Episode 68: Why Not Keep Doing What You’re Doing?

by | Last updated: Mar 31, 2024 | Podcast

If you feel stuck in indecision about whether you should stay in your relationship or leave it… you likely don’t have enough information to make your decision (yet).

That’s the problem my client was facing: Her marriage had been struggling for years, and now she found herself deep inside an affair – no longer in love with her husband but undecided about what to do next.

In this episode, I walk you through the 90-day strategy we used to help her come to clarity, plus the difference between thoughtful decision-making and “convenient” decisions. If you feel stuck in indecision about your marriage, this episode is for you!

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

2:09 – What do you want? (What don’t you want?)
5:18 – What are your reasons WHY?
7:21 – The 90-day ground rules for success
9:20 – But the goal is NOT “wedded bliss in 90 days!”
12:23 – Ask this question if you’re feeling stuck

Featured On Why Not Keep Doing What You’re Doing

Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage? Book a Truth & Clarity Session.

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Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you’re serious about finding that answer?

Book a Truth & Clarity Session with a member of my team. We’ll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there’s a fit for you and I to work together so you can make - and execute - the RIGHT decision for YOU and your marriage.

Welcome to the Loving Truth Podcast, where it's all about finding clarity, confidence and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now your host relationship expert and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope. Hello, loves, this is Sharon Pope and this is the Loving Truth. Today I wanna talk to you about why not just keep doing what it is that you're doing today.

Now I'm gonna share with you a story. I was on a call with a coaching client and she had been married about 10 years. She had two young kids, she'd been involved in an affair for the last couple years. Now her marriage has been in trouble for at least three or four years. She wanted to work on it, they had just,

she didn't know how. And you know, like a lot of people after they had kids, you know, you're just in survival mode. And so you sort of turn into what feels like roommates as opposed to being a couple when your kids are young. And then there was that connection that was missing between them. The problem is, of course, that she went outside the marriage to then fill that need for connection and now she's no longer even attracted to her partner.

So she has been stuck for a little while, stuck in indecision where she's not really trying in her marriage, she's not giving it a real fighting chance of working because she also knows that in order to really try it means she needs to cut off all contact with her affair partner. And she hasn't been willing to do that, but she also hasn't been taking steps to end the relationship.

So I asked her, seems like you're doing whatever you want to do, why don't you just keep doing it? And she said, well, it's not getting me what I want. I said, great, tell me what you want and why do you want it? Now we were getting somewhere. So when this happens a lot, when I ask people what they want,

what they will often tell me is what they don't want. And that's been the elements about their current experience that they don't appreciate. So she said, you know, here's what I don't want. I don't want regret. I don't want to harm my kids and I don't wanna feel negative emotions. I don't wanna feel stressed and anxious anymore, but I also don't wanna feel lonely and sad and I don't wanna feel the loss of this marriage.

And by the way, I have a little FOMO because what if my affair partner goes and finds someone else and then my marriage doesn't work out and then I'm left alone because she's thinking there's only these two men on the planet. Clearly I always make jokes about that because I'm like, look, I know you think that there's just your husband and this affair partner and those are the only options.

Those are your options today. So anyway, so she felt like she would always wonder or regret leaving the marriage, ending the marriage if she didn't really make a valiant effort, if she didn't really give it her best. So in the past, like there was, she told me there was like a month or two month long period where she really tried.

But when I asked her to tell me about that, trying what that looked like and what that felt like, I can tell you for sure her head was not in the game. It was sort of like white knuckling it, like I'm gonna give up sugar for 60 days. But then at the end of the 60 days you go and you binge on sugar.

That's sort of how she was approaching it. So she wasn't taking the tools that she had learned through me and applying them. She was just sort of being nice and, and not seeing her a fair partner, but they would still text. So they're still communicating even though they're not seeing each other, things like that. So her head was not in the game,

and as you can imagine, it was not terribly successful. So what we started to talk about was, look, the only way to know that your marriage cannot evolve to a new place, the surefire way is to get equipped with new tools to apply those tools. This is not just about you becoming smarter, this is about you actually changing how you show up in the relationship.

Apply those tools and give it your very best effort. Like all your love, all your focus, all your attention, all your presence, you give it your best. And if it doesn't shift, then you do have an answer for yourself. You do have some more and better information than you did before, or something will shift and then you'll see the relationship differently.

You'll have a different level of hope than you did before, but to just stay doing the same thing that you're doing, you should not ever expect to get a different result. So had to get her focused on what is the result that you want. This is so important. Know what you want and why you want it. Now, related to the why her,

why for trying previously was because, you know, it'd just be so much easier if I didn't have to blow up my life and blow up my marriage and tell my kids and share custody of my kids and all of that. It would just be so much easier. It would be more convenient, look easier and convenient is not going to be enough to help you walk through that process.

Like reengaging on a disconnected marriage is going to require something of you that is not, that's not easy lifting, that's not all comfy and cozy in your, in your comfort zone because if it was, you would've figured out how to do it it a long time ago. So it's going to be uncomfortable at times. And just that it, it would be a little bit more convenient and it sure would be easier,

is not gonna be enough to get you through those difficult times. You need a more compelling reason. And so I kind of pressed her on that. And where she landed was, she said to me, you know, I did love him once. We just lost that. Now she was starting to get into something that that's going to feel more compelling for her to be able to navigate that,

the difficulties ahead of her trying. So where we landed was she said, you know what? My kids and my family are worth me giving this 90 days. Like if I'm really gonna give this I'm, I'm gonna give it my very best, all my love, all my attention, all my focus, all my presence. I'm gonna give it my all for the next 90 days.

Now I think it's really important to note, think about what's in your toolbox. If your go-to is what exists today, which is probably like some version of not fighting, being nice to each other, the basics of relationship. You might need some more tools in that box in order to be successful. I'm just saying, okay, hence why you're listening to this podcast,

getting some tools. Now, I gave her some ground rules for this time because I, I wanted her to be successful. And by success for me what that meant is get more information. If you're an indecision, you don't yet have enough information, so you need more information. So here's the ground rules. You have to give it your best. We already talked about that you clearly cannot communicate with your affair partner.

And I suggested you don't even tell him that you're doing this 90 day thing. Because essentially when you do that, when you're telling an a affair partner, Hey, I'm gonna go try in my marriage for 90 days. 'cause you put that clock on it, what you're essentially asking them to do is to stand by and wait for you just in case.

And you know, it's a little bit of controlling out of a place of fear. And so I said, I don't want you even telling him that you're doing this experiment. You just have to break the contact. And if he moves on with his life, so be it. If he's still around and your marriage ends up not working out, so be it like whatever.

But don't try to manipulate and control the situation just out of your fear. So that was an agreement she had to come to. Another one is that I told her, you don't make a decision for 90 days. So you don't wake up every day going, am I in this? Am I out of this? Is it working? Is it not working?

Because if you are making decisions, you're gonna hit one of those rocky points, one of those difficult moments because it's not gonna be easy. And then you're gonna wanna give up and you're gonna go, see, it's not working, I should just leave, blah, blah, blah. But if you expect that you're gonna hit some of those points and you're not allowed to make any decision for 90 days,

you gather that information over the course of the 90 days, and then at 90 days you make a decision. So now you're not making a knee-jerk decision based upon one interaction or one bad day. It's more from a body of work and a consistent best effort on your part. Now the goal here was not to get her from disconnection in her marriage to wedded bliss in 90 days.

Okay? A lot of people would say, I don't actually think that's possible. Now I have seen it, but it's not likely from where she's at today. So the goal is not to get to wedded bliss. The goal is give it 90 days to see does something shift within me that gives me new hope, that helps me evolve the relationship to a new place?

Or how I could see how the relationship could evolve to a new place? Does something shift within me in terms of how I think about my marriage and how I think about my partner? That's all we're looking for. And the answer can be yes or no, because either way that is important to know and it's good information that goes into your decision making process.

Okay? Another one is you have to apply the tools, right? This is not just, I'm gonna go be nice and not talk to my affair partner and white knuckle it for 90 days. And when I come through that, then I can check the box that, Hey, look, I tried. That's all about how other people perceive you and not being judged.

Only you are going to ever really know. If you gave it your best, you are the only one that is going to know, but you are the only one that has to live with that. So give it your best so that you can look yourself in the mirror a year from now, five years from now and go, you know what? That was a difficult situation,

but I'm proud of how I handled it. Right? That's why you do it. And then the last piece was something else that we had talked about was, which was she needed to be her full self inside of her marriage. You know, sometimes particularly as women, we come into marriage and we fall into these roles of wife and mother and that has a certain box put around it and we forget or we abandon the woman part of us because we are also a woman.

And that means that there are, there are sometimes parts of ourselves that we don't express or we don't let our partners see because it doesn't fit into that role of wife and mother. And that was a part that she was able to express obviously with her affair partner. And so now that can't be something that she just gets rid of. Like it's not,

that's not an option. So she has to be able to bring her full self to that relationship. And frankly, her partner deserves that because he needs to know who he's in relationship with. And if you are denying whole parts of yourself just to keep the peace, then who he loves is just a version of you. Small segments of you, but not the whole of you.

And that's the nature of intimate relationship is knowing each other so wholly and so completely, which means you're gonna see the good and the bad and the ugly and the beautiful, all of it. So she needed to be her full self. So those were the ground rules going into her best effort inside of her relationship. And so if you are feeling stuck and you've been stuck for a little while,

I want you to ask yourself, why wouldn't I just keep doing what I'm doing? Right? Because trying that feels hard. Ending the marriage. Well, that feels hard. Maybe I'll just stay stuck. Stuck and and keep repeating. I don't know. I don't know i'll, that feels better. That feels easier. But it'll never get you what you want.

You'll never create a life that feels really beautiful and soulful and connected and authentic from that place. So the only path through is through. And if you are in indecision, you just need more information. How do you get more information? It's not by doing the same thing you've always done. It's by doing something different. And when you do something different,

you start to understand, well, did that feel good? Did that not feel good? Did it, did something shift? Did something not shift? Like you start to get more information about what the relationship could be. This isn't about going backwards to like who you were as a couple before you had kids. Like that ship has sailed, okay? And it's just if you try to go backwards,

you're just gonna end up back in the same place. Especially if you only have the same tools. Like again, you can't do the same things and expect a different result. So we have to do something different. And when you do something different, my friends, you will learn something. It may not always be what you want, but it's always helpful.

So get really clear about what it is that you want. What do you really want? Do you want your marriage to work? Do you want it to evolve? This isn't, do you want your marriage as it is today? Because it probably doesn't feel good today, but do I want the relationship to evolve? Would I like to do this life alongside this other soul?

Is that what I really want? And I, but it just has to evolve. We have to grow. It has to move beyond where it is today. Or do I want to be free of this relationship? Get super clear about what it is that you want, and then reach for why do I want it? And if it's just, well,

I want it because then I won't have to change my lifestyle. Or I want it because gosh, it would just be so much easier. I wouldn't ever have to face my fears. Those are not compelling enough reasons. When shit gets hard, you're gonna run and you're gonna go back into indecision and into the place of, I don't know. And then you'll think there's no way out.

And that's not true. You just needed a more compelling reason. So reach for something that's compelling, right? Her saying, we used to love each other and her saying, my family and my children deserve 90 days of my very best effort before I change the trajectory of all of their lives forever. They deserve 90 days of my best. That's a compelling reason,

right? Our kids can be that compelling reason. So reach for what you want and why you want it and make it compelling. Alright, I hope that gives you something to really chew on and I hope that that was helpful for you. Until next time, please take really good care. If you're listening to this podcast because you're struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you're serious about finding that answer,

it's time to book a Truth and Clarity session with a member of my team. On the call, we'll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there's a fit for you and I to work together so you can make and execute the right decision for you and your marriage. Go to clarity for my marriage.com to fill out an application now that's clarity for my marriage.com.

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