Marriage Advocates

Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust

Posted By: AlTurtle

Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/14/11 07:35 PM

What a topic for Valentines Day! Falling out of Love. Someone wrote me to ask about what they called "Emotional Shutdown." There are so many situations that can be described this way, that I asked for more background. The writer used several key (for me) phrases.

Quote:
"flipping off of a switch for their love" "it can't be unflipped (or is difficult to unflip)" "Where would you conceptualize this ("involuntary"?) state of emotional shutdown in your map?" "she lost her feelings of romantic love for me" "she has used the terms "shutdown, flip, switch, numb, no romantic feelings"


This is such a normal situation that I was sure I must have written about it many times, so I was looking for references in the Map of Relationship and elsewhere. But I found that while I had spoken of it clearly, I had not really entered into the experience of it very deeply in my writing.

Yet in the office I often to get deep into this. Since I imagine that most people who come to Marriage Advocates do so cuz the "stuff has hit the fan," they are at that point where What to do when he/she leaves is right up their alley. The experience of often-non-reversible loss of romantic feelings, sometimes described as Emotional Shutdown, is frequently in the experience of their partner. So last night I decided to make this a new topic.

Couple of thoughts first. While this seems a normal, oh almost 100% experience, I find that almost no one expects it. So I think of it as a) a huge surprise and b) the source of a strong sense of betrayal.

I gather this shock is not so common in some parts of our U.S. culture and even less in most of Europe. Many friends from across the water tell me that "everyone knows that romantic love ends." They call it "infatuation." I recall a woman who tried to change the U.S. habit of calling it "Love" and who invented the word " Limerence," a word I like (and often mispell).

Originally Posted By: alturtle
Romantic Love A temporary state of awakened connection, often called infatuation or limerence, that is primarily an experience of deep yearning of the Biological Dream. It may occur when connecting to a partner, a family, a community, an association.


I believe that generally in the U.S. marketing people have created the fantasy (cuz it sells products) that this kind of "love" is lasting and eternal if you find the right person and do the right things for and with them, and buy the right products - a.k.a Valentines Day gifts, etc.

Almost all of my work is to dispel this fantasy and replace it with reliable understandings of the dynamics of relationships. (My work is to replace the fantasy of some magical Biological Dream with the reality of achieving a Biological Dream state called Vintage Love.)

If you feel betrayed because that glorious brilliance of being in love goes away, you have a right to that and to a whole bunch of pissed-offness. You were betrayed by those who knowingly or unknowingly kept you blind to what is and will and has happened. Since your Lizard loves Predictive Information, all those people "screwed" you. But then, after you get through processing the feelings of betrayal and anger, now you know. And perhaps you can help others not feel so betrayed. I don't know. It is a tough-sell telling people that "everyone falls out of love". One can sure sound like a "downer." Not my goal.

I can now say a couple of pretty solid things, almost MasterTalk. I really believe this stuff!

  • Falling in Love is a profound shift in feelings
  • It is not under any conscious control
  • The Lizard is the driving agent
  • I believe "Infatuation" is a gateway experience to the possibility of obtaining Vintage Love
  • In everyone it stops more or less suddenly
  • Can seem to fade out or can stop overnight, over dinner, over reading a card
  • Rarely can it restart with the same person (tho you can fake it)
  • It can easily happen again with another person (affairs)
  • It is based on the belief, by the Lizard, that the Biological Dream is becoming a reality
  • It stops when the Lizard decides, based on data, "whoops, ain't gonna happen with this turkey"
  • Often stops in one person much quicker than the other
  • Often stops after an event which solidly reminds the Lizard that "things are not better with this person"
  • In most relationships its stopping marks the beginning of the Power Struggle
  • Since it stops based on acquiring new data, one cannot go backward and start it again
  • You cannot get rid of data - go back to being "stupid"
  • You cannot push the Lizard


Let's see how this topic grows. smile

Here are some questions.

How do you go about validating a person who has "dropped out of love," and is trying to describe the experience by saying, "I don't feel for you?"

How do you validate the person who experiences a partner having gone into "emotional shutdown?"

How do you approach "emotional shutdown" in a way that increases or decreases the likelihood of achieving Vintage Love and shortening the Power Struggle?
Posted By: TACticGAL

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/14/11 08:50 PM

Ok, let me be sure I understand what you're saying... this Limerence is rarely re-acquired with someone for whom it's been lost. BUT, it can also be the gateway for Vintage Love if the Power Struggle is engaged appropriately?

Because this shutdown (on my part) is exactly how I feel toward my Ex#2, who is still wanting to make a "go" of our relationship. I can see the potential there if he makes some substantial changes, but I cannot see myself in that Limerence (I like the distinction) with him again. Or with anyone right now, frankly, but that's another topic. (Or is it? When that feeling fades for your partner, does it or can it shut down toward anyone for a time?)
Posted By: bustorama

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 12:07 AM

I'll take a stab.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle

Here are some questions.

How do you go about validating a person who has "dropped out of love," and is trying to describe the experience by saying, "I don't feel for you?"


From the perspective of the love partner who is not felt for any more?

In words, I guess by saying, "I hear that you don't feel for me now the same way you used to." Not trying to talk them into feelings or explain why they don't feel the feelings or suggest they do things to regain said feelings?

Perhaps by asking, if you don't feel the same way you felt before, what would you say you feel now?

In action, I guess by the stuff in your writings about not pushing/pursuing them in action or words? Just validating and see if they have SOME connection to you, if not the limerance???

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle

How do you validate the person who experiences a partner having gone into "emotional shutdown?"


This one's tough. Hand them some kleenex? Heh. Maybe by asking them how it feels to hear that and validate their (presumed?) feelings of hurt, sadness and/or panic?

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle

How do you approach "emotional shutdown" in a way that increases or decreases the likelihood of achieving Vintage Love and shortening the Power Struggle?


Well, I guess towards increasing the likelihood of Vintage Love, both sides must somehow feel a decreased need to regain the limerance -- that both sides consciously or unconsciously don't see the presence or absence of limerance as the basis for evaluating the viability of the relationship. ????

Decreasing the likelihood of Vintage Love might be power struggles over the need to regain limerance (bad relationship talks??) or pressure to take steps to try to regain it (gifts, pursuing, suggestions of therapy, retrouvaille, etc.???).

I dunno, this is tough.


Posted By: bustorama

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 12:09 AM

Originally Posted By: theantichick
Because this shutdown (on my part) is exactly how I feel toward my Ex#2, who is still wanting to make a "go" of our relationship. I can see the potential there if he makes some substantial changes, but I cannot see myself in that Limerence (I like the distinction) with him again. Or with anyone right now, frankly, but that's another topic. (Or is it? When that feeling fades for your partner, does it or can it shut down toward anyone for a time?)


This is interesting and sounds like the state my W (STBXW?) is in. Saying she feels broken/not wanting ANY relationship with anyone.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 01:24 AM

I felt sad to read your post Al. It rings true, but I experience this understanding as a loss of innocence. There is the hope of achieving Vintage Love, but somehow that seems more like winning the jackpot since both people have to be willing and able to "graduate" from university frown

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
How do you go about validating a person who has "dropped out of love," and is trying to describe the experience by saying, "I don't feel for you?"
"I'm hearing that you don't feel the way you used to, the way you want to. Is that right?"

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
How do you validate the person who experiences a partner having gone into "emotional shutdown?"
"I'm guessing that you're feeling shocked and betrayed. You weren't ready for this...have I got it?"

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
How do you approach "emotional shutdown" in a way that increases or decreases the likelihood of achieving Vintage Love and shortening the Power Struggle?

increasing likelihood: "you are feeling emotionally shut down, and I know there are good reasons for that. take the space you need. I'll be here when you're ready to talk about it"
decreasing likelihood: "how could you fall out of love with me? tell me WHY? we need to talk about this! we're just going through a rough time"
Posted By: CajunRose

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 02:19 AM

I think that a lack of understanding of this limerance was a key in my marriage too. We lost that infatuation feeling years ago when we entered the power struggle. Went to marriage counseling, and I think STBXH thought that we weren't recovered unless we found that feeling again. We've been in another power struggle again the last few years. For our 10th anniversary this spring we went back to Italy, where he proposed. He moved out 6 months later - told me that the trip was his last-ditch effort to "find us" again - I think to regain that limerance. I knew at some level that our relationship had grown up past that point (we weren't kids anymore, it was time for grown-up love), but to him if we weren't there then our relationship was not worthwhile.

I wish I had used Flo's first statement - "I'm hearing that you don't feel the way you used to, the way you want to. Is that right?" I think that might have gotten him talking at least.

Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 02:26 AM

I made STBXH wrong for emotionally shutting down. I didn't validate his sense.
Posted By: CajunRose

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 02:27 AM

Me too - I told him moving out was stupid and argued that of course we both had a good time on vacation. I was so shocked to hear that he has experienced it all differently from me I just reacted defensively (another bad pattern).
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 02:31 AM

Originally Posted By: theantichick
Ok, let me be sure I understand what you're saying... this Limerence is rarely re-acquired with someone for whom it's been lost. BUT, it can also be the gateway for Vintage Love if the Power Struggle is engaged appropriately?


I think you've got it pretty damn close. I think the goal is to get through the Power Struggle, now that you're in it, as quick as ever you can and move into what I call the University of Life with this turkey. The loss of that Romantic Feeling is normally what happens along the way to becoming a really cool partner, with a really cool partner.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 02:36 AM

Originally Posted By: flowmom
I made STBXH wrong for emotionally shutting down. I didn't validate his sense.


Great wake up. But also, you could not make him wrong. You could tell him he was wrong, but he didn't have to "take it." All you could do was try to make him wrong. That may seem like a slip on your part, now.

But another way of looking at it would be that you gave him a chance to stand up and say, "I am not wrong. I am just shut down."

I cannot be perfect. Sometimes I act like an ass and give my wife a "perfect opportunity" to deal with an ass kindly and firmly.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 02:36 AM

CR, I just have to laugh. STBXH took us on the last family vacation to cuba, while we were in MC. I think it was last-ditch for him too. He spend a lot of time reading about the holocaust during our vacation. Oh and he invited his parents. Nice. I WAS blind.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 02:39 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
But also, you could not make him wrong. You could tell him he was wrong, but he didn't have to "take it." All you could do was try to make him wrong. That may seem like a slip on your part, now.

But another way of looking at it would be that you gave him a chance to stand up and say, "I am not wrong. I am just shut down."
Yes, I see that. During that time, STBXH was in a communication lockdown. We talked about him not feeling safe in MC, and I expressed frustration with not knowing how to help him feel safe, and that's one of the areas where we stalled out.
Posted By: MariaK

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 08:03 AM

I tried to validate him. I wrote him pages of pure validation come to think of it now. I told him that it was natural, that I felt it too but I chose him anyway because of who he was.

I urged him to think of the things that bind us together, our past/kids/achievements. How all these could not be replaced. I even predicted that he would be facing the same situation with any new woman he would meet, that limerence is bound to die at a point and the issue is how you proceed then, if you still choose your partner.

He could understand that, I felt it, he was listening, he did recognise the process with his past Rs, but living the absolute limerence with his A partner at the same time, didnt allow him to act based on that knowledge.

1,5 years later, he used my words exactly to convince me to try with him again, pointing out the exact same things and even more in one of his letters. That happened after he was faced with the same choice with his A partner as their limerence died very soon after he moved out. His efforts to revive that didnt work out although he did want it to, it would justify the pain he had caused to all of us. The "problem" was, I believe, that when the limerence died, he had no bonds with her. Their secret A was their only bond. He had the "what the f@ck am I doing here?" thoughts often he told me.

So, I believe, when the limerence didnt come back, he approached me. The limerence between us didnt reappear, he went back and forth, I was feing reluctant as well.
I can only pressume the memory of the intense feelings he had just lived were too strong, too recent. Same was valid for me since I had met someone as well by then. I think we both felt we were giving up something.

At some point we did make the choice, based on knowledge and valuing what we have and what we can have, and that happened recently after reconciling more than a year the second time. The fact that we are realistic now, is one of the things that gives me hope.

Something we have both agreed upon is that we always felt we are...family to each other. Years ago I would think that that statement alone meant setlling, killing all romance. But now, I feel good thinking that. We feel we are each other's base, we feel the connection between us beat the efforts to destroy it, it beat both of us and survived. We did all we could to "get rid of each other" and we didnt make it...

And Al, I live in Europe, Greece. We are taught the same BS you are taught. To abandon the idea a R is like in the Hollywood movies, IMO, is a matter of experiences. You learn it the hard way.
Maria
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/15/11 04:31 PM

I can't quite work this out. Because I think we've done all the power struggle stuff....and a lot of the time I think we are on our way to vintage love... my H is certainly one of those europeans that denies the existence of romantic and he calls it infatuation and not the real world.

But I don't think I really feel much love for him a lot of the time, sometimes I think I love him. Sometimes I feel affectionate towards him. Sometimes I get the impression he loves me. Most of the time we get on very well.

I want some romance, I want some of the fantasy. What am I going to do with my expectations?

What does Vintage love actually feel like?

Right now, I think it would be sad if we weren't together - a bit for me, but really for the children. It wouldn't be the end of the world.

I guess I have emotional shut down, I haven't felt that I loved J for more than a couple of weeks in about 5 and a half years.

What's the plan?
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/16/11 12:09 AM

Originally Posted By: staytogether
What's the plan?


I'm confused by your question. What's the plan for what?

My general belief is that the plan you are using has gotten you where you are. If you want something new, you are going to have to change your plan.

I'm not sure where you want to be. You sound kinda happy where you are and are willing to be moved where ever life pushes you.

My thought is that expectations get you nothing but trouble. Now, goals.... they can get you all sorts of places.
Posted By: OurHouse

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/16/11 01:14 AM

I'm married to someone who says he truly believes that there's no reason for two married couples not to be in "infatuation" type love forevermore. He doesn't understand my not being able to sustain that.

I feel glimpses of it...coincidentally, when he is consistently not love-busting (to use the MB term) and consistently need-meeting.

Maybe he's got more tolerance than I. I'm no slouch in the love-busting department myself; I've got a ways to go before I can say I'm consistently need-meeting. But yet he says he is still deeply in love with me.

So either he's not telling the truth, or he's achieved some 5th dimension of nirvana.
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/16/11 08:08 AM

What are good goals to have to get to the point of vintage love? And what route do I take to achieve the goals?
Posted By: Rich57

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/16/11 02:19 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle

My general belief is that the plan you are using has gotten you where you are. If you want something new, you are going to have to change your plan.

I think the better question is after you change your plan, how long does it take to work?

How much patience must we have?

Of course in a long marraige the plan you were using was something that you had in place for a very long time.

So I guess after you "CHANGE" it may take quite a while to see results.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/16/11 04:50 PM

Originally Posted By: staytogether
What are good goals to have to get to the point of vintage love? And what route do I take to achieve the goals?


Now that's a great question. I asked the same question around 1990. I started searching for answers. Some were available in pieces. Some answers no one seemed to have. So I found the answers I wanted.

All these answers I've shared on my website and continue to share here, now, on Marriage Advocates.

The Route you've asked about is covered in Topic #5 the Road to Love and directs you to read the Map of Relationships. I suggest you read that first posting and go from there.

The Goals, you mentioned, I've written about throughout what I posted in my White Board and on my website. More specifically the goals are to learn the skills of a) SAFETY: being safe and being a source of safety to your partner, b) RELIABLE MEMBERSHIP: regulating the use of time and attention in the relationship so that both are relaxed, c) DIVERSITY: protecting and sharing each person's views, reasoning and beliefs, d) AUTONOMY: protecting each person's right to make decisions for themselves and to be self-responsible, e) PURPOSE: supporting each other to become the person they chose to become. The need to achieve these skills is brought on by what I call the Biological Dream.

I even wrote an article about what Vintage Love looks like, as my wife and I have been there for maybe 10 years now.

Do you need to learn this stuff, these skills? Nope. But I believe that if you want to get to Vintage Love, you are screwed if you miss even one of them.

Good luck with the reading and learning.

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/16/11 05:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Rich57
I think the better question is after you change your plan, how long does it take to work? How much patience must we have?


OK. Another great question, Rich57. I don't think you need any patience - to start. (By the way, I think Patience is an adult trait so you'll have to learn that anyway.)

I use an image to help people with this question. Tis no harder to fly a plane from Seattle to Portland than to runhave to do that get to be a relaxed, confident, certified pilot leaving SeaTac?

Fortunately there are free classes and free books all over the place which can help you start learning right now.

Good luck with the learning.
Posted By: TACticGAL

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/16/11 05:31 PM

I'm in nursing school and we hit Maslow pretty hard. This probably isn't news to you, but I'm starting to see correlations between his needs hierarchy and the plan you're laying out. For each level, you have to be a source (but not necessarily the ONLY source except for sex I'd presume) of those needs being met. If you don't have safety/security, there's no way you can move up to love/belonging.

Puts another light on my relationship with ex#2. (And Ex#1 for that matter.) I haven't felt safe with him for at least 8 years. I don't know how he could even become a place of safety for me again, but that's what would have to happen for things to move forward with him again. Hmmm.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/16/11 07:19 PM

Originally Posted By: theantichick
I'm in nursing school and we hit Maslow pretty hard. This probably isn't news to you, but I'm starting to see correlations between his needs hierarchy and the plan you're laying out. For each level, you have to be a source (but not necessarily the ONLY source except for sex I'd presume) of those needs being met. If you don't have safety/security, there's no way you can move up to love/belonging.


I liked Maslow, but do not use it - his Hierarchy. I think he developed that back in the days of what I call self-psychology. I was lucky in that when I started to dig deeply into psychology and couples (me and Sandra) it was the early 90's when Relational Theory was being introduced. (Links to Study)

The structure of the Biological Dream is not a developmental hierarchy, but rather a practical priority hierarchy. (It is fun to think of it's role in Child Development.) One does not need the next level after the last level is satisfied. You need (unconsciously) all levels at once. (The Anna Karenina Principle) True I find it of use explaining both the normal regressive behavior we all observe, and in finding useful responses to couple's troubles. It is certainly helpful in providing a practical explanation of the Falling in Love and Falling out of Love phenomena. But I find it most useful in defining, achieving and maintaining Vintage Love.

Seems normal that if someone is "attacked" at the Diversity Level, they may respond by feeling overwhelmed (Reliable Membership Level) or by feeling their survival is threatened (Lizard level).

The productive response would be to the level they find themselves at. I.e. don't respond by sharing more data (Diversity Level) to a person who is overwhelmed (Reliable Membership level). Give them space and quiet time. Don't respond to a person who seems panicked when you walk away (Reliable Membership level) by silence. Tell them when you plan to come back. etc.

If they seem to be reacting at several levels, respond at the lowest level. When in doubt deal with the Lizard first, then Connection, and then talking and sharing, hearing, understanding, Validation and PreValidation.

Originally Posted By: theantichick
Puts another light on my relationship with ex#2. (And Ex#1 for that matter.) I haven't felt safe with him for at least 8 years. I don't know how he could even become a place of safety for me again, but that's what would have to happen for things to move forward with him again. Hmmm.


What I was looking for in the 1990s was a new way of looking, a new light, that would suggest what I could do to get my "Romance" to come back. I found it. The experience I get is, "Hmm, I wish I known that before." up to "Omigod!!! I wish I had know that before."

Your description of your relationship sounds like a normal Door #2 couple. No more battles, but then again not the excitement and romance either.

What always interests me is "what the heck brings you out of sleep and to Marriage Advocates?" Most people in Door #2 are so passive they do nothing. The fact that you are here suggest exciting things about you. My guess it that the powerful attraction of the Biological Dream is not dead in you and you are starting to go for it again. Wheeee!
Posted By: TACticGAL

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/16/11 11:48 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
What always interests me is "what the heck brings you out of sleep and to Marriage Advocates?" Most people in Door #2 are so passive they do nothing. The fact that you are here suggest exciting things about you. My guess it that the powerful attraction of the Biological Dream is not dead in you and you are starting to go for it again. Wheeee!


In my case, I am here because I am vascillating among a number of thoughts:
1) a deep fear that I pulled the trigger too fast on my DV #2, and that Ex#2 is really the right person for me
2) that Ex#2 isn't the right person for me AS HE IS, as evidenced by the history and the level of pain I've been through
3) that Ex#2 might never be able to be the person I need him to be
4) that if Ex#2 is not the right person for me, there's too much patterning between #1 and #2 and unless I want to go through this pain and divorce #3, I need to figure out:
a) what needs changed in me so I make better choices and have better and healthier boundaries
b) how to tell BEFORE I end up married to them that they are in fact the person I need them to be (whether that's Ex#2 or DH#3)

I'm in this really scary middle ground right now, and feel like any step I take will be the wrong one, especially when one of my prime thoughts is that I already took a horrible one and as such am just on the edge of tumbling down the precipice.

Wheeeee.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/17/11 12:30 AM

Originally Posted By: theantichick
In my case, I am here because I am vascillating among a number of thoughts:....I'm in this really scary middle ground right now, and feel like any step I take will be the wrong one


Great thinking, AC. This is the kind of situation I've done all my digging and discovering and sharing for. Tis a horrible paralysis kind of spot. Gotta make a decision, but want it to be right. Aaaargh. So I put off doing anything hoping someone somewhere will give me the right answer.

I recall for years talking of putting on my headstone, "At least he tried to do the right thing."

I've given that up. Too passive. Too much time lost. Here's a bit from a business paper I wrote on the subject.
Quote:
Never Can Make a Right Decision
As an old timer in the field of Program and Project Management, I have come to believe that one can never make the right decision. The term "right decision" is to me happily symbiotic, assuming that there really is such a thing. For a working definition, I think that the closest one can come to a "right" decision is a decision that you look back on much later and believe was a good decision. Using the concept of PreValidation, we can even arrive at the idea that all decisions are, in a special/unique way, right. By definition, each decision is the best that a person can make at that time.


Sometimes something does seem to happen that makes these decisions easier. I've certainly seen it. But I don't count on it. And we are getting older - the clock is ticking.

Originally Posted By: theantichick
especially when one of my prime thoughts is that I already took a horrible one and as such am just on the edge of tumbling down the precipice. Wheeeee.


Now remember, you are in a world where you always fall in love with the most wrong person you can find, you always fall for your current worst nightmare, and that is normal - the way the design is made. Just what is "wrong" in trying to find Vintage Love by whatever stumbling method you choose?

My comfortable and comforting belief is that any decision I make will be right: I will either have a nice day or learn something. Either way I win. (Haha! I am also used to the idea that any decision I make is wrong the minute I tell my neighbor about it.)

Perhaps you can see now why I think that an affair (a stumble) is sometimes one of the most brilliant things to do.


Go 4 it.
Posted By: star*fish

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/18/11 01:54 PM

Al,

I am certain that those folks who actually reach Vintage Love don't want to leave it, and that it feels fantastic. But it sounds as though it's all about comfort and not very much about passion.

Is there passion in Vintage Love?
Posted By: CajunRose

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/18/11 03:57 PM

I think "comfort" is an understatement. The idea of feeling so emotionally close to someone that I can share anything, and be confident that they are doing the same gives me a huge rush. When you're that connected, I would imagine the physical side could be really, really fun.
Posted By: star*fish

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/18/11 06:19 PM

CR....I agree. For me, I can't imagine a more fulfilling relationship than one where I feel comfortable and safe to be who I really am...including the passionate me. But when I think about my husband...I wonder if this description of love would scare him, or worse...bore him. There is no way to convince someone else of how special Vintage Love actually is when they're afraid of losing "in love" feelings.
Posted By: CajunRose

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/18/11 06:24 PM

I think it scares my STBXH. I think he felt like a failure when the "in love" feelings dwindled and he stopped wanting to lose himself in me (we all shove aside a lot of our own opinions to be like our partner in that infatuation stage). He didn't know where to go from there...so he left.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/19/11 03:15 PM

Al,

I still do not have a lot of time, but I wanted to stop by on this thread particularly and ask your opinion of the latest research that shows Romantic Love can survive years of being together. (An admitted statistical minority.)

Still Madly in Love? Brain Scans Can Exp...Married Couples

Quote:
Couples can still be intensely in love even after many years of marriage and experience the same types of intense romantic feelings as people who have recently fallen in love.

That's the key conclusion of a new study in which scientists at Stony Brook University used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of long-term married couples and compared the images to those of men and women who'd recently fallen in love.


Would you consider these people to have found vintage love, or is something else at play here?
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/19/11 07:09 PM

Originally Posted By: star*fish
It sounds as though it's all about comfort and not very much about passion. Is there passion in Vintage Love?


Couple of different thoughts about this. Answer, of course is YES.

I'm wondering why you're asking it. I'm wondering if when I decided to share about Vintage Love if I was over focused exclusively on comfort. If I was, I am amused. That was one of the core goals in life of my mother - comfortable chair, room, dinner, visit, etc.

Another thought is that I may have downplayed some of the Passion out of respect for my partner's considerable needs for privacy. Hmmm... Oh well.

But setting my Mom aside, I might pay attention to the word Passion. Tis used a lot of different ways. Not sure how you are using it. Often it is a "polite" substitute for intensity of sex. In the study I wrote about in my Map, Passion referred to pleasureful exciting activities, or something like that. Certainly both are present in reliably high doses in Vintage Love.

For me the simple issue is that in the Romantic Stage, it is the Lizard that kicks off the chemical soup (mostly PEA) that leads to lots of high energy and often lots of procreative stuff. I think it is all about a person's Lizard "going wild" with finally feeling truly truly safe, safe, safe. Lots of PLAY, MATING, NURTURING and to a lessor extent Creative Work.

Tis also the Lizard that shuts all that down when the Power Struggle kicks off - Topic #6 that we are talking about.

In Vintage Love the Lizard is back into the Safe mode almost all the time, and enjoys a cortex that confidently and competently (Boundaries)keeps it safe. It also is aware of living in a community where other people's Lizards are also relaxed and are cooperating with keeping a tone of safety. Thus in Vintage Love there is a lot of joint PLAY, MATING, NURTURING, and CREATIVE WORK. Usually is not as frantic as seeing in the Romantic Phase, but is probably much more obvious.

One problem in seeing this is that I believe most Vintage Lovers hide out. They don't like society much and have a very low profile.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/19/11 07:34 PM

Originally Posted By: CajunRose
I think "comfort" is an understatement. I would imagine the physical side could be really, really fun.


Yup. I have a friend who wrote a book on this topic. Hot Monogamy talking about the choices and pathways from Hot shallow sex to Hot reliable deep sex. Tis worth a read.

The idea that you can have long lasting hot sex with someone who scares your Lizard seems a bit silly. Heck, the idea that you can have lasting hot sex with someone whose Lizard you scare seems just a bit dumb.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/19/11 07:40 PM

Originally Posted By: CajunRose
He didn't know where to go from there...so he left.
Seems so tragic! Multiplied by 100,000 per day of people in this country going through the same tragedy --- well there's reason for a lot a wailing. cry
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/19/11 07:59 PM

Originally Posted By: star*fish
But when I think about my husband...I wonder if this description of love would scare him, or worse...bore him. There is no way to convince someone else of how special Vintage Love actually is when they're afraid of losing "in love" feelings.


Good thinking, but also so "diagnostic" of where you two may be. I believe you ever have to persuade anyone about Vintage Love. I see VL as the realization, the making real, of a set of core impulses (Biological Dream) that are written into everyone: him, you, me, my wife, CajunRose, Larry, Medc, heremainsfaithful, ourhouse, neweveryday, flowmom, etc. etc. etc. - all our buddies. (oh, yeah, Boehner, Pelosi, Obama, Maddow, O'Reilly, Kadafi, Ahmadinejad, could go on.)

If your partner is scared/bored of the description of Vintage Love I suggest either a) you are using a lousy description (for him my description may be lousy), b) he's scared of a whole pile of other things some about you, c) he's misunderstanding you, d) you are misunderstanding him, e) he believes in the tooth fairy. Those are some wild-a@@ guesses.

Remember the goal is to lead the way. Might be good to get some clarity on what is going on so you can more wisely plan your next steps.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/19/11 08:11 PM

LOL, I've just realized that my lizard has been triggered by the idea of Vintage Love, because of some kind of mental image of an elderly couple comfortably sitting together watching TV. I've recently experienced PEA in all its addictive glory and my lizard doesn't want to give up the idea of having that! It would be interesting to figure out if I could learn enough about Vintage Love to see it as a route to the Biological Dream.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/19/11 11:10 PM

Originally Posted By: flowmom
LOL, I've just realized that my lizard has been triggered by the idea of Vintage Love, because of some kind of mental image of an elderly couple comfortably sitting together watching TV. I've recently experienced PEA in all its addictive glory and my lizard doesn't want to give up the idea of having that! It would be interesting to figure out if I could learn enough about Vintage Love to see it as a route to the Biological Dream.

Good for you and your recent experience. I've now had quite a few experiences with people who know about the Biological Dream and Vintage Love and then proceed to go through Romantic Love. What I got from them is that the drugs of Romance are really powerful, even if you anticipate them. The cycle seems to continue despite knowledge.

My guess, currently, is that the "need for the Biological Dream" is about 1000x more powerful than all other physical, cognitive, or even spiritual activities. The Imago piece that posits that this state of In-Love will only occur with someone with whom...how shall I say it... we have an appointment for a whole lot of work seems to work.

I repeat that I am not selling Vintage Love. It can't be sold or bought, I fear, only earned. The work involves "pealing the onion" of all the interactions that spread fear and all the delusions of entitlement.

Oh, and your pondering question is for me backwards. The Biological Dream points the way to the work that makes for Vintage Love. I believe the Biological Dream is already here, was here when you were born and cannot die while you live - maybe after too. Vintage Love is when life is congruent with the dream. Romantic Love is when you dream that life is congruent. For me these are big differences.

Sorry it isn't easy. I didn't build this smush.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/20/11 01:55 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Oh, and your pondering question is for me backwards. The Biological Dream points the way to the work that makes for Vintage Love. I believe the Biological Dream is already here, was here when you were born and cannot die while you live - maybe after too. Vintage Love is when life is congruent with the dream. Romantic Love is when you dream that life is congruent. For me these are big differences.
OK, that makes sense. I guess where I get stuck is that Romantic Love is so EASY...and getting to Vintage Love seems so hard. Importantly, it takes two and if either person opts out then you'll never get to Vintage Love. It just seems so hard and risky from this end of things (recently haveing had my dream of spending my life with my husband crushed). I can really understand "serial relationship" people who at least repeatedly go through the Romantic Love part, because the dream of the Dream is better than the divorce/stuck in dead-end marriage likelihood (96% of couples).

Al, I know you're not trying to sell this idea...but somehow I want you to be a better salesman wink
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/20/11 02:43 AM

Originally Posted By: flowmom
I guess where I get stuck is that Romantic Love is so EASY...and getting to Vintage Love seems so hard.


Dreams are easy and our friends in the marketing world sure want us to put out money so that we don't have to work. As I got older I realized that I was betrayed by the (what a friend called) "freedom peddlers" - those who say "it is easy, just buy my product." Everything of value, after childhood, takes work and sometimes lots of it. For a lot of kids childhood is a whole bunch of work, too. Sorry.

Originally Posted By: flowmom
Importantly, it takes two and if either person opts out then you'll never get to Vintage Love. It just seems so hard and risky from this end of things (recently haveing had my dream of spending my life with my husband crushed).


This does not seem to me as bad as all that. Because this process takes a lot of work/learning and because both have to do it and because work/learning is something you see/do, and because the sight of work/learning is so hope building, the process is really a positive one. What is so scary, was so scary for me, was not getting started. Heck and that only takes one.

As an example of the process, my wife and I took a walk every morning together outside for perhaps 14 years. Well, not every day. (Today we are off our walks as Sandra prepares for hip surgery.) Many days, neither of us wanted to go for a walk. But the other would push ahead and we'd both go. We took turns often being the pusher. And sometimes on a Sunday, perhaps, we would just stay in bed. But it was a process. I sure hope to get back to it.

Originally Posted By: flowmom
I can really understand "serial relationship" people who at least repeatedly go through the Romantic Love part, because the dream of the Dream is better than the divorce/stuck in dead-end marriage likelihood (96% of couples).
Yup. They visualize Romantic Love vs Door #2 as their only choices. I sure can see their sense. I just share other choices.

I recall being told by a realtor that there weren't many houses like the one I wanted. I told him, "I only want one, you idiot!"

I am not sure where you are with this guy, but I think, could be wrong, that you first need to sell the one in the mirror about the way to Vintage Love.

I could be wrong.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 02/20/11 05:42 AM

Thanks for sharing your responses once again Al smile
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
As an example of the process, my wife and I took a walk every morning together outside for perhaps 14 years.
Pretty great process.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I am not sure where you are with this guy, but I think, could be wrong, that you first need to sell the one in the mirror about the way to Vintage Love.
Yes, I need to look at whether I am willing to take the risks and do the work that it would take to get to Vintage Love, starting from scratch. My current boyfriend has wonderful things to offer, but there will be no sharing a life/living together future for us. So step one would involve being ready and willing to look for an Imago partner. I kinda have some "life stuff" to deal with before I tackle that. And I need to spend more time finding the sense in the eighteen years that I spent with STBXH, and how that led to door #3 frown

I just feel so sad about the misunderstandings about love and romance that lead people to make vows and babies. When the dream of Romantic Love goes "poof", and door #3 is the result, the children are the ones who pay the ultimate price. It seems so unfair.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 05/31/11 02:14 PM

I heard you Al when you said you are not selling Vintage Love and the idea of selling anything to my estranged wife doesn't sound sensible or realistic to me right now. I would appreciate some ideas though.

My wife and I managed to maintain the fairytale for a long time. I believe it kept us close but also kept us from 'seeing' each other for the people we are. I believe the fantasy has died. We've been separated for over a year now and we've been making progress over the last several months re-establishing the partnership aspect of our relationship, co-operating with the children and finances etc.

Slowly, over time, a number of things have happened to my wife that seems to have given her pause. The most recent example has to do with our girls. They are young teenagers and just last week my wife was telling me how she had comforted a friend who has recently separated by telling her how well our kids were doing with our separation. Then a couple of nights ago she tells me she went for awalk with our youngest daughter who told her how broken up she feels because her home life is falling apart. My wife told me she started to argue with our daughter but stopped when she said 'Mom, wake up.'

I believe this and a series of other 'reality checks' have caused my wife to begin to think she 'should' think about trying to put our family back together. As you might imagine approached in this way her enthusiasm for reconnecting with me does not seem very high. I imagine she is trying to talk herself into 'sucking it up' and stepping back into door #2. I'm a better person than the one she left but I think it's clear we won't be returning to romantic love.

Complicating things is that she saw someone else as soon as she left me. She became infatuated and discribed her feelings for him as being addictive. They connected strongly. He left her and now I think she sees returning to me as a 'giving up the dream' that he re-awakened and makes recovery with me even less attractive. With her having recently experienced the PEA's I don't believe I can 'compete' with the fantasy.

Do you have any thoughts about what kind of goals I could set to interest her in pursuing Vintage Love with me when her head has been so recently turned by the glimmer of romantic love with someone else?
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 05/31/11 03:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Do you have any thoughts about what kind of goals I could set to interest her in pursuing Vintage Love with me when her head has been so recently turned by the glimmer of romantic love with someone else?
Ok. Tis one of the reasons I share the Map of Relationships with couples, so that both have the same language terms for things. Might be worth sharing the Map with her.

Given the Map, I tend to affirm Romantic Love and PEA as a "glimpse" of what I call Vintage Love. In other words, when she yearns/addicts to PEA, on the surface she is seeing glorious images of wonderful happiness, but behind those images is the "reality" of the Biological Dream. I do not put-down romantic love of infatuation. I reframe it.

Here are my thoughts. In a way, her romantic fling is a good thing. It means she's a) still alive to wanting that Biological Dream with someone and b) she is still a bit hopeless about achieving it with you. That hopelessness might be a good focus for you. Well, her recent guy also proved hopeless to her. But her old guy, you, is moving and learning now.

So here is a positive principle. A familiar partner who is now moving toward Vintage Love, is worth two dreamboats in the bush.

Now, to get to Vintage Love, to make the Biological Dream into a reality, takes a lot of specific learning. And to me there are various pieces. You probably have a lot of ideas of what you "did wrong." That's good, but it's much better to focus on what "she thought you did wrong." Get bigger bang for the effort this way.

Best place for you to start are on the pieces that are front and center for her - the thingies she's currently most frustrated by. So ask yourself, "What is the Biological-Dream-skills way of dealing with what she is doing now? If I were a Vintage Love partner what would I do when she does what she does? And how do I practice that to make that skill into a habit?"

My first thought is to look for Lizardy stuff (lack of trust)and direct yourself toward facilitating safety for both. "My goal forever is to make myself into a source of Safety to you - a source of Play!"

My second thought is to begin the ever deepening conversation with her. Learn to listen. Identify anything you do that shuts her down and get rid of it. Replace those habits with new skills that encourages her to share. To guide yourself you need up-to-date data from her. But remember, if you force it, you shut her down.

Good luck.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 05/31/11 06:56 PM

Thanks, Al. I think your suggestions have helped me to concentrate on where I am now and keep making small steps.

I like the idea of deepening the conversation. I think she has been hiding her deeper self from me, probably because I have been judgemental and invalidating. I'd like to make it a goal for her to feel safer to share those more fragile things with me.

I was curious about your suggestion I focus on her sense of hopelessness. Did you mean identify those things I do that contribute to her sense of hopelessness and work on them or do you mean more than that?

Certainly, the sense of failure I feel that she has arrived at the place of no hope has inspired me to search my soul in a way I wouldn't have otherwise.

Thank you kindly for your perspective.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 05/31/11 09:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I was curious about your suggestion I focus on her sense of hopelessness. Did you mean identify those things I do that contribute to her sense of hopelessness and work on them or do you mean more than that?

Certainly, the sense of failure I feel that she has arrived at the place of no hope has inspired me to search my soul in a way I wouldn't have otherwise.
Yup. Here's the deal. Let's say she has a list of 7 items that gotta be fixed. Let's say you have a list with 9 items you think should be fixed. There is probably a bunch of overlap. But even the overlap items will we seen differently by you two.

So where to start? Of course, Ideally you fix everything at once. But that's not practical. If you start with your list, you might begin by fixing something first that she doesn't care about. I've seen that happen alot - much energy wasted to no avail. Best thing to do is to get to know her list. These items, plus a sense that you won't work on them, makes for her hopelessness. So best to find her top items, work on 'em. That's efficient and that deals with her hopelessness as well.

Every time she tells you what she doesn't like, then you say, "Right! Thanks for sharing that. I'm going to fix that as quick as I can."
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 01:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Dantes
I was curious about your suggestion I focus on her sense of hopelessness.


I think this is SO dead on.

My personal, completely unverifiable theory is that unfaithful or fleeing wives are in the depths of despair and want nothing more than for their husbands to wake the hell up and pull them out.

But first the husband has to meet them where they are, to understand without judgement how deep the despair is.

I think the old Mr. Dantes would have tried to talk her out of her despair by pointing out how good she has it or how devoted you are or a whole host of other completely nonsensical statements that you need only visit the Infidelity forum to see.

That effort would not have been mean spirited -- she's your wife, you love her, you want her to be happy, and that is what we are taught to do.

In my moments of deepest grief, all I wanted was for someone to sit with me. I didn't want to hear about how the mothers in Rwanda have it way worse.

But I think just being with someone who is hurting is really hard -- it requires great discipline not to fixitize or rationalize. Because if you choose to stay in that moment with that person and just be present, you will hurt with them. You will. And who wants that?

Originally Posted By: Al
Every time she tells you what she doesn't like, then you say, "Right! Thanks for sharing that. I'm going to fix that as quick as I can."


EXACTLY. View it as a test -- you know how to take tests right? Every one of those she lobs at you is a test to see if you are going to argue with the underlying complaint or fix her so the complaint disappears.
Posted By: kiwi2

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 11:59 AM

ha-thats it-thats what I need,that specific type of advice... "when she says this,you say that"
I used to do Karate,eg theory, in younger days,but now ,every now and then, just practical applications at work.What you just said seems like a pratical application of the Kata ? you teach.
Al,please,can you do that more often,it can be put into practice down here right now. Cool.
cheers
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 03:32 PM

I think this is a great topic and application of Boundary Skills. Perhaps I should start a thread on them.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
But I think just being with someone who is hurting is really hard -- it requires great discipline not to fixitize or rationalize.
I hear that it is really hard for you. And it is actually pretty easy for me - well, now it is. If it 'hurt' me to be with someone who was really hurting, I'd sure as hell not lasted in my profession. This was a crisis for me during my early training back in 1972. I had to learn.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Because if you choose to stay in that moment with that person and just be present, you will hurt with them. You will. And who wants that?
I think a better question is why would you want to hurt because someone else is? Seems to me this is like a doctor in an emergency room who stabs himself when he receives bleeding patient with a knife wound.

I am with you, LG, in that I used to hurt when I was around other hurting people. To avoid that hurt of mine, I might punish/shame them for hurting, avoid them, or try to rush them through their hurting, etc.

But I came to believe that was all because of my training, as a vulnerable kid, by my 'wacko' parents (I love them). I came to see any expression of hurt as a demand by them (and others) for action on my part. I became a parent-pain-fixer by the time I was 4. I was never good at it, but the posture of fixing others became automatic for me. "You start crying and I panic into fix-it action." I gave that up for Lent one year (religious humor) and did not pick it up again. Twas a great move.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 03:42 PM

Originally Posted By: kiwi2
ha-thats it-thats what I need,that specific type of advice... "when she says this,you say that" Al,please,can you do that more often,it can be put into practice down here right now.
Hello kiwi2. Yep it simple boilerplate guides can make things easier when I am starting to learn. In the long run it is knowing those "things to say/do" in your viscera is the goal. I think there is a back-and-forth between specifics and theory/abstracts for most of us. And so the gems for me are the specifics that are in accordance with great theories. I'll keep your request in mind.

Actually I have been waiting for a computer game programmer to show up in my life and to work with me in making a game on "What to say when?" The most fun for me is "What to say when people are into MasterTalk and you want to lead them to Friend/Friend.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 05:46 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: Dantes
I was curious about your suggestion I focus on her sense of hopelessness.


I think this is SO dead on.

My personal, completely unverifiable theory is that unfaithful or fleeing wives are in the depths of despair and want nothing more than for their husbands to wake the hell up and pull them out.

But first the husband has to meet them where they are, to understand without judgement how deep the despair is.

I think the old Mr. Dantes would have tried to talk her out of her despair by pointing out how good she has it or how devoted you are or a whole host of other completely nonsensical statements that you need only visit the Infidelity forum to see.

That effort would not have been mean spirited -- she's your wife, you love her, you want her to be happy, and that is what we are taught to do.

In my moments of deepest grief, all I wanted was for someone to sit with me. I didn't want to hear about how the mothers in Rwanda have it way worse.

But I think just being with someone who is hurting is really hard -- it requires great discipline not to fixitize or rationalize. Because if you choose to stay in that moment with that person and just be present, you will hurt with them. You will. And who wants that?

Originally Posted By: Al
Every time she tells you what she doesn't like, then you say, "Right! Thanks for sharing that. I'm going to fix that as quick as I can."


EXACTLY. View it as a test -- you know how to take tests right? Every one of those she lobs at you is a test to see if you are going to argue with the underlying complaint or fix her so the complaint disappears.


I'm grateful for your perspective on this LadyGrey. I hear you about my wife's despair. Unfortunately, my situation has been complicated by the fact that my wife was and is desperately seeking independence. She made it clear to me when she left that she felt like an adjunct to me and our daughters. She is a creative person who managed my law office, initially out of necessity and later inertia, and came to resent it. It seemed to me that her desire to be 'out of my shadow' was so strong that she wouldn't have been receptive to my even trying to just sit with her. I think that may be changing some now.

Thank you for your words about tests. I found it a very useful reminder.

I suppose, if I'm honest, I choose this thread as a way to calm my own Lizard. My wife and I are making some progress finding our way back to some mutual respect and safety. I do find that things are coming up for me though. I know now, as I said, that she was quite infatuated and may well still have her head turned. I don't bring that situation up if I can help it. I believe she is torn between her family and her dream of a rebellious, creative, passionate existence and that her crush represents this dream to some extent. Maybe you can understand why I might be oddly comforted by the idea that 'Romantic Love Ends'.

I'm having a lot of trouble imagining myself in the role of boring, staid husband to a wife who swallows her dream for the sake of her kids while secretly pining for a bohemian life with a singer/songwriter. I think I have a lot to offer a partner and as much as I love my wife, I'm losing hope of re-connecting with her under these conditions.

To make matters more challenging she is moving into a new place in two months that is immediately next door to her former(?) crush. Purely coincidence. Huge cosmic joke but pure coincidence. With those daily reminders for her (and me to some extent) I'm thinking of just walking away despite the small signs of progress.

I appreciate having a safe place to get this out. Thanks everyone.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 06:51 PM

Just dropping in a bunch of my thoughts.
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Unfortunately, my situation has been complicated by the fact that my wife was and is desperately seeking independence.
That phrase sounds as if it is the top thingy on her list. She wants to feel independent - thoroughly. I don't see this as a complication but more as a lesson. I'm guessing she's probably wanted it since she was 2 or so. But I bet she put that project on hold for decades until she felt safe enough to fully restart it. Part of her marrying you was probably to get back to working on it.

Took her a while (you and daughters) for her to realize how much she has given up in her life to take care of other people's needs. Her hope of getting that feeling of independence (Autonomy) has re-emerged strongly and for a while at least she lost hope of getting those feelings with you and the kids around.

The image she has of what she wants is probably currently pretty dramatic and final sounding. That's probably cuz she's betrayed herself so many times, given in to other people's needs so many times, that she's now really determined. Good for her!

So you listen, and respond. "Sure you want independence. I think you've always wanted it. And I'm just the guy to help you get that. Watch me. I am going to work on myself so that you feel more independence when I'm around than with anyone else or even when you are alone. Let's share about how I and the girls may end up feeling like mill stones around your neck?" It's not about independence from you, I think. It is independence with you. Pretty common theme for women when their youngest kid hits early teens.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I suppose, if I'm honest, I choose this thread as a way to calm my own Lizard. Maybe you can understand why I might be oddly comforted by the idea that 'Romantic Love Ends'.
Sure, and you are welcome here.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm losing hope of re-connecting with her under these conditions.
Cuz you have kids you'll have lots of chances to reconnect. Get to work on becoming a "independence supporting partner" in her eyes.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
To make matters more challenging she is moving into a new place in two months that is immediately next door to her former(?) crush.
Makes things interesting. My thought is that the need for feeling Independence can be expressed in a dream (Romantic Love, crush, etc.) or in practical and reliable skills. I suggest you go for the skills.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm thinking of just walking away despite the small signs of progress.
Well, to be a bit of a dork and to demonstrate a skill of supporting-independence, I think you can walk away anytime you want to. I'm curious what you'll decide. She sounds as if she's worth your effort.

At this point I think you are faced with learning and learning and learning skills and the skill of patience, being relaxed when something takes longer than you want. Good luck.

This is just my thinking. I could be really off.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 07:52 PM

I have believed she is worth the effort, Al. But it's been a long time now, 16 months. Eight since we were under the same roof and I have done a lot of work.

One of the toughest things for me to come to terms with is that despite a somewhat arrogant exterior, I haven't liked myself as well as I would have liked to. I think I projected a bunch of that onto the people I love, especially my wife. I think I've made some good progress over time and my Lizard is having a hard time with the idea of stepping back into an enviroment where old patterns are likely to get recycled with a partner who has been romantically pining for someone else. I can only imagine the kind of dread she feels at the same prospect.

I think your imagining of where she may be at sounds very close to me. Do you think working on my boundary skills is a good focus to foster a sense of independence while with me?

I've been working on grounding my energy and staying within myself in the moment and I think that is helping me see the urge to fixitize, rescue or deflect arise in me before I act on it. Very appreciative of your noodlings.

Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 08:15 PM

Edmond, you've been getting terrific ideas from Al, which I also appreciate.

I'd like to put two thoughts in (in no particular order):
1) find out more deeply what she means by "independence."
2) Find out more about her implying that she did not feel sufficiently "independent" when you were together.

For the first, I might say that something like: "Maybe you could express what independence looks like." or "I'd like to understand more clearly what is meant by independence." (or "...what you mean by independence" if you don't mind mixing pronouns.)

For the second, I might say: "Perhaps you felt stifled when we were together." or "Maybe you could express how you felt about being sufficiently independent in the marriage." or "I'd like to hear more about how it felt then and how you are feeling more independent now."

Finally, after hearing all that (and being sure to not offer advice or solutions), I might also gently challenge her about reconciling the desire for independence and the relationship. That might look something like: "So a part of you is convinced that you won't be able to have a comfortable level of independence and stay married." or "Perhaps you feel it will be impossible to have the independence you need and be in this relationship." or "Perhaps a part of you is convinced it will just go back to the way it was before."
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 08:38 PM

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Fddlr3. Maybe one day I'll be in a position to engage in the gentle 'pulls' you suggest. For the time being I don't think either of us feels safe enough to have a 'relationship' discussion at this time.

I've been concentrating on helping her Lizard to feel safe and I believe 'relationship' discussions take a toll on her. I try to keep them to a minimum for now and keep things light and do a lot of listening.

For similar reasons I don't think I would ask her to paint me a picture of what independence looks like to her. I think she would feel put on the spot because she seems very 'feelings driven' right now and I don't believe she could answer that question. I think she's probably just at the point now where she's beginning to ask herself those kind of questions after a prolonged period of flat out fleeing.

I think the 'so a part of you is convinced that you cannot have a comfortable degree of independence and stay married' comment would generate some great opportunities to validate. She has expressed similar sentiments this past year. In fact part of the attraction, I think, of the crush is that he is completely unsuitable as a partner and would be more of a 'creative friend with benefits' situation.

I do appreciate the suggestions and maybe if the time comes I'll be able to draw on them. Thanks!
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 10:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
For the time being I don't think either of us feels safe enough to have a 'relationship' discussion at this time.
That makes sense given the fragile state of the situation. Hopefully as communication improves, a greater feeling of safety will result and your respective Lizards will be calmer. I believe this is important regardless of what happens with the marriage.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I've been concentrating on helping her Lizard to feel safe and I believe 'relationship' discussions take a toll on her. I try to keep them to a minimum for now and keep things light and do a lot of listening.
I think this is a terrific strategy, and would encourage statements that express her position (by you) that demonstrate you "get" where she's at without a hidden agenda. I can see how statements that imply a future relationship might start to scare her Lizard again.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
For similar reasons I don't think I would ask her to paint me a picture of what independence looks like to her. I think she would feel put on the spot because she seems very 'feelings driven' right now and I don't believe she could answer that question. I think she's probably just at the point now where she's beginning to ask herself those kind of questions after a prolonged period of flat out fleeing.
I can see where that might be risky. And yet if you were to express it with an attitude that demonstrated acceptance, it could possibly help her think it through. I can nevertheless understand why there might be reluctance to go there at this time.

All the best!
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 11:19 PM

I'm finding it sort of spooky how much I identify with Mrs Dante.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/01/11 11:44 PM

Maybe you have some insights, then, into what might be said to facilitate Lizard safety and deeper communication - and if so, perhaps you would be willing to share them.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/02/11 12:11 AM

Oh I will! Al has a no bullying policy from what I can tell, so getting my thoughts out is MUCH easier.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/02/11 03:07 AM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I'm finding it sort of spooky how much I identify with Mrs Dante.


Yes, I thought you might LadyGrey.

It's one of the reasons I have so much respect for your struggles and so much appreciation for your point of view. My wife is also an amazing spirit. I have been in love with her nearly my whole life.

Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/02/11 05:03 AM

Originally Posted By: MrDantes
I think she's probably just at the point now where she's beginning to ask herself those kind of questions after a prolonged period of flat out fleeing.


Fleeing was my full time job for a very long time, in between freezing and submitting. If there is one gift I could give your wife, it would be to introduce her to her Lizzy.

I'm coming to believe that the only power I have is in my own story so I will offer this to you for what it is worth.

It was shortly after I decided to end the affair and attempt reconciliation. My husband made a Grand Gesture which I simply could not ignore, and I decided to explore reconciling, knowing in my heart there was nothing there to work with.

We were driving and Dave Matthew's Grey Street came on and I am going to post the whole thing here which is really dorky, but he tells my story better than I ever could:

Oh look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out onto Grey St.
And she thinks...hey
How did I come to this
I dreamed myself thousand times around the world
But I can't get out of this place
There's an emptiness inside her
And she'd do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together
To grey, and it breaks her heart

Oh how she wishes it was different
She prays to God most every night
And though she swears He doesn't listen
There's still a hope in her He might
She says I pray
But they fall on deaf ears
Am I supposed to take it on myself
To get out of this place
There's a loneliness inside her
And she'd do anything to fill it in
And though it's red blood bleeding from her now,
It feels like cold blue ice in her heart
When all the colors mix together

To grey, and it breaks her heart

There's a stranger speaks outside her door
Says take what you can from your dreams
Make them real as anything
It will take the work out of the courage
She says please
There's a crazy man that's creeping outside my door
I live on the corner of Grey Street
And the end of the world

Oh there's an emptiness insider her
And she'd do anything to fill it in
And though it's red blood bleeding from her now
It's more like cold blue ice in her heart
She feels like kicking out all the windows
And setting fire to this life
She could change everything about her
Using colors bold and bright
But all the colors mix together
To grey
And it breaks her heart...Oh and it breaks her heart
To grey


Hence, my screen name.

"She feels like kicking out all the windows
and setting fire to this life
she could change everything about her
Using colors bold and bright"

I said something to my husband while we were driving about how this song resonated with me and then I took off my seatbelt and tried to open the door of the car except we were going 70 miles an hour on I 70. I wasn't being dramatic -- it was not a conscious thing -- it was totally automatic -- FLEE -- so powerful that my mind refused to see that simply wasn't possible.

I hadn't read about the Lizard yet -- that came months later. But I will always remember that moment as a pivotal moment.

And my husband was crying because he said he knew he could never fill that hole.

I gave up on filling my life with colors bold and bright. I had to make a choice between that and not hurting my husband anymore and maintaining the stability of my family. I grieve it daily -- hourly really -- how very close I came -- so close -- but I lacked the courage or the will.

The colors still beckon me though, and always will. I will always wish I had made better choices so the colors were part of.

It is very hard for me to speak of these things and I do so in hopes it will help you help her.


Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/02/11 01:18 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: MrDantes
I think she's probably just at the point now where she's beginning to ask herself those kind of questions after a prolonged period of flat out fleeing.


Fleeing was my full time job for a very long time, in between freezing and submitting. If there is one gift I could give your wife, it would be to introduce her to her Lizzy.

I'm coming to believe that the only power I have is in my own story so I will offer this to you for what it is worth.

It was shortly after I decided to end the affair and attempt reconciliation. My husband made a Grand Gesture which I simply could not ignore, and I decided to explore reconciling, knowing in my heart there was nothing there to work with.

We were driving and Dave Matthew's Grey Street came on and I am going to post the whole thing here which is really dorky, but he tells my story better than I ever could:

Oh look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out onto Grey St.
And she thinks...hey
How did I come to this
I dreamed myself thousand times around the world
But I can't get out of this place
There's an emptiness inside her
And she'd do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together
To grey, and it breaks her heart

Oh how she wishes it was different
She prays to God most every night
And though she swears He doesn't listen
There's still a hope in her He might
She says I pray
But they fall on deaf ears
Am I supposed to take it on myself
To get out of this place
There's a loneliness inside her
And she'd do anything to fill it in
And though it's red blood bleeding from her now,
It feels like cold blue ice in her heart
When all the colors mix together

To grey, and it breaks her heart

There's a stranger speaks outside her door
Says take what you can from your dreams
Make them real as anything
It will take the work out of the courage
She says please
There's a crazy man that's creeping outside my door
I live on the corner of Grey Street
And the end of the world

Oh there's an emptiness insider her
And she'd do anything to fill it in
And though it's red blood bleeding from her now
It's more like cold blue ice in her heart
She feels like kicking out all the windows
And setting fire to this life
She could change everything about her
Using colors bold and bright
But all the colors mix together
To grey
And it breaks her heart...Oh and it breaks her heart
To grey


Hence, my screen name.

"She feels like kicking out all the windows
and setting fire to this life
she could change everything about her
Using colors bold and bright"

I said something to my husband while we were driving about how this song resonated with me and then I took off my seatbelt and tried to open the door of the car except we were going 70 miles an hour on I 70. I wasn't being dramatic -- it was not a conscious thing -- it was totally automatic -- FLEE -- so powerful that my mind refused to see that simply wasn't possible.

I hadn't read about the Lizard yet -- that came months later. But I will always remember that moment as a pivotal moment.

And my husband was crying because he said he knew he could never fill that hole.

I gave up on filling my life with colors bold and bright. I had to make a choice between that and not hurting my husband anymore and maintaining the stability of my family. I grieve it daily -- hourly really -- how very close I came -- so close -- but I lacked the courage or the will.

The colors still beckon me though, and always will. I will always wish I had made better choices so the colors were part of.

It is very hard for me to speak of these things and I do so in hopes it will help you help her.




Thank you for sharing that with me, LadyGrey. From the first I saw your posts I was very moved by your story. I think that was partly because it seemed to me you were channelling my wife and giving voice to her distress, pain and grief. I know your experience is infinitely deeper than that but I think you know what I mean.

For a long time I managed myself by imagining that my wife was so traumatised I needed to extend to her all the compassion I could generate even if, at times, she was very cold and somewhat cruel. I reached a point where I couldn't do that anymore. It seemed condescending and disrespectful to me after many months and I could feel the connection between us fading.

I think what you are sharing with me here will help me to reach a new level of understanding, compassion and authentic love for my wife.

I wish I had something as valuable to offer you in return.

This morning my wife sent me a message that ended with the sentences "No really. I mean it. I'm typically in a state of feeling completely freaked out." I hope you'll understand if I say when I read that I also thought of you and my heart went out to you both.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/02/11 05:47 PM

I'd find your thoughts about what, if anything, your H could do that would make it easier for you to fill your life with colours bold and bright very, very helpful LadyGrey.

Is there a way he could show up that would help you feel safer with him?
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/02/11 05:47 PM

Originally Posted By: MrDantes
I reached a point where I couldn't do that anymore. It seemed condescending and disrespectful to me after many months and I could feel the connection between us fading.


My husband and I became enmeshed in a most unhealthy way -- we moved emotionally downward together, but seldom upward. This was exacerbated by a parent/child and boss/employee dynamic which intruded into my autonomy -- all sorts of reasons why I believed I couldn't do what I wanted to do -- it would upset him (enmeshment), he would be disappointed or angry (parent/child) or he would be controlling (boss/employee).

And he reacted consistently with those dynamics over many years which in turn led me to build a secret internal life where I was getting my needs met behind his back -- not by an affair, but by hiding my activities and lying about my mistakes. "I have no idea how the bumper got screwed up" or "the $100 ticket was only $50" or "I was late because the light at Preston Rd. was out not because I HAD to finish that book or "I'm having lunch with Susan" when I'm really having lunch with Sally but I know you don't like her or "there was a two for one discount on Pilates this week or "the timer on the oven must be broken and that's why the roast is overcooked", or, more deadly still "Of course I'm not mad at you for going hunting and leaving me alone with three small children -- I want you to have fun!" I did it for the kids too -- "I'm the one who left the soccer ball at the field."

It happened over many, many years -- the daily dishonesty about little stuff that no one really cares about meant to grease the wheels of the family, but these are, I think the first steps on the slippery slope because the dishonesty didn't just hurt him -- it hurt me in that I became disconnected from and/or dismissive of my feelings and resentful that he was putting me in a place where I had to lie.

That's the sort of statement one can't make in the forum at large without inviting censure, but it is a truth of sorts -- no, he couldn't "make" me lie, but he could certainly make lying the only alternative that seemed tolerable.

The whole thing came to a head over the boss/employee dynamic which was added in 2009 -- the marriage could only sustain so much and when I became an employee, -- figuratively, not literally -- my resentment reached new heights of toxicity and I fled for the hills.

Breaking that enmeshment -- accepting within myself that he is responsible for his own emotional well being -- has been a difficult process. Exercising my autonomy in the face of his disapproval takes a lot of emotional energy for me, particularly when trying to at the same time honor my obligation to make him feel safe from the specter of another affair -- in my opinion, a baseline requirement for rebuilding. All that means Lizzy has to be cool with watching him struggle with his own negative feelings. Validation has helped enormously with this because I find in validating I can more easily sort out what stuff is his and what is mine.

Someone on here had an MC who started every session having the spouses turn to each other and say "you are not the enemy." That has been a very useful phrase for us.

Originally Posted By: MrDantes
"No really. I mean it. I'm typically in a state of feeling completely freaked out."


I wonder if with the "I mean it", she is signaling to you that historically you wouldn't have taken her at her word.

I've always wanted to ask Al about this, but never figured out what forum. Immediately after DD, I went to a state of amorphous, all encompassing rage like I have never experienced. I shut myself off from the world because I KNEW how dangerous I was to anyone who might come within striking distance. I told every man in my life, including my IC, to go F themselves. It was terrifying and liberating at the same time. I spoke to virtually no one for well over a month, and, for the first and only time in my life I smoked pot every day -- sort of an odd thing for a 50 year old suburban woman to take up.

It wasn't until I read about Lizzy in October (that was all in April and May) that I started to think about calming down -- I had been posting on another forum that kept me ramped up in near panic mode 99 percent of the time, and I quit that. After 6 or so months of focusing on listening to Lizzy and watching my husbands Lizard, and pounding on what I need for emotional safety, I have gotten where I can speak in complete sentences about highly charged emotional matters without bolting for the door.

By nature and training, I want a process that leads to an outcome. I am a little more process focused that outcome focused because, as you know, if you don't follow the proper procedures, you don't get the desired outcome. This process has required me to let go of the outcome while keeping Lizzy feeling safe. It is not easy stuff.

The franticness is debilitating -- like being blind in a maze and running headlong into walls or paralyzed in a corner with no apparent way out. But there is energy there that can be tapped into -- the bigger threat is, I think, indifference. I always believed that those moments when I HATED my husband were an improvement over the complete indifference I felt the majority of the time.

Today, the moments that pierce me and energize me are those where I saw his vulnerability -- not weakness, but vulnerability. As I sit here this morning, recalling them has silent tears pouring down my face, and I vow to fiercely guard that vulnerability and never again to be the cause of that kind of pain.

Lots more than I meant to say, but I'll let it stand. I suggest reading "The Way of the Superior Man." My husband read it as did I, and it has been a good point of reference for us.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/02/11 06:05 PM

So happy to read your postings, both LadyGrey and Edmond Dantes. I have a couple of thoughts.

I believe Romantic Love is supposed to end (God's plan, not mine)and be replaced by the journey toward what I call Vintage Love. The center target of Vintage Love, and that journey, is the 5-part-model I call the Biological Dream. (I didn't invent this. I found it after years of reading and studying, what I call, God's plans.) My experience is that if you leave out any one of those 5 issues then all-hell-will-break-loose, with Lizards (a simple Life/Death buddy)going wild. And so to me, after Romantic Love stops, there begins an unconsciously driven search for how to recapture the feelings. "What skills do I need to acquire so that I can make those wonderful feelings into a reliable reality for me for my partner for my kids..." To me this energy/belief is more important that bacon or world peas. We are all individually caught up in our little bit of it: you, me, my wife, your partner, my kids, your parents, the Board of Directors, the President, etc. etc.

The top piece of Biological Dream is what I call Purpose. Tis the thing that arises in mid-life crises, etc. "I want to be me." "I do it my way." "This is my life." "Tis what I was born to be." Maslow called it Self-Actualization. It's got lots of names. One can stifle this energy, but it will surface someday.

Second, I've over and over seen how one couples' experiences are dovetailing with other couples' You all can help each other learn to PreValidate each other's spouse. Those angry at a wayward spouse can learn a hell of a lot from other wayward spouses. The angry person (Fighting) can PreValidate the Fleeing, Freezing and Submitting person.

I once had a group of men, all had been left by/driven away their partners. Things got really interesting when I put all the Clingers on one side of the room and all the Avoiders on the other. A Clinger would complain about the senseless cold distancing behavior of his wife, and his buddy Avoider, across the room, would share how the Clinger's wife's behavior sounded pretty damn rational. Everyone started PreValidating everyone, present or absent.

In fact everyone began to confront each other whenever someone slipped into what I call PreInValidating - foolishly judging someone to be not making sense. We created what someone here called a bully-free zone, a pre-validational way of talking, and a safe place. I live there and promoted that where ever I go.

I believe you guys/gals can do that here and wherever.

Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/02/11 07:21 PM

Al, I'm curious whether you have noticed a correlation between a breakdown in a single category of the biological dream and affairing/walkaway spouses (what I will now call "Fleeing Spouses").

For example, as a predictive matter, would you say that a woman whose Autonomy is threatened is more likely to become a Fleeing Spouse than a woman whose need for Diversity is frustrated, or a man is more likely to become a Fleeing Spouse if his sense of Purpose is frustrated?

Are safety, reliable membership, diversity, autonomy and purpose of equivalent importance between the sexes?

Sometimes I feel lost in knowing where to apply the tourniquet as a short term measure, and where to apply my energy in the long term

I noticed you used the term Mid Life Crisis -- a phenomenon in which I believe -- and I do believe it carries a certain energy which can be ....misdirected.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/02/11 09:34 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I gave up on filling my life with colors bold and bright. I had to make a choice between that and not hurting my husband anymore and maintaining the stability of my family. I grieve it daily -- hourly really -- how very close I came -- so close -- but I lacked the courage or the will.
Then you feel there is no way for you to live with joy and fulfillment and also have a mutually satisfying marriage.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
The colors still beckon me though, and always will. I will always wish I had made better choices so the colors were part of.
There is a part of you that still yearns for something more, and another part that is convinced that the colors will always be out of your reach.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
It is very hard for me to speak of these things and I do so in hopes it will help you help her.
Your sharing is a great blessing, and I am humbled and awed by the courage in doing so.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/02/11 09:55 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Al, I'm curious whether you have noticed a correlation between a breakdown in a single category of the biological dream and affairing/walkaway spouses (what I will now call "Fleeing Spouses").
I have really not seen a strong pattern. Probably the most common form of walk-away partner is that man who puts work above his partnership. But I am not sure you would call that huge group "walkaway spouses". Nope, I think this is better seen in a case-by-case way.

I sometimes tell the story of this. During my training I was invited to sit in on a couples group where one member of each couple was institutionalized for "craziness." One was the stay at home. They dressed the same and there was no way to tell who was home and who was officially "crazy." My task, after two 2-hour sessions was to mark on a check list who was who. I was precisely 50% right. 50% wrong.

I look at the situation of affairs, I look at bullying, etc. My guess is that most if not all of the time, both are bullies.
Certainly both dwell in the Valley of the Masters. Both are foolish. And if I were a teacher and could talk to only one of them, I wouldn't care which, with one exception. If the primary distress is the Clinger Avoider dynamic, I would prefer the Clinger.
Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Are safety, reliable membership, diversity, autonomy and purpose of equivalent importance between the sexes?
I have not found much of a gender issue. One thought is that Lesbian couples (maybe Gays too) I see seem to generally have a higher priority on mature relating than do hetero couples.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Sometimes I feel lost in knowing where to apply the tourniquet as a short term measure, and where to apply my energy in the long term.
Me too. I believe you gotta solve all the issues at once, but can really only work on one at a time at first. Kind of a contradiction there. What I do in practice is peel-the-onion. I start with the outside layer first.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I noticed you used the term Mid Life Crisis -- a phenomenon in which I believe -- and I do believe it carries a certain energy which can be ....misdirected.
Any energy seems to be able to be lost or squandered. I am aware many people argue over the existence of Mid Life crisis, but then I think they themselves are all messed up with Autonomy if they argue.

I like to use whatever energy that is available to move in the direction of solving all five factors.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/09/11 05:25 PM

So, I've had an interesting week and once again I'm here because it seems a safe place to share my experience.

I have three teenage daughters and last weekend my oldest was volunteeering to help one of my wife's friends with an art project she is pursuing. The friend is bi-polar and has apparently been in a manic phase for a couple of weeks.

My daughter tells me a couple of days ago that the friend started talking to her about how 'she was on your mother's side' and how 'your dad is upset that your mom left, that she's getting a house and that she's moving in next to A'. My daughter says the woman began bad mouthing me and she was talking so fast my daughter couldn't interrupt her to stop her from continuing.

My daughter tells me how uncomfortable this made her and how she spoke to my wife about it. She also told me she asked my wife who A is because the friend talked non-stop about him as if my daughter should know who that is ( A is the young man my wife is infatuated and having relations with). My daughters don't know about their connection. My wife apparently told her he's a friend and left it at that.my daughter was apparently asked by W not to share any of this with me because I would be upset.

My daughter told me anyway because she said it was bothering her. She also said she was very suspicious of this 'A character' and asked me if anything was going on. I told her she'd have to take it up with her mom. That, of course, confirmed her suspicions.

I had a talk with my wife last night to let her know what was happening with my daughter as my daughter has anxiety issues for which she receives help at the best of times and I wanted W in the loop about where she was at.

We had a good talk about the friend and the inappropriateness of her sharing her comments about me with my daughter and my W sincerely apologised for her role in it including the attempted 'cover up'. Then we talked about OM.

She said they were not in a relationship. I told her I didn't think we understood 'relationship' in the same way. She asked what I thought the situation was and I told her I thought she had become infatuated with him, tried to break it off on a couple occasions, resumed at her initiation and that it was a friend with benefits arrangement. I told her I imagined that he calls her 'for coffee' once in awhile even now and that now she was moving in next door to him by happy coincidence. There was a long silence when I finished and a tacit acknowledgement.

She said she had been tied down her whole life and she just wanted to be free. I validated this. She admitted not sharing everything that was going on with her because she hadn't felt safe. She said she felt I had control issues that that I didn't want what was best for her and rather always had my own agenda. I validated this too.

Then she said something that surprised me. She said her best friend (who is happily married) recommended she read 'After the Affair' and claimed it would be helpful to her. I told her I knew of the book but hadn't read it and I believed it was focussed on how to recover a relationship when there's been infidelity. That inspired some general discussion about the addictive quality of the kind of 'non-relationship' (lol)she was in and she readily agreed. Fwiw, I thought it wasn't bad we could laugh about this in a kind of ' I can't believe we're having this conversation' way.

I find myself today playing some frustating games with myself. On the one hand, I had agreed with myself that I would lovingly detach from W and focus on my own healing and growth for the next while. This isn't about my wife directly. I don't feel fit for any grown up relationship right now. I think I've come a long way but there's still a ways to go yet before I'm no longer in any danger of using someone or deluding myself in a relationship. That detachment is clearly not there yet because her new living arrangement still freaks my lizard out.

On the other hand, my freaked out lizard is telling me to close and lock the door on my marriage. It's telling me that my wife has told me she's addicted to the 'non-relationship', the only way to break that off is to have no contact with him and that will never happen living next door to him. I hate being the guy with whom she discusses life's details and he's the one who plays the fantasy role. I don't know how she could ever look at me lovingly again in that dynamic.

My cortex is telling me that there is really no functional difference between the two approaches and why do I need to make some personal resolution to 'close the door' when detaching should be enough. I guess in the end the only difference between moving forward and moving on, is in my attitude toward other women.

I know I would like another relationship. I know I'm not ready now. I don't believe my wife will be ready for another one with me for a very long time, if ever. Longer than I'd be willing to be patient at any rate.

I think she sees I'm getting to be a better potential partner but I think her own issues are likely to keep her hung up for a long time.

I'd appreciate the observations of anyone who has had the patience to read this long, angsty post.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/09/11 08:03 PM

Good posting, ED. Lots of stuff to chew on.

Kids and there questions can certainly make for messiness. My divorce happened when my kids were 10-15 and facing them was tough. Was tougher facing them as they got older. Best thing seems to me to just be straight with them (at that age).

I think you are doing fine. Recovering from being a person that your partner thinks has control issues is quite a challenge. My suggestion it that you have learned enough when your partner (whoever it is, but someone who knows you a lot) says that you don't have control issues anymore.

As far as the book "After the Affair", I haven't read it tho I have heard good things about it. At this point in your learning about relationships, you may not want to be too picky about what you read. I found that I learned things from the strangest of sources. All that counted was that I learned. If she recommends it, I'd read it.

I suggest you plan to take your time. Lizard loves this. When I started my divorce time, I read a book that said (stupid book) that men should wait 5 years before entering into another deep relationship. I set my watch. My lizard relaxed. I could practice skills in relationships, but not commit. At the end of 5 (stupid book) years, Sandra showed up. Oh well. smile

If she sees you are moving in the direction of being a better partner, well, take heart. I think you are moving in the "right" direction. You probably want to come across as a better if not great partner. She's probably got some great advice, buried beneath her words.

Good luck and thanks for sharing.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/09/11 09:55 PM

For what it is worth, Getting Past the Affair was hands down the best book of the six I read on infidelity, link to reviews on this site here.

The section on the why of it was absolutely invaluable to me -- I remember I started shaking and silently crying thinking "someone out there understands." The various responses of the unfaithful spouse were also illuminating -- I fall into the "I deserve to live the rest of my life alone as penance" category. Still trying to decide on that one life of constant, grinding anxiety vs. life alone. Probably should do a spread sheet or something.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
My daughters don't know about their connection. My wife apparently told her he's a friend and left it at that.my daughter was apparently asked by W not to share any of this with me because I would be upset.


I know you don't want to do anything to alienate your wife, but this strikes me as terribly unfair to your daughters, and sets a precedent of them keeping their parents secrets that is, I think, unhealthy.

For me, dealing with the known, however distasteful it may be, is infinitely preferable to living with the unknown. My imagination tends to supply all kinds of unsavory explanations, none of which cast me in a favorable light.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
She admitted not sharing everything that was going on with her because she hadn't felt safe. She said she felt I had control issues that that I didn't want what was best for her and rather always had my own agenda.


I hear that you validated this, but I'm wondering what you think about the truth of it.

Everything about my husband is bigger than I am, and I get rolled over a lot.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
That inspired some general discussion about the addictive quality of the kind of 'non-relationship' (lol) she was in and she readily agreed. Fwiw, I thought it wasn't bad we could laugh about this in a kind of ' I can't believe we're having this conversation' way.


I think this is terrific. The fact that you could discuss this with her without flipping out probably surprised her Lizard.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
That detachment is clearly not there yet because her new living arrangement still freaks my lizard out.


Smart Lizard. I'm wondering if you could break down the reaction between the threat that poses to you versus the threat that poses to her. In other words, Lizzy freaks out when she feels my kids are threatened because I have the biological drive to protect them. A threat to them is read as a threat to me. Possibly, part of your Lizard's reaction is his knowledge that the other man is a threat to your wife's safety.

I'm not sure it makes a difference, but thought I would ask.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
It's telling me that my wife has told me she's addicted to the 'non-relationship', the only way to break that off is to have no contact with him and that will never happen living next door to him.


I firmly believe your Lizard is absolutely correct. I'm not a fundamentalist hard liner about much of anything, but no contact is in my opinion an absolute requirement, the sooner the better for everyone, including her.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
I hate being the guy with whom she discusses life's details and he's the one who plays the fantasy role.


How are you going to feel about being the guy she turns to when the fantasy comes crashing down? Do you think she has ever had a similar conversation with him?

He seems distinctly unsuitable.

We have a family friend who was married for 29 years when his wife decided on the basis of a couple of random interactions that her life's destiny was not to be a mother of three married to a successful, stable banker raising her children through their last years of dependency. Who would want that? No, her life's destiny is to be married to a 5 times married drummer who lived in another state whom she dated a couple of times at age 18. On that basis, she broke up the family and moved away.

I was incredulous when I heard this story have known the people involved for 35 years. I wished there was a way to rescue her from the fate that is just around the corner.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
My cortex is telling me that there is really no functional difference between the two approaches and why do I need to make some personal resolution to 'close the door' when detaching should be enough.


I see a huge distinction between being detached but remaining present and closing the door. In the former, you continue to receive information that might be valuable both to you in your individual recovery, and to any chance of reconciliation; in the latter, you protect yourself completely, but lose access to any meaningful information.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
I know I would like another relationship. I know I'm not ready now. I don't believe my wife will be ready for another one with me for a very long time, if ever. Longer than I'd be willing to be patient at any rate.

I think she sees I'm getting to be a better potential partner but I think her own issues are likely to keep her hung up for a long time.


It seems you are feeling a lot of internal conflict. When I have a high level of internal conflict, I try not to decide my internal conflicts are generally the result of my intuitive sense that either I don't have all the data, or I'm not weighing the data I have properly. But I am, by nature, an information gatherer.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/09/11 10:12 PM

Thanks, Al. There was indeed lots of good feedback.

At one point she mentioned that she didn't feel safe because things she shared would be brought back to her at times she was feeling vulnerable.

She also mentioned that she still feels pressure from me. That surprised me since I can't think of any way I can pursue less. I imagine it's more a quality of my energy when we see each other. Want to look at that.

Sorry, I was a little unclear about the book. She didn't recommend I read it (though now I will). It was her bff that suggested she read it. Might suggest her friend recognises she is caught in an unhealthy situation and is trying to help her find her way out. Don't want to get my 'inner controller' into over drive trying to analyse it though. Just thought it was something that she would share that with me.

I appreciate the advice to take my time. It's been 16 months and I think I'm just making real progress now. I have found some surprising things. At times I feel like Indiana Jones hacking through a psychic jungle. Fun. Nice to start to like and respect myself more especially when most people who meet me wouldn't necessarily think that was a problem for me.

Can't tell you how grateful I am for this corner of cyberspace.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/10/11 04:21 AM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
For what it is worth, Getting Past the Affair was hands down the best book of the six I read on infidelity, link to reviews on this site here.

The section on the why of it was absolutely invaluable to me -- I remember I started shaking and silently crying thinking "someone out there understands." The various responses of the unfaithful spouse were also illuminating -- I fall into the "I deserve to live the rest of my life alone as penance" category. Still trying to decide on that one life of constant, grinding anxiety vs. life alone. Probably should do a spread sheet or something.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
My daughters don't know about their connection. My wife apparently told her he's a friend and left it at that.my daughter was apparently asked by W not to share any of this with me because I would be upset.


I know you don't want to do anything to alienate your wife, but this strikes me as terribly unfair to your daughters, and sets a precedent of them keeping their parents secrets that is, I think, unhealthy.

For me, dealing with the known, however distasteful it may be, is infinitely preferable to living with the unknown. My imagination tends to supply all kinds of unsavory explanations, none of which cast me in a favorable light.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
She admitted not sharing everything that was going on with her because she hadn't felt safe. She said she felt I had control issues that that I didn't want what was best for her and rather always had my own agenda.


I hear that you validated this, but I'm wondering what you think about the truth of it.

Everything about my husband is bigger than I am, and I get rolled over a lot.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
That inspired some general discussion about the addictive quality of the kind of 'non-relationship' (lol) she was in and she readily agreed. Fwiw, I thought it wasn't bad we could laugh about this in a kind of ' I can't believe we're having this conversation' way.


I think this is terrific. The fact that you could discuss this with her without flipping out probably surprised her Lizard.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
That detachment is clearly not there yet because her new living arrangement still freaks my lizard out.


Smart Lizard. I'm wondering if you could break down the reaction between the threat that poses to you versus the threat that poses to her. In other words, Lizzy freaks out when she feels my kids are threatened because I have the biological drive to protect them. A threat to them is read as a threat to me. Possibly, part of your Lizard's reaction is his knowledge that the other man is a threat to your wife's safety.

I'm not sure it makes a difference, but thought I would ask.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
It's telling me that my wife has told me she's addicted to the 'non-relationship', the only way to break that off is to have no contact with him and that will never happen living next door to him.


I firmly believe your Lizard is absolutely correct. I'm not a fundamentalist hard liner about much of anything, but no contact is in my opinion an absolute requirement, the sooner the better for everyone, including her.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
I hate being the guy with whom she discusses life's details and he's the one who plays the fantasy role.


How are you going to feel about being the guy she turns to when the fantasy comes crashing down? Do you think she has ever had a similar conversation with him?

He seems distinctly unsuitable.

We have a family friend who was married for 29 years when his wife decided on the basis of a couple of random interactions that her life's destiny was not to be a mother of three married to a successful, stable banker raising her children through their last years of dependency. Who would want that? No, her life's destiny is to be married to a 5 times married drummer who lived in another state whom she dated a couple of times at age 18. On that basis, she broke up the family and moved away.

I was incredulous when I heard this story have known the people involved for 35 years. I wished there was a way to rescue her from the fate that is just around the corner.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
My cortex is telling me that there is really no functional difference between the two approaches and why do I need to make some personal resolution to 'close the door' when detaching should be enough.


I see a huge distinction between being detached but remaining present and closing the door. In the former, you continue to receive information that might be valuable both to you in your individual recovery, and to any chance of reconciliation; in the latter, you protect yourself completely, but lose access to any meaningful information.

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
I know I would like another relationship. I know I'm not ready now. I don't believe my wife will be ready for another one with me for a very long time, if ever. Longer than I'd be willing to be patient at any rate.

I think she sees I'm getting to be a better potential partner but I think her own issues are likely to keep her hung up for a long time.


It seems you are feeling a lot of internal conflict. When I have a high level of internal conflict, I try not to decide my internal conflicts are generally the result of my intuitive sense that either I don't have all the data, or I'm not weighing the data I have properly. But I am, by nature, an information gatherer.


I think you are a godsend to me LadyGrey.

I am experiencing a lot of turmoil and generally, when I can, I don't make big decisions from this place. Your posts are helping me to access different perspectives that I think are helping me though.

I validated my wife's comments about my control issues not only because I understand her point of view but because I recognise a lot of truth in them. Al's writings have helped me to see that my Lizard is so active I have routinely bought into the illusion I could control things 'out there' and deluded myself into believing I was safe when I was just whistling past the graveyard.

As far as my daughters are concerned, I'm confused. I don't want them to be gaslighted. I would perfer that we were straight with them about what's going on, perhaps not surprisingly, my wife seems to feel I'm rationalising an excuse to humiliate and punish her for her choices. I'm aware that's an impulse in me, sad to admit.

For now I've left it with her. I've told her my oldest daughter 'knows' something though she's not sure what and she thinks her mother is not being straight with her. I'm of the view that leaving her in that state is crazy-making and she deserves the chance to be as grounded in reality as possible. My wife's view seems to be that she has a special friend and she has no intention of marrying this dude, she doesn't want to move in with him or have him move in and she just wants to have someone that she can share a private world with that no one knows about. Her view is that it's none of her daughters' business who she sleeps with so what is there to tell? I understand that point of view but I also think living next to the guy their Lizards are going to know something is going on emotionally with their mother and they deserve to understand the emotional enviroment they're living in. I do know for sure I won't tolerate any lying about it. I'll give her a chance to process this for awhile and see how she decides to handle it. I think the problem for her is that the dude is about 15 years her junior and not objectively very impressive, I'm sure part of the reason she wants to be clandestine is to avoid the notoriety and the poor assessment of her kids. Can't be a very comfortable place to be.

As far as the guy being a threat to my wife's safety, I think he's a form of medication for her freaked out Lizard. I don't think he's healthy for her but I'm quite sure it would be very controlling of me to decide I know what's best for her and 'intervene'. I think it best right now to let the forces at large bring that home to her. It's the position of my girls as I've said that worries me.

Concerning her 'addiction' I just don't see how non-contact is an option living next door, hence my building fatalism. I'm not sure the fantasy will come crashing down. I sense she wants to use this clandestine 'non-relationship' relationship as a way to transition out of the marriage and use it as a secret crutch until she thinks she's strong enough to discard it and not go back to me. Having her kids know about it I think crimps her Lizard's plan somewhat and though I sense she'd love to blame me for 'exposing' her in order to control her, she knows her own friend blew her cover. Now I think she wants to fault me for getting 'real' when that wasn't always a priority for me in the past. Sigh.

I've thought very hard about your distinction between being detached and present and closing the door. I believe I know just what you mean about gathering data. Unfortunately, I'm concerned this might be just another rationalisation for my control issues. Part of me feels the standing and being 'present'is what has her Lizard on alert. I think she can sense my attention on her and she finds it uncomfortable. I'd be glad for different ways of looking at this.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/10/11 05:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I think you are a godsend to me LadyGrey.
She is one for us all! smile

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
As far as my daughters are concerned, I'm confused. I don't want them to be gaslighted. I would perfer that we were straight with them about what's going on, perhaps not surprisingly, my wife seems to feel I'm rationalising an excuse to humiliate and punish her for her choices. I'm aware that's an impulse in me, sad to admit.
I'm wondering if your wife was validated and understood about this.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
As far as the guy being a threat to my wife's safety, I think he's a form of medication for her freaked out Lizard. I don't think he's healthy for her but I'm quite sure it would be very controlling of me to decide I know what's best for her and 'intervene'. I think it best right now to let the forces at large bring that home to her. It's the position of my girls as I've said that worries me.
So even though you are extremely uncomfortable about her relationship with this man, there is nothing you can do that won't be perceived as trying to "control."

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Unfortunately, I'm concerned this might be just another rationalisation for my control issues. Part of me feels the standing and being 'present'is what has her Lizard on alert. I think she can sense my attention on her and she finds it uncomfortable. I'd be glad for different ways of looking at this.
I'm wondering if you would be willing to express more about the "control" issue, since it seems to be a recurring theme. You have heard that there are things you do that are received as "controlling" and perhaps the only reaction you feel is possible is to pull back and not be sharing where you are at with her.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/10/11 06:59 PM

Hmm, my control issues, I have lots of thoughts. I'll try to articulate some of them. Maybe I'll try some reverse engineering.

I've come to notice an antsy feeling in my abdomen that is a frequent companion. I realise now it's a message from my Lizard. In the past, instead of putting my gentle, curious attention on the feeling and listening to it's message, I would spring into action immediately to 'make it go away'. This seems to involve developing a hyperattetion directed outward and an extremely concentrated effort to gather as much data as possible from the physical and mental enviroment.

Then the chess game begins. Because I have not listened to the message, I often don't have a clear idea what my wants and needs are beyond calming the panicky feeling. My unarticulated desire seems no more clear than 'safety'. To get it I am almost always indirect. Sometimes because I'm afraid a direct 'I'd like this' will be rejected and sometimes because it's only in the process of moving pieces on the board that I get clear what it is I really want. Either way, my aim is to manoeveur you into doing what I want using any one of the usual suspects rationalization, charm, shame, disapproval, pity etc. . I think this is commonly called 'being manipulative' lol.

I'm very good at being manipulative. Sadly, that seems only to have convinced me I've got a winning strategy going and if I don't succeed at first I just need to redouble my efforts.

I haven't completely unravelled the worst of it yet, unfortuantely for me. I recognise at some level that my will also becomes engaged. I have suffered for a long time from an often unrecognised delusion that if I bent my will towards something with sufficient intensity I could 'affect' the course of events. I think some people call this 'magical thinking'. There are still times this feels real to me and I become convinced I just have to 'try harder'. That impulse is not 'fixing' my marriage by the way.

That's what immediately comes to mind.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/10/11 07:43 PM

Originally Posted By: ED
Unfortunately, I'm concerned this might be just another rationalisation for my control issues.


For what it is worth, I think it would be EXTREMELY unusual and difficult for a man in your profession, which I perceive as male dominated for reasons that make perfect sense to me, to NOT have issues with control in their personal life.

You HAVE to be uber controlling, attentive to every detail, nuance, tone of voice, facial expression, date, time, chronology, word, diction, almost imperceptible inconsistency, ad nauseum, and be able to marshal all of the facts and weave them into a credible narrative, each piece of which you then prove with admissable evidence which raises a whole 'nother spectrum of things you MUST control to prevail and be successful.

It's exhausting, and you can't check it at the door nor can you check the persona that brings that enormous ship safely into dock at the door.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the instinctive need to maintain that same level of control in your personal life -- the professional piece so precarious -- one missed fact and your client is toast -- that the intuitive sense that the same result will occur in your personal life makes......

wait for it.....

perfect sense.

Perhaps your training was different -- I doubt it - but no one ever taught me strategies for transitioning from that environment to home. In fact, I think the opposite was encouraged -- don't ever transition from work to home, either intellectually or emotionally.

My point is that there is nothing wrong with YOU. To the extent you are controlling, it makes perfect sense. My sense isn't that you get some emotional payoff from being the Alpha male. My sense is that you didn't know there was an issue, much less how to fix it, and that possibly your wife, as wife and employee, was complicit in keeping that secret from the both of you.

One of the things I have concluded as a result of this mess is that I have not been a good mate to my husband because I have let him get by with about a C+/B- performance in the husband department. Much as it pains me to admit it, that was insulting to him - "I can't expect more from him because the poor dear simply isn't capable of delivering."

Rubbish.

Possibly she feels a vested interest in continuing to experience you as controlling because it gives her a pass on expecting more of you and a reason to continue to hold you at emotional arms length. I would imagine that the controlling dynamic which would have been in place in any event was exacerbated horribly by her status as your employee.

Double yuck. Now there are TWO of you bringing that dynamic home every day, validating it like mad because that's what keeps the ship afloat until it hits the proverbial iceberg.

At the beginning of reconciliation and for many months thereafter and often to this day, I viewed/view my simply staying in the same room with my husband as a gift. So strong is my urge to flee that it is an act of will to simply stay -- not touch, not share, just sit. Since I met Lizzy (SUCH a gloriously gorgeous Lizard -- you would be positively GREEN with envy if you could see her magnificence), during those times when the anxiety spikes to just shy of intolerable I focus on her -- I consciously relax my body, muscle by muscle, slow my breathing, really hear my heart, then turn my attention to simply being present, expecting nothing from this moment, then the next, then the next.

When I see his Lizard is agitated (silly man doesn't believe he has a Lizard), I move very, very slowly and give lots and lots of predictive information (I'm convinced you cannot give a lizard too much predictive information -- enough, and they start to purr) and then do those things that I know calm his Lizard, small acts of service, a calming hand on his knee.

I know it sounds silly, but I'm quite serious about it. If he is Lizard active, I don't stand up abruptly and leave the room to get a coke. I say "I'm thirsty, I think there are some cokes in the kitchen." Then I wait a bit, and while, still sitting, say "I'm going to go to the kitchen now and get a coke, would you like one?" THEN I stand up. Very, very slow and deliberate, no surprises allowed -- like I don't stay in the kitchen an indulge my clean freak self by scrubbing out the sink.

If Lizzy is agitated, his Lizard gets agitated, so the first goal has to be to calm her. Maybe focusing on that single thing in your face to face encounters with your wife would be useful -- when you look at her, picture a 3 foot long bright purple lizard with a lime green ruff and red eyes draped around her neck, hissing and twitching like mad at your presence, concerned ONLY with your wife's safety so you gotta love that lizard, and calm her.

WOW that got long winded! Sorry about that. I'm quite passionate on the subject of keeping lizards calm -- that's what I have found so far that works for me, but Lizzy and I are still in infancy. We don't even know how to talk in a lizard safe fashion yet -- all kinds of horrid MasterTalk still pours out of my mouth no matter how hard I try!

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/10/11 07:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I've come to notice an antsy feeling in my abdomen that is a frequent companion. I realise now it's a message from my Lizard.
Actually this is where I started. I noticed my lower belly was giving me clues. I looked a when it was reacting and then looked at what it was watching. At first I called it my belly, but later I just decided that it was my Lizard signalling me. It would react to all sorts of things.

My first attempt at relaxing my Lizard what to "work" on that outside world, the people around me. But thanks to Sandra I face to face with the idea that my Lizard didn't know anything about Love. If I took care of it, my Lizard, only, I was usually threatening her Lizard. OR if I took care of her Lizard, I was often scaring my own. And so I discovered Boundaries for Individuals A Link and then Boundaries for Couples Another Link.

The Lizard, I believe, is not where Love lives. Sure it knows about comfort and feeling nurtured, etc. but I don't think it cares about other people. Love, that desire to invest in the well-being of an other or others, seems to be a cortical function.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Then the chess game begins....I'm very good at being manipulative.
Yep. Me too. Twas hard to replace those skills that I learned from my parents. I've got them lousy skills mostly out of the way, now.

First step was to be aware. Here's a couple of definitions I found useful. Coercion is telling someone what you want them to do and then paying or threatening them to do what you want. Manipulation is "not telling them what you want" and then paying or threatening them to do it. The difference seems to be sneakiness.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Sadly, that seems only to have convinced me I've got a winning strategy going...
I think you might want to change the game. You win only if she also wins.

I wrote a simple paper on Controlling. I think it is worth looking at cuz in my experience if you tend to control, so will she.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/10/11 08:12 PM

Great great posting, LG. Thanks. My Lizard sees the outside world, sometimes the inner world also, as CHAOS. Unless it can see the structure in that Chaos. Then it ain't chaos.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/11/11 03:42 AM

Thank you for the reply, LG. It's amazing to me that I can come to a place like this and find someone who so throughly gets my professional inner world.

These days I typically do 6 to 10 homicide cases a year and you obviously understand the quality of attention and finesse necessary to be an effective trial lawyer. Thanks for understanding. I don't often feel understood even by other lawyers who don't do this work.

I hear you about not being 'wrong'. Unfortunately, as Al points out in the link he gave me about controllers, we are seldom happy people. Living on adreneline does suck. Most of the time smile

I want to thank you again for the distinction you drew between 'letting go and standing' and closing the door. My lizard has been doing flips caught in the tension between these poles.

Tonight I decided to give up on my wife. I've decided the neighbour situation is the final straw and no progress can be made in those circumstances. I've taken my ring off and I'm accepting that we are going our separate ways. It's scary but it feels right now. I did the best I could to find a better path for us and our girls and it's not going to happen. I made big mistakes in our marriage and I've done a kind of penance for them. I blew my half and I have some more grieving to do but I've learned a lot. I'm a better man for it.
Posted By: Larry

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/11/11 03:55 AM


This a place of sometimes quiet learning ED. And sometimes not so quiet. grin

Congratulations.

Larry
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/11/11 06:15 PM

It seems to me that sometimes the universe has a dark sense of humor.

I didn't discuss my decision to move on with my wife and yet at virtually the same time I took my ring off, she posted on FB the first song we waltzed to at our wedding 25 years ago. I doubt she's listened to it in 20 years.

Amazing.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/11/11 07:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Tonight I decided to give up on my wife. I've decided the neighbour situation is the final straw and no progress can be made in those circumstances. I've taken my ring off and I'm accepting that we are going our separate ways. It's scary but it feels right now. I did the best I could to find a better path for us and our girls and it's not going to happen. I made big mistakes in our marriage and I've done a kind of penance for them. I blew my half and I have some more grieving to do but I've learned a lot. I'm a better man for it.


Hi ED:

I don't think I've posted 2 you before. But your words here made me sad. I remember feeling like that. My wife never left me, but she had an off-and-on affair for 11 years. After I found out, it 2k a 2ple of years, but I had a period where I used phrases like "giving up" and wanting 2 control outcomes, as if I knew (particularly at the time!) what the best outcome for me and my family should be.

Detachment shouldn't be about giving up. It should be about letting go. It 2k me years 2 accept that my wife's choices were hers 2 make, not mine 2 control, even if they seemed ultra-selfish or even majorly-s2pid 2 me.

And you know what? When I really did accept that as fact, not just parroted what I'd heard others say or wrote, our entire relationship started 2 change. I was ready 2 let go and end our marriage. When my wife truly realized that, she changed her entire atti2de around me. Rat Meat lives 2 states away, so I never had the "neighbor" issue. But even that shouldn't be a show-stopper. Simply, if your wife wants her marriage, she'll do whatever it takes 2 convince you of that. Even if it means selling her house. Ac2ally, I think a blatant si2ation like this one is more conducive 2 recovery than mine was - because the steps that can be taken 2 convince the betrayed spouse that the wayward is sincere about recovery are so obvious.

I told both our kids about the affair. My daughter, not long after I found out. She was 21 at the time. I told our son about 3 years ago, also when he was 21. I value honesty and truthfulness very highly. Your wife doesn't want her secret 2 come out because she knows the fairy-tale isn't real and won't do well under scrutiny. Your kids deserve your best efforts 2 help them 2 develop the best relationship skills they can at this stage. In the end, they will have 2 make their own judgments and go through their own learning experiences on their own paths 2 wisdom, but learning from the trials and tribulations of the 2 people who raised them can only help, IMHO.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/11/11 09:04 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience with me, 2long.

I hear you when you say detachment can be more about letting go than giving up. I do respect that point of view.

In my situation I've been actively giving my wife space for 10 months after doing a kind of Plan A for 6 months. I say kind of because I hadn't heard of it at the time. I just showed her the best of me everyday until my Lizard couldn't handle direct contact with the affair anymore.

When I stopped doing that I went dark for sometime. After several months she told me that she was no longer 'romanticly' involved with her boy and that he had broken it off with her shortly after I 'quit'. Since then I've been giving her space and working on myself 'visibly' as Al says while trying to develop a friendship.

She has been angry and stand offish and occasionally hostile with gusts of interest. I now believe that she has continued to be involved with her guy the whole time but 'not in a relationship' as she says and her patterns with me have just been the inverse of whatever was going on with him.

For the last 10 months we have been rotating in and out of our house a week at a time to keep things stable for our girls. Recently she bought a house right next door to her 'friend' and she'll move in there first week in August.

During this last phase of separation I've avoided other women, been very low key and tried to live my life in a way that doesn't freak her Lizard out.

Now I've decided that life is too short. Once she moves in, I don't see anything happening but more of her keeping me on a string. Hence my 'giving up' on her. By that I mean completely letting go and no longer taking her or her reactions into consideration as I move forward with my life.

We'll continue to have contact due to our kids, though I think I will avoid her new place (Lizard goes mental just driving through the neighbourhood now and she hasn't moved in yet), and I'll be friendly but detached. I'm dropping any pretense that I'm hanging in for her though.

I hope that gives you a little better idea where I'm coming from.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/11/11 10:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
It seems to me that sometimes the universe has a dark sense of humor. I didn't discuss my decision to move on with my wife and yet at virtually the same time I took my ring off, she posted on FB the first song we waltzed to at our wedding 25 years ago. I doubt she's listened to it in 20 years. Amazing.
Really wonderful. Universe! The great smart-ass in the sky. Sure. Some years ago I found that the word God and all those other words began, for me to blend into the same thing. If you ever hear me talking about God, translate as Universe. God has, I believe, a fantastic sense of humor, hmmmm, and also weeps a lot. Love the irony.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/14/11 03:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Now I've decided that life is too short.
So you are now completely done with the marriage and any hope of resurrecting it.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/14/11 05:07 PM

Yes, though I would definitely consider another relationship with my wife in different circumstances.

I don't foresee anything changing for the better given her new living arrangements and I've decided it's better for me to let go, move on and make the most of the rest of my life.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/14/11 06:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Yes, though I would definitely consider another relationship with my wife in different circumstances.
Maybe you have some idea of what those circumstances might be.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I don't foresee anything changing for the better given her new living arrangements and I've decided it's better for me to let go, move on and make the most of the rest of my life.
Even though a part of you still wishes for a change, you are accepting that there is nothing that can be done at this point to make it happen.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/14/11 07:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Yes, though I would definitely consider another relationship with my wife in different circumstances.
I don't foresee anything changing for the better given her new living arrangements and I've decided it's better for me to let go, move on and make the most of the rest of my life.


A beautiful, clear description of the "normal hopelessness" that is the end to the Power Struggle for everyone, I believe. Tis the crux of the Map of Relationships. Three ways to go: Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3. Bummer of a place to be.

What do you plan to do, ED?
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/14/11 08:50 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Yes, though I would definitely consider another relationship with my wife in different circumstances.
I don't foresee anything changing for the better given her new living arrangements and I've decided it's better for me to let go, move on and make the most of the rest of my life.


A beautiful, clear description of the "normal hopelessness" that is the end to the Power Struggle for everyone, I believe. Tis the crux of the Map of Relationships. Three ways to go: Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3. Bummer of a place to be.

What do you plan to do, ED?


I plan to move on with my life at this point. I'll focus on some of the integration stuff I'm doing with my IC and keep working on inproving my relationship skills (listening, removing mastertalk, practising recognising and enforcing boundaries) for my next relationship.

I've been enjoying some of the progress I'm making in my personal growth using the 'focusing' approach advocated in 'The Radical Acceptence of Everything' combined with Katie Byron's approach to examining my thoughts and beliefs in 'The Work'.

I think if my wife ever decides to give up her 'friend' and shows some interest in re-connecting with me, I'd like that, provided, of course, I haven't met someone else by then wink
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/14/11 09:41 PM

I guess in some ways it is a bummer place to be, and certainly it's not where I wanted to be, but I have to say I'm grateful for the opportunity I've been given to do some growing up.

I would never have chosen this path for myself but I don't think I would have awakened without the shock my wife gave me.

I think I'm a better father, a better friend and I like myself much better than the way I used to show up.

I just don't think it's working for me to stand around hoping one day my wife might call on me as her back up plan.

I put myself in this spot. I know I'm not a victim here. I made lots of mistakes while I was doing the best I could from where I was. I've wanted to repair the damage I did but I think now it's time to respect my wife's choices and move along.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/14/11 10:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I think if my wife ever decides to give up her 'friend' and shows some interest in re-connecting with me, I'd like that, provided, of course, I haven't met someone else by then wink
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I just don't think it's working for me to stand around hoping one day my wife might call on me as her back up plan.
While a part of you still wants to rescue the marriage, you recognize that it's not going to be happening. So you're completely clear about moving forward without her.

Maybe you could remind of the status of the divorce.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/14/11 11:05 PM

My wife has said she doesn't 'need' a divorce. She says the marriage is just a piece of paper to her and once the emotional and spiritual bond was broken the marriage was over for her.

She told me she was 'done' in February 2010 and we lived separately under the same roof until August 2010 without our children knowing while I tried to save the marriage. In August of last year we told the girls and started to rotate in and out of the house a week at a time. She has consulted a lawyer but has not proposed anything by way of a separation agreement.

I've been giving her financial support and we share the girls. No fights there.

I've got my lawyer preparing a proposal for a formal separation agreement now.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/14/11 11:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
My wife has said she doesn't 'need' a divorce. She says the marriage is just a piece of paper to her and once the emotional and spiritual bond was broken the marriage was over for her.
Then she would have no objections if you wanted to get a divorce. Maybe a divorce can't be done immediately in your state and the formal separation is necessary.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/15/11 09:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
My wife has said she doesn't 'need' a divorce.
I actually like what she is saying. Tis, I think, a bit like quitting a job and keeping the keys to the office. I think she is part in and part out. Her way of looking at "the piece of paper" I think is fine. Tis her way.

Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/15/11 11:43 PM

Al:

Interesting perspective! I think a lot of people who've heard similar comments from their spouses might like 2 hear more about this.

Ac2ally, in my case it was me who said that 2 my wife. This was when she said 2 me, about 2 years before I discovered her affair, that "What if I want a divorce for our 25th anniversary?" I honestly didn't know what 2 say in response, or even what 2 think, as this came from right out of the blue (our marriage may have been mediocre at the time, but I didn't even know why). So I said "you said we didn't need a piece of paper 2 get married 25 years ago, so why do you think you need a piece of paper 2 get a divorce?"

I was being sarcastic and lashing out due 2 my confusion. I would characterize that response as not one of my best formulated/empathic/constructive of possible responses, LOL!

I think I do better now, but it 2k a lot of work!

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 12:02 AM

Your wife's position does make sense, Edmond. And you would be completely comfortable not getting a divorce but being separated indefinitely.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 03:12 AM

Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
I'd find your thoughts about what, if anything, your H could do that would make it easier for you to fill your life with colours bold and bright very, very helpful LadyGrey.

Is there a way he could show up that would help you feel safer with him?


I've been a lawyer and a mom and I was probably a better lawyer than I was a mom during those years.

Then I was a mom. And let me be crystal clear here: it has been my honor and my privilege to be my children's mother.

Now that role is drawing to a close.

You see, all of MY stories are THEIR stories. I don't have an experience independent of them. I am his wife and their mother and everyone knows me in reference to those roles. I go somewhere and meet someone new and invariably I am introduced as "LordGrey's wife or Daughter's mother", never the converse.

Mr. Dantes, when was the last time YOU were introduced as Mrs. Dantes's husband?

And how many times has the converse been true? And how many times were those introductions in the context of you introducing not your WIFE but your EMPLOYEE.

I went to the dreaded "Back to School Night" when my oldest was a sophomore. You know "Back to School Night" -- created so you will appreciate the rich learning environment the school is providing, but in actual fact you have to go or your kid will be complaining all year about how you couldn't POSSIBLY understand how INCREDIBLY boring the biology teacher is because you couldn't be bothered to go to "Back to School" night like all of the OTHER PARENTS so you couldn't possibly understand.

You go.

I walked in the 7 minute period six session late and the teacher took one look at me and said "Oh, you are Suzie's mother. Sit there." I said "yes, I'm Suzie's mother. It is a terrible shame I don't have a name of my own."

Are you with me ED? Your wife's work life centered around you in a subordinate position. I can just imagine what you were like to live with -- and I do NOT mean that as a criticism as I think you know.

But where did she end and you and your daughters begin?

For me, having an affair felt like I was scraping emotional play doh off of me -- I drew a LINE.

This is where you end and I begin -- right here, this line, this moment. Because see? I AM an autonomous human being. I DO have the power to decide. My children will be FINE because I will make sure of it.

What could he do?

Allow me to try and fail at things that are far outside his comfort zone.

Celebrate that I want to manifest my spirit in new and unexplored ways.

GET OUT OF MY WAY.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 03:39 AM

I see it a little bit differently than Al. I don't think my wife is half in and half out, I think rather she prefers to keep a door open a crack if she sees no benefit to closing it permanently. It's this attitude that I refer to when I mention being a back up plan. I certainly don't fault her for taking this approach. I just think my wife would be content to tread water in the status quo for a long time seeing no real need to do anything differently. .

I'm not sure Fddlr3, what gave you the impression that I would be similarly content with a permanent separation. On the contrary, I like being in a committed relationship. I've embarked on a serious examination of my strengths and shortcomings since she dropped the bomb on me and I see that I have some more work to do before I think I'm ready to be the partner I want to be. I don't doubt though that as I get more comfortable in my own skin and begin my search for a new partner, I'll want to put a formal end to my marriage so I can start fresh with someone else. I think I'll know when to start that process.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 04:48 AM

Edmond:

That's what I felt as well, even though my wife didn't leave 2 conduct her affair. I've often been accused of being "old fashioned" when it comes 2 marriage. But I never thought that working long hours or spending many days out of town on a drill rig when my daughter was just 3 years old would have been thought of as neglect. Or that being proud 2 call my wife "my wife" would make her think I was claiming her as my property or trophy.

We're so s2pid when we're young and simply assuming that everyone understands what we mean by our expressions of love.

-ol' 2long.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 01:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm not sure Fddlr3, what gave you the impression that I would be similarly content with a permanent separation.
Then you are clear that this is only a temporary measure and eventually you will decide to end the marriage if nothing changes. And somehow you are not okay doing that now.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 03:08 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
We're so s2pid when we're young and simply assuming that everyone understands what we mean by our expressions of love.-ol' 2long.
Yup, I found this too. Early on, in working with my wife, I found that I frequently assumed she could/should read my intentions. She should read my mind. And if she didn't read my mind, I was surprised or even angry.

I think it was a) truly s2pid, and b) the way I was raised.

I think babies instinctively think mommy and daddy know what I want, can read my mind. And I think we all have to be taught, on the way to becoming an adult, that doesn't work.

I think this retraining, to assist others at saying what is not said or hearing what has not been spoken, is a major part of learning good communication skills.

smile
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 03:22 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
I never thought that working long hours or spending many days out of town on a drill rig when my daughter was just 3 years old would have been thought of as neglect. Or that being proud 2 call my wife "my wife" would make her think I was claiming her as my property or trophy.
So you were completely caught by surprise when these were expressed to you.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 03:27 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I think this retraining, to assist others at saying what is not said or hearing what has not been spoken, is a major part of learning good communication skills. smile
Very important point Al, and what I have found to be one of the most important elements in communicating. This is what I mean by "coded messages." I find that "what has not been spoken" is often the most important part of what is being conveyed. And I have also found that validation(fddlr) often helps a person say "what has not been said." I find "mirroring" to not go far enough in this regard, since (according to my understanding) it addresses the words that have been spoken, not the unspoken message.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 03:33 PM

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
Originally Posted By: 2long
I never thought that working long hours or spending many days out of town on a drill rig when my daughter was just 3 years old would have been thought of as neglect. Or that being proud 2 call my wife "my wife" would make her think I was claiming her as my property or trophy.
So you were completely caught by surprise when these were expressed to you.


2 say the least! So much so that, even though my wife thought she was being clear that she needed more attention, I still thought that by simply explaining my perspective would be sufficient.

But of course, although she said she had feelings for someone else all those years ago, she neglected 2 tell me (for the next 11 years) that she was having an affair.

At first, I regretted all the wasted time when I found out 9 years ago. But soon, I recognized the need for the wake-up call. I wasn't "getting" her frustrations 20 years ago, in spite of her almost telling me all the truth at the time. Likewise, my "clarifications" of my perspective weren't gotten by her either.

Finally, I was able, though, 2 2rn the adversity in2 an oppor2nity for some personal growth spurts. I learned more about relationships in the first year after "d-day" than I had in the previous 27 years of our marriage.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 03:49 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
2 say the least! So much so that, even though my wife thought she was being clear that she needed more attention, I still thought that by simply explaining my perspective would be sufficient.
Now you have recognized that was not at all enough. And now if things like this come up, there is a deeper communication and mutual understanding.

Originally Posted By: 2long
But of course, although she said she had feelings for someone else all those years ago, she neglected 2 tell me (for the next 11 years) that she was having an affair.
How painful to have discovered that it had been happening for so long.

Originally Posted By: 2long
At first, I regretted all the wasted time when I found out 9 years ago. But soon, I recognized the need for the wake-up call. I wasn't "getting" her frustrations 20 years ago, in spite of her almost telling me all the truth at the time. Likewise, my "clarifications" of my perspective weren't gotten by her either.
There were signs about what was happening, and somehow you were unable to get them. And despite none of the clarifications having any impact, there seemed to be no alternative but to keep explaining.

Originally Posted By: 2long
Finally, I was able, though, 2 2rn the adversity in2 an oppor2nity for some personal growth spurts. I learned more about relationships in the first year after "d-day" than I had in the previous 27 years of our marriage.
For some reason, some of us need the 2x4 to the head to "get" what seems "obvious" in retrospect. I have belatedly and grudgingly become grateful for the 2x4's I have received, sor the same reason you have expressed, namely my own growth.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 03:57 PM

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
I find that "what has not been spoken" is often the most important part of what is being conveyed. And I have also found that validation(fddlr) often helps a person say "what has not been said." I find "mirroring" to not go far enough in this regard, since (according to my understanding) it addresses the words that have been spoken, not the unspoken message.
Yup. I think we are using a bit of a microscope here, and it may be a bit off topic, but what the hay!

Here's how I see the situation. You are listening to someone. You guess they aren't saying their whole message. Or you cannot see their logic/sense in their sentence. You want to hear their whole message. You want to see their sense. What to do?

If you mirror their words, all you get is their words. I am comfortable with that.

If you "interpret" and share what you guess is going on beneath their words, you may help them become more clear - true. But you also run the risk of pushing them faster than they want to go - into themselves and into sharing too deeply. For me personally, the biggest risk in doing this is that I come across one-up (arrogant) to their current, maybe heartfelt, one-down (inadequate) position. Thus one runs the risk of stirring up their Lizard. Which don't help.

If you mirror them (explicitly or implicitly) and add what I call a Pull (an invitation to say more, Gentle Art of Pulling), and if you let them know you want to hear more, and are patient, you'll probably get it - at their rate of sharing.

And I remember my goals are to a) understand them explicitly (Validation) and fully, and b) help/guide them into more effective sharing/communication skills. Next time I want them to think as they talk, "Have I shared enough so that my listener(s) can easily understand me?" I want to create more of what I have experienced here at my home, both people working together, taking turns, feeling fully understood.

My wife's favorite phrase for this was, "I don't know how to say this right, so let me say it wrong and then let's clear it up later." Kind of participative model of communication and of improving communication.

Tis fun for me to split-hairs or get out that damn microscope with a good fellow traveler. Thanks, Fddl3. I hope others enjoy this sharing.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/16/11 11:47 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Yup. I think we are using a bit of a microscope here, and it may be a bit off topic, but what the hay!
I love microscopes! smile and also getting "off topic" wink

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Here's how I see the situation. You are listening to someone. You guess they aren't saying their whole message. Or you cannot see their logic/sense in their sentence. You want to hear their whole message. You want to see their sense. What to do?
I have found that while it is indeed a "guess," when certain levels of skill are achieved, it can be a very educated "guess." I view this skill as being similar to reading nonverbal cues or the tone of voice in something that is being said.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
If you mirror their words, all you get is their words. I am comfortable with that.
I have noticed that, especially in potentially problematic areas, that the speaker is often not at all comfortable with it.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
If you "interpret" and share what you guess is going on beneath their words, you may help them become more clear - true.
It depends on how the "interpreting" is done. I have found the tracking skill I have been learning is most effective in peeling back the layers ever so gently while keeping the speaker's Lizard safe.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
But you also run the risk of pushing them faster than they want to go - into themselves and into sharing too deeply. For me personally, the biggest risk in doing this is that I come across one-up (arrogant) to their current, maybe heartfelt, one-down (inadequate) position. Thus one runs the risk of stirring up their Lizard. Which don't help.
My experience has been different. I find that as I track and the person goes deeper, their Lizard seems to calm down. I believe the key is maintaining an attitude that they are completely okay and accepted.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
If you mirror them (explicitly or implicitly) and add what I call a Pull (an invitation to say more, Gentle Art of Pulling), and if you let them know you want to hear more, and are patient, you'll probably get it - at their rate of sharing.
I'll have to read more about Pulling. I wouldn't use that term to describe how I like to approach it though. I view it more as clearing a path for them to walk (or not as they choose). IRL at least, I find that many people are so unused to being listened to and validated that they are eager to share and even go more deeply into what they are feeling than they might have anticipated. If someone doesn't want to share, then I don't see it as my job to pull it out of them. If something seems to be bothering my wife, I would gently inquire about it, and leave the door open to talk about it, but if she wasn't ready to, I would validate that and let it be.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
And I remember my goals are to a) understand them explicitly (Validation) and fully, and b) help/guide them into more effective sharing/communication skills.
My goals are more modest - namely just (a). I think this is where our different perspectives might cause a difference in approaches. I don't see it as my job to help anyone else improve their communication skills - unless they have explicitly "hired" me to do so. For example, my wife once wanted help crafting a response to someone and she asked for my assistance - in essence she "hired" me for that particular job. When it was completed, my role as her facilitator likewise ended.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
My wife's favorite phrase for this was, "I don't know how to say this right, so let me say it wrong and then let's clear it up later." Kind of participative model of communication and of improving communication.
That's very cool! Maybe if I told my wife that she should be more like Al's wife.... grin

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Tis fun for me to split-hairs or get out that damn microscope with a good fellow traveler. Thanks, Fddl3. I hope others enjoy this sharing.
Thank you Al - I very much enjoy our exchanges and always learn a lot. I very much appreciate all the thought and effort you have put into this important area.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 12:17 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle

If you "interpret" and share what you guess is going on beneath their words, you may help them become more clear - true. But you also run the risk of pushing them faster than they want to go - into themselves and into sharing too deeply. For me personally, the biggest risk in doing this is that I come across one-up (arrogant) to their current, maybe heartfelt, one-down (inadequate) position. Thus one runs the risk of stirring up their Lizard. Which don't help.


In the specific case of recovering from infidelity, maybe even especially when one isn't aware of the other spouse's affair, I think the risk is like you say, the wayward partner's lizard's stirring will express as freezing 2 avoid discovery.

Quote:
If you mirror them (explicitly or implicitly) and add what I call a Pull (an invitation to say more, Gentle Art of Pulling), and if you let them know you want to hear more, and are patient, you'll probably get it - at their rate of sharing.


A very difficult and delicate process when one partner is oblivious 2 what the other partner is reluctant 2 disclose/discuss. I think a lot of good could be accomplished on sites like this if these "pulling skills" could be trained, somehow. But it's still going 2 be true that the pullee's rate of sharing will be their rate. Possibly protracted over years, as it was in my sitch.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Don Quixote

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 01:20 AM

Hi, This is my first post on here. I came across these threads from another forum and I have loved your advice. I have started to read your website and I am learning a lot.

My question is about contacting the ex. If the romantic love has ended how can you contact with out pushing?

I was not married but was planning on proposing with in the next year. She told me we were still best friends but didn't want to be with me which doesn't make sense but i know everybody makes sense (just not to my brain). The one time I did contact her after our break she said she doesn't want anything from anybody including me. We have been apart for 4 months and she has yet to reach out.

I have read on your site that the childhood has a lot to do with the way people treat relationships. Her father has been married 3 times and her mother didn't have a regular boyfriend until she was out of the house. I wonder sometimes whether the fact that her father divorced her mother when she was so young had a negative impact on her idea of vintage love. We were set to move in together. I think this may have scared her lizard. Do you just wait? or can I call her again. Even if it scares her lizard a little bit maybe I can calm it down. Is there any particular way you handle someone who was hurt by this kind of thing when they were a kid?

Like maybe show them more love in order to make up for the abandonment she felt early on? sometimes I think I need to show her I don't give up easily.
Posted By: believer

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 01:38 AM

Welcome, Don Quixote. Glad you found us!

Hope you will find this site helpful.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 02:37 AM

Lizzy likes the US Mail, an oft overlooked resource in my opinion. I wish all the faithful husbands on this site would periodically use this resource.

Mail is not like email or texts or voice mail - it doesn't COMMAND a response.

Send her a funny card. No biggie.

The BEST funny cards are at car washes. Little known fact.

I have ideas after that, but try that one first.

I knew when I saw the new member that Edmond Dantes and Don Quixote would end up in the same sub forum.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 02:43 AM

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Yup. I think we are using a bit of a microscope here, and it may be a bit off topic, but what the hay!
I love microscopes! smile and also getting "off topic" wink

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Here's how I see the situation. You are listening to someone. You guess they aren't saying their whole message. Or you cannot see their logic/sense in their sentence. You want to hear their whole message. You want to see their sense. What to do?
I have found that while it is indeed a "guess," when certain levels of skill are achieved, it can be a very educated "guess." I view this skill as being similar to reading nonverbal cues or the tone of voice in something that is being said.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
If you mirror their words, all you get is their words. I am comfortable with that.
I have noticed that, especially in potentially problematic areas, that the speaker is often not at all comfortable with it.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
If you "interpret" and share what you guess is going on beneath their words, you may help them become more clear - true.
It depends on how the "interpreting" is done. I have found the tracking skill I have been learning is most effective in peeling back the layers ever so gently while keeping the speaker's Lizard safe.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
But you also run the risk of pushing them faster than they want to go - into themselves and into sharing too deeply. For me personally, the biggest risk in doing this is that I come across one-up (arrogant) to their current, maybe heartfelt, one-down (inadequate) position. Thus one runs the risk of stirring up their Lizard. Which don't help.
My experience has been different. I find that as I track and the person goes deeper, their Lizard seems to calm down. I believe the key is maintaining an attitude that they are completely okay and accepted.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
If you mirror them (explicitly or implicitly) and add what I call a Pull (an invitation to say more, Gentle Art of Pulling), and if you let them know you want to hear more, and are patient, you'll probably get it - at their rate of sharing.
I'll have to read more about Pulling. I wouldn't use that term to describe how I like to approach it though. I view it more as clearing a path for them to walk (or not as they choose). IRL at least, I find that many people are so unused to being listened to and validated that they are eager to share and even go more deeply into what they are feeling than they might have anticipated. If someone doesn't want to share, then I don't see it as my job to pull it out of them. If something seems to be bothering my wife, I would gently inquire about it, and leave the door open to talk about it, but if she wasn't ready to, I would validate that and let it be.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
And I remember my goals are to a) understand them explicitly (Validation) and fully, and b) help/guide them into more effective sharing/communication skills.
My goals are more modest - namely just (a). I think this is where our different perspectives might cause a difference in approaches. I don't see it as my job to help anyone else improve their communication skills - unless they have explicitly "hired" me to do so. For example, my wife once wanted help crafting a response to someone and she asked for my assistance - in essence she "hired" me for that particular job. When it was completed, my role as her facilitator likewise ended.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
My wife's favorite phrase for this was, "I don't know how to say this right, so let me say it wrong and then let's clear it up later." Kind of participative model of communication and of improving communication.
That's very cool! Maybe if I told my wife that she should be more like Al's wife.... grin

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Tis fun for me to split-hairs or get out that damn microscope with a good fellow traveler. Thanks, Fddl3. I hope others enjoy this sharing.
Thank you Al - I very much enjoy our exchanges and always learn a lot. I very much appreciate all the thought and effort you have put into this important area.


I so enjoy reading you all. Lizzy likes you both, but confronted IRL would be spitting and hissing like mad. Too clinical and you know too much. I would spend at least half the time trying to figure out which box each of you would put me In.
Posted By: Don Quixote

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 01:28 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Lizzy likes the US Mail, an oft overlooked resource in my opinion. I wish all the faithful husbands on this site would periodically use this resource.

Mail is not like email or texts or voice mail - it doesn't COMMAND a response.

Send her a funny card. No biggie.

The BEST funny cards are at car washes. Little known fact.

I have ideas after that, but try that one first.

I knew when I saw the new member that Edmond Dantes and Don Quixote would end up in the same sub forum.


I like it because its also a little unexpected. Even if nothing comes of it was well worth the tip of where to get the best cards lol.

Haha... Yes I was lead right to this white board so I read through this thread first before registering. I guess I may have had literary figures on my mind from it. Plus, I feel like I'm fighting windmills sometimes so it just seemed to fit.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 02:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
Hi, This is my first post on here.

Glad you are here. Lots of nice people. I also like your handle. Got an old drawing of Don Q and Sancho P on my wall, here - must be a Picasso. I always identified with Sancho's donkey.

To your question. I'm looking for clues to you moving forward.
Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
She told me we were still best friends but didn't want to be with me which doesn't make sense but i know everybody makes sense (just not to my brain).
You not knowing what is going on insider of her makes me think that you may have a lot to learn about Empathy, Skills of. Take your time on this cuz really talented people are raised that way and learn it bit by bit over 10 years.

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
The one time I did contact her after our break she said she doesn't want anything from anybody including me.
That makes me think of an Avoider taking care of her self. (Better learn about Reliable Membership: Topic 2 here.) They need lots of space, but still need contact a bit.

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
I have read on your site that the childhood has a lot to do with the way people treat relationships. Her father has been married 3 times and her mother didn't have a regular boyfriend until she was out of the house. I wonder sometimes whether the fact that her father divorced her mother when she was so young had a negative impact on her idea of vintage love.
I doubt it damaged her idea/dream of Vintage Love. That seems buried in everyone, nice and solidly. Her history might have made the dream seem more elusive and impossible to obtain, and might have given her a lot of dysfunctional skills toward getting it. Might have made her doubt that anyone else would work with her to get it.

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
We were set to move in together. I think this may have scared her lizard.
Sure, if that moving together began to appear like a trap.

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
Do you just wait? or can I call her again. Even if it scares her lizard a little bit maybe I can calm it down. Is there any particular way you handle someone who was hurt by this kind of thing when they were a kid?
I think you gently contact until you decide to go elsewhere or she clearly tells you to not contact her at all and you believe her.

But then, how to contact her. My bit on What do to when she leaves is good. Also When to Fold 'Em has good clues on how. I think "no contact" is not wise. On the other hand too much isn't wise either.

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
Like maybe show them more love in order to make up for the abandonment she felt early on? sometimes I think I need to show her I don't give up easily.
Well, how many of these gals do you need? Only one. Only have to figure out this one. If she's an avoider one way to show love is to make sure she has enough space - coming from your hands.

Good luck.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 03:17 PM

Welcome to Marriage Advocates Don Quixote! Hopefully your quest will not turn out to be Quixotic (to coin a phrase)).

Landing on one of Al's threads is one of the best places to be in my opinion. smile There is much to be learned from his wisdom and experience. Keep coming back!

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
My question is about contacting the ex. If the romantic love has ended how can you contact with out pushing?
So you are still hoping that you will be able to rebuild an intimate relationship with her. And something has given you the impression that she would be open to that possibility.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 03:26 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I so enjoy reading you all.
smile Likewise Ms. Grey!

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Lizzy likes you both, but confronted IRL would be spitting and hissing like mad. Too clinical and you know too much. I would spend at least half the time trying to figure out which box each of you would put me In.
Can't speak for myself - but something gives you the impression that Al wouldn't be able to keep Lizzy calm. (I think he would)

I enjoy dissecting conversations and thoughts about validation, et al, with folk with an interest and skill, especially masters (like Al). The actual conversations are anything but clinical, at least in my experience. It might be like the difference between working on how to swing a golf club versus actually taking the swing. I myself find that there is a "zone" I get into when validating someone and it gets deep. This is a place where both lizards not only feel "safe" but play and frolic.
Posted By: Don Quixote

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 03:29 PM

Thank you Al, this has been by far the most sensible guidance I have gotten. The other forum which I was looking through told everybody to just move on and contact will just make you seem weak and unattractive. While on some level I get that (being a clinger is not attractive) it didn't seem like it made anything better. Seems more like a convenient way to not get hurt anymore. But that's not my goal, the hurt already happened. My goal is to have vintage love. Thanks again and I'll certainly spend some time with those articles you suggested.

Posted By: Don Quixote

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 03:37 PM

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
Welcome to Marriage Advocates Don Quixote! Hopefully your quest will not turn out to be Quixotic (to coin a phrase)).

Landing on one of Al's threads is one of the best places to be in my opinion. smile There is much to be learned from his wisdom and experience. Keep coming back!

So you are still hoping that you will be able to rebuild an intimate relationship with her. And something has given you the impression that she would be open to that possibility.


Thanks good to be here. Yes, when I did talk to her the one time on the phone I told her I was willing to work on the relationship and I was hoping she would (Now I realized I pushed too hard). She said maybe at some point but she just doesn't feel like being in any kind of relationship right now with me or anyone. I was pressing her for a decision, not good. I think there was something inside of her that wanted to but just couldn't right now. Another emotion seemed to be stronger stronger. Something else she said in that conversation is that she felt more like herself since breaking up (this was about 3 weeks after). I should have followed that up with pull as to why? After reading Al's articles I realize made a lot of mistakes.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 04:11 PM

You are recognizing that pushing to get back together at that point might have pushed her farther away, and in that conversation you were also seeing signs that she might be open to a relationship at some point.

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
After reading Al's articles I realize made a lot of mistakes.
Well, speaking as one who has never made misteaks... wink There is much to be learned from Al's articles, and one of the nice things about learning to become more effective is there are always more opportunities to apply improved skills.

Perhaps you are figuring out what your next move is.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 04:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
The other forum which I was looking through told everybody to just move on and contact will just make you seem weak and unattractive.


Originally Posted By: The Beatles, Hey Jude

And don't you know that it's a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder


Quote:
While on some level I get that (being a clinger is not attractive) it didn't seem like it made anything better. Seems more like a convenient way to not get hurt anymore.


It's also a fine line between self-protection and game-playing.

Quote:
But that's not my goal, the hurt already happened.


Yes! And moving forward with your healthy goals and Al's help is a good plan, in my view. [/quote]

-ol' 2long
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/17/11 07:20 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I so enjoy reading you all. Lizzy likes you both, but confronted IRL would be spitting and hissing like mad. Too clinical and you know too much. I would spend at least half the time trying to figure out which box each of you would put me In.
Perhaps you confuse me with someone I wouldn't like. Ah well.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/18/11 04:03 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: EdmondDantes
I'd find your thoughts about what, if anything, your H could do that would make it easier for you to fill your life with colours bold and bright very, very helpful LadyGrey.

Is there a way he could show up that would help you feel safer with him?


I've been a lawyer and a mom and I was probably a better lawyer than I was a mom during those years.

Then I was a mom. And let me be crystal clear here: it has been my honor and my privilege to be my children's mother.

Now that role is drawing to a close.

You see, all of MY stories are THEIR stories. I don't have an experience independent of them. I am his wife and their mother and everyone knows me in reference to those roles. I go somewhere and meet someone new and invariably I am introduced as "LordGrey's wife or Daughter's mother", never the converse.

Mr. Dantes, when was the last time YOU were introduced as Mrs. Dantes's husband?

And how many times has the converse been true? And how many times were those introductions in the context of you introducing not your WIFE but your EMPLOYEE.

I went to the dreaded "Back to School Night" when my oldest was a sophomore. You know "Back to School Night" -- created so you will appreciate the rich learning environment the school is providing, but in actual fact you have to go or your kid will be complaining all year about how you couldn't POSSIBLY understand how INCREDIBLY boring the biology teacher is because you couldn't be bothered to go to "Back to School" night like all of the OTHER PARENTS so you couldn't possibly understand.

You go.

I walked in the 7 minute period six session late and the teacher took one look at me and said "Oh, you are Suzie's mother. Sit there." I said "yes, I'm Suzie's mother. It is a terrible shame I don't have a name of my own."

Are you with me ED? Your wife's work life centered around you in a subordinate position. I can just imagine what you were like to live with -- and I do NOT mean that as a criticism as I think you know.

But where did she end and you and your daughters begin?

For me, having an affair felt like I was scraping emotional play doh off of me -- I drew a LINE.

This is where you end and I begin -- right here, this line, this moment. Because see? I AM an autonomous human being. I DO have the power to decide. My children will be FINE because I will make sure of it.

What could he do?

Allow me to try and fail at things that are far outside his comfort zone.

Celebrate that I want to manifest my spirit in new and unexplored ways.

GET OUT OF MY WAY.



I'm grateful for this information LadyGrey. I believe my wife has had a similar experience. I think it's one of the reasons I was able to put my anger on a shelf when I learned of her affair and instead felt a great deal of compassion for her pain and distress.

I felt I understood her when she said she felt like an adjunct to my life and consumed with resentment for the sacrifices she made. She also told me that she didn't feel that I really wanted her, that she felt like a placeholder, someone who filled a role for me and the family. I've found it difficult to find a balance between giving her space and giving her so much space I simply confirmed that I didn't want her.

I've found that exercise even more challenging because of a phenomena you mentioned somewhere else, a kind of hypersensitivity on her part to anything I do. I get the impression that her assumptions about my feelings and the 'meaning' of my actions run very deep. I don't know how to communicate to her that I love her, that I can forgive her and that I want to build a better relationship with her without her assuming I just want her to 'get back in the box'.

Can you relate to this at all?
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/18/11 04:49 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Yes, though I would definitely consider another relationship with my wife in different circumstances.
I don't foresee anything changing for the better given her new living arrangements and I've decided it's better for me to let go, move on and make the most of the rest of my life.


A beautiful, clear description of the "normal hopelessness" that is the end to the Power Struggle for everyone, I believe. Tis the crux of the Map of Relationships. Three ways to go: Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3. Bummer of a place to be.

What do you plan to do, ED?


I'm struggling with this again, Al. I love my wife very much and I do think she's worth doing whatever I can to reach Vintage Love with.

My challenge is that she's about to move next door to her lover. Something that Janis Spring wrote in After the Affair resonated with me. She talks about the cognitive changes that happen in Romantic Love and describes them this way:

"When you fall in love, a perceptual distortion usually takes place, and you idealize the other person, assigning to him or her more positive attributes than any one person could actually possess. The object of your affection becomes beautiful, brilliant, stimulating, sensitive, and , above all else, the only one for you. It has been postulated that these distortions serve the evolutionary purpose of bonding partners together for the essential ask of child rearing. Whatever the reason, by exaggerating and selectively focusing on the positive attributes, while screening out the more questionable ones, you attach to your lover in incontestable ways that no long-term partner can compete with.

At the same time, you're likely to paint your partner in equally distorted, but negative terms, as a foil for your lover. Boring, constricted, joyless, critical- these are words with which you vilify your partner, and justify abandoning that person and attaching yourself to someone else."

I have been on the receiving end of this many times, to the point I would swear I could tell when they've been together because of the hostility with which she treated me.

Having said that she is being subtly but incontestably kinder to me recently. Unfortunately, like many former masters I suspect, I no longer have any faith in what she shows me. She has proven to be a very good actress and I suspect her change in approach is an attempt to manage me. That's on one side.

On the other is the perspective I took away from your article on how it only takes one to make a marriage. I see the sense in what you wrote there and it's possible some of the changes I've made have begun to change our dynamic somewhat.

I afraid to place any stock in my perceptions as long as she is in her lover's sphere of influence and yet I find it hard to walk away from my connection to her as long as there's the faintest hope.

The traditional approach seems to be that as long as there is contact between the spouse and even a former lover there is no basis to grow a new relationship with that partner. I'd be interested in your take on that challenge.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/18/11 07:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I have been on the receiving end of this many times, to the point I would swear I could tell when they've been together because of the hostility with which she treated me.
Yup. Me to. Happens when your kids move away from home and start talking with their friends and/lovers about "what a pig you are." Of course I earned some of this by being a bit of a pig. Didn't know better, but... there it is.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Having said that she is being subtly but incontestably kinder to me recently. Unfortunately, like many former masters I suspect, I no longer have any faith in what she shows me. She has proven to be a very good actress and I suspect her change in approach is an attempt to manage me. That's on one side.
I hope you realize how much evolved thought this is for an aging Master. You get to realized how much your partner consciously or unconsciously tries/tried to deceive you in order to survive (Lizard).

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
On the other is the perspective I took away from your article on how it only takes one to make a marriage. I see the sense in what you wrote there and it's possible some of the changes I've made have begun to change our dynamic somewhat.
Oh. Now you're in trouble. You read that article. smile

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I afraid to place any stock in my perceptions as long as she is in her lover's sphere of influence and yet I find it hard to walk away from my connection to her as long as there's the faintest hope.
Very wise of you I think. You've learned that you don't/can't trust her. AND you can feel a tiny bit of hope that someday you might and can do something to work in that direction. My guess.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
The traditional approach..
is stupid, I think.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
seems to be that as long as there is contact between the spouse and even a former lover there is no basis to grow a new relationship with that partner. I'd be interested in your take on that challenge.
Well, you hear my view on the "tradition approach," I hope. I was never much of a guy who would blindly follow what other people suggested, especially when it shows signs of not working.

Here's my thoughts.

As long as your partner is in the Romantic soup, there is not much anyone can do - even therapists.

Before they went Romantic I think they were comparing you to "anyone else in the world" and noticed how much you 'sucked.'

When starting/entering the Romantic soup, they decide they have met Prince/Princess Charming, which they as sure as hell haven't. But they think they have.

Over time, as they get to know this person, they will go back to comparing the "[Bleep!]" they left behind (you) to the "[Bleep!]" they have (next door). (That may be potty-mouth, but those are the words I use to share this situation.)

Now, if you begin to appear in their life as an "[Bleep!]" who is aggressively learning to be a great partner, there is a significant chance they will "reconsider" and start coming back. (Of course someday they are going to have to grow up, too. But that's for later.) I've seen it happen over and over.

You can help her stay with this new guy and maybe leave him and jump to another, by remaining an active "[Bleep!]." She may believe that you aren't going to ever change. I wouldn't do it.

Any help?
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/18/11 09:11 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I have been on the receiving end of this many times, to the point I would swear I could tell when they've been together because of the hostility with which she treated me.
Yup. Me to. Happens when your kids move away from home and start talking with their friends and/lovers about "what a pig you are." Of course I earned some of this by being a bit of a pig. Didn't know better, but... there it is.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Having said that she is being subtly but incontestably kinder to me recently. Unfortunately, like many former masters I suspect, I no longer have any faith in what she shows me. She has proven to be a very good actress and I suspect her change in approach is an attempt to manage me. That's on one side.
I hope you realize how much evolved thought this is for an aging Master. You get to realized how much your partner consciously or unconsciously tries/tried to deceive you in order to survive (Lizard).

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
On the other is the perspective I took away from your article on how it only takes one to make a marriage. I see the sense in what you wrote there and it's possible some of the changes I've made have begun to change our dynamic somewhat.
Oh. Now you're in trouble. You read that article. smile

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I afraid to place any stock in my perceptions as long as she is in her lover's sphere of influence and yet I find it hard to walk away from my connection to her as long as there's the faintest hope.
Very wise of you I think. You've learned that you don't/can't trust her. AND you can feel a tiny bit of hope that someday you might and can do something to work in that direction. My guess.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
The traditional approach..
is stupid, I think.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
seems to be that as long as there is contact between the spouse and even a former lover there is no basis to grow a new relationship with that partner. I'd be interested in your take on that challenge.
Well, you hear my view on the "tradition approach," I hope. I was never much of a guy who would blindly follow what other people suggested, especially when it shows signs of not working.

Here's my thoughts.

As long as your partner is in the Romantic soup, there is not much anyone can do - even therapists.

Before they went Romantic I think they were comparing you to "anyone else in the world" and noticed how much you 'sucked.'

When starting/entering the Romantic soup, they decide they have met Prince/Princess Charming, which they as sure as hell haven't. But they think they have.

Over time, as they get to know this person, they will go back to comparing the "[Bleep!]" they left behind (you) to the "[Bleep!]" they have (next door). (That may be potty-mouth, but those are the words I use to share this situation.)

Now, if you begin to appear in their life as an "[Bleep!]" who is aggressively learning to be a great partner, there is a significant chance they will "reconsider" and start coming back. (Of course someday they are going to have to grow up, too. But that's for later.) I've seen it happen over and over.

You can help her stay with this new guy and maybe leave him and jump to another, by remaining an active "[Bleep!]." She may believe that you aren't going to ever change. I wouldn't do it.

Any help?


Yes, that does help, Al. Thank you.

I don't know where I'm going to find the strength to keep my own Lizard feeling safe around her new place but I tend to be one of those ["Beeps"] who doesn't think any challenge is beyond him with the right help.

Perhaps I can convince myself that one day she will realise how much I've had to discipline myself to show some grace under pressure and maybe that knowledge will help her Lizard to relax around me and try out some honesty. And if she never does, perhaps I'll grow from the effort anyway.

Seems awfully risky to my Lizard though, I imagine I could emerge either a pretty cool guy or a pulpy, bloodied damaged mess.

How do I learn to keep my Lizard cool when it knows I'm deliberately taking on something that feels so unsafe, Al?
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/18/11 10:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
How do I learn to keep my Lizard cool when it knows I'm deliberately taking on something that feels so unsafe, Al?
Right. Great question. Back to Topic #1 for you. I've been there hundreds of times.

Perhaps the clue is that you use your cortex to keep your Lizard safe. Do not depend on outsiders to take care of your lizard.

What is the name you gave to her Lizard?
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/18/11 11:49 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle


Perhaps the clue is that you use your cortex to keep your Lizard safe. Do not depend on outsiders to take care of your lizard.



I have been enjoying finally really getting this. I find a nice quiet confidence comes with the knowledge that I can manage my stuff.

One thing that concerns me is the idea that there might be something a little disrespectful built into the attempt to calm and soothe my partner's Lizard. I don't want to be manipulative. It's a bad habit of mine as a controlling Clinger and I'm on a quest to be more honest and authentic as well as less needy. Sometimes I feel as though I need to be extremely focused on keeping her Lizard calm and it feels a little hard to keep clear on the boundaries between her stuff and my stuff when I'm really trying to manage both.

I'd like to be honest and respectful and not treat her as though she's a patient whose emotions require caretaking. Especially when enmeshment has been an issue for us. Is there anything you could share that might help me expand my perspective?

P.s

I actually haven't given my wife's Lizard it's own name yet. I'd like to think about it a bit. I like the shorthand that the term gives me but part of me resists the idea of giving specific names to aspects of her personality. I might not settle on that view but I see it on the horizon and I want to examine how I feel about it sometime. smile

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/19/11 01:35 AM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'd like to be honest and respectful and not treat her as though she's a patient whose emotions require caretaking.
Besides you ain't even qualified to handle your own yet reliably, me thinks. So just be open about it. I did. "I am going to work to become a source of safety to your Lizard."

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I actually haven't given my wife's Lizard it's own name yet. I'd like to think about it a bit. I like the shorthand that the term gives me but part of me resists the idea of giving specific names to aspects of her personality.
Yeah. Now that I think more of it, I think it might be better to ask her what she names her Lizard and use that name. Once you got an "agreed upon" name, you can say things like, "I'm going for a walk and take Mongo out for about an hour. Is there anything I can do for Jenny? help her feel more relaxed?"

The reason I wanted a name for her's was so that you could be more in contact that what you do to make your Mongo feel safer may complete trash her Jenny. Need a better solution for Mongo.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/19/11 02:07 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'd like to be honest and respectful and not treat her as though she's a patient whose emotions require caretaking.
Besides you ain't even qualified to handle your own yet reliably, me thinks. So just be open about it. I did. "I am going to work to become a source of safety to your Lizard."

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I actually haven't given my wife's Lizard it's own name yet. I'd like to think about it a bit. I like the shorthand that the term gives me but part of me resists the idea of giving specific names to aspects of her personality.
Yeah. Now that I think more of it, I think it might be better to ask her what she names her Lizard and use that name. Once you got an "agreed upon" name, you can say things like, "I'm going for a walk and take Mongo out for about an hour. Is there anything I can do for Jenny? help her feel more relaxed?"

The reason I wanted a name for her's was so that you could be more in contact that what you do to make your Mongo feel safer may complete trash her Jenny. Need a better solution for Mongo.


I think you're right about my qualifications smile

I see what you mean about the Lizard names. I think it's good information to remember that sometimes what's calming me down may be freaking her out. I'll be on the look out for neutral strategies.
Posted By: Don Quixote

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 06/19/11 02:28 PM

Well, good news I guess. I ran into her this weekend with some mutual friends. I stopped and talked to them as group for a little bit. I ran into her at bar a month ago and she went "invisible" to flee. She was looking around the room like I wasn't there so I didn't bother to talk to her, I just said hello to my friends and left.

This time I ran into her at a park and she actually waved and smiled when she noticed me approaching. Big difference I think. Her moving to the away wall seems to have significantly slowed. After talking to them, one of her friends (and friend of mine too) invited me to lunch with them because that's where they were heading. I declined but I felt a month ago I wouldn't have gotten that invite, even if it was meant to be a "empty" invite, I don't think her friend would have risked asking me if she knew my ex was completely against me coming.

Her lizard seemed calm. But she was with friends, so I still need to calm her lizard with me alone. Small steps I guess. Getting her to slow her leaving to a halt seems the easier step. Getting her to start turning around seems a bit riskier. I was planning a note but now that might seem to fall into the category of too much after seeing her.

Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 09/02/11 06:55 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle


The Lizard, I believe, is not where Love lives. Sure it knows about comfort and feeling nurtured, etc. but I don't think it cares about other people. Love, that desire to invest in the well-being of an other or others, seems to be a cortical function.


I wrote in the Corral about the peace I was feeling from disconnecting. I suspect this might be part of what Al was referring to here. Think I'm going to just give my poor exhausted Dragon a break for awhile, enjoy the peace and call it Patience. Or loving myself.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 12/27/12 07:51 PM

Hello all,
I've been reading this thread, and very interesting it is too. However, it went silent a while ago, and I'm curious why?

I'd be interested to know how it panned out for some of you guys.

Anyway, I'm new here, and I have a story to tell, but will wait a while to post more as I figure this place out.

Al, if you're out there, we had some contact a while back through your website, and you directed me here, but I didn't join in at the time.
We had a dialogue at the bottom of the comments section of the 'choosing Mr or Mrs right' article.

I hope everyone is well and enjoying the Christmas period.

Sim
Posted By: Rich57

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 12/27/12 08:02 PM

Sim54

Thanks for posting, I dont know the answer to your question about why it went silent.
Al has been around from time to time.

I can tell you there is lots of good info here. And definitely a language to learn about.

If you feel you want to share that is fine but I am glad you are getting the chance to learn.

I have decided that I must do that for the rest of my life.

LEARN
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 6: "Romantic Love Ends" - Building Trust - 12/27/12 09:38 PM

Hi there Sim, and Merry Christmas, Happy New Year to all.

Yup I'm here most of the time but don't post unless I'm invited. I wish you and all people here well.

I look at the stuff I've written to see if I would change it or refresh it somehow. But it still seems right-on.

This relationship thing sure seems to be a magnificent do-it-yourself project.
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