Ask a Question – Quick Answers
1. My MLCer…
married the affair partner.
is a narcissist.
is having a baby with the alienator.
Pick whatever it is about your situation that makes it seem (or you feel) that your situation is a special case of greater than most MLC challenges.
Should I keep standing?
Or is my situation an exception to Standing?
I get asked questions like this all the time and I do not offer specific or personalized answers because this is a personal choice. But I can offer you a general answer to the question Can I keep Standing?. That answer is YES! I cannot (or perhaps should not) tell you or anyone what choice to make; that is not my place. I can offer advice or thoughts on what I might do in the same situation, but regardless there are other aspects of your more broad situation that would still differ from mine and there are no rules that requires you to Stand.
Standing is a personal choice.
Marriage to the Alienator
Marriages that start as affairs have very little chance of lasting even a few years which means that your MLCer may be divorced soon and perhaps will be interested in reconciling in the more distant future. In Will the MLCer Marry the Alienator? I review some of the statistics (which vary) for this happening and for such a marriage lasting.
A true narcissist—Narcissistic Personality Disorder—is a particular challenge, but you love that person and have been loving them for many years. It is still important to ask yourself the important why questions that are so often delivered with an intent to imply you should not want that person. The question why is not the problem, ask it of yourself, but ask it neutrally; it is important that you know why and that you review both the pros and cons of the situation.
Additional Posts About Narcissism
A Baby with the Alienator
A baby born to an MLCer and an alienator enters this world in a precarious situation, but why does that mean you must step aside? Oh, I know the challenges—a constant reminder, continuing presence of the alienator, what to tell the innocent baby someday, who are you to the baby…and countless more. It is not an easy path, but neither is the alternative for many.
Basically, if you want to reconcile with your MLCer and rebuild your marriage, Stand; do not let anyone else make that decision for you—including your MLCer. My point: some circumstances such as a baby with the alienator or marriage to the alienator feel as though there is no chance your MLCer will ever want to reconcile and so you might as well give up. Please do not give up, rather follow your own heart and make your own choice. Stand until you are ready to stop, want to stop, reconcile or as long as you desire.
2. My MLCer completely ignores me & is in love with the alienator. How do I stand?
Or is my situation an exception to Standing?
Welcome to the typical world of an MLC Left Behind Spouse. I will also disagree that your MLCer is in-love with the alienator. Your MLCer is in-fatuated with the alienator and in-fatuation is what most people mistakenly think it is to be in-love—sappy movies perpetuate this fiction. Your MLCer and the alienator are in the throes of in-fatuation hormones, so they really do think they are soul mates and this is real. They are ecstatic because to them this is a fantasy come true.
Good News: In-Fatuation fades.
Bad News: In-Fatuation can last up to 3 years, though even longer if an affair is illicit.
Good News: In-Fatuation can be shortened with exposure and when there is a spouse in the picture to create conflict in the affair. I am not saying that the spouse actively creates conflict, rather the presence or idea of someone else causes the alienator to be jealous; it is the affair partners who create the conflict.
You Stand by being married—that does not mean you pursue your spouse and remind them about their vows, it means you stay committed to fidelity even though your spouse is not.
Stand by doing your Mirror-Work; I know it’s hard to see this as an opportunity, but shift your attitude to that angle. Work on healing from the trauma of the affair (yes, that is possible even while the affair is ongoing), but also on personal changes. You aren’t perfect and maybe there have been things you wanted to do through the years, but you neglected them in favor of your family. So now is your time to do things for your health, well-being and mindfulness.
Stand by accepting MLC and the process of MLC. That means you need to accept that your MLCer may ignore you; keep working on your changes. Maybe those changes will attract your MLCer’s curiosity and they will initiate a contact.
3. Is there always an event or trigger that causes the MLC to begin?
Usually? Maybe, I cannot say with any certainty.
I still cannot figure out any initiating trigger event for Chuck’s midlife crisis. He was scared and perhaps a bit upset when I was laid off with a semester left of graduate school, but the tuition was covered by the severance package and we were given 8 months’ notice before the lay-off; so we had time to prepare. He was frustrated when I initially laid out my budget for staying in school, but I don’ recall him going on about it. That is the only thing that really hit my radar though.
A general dissatisfaction accompanying a certain age can be enough to trigger MLC. Or there could be a trigger of which you are unaware—maybe something happened at work that you are either unaware of or seems so level to you that it doesn’t figure into your review of past events.
An affair could even be a trigger rather than a symptom—and then it may become a symptom. Men and women have affairs without being in MLC, so such a situation could tip a vulnerable person into MLC.
4. My MLCer now admits we had a good marriage and because if this is overwhelmed with guilt, but still no change of direction. Does this clarity mean it is not a midlife crisis?
Progress in MLC is not what you think it is; it is not emotional or relational like you want, it is forward movement in the MLC tunnel and that does not mean things are improving for your situation. MLC gets worse before it gets better.
No, it does not mean it’s not a midlife crisis. This clarity is not uncommon; some MLCers exhibit it regularly, some have it and yet bury it—bringing back the fog. As for the guilt, MLCers are known for feeling overwhelmed by their guilt; it is one of the things that enables them to continue running. Each person is different, so for some they feel unworthy and that they are sacrificing for you—you will be better off without them. Others cycle back-and-forth because you are like an addiction and they cycle between clarity and fog.
Yes, some MLCers are in denial about the state of the marriage (before MLC), but there are also many why openly show denial, but it’s an act—often to convince themselves as well as others and still others make other excuses for their actions.
Some differences may have to do with Contact Type, but then again, they may not since so much less is known about Distant Contacters. My personal experience is with a Clinging Boomerang and Chuck cycled emotionally, but he soon stopped making it about a bad marriage. There were about 6 weeks between Bomb Drop and his moving out and by the time he left he had stopped blaming me. Sure, there was occasional blame and projection, but he admitted this was his crisis and had nothing to do with me. He expressed regret for his actions—actually actions he was planning since his affair was emotional with plans for it to become physical. But he displayed a compulsion—an inability to stop the progress even though it seemed he did not want it. Sure, the MLCer part of him wanted to try the fantasy with the MLCer, but it was like his core Self still had a voice and in many ways this caused even greater turmoil; this inner war caused an extreme fear in him that he was going insane.
MLCers are not just Mr. Hyde; Dr. Jekyll, who has clarity, is fighting to get control and sometimes they are at a stalemate with neither having full control.