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Posted By: sandi2 Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/13/19 04:04 PM
Dear posters, the following pages are my views on the piecing stage. (Please give me just a few minutes to copy and paste to this thread.) I have attempted to define what piecing is, when to know you and your spouse are ready to piece, and the difference between reconciliation and the piecing process. I have written ten example questions with answers, in hopes of being helpful. I have added a rather wordy list to use as a guideline. My list is from the viewpoint of a recovering spouse. I have asked BluWave to give her thoughts, and she wrote an excellent list from the viewpoint of the LBS. I will copy and past them to this thread. I invite you to add your thoughts, or ask questions. This may not be a completed list, because there are so many variables to consider. However, I hope it will help those who want to understand what it means to be Piecing the Marriage Back Together.
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The couple does not piece in order to reach reconciliation. The couple must reconcile, in order to proceed with piecing the marriage back together. If you are not sure if you and your spouse have reconciled, then chances are you haven't.

Piecing is a different place than Newcomers or MLC. If you have been in the Newcomer or MLC forum, then you need to realize your sitch has shifted and you are entering into a new stage. Therefore, the advice given in Newcomers and/or MLC, will not be the advice given for the piecing process. The rules or guidelines found in the Newcomer forum, were not designed for couples in piecing.

If the couple has not reconciled, then they may need to take an extended period of time as they talk, spend time together, date, etc., in order to reconcile their differences and agree to live together as man & wife,. If there has been an affair or other forms of waywardness, the guilty spouse must agree to NC with the affair partner whatsoever. S/he must agree to complete transparency; atone for her/his wayward actions; and to do whatever is necessary in helping the betrayed spouse heal; and restore peace, love and happiness to the MR.. Whatever steps are needed in order to reach such the agreement of living together as man & wife should be taken.

The piecing period comes after the couple reconciles and agrees to put forth their best effort in restoring health, love, and happiness to the MR. All talk or threats of ending the M has ceased. Any previous action toward obtaining a divorce is cancelled. The couple can take as long as necessary to reconcile, but in order to piece the marriage back together, they must live together. There is no physical separation or in-house separation. The couple shares the marital bedroom. They donít have to engage in sex right away, but they should sleep together and agree they will seek therapy or whatever is needed in order to have a healthy sex life in the near future.

Donít be in too big of a hurry to move your thread over to the Piecing forum, as some sign of faith your spouse will eventually want to piece with you. It doesnít work that way. Piecing is team work. It requires hard work and dedication from both spouses. Each spouse should make their commitment known to the other one. If one spouse is unsure or unwilling to fully cooperate, then Piecing wonít be a success. Piecing is a new plan, with new guidelines, so there can be no guesswork about where either spouse stands.

Quote from BluWave: ďThe SLOWER you move in piecing, the better. The process cannot be rushed or forced, and in doing so you will begin to move backwards in your progress and may cause additional harm. In every piecer that I have read here, the poster says in hindsight that they moved to quickly. I would say the same for my sitch even though I made an effort not to.

The less personal growth (detachment, 180s, GAL) that has been done during the separation, the slower the piecing should happen, because ideally this work should have been completed beforehand. While the LBS that was reading/posting here has often started this journey, and the WAS/WS has usually not, there is still an uneven surge of emotions/anger that make this very difficult to continue simultaneously. It must be continued so you do not give all of your energy to piecing. It is too emotionally taxingĒ.
Posted By: sandi2 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/13/19 04:09 PM

1. What is the difference in Reconciling and Piecing?

Reconciling means to reunite or the coming back together on agreeable terms after a physical or emotional breakup. It may be the result following an indefinite period of time, where the couple will meet together to talk. They may choose to get counseling or family therapy, before making the step to live together as man and wife. They may date, take trips together, be intimate with one another, and go out as a family with the children. They are testing the waters to see if they want to give their full commitment to one another and to the work of saving their marriage. Both parties must feel free to make their own decision. Their marital status does not change to piecing, until both spouses have made it clear that they desire to live together as man & wife, and do whatever is necessary to save their marriage. There should be no guess work about where the other spouse stands.

Piecing is that period of time following the reconciliation where the couple are both committed to give their very best efforts in making adjustments & improvements in order to have the type of MR they both desire. It's a period of time where they are devoted to learning how to harmonize together for the betterment of their MR/family, after there has been a severe breach of trust or threat to the welfare of the MR and family unit. During the piecing stage, they will feel tested by old habits, old behaviors, hurts, fear, old & new problems within the family, and the pressures of dealing with everyday life. This period will be a time to heal as a couple, and as a family. The couple will seek and develop skills to use toward the health and growth of their relationship. They may seek marriage/family therapy; attend marriage seminars; follow-up marriage programs; seek guidance from their spiritual leader, etc. They will need something to keep them on track as they weather piecing their marriage back together again.

2. How will I know if we are ready for Piecing?

First, there must be a clear commitment from both spouses. Evasive statements from the spouse who originally wanted out of the marriage, should not be acceptable. The spouse who broke the trust in the MR, should take responsibility for her/his actions, and should apologize to the betrayed spouse. The wayward spouse should agree to the terms of the betrayed spouse (NC with AP, transparency, sleeping in the MBR, MC, etc.). Each spouse should know without any doubt where the other one stands. Both spouses desire to save the M, and are willing to cooperate in doing whatever
it takes to achieve a secure, loving, healthy, and happy relationship. Any action toward getting a divorce has ceased. All talks or threats of ending the M have stopped.

3. Must we be living together in order to be Piecing?

In order to be piecing in the truest sense, the couple would need to be living together in the same house, sharing the same bed, and going about their daily lives together. They can take all the time they need before making the move to live together as man & wife. However, piecing begins at that starting line, b/c that is when they begin living as a family and dealing with the pressures that come from being united under the same roof, sharing the same bedroom, and restoring health to their MR. If a spouse is hesitant or evasive about commitment, or is not willing to cooperate with the betrayed spouseís terms, then they arenít ready for piecing. Piecing is working together to put their MR back together, while living as a married couple. It is learn how deal with the fallout from the actions of a wayward spouse; a MLC; a walk-away spouse; or a SSM. They must heal and grow as a couple and a family. Piecing offers that opportunity for introducing healthier methods of addressing old and new issues, in spite of the everyday stress that life throw their way. They have to be united as a couple, in order to piece.

Note: Whenever a couple has been physically separated due to severe trauma in the relationship or family unit, then they may need to attend therapy before making the physical move to live under the same roof. Some cases may require extended therapy, in order to get healing and make emotional preparations to unite the family again. In such cases, a professional therapist should recommend when the family is emotionally ready to live together again. This may require a slower process where the couple and their children gradually increase spending time together, before officially permanently residing under one roof. The more severe and/or complicated the problems, the tougher piecing will be for them. The more healthy the family when moving back together, the better the piecing experience will be for them.

4. What if only one spouse is ready to piece the marriage back together, but the other spouse isn't sure?

The couple canít piece until there is reconciliation. Piecing is hard. It takes commitment and cooperation from both spouses. Each spouse must be in agreement about saving their marriage. If one spouse is not on board 100%, it will make the piecing period very difficult for the other spouse. One spouse can only do her/his share of work. S/he cannot do the other spouseís work.

5. Can we piece the marriage back together after an affair?

Yes! However, there can be no active affair of any type, going into the piecing stage. All contact with the affair partner must cease and the wayward spouse must cooperate in being transparent about all activities. The wayward spouse should comply with the stipulations the betrayed spouse has for reconciling. If the betrayed spouse feels the wayward spouse is cooperating and is sincere in committing to saving the marriage, then they can work together in piecing the marriage back together.

6. Can we piece if we are staying in separate bedrooms?

If the reason for sleeping in separate rooms is the result of marital dispute, or a spouse is avoiding intimacy, or some other excuse, then the couple should reconcile these differences first. If the relationship has suffered from a sexually starved marriage or other intimate problems, then the couple should agree to seek therapy and try to resolve the problem. The couple is not required to have sex, but they should at least sleep in the same bed. If they cannot come together and agree about the sleeping arrangements, it will be very difficult to proceed in piecing. The couple would need to make a decision as to what works for them, and commit to progressing toward bringing them back together as one. There has to be harmony in order to piece.

7. If we are currently in-house separated, can one spouse work to piece the marriage back together?

No, because there must be a ďcoming back togetherĒ (reconciliation) and a commitment from each spouse to save the marriage. It takes the cooperation and effort of both spouses in order to piece.

8. My spouse wants to wait and see how things go before committing to the marriage. Can I piece alone?

If the hesitant spouse does not feel ready to commit to saving the marriage, then look at the cause/reason. Does that spouse want to seek individual therapy, before making that decision? Does the spouse want a period to test the waters, before making a commitment to save the marriageÖ..due to previous domestic violence or whatever? Has that spouse been in an affair, and is not sure about her/his feelings? These are things that can put piecing on hold, until that spouse can make a decision. Until both spouses are ready to fully commit to doing the necessary work in order to save their marriage, then they are not considered to be really piecing. There are some cases where the couple has to take other steps, before they are ready for piecing. In cases of drug or alcohol addiction, the non-addicted spouse may need to see some type evidence that the addicted spouse is getting the appropriate help neededÖÖ.before deciding to commit to working with them in a marriage.

It may take some couples several weeks or months of working toward a full reconciliation. That means they come together in a friendly manner. It doesnít mean all their problems have to be resolved in order for them to reconcile. That decision is up to the couple. At some point, however, there should be a clear decision to either commit to save the marriage, or not piecing requires the commitment, cooperation, and participation of both spouses, in order to achieve satisfactory results. Coming back from a place of raw pain, resentment, infidelity, breach of trust, addiction, etc., is more difficult than many people may realizeÖ.until they actually begin the piecing process. There has to be willingness and dedication from both parties. Piecing is like taking two separate scrapes of fabric and stitching them together to become one piece. Think of it like making a quilt top for the bed. This is why both spouses should be honest, faithful, cooperative, and committed to the process of achieving the marriage relationship they both desire.

9. How long does piecing last?

(Copied from Jack Three Beans): ďPiecing is when both parties are (or say they are) committed to working on the relationship and even then? Give it a few weeks or months to see if that is trueĒ. (Copied from Cadet): ďOr even longerĒ.

10. Are the 37 rules applicable to piecing?

The 37 rules (or as some call them, ďthe 180Ē) were designed for the person who had recently experienced the bomb drop (or discovered an affair) and had no idea what they should do or not do. They did not know how to interact with the spouse who wanted out of the marriage. Many of those rules guide the LBS in stepping back, instead of engaging and/or pursuing the other spouse. They help the LBS to emotionally detach from the drama of the spouse who wants out of the MR. Once the marriage has been reconciled, then the couple leaves that initial stage they find themselves at the point of the bomb drop or the discovery of infidelity.
Posted By: sandi2 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/13/19 04:19 PM
Guidelines for Piecing: (From the viewpoint of a recovered WS)

(WAS, WS, & MLCS will be referred ti as the recovering spouse.)

1. Do not try to go through the piecing process without some type of guidance and support system from unbiased, experienced, sources. A mature and trusted friend/relative, a pro-marriage support group, and the DB board can be your biggest supporters. Allow the pro-marriage professionals and the experienced to teach you. Attend therapy, seek spiritual healing, read books, attend marriage seminars, enroll in marriage healing programs, etc. If there has been abuse, infidelity, addictions, MLC, or some other issue of this magnitude, continue to seek help from professional sources, other than blindly feeling your way. You will also need a source of encouragement and motivation throughout the piecing process. Avoid anyone who does not support your marriage and may express negative opinions, If either spouse has previously spent time with ďnew friendsĒ who were younger, single or divorced, s/he should discontinue these friendships, if the betrayed spouse feels those new acquaintances encouraged divorce and/or inappropriate behavior.

2. Do not allow negative emotions to direct your interactions with your spouse. Have a go-to plan that tells you what to do when you suddenly experience feelings of insecurities, suspicions, or anger. Piecing is toughÖ..and emotional. Have a plan as what to do when these emotions overwhelm you.

3. You and your spouse need a code that indicates you are experiencing triggers of high anxiety. This code alerts the other spouse what to do, until you are completely calm. You need to have a plan, in advance, that directs you in how to calm your emotions. Your therapist may suggest something, or you may read how to do it, or perhaps you already know what works. Your spouse must agree to respect the plan.

4. Do not act sullen, cold, irritable, resentful, moody, or pouty if you are not receiving the amount of emotional support, affection, sex, attention, cooperation, or quality time with your spouse. These old behavior patterns must stop, and new healthy methods must be exercised when expressing your needs. This is especially needed when you are expressing how you arenít satisfied with something in the relationship.

5. Do not allow fear, resentment, suspicion, jealousy, and other negative emotions to take up residency in your head/heart. Both spouses will experience different feelings at different time. Donít expect your spouse to know how you feel. Donít expect your spouse to experience the same feelings as you have. Donít get angry if your spouse doesnít understand why you still experience certain emotions after any given amount of time in the piecing process. Donít build walls between you. Each spouse will go through her/his emotional struggles, and perhaps at separate times. Discuss these feelings in therapy sessions. If you can calmly discuss your feelings with your spouse, then do so, as long as it doesnít lead to more anxiety between the two of you.

6. Piecing is a process. Sometimes it can be painful and stressful. The couple should learn and practice healthy relationship skills, and learn how to address topics without it leading to a quarrel or tears. The LBS may think s/he is the only one with sensitive feelings, or who has the right to feel resentment, pain, unforgiveness, etc. S/he may think the WS should be grateful for having another chance, and therefore, be compassionate, patient, loving, and cooperative in helping speed the healing for the LBS. However, itís not always that easy for the recovering spouse. The recovering spouse may be experiencing much guilt and struggle with feeling the weight of the fallout s/he caused. The recovering spouse may have inner issues s/he has to work through, and it leaves them appearing insensitive or uncaring at times. Each spouse has her/his own brand of pain that can cloud her/his vision when looking at the other spouse.

7. Each spouse has her/his own issues to work out. The two spouses are on a different time table from each other. Each one will deal with intruding negative emotions, discouragement, and have issues to resolve. Often times, the LBS does not process the anger that was buried under the pain, until the piecing period begins. If the recovering spouse doesnít know to expect periods of delayed anger in the LBS, s/he may not respond very well. The recovering spouse thinks s/he made the decision to do the right thing and trying to cooperateÖÖjust to become a target for the LBSís anger, suspicion, jealousy, or whatever. So, itís never just one spouse struggling to get through the piecing process. Couples who do not have professional therapy and a follow up program to keep them on track, are not likely to have as successful results. Piecing is always harder than expected.

8. When interacting with your spouse, be careful when you feel anxious, tired, and discouraged due to slow progress in piecing. This is when it is easy to say something careless and negative. Do not apply emotional pressure to coax your spouse into putting forth more effort or progressing at a faster rate than seems apparent to you. Itís good to encourage and support, but donít let your frustrations get out of hand and start pressing your spouse too hard. Donít verbally judge or guilt your spouse in order to get some type of response. Donít have a punitive attitude with your spouse. Donít make snide remarks about things that happened in the past. Donít fall into the blame game. Your discouragement or concerns need to be addressed in therapy sessions, preferably. If not in therapy, then wait until you can approach your spouse in a calm, loving, supportive and positive manner.

9. It takes two to piece. While both of you are piecing together, your work and the work of your spouse may not look the same. You and your spouse may not progress at the same speed. That is okay, as long as some progress is being made in the relationship. The LBS makes a lot of self improvements after the bomb drop. However, the recovering spouse may not have made personal changes. Most of her/his work was centered on ending an affair and getting through the withdrawals of addiction. That means the LBS begins the piecing process more advanced in terms of personal growth, than the recovering spouse.Remember the recovering spouse has a lot of work to do within her/his heart. The recovering spouse may commit to saving the M, before s/he actually starts making a lot of personal improvements (in some cases, not all). The recovering spouse may not display excitement or energy toward reconciling/piecing, in the way the LBS does. Itís as if the recovering spouse is in an emotional transition. The LBS will need patience when seeing ther recovering spouse go through a period of depression. In fact, depression often follows ending an affair, and romantic feelings for her/his LBS may not come immediately. Thatís not to say that the recovering spouse is not currently doing her/his best, and making the right decisions based on her/his moral and spiritual belief system. Some of the initial work from the recovering spouse will be in the form of just not doing previous actions. Certain feelings may not bounce back as quickly as hoped. It takes time.

10. In cases where trust was violated, have a transparency plan in operation, so that activities of a recovering spouse can be verified. If you are the LBS, avoid methods that cause your spouse to see you as their Judge, executioner, or parent. Do not act holier than thou when verifying activities. Transparency should be a joint operation where the recovering spouse can give an account for her/his activities. If there is a breach, then it can be addressed, but it is not necessary to go through some elaborate guilt ridden display every time you decide to check your spouseís phone messages. As long as you have their agreement and cooperation before you ever start the piecing process, then you donít have to drill the spouse with questions or make a big issue out of verifying. You should have access to your spouseís phone, computer, etc. Donít announce to your spouse when you want to look at her/his messages. You should be able to look any time. Donít wait for the recovering spouse to use the password before letting you see the messages. (Thatís a big red flag, when they donít want to give you passwords.) Donít ask the spouse to go get the phone and bring to you whereby giving them time to delete something. (Another big red flag.) Donít have a set time or routine when you check. In time, if there is no damaging or suspicious evidence, you can verify your spouseís activity occasionally, and gradually taper off.

Transparency is for the spouse who betrayed, cheated, lied, deceived, etc. It is not for the faithful spouse who was betrayed. The transparency plan helps a recovering spouse stay on course, and it is a record by which helps to verify that the spouse is not engaging in secret, inappropriate messaging. It is not a foolproof method, but it can assist in reestablishing trust in the MR. For the recovering spouse who is authentic in wanting to end the affair and atone for past actions, it helps to stay on the straight & narrow road when the the other spouse has free access for viewing the incoming and outgoing messages. Of course, if the recovering spouse wants to cheat, a way will be found.

If you are the LBS and have strong suspicions your spouse is hiding something, and the transparency plan does not indicate the spouse has broken the NC rule, then decide if you want to obtain other means of Intel to settle your suspicions. Donít become obsessed in daily spying or snooping. Donít make accusations or drill your spouse with questions. Donít follow your spouse around in the house, as if you are trying to catch her/him making contact with OP. Rely upon your sources of Intel, and consider getting some type of Intel method the recovering spouse doesnít know. The recovering spouse agreed to transparency, and if you feel it is not being honored, then you need to decide how to settle it. Successful piecing will not come where there are current secret friendships and hidden contacts from a spouse who has previously betrayed you.


11. Do not smother your spouse with persistent attention if s/he has requested some space. It does not necessarily indicate s/he is being secretive, but is only adjusting to being back together in a close, intimate relationship with you. Sometimes s/he just needs a little breathing room.
If the spouse has recently been in an affair, s/he should not spend periods of time behind closed doors alone on the phone or computer. The phone should not be taken into the bathroom.

12. Do not drill questions, or accuse your spouse of previous behavior when you are emotionally upset. Making accusations without proof will only lead to more mistrust, and could end the piecing process altogether. Seek guidance from your therapist in how to approach this in a calm, productive, non-threatening manner.

13. Although you may be calm in your approachÖ.do not routinely question the spouse if s/he has been in contact or gone anywhere near the former AP. To routinely or frequently question the recovering spouse in regards to the AP does not encourage her/him to stay faithful to his/her word. It can, in fact, cause the recovering process to slow down, backslide, or come to a halt. It is very discouraging to constantly remind the recovering spouse of her/his past transgressions, when that spouse is striving to recover from an affair and has committed to saving the marriage. If you are having trouble believing your spouse, then it should be addressed in therapy and allow the therapist to guide.

14. When your spouse contacts you, respond as soon as possible. Initiating contact with your spouse is fine. Donít be a pest or hound your spouse, but you are permitted to initiate contact.

15. Focus on keeping a light and calm atmosphere at home. Plan for an enjoyable, relaxed, and fun filled time whenever you and your spouse share an evening at home with the kids, or take a day for family activities. While relaxing and watching TV, avoid movies about adultery, abuse, domestic violence, and any themes that might hit too close to home and trigger negative emotions. Avoid depressing shows. There will a place and time to discuss serious issues, without using a movie or show as your template.

16. The couple should share the marital bedroom. The couple doesnít have to engage in sex right away, but they do need to come together and share the same bed. If either spouse has intimacy issues, or there has been a history of SSM, then seek therapy. This should be a requirement upon reconciling the marriage; that the couple or spouse with the intimacy issues will attend therapy. You should not agree to settle, indefinitely, for a marriage without intimacy.

17. If your spouse is recovering from an affair, then donít try to push her/him into a romantic setting too quickly. If your spouse is not ready to engage in sex yet, then donít intentionally try to set the mood by decorating the bedroom with lighted candles, a trail of rose pedals leading to the bed, and have soft romantic music playing in the background. That may be a bit too much at first. Exercise lots of patience with the spouse who may have intimacy problems. Give it time. If the LBS is the one having the intimacy issues, it may take time and counseling in order to feel comfortable having sex with the recovering spouse. In the meantime, there are other ways to bring a sense of closeness to your spouse. Use his/her love language; practice listening skills while looking in her/his eyes; validate, be attentive and spend one on one time with your spouse every day. Donít forget to stay attractive.

18. Initially, your spouse may feel uncomfortable having long evenings or weekends with just the two of you alone together. It may be difficult to find something to talk about, other than the MRÖÖand you donít want to discuss it all the time. Periods of long silences may feel deafening to a couple recently finding their way back from an ugly place. Therefore, you may need to have some activities that include having other people around you. Invite neighbors and friends to a cookout; attend a community event; participate in outdoor activities, whatever takes you out of a confined space.

19. Perhaps your spouse was previously in an affair, and s/he would stay overnight away from home, take weekend trips without you, have a girlís night or guys night out, or whatever excuse s/he could find to stay away from home. If this was the case, then there should be an agreement that will be no more nights spent with a friend because the spouse was too drunk to drive home (or whatever their excuse). There should be no Girls Gone Wild type of activities. There should be no weekend trips with one spouse left behind. This is a pattern often seen in a WS or MLCS. In order to establish peace and tranquility, and build a trusting relationship, there should be no nights where the couple sleeps apartÖÖ.for as long as the betrayed spouse feels it is necessary. Itís not only for the sake of the LBS, but for the recovering spouseís sake, as well. The recovering spouse has to get their moral compass working properly, before they can be trusted to engage in activities that could be prove to be too tempting and throw them off track again. When wounds are healed and the betrayed spouse feels comfortable with the recovering wayward spouse having a night out alone with friends, then that is for the couple to determine.

Note: In cases where a spouseís employment requires them to travel, the couple will need to work something out to establish boundaries lines, transparency, etc. .

20. If your family and close friends are aware of your spouseís recent affair, then your spouse may feel very uncomfortable in their company. Your family and friends may find it awkward. as well. Be sensitive to your spouseís feelings, and donít invite your family and friends to visit without checking with your spouse, first. Donít rush it, and donít push your family and your spouse together too quickly.

21. Learn your spouseís love language, and communicate your love in that language. Several books have been written on this subject, and can be an eye opening experience for the reader.

22. Learn the emotional needs of your spouse. Donít be afraid to ask, but as always, make sure the timing is right for this subject of conversation. Remember, women are bad to speak in codes, so if you arenít sure what sheís really sayingÖ..just tell her.

23. Schedule dates with your spouse. Initially, you need to focus on just having a good time together, and donít give the impression you expect it to lead to sex. Donít pressure your spouse with obvious romantic type dates, unless your spouse has stated s/he is ready to be romanced. Otherwise, give it time and gradually work toward the more romantic type of dating. Donít do the same thing and go to the same place for every date night. Surprise your spouse with some inexpensive treat or gift (especially if it is the spouseís love language). The point is to keep the ideas fresh and donít fall into a rut of the same old thing. Donít forget holidays and other special events throughout the year. Go the extra mile and put effort into making the event special for your spouse. Remember their love language during these special times.

24. When you come home, donít wait to see if your spouse is going to speak first. Initiate a warm, upbeat greeting. You can initiate a light kiss on the cheek or lipsÖ..depending on the level of physical affection the two of you are showing when entering the piecing stage, If your spouse seems to be in a bad mood, donít ignore it. Gently show your concern and apply the validation skills you learned on the DB board. If you have NGS, you will need to be careful not to fall back into some of those habits of trying to appease your spouse, or base everything around their moods. Stay balanced.

25. You can initiate light conversation upon arriving home. Show you are interested in your spouseís day. Donít immediately get off into talking about the relationship. Donít forget to validate whenever you have the opportunity. As you go through the evening, conduct yourself in a positive manner. Do your share of the chores, and give proper attention to the children. The laughter of children is music to the ears of parents.

26. Initiate non-sexual touches throughout the day/evening. Focus on non-sexual touches in the early stage of piecing. If intimacy in the MR has been strained, then donít test the waters by touching your spouse sexually right away. Give your spouse time to become comfortable with non-sexual touching. In time, the sexual touching can gradually start. Never stop giving non-sexual touching, even after the sexual touches are welcomed.

27. Couples who are not working separate shifts and are home at bedtime, should have the same bedtime, rather than separate times. This gives the couple time to snuggle, have pillow talk, have sexÖ.or just read a book, but they are going to bed together at the same time. This closeness forms a bond, a healthy pattern in the relationship, and encourages intimacy. Going to bed at separate times, is a bad habit and unhealthy for a MR that has suffered from intimacy problems. One spouse should not try to stay up and wait on the other spouse to fall asleep.

28. You can initiate saying, ďI love youĒ, if your spouse doesnít show signs of discomfort or awkwardness. Donít say it just to get a response from your spouse. If your spouse is still a little cool and her/his feelings have not caught up to yours, then you shouldnít continue saying ILY over & over. Donít say more than once a day in the very beginning of piecing. Donít make it dramatic or heavy. Keep it light, and if your spouse doesnít say ILY back, donít reactÖ.just let it go. You can say ILY either when departing for work, or before going to sleep. Donít say it every time you talk to your spouse on the phone, or any of those types of habits, because it does feel like emotional pressure. These verbal expressions of love need to come little by little, and with your spouse responding likewise.

29. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive at all times! In other words, be the best you can be and look the best you can look at all times. This does not stop just because the marriage has been reconciled.

30. Continue to take care of yourself (exercise, sleep, laugh & focus on all the other parts of your life that are not in turmoil). This is for your health's sake.

31. Continue to GAL. You can be more transparent about your activities, whereabouts, and the time you will return. Donít leave your spouse alone too much, initially. Your spouse will probably welcome some space of her/his own, however, while they are going through withdrawals of addictionÖÖdonít leave them alone for long periods of time or too often. This is just while they are recovering. They need a lot of support while going through withdrawals. Invite your spouse to join you in some of your GAL activities. Do take some time just for you.

32. Never lose your cool! Don't let your spouse trap you into a fight. Don't take her/his bait.....leave the room or the house for a while, in order to avoid a fight. When you are with spouse/children and you suddenly feel tears
coming, go to the bathroom or some place that you can cry in private.

33. Continue working on your personal improvements. You have wanted to show your spouse the changes youíve made, and how you can be a better W/H. This is the time to do it. Donít get lazy and fall back into old habits.

33. Have a set time once a week for you and your spouse to discuss the relationship. Talk about your feelings, struggles, etc. Try not to make accusatory statements. Set short term goals for you to work on as a team. Discuss any new material either of you have read, or new books you may choose to read. This time could be used to watch YouTube videos on subjects pertaining to marriage.

34. When the family has come together in the evening, and your spouse appears to be having an exceptional rough time of it (emotional, tense, irritable with the kids, etc.) suggest that your spouse take a break, while you watch the kids, or attend to whatever needs doing. This should not become a habit, b/c you arenít there to rescue your spouse. However, if you see your spouse is truly distressed and needs a break, then show support by offering a little break. Space and time alone can help, b/c piecing is tough for both spouses. If you have a wife who has been somewhat spoiled by your nice guy ways, and your quick willingness to do her work, then you will have to be extra cautious not to fall back into that pattern.

35. You can compliment your spouse about anything. Whatever you can do to lift her/his spirit, then do it. Be a source of love, warmth and encouragement. It wonít hurt to give your spouse a little ego food. Donít be afraid to ask for what you need, too. Just do it when the timing and emotions are good.
Posted By: sandi2 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/13/19 04:22 PM
(Provided by BluWave)

Guidelines for Piecing: (From the viewpoint of the LBS)

1. I often read posters ask how they will know when their WAS/WS is coming back and what signs to look for. My response to that is usually the same, "when your S wants back in, you will see a changed person and you will know. You won't need to ask when it happens because your instincts will tell you and you will feel the change." They will come to you and show you a person that is remorseful, transparent, and they will tell you in one way or another that they want you back. Do not fall for false starts or anything less than that.

2. First and foremost, in order for piecing to happen, both partners must be willing and (at least somewhat) ready to work hard at the R. Both partners, the LBS and the WAS/WS, must commit to making the M work, must be willing to look at their own mistakes, and both must be willing to make changes, on themselves and for the M. I say "somewhat ready" because there are varying degrees of self-growth that has happened during the sitch and often the WAS/WS hasn't started that process.

3. I think it's also important for both partners to be humble and accept that despite doing all of the hard work, there is still a chance that they may not get the outcome they hoped for. You must commit to doing the work with this understanding in mind. Both partners must accept that they other could choose to back out at any moment and nothing is guaranteed.

4. The SLOWER you move in piecing, the better. The process cannot be rushed or forced, and in doing so you will begin to move backwards in your progress and may cause additional harm. In every piecer that I have read here, the poster says in hindsight that they moved to quickly. I would say the same for my sitch even though I made an effort not to.

5. The DB rules (and Sandi's rules) no longer apply when piecing happens. To be successful, there needs to be open and honest communication, you will need to initiate contact, share your process with your S, and the walls should start to come down. On the flip side, DB is a way of life now and the healthy attachments, 180s, and GAL should be adopted as a way of life moving forward.

6. The less personal growth (detachment, 180s, GAL) that has been done during the separation, the slower the piecing should happen, because ideally this work should have been completed beforehand. While the LBS that was reading/posting here has often started this journey, and the WAS/WS has usually not, there is still an uneven surge of emotions/anger that make this very difficult to continue simultaneously. It must be continued so you do not give all of your energy to piecing. It is too emotionally taxing.

7. It is completely normal to feel tremendous relief when your S comes back. You have been held under water and then let up for air. This feeling will subside in a matter of weeks or months, as your new reality sets in.

8. The LBS cannot continue to hold the mistakes over the head of the WAS/WS and/or punish them. The LBS cannot continue to hold the mistakes over the head of the WAS/WS and/or punish them. The LBS cannot continue to hold the mistakes over the head of the WAS/WS and/or punish them.

9. The WAS/WS cannot apologize enough times for the hurt their actions have caused! For the first year of piecing, my H said he was sorry once, twice or ten times in a day. He still does apologize when things come up.

10. It is very important during piecing that the couple have support from a third party and this should come in the form of MC. The MC should be experienced with reconciliation, betrayal and have a pro-M belief system. This can be expensive, yes, but probably nothing compared to the cost of D!

11. Triggers are going to come from every angle and at times you least aspect them. The dull ache of piecing could be interrupted by the sharp stab of a reminder of your post BD days, and this PTSD could mentally throw you back in time. The pain and fear is indescribable. It is important to hold the belief that like any other crisis in your life, they will lessen in time and eventually disappear. Please believe this.

12. The LBS will think about giving up, leaving, and walking away. You may think about it often or occasionally and you may even act upon it. Just remind yourself that time is on your side and there is never a need to make a decision hastily. Do not make decisions about anything when emotions are high. In fact, you shouldn't act on emotions in general or express them all to your S. Decisions will now be made with your mind and not your heart. Your heart will continue to change, but you have made the decision to try and make this work. Give it another 6 months or couple years, you have come too far to give up now.

13. PATIENCE.

14. TIME.

15. Then more patience and more time.

16. You are both juggling several things and there is no perfect way to do that. Some moments you are discussing painful topics and working through the devastation. Other times you are making sense of what was wrong with the M before and how you ended up here. You still need to take breaks from that and build a new M together! There must be days when you just do something fun and don't discuss the past.

17. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves .... That is what they say. As we hold on to hard feelings we cannot move forward and it behooves us to forgive others. Most people need to have forgiveness for a successful R to happen, however how each person reaches that point is very individual and personal. I am still working on my forgiveness and it's been several years.

18. Only surround yourselves with people that support your decision to R. Keep seeing your MC, your own C, read books, take walks, and do whatever you can to practice extreme self care. If anything or anyone derails you from your progress, stick it in a box to the left.

19. Remind yourselves that things will get easier and become more clear in time. The first few months, and possibly years, are so emotionally charged, and there are going to be set backs. It is important to accept that the path will not be linear. This does not mean that you have to quit or give up.

20. Compromise is important in any M. However, neither person has to make sacrifices. If the LBS needs something, for example complete transparency, passwords, frequent reassurance, then they should say very clearly what that is. The same goes for the WAS/WS. Tell your partner what you need and what you want. In time they can either provide those things or they can't. But give them the time.

Posted By: Manta Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/13/19 07:55 PM
Wonderful Sandi.

I hope one day i van use these. I hope.

Thank you for this.
Posted By: Bo562 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/13/19 09:22 PM
Thank you, Sandi.

Like Manta, I do hope to be here one day, but weíll see.
Posted By: JujuB Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/14/19 02:57 PM
Great list.. thank you for putting this together.

And i will never be in piecing, but i am admittedly a bit of a "justice junkie" as put by another poster. I have also seen a lot of abuse on these boards. Lying, infidelity, gaslighting. All abuse. And i am reading a piecing story right now, and my heart aches for this poster and her patience with her ex.

Regarding # 9. It says that the recovering spouse will still be mourning affair. Might not have the same excitement or energy torwards reconciling.... when i read this, i cant help but think, oh boy. More ways for the LBS to feel the need to walk on eggshells and eat those "sh!t sandwiches". I have never ever agreed with eating sandwiches made of sh!t. But when i came on here in 2015, it was the fashionable thing to say and do.

Now my thoughts are that in order for reconciliation and piecing to work, the walkaway should be excited and energized and willing to do anything (fight back pride, maybe eat a few of those disgusting sandwiches themselves so they can empathize with the taste and gag factor). They need to want this like they wanted their affair partner. Returning to their spouse cant just be plan d for them or how can this actually work?

i am not saying this as a matter of revenge. Obviously LBS would have to be capable of letting go of anger and resentment.. But im saying, for it to work i would think the walkaway has to want it bad enough. I would also think that the LBS would have to be in a position where they dont need it. They are ok by themselves. No more walking on eggshells or unhealthy eating habits.
Posted By: sandi2 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/14/19 08:57 PM
I'm so glad you responded with your thoughts on the subject of the recovering spouse not being as excited or have as much energy as the LBS toward piecing. I should have explained that those could be the recovering spouse's feelings at the time of reconciliation, and even during most of the piecing period. However, it can change, once that spouse goes through the necessary steps of full recovery. (I just use the term "recovering spouse" to save typing out WAS. WS, or MLCS every time. It is not be seen as an excuse for the recovering spouse to continue any sort of disrespectful behavior. What I meant by not having as much excitement or energy is that the recovering spouse is usually going through quite an emotional transition, unless the couple has been physically apart for a long time and the recovering spouse has made the necessary changes before they reconcile.

If the LBS has set stipulations upon reconciling and the piecing process, then the recovering spouse will usually have to undergo a lot of changes. Although the recovering spouse can end an affair, go through the withdrawals, start showing respect toward the LBS, etc........the recovering spouse's emotions could be in a mess. Depression often comes when the recovering spouse is going through the withdrawals of NC with the AP. Depression can rob the person of not only positive feelings, but from having hope. It also robs physical energy. It can rob the person of interest in most everything. It is the WS, trying to recover from an unhealthy mental/emotional mindset. So, it takes time for the transition.

Quote
Now my thoughts are that in order for reconciliation and piecing to work, the walkaway should be excited and energized and willing to do anything (fight back pride, maybe eat a few of those disgusting sandwiches themselves so they can empathize with the taste and gag factor). They need to want this like they wanted their affair partner. Returning to their spouse cant just be plan d for them or how can this actually work?


Ever situation is a little different, so it's difficult to give a one size for how every recovering spouse will feel upon reconciliation. The decision to do the right thing, has to come from the recovering spouse's free will. The LBS may want the recovering spouse to feel certain emotions upon reconciling, but the fact is that actions are the most important factor at that point. The LBS should require certain things, such as ending the affair, NC of any type with AP, maybe getting a STD test, cooperating with a transparency plan, attending MC, etc. The LBS should not reconcile with the other spouse without full agreement to meeting whatever steps are necessary to heal the MR. Some LBS make their mistake by not laying out requirements, and allow the other spouse to more or less pick up where they left off. Thereby, serving a lot of sh't sandwiches.

Having patience with a recovering spouse does not mean the LBS should walk on eggshells, allowing bad behavior. However, it does require the LBS to be consistent in commanding respect. The LHS must not endure bad behavior, disrespect, bullying, or any previous wayward behavior on the part of the other spouse. In fact, I strongly suggest none of those previous behavior types be permitted. Those are are characteristics often found in MR's before the bomb drop.

Where the LBS must have patience is by not having expectations in the recovering spouse feelings upon reconciling. As long as the recovering spouse is cooperative in meeting the stipulations of the LBS, and is not lying or showing other forms of disrespectful behavior, their feelings have to have time to catch up to their actions. They have to completely let go emotionally of the AP, before feeling in love with the LBS. I know that may be painful to hear, but if your spouse has just ended an affair, then they may not be able to "feel" in love with you until they get some healing under their belt. The LBS is not the only one who has to heal from the unhealthy experience. Their pain and healing may be not be the same, but if the wayward spouse recovers properly, s/he will need to heal. The spouse who had an affair, may need IC in order to get healthy enough for both spouses to attend MC. It depends on the individual case.

Here's what I sense from reading your post. It sounds as if you see the wayward spouse getting off scott-free, and never having to suffer or make changes......while the LBS must continue to sukk it up to the WS's terrible behavior. If the WS recovers, there will be suffering, and there will be changes. It won't be the same as the LBS's and not on the same time table. They are two different experiences. The mistake I see with many sitches on the board, is LBS's allowing the WS to pick up where they left off, and call it reconciliation. It's not reconciling; it is just continuing a very bad situation. The WS must not be the spouse who calls the shots when considering reconciliation.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and if you have more questions, please ask. I'm sure I don't explain everything as fully needed.
Posted By: kiro Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/14/19 10:01 PM
Sandi,

Thank you for the great advice!

Like Jujub, I'll probably never be in piecing, but I really enjoyed reading this list, and even more your last post. It actually helps me in my healing and my self improvement even if I never reach this stage.

My sitch in 1 sentence: BD 1.5 years ago, separated for 1 year, presently filing for D. WW and I in NC for about a year. WW had an A, but I don't know to what extent.

Originally Posted by sandi2
The LBS should not reconcile with the other spouse without full agreement to meeting whatever steps are necessary to heal the MR. Some LBS make their mistake by not laying out requirements, and allow the other spouse to more or less pick up where they left off.

Originally Posted by sandi2
The LHS must not endure bad behavior, disrespect, bullying, or any previous wayward behavior on the part of the other spouse.

Originally Posted by sandi2
The WS must not be the spouse who calls the shots when considering reconciliation.

This is extremely useful for me. It helps me feel stronger while continuing to work on myself. I see a lot of LBSs letting their WS call the shots with or without reconciliation. I've also made this mistake many times since BD allowing my WW to continue using such bad behavior with me (disrespect, bullying, etc.). I know I am in a different stage, but it helps me to understand that at no point should the LBS allow such behaviors again.
Posted By: JujuB Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/14/19 10:04 PM
I think your explanation is very good. And i agree with a lot of what you write.

I just disagree with a LBS taking back a WS that is not fully recovered. I think that the LBS undergoes tons of trauma. And i think that being with someone who is still recovering from their affair partner and just not that interested in the LBS at this point, is a way to further inflict trauma. It is not good for someones soul to be with someone that does not truly want to be with you. Even if their actions are respectful. I think it devalues the LBS to take someone back thats not truly into it. I think the LBS has to be in a position that they are ok by themselves. Perhaps they need to also date others and see whats out there. So that they too can make a choice based on the same knowledge or experience. This alll has to be done first, i think.

We see tons of cases on here in which people report that their spouse left them again. They DB'd, reconciled, and pieced and then 5, 10 years later spouse did it again...oops. just like brittney. i think this happens, because the LBS was never really valued. They were lighthouses. Inanimate objects, always to be counted on. Like a good parent. Always there, always forgiving. But people like that arent as valuable to people that are not truly committed at the core.

You once wrote a great post to a pregnant poster whose ex was cheating for the 2nd time. You said that there was some type of inherent difference between waywards and LBS. You didnt understand how LBS put up with things that Waywards did.

Adult love needs conditions and boundatries or else unhealthy dynamics form. We would never advise a person to date someone that is still into their ex. Thats just a glutton for punishment. And once someone cheats or leaves, the marrige is basically already ended. So piecing individuals are not fixing an old marriage, they are basically building anew. Meaning both sides might need to be healed for it to actually work.
Posted By: DejaVu6 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/15/19 12:55 AM
My H left for a month in 2014 five months after BD#1. When he came back, he declared himself ďbetterĒ and ďin loveĒ with me again. Any attempts by me to talk about what had happened fell flat... he said he had been ďin a fogĒ, was embarrassed and just wanted to forget about it. I was so grateful to have him home, I just took his word for it and we picked up life where we had left off. A month and a half later, he contracted Shingles and that was the beginning of his four years of fake medical treatments (mixed in with some real treatment but who knows how many...he will never tell me, thatís for sure) and then BD#2. I regret taking him back that easily. He hadnít done the work and neither had I. frown
Posted By: joejoe1 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/15/19 10:20 AM
I would like to add a few things. Most LBS really believe they are the priority in piecing, but that's not the case and shouldn't be any person's attitude when trying to strengthen a M. It's true that a WS or WAS has done a lot of damage and hurting, but they went Wayward or Walked away for a reason and those problems has to be addressed just as much as the A.

There's is no one script that fit piecing, but these are great guidelines that I wish I had when my W and I decided to work on our M.

I would flood my W with my emotions and really didn't care how it made her feel. I became so weak and unattractive after DBing. My emotions were all over the place and they were dam near uncontrollable. I had pushed so much down to DB, that after we reconciled I couldn't control all the questions and hurt I felt.

I was on a roller coaster for real. And my W was too blame. That's how I felt but I was wrong. I control my actions and decisions and that took me a long time to understand. My W decided to stay in the M, because of my DBing, the key word was she "decided", and it takes a lot of courage and self reflection for a WAS or WS to even decide to come back to a place where they know they have caused so much pain. And will have to take an honest look at the person they hurt or people and deal with a lot of dumping on them.

As a LBS the attention and focus needs to be on your on healing and less on trying to fix and punish your S. The more LBS focus on their own healing the more the WS will feel open and relaxed to keep moving forward with the M.

Another thing that most men need to focus on is being intimate, not having sex but getting to the darkest, deepest depths of your S soul. Most women already know what intimacy really mean. Most men have a hard time understanding what it really means. My W loves it when I taste her food as soon as it comes off the stove or out the oven. She loves to tell me about her lists (she loves making list). I use to blow her list off. But she puts a lot of work into her cooking and list, so now I know that listening to her go down every item and I say yay or nay is important to her. ( She feels like I get her and have prioritized her). In turn she does the same for me. And I get some kisses and on occasion when the boys are sleep early I get some late night action.

Love languages are a must and to properly piece the LL must be known. If you have to ask, ask your S what their LL are. Without knowing the LL you will continue to love your S in your LL and it will become a very frustrating period. Also LBS must know their own LL, communicate your LL to your S and when they aren't meeting them, give them a gentle reminder. Remind them a 1000 times if you have too, if your S is showing progress that's what really matters.

LBS will make mistakes and do things wrong while piecing, my W calls me on my Sh!t all the time, I have continued to work on and learn to accept her critiques, most of the time she is really trying to support me and help me become better. Before I would just get really defensive. Now we listen and are patient and slow in our response, not all the time, but we working on it.

Peicing is a whole new relationship and beginnings and must be treated as such. Both parties have a lot of blame to fling around, but that won't help, so move forward with love, care and empathy. A M is an institution of constant learning, if ever you feel you have mastered you M, you need to reevaluate and refocus, because there's no such thing, but there is a harmonious place in love.

Onward and forward.
Posted By: sandi2 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/15/19 04:55 PM
Thank you all for your comments. It keeps this thread alive. Sometimes I don't know what to say when a poster expresses their pain and a sense of hopelessness. Not every M can be saved, even if it goes through the piecing stage. My heart is full of empathy for each of you. When I came to the board in 2007, LBS's were the ones who taught me, and helped me find my way. I'll never forget it, and never stop caring about you who still suffer from the damage your spouse caused.
Posted By: Joe2017 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/15/19 05:07 PM
This thread is crazy helpful. Thank you everyone.

I'm only a month into dating my XW, and I can tell you that this is hard work.

joejoe1 touched on something I have found extremely helpful, which is that the LBS is no longer going to be in DB mode when trying to reconcile. In fact a lot of DB stuff can be harmful at this point. The only thing that should stay exactly the same during R from the DB stage is probably the 180s that were made. They need to stay. Everything else needs to be either dropped or modified, or it will cause issues.

Another very helpful point joejoe brought up was that you and your WS are now healing. The LBS may have done a lot of healing and strengthening from the standpoint of the D, but probably not enough in terms of the resentment they feel. Likewise, the WS is dealing with the fact that they shot themselves in the head and have nobody to blame anymore except themselves. When they were in the "fog" they blamed the LBS. Now that the fog lifted it's more clear to them that THEY did this to their family.

If the WS/WAS is truly repentant, the karma guilt bus is already on top of them and crushing them every day. It is NOT your job as the LBS to be driving that bus. Punishing them is counterproductive, and if your spouse really is remorseful then they are living each day under a cloud of constant guilt. It is very easy to trigger the guilt if they are remorseful and they take responsibility for their actions.

It's up to the LBS to support them and help them. NOT coddle or take care of them with NGS tendencies, but to support them along their journey from a place of loving strength that can be respected by the WS.
Posted By: sandi2 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/15/19 06:49 PM
Quote
Most LBS really believe they are the priority in piecing, but that's not the case and shouldn't be any person's attitude when trying to strengthen a M. It's true that a WS or WAS has done a lot of damage and hurting, but they went Wayward or Walked away for a reason and those problems has to be addressed just as much as the A.


That's a very good point, JoeJoe.

Each spouse has their own separate issues to work out, plus repairing the MR. If the original problems are not addressed, there is a risk of repeating the same experience. I feel many couples are not able to piece their MR, without addressing their previous and current problems under the guidance of a professional therapist.

Quote
There's is no one script that fit piecing, but these are great guidelines that I wish I had when my W and I decided to work on our M.


Thank you. Yes, there are so many variables it's impossible to give one blueprint to fit everyone. And, as I often say, people need to keep a balanced mind when reading any guidelines.

Quote
I would flood my W with my emotions and really didn't care how it made her feel. I became so weak and unattractive after DBing. My emotions were all over the place and they were dam near uncontrollable. I had pushed so much down to DB, that after we reconciled I couldn't control all the questions and hurt I felt.


I'm sure every LBS here can understand what you are describing. I will just add that there are 2 people who are in a vulnerable place when they start piecing. I can understand how the WS may be seen as the villain.

For years I have read how the WS should answer all questions the LBS may have, and I've even said it myself. At the same time, I caution the LBS about knowing every detail of an PA. Once they have that picture in their head, or they know intimate details, it is hard to erase the image. So, think before you ask, if you really must know every little detail, or if it is better not to know. I don't mean you sweep things under the rug, but you do you really have to know which sex positions were used? Will your mind flood with those images the next time you and your spouse have sex? This is what I mean about details. That's something every individual has to decide.

Quote
I was on a roller coaster for real. And my W was too blame. That's how I felt but I was wrong. I control my actions and decisions and that took me a long time to understand. My W decided to stay in the M, because of my DBing, the key word was she "decided", and it takes a lot of courage and self reflection for a WAS or WS to even decide to come back to a place where they know they have caused so much pain. And will have to take an honest look at the person they hurt or people and deal with a lot of dumping on them.


I appreciate you saying this, b/c I find many LBS's want their WS to feel a certain way before reconciling and entering into piecing. I understand, however, the WS's feelings are in a mess! It is the decision to do the right thing that counts. It's the commitment to do the work to save the M that should determine if the couple reconciles and enters into piecing. The LBS may be on a roller coaster, but the WS is usually on a downward spiral (depending on the sitch). Th WS has to go through emotional things the LBS doesn't.....and vise versa. I don't say that as making an excuse, or giving the WS leeway. I'm just tying to explain that both spouses have a lot to process. Sometimes the LBS has processed a lot before ever reconciling, and sometimes not. Like I said, too many variables. The WS must take responsibility for what they did, and not blame the spouse for their actions. The WS may tolerate the outpouring of the LBS's emotions......to a point. However, if the LBS continues to use the WS as an emotional punching bag, the M might end before it ever pieces........depending on the WS. Here again, is why MC/family therapy is needed to guide the couple when healing from an affair.

Quote
As a LBS the attention and focus needs to be on your on healing and less on trying to fix and punish your S. The more LBS focus on their own healing the more the WS will feel open and relaxed to keep moving forward with the M.


Yes, the LBS who continues to have the need to punish, should address it with a therapist. And, it's not about sukking it up to protect the feelings of the WS. That's not what I'm saying. It's about not healing and growing as an individual and a couple as long as long as there is anger being directed toward the other spouse. Does the LBS have reason to be angry? Of course, but s/he needs to find a healthy outlet and/or get help in healing, rather than punishing the WS. The goal is to heal individually, and heal the MR.

A lot of LBS's are so focused on just getting their WS back, that they fail to deal with the emotional stages that usually come at some point. Therefore, as soon as they reconcile, the LBS begins to experience these stages.......and in some cases, they risk becoming the LBS.

Quote
Another thing that most men need to focus on is being intimate, not having sex but getting to the darkest, deepest depths of your S soul. Most women already know what intimacy really mean. Most men have a hard time understanding what it really means. My W loves it when I taste her food as soon as it comes off the stove or out the oven. She loves to tell me about her lists (she loves making list). I use to blow her list off. But she puts a lot of work into her cooking and list, so now I know that listening to her go down every item and I say yay or nay is important to her. ( She feels like I get her and have prioritized her). In turn she does the same for me. And I get some kisses and on occasion when the boys are sleep early I get some late night action.


That's a sign of real progress!

Quote
LBS will make mistakes and do things wrong while piecing, my W calls me on my Sh!t all the time, I have continued to work on and learn to accept her critiques, most of the time she is really trying to support me and help me become better. Before I would just get really defensive. Now we listen and are patient and slow in our response, not all the time, but we working on it.


That's not all. The WS will make mistakes and slip into old habits (like showing disrespect). It's up to the LBS to call her/him out. In fact, if the LBS doesn't hold the WS's feet to the fire on showing respect, things will slide backwards instead of forwards. Old behavior patterns are hard to break, but not impossible.

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Peicing is a whole new relationship and beginnings and must be treated as such. Both parties have a lot of blame to fling around, but that won't help, so move forward with love, care and empathy. A M is an institution of constant learning, if ever you feel you have mastered you M, you need to reevaluate and refocus, because there's no such thing, but there is a harmonious place in love.


It's a new relationship, but with some disadvantage. It has problems the previous relationship caused. I hope that doesn't sound too pessimistic. I'm just being real, folks. Piecing is hard for a reason. Some couples may experience a honeymoon period, but eventually, you have to deal with real life.

Thanks for your post, JoeJoe. It should be very informative and encouraging for everyone.
Posted By: BluWave Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/15/19 11:17 PM
Thank you for starting this thread, Sandi! I apologize for my typos/errors. I did not edit my list before posting. I'm going to think about what I might add to it in the next few weeks. I also appreciate the responses thus far.

Something has come up for me before while reading threads and again while reading this thread. Being a former LBS, I can really relate to what JujuB says. Sandi and Neffer have both talked about grieving the end of the A and having withdrawals from the X AP. While I know this may be true for many WS, it's still such a gut punch to think about in my sitch. If you have read my sitch, perhaps you can understand why.

We rarely talk about XOW anymore, but I can do so now without the same flood of emotions I had for years. Last night I asked my H to be honest with me and tell me about what he went through after leaving her and coming back to me. His response was interesting and I did not get the sense he did miss her or have withdrawals. What he described to me was a tremendous relief to have finally made the right choice and to have let go of what he knew was a fantasy. He also described guilt for the additional hurt he caused her, after hurting so many people already.

I was thinking it might help if I included more here from his perspective, if he is open to that. I do think there are differences between the former WW and the WH in piecing, but also individual variations between all of our sitches. In the case of my H, he went out on his own, left the family, and really tried the relationship on with her. This "reality" caused him to start seeing things very differently, than when in the secret EA he had with her while still being in the M. Since piecing, his struggles have been less about missing her or wanting her back and more about living with the guilt and regret of his previous choices. He had also struggled a lot with being patient with my anger and emotions, while simultaneously reforming his Nice Guy traits, some of which led to our initial problems.

Blu
Posted By: sandi2 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/18/19 08:46 PM
Thanks for your input, Blu.
Posted By: Cadet Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/22/19 04:15 PM
Originally Posted by sandi2
Bump

I just added the link for this thread into the first post of your series of threads, that has a link in every one of my welcome posts.
Posted By: BluWave Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/24/19 07:36 PM
I haven't specifically asked my H about his perspective on piecing, in terms of what he could contribute, because for whatever reason I feel that this is my private place. When we first come here as Newcomers we are advised to keep this site, and the book, to ourselves and not tell our S. He did find the site while we were going through some troubles a year ago, at which point I asked him to please respect my privacy, to which he said he would. So now it doesn't feel right for me to ask for his contributions. So perhaps I will add his perspective as I understand it. And a couple things came to mind today.

(from my response to Joe2017 today) Our perspectives of how many assaults he made on the M are quite different. I, the former LBS, viewed my H as killing our M with a 1000 cuts -- every lie, deception, act of selfishness and hurt he caused -- and each one stung as much as the next. He (former WH) does not see it that way! Yes, he feels remorse for each cut, but he did not see each as it's own intentional assault. He feels that this was one giant mistake and that these are all fragments of that, as they were all interconnected. You cannot have an A without lies and you cannot lie without hiding things and so on and so forth. He had dug himself deep into a hole with no one way out that felt safe or even possible.

I think this is important in piecing because both people should acknowledge the other's different perspective. For the former wayward, they must see that every cut caused additional pain. And when piecing starts, the triggers of each cut will come up, and sometimes multiple times. I think it best for him/her to simply listen, validate and even offer an apology. This is of course assuming that you have been approached with respect. On the flip side, it is equally important for the former LBS to realize that each cut was not an intentional assault on them or on the M. When feeling that one is a victim, it can be very hard not to see that your S was not hurting you intentionally, but more so they were on their own path. There were many lies and betrayals that accompanied my Hs A and each one hurt as it's own. I also am beginning to understand how in his eyes it was just one giant, messy mistake and most days he felt stuck and didn't even know how to fix it.

Blu
Posted By: DejaVu6 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/24/19 08:45 PM
Originally Posted by BluWave
He had dug himself deep into a hole with no one way out that felt safe or even possible.


Reading about your H's thoughts when he was away reminded me a lot of my H. That is exactly what he said to me at the beginning when he was thinking about coming home... that he loved me...that he was scared that he had dug himself a hole that was too deep to climb out of...that he was more sorry than he could possibly say...and extremely ashamed... didn't want to face anyone...didn't think he could...and was scared that things would come up daily that resulted in him feeling bad because he wasn't there or did something wrong, etc... A few weeks later, after making the decision to stay gone, he brushed his comments aside and said he was just "trying to fill some holes he knew were there". Didn't really get that explanation but I guess it made sense to him. I don't buy it. I think that it was the first time he looked in the mirror and came to understand what he had done and he was horrified and beyond scared and that it was just too much to face so he had no choice but to keep on digging and try to at least salvage his R with his kids who are thankfully oblivious to the things that he did.
Posted By: Joe2017 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/25/19 12:01 AM
I'd like to thank Blu for contributing to my personal thread. She has given me a lot of really good perspective on my sitch that I think will be very useful for me soon.

I would like to corroborate the notion that the wayward sees the affair as one huge giant fack up. To my XW, it is almost like the entire affair was part of an EPISODE she experienced. She seems to even lump cheating on OM with OM2 as part of the same episode. Yes, she remembers hateful texts she sent me. Yes, she remembers spiteful things she did to me in in our MH. Yes, she remembers some of the things she said to me.

Does she regret it? Absolutely! But as much as I -- as an LBS -- want to get an apology for each offense, she can't provide that. She apologizes for the situation. The cheating. The lies. But I've come to realize that it is very difficult for her to apologize for many of the individual attacks.

I have received maybe a tiny handful of very specific apologies. One was a text she sent me when she told me that I was not a real man and my personal success was only because of her. She owned that one and fully regretted telling me that. The rest of the time? I think she was in full-on wayward beast mode and that, coupled with her insanely high personal drive turned into a hurricane of destruction. She has actually told me that her memory of that time is foggy.

What I am encountering now is that I have a need for very specific apologies because my pain is VERY granular on an enormous scale. Her pain seems to be extremely broad, but overwhelming. I have to remind myself to imagine what I would feel like if I literally threw away all of the good things in my life in one week's time. How would I feel if I realized that I DESTROYED the only real love in my life and replaced it with an abusive person that left me with less than a dollar to my name? That's what happened to my XW, and she did it to herself. That's got to hurt.

That's tough stuff right there.
Posted By: BluWave Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 01/29/19 07:53 PM
(((Joe2017))) This is tough stuff. It is a very different kind of pain than what we deal with post-BD and during the separation. I would describe that time as more acute survival mode with peaks and valleys of desperation cycled with relief and optimism. When piecing starts there is an initial relief that soon becomes chronic aches and pains. This can lead to depression, and feelings of hopelessness, as the new reality sets in. The reality is that we do not get the same marriage back, or prior feelings that came with it, and this new one starts off tainted with new hurtful wounds and betrayals. And the hurt went both ways.

When my H and I started piecing, I was all over the map. The triggers/PTSD took over much of the time and that made it hard for me to stay focused. I very much felt that I had to understand why he had done what he had done and forgive him.I thought that had to come first. I also told myself that if the M was not going to last, that I didn't want it to be because of that one time period when things were at there worst. If we are going to go our separate ways and D, I want it to be because we are no longer compatible as a couple. I still feel this way today. It has been a challenge, but also necessary, to understand the difference between the two. I do not want my resentment towards what had happened to influence how compatible we are now and can be in the future.

That's not easy to do. The thing is, there were issues in the M before BD. Those are issues we are still addressing. Some are things we can navigate through and both make adjustments, but others are things we simply must accept about one another. I find myself not always knowing what I can and cannot accept. Perhaps before I could have accepted them, because I was blinded by love. Now that I see how flawed and imperfect he is, I somehow do not want to accept certain things. Perhaps I feel he owes me (our M) to work harder to change these things? Writing that doesn't read healthy or fair tho.

It is still not entirely clear to me. Because after several years of piecing, my perspective on Ms in general has also changed. I don't think people should give up easily. I also think we really owe it to our S to be clear about what we want and expect from a partner. It is also hard to simultaneously create feelings of love/romance when everything else requires so much "work" and compromise. I don't tend to feel that dissecting and negotiating the relationship leads to more feelings of intimacy, in fact quite the opposite.

Blu
Posted By: sandi2 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 02/01/19 09:00 PM
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To my XW, it is almost like the entire affair was part of an EPISODE she experienced. She seems to even lump cheating on OM with OM2 as part of the same episode.


I'm so glad you explained it this way. I think I thought of it like an episode. I never realized it in those terms, but I can see how I put everything connected to the A in a time frame. It's like some people who use a serious operation as a time marker. There is the life before the operation and the life afterwards.

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Does she regret it? Absolutely! But as much as I -- as an LBS -- want to get an apology for each offense, she can't provide that. She apologizes for the situation. The cheating. The lies. But I've come to realize that it is very difficult for her to apologize for many of the individual attacks.


My H didn't bring it up, but I'm sure it would have felt very defeating for me.....since I was trying to do the right thing. The night I had my "come to Jesus" and finally felt true remorse and gave him a humble apology for my actions........that would have probably been the time for him to bring up individual offenses. But he didn't want to talk about it. If he had come back at a later time and brought up some specific incident, I could see myself thinking that he was going to hold things over my head forever........but that was just me.

I never moved out or S from my H during the A. Considering the experiences of some people such as you and Blu, it makes perfect sense that you need to hear an apology for individual offenses. When I first arrived on the board and would read how the wayward spouse should apologize as often as the betrayed spouse needed.........I thought, "Not this gal, honey!" But I thought they meant to keep apologizing for the same offense to which they had received forgiveness. Am I making sense? If you've really forgiven her, it was it for just one specific incident? I mean, if the WS sincerely apologizes from their heart, and the betrayed S forgives them.......but continues to confront the WS........IDK. I see what you all are saying. There is a lot of hurt that has not healed and you need to talk it out and hear a humble apology for it. I just don't know if the average WS gets it. Look how long I've been here reading this stuff..........and I'm pretty average......or I thought I was until now. frown

When I read Blu's explanation on your thread.........I thought to myself, "Oh, that's why they need to keep hearing apologies." Until then, I had just tried to accept it as part of the LBS's healing, but I had not heard anyone ever explain it this way. I thought LBS's meant that they needed to keep hearing the WS say, "I'm sorry I had an A". Like your W, I saw it as a lump offense that included deceit, lying, and the whole shoot'in match. That's why I think a couple coming back together needs a therapist who specializes in healing after an affair. ( I just lumped it together again, didn't I?) Hopefully, you know what kind of therapist I mean. There are so many things you suffered by your WS, that it must sound like a cop-out for them to think one apology cuts it. A therapist could approach or address these areas in a non-confrontational manner, and the WS would not take it the same as if directly from the betrayed S.........maybe.

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She has actually told me that her memory of that time is foggy.


You don't believe her? Do you think it is selective memory? This not just some type of defense tactic, it is true that some memory of that time gets a little foggy. The further it gets behind me, the less I can remember details, especially putting certain events in order or with the calendar. I suppose you would just have to evaluate how genuine she appears when she says it is foggy. I hope that is not painful to read.

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What I am encountering now is that I have a need for very specific apologies because my pain is VERY granular on an enormous scale. Her pain seems to be extremely broad, but overwhelming.


I don't want to come across as being insensitive to you, Blu, or any betrayed spouse. As a recovering WW, it appears that maybe you want your WS to heal your wounds. IDK that hearing an apology for every single cut is going to do the job. I see how it would help to see the sorrow on the face that caused that cut. I just don't think the WS is capable of doing your healing for you. S/he has their own healing to do. Who is going to do their healing? You? How are you going to do their healing? You can't. Neither can s/he do yours. I'm not saying s/he should not apologize, I'm just saying s/he has stuff to work through that you can't help with, and s/he can't handle it and your stuff too. See what I mean?

Yes, her pain seems to be extremely broad,,,,,,b/c it is. I've said it over & over that a LBS's pain and a WS's pain are not the same. How could it be? It is two entirely different experiences, with two separate mindsets. If the WS is or has genuinely gone through the inner process of changing their heart/mind.......and if they have suffered consequences of their actions, then they will have pain. But they have nobody to give them an apology. They are the guilty ones, and nobody knows it any better than they do. So, knowing no apologies will be coming for them, where or how do you suppose the WS finds healing? Forgiveness is a good starting place. Which goes back to bringing up single offenses, if she's thinking, "He said he forgave me, but he keeps bringing up stuff". (It's two different views of the overall forgiveness/apology issue.) You can see how it causes more pain for her, too. So, neither of you make fast progress when you are trying to work this out between yourselves without professional therapy. If it were my H saying what you have, my response would probably be, "Either you have completely forgiven me, or you haven't".

It depends on the personality, IMHO. As for my personality, (and I think I can be as humble about my wrong as anyone).......it doesn't mean I'm going to let someone just keep on & on bringing it up. While it is fresh...... or in therapy......... but not in our private lives. Perhaps someone will find that to be a character fault, just like they see having an affair as a character fault........but I'm trying to be as honest as I can about myself.

I dare say that one of the biggest problems for the WS recovery, is not having the proper information. I feel very fortunate that I received information before I totally destroyed my family and ruined my life beyond repair.

Joe, you did not heal after the D, and now you are feeling all this pain afresh. You could have been proactive in getting professional help, but you ignored it until she reached out to reconcile. What can she do to help you? Do you just want to hear her say, "I apologize"? Somehow, and I may be wrong.....I think you need more, and I'm concern you are resenting the fact that she doesn't feel the same type of pain.

I want to be clear and say that nobody is wrong here. It is two separate people who come from separate experiences and some have not received all the information or guidance to help them heal. Whether we are the LBS or the WS, we cannot expect the other spouse to automatically know what we need them to do, or to feel the same emotions. I think that is why Piecing is so hard. We don't see the responses or behavior patterns we need, and we get discouraged and frustrated b/c we want more.


P.S. Blu, I'm glad you did not say anything to your H about giving his input. Not for your sake, but for his. wink
Posted By: Gordie Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 02/05/19 12:34 AM
Sandi Blu and Joe

I just want to say thank you for writing this all down

I think the LBS has a fantasy

When the one who left comes back

There will be this wonderful reconciliation and happily ever after

The reality it is another roller coaster with different twists and turns

Shout out to Blu for explaining this so explicitly

There is one thing I would add to / emphasize about Sandiís list:

This is not necessarily linear

And sometimes you think you are one place on the map

And then you realize a few weeks later you are someplace else

Best wishes to all
Posted By: sandi2 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 02/05/19 06:42 PM
Thanks Gordie.
Posted By: BluWave Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 02/05/19 11:55 PM
Thank you, everyone. I am not posting a lot here because I am trying not to hijack this thread. I will post on it more when I have useful info or ideas for piecing. Right now I am lacking in that department and questioning myself all over again. Seeing XOW last week certainly didn't help. We are going on almost 4 years of my H being back. This is still hard stuff. I am tired. Sometimes I wonder if there was just too much damage to repair. Or maybe I just need to accept things as they are and that it's going to be this way now. I dunno. Again, I think the damage in my sitch was extreme. Or maybe I am not very good at this. It's always easier to give advice to others than take it for ourselves.

Blu
Posted By: lost8 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 02/06/19 08:42 PM
Sandi I don't like doing this but can you check out my recent events, I feel I took some big steps back. I respect your perspective so much because of where it is coming from.
Posted By: sandi2 Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 02/08/19 09:34 AM
Thank you, Lost, I'd be glad to take a look.
Posted By: BluWave Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 03/23/19 12:00 AM
I just posted about a recent situation that happened on my thread, when my BFFs friend interjected her opinion of my H and my M., without knowing me or without being asked. It was hurtful but I am going to try and learn from it, rather than let it hurt me.

I think another challenge in piecing is not allowing fear of judgement from others motivate your decision making process. This can be thought of an several ways. If your S had an A, there can be personal shame that others will judge you, judge your S, or not approve of you taking them back. There will always be people in your life (close friends, family, or even strangers) that will have various opinions. Ultimately, everyone needs to do what is right for themselves and their children. We cannot let fear of what others think drive our own choices. They may think about it, or gossip, but most likely, they don't care as much as you think they do. They also do not know all of the circumstances and may only choose to see things from one angle. Their will always be opinions of others and you can't please everyone.

I think the same can be said if you, yourself, had the A or made mistakes. There can be fear that you are not good enough for your S or that others may not forgive you. You cannot wait on the forgiveness of others or let that hold you back. I don't see forgiveness as a switch that you can turn on or off, but it is a journey. And it is one you continue to walk on, and some days it will be more challenging, while other days it will feel more smooth. If you wait for others to forgive you, or approve of your M, then you disband yourself of any power that you have to make things better.

Another thing that I am realizing is that I don't need other people to tell me to do the right thing or that they do approve of my H or my M. I find myself seeking permission from my close friends, as if I need to know that they will validate that yes, H is a good guy. Yes, we think you should make this work. For me, I get that from them. My friends and family do like him and they do approve. .... But I have to remind myself that I don't actually need it. It can only really come from me. I am the one that is here beside him each day, not them.

Just my thoughts today.

Blu
Posted By: BluWave Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 06/21/19 10:06 PM
I hope to keep this piecing thread alive, however there are not many of us here actually doing that. I am going to try and post in it every few months or as I think of things that seem relevant.

I want to add some thoughts I have been having lately and they are on the concept of "time." Time is fascinating to think about and talk about because while time has passed (the past), there is still more time (the future) that has not yet happened. The known verses the unknown. While everything we do (our actions, thoughts, feelings, ideas) influences and thus creates the future, there is still no way to know what will ultimately happen. It is also impossible to predict the outcome or what our perception of it will be when it happens.

This is important for all of us, and particularity important in piecing, because we are going in on a leap of faith. We are trusting that if we keep choosing to work on our M, that over time, we will feel better about it. One thing to know is that when our S comes back to us, there is this initial wave/flood of relief and positive emotions, however they do not remain that way. There are so many other challenging things that can get in the way of the process. In order to stick it out, we have to believe that in time over the months (or in my case years), it will get better.

We cannot control the time that has passed but we can control the way we move into the future and how we influence it. That is something I have been reminded of recently and that I posted about in my own thread. The way I think about my H, my M, and how we interact definitely molds and shapes the outcome. When I was DBing, I didn't feel as if I had control. I actually did; I couldn't control him or if he came back, but I could control how I took care of myself and how I allowed him to treat me. I also can control the way I move froward now. I can't ever be 100% certain, but I can believe.

I am finding that I can move forward in a more positive way, if I allow more positive thinking. I cannot let triggers or negative thoughts control my emotions. I can see what is in front of me and accept my reality. I can choose to be loving, kind, patient and forgiving. I can also trust the process that this may actually work out. By allowing that trust in, over time, I am far more likely to have success. And if I don't have success, I am more likely to feel better about the failure because I will feel better about my efforts.

Most importantly, I have to trust that time really does heal all wounds.

Blu
Posted By: BluWave Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 07/26/20 03:04 PM
Bump. For anyone that is entering this stage and didnít know this thread exists.

One year since I have posted here. I just reread my last post for June 2019 and want to thank myself for that. Haha.

5 years and a few months plus of piecing for me now. Does the action of piecing come to an end at which point the M has successfully been pieced back together? Does completion ever happen?

Iím going to think on this. I donít know. On the one hand, the relationship always needs to be worked on and nurtured to keep moving forward. On the other hand, piecing also includes repairing the damage and working through past mistakes. How long do we need to talk about that and when can we put it to rest for good?

Blu
Posted By: wayfarer Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 07/27/20 01:46 PM
Thanks BluWave. As we've entered the reconciliation phase I really needed to see this. I feel like I'm not 100% on what I should or shouldn't be doing right now.Or what piecing really looks like. And it's relatively difficult to find threads around here about reconciliation and the shift to piecing.
Posted By: AlisonUK Re: Definition and Guidelines for Piecing - 07/27/20 02:25 PM
I've found the same, Wayfarer. I took the list and commented on it on my thread, and I actually found that really helpful.
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