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No Contact with your Wayward Spouse
There have been a lot of members that are choosing to go NC with their WS. This thread is to support them in their efforts to take back control of their own lives and hopefully create a bit of healing space while giving their WS a taste of what "real" divorce is like.
So, without further ado, here are Catwoman's guidelines to NC with a WS (best works while separated):
Why go NC (No Contact) with your Separated Wayward Spouse? If they are still on the fence and not sure what they want, give them a dose of what it will be like WITHOUT YOU.
This also helps the BS protect THEMSELVES. I call it HEALING SPACE. When we stop spinning our lives around our WS, we can start to heal our own hurt. As long as we are still spinning around our WS who can't quite figure out what they want, we are still not focusing on our healing. Whether you end up reconciling or divorcing, NC with the WS can really help.
Here's how it is done
NC with your WS does not mean NO CONTACT (we save THAT for the OP). It means, however, CONTACT ON YOUR TERMS. It also means that YOU DICTATE THE CONTACT CONTENT.
You don't TELL a WS you're going to do a NC on them. You JUST DO IT (gee, someone should make an ad slogan out of that--it's pretty good). First, get caller ID and USE IT. Don't answer about 75% of the time that it is the WS. Unless it is something dealing with finances or children, don't return the call.
Of course you want your WS to continue their relationship with your children. So you may want to amend this to picking up the phone ONCE when they call in the evening to allow them to talk with the children. But if they constantly call at 10 p.m. to talk to their 5-year-old who has been in bed since 8 . . . well, you don't have to pick that one up. Do you see where we are going with this?
And unless it is something dealing specifically with the children or finances, you don't return the call. The calls to see "how you are doing" "what color are the roses in the garden next door--I forgot" "do you think brown socks or blue ones look better with khakis," well, we just ignore those and wait until the next time we decide to pick up the phone when they call.
You ONLY talk about finances or the children. NO feelings (especially from the BS--NONE).
But you are very sweet and kind. In fact, sweet as sugar. But impersonal in a way. Kind of like the cashier treats you at the grocery store.
Secondly, set up a visitation schedule. At least one weeknight a week and alternate weekends. They're not sure they want to be married? Show 'em what it's like to be divorced. You, the BS, are BUSY on the nights and ESPECIALLY WEEKENDS you do not have the kids. I don't care if you just go to Wal-Mart and look at the Shop Vacs. YOU ARE BUSY.
Also, it wouldn't hurt to arrange a weekend (when you don't have the kids) away. Visit a friend. See your parents. But BE GONE.
It goes without saying that on the nights you don't have your children, you DON'T answer the phone.
Here are the answers to the questions you will get:
Where were you? OUT.
Who were you with? NO ONE YOU WOULD KNOW.
What were you doing? JUST STUFF.
And for those who think it is a game, Wal-Mart is OUT, right? And the nice fellow that showed you the Shop-Vacs is NO ONE HE WOULD KNOW, right? And Wal-Mart qualifies as JUST STUFF, right? You see, you're not fibbing. Just creating a little mystery.
Now remember, you are as nice as can be when giving these answers. But don't give ANY more information than this. NONE.
If he asks how you are, you are FINE. No elaboration.
It doesn't hurt to change something. Highlight your hair. Grow a beard. Do SOMETHING that is immediately noticeable and different. Something healthy (now is NOT the time to get a tattoo, for example), but just different. Believe me, the WS will notice when they come to pick up the children for their "scheduled visitation."
Never cry in front of them. If you are having trouble tearing up, make any face-to-face or phone interaction very brief. Switch to e-mail if you can. Much easier to keep it impersonal that way (plus the written record is AWESOME!).
Some may consider this a game. It is anything but. This is a way that you can create the space YOU need to heal, as well as give WS a taste of what divorced life will be like.
If they don't decide to reconcile, you're just that much further along the path to healing.
If they do decide to heal the marriage, they may have learned a very valuable lesson with regards to what they barely escaped losing. This isn't a game. And it does work. Hugs to all who are brave enough to do NC with their separated WS.