“Separation,” day 4

Again, I put the term in quotes, and with good reason.

My wife came home late this morning, right around 11:00 a.m. She looked terrible: puffy eyes, exhausted expression, generally appearing like she had not slept well, and may have been crying as well. I can understand the not sleeping well, as I have had maybe 2 or 3 good nights of sleep since this whole madness started. It does take a toll, you know, and I also lost 19 pounds over the first 2 months.

Her behavior is the coldest I’ve seen yet. She was curt with me, not really wanting to talk, avoiding touches, and so on. I had made some juice this morning (apple-orange, freshly pressed) for breakfast, and had also gone to our favorite bakery for some croissants — one chocolate for her, 2 plain for me. She told me she had already had breakfast. I gave her the juice and the croissant, telling her she could eat the latter as a snack. She did drink the juice, at least.

I had to go to work soon thereafter, so I didn’t see her again until this evening. She has a client whose kids she teaches at home, and they live a bit far from here, so normally I pick her up on my way home from work. Not any more. Mrs. I-Want-To-Be-Independent never asked, so I called her and told her that I could give her a ride. About 15 minutes later I get at text saying, “I’ll be home in 10 minutes.” As a matter of principle, I will not text my wife back, I just call. The same goes for email: if she sends me one, I call her back. This time she actually answered her cell, something she has not done for nearly 3 months. She said she was just a couple of minutes away on the bus. I noticed, by the way, that she appeared to have made absolutely no headway with her packing.

I had just finished cooking dinner when she got home. I offered her some, and she declined, in favor of a bowl of rice with virtually no nutrition added. She did sit at the table with me, was visibly uncomfortable, avoided eye contact, did not want to talk, and was generally very cold. She finished her meal and went back into her office. This has been her refuge where she’s spent most of her waking moments since the whole crisis started 3 months ago. Basically all she does in there is surf the internet, and that’s about it. She had put some water on to boil, so I offered to make her tea, and asked her what kind she wanted. She said, “that’s okay, I’ll do it, you don’t need to care about me.” She looked visibly annoyed. I made the tea anyway and brought it to her.

Then she told me that she’d be spending the night, since she had to leave at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow for a hair appointment. The salon she goes to is a 2-hour bus ride from here, but it’s only about 20 minutes by car. I offered to give her a lift, as I’ve done this many times — she doesn’t know how to drive, after all — but she declined. 2 hours there, 2 hours back. That sounds like quite a needless waste of time, but she wants to be independent, I guess. Can’t fault a guy for asking. I did tell her I was just trying to be considerate.

Then she went to take her evening bath. While she was still sleeping here, I’d draw the bath for her, put essential oils in it, sometimes light some candles, whatever. She beat me to the punch on filling the tub, but I did make her bed, as was my custom for the past 3 months. And, as per custom, I’d get her aromatherapy diffuser going, leave some hot tea, and so forth. I then went to the grocery store to pick up some items for the morning. I got no thank you from her for any of this, just a curt “good night.”

So here’s what I think is going on. She’s frustrated. Possibly very frustrated. Her plans just aren’t working out. She was supposed to be rid of me by January 1st, and attached to him (the adulterer), and moved into his place. None of that has come to pass, and, as mentioned in an earlier post, it appears as though he’s stalling on the whole move-in thing. She’s making an asymmetrical sacrifice. She has opted to move out, but actually has nowhere to go. She is only living on the good graces of friends. I know this woman very well, of course, and I know that it really bothers her to impinge on others in this way. Whenever we would go visit my family, she would feel uncomfortable about staying with them because she felt like she was impinging, even though they wanted us as house guests. I often felt like she actually just wanted us to get a hotel room, although that would really offend my family. So, you can imagine how she feels staying with friends that she doesn’t really know that well. That’s why she’s coming home to shower, eat, and so forth. She has a little bit of psychological distance, but that’s it.

I honestly don’t think she can hack it. She’s looking at 3 more weeks of this at this friend’s house, and then after that another 4 weeks living with a student of hers with whom she really isn’t friends. That latter situation will likely be very uncomfortable for her. She can’t afford her own place, not at all, and the lover won’t let her move in. She gets maybe to spend the odd weekend with him and maybe a weeknight every now and then, but that’s about it.

Did you get that folks? Do you understand what that last sentence meant? I didn’t get it until I thought about it tonight: he wants to date, but she wants to be a full-time live-in partner. Maybe she’s willing, short-term, to assent to “dating” with the hopes that the more permanent situation will happen (it won’t), but she has to sacrifice pretty much everything just to do that. To my knowledge, he is the one who wanted her to disentangle from me, via divorce or at least separation, so he could clear his conscience. So far she’s been willing to oblige. I just wonder how much longer she’ll do so. I suspect the tension will build, and it will trigger a fight. Then there will be some fun days when that happens.