Feeling low

Not that I’m one to wallow in self-pity, but I came home to an empty house yet again today. I had hopes that my wife would have at least returned, since it is Monday, but I guess the fact that one of her students canceled tonight led her to think that staying with the adulterer another night would be appropriate. Actually, I don’t know if she’s there with him, I just assume that to be the case. Given past evidence, if she had returned, she’d come home, even if she were going to go spend the night at her friends’ place that same day.

She is so lost. She has absolutely no direction in her life anymore. She is totally unmoored and is headed right for the cliffs. The collision with reality is coming, friends, and it will not be pretty. I just hope it happens soon — really soon — as otherwise the fallout from that collision is going to be much, much worse.

The single most pressing thing in her life at this point is her doctoral dissertation. She now has only 3 months to finish it, and even that time frame is generous. Finals week comes during the first week of June at her university, and, assuming her committee would be willing to schedule the defense for that week (they may or may not wish to do this), then she’d have to have the dissertation completely finished and sent to her committee by no later than April 30th so that they’d have a chance to read it and give her input before the defense. This is really critical, because if there are objections they can be dealt with beforehand; if these are not raised and addressed, the committee can decide to fail you. I do see this as unlikely, but it nevertheless does happen. Her advisor did have a student who failed last year, and I would imagine he is not very keen on having another such case.

But, for my wife, the single most pressing issue in her life seems to be the affair and everything that flows from it. First, there’s the need for the dopamine fix. After each encounter, there’s a dopamine crash and a whole host of other neurochemical stuff that goes on that causes withdrawal and other unpleasant symptoms and emotions, and so she simply has to go back for another fix to be able to continue to feel okay about life. This then leads to the need to further justify the affair, which in itself is completely unjustifiable; the continued avoidance of reality through self-deception, coupled with the act of willfully ignoring her plagued conscience is a cocktail that produces only misery. That misery, coupled with the dopamine crash, leads to the need for another dopamine fix, further need to justify the unjustifiable, and ensuing further dopamine crash, more guilt, etc. It’s basically a downwards spiral from here on out; then again, it’s been a downward spiral from the very beginning, but now we’re likely entering the final, flame-out phase.

What else flows from the affair? Her need to separate from me, for starters. She has begun to waffle on and on again about wanting to be independent, as though that were something that she really needs to learn at this point in her life. She has told me that she finally wants to learn how to drive, and is going to sign up for lessons. I’ve also learned that she’s starting to look for houses or condos to rent; she’d have to avoid most apartments, because she has a dog. Oh, and there’s also the idea of divorce that probably is still running around her head. That flows from the affair, too.

There’s a practical set of problems with all this, though. First, she doesn’t have a car. She could always use our car, but then that would make her dependent on someone (i.e. me). Second, she doesn’t really have the $600 or so she’d have to spend on driving lessons. (I’ll get to why this is the case below.) Third, she absolutely does not have the money to rent either a house or an apartment. She could not afford the start-up costs of first/last months’ rent, deposit, and so on; on top of that there are all the utilities one is responsible for if you rent a house (vs. and apartment), plus the rent itself. She has pretty much obliterated her income to the point that she could scarcely afford a box to live in anymore.

Even if she were to scrounge up enough money to do some or even all of this, she still can’t afford it, and here’s why: she has to enroll for one term to complete her dissertation and defense. That will run somewhere close to $2000, and she simply doesn’t have two nickels to rub together for something like that. This is even more true as her online shopping habits show no signs of curtailing — a new package arrived today, in fact — and so she’ll wipe out most of her money frivolously before the registration deadline arrives, which it will in about 6 weeks or so.

So I guess I still haven’t gotten around to the title of this post, “feeling low.” I just am feeling a bit low at this point. Work is going well, I am greatly appreciated and respected by colleagues, and I have more clients starting and others in line. In fact, I’m rapidly approaching overbooked. Good things will come of all that, I’m sure. It’s just that I’ve come home to an empty house for four days straight now, and I’m just getting tired of it. Maybe it’s practice for what is to come, I don’t know. And maybe it wouldn’t bother me so much if it wasn’t so completely needless. I mean, her affair is going to end, there’s no doubt about that. The situation is totally asymmetrical, and she wants far more from this man than what he is willing to provide. That simply has to backfire sooner or later. But until it does, I’m just left here to wait, and it does get a bit lonely around here this time of year.