Why do you feel that consequences are counter-productive? What do you mean by that?
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
[This message edited by RealityBlows at 11:11 PM, November 2nd (Saturday)]
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)]
All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day: 9/18/09 D-Day#2: 2/19/10 The Marriage Killer: 6/6/11
Heading for D
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?