Saturday, March 1, 2014

The 180 for Hurt Spouses

The 180 is a list of behaviors from Michelle Wiener Davis, the author of Divorce Busting, that will help your spouse to see you moving forward as a healthy person.

Who should do these steps? You'll need to evaluate them, and use the ones that apply to your situation. Some of these are good for anyone to do. Like not following them around the house. You don't want to look like a puppy dog that can't stand to be away from its owner. Others may only be appropriate if your spouse isn't cooperating with rebuilding. Others you may want to do "in case" but don't require you to follow through on anything that would be divisive.

But if your spouse is being cooperative, many of these you don't want to do. Like no frequent phone calls or not going on dates—those would be counterproductive to a cooperative unfaithful spouse, making them feel their efforts are wrong or not helping when they really are. Plus, the idea with a cooperative unfaithful spouse is to spend time with them, both of those good ways to do that, within moderation.

The more uncooperative an unfaithful spouse is, the more of these that apply. So evaluate each one whether it would help or hurt in your situation. But the overall goal of these should be kept in mind: to help the hurt spouse project confidence, independence, and emotional distance to the unfaithful spouse in order to prepare the hurt spouse for eventual separation, should it occur, and hopefully move the unfaithful spouse from the uncooperative category to the cooperative one.

Following is the 180 list of behaviors. I’ve left the original formatting and wording of the quote. A bit wordy in places, and too much reliance upon exclamation points and all caps for emphasis.

The 180 for Hurt Spouses


Don't pursue reason, chase, beg, plead or implore.

No frequent phone calls.

Don't point out "good points" in marriage.

Don't follow her/him around the house.

Don't encourage or initiate discussion about the future.

Don't ask for help from the family members of your wayward spouse.

Don't ask for reassurances.

Don't buy or give gifts.

Don't schedule dates together.

Don't keep saying, "I Love You!" Because if you have a brain in your head, he/she is, at this particular moment, not very loveable.

Do more than act as if you are moving on with your life; begin moving on with your life!

Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and independent.

Don't sit around waiting on your spouse—get busy, do things, go out with friends, enjoy old hobbies, find new ones! But stay busy!

When home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation) be scarce or short on words. Don't push any issue. No matter how much you want to!

If you're in the habit of asking your spouse his/her whereabouts, ASK NOTHING. Seem totally uninterested.

Your partner needs to believe that you have awakened to the fact that they are serious concerning their assertions as to the future (or lack there of) of your marriage. Thus, you are moving on with your life without them!

Don't be nasty, angry or even cold—Just pull yourself back. Don't always be so available for anything! Your spouse will notice. More important, he/she will notice that you're missing.

No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment.

Make yourself be someone they would want to be around. Not a moody, needy, pathetic individual but a self-assured individual secure in the knowledge that they have value.

All questions about the marriage should be put on hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may not be for quite a while). Initiate no such conversation!

Do not allow yourself to lose your temper. No yelling, screaming or name calling EVER. No show of temper! Be cool, act cool; be in control of the only thing you can control, YOURSELF!

Don't be overly enthusiastic.

Do not argue when they tell you how they feel (it only makes their feelings stronger). In fact, refuse to argue at all!

Be patient and learn to not only listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you, HEAR what it is that they are saying!

Listen and then listen some more!

Learn to back off, keep your mouth shut and walk away when you want to speak out, no matter what the provocation. No one ever got themselves into trouble by just not saying anything.

Take care of you. Exercise, sleep, laugh & focus on all the other parts of your life that are not in turmoil.

Be strong, confident and learn to speak softly.

Know that if you can do this 180, your smallest CONSISTENT action will be noticed far more than any words you can say or write.

Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are feeling totally desperate and needy.

Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse. It's not always about you! More to the point, at present they just don't care!

Do not believe any of what you hear them say and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives and do so in the most strident tones imaginable. Try to remember that they are also hurting and afraid. Try to remember that they know what they are doing is wrong and so they will say anything they can to justify their behavior.

Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel. It "ain't over till it's over!"

Do not backslide from your hard earned changes. Remain consistent! It is the consistency of action and attitude that delivers the message.

When expressing your dissatisfaction with the actions of the wayward party, never be judgmental, critical or express moral outrage. Always explain that your dissatisfaction is due to the pain that the acts being committed are causing you as a person.

This is the kind of behavior that will cause you to be a much more attractive and mysterious individual. Further it SHOWS that you are NOT afraid to move on with your life.

Still more important, it will burst their positive little bubble; the one in which they believe that they can always come back to you in case things don't work out with the affair partner.

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