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The Friendship Balance

By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf

I will not be your friend outside of marriage; when you choose to be an appropriate spouse you will be my friend.
That is what I told Sweetheart and I encourage many of you to do the same. But it was not something I told him in the beginning, partly because I had not thought of the line and it is not something I recommend in all phases of cycling or stages of the crisis. There was a time in the beginning when I would have used the line had I thought of it yet; instead I went No Contact without the explanation.

When should you start the friendship process? Starting it is something you should do immediately so that you are Paving the Way, but when should you allow a friendship relationship and when should you use the line? There are times when your MLCer is seeking you as a friend rather than a buddy or when your MLCer needs a friend or if they are not seeking but they may be open to your initiation of friendship. Replayers want buddies and are abusive to their friends. If your MLCer is being emotionally abusive, he will abuse you if you offer your friendship. But it is not only Replayers that abuse your friendship. MLCers who want to come home or who want you to wait and be there for them but also want their adulterous life will use friendship to continue to Cake-Eat.

No Contact, Friendship is non-active
    Monster or Replayers
  • Your MLCer is openly involved in an affair.
  • Your MLCer is taunting you with the infidelity.
  • Your MLCer is taunting you with legal tactics.
  • Your MLCer is being Monster, spewing--blame and projection.

  • Cake-Eaters
  • Your MLCer is being needy and wants to lean on you without helping himself.
  • Your MLCer wants you to baby and take care of him--S-Mother warning!
  • Your MLCer wants a relationship with you and the OW.

MLCers cycle and may return prematurely, or a return may last. But since they cycle and are confused, you may not know when a return will last or not. It is not fair to ask whether a return is real because your MLCer may be returning with genuine intentions. MLCers also experience severe depression--Liminal Depression--and may need someone to lean on while they are emotionally incapacitated and thus unable to help themselves. MLCers may break up with the alienator, and though it may be temporary, they may not be aware that they will resume the relationship. After a break-up your MLCer may become depressed, seeking you for comfort or he may change his mind and want to return since they think they have ended the affair. What about touch-n-goes when your MLCer is cycling toward you--these may be brief, but your MLCer does not know that. None of these are times when you should activate your friendship, rather they are times when it can have benefits, but it is not always beneficial in these circumstances. But if you are to Pave the Way, you need to show agapé and that includes being a true friend in need. When the opportunity for beneficial friendship arises, take advantage of it. This is not a buddy relationship, but it is also not full marital friendship because that includes shared activities that are often the main component of buddy relationships. Shared activities are part of rebuilding, add them gradually.

    Active Friendship
  • Liminal Depression incapacitates your MLCer.
  • Your MLCer seems genuine and wants to return home or consider rebuilding slowly.
  • Personal tragedy: your MLCer loses a parent, sibling etc.
  • Your MLCer is ill.
  • Your MLCer reaches out to you in the aftermath of a break-up--without Monster taunting.

Boundaries are important. Let your MLCer know the boundaries and that though your love has no conditions, your active friendship is conditional. Let your MLCer know that you will resume No Contact if your MLCer returns to Monster, the alienator or cake-eats to avoid helping himself.

I'm Kenda-Ruth and I believe in marriage.
Are you tired of hearing...
  • Once a cheater always a cheater?
  • You're better off without him?
  • She doesn't deserve you?
  • I guess it just wasn't meant to last?
  • Divorce is no big deal?
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