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sandi2 Offline OP
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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.


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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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.


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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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.


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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.


Last edited by sandi2; 01/13/19 04:24 PM.

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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Wonderful Sandi.

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

Thank you for this.


BH: 36 WW:33
M: 2
Relationship: 6 years. Dday: Aug 2018
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1st mention of D: 30/09, 2nd Mention 17/02/2019
LRT: Oct 2018
WW & AP: EA & PA since June 2018 (Moved country and in with AP Feb 2019)
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Thank you, Sandi.

Like Manta, I do hope to be here one day, but weíll see.


M: 36
W: 30
T: 9
M: 7

S6 (OS)
S7mo (YS)

ILYBINILWY BD: Feb. Ď18

W Wants S / D BD: 1/4/19

H / W still in-house

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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.


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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.


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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.


Me:49 XW:41, M:18 years, Kids: S18,S14
BD:JULY 2017, W moved out: DEC 2017
Filed for D: APR 2019, D Final: JULY 2019
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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.


M: 42
H: 43
Twins age 5
WAH in summer
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