I’ve been though it. It sucks. It sucks worse than anything you can imagine. It sucks worse than him dying. It sucks worse than him dying a slow painful death, because he’s still alive, doing everything a guy you’d want to hate, poison or wish the devil would whisk to hell would do. But he’s your husband, the guy you promised to be with forever. The guy you feel in love with and trusted and believed in.
However painful….if you don’t want a divorce and want him to remain as your husband, the father of your kids living with you as one happy family, then the following advice are things that worked for me.
1) Shut up. Say very little. Smile and just be quiet.
2) No demands. Ask him if he wants to go to the kids football game, school event.
3) Don’t ask him how he feels (he doesn’t know). He needs to man up. Ask him what he thinks. To be a man, a man has to think.
4) Never argue. (Gosh that’s hard) Specially when they tell you how they feel. If you argue with their feelings (cause only they know how they feel and the feelings of a single human being – no matter how silly they are to you – are 100% accurate to the other person) you will lose. If you argue with their feelings it only makes their feelings stronger – against you. You will lose…and they will close off talking to you.
5) Be patient. Buy the book on The Power of Patience.
6) LISTEN. Learn to clear your mind and really 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! Then when they have nothing more to say…apologize genuinely. Pause and apologize again. Even if you don’t want to. Believe they are wrong or stupid or ridiculous. Saying you are sorry you have hurt them or had them feel such negative thoughts for so long gives them ZERO to hold onto. There is nothing to be mad at anymore. Argue with their feelings or what they are upset about and you will lose.
7) Learn to stop talking, shut up, back off, and just keep your mouth shut (did I say that already???). Keep it shut no matter what they say or what they try to provoke you with.
8) Little monsters. Imagine you head for a second. Throughout the day you walk around talking and doing things with your head. When someone pushes your buttons, we all have a little monster inside our head that pop out and take over, being mean, unreasonable, and completely ridiculous. These little monsters can only talk to other little monsters of other people who’ve had their little monsters pop out of their heads and get a wee bit crazy. (Look around at a kids soccer game – tons of dads (maybe moms) have their little monsters doing all the yelling for them) Monsters can’t talk to a regular human, they can only talk to a monster. So if you keep your monster tucked inside your brain and stay steady, your spouses monster will have no one to talk to. And when there is no one to talk to or argue with…they go away. Period. Keep quiet. Stay in control of what you know is right and his/her monster will have nothing to do but go away.
9) Do what you like to do. Take a morning walk with friends, grap a coffee that you like, do a class, laugh often, breath and read every book you can find on the subject of midlife crisis.
10) Learn to love yourself – (find friends that adore you and ask them to tell you (repeatedly) (over and over) why you are so awesome).
11) Practice being strong and quiet.
12) Learn to become confident.
13) Stop the ANTS: Automatic Negative Thoughts (about yourself and your situation)
14) Say only nice things about your spouse to the people that ask. “We are going through a difficult time…I appreciate your kind thoughts and prayers.” Negative comments go far. Positive die quick. You don’t want the world talking about you. So you don’t talk about you to them.
15) Three friends. Ask them to be your buddies though this. Tell them what you want and how you need their support and to keep their opinions (like “you are stupid, crazy, wrong….you should just move on!”) to themselves. I lost a bunch of friends that told me I was so insecure to hope and believe that my hubby would get his crap together (while he was in the midst of his affair). Doing what I did is impossible if I was insecure. Insecure people run, hide, take the easy way out. I did not do that. I stood up for my family and cried “BULL” and knew 100% my hubby would wake up and realize what he’d almost lost.
Three words I lived and breathed:
Hope. / Just Love.
Think of every human problem you faced in the past year and see if the words “Just love” solves it.