You should already know not to link Hope with Expectation, but what about probability? Are you linking hope with probability so that if the odds of marital recovery are low your hope is low and if the odds are high, your hope is high? By odds I mean some set of general statistical data. Technically I don’t have that sort of data, but suppose it was out there and that 20% of MLC marriage recovered. What would that mean?

The overall divorce rate is 40-some percent. But if you divide married couples into groups, the rates vary.

  • Odds of divorce are higher for those who marry under 25.
  • Odds of divorce are lower if the partners come from intact families—their parents did not divorce.
  • There is a current trend for higher divorce rates among those without college degrees.
  • Odds are higher if you cohabitate with your spouse before marriage.

The same is true of the general population of MLC marriages. There are different subgroups with different odds.

  • Standers vs. Kick’em to the Curbers
  • Standers who learn about Standing vs. Standers who have no support or resources
  • LBSs who detach & Self-Focus vs. LBSs who hold pity parties
  • Lurkers vs. Forum Particpants

And what about the types of MLCers? Might there be a difference in recovery rates between

  • High vs. Low-Energy
  • Number of alienators
  • Clinging Boomerangs vs. Boomerangs vs. In-n-Outs vs. Vanishers
  • Severity of Family of Origin and other historical issues
  • Addictions

And what about the alienator?

  • Degree of Affair Down
  • Degree of Emotional Blackmail
  • Addictions
  • Pregnancy

And what about the MLCer’s support system…how much encouragement from family and friends (not new MLC friends) is the MLCer getting to leave the marriage?

  • Family supporting MLC and infidelity vs. unsupportive
  • Relationship between in-laws and LBS

This website is unique. Most people do not choose to Stand and the resources and support for Standing are thus limited. So if you include all those kick’em to the curb LBSs, you probably will come up with more divorces than reconciliations. But what about those who don’t kick’em to the curb, but also do not find this website or other resources and support. They don’t learn what to do, how to detach, the why’s of MLC and how’s of infidelity. Maybe their reconciliation rate is higher than the kick’em to the curb group, but it may still be low. Those two groups are most people. Those of you reading this are statistically insignificant, but your rates of reconciliation should still be higher than for the other two groups; that just seems logical.

But now let’s factor in the midlife range of 2-7 years. Suppose most situations show the first (tiny) signs of recovery at 3 years. Now don’t run with that number, I’m just pulling it out of nowhere to use as an example. But suppose at 4.5 years you aren’t seeing those same signs. What are your thoughts?

 My MLCer is really gone.

And maybe that will be true. But if you are basing a significant portion of that thought on the situations of other Standers, you are letting someone else’s situation control your thoughts, fears and even your outcome.

How many people are going to Stand for 4 years with little to no signs of progress—or no signs after initial cycling in the first months after Bomb Drop? The longer the time since Bomb Drop, the more likely a Stander is to Fall Down or Sit Down—they are done. Should their actions affect your odds?

No, and yet they do because many of you are basing Hope for your situation on the reconciliation of others. I get it, really I do. We want to know that what we are doing is possible and seeing other marriages recover is that evidence. Many—men possibly more than woman—want to use that when determining whether to Stand or not. What’s the risk, will I be wasting my time?

I’m not even writing this to urge you to keep Standing. Stand for you, for what you want and base your decision to Stand or to Stop Standing on what you want and need, not what is or has happened in someone else’s situation. Think about some of the purposes of Standing and then determine if it’s worth the risk.

  • Standing as a Grace Period
    Instead of making a decision to end your marriage now, put that on hold while your MLCer goes through the MLC tunnel and you heal.
  • Standing as a Healer and Teacher
    The actions necessary for Standing are relationship teachers. You have been going through the process of healing and repair so that you do not repeat the relationship mistakes you may have made previously. … Communicating with an MLCer–or a non-MLC walk-away spouse–with the intent of rebuilding and healing teaches you how to handle your next relationship. It forces you to look at yourself and find where you need to make changes.
    (From Article: Why Stand?)
Series NavigationHope, Expectations & Probability Part I


Hope, Expectations & Probability Part II3 Comments

  1. Thanks for this article RCR! This finally hit home for me:
    "Stand for you, for what you want and base your decision to Stand or to Stop Standing on what you want and need, not what is or has happened in someone else’s situation."

    I am in nealry 4 years, 3 since BD. I admit I have certainly thought my mlc'er is really gone. We are divorced and that has not helped with my feelings and watching others sitch's. But This quote really helped me…it put it into a better perspective for me. I can stand for me…because I believe my mlc'er isn't right..he just isn't right. I can do it because" I " feel so strongly.
    I want my mlc'er to come home one day…to hopefully have a new marriage.I can stand for that. I need to have this family repaired and brought is the right thing to do.
    Thanks so much…this has really lifted my spirits today.

  2. Thank you for this post. I have struggled with standing. My h has not divorced me, although he attempted to file once, and then finally did. When we got right down to it and our lawyers hammered out an agreement, all he had to do was file the agreement, but instead he came home, stayed a few days, and then went back to the alienator. I am married but in really no way other than a financial partnership. I feel so stupid, but I just can't give up hope for reconciliation, and at the same time, I can't stop mixing the hope with expectation. But another part of me keeps telling me that I need to be a grown-up and accept that he is not coming back, I need to buck up and swallow the reality and move on. Almost 4 years on, I still feel like someone took a razor blade and sliced my insides. And I admit to wondering some people who have reconciled are more deserving of that than me. Lately I have really started to feel my anger at what my husband did to me and to us, and I feel I'm broken beyond repair. I think the decision to stand or stop standing will depend on what I need to do to put myself back together. Yet I agree with Sideways, that my h just isn't right … I pray for his well being and healing, but I am not sure what to do to achieve my own.

    • MaryAnn,
      Linking Hope with expectation is normal even if it’s one of those things you need to learn to unlink. It’s hard because let’s face it, they are related ideas.
      Maybe what you need to do is accept that he might not come home while simultaneously accepting that it remains a possibility–remember probability is not the same thing.
      As for moving on, yes you need to to that. People think it means to stop Standing, but moving on is really just about continuing to live your life for the present rather than keeping ytourself stuck in some sort of this-is-temporary limbo.
      A Stander’s skill at Standing is not what will recover their marriage. It can help, but a Stander might be perfect, doing everything right for her or his situation and still the MLCer chooses to not return. Perfection won’t save a marriage.
      Feeling your anger is a good thing–especially after 4 years and feeling it is part of how you will repair yourself. It sounds like you’ve been focusing on the victim side–you describe newbie pain and feeling broken beyond repair. Well, your anger can guide you through that to the next phase of recovery if you let it. Once you become confident and assured in who you are and your power int leading a fulfilled life, you will be at a place where you can decide whether to continue Standing.
      To achieve your healing, you need to let-go of concern for his recovery and focus on yours. He may not be ‘right,’ but he has to make himself right; you can\’t do it for him.

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