Newest Member: SoBeyondLost17

Communicating With a Foggy WS

submitted by SerJR

Messaging is a basic communication skill that converts what you want to say into short and simple phrases that express the truth and get to the heart of the matter. It's intended to spark internal reflection in another person. The message speaks truth without being adversarial or condescending and this cannot be ignored. It's not judgmental, in fact it acknowledges the other person's feelings and right to them, but it does refer to their actions and behaviors and reflect the truth about the situation and put everything into context – hopefully providing them with a compass to follow. It's short and to the point letting silence prevail and speak.

How you present the message is just as important as the message itself. You want to speak it straight and simple, conveying confidence, awareness, calmness, and control. Remember that you are making open ended comments and not inviting an argument.

Attacking their means and ability to continue the affair:

Wayward spouses are pretty near oblivious to the consequences of their actions. Deep down they know what they are doing is wrong, but the instant gratification feels so good they will try to ignore and downplay potential consequences of what they are doing. You want to lead them to think of the consequences and how they will threaten the quality of their life. The best time to do this is when they are undergoing some sort of crisis themselves related to the affair (e.g. such as a fight with the other person or a family member, poor job performance review, etc) and during the initial confrontation.

Some sample phrases:

  • "I want you to know that I know exactly what is going on. I've been very patient and given you the benefit of the doubt, but I refuse to live with this situation. If your behavior continues I will re-evaluate my desire to stay in this relationship."
  • "Do you ever wonder what other people and our friends and family will think of this situation?"
  • "You seem to be spreading yourself rather thin. How long do you think you can continue?"
  • "You certainly seem to have this all planned out."

Attacking their motives: Unfortunately, D-day and the initial confrontation does not always end the affair and it may continue. Sometimes it will happen in plain sight. At this point you want the wayward spouse to start questioning their motives and point out contradictions.

Some sample phrases:

  • "There seems to be quite a battle within you and it seems you're spinning more and more out of control."
  • "Do you really believe that the other person will meet your emotional needs once the infatuation wears off?"
  • "All this drama must be intoxicating."
  • "You appear to be struggling to find something but unsure how to get it or don't know what it is."
  • "You say you want this marriage, but you spend your time elsewhere."

Upon negotiation for reconciliation:

At some point your wayward spouse may try to play the "I don't want a divorce" card and offer up promises of reform. Hold firm with your boundaries and continue to point out the consequences and put the responsibility back on them – some are just attempting to continue with sitting on the fence.

Some sample phrases:

  • "So what are you going to do about this? I want to see changed behavior over the long term."

How to respond to what they say:

Many wayward spouses will try to go on the offensive and shift the blame for their actions onto you or the marriage. You will want to acknowledge their right to their feelings while being very adamant with your position. You want to leave them with no ammunition to fight back and effectively take their power away by agreeing with them and spinning it around to reflect the truth back to them.

Some sample phrases:

  • WS – "You never cared about meeting my needs."
    You - "I'm sorry you feel that way."
  • WS – "I love you but I'm not in love with you."
    You – "It certainly seems that way."
  • WS – "I don't know what I want."
    You – "Yes, that must be confusing for you."
  • WS – "I want to move out."
    You – "Do you have any idea when you'll do that? It'll help me plan my activities."
  • WS – "This marriage is horrible."
    You – "I agree that this leaves something to be desired and should be re-evaluated."
  • WS – "I'm angry about…"
    You – "Yes… I wonder what you're truly angry about."
  • WS – "The other person is such a wonderful…"
    You – "I can see how it can be comforting to believe that."
  • WS – "It will never work between us - our marriage is too damaged."
    You – "Although I'm willing to do a lot to save this marriage this lack of progress erodes my desire and ability to fight for it. One day I will have to think of me and our children ahead of it." - Credit for this line to Bigger.
  • WS - "If... maybe.... the problem is... blah, blah, blah... big nebulous statement."
    You - "What do you mean by that?" (you can repeat this one a few times to try and dig down to see what they're trying to say... if anything)
  • WS – "Blah, blah, blah…"
    You - "I respect your thoughts but I don't agree. I don't care to argue about this. I was just making an observation."

Summary

Remember that you want the truth of the matter to speak to your wayward spouse without directly attacking them. They have to come to terms and figure things out themselves – you're just showing them the direction and providing a positive example. Dealing with a foggy spouse is not about arguing, pleading, or passively ignoring what is happening – it's about standing firm regarding your own self respect and putting things into context. Cool, calm, collected, and self-assured.

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