Some very good input here and I want to address four issues:
We talk about the "other" site. Well… there are several "other" sites and some years ago there was a very active forum on a site that endorsed an action-plan that the founder (a renowned relationship therapist) had come up with. That forum is still up and running, but according to the time-stamps on discussions there sometimes doesn’t get any contributions for days.
So yes – this is not a SI-only issue, but seems to be impacting this form of interaction.
So no – the issue is not that SI doesn’t offer a definite path to solve all issues. If anything then I think that’s what is killing the "other" site – the other "other" site that is…
I think this might be a key issue:
The other is much more sinister and that is the ever-changing mores of our society.
Yes – this site does tend to endorse people get out of infidelity and many posters do have conservative views on fidelity and marriage. Yet there are many that are quite vocal about fidelity being something that a couple can define between themselves. We have members in poly and open relationships, same-sex, civil and religious marriage… I think this site is fine with it if a couple decides to try alternative relationships as long as it’s a mutual decision and both are behaving within the fidelity that they have defined together as a couple (or tipple or quadruple for that matter).
I think thought that this change in values and mores is deeper… My grandparents had a traditional marriage where the wife was at home and the husband worked and managed all the money. When my dad started working his wages went to his dad. In the exceptions where people divorced the kids would be with the mom and the dad see them once a month or something like that.
My parents had a more "modern" marriage where dad worked, mom was home but they handled all their issues together as a couple. Had they divorced I guess I would have gone to my dad every other weekend.
I have "the best" marriage where we are both happy in our careers, parenting was decided together (albeit she was home a lot more for some years…) and our finances are combined and we actively work to our joint and individual goals. My plan is to be with this woman and eventually lie in the grave next to her. This is for life – I hope. But if we had divorced I guess it would be one week with me for the kids, the next with her.
I sometimes think the "new" norm in marriage is that it’s temporary. It’s my car and her car, my house or 40% her and 60% mine, my salary, my pension, my hobby, my time-off… I think this makes it maybe an easier decision to simply end the marriage. After all – it was only temporary.
A lot of the advice I offer is based on my understanding of human behavior and reactions. There are a number of instinctive reactions people tend to show in crisis-situation. Like the fight or flight instinct, the instinct to want to win THAT fight even if it leads to losing even more…
I think one of the instinctual reactions when a poster is brave enough to share his story – betrayed or wayward – is to focus on the most negative input that is shared. You have a betrayed husband who is all in shock and wants to save his family being told repeatedly that his wife is a serial-cheater whore and hopeless case (and yes – as a member of staff I can state that we regularly must edit and admonish posters for this type of content). We have a wayward being allocated ALL the blame….
All things that MIGHT be true – but all things where the message might be gotten across in a kinder, more compassionate way.
Instinctively the poster focuses on the negative posts. The ones that are most out there and hurt him and his hopes the most. The gentler, milder ones are ignored. I think this is the main cause for so many single-post issues where someone has gathered the courage to share, but then flees the barrage of negativity.
We do have a high number of people that register but never contribute. That’s fine – there is no requirement to contribute. But the less people contribute the less good this site does.
[This message edited by SI Staff at 1:15 PM, Monday, September 25th]