She’s moving out, sort of

This morning I left the house fairly early to run some errands. I know that, when my wife spends time with her lover, he’ll drop her off down the street sometime around 8:30 in the morning or so. That’s about the time she’s come home the past several times she’s been away with him. On one occasion, I caught her red handed getting out of his truck as I was driving down the street to go to the store. I did not confront her, of course, and I even looked away, but his truck was maybe 15 feet from where I was sitting at a stop sign. She saw me, of course, and I also had to follow him down the street for a couple of blocks, as there’s no other way to get out of our neighborhood in that direction. I was close enough even to get his license plate number. (I never did anything with it, it was just a reflex reaction.) Like a true coward, he realized I was behind him and high-tailed it through a yellow light.

So, it came as no real surprise to me that, as I was driving down the street after having gotten some coffee, and on my way to some other errands, that I see her getting out of his truck at the usual location. She saw me drive by, and looked really hard at the car to see if it was me; I had turned my head away in disgust and there are other cars like mine, but I’m sure she wondered. He was right behind me, again going down that same street; I didn’t speed up or anything, but he took a different turn so that he wouldn’t have to follow me. That coward.

I got home a while later, and things were pretty cordial with my wife. She even allowed me a tiny bit of intimacy: I was able to give her a little hug and kiss her forehead. She had taken the dog with her, and the dog seemed very happy to see me, and attached to me very quickly. Our dog is not exactly the most personable; she doesn’t really crave human contact very much, so this was kind of unusual. It seemed to me that the dog had experienced quite a bit of stress being away. She (the dog) soon retired to her bed in our bedroom, and slept very soundly, as if she hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep in quite a while. She normally won’t let you pet her very much when she’s trying to sleep, but she just laid there on her bed and let me pet her, as though this was very reassuring somehow. She smelled awful, too, like she’d been on a farm or something, and had some kind of fecal remnant caked around her neck.

Oh, I should say that it was also our dog’s birthday (she’s purebred, so we know her birthdate) so I had made a little gift, along with a card, that I gave to my wife via the dog. She (my wife!) loved it. Then I left for work.

On my way home that evening, I knew I’d have to prepare myself for my wife having packed, getting ready to leave, etc. I came back to a house that had 4-5 boxes packed, a couple of shelves emptied of books, and so on, but nothing too major, at least not yet. She was teaching a student at the time, and after the student left I went in to her office, opened the closet as I was looking for something, and saw this massive box of packing goods. I asked her, “What’s all this?” And she said, “You know I’m leaving, so I’m packing now.” Then she got all defensive, claiming that I was freaking out (which I was not), that I never listened to her, I never paid attention, so that’s why I was surprised, etc. I asked her what her plans were, i.e. where was she moving all this stuff to, and she really didn’t have an answer. She said that she’d be spending the rest of the month with friends a couple blocks away (the ones that are covering for her adultery), and then next month she’d be staying with an adult student of hers, an older woman in her 50s who is a research scientist, and lives alone. This woman is also an observant Christian, and is relatively conservative in her morals and ethics, at least to my knowledge, so I wonder how the idea of adultery will sit with her. This person will apparently be storing some of these boxes for the time being, and after that they would ostensibly be going to adultery never-neverland. (I haven’t been told that, but that’s been her plan all along: divorce me, move in with and eventually marry him. The likelihood of that actually working out is basically just about zero.)

What this tells me, among other things is that her lover, as I’d suspected, is stalling for time. He does have the upper hand in this situation, as he is the one who does not really need to change his life substantially for this affair. My wife is in the totally dependent position, as she’s got to move out of her house (to help clear his conscience, for starters), separate from me (ditto), perhaps file for divorce (ditto), quit most of her jobs, and live in other people’s houses for the next two months. You can see where this is going. Right now, I’m sure that feeds his ego quite nicely: there’s an attractive younger woman who basically launched the whole affair with the slightest provocation from him, and she’s willing to destroy her whole life for his sake. But she wants the whole enchilada, and she wants it now. For whatever reason, he just isn’t ready to let her in. He might never be, who knows.

The question is whether the affair can actually survive the next 8 weeks. That’s how long it will take for her to actually get clearance to move in, I believe. A lot can happen in 8 weeks. Although it seems like an eternity already, my marital crisis is only now going into its 15th week, and I’ve been implementing the strategies and techniques of my reconciliation program for only 9 weeks, going on to week 10 today, in fact. I’ve seen a tremendous shift in the momentum already, with a huge amount of goodwill that I’ve built between myself and my wife in that time. Not enough to get her to reconcile, of course — the affair is just too strong for that. I do think, though, if there were no affair, she’d be reconciling with me right now.

That’s probably what bothers her. I have softened her up, and in return she tries to harden her heart because she does have an agenda to satisfy. That’s what this whole business of boxes and sleep-overs at friends is all about: she has to prove to herself that her fairy-tale romance and the perfect future life it brings is actually real. And I’m sure she also feels that she will be proving to me, her family, and the rest of the world that it’s real, too.

So why do I say she’s only “sort of” moved out? Well, the dog is staying here for the month, and so she has to come back to see her. She’s super attached to the dog, and cannot spend that much time away from her. She also will continue to teach some students here, obliging her to be in the house a couple of days per week. In addition, her little altar she uses for her spiritual practice (such as it is these days) is also still here, and likely to remain here even through February. This means she has to be here daily to maintain it and to do her prayers and such. It’s sort of like she has one foot out the door and the other in the house, testing the waters, as it were.

What do I expect to happen? I don’t know. I do think that the pressure from her family will continue. My sister, unbeknownst to me, sent her parents a Christmas card, and this triggered my father-in-law to call my wife about 10 days ago; this ended up a tear-filled, 2-hour conversation in which she confessed that she had no self-confidence. (Funny, she tells everyone she’s so confident, but there we are.) Furthermore, my parents also sent a Christmas/New Year’s gift, which I believe has not yet arrived. They have been exchanging gifts for the past 7 years, and in my wife’s culture, when you receive a gift, you are obliged to reciprocate. I did not ask my parents to send a gift; they are among the few people I have actually let know what’s going on (I regret this, actually), yet they asked me if they should send a gift. They have not actually met in person, since there is nearly 6000 miles separating them, but they did meet via Skype for my father’s 80th birthday earlier this year. So, I believe they feel a connection. I simply told them that, if they wanted to send a gift, they should do it. So they did. This may be a source of confusion. I’m sure they already feel a tremendous amount of guilt and even humiliation that their daughter could betray me so severely, and I’d expect that they go for further advice from various people and ramp up their pressure on her even more.

Right now, the effect of this familial pressure has led to nothing other than my wife digging her heels in further, insisting that she’s right. She might argue this with her mother, but she would never say this to her father. He’s the one person in the world that she needs approval from the most. The second person is me, as I’m the one who could make her guilty conscience go away. Neither of us will give that approval.

There are interesting days ahead, to be sure.