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#2940157 12/04/22 01:43 AM
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Doug54 Offline OP
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My last post / update:

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LH, you tend to check in for all the major holidays, don't you? grin

Thanksgiving was ok. W's brother and his family visited and everyone had a good time. W's mother had had a medical procedure around the end of October and wasn't able to make it (along with W's father) so most of the family made the out-of-town trek the next day to visit them. I planned to go as well since I've never had a problem with her parents, but I was getting a vibe that W was reluctant for me to go along. It felt like she was going out of her way to not make it overly apparent, that I *could* attend if I wanted to, but I figured what points could be won by forcing myself into close quarters with W for an overnight stay? We do have several pets that didn't have accommodations, so it was arguably convenient for me to remain home. As soon as W arrived at her parents', she texted me that her folks were wondering why I didn't come. Her father texted me a while later saying he was sorry I couldn't make it and hoped I would next time. (It's clear she's never breathed a syllable about marital discontent to her folks.)

I've always suspected that whomever W connected with (and conceivably continues to be sneaky on her phone with) was someone from her past. No concrete reason, just an assumption since they originally talked on Facebook Messenger and the replay phase of MLC can involve an attempted return to youth (uh, right?). Anyhow, I couldn't help myself and asked S14 after they returned if W had gone off on her own at any point during the visit. He told me that she hadn't and had been with the family the entire time.

I don't see any evidence that W is sneaking around locally in a full-blown EA/PA but I do think that would be a dealbreaker for me at this point if I were to find out.

W is getting her breast augmentation done in a few weeks. My stepdaughter is driving her to the place, a few hours away. W got a recommendation for the facility from a former college friend. From what I gather, she's financing the procedure. I'd probably be intrigued with the whole thing if the marriage were on firmer ground, but I'm less than enamored as it is. Whatever...nothing I can really do to stop it. W and I both get our paychecks deposited into the same joint account, and I haven't yet been inclined to split them apart. Divorce isn't on the front burner yet. Any thoughts on this?

Stepson 19 and S6 had birthdays on back-to-back days. I was the only one to get them gifts or a cake. W is still a good mom but she's wrapped in the selfish throes of MLC a fair amount of the time. To be fair, W was raised in a cult-ish church that didn't celebrate any holidays other than Thanksgiving, and her parents didn't make much of a fuss over birthdays, either. I typically took the lead on gift-giving during our marriage, even in the past, but I don't recall W completely sitting on the sidelines 100%.

I've probably regressed on fully GALing since the days have gotten shorter. I keep up with the gym and try to do as much with the kids as possible.

I have read a few threads on the board recently, despite not posting much. I got sucked into Gordie's tale and his wife's crazy behavior. I am terrible at not heeding Mach1's advice to not extrapolate too much from other posters' situations onto one's own. One person had written in Gordie's thread that their spouse had been an MLC wallower for two years before running and running. So now I'm convinced that's what's in store for me.

I try not to borrow tomorrow's trouble today, but I do wonder how to play it if W's mindset is to have sneaky fun on the side without blowing up the family (and filing herself). What if there's no movement on her part next summer but I'm tired of where the marriage is? Technically, neither of us can kick the other spouse out of the house. I feel like I need a sort of game plan to keep in the back of my head along with a potential drop-dead date. Does anyone think next summer is too soon for such a date? That would be about a year and a half hence the start of my situation. I also would want some sort of confirmation of the extent of W's waywardness, before fully nuking the kids' household.

I wonder about the seeming contrast between "a MLC has to run its course- there's nothing you can do to alter it" vs the tough-love approach advocated by Sandi and a few others. I definitely don't have the stomach for a years' long dead-ish marriage. My line of thinking is unquestionably colored by all I've read on these boards. For instance, W lifted my shirt and scratched my back after coming to bed three straight nights last week, something that hadn't happened in a long time. I enjoyed it but also chalked it up to some wayward wife strategy. My IC said it's important to try to appreciate the little things in the moment during this time. That's another reason I don't try to play defense when W initiates nookie.

Any thoughts on my situation are welcome as always. I apologize for not posting on other threads, but as you can see, I still don't really have my own house in order.


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Hi Doug54, I'm really sorry you're going through this. I am a newbie and while my situation is quite different from yours, I thought I'd share something I've read that might be relevant to your question re: how long to stand.

I've found Andrew G. Marshall's books really insightful. One of them is on MLC. In it, he says it's easy to miss the forest for the trees when caught up in day-to-day of MLC uncertainty. Like everyone else, he says MLC takes a lot of time. So, he asks spouses to think about the bigger picture: what is 3-4 years of slog in the context of a lifetime? if it could result in, say, 30 or 40 more happy years together? And, of course, if the couple has children, they will still be in each other's lives for many more years even if they get divorced, so time spent improving the relationship, regardless of the likelihood of reconciliation, is never wasted.

Obviously, it's up to each individual to decide how much time they want to give it. I myself am not sure I have 3-4 years in me for my own MLC spouse. But I found the reminder to think about the bigger picture helpful.

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Forgot to mention—he also says that in times of crisis, if there is no real, pressing need to make any decisions, then don't. Why do you need to decide on a drop-dead date? How would that help you in the present? Would it really change what you're doing right now? What if you considered a reevaluation date, instead?

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Good Morning Doug

Originally Posted by Doug54
I wonder about the seeming contrast between "a MLC has to run its course- there's nothing you can do to alter it" vs the tough-love approach advocated by Sandi and a few others. I definitely don't have the stomach for a years' long dead-ish marriage.

MLC does have to run its course. And yes, there is nothing you can do speed that up. However, you can definitely alter it - at best any attempts at manipulation will be neutral, the vast likelihood of a LBS’ attempts will be prolonging or even ceasing any forward progress of the MLCer’s journey.

The tough love approach will not wake them up. Any awakening will come from within them. For that is where the source of pain is living, and that is where the pain needs to resolve.

Nothing you do will matter. And yet, everything you do will.

A MLCer is confused and usually has the memory of a gnat. However, they will remember every little thing you did wrong or slighted them for or yelled or lost your temper. You get the idea. The more of that gets accumulated the more it gets used against you. By the way, if the MLCer doesn’t have enough ammo, they’ll just invent some anyhow, so don’t fret too much over past missteps.

Everything you do matters. And that applies more for you. After all, you are on a journey too. How and why you act and think and control and influence matters much more than merely what you did and do.

Originally Posted by Doug54
Have many on these forums ever felt like pulling the plug on their own situation? I dunno, I'm 99 percent sure W is grappling with a MLC (and supposedly you can't rush those) but sometimes I feel like I'm wasting away the part of my life that misses female companionship. To be sure, W and I still live together, still talk every day (though not what I would necessarily call substantially), still sleep together. But we haven't done anything that could be called a date in ages. Not that I'm bringing that subject up. Am I supposed to wait around forever?

“I'm 99 percent sure W is grappling with a MLC (and supposedly you can't rush those)…”.

Doug, MLC is horrible. Long ago unrealized trauma(s) have unknowingly reached up from a person’s depths and consumed them. Their emotional torment is incredible. Barely fathomable to us who have not experienced it. Imagine such pain that blowing up marriage, family, friends, job/career, etc, is the “best” course of action. They are driven to it.

MLCer’s emotions are cranked to eleven. They are confused and desperate. And desperate people do desperate things. Anything to ease their ceaseless torment. Running behaviours. Running away from themselves. Of course, wherever one runs, there they are.

“supposedly you can’t rush those”. That sounds a bit glib. I hope you appreciate how devastating such an emotional crisis actually is. We LBS get caught up in the collateral damage. LBS, kids, family, friends, etc, the radius of bomb drop is pretty large and there is much shrapnel flying about. Yet, for the one who dropped the bomb. Their damage is more.

“Am I supposed to wait around forever”. You should not “wait” your life away. How that looks to you. What that means to you. What values you will stand for. Those answers are discovered and lived by you.

Something to consider. The word “but”. That conjunction comes up in conversations usually as a way of justifying for what came before it. Be it spoken or not. In this particular case, you trying to justify pulling the plug and leaving.

Find your convictions and follow them. Be clear and accurate in thought and heart. Your mind is always listening and will make what you say reality. Speak well. You will, and do, craft your reality.

Originally Posted by Mach1
Been waiting for this one to pop up....


This isn't tit for tat here..

YOU burn every ounce of fuel that you have inside of you....every day, then you recharge and begin anew tomorrow...

Quitting now allows you to be a victim of her behavior. And that doesn't sound like you....

She carried this marriage on her back for how long ??

And you want to give up after a few months ?

Originally Posted by Doug54
I get what you're saying but I'm supposed to green-light EAs and W being emotionally distant because those interactions are being directed toward some other douche?

See what I mean about “but”?

It’s not about you green-lighting anything. You don’t control her. You only control you.

You control three things. That’s it. Your thoughts, actions, and reactions. And through those directly consciously controllable extensions of self, you influence everything else around and within you.

I get it Doug. You are in crucible right now. Stand. Remain. See why you would. See who you will become. Find the gemstone that is you, after all the rest is slag.

Originally Posted by Mach1
you define your stand, and what that stand means to you....

You define who you will become on the other side of this...and define who you are through this.

Truthfully ? Most 'guys' can't get past their own machoism and the perception that they need to get laid, and give up...

Looking in the mirror is too hard, and requires total honesty within themselves, something that has often been missing throughout their lives....

We define our vows, and what they mean to us, and who we want to be through them....

Better or worse...right ?

Fcuk man......anyone can do the 'better'....

It's the 'worse' that defines who we are...

Richer or poorer ?

Anyone can do the 'richer'

Who are you when you don't have two nickels to rub together ?

Sickness and health ??

Anyone can do 'health'

It's who you are when sickness invades you...

You DB because you choose to DB, and nobody else can define that for you...

What do your vows mean to you ??

F her man.....

YOU ??

Although you said them to her, they are for you, what you vowed to do regardless if she is sitting on your lap giving you a happy ending, or she is texting ILY to the f-ing garbage man...

It's your commitment TO her....no matter what....


So your choice....in or out..

You said you wanted in, yet I didn't believe your answer then, because you didn't believe it either...

Standing is YOUR choice....

Limbo is YOUR choice...

Loving her is YOUR choice...

We all start out standing. We stand for our spouse. We stand for our marriage. It is the default position. We are hurt and experiencing much grief. Bargaining is one of the stages of grief. It is the last grasp at trying to feel the old normal. Standing is our default.

Once we heal a bit. Become detached. Find indifference. Get through some grief. We get strong enough to stand down. This the point when standing truly starts. When one is healed and strong enough to stand down. Find your mettle. Test your mettle.

For better or worse. Yep, the present situation is on the worse side of that spectrum. Stand for you. Discover gemstone-Doug.

Indifference does roll back. Emotions that are currently muted will return. This time is a golden opportunity to do your inner work, without the noise and cacophony of W and your feelings.

A caution, nature abhors a vacuum, and other feelings will loom larger in contrast to that void. Make no major decisions. Ring no bells that cannot be un-rung. Feelings are fleeting, and indifference is temporary.

The basic principle of dealing with a spouse’s MLC is letting go. The MLCer is angry. They are projecting on to you, and blaming you for their pain. Realize the MLCer cannot handle their emotions right now. They cannot handle being at fault. So, with such torment, they look around, see their spouse, and poof, the LBS must be the cause. Such is the mixed up reasoning of an addled mind.

Give lots of time and space. Let W burn through her anger. At some point, hopefully, she’ll realize “hey, Doug hasn’t been around for a while AND I’m still unhappy. Hmmm. Perhaps, he wasn’t to blame after all.” Then, with some good fortune, she would look inward and work on her issues.

You cannot speed up her journey. Give her God. Your path, if you choose, is to outlast it.

There are many positive signs in your situation.

Stay strong Doug.

D


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Love the person, forgive the sin.
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Originally Posted by marching
Hi Doug54, I'm really sorry you're going through this. I am a newbie and while my situation is quite different from yours, I thought I'd share something I've read that might be relevant to your question re: how long to stand.

I've found Andrew G. Marshall's books really insightful. One of them is on MLC. In it, he says it's easy to miss the forest for the trees when caught up in day-to-day of MLC uncertainty. Like everyone else, he says MLC takes a lot of time. So, he asks spouses to think about the bigger picture: what is 3-4 years of slog in the context of a lifetime? if it could result in, say, 30 or 40 more happy years together? And, of course, if the couple has children, they will still be in each other's lives for many more years even if they get divorced, so time spent improving the relationship, regardless of the likelihood of reconciliation, is never wasted.

Obviously, it's up to each individual to decide how much time they want to give it. I myself am not sure I have 3-4 years in me for my own MLC spouse. But I found the reminder to think about the bigger picture helpful.
Hey marching. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in, especially as a newcomer yourself. I appreciate the recommendation of Andrew Marshall. Would you say his book on MLC is worthwhile for the left behind spouse as well? The brief synopsis I found online seemed to indicate the book was geared toward the MLCer, almost like a how-to manual for getting through it.

I don't know how much of my situation you've read, but my wife will finish a degree program in June that will enable her to make a good deal more money than she currently is. In theory, we would have a realistic option for splitting up then. Whether or not that will come to pass, who knows.

If I had 100 percent certainty that my wife wasn't doing anything unfaithful, I think I could do multiple years of standing. However, I don't like having an ambiguous trust situation with my spouse, along with the concept of cake-eating. Right now, my wife seems to be, at a minimum, continuing to be involved with some guy on her phone. I don't know the full scope and duration, but she's had a passcode on it for quite some time. That's where my idea of the drop-dead date comes in, as suggested by some posters on this board. I'm sure I could cement a drop-dead date in my head today, write it down, etc. Whether I'd firmly stick to it upon its arrival...I dunno. It wouldn't be binding. But to formulate a date, I'd be saying "this is how much time I'm giving for this unfulfilling, hollow, and unfaithful marriage to turn around or I'm making a move."

Thanks again for offering your insight.


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DnJ #2940178 12/05/22 12:06 AM
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DnJ-

Thanks for the voluminous response chock full of MLC info. In many regards, my wife seems to have a somewhat tame case of MLC. At least, she's not in full berserk mode like some of the situations I've read, particularly on another MLC-centric board. Or maybe those days are coming down the pike? Impossible to know. At the same time, she also doesn't seem to be in the mold of the "done and gone" walkaway wife.

Originally Posted by DnJ
The tough love approach will not wake them up. Any awakening will come from within them. For that is where the source of pain is living, and that is where the pain needs to resolve.
So, some people on the site advocate that the approach is the same whether MLC or wayward spouse. (Sandi, of course, is the patron saint for cracking down on the wayward and making them respect you.) Some also favor the alpha male tactic to "win back" respect. I can tell you that my wife would not respond to that. If anything, it would be a turnoff. Some of her venting involved telling me that I came off as arrogant to her at times in the relationship. I guess I'm saying that it is fruitful to know that MLC can't be arrested and I don't need to contort myself into a pretzel attempting to pitch a perfect game with strategy.

Originally Posted by DnJ
I get it Doug. You are in crucible right now. Stand. Remain. See why you would. See who you will become. Find the gemstone that is you, after all the rest is slag.
Nice use of the word. You ever read the play by Arthur Miller, by the way?

Originally Posted by DnJ
Give lots of time and space. Let W burn through her anger. At some point, hopefully, she’ll realize “hey, Doug hasn’t been around for a while AND I’m still unhappy. Hmmm. Perhaps, he wasn’t to blame after all.” Then, with some good fortune, she would look inward and work on her issues.
This all sounds easy enough....minus the multiple years for MLC to play out part.

Really appreciate your insight, DnJ.


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Originally Posted by Doug54
Some also favor the alpha male tactic to "win back" respect. I can tell you that my wife would not respond to that. If anything, it would be a turnoff. Some of her venting involved telling me that I came off as arrogant to her at times in the relationship.
Obviously she knows you are beta. Becoming Alpha is the key.
I like the term Dominate, more than Alpha, but I feel the behaviors are the same and I use them interchangeably. It really isn't tactical. It is more a mind set on how you want to behave and be treated.

There are many areas we can improve our behaviors. One example, I behave in a way that makes my lady FEEL safe. That is one area that increases her level of attraction for me.


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Hello Doug

I had the same idea as you. Your W is more a milder MLCer, and does not quite fit the done and gone WAW. The latter especially leads credence to she is in emotional turmoil and searching for something. I think you’ve seen and even heard that from her.

Originally Posted by Doug54
So, some people on the site advocate that the approach is the same whether MLC or wayward spouse. (Sandi, of course, is the patron saint for cracking down on the wayward and making them respect you.) Some also favor the alpha male tactic to "win back" respect. I can tell you that my wife would not respond to that. If anything, it would be a turnoff. Some of her venting involved telling me that I came off as arrogant to her at times in the relationship. I guess I'm saying that it is fruitful to know that MLC can't be arrested and I don't need to contort myself into a pretzel attempting to pitch a perfect game with strategy.

I’m not a huge proponent to either of those strategies in particular. No one way is going to work for all situations. I’d even go so far as, no one way will work for even just one situation.

My idea is to be true to yourself. Of course, one has to discover themselves first. Discover their beliefs and values. We all have accumulated a lifetime of beliefs and prejudges and such. It’s kind of amazing when one really looks in the mirror.

Strengthen your beliefs that serve. Craft convictions you aspire to. And discard or alter that which does not serve.

Once you respect yourself, that man in the mirror, things fall into place.

The alpha male winning respect, tough love, may work. They may not. Each MLCer, each WAS, each person is different and responds differently. To me those kind of come across as manipulative and not true to oneself. Hey, that’s just me.

You know your situation best. You know W best. And you think she would respond poorly. You are then likely correct. Besides, if she did respond favourable to something you are not, how do you maintain such an “act”.

Focus on you. The only person in this whole equation you can control and directly affect. There is no need to pretzel yourself and find the winning strategy. I’ll tell you it plainly. The winning strategy is you. Be the best version of you.

Aspire to Doug54 version 2.0. Fix whatever you find within yourself that needs tweaking. Stand for your convictions. I guarantee you will be ok, and it gives you the best chance at your marriage. You will be ok. The marriage is a bonus.

That’s the focus. And in that shift, one becomes intriguing. One becomes attractive. One becomes desirable. Look, something attracted the two of you to each other. Perhaps that old love gets rediscovered once she gets herself sorted out. With MLC that could be awhile. Don’t pine and wait. Live your life. That doesn’t mean you got to date or move on or anything like that. Moving forward is what I’m a proponent of.

Doug, I’m six years post bomb drop. And I’m standing. Standing for me! Not XW. Not my gone marriage. Me! My values and beliefs and convictions.

I have peace and contentment. Four wonderful loving kids. Loving supportive parents. And strong friendships. When you live the life you’re meant to, you will know it. Life provides plenty of feedback.

You know, I think I read the Crucible in high school. Gosh, that’s a while ago. smile

Originally Posted by Doug54
This all sounds easy enough....minus the multiple years for MLC to play out part.

You ain’t playing a role in that train wreck. Step aside and let her do what she feels she needs to.

As for the “maybe” multiple years. The future is unwritten and unknown. Let it unfold on its own.

Time is a gift. Invest it well. Looking back at this over half decade - the MLC part was a blip. So many other things happened - vacations, learning to drive, boyfriends, girlfriends, first kiss, first break up, graduations, kids moving out, going to university and college, wedding, and of course retirement. smile

Have faith, slogging through the first bit of one’s journey is the hard part.

Originally Posted by Doug54
That's where my idea of the drop-dead date comes in, as suggested by some posters on this board. I'm sure I could cement a drop-dead date in my head today, write it down, etc. Whether I'd firmly stick to it upon its arrival...I dunno. It wouldn't be binding. But to formulate a date, I'd be saying "this is how much time I'm giving for this unfulfilling, hollow, and unfaithful marriage to turn around or I'm making a move."

Hope.

Where there is love, there is hope.

Hope is desire.

Expectations are desires with timelines or deadlines attached. And a deadline does just that, makes it dead. Nothing kills hope quicker than a deadline.

Unmet expectations build resentment. Keep expectations dialled to zero. Keep hope alive.

Hope is timeless. Hope is an incredible wellspring of strength and fortitude.

I’d not set a date. Base your decisions upon other than a square box on a calendar. Find out how much you can carry. How much you can let go. And just how strong your convictions truly are. I bet you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of.

D


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Originally Posted by Doug54
I don't know how much of my situation you've read, but my wife will finish a degree program in June that will enable her to make a good deal more money than she currently is. In theory, we would have a realistic option for splitting up then. Whether or not that will come to pass, who knows.

I can’t stress this enough - do not initiate divorce yet.

You need to wait it out. Let her text OM, let her simmer away…. But don’t push her, set ultimatums or lose control of your emotions.

You need to wait until she has finished her degree in June. And then go out of your way to help get her a well paid, full time job.

Once that’s done, then you can consider pulling the rip cord.

I don’t know what country you’re in, but regardless, if you wait until she has a degree and well paid job - you could be hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars better off in a financial divorce settlement.

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