This post will continue answering the probing questions asked by a gentle reader here. I apologize for the multiple posts tonight, but I think you will agree it is better than the mile-long single post this was turning into before.
“Were you asking for permission or agreement–did it need to be a joint decision that he could void by disagreeing?”
I don’t think I was actually asking for permission, now that you mention it. In that moment I just couldn’t have him walking in the door spewing his lies or giving me excuses. That seemed like an ultimate betrayal of the trust I am trying to rebuild with him. Maybe if he had disagreed and had something genuine and heartfelt to say he could have changed that. I’m not really sure, though.
As for it being a joint decision or not, I think I’m going to skip to another question that is a little bit out of order:
Did you or do you have a formal Plan of Action for boundary breaches?
Yes and No, I suppose. The very first item of our Relationship Boundaries is:
“We will not tolerate lies, distortion of truth, or not being entirely up front with each other – even if we think we’re trying to protect each other in some way. I promise not to lie to you and you must promise not to lie (or stretch the truth) to me. Honesty is always better. Know that lies are worse than almost anything we could ever do to each other.
The consequence for lying will be that the other spouse will 180 to protect themself (see description of 180 on separate sheet). We will sleep in separate rooms. There will be no kissing or sex until the other spouse feels comfortable and safe again. Any lie has the ability to bring us back to ground zero in the trust factor and marriage recovery; even a small lie. If lying continues to be an issue, this will be cause for separation and potentially divorce.”
So, we have spelled out some consequences of lying. Separation is one of those consequences. The Boundary Agreement describes what amounts to an in-home separation (different beds, no sex, etc.), but also mentions that continuous lying will be cause for separation and potentially divorce. The term “separation” there meant one where we do not reside in the same house. I realize now that wording may not be specific enough.
In my mind, what he did amounts to an ongoing lie that certainly “continues to be an issue” between us. I saw his actions over that week (and especially that day on the phone with me) as being serious enough to warrant time apart – separate from one another. I felt he had given enough consent to that in our Boundary Agreement that he should honor my request without argument.
However, if he had fought to stay in the home and work things out I might have acquiesced. Instead, all he sent was what I perceived to be a “poor, pitiful me” text that said “I know you dont owe me anything it will take me some time to find a place to stay.” I responded by saying, “You have multiple family members within the area & friends so I’m sure you can find somewhere.”
What did asking for–or saying you wanted–a separation mean for that day? Did it mean he could come home, stay the night and you would talk about it? Basically, how firm was the boundary?
I made it clear that I did not want him to stay the night. In fact, this is what I said exactly, “You can drop off the stuff & pick up what you need but I can’t have you stay.” The “stuff” in question was some ear drops he had picked up earlier for my ear infection. What I wanted was some space to consider what this new breach of trust meant. I did not trust myself to be able to have any type of intelligent conversation about it, and I really wanted to be able to think about how we can move forward (if at all).
The next post will talk about my (extensive) thoughts about how we might be able to accomplish moving forward and where exactly I think we are right now.