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Understanding the 180
Thanks for posting some more information about the 180 and how to use it. This is another post I would really like to see the mods sticky, because it would've helped me a lot this week as I've learned about the affair and trying to figure out how to take care of myself.
I have a few questions:
1. As mentioned in the first post, the reason for the 180 is it allows you to detach. However, my wife has said the reason our marriage hasn't been working is because I haven't been emotionally connected with her throughout our 12 years of marriage. If I do the 180, won't that make that divide even greater? Is there a way to detach, while staying emotionally connected?
2. I bought the book Divorce Busters, which is what the FAQ says these principles came from. Is that the case? Just wasn't sure how much these principles are geared towards helping the WS, versus general marriage problems? Maybe they are same?
3. Are there any of the 180 principles that people have found to be more effective than others? I only have so much energy and it would be nice to focus on the ones that can make the biggest difference first.
[This message edited by hurts_alot at 8:34 AM, March 6th (Sunday)]
1) What your WW is doing by saying that you were unemotionally unavailable is basically what we call "blameshifting". She is unwilling to take responsibility for her affair - thus she is justifying it to herself that she never had a choice because you were an unemotional chump. You'll find that this is the single most common excuse that WW's will use to rationalise their behaviour. If she were to admit that she had an affair "just because she wanted to", then her story isn't quite as sympathetic. Better in her mind to make you the villain. Most often than not, it is actually the betrayed spouse that is more invested in the marriage. Infidelity is never justified - it is a destructive choice that she alone owns.
What you are doing with the 180 is making a statement - "I will not put up with your bullshit". You need to make it clear to her that your preference is to work on the marriage, but that you need x, y, and z to be able to do that. If she is unwilling to do her part, then you will re-evaluate your desire to stay in the relationship. Remember: there's only one thing worse than being in a marriage with infidelity - and that's staying in one. You can't control or manipulate or plead with her. You leave her free to make her choices and you put your focus on yours. She can either throw her life down the toilet with her choices, or she can get it together and make the necessary steps towards self improvement.
2) As mentioned, the fundamental theme of the 180 is to focus on your needs. The "bullet list" is essentially just a toolkit for you to use. They are geared towards making a stronger, more capable YOU, which will serve you better whether you divorce or reconcile. You need to be at your best regardless of the path you walk - it's all about respecting yourself and your needs.
3) Definitely - as mentioned it's a toolkit. You take what works for you with your situation. Once you understand the whole underlying theme it becomes more natural.
Now, of course if she is working on reconciling with you (and I mean an honest attempt - none of this "maybe I'll try but I still want to see the OM" crap) you will want to adjust your strategy. You will however, still take that underlying theme of self respect along with you, but the tactical tools will change as you gear them more towards constructive communication.
Thanks for the reply, this does help a lot. I'm currently reading "Co-Dependent No More" and it sounds like there are similar principles here. We have to stop trying to fix our spouse's problems and support them in solving their own problems.
I'm still struggling with the concept of detaching, while being available to support and work on the marriage. Is the 180 needed more while the WS is in the Fog and then you soften some of the 180 principles when both of you are truly committed to the R?
You can do both... by making yourself (and therefore the marriage) attractive and the affair a bad place to be. Essentially, you can reach out with one hand and assert with the other:
Reach out with one hand:
-Make your home, yourself, and marriage inviting/attractive.
-Show self improvement in areas that could use work.
-Communicate calmly and act self assured.
-Offer forgiveness and understanding (but not blindly).
-Avoid any harmful communication, bad habits, or behaviours.
Assert with the other:
-Don't accept the blame for their choice.
-Expose the affair.
-Consult a lawyer for informational purposes.
-Protect the assets of the marriage.
-Do not shield them from the consequences of their actions.
-Lay out the boundaries and consequences.
Don't get so caught up in the details of the 180 list... take the understanding as a whole and apply it as it best fits to your situation... work with what your WS gives you to work with.
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Thank you for this post!
I have a question about the 180. I've read it in the past and have tried to employ many of its messages. I need to revisit it more seriously now because of TT and feeling like I am actually at another DDay. No more lies and being totally honest with me were part of the dealbreakers for R. So now I am left wondering if I even want to try to continue to R. Is this where people employ a "hard 180"? And what is that exactly?
I'm sorry if it's already listed somewhere in the thread, my brain isn't processing much very well right now.
Please read my post. Any advice for me. I don't know if what I'm feeling is normal. Is this considered the 180?
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Thank you for your observations about the 180. Looking at it the way you explain it is way easier for me to understand!!