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PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair #3726
09/15/10 06:56 PM
09/15/10 06:56 PM
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JimK Offline OP
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There's often some discussion regarding Plan A effectiveness, how many people feel that an immediate ultimatum is the best way to end an affair. And there's plenty of misunderstanding about what's actually in Plan A: note that there's no discussion of 'exposure' (especially the 'nuclear exposure') that's often stated as part of the plan. I'll post my thoughts after this excerpt.

Plan A and Plan B link from Marriagebuilders

Originally Posted by Dr. Harley/MB Website

Plan A is for the betrayed spouse to negotiate with the wayward spouse to totally separate from the lover without angry outbursts, disrespect, and demands. These three Love Busters not only ruin any effort to reach a negotiated settlement, but they also make the betrayed spouse much less attractive to the wayward spouse. Instead of encouraging total separation from the lover, the anger, disrespect and demands of the betrayed spouse make the lover appear to be the only one who truly cares about the wayward spouse. They literally throw the wayward spouse into the arms of the lover.

On the other hand, if the betrayed spouse approaches the wayward spouse with respect and thoughtfulness, the cruelty and self-indulgence of the affair is much easier for the wayward spouse to understand. And once the wayward spouse's mistake is acknowledged, it's much easier for him or her to take the first step toward recovery by agreeing to never see or talk to the lover again.

In these negotiations for total separation, the causes of the affair should be addressed. Since one of these causes is usually unfulfilled emotional needs, the betrayed spouse should express a willingness to meet those needs after the affair has ended. Another common cause is a wayward spouse's failure to take the betrayed spouse's feelings into account. The betrayed spouse's inconsiderate behavior sometimes leads the wayward spouse to believe that he or she has the right to return thoughtlessness with thoughtlessness by having an affair. Willingness of the betrayed spouse to follow the Policy of Joint Agreement goes a long way toward resolving the issue of thoughtlessness.

A third possible cause of an affair is a lifestyle where spouses spend much of their leisure time apart from each other, and form leisure-time friendships with those of the opposite sex. A plan to avoid being away from each other overnight and making each other favorite leisure-time companions goes a long way toward creating a passionate marriage that is essentially affair-proof.

In general, a betrayed spouse's effort to encourage the wayward spouse to end the affair should address all the root causes of the affair, and offer a solid plan for marital recovery. It should not be one-sided, however. The plan should make the wayward spouse and the betrayed spouse equally responsible for following the overall plan.


In many affairs (especially for women), they tend to come about because the wayward spouse has been in the state of withdrawal for some time. Often because their giver has been working overtime (and often ineffectively---certainly in the case of my wife's affair), and their taker hasn't been getting what they need. This sets the stage for someone to come in and light that spark. An affair is set in motion. Let's take the case where withdrawal is deep and has been prolonged (at least a year). If the affair becomes entrenched for a while (3-6 months)---the BS has some significant problems when they discover it.

A normal response is to confront the WS. To blow up. To demand that this affair end. To toss their belongings on the driveway. Etc. It's pretty clear that this response doesn't always work in saving the marriage, because there's been plenty of divorces pre-Plan A. When would this response be effective? Probably when the affair wasn't firmly entrenched (it had either just started, or was just ending). When the WS hadn't been in the state of withdrawal for very long (or at all, if they'd been in a state of conflict). There are probably other situations that you could imagine (the WS is very dependent on the BS for support).

Plan A is different. It's not intuitive. And it's built to deal with affairs that would most likely end up in divorce given the traditional response. A key of these plans is the recognition that affairs generally don't last. They're infatuations that trigger brain chemistry that is similar to addiction---and that secrecy is the thing that allows them to flourish.

So the steps outlaid here (and in SAA and via counseling are generally).

1. Confirm and document the affair.
2. Confront the spouse and negotiate an end to the affair, if possible.
3. Avoid doing this with lovebusters. The WS is already in withdrawal (likely from bad behaviors)
4. Be willing to address the marital issues. Preferably from both sides. Engage the wayward spouse in this planning.

There aren't a ton of 'successful' Plan A's that end the affair, but the ones that I've seen work are marriages in which that 'demand' would probably have also worked. Spouses aren't too far down the path of withdrawal, the affair is atypical behavior (not a serial cheater). Often times Plan A is that 'middle inning setup guy' for the closer, Plan B. A real separation. Plan A lays the groundwork for the BS having shown compassion, a willingness to both recognize marital problems and being willing to work on them---all under horrible duress. It buys some time with regards to allowing the affair to end. Plan A is not a way of life---it's a tactical plan of the overall strategy to save a marriage that's in very dire straits.

So, I don't think that everyone has the capability to pull this off. In some cases I'd suggest a couple weeks, in others a few months. But it was very clear that in my marriage, had I taken a demand route I would have been divorced. The kids would have had to deal with that legacy (and me too). But I see it as a very inclusive plan that will successfully deal with 'easy' affairs as well as the more entrenched ones. I'd be interested to hear others experiences and opinions.

And we should probably discuss 'exposure' somewhere too---because my opinion is that nuclear exposure is likely one of the worse things you can do in dealing with an affair---I'd think you're putting huge hurdles on your spouse to return to the marriage (tattoo that scarlet A on the forehead). I'm much more in favor of a surgical, progressive set of exposures that culminate at the time of separation.


The former MB poster known as "K"
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: JimK] #3879
09/16/10 12:26 AM
09/16/10 12:26 AM
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Lil Offline

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Something newly betrayed need to remember is that plan A is not a doormat, its a Welcome Home mat. While in the emotional turmoil created by D-day, a BS's giver can go into overdrive and give above and beyond what is sustainable or even safe for them emotionally and physically.

Giving your best to repair your side of the fence, yes. Keeping boundaries in place, bigger yes. Hard to juggle but better in the long run.


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #3892
09/16/10 12:50 AM
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I guess this is where I disagree with the MB stuff. I don't think most affairs are caused by unfulfilled emotional needs.

Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: believer] #3903
09/16/10 01:18 AM
09/16/10 01:18 AM
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Larry Offline
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Well some affairs are caused by unfulfilled emotional needs and some are caused by ego entitlement issues, in my opinion. I neither agree nor disagree with believer.

And a lot depends on how you define emotional needs. I guarantee that the guy who comes home and expects dinner on the table (wife works too) inbetween sitting in "His" chair and asking for a beer now and then while watching TV, is going to cause negative emotions in his wife, sooner or later.

Guess that's failure to provide domestic help. smile

While I was on MB, I followed the general mantra for nuclear exposure. And follow is the right word. I baulked from time to time, for example a military thread, and didn't get too many negative posts thrown my way. When I baulked, I always posted that sometimes a knife was better than a bomb, if a bomb caused negative things to happen to the BS and the KIDS!

In my own case, I used the threat of exposure. And I used a clear and calm set of alternatives issued in a clear and calm voice to indicate that there were three alternatives. That worked, guess you could call it the carrot and the stick like Pep likes to write about. This was before I discovered MB.

In my opinion, based on probably in excess of 500 people whose story I have read, many of whom I have made suggestions to, Plan A works for some, but not all. Plan A is a great plan, based on solid psychological principles. Which does not make it omniscent.

Telling a SAHM that you still love her and she needs to give up her boy toy or find her young buttocks out on the street with far less money than she thinks she will get, can be very, very effective in busting up the affair. Seen that one on MB as a matter of fact - my observation of that is one reason why a couple of people went after my throat. *sigh*

On the other hand, telling a woman who is infatuated with her lover, who also makes more money than the betrayed husband, that she has to break up with her lover, is probably not going to work very well at first. Maybe exposure is your only recourse to get more folks, like parents, talking to her. Seen that too.

One size fits all is a bunch of bull and mostly used by those who are too lazy to really study and understand, with some exceptions for certain deals.

Larry


It's often the truth we hide from ourselves that causes the most damage in life.

My old email address no longer works.
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Larry] #3906
09/16/10 01:25 AM
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2long Offline
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Steve Harley himself said once (paraphrased): "People don't have affairs because of unmet needs, they have affairs because they don't protect their marriages from their own weaknesses."

-ol' 2long

Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: 2long] #3929
09/16/10 02:27 AM
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Don't know how to do the quotes but this is copied from K's quote from Dr. Harley.

"In these negotiations for total separation, the causes of the affair should be addressed. Since one of these causes is usually unfulfilled emotional needs, the betrayed spouse should express a willingness to meet those needs after the affair has ended. Another common cause is a wayward spouse's failure to take the betrayed spouse's feelings into account. The betrayed spouse's inconsiderate behavior sometimes leads the wayward spouse to believe that he or she has the right to return thoughtlessness with thoughtlessness by having an affair."

I just don't buy it. Sometimes the WS's ENs aren't being met, but I see way more BS's whose EN's weren't met.

I consider most affairs to be caused by lack of boundaries, a sense of entitlement or the character of the WS.


"I feel sad that I focused so much on his potential and so little on mine."
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: 2long] #3944
09/16/10 03:03 AM
09/16/10 03:03 AM
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Larry Offline
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Originally Posted by 2long
Steve Harley himself said once (paraphrased): "People don't have affairs because of unmet needs, they have affairs because they don't protect their marriages from their own weaknesses."

-ol' 2long


In another place within Harley's stuff, Dr. Harley says the same thing. So how do you reconcile the conflict? Beats me.

I will also add that Dr. Harley has observed that he and Steve sometimes disagree.

Larry


It's often the truth we hide from ourselves that causes the most damage in life.

My old email address no longer works.
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Larry] #3947
09/16/10 03:09 AM
09/16/10 03:09 AM
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Larry Offline
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Originally Posted by believer
I just don't buy it. Sometimes the WS's ENs aren't being met, but I see way more BS's whose EN's weren't met.

I consider most affairs to be caused by lack of boundaries, a sense of entitlement or the character of the WS.


Ding - good shot believer.

Which one is most likely to cheat? The one with the least attachment, maybe. I have see cheating going on when the WS was actually not meeting his/her BS needs before the cheating.

Then again, I have seen someone get tired of it and start cheating. Guess it can go both ways.

Good list believer.

Larry


It's often the truth we hide from ourselves that causes the most damage in life.

My old email address no longer works.
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Larry] #4018
09/16/10 09:48 AM
09/16/10 09:48 AM
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serendipitous Offline
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How does this...

Quote
From the new book by Dr. Harley, Effective Marriage Counseling pg 94:

"Granted, there are situations when demands may be necessary in marriage. During a spouse's affair, for example, I recommend that the betrayed spouse demand there be no contact with the lover. If there is continued contact, separation or even divorce would be the logical consequence. While normally demands don't work, in this case there are no reasonable alternatives because thoughtful requests are even less likely to separate lovers."


sit with this....

Quote
Plan A is for the betrayed spouse to negotiate with the wayward spouse to totally separate from the lover without angry outbursts, disrespect, and demands. These three Love Busters not only ruin any effort to reach a negotiated settlement, but they also make the betrayed spouse much less attractive to the wayward spouse. Instead of encouraging total separation from the lover, the .....demands of the betrayed spouse make the lover appear to be the only one who truly cares about the wayward spouse. They literally throw the wayward spouse into the arms of the lover.


emphasis mine.



The sun never says to the earth "you owe me"
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights up the whole sky.
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: serendipitous] #4020
09/16/10 10:35 AM
09/16/10 10:35 AM
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JimK Offline OP
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These are all great points (and it does illustrate how Harley's entire body of work sometimes contradicts itself). With regards to the quotes concerning unmet needs causing the affair---a couple of notes. First, he says 'sometimes'. There's a pretty wide spectrum of affairs: people who cheat for conquest/sex only, sex addicts, opportunity presents itself, to strongly emotionally withdrawn. In my case, my wife was very withdrawn (and I hovered between conflict and withdrawal), and much was due to my behavior (and some wasn't). I didn't force her to have an affair, but I'm OK with saying that I helped set the table for this to happen. Steve does indeed say that affairs are caused by poor boundaries and bad decisionmaking---and that they're not the BS fault. But he still does the work for addressing that side of the marriage in counseling as one of the first aspects of battling an affair.

The quotes serendipitous refers to are, in my opinion, a change in execution and length of Plan A as a refinement. The top appears to be Plan A 2.0. My guess is that Bill has found that people were doing Plan A too long, and that the request aspect wasn't working well for the marriages (and perhaps for the betrayed spouse in particular---because trust me, if there's one demand you ought to be able to make, this should be it!!!). I haven't seen the new book, but my guess is that instead of a request, you make a 'demand'. And it's likely that the demand is not fulfilled. At that point, I'm guessing that a shorter Plan A is in place---one that lasts for weeks instead of the 3 months that Harley would shoot for.

Great points. And Larry---you're absolutely right that both parties can cheat. In fact, it's very important when battling an affair that your support system basically only contain 'same sex' friend for any one-on-one support that you need. Otherwise that helpful, empathetic, concerned opposite sex friend starts to look pretty good. It's that natural love bank thing...


The former MB poster known as "K"
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: JimK] #4026
09/16/10 11:53 AM
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serendipitous Offline
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Originally Posted by JimK
The quotes serendipitous refers to are, in my opinion, a change in execution and length of Plan A as a refinement. The top appears to be Plan A 2.0. My guess is that Bill has found that people were doing Plan A too long, and that the request aspect wasn't working well for the marriages (and perhaps for the betrayed spouse in particular---because trust me, if there's one demand you ought to be able to make, this should be it!!!). I haven't seen the new book, but my guess is that instead of a request, you make a 'demand'. And it's likely that the demand is not fulfilled. At that point, I'm guessing that a shorter Plan A is in place---one that lasts for weeks instead of the 3 months that Harley would shoot for.


Call me Sere Jim. Everyone else does. smile

That is exatly what I thought Jim, but here is my problem with it. How is the demand executed? I imagine that most BS's would incorporate a boundary within the demand.

I certainly made no demand that my H ends his A but I most definitely asserted a boundary so that he fully understood the consequences of him having any contact with the OW.

Most of us BS's will say something like "I demand that you stop seeing OW/OM or I will......." fill in the blank...

If you make a demand/assert a boundary and the WS disrespects you by disregarding that, then how on earth do you go to the original plan A which refers to the BS approaching the WS and respectfully and thoughtfully negotiating an end to the A.

I know that the simple answer is that you simply make the demand without stating the consequence but how realistic is this?

Or do you do it the other way round? Thoughtfully negotiate an end to the A and if that doesn't work. then make the demand. However, that doesn't appear to be what he is saying. I would love to have this clarified.


The sun never says to the earth "you owe me"
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights up the whole sky.
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Larry] #4042
09/16/10 01:44 PM
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Quote
Which one is most likely to cheat? The one with the least attachment, maybe. I have see cheating going on when the WS was actually not meeting his/her BS needs before the cheating.


I don't know if I agree. I think in my case, the cheating happened by the one who had the sense of entitlement...and the ability to justify, rationalize, etc., etc.

He has been more attached to me than vice-versa through the course of our marriage and at the time of his A, I would venture to guess that my unhappiness and despair matched his, if not exceeded it. In fact, based on my total emotional and physical withdrawal from the marriage at that time, he was convinced I was having an affair or I was gay.

Nice, huh?

Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: OurHouse] #4045
09/16/10 01:50 PM
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Going on with some more thoughts, based on my own personal experience. YMMV.

1. Plan A in my case is very tough because my husband seems to have a huge sense of entitlement in life and Plan A can easily become Plan Doormat. Otherwise, I think Plan A is probably a pretty good plan to follow day in/day out of any marriage, affair or not. It's basically the Golden Rule.

2. I am not sure you can issue a blanket statement of saying affairs happen when ENs aren't met. My ENs sure aren't being met but I haven't had an affair. Also, in my case, my husband's affair happened with a long-time ago girlfriend; someone whose true role in his life he chose NOT to tell me about. While I knew about all the major love interests he had before me, he left out this very important piece of information and I would rank this woman up to or even beyond the girlfriend he had in college, who broke his heart by not marrying him. Yet he was able to put that one behind him in the history books and move on. He never shut the door on this other woman, but asked me to marry him without ever divulging that they were anything but high school friends.

On my worst days, since I found this out (18 years after we married), I believe it makes my entire marriage a lie. And that the affair was destined to happen one way or another.

Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: serendipitous] #4056
09/16/10 02:21 PM
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If you read Harley's books in the order in which they came out, you can see an evolution of his entire program.

HNHN was first and it has to do with ENs. Everything is about ENs with no mention of his later "Policies" or even discussion of Love Busters.

In SAA the program starts to appear (in early printings before he made updates) and Love Busters starts to add the stuff that became known and his program.

FILSIL is the book that for the first time lays out the entire model in one book. Little time is spent on identifying Love Busters or ENs and more is spent on the importance of dealing with unmet ENs and LBs.

The book that came out early this year (Effective Marriage Counseling) boils the whole thing down to purpose and method with almost no time spent on steps to take for the couples since the book isn't written for couples but for those working with couples. But it does boil his program down to its basic elements and hardly even mentions infidelity whereas the first book had a subtitle of "Building an Affair-Proof Marriage."

I think his ideas regarding Plan A have evolved along the way as well. As his own research based on his practice and those who his staff worked with provided a broader sample to base assumptions on a 2:1 ratio based on a sample of 20 people became a 1.625:1 ratio based on several hundred. As refinements are made in his own practice and as the slightly differing methods of his son and daughter are compared in real world situations, being a scientist and not just an entrepreneur, he probably began to refine his methods to improve the probability of successful plans being what was presented to the masses.

I think his shortening of Plan A is one of those things and it may have to do with his early 6 months for men and 3 for women being based almost entirely on men and women involved in his practice. So they might have fared pretty well with constant encouragement and direction as to what to do next and so might even have been able to see clear progress (for lack of a better word right now) toward the goal of separating the affair partners.

Since most readers of his books have no such routine dialog with a trained professional while dealing with an affair, I think it likely that his later experience and data caused him to modify his numbers and that his experience became weighted toward women attempting to do Plan A because of a phenomenon not taken into account by any of the books.

Women are most likely to be working on a Plan A with a cake eating infidel on her hands because men have this ability to compartmentalize in a way women don't typically match. It is this that the original 6 months was based on, at least in part, I think and one of the reasons he believed men could go on longer. But I think something else plays into the differences as well and that is because men will separate things so well in their minds, they find it simple to be in love with a wife who is knocking herself out to prove her ability to be the perfect mate and partner for life while at the same time being driven by infatuation and even lust to continue his affair with someone usually younger and shall we say, firmer than the mother of his children. He wants both of them and so tries to negotiate or establish a pattern that allows him to keep his wife and his mistress and let them peacefully coexist.

Women on the other hand are more serial monogamists. When a wife begins an affair, or at least when it comes into the open, she either has a whole list of reasons why her marriage was already over before she stepped out, based typically on neglect of her needs and abusive behavior by her husband, or she has developed some sort of mental model of love that makes being in love with two people impossible. Since the newer relationship is more powerful due to PEA, a spike in Testosterone, combined with a reduced level of serotonin (and resulting depression) as she recounts in her mind the wrongs of the past with her husband, she decides very clearly that the new relationship is her true love and so she begins from a position of having already ended her marriage in her own mind, going back for the first justification she can pinpoint as being the end of the marriage and the new relationship now beginning as the natural outcome of the dead marriage that died many years ago.

So if a man can cause a wayward wife to be conflicted about which way she should go, his odds of saving his marriage from her affair skyrocket and since typically the wife's justifications for leaving the marriage is a long one going back quite a way in time, only a clear demonstration of a willingness to change by her husband is going to make her even consider staying in the marriage.

It can also take about 6 months for the cracks in the fantasy to begin to show themselves. As the initial PEA and resulting dopamine rush wears off and real world disagreements start to appear, if the husband is still trying to demonstrate his ability to be that near perfect husband, or at least is addressing the complaints she has expressed perhaps for several years, she begins to modify her analysis of things and look at her situation from a more logic and informational process since the strong emotional contrast is diminished.

When confronted, men might react by throwing the OW under the bus, at least initially, since he stands to lose much if the marriage is dissolved. But a woman when confronted will often decide that divorce is her best option so that she can legitimize her new love or at least get away from the horrible situation she has used to justify letting herself even consider falling in love with someone else. It will probably be when that fantasy breakdown happens that she is most likely to decide once and for all if she will try to return to the marriage or move on no matter the outcome of her fantasy love.

And just so you ladies don't get too concerned with my using the word fantasy here, the men have a fantasy as well. That fantasy
is based on having the perfect wife to take care of everything that has become his life and having the wild and crazy sex partner his mistress represents. The contrast for the woman is that the fantasy is almost entirely based on the peaceful end of the marriage so that she can be rescued by her new true love.

The demand thing, I always thought was assumed in Harley's work. For most men and women, the way they attempt to negotiate the end of the affair is by constant confrontation, yelling, name calling, slamming doors etc. This will not likely result in a saved marriage though it might result in successfully ending the affair.

But the way most people have taken his admonition to avoid love busters when trying to negotiate the end of the affair, is to never say anything that is black and white. I don't think he ever intended for it to become anything other than stating very clearly that unless the affair ends, the marriage is over and there is no room in the marriage for sharing with anyone else.

But for me, I did all that at confrontation time and restated it a few times along the way. The part that makes it so hard to do that clearly and without a lot of damage done by the process itself is that typically the person doing the stating of the boundary doesn't mean to choose, they mean to choose what I want you to choose. This can lead to months of inaction by the BS who fears being left in the cold by the choice. Again, I think this is more likely for men since they do realize their own contribution to conditions that allowed his wife to consider leaving him for another man in many situations and I think men are typically less certain of their position in general.

So men take Plan A to be being nice to avoid making her more angry and women take it to be trying to seduce their husband away from OW by becoming thinner, sexier, more exciting and spontaneous.. In a short while both are frustrated, hurt, angry and disgusted and when the demand is finally made it comes in the form of an explosion followed by throwing the spouse's clothing into the driveway and setting fire to it. Woman realize they can't be 22 again and men begin to accept the notion that nothing they do will ever chnage the current dynamic for their wives.

I think the missing piece was always that Dr Harley talked of negotiation for the end of the affair and said it needed to happen without Love Busters and people equate all demands with selfish demands. The preservation of a family isn't purely selfish to begin with, but anyone who has ever negotiated any kind of deal beginning from polar opposite positions knows that the first offer is to ask for the universe followed by a request for the moon and sky while being willing to settle for a fair deal. What makes it so hard in a romantic relationship is that we aren't just using our frontal lobes to negotiate but are reacting to our feelings which are by-passing our ability to use logic. Our logic brain says : "You should do this" and our lizard brain tells us "FIGHT! RUN! REACT!"


All conjecture on my part based on my observations and experience coupled with the little bit of reading I have done.

Mark


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Mark1952] #4061
09/16/10 02:33 PM
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JimK Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Mark1952
All conjecture on my part based on my observations and experience coupled with the little bit of reading I have done.


Very nicely illustrated. Now get back to work! wink

Seriously, this was a great post. And as you mention, there's a difference between a demand and a selfish demand (twisted together with a couple angry outbursts...)


The former MB poster known as "K"
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: JimK] #4076
09/16/10 03:47 PM
09/16/10 03:47 PM
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MyRevelation Offline
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I'll start by apologizing for being a little lazy and copying/pasting previous posts to make my point in the context of this thread. Also, I will post in generalities, as there will be obvious "exceptions", but this is my perspective of the general "rule". Like most, my perceptions revolve around my own experiences and personality type, and BH's with a different personality would likely not be able to execute this approach, and therefore, wouldn't experience the same results.

IMHO, Plan A is more effective in BW/WH scenarios than with BH/WW's for the reason outlined below with a little additional commentary about my perceived notion as to why MB advocates its use.

Quote
As a BH ... I'll let the ladies comment from their perspective ... I have found the MB Plan A to be way too passive to be very effective with WW's. In a lot of cases, a W is more inclined to go wayward if they have lost respect for their H, for whatever reason, and Plan A just reinforces that lack of respect by making that BH appear even weaker.

With 3+ years of MB hindsight, I have formed my own very cynical opinion about the underlying reason for the weakness of Plan A ... strong, decisive actions yield results, which greatly reduces the opportunity to sell books, home programs, coaching services, etc. Personally, I view MB currently as a program that is more profit, rather than results, driven.

I know others have a more positive view of MB, but in all fairness, a newby searching for a program that best suits their needs should be able to consider both sides of the MB coin before committing to any particular plan.


Rather than Plan A, I advocate the following as a much better strategy for a BH to save a M that "SHOULD" be saved ... many simply do not. I come from the position of being divorced previously, and I simply don't fear D as much as I fear wasting any of the clearly limited time I have remaining on this earth.

Quote
In terms of BH/WW scenarios ... and I do see a clear difference ... the short answer is an ultimatum, followed by the 180.

Now let me explain a few "truths" as I see them:

1. I would rather lose my W, than share her.

2. I value my self-respect more than I do my M ... to be a quality partner, I simply have to be able to live with any decision I make and be able to look at myself in the mirror.

3. D is the proper response to a WW's A.

4. Certain A behaviors are simply "dealbreakers" ... (LTA w/expressions of love, OC, interacial are mine, OMMV)

From my perspective, unless this was an out of character, bad decision in an otherwise very good M that ends immediately upon discovery, I don't see much hope for long term marital success and the parties would be better off going their seperate ways.

Therefore, I see a strong ultimatum followed by a good 180, regardless of the outcome of the ultimatum, as the best approach to end the A and maintain any semblence of self-respect going forward, wether that future be R or D.

In my 3+ years since D-Day, I've learned a lot, and fully understand that many BH's simply are NOT this hard wired, but for those like myself, I do see this as the "best" approach to end an A, while maintaining self-respect.



Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: MyRevelation] #4090
09/16/10 04:26 PM
09/16/10 04:26 PM
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The Harleys advise that Plan A usually does not end the affair, but is a prelude to Plan B. And I respect the fact that they figured out that their advice about the length of Plan A was just plain wrong.

When I signed up in 2003, the suggested time for Plan A was 3 to 6 months. I used that time to respectfully ask my WH to end the affair. Stopped the angry outbursts and disrespectful judgements and he agreed to end the affair. Several times.

One Sunday he even stood up in church and asked for the congregation's prayers for our marriage and strength to end the affair. That night I accidently caught he and the OW in bed together.

My point is that respectfully asking an addict to quit getting their fix doesn't work.

Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Mark1952] #4095
09/16/10 04:40 PM
09/16/10 04:40 PM
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Very good explanation Mark.

Thank you.

Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: believer] #4125
09/16/10 05:08 PM
09/16/10 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by believer
The Harleys advise that Plan A usually does not end the affair, but is a prelude to Plan B. And I respect the fact that they figured out that their advice about the length of Plan A was just plain wrong.

When I signed up in 2003, the suggested time for Plan A was 3 to 6 months.

I think 6 months should be cut for men too. It was cut for women but I don't see why men should do it for longer than a month. It must be hard on them and it makes the WW even more selfish.

Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Curious] #4197
09/16/10 07:33 PM
09/16/10 07:33 PM
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believer,

I agree. I think part of Plan A is holding both BS and WS to their promises...and enforcing boundaries when they break their promises.

Which to me is a better transition from Plan A to Plan B, and when it works the best...because broken NC once, enforce the boundary...broken NC twice, go to Plan B.

So that it isn't "how long can I last" six weeks or six months...really is following your predetermined, progressive boundary enforcements...including your best Plan A, not Plan Doormat.

Part of the fog is the WS thinking that they really won't lose their spouse...or that they don't care if they do.

And many truly do...

When Plan A has that respect and no LBs going, meeting ENs and the WS breaks NC...it's not a threat to leave...

it's a promise kept.

LA


The Paradoxical Commandments

Married 28 years/Together 30
Recovered 10 years
MALovingAnyway@gmail.com
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: believer] #4217
09/16/10 08:34 PM
09/16/10 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by believer
The Harleys advise that Plan A usually does not end the affair, but is a prelude to Plan B.

Plan B will be necessary most of the time because the affair keeps going. Not many end on discovery.

Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Curious] #4915
09/20/10 08:43 AM
09/20/10 08:43 AM
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Lil Offline

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I suggest that if you should decide to undertake the MB way to battle an affair, you will want a recent copy of HNHN, not one issued in the late 70's as I did.

Many of the concepts have changed in scope and focus, and comes across as a little old fashioned in today's PC world.

As always, I think the MB plans have a lot of value, just be VERY cautious about the forum itself. It is easy to get lost in the minute details of irrelevant stuff, and it will drive you and your spouse crazy.

Last edited by Lil; 02/14/13 05:13 AM.

AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #16824
11/04/10 10:49 PM
11/04/10 10:49 PM
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Been reading, it is nice to know most affairs don't end of disclosure. The hell for the family begins, kids want parents to be normal, spouses want waywards to be who they were who family knew them as. And all involved become this giant swirling stress.

tink

Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: ] #16988
11/05/10 06:03 AM
11/05/10 06:03 AM
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Plan A can be used for more than an affair. General marital disconnect and withdrawal is a good example.

I feel obliged to add one very strong disclaimer: Plan A is not appropriate for situations involving substance or physical abuse. Period.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: AntigoneRisen] #23172
11/17/10 06:19 PM
11/17/10 06:19 PM
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Lil Offline

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Plan A

Quote:

The (betrayed) spouse needs to know that he/she had done his/her best to save their marriage. (page 76 of "Surviving An Affair")


Quote:

If the (betrayed) spouse follows the plans (A & B), and they(the plans) fail, the (betrayed) spouse would no longer have any feelings of love for the wayward spouse. (page 76 of SAA)

Quote:

Plan A: Avoid angry outbursts, disrespectful judgements, selfish demands, annoying behaviour and dishonesty (i.e. Love Busters!) at all costs. (page 75 of SAA)...and at the same time, if your spouse would let the you, you should try to meet your spouse's most important Emotional Needs (page 77 of SAA)


For those who might not know the Emotional Needs referred to here are:
1.Affection
2. Sexual Fulfilment
3. Conversation
4. Recreational Companionship
5. Honesty and Openness
6. An Attractive Spouse
7. Financial Support
8. Domestic Support
9. Family Commitment
10. Admiration




Before starting Plan A, you need to know the following:

Plan A is not for wimps.

Plan A requires Patience, Time, and Consistency.

Both Plan A and Plan B are a cohesive collection of steps that lead one down a very narrow path of marital recovery. They must work together as Plan A rarely 'works' by itself.

You start Plan B AFTER a time in Plan A. There has been much discussion and debate as to how long plan A should last. The current thinking is that due to the risk of PTSD, a BW should limit plan A to 4-6 weeks, while a BH seems to be able to maintain plan A for up to 6 months. Only you can determine your level of stamina.

Plan B's effectiveness lies in the foundation laid down by the BS during plan A. Therefore the better your plan A, the more impact there will be in plan B.


The plan A environment needs to be non-threatening, yet clearly show the wayward that there are improvements being made in the BS's ability to meet the wayward's emotional needs. You don't know what those needs might be? Guess. Either use the general rule of thumb which says male EN's tend to be SF, DS, RC, AD, and AS. Female EN's tend to be Af, C, FS, FC, and O&H. You know your spouse better than most people. Before the A, what would you have thought the top EN's were? What are they indicating they are now? Be careful. Foggy waywards have changed their emotional need requirements to suit their OP. Think on the most common complaint before D-day, they are often related to unmet needs.

The suggested plan is fill the top 3, and attempt the following 2, just to be sure. No one is able to fill all 10, so don't try. The idea behind this filling EN's is that often the WS is perfectly happy in the M until one (usually the top one) EN stops being filled by the BS, in the way, or as well as, it was when they first got together. It was one of the things that attracted the WS to the BS, but now its gone. The BS may be very capably filling all the others, but the lack of this one EN is the excuse the WS uses to fuel the affair. The OP or the fantasy of the OP fills this missing EN. Normally, they fill no other EN's. This is why 'cake eating' is so rife in infidelity. The WS needs both the BS and the OP to ensure all their needs are being met.

Deposits into the Love Bank of the wayward should still be attempted even if the betrayed spouse doesn't know the actual needs of the wayward. At a minimum "trial and error" in determining the important emotional needs can be used. In general, you have been married to them for many years, you have an idea of what they have most often requested from you, as well as what they have most often complained about.

Plan A may be ended earlier than the suggested guideline times if the wayward ultimately show signs of complete rejection of accepting there have been improvements by the betrayed, and/or the betrayed's feelings turn to one of overt anger and resentment over the ongoing emotional and often verbal, abuse dished out to the by the wayward. Plan B before blowing your stack! Remember, a perfect plan A can be ruined in a moment with love busting, and the wayward will only remember the love busting, not the plan A.

During Plan A it is of the utmost importance for the betrayed spouse to avoid angry outbursts, disrespectful judgements, selfish demands, annoying behaviour and dishonesty at all costs. These are the five most common forms of Love Busters.

By avoiding all possible Love Busters there are no withdrawals from the Love Bank of the wayward spouse. Any withdrawals weakens the plan A, making 'home', 'family', 'spouse', less welcoming an option to return to.

In general anything that would make the wayward unhappy can be deemed as a Love Buster. Also note, that while one time Love Busters are bad enough, repetitive occurrences are disastrous. This does not include exposure, or actions taken by the BS to ensure the safety of themselves, the children, or marital assets.

As unfair as it may seem, the wayward defines the Love Buster, not the betrayed spouse. Listen to the WS's complaints and ask yourself "is there a kernel of truth in that?" While fogbabble abounds from the wayward mouth, often they do have genuine grievances to be addressed. Remember, do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?

Dr Harley recognizes a "valid" Love Buster exception for Plan A, namely for any actions needed to protect the betrayed spouse and/or children, especially from physical harm. These actions, although they may be perceived as Love Busters by the wayward MUST NOT be tolerated. Additionally "active divorce proceedings" require that only facts (as objectively as possible) be presented to the courts with honest truthfulness being very important. This can be regarded as a "gray" area of Love Busting.

The betrayed spouse must keep the focus that they are still married, and that they still have a spouse. Attention from the opposite sex is flattering, especially when feeling the full rejection caused by infidelity. Do not be misled. A revenge affair causes more problems than it resolves. For you, for your family and for your marriage. Until you are either divorced, or you live in a country where the length of separation exceeds 12 months before divorce is granted, you are married to the WS. Even so, it may take another year or two before you are emotionally ready to become involved again. Take your time, there is no rush.

Learn to love you first.


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #23174
11/17/10 06:19 PM
11/17/10 06:19 PM
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Plan A = plan doormat?

Plan A does NOT mean you are a push over. It does mean that for a temporary period of time you want to be on your best behaviour so as to present a lasting reminder to the WS of what they could have, should they recommit to the marriage.

This may mean the betrayed spouse reassess their concept of the level of fairness, and be willing to be the catalyst of all actions needed to improve the chance of recovery. Having to do it all with no contribution from the wayward, can be detrimental to the self esteem of the betrayed. However, it can be said that in many cases, knowing you are performing the more noble action, ultimately leads to a building of self-respect and esteem.

Regardless of the outcome, in time you WILL be able to say to yourself "I did my best, I tried my hardest and let no stone unturned. I can go forth knowing I gave my all".

Having said all that, consider this question: "Would you be what others consider a 'doormat' for 3 months if you'd get a million bucks at the end?""

Now, what is the potential of your marriage worth to you?


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #23175
11/17/10 06:19 PM
11/17/10 06:19 PM
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Plan A gives the BS's backbone


The WS WILL be telling all and anyone things about the BS, and the marriage that shows them in a favourable light to the family and friends as well as to the OP. The best way to counteract this is by the oft debated exposure, and by this we mean exposing adultery where it matters most.

Exposure is not: vengeful, manipulative, or spread around willy-nilly. Make a list of the most important and helpful to the marriage people. These tend to be: OP's spouse/finance/partner, WS's parents, WS's siblings, WS's close friend, BS's close friends. Possibly helpful exposure people are WS's employer, OP's employer, OP's parents, BS's close family.
Do consider carefully who to expose to. If the first exposure doesn't give the expected results, try a wider circle.

Exposure must be done WITHOUT the WS's prior knowledge. They will move in before you and spin the events so that the BS appears unhinged, vengeful, bitter, and spiteful. To that end, exposure of all selected people needs to be done in as short a time frame as possible, such as within hours.

Exposure can be done by phone call, email, or letter. Be direct, honest and brief. Remember the recipient more than likely does not know of the affair, and the news will come as a shock to them.

The WS will not be at all happy once the consequences of the exposure come to rest on them. The will endeavour to share some of what they have been experiencing from the exposure recipients with you, usually in the form of fury, anger, poison, threats, and punishment. They will say things like "I was thinking of coming home/trying again/working something out BUT NOW YOU"VE DONE IT!", "You're just trying to control me." These comments and actions are designed to frighten you into stopping your affair busting activities. Exposure interferes with the powerful and much cherished fantasy of the affair and this is not welcomed.

They almost all without exception say this and the angers lasts about 2-3 days. Do not apologise for the exposure or for speaking the truth. Just say a variations of "I am fighting for my family, I am fighting to save my marriage" Broken record this response to any and all the WS's might have to say on the topic.

Do not attempt to reduce the resulting fallout from the exposure on the wayward. You did nothing wrong, the consequences are not yours to shoulder. Betrayed spouses have a habit of apologisng to the WS for things that were never thiers to own, and never thiers to fix. Do not be this kind of BS.

Never accept any belief that you are in any way responsible for the waywards choice to become adulterous. While you are responsible for 50% of the state of the marriage before the affair, at no time did you assist the adulterers into bed, nor did you fail to state an unhappiness with the state of the marriage to the point that someone else became an option.

Do not shelter the wayward from the hurt and devastation that the affair has caused to your children. if the children are old enough to understand right and wrong, they are old enough to understand that mummy/daddy has a boyfriend/girlfriend and that is just not right.

Set up financial and legal barriers to prevent the affair from impacting on marital assets as soon as possible, as well as providing protect for the children from the insanity of the wayward. A WS will bleed through a nest egg in next to no time in order to impress the OP. They will also neglect to the point of abuse, their own children. You have to be the grown up advocate for the children, as no one else will have their best interests in the same way.

Done well, your 'reward' from exposing the affair comes later when the affair is killed and recovery is made possible by your efforts. You might never get a hug and a kiss, a medal, flowers of chocolates for it (although my DH did thank me - once) but you will get either a recovered marriage, or a divorce where attempts to blacken you, failed completely.
Infidelity is a DESTROYER of marriages, of families, and of people. Stand up and FIGHT!


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #23229
11/17/10 06:55 PM
11/17/10 06:55 PM
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Nice posts Lil claps claps claps


The sun never says to the earth "you owe me"
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights up the whole sky.
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: serendipitous] #23235
11/17/10 06:59 PM
11/17/10 06:59 PM
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Lil Offline

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I have more planned, but 2 more papers for school to complete first


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #26588
11/23/10 01:22 AM
11/23/10 01:22 AM
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Lil Offline

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Affairs die.

Affairs are based on lies, mistrust, fantasy and deceit. Once they are in the open and the affairees see each other in the true light and the damage they have done to all, it will finish. This may take longer than you hope for. Affairs nearly always end, and the WS nearly always tries to come home.Yes, it's true sometimes they don't end. Statistically the percentages are on the side of the BS.

The reason for Plan A/Plan B is to make the most impact for the future of your marriage, while giving the affair time to die. Plan A shows your spouse that you are willing to WORK towards a better and brighter marriage. Plan B shows the WS/WAS a taste of what life without you will be like. The plans are also for you to look at yourself and the relationship and to see what you/spouse were doing wrong. These need to be addressed, regardless of whether you and your WS/WAS ever reconcile.

Plan A is to assess what you have been doing wrong and for you to try to meet the needs of your spouse you have been neglecting. When the pain of an affair is too much to take, then you switch to Plan B. Depending on YOU and your gender, this may be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Extended plan A's are not ever recommended.

Plan B is for you. Without the distraction of the affair and WS, you can concentrate on yourself and keep learning good marriage principles. This will be essential should your spouse decide to return. If they don't return and you have reached the end of Plan B, then you can end the relationship without causing yourself much of trauma associated with divorce. After 18 months to a year, of plan B, the emotional attachment will slowly fade away. Much better the slow fade, than the bitterness and resentment being around an active wayward engenders.

If you learn nothing by following plan A and plan B, and spend all your time wishing for your spouse to get hit by the karma bus, then you will have a much more difficult time dealing with a possible reconciliation, divorce or any future relationships. The main point to learning all this, is to help YOU survive the affair. It is no guarantee it will save the marriage, however it is a pretty solid plan to ensure YOU can recover from whatever path the relationship takes.

Plan A/Plan B are by no means easy to do, but neither is divorce. If you follow them to the best of your ability, then you will come out much better off, than if you didn't have any plans except to "dump the bum". Remember, if you dont actually want to be divorced, dont file for divorce.

The plans are not designed to just "wait" for the spouse to return. The BS is to be actively looking at themselves, attitudes, relationship and communication skills and changing how they interact with others, not just the wayward spouse. The work done on yourself is not solely for the benefit your spouse. Many of the techniques with friends and family, co-workers and such, can be used beneficially in other relationships ALA ' "How to Win Friends & Influence People". In plan A/B we are not only learning how to be better spouses, but also how to be better people.

While "waiting" for your spouse to wake up, please realize they may end the affair and still not return to the marriage. I know this is NOT what you want to hear, sadly it's a real possibility. The time in plan B is to help adjust to this possibility.

Using these is no guarantee that your will save your marriage. These plans WILL help you to cope with the loss and pain of the affair, and enable you to have a better relationship with yourself and with others, whether it be with the current spouse, a future spouse, or future "friends".


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #28168
11/25/10 03:45 AM
11/25/10 03:45 AM
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Yay Lil... this was an excellent post! Does this site have a "notable posts" type section like they do on MB? If they do, this one should definitely be added to it.


Forever grateful to www.marriagebuilders.com!
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: princessmeggy] #57736
01/24/11 11:10 PM
01/24/11 11:10 PM
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Lil Offline

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Is Dr Harley condoning sex with a wayward spouse?

SAA page 75 reads:

Plan A: avoid angry outbursts, disrespect and demands at all cost.
Ask for compliance with the conditions of separation [from the OP]
Fill EN's if the WS will allow it.

So, yes. You could say that by 'implication' a BS is encouraged to have SF with a WS.

Using the same rule of thumb, you could say Dr H is saying give the WS money since financial support is an EN.
Or babysit the kids while WS is out boinking the OP since family commitment is an EN
Or talking to the WS about how their day with OP was since conversation is an EN
Or wash and iron WS's best shirt for their date with OP since domestic support is an EN
Then there are Affection, honesty and openness, admiration, recreational companionship and physical attractiveness, all of which could be used wrongly, and actually HELP a WS in the affair.

Wisdom dictates than not all things are benificial to the BS or the WS for that fact, if it doesnt make the marriage a more appealing choice than the affair. Yes, do fill the EN's as much as possible, but never in a way that makes the affair easy on the WS. Always remember that there is a carrot and stick in plan A.

Be the best spouse you can be

Be the fun/attractive/more desirable choice

Protect marital assets

Protect your children

Do not shield the WS from the consequences of the affair

Have no expectations

Know you can only control yourself


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #57825
01/25/11 01:24 AM
01/25/11 01:24 AM
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JimK Offline OP
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When discussing the implementation of plan A, a lot of people are unsure of this 'meeting the spouse's emotional needs' line. The easy answer is that yes, Dr. Harley encourages a betrayed spouse to meet the emotional needs of a wayward spouse during Plan A.

But there's much more to it than that.

1. You only meet emotional needs that you are comfortable meeting, and are willing to commit to for the duration of the marriage (policy of joint agreement).

2. You only meet emotional needs that your WS is willing to allow you to meet, in the way that they would like you to meet them (again---you also need to be on board for this... policy of joint agreement).


To understand the MB stuff, you really need to understand the full context of the plan. It's not just a list of emotional needs. You need to understand about the giver and taker (there's probably a lizard in there too...), the policy of joint agreement, the rule of protection, the rule of time, etc...

One other thing. It's great when Plan A actually works to end an affair. But that doesn't happen in too many of the cases I've seen (I'd say definitely less than 10%). Plan A is the setup for Plan B. Affairs die. What you do during the time it takes to die will determine your chances for recovery. Your best shot is to leave your WS with good memories of someone who was willing to work on the marriage (Plan A), but it also requires you to remove yourself from the toxic environment of an affair (Plan B) well in advance of you being ready to throw the towel and initiating divorce.



The former MB poster known as "K"
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: JimK] #57961
01/25/11 04:50 AM
01/25/11 04:50 AM
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Texas - that narrows it a bit ...
Vibrissa Offline
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Texas - that narrows it a bit ...
I've come to think that Plan A - when executed to end an Affair or to coax a spouse out of withdrawal, is about becoming the best spouse possible. The goal is to become someone who is capable of meeting another person's needs, being safe and pleasant and loving/caring.

Whether the wayward/walkaway spouse returns, the Plan Aer has benefited, by becoming a better person. They can learn how to meet another's needs, they can learn the importance of meeting needs, they can learn to be loving in way their spouse understands, as opposed to ways that make them feel comfortable. They can also learn to self care - about their own boundaries.

And really - the choice of the W/WA spouse is theirs. One cannot control another's behaviors or choices, one can only make themselves a desirable choice.

I'd hate for a Betrayed Spouse/Left Behind Spouse to enter into a Plan A with the goal of winning back their spouse. Because that just may not happen. It CAN happen, and from what I've seen Plan A is a good way to help it happen, but ultimately the choice to return belongs to the one leaving.

If a BS/LBS enters Plan A with the goal of changing their spouse, then if they fail they may blame themselves for not doing enough. If they succeed, then they run the risk of falling into old behaviors that created the first marriage, because the 'goal' has been achieved.

Both dangerous paths to take.

Last edited by Vibrissa; 01/25/11 04:53 AM. Reason: middle paragraph was missing... bleh for editing

Moi: 33
DH: Kenichi 33
M: 8/2005
DD 6 yrs
DS 3 yrs
Ze Blog
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Vibrissa] #58037
01/25/11 11:54 AM
01/25/11 11:54 AM
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JimK Offline OP
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Vibrissa,

I think of it in the reverse. Of course this is done to win your spouse back. That's the whole point. It's unlikely that someone will think that if they do this they've got a 100% chance of having it work—when a marriage has hit this state, it's in a pretty dire situation. Plan A and Plan B are strategies to cope with an affair while it's active, in order for a BS to set up the best possible environment for a recovery. Because as you state, you can't make a WS do anything. They're going to have to progress through the affair on their own (unless they'll do counseling). But a large majority of affairs will end within a year or two of discovery—and these plans help set up an opportunity for the WS to come back to the betrayed spouse post-affair.

Plan A and Plan B are hard to do. But nothing like recovery...

The good side effect of these plans are that they are a time for the BS to grow as a person, and to start learn good marital behaviors. Plan B is not only a protection phase, but it's a recovery phase as well. If the affair doesn't end, the BS will eventually come to the point where they're ready to let go, divorce, and move on. And they'll be more ready for a relationship than someone who leaves a marriage immediately and starts on the dating circuit soon after.


The former MB poster known as "K"
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: JimK] #58389
01/25/11 08:07 PM
01/25/11 08:07 PM
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crazed student Offline
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Such good posts!

I wish that the folks who seem to think that Plan A is nothing more than being a doormat would take a look at the wisdom here.


The artist formerly known as penaltykill
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: crazed student] #58417
01/25/11 08:44 PM
01/25/11 08:44 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 932
Texas - that narrows it a bit ...
Vibrissa Offline
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Texas - that narrows it a bit ...
Jim - I appreciate your thoughts and perspective. I agree - you do Plan A to persuade your spouse to come back. I think my point was more that one shouldn't see that as the only goal/ acceptable result. One way or the other, Plan A/B are multi-pronged with many benefits to whoever executes it.

My main point was that the skills one learns in Plan A are lifetime skills, they change the Plan Aer into a better person - which is a good thing! They will need those skills to have better relationships in the future, if that is with their spouse, or with someone else.

I agree Plan A is NOT plan doormat. There was/is a wonderful poster on MB who I have tons of respect for. Her Plan A was EMPOWERING for her. She maintained her boundaries, found her own personal strength, and became a better person through Plan a. The affair she was fighting still hasn't ended, but it was inspiring to watch her personal growth through a well executed Plan A and B - there was no doormat behavior. She was loving, caring and adamant about needing the affair to be over.


Moi: 33
DH: Kenichi 33
M: 8/2005
DD 6 yrs
DS 3 yrs
Ze Blog
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Vibrissa] #58424
01/25/11 08:51 PM
01/25/11 08:51 PM
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Gateway to the West
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Not2fun Offline
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Gateway to the West
Most BS's enter Plan A in hopes of "winning" the WS back. It's usually the only goal at the beginning. It's during the course of Plan A that IF they continue to study and learn, then end result becomes MORE than they anticipated or even hoped for. In the end, it's those students who survive and thrive no matter what the outcome of their marriage is...... wink

Not2fun


" If you couldn't change your partner when you were together, you sure aren't going to now that you aren't together..." Words of the teacher of the court mandated parenting class...and the ONE thing that stuck out to me!!!
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Not2fun] #58558
01/26/11 01:34 AM
01/26/11 01:34 AM
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JimK Offline OP
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smile to you all...

Exactly!


The former MB poster known as "K"
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: JimK] #58559
01/26/11 01:41 AM
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I agree Jim. This thread should be required reading for any betrayed spouse dealing with the multitude of emotions and planning as to what to do. Well, maybe after a few days.

Larry


It's often the truth we hide from ourselves that causes the most damage in life.

My old email address no longer works.
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Larry] #198738
01/19/12 12:21 AM
01/19/12 12:21 AM
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Lil Offline

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Originally Posted By: kayla
I figured that I'd start this discussion in T-Dome because that's where it will end up anyway, as there are some very strong ANTI feelings about it.

I have never considered Plan A as to the benefit of the wayward spouse.

Consider this: when a betrayed spouse first finds out what is the TYPICAL state of mind?

It is likely one of two tracks -

1. confidence enough to say I DON'T DESERVE THIS and get the hell out! This person recognizes that they've been a good enough spouse to warrant honor and respect and won't take the abuse that infidelity is.
2. inadequacy, self-doubt, and remembering all of the emotional withdrawals over the years. Sometimes this person has been deliberately and intentionally gaslighted by the wayward spouse but for whatever reason, they do not see themselves in a position of laying down conditions or taking a stand.

Plan A is ideal for the #2 person.

Here is the primary problem with Plan A as it is taught. The concept is incomplete. Plan A's primary purpose is to help the victim of infidelity stand up and say I deserve better. It is designed to be an intentional process, not a doormat process. But the way people typically read it, they do not see this - and they behave Plan Doormat. I believe this is the cause of the very strong opinions against Plan A.

But consider this. Plan A behavior must be accompanied by some strong mental toughness - being your best self, working your personal plan rather than living in reaction is the only way someone who has lived Plan Doormat is going to recognize the balance between strength/self-respect and behavior where that self-critical part of the brain that somewhere cries I guess I deserved this shuts up and recognizes NO! I don't deserve this. This critical point is where someone is able to execute the prescribed Plan A and Plan B steps. The kind where Plan A only lasts a few days or weeks at a maximum - not months or years on end.

The best Plan A/B bios I've read sometimes took a while of Plan A to help the betrayed spouse realize who they are and what they truly deserve out of a spouse and the status quo is no longer tolerable. I could start naming names of the women who NEEDED more time in Plan A because they simply weren't ready to accept that they were strong enough to live without the man! But then there'd be one more and then one more stand up and say - Plan A is something I NEEDED to do. I can't count them all that have had this transformation during a prolonged Plan A. I'm sorry that it took them that long!

Others effectively saw that they deserved better from the get-go and kicked the jerk out and went immediately dark - LadyLongLegs comes to mind. She was a rare woman who already knew she deserved fidelity and had done NOTHING to deserve the ill-treatment by her husband.

Confidence doesn't grow in an unconfident person without strategy. Plan A and Plan B provide that strategy and would only be more effective if some mental toughness training were injected right from the get-go. Unfortunately Harley doesn't have that component explicitly spelled out in his program. Without this, Plan A will fail a large number of individuals trying to incorporate it.


The Merits Of Plan A


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #241260
06/19/12 03:00 AM
06/19/12 03:00 AM
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Lil Offline

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Originally Posted By: Looking4
First, Marriage Builders' (MB) Plan A is not Plan Doormat. A true Plan A does not allow the wayward spouse (WS) to do whatever s/he wants without consequence and anyone who implies that doesn't know what Plan A is.

Along with other prescribed acts, Plan A clearly states the betrayed spouse (BS) is "To insist that the wayward spouse end the affair should not be made with the threat of punishment ("I'm make you suffer if you don't end it"), but rather with the simple fact that it's the most painful experience you've ever had in your life, and if the affair is not ended, your relationship must end with either a separation or divorce."

Plan A is not being wishy washy, mamby pamby, needy, clingy, insecure, or under-valuing yourself. It is about being the best spouse you can be for your spouse AND making it clear that you will be in only an exclusive relationship with your spouse. It includes making clear what your boundaries are and what your actions will be if your boundaries are breached.

You say you're familiar with MB, Drowning, but for those who don't know Plan A is, please don't mistake it for other plans, projects, or philosophies. You can learn its definition and read a discussion about it on MA here -- http://www.marriageadvocates.com/ubbthre..._the_f#Post3726

But you're pretty certain the A is over, Drowning, and what you're looking for is how to go about recovering your M. Of course whether or not your W decides to join you in that recovery is up to her.

When I finally accepted that I could have no expectations when it came to improving our M, that was a big moment for me. Adopt and embrace this mentality as quickly as you can.

Do all that you can and have no expectations.

Drowning, if you want to try to recover your M and have a healthy marriage, before you tell her she's either "all in or all out," you better make sure you're the best option and worth committing "all in" for.

You said your wife filled out the MB Emotional Needs Questionnaire (ENQ) under protest. So she didn't enjoy it. Whatever. The fact is that she did it, right?

Now, what are you doing with the information she provided in that?

FWIW, I'm a woman and I filled out an ENQ within a couple of weeks of Discovery Day (D-day). It took my H two years after D-day to fill it out, so I was guessing at his ENs for quite a while. If you know what her ENs are, you're ahead of many.

Are you working to meet her ENs and meet them in the ways that she wants them to be met?

I ask because when I read your list of things that you think are weird, I can see why that raised red flags. But it could also be deeper insight into her ENs. Maybe not, but maybe? For example:

* Quit birth control this month -- could this be about Family Commitment (FC)?
* Look at houses in her home town as a cottage -- maybe also about FC as in having connection to her biological family; or Domestic Support (DS) as in the chance to create a second home for the family to all share in, especially if it needs all of the work that you're referring to. Maybe it's as much a family project to her as it is a neat place for y'all to escape to.
* Worried about money all the time we are fine! -- "fine" is something that lies in the mind of the beholder. Financial Support (FS) might be very important to her. In my M, my H is often much more wound up about money then I am. I often think we're fine while he's re-checking Quicken over and over.

Regarding contact with an old boyfriend on Facebook (FB), I'm assuming you're friends with your W on FB. You should be able to see who her friends are. Tell her with whom you are not comfortable being her friend.

Having contact with an ex raises eyebrows around here because we've seen the pattern. She may not feel that it's inappropriate and because you felt that way yourself, how is she to know now that it bothers you? You have to tell her what you need. Do not expect her to know.

How often do you talk about your marriage (M)?

Have you sat down across from her and shared with her the deep devastation that her A had on you? Have you clearly stated what you need to have in order for you to stay in the M with her?

Have you identified what your boundaries are, determined how you will implement them, defined them clearly to her, and then enforced them?

I did my best to meet my H's ENs (I was guessing what they were, remember?), I removed almost all LBs, I was living the Policy of Radical Honesty, and my H still would not commit to working on our M. It was an unhappy and crappy M before the affair and after the affair and yet my H wouldn't change.

Meeting the ENs and removing the LBs made it easier for my H to want to stay with me, but I know it was finally the identifying and then consistently communicating and enforcing my boundaries that got my H to see that we need to do some serious work on our relationship if we were going to remain married.

So when you ask how can you get her to "buy in" to a plan, first, you can't. That's her choice. No expectations, remember?

But you can come up with the things that you need from her in order for you to stay married to her. You present those things to her and you tell her what you will do if she follows through or doesn't follow through on those things.

You wrote:
Originally Posted By: Drowning
MB the generic advice at this point would be to ask her "Is the ideal situation for you to love your childs father" and then have them come find that.

I did that and she said I do love you. I don't need someone to tell me that.

Did you ask her if she thinks the ideal situation is for you to love your child's mother?

Finally, this post has gone on way to long (I have too much to write!), but I was coached by Steve Harley and here are some quick bullet points I got from him for you to consider:

* Do not focus on the plan (like whether or not to use MB, MC, books, etc.) but on the goal and work with your wife to find a solution.

* Your W is responsible for you to be in love with her, just as you are responsible for your W to be in love with you. You can't make yourself fall in love with your W. She has to make you. Just as you have to make her.

There is an exception to this, however. Even if one is perfect and doing everything right such as meeting every EN perfectly, not LBing, perfectly applying the Policy of Joint Agreement (POJA), etc., choice is still involved. And that is the choice of the recipient. The recipient has to choose to let one's actions in -- they can choose to shut out someone who is doing things perfectly, to shut out that person's love. Or they can choose to accept them.

* It's not just the changing of behaviors that are needed to repair a broken M. (Which is what many MCs focus on.) It's the changing of beliefs.

If you don't think disrespectful judgments (DJs) are a bad thing, if someone makes you aware of them you can change your behavior temporarily to stop the DJs. But if you don't change your belief that DJs are bad, your behavior will eventually reflect that belief and the DJs will return.

So, if you want your W to stop a destructive behavior then you need to not only tell her what that LB is but why and how it hurts you. Hopefully she will see and believe that doing such an LB is a bad thing and will choose to change a belief and thus change her behavior. Or she can choose not to and keep her behavior.

Until one's belief system is corrected (and thus the behavior is legitimate and going to stick), you "need to be a bit guarded," according to Steve.


Here


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #264721
11/15/12 08:38 AM
11/15/12 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted By: Mark1952
The point of Harley's Plan A in fighting an affair is to show a willingness to address those things that the WS might have in the way of complaints about the BS. And I think there is a distinction between a WAS and a WS. One is moving away from the LBS while the other is moving toward the affair partner. The psychological distinction is pretty profound to me in that the WAS is trying to get away from the person who has become his or her source of unhappiness while the WS is gravitating toward a strong source of happiness/strong emotional response bordering at least on the obsessive or even addictive.

Harley's way of approaching an affair is to show a willingness to overcome those negative aspects of the relationship and that a willingness is there to provide those things the WS needs from the relationship in order to be attracted to it.

But at the same time, that does not mean being alright with a continuing affair or accepting it as something that will be a part of the marriage going forward. During an affair, the WS is not the enemy of the marriage, the affair is. Things can be done to make the affair less attractive to the WS while at the same time making the BS more attractive and though following them around begging, whining, pleading and constantly talking about the relationship is not only nonproductive but damaging to the way the WS sees the BS, if the BS simply acts as if the marriage over, it shows no indication to the WS that they even want to engage in the relationship.

It does not require being OK with the affair to show that you are the better person as opposed to the affair partner. It also shows a willingness to change to eliminate the activities and actions that originally made the WS unhappy to begin with.

Also keep in mind that the premise of Plan A is that it is to be short term followed by total separation to accomplish two distinct goals. One it forces the WS to get all needs met by the affair partner. This is because in most cases at the beginning of an affaior the WS really has no intention of walking away from the marriage. Most are quite happy with the idea of getting needs met by two people. Most often, the BS meets some of the needs qquite well or they would have left long ago. But the human tendency to foucs on what we are missing can cause a strong desire to keep getting a specific one or two needs met by the affair parnter.

The second reason for Harley's Plan B as he calls the separation is to stop the affiar from being shoeved in the face of the BS while the affair burns out. In most cases this will happen within two years of discovery and in more cases than not, the WS will look for place to land. If the WS has made it clear that they are willing to work at reconciliation depende3nt upon the WS doing specific things in order to be considered a candidate for reconciliation, the WS will perhaps choose to try to repair the damage and learn to be more protective of the marriage and the BS going forward.

Let me ask why it is assumed that the idea of GAL, acting happy when clearly you should be devastated, showing signs of moving on with life as if all is well and throwing spending less than enough time to even maintain the relationship rather than showing it to be viable through interaction shows the WS that the marriage is still desired or can be repaired?

I understand the concept, I think. I work with horses and horses just love to play the come catch me if you can game with their owners. There is no way a man on foot can run after a horse and get control of it in an open field. So the solution is often to act as if you are uninterested in the horse and seem to be doing something else or looking away from them. Very often the horse wonders what you are up to and comes near to you to see just what your intent is.

And THAT is the key to making the process work because if when the horse shows up you are angry, push them away and make them uncomfortable, they will be less likely to come the next time you want them to. If you make it fun for the horse after he comes to you, the next time, he will come sooner and more enthusiastically than if you make it harder for him to approach either by showing aggression toward him or make his time with you less than enjoyable.

You might even be able to lure a horse into coming through jealousy by showing affection and giving attention to another horse that lets you approach. But that same jealousy can also indicate to the horse that you are willing to let him play his game and will simply find someone else to play with. The trouble is that the horse might also become aggressive toward you or the other horse and still not come the next time you call him.

Harley's Plan A plays into the reward system in the brain by providing a stimulus that supplies good emotional response in your presence and makes the affair a source of stress and anxiety. The human brain in love does not make choices and decisions based on logic but on pure emotion. That emotion exists in the amygdala where logic has no space and only reaction and response reside. It isn't a decision but merely a response and if repeated sufficiently it can cause the WS to become the pursuer by feeding them what they need and and if the affair is more stress and effort to get the same response they move away from the affair and toward the BS.

It is also a balancing act since pursuing, begging, pleading and acting like you are willing to accept the affair is also counterproductive.

Original Here

Last edited by Lil; 11/15/12 07:23 PM. Reason: fixed url and Marks age :)

AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Lil] #264767
11/15/12 04:13 PM
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No wonder I feel ten years older...


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I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Mark1952] #346096
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