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Question Re: Consequences

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RealityBlows posted 11/2/2013 19:17 PM

I keep hearing that my WW needs to suffer consequences. What consequences can be served that would not be counter-productive?

gonnabe2016 posted 11/2/2013 19:21 PM

Think of 'natural' consequences. Like, if the A occurred at the gym -- perhaps she now has to start working out at home. Or if the A was carried on through texting -- maybe she takes the texting ability off of the phone plan or she installs an app which sends copies of her texts to your email.

Why do you feel that consequences are counter-productive? What do you mean by that?

brkn_heartd posted 11/2/2013 19:24 PM

When I think of consequences, I also think of boundary's. For example, if NC is broken have you determined the consequence? For me, I had determined if NC was broken, the gift of R would be taken back and headed toward D. Other consequences could include the 180 (read in the healing library), separation, in-house separation, etc.

The challenge with setting boundary's is that you have to be prepared to follow through with the consequence once you decide what that is. For me, it took a while to be ready to uphold the consequence. Once I was ready, I mentally set it. I never discussed the consequences directly with H. We set the "rules" which included transparency, honesty, NC, etc.

I do not think you can make them "suffer the consequences" for the A. If she is remorseful, she will suffer. For some the thoughts of total transparency, limiting outings with friends, honesty, access to their electronics and NC feels like consequences.

RealityBlows posted 11/2/2013 19:30 PM

I have heard some examples such as notifying her family, friends co-workers. "Scarlet A" type stuff. I love this women too much to trash her like this. Although she has done an extremely unloving thing to me, I do not feel this would be productive. I would rather walk, than lower myself to this.

heme posted 11/2/2013 19:39 PM

When I think of consequences I think of natural ones. For example, Ive never read my husband's text messages or emails before this, he was free to take time to go to the movies or out with "friends" etc. Now I regularly check up on him and Im not comfortable with him going to places alone. Even when he goes to the store I prefer to go with him. The consequence for his cheating is losing my trust and the backlash for that..

whyme1525 posted 11/2/2013 19:39 PM

I can totally relate realityblows everyone asks me the same question about my ww everyone says if your trying to r with her then there is no consequences for what she has done.. I have also heard that if they truly are sorry and remorseful that they are suffering the consequences of hurting us and putting there marriage and family in jeopardy.. the problem is how do you really know if there sorry for what they've done and not just sorry they got caught!!!

LeopoldB posted 11/2/2013 19:55 PM

Consequences include coming home with a clean STD report card. If OM is married, consequences include you notifying the OM's BS. Consequences mean thinking about how her decisions going-forward will impact you rather than just automatically doing what she may want - - that might mean no solo travel for business, passing up plum assignments, even turning down a promotion if it makes you uncomfortable. The goal is not to make her "suffer"... the goal is for her to own the consequences of her decisions and actions.

If she is unwilling to do that, then you should walk away. If asking her to do that makes you uncomfortable, you are going to lose her anyway.

gonnabe2016 posted 11/2/2013 21:16 PM

The 'outing' of the A is a very personal decision that should be made on a case by case basis. If you are trying to R, and prefer to keep the A quiet, then that is a very reasonable and valid decision. There are many here who have not told any of *the family* about their situation. IMO, it doesn't sound necessary in your situation right now and would feel more like an exercise in 'shaming' than a true consequence. Simply put, if you don't want to *tell* right now, then don't.

The nice thing about a place like SI is that you can get *objective* eyes looking at your situation without the emotional attachment that you have. I just read a couple of your other threads and I have noticed something that others noticed also -- that is *a bit* concerning and needs exploration.

Right now your WW is tap-dancing on your head. Be very, very wary of the WS that tells you that s/he has realized the "error of their ways." There is a dichotomy going on right now....and you NEED to be aware of it. On the one hand, your WW is telling you that she realizes that *you* are what she wants.......and yet on the other hand, she's telling you that her OM *lost interest* in her. Do you *see* what I'm getting at here? Your WW wants to act/believe that *you* are her everything, but it seems that her OM rejected her. What, I wonder, would life be like if OM were still pursuing her? What will happen if OM decides that he's *interested* again? Just food for thought, RB, before you go *all in* again......I, personally, would be unsatisfied with a WS that realized that I was *the one* only after being rejected by the OP.

HardenMyHeart posted 11/2/2013 21:34 PM

What consequences can be served that would not be counter-productive?

My understanding is that it means the WS must work on honesty, transparency, and rebuilding trust. To do this, they should be willing to give up their privacy. For example, providing passwords, allowing open access to their phone, email, etc., and being accountable for their whereabouts at all times. If they are not willing to do this, it usually means they are not ready to go NC with the OP, and are not really interested in reconciling.

If you are planning to reconcile, remember to watch the actions. When it comes to R, words are pretty much meaningless, unless they are backed up with demonstrative and positive actions.

Here is a link to a good article in the Healing Library you may find helpful titled, What the WS/BS Must Do to Reconcile:

Bigger posted 11/2/2013 21:52 PM

Based on what I have read on your story it sounds a lot like your wife is trying to fix the affair herself.
I donít doubt she has good intentions, but it seldom (if ever) works.
Itís like an addict that decided to quit himself with no help. Just go cold turkey and thatís itÖ

Personally I donít think there have to be consequences that are aimed solely at embarrassing or punishing a WS.
The example you take of exposure: The reason exposure is recommended is to get more people onboard to influence the WS to do right. Itís not punishment or degradation; itís a tool to end infidelity.

In your case it sounds as if your wife is doing a lot of self-healing. Sheís discovered why she had the affair, why she sought out this OM, why she went for seconds, what she thought you would be thinking, that she now knows what she wants. She also tells you the affair is over and despite seeing OM regularly at work then itís over.
I say crock.

I say her story reminds me of an alcoholic that tries to stop drinking by simply not drinking. Wonít work long term. You and your wife need IC and MC to help with dealing with the infidelity. THAT is a consequence. You two canít heal this alone.

And her jobÖ I have an acquaintance that had an office affair. His wife found out and they decided to try to R. The OW (actually a friend of mine) worked in another building and department and they BOTH committed to ending the affair. My acquaintance told me that he and his wife did everything they could to reconcile but that it didnít really start gaining momentum until after the OW quit her job. She needs to change jobs Ė thatís a consequence.

Accountability. How can she assure you the affair is over? Her word isnít worth anything right now. Being accountable Ė thatís a consequence.

painfulpast posted 11/2/2013 23:02 PM

Outing an A, from what I've heard, is more to stop the A than to 'punish' someone. A BSs job isn't to punish. The effects of the A will do that. Telling, while the A is still going, will help shed light on the fantasy that is the A. It's amazing how once it sees the light of day, all the sparkle an A has disappears in seconds. It's replaced with shame, embarassment and (usually) the end of the A.

Telling just to tell is just gossip and not a very healthy thing to do imo. Telling the OM's BS? Yes, that is really something that should be done. She deserves the truth about her life. That isn't about your WW at all. That is about treating someone else the way you would hope she would treat you if she were the one to discover the A.

Consequences? Others have said it here. Life just isn't the same. There is no trust, so verifying the 'story' of the WS helps. That is a consequence. No more 'privacy' regarding texts, emails, etc. That is a consequence. Things like that.

They are changes that need to occur for you to feel safe and good about R.

There are completely different consequences for someone still in the A, and I'm a huge believer in a person not changing if there are no consequences - but that is for someone still actively in the A.

RealityBlows posted 11/2/2013 23:05 PM

OK, REALLY good comments. Very much appreciate. We have had long conversations about how her affair ended. I have made it clear to her that if I didn't confront, she would still be in it. Or, if the OM reciprocated, she would still be in it and, it would be a love/emmotional affair. She has been insistant that no serious feelings exist between them, only the rush of attention, validation, self esteem boost and forbidden fruits. She has been very good at excepting all responsibility and blame. She enrolled herself into IC and us into MC. She has been up front with answers to every question I've asked. I have exhausted myself trying to find fault in her response to this affair. The only thing outstanding, is her reluctance to quit her job-although she says she will without grief do so if I'm seriously concerned. She said she would call me if she ever see him at work. She believes it to be a non-issue and the chances of running into him again are slim, but possible. She as made herself completely transparent. Things are going so well compared to other stories I see here, that I often forget that she just screwed some guy four times! Then I snap back to reality. She is laying down the charms very well. Time will tell. When she begins to come out of the "Post Discovery Fog" or HB fog it will get interesting.

[This message edited by RealityBlows at 11:11 PM, November 2nd (Saturday)]

jb3199 posted 11/3/2013 13:43 PM

How do YOU feel about your wife staying at her job?

That is the question that is the most important---and the where the focus should be.

If you feel that it is a non-issue, then no one here has a right to tell you otherwise. Just make sure that your decision is not based on fear.

What I did post on your other thread---specifically on this topic---was that your wife unilaterally decided that her workplace is a non-issue. That lacks empathy, and obviously to whatever extent, remorse. I am not saying that she may not be on the right path, but she doesn't *get it* yet. She doesn't know the level of your devastation.

Remember, like the others here have posted--consequences does not mean punishment. It means ensuing events coming from a specific action. One of those consequences has been the total loss of trust and feeling of safety that you had with your wife. A remorseful spouse will want to work hard to earn those back. As messy as everything else may seem, it really is as simple as that.

She can't do it alone---you have to be involved also. But she has to do the heavier lifting. That is her consequence.

[This message edited by jb3199 at 1:45 PM, November 3rd (Sunday)]

lloyddobler posted 11/6/2013 00:19 AM

I've been reading Janis Spring's After the Affiar (2nd ed.). One of the things in there that I am finding appealing is the idea that, in reconciliation, both the WS (she uses "unfaithful partner") and the BS (she uses "hurt partner") have to restore trust in each other using low-cost behaviors. But there's an imbalance in the responsibility for restoring trust, and it falls on the WS also to engage in some high-cost behaviors in order for the BS to be able to have faith in the WS again.

Spring stresses that what counts as low-cost or high-cost will vary from couple to couple, but here are some of her examples:

low cost (both partners):
tell me when you feel proud of me and why
call or text me during the day
tell me when you feel I've let you down
come home from work in time to have dinner with the family
spend more time in foreplay
hold my hand when we are walking together

high-cost (WS for BS):
transfer some of your assets into my name
quit your job
pay for me to complete my college education
move to another town with me
get in MC or IC to explore what the affair says about you, about me, and about us.

Spring is pretty clear that, if the WS does not make some kind of high-cost sacrifice, it is often very difficult for the BS to learn to trust her or his partner again. BUT, I don't get the sense that Spring is suggesting that this "sacrifice" on the WS's part is to be understood as a punitive measure. I guess (and this is reading between the lines, to be honest) the gesture has to be a sacrifice rather than a punishment, and this means it has to be freely given, even if a difficult gift to give.

So I'm kind of thinking out loud about my own situation here as much as I am thinking about yours, but I guess you might have to be clear about what that gift needs to be for you to be able to trust again. BUT, if either your or your WW can't escape thinking of the request as a punitive measure, then it won't be experienced as the kind of freely given sacrifice that can help reforge some degree of trust.

In my own situation, I've been very clear about the absolute bedrock minimum expectations I have if we're going to try to work on R. So far, I don't think of these as gestures of trust at all... NC with OM, MC and IC for both of us, no privacy expectations. I know that she would prefer that I not tell many people (and sometimes I really do feel like telling everybody, but I know that even I don't really want very many people to know), so I figure limiting this to a need to know basis for now is part of a small gesture I can make that, for now, I'm willing to work on R.

But there is one high-cost behavior that I have been mulling over asking for from my WW... I haven't decided, and it's partly because, like you, I am concerned that what I would ask for would be a destructive rather than productive request. In my case, the thing that I imagine I'd like to have is a sworn affidavit from my wife admitting to the affair. Or, actually, I need to check with a lawyer about this, but, in any case, the point would be to have a form of documentation that reaches a legal threshold that would allow me without too much difficulty to seek divorce on grounds of fault in my state. In my state this grounds for divorce tends to have little direct bearing on custody issues, but it would at least expedite the divorce process here if we have to go that route, and it would also, I imagine, provide some leverage were WW to try to initiate divorce/custody proceedings in another state.

But here's the thing... I do WANT to be able to trust my WW again. If she told me that the cost of that is TOO high or punitive rather than restorative, what would I say? I'm honestly not sure. Sounds like you're kind of in that boat with your WW's job situation. Tough call. Have you talked with an MC to get a mediator's perspective on what you are trying to say to each other about this?

1985 posted 11/6/2013 11:12 AM

If your W is truly remorseful -- she is already suffering consequences. She is living with knowledge of what devastation she has wrought. Every time she sees the pain in your eyes she is suffering consequences.
If she is truly remorseful, and if you hope to R, then imposing "consequences" (otherwise known as punishment) is counterproductive.
She needs to work like crazy to help you heal and to fix herself. She needs to ease your pain in every way she can and prove her love to you. Se needs to make marriage look desire able to you.
If she does that on an ongoing and consistent basis, she will be helping you heal and helping rebuild the marriage. And in the end-- isn't that what really matters to you? If she does all that, do you really need retribution? And if she does all that, she will be suffering knowing how badly she hurt and damaged you. Those are consequences enough, to me, if she is doing all the things she should be doing for you and the marriage.

kannan posted 11/6/2013 11:59 AM

Why should she change, if there is no consequences for her cheating?

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