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Fear of Loss: Boundary Setting and Enforcement11 Comments

  1. Another great post. Thanks for writing and sharing it.

    The principles you describe remind me a bit of a light-hearted but interesting book from a few years back, "What Shamu Taught Me about Life, Love, and Marriage." I remember my husband and me laughing when we read excerpts. I so miss that man – wonder where he went.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/fashion/25love….

    Thanks for your great posts.

  2. Michelle Wiener Davis also encourages some of these methods – really NOTICING and praising the good stuff and ignoring/'dropping the rope" when it comes to things you don't like. I think it's important to realistically look for small improvements. In my case, there's been virtually no contact since he left with the first alienator but I have tried these Shamu and MWD tactics on the men at work (I work for the military so there are LOTS of officers my age to try this out on!) and they're on to something!

  3. My husband has returned under the guise of working on our marriage. He said his relationship with ow was over. Within two months, I found out that it was not over and he now refuses to leave. He is here quite a bit of the time but is still in contact and goes on dates with her. I have asked him to leave and he refuses. He has proposed that he buy me out of our home and has even started to look for a new house for me in the area. He has not mentioned it since but it has only been a couple of weeks. How can I apply this to my situation if he refuses to leave? I thought maybe going dim but we generally eat as a family as we have a son and his story now is that he returned for him. I was duped into believing that he was returning to work on us.

    • This is quite common.
      1.Stop Asking him to leave–when you ask, you are making a request and "no" is an option.
      2.Learn your rights. Do you have the legal right to force him from the household?
      To access the right to force him out would you be required to file for a legal separation or divorce?
      3.What do you know about your husband–what he will do? If you do not have the legal right to force him out, does he know that and will he hold you to it?

      Technically I did not have the right to kick Sweetheart of the house, prevent him access or change the locks–without notifying him and providing him with keys. But I knew he would not call me on any of those actions and so I was able to take those actions without a concern that he would force me legally to let him in or take my own legal action towards separation.
      What I did: Okay on one occasion I told him he needed to leave and he then took the action, but on another occasion I forced him out–the action was mine. While he was at work I packed his bags and put them in his truck–he had driven the motorcycle. When he came home–through the back door–I escorted him through the house and out the front.

      You need to determine your boundaries and how to enforce them. Without children, I did not have to worry about the effect on them; you do need to keep that concern.
      If you are telling/asking him to leave, should you be having dinner with him–family dinner? Does that send a mixed message? But the flip: how do you not have family dinner with him when it is for your son?

      It's not as simple as it sounds: kick him out if he's home and refusing to leave and seeing the alienator. But since you are not a newbie—it's been a few years since Bomb Drop—your situation does need this sort of strong boundary. And yes, it is a risk.
      He needs to leave if he is openly seeing the alienator–you know and he knows that you know and he is refusing to stop.

      I wrote this series for situations like yours.

      Strong Boundaries Are:
      •No Contact with the alienator upon returning home. That means NONE. So no meeting with her—at her request—to make sure she gets the message and finish it for once and for all. No responding to her texts. Phone calls, emails. Change numbers and block her if that is what it takes.
      If an MLCer does not agree to No Contact, he is not ready for reconciliation—of course this is a gray area if they work together, so no situation is clear-cut. No one should answer her contacts—supposing you have caller ID and know a call is from her. What that means is you should not answer for him as a middle man or his protector. She may harass you, so do not give her that power by responding with anything other than nothing.
      •House Rules: Any contact with the alienator (once home) is grounds for immediate removal from the home. Of course that does not count if she harasses him and he has no control or if they accidentally (for real) bump into each other at the super market or if she is stalking him. But if he chooses to contact her—even if he's returning a contact from her, or he chooses to visit her…OUT. The important thing about that sort of boundary is that it needs to be swift. As soon as you find out AND your MLCer knows you have found out, you need to take action. Because a boundary is something known ahead of time and if he knows you've known and have done nothing…you are showing him a weakness and he will take advantage of it. That will enable Monster.
      •No Contact if he leaves again—whether he leaves because you force him out or he goes on his own. You need to find a mediator for dealing with your son. No coming to the house—he can sit in the drive way and your son can meet him out there, but no entering. For visitation, find a mediator who will be willing to act as a go-between so that you do not have to contact each other and that person may even be a neutral drop off person/location for visitations.

  4. 1- Good morning RCR – thank you for your very quick response.
    In our province, i am not able to force him from our home unless he poses a personal threat to myself or our son. His return home was prompted by his exhaustion over having to commute back and forth between his ow and our home early in the morning for childcare. His attachment is very much to the house and our son – i almost want to say in that order, only i have a hard time wrapping my head around that..

  5. 2- My husband is a generally mild person but can be imposing and of late, extremely arrogant. This is not a constant as he has been quite kind, even affectionate, doing acts of service, so on. This all seemed consistent with him "wanting to work on things" but now, in hindsight, even more consistent with manipulation and deceit. I do not feel threatened AT ALL for our safety. If i push the matter, he might move things along with the separation agreement in the hopes of settling and having me out of the home. He told me when he brought it up that it would make her happy and thus, make him happy not to have to deal with her anger over all of this.

  6. 3- I do not want to move, I am in no position to move, I would rather sell this home so my intention, at this time, is to leave when it sells. Our son has special needs and is now in a program very close to our home. I would not be able to afford living in our area, short of someone's basement, and considering i am our son's primary caregiver, i would have him most of the time due to husband's work (and social) schedule. It is in both of our best interests that we remain in our home. I believe i can handle this, but would like to know how to proceed as far as contact and boundaries. Him not contacting the alienator does not seem to be an option for him at this point at all.

  7. 4- As far as a mediator, i believe the before and after school care program our son is currently in could be a good candidate at some point, with either of us dropping off and picking up. He, unfortunately only has a year left in this program before he ages out.

    Thank you once again for your advice and comments. I'm not doing too badly but feel him leaving really is the best option.

  8. I have such a hard time with this. I live in his home, I can't kick him out legally, he could kick me out!!!
    He is supposed to pay me money to get my own home…so I helped him do his taxes…since that was first.
    He's with the alienator now for the next 10 days (just to "see" if she's his soulmate). He said I don't understand the emotion of love.
    I feel like I have been a doormat, as he holds the cards to whether I can leave…(no money of own, I work but don't have a big stash). So I have been "helping", and allowing behaviors and discussions that I shouldn't.

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