What’s with all the Mixed Messages?
Your spouse has said they’ve found someone new–maybe they’ve even said they found their soul mate! Hey, isn’t that supposed to be you? But wait… they may have also said they don’t want a divorce, they don’t want to lose you and want to end up with you!!! Seriously? Have the mixed messages got you spinning yet? There’s more… And they keep trying to hang out with you, do stuff with you, flirting, sex, just spending time with you… WTF is going on?
Welcome to the fun and exciting world of Midlife Crisis! These mixed messages are most prevalent if your MLCer is a Close Contacter and especially if they’re a Clinging Boomerang. Closer contact types exhibit more cycling and fears of losing you–more mixed messages. If your MLCer is a Distant Contacter (Off-n-On or Vanisher) you may see little or even none of these behaviors or you may only see them near the beginning—in the early aftermath of Bomb Drop.
Leaving yet Fearing the Loss
How can they leave for their affair, yet fear losing their spouse?
This isn’t a desire for polygamy—though some do have the fantasy that someday you’ll all get along and act as a happy family—you, your MLCer and the alienator! Barf
Part of it’s the inability to make a choice and yet they must. It may feel like you’re getting a lot of mixed messages, but the mixed messages in your MLCers’ head are far worse and more confusing. In MLC, most will immediately or eventually choose the alienator. Some do this blaming and vilifying their spouse, while others do it with claims about how it’s not you, it’s them (truth)…
But if it’s not you, and if they fear losing you and perhaps have even said that maybe you’ll just remarry each other or they think you’ll reconcile in the end… huh? Why do it? Why leave? Why create this gaping wound in your marriage—especially when they know they’re doing it? I’m not saying they understand the immensity of the damage and of your pain, but look at their guilt. They may not realize the depths of your hurt and betrayal and the challenges they will face in recovery, but they do know they’re hurting you.
Something’s not working. They don’t know what, but there’s a compulsion to get out of this life that’s failing and pulling them down. Even if they hate change, this is different. They fantasize about a new life where life doesn’t feel so confusing and they don’t feel so lost. They’re questioning everything and they’d rather have some answers or at least get the questions in their head to stop.
The alienator often becomes the answer. In the beginning of a relationship we’re often on our best behavior. We want to be accepting. In an affair there’s also the additional need to prove they’re better than the you—the betrayed spouse—and to listen and validate the negative feelings toward you and the marriage. This makes it feel like this new person really gets me. It serves to promote a feeling of bonding as well as in-fatuation hormones.
Sneaking Around on the Alienator…
Why does my MLCer want to hang out with me when he’s got an alienator?
You’re the one they made vows with; they have a foundation and history with you. You’re handling this with strength and grace—which kinda destroys that blame the spouse thing they may have tried. Your level of strength and detachment along with choosing joy are an attractive force. Your MLCer wants and needs some of the strength you’re displaying. They’re unable to return to the relationship because they aren’t a match for that strength—you’re at different vibrational levels. They recognize they aren’t worthy and the alienator likely is more worthy of the crumbs they have to offer.
Often, it’s not simply about your level of detachment, grace and healing. They’re confused and don’t know what they want. They didn’t leave because of you and many leave knowing and even admitting that it’s not about you—not all project all the blame onto you. The messages are often mixed because there’s a basic assumption that if a person leaves for someone else, they no longer like the original person anymore and that they are leaving because the relationship is broken. But that’s not even close to reality. Something (Shadow) is pulling your spouse away from you and they’re still trapped inside, reaching out to you. They feel torn—not just in an indecisive way which they also feel, but they feel as though they’re being ripped apart. This is not something they would choose to do and yet they are doing it. It’s like an addiction, they’re compelled and controlled by their fears and if there’s an alienator helping to pull on that rope, then it’s that much more enticing.
Are Affairs Really Doomed?
I’ve read that the affair relationship is doomed, but then I’ve also read a lot of threads saying they get married and are still together after 6 years. Can you really say that their relationship will be doomed and end at some point?
Sometimes the mixed messages aren’t from your MLCer, but from all the differing advice and contradictory information. I get it. In general, yes I can say that a relationship that begins with infidelity is doomed, but I can’t say it for each individual situation. What that means is that most are doomed and will end—that goes for those that marry the alienator. But there are some where the relationships last—whether they marry the alienator or not. My father was the other man and that marriage lasted 29 years and only ended when he died. Was it a good marriage, no, not in my opinion, and yet I don’t feel it was a bad marriage either. They were two bickering people who seemed stuck together to me, but they didn’t complain about it and it worked for them. Statistically speaking relationships that start out as affairs are doomed—whether it’s an MLC affair or not. If those affair-relationships go all the way to marriage, they have a much higher rate of divorce—so still more doom in the future.
Seeking Freedom in a Control Trap
Why is it that MLCers leave seeking freedom by leaving for an alienator’s leash?
An MLCer may leave complaining you’re controlling and yet they go straight into the arms of someone who tries to control them. Huh? Is that a mixed message or a mixed-up brain?!?
They may have felt controlled simply because you were an obstacle to their fantasy and freedoms. By using the control word, they’re able to deflect the blame to you—projection!
Now think about an affair. Is there trust? He!! NO! They’ve just stolen someone’s spouse, so they know that person’s a cheater. They also may know you’re not out of the picture—maybe your MLCer thinks it’s over, but you’re still there being the spouse. You’re a threat. Forget for a moment that the alienator is stealing your spouse and think about the situation where you don’t trust your partner. Are you more paranoid and suspicious? How does that make you behave? Controlling. An alienator may or may not be a controlling person in general, but the context of an affair is likely to bring those behaviors to the surface.
Alienators Enable Avoidance
I believe that she is keeping him in his place of avoidance and she will not give up on him.
Yes, an MLC affair serves to keep the MLCer avoiding. Sometimes the affair is what drives the crisis. Why? What is the alienators motive? Can’t they see the craziness? Doesn’t she get the mixed messages too? Some can, and others feed off drama, but lack an awareness in themselves and their situation to realize that’s what they’re doing. An MLCer doesn’t need an alienator to pull them toward avoidance, but having an additional pull helps them along. The alienator makes promises—often based on your MLCer’s mixed messages and complaints about you and your marriage. Chuck’s alienator kept telling him how sad it was that his family wasn’t supporting him in leaving a bad marriage. She gave him articles highlighting the steps to take toward divorce and showing him where he kept getting stuck.
Why did she believe him that the marriage was bad—since there was evidence to the contrary?
Because it served her purpose and her world view. She wanted him and felt she could justify taking him if I was unworthy. In addition, she was already hooked by the in-fatuation hormones—which are crazy-making. In the case of Chuck’s alienator, I think there is a likelihood she did have a personality disorder, and so many of her clinging and possessive behaviors were not simply due to the affair situation. She became immediately possessive and used high-level emotional blackmail to keep him hooked in the relationship.
But here’s what I really see you thinking in the first part of that question.
If she would just give up, he would stop avoiding.
That might be true if your spouse is not in a midlife crisis, but in MLC, the alienator is a symptom and not the root or present and continuing cause.
As for the alienator not giving up, that’s typical for an MCL alienator—especially someone with a personality disorder or who may be caught up in the hormones of in-fatuation along with the conflict of a relationship where there is a spouse—this may lead someone toward coping skills common to personality disorders and so even alienators who don’t have a personality disorder may display such tendencies when in the affair.
Genuine or Manipulation?
He keeps telling me he hopes that we still have a future together. I somehow feel he means this somewhere deep down inside, but I also feel played and manipulated because he’s trying to keep me in place and prevent me from going further with my life and opening up for other men.
It’s both. Even though the message is mixed, he’s being honest when he says he hopes you can be together in the future, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also manipulative. The reassurance I want to give you is that he’s not just being manipulative to keep you available as a second-choice option. You’re not insurance. This is generally the case for most Clinging Boomerangs. They may be manipulative, but it’s due to their desperate neediness to not lose you. Of course, that brings up the question… if they’re so desperate not to lose me, why leave, why cheat, why lie…?
This is not your crisis. This is not about you. The absurdity of their actions and their cycling and mixed messages speak volumes. They’re confused and reaching out to any life preserver they can find. They grab the alienator’s even though your life preserver still seems better. The alienator’s life preserver is closer and they feel so desperate. It seems like too much work to swim to your life preserver. So, they grab onto the life preserver with a hidden anchor pulling and slowing it down.
A standing spouse who isn’t taking the scorned route, but detaches and applies the Unconditionals is an attractive force. Just remember, your MLCer isn’t a vibrational match. They’ll continue to reach out to you, but they cannot sustain a relationship at your level right now.