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The Simplified 180

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SerJR posted 1/14/2017 17:20 PM

The Simplified 180

It's been a few years since I've read through the 180 bullet list, despite understanding the basic fundamental point to detach from a hurtful situation and focus on moving forward independently. Looking through the thirty-odd points in the list... I can see how it gets confusing and possibly even contradictory if taken out of context. The following is what I believe a distilled version of the 180 looks like with just a few simple guiding principles to keep in mind.

Principle #1 Donít reward their behaviour.
A common game that the betrayed spouse will play is the ďpick meĒ game where they try to win back the wayward spouse. When terrible things happen, itís natural to want to feel a sense of control and if we can find fault with ourselves, then one could reasonably assume that you could fix things by just trying harder. The problem with this codependent thinking is that you didnít cause your partner to cheat and you canít control the choices that they make. Cheating is fuelled by a sense of entitlement and when you try to compete you just reinforce that entitlement. If you refuse to live with infidelity in your marriage, then donít reward your partner for their cheating or try to manipulate them into staying with you. You deserve better.

Principle #2 Donít shield them from consequences.
Donít feel that you have to passively endure the mistreatment of your wayward partnerís infidelity. Doing nothing grants passive approval and gives up your own power to take charge and make your own choices. If a situation isnít changing, then action is required to make it change. You have a right and a responsibility to protect what is important to you. Be clear with these boundaries and let your wayward spouse know if you would prefer to work on your relationship, but that without a doubt you will not accept staying in a relationship if their behaviour continues. Donít sugar-coat it for them, call it as it is. If their behaviour is continuing, take the necessary steps to protect yourself such as consulting an attorney to educate yourself on options and separating resources and finances. It is not up to you to bear the burden for your wayward partnerís selfish choices. Take action and take charge.

Principle #3 Let go of the emotional strings.
Oftentimes, the wayward spouse will go on the offensive Ė arguing, blame-shifting, minimising or justifying their actions, projecting untruths, lying, making threats, and so forth. Engaging in these arguments serves to meet their negative emotional needs and further entrench their delusion. By changing how you behave or interact you can remove yourself from a manipulative situation and detach to preserve your emotional wellbeing. By practising control over your feelings, thoughts, and actions you can maintain a calm and steady centre of being and speak truthfully and directly with quiet assertiveness. If your wayward partner tries to pull your emotional strings, you simply let them go in order to avoid being dragged back down into the mire. You regain control of your life by refusing to be played for a puppet Ė you are the one who is in control of yourself.

Principle #4 Take care of yourself and get involved in your life.
Whatever happens and whatever path you walk, you need to be at your best. Pay attention to your mental, emotional, and physical health. Donít deny yourself the right to feel your emotions, but at the same time create that picture of who you ultimately want to be and keep that end-goal in mind. Focus on your personal self improvement. Take some time to think about what your emotional needs are, how to simplify the clutter in your life, and how to surround yourself with healthy and enriching relationships and get involved in activities that you enjoy.

Principle #5 Stay true to yourself.
Above all, you need to keep faith in yourself and be authentic with yourself. You deserve your self-respect and you have to be willing to stand up for it. You put the focus on your choices and empowerment to nurture yourself to grow and evolve and live out your values to create a healthier and more balanced life for you and those you care about. You live your life understanding that you can navigate through change and adversity to create that brighter future for yourself.

The Spectrum of the 180

It's important to realise too, that the 180 isn't an all or nothing endeavour, but that it exists within a spectrum. It's important to understand the position that you are in, and to adapt the particulars to best meet the situation.

The Soft 180 creates some space to help you find clarity and perspective. It is a reminder to focus on yourself, your peace of mind, your choices, and letting go of things that are inhibiting your emotional health. You focus on reinforcing your independence over codependence through healthy, but not dismissive, detachment while still allowing your needs to be met by your partner. Itís about realising that it is okay to think about and identify what you need in and want from life, and to express those things to your partner. It is okay to allow others to be responsible for themselves (actually it's even in their best interest) and to let go of situations and outcomes that you can't control. In fact, itís healthy because you let go of the unnecessary stress and allow yourself to move forward unencumbered by it. You make it clear that there are limits to what conduct you will accept in your relationship, but you don't have to feel guilty about things that aren't your issue. When someone violates your boundaries, you still have a responsibility to yourself to challenge it or else you are the one to compromise your own values. The soft 180 is still very productive if youíre both all in and working to reconcile, because you gain some objective distance to help reset and focus on behaviour in the relationship and decide what you are willing and not willing to accept. Itís about understanding the past, living in the present, and building for the future.

The Hard 180 is a cold dose of reality for everyone involved, but most especially for you, when you are in a situation in which you are continuing to be actively or passively hurt. In effect, you are saying "I am hurt by this behaviour and if/as it continues I will evaluate all of my options to take care of myself". You must be willing to uphold your boundaries and step away from the situation to move forward on your own when that is the only thing that you are able to change and control. Not only that, but you put up protective walls to cut off emotional ties to toxic relationships. You recognise that the healthiest choice, for everyone involved, is to leave others to be responsible for their actions and for the consequences of the choices they are making. Itís about standing up for yourself to make a decision. It doesnít mean that you canít change your mind in the future if the situation changes, but it does mean you refuse to be a part of the current situation and you refuse to live with it. You want to focus on the critical aspects of the situation to deal with reality, while letting go of the emotional ballast that weighs you down. You have to stay smart and think rationally without being controlled by anger or thoughts of revenge Ė itís a focus on eliminating problems, not on creating them. The priority is protecting your emotional, mental, and physical health by protecting what is important to you and setting yourself free so that you can move forward unimpeded.

[This message edited by SerJR at 8:25 PM, January 18th (Wednesday)]

mchercheur posted 1/14/2017 17:40 PM

This is really excellent! Thank you for your time and energy in simplifying/summarizing it.
Reading through it, I made every mistake possible after Dday.
I did the "pick me" dance, I shielded WH from consequences, and I did not cut the emotional strings.
I kept reading on here to focus on myself, in order to heal myself, and I did not know what that meant
until some time had passed. Now, I think I understand it much better.
I kept reading that the WS had to "do the work", and I did not realize how much work *I* had to do.
Now, even though I understand much better what my work is, it is still a struggle. It is a lifelong journey.
I only wish I had found SI earlier.

SerJR posted 1/14/2017 17:53 PM

Reading through it, I made every mistake possible after Dday.

I'm willing to wager that most of us did the same. It's certainly not an easy thing to "get"... but it is very liberating when it does all of a sudden click. And when it does click, you realise that it's not just about infidelity but that it applies to all relationships. You're absolutely right that it's about refocusing to ourselves and that it's about the path we take in our journeys moving forward. Never stop growing as a person.

mchercheur posted 1/14/2017 18:05 PM

Yep, and if WS wants to come along for the ride, great!

SerJR posted 1/14/2017 18:09 PM

Yep... but you're in the driver's seat

minusone posted 1/14/2017 20:54 PM

Thank you SerJR....

SoFloGirl posted 1/14/2017 22:55 PM

Im guilty of "pick me dance" more so bc i just wanna know H loved me...creating space is helping...1 day at a time

Unloveable posted 1/15/2017 08:56 AM

Detaching is the hardest step for me. I definitely have the NC down but always seem to engage in manipulation, things being twisted to be my fault - I didn't feel wanted or desired by you, while for a year I have begged and pleaded with him to talk to me because there was a disconnect between us - voicing doubts and concerns only to be told I'm over reacting and being insecure and he didn't deserve my mistrust and the whole time he was having online affairs. Even after discovering his betrayal I find myself drawn into the cycle of I'm over reacting. It was online, I never met them in person, so I didn't physically cheat on you. It was new and exciting and yeah we exchanged nude photos but I never touched or called another woman. Telling people he talked to a few women on kik and I felt betrayed. All minimizing the actuality of what he did. There are moments I find myself believing his justifications and thinking well I'm lucky it was online. Then I get angry because regardless it violated our marriage vows and even more angry that I'm still allowing myself to be manipulated.

[This message edited by Unloveable at 9:03 AM, January 15th (Sunday)]

SerJR posted 1/16/2017 05:39 AM


When he starts with that, try something to the effect of "I know what's going on and that behaviour is unacceptable to me. I want an open and honest partner who respects his commitments and will do his part in the marriage. It's up to you how you follow through, but should this behaviour continue I will have to find a way to move forward with my life so that I'm no longer allowing myself to be hurt." Stay on point with the focus about what *you* need and what *you* can do about this, while giving him the opportunity to step up. If he continues with minimising or arguing the 'trivial' details to avoid the point, then let him know that you don't care to argue and you are just letting him know where things stand.

[This message edited by SerJR at 5:39 AM, January 16th (Monday)]

SerJR posted 1/18/2017 20:33 PM

Added in what a hard 180 vs. a soft 180 looks like

gamewarden posted 1/18/2017 21:07 PM

I'm really having trouble with the 180, especially with detaching. It has just made me feel more depressed. And then I got angry again and confronted him again about the dating sites without giving away the evidence I have. He denied, denied, and denied some more....and then he ran away from the conversation yet again. Before he left he actually said to me "you must get off on this" referring to my confrontation of his behavior. But he came back and is pretending to care just enough but still not being honest. So the merry-go-round continues. Ugh!!!

Trippd posted 1/18/2017 22:18 PM

Can we pin this to the top?
I especially love he hard 180 vs soft 180 comparison.
Thank you SerJR

[This message edited by Trippd at 10:19 PM, January 18th (Wednesday)]

annb posted 1/19/2017 14:20 PM


ont1throw posted 1/20/2017 09:44 AM

This is excellent.

I really value the suggested/sample language offered here. I'm *trying* to apply a soft 180 but caught up in some blameshifting (some of which I personally think I own in the M but not the A). Overtime, I'd suggest more sample language. I've seen great suggestions in this sub forum.

Where does physical contact come into play here? I am actually pretty okay with staying firm and distant via email/text/phone during the day. At night, when WW wants to connect (hug, kiss, more) then I find it hard to push off (partly because I'm still in love, partly because it is comforting to feel connected).

HTheIs posted 1/20/2017 13:38 PM

Thank you for this - I've read the 180 many times, but you have simplified it in such a way that it doesnt seem overwhelming.

Currently I think I'm working on a soft 180. I still stumble through - especially with physical detachment (much like ont1throw I'm still in love so it's a tough one). I definitely did the "Pick Me" dance and have been catching myself heading in that direction in moments of paranoia and insecurity.

Definitely one day at a time.

SerJR posted 1/21/2017 19:48 PM

Overtime, I'd suggest more sample language.

Check out these articles in the Healing Library:

Where does physical contact come into play here?

It all depends on your situation and what you need. If your WS is unremorseful, still cheating, or hasn't gotten STD checks, then this is a big, emphatic "Hell NO!".
If your WS is doing everything that they can and is being genuine, then that is your own call to make. You don't have to feel pressured to do anything you don't want or are not ready to do. You need the connection to be real. But it is common that reconciling partners can go through a phase of 'Hysterical Bonding' which can further encourage connection and communication.

minusone posted 1/23/2017 06:21 AM


SerJR posted 1/30/2017 16:22 PM

nowiknow23 posted 2/1/2017 11:06 AM

WornDown posted 2/1/2017 12:37 PM

That is truly distilling it down to it's essence.

Short enough for someone to print out and put in their pocket to refer to often, but enough detail to describe what to do.

Brilliant. Great job, sir!

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