Your desperation and fear are so great that you’ll do anything to get your spouse back—rather than doing what it takes. You’ll give up your own hopes and dreams in order to merge with your MLCer’s dreams and demands. Basically, you want your MLCer back so desperately that you’re willing to give up your Self and values to achieve your goal.
Are you betraying your Self by deferring your needs for your MLCer’s wants? Isn’t that what many MLCers feel about themselves: they lived for what others expected of them, accommodating to societal and familial expectations, sacrificing their personal goals and dreams?
The person who deserves the beautiful person who is you will want you, not someone who caters to their every whim like a cocker spaniel. Right now, your MLCer is likely undeserving, but some will come through this crisis with remorse, personal insight and a desire to be with you—supposing you have handled the crisis with grace and dignity. If your MLCer does not come through or they’re not interested in reconciling, there are others who will be deserving of you if you’re interested.
The Need to Convince
I think we may all feel this way right after Bomb Drop. We’re confused at the sudden change in our spouse and often haven’t yet learned about MLC. We’re in shock and we think if we attempt to have a rational conversation with logical arguments, we should easily persuade our wayward spouse. HA! Though admittedly some things we do to try and convince are embarrassing.
Accepting the process of MLC means accepting that MLCers aren’t logical thinkers. They may have moments, but overall, they think and act on emotions which they fuel with guilt, shame and fear. A logical argument leads to a conclusion they don’t want; it doesn’t matter if staying together is best for the kids or if repairing the marriage is possible. Your MLCer sees you as an obstacle standing between you and their fantasy of the alienator or as a mirror forcing them to face the fears they’re trying so desperately to avoid.
What does convincing do anyway? I convinced my husband Chuck. It didn’t take long for him to start believing when I said that affairs are doomed and that we could work through the crisis and survive with our marriage intact. He quickly saw and acknowledged my changes and was even attracted by my confidence and consistent stability. But none of that stopped his midlife crisis. He still left me for the alienator—and it wasn’t a brief affair. Those things may have contributed to his premature returns, but his crisis was not about my confidence and stability; regardless of where I was in my life and healing, he still had to go through his midlife crisis journey.
This may take many forms. As an LBS it may take the form of needing your MLCer not only to validate and reassure you’re worthy—which sadly makes you seem desperate—but also of your simply asking your MLCer to do things for you: household fixes or chores you may not know how to complete. You may use the excuse that you’re trying to let your MLCer know they’re needed—that they have a purpose.
Being needed is important; we feel a purpose in helping and serving, but neediness crosses a boundary from requesting assistance out of need to a poor-me wanting rescue without doing anything to assist in your own rescue. No one wants to rescue a damsel who goes boneless like a tantruming 2-year-old.
Self-sufficiency is attractive.
Defensiveness in a relationship context is often a sign of fear of rejection. Well, in your present circumstance, perhaps it’s more about the realization of rejection. You may lash out in anger or over-explain when confronted to simply asked something even innocent. It’s understandable that you may be on edge, paranoid and wondering when the next shoe is going to drop. So, you put up your defensive wall to avoid. But is that really serving you? Is it helping you to progress forward in a positive manner? Is it resolving the conflict and tension between you and your MLCer—and avoided doesn’t mean resolved?
Your MLCer likely made a laundry list of complaints as reasons they were leaving you. Many items on the list are absurd, but not everything. Separate the absurdities—frizzy hair—from the valid complaints. When you defend the complaints against you, your MLCer may feel you don’t care and are being dismissive and that you’re unable to do what you ask of them and take responsibility for your part. So, escalating or avoiding rather than resolving is not the only disadvantage of being defensive. Be a better example than your MLCer is being, maybe even shock them by acknowledging and even apologizing for your marital failings.
The need to control is often a symptom of fear and anxiety and a compensation for the absence of trust. One of our first instincts after discovering and affair or Bomb Drop is to increase our control-based behaviors. We want information, so we snoop and try to put up roadblocks to an affair. If we can just know when and how they went undetected before, maybe we can prevent it for the future. Um, no that won’t work, but nice try. If we can monitor their communication, maybe we can stop the affair. Again, nope, not gonna work. If we can just know where they are at all times… NO!!! Being controlled creates resistance, not affection and attraction.
When your world suddenly falls apart and everything seems out of control, you naturally want to reign it back in, but micromanaging all aspects of your life, your MLCer and your kids will only serve to alienate your children and further alienate your MLCer. It’s counter-intuitive to let-go when it may feel like the pieces of your life are exploding in all directions, but in this situation holding on increases the acceleration of the exploding pieces.
Once your spouse is gone—moved out, you no longer have the Right of Wife/ Husband—part of keeping each other informed and making decisions together regarding daily and bigger events and actions in your life—knowing where you are, major purchases… When Chuck left, he always went to live at the alienator’s house and it would have been absurd for me to call and grill him regarding why he was out late at night; it would have been intrusive and overly possessive. You need to accept that for the time being you don’t have the Right of Wife/Husband.
In fact, when Chuck left, the alienator tried to take over the right of wife. And of course, she was controlling; she was with a man who cheated on his wife to be with her. Control is a compensation for the absence of trust for the alienator too.
Many of these behaviors are standard traits of an Affair Down alienator and so you may be asking why can’t you be this way too—since that’s what seems to be attracting your MLCer.
Your MLCer is not in a healthy and stable relationship with an Affair Down partner—this is true in cases where infidelity is not a factor. Is this what you want for your relationship? Unhealthy relationships fester and become worse, is that what you want for your marriage—for it to get even worse than it is now? That will decrease, not increase the odds of reconciliation.
It’s one thing to peer into the MLCers’ pit of depression, depravity and despair, it’s another thing to join them. Be the strong and stable partner so that if they emerge from their crisis, someone is there who can help and guide them back into health and wholeness. When their affair down fails, maybe you’ll still be Standing and you can give them a hand.