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Reconciliation Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: Boundaries/Consequences vs. Controlling
Ascendant
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Default  Posted: 9:12 PM, June 16th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So, I'm curious what people feel the difference is between establishing boundaries with clear consequences vs. trying to control your WS.

The situation I often think of is in the area of 'Friends of the Marriage'...also, other friends of the WS who knew about the affair.

If you as the BS say to your WS that you are not comfortable with them being friends with person X (who knew about the affair), and that if they remain friends with them you will re-evaluate the marriage....is that controlling behavior? Or simply establishing a boundary with clear consequences? Because they seem to share the same aim of cutting this person out of the picture, and how you phrase it is all semantics...or at least would appear so to me.

I ask this because (once upon a time) I told my IC that there was no way in hell I'd let my son go to an amusement park with my WW and her friend (who, again, knew of the affair)...and she (the IC) told me that she felt like I was trying to control my WW through my son.

And it seems to me that a great number of post-affair boundaries and their respective consequences are aimed at controlling or curbing the WS' behavior...perhaps not directly, but we all know that when we are determining our boundaries that we are using our WS desire to remain married to us as leverage to get them to comply.

I'm not even saying it's wrong; lots of things in life vary dependent upon the context of the particular situation...perhaps this is one of them?

I mean, if after DDAY the BS writes a long list of boundaries for dealbreaker behaviors....aren't they fully aware that the WS is, in fact, complying with that list simply because of the desire to remain married?


I keep my mind on my future/and my eyes on the sky/I don't really smile much/If you were there you'd know why.

Posts: 2164 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: City in the Midwest/Best In The Whole Wide World
karmahappens
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Default  Posted: 9:44 PM, June 16th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I don't see these things as controlling.

IMO, I let my husband know what I needed in order to R.

He then had a choice, he could respect my needs and act accordingly or he could ignore them and do something different.

When he makes a decision to ignore or accept my need I then have the option to make decisions based on his actions.

I don't need to control him, he is a grown man who can do whatever he wants to do.

I can say that with everything I needed in order to heal and remain in my marriage, my husband understood my needs. He wasn't defensive about my needs, didn't sulk, complain or wonder why I needed certain things.

He knew he had completely destroyed our life and he wanted to do what he could to help us rebuild.

When you get a WS that sees R as controlling then you have a problem. The easiest things to offer to your spouse, transparency, accountability,honesty can throw some WS's into a tail spin. That is a problem with the WS, not the BS's needs.

And it seems to me that a great number of post-affair boundaries and their respective consequences are aimed at controlling or curbing the WS' behavior...perhaps not directly, but we all know that when we are determining our boundaries that we are using our WS desire to remain married to us as leverage to get them to comply.

I don't agree with this. You don't get someone to comply...you are recreating a marriage. Boundaries and needs should have been in place before the A. Healthy relationships have them.

I don't want my husband doing something just because he wants to stay married. I want him to understand my POV, my pain and the impact our actions have on each of us and our relationship.

The only control I have is over myself.


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
Anaïs Nin
Me: 45
Him: 47
Dday 8/2007
We have R'd

Posts: 3845 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Massachusetts
tired girl
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Default  Posted: 10:02 PM, June 16th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I don't think you can set boundaries for your WS.

You can set boundaries for yourself and know what actions you will take when those are crossed. That is the only thing you can do.


Me45 Him 45 Hardlessons DS 25,23,20
D Day 1/18/10 his 3/8/2012 mine
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Posts: 5068 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: az
blindsided14
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Default  Posted: 10:09 PM, June 16th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ascendant - this is a great question. To me, boundaries and consequences are about YOU. What are you wiling to tolerate in your M. Yes, they involve (obviously) actions and behavior of your spouse. But the point is, you can't control another person. They have free will. They can make their own decisions. And you are either OK with the choices you make or you are not.

A wayward needs to want to live a life respecting you and your marriage if R is to be successful. While at first, they may live within boundaries b/c they are afraid of the consequences, that will only last so long. Even if they respect your boundaries forever because of the consequences, is that the type of marriage you want.

I may be thinking too idealistically right now, but I want my WW to eventually do everything because she wants to love me the way I love her and the way I deserved to be loved. If consequences and fear are the only way to get them to initially break out of the fog and bust old habits, so be it. But that's not the foundation or formula for a healthy long lasting M.

At the end of the day, a healthy marriage based on mutual respect, admiration, kindness and attraction is what we all deserve.

You can't control someone into giving you that in a M. Just my humble opinion. And, of course, all this is easier said in the abstract.


Posts: 56 | Registered: Apr 2014
Ascendant
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Member # 38303
Default  Posted: 11:03 PM, June 16th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Karma-

I'm not saying that we actually have control over our WS, because we certainly don't. What I'm saying is that when many of us BS sit down and do this:

I let my husband know what I needed in order to R.
....what is the difference between that and saying, "Do this or I'll divorce you."...? Because the idea that runs through both of those appear the exact same to me, with the only difference being how the individual frames it.

This is the Reconciliation forum, so I'm going to assume that the majority of us in here have wayward spouses who desire(d) R, even if they don't fully comprehend all that it entails. Which meansthat when many of us were evaluating, re-evaluating, originating, or whatever, our boundaries re: behavior we'll accept inside of our marriage and then communicated those boundaries to our spouse, we did so in the context of the affair aftermath- fully aware that they wanted to be with us and would (probably) comply. So while it might be more comfortable for us to say "No, I simply constructed a list of things I would and wouldn't tolerate and they chose to comply", the reality is that many of us know that our WS are probably going to jump through some hoops in order to make R happen....it's just that we rename it 'making amends' or 'putting the marriage and/or us first' or something like that.

TG-

I don't think you can set boundaries for your WS.
You can set boundaries for yourself and know what actions you will take when those are crossed. That is the only thing you can do.
I agree with this, except that we communicate those boundaries to our spouses, right?

If part of my boundary is that I'm uncomfortable with my wife hanging around affair-enablers, then my boundary is based around my wife's actions and choices, no? I see this all the time on here....the BS demands that the WS stop going to bars, or having opposite-sex friends, or watching porn, or any number of behaviors that don't always involve the BS directly, but contribute to a general sense of unease on the part of the BS.

Often, these boundaries are custom-tailored to especially-hurtful aspects of the affair....so how can they not, to some degree, involved the other person?

Blind-

If consequences and fear are the only way to get them to initially break out of the fog and bust old habits, so be it. But that's not the foundation or formula for a healthy long lasting M.
I think this is probably much closer to how this stuff operates IRL than many BS would feel comfortable admitting.
You can't control someone into giving you that in a M.
I agree, but what's the difference? If your spouse agrees to respect all of your boundaries, isn't it the same as them giving you control anyway?


I keep my mind on my future/and my eyes on the sky/I don't really smile much/If you were there you'd know why.

Posts: 2164 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: City in the Midwest/Best In The Whole Wide World
tired girl
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Default  Posted: 11:22 PM, June 16th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

There is a very subtle difference though. I can state that I will no longer tolerate xyz in the M. That is about MY boundaries. The BS can choose how they want to approach that. I can also say that you doing xyz makes me uncomfortable and if you choose to do that we are going to need to have a discussion about it. There are many approaches to my boundaries and what happens if they are crossed. Depends on the boundary, some of mine are deal breakers and some are not. That is about me though. The BS has a choice to respect it, or not.

And the WS should have boundaries as well and should also be making theirs known.


Me45 Him 45 Hardlessons DS 25,23,20
D Day 1/18/10 his 3/8/2012 mine
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Posts: 5068 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: az
karmahappens
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Default  Posted: 11:32 PM, June 16th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I let my husband know what I needed in order to R.
....what is the difference between that and saying, "Do this or I'll divorce you."...? Because the idea that runs through both of those appear the exact same to me, with the only difference being how the individual frames it.

The difference for me is I do not want to manipulate him. I need him to understand my feelings. I stated my needs and noted his reaction, listened and we discussed boundaries on both sides and what he needed as well.

It's life, not just R. You have to ask for what you want. Doesn't mean you will get it. If you do, great, if not, decide what you will do going forward.

Let's say I told my husband I wanted him to stop going to x rated movies in order to R ( I didn't, just an example). If he was pissed off about it but refrained all the while complaining about how unfair it is blah blah blah...I would probably leave.It isn't the not going to the movie that I ultimately need, it's understanding and communication within the relationship.

It isn't a threat or a punishment, it's the way we operate now.

After 7 years our needs have changed.

As much as I let my needs be known he does the same. There are some things we both agree on and others we discuss because our opinions differ. When we have different opinions I would opt to respect his need, not because he will leave me if I don't, but because I value him and his feelings are important to me.


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
Anaïs Nin
Me: 45
Him: 47
Dday 8/2007
We have R'd

Posts: 3845 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Massachusetts
blindsided14
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Member # 43266
Default  Posted: 11:41 PM, June 16th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Great discussion. I was purposeful in where I said (wrote) you can't control someone into giving you that. If you go back and read the sentence right before this statement you'll see "that" is mutual respect, admiration, kindness and attraction.

These are all feelings and emotions.

My point is that, you can control someone so that their actions LOOK like love. You can't control someone into actually FEELING love.


Posts: 56 | Registered: Apr 2014
PollyA
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Default  Posted: 11:45 PM, June 16th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

It seems more protective of Don than controlling, to me.


BW - 2 x's ( once before married, got therapy, thought we'd both moved forward)
WH - SA? Probably not. Just a Selfish ASS
DD1 - 4/2001 - 1 OW, left, returned, therapy, thought he'd "gotten it". I was wrong.
DD2 - 8/2013 -

Posts: 123 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: PollyA
Ascendant
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Default  Posted: 12:08 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks everybody so far. Sorry if I came off adversarial in my responses, that's just how I discuss and think out loud.


I keep my mind on my future/and my eyes on the sky/I don't really smile much/If you were there you'd know why.

Posts: 2164 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: City in the Midwest/Best In The Whole Wide World
blindsided14
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Default  Posted: 12:15 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

No need to apologize A

Posts: 56 | Registered: Apr 2014
Badhurt
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Default  Posted: 5:42 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

This is a tricky one . Is friend of WW also a friend of you?, or just someone who wife is much closer to? To me there is a difference. If this was her best friend before A , that person is going to be more loyal to her than you. You still have every right not to want this person around you or in your home, but just to go to amusement park or somewhere with your kid is not that big a deal.
On the other hand, if this person was complicit in either encouraging or enabling your WW, like providing cover story, or lying to you, then she has to go or it is a deal breaker. You should know if she covered for wife or misled you during the affair.

Posts: 1097 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: Eastern USA
rachelc
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Default  Posted: 6:57 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ascendant - this is a really good question and one I've thought about often.
when people make their own boundaries, and those become internal compasses, well I cant' think of a safer person to be with. That's why a truly remorseful wayward who really gets it is a safe person to be with.
for those waywards who simply abide by rules - I imagine this may even make it worse. i'm guilty of that myself, as a BS, giving my WS rules. We did write some together though and those have held up.
I think for some waywards the fact that they won't cheat again is enough for them. They don't really understand that they have to change. Inwardly, internally. Whether they're with their spouse or not.

someone said something in another thread - about the husband being happy only if the BS is happy. My husband is like that. That's why he has a hard time listening to me. Because he interprets my struggles as unhappiness and that scares the hell out of him. I thought it was co-dependency. But it is just more external validation.

We're getting better. And I realize that things are out of my control. I'm having a pretty good week with him going to some business events.

but as TG said, the boundaries are for me. the consequences are for me. If he lies, I look at the boundary and need I set up for ME in this marriage and make my choice accordingly.

Really, didn't we all kinda set up boundaries and consequences when we said our vows?

[This message edited by rachelc at 6:57 AM, June 17th (Tuesday)]


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

The conditions we face do not define us. They remind us of who we are and who we want to be.


Posts: 5262 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
mindbody
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Default  Posted: 8:08 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Really like this discussion. I think another word to go along with controlling is the WS thinking that BS is threatening them with the stated consequences. Is it necessary to state what you are going to do if WS chooses to do the behavior that is overstepping your boundaries? If it is a dealbreaker, I think you need to state the consequences. What TJ said about further discussion on the non-dealbreakers makes sense.

A WS who has used "you're controlling me" card has a lot of work to do to let go of that automatic response. In our case, WSO has a hard time even admitting and recognizing he has a choice if he winds up not doing what is uncomfortable for me. I know I cannot control him, and the last thing I want to do is police his choices.

Ascendant, it would be wrong to hide your feelings about your WW's association with her friend. I withheld my feelings and ignored my gut during the A, and I will no longer be worried about admitting my feelings.

Yes, I think WS will comply with BS's boundaries when they are not on board. In the beginning, that may be the crucial NO CONTACT. Then the other situations arise, and in R, we deal with them as they arise. I think the other posters are right in asking you questions about the friend's involvement. Do you even know how she feels about your WW's decision to R? If you aren't comforable with the friendship, why is she ok with it? It's good to have this discussion, both of you being honest with your feelings. You probably wish WW would make the decision to end the friendship on her own. She may find this difficult to do for so many reasons that she has been relying on the past.


Posts: 306 | Registered: Mar 2010
sisoon
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Default  Posted: 10:07 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If a boundary is broken, what's the motivation for invoking the consequence? Is it to protect one's self, or is it to punish the violator?

If it's primarily to punish the violator, I'd say the limit is probably a control. If it's to protect one's self, it's probably a boundary.

I agree that after D-day, BSes often want to control the WS's behavior. I know I did - I took away my W's car keys. I was afraid she'd go to ow for closure, and she'd be lost to me. Fortunately, our MC worked hard and fast to get me out of that mode, and it lasted only a few weeks.

I think one relationship spectrum is control- boundaries. I think we also need to be cognizant of the want-need spectrum. The wants/needs are what the boundaries are about.

JMO, of course.


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10352 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
tired girl
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Default  Posted: 10:43 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If it's primarily to punish the violator, I'd say the limit is probably a control. If it's to protect one's self, it's probably a boundary.

I think this can be huge to determining how one goes about setting boundaries. And remember, boundaries can only be about yourself. You cannot set them for your spouse. They have to be internal for your spouse. Otherwise they are just rules and rules can be broken, people find ways to justify their ways around rules all the time.


Me45 Him 45 Hardlessons DS 25,23,20
D Day 1/18/10 his 3/8/2012 mine
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Posts: 5068 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: az
blindsided14
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Default  Posted: 11:06 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Sisson, I've never seen it articulated that way but that sums is up perfectly. I think it will also help me and others pressure test how we set boundaries and consequences. Thank you for that!

Posts: 56 | Registered: Apr 2014
LA44
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Default  Posted: 11:32 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If a boundary is broken, what's the motivation for invoking the consequence? Is it to protect one's self, or is it to punish the violator?

"Alright, alright, alright"...this is goooood, Sisoon.

Thanks for starting this Ascendant. This is making me think of the pot smoking spiel me and H went through back in April (or whenever the Masters was) and how I thought "we" set up a boundary about that but really, he was just agreeing to something to appease me as it was so close to D-Day.

Since then we have re-worked the pot smoking arrangement and it does include NO SMOKING EVER around kids.

But from that experience, the boundary I set for me is, DO NOT LIE TO ME. (there are other boundaries but this is Queen Bee Boundary).

So that request was made to him. But its to protect me. And its his choice whether he respects that. He's a grown man. He is going to make choices I don't get but I will never understand him lying to me. As I said to him, I might get mad but so what? It's better then me leaving bc I have been lied too isn't it?


Me: 44
He: 47 WH
Married: 15 years
D Day: December 2012
Affair: Fall 2009 - Dec. 2011
R is not linear

Posts: 2444 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: Canada, eh
mozzchops
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Default  Posted: 11:36 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


I have a slightly different view on this.

When your partner has an affair, they basically hand control over you the BS.

Wayward.
Difficult to control or predict because of wilful or perverse behaviour.

They can't control themselves so the BS has to.



The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.

Posts: 118 | Registered: Mar 2014
tired girl
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Default  Posted: 11:46 AM, June 17th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

When your partner has an affair, they basically hand control over you the BS.

Wayward.
Difficult to control or predict because of wilful or perverse behaviour.

They can't control themselves so the BS has to.


No.

If one person ever believes they have control over another they are deluding themselves.

After HL's Dday, he never checked my phone, my email, nothing. He knew if I was going to cheat, it would happen. Nothing he was going to do would change that. I had to want to change me.

Same thing after my Dday, I don't check up on him. I know his change is internal. If it wasn't, I would not still be here. I cannot control him. His boundaries have become internal. Slowly. Has he made mistakes, sure, but we discussed it and I told him when they made me uncomfortable or threatened to cross my boundaries. It was never about control.


Me45 Him 45 Hardlessons DS 25,23,20
D Day 1/18/10 his 3/8/2012 mine
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Posts: 5068 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: az
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