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?
- My MLCer really does seem happy.
- I’m not going to be someone’s alternative to the alienator.
- MLC is just an excuse and I deserve better.
- I don’t have the strength to go on.
- Standing just isn’t working; he or she has not changed their mind
- The alienator has won; it’s over.
- Standing is enabling me to cling to hope with expectation.
- My MLCer is becoming violent and I’m afraid.
- My Stand seems to be enabling my MLCer to stay stuck.
- My MLCer is an addict and I think they need to lose me to save themselves.
- I Stood, I loved and I’m healing; I’m done.
- I no longer feel in-love with my MLCer; I want something else now.
What do you think divorcing will give you?
- The pain of Standing will stop; I won’t hurt anymore.
- My MLCer will change their mind when they think they are actually going to lose me.
- I’ll be free to date.
- I’m stuck and I think it will help me face my reality.
- Support: a legal contract for child support, visitation, alimony.
- Financial control and freedom.
- It will end the legal chaos and my MLCer will stop fighting.
- We can move forward and become co-parents.
- 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.
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.
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.