Rick's Q & A Call on August 25, 2014

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Married For Life, Week 3 Question

My husband and I have recently finished our EMSO series and are now engaged in the Married for Life weekly meetings. While I miss the facilitated-group-leader experience I am enjoying the opportunity to check in weekly with a community of couples who are focused on healing the trauma of infidelity.
I’m wondering if you can give me some clarity about the assignment for Week 3 in our series. It’s the “Conclusion” exercise. We are to imagine that we are leaving a testament for our life. My confusion comes because the exercise seems to have no context. I’m not certain why we are doing it? What is the wisdom we are to gain from documenting all our ideas, beliefs, and convictions?
In Week 1 you gave us an overview of the MFL series and then we completed the survey inquiring about being present and available to our partner. This week (Week 2) you spoke about why we fight and introduced Dr. Sue Johnson’s model of why we don’t remain emotionally attached. The lesson ended with the three demon dialogues and you mentioning that we would be exploring them over the next few weeks. That was exciting to me as I have been reading her latest book, “Love Sense”. Her words and theories have been a phenomenal support as I journeyed through the EMSO series.
However when I glanced at the lesson plan for Week 3 it is to do the Conclusion exercise. In the past I have done similar exercises to help generate gratitude for my life and to focus on the legacy I would like to leave. A kind of count-your-blessings experience rather than focusing on the negative and who-done-you-wrong attitude that can get the better of us at times. If you could share your intention for this exercise I would greatly appreciate it.

Married for Life, Week 4 Question

Me again Rick – with a Week 4 question. The only assignment this week is to record all our disagreements and try to identify which of the demon dialogues is present in each quarrel. Then we are to share our findings with the group. There is part of me that is screaming, “This doesn’t feel safe!”. Can you give our group some guidelines that will create an atmosphere of safety and non-judgment during our discussion time? We are not experienced facilitators of couple’s therapy and I have observed a pattern within our community where we run a 2-to-4 ratio. Two couples having challenges to four couples having a peaceful week. My concern is with doing no harm to anyone having challenges in Week 4. I desire a productive round table discussion where blame, rejection, guilt and remorse get checked at the door. Can you say a few words that would create a “container” for us since the lesson is again, in my opinion, without context. Thanks.

Middle Circle Boundaries vs Good Practices

Hi Rick - I am the unfaithful spouse, whose struggles over the years have been with pornography, inappropriate emotional affairs, and fantasy about sexual and emotional relationships with women. I have been fighting this for the past 5 years, going through a sexual addiction recovery program. It has been since the full disclosure to my wife that I have found the most success in overcoming the addiction; the EMS weekend has helped that process immensely.

I have set up boundaries for myself - inner and middle circle behaviors that, when violated, are reported to my wife and accountability partners. Where I'm confused is differentiating between boundaries and good steps to take to minimize the risk of violating a middle circle behavior. When I violate middle circle behaviors (my boundaries), it creates appropriate fear in my wife about my ability to remain faithful. I want to have middle circle behaviors as boundaries, but I don't want to create boundaries out of the good practices I take to minimize risk of crossing my middle circle boundary.

For instance, one boundary is to not visually dwell on them, which leads to fantasy. A practice that I've put in place to help me with that is to do my best to pick a safe seat in a meeting - where I have little line of sight exposure to women. That way, it minimizes how hard I have to work to avoid looking at them during the meeting. Is this practice a good practice, or a middle circle boundary? The concern I have with making it a boundary is that sometimes, there are no great options, and I just have to minimize risk by choosing to sit where I judge it will be safest for me.

Another example - in work dealings with women, I do my best to move to a more impersonal mode of communication. For instance, I try to handle requests by email, rather than personal meetings/phone calls. Is this a boundary (to force everything to email), or a good practice? It seems as this is more of a good practice, as there are times when I cannot avoid a meeting or conversations to work on an issue.

Last example - I maintain space around me during meetings, to avoid close proximity to women. If an attractive woman sits next to me, I have a choice of creating more space and remaining where I am, or getting up and moving, with an excuse like "I've got a crick in my neck" or "this chair isn't working for me". Would getting up and moving be a boundary, or a good practice?

Thanks for your help with this.

Supportive vs co-dependent

What is the difference between being supportive and being co-dependent?
I am trying to support my spouse in recovery from addiction. Please give an example of an appropriate way to show support. Thanks

What type of affair was it?

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