Eight years ago today, my marriage imploded. My now ex-wife blew up at me for putting a pot back—temporarily—in the wrong place. She was under a lot of pressure at the time, having taken on a completely unrealistic workload that was just about breaking her. Thus, I thought it was one of her explosive emotional phases that she occasionally went through and that it was something that would blow over.
It didn’t. She asked me to move out and wanted me out by Thanksgiving. She seemed serious. Things remained strained for the next two weeks as she stopped sleeping in the marital bed, became increasingly secretive, and was generally difficult to be around. I knew our marriage was on the rocks and that I had a serious crisis to deal with. What I didn’t know is that she had started an affair just a few days before.
She eventually moved out and moved in with her affair partner; she eventually filed for divorce and tried to turn me into a criminal for wanting to stay married; she eventually got her divorce and lost her mother to cancer a few months later; and she eventually married her affair partner and lived—apparently—“happily ever after.”
I started this blog in January 2012, while the roiling waves of marital discord born of adultery were still crashing into me at full force. I don’t need to recount all these things; you can find them chronicled in the many blog posts here. I wrote some of those fist blog posts on a little iPad at a coffee shop in a secluded neighborhood across town. That coffee shop has since burned down and been rebuilt. I wrote others from the living room of the family home we had rented for a number of years. I had to move out of that house when the owner decided to sell it to a software corporate millionaire who turned it into an investment property that went back on the rental market for nearly double its previous asking price. I wrote so many posts that, at one time, this blog ranked #1 on a Google search for “obstinate spouse.” I posted a few affiliate links for things I really believe in and made a few thousand dollars in money that was much needed at the time. I moved four times, changed jobs, and pretty much reinvented my life.
I held out hope for a long time that she would eventually come to her senses; I held out hope that something would happen in her life that would wake her up and send her packing from the adulterer’s house; I held out hope that she would somehow find her way back home, to reconcile with me; I held out hope that we could together move on with life. None of that ended up happening.
I had some revelations earlier this year that shed a lot of light on why things happened the way they did. I had some revelations that let me see that, no matter what efforts I made, I was ultimately going to be unsuccessful in my attempts to reconcile my marriage. I had some revelations that showed me that, even after eight years’ time, my ex-wife still fundamentally has not changed. She appears to be committed to what she once called her “new life,” and she appears to be extremely happy.
Appears to be. The reality, of course, is unknown but likely is quite different.
I was told some time ago by a confidant that I should watch for signs because I would see them. Those signs would help me understand what had happened and why, and they would also show me what is going on. Like I said before, I have had some insights that have shown me why all this happened. It is almost as though all of this had to happen, and that I had to go through all of it. It’s rather beyond the scope of this post for me to explain, so I’d rather just leave it at that: suffice it to say that I’ve had insights. As for signs, however, there have been many. xW has been performing more than she used to and had a concert recently for which she prepared very hard. I know this because she posts openly on one of her social media accounts, and I’ve seen evidence of this. On that same social media account, she remarked just days after this concert that she was feeling not just burned out, lacking focus and energy—she was also feeling sad and empty. In all the years I knew her and all the performances I went through with her, I never once saw her feel sad or empty afterwards. Instead, we could celebrate together with great relief. She could take a few days to let her focus drift and to regain her energy; she could even feel burned out, although I never once saw that.
This post, and the ones that followed it, were telling. There was a picture with a Japanese friend who reached out to her in response to her preceding post in which she confessed her emptiness. There was a picture of her with someone else’s dog; her own dog still lives here with me and is now quite old. There is a picture of a Japanese cabaret show she went to see with the aforementioned friend. There is also a picture of a flower, whom she thanks for blooming so beautifully to cheer her up. She bids it adieu until next year. All of these show me that she really is feeling empty, and that emptiness and fundamental sadness come with the life path she has chosen. That path is devoid of moral focus and requires of her—even now, after eight years—lies both big and small to be told, and basic truths to be omitted.
I guess it’s fitting that the last pictures I saw got posted today; there are three of them taken at a small touristy-town a couple hours away, a place her adultery-partner-cum-husband likes to go. We went there once. She goes there with him now. Of course, they appear radiantly happy. Perhaps that’s for real. Or, perhaps it’s just the cover they still front, knowing that they are both driving down a dead-end street, with the ever-present fear that someone finds out their dirty little secret.
One cannot go on forever in such a way. Lies get exposed, and omitted truths come to light. They must be aware that this will happen somehow, someday. They must be aware that the more publicly they live their lives, spreading lies and hiding truths, the more susceptible they will be to their eventual uncoverings.
The picture I see of my ex-wife now is one of a woman who has deeply wounded her soul but who refuses to admit that she is hurting. I see a woman who lives in a deep existential fear that the errors she made cannot ever be repaired, and the people she hurt can never be healed. I see a woman who knows her path is fundamentally a dead end that is devoid of trust, truth, and integrity; nevertheless she feels relegated to walk that path for the sake of her own forsaken dignity. I see a woman who is deeply yearning to reconnect with her native culture, and who feels deeply isolated among a sea of small-minded individuals. I see a woman who finds herself physically isolated in small town that presents her with terribly narrow cultural horizons and uninspiring experiences.
Winter in these parts is not exactly cruel, but where she lives it can be cold, dark, and isolating. She has faced six other such winters before, and the prospect of facing yet another must be soul-crushing. But I fear that it now is just too late; it may take her several more crushingly isolating winters before she figures all of this out.
In the meantime, I have decided to move on. I did not arrive at this decision suddenly, but the revelations I had earlier this year opened a door for me to walk through. The time has come for me to close that chapter of my life and to move on to a new chapter. I don’t know what that chapter will hold. I know that I’ll be open to a new woman who can show me real moral integrity and who can be a real life partner. I know that I can make that relationship work; I learned all the right skills through hard-earned experience, and I tested those skills in the crucible of a marriage at full melt-down. Even the small positive results I saw are an indication of just how powerful unconditional love can be when expressed consistently and appropriately.
This will be my last post on this website. I’ll be taking this website down at the end of this year. I think it has fulfilled its purpose. It was my counselor and my outlet, my sounding board and my connection to the world. Some of you may have been reading this blog for some time, years perhaps. Others may be finding it for the first time. (Apparently this site still ranks on Google, albeit at #2, for the phrase “obstinate spouse.”) For whatever reason you came here, I hope you have found my posts helpful.
If you are facing a marital crisis yourself, please know there is help, you aren’t alone, and you can make all the difference, even if you are the only one fighting for your marriage.
Your results may vary; mine are not typical. Most people, if they fought half as hard and for half as long as I did, find their marriages reconciled. They can rebuild and make their marriages stronger.
Your spouse is the most precious person in this world. Please show him or her that you understand this. It’s not too late to make a real difference.