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Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust #43691
01/02/11 06:24 PM
01/02/11 06:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Northwest Washington State, US...
Now you've had some time to ponder the problems of connecting too much or connecting too little, you have had chances to try out skills that guide you to making more trust with others. You've probably also had opportunities to reflect on the "silly" (thought they were good ideas at the time) things you used to do.

Please share here your experiences and trials. Let others learn what works (and doesn't) from you.

Everything I write is about "things to do differently" - new skills.

One phrase I learned to believe early on is that "couples have the kind of relationship that they are making. If they continue what they are doing, they will keep the same kind of relationship. If they want to change things, make them better, they have to change what they are doing for the better."


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #43957
01/03/11 06:01 AM
01/03/11 06:01 AM
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LotsaLove Offline
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Hi Al,

I have spoken to you the other day from the other side of the ocean and as you've mentioned this site, I thought I might pop over.

re: reliable membership/ what works and what doesn't:
My case was a text-book clinger/avoider, I being the clinger and my STBXH the avoider.
I think we were both a mixture of clinger/avoider though, I often loved being left alone but he didn't want to do anything without me, until a situation arose which would need him (paperwork etc), he'd be unreliable and my Lizard would activate.

We have been separated for several months now in different states with minimum contact, so I'm not sure how I can "do things differently", but here is what I have been doing so far.

-Early stages of separation: Arguments whenever contacts were made. Both raise voice and STBXH hangs up-- the same old, the same old.
-Something different#1: Gone into no contact.
-#2: when we had to meet a few months ago, I acted positive and tried not to corner him
-#3: Recently asked a family friend to be a mediator to contact him for some paperwork

When the friend contacted him (who told him upfront that she wants to be amicable), he opened up and talked of how he wishes me to be happy, what he loved about me but how I didn't give him the space he needed, and how at early stages of separation we'd argue and he'd raise his voice and I'd snap. That there are a lot of things he needs to learn, but he needs to do it on his own.
From what I know, STBX has never really talked of what happened to us to anyone--- so this was quite a surprise.

As you have mentioned Al, I guess what my friend did on the phone --"amicable" "agreeing with him" were the things "done differently". My friend thinks that when STBX and I met a few months ago , how we got along probably made him think twice as well, that it may have taken him by surprise.

For now, the only thing I can think of doing differently is to have no direct contact as I have always been easily reachable.
Like you were saying, once the avoider runs for the Leave wall, for them that's just it--- over.
If that is the case, would STBX even take notice?

We haven't filed yet due to our law and divorce hasn't been mentioned.

Thank you so much for your insight the other day... you've given me great food for thought.

Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: LotsaLove] #44656
01/04/11 03:43 PM
01/04/11 03:43 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
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Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: LotsaLove
For now, the only thing I can think of doing differently is to have no direct contact as I have always been easily reachable.
Like you were saying, once the avoider runs for the Leave wall, for them that's just it--- over.


Hello LotsaLove. Actually my experience and advice might be a bit different than that. To me, once an avoider runs for the Leaving wall, the will quite predictably turn around and come back, after "enough" quite time. There seems to be a balance between their need to connect with you and their need to get peace. When they get enough peace, they will feel "lonely" and start back.

I also experience that when they are gone, they unpredictably check your status to see if you are pursuing them. If they happen to look back, and you are appearing eager to reconnect (writing emails with lots of questions in them, etc), then they keep on leaving.

I do suggest you follow the four suggestions in What to do when he/she leaves you.

I did write another short article, called When to Fold 'Em, on a suggested way to get them to turn around or at least determine if they finally have done with you.

You may notice that I rarely drop into "hopelessness" about relationships. And I watch people feeling no hope all the time. And certainly, if people don't change what they are doing, they won't get a new result. I think it is a great emotion. It can be a wonderful "kick in the ass". Or not.

Good luck - across the wide Pacific. thumbsup


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #44897
01/04/11 10:41 PM
01/04/11 10:41 PM
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LotsaLove Offline
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Hi Al,

Thank you for your advise.

I'm really confused about the "No Contact" approach... I can see that many would have the same question as it is suggested often on this forum and others, that it works.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle

I also experience that when they are gone, they unpredictably check your status to see if you are pursuing them. If they happen to look back, and you are appearing eager to reconnect (writing emails with lots of questions in them, etc), then they keep on leaving.



My question is that wouldn't any contact be seen as pursuing?

I have a feeling my STBXH will see any minimum contact as "she's still around", and will stop his motivation to "check me".

Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: LotsaLove] #45293
01/05/11 07:06 PM
01/05/11 07:06 PM
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Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: LotsaLove
I'm really confused about the "No Contact" approach...
Me, I'm confused by it also. I don't like it. Think its a bad idea. I wouldn't recommend it.


Originally Posted By: LotsaLove
My question is that wouldn't any contact be seen as pursuing?

I think that is a "right on" question. I think its clear that anyone can interpret anything anyway.

I recall my wife being very stressed out at 2am one night over something I had done in one of her dreams. I could have called her crazy, cuz I had done nothing, but that would, I think, have been profoundly stupid. At the time I was getting tired of doing profoundly stupid things and was practicing new things.

If I start with that awareness ("anyone can interpret anything anyway") then I ponder how they will interpret no contact at all. I suggest that many people will take your silence as a punishment or worse as meaning that "you don't want contact with them anymore." Which is really not your truth. Remember, the situation is one where both of you have been dorks in the past. So rebuilding has to happen on both sides. You've gotta show you are interesting in your side of the rebuilding.

So I want my fleeing partner to a) "know" I still exist, b) "know" I am still wanting contact, c) "know" that I am improving (changing/learning) myself, d) "know" I am waiting patiently. But I won't wait forever, cuz I have a life to lead. I don't have to tell them this (it will probably come across as a continuing pushing and threatening), just have to be clear about it for myself.

I wrote the article "When to Fold 'Em" about this.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #45366
01/05/11 08:15 PM
01/05/11 08:15 PM
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OurHouse Offline
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Al, when those of us familiar w/ the Marriage Builders plans talk about going "dark" (or NC), it's in this context: (which I'm not quite sure has been portrayed to you accurately)

It's usually begun after a period of time where you try your darndest to meet your partner's needs and to not piss 'em off with annoying habits, disrespectful judgements, selfish demands and angry outbursts.

In other words, you present the best picture of yourself...the one you are striving to be 24/7.

At some point though...maybe there's addiction or an affair going on... and you've got to get away in order to protect your own sanity and regain some clarity of thought while you ponder your next step. Staying in a crazymaking/gaslighting situation is like being the frog boiled alive in the pot of water.

So you write a letter that tells your partner how much you love them. Maybe you outline some of the great things you used to do or say with/to each other. How you want *that* relationship...or one even better...back.

You own up to your own stuff and tell your partner what you are doing to make amends.

Then you tell your partner that you can no longer live in the current situation. It's untenable. So you are removing yourself and will only discuss children or finances..preferably through a neutral third party.

Then you give your partner a clear path home. Example: quit drinking. No more angry outbursts where you break all the furniture. Kill the affair. Etc.

You outline your parameters. Marriage counseling. Etc.

That's what many of us mean when we talk about NC or going dark. If it's done correctly, the other partner should not be scratching his/her head wondering what's up.

Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: OurHouse] #45422
01/05/11 09:05 PM
01/05/11 09:05 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Thanks, OurHouse, for more clarity. I will not debate with MB about their advice. I can hear it. Not sure I like it. But this is a tough situation with addiction or affair going on.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #45463
01/05/11 09:38 PM
01/05/11 09:38 PM
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OurHouse Offline
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This is not to discount any of the advice you dispense here, on your website or by phone (though I haven't had the pleasure...yet...). IMO, it's probably more to my liking than a lot of what I've seen or read on the MB website and in his books and articles.

I just wanted you to know where that strategy was coming from, and how it *should* be applied.

Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: OurHouse] #45531
01/05/11 10:29 PM
01/05/11 10:29 PM
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LotsaLove Offline
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Originally Posted By: OurHouse

I just wanted you to know where that strategy was coming from


I have seen the "going dark" approach on many forums and materials, not just MB... (not talking about the situations with addiction/abuse though) it seems to be quite a common "advise", often by non-professionals. I am yet to find any research findings on how successful this strategy can be, which is why I'm keen to try out Al's approach.

My case is a marriage derailing with power struggle, two poorly skilled communicators headbutting each other.

Over the months with little contact, I have done the "forgiving" etc, all those suggested in other forums.
When I met him a few months ago for some admin reasons, the day turned into something like a small date... he wore a new shirt, cleaned his car out (very unusual), took me to some places where we frequented before while he chatted on "remember this? that?".
There I mentioned things could have been a little different if we have given it one more year, to which he agreed, but later decided "not to".

So I went into a total NC as I felt it's time to live my life fully.
He's always been a "yeah but no but yeah but no" which would go on forever. He wanted to remain friends but I felt it's a bit unhealthy for me, I wanted to move on.

I've read your "when to fold'em" article Al, thanks for the link.
I will see if there is a timing where I can try it out and report on here on how it goes.
I'm not in a hurry and don't fear the divorce much anymore, so in a way I'm in a good place to try out anything for my "relationship lab" purposes. wink

Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: LotsaLove] #45596
01/05/11 11:15 PM
01/05/11 11:15 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: LotsaLove
Originally Posted By: OurHouse

I just wanted you to know where that strategy was coming from


I have seen the "going dark" approach on many forums and materials,


Thanks both of your for noodling through this. I often don't know where my thinking differs with others, until someone else can see those differences and brings me the ideas.

This is a bit off topic for my approach to Reliable Membership, but I will stay with it another couple of strokes.

When I first looked at the state of Marriage Counseling and marriage/couples advice, I was appalled. Almost all were based on the bullying, MasterTalkie (what I called bullsh.t) model of one part is right and one is wrong. I believe this model (sometimes called Emotional Symbiosis) was rampant in psychology since the beginning of Sigmund the kid.

I think no where is it as much trouble as in marriage, where two people are trying to build a democracy using the tools of tyranny. And here I saw the 'wise professional' and 'wise consultants' were often shovelling the same malarky that they were telling couples to stop.

So I left that way of thinking behind, and started afresh with what seemed "new" principles. I don't think you will find Master thinking anywhere in the Lizard material. In Reliable Membership (topic #2) I think you will see two sides, both active and both valid. In topic #3 and probably #4, I show the specifics of how to transform this old model into a new one that leads away from conflict toward peaceful loving.

I have not kept up with the online 'wise' resources as I have been busy figuring this stuff out for myself. And thus I can't really comment on the MB or other approaches. But I can share mine.

Still "going black," even the label, and lots of acronyms I see often used such as BH, BP,BS, BW, FWH, FWS, FWW. LBS, STBXH/W, WAH/W, WH, WP, WS, WW, seem awkward and ooohhhh chauvinist. As though it is valuable to label a living and breathing person by their partner's often emotionally driven distress. To me whenever we have a WH we also have a partner at home who has as much trouble.

I like a model that looks at and respects both sides: Clingers/Avoiders. Masters/Slaves or Passive Masters/Slaves, etc. I would want to use "going black" only in a respectful way, respectful of both parties. I avoid the punish the bad guy/gal mode as impractical.

Thanks for reading and applying what you choose to apply. And keep on sharing with others here about what works for you.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #45650
01/06/11 12:31 AM
01/06/11 12:31 AM
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"Still "going black," even the label, and lots of acronyms I see often used such as BH, BP,BS, BW, FWH, FWS, FWW. LBS, STBXH/W, WAH/W, WH, WP, WS, WW, seem awkward and ooohhhh chauvinist. As though it is valuable to label a living and breathing person by their partner's often emotionally driven distress. To me whenever we have a WH we also have a partner at home who has as much trouble."

I agree with this so much. At the other site often a Wayward wife could "earn the F" of former by doing XYZ etc...in theory.
I once asked why the BS doesnt put an F at some point in front of their name too...and was told because they will always be betrayed...

the continue to define themselves by that event. That was when i started to drift from that site...it just didnt seem healthy to me

to define myself aways as a rape victim is well depressing
to define myself for the rest of my life as an adulteress also depressing

"Hi...I am Sister Reed....rape victim, former adulteress, abused wife and oh I like to knit."

What an awful way to live life.

Dont label me!

Last edited by SisteReed; 01/06/11 12:31 AM.
Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: Amadahy] #45720
01/06/11 03:31 AM
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OurHouse Offline
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So I read your "Fold 'Em" article. Good stuff.

It's like it takes what we refer to here as "the plan B letter" and spreads it out over the course of a couple months.

I've never written a plan B letter, but have helped others do it. It normally starts out by talking about the good parts/great memories of the relationship. Then it segues into owning up to your 50% of the muck, and what you are doing to un-muck it. The next part is different than your plan. It lays out the fact that there will be no contact until affair partner is out of the picture, the meth lab is closed...etc. Then it shows the partner how to come home.

I don't think the plan B letter is a bad idea. But it's very hard for most people to follow through what they outline in the letter, and stay dark. So it sends mixed messages. Your plan allows for some contact.

However, I do worry...how does the person having the affair/running the meth lab know that the other person will absolutely not settle for having this in their lives anymore?

Seems to be there should be a velvet hammer in there?

Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: OurHouse] #45735
01/06/11 03:59 AM
01/06/11 03:59 AM
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For me writing the Plan B letter was really important. Because my mom took us kids back to a bad situation when I was growing up, so I needed to know that I wasn't going to do that, give my kids a respite from our situation, and then drag them back into living all of us together before we set ourselves up for success. I know I am someone who second-guesses myself a lot. So the Plan B letter is something for me to read again, when I'm having second thoughts. To remember what I thought in a less desperate moment. So I know I say what I mean and mean what I say.


"I have everything I need." and "I am exactly where I am supposed to be." ~Louise Hays
Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #45883
01/06/11 04:08 PM
01/06/11 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Thanks, OurHouse, for more clarity. I will not debate with MB about their advice. I can hear it. Not sure I like it. But this is a tough situation with addiction or affair going on.


This is precisely the point with much of what is confronting most people who come to this site or to other sites for help in dealing with an affair crisis. For most, they come seeking ways to end the spouse's affair and recover their marriage rather than help in immediately ending the marriage.

It is a "tough" situation regardless of "when" in the scenario someone comes seeking advice, but it's especially tough when the affair is ongoing, especially if it's an involved, long-term affair.

It's also "tough" depending upon whether or not someone is a believer in God and Jesus Christ because that speaks to the issue you don't appear to like…the reality of a true Master over our lives. Without that, each individual is their own "master" and sits on the sovereign throne of their own lives, ascribing to themselves all the prerogatives and rights of a true sovereign, which "demotes" everyone else to the position of servant to them and their wants and desires.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding your aversion to "Master Talk," but I get the feeling that it's based in the idea of a human being sitting on the throne of their life, and each person is an equal "monarch" in their own life. Without God as Sovereign Lord in someone's life, I can see the sense in what you say about Master Talk, at least up to a point since I also believe that there are some truths that govern despite one's possible self-serving opinions and actions and despite whether they believe in God or not. That is because God has established Truth and it functions regardless of human opinions (sort of like the Sun rises and sets regardless of whether or not we "like it" functioning according to a schedule we have no control over).

The problem, and the strength, of strict No Contact is that it is pretty much one-dimensional. It really is a "last ditch" effort for a Faithful Spouse to try to penetrate the fog of an affair with the reality of the consequences of no longer being "in the life" of the Unfaithful Spouse. It MAY result in an opportunity to save the marriage, assuming that's what the Faithful Spouse still wants, but it most likely will result in a divorce simply because it IS a form of an ultimatum, to which there is built-in "choice" to be made by the Unfaithful Spouse.

By and large I agree with your thoughts on this issue of No Contact with the Unfaithful Spouse, but it is also essential to have No Contact, in my opinion, with the Other Person in the affair. That person cannot be involved in any way with the Faithful Spouse, even if they wind up repenting of the damage they caused and seek forgiveness. I put that into the category of a consequence of the affair that must be lived with for the rest of someone's life.

Affairs strike at the heart with an attempt and an intent to destroy. They must be excised, cut out, and not left to be a part of the recovering or recovered person in any way. Like cancer, they can leave behind scar tissue that can cause painful adhesions and that can even "flair up" years later. Since the Other Person IS external to the Faithful Spouse's body, they CAN completely remove that potential through No Contact.

Protecting from the Unfaithful Spouse having another affair is something to be addressed by changes in the marriage, but there are no "guarantees," only greater odds depending upon how they both work are building a newer and better marriage from the ashes of the old marriage.

I read your two articles; WHAT TO DO WHEN SHE (HE) LEAVES Assuming you want her (him) back and When to Fold 'Em?, and found them to be pretty much the way I see and approach the No Contact with the Unfaithful Spouse issue.

While I may also say the frequency and content of any communication can vary from your suggestions, I think the underlying idea of how and what is communicated is sound.

When my wife and I separated back in 2002, I was advised to "go dark" and implement No Contact with her. I rejected that idea, maintained some communication, and I believe that communicating was instrumental in finally getting her to end the affair and attempt to recover our marriage. Today we ARE recovered, the OM is completely out of the picture….but the process took several years to get to where I felt we had finally recovered the marriage and our love for each other. Now we are feeding and maintaining the marriage and each other.



In Christ-like love at all times.

So that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2Cor 1:4b)

Re: Topic 2a: Applying "Reliable Membership" - Building Trust [Re: ForeverHers] #46011
01/06/11 06:38 PM
01/06/11 06:38 PM
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Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
This is precisely the point with much of what is confronting most people who come to this site...........


I moved this discussion to another topic on my Whiteboard.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle

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