Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Do You Do When She Leaves Your Relationship or Marriage for Another Man? Can You Get Her Back? Should You?

A simple, scary question with a complex answer: What do you do when the woman you love is with somebody else?

I’ve been talking with some people at another web site that tries to help people out of divorces and I’ve been getting a huge number of questions from them over the last few weeks. The most common one by far is “My wife left and is now seeing someone else (or is having an affair and refuses to stop). How can I win her back?” No big surprise, right? Do you want to know what IS surprising?

It’s not the answer to the question by a long-shot; indeed, the possible answers to that question are few and simple:

1. Stop abusing your wife

2. End your substance abuse, gambling, or fidelity problem and try to make a life with your wife instead of feeding your addiction

3. Read “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and learn how to evaluate and manage relationships, communicate well with your wife, and find out whether you can fire up her attraction mechanisms beyond the point the other guy has created to get your honeymoon going again so that she is only interested in you.

After opening our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, and hearing from some of the men there, I feel compelled to add a fourth item to that list, as an item 3a: If you find that your wife is in mid-life crisis, learn all you can about it, make some decisions about how much you can take, and strap in for a long rough ride, because she’s going to need the strength of a loving, manned-up husband to anchor her and help her find her way home when she emerges from the fog if she’s ever going to make it back home.

One or more of those answers will take care of almost all cases. It won’t always take care of the case where the other guy has created so much attraction that you can’t get her attention to let her see your improvement; attraction is a sword of MANY sharp edges ; "double-edged" doesn't begin to describe how many ways it can work for or against you. But the big question isn’t what you should do to bring her back…

The big question, and the very first one you should ask, is WHETHER you should bring her back!

That’s right! I’ve spent hours and hours cruising relationship and marriage help web sites, and everyone is frantically begging for help to bring their spouses back (and being advised on how to do it by others who are apparently in the same boat, giving a strong appearance of “the blind leading the blind,” at least as far as the forum threads and blogs go, something I do NOT tolerate in the slightest at our forum), but nobody is asking whether it’s the right thing to do! Indeed, they label somebody who acknowledges such severe problems that no marriage ever should have happened, let alone be possible to save, as a “quitter” and a “loser.” Give me a break! (That’s something else that we don’t have at our forum!)

Right now, a great many of you are having a knee-jerk and responding, “Of course it’s the right thing to do! She’s his (or MY) wife!” If you stop to think about it, there will be some cases where it may not be!

For instance, what if you are the host in a codependent pair, and she is a substance abuser that has sucked the life out of you for years with the cost of feeding her habit, legal and medical costs, worrying you sick, making you feel responsible for all her bad choices and leaving you no room to enjoy anything about your life, let alone what you have earned?

What if she’s not a substance abuser, but still codependent and has kept you working 16 hours a day every day of the week just to keep her out of a jam?

What if she’s a spouse abuser, and married you to have someone to punish because the person who traumatized her is not available, and you were both available and easily manipulated into taking and holding the job of whipping boy?

What if she’s always exhibited a fidelity problem because she’s a gold-digging hussy that married you for your money and has just moved on to somebody with more money, or because she’s spent all you had?

What if she’s always exhibited a fidelity problem because she has a self-esteem problem that she refuses to address, and would rather seek the attention and approval of other men because it’s easier and more palatable than to admit the reason she feels crappy about herself is that she hasn’t done anything in her life to feel good about?

What if the two of you got married because she was pregnant, never did get along and weren’t happy, but comfortably numb and unhappy, and she was just the first one to wake up and realize that you never should have been married to start with and wasn’t rejecting you, but making the same move that you should be making to rectify that age-old mistake?

What if she wasn’t pregnant, but the two of you just were young and lonely and desperate, thinking that nobody else would have you, and latched onto each other thinking a bad marriage would be better than being alone?

What if one or both of you were trying to escape your parents’ abuse and married the first person that came along that provided a way to get out of the house, thinking it couldn’t possibly be worse than home but not realizing that if it was almost as bad you’d still need better?

What if you’ve had such philosophical or value system differences that you’ve always fought and never been happy together and really don’t know why you ever got married or stayed married, because you have no compatibility beyond breathing air?

What if you have compatible values, but your tastes are so different that you have never been able to find a way to spend quality time together, and sleeping, sex, and an occasional trivial conversation are all you really share?

What if you’ve suddenly become disabled somehow, and she’s the one who thinks she’s the victim, ignoring the fact that you haven’t let yourself become a victim and are still a great husband because she’s just too enthralled with the drama and attention? Or just too stinking bigoted to give you a chance to show you that you’re still worth having around?

There are a hundred more scenarios like that, but surely at this point you get the picture. The first question that needs to be asked when things look like they are breaking up isn’t how to stop the break-up...

It’s whether there is any reason for you to expect to be happy with that person if the relationship were to continue!

If there is no expectation of happiness, why continue? There is no productive purpose in trying to save a marriage when the underlying relationship that defines every aspect of that marriage is not a happy one and has no history or chance of being a happy one. The whole purpose of marriage is to bind yourself to a person for your mutual benefit – love, nurturing, friendship, watching each others’ back, companionship, exclusive (and hopefully therefore safe!) sex, etc. -- is it not?

On the other hand, if you have been truly happy, and have just drifted apart, there’s a most-excellent chance that you can get things back on track, especially if things have just been in a rut and one or both of you have become “maritally bored.” It’s not at all rare for women to have affairs, leave home, and even file for divorce as a way of communicating to a man that he’d better straighten up and act like a man and be strong, fun, and interesting like he used to be instead of the “chronically beer-swilling remote-jockeying couch potato who never pays any attention to her” that he’s become. And it’s easy to tell the difference…

A woman who’s completely done with you moves on immediately and completely. The divorce papers are delivered with a restraining order, and there are instant barriers up everywhere. You have no contact with her, or even any way to contact her directly.

Caution: Men on our forum have seen this behavior in their wives, who have shown most or all symptoms of mid-life crisis. This is a mind-altering condition that puts a woman in a deranged and often self-destructive state of mind, pulling out all the stops and breaking all the rules to regain what she thinks to be a misspent youth, among other things. There is a public domain, public service pamphlet posted on our forum to help you determine if this is what’s happening with your wife.

A woman who’s done with all parts of you except your checkbook still strings you along keeping you in approval-seeking mode and continues to be a drain on your resources, and may accept phone calls, go to dinner, etc., but you’ll notice that you pay for everything, and she keeps having money trouble that you need to bail her out of, even if she makes better money than you. She’ll also be chipping away at your self-esteem to get you deep into approval-seeking mode, making herself physically unavailable while talking about the future and getting back together, etc., trying to make you so utterly desperate for her attention that you’d spend your last dime trying to buy it while she’s out partying with others and secretly (or not) living it up at your expense.

It’s the woman who leaves or files papers, but continues to talk and especially to say things like, “I still love you, but I’m bored/not ‘in love with you’ (how I hate that convoluted expression!)/I can’t be with you right now/I can’t go on like we are and you’re going to have to show me you can change some things/etc.,” that has acted badly to get your attention and is wanting to come back home to the guy she wants to live with. She will tell you what it takes to win her back, and if you speak “feminese” you’ll hear her when she does and know exactly what to do.

Like when she says she loves you, but the guy she’s having an affair with makes her laugh, or is spontaneous, or anything about him that you are not, she’s giving you the laundry list of things you need to fix. Those things are not said to create competition or belittle you, but to communicate what is missing from your marriage. If she’s moved out and/or filed for divorce, and talking about the things you used to do together or the way you used to behave toward her, she’s telling you what she misses and what it will take to bring it back. And she may not “say” anything. She may ASK you if YOU miss things from the past to TELL you that SHE does!

But again, you have to speak “feminese” to understand, because she probably won’t just say, “you used to pay attention to me and make me feel special,” she’ll refer to things you did by asking if you remember them, like picking her a bunch of wildflowers, or cooking supper on the night that she had to work late, things that demonstrate how you did what she missed, and you have to be able to connect the dots to see what she’s really saying, because women never state what to them is “the obvious.” And more often than not, they will make these statements in the form of a question; “Do you think our marriage is good?” is in fact a statement that she thinks there’s a problem that she wants to talk about, and the next thing that comes out of your mouth could quite literally make or break your marriage.

Do you know what to say when asked a question like this, or why you should say it? Do you see how if you say something that rebukes her attempt to enter into a negotiation about the state of your marriage, that one act will be all she needs to give up? Or to take drastic action to wake YOU up so you can get things on track? The stakes are high at this point, so high that you MUST take responsibility for effective communication; failure to do so will cost you in more ways that you can imagine.

How do you learn to speak “feminese”? The same way you learn how to evaluate and manage relationships and learning how to be that alpha male that every woman wants and your woman will be thrilled to have, by downloading your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” at http://www.makingherhappy.com before you do another thing, and especially before you take any more relationship advice from somebody whose own marriage is on the rocks, because this information has worked for everyone who has ever used it, and it will work for you, too.

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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