I have a lot of respect for Dr Phil and his show. But I have always been skeptical of MLC episodes while also wanting MLC episodes.

Would an MLCer agree to go on the show?
I assume they would likely be in denial if they did and it would be the spouse thinking MLC. Fair enough.

But what stage would such an agreeing MLCer be in?
Early stage Replayers want out and many are in Monster. This is the most devastating period and appear the most hopeless to both insiders and outsiders. The general public would look upon this situation with disbelief and I don’t think most MLCers at this stage would participate. If they did, it might be to spew Monster in public for the purpose of destroying their spouse’s hope as an act of public humiliation.

What sort of couple-help can Dr. Phil give when one partner refuses help or refuses to give up an alienator?
So I picture an MLCer who agrees to participate will be at a later stage.
The second couple on the episode that aired, Elaine and Miles, was at this stage. They have a chance to rebuild their marriage. But at this point, neither is sure if it is possible and they do not yet want to reconcile their marital relationship, rather they just don’t feel right about ending it yet and it might be better for the kids… I don’t think those are good reasons to continue to remain married, but I think those are good reasons to stay while getting to better reasons. If those reasons get a couple to work on their relationship since we might as well since we’re here now, then they have a benefit. But the couple does need to work through those starter motives toward relationship rebuilding motives, otherwise they will remain emotionally divorced.

Could going on the show harm a Stand because it might be a blatant statement of Standing?
I was an open Stander, so it works for some situations. But not all. And making such a public statement as going on Dr. Phil might not have benefited my Stand either–or maybe it would have helped. I didn’t go on during the crisis, so I don’t know. But such a concern was a main reason I did not submit my situation during the crisis. Sweetheart wanted to be married to me, but at the same time he would not give up the alienator. Sometimes he wanted to and was pulled back by the guilt and emotional blackmail and sometimes he refused. That sort of situation needs a follow-up episode–a few years later. MLCers in the early stages usually refuse counseling and when they do not, the purpose is often to get their spouse to accept it’s over. Standing teaches to accept the old relationship is dead, but dead doesn’t mean over because rebirth is a goal of Standing. Early stage MLCers are not willing to accept or admit that, at least not in many portions of their cycling.
We aren’t supposed to mention midlife crisis to our MLCers; no sharing my site, books, MLC literature… A lot of the advice for the betrayed spouse as a Stander needs to be in private. That’s not because of confidentiality, but because it is not meant for the MLCer–don’t show your hand. That means the viewer will not get that information. Dr. Phil can put it up on the web, but should he talk about it openly on the show with the MLCer listening?

Dr. Phil told Tony and Jill they should get a divorce.
Is that what he said? Did he tell them they should or was his statement more an acknowledgment of the reality of the situation? I don’t think he was condoning the situation either way. If Jill is fine with having a relationship with him outside of marriage, then who’s to judge that? She sounded as though she would have been willing to remain boyfriend and girlfriend and avoid a legal marriage contract; she was upset that Tony mislead her with the legal vows when he didn’t want to make them. Given that their marriage lasted 4 years and he started saying he did not want to be married after 2 years, this may be accurate rather than a rewriting of history and cycling. Sometimes there is a psychological barrier to the legal or religious commitment of a contractual marriage that is not present with a common-law marriage from co-habitation. Some of you may not approve of such a relationship, but no one needs your approval.
I don’t think Sweetheart mislead me when he said he wanted to marry me. I think he was rewriting and re-remembering history when soon after Bomb Drop he told me he had wanted out in 1997–forgetting that we did not get married until 1998. I am not convinced that is the case with Tony and Jill. I don’t think she pressured him, but that does not mean that he still felt and perceived pressure. They may have been fine as a non-married, cohabiting couple. Will they now, after having been married…I don’t know. I think that adds a challenge, but that is dependent on what they want and what they are willing to negotiate.

So what do you think?
Would an MLCer agree to go on the show?
But what stage would such an agreeing MLCer be in?
What sort of couple-help can Dr. Phil give when one partner refuses help or refuses to give up an alienator?
Could going on the show harm a Stand because it might be a blatant statement of Standing?
Dr. Phil told Tony and Jill they should get a divorce, or did he?

Series NavigationDr. Phil’s Midlife Crisis Episode: My Feelings About the Show and GuestsDoes Dr. Phil Understand Midlife Crisis?


Dr. Phil Midlife Crisis Episode: Questions & Answers1 Comment

  1. I wrote the Dr. Phil show several months after bd. They actually emailed me back and asked if my h and alienator would appear. I asked h….he said no. So much for my 15 minutes. Actually I was just desperate at that time to try to work on our marriage. H did not.

  2. When I first spoke with the Dr. Phil producer, he asked if I could find couples who would agree to go on with the younger alienator. I said that I would advise anyone coming from me to not go on if the alienator was included. The producer accepted that and took the alienator attending off the table.
    But as you experienced, most MLCers won't go anyway. I think that is why the producer asked me to help. You'd think they'd have plenty of submissions and they probably do. You submitted, but since he woulnd't go your submission went nowhere, I bet a lot are like that.
    My recent post Dr Phil’s Midlife Crisis Episode- My Feelings About the Show and Guests

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