Many of you feel this way and ask this question, but the answers vary depending on your circumstances and strength.

Why do you feel like giving up?

  1. My MLCer really does seem happy.
  2. I’m not going to be someone’s alternative to the alienator.
  3. MLC is just an excuse and I deserve better.
  4. I don’t have the strength to go on.
  5. Standing just isn’t working; he or she has not changed their mind
  6. The alienator has won; it’s over.
  7. Standing is enabling me to cling to hope with expectation.
  8. My MLCer is becoming violent and I’m afraid.
  9. My Stand seems to be enabling my MLCer to stay stuck.
  10. My MLCer is an addict and I think they need to lose me to save themselves.
  11. I Stood, I loved and I’m healing; I’m done.
  12. I no longer feel in-love with my MLCer; I want something else now.

What do you think divorcing will give you?

  1. Closure.
  2. The pain of Standing will stop; I won’t hurt anymore.
  3. My MLCer will change their mind when they think they are actually going to lose me.
  4. I’ll be free to date.
  5. I’m stuck and I think it will help me face my reality.
  6. Support: a legal contract for child support, visitation, alimony.
  7. Financial control and freedom.
  8. It will end the legal chaos and my MLCer will stop fighting.
  9. We can move forward and become co-parents.
  10. The fight will be over and we can both stop supporting our lawyers.

I Feel Like Giving Up

The Happy MLCer
MLCers are delusionally happy, not truly happy. Many fool themselves and others into believing in their new happiness and for a while it works, especially if there are in-fatuation hormones keeping them on a high.

If they are so happy with their decision, ask yourself why is their anger at you so overt and pure. Why do they hate you so much? Shouldn’t being happy mean they are content and that they have thus released that anger?

If your MLCer is a Distant Contacter (Off-N-On or Vanisher) how do you know they are happy? Witness testimony? MLCer testimony? What are they like in private? You don’t know and like the rest of us, MLCers are capable of wearing happy-masks.

Being Second Best
I wrote about this in an article: Being Number One.
Are you being second best now? Is your MLCer trying to keep you available as an alternative—or the alienator as the alternative? This is common for Cake-Eaters and especially for those who are Clinging Boomerangs. But if your MLCer is a Distant Contacter, you aren’t their 2nd best right now or 3rd or 4th… I don’t mean that as an insult; it may be a relief because they are not bouncing between you and the alienator and constantly comparing you to each other—often by highlighting your flaws and the alienator’s attributes.

Reconciliation does not mean the alienator dumped your MLCer and you are the alternative and your MLCer will pine away for their lost true love for the rest of your lives. There is a lot that will happen between ending an affair and being fully ready to reconcile and more healing that will go on throughout the reconciliation process. That means there may be times when your MLCer misses the alienator. The affair was and still may be an addiction and the withdrawal can be traumatic for you because it may feel like continuing betrayal. It’s not personal; it’s addiction.

MLC is an Excuse; I Deserve Better
Sure it is. That doesn’t mean it’s a license to behave badly without consequences. It also doesn’t mean MLC is not real. MLC can be an excuse for you to Stand, but it can also be a valid reason for you to choose to leave your marriage. Of course you deserve better, but please don’t fool yourself into believing that divorce is better; it’s often more permanent than MLC. But this is your life and you need to do what is best for you, for your children, your health and well-being and you need to follow your life purpose; maybe Standing is not part of that.

I’m Not Strong Enough
If you are not strong enough to Stand, how are you strong enough to stop Standing? There is a difference between giving up and choosing to stop Standing. Giving up comes from a place of fear and weakness, whereas choosing to stop Standing is an act borne of detachment and healing—strength. If you still want your spouse, you are still in-love with them and you still wish they would just come home and you those feelings overwhelm you with pain and depression, you are not strong enough to end your Stand. You still want your MLCer!
Sure we sometimes say that Standing is not for the faint of heart and that it takes strength. And that is true, but were you strong a week after Bomb Drop? How about a month after or even 6 months later? Standing builds your strength so that you can make a choice about whether you want to continue to Stand with the wish or goal of reconciling your marriage or stop Standing because you no longer want to be married to person.

The first part of Standing is healing; we lift the weary and nurture them back to health. The choice to continue Standing comes after that.

My MLCer Has Not Changed Their Mind
There are no guarantees to Standing, it is meant as a healing process with the idea that through healing you can learn communication skills for dealing with an MLCer and become and attractive force. But your spouse in is MLC! Of course they haven’t changed their mind. Most people complaining that their spouse has not changed their mind are not far into the crisis—2 years or less in a crisis that ranges 2 to 7 years and 2 years is rare!

The Alienator Won
Really, won what? The booby prize? The alienator won an MLCer and maybe you would only wish that on your enemy—like the alienator. Relationships that begin as infidelity are doomed to failure. Sure there are those few that last, but even most of those are not healthy relationships.

Clinging to Hope with Expectation
It is not Standing that is causing you to cling. You are associating Standing with results; you are expecting. Standing is a way of living, but it is not meant to be the center of your life. Standing needs to move to the background—along with Hope. Live your life for the purpose of living it, not for the purpose of focusing in what to do about your wayward spouse. Your problem is not with Standing, it’s with detaching. And for some, perhaps the label Standing is holding them back. Then stop. Maybe changing the label will help you change your attitude and actions which will enable your forward progress. There is a time for encouraging Standing and a time for encouraging redirecting your focus to life.

Physically Violent MLCer
I would like to tell you to not just walk, but RUN. But the situation is not always so clear. I do want you to protect yourself and filing for divorce may be a necessary step in that. At the same time, what was your MLCer’s history of violence before MLC? Is this a new pattern? The situations are rare, but there are cases of an MLCer exhibiting physical violence once or twice or only during MLC. Protect yourself and your children. File for divorce if necessary. Standing should not be your focus, but that is true for other Standers as well. Live your life and pray that your MLCer comes through this crisis and gets help. Maybe you will be there later—when the situation is safer and may you won’t.

Saving by Giving Up
I hope it is not the case for most of you, but this is valid for some and perhaps especially so if your MLCer is an addict. You may have been an overt enabler—codependent—or your presence may be passively enabling your MLCer to continue to Escape & Avoid and cutting the cord may be what they need to do it on their own. Maybe the two of you can build something later; maybe not. Letting-Go is part of loving.

I loved and I’m healing
I want something else now.
Good for you. Healing is a process and you will continue to progress and detach.

Should I File for Divorce?

I won’t hurt anymore
What sort of closure will divorce bring? How do you know it will provide closure? It’s not magic. Closure isn’t something that will automatically erase or release you feelings, fears and hurt. But often that is what people think it will do. With a divorce there may be some changes that facilitate closure: no more legal ties or legal proceedings or worries about financial destruction due to association. So with some MLCers contact may reduce or go away because it had been mostly about the legal process and fighting over who was entitled to what. Sure, that may facilitate closure. But what about the pain that is from betrayal rather than legal Monstering? What about continuing issues over co-parenting? What about co-grandparenting and family weddings or funerals?

If you simply think closure is something that will make the pain go away; you are mistaken. Divorce is not a self-medication that will solve your problems.

My MLCer Will Change Their Mind
So you are being manipulative. Divorce is not a tactic for Standing. Yes, some MLCers need to really and truly fear they will lose their spouse before they will start to get it and progress toward Liminality and recovery. But divorcing for the purpose of teaching someone a lesson is like an ultimatum. What will you feel when your manipulation fails? There is no guarantee of reconciliation to Standing!

Freedom to Date
Being free to date is irrelevant for those of you who are not ready to date and some of you who are not ready will jump in too soon—some of you have tried. Yes you will be free to date. But is that what you want? Are you only getting divorce because you want to date, or do you also not want to be married to your MLCer—when that person is not an MLCer?

There is nothing wrong dating or wanting to date, but what are your reasons and are you ready for the consequences? Or is dating a self-medication? Sorry, but that is a fair question. Many Standers think the answer is simply to find someone else and they will either forget about their MLCer or they can just fall in-love with a new person and life will be great again.

Are you mentally and emotionally stable enough to be the partner of a new person? Is it fair to someone else? Heal yourself before dating, divorce is not some magic pill that will heal you; all it does is give greater social acceptance to dating.

Facing Reality
Maybe it will. What else will divorce give you? If there is not a divorce in process, what are the legal benefits of divorce versus remaining legally married—even though you are not living as married?

Are there financial benefits to one that outweigh the other?

How about health insurance coverage?

Separate this issue from the idea of Standing and simply look at the legal aspect. Some MLCers feel no need to be married to you and yet they also feel no need to get a legal divorce. Is this holding you back emotionally? Why? Because it gives you hope? That is understandable, but there are couples who separate and live that way for years. They live as though they are divorced, but feel no need to take the legal hurdle.


Maybe they just don’t want to deal with the legal stuff and pay for lawyers and there are no conflicts or other things in need of settling.

Maybe they can still file taxes as married and they share the benefits.

Maybe they maintain survivor benefits.

Health insurance coverage.

If your MLCer is not putting you at risk financially and you are not wanting to divorce so you can date or because of lifestyle changes—job, moving… the not-married but not-divorced status—why make it legal? If there are no conflicts over assets and both of you are pretty quiet—no Monstering, there may be advantages to avoiding divorce. These advantages are especially valid if you are a Stander.

But what if your MLCer has been a Distant Contacter for 6 years and he’s been living with the alienator for that entire time. It’s up to you. Think about your motivation and make a decision based on what it is you feel is healthiest for you.

Financial Control
End Legal Chaos
Move Forward To Co-Parenting
Stop Supporting Lawyers
Absolutely. Sometimes divorce is necessary for protection. It can be costly financially and emotionally and it the legal process can encourage conflict. Being divorced does not mean you have to stop Standing.


I Feel Like Giving Up; Should I File for Divorce?16 Comments

  1. I am truly one of the lucky ones. My MLCer supports me financially in all ways. Feeding the lawyers would be counterproductive in my opinion. Yes, I am frustrated. I miss being in a relationship, but I am filling that void with friends and new adventures. The Limbo that is Standing is enabling me to heal and be a healthy person to enter into a new relationship should my circumstances go in that direction.

    For those with an Alienator, my aunt by marriage was the OW for many years. They are now married for 25 years and she can't trust her H. He still talks with other women and she caught him in bed with another woman via a private investigator. He was in his 60's at the time. Yes, she lives a very opulent life, but cannot trust him. As RCR has stated, it is not a healthy relationship.

    Divorce is not a panacea for the ills of MLC. Divorce should be used only when you are totally done and no longer wish to have that person back in your life. And getting them out of your life after years of being together is sometimes impossible.

  2. Are u reading my mind. Monday i saw the OW leaving my husbands apartment at 7:30 in the morning. I was hurt but knew that he left me for her even though he told me that he sleeps alone at night and he didn’t leave me for her. i called my attorney and made an appointment. I gave my all to my husband and he’s been gone for 3 weeks and Im alone, ilonely, i miss him so dam much it hurts

  3. If the MLCer is happy- that's all that matters to them. Mine has told me over and over he's glad I'm out of his life. I'm still not sure how all this happened. He was feeling his age and needed someone to want him again. He thinks it's for his sex appeal- he might be surprised when he finds out it's for a career move for her. As far as the pain his 3 sons and I have gone thought and my FOO- he does not care.

  4. Just want to thank you for this blog. Your email today was so timely. I did put a retainer down yesterday just to be prepared if he starts pulling support. I mean, how can you trust anything when they have another woman?
    Thanks again, you are awsome.

    • Depending on the area you live in, your financial situation etc… if you can figure out who he may use, retain that lawyer as well. Something I wish I would have done.

    • Good point, if you retain a lawyer he can't use that lawyer. So if that applies to free consultations…talk to as many as you can for their free consultation.

  5. Married 34 years I thought happily. Been standing for just over 2 years seemed to have emotionally detached which I'm sure standing has helped.. Like above just wondering whether to file, as he is not engaging on any level. Says one thing does another. OW has control over his finances until this month has allowed him to make maintenance payments. However OW won't divulge financial details to court so has been issued with court summons which has probably resulted in stopped maintenance. Just weary of the turmoil. He is 62 OW 36 and not been financially secure. He has not inquired about his sons in months. But something inside won't let me divorce – he needs to take ownership of something to make him face reality. She has two children by 2 men never married – what is she really in it for!!!! Having read blog feel I can continue with my stand. Thanks to you,you have helped keep me sane.

  6. My husband walked out after 18 years……said because he was "unhappy" but he was having an affair. I thought we had a great marriage and was shocked (and still am 18 months later). It's absolutely surreal to me. I was always a good wife and now he acts like he despises me. He's a vanisher…..if anyone sees him that "used" to be part of our life…he hangs his head and won't look them in the eye. His alienator was married too and she and my husband were just able to move into together in the past month. He says he wants a divorce and has a date set. I don't want a divorce but in the state of VA it doesn't matter, I have no say whatsoever. He can get the divorce no matter what. I text him from time to time…never a reply…haven't seen him but once in a year and that was in passing…he hung his head and didn't even pick up his to go order….guess he and the alienator went hungry that night. It's amazing to me that he could just dismiss me and the kids without ever even looking back. I'm sure she's pressuring him to divorce as her ex divorced her, remarried, and is expecting a baby now. She must prove to the world she did the right thing…and I guess he does too… divorcing and marrying…guess that'll do it. I was absolutely sure it was MLC due to the circumstances this all came about….now I wonder. Maybe he never really did love me…..but how could I have been so blinded. The only time he has spoken to me, he's been mean….and he was never that way toward me. It seems so unfair…I was the one hurt and he is mean to me. He doesn't even see his family…I see them more. He is obviously filled with shame and guilt…if he is shameful why doesn't he at least apologize for his adulterous, sinful behaviors. Why doesn't he at least say "I'm sorry I hurt you". Instead he treats me like somehow all this was my fault. I'm bewildered and this has been the toughest thing I've ever been through in my life. God is my constant companion…and that is the only reason I am able to see some light in my day and in my future. I'm so sorry for all of you that are having to go through this. But, in the end I am absolutely sure we will all be stronger for it and will be happy "one day" as God unfolds the life that's meant for each of us. Blessings.

    • It's normal to question whether it is MLC, but you are describing typical MLC behaviours. He has isolated himself not only from you but the rest of his family, it was sudden and he is now mean and that was not how he used to be. Those are indicative of MLC.

      As for why not apologize if he is filled with shame?
      Because he is filled with shame. Shame hides.

    • Hi Dale, Don't be surprised that your husband is suddenly acting so different as it looks like he is allowing himself to be deceived and he is under a stronghold of satan This kind of behavior happens all the time even for people who are professing Christians.. I am a Christian and I know that there is a spiritual warfare going on in the world. My husband and I are standing for our daughter to go back to her first husband. She has remarried and he just remarried. But guess what? the word of God says that if you remarry while your first spouse is still alive is adultery. Go to for MUCH support for your marriage stand. There are so many testimonies of restored marriages where the situations looked impossible!!

  7. Wow!
    I guess I finally wrote a post that struck a chord.
    I am not against filing for divorce–especially when you need to protect yourself and your family. But I think it's important that you think it through.
    I also think it's important to have a lawyer available and to know your rights and to be prepared if you choose not to file at this time.

  8. My wife of 21 years told me earlier this year that she didn't love me anymore. It absolutely floored me. I asked if there is someone else out there and she said no. A few months later she admitted to having an affair with a former co-worker and that she loved him now. Said she felt "connected" with him because she felt I did not give her more attention. I asked our sons if I had neglected my family the past couple years, like she told me I've done, and they both said no. They are with me on this whole thing. We filed jointly for a divorce a few weeks ago, so in a few months we will no longer be married. Never thought I'd be a single parent at this point in my life and I am afraid the divorce will screw up our sons, forever. Everything we have raised them on, love,honesty, loyalty, commitment, she just threw it out the window. She says she is being selfish for the first time in her life..when is a parent good with being selfish? The man she is in lust with is going through a divorce too..his marriage of 25 years, according to her via him, has been on the rocks for the past few years. The life she has created in her mind is not a pretty one at all…starting a relationship while being a good marriage is not what she sees…all she sees is her new life, her new lover, trying to be a good parent..but I see one where she ends up old and alone and wishing she never took that plunge to cheat on her family.

    • So what do you want?
      You agreed to file jointly for divorce, why?
      I'm not trying to imply that's not what you should have done, I'm just trying to get at your motives.
      Was/Is infidelity a line in the sand for you, was it for finances or is it because you just feel there is not point, not other way and you might as well just file?
      That last reason is perhaps the most common. Men and women think the situation can't change–at least not toward reconciliation and so they just give up.

      We've got Standers who are divorced and still Standing at the forum, you don;t have to still be legally married to Stand, but some part of you needs to want to stay or be remarried or be willing to get to a place where that's what you want.

      Your wife's affair is destroying two families and is most likely doomed. Your vision for her is sadly realistic. But where will you be when she gets to that place of remorse?

    • I thought I wrote this, my husband of 25 years said he did not love me anymore and there was no one else. I believed him and felt he was going thru mlc. We have been together for 30 yrs. We had our ups and downs drug problems with my son and i thought we were strong enough to get thru it.
      He told me over the phone that he wanted a divorce, that he felt more connected to strangers than me.
      wanted to go out and date other woman he felt great about himself best he has ever felt after dropping 40lbs.
      I was beside myself, he and his family were a big part of my life. I was afraid, lost so many emotions.
      I returned to church and found strength there. He has been gone for 14 months, not nice when he sees me.
      Always talks about the other woman and how much he loves her and then goes on to say that he never loved me,never connected, etc…..I am growing and becoming stronger everyday. I stand for my marriage until my divorce is final. He finally served me after 13 months. i pray everyday for my children and i to be healthy and happy. Allow your wife's mlc have you reflect back on your life, make the changes you wanted and be you.
      Words are only words, i look at peoples actions.
      God Bless you and be Strong.

  9. Uman – I'm in a similar situation (no kids involved though) and part of my Standing is to fight both legal separation and divorce without playing dirty. My decision, my reasons – but one thing I know that would make it very difficult for me to Stand is not having a rough idea why my wife is doing what she's doing; I am looking for explanations as there are no excuses. If there are no "mitigating circumstances" (in her case highly detrimental Parentification triggering off a MLC at the age of 35) how would that reflect on her character, my view of her, our last twenty years spent together?? Have you tried to analyze her reasons – not what she puts forward as her "official" reasons but what is really behind it all? For me – and I can only speak for myself – learning about what paved her way into this mess helps me to Stand, to Forgive and to continue to love her without condemning her, it's a struggle with ups and downs but one way or another it will be worth it

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