Originally Posted By: Dr Harley
So, to avoid an indefinite period of suffering while a wayward spouse vacillates between spouse and lover, and to avoid rewarding the selfish behavior of having needs met by both spouse and lover, if plan A does not work within a reasonable period of time, I recommend plan B.

Plan B is for the betrayed spouse to avoid all contact with the wayward spouse until the affair has completely ended and the wayward spouse has agreed to my plan for recovery. In many cases, once an affair has ended, a betrayed spouse makes the mistake of taking the wayward spouse back before an agreement is made regarding marital recovery. This leads to a return to all the conditions that made the affair possible -- love is not restored, resentment is not overcome, and there is a very great risk for another affair. Without agreement and subsequent implementation of a plan for recovery, the betrayed spouse is better off continuing with plan B.

Since plan B (and plan A, for that matter), is extremely stressful for the betrayed spouse, I usually recommend that he or she ask a physician to prescribe anti-depressant medication to be taken throughout the crisis. This not only greatly reduces the suffering of the betrayed spouse, but it also helps keep a clear head at a time when patience and wise decisions are crucial. Anti-depressant medication does not numb the betrayed spouse to the crisis, it actually helps raise him or her above emotional reactions that would otherwise prevent clear-headed thinking. Why suffer and and make poor choices when anti-depressant medication can help ease your pain and improve your concentration in this time of unprecedented crisis?

While I have seen remarkable success by people using plan A and plan B, success is by no means guaranteed. The problem with Plan B is that the unfaithful spouse may not return, nor agree to the plan for recovery, even after the affair has ended. Separation in marriage is always risky because, "out of sight, out of mind." Unless plan A leaves the wayward s spouse with the impression that returning home is an attractive choice, separation can become permanent. So before implementing plan B, you want to be sure that the last thing your spouse remembers about you is the care and thoughtfulness you offered in plan A. That way, the separation can help create, "absence makes the heart grow fonder."

As it turns out, most affairs end within six months of their seeing the light of day (being revealed to their family and friends), and almost all affairs end without leading to marriage. Even those few that end in marriage have only a 25% rate of success. That's because affairs are based on dishonesty and thoughtlessness for the feelings of others. That same dishonesty and thoughtlessness eventually turns on the lovers themselves, and the affair is destroyed by those same flaws that made it possible in the first place. What drives affairs is passion, not commitment, and once the passion wanes, there is nothing to help the lovers restore their passion. Marriage, on the other hand, especially with children, has many factors that motivate couples to restore their passion for each other after passion has waned. So when passion is gone from an affair, a wayward spouse is usually motivated to return to the betrayed spouse by all of these other factors. For most, it's a logical choice.

But what about marital separation when an affair is not the issue. In your letter, you did not indicate why you had separated. It may have been for reasons other than infidelity.

In general, I recommend separation when at least one spouse cannot control destructive behavior. An ongoing affair, of course, is one of those situations. Hence, plan B. But other situations such as physical and verbal abuse, where one spouse's mental or physical safety is as risk, are also grounds for separation. As in the case of infidelity, if one spouse is abusive, I often recommend plan A first, where, through negotiation (without anger, disrespect or demands), an attempt is made to overcome the abuse without separating.

But in some cases, the safety risks are so great that plan B should be implemented immediately, with no time for plan A. In these cases, treatment for the abusive habit must take place during separation, and some evidence must exist that the risk has been greatly reduced, or completely eliminated, before the spouses should return to each other. Then, after being together again, the formerly abusive spouse should be held accountable by others for his or her behavior to assure the other spouse's safety.

In other cases, such as annoying behavior or failure to meet important emotional needs, where thoughtlessness does not reach the level of physical or mental abuse, plan A should be given quite a bit of time and effort before resorting to plan B. Remember, plan A is negotiating (without anger, disrespect or demands) to eliminate the annoying behavior or improve the meeting of emotional needs. A blanket agreement between spouses to follow the Policy of Joint Agreement goes a long way toward eliminating these thoughtless acts, and can also help couples learn to meet each other's needs with enthusiasm. But without that policy, couples often find that they cannot get anywhere with each other through negotiation, and sometimes separation can eventually lead to mutual recognition that they need the Policy of Joint Agreement to help them resolve conflicts.
original article here

Last edited by Lil; 01/05/14 06:27 AM. Reason: changing thread name

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