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The 180 when emotional distance was the problem...

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embee posted 11/10/2013 11:20 AM

Hope this is the right forum for this. Iím struggling with the idea of performing a 180. In theory, I like it, but one of the core problems in our relationship pre-A was a lack of emotional connection. I wasnít demonstrative enough, and I didnít express my affection in a way that gratified him and made him feel appreciated. Iíve known this for a long time, but didnít realize how dire it was. So while I think the 180 is indicated in the stage weíre currently at, I fear it will send the wrong message. I want to somehow convey the same core concepts that the 180 conveys, while also making it VERY clear that I will commit to being more emotionally available if/when our reconciliation progresses and things improve.

I do think itís important for me to assert my independence. I havenít been doing it very well so far. Hopefully itís not too late. But Iím leaning towards a ďpartial 180Ē (which I know is a contradiction in terms) because some of the principles donít feel right to me. Namely:

- Withholding ďI love yousĒ (which goes against some advice in ďNot Just FriendsĒ that I really liked)
- Not buying or giving gifts (I mean, Christmas is coming and it would look very odd to his family)
- ONLY showing him happiness or contentment. I donít know if I can do this. Sometimes I canít hide the tears. And won't this potentially send the message that things are "okay" even though he completely devastated me and destroyed my life?

I fear itís too late to do anything, anyway. In dark and desperate moments, Iíve violated nearly all of the 180 principles. Is it too late to turn it around? And can anyone tell me how the 180 worked for them in situations where emotional distance was a core problem in the relationship - specifically, when it was the BS falling short of being emotionally available? I can see the 180 working wonders when the WS was the distant one, but I worry about my situation.

AFrayedKnot posted 11/10/2013 11:55 AM

Has he agreed to permanent NC?

embee posted 11/10/2013 11:57 AM

No, which is one of the reasons why I think it's so important for me to differentiate like this. But I don't want to end up doing more damage.

AFrayedKnot posted 11/10/2013 12:03 PM

If he will not commit to permanent NC, complete transparency, complete honesty then he is not committed to R or your M.

You cannot love him back. He must want it on his own. Until that point all you can do is prepare to leave and heal you.

doggiediva posted 11/10/2013 12:18 PM

I agree with Chico...Unless and until your WH does NC that you can verify, than you have nothing to reconcile because he is the one who is emotionally gone.

As Chico said, line up your ducks and prepare to leave..

I think every adult should have some resource or exit plan (financial, family) to rely on should the unthinkable happen and his or her current living situation changes/ doesn't work anymore..

Please don't blame yourself for causing your WH to cheat on you..

I am repeating what so many people here before me have said. If he was unhappy, bored, frustrated, he could have dealt with his problem in a number of ways without cheating..

Trying to nice him back into a marriage or relationship will do nothing for you but to start an exhausting cycle of emotional blackmail..This emotional blackmail benefits him and leaves you depleted and feeling abused because you are trying to do everything under the sun to meet his ever-changing needs to avoid another D-day..

Sending strength and peace your way...

[This message edited by doggiediva at 12:20 PM, November 10th (Sunday)]

karmahappens posted 11/10/2013 12:24 PM

I wouldn't waste my time on a partial 180.

I would not say I love you to someone who openly deceives me.

I would not buy gifts for a person that is willing to watch me bleed out on the floor to make things "look good"

I don't want to be harsh, but you need to pull a fast hard 180 and gain some self respect.

You cannot nice him back or love him back to you.

He is a cheater, showing little or no regard towards his wife.

Please stop letting him use you.

He will never treat you better unless you demand it.

Be better to yourself, please.

sisoon posted 11/10/2013 13:03 PM

I want to somehow convey the same core concepts that the 180 conveys, while also making it VERY clear that I will commit to being more emotionally available if/when our reconciliation progresses and things improve.

Why not tell him just that?

You could say something like, 'Until you commit to our M 100% (NC, honesty, transparency, IC, etc.), you're on your own - conversations will be about money and kids and nothing else, and I no longer take any responsibility for doing day-to-day things for you, like cooking, cleaning, errands, etc.'

Remember, though, the goal of the 180 is to help you detach and build a life for yourself without him; it's not aimed at bringing him back to your M.

[This message edited by sisoon at 1:04 PM, November 10th (Sunday)]

NoReGrets posted 11/10/2013 13:20 PM

Hopefully, the reason you implement the 180 if and when you do is because you see why it is the 180 works, and not because you one day decide you have had enough of his blameshifting, TT (trickle truth), rugsweeping, and even worse, taking the A further underground. He is currently cake-eating right now, especially since you mentioned that he is still in contact with AP.

I say this to you because sadly, I chose the latter. I've said before that I wish I found SI sooner, but I'm not so sure I would've been able to understand what people are talking about and the effects of an 180. I don't think I would have been as receptive to everything I was reading because it just wouldn't have made sense. I believed my WSO and I were so different. Yes, we are all different, but when push comes to shove, at the core of it all is the same. WSs almost all follow a same pattern, which if you stay on SI long enough, you will see that. The BSs are left in complete and utter devastation.

I have been where you are (prior to discovery of SI). You will always hear from other members that his choice to cheat had nothing to do with you not making him feel appreciated. You could have been the worst GF or the best, and bottom line is, if he wasn't happy and getting what he needed out of the relationship, he had the option to leave. He made the conscious decisions to lie, deceive, and betray you each time. He made the conscious decision to pick up the phone and text and call and make plans. Nothing "just happened."

I know that many things about the 180 seem counterproductive, but as far as your concerns about 180 go, these are just my opinions or what I think about them:

- Witholding ILY: You may want to jump into "fixing" what was broken about your relationship right away, but he needs to prove that he is worthy of your love first. He may once have been, but is he now? Can you say you truly love the lying, cheating person he is at the moment? I always loved and will always love the person I fell in love with; never will I love the person who cheated and lied and did all the atrocious things during the A and false R.

- Not buying gifts: Again, this goes to what I mentioned above. Not only does he have to show you that he's worthy of your love and attention, but he needs to know that he f'd up and that there are consequences for his actions. Not dealing with those consequences are not healthy for either of you, but he will also never truly see the gravity of what he's done and the type of devastation he caused.

- Showing happiness: This isn't for his benefit. This is for you. He needs to know that even though you've hurt him, you don't NEED him in your life to be happy or be okay. If that is the case, then maybe you might want to look into codependency issues for yourself. Right now, he probably is so comfortable with having you around that he doesn't think you will ever leave. He can continue to shit on you, and you'll sit there and take it.

Bottom line is the 180 is not a magic solution for him to come back to you and R. It is for you to see that you do not deserved to continually be wronged and disrespected as he has done and continues to do so. You need to see and believe that you are worthy of being loved and respected. Until you do, he won't see it either. He will continue to eat his cake and continue to mistreat you. You don't deserve anything less than his full respect.

I did EVERYTHING wrong after my initial discovery and for almost a year thereafter. Right now there is no remorse on his end, only regret (for being caught). Until he starts to feel and show his remorse, R will not work. True R will not even begin until then. False R will only cause you further pain and delay any healing you need, whether that is with or without him.

If and when he does show true remorse, then you can start the ILY and gift-giving and start lifting some of the things mentioned in 180. Currently he is not remorseful. The first and biggest indicator of that is his unwillingness to NC. The relationship will never work as long as he keeps AP in the picture.

I am sorry you are here with the rest of us. I'm sure there will be more and better advice when the veterans come by. I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say to you. *hugs*

[This message edited by NoReGrets at 1:22 PM, November 10th (Sunday)]

embee posted 11/10/2013 13:31 PM

Thanks, everyone. I'm getting some clarity from a lot of things said here. I'll freely admit I am still struggling with the mental shift. Before this, he was the "perfect husband." It is difficult to conceptualize him as someone completely different, especially so soon after d-day.

Right now, I can't honestly say that I don't love him the same as before. I feel hurt and betrayed and angry, of course, but yes, I still love him. That is why the idea of the 180 sounds so frightening and counterintuitive, even if I know deep down that it will be helpful. I suppose my fear is that a lack of emotional availability on MY part will just drive him back into her arms. I mean, I was emotionally unavailable for years before this (apparently) and he didn't bother to try and pursue me or improve our relationship, so why would he now?

I realize that's not the POINT of the 180, but everyone seems to think it's the only way to "win back" a fence-sitting WS (even if that's not the purpose of it). I guess I was curious if anyone had actually seen this happen in a situation where the BS's emotional unavailability had been a core problem in the relationship. And no, I am not blaming myself for the A by saying that, I am just being realistic about what issues in our relationship would need to be solved if we were to R.

NoReGrets posted 11/10/2013 13:46 PM

I didn't mean to imply that you love your H less than before. Even if I were to never see my WSO again, I would always love the person I thought he was pre-A. He is currently trying to show me that he is that person and can be a better person.

I meant to suggest that you can show him your emotional availability AFTER he shows true remorse. Until then, your efforts will be futile. As other members have said, you cannot "nice" him back. I say this out of experience. I tried to nice him back. It didn't work. In fact, it makes me more angry, and I felt even more foolish for trying to win back someone who should have been trying to do everything in his power to win ME back. It made me feel as if I were disrespected even more in hindsight. I tried to instill was what lacking in our relationship, and he had no problems taking everything I was offering and taking his cheating ways further underground.

At this point, you shouldn't be the one who is trying to show him you are worthy of being loved, but the other way around. He needs to prove to you that he is worthy of your emotional availability. Once he does and true R begins, then you can work on the issues in the relationship that need to be resolved.

Again, I do not feel he is there yet. As I stated before, if for no other reason than his refusal to implement NC with the AP.

[This message edited by NoReGrets at 1:49 PM, November 10th (Sunday)]

embee posted 11/10/2013 13:54 PM

No, I understood what you were saying (I think) - it's just that I feel this disconnect between how I am "supposed" to feel and how I actually do feel. I've been hearing that message a lot. That it's normal to love "the person he was" or "the person I thought he was," but not to find him lovable now. I don't relate to that. I feel the same about him. I don't compartmentalize a "before" and "after." He still feels like the same person to me. It helps that other than the A and our conversations directly surrounding it, he ACTS like the same person. When it comes to the A and the OW, then and only then does he behave like a stranger. I know that's what counts, but it's hard to try and separate myself when he still acts exactly like the man I fell in love with 99% of the time.

He is definitely not "there yet." No question about it. I guess I have no choice but to act like I can live on without him, even if I feel like I can't.

And yes I am in IC, have been since before the A, because of a fight we had about OW where the whole thing turned back on me and MY problems and how I needed therapy, when in reality I was sniffing out problems HE didn't even know about yet. I agreed to go into therapy because I love him and wanted to commit to having a better marriage. Not bitter at all!

gonnabe2016 posted 11/10/2013 14:06 PM

emotional unavailability had been a core problem in the relationship. And no, I am not blaming myself for the A by saying that

IMO, you are lying to yourself. You *do* seem to be taking on the blame. Either because (1) if you can come up with a reason that is related to a *you* issue, you can 'fix it' and all will be well; or (2) he has implied or stated this as a reason enough times that you are willing to accept it.

You 'outed yourself' when you also said this:

emotional unavailability had been a core problem in the relationship. I was emotionally unavailable for years before this


You said *apparently* -- which indicates that it is NOT something that you firmly believe to be true.

And really, emotionally unavailable is a vague term that means different things to different people. And there is a difference between being an emotionally unavailable person and engaging in behaviors that serve to 'remove' yourself emotionally as a means of self-protection against outside harm, kwim? I would highly urge you to think critically about the behaviors that you are characterizing as *unavailability*.

And embee, I'm sorry, but if your WH is continuing to be in contact with the OW -- there is no relationship for you to save and nothing that *you* do is going to make it worse.

AFrayedKnot posted 11/10/2013 14:09 PM

I suppose my fear is that a lack of emotional availability on MY part will just drive him back into her arms.

He doesn't need to go back to her arms. In his mind he never left them, thats what NC is about.

NoReGrets posted 11/10/2013 14:16 PM

I think I felt the same way you did. You're bargaining for a piece of your H when you should have all of your H. It's not fair, and he's still being selfish.

Separation is actually what helped me see this. I felt like he really wasn't any different during false R. We got along great, were compatible, laughed, etc. But in hindsight, I realize at the core of it all, he wasn't the same person. The person I loved was not a liar, cheater, manipulator, etc.

I finally walked away when I reached my breaking point, but that was after a year of TT, gaslighting, rugsweeping, cake-eating -- you name it. I think that extra year of false R prolonged any healing I could have done and only intensified the feelings of pain, hurt, and disrespect. I put up with his crap, and I realize now that I didn't respect myself during that time period. Of course, I know I deserved respect, but because I let him disrespect me, he continued to do so. I'm sure he was shocked when I walked away because I'm sure he always thought Old Faithful would never leave. NC was broken a few times during our 10-month separation, but I could see that he was still in the fog, and I realized that he was still not completely remorseful, and therefore, not worth any attempts at R. I fully believed before his most recent contact with me that I would never talk to or see him again. In fact, I had no desire to be with a liar and cheater. I don't even want to have friends who are.

You will read many times the members saying: You must be willing to risk losing your relationship/marriage before you can save it. It's not something one wants to think about because the option of losing it is there. That is not the outcome any BS who wants to save the relationship wants to even consider.

I hope you see clarity in your situation and find some relief from all this pain.

P.S. I wonder if you were "emotionally unavailable" because you knew your H's relationship with his "best friend" was inappropriate?

[This message edited by NoReGrets at 2:17 PM, November 10th (Sunday)]

embee posted 11/10/2013 14:17 PM

It's genuinely not my intention to blame myself, and that's not what I'm feeling - I would be lying if the thought never crossed my mind, but no, I know the A was a choice that he made instead of dealing with his issues in a healthy way. He did try to shift blame early on, but now says that it's not my fault in any way. Which, yes, is more frustrating - because it means there's nothing I can do. But I accept it.

If I'm being honest, I can see how I was not available in the way that he needed me to be - just not to the point where his feelings for me would fade so dramatically, which is what he SAYS has happened. We had conversations about it long before the A, and I tried to get better, thought I WAS doing better, but my perception is simply different. We don't speak the same "love language" or whatever you want to call it, I guess.

I don't know if this makes any sense, and maybe it still sounds like I'm blaming myself, but here's how I see it. I started shutting him out emotionally after we'd been together for a while. Eventually, his feelings for me cooled. he started to feel more and more indifferent. This culminated in an affair. I won't say that my emotional unavailability CAUSED the affair. I don't know if it even caused his feelings towards me to cool, although I suspect that was a major factor. Regardless, an affair was not the way to deal with it. But the reality of the situation is that I KNOW he will not be happy with me if I am not more available. If he were in a position to make conditions - which he's not, we both know that - that would be one of his non-negotiables. I am thinking in those terms because I want R so badly right now. I know it might not happen, but I want to set the stage for it as much as I can, even if he is not ready.

Maybe that makes me weak and a horrible person, I don't know. It's true that a lot of the advice I get from people (here and elsewhere) doesn't intuitively make sense, because of how I feel. Right now I am moving forward "as if" (set up a separate bank account, going to consult with a lawyer) and hopefully if those signals have any effect on him, they will make him realize that I am wiling to walk away - even if it is not my preference to do so.

[This message edited by embee at 2:21 PM, November 10th (Sunday)]

gonnabe2016 posted 11/10/2013 14:21 PM

****he will not be happy with me if I am not more available****

And what do you believe that he thinks *you* being more emotionally available to him 'looks' like?

embee posted 11/10/2013 14:26 PM

gonnabe2016 - Being more openly affectionate, sharing my thoughts and feelings, little things really. Day to day stuff. It's not in my DNA to be extremely demonstrative 24/7. He said long before the A that he wanted me to ask how his day was, hug him when he walked in the door, say "I love you" more often, etc. So it's not some great mystery what he wants from me. I'm ashamed to say that while I made an effort, I wasn't focusing on it as much as I should have. I let a lot of things slide because I wasn't prioritizing my relationship the way I should have. I wasn't prioritizing HIS FEELINGS, really. I was trying to speak to him in my own language of affection - meaning, if I cooked and cleaned and did a load of laundry, that was my way of telling him that I cared because now he didn't have to do those things. But he wanted something different. I don't think he would have cared if I never did the dishes, in exchange for me hugging him tighter. That breaks my heart now, in retrospect, but I just didn't see it clearly back then.

This is NOT me blaming myself, just trying to address the question.

gonnabe2016 posted 11/10/2013 14:45 PM

Ok, let me switch gears here......

You are attempting to control the outcome of this situation by looking at things that *you* can do differently based on what you *think* will make him happy. And trying to do this will result in a epic 'fail' along the lines that NoRegrets described. You will look back and be pissed at yourself for *trying* -- only to realize that your WH was taking advantage of the situation.

You mentioned that being 'extremely affectionate' just isn't in your DNA. So I gather that this is not a *new* development. Your WH had 2 choices: give 'that part' of you *grace* and accept you for who *you* are; or decide that the two of you weren't compatible. What is NOT a choice is to gather up an OW and then beat you over the head about how *unavailable* you are. <--that is unacceptable.

I seem to have a different *take* on how to interpret the Love Languages stuff. There are 2 'strands' to the Love Language. How you *give* love and how you *receive* love. I think that too much focus is placed on giving another person the type of love that they *need* to receive. I think that an equally important concept in this Languages idea is that it shows HOW a specific person *gives* love. Your WH should be able to, when he's feeling unloved, look around at your clean ass house, folded/putaway laundry, dinner on the table and recognize that your 'acts of service' loved the hell out of him that day.

If you are going to model your relationship on the Languages, then BOTH people have to be totally on board with the concept.

But unless and until he discontinues contact with that OW -- he doesn't deserve and shouldn't expect a damn thing from you, IMO.

MC_Jack posted 11/10/2013 14:46 PM

Remember, though, the goal of the 180 is to help you detach and build a life for yourself without him; it's not aimed at bringing him back to your M.
Bottom line is the 180 is not a magic solution for him to come back to you and R. It is for you to see that you do not deserved to continually be wronged and disrespected

embee, read these again^^^

where did you get this idea:

but everyone seems to think it's the only way to "win back" a fence-sitting WS
who is 'everyone'; I have not seen that suggested. The 180 is for you and your protection and to regain you r sense of self.

embee posted 11/10/2013 15:21 PM

MC_Jack not necessarily referring to this thread, but it is a concept that's brought up in conjunction with the 180. "The only way to save your marriage is to be willing to give it up" was even said here. That, to me, is saying that my only hope of having a relationship with him in the future is by differentiating myself with 180 techniques.

In the BS FAQ article it even says:

180 is a list of behaviors from Michelle Wiener Davis, the author of Divorce Busting, that will help your spouse to see you moving forward as a healthy person. I would highly suggest that any new BS begin these behaviors as soon as possible. I am convinced that if I had implemented them, I would still be married. In retrospect, I did everything besides 180. I looked pathetic. No one wants to be perceived as pathetic. 180 makes you look strong. Strong is attractive.

(emphasis mine)

Am I completely misunderstanding? It seems like one of the hoped-for side effects of the 180 is winning the spouse back, even if that is not the "true purpose."

gonnabe2016, thanks for your insight on that. I agree with you, and I think overall, I was more willing to accept his expressions of affection than he was mine. And that's a core problem. But, I would have been much more focused on fine-tuning my expressions if I had realized that things were so dire. I suppose it doesn't matter now.

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