This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Stress Coping Styles

Though Accommodation is typical of most people and necessary to a degree, Accommodaters get extra-credit, having perfected their facade. They are in many ways the direct opposite of the Antihero, building a lifestyle based on the expectations of family and society. In contrast to the Antihero, they are symptomatically covert, suppressing and denying discontent by projecting onto their immediate family or more distant and faceless outside groups; any depression will likely manifest covertly. Their investment in their image and apparent lifestyle is greater than the other types and thus they have more to lose if their persona cracks. This motivates Accommodaters to seek and maintain rigid control over all aspects of life, which generates a need for structure to maintain their facade, thereby creating an intolerance for both multiple perspectives and ambiguity. To the Accommodater there are two ways of acting, thinking and believing: their way and the wrong way. They interpret opposition and differences as a threat against their carefully built facade. They are perpetually fearful that the world will discover that they are an imposter. Their need for structure and an autocratic level of control is their defense mechanism against discovery as well as against their anxiety. They are so skilled that they convince themselves, denying and suppressing reality into deep repression, becoming numb and oblivious to the pain and discontent of themselves and those around them.

In likeness to the Antihero, the Accommodater is blind to the interiorities and interests of his wife and children. But where this is due to a self-absorptive and depressive withdrawal in the Antihero, it is a result of the Accommodater’s lack of awareness; in pursuit of structure and control they dictate their children’s lives, monitoring behavior, activities, attire, and even belief systems, dismissing needs and desires that are incongruent with their facade.

Accommodaters may try to keep the alienator secret, first from the spouse, believing he can live the double life, and later, after bomb drop, he may either deny there is someone else to his spouse or not tell his extended family about his marriage troubles—even though he has moved out and may be living with the alienator. Those who do not keep the affair secret may instead try to replace their wife’s role with the alienator. Often an affair down alienator is about partying and irresponsibility, but the Accommodating MLCer may either select an alienator who wants to step into his wife’s role—often a woman who is jealous specifically of his wife, or an immature younger woman who dreams of being his trophy. He may choose a similar type of personality and may try to make her into the image of his wife and thus the two women may share basic physical characteristics, looking like a younger and older version of one another.

Breakdown of the facade may create the midlife crisis. For some this is through self-discovery, such as surfacing repressions, brought on by a traumatic trigger—death of a parent—for others it may come through external discovery which forces them to own up to or face their denial—a rebellious teenager calling him a sell-out. Traumatic triggers such as the death of someone close are simple to look back and find, but some may never determine the trigger that is from an external discovery because it may have been a seemingly obscure moment. The trigger settles deep inside, sprouting seeds of doubt and discontent. Though he dismisses the words, they grow and fester beneath the surface.

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Accommodater11 Comments

  1. My xh is an accommodater. he definatly kept tne alienator a secret and tried to live a double life, after bomb drop, he continued to deny there was an OW, he moved out and was living with the alienator while keeping everything a secret from his extended family. He lived with the alienator 1 year , seemingly after he realized this relationship would not be permanent, He kept their relationship going for another year,all while going on vacations, and hiding from me his wife, I was soo hurt I did file for divorce and we are divorced now. Now he buys a new house in my same neighborhood , the alienator does live with him. It seems all this is just soo in my FACE to hurt me even more!!

  2. RCR.. Thanks so much for this website and your blog.. MLC husband started his mlc in 2010 slowly , I saw behaviors as new wardrobe, toys and beginning of projection on me.. Bomb drop was October 28 2012..with me discovering the alienator at my house with him.. 20 yr girl he supervises at work.. I immediately threw him out clothes and all on front lawn.. Horrible.. At that time, I didn’t realize it was MLC.. He was Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde.. Projection big time, he would disappear for days to be with the alienator on our boat, in motel rooms, etc..I started reading books from Jim and Sally Conway and it all started to make sense.. I wish I had found your website way back.. But it has been extremely helpful.. Been living one day at a time and improving myself.. I am in therapy myself.. Now 6 mos later.. Alienator is still around but I don’t think it’s that ” in love” anymore.. Not sure, she does work with him and she still texts him at 4 am when he is sleeping in bed with me.. Ridiculous.. I found out she has no father and poor relationship with her mom.. I do feel empathy for her.. I believe she is young and naive and had no idea what she was getting into.. The excuses he gave me for the affair were textbook.. Anyway, these past few weeks , he has been much nicer and home more often.. He never moved out but did like I said, the escape and avoid was constant after bomb drop for months.. Our communication improves everyday.. And now I am seeing more overt depression with him.. We have been married 18 yrs and together 21.. We are 42 yrs old.. I take one day at a time and watch situation.. I try not to analyze but some days are harder.. I hope it will be over soon.. Because I think alienator is still around.. I did tell him MY feelings on cakewalking and that it is unacceptable to me and that I will not agree to lying.. He got angry but a few hours later, he was fine towards me.. Very weird.. But as I explained to him, I have to protect myself and my self respect..

  3. Help, Accommodater, this is my mlcer. Swopped me for a younger model. How do you cope or deal with someone in total denial, or has no empathy with me or his sons. I married this man 34 years ago. Did I ever really know him. Two years on from bomb drop, and a court appearance, and another one pending he still will not deal with anything. Won’t communicate with me directly or use a solicitor!!! Thanks for being there this site is wonderful, and has made me realise this crisis is not my fault. We are victims (not in the sense that I am playing the victim) of his crisis. Trying to focus on me and my boys but its not easy. I will continue to stand for my marriage whatever the outcome. Britoverthepond.

    • Just to let you know, I moved your comment from the site map since it seems this is where you intended to post it. But I had to recreate it, so the original date you posted it is gone.

      You knew him, the MLCer is different. You cope by letting-go and Accepting that this is how it is for now. MLC is a process and a person has to go through it–and it’s yucky. If it weren’t yucky, it wouldn’t by midlife CRISIS, but maybe a midlife transition. You cope by coping with yourselves and letting him spin and deal with himself and by not taking his antics personally. Easier to type than do!

  4. This describes my H quite perfectly. After reading this, I went back and read RCR's article on Accommodation. I am approaching year 5 and return/leave 3 of what I believe to be my H's MLC. I had read the Accommodation article in past, likely several times (this site has been a blessing), yet after this blog article, I am left with this thought: What if I was the ultimate accommodation for him? What if the creation of our family was the ultimate accommodation for him? What if that is why he returns only to leave again – because WE and the life we created together are so far removed from his true Self? I do believe my H loves me and I live in Faith, yet I could not deny the thought.

    • In many ways marriage and family are the ultimate Accommodation. That doesn’t mean the marriage is not real for them. It doesn’t mean eros was false and there was only storge. Accommodation is a normal part of development–we all make accommodations. Just like in marriage we make sacrifices and compromises and negotiate. MLCers may eventually come up with the idea that if they did all this accommoadting–living their life according to everyone else’s dreams and expectations–then their marriage must be that way too. And there may very well be points within that idea which are valid. But marriage takes a person beyond their family of raising to a new creation with their partner.

      But for Accommodaters it’s more than the normal and even healthy accommodation we use as part of our development. Accommodaters deal with stress through structure. They try to fit the world into their user’s manual.
      Even if parts of being married to you were an ultimate accommodation, that doesn’t mean it was wrong or invalid. We are supposed to grow through accommodation and into greater independence (or Self-dependence). Accommodating is a tool that has valid uses. Accommodaters in stress try to use the tool too broadly.

  5. This describes my husband too, more so than anything I've read or heard yet. He's been in a five-year affair, and I've known about it for two years. He is about projection, control, and denial, and will still try to pretend that the affair isn't happening. This is especially true when it comes to the extended family. Is it strange to say that I think his MLC started about 15 years ago, long before this affair? Can it go on that long?

    Incidentally, even the bits and pieces fit. I've been perplexed because so many MLC'ers seem to "affair down," yet that doesn't describe the alienator in my story, who, other than the affair, is quite responsible and respectable. However, she is also intensely competitive with me and other women, and also quite immature. I have definitely had the sense that he was replacing not just me, but also his ex-wife who shared some behavior traits with this woman.

    • The alienator is immature and responsible?
      Well, people can compartmentalize their lives. She may be responsible in a career and still an Affair Down for relationships.
      Her need to be competitive could be indicative of self-esteem issues that compels her to prove herself not by being the best she can, but instead by tearing others down. She may have an issue with envy.
      Jealousy is possessive–that’s mine and you can’t have it.
      Envy is when a person wants what someone else has and doesn’t want that other person to possess the item. If her affair is about envy–regarding you or women in general–it’s not about your husband for her at all. She could be having an affair to get back at women either to feel superior or as a retaliation for some real or perceived offense. Some women who have been cheated on do that. They blame the affair partner rather than the betrayer and they are angry at themselves for being betrayed–to self-hatred. They think they were weak and then project that onto other women.

      I’m not saying that is what this alienator is or is not doing, it’s just something to think about.

      • Holy cow! You just described my husband's AP to a tee! As more time passes, I realize that they both are very sad and unhappy people, who for whatever reasons, project this image of themselves to the world as a strong, sane and logical couple. They couldn't help falling in love with each other..LOL! We aren't divorced yet, but should be by summer's end. They don't live with each other, but they work together and play together. We have three kids, 12, 15, and 17. The kids know about her, but my husband refuses to introduce her to them or discuss his involvement with her. He just says over and over …I didn't leave your mom for B. Whatever. If he thinks our kids just need more time in order to accept her, then he's more delusional than I thought! Did I mention that her kids are 6 and 8? And boy, howdy is she Jealous of me!!!

  6. Yes, this is my husband. OW is being kept secret. Can't even find her on the internet. Her kids who are in their twins neither. So what does that mean? All kids are on FB or active in some sort of internet community. Only thing is that she looks in nothing like me. I don't think he will try to make her look like me. That would be impossible too.The strange thing is that she is in every aspect the kind of woman he normally disgusts.
    He told me that after being 23 years with me it was a normal thing to "have something completely different". She is really an affair down in every aspect. A needy woman who have had a difficult life, borderliner, hippie like, no education, dressing like an 18 year old while she is almost 50. I guess she is hoping for a better life now.

  7. For this type of MLCer, is it better that the secret of the OW comes out for all to know? Would this hurry the process along? My H is a low, energy wallower. He has some characteristics of both anithero and accommodator. I can't peg him in either. Biggest sign to me is he has withdrawn emotionally in every way from me. NEVER wants to talk emotion only facts.

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