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This was sent to me by a very special woman who hopes that sharing her story may be helpful and encourage others.
"Finding Michele’s Divorce Remedy was a turning point in my separation. I was reacting like most abandoned spouses: righteously arguing when my Walk Away Husband said “I love you, but I do not love you like a wife. I love you like a sister.” I responded with gems like “Doesn’t commitment mean anything to you?” “Why did you bother marrying me if you were prepared to walk away?” or “Did you not think it was going to get hard?” I also tried pressuring him into going to counseling with me. What I didn’t realize was that pushing him or making him feel bad about himself could only make things worse for me and for us. It was probably those attitudes that were making him want to leave the relationship in the first place. Nevertheless, from this conversation, I moved onto deciding to do everything in my power to thwart separation until he got it through his head what a mistake he was making! (A red flag, now!) I had even started thinking about what kind of gifts I could leave him and had already left him his favorite sandwich at the front door one day for when he came home from work. I am happy I never cried or pleaded. But I thank G-d, I read Michele’s book before I did more damage.
Through reading Divorce Remedy, I gained an understanding of and appreciation for the 180*. In fact, I definitely fell into the “last resort” category of the 180*. I came to see that continuing with how I’d responded to date would only serve to push my husband further away from me and obliterate any good memories he might have of us. With the new perspective the book gave me, I was not only able to come to terms with the conventional wisdom that I had a 50% role in where things were breaking down between us, which was both empowering and humbling. But I also came to realize that it only took one person to make significant changes in our dynamic and that would affect how he interacted with me. This started me on a course of new behavior in our limited interactions, as well as a deep period of self examination. I could see that I was unhappy and blaming him for my unhappiness. And it became clear to me that any person who was happy was inherently more attractive. Sparked by all Michele’s wisdom, I decided to roll up sleeves and get going on the project of divorce busting. The Divorce Busting Coaches were central to my plan.
If Divorce Remedy was the skeleton of my plan, the specific feedback and direction that I have received from my work with three of the coaches, was the flesh and blood that personalized and directed the information in the book for my situation. I can remember from my first session that Chuck said that the basis of the mentality of the Walk Away Spouse is that he thinks two things: (1) I know my spouse, and (2) My spouse is never going to change. The plan was to “contradict” both of these beliefs. We wanted to shake his confidence in both, to give him pause for thought and plant seeds of doubt in his mind. Chuck gave me some good practical strategies for this specific to my situation.
I delved much deeper into this with the Divorce Busting Coach, Jody. She was truly my lifesaver and relationship saver. I have to say at this point, that my husband and I have not reconciled. But I believe that any chance of that would have been destroyed had I kept acting the way I was acting and not been open for Jody’s keen intelligence. She was perfect for me, especially in that one of her strengths was the Walk Away Husband. The first thing she was able to do was give me a frame of reference for his behavior. It had been driving me crazy trying to understand and interpret his words and actions. I find that when I can get a handle on things I can act confidently and when I know what to expect it puts me at ease. Her skill here was exceptionally. I realized with her insight that my WAH felt inept compared to me both because of my external success and how I had managed to erode his self-confidence in my dissatisfaction with our relationship and myself. We brainstormed authentic ways I could praise him. The idea was to leave him feeling positive about his contact with me and good about himself. Another significant thing Jody had me do was compile a list of all the complaints he would likely have of me and our relationship. The goal here was to “contradict” them. For example, he complained that he found me too intense. A good response was to tell jokes or funny stories, particularly about myself. In doing so, I was coming across as light and as not taking myself too seriously. I was constantly impressed by both the obvious and subtle suggestions she had for contradictions.
Interesting things started to happen. Discussion of immediate divorce stopped. He still wanted me to take all my belongings from what became his place. But the tone and intensity really shifted. Jody had me use the rare meetings he and I had, and mostly about division of belongings, to show him my reasonable side. He had complained that I was unreasonable and always in a power struggle. I showed him a different me. We even had a few meetings that were light, newsy and fun. After one, I got an email that he had enjoyed seeing me. Then everything seemed to change, and for the worse. He became very impatient and grumpy: he wanted the rest of my stuff out immediately. Then he was frosty and reserved when we saw each other. Again, Jody was amazing in providing me a frame of reference for what seemed crazy. She explained that after a significant connection, the Walk Away Spouse often recedes and entrenches. I had understood this dynamic when it came to a couple making love again, and that the Left Spouse should anticipate this. But it hadn’t occurred to me that the same rule might apply with any kind of establishment of connection. I was relieved because I felt like everything was going backwards after all the painstaking work I had put in. The other thing she pointed out is that he and I had switched roles. Now he was the intense, power struggler and I was the easy going and reasonable one. For better or for worse, at least it was now obvious that my new attitude and behaviors were having an impact on him.
In fact, at our last meeting, where I picked up the remnants of my furniture, I thanked him for the time we had spent together in our marriage and told him I had no regrets. I also told him I was a better person for the separation. I had grown. I even gave him my set of keys back unprompted. He looked stunned. I see that, through Jody’s seasoned advice and strong guidance, I have done much to change his image of me. I have used every one of the few opportunities we had since our separation to reduce the volatility and change his perception of me. Now comes the next phase of leaving him with that new image to see if it is enough to create the dissonance to rethink his confidence that divorce is the best option. Patience is the order of the day.
In the mean time, I continue to make myself a better person. Ironically, I am happier than I have been in years. Don’t get me wrong, I still am holding out for reconciliation. But I am not being a victim about this. That is one of the main things that the Divorce Busting Coaching has given me. The other principle thing is a place to be hopeful about the relationship. There just seems to be few places to talk where people don’t think I am being a crazy fool, who lives in denial. My therapist is in this category. When I talk to Jody, I get my sanity back. I have spent a lot of money on coaching and it has meant a shift in my standard of living. But it has been one of the best things I have done for me and for the relationship. Whether he and I reconcile, I know that with Jody’s help, I have given it my best shot. And I hate regrets. Thank-you, Jody!"