My amazing friend and brilliant therapist Michele Weiner-Davis ( Yes a bit of hero worship here!) has brought us the Last Resort Technique (LRT). This is when your spouse says the dreaded “D” word, divorce.
I see some common misapprehensions on the LRT. So I will put up a wee refresher here.
The three steps are
Get a Life.
And once you are working this then, how you might respond :
Be loving in return, but not overly excited or enthusiastic.
Accept some invitations to spend time together, but not all.
Accept all Family time invites. Your spouse seeing you having fun with your kids together reminds them of the value of family. You are a parent forever.
Do not ask any questions about your future together.
Be vague when asked questions about the changes in you. Say that you are just thinking things through. Live the shift.
Continue to be upbeat.
Do not say, “I love you.”
Resist getting in the conversation about your relationship.
Get a head start and beat your spouse to the punch when it comes time to leave or separate from each other at the end of an activity. You set the tone for going your separate ways.
As a rule of thumb, be responsive to your partner’s interest but not too responsive. Going overboard will lead your partner to get cold feet. Be warned.
So, stay interested, but cool in a self-possessed manner, (not icy though, as that will send mixed messages) until you are absolutely convinced that your partner’s renewed interest in saving your marriage has taken hold.
Good luck, dear hearts.
Know I am thinking of you all and wishing you well.
At Marriage Works we want to support your relationship to new heights. Unfortunately many of us leave it until our spouses hand is on the doorknob, or get the divorce papers in the mail.
The LAST Resort Technique Blog is for exactly this type of scenario. It’s your best bet and may be your only chance to get your relationship back.
I am so impressed with the good people who write in and share their stories of pain, hope and healing, thank you!
I want to share their advice and success for those of you struggling with relationship despair and heartbreak. There truly is genuine hope with the LAST Resort Technique (LRT). Please read on to be inspired.
Steve writes: I thought I’d post a positive response to your article, to show this can work. Long story short – married to my wife of 15 years, 2 kids. I had a history of working too hard (long hours and occasionally weekends), playing sport every weekend and seeing my (male) friends. Basically whilst I provided a good lifestyle for the family I wasn’t there – mentally, emotionally or even physically – often enough.
I think you can guess what happened next. A male friend of the family became a shoulder to cry on, to help out at home, and then eventually an affair started. I knew something wasn’t right when I would come home on time from work and she would start an argument would start as soon as I walked in the door. Sometimes I would come home from work or sport and find my ( male) neighbour in our house talking to my wife in the kitchen. We nearly split up a couple of times prior to that. I used to read this article on a daily basis to give me hope.I realised that I did everything wrong (see the LRT phases), and struggled not to chase, ask questions about the relationship or check up on her. We went to counselling (together and on our own) which helped with communication between us. After many sessions, the counsellor confronted my wife – who did she want. TOP or me? Heart breaking, but she chose him.
So, why are we together now, and making vacation plans for next year?
Steve’s great advice :
1. Confront the issue early (very difficult without evidence), listen to your gut instinct.
Philipa here : Please do this without accusation and with openness to listen. Example : I feel there is something coming between us and want to help us get our marriage back to the love. What are you feeling? And really listen.
2. Listen to your partner to work out why they strayed.
3. Don’t vent on social media (as much as you want to). Only do this to trusted friends or family.
Philipa: integrity and respect are hallmarks of a great relationship. And when you are back together:
4. In the early days limit yourself to 15 mins a day asking questions, any more and it’s like pursuing.
5. Work on where you went wrong (see #2), but really be that person. They will suspect you are just doing it to keep them. Make the changes and keep doing them – even if it annoys your spouse.
Philipa: You can’t fake it til you make it you have to invest in understanding the issues.
6. In the midst of this all, don’t lose sight of who you are. You didn’t stray or cheat. You are a good person, do the LRT.
7. DON’T do the LRT too early. I did and my wife thought I was pushing her away. Its for when all else fails.
Philipa, yes it’s at desperation point, not before. Get help earlier please!
8. When the time comes do the LRT fully. It will seem wrong, but if everything has failed do it. Don’t pursue, beg, spy – just be you. And let them go.
Philipa: this has to be with an big heart and a faith you may never have had to test before in yourself.
9. The LRT prepares you for life without your spouse, but you need to continue being a parent. Remember you can’t control your spouse – they are free to make their own decisions.
Philipa : this is super important if there a children in the mix. They need you regardless. Curiously the more you let go of control the freer your spouse will be to circle back.
10. Be friendly, their best friend even, but not a doormat. Set boundaries – mine were if you want to see him I’m not being your child minder.
11. If your spouse wants to move out (mine did, but never went through with it), let them. But you need to discuss finances, and who pays for what.
Philipa: Yes Steve, this is vital. Mature relationships discuss financial issues.
12. Its their choice. Let them make it, you need to give them reasons to stay. Not to push them out or away.
Philipa: This is a real gem, exactly what is required of you.
Ultimately we stayed together – TOP gave up as my wife couldn’t make the final decision to leave. This combined with our kids wanting us to stay together, and my changes to be a better husband and parent. I also think looking at her finances provided a reality check as well.
You need to be strong, look after yourself and have trusted friends / family. You will go through hell emotionally. You will have bad days, days where you can’t function, where you want to give up and can’t take any more. Keep going. I lost 12 lbs in 3 months, felt like this was going to drive me mad or kill me. But it worked. It took 7 months from finding out to properly turning the corner. The turning point is letting go, and really, really meaning it. Then the penny will drop.
Thanks for this article Phillipa, it really did work.
Thank you Steve, glad you took the effort and energy required. Seven months is doable and not a bad investment to regain 15 years of marriage and your family.
And from another kind soul, Jetty’s remarkable work:
I have to say, that I am so impressed with the way this article helped me reign in my behavior. Following the tips here, along with some personal reflection, it seems like it has turned a corner.
The fighting has stopped. He is pursuing me. He is showing affection and effort. Just last weekend, HE asked me, to go away to Los Angles together. We hadn’t seen each other in six months and I don’t think it could have gone better. The change in myself is huge – I feel better about life, and about the way the relationship fits now. Just the fact that no fights have been had (with things coming up still) in over two months is mind blowing.
Thank you so much for this article, it really changed my perspective, and in turn, everything!
Thanks Jetty, you email will encourage others to think about their behaviour, the desired outcome and what works. Your change has offered your relationship a new beginning.
After a while when things are on stronger ground you then need to address the issues which got you to this catastrophe. Marriage therapy can fast track this. Learn Imago dialogue. Good luck and keep up the good fight!
I’ve posted a 4-part video series explaining my take on The Last Resort Technique (LRT) which is the most popular page on this website. See that page for a detailed breakdown of LRT.
Questions and comments are welcome either in YouTube comments section or in the comments on the page dedicated to The Last Resort Technique. Please like and subscribe on YouTube to help others find this information.
1:36 mins part 1 of 4
Michele Weiner-Davis The Last Resort Technique is also known as LRT or “The 180”. It comes from her amazing book The Divorce Remedy.
I’d appreciate it if you wish to purchase this worthy book, you click on the link to go directly to Amazon. This is an affiliate link through which I make a small commission if you buy via the link to offset the cost of running this website. You don’t have to use the link, you can search for “The Divorce Remedy” and buy it without the affiliate link.
In second video we get into the details of
Step 1 – Stop Chasing
4:17 minutes – part 2 of 4
Step 2 – Get a Life
9:38 mins – part 3 of 4
Step 3 – Wait and Watch
8:05 minutes part 4 of 4
Again, please like and subscribe on YouTube to help others find this information. A tweet or a share on social media would also benefit others.