The Last Post

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.


News from Abroad

This is a story about adultery enablers. Three of them—or maybe three and a half, to be more precise.

As I wrote in my last post, xW did a concert recently with “AE2” (Adultery Enabler #2, the husband of a “friend” who aided and abetted xW’s adulterous relationship almost from day one), as well as with another colleague. Well, there’s more to it than that. That concert popped up on various social media and thus I learned more. It was a low-key affair in a piano store buried deep inside the bowels of a strip-mall complex. Thus, it wasn’t a high-profile gig, and you’d pretty much have to be told about it to even know it was going on. I didn’t go, of course; I had better things to do with my time.

It turns out that xW had another performance scheduled with AE2, but this one was on the other side of the planet. I found out about this one because social media once again plopped this information right in front of me. This time, xW and AE2 had a 20-minute slot on a vanity show in Japan.

Now, what’s a “vanity show,” you might ask? Basically, it’s a non-paying gig that gives you some exposure, but only in a restricted way and to a very limited audience. And, you don’t get to play a vanity show for free: you have to pay to play, in one way or another. xW had to fly to Japan to play this show; that ticket probably put her about $1k in the hole. And, since the performance was not in her home town, she had to get a hotel room as well—probably another $150. Plus the round-trip transportation to this city from her home town, which adds another $100 or so. So, let’s call it about $1250 to play for about 20 minutes. Oh, and there’s also the question of AE2 and who funded his trip—that is unknown.  He didn’t bring his wife (AE1) with him, either. Oh, and did I mention that the adulterer himself, i.e xW’s “husband,” did not go?

Parenthetically speaking, there is also the matter of trust. Does the adulterer trust his “wife,” who is half a world away with another man? Does AE1 trust her husband, who is half a world away with a “friend” whom she knows to be untrustworthy? Does xW trust her “husband,” whom she knows to be so untrustworthy as to have had other affairs in the past? The trust quotient, it would seem, is probably quite low.

This vanity show happened mid-afternoon in a little known recital hall that is located on an upper floor of a multi-story building, so there was very little publicity. The one picture that surfaced soon thereafter, again via social media, was one of xW with AE2, the two of them flanking xW’s old piano teacher, with whom she studied a couple of decades ago. I met this teacher many years ago and she seemed okay, although little would I know that a few years later she would encourage—or at least not advise against—xW to commit adultery. I know about this because xW told me; xW’s mother was dead-set against the affair and they had a couple of bruising arguments over the phone. xW went as far as to say that her mother was a “child” and was “not her mother,” and that this teacher was like real “mother” to her. You know, the kind of mother who actively does not protect her child from destructive, immoral behavior, but rather says “if you want to do this, okay, just go slowly.” Yes, that’s what her teacher told her. I might add that this teacher is now retired and in her 70s and has never married. So, she’s of course the ideal person from whom to get marital advice. Let’s call her AE3.5, as in “Adultery Enabler 3-1/2” because she wasn’t really fully involved in aiding and abetting the affair. She was more like a distant but “trusted” advisor.

Who then is Adultery Enabler #3? We’ll get to that.

I related before that xW took her Instagram feed public recently for some unknown reason. Thus I have seen all of her Japan photos since she arrived. These were very interesting, I must say; it’s almost as if there’s some sort of deliberate Freudian slip that is behind these posts.

Across the bay from the city where she played the “vanity show” sits a small island that hosts a myriad of temples and shrines, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a beautiful place accessible only ferry, and most visitors explore the island on foot. I know, because xW and I did just that—with AE3.5, who took us there some 12 years ago. It was a beautiful, albeit somewhat rainy day when we went, and we took a lot of beautiful pictures there, of the staircases that lead to temples whose bells you can ring, of the little red Japanese maple leaves that had fallen to the ground in the autumn breeze, and of the tame, petite deer that freely roam the streets. There really is something magical about that place. Yet xW’s posts have odd captions; one extolls the power of the spot where a renowned spiritual master practiced, another extolls the beauty of a flower she captured in the picture. The tone of these captions is a bit hard to describe: at times morally boastful, at others aggressively defensive. Still others carry no captions at all; they just hashtag the name of the place.

Absent from all these pictures is one thing: people.

Did I mention that xW and I took a lot of pictures on this island? Well, we did. And there were lots of pictures of us. I took pictures of her, and she of me. AE3.5 took pictures of the two of us and we of her. Some pictures were introspective, others were playful, but there were people in them—at least in the ones that were truly memorable.

And did I mention that I went to this island with xW? (Yes, I think I did.) I reiterate this fact because it’s extremely important: when you again visit someplace that you had previously been with someone who is significant to you—your spouse, for example—those memories get marked with the presence of that person. They are marked so much so that subsequent visits make you remember what it was like to visit that place with that significant other. I know, because I have gone to places that xW and I visited, and when I go there I remember visiting those places with her. I remember what we did, what she said; but more than that, I remember her presence. I can feel it in my mind and in my heart whenever I go to those places. What’s more, these memories and feelings are involuntary; they just rise to the surface because the place itself triggers them.

You can bet xW was having those memories and those feelings.

A couple of days later, she posts from her family home. The first one, oddly enough, is a picture of the adulterer’s cat. The caption states that she’s missing the cat—not the adulterer, but his cat. The next picture is one of xW and a friend, someone we shall now come to know as Adultery Enabler #3 (AE3). This picture was taken in the living room of the family house, and the two women are holding a picture of xW’s mother, who passed away a few years ago.  The caption muses that the three of them look similar and thus must have a connection at the soul level.

So, what is that connection? Well, let me unpack the story of AE3 a bit. She is a single mother who divorced her husband a number of years ago; she and xW were friends from their school days. She was also one of the biggest encouragers of the affair, telling xW from afar that she was on the right path, that xW and the adulterer were soulmates from a previous life, and all sorts of other morally questionable things. It was largely the encouragement of AE3, along with the tacit approval of AE3.5 and the active engagement of AE1 and AE2, that gave xW the resolve to go forward with the affair. Oh, and there was also AE0—a “friend” who advised her to “go for it” the very morning she consummated the affair—but that’s another story. They’re not friends anymore.

So what does all this mean? Affairs happen in part because people enable them. They can actively encourage them, or they can turn a blind eye and morally equivocate. When affairs go on at length—beyond the length of time that limerence can last, for instance—then the affair partners have to morally justify their relationship. They justify this to others, and more importantly, to themselves. They do this because they know they committed a horrible wrong and that as a result they are living a life that is at variance with their once-functioning moral compass. This eats away at them, bit by bit, like acid corroding away their soul. To keep things going, they need the approval and encouragement of the Adultery Enablers—the ones who have believed the lies, half-truths, and prevarications, and who encourage them to continue for the long haul down that path of moral corruption. Bad karmas are buried with further negative karmas that are made to conceal or avoid dealing with earlier bad karmas. At some point, the adulterers go really public, more than they ever had before, in search of validation that confirms that 3,000 wrongs do eventually make a right.

But there’s a twist. All karmas eventually ripen, and xW’s are no exception. I learned last week that xW will soon begin working as part-time staff at a college where I have been doing consulting work for several years now. As far as I know, xW has no idea I work there. So, it is highly likely—or perhaps almost completely unavoidable—that our paths will cross at that college, and more than once at that.

This is going to hit xW in the pocketbook. She supposedly works with the adulterer in his business, but I doubt he pays her anything. So, she has a number of gigs here in town through which she makes some modicum of income. All of those gigs are within a three-mile radius of where I live. She has thus far managed to largely avoid having her professional life cross paths with mine, which is not easy because we have the same circle of professional colleagues and friends.

Two weeks from now, that avoidance stops because she chose to take that new gig. Her path of deceit, lies, half-truths, omissions—and, most importantly, of self-deception—will hit a dead end, blocked by massive boulders of truth on which will shine the sunlight of honesty and morality.

The Six-and-a-Half-Year Itch

In the summer of 2011, my marriage was six-and-a-half years old. I had been withdrawing from my xW for some time, and she from me; I didn’t know that this wasn’t “normal.” I think we both thought that marriages lose their passion and turn into something more akin to friendships. Boy, how we were wrong. We were vulnerable—to marriage-destroying predators.

During that summer, things were getting rocky; I was being interviewed for a job out of state after a protracted period of under-employment. This job was in my line of work and would bring me full employment if I got it. My xW had wanted to see me fully employed for some time, and it had been excruciatingly difficult to find good-paying work in the depressed economy that had followed the 2008 market collapse. When the prospect of this job came up and I turned out to be a finalist, xW told me that I could take the job and she would stay put and not move with me. This was a major sign of trouble. I asked her how much money I’d need to make in order for her to consider moving; she quoted me a figure that was exactly what this job would pay. I told her I’d be making that figure, and she still told me she would not come with me. I really was at a loss for what to do.

I did not get that job, and I felt a bit of relief, I guess.

A month later, we went to visit our former home town out in the hinterlands. We hadn’t been there in the three years since I had lost my job there, and it was a nice nostalgic trip for both of us. Actually, this was almost seven years ago to the day—I saw the “memory” pop up in my Facebook feed a couple of days ago.  Things seemed okay.

A couple of weeks later, xW met and chatted with OM at a cultural festival at a nearby community college. Less than two months later, she started her affair with him.

When people talk about the “seven-year-itch,” they are describing something that I think is real. It’s not so much that the timeline is real, or that one spouse or the other will be susceptible to having an affair after seven years; it’s rather that, by the time a marriage hits the seven-year mark, chances are good that both partners have disconnected enough that an affair becomes increasingly likely. The infatuation (or “limerence”) that held the marriage together in the early years is now long gone, and it hasn’t been replaced by anything deeper because there never were any relationship skills developed that would have fostered deeper, more enduring feelings. So, the partners settle, and the marriage weakens. An adulterous predator can sense this, much as OM did when he chatted with my wife. He knew she was vulnerable; he smelled blood on the water, so to speak.

I don’t need to recount what happened next; the details are all over this blog. I chronicled most of them in real time as they happened. They are preserved here for the sake of others who find themselves in a situation similar to mine, their lives roiled by the monstrosity that is adultery. I’m here to tell you that you can and will make it out the other end, and you will come out a better person for it.

I have seen xW three times in the past year and a half; on the first occasion, we had an amazing connection and talked for half an hour. You can read about that here.  I saw her a few weeks later and she had turned cold. You can read about that encounter here.

The third time I have not written about yet, and in fact it took place about five months ago. It’s not that I didn’t feel it was worth writing about, I was just busy and preoccupied with too many other things, and I just never got around to posting the blog post that I had been formulating. I was actually just about to go overseas for a week to a place that I know xW would have been interested to find out about. I had bumped into her at the coffee shop I’d seen her at before; I was just stopping by on my way to the office. I actually had a letter with me I wanted to give her, a sort of Hail Mary pass into the universe that just laid out all of my feelings. I thought that, if I could give it to her, I’d walk away knowing I had not left anything unsaid. She could accept or reject what I had written and life would move forward as it should.

I saw her and she more or less pretended not to see me. This did not bode well. I chatted with the baristas and told them I was headed overseas; they were intrigued. xW was just a few feet away and of course could overhear my every word. But, there was no sign of movement from her. I got my coffee and was ready to leave, and thought maybe I should just go. Then I thought about the letter I had with me and figured I needed to at least take the chance. So I went over and tapped her on the shoulder; she was conveniently turned away in the pretence of not knowing I was there. She turned around.

“Oh, hi,” she said, with a somewhat forced warmness, holding her cellphone in her hand. She was messaging someone in Japanese over Facebook.

“Hi,” I said. “How are you?

“Good,” she replied. Then, motioning to her phone, she said, “I really need to do this right now.”

“Okay, I just wanted to say hello,” I said, and turned around and left.

That was it. I went out to my car and thought to myself that her behavior was unspeakably lame. Really, I could think of no better description. I did not give her the letter. I eventually just burned it.  I later discovered whom she was messaging; I cannot be 100% sure I’m right, but circumstantial evidence leads me to one conclusion. I’ll get to that later, though.

As of this writing, my xW’s affair still has not ended, and she is apparently still married to OM.  There have been some insights here and there, but not much that has been truly revelatory.

Then, a couple of weeks ago and with no explanation whatsoever, xW took her Instagram account public. I knew she had had it for about a year; she opened it just prior to going to Japan to have her big “show” wedding ceremony with OM. I saw it when she opened it because it popped up in my account as someone I might know. She posted about five times before taking it private. It still popped up from time to time, but I never really bothered to look since it was private.

When it became public, I admit, I became curious. So, I looked at her posts. Most of them are pictures of flowers, plants, gardening stuff, and so on. They paint the picture of someone who is blissfully happy in an absolutely perfect married life. Quite curiously, there are no pictures of her “show” wedding in Japan, but there is a cryptic picture or two that was taken a couple of weeks later; it seems she stayed on there, while OM went home. There is also a picture of a wedding cake that was taken on the date she got legally married here to OM. The caption is “now it’s official”—hardly a celebratory one. The tone of many of the captions strikes me as aggessively defensive, in fact. Then, there is a picture of her left hand sporting a ring with what appears to be a large diamond on it; the caption is states that the ring is priceless, and attributes this to the power of fate. Oddly, she never wears that ring. It does not appear in any other picture I’ve seen of her since.

So, this raises the question as to what happens when a betraying spouse marries the affair partner. Some time ago—as I was recently reminded—I was made aware of a web post by a woman who had married her affair partner. You can read the whole thing here; I mention this because it corroborates most of the things I have personally heard others say. Here’s my précis:

  • The wayward spouse destroys someone else’s life. There’s no way around that.
  • If there are children, their lives are horribly damaged. There’s no way around that.
  • All of the negative things that end up happening in the marriage will be your fault and will remind you of your tremendous selfishness that drove you to have the affair. There’s no way around that.
  • Whenever anything goes wrong, the new (adulterous) spouse will look at you and wonder if all the sacrifices and damage were worth it. This is inevitable.
  • People will look at you negatively for what you did and will not forgive you for it. There’s no way around that.
  • Loyalties will be divided; you will have to choose between the affair-partner-cum-spouse and your family, and even your friends, most of whom will either not accept the new “spouse” or will do so with reservation and judgment. There’s no way around this predicament.
  • You will suspect your “spouse” of potentially betraying you every time there is an unusual shift in your relationship: when he comes home late, changes his dress, or does anything else that seems “new.” This is inevitable.
  • You will be faced with the reality that you cannot trust your “spouse” and know that he cannot trust you. This is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and it’s there 24/7; there’s no way around that.
  • Even if you portray your “marriage” as perfect, idyllic, and harmonious—in short, as the Best Marriage Ever—the reality will be quite different, and almost certainly the opposite. There’s no way around that reality.
  • Chances are your new “spouse” will cheat on you. (Even if he doesn’t cheat, it won’t matter: you’ll suspect he’s cheating.) When he does cheat, no one will care. No one will commiserate. There’s no way around that.
  • Suddenly “growing a conscience” won’t help. It will just make matters worse—much worse. There’s no way around that, either.

So, that’s the list of bullet-points that married adultery partners have to face. There’s no way around any of this stuff, and it seems that no one is immune. Is it possible that some actually do end up happy and do make it work? Sure, I guess it’s possible, but it’s rare—very rare. And they all say that, if they could go back in time, they wouldn’t have gotten involved in the first place because of all the shame, guilt, and remorse.

Why is this significant? Well, as mentioned above, xW portrays her “marriage” as a picture-perfect one. She repeatedly uses words like “perfection” and “harmonious” in her social media feeds to describe her life. She portrays this in the day-to-day minutiae: what she’s cooking, what she’s doing, what she’s harvesting from the garden, and so on. Everything is just super-awesome. It’s almost like this is a god-level relationship.

Except that it isn’t. How do I know? I don’t. I can only go off evidence that I have, evidence that is publicly available through her now-public social media feeds, or through other leaks in the social media walls she has tried to make impermeable to people like me, people who do not agree with her life choices.

Let’s go back to that last encounter in the coffee shop. I was 24 hours from getting onto a 14-hour flight to the other side of the planet, an overnight in a hotel, and an onward trip to a quite remote location. She blew me off to text with someone in Japanese over Facebook.

Well, I found out—circumstantially, at least—why she was texting. I probably picked up some information peripherally from her cellphone, which was in clear view, even though at the time I only briefly glanced at it as she pointed to the screen, which she showed me. A couple weeks later, a Facebook Live video emerged in which she and a Japanese acquaintance are having a conversation and are interviewing each other. They are both trying to sell the same line of health-care products; this is what apparently brought them together. The acquaintance is also an expat but lives in another country quite far away.

Yes, I watched that video; I found a sort of morbid fascination in it, perhaps because it confirmed some of those bullet points above. Most significantly, the acquaintance asked xW how she had ended up in the United States, and xW told her that story. That story was 100% accurate insofar as I know her story. She then asked if she met her “husband” here, and xW said she had. She then asked how she met her “husband.”

Here, xW hesitated, and the colleague reacted with curiosity. xW then prevaricated: she said there were a lot of “happenings” in her life at that time, and that she had gone to a shrine where OM did gardening, she met him there, and voilà—the rest was history. All that stuff about being married at the time? Meh—that doesn’t merit a mention.

This told me everything I needed to know. Even now, almost seven years later, xW has to sanitize her life story for public consumption.

Did the kids get irreparably damaged by the affair and the subsequent marriage? Well, xW and I had no kids. OM has a grown daughter, with whom xW apparently has a “good” relationship. This tells me that the daughter almost certainly still does not know the truth about what her father did. There’s another 800-pound gorilla in the room, at every family get-together, on every phone call with the daughter, and so on.

So, every day for the past six and a half years, xW has been living a lie. She has told lies on top of lies to hide the truth of what she did, and she has prevaricated or otherwise withheld the full story to keep reality at bay.

I learned just the other day that she has a concert this weekend that she is playing with Adultery Enabler #2 (AE2)—the husband of the “friend” who enabled the affair by giving her shelter in the early days, providing her with a place to live and giving cover to the affair. The other colleague involved in the concert knows some things but probably has been given a sanitized version of events; she still remains connected with me via social media. (Neither AE2, nor his wife, AE1, do; they both blocked me early on.) There are a number of other weird incidences as well, including a LinkedIn connection request that came from the husband of the woman who first encouraged xW to have the affair. That woman and her husband promptly defriended and blocked me on FB—presumably because I had the audacity to stand for my marriage. They both have moved out of country, and then the husband tries to connect with me. (I ignored his request.) Neither of them are connected with xW on social media anymore, and I can only wonder what triggered that parting of ways.

Well, anyway… This post has gotten much too long. Let’s just say that the truth eventually comes to light. Lies and deceptions are revealed and the adulterers pay the consequences.

No one gets away with it. Ever.


New Year’s Message

Back in my college days, my best friend got married. I was asked to be a groomsman. I gladly agreed. I had been living overseas and flew back to the states for the wedding. My friend’s brother was the best man; several other friends were asked to be groomsmen. Among those friends was a mutual college buddy. He came from an immigrant family and lived with his family in a very modest house in suburban Los Angeles. He, like most of us, had been asked nearly a year in advance of the wedding and he gladly accepted.

Sometime in that intervening year, this college buddy started seeing a woman who was nearly twice his age. She had kids—two of them, boys of about 10 and 13, if I remember correctly. She was also married. The marriage was purportedly a loveless one, but the husband was very wealthy and afforded her and the family a very comfortable life at a beach house in Malibu.

I met this woman—his mistress (even though he was the “kept” man) a couple days prior to the wedding and at one point was riding in the back of her car with a few other friends. I don’t remember the circumstances, but probably we were going to or from some wedding rehearsal-related event. Although I was a bit too young to “know better,” I do remember feeling rather uncomfortable being in this lady’s car, especially when she took a speakerphone call and spoke to one of her boys. (This is more than two decades ago; cell phones were not common and phone-equipped cars were a real luxury.) I also recall some of my other college friends goading this friend about his “sugar mama”—when she wasn’t there, of course—and saying how they thought he had it made int he shade. She had gotten him a little love shack somewhere out there in Malibu that he could live in—and she bought him a new car, one that was well beyond his means.

This friend brought his mistress to the rehearsal dinner. The groom-to-be was not happy to have an adulteress at this event. She was not invited, actually, but he RSVPed for her anyway. He also brought her to the wedding ceremony the next day. The groom was definitely not happy about this; it was a Catholic wedding, and there was an adulteress sitting in the pews who was “dating” one of the groomsmen, who himself was a Catholic. People make such skewed choices with their morals. But I digress…

After the wedding, we packed into the limo and went to a nearby park for pictures. The mistress drove off in her own car and actually we did not see her. Her “boyfriend,” the groomsman, disappeared shortly after the groomsmen’s pictures were taken, without a word, a thank-you, or a good-bye. He just disappeared. He did not come to the reception dinner or party that followed. The groom was incensed. Not only did he hate the fact that one of his buddies brought his married “girlfriend” to his wedding, but he also felt betrayed by the fact that his buddy didn’t even come to the reception. We all privately thought that the mistress had him “on a short leash” and did not want to be at the reception.

I didn’t really understand this dynamic at the time.  I do now.

Fast forward to 2010: I pick up my wife from a trip back to Japan, one of only two that she made without me during the entire course of our relationship. The first trip occurred when we’d only been dating for a few months and were not yet engaged. I went to Japan a few months later to ask her father for permission to marry his daughter and he agreed. Every year thereafter, we would go to her family’s home for the holidays. Together. She would also come to my family’s home for a couple weeks during the summer. Together. It’s how we connected with each other’s family.  This second trip she took for professional reasons, so we decided I didn’t need to be there. Money was tight back then, so it made sense. She seemed to enjoy being with her family and she didn’t really bother to Skype with me very much, despite my desire to do so. But really, the lack of communication didn’t bother me that much somehow. We’d been drifting apart for several years already.

A few weeks after she had returned home from that trip in 2010, we had an argument in the car. xW said to me that she felt we should separate. This was the first time I’d ever heard anything like that; she could be quite hotheaded, so I pulled over, thinking I’d call her bluff, but we ended up talking. The situation blew over. But, it was the first sign that things were really not good between us. It seems that the trip back to visit her family had given her space to think about things. In a year, the situation would get worse—much, much worse.

Fast forward again to 2017 and I find myself three years divorced. I see a video and pictures on Facebook that show my ex-wife marrying her adulterous partner at a Shinto ceremony in Japan. Then I see her in person a month later at a coffee shop and we genuinely connect, as if those three years never even happened; she not only thinks of me but tells me she thinks about our dog—the one she left behind—”a lot.” Then I learn just a couple of weeks later that she legally married the adulterer here in the US.  I have not seen or heard from her since. But, a few months later, I learn—again via Facebook—that her brother got engaged. There were pictures: a romantic dinner, with champagne glasses, and a box with a ring. I have not spoken with her brother for over six years. He quickly sided with his sister in the whole adultery thing and refused to challenge her immoral conduct.

My former brother-in-law got married just before Christmas. I saw the pictures on Facebook; they were just posted. I don’t have to look for them: someone need only like them or comment on them and they end up in my newsfeed.

I also saw a video my ex-wife made this morning of her and her father. I didn’t really need to look for this one either, since so many people liked it. xW has been trying to run a multi-level-marketing business that she seems very enthused about. I’ve never met anyone who really made any money in MLM, but it seems she is trying. She had a turnkey website that the MLM company offered, and quite curiously the adulterer took that website over a couple of months ago. But again I digress…

The video featured her father trying out one of the MLM company’s products. This was the first time I’d “seen” him in nearly seven years. He looks older and has gone totally grey. xW is visible throughout the video and, despite her “wedding” ceremonies last year, she still does not wear any wedding bands. Moreover, it is clear from the video and the comments on it that OM was not there and in fact probably was not there for her brother’s wedding, either. OM made public comments about how good her father looks, when in reality a “husband” should be communicating privately with his spouse. But, this is part of the show they’ve been putting on for the world for all these years now.

The fact that the adulterer is not over there, right now, is very significant. Chances are that he cannot afford it; from what I’ve heard, he’s not so flush with cash that he could manage two overseas trips in one year. After all, he already blew several grand on a show “wedding” that probably had little more utility than to keep their failing relationship together a few months longer. More than that, he probably wasn’t welcome. As I learned from my best friend back in my college days, it’s inauspicious to invite an adulterer to a wedding. I’m sure that my former in-laws are polite enough with the adulterer when he is in Japan, but I highly doubt that my former father-in-law views the adulterer as a son, as he did with me. He is a very judgmental person (he was initially extremely disparaging of the adulterer and of the adulterous relationship) and likely just seeks to avoid conflict, as is normal in his culture.

Chances are that this time, when she finds herself alone with her family, things will be different than any of her other trips to Japan in recent years. The adulterer has been there with her and more than once—and, I have the sneaking suspicion that they stayed in a hotel rather than in her family’s home.

This time she watched her brother get married. She is watching him embark on a life together with the love of his live in the same way she embarked on that journey with me.  She will think about how that journey was so different than her current “marital” journey with the adulterer. She cannot give meaningful words of advice from her own experience about how to stay happily married.

This time she is at home alone with her father. She will feel her father’s judgment, even if he does not express it verbally. She will feel it in his eyes when she tries to talk about the adulterer. She will hear it in his hesitancy when he begins to speak in these situations. She will look at the pictures of her mother and feel remorse.

This time she has plenty of opportunity to think about her life, about the past six years, and about how different the adulterer looks after all this time. She will have time to think “a lot more” about her dog. She will have time to consider why the adulterer has not put her name on the title to his house, even though they are “married.”  She will have time to think about all the people she hurt and all the pain she inflicted on those near and dear to her in the past six years. She may very well also seek guidance from spiritual mediums her family knows and may again be told, as she was over six years ago, that she is on the wrong path. She will consider the words she said to me six years ago—”I deserve to be happier than this”—and will wonder if she really is happier now.

I doubt it. I really, really doubt it. Adultery is the biggest con game on the planet and eventually everyone figures out they’ve been conned.

I said this would be a new year’s message, and I’m taking a long time to get to the point, I guess. But the point I’d like to make is actually just an aspiration. Six years ago, I made the aspiration that 2012 would be the “Year of Reconciliation” for me and my (now) ex-wife. It didn’t work out that way; perhaps I was just naive. So, I’d like to begin this year with two aspirations.

The first is for my ex-wife:

May her eyes finally be opened to the reality of the life that she has created for herself, and may she realize that that life is not one that she wants to remain in; may she remove herself immediately and forever from that path of wrongdoing, deceitfulness, and suffering, and turn toward a path of wholesome and righteous conduct that brings us back together. May we walk together on that path for the rest of our days and may we together be of benefit to others.

The second is for all of you:

May 2018 be a year full of health, happiness, and joy. For those who are experiencing marital difficulties, may you find the truly skillful help you will need to help you negotiate and resolve those difficulties. For those who are separated, may your separations end, and may you be reunited with your spouses. For those who are in divorce litigation, may that litigation be withdrawn and may your marriages be renewed. For all who are married, may your marriages be unshakably strong, may your love for your partners be unbreakable, and may your unions last the lifetimes that you promised they would last.

Happy New Year—let’s make 2018 a good one.

A Tale of Three Rings, Then None, Then Two (and Still None)

There is no ring.

Well, actually there is one—or in fact, there are two. Let me explain.

Once upon a time, there were three rings: my wedding ring, my ex-wife’s engagement ring, and her wedding ring. These were not only symbolic, but were very significant to both of us. We got engaged at a time when neither of us had a lot of money. The engagement ring was a family heirloom that was nearly 100 years old. It was priceless. The wedding ring belonged to my grandmother, who passed away some time ago. It was also nearly 100 years old, and it too was priceless. I had not planned on wearing a wedding band, but she insisted—and bought me one—because she felt it was a very important symbol of our commitment to one another. It was important to me as a symbol that I was “off the market,” so to speak. These were Our Three Rings.

I had never worn a ring before, but she put that ring on my finger the day we were married and it stayed there long after the marital crisis began. I took the ring off only on the morning that the divorce was finalized, and I did so because my attorney told me to. I’m not sure why it even mattered, but the attorney thought it did; she wanted it off my finger before I went into the courtroom.

My ex-wife treasured her engagement and wedding rings. To her, they were truly priceless. That is, until the affair started. She took them off shortly after the affair began, and even had the audacity to claim that I should have bought her rings, not given her family “hand-me-downs,” or something like that. All of this was very hurtful to me, but you know, the adulterer could not exactly parade her around as “his woman” if she wore something that so obviously showed she was not single. I never asked her to return the rings to me. It was just that one day, as I was cleaning up her office, I found the rings on a very high shelf—a shrine she kept—and I would not have seen them had I not gone up there to clean.

I have kept the rings in a safe place ever since then—hers and mine. They are bound together by a bracelet cord a friend gave me on the day the divorce was finalized. I told myself I’d wear that bracelet as a symbol of my commitment for a year, or until she came home.

A year passed, and I took off the bracelet. I tied it around the rings and put them in that safe place where they remain to this day, symbolically connected by some karmic force that cannot be undone.

When I saw my ex a few months ago, she was already “married.” She had had a “show” wedding in Japan from which videos surfaced on Facebook. In those videos, she and the adulterer exchanged rings, putting them on each other’s left hand ring finger. This is significant. It is significant because in every other picture I have seen of the adulterer since, and there have been many that have surfaced publicly, he does not wear a ring. So, let’s call this Ring Number Zero because there is no ring.

It is also significant because, when I sat with her on that day for the first time in just over three years, she was wearing a ring, but it was on her left hand middle finger. It was a decorative ring that did not in any obvious way broadcast to the world that she was a married woman. So, let’s call this Ring Number One because it is a ring, albeit with the caveat that it does not obviously signify a marriage commitment. Well, she apparently was not legally married: the Japanese wedding was purely ceremonial, and presumably there had not been any kind of civil process to formalize it legally. Still, she covered up that ring when I first sat down to talk to her. She stopped covering it up when she saw that I had no interest in any jewelry she might be wearing, but she did not exactly try to make it visible, either.

A wedding notice was published in the paper here a couple weeks after that, and the records show that they did get legally married in this state a few days after that notice appeared. The adulterer did not begin to wear any ring after this time. This is curious. It is curious because some months prior to all this he publicly posted about a ring maker who makes custom wedding bands; in the comments he noted that he had worn a ring “the last time [he] was married”; this seemed to imply that he would order rings from this ring maker once he married again. He did not.

My ex-wife also did not begin to wear any rings other than Ring Number One, i.e. the decorative one, since the legal marriage was effected. This is also curious. In this case, it is curious because of the significance that her wedding rings from me—the only ones she has ever received.

She received the engagement ring from me on the day I asked her to marry me.

She received no ring from the adulterer when he asked her to marry him.

She received the wedding ring from me on the day we were married.

Who knows when or from whom she got that decorative ring, but it ain’t no obvious wedding band. 

Yesterday, I learned that my ex-wife’s brother got engaged. He posted a picture on Facebook showing his fiancée’s left hand, with a beautiful engagement ring on her ring finger. This is Ring Number Two.

Exactly one week before this, the adulterer publicly posted pictures of himself on his professional Facebook page that showed him holding various products he was touting. The pictures show his hands clearly, and one is a closeup. He still does not wear any ring. Ring Number: Zero.

I know they both reacted to my ex-brother-in-law’s photo of his fiancée’s wedding ring—through the “like” button. What is unknown is how they reacted internally or to each other.

She got an engagement ring from me on the day I asked her to marry me.

She got nothing from the adulterer when he asked her to marry him.

She still has nothing symbolically significant from him, even though they married.

I don’t want to be a mind-reader, but I do think this probably got under her skin. Her brother made a big deal of the engagement, as did I nearly thirteen years ago. The adulterer two years ago did heaven-knows-what, but it was no such big deal. He may have blown a lot of money on the show wedding in Japan, but it does appear that everything was rented, from the traditional bridal kimono and groom garb down to the wedding bands that were exchanged.

You can rent an outfit you’ll only wear once, but you cannot rent a commitment.

And even though I don’t want to be a mind-reader, I do think that the adulterer has an ulterior motive for not wearing a ring. He might say that it is because he is a gardener and works in soil, dirt, and other muck that a ring might get damaged, dirty, or whatever. Such thoughts apparently did not deter him before, when he was “last married.” I suspect, however, that his ulterior motive might be less pure: perhaps he does not want women he meets to know that he is unavailable.  In fact, back in the early days of the affair, the marriage coach I worked with told me that “guys like him typically have several women they’re stringing along at a time”; he’d seen the scenario many times over in his career. The adulterer is a gardener who has a lot of high-end clients. Not that that means much; he’s just one of the many garden-variety (excuse the pun) gardeners one finds in the neighborhoods he works in. But it does put him in the position to meet any number of affluent women, above and beyond women he might meet elsewhere.

There are a lot of memories and a lot of significance associated with Our Three Rings. Something tells me that Ring Number Two will be symbolic beyond her brother’s engagement.  It could be the symbol that points directly at Ring Number Zero and hence to their undoing and uncoupling.

From Seeming Hopeful to Seemingly Hopeless

I saw my ex-wife again a couple days ago. It was in the same place—a little coffee shop in our old neighborhood. I wrapped up an appointment a bit early and dropped by for a coffee and to send a few emails before heading to my office. As I entered, she was seated at a table right next to the door. I had to wait in line and was thus standing just a few feet away from her; I had no reason to believe there was any cause for concern, so I took a couple of steps over to her table to quickly say hello.

She was wearing earbuds and wrapped up in her work, but this is not normally a deterrent for most people to greet another. I said hello and asked her how she was. She was rather unfriendly and more or less rebuffed me, saying she was okay. She did not even bother to make eye contact. I got a look at her face and she looked terrible—dark black circles around her eyes, which looked kind of splotchy, almost as if she had been crying recently. “Are you okay?” I asked, feeling genuine concern. She said she was fine, and was rather curt.

I recognized this energy. It’s the energy of obstinacy.

I have a lot of experience with obstinacy. In fact, at some point during this blog’s life, a quick Google search for the term “obstinate spouse” would bring this blog as the top hit (it currently ranks #2 or 3—on my browser, anyway—as I write this). I figured something had gone wrong in her life and I’d just be the target of her unhappiness. So, I figured it was best to leave well enough alone. I got my coffee and went and sat at a table out of her view, sent my emails, then packed up and left. I had to pass right by her table as I left, so I waved goodbye. She just ignored me.

Something really changed in her life in the past few weeks, and she did not seem happy about what that change means to her life right now. This was the behavior of someone who is truly obstinate.

I later texted one of her friends and suggested that she call my ex-wife; I felt that something was wrong enough that the friend would do well to try to find out was wrong with her. This same friend promised a couple of months ago to talk to my ex-wife, but by her own admission never did.  I had spoken to this friend the night before this most recent encounter, in fact, and the friend told me she would talk to her. Somehow, I doubt that has happened.

Soon thereafter, I discovered that a marriage certificate had been issued on that same day. That is, the county records office recorded this document on the very morning that I most recently saw my ex-wife. I don’t know when the marriage was officiated, but it likely happened in the preceding few days.

No wonder she was so unfriendly.

As you’ll recall from my last post, my ex-wife admitted to me two significant things: 1) she thinks about me often, and 2) she misses her dog. I have no reason to think that either of these has changed. But now, she all but guarantees herself that she can never see her dog. Why? Not because I’d forbid it; I’d never do that. No, she cannot see her dog because the adulterer would never allow it. She knows that. He has proven time and again that he is insecure, controlling, manipulative, and even perhaps a bit paranoid. Therefore, her brief encounter with me this week reminds her of the magnitude of the sacrifice she has made—for this fantasy life that will never work out.

Okay, really I get it: conventional wisdom would say that she married the adulterer because they love each other and are happy together, so this is just a natural step. But remember, conventional wisdom would also indicate that I never would have had such a positive encounter with my ex-wife just a few weeks ago. So, I don’t pay much heed to conventional wisdom.

The reality is likely quite different. More likely than not, things have been falling apart between them for quite some time. She entered limerence a lot faster than he did, and seems to have exited it sooner and faster than he, at least as far as I can tell. He would therefore normally follow the pattern of becoming manipulative to keep her in the relationship—and he is a master manipulator. What could be more manipulative than giving her the wedding ceremony she always wanted? He could follow that up with other stuff, but these would also be manipulative acts that eventually will backfire.

She doubtless knows deep inside that she is still living her life out of accordance with her values and this must be eating her up from the inside. She likely feels that she destroyed so much that she can never come back. She probably feels like she has to take her chances on a life out in the boondocks with a serial adulterer who is now on marriage #3. (Or maybe #4 from what I heard in the past. That is, that there was a marriage very early in his life that ended when that wife cheated on him, and that he was so despondent that he nearly committed suicide.) By any measure, this is a losing bet.

I know all the statistics. Third marriages have at best a 25% chance of success. Marriages starting as adulterous relationships fail at a rate 25% higher than normal. 25% minus 25% equals zero. It really does seem that the chances for that marriage to survive are pretty much nil. If I were a betting man, I would not put any money on the odds that they might grow old together.

For now, the question is how long this marriage will last. The adulterer’s last marriage lasted just under six months before that woman, wife #2 (or perhaps #3) divorced him. Perhaps this one will go down the tubes even faster.

Anyway, I likely shall not have much to write here unless the situation changes. As always, I ask if you feel so inclined and inspired to pray for my ex-wife that she may leave her errant path once and for all, so that she may walk a new path very soon. May that path be one that is wholesome and honest, and may I be her companion on that path.

The Silence Breaks

So, I bumped into my ex-wife today and we had coffee.


Yes, that’s actually what happened today. I dropped by a coffee shop in my old neighborhood and she happened to be there, too.

So, you may be wondering what happens when you encounter an ex-wife who had been incredibly hostile, combative, and adversarial? I have to say that my encounter today turned out totally different than I could have ever expected.

I walked into that coffee shop without knowing she’d be there. Yet there she was, sitting at a table near the place where coffee orders are picked up, so I knew I’d have to encounter her. I placed my order and went over to wait for it; this meant that I was standing about five feet away from her table and she is facing me. So, I just said her name—in the familiar form I had always used.

She looked up. I said, “Hi, how are you.” She said, “fine,” and looked back down at whatever she’d been looking at before. That was it, I guess. I thought there’d be nothing more, but at least I’d been cordial. I turned back around to wait for my coffee.

A few long seconds passed, and she says, “How are you?”

Uhhhh… what?

I walked over to her table and told her I was doing great; I read the situation very quickly and realized this was an invitation to talk. So, I sat down and we chatted—for pretty close to a half hour. We talked, we joked, we laughed, we reminisced. She asked about my family and I hers; we filled each other in on details. She told me about some of the work she was doing and I shared mine. It was like I had never missed a day with her and we were just catching up.

She revealed a couple of things to me that were very telling, however. She said that she thought she had recently seen my car nearby, so she thought I still lived in the area. I told her that I no longer had that car (it was unmistakable, but there are also a lot of identical cars on the road) and had recently traded up to something better. I had long suspected that every time she’d see a car like that one, she’d think about me, and this seems to be the case.

She also asked about our dog and told me that she had been thinking about her, “a lot, actually.” I somehow thought this would be the case as well. I shared some recent pictures and videos of the dog with her and her heart was clearly touched. I told her that she was always welcome to see the dog whenever she wanted. She initially demurred, but I assured her it would be okay.

She never once mentioned the other man, nor did she mention anything connected with him—nothing about where she lives, what she might be doing with him, and so on, even though so much of this she makes publicly available. I did not ask, and she did not offer. That is exactly as it should have been.

Some twenty to thirty minutes had passed by this point, and she reminded me that I’d better get on the road so I could get to the office. Again, I read the situation and realized I could just give her a hug on the way out. And I did. And she did not object.

I held her hand and told her not to be a stranger. I told her that I would be there for her if she ever needed anything, and that she just need to call or email. And I told her again how wonderful it had been to see her.

And then I left.

Conventional wisdom would say that things like this can never happen. Conventional wisdom would say that she would hate my guts forever and never want to see me again. Conventional wisdom would say all that and a lot of other things, too.

But conventional wisdom is just plain wrong.

I spent nearly two and a half years fighting for my marriage. My struggles, my triumphs, and my failures are all documented in the posts on this blog. I showered her with unconditional love despite everything that was happening and despite all the rather unpleasant things she felt she needed to do. This is likely a big part of why things turned out the way they did today.

Also critical to this was the fact that she saw a man today who was quite different from the one she wanted to leave behind several years ago. She saw a man who is self-assured, confident, open, relaxed, non-judgmental, caring, and kind. She saw in me an openness and a freedom that she has not known for years, and I think she deeply yearns to have that in her life again.

I do not know right now where any of this will lead. I left the entire experience on a positive note and walked away with gentleness and kindness. That was her last experience of me today, and I think it is a good experience that will stay with her.

So, my dear readers, I have asked you before, if you feel so inclined, to pray for her, and I’m going to ask you to do so again. Please just pray for her that finally her eyes be opened and that she can see her errant path for what it is. Pray that she finally want to abandon that path and walk a new one—a path that lead to wholeness, true happiness, and enduring love. Pray that she decide to walk that path with me and that our reunion can serve as a beacon of hope for those who feel their situations to be hopeless.

Clearly there is hope, but it requires both faith and action. If you’re facing a similar situation in your marriage, please do not give up hope. Please keep the faith, and have the courage to take the right action. You may be amazed at what can happen.

Moving Forward with Marriage, One Step at a Time.

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