't let the triggers get to her? That is not a marriage TO ME. I am not a mean person, but I have feelings and they are important. I just cannot imagine keeping up a Plan A forever. But that's maybe just me."<P>Okay, that is what gave me the impression that you were unwilling to give up angry outbursts and other LBs. If I was wrong, I'm sorry.<P>Our feelings are important. I'm the last one to deny them. But I think you have to protect your spouse from them if they are going to hurt your spouse. The whole rule of protection thing. A wife-beater also has strong feelings, but he has to protect his spouse from any pain those feelings may cause.<P>I was faced with this myself last night. H & I were supposed to have 2 hours of solid quality (undivided attention) time. For us this means I focus on meeting his needs for recreation and admiration, and he focuses on my needs of conversation and affection. <P>However, his mom called (she lives far away and this is the only way they can really stay in touch) and he spent the first hour of our time talking to her. When he got off the phone I was deep into pouting and before you know it, both of our Takers were out and we were both feeling demanding and disappointed. Both of us wanted *our* needs met *now* and to hell with what our spouse needed.<P>I LB'ed once or twice before I caught myself. So I stepped back and decided to play leapfrog. You know, where I gag my Taker, bring out my Giver and meet my H's needs, so that his Love Bank account will soar and his Giver can come out, too. <P>This is harder than it sounds, when the Taker is already in control and hopping mad. But it helped to set a time limit. I said: I'm only going to keep this up for 48 hours. I knew that if I concentrated hard on his Love Bank account and was very careful to avoid LB's for 48 hours, his Giver would come around.<P>So I was cheerful and bright and admiring and supportive, we went swimming together and then went to bed, as he was very tired. I did not mention my unmet needs.<P>Hey, I'll admit, my Taker was still pretty upset. I was feeling very disappointed and deprived of what *I* needed, and oh-so self-righteous for deciding to play leapfrog instead of demanding he meet my needs. <P>I knew I was going to start crying so I went in the other room and did it. I did not deny my feelings, in fact, I encouraged their release and did not fight crying. But I knew I had to protect H from those feelings, because they would only harm him at this point.<P>I look at it this way: The sex my H had with OW (The Tramp) gave him some good feelings. But they hurt me. So going with our feelings when they hurt our spouse is not OK. Granted, LB'ing is a small hurt compared with the really big monster hurt of an affair. But it's still not OK.<P>I may feel like the Loser now because my Taker is still feeling deprived. I still have unmet needs. But I made the right choice because in the end this will enable both of us to have our Givers out and both of our needs can be met. If I'd allowed our Takers to keep fighting things out, we'd have been deadlocked forever in a pointless struggle that would have just hurt us both. Then neither of us wins.<P>Sorry for the rambling. And sorry if I seemed judgemental earlier.

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Hi, adamanteve.<P>I can totally relate. I was on another board for two days before the resident queen decided my H was scum for cheating on me and I was deluded for believing in him. Once she had passed that judegment I couldn't have any more discussions without her popping up and reminding me of her analysis. I had to leave.<P>Then I was here for about a day before someone (I can't remember who, and it doesn't matter anyway) made all kinds of judgements about me, the longshot of which was I was probably doing a poor job of meeting his needs (the why is he in love with me?), that's why he had the affair. And that I didn't appreciate him enough. Oh, and that my need for affection was an attempt to get back at him for his affair. And that I beat his manliness out of him and wouldn't let him be a winner with me...it went on and on.<P>If you'd know us, you'd have laughed out loud at some of the stuff people decided about me. In fact, my husband did, when I told him about it later.<P>But I'm still here. I really like this board, despite the confusion. Give us a chance, most people are pretty reasonable and accepting. If we're wrong about a judgement, just tell us, okay?

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>For the posts that I have posted here, I have gotten some comfort and support. But there are always those people who feel they have to psychoanalyze everyone and tell them what they are doing wrong or have done wrong. That is not support, that is shaming.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Perhaps on occasion a bit too much psychoanalyzing does go on. However if someone comes here & tells us they did something and it is against MB principles, then according to MB principles it is wrong.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I think too many people assume that everyone's situation is exactly the same and people can be WRONG for the way they feel. People need validation. People need a place to vent- even their darkest thoughts.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Again, you are correct. If you <B>feel</B> something, it's okay. Not "right" or "wrong." Part of the MB principles is learning how to act/react to "feelings."<P>------------------<BR>Prayers & God Bless!<BR>Chris<BR>For relationship info check out <A HREF="http://www.pcisys.net/~chriscal1/resources.html" TARGET=_blank>Marriage & Relationship Resources</A>

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WOW, what a thread! <P>Still Trying, I just wanted to tell you I think your post was wonderful. You hit on a lot of points that touched me deeply - I was the first betrayer in my marriage (gulp-16 yrs ago when I was MUCH younger - and dumber!). My deep shame lingered for years, further hurting our relationship as I pushed my H away. I was very moved by how you have tried and succeeded in valuing your W as a person. I *know* she needed this from you, and that it helped her healing; what you may not have fully realized is that it would "come around" and benefit you as well... this attitude is a wonderful gift to her. Congratulations.<P>I'd also like to add that by the time I found this website, I had dealt with my own long-lived infidelity, and just found out about my H's brief one (internet thing that went 'real'). I'd done a ton of reading over the years, trying to make sense of my own situation and it's aftermath (emotional fallout up the wazoo!) - but to me, the Harleys have nailed the dynamics of infidelity better than anyone. And having been on both ends of the stick by this time, I also thought that their methods made the most sense, and were most likely to give positive results. <P>Again - will it work *every* time if it's followed like a recipe? No. There are 'way too many variables. But I do believe it's a *best shot*. It also tries to preserve the dignity of both partners at a very undignified time.<P>Next, I know first-hand the emotional devastation - and it's impact on one's sex life - that a repentant betrayer feels. While my situation was never as severe as K's wife's, it was difficult and unpleasant enough. It *can* be worked through... it takes time and work and patience and love... exactly what K & his W are giving it. *Please* don't confuse his willingness to be patient about it with weakness, or with 'settling'. Folks - it took Dunc & I some 14 years to work *everything* out. It happened in fits and starts, in good times and bad. Our marriage today is deep and rich and *powerful*. And FUN!!!!! And I'm grateful every single day that we stuck it out. We are both deeply happy.<P>So a request: please lay off K. Those who don't know his entire story would be amazed at what he has been through and what he has 'pulled out of the fire' in his own marriage. He *is* a devoted disciple of "The Method", and with good reason - it saved a disaster. I have known K to be wise, strong, gentle, and non-confrontational. He has been generous with his time here *long* after he needed to be here. So if he sounds a *tiny* bit preachy about this - it is because he cares about you all & wants to help. <P>(Stepping down off my soapbox now. K, I hope I haven't embarrassed you to death).<P>TTFN! [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<P>------------------<BR>~suse~<BR>Rome wasn't built in a day.<BR>

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suse,<P>You did embarass me to death... [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<P>But seriously, I don't feel "attacked", it's perfectly fine to wonder how great a marriage could really be if you've been celibate for three years. Four years ago, I'd have had the same opinions.<P>I would like to apologize to FA and eb and anyone else who is put off by my 'all-knowing' bluntness. I think that I used to post much more empathetically, and try to slowly convince people to the value of this methodology. I tend to do it much more brusquely now---I've got less time available for this, and I do get tired of typing the same stuff over and over for two years. <P>One thing both Steve and Jennifer told me was that counseling with their Dad at this stage in his career would be much like listening to me---it's "here's the method, this is why it works. If you do it, you'll be in love. If you don't, you won't."<P>Real cut-to-the-chase stuff. But Steve and Jennifer will tell you also, through their huge body of experience in counseling, if you do this stuff the way it's supposed to be done, it will work. Your "success" may vary. Chris or Jim may not be "successful" in keeping their marriages together. But they will be much better off emotionally. And for countless others, this has worked in saving the marriage.<P>I realize that some people don't want to be told what to do. Especially when they're not sure. But again, I don't know anyone who's really DONE the MarriageBuilder's program who hasn't been very glad that they have. And honestly, I think there would be very few (almost 0) people who wouldn't benefit. So when I come across as "shut up and try it"---I'm doing this out of a deep desire to see healing in people who are hurting. <P>I get no profits. I don't need a fan club. I have no desire to be a MB site deity. I just want to see people spared as much of this pain as possible.<p>[This message has been edited by K (edited August 30, 2000).]

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Seems like we get a post like this every couple of weeks or so.<P>For what it's worth, here's my take on this:<P>(1) This stuff works for some.<BR>(2) It doesn't work for others.<BR>(3) Saying that marriages can't survive infidelity is a crock of bull---t. Every marriage is different, just like every person is different. Some marriages will survive it and some won't. I tend to believe that those who REALLY want it, and will do whatever it takes to GET it, will survive more often.<BR>(4) None of us can do a "perfect" Plan A, but those who conform closest to perfection probably see a higher success rate.<P>That being said, I think somebody earlier hit it RIGHT on the head (I thin it was Lori):<P><B>"Success" and "failure" are labels that don't really fit here.</B> You can successfully apply the Marriage Builders formula and still have a failed marriage. I think TRUE success is when you know you've done your best, and that you've given it all you can. THAT is success because even if your marriage fails, YOU haven't. If you've done it correctly, YOU can walk away from a broken marriage with a fully restored sense of self-worth, and a secure knowledge that you don't NEED your WS to be happy. You will still ache. You will still feel emptiness, but you'll know that YOUR efforts helped you find an inner strength. That is success in my book.<P>If you equate success with restoring your marriage to where it was before the affair, then you're right -- there can be no success, because you'll never get back what you had. I think there are MANY here, including Petunia and myself (Dunc & Suse also come to mind), who are examples that it can be even BETTER than before.<P>So, for what that's worth, I hope we all take a long hard look at what "success" and "failure" really mean to us. But, again, perhaps the problems are being caused by overgeneralizations.<P>Just my 2 cents.<P><BR>------------------<BR>/// Lone Star * ///<P>P.S. Hi, Suse! Nice to see you again! Where's Duncky?<p>[This message has been edited by Lone Star (edited August 30, 2000).]

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Had to jump in,<P>K,<P>You are truly the man. I have been here for well over a year and do know most of your story. I don't believe I could have endured what you have. Just couldn't do it.<P>I have nothing but the utmost respect for you and your opinions.<P>The newer folks may not believe in the "principles", but they are common sense and do work if applied.<P>I'm looking forward to my next M and will definately enjoy the benefits of MB.<P>Tim

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Yeah, K, I have to chime in here, too.<P>I have to admit, I kind of turned off to this thread, then decided to go back and read it systematically. (kind of didn't like the conflict that was going on here--I really hate meaness.)<P>See, I am glad that I have found this site to have people like you set an example for me.<P>As I mentioned earlier on in this thread, I forgave and forgot about infidelity in my first marriage--after I did exactly what is not to be done: I raged and revenged, let him have it, then figured we were even.<P>So, I know that even without following MB principles, you can have "sucess," if sucess is what you want to call it.<P>The infidelity in my second, cherished marriage has brought about the end of it, I fear. Yet what I have learned through MB, and how I have grown as a person, spiritually and in temperment, could not have come any other way. So, yes, I figure that I have gained a lot from this that I couldn't otherwise.<P>And as Medic sez, my next marriage will be wonderful, if indeed there is a next marriage, because now I know what I must do to make it so.<P>But my kudos to you: you are a rare jewel of a man and I know that you will have a happy life ahead of you. Your little kids will grow up cherishing you.<P>Give me some of your patience and tolerance now.<BR>

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