Are You Addicted to Being Stuck - Part II

No one likes to be stuck. Not in financial duress, not in health trouble and certainly not in marital crisis. Its one thing to be stuck on a math problem but it’s another to be seemingly paralyzed unable to take action in either direction, simply reacting to your spouse’s behavior. When a spouse, particularly an unfaithful spouse, is exhibiting a behavior that is not only confusing but hurtful and indecisive, it only drives the knife in deeper. Their inability to take action causes more and more pain for everyone around them, none more so than the betrayed spouse. What are you to do? How do you get unstuck? Do you have any options?  What can you do to cause change?

The question we have to ask ourselves is, what are we willing to do to cause change in our spouse’s behavior? Here are a few follow up examples and points for discussion continued from the previous post:

“Samuel, I want THEM to be the one who takes action. I want them to sign us up for the EMS Weekend, or I want them to seek out help” or “I want them to do the work.” Sadly, you’ll be waiting the rest of your life in this particular situation. The unfaithful spouse is usually far too unhealthy to take initiative and action on their own.  Most times they are trying to just not upset you any further than they already have. Or, they don’t want to take any action as all they can see is pain to any choice they take. To say they are self-absorbed is a colossal understatement. What they don’t understand is their ambivalence is even more hurtful than taking action that may even result in a definitive answer that is not in the betrayed spouse’s best interest. Sometimes the betrayed spouse just wants closure to what road they are going to head down: divorce or reconciliation. The in-between, never-ending ambivalence is torturous. They’ve probably already shown you, if you don’t take action, they probably never will. Living and dying on them signing up for an EMS Weekend, or them pursuing the counseling, will only continue to disappoint. You must be the one, the healthy one, who will probably have to take action towards getting help. If they do not follow your lead, then the writing just may be on the wall and you’ll have to enact consequences to their lack of behavior and follow through.

“Nothing I do works. They are going to do what they want to do. They won’t be bullied.” Yes, they probably will do what they want to do, till there are consequences to their action or inaction. Sleeping in the guest room, moving out, having to tell the kids mommy and daddy are having problems and difficulties and need some time away (if they are old enough), or even filing for divorce may be what wakes them up. We typically only change our behavior due to the threat of loss or the threat of consequences. If we do not change, even at the threat of loss or consequences, we are probably so far gone the only hope that we will get it and wake up is to have to actually endure the consequences for a decent amount of time. If after consequences of this sort are enacted and there is still no desire to work on the situation or marriage, you (the betrayed) have started the process of saving yourself (and perhaps the kids) from years and years of unnecessary pain, hurt and ambivalence. You’ve started your own journey of healing which will take some time, but at least you’ve started it. At least you have clarity and you are refusing to live in codependency, stuck due to their choices and stubbornness.

If they are going to sober up or wake up it will usually come during the process of you, the betrayed, refusing to play the ‘addicted to being stuck’ game. It seems like complete injustice, that you, the one who is the true victim here, would be expected to take action to get healthy. It is unfair. It is wrong. It is grossly unfortunate, but this is what it’s like to live with a dysfunctional and deceived individual. The healthy one, yes it sounds like a parent, has to be the one who decides to stop the addiction. I wish it was the other way around, but it typically isn’t.

I pray you, the healthy one, find courage today. The courage you need to break the addiction and intervene. Someone has to. It might as well be you. 

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