He has now gotten to know the alienator and realizes this will not be a permanent relationship--consciously or unconsciously. He is on the path toward Liminality; but he is not yet there. Liminality is the stage of deepest Depression and Hopelessness. No one wants to go there. He avoids Liminality and seeks Replay. But at this stage of Replay, the addiction may not be as powerful. This is Limbo.
Limbo comes from the Latin limbus meaning a hem or an edge or a boundary. It is that place between, where time is still. It is not a place where bad things occur, but neither is there good; it is a place of emptiness without despair--a place of complacency, stuck in neutral. It is an intermediate or indeterminate condition; a state of inaction or inattention pending some future event. And that last clause is key: pending some future event. Waiting for Heaven. The difficulty is that Limbo is a place where progress is indetectable. The growth is beneath the soil.
You MLCer may remain with the alienator and insist he is happy or there is no longer an alienator and he insists he is happy; or he denies unhappiness. There are even those who admit unhappiness. But for all these differences, they continue to insist your marriage is over. Some express regret and wish it were not so. They are not at rock bottom, but he seems more depressed than before. He is near the Ledge--the boundary between Replay and Liminal Depression.
This is a place of indecision. It is a place of LBS frustration--as are most MLC tunnel locations. Your MLCer realizes his mistakes, regrets his actions, and yet he is unwilling or unable to resolve the problems he created. What can you do? Nothing seems to work anymore. You wonder whether you should give up. He may still seem to cycle, but nothing seems real. He flirts occasionally, but he seems sullen, listless and disinterested. "Why won't he just wake up?" you scream.
You've read about Replay and Liminality, thus you have come to expect those things. You know he will be mean, blame you, hate you, test you and you know that some time after he is done with being a Monster, he will become severely depressed. But what happens between those times? Liminal Depression is the lost wasteland, what's this? It seems to be missing completely from the MLC Map. At least Liminality is something, though it is painfully frightening, there is something to feel.
This is also part of this journey. The waiting. Not waiting for a return or a decision toward divorce. Simply the waiting for anything bad or good. There are no messages hidden between the lines--he wants out, he doesn't want out, he really loves you, he hates you... That is not what this is about. Growth requires fallow periods. The Wasteland of Liminal Depression is not a fallow period. It is a period of facing one's demons--though he may be hiding away from you in his cave, Liminal Depression is an active place. Limbo is a place on the fringe. He doesn't know what or why and he's tired of the confusion and emotions. This is a necessary emotional hibernation that preceded Liminal Depression--and perhaps the transitions between each stage.
So how long is Limbo? It is perhaps the most varied stage. Some perhaps spend only moments in this emotional rest, while other may linger for years. It is the place easiest to get stuck, and thus those who do not come out of the MLC tunnel may be found in Limbo.
Use this rest for yourself too. Grow your Faith. Grow your strength. Find your peace. This is your journey and this is your time to look inward at yourself.
You know you’ve gotta stop crying, panicking or asking your spouse ANYTHING. And you know you should let-go and give space so that you can learn to respond and communicate with your spouse from a place of calm rather than emotional hurt.
Understanding Midlife Crisis
The foundational course to give you answers and clarity into "What the he!! Is going on with my spouse!"