Do a “180” to Save Your Marriage

save your marriageMichele Weiner-Davis has authored two books that I highly recommend: “ The Divorce Remedy” and “Divorce Busting.” Unfortunately, I found these books a little later than I would have liked, which was after months of trying to get Doug to let go of his emotional affair. 

However, the contents of each book gave me hope and a new direction.  I feel that many of Weiner-Davis’ ideas helped me regain my power in our relationship and pull Doug out from under the affair fog. If you want to save your marriage, I suggest taking some of her advice.

When I found out about Doug’s affair I did everything to bring him back to me.  I called, texted him constantly, made dates and followed him around. I basically gave up my life to be at his side. 

I believed that if we spent more time together that he would remember what we used to have and realize that he loved me.  I also initiated “emotional” talks thinking that would bring us closer.  I basically did everything I thought was helpful, when in fact the only thing it did was push him away.

I should have realized that it wasn’t working, but as many experts on infidelity will tell you it is like a roller coaster ride. Some days it did appear that he was coming closer, but other days it seemed we were back to square one. 

Weiner-Davis suggests that if you feel you have tried everything to save your marriage and you still feel you are the only one making an effort, then try the “Last Resort Technique” or the “180.”

She states:

“…when one person wants their marriage to work, but the other doesn’t, fairly typical patterns emerge.  The spouse who wants to preserve the marriage desperately pursues his mate, trying to reverse the momentum of the alienation.  Usually there’s pleading, begging, crying,-anything-to try to win back the spouse.  The more desperate the spouse wanting to keep the marriage alive appears, the less appealing they become.” 

Basically, the betraying spouse sees their mate as trying to control them, which leads to resistance.

Another downfall to appearing undesirable, controlling and pursuing is the situation allows the cheating spouse from thinking about or feeling the real consequences of their actions.  The betrayer is thinking more about the struggle while de-focusing on feelings of loss.

She says that the more you are trying to convince your spouse that your marriage is worth saving, you are making it easier for them not to think or feel these things because you are doing all the work.  You need to stop the chase and do a “180.”

I remember reading “ Break Free From the Affair” by Dr. Robert Huizenga and he says to “back off” and let the betrayer experience the silence.  Give them an opportunity to think about their actions. 

Honestly I was afraid for Doug to think about what he was doing, thinking that he would realize that he wanted to be with Tanya.  Now I feel confident that if I would have provided him the space to really think about what he had and what he was going to lose, he would have made the right decision.  I now know that being in his face confused him and made it appear as if I was trying to control his actions.

If you feel you have tried everything to save your marriage and your spouse is still showing resistance, try doing a “180” and see if you notice a change.  It may not come overnight, as patience will be the key, but look for small signs that they are coming back to you. 

This will be a time to focus on yourself, your needs and desires, and give your spouse time to think about the mess they have created.

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LINESPACE

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11 Responses to Do a “180” to Save Your Marriage

  1. Kate August 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    The idea of a 180 sounds terrifying to me. Putting it all on the line and maybe it doesn’t work? I’m no longer doing the begging/pleading/talking, so hopefully that will help. But I can’t just turn a cold shoulder or act like I don’t care.

    Best I can do is be pleasant, show I care with small gestures and touches while hoping he gets his head out of the fog.

    • Doug August 16, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

      Kate, I don’t think the 180 means that you don’t care or give them the cold shoulder, I believe the premise is to stop being so needy, constantly questioning about their feelings, going overboard to try to connect. There was a time when I would follow Doug to the bathroom, I was dripping with neediness, obviously it didn’t work. I have read that you remain in contact but make that contact something you feel proud of, be a confident women who truly cares about her marriage and her spouse but will not compromise her integrity to win him back. Linda

  2. Kate August 16, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Well maybe I am already doing it then? I don’t say “I love you” and never bring up our relationship or ask to talk about “us” anymore. We still live our day to day lives like any other couple, no one watching would know we were having all this trouble. I have found a new hobby/interest and have made a few new friends. I guess I just have to wait and see…

  3. Donna August 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    I am like you Kate, the thought of 180 terrifies me. Linda, I too thought I would have to act like I didn’t care, you explained it well. I have backed off quite a bit. We do talk every so often about what happened, although no anger is there now from me. We are pretty much like 2 people who are old friends. Some people we meet for the first time would prob see us more like friends than a husband /wife team and that saddens me. When he leaves each noght to go back to his room at his work, it goes along the lines of him saying… I’m exhausted, I’m going to go now. Me saying, okay, thank you for coming around and him saying thanks for dinner and then we say seeya. Very non emotional, it is just so sad. Is this how it is suppose to be?

    Is is real that I am not to tell him I love him? I know he know’s this any how, without me saying it. What about letters? Is writing him letters about how I feel the same as telling him verbally. So very confusing. He is moving back home on Thursday after nearly 5 months living apart. I am having surgery and he will be here for the kids. When I come home he will move into one of the kids rooms as I will need help. I am scared about this, do I continue this whole backing off then as well?

    • Doug August 17, 2010 at 9:06 am #

      Donna, You do not need to follow the guidelines perfectly, you need to do what is comfortable for you. I made changes in my behavior because Doug would not end the affair with Tanya and what I was doing was not working. I certainly didn’t ignore him or anything like that I just became more confident, started doing more things for me, and tried not to bring up the affair on a daily basis. It tested my patience and strength but I had to change by behavior , I was degrading myself, acting like a needy child and I couldn’t live with myself any longer. I realized it was time to move on with or without him and I was getting myself ready to do that. The 180 is a last resort, Doug was having his cake and eating it too and I needed to take control of the situation. Linda

  4. J August 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    The 180 got us to the discussion point, exactly due to the Cake and eating it too thing. Now is where its difficult. I just want healing to begin, and how to show support now that we are trying to break the addiction, and yet do so in a way that is not so terribly desperate is something I just cant figure out. My concentration is on just insuring the zero contact. Its like I want to be around her every waking moment, and thats dangerous in its own way. I have 1 week until the wife gets out of the state to visit relatives, and will be able to breath so much easier once that day arrives. Emotional attachment is still VERY prevalant right now, even if she has kept distance due to pure will power at this point. How to answer statements like “What if I never stop loving him” is excruciating. Man this is gonna be a tough road.

  5. Donna August 17, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Linda said… “It tested my patience and strength but I had to change my behavior , I was degrading myself”

    This so rings true for me, I just had not realised it until I read what you wrote. I spoke to my husband lastnight and asked him what he wants in the future. He said you know what I want Donna, I want to be with my family. I then asked him what about OW, where does that leave you and her. He said you know I still want to be with her too. I told him that hteir is no room for her in our marriage and that I will not share my husband with another. He was getting upset at this stage, said that this is the reason why he doesn’t want to come home because I asked him a question. I told him I have been respective of that, as a wife though I have every right to say that I will not tolerate sharing my husband. I told him that when I come out of hospital I am worried that 4 weeks down the track whenI am more able to do things for myself and the kids, he will feel like he can’t be home any more and move out. I will be sad again, it is more concern for our 4 children though. The pain that will put them through again.

    I asked him if he was going to keep in contact with OW and he said that his intention is not too, he just doesn’t know from day to day. He has been trying to end this EA for the past 12 months now and he says that he is not sure in the end if he can live without her. He knows that he doesn’t want to be a step dad to her kids, he wants to be with his kids. As I have said before, apparently she is more compatible to him than me and he knows that they could be very happy together.

    I figured I really am going to need his help and he said that this time with him at home just may be what he needs for us to work. He has had 5 months where he has done butt all by being a father really, so all of a sudden he is going to be in the thick of it and have 5 others who will need his help, he won’t be able to just think of himself in his quiet room each day and night.

    I figure, if he gets to the point where he has to move out, he is a FOOL! he is leaving a wife who would take him back in a flash and 4 children who love him to bits. I will not give up on him, I will not let him drain me though. If he chooses OW in the end and her 4 children plus adda ex husband and an ex wife into the equation plus his 4 children he is the loser. Won’t OW LOVE it when ex-wife rings up in the night asking him to come around and help with his children. I wonder if they, other person’s are okay with this and realise that this is all apart of it…

    What I find interesting is that I who have been married for 14 years and love this man am able to emotioanlly shut down form him and yet he is acting like a child and can’t withdraw from his lover for more than a week or so at a time. I mean, grow up and take a look at what the hell you are doing.

    I told him that I can see them working out for a few years… if that and then they will crash and burn because the guilt will either eat them both up and cause problems. He told me that the guilt is already eating him up, her too, but more so my husband.. anyway, either way, I will get that spring back in my step. I have lost the amount of weight that my 11 year old weighs and I am going in for surgery on Thursday for a hernia operation and a tummy tuck. I am looking good and if he doesn’t want me in the end.. maybe years down the track some other man might appreciate me for what I am inside and out. At only 34 I am still young enough to hopefully be a good catch still!

    • Doug August 18, 2010 at 8:25 am #

      Donna, I know that you need him around for the next month but during that time you really need to think about what you want. He is definitely having the best of both worlds and obviously is not making an effort to make a solid commitment to either of them. He is being selfish and is expecting you to put up with it. I highly recommend reading some of our suggested books while you are recovering and when this month is over I hope you will be strong both physically and mentally. It is ok to put a time limit on how much of his behavior you are going to tolerate. You need to look out to what is best for you and your children, and the way he is acting right now is not healthy for anyone. The biggest mistake I made was not respecting myself enough to clearly tell Doug I will not tolerate this any longer, I will not share you with another woman. I may have told him but my actions (neediness, clingy, passive) told him that I was not strong, or self confident enough to follow through. My actions conveyed that I believed I wasn’t good enough to deserve him, so why would he want to make the effort to give up this wonderful arrangement.

      When I read your comments I wonder how can you put up with that, but I know too well why we do, we are afraid not too. We’re afraid of losing everything, but if you really look at the situation you already have lost everything, your life is not the way it was before the EA, so what are you holding on too? Is this the life you want or do you want a husband who is completely committed to you? Think about what both of you need to do to accomplish this and if he is not ready then make the decision for you, what are you ready for. I know it is much easier for me to say these things because I know the outcome of my decisions, but I also know that you could stay in this back and forth state forever because it is convenient and beneficial for your husband. Think about you. Linda

  6. j August 18, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    Donna, its very difficult, to get to that point where you can be strong, but I have to say, I read Love must Be Tough, and it is what did it for me. I had to stand up, demanded divorce. I know, thats an ultimatum that many think unwise, but it is what worked for us. OM only out of her life a week, and she is going through grief. I hate that, but I have to allow that she does love that OM. I thought the same thoughts, she has to know its fleeting, kids so much more important, etc… It was only the divorce mediation process that made her realize, I would allow no more “Time” for her to process her decisions.

  7. Julie December 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    I caught my husband talking to another woman through text even though it only went on for a week and he sat down with me and cryed and told me that he only saw her once and txt her a few times that week and he knew he was wrong it still hurts. We agreed that we would not bring it up no more after we have talked and go back to being us. Well that lasted for bout a week then everytime he left the house I would call him when he was at work I constantly called and txt and when he is home I alway ask him how he feels bout us I feel like I have lost him. I know me being stuck up his ass when he is home and always questioning him isn’t helping. He says he wants to make it work but right now he don’t see that happening bc I can’t back off and he feels like since my sister and him and my mom and him don’t get along is hurting our marriage. It’s so hard for me to go through the day wondering what he is doing or who he is talking to. It hurts he don’t show me attention how do I win him back

  8. Been There January 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Julie – I understand. My husband had a 6 month EA and then it turned physical and that lasted 6 more months. During the first 6 months of the EA I did everything you did and it pushed him closer to her and further away from me. Our day to day life was consumed with the EA. Don’t let the EA define your relationship. What can the two of you do together daily and weekly so that you begin to enjoy each other’s company again? You will drive yourself insane if you constantly check up on him and that will only push him further away. Remember, you cannot control another person’s actions. Even though as betrayed spouses we’d like to, we can’t. Take it one day at at time.

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