How do I know when he is returning “for real” as opposed to returning only temporarily in order to leave again?
You don’t and neither does your MLCer. Oh, sometimes they will know he doesn’t mean it and that he’s planning to continue an affair in secret while living at home. But there are attempts where his intention is to end the affair and come home for good. If this happens in the beginning he will refuse to cut-off contact with the alienator because he believes they can be just friends. At later returns he will agree to end it and fail—since one little email couldn’t hurt. Or he will fail because the withdrawal from the alienator addiction is too great. The alienator will likely refuse to abide by a No-Contact. He may intend to stay away, but she refuses and the relationship continues since temptation is a constant presence rather than a constant memory.

Can you tell me what it’s like when they come out of it?
It’s difficult to give information about coming out of the MLC fog because unlike the beginning, MLCers vary as the crisis proceeds and there are many variations on the exit. But it is even more difficult because of the cycling. MLCers cycle the most in the beginning and at the end when the lights at the tunnel’s entrance and exit are most visible—as they disconnect and then reconnect. They may change their mind more frequently and come home and move out again as they face their fears. But since cycling is subjective and their fears may yield mood swing cycles throughout the crisis it can be difficult to know if what you are seeing is the start of the end and if that is indeed what you are seeing, your MLCer at this point may run back into earlier stages when they face their fears. But if your MLCer has not gone through Liminality, what seems like a Reconnection is more likely a Touch-n-Go and thus not yet real; MLCers do not reconnect in Replay or go directly from Replay to Reconnection.

Consider your MLCers contact type.

Clinging Boomerang
Because of their constant presence and desire for reassurance it may seem as though your MLCer is reconnecting from the beginning. Though there may be an alienator—and he may be living with her—your MLCer is constantly sending what seems to be positive messages. He doesn’t want a divorce, she’s only temporary, he’s afraid of losing you. He moved out while professing love for you and saying he doesn’t want to do it and that maybe he will be back by the end of the weekend. You may spend days and even evenings together; for some of you physical activity will continue. MLCers do that in the beginning when cycling; Clinging Boomerangs may do it throughout the crisis.

But looking at all of those things and interpreting them as good signs is like looking at a chocolate bar and seeing calories—overkill. By interpreting these normalcies with a positive value judgment you are showing expectation. You are interpreting them as signs of progress in the MLC tunnel.

That is the challenge with a Clinging Boomerang. They dump cookie crumbs on you all the time. Now find the needle in the cookie crumb stack. It is much more difficult to determine if something is progress when similar things are occurring on a regular basis. Best to let-go of the analysis. I spent Sweetheart’s crisis thinking he was coming out or already out of Replay because of all of those good things. I fell into the trap of thinking he was farther ahead in the tunnel.

Most MLCers are Boomerangs—Clinging Boomerangs are a subset. Boomerangs are a regular presence in your life Contact with a Boomerang is regular—daily, every few days, weekly… It may vary from positive and even cordial to Monster, with some MLCers being consistently positive or Monster, while others cycle. The difference is that those who are not clinging are not seeking reassurance—at least not to the same degree as a Clinging Boomerang. Their interactions may feel neutral or indifferent. You may notice changes in the quality of caring within your communications as they progress through MLC and from touch-n-goes to reconnections. But those changes may not always be positive—so an MLCer might go from neutral indifference to Monster. Why? They are feeling their progress and they become scared, so they test you or even try to scare you off. Some will shift toward positive interest and some will start cycling in both directions. There is no sure indicator, but change in the qualities of their behavior is the main clue. Some may become a Clinging Boomerang during touch-n-go or reconnective phases. Look for an increase in cake-eating changes in the quality of interactions with you and the children and changes in family and friendship patterns. Are they reconnecting with friends, are they disconnecting with new MLC-friends? Are they showing indirect positive interest in you? Ex. Offering assistance with a chore or household task. Remember that these signs may start as part of touch-n-goes and will become more pronounced or last longer as the MLCer progresses.

Off-n-On & Vanisher
This situation may be clearer than in the more common situation with a Boomerang. MLCers disconnect first from the spouse and other friends and family after the spouse; reconnections are in reverse of that order with the spouse being last—though some MLCers will not follow this pattern. You may first hear that your MLCer has contacted preMLC friends and then connecting more with your kids; contacts to you may become more frequent. But that does not mean these communications will be more cordial, they may be pleasant or just as difficult since they will still be confused and frightened.

There may be Touch-n-Go or Reconnective periods where your MLCer seems like a Boomerang—a few weeks or even a couple of months in some cases. But they may withdraw again. These cycles are part of the process. This type of an MLCer is better at withdrawing into their cave where hopefully they are processing.

Series NavigationPremature Returns


When is it Real?13 Comments

  1. My H dropped the bomb late june 2011.We reconciled from Nov.-Feb 2012. At that point he went to see and old girlfriend whom he had been in contact on facebook in Nyc. When I found out, he said he loved and needed me. I feel I may have overacted by being emotional and telling him to leave. he now lives with his mom but because we have kids he stays overnight 3 nights a week. I limit contact but he calls at least once aday. He bought a motorcycle but does not ride it much, got contacts but does not wear them, bought other toys but does not use them. He does say he wants a divorce but the says if you want to get rid of me just do this or that.. How do I proceed. i have told him that I believe in our marriage and want it to work but other thant that I am working on the self focus you describe. You sit has been so helpful for giving me understanding into my journey.

    • So he says he wants a divorce, but he also said he wanted and needed you? Or was there a typo and did you mean he doesn\’t want a divorce? The context confused me and it could be either way. It sounds as though if he wants a divorce, he is not taking action about it.
      You say you want to work on your marriage, but what sort of actions are you taking to do that? What is he willing to do?
      Is he still seeing this recent alienator, or is that over?
      If he is saying he doesn\’t want a divorce and he\’s not seeing an alienator, is he willing to go t counseling. That doesn\’t mean counseling will work if he\’s early MLC, but it can still help you and if he goes even to just one session with you, you might get some answers–not diredt, but from his mood and behavior.
      It sounds as though he could be a Clinging Boomerang.

      Are you on the forum? I recommend that you start a thread over there and I can then assing you a mentor and with more from your story everyone can offer more insight.

      • no he does not want to work on the marraige. He is telling everyone that it is over. He does not tell anyone about the ow. They knew each other in high school in Ireland. They reconnected on facebook about a year ago. he was doing well in the reconciliation until he saw her in person. The he changed his mind again and does not love me, she is his soulmate. She told him she has never been happy without him. He sounded genuine when he first told me he loved me, needed me but I think when he had time to think he went back in the tunnel.

  2. my mlcer came to visit on wednesday again, a week after our divorce was finalised. He seemed very happy, and whenever he visits, i either get money or gifts. On sunday morning when i spoke to him, he told me he was getting ready to go to church. I was quite sad, that one can commit adultery and go to church as if is okay as he now has his divorce and can live his immoral lifestyle. However i did not say anything as i am not there to judge him but to hope and pray that the blinkers will come off his eyes. My situation seems like more than mlc. Many who know my husband are inclined to think that black magic charms are being used on him, but God is greater than anything.

    • Why do you think it seems like more than MLC?
      The general population does not realize how bad MLC is. It's terrible and I find that many LBSs go through a point where they think there situation must be the worst of them.
      From what you posted your MLCer sounds like a typical Close Contacter to me–Clinging Boomerang possibly given his words to you at the finalization of the divorce.

      • he is visiting again on sunday. Our daughter is the tough one who does not take any nonsense. He is now trying to re establish friendship with her. From not wanting contact with us, he is visiting mutual friends and trying to be the advisor to the family with decisions we have to make, he is cuming to show us his new car on sunday, i am certain that it was bought on her name as he is over extended with thd two bonds we have. He is very calm and friendly. Alienator seems to have gotten sumthing right after 4vrs. But then his home is the local pub and her home a place to sleep.

  3. my mlc stil with alienator, but the caring man is coming to the fore, he wil assist both my son and i financially and he is paying the vet bills, these are things he would not have done 4ys ago, We did not matter then, but since divorce was finalised, he had a change of attitude and we are seeing the caring man again when he comes to visit, he has never in the past two years mentioned a desire to return home. But he is always voicing his fears of being in a shelter when he can no longer work. Its 5yrs and even tho him and alien have lots of fights, he seems very content to be cotrolled even tho he is the bossy type, . He has not progressed an inch. He is happy to see his family and he is happy with his new lifestyle in pubs and female attention. Even tho he claims to be at his
    happiest and it is obvious when he is with us as a family. I feel for this man. But my hands are tied. He is the only person that can help himseld

  4. A little over a year since the speech! Left to live with ow in OCR this year ’13 was gone 6 weeks constant contact with me and grown up kids begged to come home full of remorse tears left ow stayed at our sons a week came home told me yesterday he still loves ow and was happy with her gone again !! Thought he was through tunnel was so convincing for fist ten days left his job and said he had no contact ow ,,, soo confused help where is he at? Any advice pls x he told me he was going to his mums!!!

  5. my mlc has also started going to old friends and family. He is more concerned over his dogs and us and wil offer financial assistance. He spent xmas day with us at our daughters. It is almost 5yrs with ow and we were shocked to see the ow name tatooed on his forearm. This cannot be older than 2mnts bcoz we have seen him 2mnths ago. He is so happy with ow but he spends nights out in local pub chatting to bartenders while ow is sleeping and goes to sleep when ow goes to work. He says they are like a big family at pub, and he is bored there4 he spends so much time at pub as he has nothing to occupy himself with. When the dog was sick and i called him, he told me that he has a different lifestyle and cannot jump whenever i need help. Next day he apologised and said that he was 2ookm away from me and would gladly have helped with dog had he been close. I told him like his lifestyle has changed without us, ours have changed without him. Told him that he could notice on xmas that we did not provide for him beforehand, but we accomodated him and fitted him in with our plans. We will always care and accomodate him, but we have moved on too. Well quite frankly for a 54yr old to walk around with womans name tatooed on your arm, i do not foresee any major changes not after 5yrs. They fight so much yet both r clining 2 the affair. If God does not intervene this wil go on 4ever.

  6. Hi my husband told me he had been having a 5 month affair with his pa. he left me and our 2 kids and moved straight in with her. Then 3 weeks later he came home saying he was sorry etc , he was home 4 days then left again. He has now gone back to live with the other woman and all the kids get is 1 text a night saying he loves and misses then but he never asks them questions. I have filed for divorce as I think he is in debt but he won't tell me. I think this is a mlc as he has walked away from all his friends and family aswell and he hasn't asked for his post or any of his stuff. The ow is the same age as him but has never been married and has no kids. When I last saw him he was dead in the eyes and wouldn't look at me and he is always agitated. Does this sound like a mlc to you?

    • Given what you have, YES it sounds like MLC, but you have not given a lot of information, so I could certainly be wrong.
      I recommend that you read the articles and join the forum–and post your story. Participating in the forum may be the best thing to do for most people because not only will you get a variety of answers, you will also get support from others who truly understand what is happening–or at least know (let's face it, do we really understand MLC?) from experience.

  7. Hi it is almost seven years with ow. Many crushes on others,but still living with her. He is a much nicer person now. More serene almost like he was before meeting her. She apparently cries out to her late mom on fb She misses her, as she is only person who does not judge her. Yet they still together as a couple. When we attended his aunts funeral, he presented to still live at home, when his uncles asked where he is residing now
    He seems so calm and its so nice to see him that way, yet I resent it, as every one thinks that she has brought the changes out in him. We still see very little of him, a phone call now and then. I get a call at month end that he paid the money into the account. Furthermore it looks as if he has settled for that lifestyle. Only God can change him, as he is a very proud man. He will try to make it seem like it work, not to admit that it was a mistake

  8. Kenda I believe that my x has lost his mind. This woman sleeps around all the time and he begs her to come back. His psychologist asked him if he does not feel that she is destroying his life and he said he is totally destroyed. from a successful strong man, he is an insecure person. Psychiatrist said he ticked all five boxes for major depression. When he was home for five months and took meds he did well. She kept contacting to help with this and whatever and then I asked him to leave as he can’t live here and sleep there two three nights a week. They are in huge financial difficulties as she does not work. She also tells her friends that he beats her for partying without him and drives her to other men. I do not know the man in his body and I hate what he has become. eight years and still going on with the roller coaster rider. If ever he is totally away from her I shall be there to help him as for a relationship not ever he was the first and last. I do hope that he uses his meds and gain his sanity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge