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

Plan A and Plan B link from Marriagebuilders

Originally Posted by Dr. Harley/MB Website

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


AKA Lildoggie

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


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

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

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

Guess that's failure to provide domestic help. smile

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

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

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

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

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

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

Larry


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

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

-ol' 2long

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

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

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

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


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

-ol' 2long


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

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

Larry


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

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

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


Ding - good shot believer.

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

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

Good list believer.

Larry


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

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

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

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


sit with this....

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


emphasis mine.



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

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

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


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


Call me Sere Jim. Everyone else does. smile

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Nice, huh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Mark


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

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


Very nicely illustrated. Now get back to work! wink

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Re: PR: Marriage Builders Plan A: the first steps of battling an affair [Re: Mark1952] #4095
09/16/10 04:40 PM
09/16/10 04:40 PM
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J
Justuss v1.0 Offline
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Very good explanation Mark.

Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And many truly do...

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

it's a promise kept.

LA


The Paradoxical Commandments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AKA Lildoggie

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


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

tink

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

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


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

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

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Plan A

Quote:

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


Quote:

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

Quote:

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


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




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

Plan A is not for wimps.

Plan A requires Patience, Time, and Consistency.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn to love you first.


AKA Lildoggie

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


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