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Thank you very much for the kind words and challenging discussion. I wanted to expand a bit on a better way of looking at 'limbo'.

I trained and managed sales people for a long time and I've identified what I think the most common mistake they make: They don't understand the cancer of maybe. From day one sales people think that a customer saying "yes" is good and "no" is bad, so they kind of assume that "maybe" must be not as good as a yes, but better than nothing, because hey, they didn't say no.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Sales isn't about getting everyone to buy a product or service; it's about managing a pipeline to ensure there are enough prospects in every stage of the sales process to ensure there is always business getting done. It is like a machinist operating an assembly line. It's ok if some parts are defective. What is the most critical thing is that the machine keeps moving and the wheels keep turning. Suppose a machine produced 500 parts an hour and 2% of them were defective, and their job was to scrap the 2%. Imagine if there was one that was hard to judge, it wasn't perfect but wasn't quite defective. Would it make any sense for them to shut the machine off for an hour to stare at that one part and ponder? Of course not! Just shrug, scrap it, and keep the thing moving! Maybes do the same thing in sales, they bog down the pipeline and turn these maybes into time thiefs and cost sales people the opportunity to start new conversations with new prospects that might need something.

Why don't sales people get this? Emotions. It's hard and scary to talk to new prospects and it's easier to have non-committal follow up conversations with people that you know.

Back to limbo (although if this helps any of your sales careers then that's icing on the cake). Limbo is a 'maybe'. You can't think of it as 'better than a no'. Whether they tell you they want a D (no) or whether they tell you they need some time for themselves (maybe), if the question is "Do I have a committed partner" the answer is NO equally the same!. This same principle holds true to any other boundary. Someone that feels bad about their affair and is planning on ending it is having an affair. Etc.

When your boundaries have been violated it is imperative that you detach completely and refuse to engage in R talks. Because no matter what words you speak, what you're saying is "I'm willing to compromise your boundaries". Look - if the FBI asked a terrorist to release a hostage and the terrorist told them that they had some regrets about the situation and were feeling kind of sad and would work on feeling like releasing the hostage, how do you think that would work out???

So what do you do instead? I'm not saying stone wall. Not at all. If they start an R talk you can certainly VALIDATE. You can demonstrate 180s through your ACTIONS (NOT your words). But you cannot, must not, pour emotional energy into a relationship that doesn't meet your minimum requirements. Continue to work on yourself for you, GAL to meet your emotional needs elsewhere so you don't feel as needy, and be a leader. I always say that you can't expect a WAS to let go of OP if you can't let go of them. Lead by example and show them what it means to take control of your own happiness and act with character.

Now, I'm not suggesting this is the answer to everything. There are certainly limbos where the boundaries aren't black and white. Like a spouse that isn't cheating, hasn't filed, has said they aren't sure what they want yet. This is a difficult situation and there is much more that could be discussed about it. Time means a lot here because if this has gone on for one day that is totally different than 10 years. Each person has to find what they feel is the right boundary. Do you stand for marriage for the rest of your life on character? Do you decide to move on after a year, or six months, and file yourself? Not easy decisions to make.

But in the end, let's be clear that identifying your boundaries based on your beliefs and personal values is the hard part. What to do if someone crosses those boundaries should be very clear and flawlessly executed. And reengaging with a person that has violated your boundaries should happen only in the face of remorse and recommitment. And then it should follow slowly based on consistent positive action. Anything else is telling the terrorists that you'll give them what they want because you trust that they'll get around to releasing the hostages...


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As a recovering WW, I can say that this is spot on... when I see LBHs share what they think are positive movements from their WW spouses, I know better... I know it's not what they hope it is... Detach, detach, detach... GAL, GAL, GAL... let her specifically come to you asking for reconciliation, and expect her to do the work... No wiggle room...

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Zues, thanks for this great post. (I also appreciated the sales advice about Maybes up there... perfect timing for the new year, thank you!!)

I’ve been really struggling a lot with my anger the last few weeks owing to an interaction with the ex that went really poorly. I’ve been reflecting on our marriage and wondering how it went so wrong. And what I’ve come up with is that his affairs were the result of tiny decisions he made over 16 years to not face the fact that he doesn’t know everything and that he thinks that the solutions that work for other people for growing up, learning, coping with setbacks, etc., don’t apply to him. He treated things like therapy and self-help books as crutches for the weak, not tools for ordinary people, including him. And that disdain for “soft” wisdom led him to maladaptive, self-destructive behaviors.

I’m not at all saying that there weren’t things I could have done better in our marriage. There definitely are places that I would love to go back and kick myself. Hard. But during our years together I faced some similar challenges to his, and adapted to them really differently. He even identified the differences in one of his long, word-salad letters telling me why he was blowing up our whole family life. But he couldn’t see the difference in the impact that had between him and me.

If I had behaved differently in those places where I wish I could get a do-over, it may have blown up the marriage sooner. Or maybe later, but we’d have had a very different life. But the marriage could not have lasted because he consistently made incremental choices even before the cheating that doomed it. Because he is the person he is, and because he sees change (and happiness) as something that happens from the outside, rather than from the inside, he does not have the capacity to sustain a deep, close relationship, with me or anybody else, over the long term. With some things that have happened with the kids and in his career, I see that he also doesn’t really understand the meaning and value of commitment. With qualities like those, our divorce was inevitable, even if he had had the honor to end it respectfully, before he started cheating. Cheating is the symptom of his inability to value commitment — because he’d rather maintain the comfortable status quo than treat his partner with openness and respect.

He told my daughter that he “doesn’t believe in marriage anymore,” which is weird to me. His parents have been married 46 years. Most of the people around him are married, with varying degrees of satisfaction. But somehow he “doesn’t believe in it.” I think there’s a piece of him that understands that HE can’t figure out how to make it work, but instead he’s externalized it to a thing that he can’t believe in, despite all the evidence around him that people make it work all the time.

Your post is so perfect in part because of the line “they’re further gone than we realize.” My marriage started deteriorating promptly after the wedding. I can point to events within the first six months that were gigantic red flags... but by that point, I was MARRIED, which for me meant, all in. The red flags I saw meant he wasn’t, but I don’t think he could have said so, or would have agreed that that was what they meant. I also REALLY appreciated the idea of “medicating with good intentions” (another idea that will tremendously help my sales career...) because that was a HUGE factor in our marriage as well. Maybe on both sides. I think he did the best he could with the tools he had (hence, our sixteen married years together), but at the end of the day, the tools he had weren’t enough and he couldn’t or wouldn’t see that. He was like a carpenter who showed up with a hammer and a screwdriver and nothing else, who couldn’t believe that finer tools, like a level or a measuring tape, could be useful. My toolsbox was fuller but he would never let me use them, and because of that I developed maladaptive behaviors as well.

For the newbies here, I’ve been divorced a couple of years now, and haven’t lived with my ex for almost four years. It’s taken me ALL this time to really internalize the truth of my marriage. Zues’s post is an important piece in my putting everything into perspective. I have struggled so hard with anger, grief, and blame (mostly of him — the cheating made that part inevitable). But it’s truly NOT ABOUT ME at all. I just happened to be there. These things are about him and they are patterns that he will repeat until he has the humility that he doesn’t know as much as he thinks he knows.

I’m in a new relationship now and I can see my flaws more clearly because I have a partner who is more open to learning and self-discovery, and less afraid of conflict between us. I am absolutely not perfect, and neither is he. But at least we have the tools to build a connection that can be practical as well as personal. I have the opportunity to continue growing within the relationship. I don’t know if the relationship will last (I hope it does, but I don’t know), but I appreciate so much that it has given me perspective on me, on my ex, and on my marriage. That marriage wasn’t a happy place for me either, but I found ways to operate within it that allowed for my happiness. My ex couldn’t see the difference between that and “making me happy.” Finally learning that is going to bring me some peace.

This is really long and I don’t mean for it to be a hijack. Your post, Zues, was one of the most perceptive things I’ve seen from you and I appreciate it. It has really helped me. I’m sorry for all the pain your ex inflicted on you and I hope you find peace yourself. For the newbies here, when you’re living in the heat of this moment in your marriage, it’s really, really hard to have this kind of perspective, It’s taken me four years of living apart from my ex to develop the detachment needed to see this painful chain of events with some perspective. Please adopt Zues’s words, because your instincts are to cling to the attachment, not to let it go. But letting it go is the only way to understand where you really are. Think of it as being stuck on an unmapped island and needing to go to the top of a mountain to see where you really are. If you’re situation is new, you might be on the beach, wondering where the fresh water is. You might be climbing the mountain wondering if you’ll be able to find fresh water at all (and that climb is so hard when you’re thirsty...) The view from the mountaintop (detachment) will help you understand your position and resources. It will help you plan your route, figure out where to find shelter, and everything.

Finally, Zues says, no relationship talks ever. He’s right. If your spouse had the ability or the information to make things right, there would have been no bomb drop. There would have been incremental opportunities over time to prevent the situation. That person who is blowing up your world does not have the information you’re looking for. You have to get to the mountaintop, detachment, and come to your own understanding of the situation.

Good luck.


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Thank you Maybell for the reply. One theme that I've noticed behind your words is something I've come to realize from what we've gone through as well: We aren't in control of everything.

I'm embarrassed to remember how arrogant I used to be; I mean, like even more than today! wink When I was young I saw other people's problems and somehow thought they wouldn't happen to me. I thought that I was different, special, the main character of the movie. That if I just did the right things, was clever and smart enough, played my cards right, and had a good deserving heart, things would just work out. I was the gingerbread man.

I've been humbled by all of this. I'm not more deserving or more special than anyone else. Suffering and loss won't avoid me in life just because I'm me. And most of all, I don't have everything figured out and under my control. Even if I did have it all figured out, somehow out of the billions of people on the planet I was the wise one, I could get hit by a drunk driver tomorrow and end up in the hospital. One of my children could take their own life and change mine forever. I could be falsely convicted of a sexual crime and end up in prison.

Bottom line, no matter how we play our cards we aren't in control. In our cases our partners made choices that ended our marriages and destroyed any possibility of a unified family or a lifelong partnership. No matter how special you are or how cleverly you DB'd, you couldn't prevent your XH from doing what we did. Neither could I.

Oh, it's appealing to cling to the idea that we can or could've done something differently. This idea is nice because we get to cling to the illusion that we are in control, that if we just figure out the right things to do or say we can save our M, get our WAS back, or bounce back and learn from this to find the perfect new R and quench our every desire.

But this just doesn't work. This all comes from a place of attachment. We are so attached to what we want that we can't bear to think we might not be able to get it.

I grieve the loss of my marriage. It hurts me to know I couldn't protect my kids from the pain of a broken home. I miss them when they go back to their mom's, the house goes from being filled with joy and life to seeming empty. It feels wrong to my soul that after centuries of families being torn apart by hardship and oppression that we now choose to do this to ourselves because we're willing to trade our families for the pursuit of happiness that appears to lie outside of our marriage in the arms of that other person.

But I am so grateful that God knocked the piss out of me and reminded me of my place, made it clear that my job wasn't to get everything I wanted but rather to serve Him, my family, my employer, and in the end to say thank you for this opportunity. My life will never fulfill my every desire or live up to the delusional aspirations I had when I was 18, but when I let go of that and focus my attention every day on what's in front of me it is so lavish I can't believe there was a time I demanded more before I could be content.

I got a little carried away and went from talking about lack of control to appreciation. My main point was about giving up the illusion of control. But appreciation has allowed me to find peace while my outer world crumbled. I wish that for everyone on these boards.


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Originally Posted By: Zues126
...appreciation has allowed me to find peace while my outer world crumbled.

Zues - This is probably a very stupid, 'well, duh' kind of question, but how do you do that? The appreciation thing? I tried the gratitude thing for a bit - count the working body parts when I get up, my amazing S, the roof over my head, my job, loved ones etc., but then I'd be the only single mum at a kids party and I'm looking around thinking - well, she's much more awful than me and her husband hasn't left her... I got tired of being grateful for all the things that everyone else took for granted and didn't have to work for, including their husbands. Which then made me very angry.
I don't want to hijack this thread so if you could pop over to my thread when you have a spare moment, would appreciate it.


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((Maybell)) you have been such a blessing to the people here.


It is not about what you feel should work in your M. It is about doing the work that gets the right results. Do what works!
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Hey 2016. You're right, gratitude isn't easy. But it is a habit that gets easier. Or maybe I just endured enough to get to where I had no alternative and had to become more appreciative to survive. But here are a couple of thoughts that guided me through:

Quote:
The mantra that saved my life was this: If God gives me my health, my children, my family, food to eat, a job to do, friends, gifts and talents that I can bring and share with the world, music to listen to, a nice car to drive, a comfortable bed to sleep in...ALL OF THIS...and I STILL look up at the sky and say "Screw You God, without the woman and relationship I want the way I want it when I want it I think all of this is total bull$hit and you can stuff it and take it all back!"...If I was truly THAT ungrateful- well, let's face it, one screwed up woman wouldn't really make me any less miserable.


This is similar to focusing on what you have to be appreciative for, but somehow this struck home for me. Here's one from about 2 years in:

Quote:
I've been existing in the space between.

What I mean is this. I was thinking about how much space is in the Universe. And I was thinking about how even things we feel as solid like this keyboard are actually made up of atoms of which 99.999999999999% are supposedly empty space. From where we sit it feels like our universe is filled up, and everything is solid. But that's really an illusion. It's practical enough for us to live our lives of course.

This is how I've felt about our lives. It's like we have these things that act on us, but most of our lives occurs in the space between. Take something that we might consider as unpleasant, like going to the dentist to get a cavity drilled. There are some true moments of discomfort, I am not disputing that a drill buzzing into a nerve doesn't cause very real unpleasantness. But when you zoom out the drilling makes up a very small percent of the actual time that the 'dentist' takes up in your life.

Making the phone call to schedule the appointment doesn't hurt. Driving to the dentist isn't painful, just floating down the road in a temperature controlled vehicle listening to some music or a good audiobook. Making small talk while the receptionist checks you in is easy. Sitting in the lounge and playing some addictive smart phone game or wondering how magazines are still in business is pleasant enough. Getting seated in the dental chair is no big deal. The gaws, biting down on stuff for x-rays, little poking and prodding and cleaning, all fine.

If you add up the seconds in which a drill is actually causing physical pain, it's probably about a minute. Certainly not life's finest joy, but not really a big deal. And there is no work to be done, no stress of deadlines or demands from your job, your children, etc. When you get down to it, it's almost a vacation. Yes, a moment of unpleasantness, but vacations have moments of unpleasantness too, like feelings claustrophobic on a crowded stuffy airplane that is forced to taxi for an extra half hour, or being hung over for those that drink, etc.

My point is that life has felt a lot like that lately too. Our problems in life are very real. They do impact us. But in the end, 99% of our life occurs in the space between. I can't fix the problems in my life, but I can demote them from authority figures that have the right to confiscate my ability to appreciate the rest of the time that my problems don't actually touch me. And if you've read my other recent posts (how we always have 83 problems no matter what, how life's biggest problems are unsolvable) I am starting to think that's the most important thing we do in our lives.


And finally, since I mentioned it above here is the last part (from a book I read):

Quote:
A man that traveled the world to see the Buddha. He finally got an audience, and proceeded to tell the Buddha all about his problems. His family problems. His crops. His finances. Etc. Buddha calmly nodded.

Finally the Buddha said "I can't help you". The man was upset and asked what he meant. Buddha replied "Everyone has problems. 83 problems to be exact. And there's nothing you can do about it. If you work hard you can solve one, but another will appear in it's place. For example, you're going to lose all of your loved ones at some point, we'll all die. Now that's a problem no one can do anything about."

So the man was furious and asked what the point of being wise was!

Buddha told him he could help with his 84th problem...the desire to not have any problems.



In conclusion, I just realized little by little that I didn't have to wait for every negative emotion and painful situation to leave my life. I could accept that fact there were some things I really didn't like and some things that didn't feel good, I just didn't have to let that overwhelm everything else I had.

I'll check out your thread too. Hang in.


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Excellent posting and I'm going to add it to the Resource Thread over on the MLC Forum.


Sit quietly, the answers will reveal themselves when you least expect them to.
The past is gone, the present is a gift and you need to focus on today, allow the future to reveal itself when it is ready.
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Hey Zues

I am glad I came over to newcomers because this is an excellent post. I agree. If someone that leaves wants to come back they will make it happen. And its a hard thing to accept upon acute BD. Its a hard thing to just let go. To release that control.

There are still times I look back and wonder if only I had not done or reacted in that way... Would it have made a difference?

And yes. Our projections do keep us attached.

I remember upon acute BD keeping a notebook filled with any interactions I had with ex. A positive column and a negative column, and analyzing what I did right and what I could have done differently. I remember how I would come on here and post because I could not keep my emotions... my anger and hurt hidden from him and in check. (In fact you were the one that would often respond to my posts filled with regret that I had ruined any chances of reconciliation smile Thank you btw)

I would reflect upon how there were spouses here willing to forgive their exes for infidelity and stealing and lying and how my ex would not forgive me for my reactions.

I gave him too much power. But I also gave myself too much power, and I am still having difficulty forgiving him and myself for our failure at marriage. He failed at commitment. But I failed at a pretty deep level as well and its hard to recognize what was me and what was reactions to a dynamic that was built
from both our inexperience and experiences.

I think you are right about the only way out of the pain is living in the present and practicing gratitude. But I struggle in the same ways 2016 does. But a good resolution none the less.

Happy New Year.

You are awesome

Hugs

J.


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Originally Posted by Cadet
Originally Posted by Btrow
Zues,

Awesome post. I hope Cadet is considering making it a sticky one. All newbies should read this over and over again.


I just added it to my list in the resources - keep adding good nuggets to make it even better.


Resource thread
http://www.divorcebusting.com/forum...ain=57819&Number=2578224#Post2578224




Outstanding post!!


M:16
T:21
H(me) 38
WW: 38
S11 D16 D19
Red Flags of A: March 2018
ILYBNILWY: August 4, 2018
Moved out of MBR: September 24, 2018
BD/Confirmation of A: October 31, 2018
D Filed: March 27, 2019
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