Part One: STOP THE PURSUIT
If your spouse has told you in no uncertain terms that they are leaving, they’ve mentioned that separation is the best thing right now, they would like a divorce, maybe they’ve already filed for divorce, or maybe you sleep in separate rooms and have virtually no contact.
One of the first thing that likely runs through your mind is "oh no, is this the end?" The answer is "no" it's not over. You AND your relationship are not hopeless or helpless.
This technique we are going to talk about for the next couple of posts is known as the Last-Resort Technique and was coined by a lady named Michele Weiner-Davis. Here is the formula:
1. STOP THE PURSUIT
2. GET A LIFE
3. WAIT AND WATCH
Dave Ramsey says, "if you want what no one else has you must do what no one else is doing." He is referring to money management but the quote really applies in the case of relationship management as well.
What most people do when they are faced with an unwanted separation is pursue, reason, chase, beg, plead, and implore the other the stay. They send long winded e-mails and call them over and over at odd hours of the night and day just to hear their voice. They promise change and all their possessions just to have them back. There may be lots of phone calls, letters, heartfelt please for sympathy, some even send suicide threats. It doesn't take long before the departing spouse gets fed up with the pressure and insists the marriage is over, prompting the other spouse to chase even more. The effects of this chasing behavior are deadly to a marriage. This is the wrong way to handle the situation.
It is human nature to chase your loved one when you feel your life is disintegrating before your eyes. It is also human nature to flea when coerced or pressured. One thing that happens when you chase your spouse is you take the focus off your failing marriage and crumbling family and direct the spotlight right onto you. Your spouse becomes so irritated with you that the only thing they can think about is getting rid of you.
This is one of the only times that persistence doesn’t pay. It actually causes your spouse to feel angry and robs them of the opportunity to reflect on other emotions such as sadness, guilt, grief, remorse, and any other emotions that could help your cause. They don’t have a chance to look in the mirror and accept responsibility for your marital problems.
REMEMBER: This technique doesn’t cure the underlying problems in a marriage and isn’t designed to do so. It’s simply a method of putting the brakes on a dynamic that is sure to end a marriage. Once reconciliation is considered, it is important to take care of the underlying issues in therapy. It is also not meant for every single case.
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“Brad Robinson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an expert in infidelity recovery in Tulsa, OK. Together with his wife Morgan Robinson they teach people about how to understand and overcome infidelity and how to make their marriage thrive even after betrayal. You can learn more about their work by visiting www.familyandlifesolutions.com”