The 180

Several years ago, Michelle Wiener Davis, the author of Divorce Busting, introduced a concept to the world of infidelity that is designed to help you and your partner move forward in the healing of your relationship.  She suggested that any new betrayed partner implement these behaviors immediately.  They aren’t designed to make you look good or your partner bad.  They are, however, a means of protection for the betrayed.  They also empower the betrayed to face their new world with dignity and bravery.  A betrayed spouse who uses these steps will appear stronger to the wayward partner, and that is exactly what you want to portray.

This list is titled “The 180” and it won’t take you long to figure out why.  What you are actually doing is a complete 180 degree rotation in your actions and attitude.  You no longer are a weeping sack of sorrow.  Suddenly, you appear strong, happy, independent, and quite capable of making it on your own.

I remember when I first heard about the concept of the 180.  I actually thought it was a really stupid idea.  I was so codependent and wrapped up in him that it felt like the completely wrong thing to do.  I thought I would be pushing him away, putting on a façade when I was asking for more honesty and openness, and making myself seem cold-hearted.  Now I understand that the 180 is not about that.  It’s about protecting yourself.  It’s about finding yourself.  It’s about enjoying who you are without the other person.  It’s about not getting sucked into unnecessary drama.  These are all healthy steps no matter if you ultimately stay together or go your own ways.

So here, it is without further ado:

The 180

1. Don’t pursue reason, chase, beg, plead or implore.

2. No frequent phone calls.

3. Don’t point out “good points” in marriage.

4. Don’t follow her/him around the house.

5. Don’t encourage or initiate discussion about the future.

6. Don’t ask for help from the family members of your wayward partner.

7. Don’t ask for reassurances.

8. Don’t buy or give gifts.

9. Don’t schedule dates together.

10. Don’t keep saying, “I Love You!” Because if you really think about it, he/she is, at this particular moment, not very loveable.

11. Do more than act as if you are moving on with your life; begin moving on with your life!

12. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and independent.

13. Don’t sit around waiting on your spouse – get busy, do things, go out with friends, enjoy old hobbies, find new ones! But stay busy!

14. When home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation) be scarce or short on words. Don’t push any issue, no matter how much you want to!

15. If you’re in the habit of asking your spouse his/her whereabouts, ASK NOTHING. Seem totally uninterested.

16. Your partner needs to believe that you have awakened to the fact that “they (the wayward partner)” are serious concerning their assertions as to the future (or lack there of) of your marriage. Thus, you are you are moving on with your life…without them!

17. Don’t be nasty, angry or even cold – Just pull yourself back.  Don’t always be so available…for anything!  Your spouse will notice.  More important, he/she will notice that you’re missing.

18. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment.  Make yourself be someone they would want to be around, not a moody, needy, pathetic individual but a self-assured individual secure in the knowledge that they have value.

19. All questions about the marriage should be put on hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may not be for quite a while). Initiate no such conversation!

20. Do not allow yourself to lose your temper.  No yelling, screaming or name calling EVER.  No show of temper!  Be cool, act cool; be in control of the only thing you can control.  YOURSELF!

21. Don’t be overly enthusiastic.

22. Do not argue when they tell you how they feel (it only makes their feelings stronger).  In fact, refuse to argue at all!

23. Be patient and learn to not only listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you.  Hear what it is that they are saying!  Listen and then listen some more!

24. Learn to back off, keep your mouth shut and walk away when you want to speak out, no matter what the provocation.  No one ever got themselves into trouble by just not saying anything.

25. Take care of you.  Exercise, sleep, laugh & focus on all the other parts of your life that are not in turmoil.

26. Be strong, confident and learn to speak softly.

27. Know that if you can do this 180, your smallest CONSISTENT action will be noticed far more than any words you can say or write.

28. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are feeling totally desperate and needy.

29. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse.  It’s not always about you!  More to the point, at present they just don’t care.

30. Do not believe any of what you hear them say and less than 50% of what you see.  Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives and do so in the most strident tones imaginable.  Try to remember that they are also hurting and afraid.  Try to remember that they know what they are doing is wrong and so they will say anything they can to justify their behavior.

31. Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.  It “ain’t over till it’s over!”

32. Do not backslide from your hard-earned changes. Remain consistent!  It is the consistency of action and attitude that delivers the message.

33. When expressing your dissatisfaction with the actions of the wayward party, never be judgmental, critical or express moral outrage. Always explain that your dissatisfaction is due to the pain that the acts being committed are causing you as a person.  This is the kind of behavior that will cause you to be a much more attractive and mysterious individual.  Further it SHOWS that you are NOT afraid to move on with your life.  Still more important, it will burst their positive little bubble; the one in which they believe that they can always come back to you in case things don’t work out with the affair partner.

411 Responses to “The 180”

  1. Anonymous March 11, 2022 at 7:20 pm #

    #24 “No one ever got themselves into trouble by just not saying anything.”

    Seems a bit tone deaf on advice related to infidelity. I’m sure some wayward partners did in fact get themselves into trouble by just not saying anything. So often there is an “I didn’t lie, I just didn’t tell the truth.” I recommend simply redacting that line as it’s not necessary.

  2. Somebody call my Mom February 2, 2022 at 7:55 pm #

    I hate this. It makes me so very angry when he stops in to visit “just for a minute” to give me money, let me use the car or to make himself feel better about what he’s doing and all I’m supposed to do is smile, chit chat and say “thanks” instead of spitting in his face when it’s time for him to leave and go back to her. HOW ON EARTH DOES THE PAIN HE CAUSES GET ADDRESSED/ GET FIXED OR GO AWAY ??

    • Uriel122112 April 13, 2022 at 10:24 am #

      The pain he caused is addressed by you. I know that it is not fair, and unacceptable. Please know that is say this from my own experience after 15 yrs. For them to fix anything means they feel remorse for doing something wrong, that they have to accept responsibility. They can’t. Just like someone that is color blind can’t see purple. To a degree, i pity them. Understand this. They don’t care and they won’t care. Asking a narc to treat you like you treat them would be as hard as treating them as they treat you. It would be very difficult to act in such a manner to someone that you loved for no reason. Which is why they have no problem with such behavior. They don’t love you . They love what you can offer them, how you can make them feel, but not you. I’ll bet you could write a book on all the things you have learned about them in your time together. How much did they really know about you? That alone speaks volumes about what they are, and what you really ment to them.

      As far as making the pain go away…I’m sorry but it doesn’t. That is NOT such a horrible thing. Pain is a raw emotion. What you do with it is the difference being happy or being miserable. Pain can be your new armor your source of strength when needed. Or it can slowly poison you, destroying parts of who you are. I’m not going to sugar coat it. This will be the hardest thing you have ever had to endure. If your situation is like mine, you’ll have to face it alone. They are toxic as bleach but that is who they are and will always be. Who you become from this is dependent who you want to become. You entered this time of your life naive, soft as play dough. By the time its over, you’ll be carved out of wood. Let someone try to hurt you again. MAKE YOUR PAIN YOUR STRENGTH!! Next time you want to cry, SCREAM! Get angry!!!!! You have to right to be! Let it fuel the fires of change and show EVERYONE who you really are. You want to get back at them? This is how you do it. Your success causes them pain. Every. Single. Time. 😉 Go git’m

  3. OptimisticBS January 9, 2022 at 11:16 pm #

    How do you do this when you feel so much the opposite? I can tell myself that I will act a certain way, but the emotions seem to overwhelm me. How do you keep facial expressions or body language from giving away your real feelings?

  4. Jennifer Boaz December 21, 2021 at 4:19 am #

    I’m confused about what this actually does. In my estimation, they are released from all they’ve done and we are just faking it. Surely not..

    • beautifulmess7 December 21, 2021 at 9:29 am #

      The point is that you stop living your life revolved around them. You get to see what it’s like without the yolk of their infidelity hanging around your neck. You get to stop living your life FOR and ABOUT someone else and get to know yourself again. Feel your own strength. It hopefully will make you realize that many of the things weighing you down, making your life feel unmanageable, and negatively affecting you are due to how much you let someone else control your own happiness and self-worth. It gives you distance from the drama and turmoil and chaos that often surrounds infidelity. It takes away the “hysterical bonding” that is more about a desperate attempt to hold onto the familiar than about what is truly helpful, healing, and good for your well-being.

  5. Tonya June Rafael November 13, 2021 at 11:26 pm #

    My husband and our 15 year old daughter just went to town to eat out and do some shopping at the mall. My daughter texted me, telling me how uncomfortable she felt when she noticed her dad checking out other women and flirt with them. And how he walks or tries to impress other women.
    So, in the past years… I have caught him lying and cheating. And every time I confronted him, he would get defensive and very angry. And he would tell me that I’m a very insecure and jealous woman. He would always carry his phone(s) with him to the bathroom. And he’s very secretive. He even has a deposit box in another town to keep his “Mexico trips” photos locked up there. One time, I sorta glanced at some of his photos.. and never saw them again in our house. They disappeared, so that’s how I know he has a deposit box in another town. I never questioned, because I know he’ll get very angry.
    In the past month, we have been doing a lot arguing. He finally told me that he stopped loving me for the past 5 years. That he doesn’t “romantically” love me anymore. That tore me apart. I cried for days.
    He even went to the court house to get the divorce papers and start the divorce process. It’s very heartbreaking and devastating when you’re being dumped, even after all i did for him.
    Here’s another thing about him… he has not been employed for over 12 years. I have been supporting him financially. He recently went back to Mexico to visit his parents for four and half months. And while he was there, I sent him over $17,000 for a project he apparently built, a fancy shaded area in front of his parents’ home. I know it didn’t cost that much..and when I ask him what he did with the rest of the money, he would get very angry and ignores or rejects to answer.
    And he uses one of my credit cards. He buys nice expensive clothes for himself. He wants to look “good,” or wants to impress other women.
    I feel so down about myself even though I have a very successful business. He doesn’t want me anymore, he doesn’t love me anymore. Maybe because I’m ugly, not attractive to him anymore? Yes, I gained a few pounds, but I think I’m still pretty. I feel so down and get depressed. I work so hard, I put so many hours of work in the day and night. I’m 53, he’s 52. We have one daughter together. He lost a lot of weight, and looks very attractive now.
    When I saw this 180, it made me think. WOW! This is referring to me. I really need to forget about him and move-on with my life with our daughter. Even our daughter notices how he’s mean toward me. Feeling of rejection is an awful feeling. 😪
    I know I need to stay strong and take better care of myself. And yes, exercise and get good sleep every night.
    Any other advice would be very helpful.
    Thank you. Heartbroken and desperately wanting my happiness back. 😔💔

    • Anonymous December 21, 2021 at 4:23 am #

      They always want you back when they learn that other men want you. It’s juvenile but it’s true. You could look like a million bucks and still not be desired by them. Jealousy will turn that right around.

    • Simon Cortez December 21, 2021 at 11:23 am #

      I’m very sorry that you’re going through this. I can only imagine your heartbreak. First, stop enabling his lifestyle by cutting him off financially. His arrogance is disgusting. Secondly, don’t mope around him like you’re a wounded gazelle. Stay composed and confident. Start working on yourself TODAY! Go get a gym membership and swear out your frustration. If weight is an issue, I STRONGLY suggest the “snake juice diet” by Cole Hammels. He has drastically changed many people for the best. Please stay strong in this. You do not deserve this treatment. God bless!

      • Anonymous December 21, 2021 at 1:32 pm #

        Yes! You’re right. Thank you for words of encouragement!

  6. Tonya June Rafael November 13, 2021 at 11:14 pm #

    My husband and our 15 year old daughter just went to town to eat out and do some shopping at the mall. My daughter texted me, telling me how uncomfortable she felt when she noticed her dad checking out other women and flirt with them. And how he walks or tries to impress other women.
    So, in the past years… I have caught him lying and cheating. And every time I confronted him, he would get defensive and very angry. And he would tell me that I’m a very insecure and jealous woman. He would always carry his phone(s) with him to the bathroom. And he’s very secretive. He even has a deposit box in another town to keep his “Mexico trips” photos locked up there. One time, I sorta glanced at some of his photos.. and never saw them again in our house. They disappeared, so that’s how I know he has a deposit box in another town. I never questioned, because I know he’ll get very angry.
    In the past month, we have been doing a lot arguing. He finally told me that he stopped loving me for the past 5 years. That he doesn’t “romantically” love me anymore. That tore me apart. I cried for days.
    He even went to the court house to get the divorce papers and start the divorce process. It’s very heartbreaking and devastating when you’re being dumped, even after all i did for him.
    Here’s another thing about him… he has not been employed for over 12 years. I have been supporting him financially. He recently went back to Mexico to visit his parents for four and half months. And while he was there, I sent him over $17,000 for a project he apparently built, a fancy shaded area in front of his parents’ home. I know it didn’t cost that much..and when I ask him what he did with the rest of the money, he would get very angry and ignores or rejects to answer.
    And he uses one of my credit cards. He buys nice expensive clothes for himself. He wants to look “good,” or wants to impress other women.
    I feel so down about myself even though I have a very successful business. He doesn’t want me anymore, he doesn’t love me anymore. Maybe because I’m ugly, not attractive to him anymore? Yes, I gained a few pounds, but I think I’m still pretty. I feel so down and get depressed. I work so hard, I put so many hours of work in the day and night. I’m 53, he’s 52. We have one daughter together. He lost a lot of weight, and looks very attractive now.
    When I saw this 180, it made me think. WOW! This is referring to me. I really need to forget about him and move-on with my life with our daughter. Even our daughter notices how he’s mean toward me.
    I need to stay strong and take better care of myself. And yes, exercise and get good sleep every night.
    Any other advice would be very helpful.
    Thank you. Heartbroken and desperately wanting my happiness back. 😔💔

  7. Jean November 1, 2021 at 5:53 pm #

    I just happen upon this website after googling “What to do when your husband wants a divorce”. We have been married for 22yrs. We have been in an awkward space for quite awhile maybe 9 months are so as I look back over time. He has been extremely moody and impatient and and puts the blame on COVID. This past Monday as I was working from home and he comes in and I just asked the question. Are we okay? He says, “NO”. I asked, “Do you not want to be married anymore?” He replies, “If I am being honest, No!” My heart fell out of my chest and all I could do was cry and ask why. I cried from about 5pm that evening . all thru the night the next morning. I didn’t get any sleep and called out of work the next day.

    His reason for wanting a divorce is because he senses that something in him has changed. Every and any little thing seems to trigger his mood where he doesn’t want to be around anyone and wants to check out. He says he doesn’t want us to get to the point where he curses me out and just says “Fuck It, I am leaving” and then doesn’t come back home for a while or a night. The dogs barking triggers him or an example he gave me was. I brought clothes into the bedroom to fold on the bed. He was lying on his side of the bed and he graciously offered to fold them, well he never fold clothes so I just said no worries, I got it. He said that triggered him. He got up walked to the bathroom and I could tell his entire demeanor changed. I asked him was he moody and he said no but clearly he was. I honestly have been walking around on eggshells trying to not make him upset and create an atmosphere free of stress when he comes home. He has never had to cook, clean, wash clothes, fold clothes, etc…. I have been the ultimate wife.

    He swears to me that he is not cheating and that there is no other women. I want to believe him but somehow I think I am fooling myself. He refuses to go to counseling but thinks I should go to help me get through this. If he recognizes that the problem is him why won’t he seek help in order to save the marriage. He says I have done nothing wrong but clearly something has happened. He says he still loves me but he can’t say that he is still in love with me. That shit hurts!! I’ve never fallen out of love with him even during these bad times and getting a divorce is never been an option for me. He says he has never had anyone to talk besides me when he is going through things so if he can’t talk to me and refuses to seek outside help for the sake of the marriage then to me that is selfish.

    I asked him if he was going through some mid-life crisis and he says that could be part of it.

    I did a little snooping and I hate I did because they say if you go looking for something you will find it. I found several transaction that were questionable. All of these were earlier this year. I can and will never confront him with this because then he will know that I am snooping.

    Am I being naïve is there any other explanation for those purchases? Was it a one time fling? Is it still going on? I’m so lost and hurt.

    He says hasn’t seen a lawyer and states he doesn’t know when it will happen. He says I asked him a question and he gave me an answer. He hasn’t acted on it and quite honestly can’t tell me when he will.

    Me in my pathetic state asked him to please wait until after the Holidays…

    I’m not in a good space right now. I am just going through the motions trying to keep my mind off of this but the thought of my best friend my husband not wanting to be with me anymore is unbearable.

    I will try this 180 and hopes it helps. I think I also need to look for counseling.

  8. Trish September 12, 2021 at 9:12 pm #

    Is this going to work if he’s still messaging her?

  9. Trish September 11, 2021 at 9:03 pm #

    I pray this works if not it’s over

    • Aaron September 12, 2021 at 9:31 pm #

      It’s probably already over sweetheart.

  10. Dawn Hawker August 27, 2021 at 4:54 am #

    I am doing this at the moment however I have had a couple of wobbly moments. For the first time in my life I am positive, I gave him all of me and didn’t get a lot in return. Married for 23 years and someone told me on Easter Sunday that he was having an affair with someone 20 years younger than him, she is the receptionist at his work and yes I do know her. We were apart for a couple of months and then tried again, however he was not remorseful or truly sorry for what he did, he didn’t put effort into making the marriage work, he knows my weaknesses and uses them constantly to break me, he did once. Not anymore, I am learning to self love, I can now see a future for me (first time I have seen this) even if it’s sat in my own every night at least I will be free of him.

  11. Helene August 10, 2021 at 6:53 am #

    This will be the hardest task I have ever had to do in my life. 33 things not to do are what I thought put me in control. How wrong I was. I will take this challenge and hope that he sees the change and decides I am the woman he wants to grow old and spend with forever. I need to be happy. I choose to be happy that’s why I will do this challenge.

  12. Anonymous July 30, 2021 at 10:48 am #

    Funny, I just found out about the sordid affair a few days ago and the Ex said , “I don’t understand what happened! It’s like you’ve done a 180!” I haven’t told him I know yet and I wasn’t aware of the 180 method. It’s funny he used that term. He’s still hoping to play innocent. I’m just building myself up to put him on notice today.

    • bartholomeydesforges March 23, 2022 at 11:08 am #

      I hope you did, and I hope he’s miserable. I wish for you to live your best life forever now!

    • Anonymous March 23, 2022 at 12:02 pm #

      Good for you!

  13. Anonymous November 24, 2020 at 1:21 pm #

    Hi All,

    My wife for 23 years now with 3 kids (20, 18 and 9) found a job a year back and went to East Coast for a year now. Just visited 7 times on weekends.
    Her behavior changed and had excuses of work during these covid times where everyone is working from home.
    She lives with 3 young men almost half her age.
    I confronted her multiple times and she denied and claimed that they are like brothers.
    End of Sep installed spy warebon her cell and day one she lands one of the guy whom I suspect make it clear on the conversations the affair she is having.
    Last month filed for divorce and in Texas one has to wait 60 days.
    Now she landed at home with the excuse that its holidays and she is working from home.
    I asked her to leave and she claims she has all rights to stay in the home.
    She said sorry once and acts as nothing happened and won’t repeat. From what I heard the emotional attachment is too deep and I don’t trust her anymore.
    She didn’t hire any attorney but signed no contest waiver.
    How do I keep her away, acts normal with kids. Both my elder kids know and we had some heated arguments.
    After reading this article following the 33 steps.
    I want this to end and my attorney says I can’t keep her out.
    Any recommendations?

    • Aaron Day November 24, 2020 at 9:31 pm #

      Hey man.
      I’ve been through this. Different circumstances..
      Its why I linger around this blog.

      The most important reason i linger here is.
      The 180 is the absolute best advice.
      When I suspected, but never confirmed, my wife was cheating. I ended up here.
      Always trust your gut.

      Enough about me.

      Your wife has been unfaithful.
      Get a lawyer…its over.
      Don’t waste 2 more years of my life like I did…TRYING to trust her again.
      She doesn’t give a fuuuuuck.

      You will never….ever. trust her again. Romantically of course.

      Besides getting a lawyer.
      My best recommendation is to be very polite and accommodating…in everything you do…ESPECIALLY TEXTS, VOICEMAILS…anything traceable.

      I’m sorry my friend…but.
      At least you KNOW!.
      YOU SAW IT.

      Shes gotta go man….
      Keep your head up, you’ll be surprised what happens.

      p.s. never take her back

      • Red Pill Lense November 29, 2020 at 2:30 am #

        I’m sorry for your situation. At this point, do NOT be weak and lose respect for yourself. Follow the steps accordingly. Do not initiate anything. I know your are probably in emotional turmoil but you have to stay composed. I’ve been there, not cool.

        DO NOT TAKE HER BACK! EVER!!!!! Fuck her. You deserve better.

        Most importantly, remember, these steps are to protect you. Good luck and God bless.

        • Helene August 10, 2021 at 7:00 am #

          I am committed to learning about my narcissistic husband. I wish I could say I was eager to take on this challenge. But it is what’s necessary to save my sanity and not turn me into a crazy, jealous, husband chaser. I need to stand on my own 2 feet and be here for my kids. Wish me luck. His behavior has turned me off completely and yet I still want him to give me a hug and kiss. So pathetic. I will do better.

          • Anonymous August 27, 2021 at 5:07 am #

            Totally understand where you are coming from. Let him go and feel sorry for the next person he ends up with, but you will at peace and not putting up with his lies etc

      • Simon September 7, 2021 at 9:08 am #

        Aaron, you have provided this gentleman the best advice; it is over, pointless and time to move on!
        Like yourself, I too sometimes linger around to head warning to those still using the “hope” strategy. I was married 15 years, four children and a good home. Her betrayal destroyed us all. Seven years from the split, I am better off now, emotionally, financially, spiritually, than when I was married to her. I understand how extremely difficult it is to keep it together, but not applying the 180 only hurts your efforts. In hindsight, it’s not worth it to torment yourself, trying to convey to your partner that they are making a very poor decision. Let them be, you cannot and should not be begging anyone to be in your life; if they loved you, they wouldn’t be inflicting such pain onto your heart.
        I wish no one would go through the headache of losing you love, your home and your children. It has been the worst pain I have ever experienced. Thin is, these cheaters don’t care about you at the moment. They are too deep involved with their affair. Don’t try to rationalize with them, it is pointless. I’m sorry, but moving forward and applying the 180 is the best defense. You’ll thank yourself later for it. God speed 🙏

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