In a Facebook Live from a few weeks ago I answered your questions about Standing. One of the things I didn’t go into was Standing for You and how it can help you not only accept the process of a midlife crisis, but more importantly you come to an acceptance of who you are and what you want.. Standing for You has been a concept that Left Behind Spouses often come to as they mature and advance through their own journey. They often transition to I’m Standing for Me when they finally choose to put themselves first either because they’re choosing to stop Standing for their marriage, because they’re still Standing for their marriage, but recognize that reconciliation is unlikely in their situation or they’re still Standing with the hope and even plan for reconciliation, but without making the marital Stand the axis of their world.
I have an official definition of what it is to be a Stander and that definition is about Standing for your marriage. So, what’s all this about Standing becoming something you’re doing for you? Is it a transition you apply when you decide you’re done with wanting to reconcile—you want to stop Standing for your marriage?
You certainly can do that, but please don’t wait. It’s about this being your journey and since this is your life, embrace it. Standing for You is about it being about you, your needs, your journey and where you want to be going in your life—regardless of your MLCer and what they’re choosing to do.
What is it really? Are you Standing for your marriage as a service to you which means that your Stand is about you, your wants and needs and what’s best for you? Or is Standing for your marriage a part of it at all—are you just Standing for You while moving on and away during and after divorce and while opening yourself to new relationships?
It can certainly be either of those; what do you want it to be?
I don’t just want you to survive this ordeal; I want you to survive and thrive. Surviving means you’ve got a pulse, maybe you get out of bed and function at any level, thriving is about living with an intention to choose joy even on the tough days, even when you experience hardship and setbacks and trauma.
Standing for Me…
What does that mean?
Stand for healing. Stand because in the beginning, while broken and in shock you’re not in a state of emotional and mental stability and preparedness to make a life-changing decision—such as ending your marriage. Yes, your MLCer is making that decision, but you get a choice too! Even if your choice doesn’t change their mind, you still have the right to your own choices! Having your say is part of your power, take back your power.
You’ll be at a place of healing when you feel whole and confident in who you are when you look back at your marriage with joy and even sadness and accept your grief while releasing the pain. You’ll be living for you and accepting your own responsibility for your life, moving forward each day choosing joy without holding onto anger toward your MLCer. It’s from this place of health that you’ll be ready to make a choice about what you want for your life.
In the beginning you’re in a state of panic and anxiety. You may feel desperate to save change your spouse’s mind in order to save your marriage. You may frantically make changes based on their often irrational complaints. Basically, you’re trying to regain some sense of control over your life, marriage and of your spouse. You do get to control your life, but not your spouse. This lack of and loss of control sends you into panic and anxiety where you are trying anything. But you’re not a pretzel; you can’t twist yourself in random knots and fix this.
The more you try to change your MLCer’s mind and fix the situation, the more upset, angrier they become. You meet Monster. Why does trying to make things better have the opposite results? Because you’re not looking at the problem—and the actual problem with an MLC spouse is not your problem to fix! You’re Standing in their way as an obstacle rather than accepting.
Standing for You is about acceptance. There are a lot of things to accept in life and as part of this journey you’re going through! One of the big acceptances I talk about is Acceptance of the Process of Midlife Crisis. Right now, I’m talking about a different acceptance. You get a choice, but so does your spouse; you don’t get to control your MLCer. You can influence them—positively or negatively, but in the end, you can do everything right with benevolent grace and your MLCer may still choose to not return to the marriage. Accept that your journey and life is what you get to control and your MLCer’s journey and life is what they get to control—even when either of you are personally out of control. Stand for Your Journey.
You can certainly Stand with the goal and idea of reconciliation—I did. But it’s also important that you Stand without focusing on marital reconciliation—don’t direct your energy at your marriage or MLCer; direct it at you. Standing for You is about accepting your journey of healing and reclaiming lost pieces of your Self—becoming you again. When you do that, the feeling is exhilarating. You finally feel at home inside of you again—and I don’t want you to give up that feeling for anything or anyone.
Protection and Preservation
Marital, Self, Positive Memories
If your prize is your MLCer and reconciliation, you’re going to feel like a failure because you’ll see that prize slipping away. Midlife Crisis gets worse before it gets better. It may continue to get worse for a few or more years. If your focus is on that person and not on you, what do you think that will do to your confidence, self-worth, love for them—the core person you married…? Change what you can change, control what you can control and let-go of the rest. That doesn’t ever have to mean you don’t want the rest, it just means you accept that it’s not within your control. Give your MLCer the gift of freedom of choice.
Right now you may think you’re totally done and don’t ever want to talk to the cheating @!$*. But you may also recognize that you’re coming from a place of pain and anger and that someday you may feel differently. When you approach Standing and your journey from a place of Grace, Agape, (eventual) Forgiveness, Acceptance and Joy, you aren’t putting a possible reconciliation on a burning bridge. Regardless of how improbable you may feel such thing is, you’re setting your marriage aside in a safe place where you won’t damage it and later, you can come back and open that marriage-box and choose what to do with it.
MLC Gets Worse…
…but that doesn’t have to mean your relationship gets worse. It may very well do that with a Monstering MLCer and please understand, that some MLCers Monster regardless of how well you apply the Unconditionals and Acceptance. But when I say it gets worse, I mean that their crisis—their journey—gets worse. You can influence and protect your relationship with your understanding, detachment, compassion, empathy… They go further into the MLC tunnel and can no longer see the light at the opening. They go deep and dark. This may bring a forgetting as the crisis and depression block their positive memories and as they focus on getting away from what feels bad which they associate with you. Many MLCers who cycled in the beginning become more certain about leaving you—whether they are projecting blame on you or not. They see no hope in fixing something that in their mind and memory has made them feel so horrible. I warn you that it gets worse so that you can expect and accept what is ahead in the journey. It’s not you, it’s not your relationship, it’s their journey into further avoidance.
Stand for You and don’t just accept your journey begrudgingly. Accept it with arms and eyes wide. Accept it because the person at the end is you—the core you who you love and want to be. And the beautiful part is that this is the way you get to your initial desire of reconciliation. No, of course there are no guarantees, but the best chance for you to have a fulfilling and joyously reconciled marriage is to be a joyously fulfilled you.