I am writing this to give reassurance to those strong and detached Standers with Clinging Boomerangs and to let those without Clinging Boomerangs know that this Clinging Boomerang Soap Opera is just how it is. Your Standing friend is not crazy or doormating; her situation is different than yours. The tactics and boundaries that are so necessary for you may fail if applied to her situation.
Below is the timeline for my situation, showing the back-and-forthing in Sweetheart’s MLC. It begins at Bomb Drop and is broken into monthly increments. The green arrows are when he left and the blue arrows when he came home—though at the first and last blue arrows he first stayed with a friend for about a month. I have numbered each banc-and-forth with a number placed directly after the out. I did not even have space to include the number 2 because the back-and-forthing was so close together.
Leave number 7 was when I kicked him out because he was hiding the affair while simultaneously trying to live the life of a good and faithful spouse. This was the only leave which I initiated.
At the end I left until we had not lived in the same house full-time for a year—that period drops off the timeline.
…[we are]not living as married while the alienator is still in the background, but interacting as a family.
During leave 6 on the timeline I started out with No Contact. Now I probably never reached a true No Contact then or even later in the crisis. I retractecd it relatively quickly; here’s my excuse—from a post during that time.
…why I now know the No-Contact boundary must change. …The No Contact when he’s with the alienator boundary was as a personal protection for me, to prevent cake-eating and to show that the behaviour is inappropriate. But now Sweetheart is in a different phase and thus his motivations are different…they aren’t cake-eating. …By keeping No Contact I would not be there for him, and I feel that it is now important for him to feel I am here…always.
His needs changed and so I changed to accommodate the situation. That is a valid explanation, but I was wrong; he was cake-eating. My mentor eventually told me I was making an excuse for contact. I will stand by pieces of it. This was not yet 18 months post Bomb Drop and though he felt reassured, I was still adding some of those reassurance stones to Pave the Way. This post was during the time he felt safe calling and talking to me and complaining about his family—he was Monstering to them instead of me. Was I being a codependent enabler or was I being the Safe Place? It could go either way, but given where I am today I will choose Safe Place. But I was still wrong whenever I tried to determine where he was in some MLC stage.
Are you using the same root excuse? Are you saying the situation has changed and using that as an excuse for friendlier contact or for removing boundaries, when the situation has not changed–you just wish it were changed?
I finally acknowledged that he was in a back-and-forthing pattern and the only person who would stop it was me. The next time he was ready to come back, I said he was not ready. That was 3 months after leaving and I held him off for an additional 3.
We were not ready. He wasn’t ready and neither was I. When he did come back for the 6th time, he was ready…and yet he still failed. Why? I don’t know. But thinking now I wonder if it had to do with me needing to learn boundary setting; I kept breaking the boundaries myself.
The Crazy time was the first 18 months. We all expect Crazy in the first months after Bomb Drop, but 12 months later he was still cycling and coming-and-going. I made a lot of excuses. Are you doing that too? Look at leave #6. If that’s about where you are; you are likely misinterpreting a lot and yet if you are strong, your mistinterpretations are part of the process. They keep you Paving Reassurance when everyone thinks you just need to get real and face it that he’s cake-eating and he is not close to reconciliation. Sometimes the excusese are valid and sometimes not. Sometimes they are both! How so? Because though they are valid, you are not yet ready. You both have to experience each side of many obstacles and that has not yet happened.
Those of you who are strong and detached know that. You know now is not the time for No Contact—whether it would work or not. Maybe you would both do well at it, but something would be missed; some challenge you still need to face and learn through would come back to haunt you.
I’ll discuss more about the alieantor in the next post, but I want to be firm about infidelity in general. I did not allow Sweetheart to have an affair. I would never openly suggest an MLCer hook up with the alienator. I will acknowledge it will happen, but recommending it crosses the line to condoning. You need to make sure there is a firm line of understanding between what you approve and what you accept as reality. Acceptance does not mean Accept-able. Your MLCer does need to know that their behavior is not acceptable. MLCers get confused when we accept the process because they think it means their actions are acceptable. That is cake.
There are no free alienator passes. Sweetheart lived with the alienator and I did not hound him about it every day he was away; I did not lay new guilt each day; I did not accuse him of betraying me anew each day… It was not a multitude of adulterous sins; each extended period of living with her was one elongated adulterous sin. But that doesn’t mean I was giving him a free pass. Eventually I held to the boundary of No Contact with me when living with her.
Up until the 6th return, his affair continued when he lived at home. It was not closeted and yet it was also not public. He had no permission from me to see her and so he did not tell me. I knew because I’m not stupid and he left obvious clues. But none were proof that would hold up in court. I didn’t know that one time he was working late he was seeing her because many times he was really working late. I carried on with my life. Sometimes the adulterous lifestyle collided with my detachment. But though he sometimes taunted—usually passively by leaving clues—he did not discuss it openly with me. He did not tell me when he had been with her or that he was leaving to be with her—unless he was moving out.
No I was aware of the situation.
No, Accepting. I could not contol him and it was not my job to make his choices for him. We tried control-boundaries—changing phone numbers, switching cell phones—and they failed because I became the jailer.
I will continue this topic in the next post, reviewing specific areas for concern.