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Does the 180 ever tend to backfire

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soulshattered posted 4/21/2014 20:04 PM

Okay, here's my dilemma; my WW and I are just starting to pick our way through all of this mess. She's gone back overseas to finish another month of work and she's supposedly using that time to "decide" if she has what it takes to keep the 21-year relationship together. Now, I realize that's just giving her far more latitude than she deserves, but a couple of things impact my options: 1) I love her and I know that this was totally out of character for her; 2) I know she's called of the A; 3) She is at a point right now where she's feeling totally alone, she thinks the whole world hates her and that she has no support. Now, I know that our family and friends and I are all hoping she makes the best choice, but she doesn't realize the depth of the love that the people in her life have for her. She feels that she's ruined that and nobody has time for her, which is not true. The real issue is that she has not even begun to realize the amount or culpability that she has for this affair. Everyone else sees the big picture except her. If I apply the 180 and stick to it without any degree of flexibility, I know this woman will convince herself it's hopeless and will base a life altering decision on that process when in reality she's missing the facts altogether. So how do I deal with someone who just is not in touch with the reality of the situation at this point, and may not be for quite some time? Walking away is always an option for me, but I love her and I think we owe it to each other to at least see if R is an option.

12yearsloyal posted 4/21/2014 20:22 PM

All I can say is keep in perspective that a month is only 4 weeks. My WS lives/works overseas so I know how difficult this is. He is trying to "liquidate" what we have over there so he can move back to the U.S. As much as I want to hurry this it could take a few more months. I feel your pain.

I can say if you want to try R go for it. Do not let 4 weeks stop you. It should go pretty fast if you keep busy. The time will maybe make her see how important you are to her.

I have put the timing of my situation in God's hands. I have no control any way. Wishing much peace to you.

naivewife posted 4/21/2014 20:30 PM

A common misconception is that the 180 is a tactical move to "win" back your WS. Please realize that is not the purpose at all. The purpose is to take care of yourself, to detach and get yourself through this incredible trauma. To see that you do not need this betrayer in your life.
It does, of course, fly into the face of what many of us feel naturally inclined to do - to nice your betrayer back into the marriage. THIS DOESN'T WORK! See the double d-days in my signature? That's the painful proof. It doesn't mean that the 180 will bring them back either, but it does force the WS to see their life without the BS which can have a powerful defogging effect, and allows the BS to regain some strength, to put back some of the pieces of their soul.
Yes, in some ways it can backfire, at least for a time. Your foggy WS may well run into the arms of her AP but in the meantime, if the AP is married, you'll be letting his wife know. And then the sparks will really fly, the fog will lift, and both of them will have to look at what they've done to themselves and their families when the rainbows fade away and the unicorns die.

TrustedHer posted 4/21/2014 20:47 PM

It is a no-brainer to implement the 180 in the case of an unremorseful WS. Difficult to learn, but not hard to understand. It has great benefits in giving yourself space and time to heal, to get your head straight, to figure out what you want to do with your life, and all that stuff. Occasionally, the WS figures out that the BS is ready and willing to move on without them, and seeing that reality pushes them off the fence. Which side of the fence they land on is different, case by case.

For those in R, or attempting R, it's different. My opinion (not tested in real life; I'm divorced):

If you have truly decided to R,
If your WS has truly decided to R,
If you feel mentally well enough to move forward,
If you have achieved a level of stability,
If your WS has committed to openness, honesty, full disclosure, IC, and is SHOWING this commitment through action,
Then the 180 could backfire. In my opinion.

If any of those things is missing, any of them, you need to make sure you get them. The 180 is a way to do that.

Most of us need that level of separation to begin healing. Many of us begged our WS to R. Most times, that did not lead to true R.

If you are trying to R, you need to keep the lines of communication open. You need to make clear that you need some space to heal. You need openness and honesty. You need <insert your own list here>.

Implement as much of the 180 as you need to continue your healing, while keeping the communication going.

momentintime posted 4/22/2014 01:06 AM

You do realize your whole post was saying after cheating her entire focus seems to be about HER, and how people perceive HER, and how you love her but if you don't support HER, she will take the easy way out and not face what SHE has done, because people with hate HER.

Ummmm, she cheated, where are YOU in all of this. You have to deal with your pain, not totally focus on HER having to deal with consequences and trying to soften the fall-out of her actions.

Yes, it is clear you want to R, and that is possible. However, you can't just sweep it under the rug, your pain is real. You loss of trust is real. You have to deal with the consequences of her actions too. Not an easy gig. She needs to focus on healing you and wanting to save your M. It takes work, can she do it?

crazynot posted 4/22/2014 01:34 AM

Yes, the 180 is about helping YOU heal and get stronger. It's on her to persuade YOU to stay married after this betrayal. I know how you feel, honestly I do - but the 4-week separation is actually ideal at this point. Try to detach yourself from the situation as best you can and concentrate on your own recovery, while she figures out what to do. I know you're worried that if she feels unsupported she'll decide not to R, but really SHE needs to be the one who thinks about how she's hurt you, not concentrating on her own wounds.

stronger08 posted 4/22/2014 01:58 AM

What many newbies fail to realize is that you have already lost your WS to the A. There is no sure fire plan to get them to change. Change must come from within and you cant reason, love, buy, plead, nice them etc. to come back into the relationship. The only thing left is to protect ones self from further hurt. And that's what the 180 is about. Its a self preservation tool meant to protect the BS. At times it does help with bringing a WS out of the fog. Buts that's not guaranteed and not its intention. Its very common for a BS to be so emotionally damaged that the only option they see before them is to try and get the WS back into their lives. But that is very counterproductive as it only feeds their feelings of power over the BS. Affairs in general are a demonstration of power. The WS thinks they have the world by the balls because they have a third party feeding their ego's and giving them what they think they want. The problem with that is its not a reality based line of thinking. The only sure fire way of attempting to get a WS head out of their ass is to give them a large does of reality and consequence. Take away the power and let them experience life without you. Life that is real with all the short comings of their piss poor decisions.

Credence posted 4/22/2014 02:25 AM

The way you've described your situation is:

She cannot decide if she wants you.
She's making it all about her.
She wants you to rugsweep so that she doesn't have to deal with the consequences.

You have described an unremoseful WS. YOU need her to be damned sure that she wants you and the only way that you will be sure is if she is willing to fight for you. If she is not willing to fight then she doesn't want it badly enough. The 180 puts her in a position where she has to fight.

You need it to stop being all about her and start being about both of you getting through this together and her understanding the pain she has caused you and doing everything she can to help you to heal. The 180 will show her the severity of the damage she has done and what she stands to lose. If that doesn't prompt her to act then it's unlikely that anything will.

The 180 will also show her that you have taken control and will not rugsweep. She will have to answer all of your questions honestly and give you transparency to stand any chance of R. If she is not up to the task then the 180 will enable you to detach and move on.

If I had asked you, before you met her, if you would consider marrying someone who would betray you in the most vile way, be unwilling to fight for you and unable to put her selfish needs aside to help you - what would your answer have been? You aren't offering her a second chance because she's earned it. You are offering her the opportunity to prove, through her actions, that she is worthy of a second chance - it's on your terms and she needs to step up. If she is unwilling or unable to do this, then you really need to think about moving on without her. You are not responsible for fixing her and trying to fix her is about as useful as peeing on an oil fire - only she can fix herself and from what you've described the support is there for her if she wants it.

In a nutshell, I don't believe the 180, done properly, can fail - but it can reveal a truth that we never wanted to hear.

[This message edited by Credence at 2:47 AM, April 22nd (Tuesday)]

soulshattered posted 4/22/2014 04:40 AM

Thank you all for your replies. I've been approaching this in the wrong way. Your answers all make good sense. In retrospect, I'm doing exactly what most of you described and I'm not going to continue to do that. Know that your words and advice DO make a big difference to people. The wounds are still raw for me and sometimes I truly can't see the forest for the trees and it's comforting to know that when that's the case there's a place like this where others have clarity that comes from experience and genuine concern. Thank you all.

jb3199 posted 4/22/2014 05:44 AM


The advice that you have received is solid---and I think that you understand that. It really is given with the best intentions.

But a really simple way to look at this, is to place some value on your self-worth. What the others here are preaching...and what the 180 is really all restoring your own lost sense of self. After D-day, we are so lost, deflated, and soul shattered(hence your apt username), that we lose all direction. We stop valuing ourselves. And we cast so much doubt in our own minds(much of it due to fear), that we look at the problem from the entirely wrong direction---like you have just admitted.

All that the 180 intends to do, is to help us value ourselves again. And the most effective way for that to happen, is to distance ourselves emotionally from the source of the problem. It is then, that we can look at the situation with a clearer mind, and make appropriate decisions.

Should you be doing a hard 180 if your wife is remorseful, and trying to repair the marriage? Only if YOU are unsure if you want to attempt reconciliation...and need some clarity to decide.

Should you be doing a 180 in your current situation? My answer would be yes, because all the reasons that you have given so far, do not seem to be in your best interest. All of your focus is on your WW, when in fact, at this point, all of your focus should be on you. Why would you want to sell yourself short?

One of your major were ours in the fear. Whether it be fear of being alone, fear of losing 100% access to the children, or fear of financial hardship/ruin---it is fear that not only paralyzes us, but convinces us to hold back from what we know is right---to hold our partner responsible for their actions...and have them face their consequences.

Remember, consequences are not punishments, but simply effects from an action(or inaction). Trying to escape, avoid, or shelter one from their consequences is not only unfair, but unhealthy.

How do you eventually learn from your mistakes, if you never have to deal with them?

Make your WW deal with hers.

Schadenfreude posted 4/22/2014 06:53 AM

You've gotten some good descriptions of the purpose of the 180 here so I won't waste internet space adding to them. However, your description of WW's state of mind causes me to think that she may be deep in the throes of regret for the end of the A rather than sorrow for what she did. If so, that's another reason for you to implement the 180 as she may be a long way from considering R.

tushnurse posted 4/22/2014 07:15 AM

Soulshattered- you have received excellent advice so far. I read this yesterday, but didn't have time to respond.

I see you understand the difference at this point as well. Knowing that you need to focus on you, and work on getting you strong. This way whenever your WS makes a decision you will be better able to deal with it, and if R is the path they choose, you will have had the time to really figure out what you need, and the strength to ask for it.

Remember you deserve much much more than what your current situation is giving you. All you have to do is stand up and ask for it.

((((and strength))))

doggiediva posted 4/22/2014 10:05 AM

I agree, you need to focus on you and what you need to build yourself up so that you know YOU are okay in life with or without her...

The 180 is simply shifting the focus away from WS and the relationship..Instead you put the focus on yourself to stop the bleeding and begin healing your wounds so that you can be whole again..

Here is an example of what you don't want to happen, this is what was expected of me after I confronted my WH about A..

My WH gave me a superficial apology..

WH blamed me, made himself a victim who suffered in the marriage..

To make the marriage right, to make him lose temptation to cheat, I was expected to dote on him and provide hysterical bonding..

Something wrong with this picture, with WH's expectations..

To begin with, had I gone all out to nice WH back, I would have had no space to look at me, my life and whether or not I really wanted WH back..I would have lived with the massive resentment and anger that goes with being expected to repair the marriage by myself as if I caused WH's cheating..

I would have gone crazy trying to please WH (there is no pleasing him) a chronic complainer...His needs are ever changing, so I would have lost myself in trying to figure him out and meet his needs..

So I said to myself..Umm, no...I didn't want to be a slave to my WH's constant demands, live in fear of his criticisms..

In my mind marriage is a relationship and partnership between two people to enhance each other's lives..Spouses are there for each other as immediate family, friends, lovers, partners, to support each other thru the good times and bad..

Marriage doesn't mean that one or both spouses gets to feel entitled to take the other for granted...

[This message edited by doggiediva at 10:27 AM, April 22nd (Tuesday)]

OK now posted 4/22/2014 10:27 AM

Really good posts on what the 180 is really for; I particularly like stronger08' s reference to the WS feeling of power and how you have to neutralize this using the 180.

Initially you have to put up some walls to defend yourself. The selfish WS has an enormous capacity to continue hurting you by rejection and showing little remorse; even continuing the affair. Its certainly great if the WS shows remorse from the get go, but if this doesn't happen then the 180 is intended to protect and insulate the BS from this disrespect.

Being nice, eager , forgiving and compliant to an non-remorseful WS is tantamount to shoving your head into the lions mouth. The outcome will be horrible.

SeanFLA posted 4/22/2014 10:29 AM

Stronger08 and myself have experienced this for a long while. What he is saying is correct believe us. When I experienced all this I didn't listen to the people on here because I thought my relationship was "different" in fact. It took a psychiatrist and IC for me to finally realize that most humans all act with the same mannerisms. Especially if you're dealing with a foggy unremorseful WW just like I did. You may not see it for what it is, but you have the benefit of separation right now. Many of us didn't have that and it's a killer. Use it to your advantage.

There's a saying..."Many times you have to be willing to end the marriage in order to save the marriage." If I were you right now I would seriously get your ducks in order to end it and show her you aren't scared to do it. See an attorney and send her his card and let her know all future correspondence will need to go through him. Tell her since you are assuming she isn't truly interested in R, then you've made your decision. Yes it seems like the granddaddy of all bluffs because you still love her, but it's tough love. Don't be a doormat here or plan B for her. Let the OM's wife know if he is married. I guaranty he will throw her under the bus.

Fuck her "everyone is against me" baby crying. Who cares. This is what affairs do to marriages. Until she works on herself and comes pleading to you to stay, this is her defense mechanism. Whatever you do, don't try to nice her back. It won't work and will only place more distance between you as she returns to her A. And don't beg or plead either. Keep level headed and don't show her any emotions other than content with yourself. The calmer you are with her the more effect it will have when she thinks you really don't need her.

norabird posted 4/22/2014 11:41 AM

Fuck her "everyone is against me" baby crying.

Yep. Also...gently...your WW sounds like she has a lot of shame and low self-esteem. You want to save her from that with your love, knight in shining armor style. It sounds romantic, but it's a) unhealthy and b) impossible.

Your WW must defeat her own shame. Your WW must learn to be strong and confident and change course and forgive herself--on her own. You cannot help her get there. Shame is self-defeating; it says, 'I am a bad person'. The messages from outside can't compete with that internal one. And if she can't re-wire that on her own, all of your effort will be thrown away. You cannot save her. Also, it is not your job to save her.

THAT is why you must focus on yourself. Because you are the only person in this world you control. It is vital to accept that.

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