For Replayers the alienator and a high-level of in-fatuation drive the energy up. Most other MLCers want that; it’s more fun to be up than down. But some fail at Replay. They may try; they try to party, try to have an affair, but maybe they don’t find a willing alienator, they don’t hit in-fatuation, or other factors prevent their energy from increasing or cause it to decrease instead. But most MLCers will attempt Replay and thus in the early days after bomb drop the spouse may observe Replay behaviors that last up to 6 months and then crash or decline gradually, but steadily into a low-level depressive funk. This does not mean the MLCer is leaving Escape & Avoid!
Wallowers display more overt depression, though some may still mask their depression and seethe with rage just beneath the surface and for others they may be high-energy in everything but their relationships, they may start or maintain athletics and frenzied workaholism. Instead of getting space with geographic distance, they withdraw inward which enables them to disconnect emotionally. The avoid affection or any meaningful emotional communication—even while living at home. Athletics and work may be alternative means of escape.
As with so many things, this is still a continuum, where some are very high, some are medium, some are in the middle and some are very low. But as far as classifying the type of Escape & Avoid, an MLCer cannot be mixed. MLCers cycle; their behavior is already mixed. Replayers will have blue periods and Wallowers will have highs or attempts at highs.
Some of his replay antics seem to be high energy in spurts, like buying on impulse, partying for short periods—two or three days running and then nothing.
Replay means do-over, but it’s not only Replayers who are seeking a do-over. Both types may be obsessed with their past. Replayers are more active, they live the dream, whereas Wallowers may fantasize and live the dream through social media or other less active and direct outlets. That doesn’t mean they don’t party and booze it up, but they do it less than Replayers.
He said he’s staying; he realizes he can’t give up everything, but he still doesn’t feel anything for me. He feels stuck. He can’t abandon his family and he feels that he can’t break his vows. He wants to stay in the marriage without working for it.
This sort of verbalization is common for MLCers, but Wallowers are the most inactive—they follow through and do not ever leave or until a few years after bomb drop. Many feel bound by duty and some will put timelines on their remaining time at home; they will leave when the youngest graduates or when they or their spouse completes an education that is in process.
He moved out but comes over nearly every day and will sleep at home for weeks or even months at a time with no interruption, but then he cycles back to missing a few days here and there. The longest we did not see each other in four years was 11 days.
Wallowers are more likely to continue living at home than other MLCers. Those who do move out may wait a few years or instead they move in with family—usually their parents—or they live alone. It is common for Replayers to live with the alienator; this is more rare for a Wallower. Many live-in Wallowers will move to a separate room or the basement if available and they may have little to no interaction with the anyone in the household.
The Fantasy Alienator
Though an alienator is usually another person alienating the MLCer emotionally and sexually, it can be something else entirely. One of the villain’s in an LBSs MLC story is the alienator, but that villain of a story can be the iceberg that hits the ship, a storm, political movement, disease, career or a fantasy person or life. Wallowers may have a variety fantasy alienators.
- Media Personality
- TV, Book or Movie Character
- Facebook Friend or Acquaintance
This might be someone who is not reciprocating or only reciprocating platonically; the person might be a friend or even love-interest from the past.
This person may be geographically unavailable.
Someone from work, church, the circle of friends, neighborhood…who may or may not realize the MLCer’s interests, but does not reciprocate romantic interest.
Attributes of Low-Energy MLCers
- Fantasy Affair
- Emotional Affair
Work may become an alienator
- Overt Depression
- Less Monster
- Crisis may seem milder
- Suppressed anger and rage
- Move out of the marriage bedroom
Less likely than High Energy MLCers to…
- Have a physical affair
- (If a physical affair) Have an Affair Down
- (If a physical affair) Have in-fatuation addiction or an emotionally-bonded affair
- Leave home soon after bomb drop
Many will eventually leave, but not for a few years.
- Be a Clinging Boomerang
Clinging Boomerangs maintain an emotional attachment and connection to their spouse, Wallowers withdraw emotionally.