I have been reading more than posting here. I notice a lot of people have essentially the same story. I have tried to capture it the script. We all basically do the same things - we don't know each other and come from different countries, but we do the same things basically.
Here's what I wrote out. I'd like to hear if I missed any steps. I know there are some variables, but for what it's worth:
1. Marriage cruising along - relatively happy on the surface. Some of us on autopilot.
2. Walk away spouse (WAS) becomes different and distant. Left behind spouse (LBS) notices and either asks about it, or quietly lets other person have space.
3. WAS continues to act distant and finally lets LBS know they are unhappy. Some WAS say they are done at this point as they have been unhappy for X amount of years and want a divorce. "There is nothing LBS can do. It's too little too late. you should have read my mind that i was unhappy." I was personally told my WAS was "unhappy for a very long time. This was news to me. WAS comes up with idea of separation:
- to figure myself out or find myself.
- make me want you again.
- to be happier.
4. LBS becomes panic driven. LBS owns the whole problem. LBS takes responsibility for fixing the entire thing and other person. LBS urges counseling. LBS in shock and is operating from a fear based panic mode.
5. LBS smothers WAS and tries to figure out what makes them tick. LBS orders 150 books from Amazon on every marriage topic and tries to teach WAS about their marital problems. "WAS, men are definitely from Mars and women may be from Venus. I don't know as we are speaking different love languages."
6. LBS is in disbelief about who the WAS spouse has become. WAS is distant, cold and is a completely different person.
7. It turns out WAS spouse is actually seeing someone else and has been. Maybe they are only interested in someone else at this point. "I don't know" becomes the WAS mantra. ILYBNILWY is said here, or maybe back in script step 3.
8. LBS acts even more desperate and then plays the humiliating "pick me! pick me!' dance or shuffle. (thanks Chumplady.com for the reference).
9. Cake eating WAS then is given more power to determine everyones future. "Limbo" becomes an actual lifestyle now. Not just a dance at your cousin's wedding.
10. LBS comes to TAM and figures out this is happening across the globe.
11. LBS reads and is counseled by the TAM warriors the focus should be on themselves in order to become a better person and prepare for another life. LBS goes back to Amazon and buys every self help book in order to work on themselves.
12. LBS learns the "180" lifestyle. LBS is still hurting inside, but is more empowered now and not so desperate. LBS has a bit more power now. LBS realizes the pick me dance is humiliating. LBS starts doing things they want to do. LBS is finding themselves again. LBS has a more clear image of WAS and now has a better understanding of the script. WAS is looking less appealing at this point as true colors on that pea**** are in bloom.
13. Decisions are pondered. Timelines are now set. WAS continues to wander in fantasy land. LBS tries to stick in the present and ruminates daily on when the desire to move on exceeds the desire to hang on.
14. Legal papers are filed.
15. WAS now realizes that "Plan B" LBS is not kidding around.
There are several paths from this point:
15a. WAS is actually relieved. They can now start their perfect relationship with their soulmate.
15b. WAS freaks out as the comfy security blanket (financial, emotional, whatever) is being pulled away. WAS tries to make amends. LBS has some options now, but maybe feels everything from glad, to mistrusting, to "no way." All of these feelings can happen at the same time. Several times a day.
16. Attempt at R, or divorce. Both parties move forward. Some Rs lather, rinse, repeat.
Mine went right to ( during the I'm not happy speech) I found someone else and its been going on for a while. Then I found out a couple of weeks later that he moved right in with her. No pick me pick me on my end. I'm not begging him when he pretty much verbally punched me out. As for the rest - you're pretty spot on ( I'm only to #12 as of this moment)
Cringe-inducing to see how I followed this script to a tee - right down to trying to talk to her about love languages. Now at step 14, probably looking at 15a and then 16.
I agree with Left With 4.5 though - there should be a step about the WAS blaming and lashing out at the LBS. Whitewashing the LBS to be a horrible spouse, in a horrible marriage, etc. Not sure where it would be plugged into that script, but it does seem like very few WAS's can walk away without spitting venom and bile back at the LBS.
I think with WAS's there isn't always an affair. Sometimes (as in my case) they are in love with the idea of "freedom" and convince themselves that there will be rainbows and unicorns and all their problems will be solved if only they can get out of the marriage. [Michele Weiner=Davis specifically writes about this]. In some ways the fog fantasy is even harder to combat if it doesn't actually involve a real relationship with a real person but just some warm fuzzy fantasy of being "with someone special who will give me the love I deserve".
In my case she already had one or two candidates all lined up for that role and thought that it was absolutely fine to jump into a relationship with one of them as soon as she had dropped the D-bomb.
Yes, in my case it was the WAS who dropped the D-bomb and is in a big, big hurry to complete the divorce and start her "new life". That's because she took plenty of time to use me as her Plan B whilst she got ready to leave. Her bible during this time was "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway" and she really thinks that she is being incredibly brave and facing her fears to build herself a fabulous new life. Doesn't realise that leaving is the easy way out - the tough choice is actually staying and working on your relationship and taking responsibility for your end of the marriage. Responsibility - not a favourite word of the WAS.
It's the script I followed. I didn't realize it was a script until I saw a lot of people do the same things. There's a pattern. Agreed there are steps that I've missed. Maybe I have yet to experience them. Please add steps to the discussion. Keeps me on my toes then!!
she really thinks that she is being incredibly brave and facing her fears to build herself a fabulous new life. Doesn't realise that leaving is the easy way out - the tough choice is actually staying and working on your relationship and taking responsibility for your end of the marriage. Responsibility - not a favourite word of the WAS.
Amen. I'm starting to wonder if we've been married to the same woman.
This should probably be added as well. Maybe a 7a and 7b between grass is greener syndrome, and seeing or being interested in someone else.
My WW had a four month EA with old HS bf who did prison time,even met him four times but didn't go physical.
She was willing to leave with nothing,just clothes and stay out of my life for good.
Actually had to stop her.
There is real,true,hard remorse in some people,it does happen.
If I hurt she hurts and gets worried about me.
Not most people deserve that chance after cheating but some do and they are exceptional people.
I'd bet the farm on my wife.
One year in R and I feel I did the right thing. Posted via Mobile Device
I think you're missing something about the cheater's perspective. When the WAS goes back to the LBS temporarily to relieve any feelings of abandonment the OM/OW ramps up hoovering and chases them into their spouse's arms for a while. Naturally this falls apart when the WAS misses fantasy land or the LBS can't meet the increasingly demanding needs of the WAS. But all in all this explains the second honeymoon with the two cheaters.
This is also when some cheaters snap and decide to kill their lover's souse out of jealousy to control their reality. Food for thought!
I can relate to some of these for sure. My current panic mode is my kids and fear of him taking them. I know in my head I am better off without him, but the reality of everything I need to do in order to survive alone is daunting and the idea that he could take my kids from me is paralyzing.