I returned home from work half expecting to find my wife ensconced in her office, surfing the net as she has done for the past 3 months. Even despite her “separation” from me, she still has been spending much of each day doing precisely this.
As I drove up to the house, I noticed the lights were very dim, and that there were no lights on in her office. When I entered the house, the place was a mess. Not a total mess, but just messy, as though it were left in haste. There was a food bowl left by the sink, shoes and slippers haphazardly lying around her desk, a bunch of papers strewn on the table, and some half-opened mail. I suspected that she had gotten a last-minute text from the adulterer telling her that he was knocking off early for the weekend, and could swing by to pick her up and take her back to his love shack. While this is possible, there are some logistical things going on this weekend that make that unlikely. My wife has intended to get her stuff packed up and into storage in a friend’s basement by Sunday. This means she’ll have to spend all day packing tomorrow if she wants to have any hope of that happening. She has been frittering her time away doing other things. She also has a job on Sunday morning that she could not wheedle her way out of. So, no free weekend out at chickenshit ranch this time, I suspect.
At any rate, I had two students to teach at home tonight, and about a half an hour until the first one arrived. I took all of her boxes, packed or half empty, and put them in the laundry room. I needed the space for teaching, and didn’t want my students to feel oppressed by that clutter. Then, I collapsed her empty boxes back down (they weren’t taped) and stuck them in the closet. She’ll likely be upset about that, but I’m not too worried. I live here too, and she does need to at least try to be respectful. It’s not as if I’m trying to irritate her — she’s doing fine on that all by herself, and she’ll be irritated regardless of whether I did this or not — but that she does need to understand that I still do live here and have obligations beyond allowing her to keep half-packed boxes scattered about.
I taught my students and then treated myself to dinner. There are a ton of Korean restaurants in our neck of the woods, so I went to a local favorite of ours and had a proper meal. Now, I lost 19 pounds over the first two months of this crisis. I was so stressed out that I could hardly eat. I take this as a good sign that my appetite has finally started to return.
Something interesting happened while I was at the restaurant, though: I felt really, really happy. This has been a trend that has been developing for the past week or two. I’ve just started to become more at peace with this process and have begun to recognize that I’ll be alright no matter what. I think I’ve also started to let go as well. This does not mean that I don’t want to save my marriage. Quite the contrary: I am totally committed to it and absolutely determined to reconcile. It’s just that, at this point, it appears that my wife actually needs to prove to herself that she can disengage from me. She spent most of the last month complaining that I was forcing her to do this or that, or to see things in certain ways. That is not true at all: I told her on many occasions that I did not agree with her agenda, but could not stop her from taking action. The crux of the matter is that she wanted my approval to execute her agenda (adultery, separation, divorce, etc.) and I simply would not give it. The other person she wanted to get approval from was her father, and he also did not give it.
Since she’s already 13 days behind schedule on beginning her “new life,” I think she has begun to feel compelled to take some sort of action, so that she can feel like she’s actually in control of her life. This is currently manifesting in her sleeping at a friend’s house and packing her boxes (sometimes) during the day, that is, when she’s not surfing the net. And it may in fact culminate in her actually getting movers here to take those boxes to this other friend’s basement.
What’s really happened to me since the start of this year is that my perspective has changed. I’ve had to stop being the doting husband, so to speak, and start becoming the caring parent. She’s entered the rebellious adolescent phase of this affair, and wants to prove her autonomy, which she does not really have. She really needs to prove that she’s right, that her path is just, and that everyone who doubts her or criticizes the morality of her behavior is, in fact, wrong. A caring parent knows that he cannot really stop a truly rebellious teen. Instead, you have to stand back and let them make their own mistakes and learn from them. That’s pretty much the position I was put into 10 days ago. I’ve just got to let go, while still maintaining the gentle heat of unconditional love that manifests mostly as acts of thoughtfulness and kindness. I’ve got to be willing to let her walk out the door without her telling me where she’s going. I’ve got to be willing to let her go have more face time with the adulterer at Camp Chickenshit. I’ve got to let her experience this whole situation in all its sordid glory, so that the house of cards that it is can finally collapse.
I don’t really have much control over the process anymore. I can be influential, but she’s the one whose situation is finally starting to spiral out of control. I’m not sure how things will turn out from here, but one side of me feels as if this whole situation is going to explode pretty soon. It’s just impossible to tell.
What I can tell is that, with my change in perspective, a change in me has occurred too. I’m a stronger person. I’m a happier person. I’m a much more motivated and self-confident person. I now recognize that I am really in the position to start making the positive changes in my life that need to be made. I don’t need her to help me do this; in fact, this crisis has been a distraction that has really derailed this process. Now I know that I can keep my head above the clouds, see the destination clearly, and keep moving in that direction with calm assuredness until I reach that destination.