I see more and more LBSs struggling with this as we see more new sitches. And some of the LBWs seem to struggle with this more than LBHs, but LBHs struggle with it too. That struggle is that some feel that DBing is not showing love to their WAS. And many fear that will mean that the LBS will run for the door faster, push for D faster, etc.
I learned from AnotherStander in my sitch, and reading his advice to others, that you cannot nice your WAS back. Every one of us LBSs that come to this forum think we can. Even if we say in words that we understand that we can't, our actions belie us. And when we get called out by the vets on this forum for this "nicing them back" behavior we usually default to: "But I love him/her, I would do this for anyone that I love."
Nice sentiment. But it is a false narrative. Why do I say that? Because we aren't doing those nice things to try to win them back out of our love for them, we are doing them out of fear. Many of those behaviors have been absent from our MRs long before BD happened. Did we not love our spouse prior to BD? So "But I love him/her, I would do this for anyone that I love" isn't really true is it? The thing is maybe, just maybe, if you had done those "nice" behaviors all along then you wouldn't be in your situation. I say maybe because that may or may not be true. There are plenty of D'd LBSs that were good spouses before their lying, cheating, walkaway up and left them. There are no guarantees in life.
But for sake of argument, let's say that you could have prevented your sitch with those loving behaviors. The fact is, that now it is too late. After BD the last thing you should be doing is trying to smother your WAS with kindness, loving actions, and being nice to win them back. I often say that the last thing a LBS should do after being told that their WAS wants less of them, is to try to give their WAS more of the LBS! And I think a lot of this has to do with how we, as a society, think about love.
I've admitted before in this forum that my W and I are big fans of a certain bald TV therapist from Texas. If that doesn't give it away then let me just say that his first name rhymes with pill. One of the things that I've learned from watching his show is that many people will do the most unloving things in the name of love. They will ignore their husband's sexual abuse towards female members of the family in the name of love. They will enable drug and alcohol addicted children in the name of love. I've seen extremely obese guests that struggle with their weight because their spouse or someone close to them is happy to fetch 8000 calories of food a day for them in the name of love.
Ignoring deviant criminal behavior, and behaviors that will eventually kill someone, is not loving. At all. But many of those guilty of those things try to explain them away as "unconditional love". Maybe we've seen parents like this. With completely bratty, spoiled rotten, terribly behaved kids that they refuse to discipline because they "love" them.
I argue that these people are doing these things out of fear. Fear of what? Fear of having that person out of their life. "If I don't support him through the criminal behavior he may end up in prison!" "If I don't enable their drinking, drugging, severe overeating, then they may not like me anymore!" "If I discipline my kids they may not like me!" And a lot of LBSs fall into the same trap. They act out of fear, catering to their WAS, and then claim they are doing it in the name of love.
There is a sticky that every LBS spouse should read: You will not die It is so vitally important for LBSs to understand that what they are going through will not kill them. You will survive and even flourish again. Even if you end up D'd! Many others have gone through it before, and as long as they put the work in, have moved on healthy and happy with their lives. You can drop the fear and move yourself forward. While not ideal, there are things worse than D in this life! In fact, because life is short, do you really want to waste time holding onto someone for dear life that wants to walkaway?
But back to "but I love them". I love the definition of love found in I Corinthians 13. I won't quote it. But I can say that the definition found there is more consistent with letting them go, than trying to get them to stay. That might surprise some people. But true love is letting someone that wants to go, go. And not trying to hold them against their will. Loving them enough to want them to be happy, if that means they are happy without you, or that they are happy with someone else. Some of the best insight I got in my own sitch is the perspective that my W was just trying to be happy. Love is not selfish. And if you think about it, trying to convince, coerce, trick, or manipulate someone to stay with you, that doesn't want to stay with you, is not loving, it is selfish.
So, if you stayed with this post this long, let me try to sum it up. Holding on to a WAS for dear life is not love, it is fear. Fear will cause you to act in selfish ways, not loving ways. True love says you want your spouse to be happy no matter what that means.
Do you love being married to your WAS more than you actually love your WAS? I think most that hold on for dear life would have to answer yes to this if they were being honest.
Remember, it is okay to love yourself! And that means you won't tolerate being treated poorly by a WAS.
I Corinthians 13:4,5 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way;
M(52), W(53),D(17) M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017 Ring and Piecing since March 2018