A guarantee does not exist for reconciliation and right now, more situations end in divorce than in reconciliation. There are still reconciliation stories and the forum is filled with success stories because reconciliation and being successful are not mutually exclusive. For your hope, my husband Chuck came home and we have since adopted 3 children and are foster parents to an infant as well. Reconciliation is not impossible, but even if you Stand perfectly, your MLCer may not choose to reconcile with you—that will not be your fault! I am not trying to destroy your hope in saying that; what I am trying to do is give you a dose of reality as it is now. Go into this with your eyes wide open.

In the beginning, Stand as a Grace Period to let yourself heal before making a decision. After a Grace Period, make your own choice about what to do, Stand for your marriage and choose your terms for a possible reconciliation knowing and accepting reality or choose to stop Standing; the choice is yours!

Are there things you can do to improve your chances of reconciling? What might or might not improve the odds toward reconciliation?

Time

There are some who have this idea that if you just stay the course your MLCer will eventually come out of MLC and return.

Reconciliation is not a stage of MLC; it’s not the main thing that happens when an MLCer wakes up and realizes what they have done.

The passage of time does not carry some magical meaning or formula. Your MLCer will not simply come out of their crisis someday and want to come home.
Consider the reconciliations you know about, how much time was there from Bomb Drop to Reconciliation? Most reconciliations happen in the early years. That is not to say that they do not happen later, but the odds go down with time.

Waiting Patiently

Your MLCer is not more likely to return home simply because you wait and wait and wait for years and years—or even if you don’t spend that time waiting. Though patience is important, waiting is not a method that will get you to your Big Goal. Victims and stuck people wait. Life will pass you by while you wait. Standing is not still; Being is still; Standing is active and about living. Unfortunately, people do Stand by waiting rather than by continuing to live a full and joyous life—and yes, I do understand and accept that recovery to an active and joyous life takes time, but it is not supposed to take forever.

Healing and Personal Empowerment

Marriages do not reconcile—at least not to successful stability—with a betrayed spouse who has not healed and become stronger. Marriage is not about two people completing each other! A secure marriage is built on two complete individuals coming together to share each other’s lives; being whole is the job of the individual. Each person will heal on their own timeline and recovery is unique to each individual, but some people use that as their excuse for remaining stuck and failing or refusing to heal. Pull yourself together, stand up and take responsibility for your recovery. The faster you become strong, the faster you become an attractive force.

Healing improves the odds of reconciliation.

Healing leads to positive change.

I want to be sensitive to your individual path to healing. This is a place in need of a Tough-Tender balance because too Tender may lead to coddling and enabling an LBS to remain in the early stages where you become stuck. Too Tough and I could alienate an LBS who may then refuse further guidance or I could push them too fast for their present abilities which can damage self-esteem.

Do the odds for reconciliation increase with an LBS who detaches and heals faster? MLC has a timeline of its own, but will an LBS who detaches and heals quickly, accepting their own Mirror-Work, inspire an MLCer to do the same? Don’t get me wrong, healing is important for you; the benefits toward reconciliation are secondary, but maybe that is what will motivate some of you to detach and heal. If what I said above is true and the odds of marital reconciliation go down with time, it would seem prudent to take your personal healing and health seriously now.

Please understand, healing will not guarantee reconciliation. 

You can do everything perfectly and your spouse may still not want to return to your marriage, but it does improve the odds because healing is a requirement for a healthy and stable reconciliation. It’s also the thing you need to do if you choose not to Stand–so Standing or not what you need to being doing is the same. This MLC marriage crisis thing is not your fault and neither is resolving it: it is not within your control. But your healing, that is within your control! Healing is empowering; there is no downside.

Education

Identify the problem. This can take a while. In the moments, days, weeks and maybe even months after Bomb Drop you may have searched for a purpose or reason. What has happened to my loving partner? Did we have problems that were this serious in our marriage? What is going on? Why is he/she doing this feeling this way? Who is that madman in my husband’s/wife’s body? These are the questions you ask over and over as you try to understand and make sense of this shock. They grip you and send you off on tangents as you find something that fits pieces, without quite fitting everything.

Is he a narcissist?
Is this an exit affair?
Is she right, did we have a bad marriage?

Now that you have identified the problem—midlife crisis— you finally have something to learn about that may help your situation move forward by educating yourself just enough to answer your basic questions: what’s happening, what does it mean, why is this happening, what can I do…?

Then stop! Or redirect more energy toward your personal education or learning and your own Mirror-Work rather than midlife crisis, because focusing on the latter could keep you attached to the situation and your MLCer and prevent you from progressing forward in a healthy and positive manner.

So which is it, does education improve the odds of reconciliation, have no effect or decrease the odds?
It depends on where you focus your learning. Education can be helpful because it can lead to understanding which can enable empathy. An MLCer typically does some terrible things that will hurt you deeply. Understanding the psychology behind this can help you to continue to apply the Unconditionals. Education is also beneficial in that having some answers allows you to stop obsessing over not knowing and redirect focus back onto yourself. But it can work against reconciliation if you fail to focus more of your energy toward your Self and instead keep your energy focused on midlife crisis and your MLCer.

Mirror-Work

This is related to and part of healing. You need to heal your broken heart from the effects of Bomb Drop and Monster. Mirror-Work goes deeper; it is a personal journey exploring you. Focus your energy on you. Your spouse is not and was not your everything and if you feel as though they were your reason for living, please speak with a mental health professional and make yourself a priority.

Mirror-Work honors you by giving you the time to be you and learn what that means—who are you? It takes many forms and has many facets. Healing and detachment are pieces of Mirror-Work, but so are meditating, journaling, dancing, singing, hiking… An important aspect of Mirror-Work is to discover the creator in you. Do this by exploring and playing with different activities. It might seem lavish to spend this time not only on yourself but also doing activities that may seem frivolous because they are fun and may not fit into what you consider functional.

Transitions are about change. Your spouse’s midlife crisis is a transition that has forced you into a transition as well. Mirror-Work is how you learn who you are becoming and who you want to become through this journey. No, it will not guarantee reconciliation, but it will empower you and enable all the Self positives like worth, confidence, esteem, control… and a person with high Self-levels has increased odds for reconciling.

Boundaries

We teach people how to treat us; the boundaries we set let people know what is acceptable to us and what is not. Without boundaries, you open yourself up to abuse—whether intentional or unintentional—because people will take advantage of you.

Boundaries are much more than rules for how to treat a person. They help us to separate who we are from others, giving us personal control over our identity. They enable us to establish limits in relationships, protecting our self-image and thus preserving our integrity. A person without boundaries looks externally to define their value in this world because without boundaries they are unable to tell where others end and they begin; such a person defines themselves as someone’s parent, husband, child, sibling, employee and their persona revolves around meeting that definition.

A person with boundaries is capable of saying no. There is nothing wrong with trying to please others until you do it at your own expense. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first–put your needs first, but Self-First is not only for emergencies. Self-Care is self-preservation and self-maintenance and keeps you energized for giving care to others without feeling exhausted and eventually resentment.

There are no guarantees that a person with strong and loving boundaries will reconcile their marriage, but someone without strong and loving boundaries is not yet a whole and healthy person and thus not able to do the work needed to build a healthy relationship with someone else. Get your relationship with you in alignment first. Having strong and loving boundaries improves the odds of reconciliation.

Agapé and Love Them Home

I love these. The problem is in the application or what you consider these to be. Loving them Home, in theory, is something that improves the odds of reconciliation Unfortunately some people’s idea is more about dismissing a person’s sins with excuses. The same confusion exists regarding forgiveness. Agapé and forgiveness are both unconditional, but that does not mean you should apply them in the absence of rules, boundaries, consequences or accountability. The problem is not with loving them home, it is with the idea that unconditional love means you should not hold your MLCer responsible due to the confused and unstable state of MLC (during which they may be easy prey for an alienator) or they are too fragile to handle the consequences that come with being held accountable. Stop making excuses for your spouse! Or stop making the excuses excusable.

Go back to what I said above: we treat people how to treat us. Failing or refusing to set or maintain boundaries enables a person to avoid Mirror-Work and denies them the opportunity to make amends and repair the damage they have caused. Instead, they may feel entitled and believe there is no damage.

Ironically it is not uncommon for those applying agapé in this manner to also be more judgmental; sometimes vacillating between seeming forgiveness without consequences and resentment, anger and judgment.

Loving them and Standing are not about preserving a home and waiting for them with open arms. Move forward and rebuild your life, becoming an attractive force that may interest and inspire your MLCer to do their own Mirror-Work to catch up. If they do not—someday—become motivated to catch-up, it is not because you failed. If they do become motivated to catch-up and yet are still not interested in reconciling, you still have not failed; they still get to choose.

Loving them home from a distance, where you do not deny them accountability for their actions and are not intruding, controlling or smothering can certainly improve the odds of reconciling.

Reconciliation is Not Guaranteed

You probably already knew that there was not a guarantee of reconciliation, but some of you may not have realized or accepted that the odds are at this time stacked against you. I’d love for us to change that, but let’s face it, that goal goes against society. Those who are the most susceptible to the idea of a guarantee tend to be those who base their Stand on a religious platform. Ask and ye shall receive is not an unlimited promise without conditions. I cannot tell you why God works as he does or how, but I can tell you that no amount of praying or hardship or perfect behavior will give you a guarantee of reconciliation on earth—Heaven is another matter and I have not been granted that level of knowledge or understanding.


Comments

Reconciliation: If You Stand, Will Your MLCer Return?13 Comments

  1. It’s almost eight years. I am putting everything into my business and children. He came home for four months in my sons room. He is a psychological messed up man. The strong man I knew is gone. He cries over her who cheats on him with a guy same age as daughter. The boyfriend has stabbed him. He forgave her and they were constantly on phone and I asked him to leave and go back to her. He told his psychologist that his life is totally destroyed and he does not want to go back to her,yet he did. I am a spectator and it hurts to see him as this weak man who is being manipulated, but it’s his choice and he must live with it. The day if he cuts all ties with her our sons room will be open for him but a relationship between us not a chance. I care for him as a person and will help him where I can as I helped them now again with deposit for a flat in interim till her pension pays out. It has been a long tough Road but God took me through this and I am beginning to see so many blessings in my life. The days of no food or money for bare essentials are over. I am going to be a gran in Feb and looking forward to my first grandchild. It would have been nice if my husband had been here to see our grandchildren grow up and spoil them, but not the dirty old man that he has become. Nope sorry we have values and unless he let God change him, I do not see him fitting into our family. I shall never stop praying for him but I am happy without the man that I love. Sometimes it does get a bit lonely but I will never ever fall for another man. Yes I am complete without a man. In beginning I wanted to die without him. That is history.

  2. After four years from BD. I'm believing. If they are going to have an epiphany……? It will have to be brought on by God Himself. Nothing I have done or said or any situation I've been in has left a dent in her cement head. I believe she has a spiritual problem and it is way out of my expertise to fix her.
    If they are mentally ill? If their hormones are screwed up? If they have a chemical imbalance? if they have chemical addictions?
    Every case is slightly different. With amazing similarities.
    It is up to us to decide what their problem is and if it can be fixed. Then? If it can be fixed. Would we want them back anyway?
    It's totally up to us to make a decision.

  3. I am 3 years 4 months post BD and have found this site to be an invaluable friend to support and guide me through this process of standing. I’ve looked deep inside the mirror and dealt with my own issues and developed my strength. Yet another shock 5 weeks ago when my ML decided to move out for a second time – again declaring he doesn’t love me anymore. This past week or so I find that my strength has been waning and I feel panicky and in despair, much as when it first started. And then … a new blog post to read. Imagine my dismay when I read it to find it depressing, pessimistic and leaving me full of despondency. I’m well aware how hard this road is but the overarching theme of the blog post appears to contradict many of the articles on the site. For example, it talks of time, ‘The passage of time does not carry some magical meaning or formula. Your MLCer will not simply come out of their crisis someday and want to come home.’ Yet there is an article explaining that Midlife Crisis takes time, Refrain:MLC takes Time.
    I’m also confused with the statement, ‘those who are the most susceptible to the idea of a guarantee tend to be those who base their Stand on a religious platform,’ when throughout your articles you frequently refer to the power of prayer and to God.
    Again, although there were no guarantees, the statement, ‘ but some of you may not have realized or accepted that the odds are at this time stacked against you,’ feels as though the whole essence of standing is futile and I should throw in the towel now. Nobody is perfect, and I certainly was not and am not, yet our marriage pre BD was great, hence my complete and utter shock. My quest to retain some of that is not just for my aching heart but, more importantly, for our beautiful son, who is reeling yet again. Now I'm left wondering if I'm just deluding myself.

    • Just re-read my own response to this blog article and can see how I was in a dark mood a few days ago. Although I have grown much throughout this, I still do have the occasional sad/depressive moments where I feel overwhelmed again. Reading the blog again today I see it through another perspective. Indeed, throughout the past couple of years I have revisited aspects of this site over and over again and often have a different interpretation or understanding, depending on where I am in this journey. Thank you, Kenda-Ruth, for providing this lighthouse in a storm service.

      • Actually your initial response was not surprising, as I knew this was going to be a controversial post. Thank you even more for re-reading and seeing beyond your initial thoughts…that means a lot.
        The post had a few points. First was to impress upon everyone that not only is reconciliation not guaranteed–which most everyone knows–but that RIGHT NOW in this culture most will not reconcile.
        As for my statement about religious platform Standers…well, I was one of them and my statement comes from seeing them and being a part of such groups. I am not speaking universally, but in those groups I saw a lot more who refused to do the work because God was going to solve the problem for them. My belief is that God gives us the tools and solves problems through us. I also think that he gives us obstacles in our lives to motivate or help us to learn and grow and He will walk with us and guide is in our journey, but we have to accept the opportunity He has given us do blossom and learn on our path. I am in NO WAY saying that ALL religious-platform Standers are this way; I'm just saying I see more like that in this type of group than the general Standing population.

        Beyond my point about the odds I then want people to look at what you can do that might improve them and what might either harm them or have no effect. Doing nothing because Time or God will solve the problem will be more harmful because you are doing nothing. MLC still takes TIME, but sometimes our actions or inactions might (not sure, so might) elongate an MLC. Example: trying to instill guilt in your MLCer and constant pressure and beg-n-pleading.
        My hope is that learning what helps and hinders will motivate LBSs.

        • Kenda-Ruth, thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my posts. I understand your perspective on standing 'still' and just relying on the passage of time and God. This journey has enabled me to grow as a person and for that I am grateful; God is walking me through this process and guiding my direction. Although horrendous to live through, I find the psychology underpinning the crisis fascinating and this has enabled my empathy towards my MLC. Your narratives on the journey through the tunnel have been enlightening and I have read several of your recommended books to deepen my understanding.
          I attended a school awards ceremony this week and the guest speaker, a renowned author and screen writer, reiterated over and over his advice to the pupils – 'be kind and do the right thing.' It made me think of this site and the unconditionals! You truly are inspirational, and for my part, I still remain hopeful. 🙂

  4. Their mlc make us cycle too. I am past that stage, nothing affects me any more. Does for a day or so, but I motivate myself that I am in a much better space than he is. I am living for myself and the love of children and true friends. He is playing games, everything is pretence. I sat with him with one session with psychologist. His life is a living hell. He knows he must break free but does not have the back bone to do it. The current drawing him to the pigsty is so strong. if the prodigal son could come to his senses, and there were no anti depressants then, then what can prevent our mlc to come to their senses. If it is not Gods timing yet, we must accept and continue getting stronger and building our own lives. The prodigal lifestyle is temporary. They have joy for a moment and lifetime of regret. They try to make prodigal lifestyle work but it’s futile. Prodigals do come to their senses and come home.

  5. I have spoken to a friend of my husband who says that my mlc has admitted to her how unhappy he is with alienator and her wayward lifestyle, but he loves her. If after eight years being unhappy and in love, will he move forward and out of his mlc tunnel. If the assault on him with slight stab wounds by her boyfriend, then what will it take him to see through this destructive relationship. He admits that his life is ruined,and still stays with her for the sake of love. Only God can rescue him out of this dark pit.

    • My MLCer left just a year and a half ago ( he is barely 3 years into his journey). The bond he has with Alienator seems strong beyond words. I have bèen on the fence all this time, but leaning more on the ‘stand’ side because of the encouragement I used to feel reading posts on this site and forum. This post however has tipped the scale for me. I think I am going to pursue a divorce. I am relatively young ( early 30s) and with all the uncertainty of his return..I feel I will be wasting my time I’d I stand, especially since there are no guarantees. Thank you rollercoaster rider. I really appreciate the sincere post above. Thank you. May God bless u.

    • Yes, only God can get him out and your MLCer can continue to resist. It doesn't mean he wants to stay in, but he does not yet have the strength…whether he will muster that strength or not is up to him.
      What I can tell you is that he can muster it, I just can't tell you whether he will or when.

      • Thanks for your insight. It has really helped so much having you and hb expertise to fall back onto I am so much stronger independent only faith in God His Word that got me this far

  6. RCR…I've been off the forum for about a month due to dealing w/the legalities of my divorce. Reading this blog made me remember why I love this site so much. I cannot even put into words what the support on this forum has been for me. I believe my husband is having a midlife crisis, and wanted to stand, but unfortunately I could no longer do so. I just wanted to thank you for this site. I'm looking forward to catching up on what's been going on with everyone and continuing to work on myself. Thank you!!!!

  7. RCR, my warm and sincere thanks for this post. It was a harsh reality call – but necessary. I am almost three-years BD. Since then, we have been separated. For one year after BD, I did not recognise my spouse for his odd monster behaviour. During the past two years, the worst has passed and he is mostly the man I used to know. I am happy about the time I have given to this: It permitted me to grow and mature. It gave him time to figure out what is going on in his life. And more importantly, it gave us time to heal at least in the sense of being better co-parents to our daughters. However, during the past years we also managed to establish such a confortable way to live that it has not been necessary for neither of us to do anything about our marriage. Basically, he has wanted to be at our home nearly all the time, he only goes to his "cave" for the night. In other words, he has wanted my company all the time but does not move a finger to improve the state of our marriage. Eventually I have started to suffer from this in many ways. I am aware that I have been partly guilty, he has been cake-eating. But I have not had the strenght or wisdom to change anything.
    However, this text was a wake-up call. I realized that the simple fact of "time" does not do us service anymore. There is no golden magic to it, any longer. The time did its service already for what it could. For three years, I had pushed for personal growth and acceptance, but always hoping for reconciliation while daily being accompanied by someone who used to be my husband but did not see the importance of resolving anything. Plus giving our daughters also an example of distant, unloving marriage.
    I understand better now that my best effort just does not bring the best result if the other person is not willing to catch-up. Two days ago we signed the divorce papers, which was my initiative. A day later he managed to tell me that he acknowledges that he has been just escaping instead of assuming his responsability to resolve anything. I am happy that he acknowledges that. However, there is still no sign that he would actually take any action. It hurts like a hell to see that for him it is more important to resist emotional growth than to confront these issues in order to consider the health of his spouse, marriage, and family. In other words, he seems to be choosing being coward over his family, even if he somehow acknowledges the pain related to this.
    It is very, very hard to accept this but I understand that I have to move onwards with my girls, to live up to a better example and life.
    Thank you RCR for bringing all this to my attention. It is not easy at all – to accept that we cannot oblige someone else to grow – but it is necessary…
    Kenai.

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