Karmic residue; or, the cell phone waiting lot of relationships

I don’t have much to say here tonight. Just checking in, more for my own benefit than anything else. My wife is continuing her withdrawal, not returning home at all during the day. She had asked me to pick her up from a rehearsal tonight, and I did so; I had also left the lunchbox I made for her the day before yesterday in the fridge for her. She did finally get around to eating it and thanked me for it. I also left a chocolate bar that she appears to have taken. I had some new flowers that I’d left in a couple of rooms, and she took care of them for me and trimmed and rehoused a few in a new vase. She left a nice little note for me as well.

I did pick her up from the rehearsal and she was wearing the boots I’d bought her for her birthday. (Seriously, people, if you really wanted to ditch your husband, wouldn’t you avoid the gifts he gave you, too?) We had a pleasant enough time, joking around, on the short drive from the rehearsal location to the friends’ house she is currently “living” in. I also gave her a little pastry for her breakfast tomorrow. This is pretty much all I can do right now while I wait for her affair to end.

Yes, yes, yes… I know it will end. I know that I just have to be patient. Things are tedious right now, as I’ve said before. She is an addict and simply cannot see things as they are. She has a small support group that is aiding and abetting her acts of adultery, treating them as though they somehow are not wrong and actually represent a viable future. I don’t attribute this to maliciousness, but rather to a rather insipid naiveté that will result in tremendous embarrassment for these people in the relatively short term.

Unfortunately, my wife will be the last to know that her current situation is not sustainable. The deck is stacked against her and that will not change. There are so many pressures out there conspiring against her course of action, and these pressures will continue to build for as long as she chooses to ignore them. Basically, I suspect she will ignore them until something happens that causes the affair to explode. She thinks it’s robust and healthy, but in fact it is just diseased and sclerotic. The timeline for this happening is as uncertain as ever, but the timeline of external pressures is relatively fixed: the registration deadline for spring quarter at the university began a week and a half ago; she can register for most of the next month, but then tuition will need to be paid. At present she has about $200 less in her combined bank accounts than what will be needed to pay her tuition, and I don’t know if she has even thought about this. Of course I am willing to help, both with the tuition as well as with her dissertation, but I have not yet heard one single entreaty for either. I cannot exactly suggest she think about these things, as that will just piss her off.

So I wait. And wait, and wait, and wait. She and the adulterer are having a grand time of it to be sure, making all sorts of grandiose plans about the future. (Let me tell you about some of the things I’ve heard… well, maybe not.) Little do they realize that the chances of any of those plans, let alone the likelihood of their relationship going long-term, is basically slim to none. I mean, the figures are pretty unequivocal: from what I’ve seen and understand, 95% of affairs fail to become long-term, committed relationships. By long-term, I mean over a year, and persisting in the absence of the primary relationship. Of those that do make it to that point, only 3-7% succeed. That’s right: start a relationship as an affair, and the likelihood that you’ll see it become, say, a long-term marriage or partnership is maybe .25%. That’s right, a quarter of a percent. One in 400 affairs might succeed, and that’s probably being generous. The likelihood of that happening when there is a committed spouse would probably push that figure even farther south.

There we are. I’m in the cell phone waiting lot of relationships, waiting for my call from the distressed spouse, desperately embarrassed by the person she has become. I’ll take that call, and be there to collect her when the time comes.

Instant karma, part II

Karma means “action,” but action with a dualistic edge. Action that is good or bad, right or wrong, up or down, black or white. It doesn’t mean that, when you do a good deed, a good deed of equal measure will return to you in kind. I hope that my previous post didn’t lead anyone to believe that to be the case; my tone was more facetious than anything. Karma is more like a storage house in which positive and negative seeds are stored, and so long as we buy in to the whole dualistic view of existence, we are destined to watch those karmic seeds come to fruition. Our present moment actions have a lot to do with how they come to fruition, though. If your actions are fundamentally virtuous, you can expect positive karmic seeds to be more likely to manifest, and negative karma to be relatively minimized. The opposite is also said to be true. So this is a story about karma as it manifested in my life today.

My wife came home around 11:00 a.m. unannounced, and with the dog in her carrier. She said she “misplaced the leash” at the “other house,” so she had to keep the dog in the carrier. The dog seemed very relieved to be home again, and I don’t blame her. She had that barnyard funk that she picks up on these weekends. It’s actually not so much barnyard as a mixture of chicken coop and cat litter. Somewhat bizarrely, my wife had an even stronger tinge of that barnyard funk about her. It was really weird: she smelled worse than the dog, and the aroma pervaded the entire room.

She didn’t stay long, maybe just 20 minutes or so. Then she told me she was going to leave for her rehearsal. It was not yet noon, and the rehearsal began at 3:00. I offered to give her a ride, as it’s quite a distance, and takes over an hour by bus to reach that destination. She declined. Before she left, I offered her a lunchbox I’d made for her, and she declined that too, telling me that her bag was too heavy. She asked me to leave it in the fridge, as she might come home and eat it later. She never did, but maybe she will do so tomorrow. She looked very tired, and seemed quite unhappy.

After she left, I decided to go out and run some errands. I had it in my mind to do a bit of decorating in the house; nothing major, but it just seemed to me that the bedroom needed a bit more abundance and magnetizing energy. So I thought I’d get some flowers, and find a couple of vases for them, since we didn’t seem to have any extra vases. I went on line to look for consignment stores, and discovered that there is one not too far away. I went over to check out their inventory, and found a couple of nice vases, and spent about $15 or so for them. Then I went on a hunt for a flower shop, and in the process ended up visiting a tiny curio shop that sells Tibetan goods. Many of the things they have are spiritual/ritual/devotional objects; I think I had been there once with my wife many years back. She had been there a few times in the past, and bought me Chögyam Trungpa’s Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior there on the recommendation of the owner. Somehow I knew I’d be in good hands if I went there again.

I entered the tiny shop and the owner was conversing in Tibetan with his wife and high-school age daughter. He greeted me, and offered his assistance. He asked me if I was looking for prayer flags or something like that, but I told him I was looking for something for my bedroom, but aside from that had no agenda; I was just using my inspiration. I did ask him to show me what he had. He went straight to a shelf with tapestries — not prayer flags, per se, nor thangka paintings, but rather something one would more or less have to call tapestries. Not large ones either, mostly just cloths that were about 2 feet square. He took one off the shelf, a green one with Tibetan prayers written all over it, and an image of Green Tara in the middle. He said, “this is the 21 Praises to Tara, you know.”

I was astonished. I have done Green Tara practice for about a year now, and have found it completely transformative. I often lead the practice on Sundays. I’ve been also reciting the 21 Praises to Tara since about the beginning of the year, and recently have made it a daily practice. I told him about this, and he said, “isn’t that interesting that this is the first thing I found for you.” We also looked at a couple of thangka paintings, plus some calligraphy he had done, but in the end I bought the tapestry. I just trusted my intuition on this one. That’s how karma works. You walk into a shop and this connection suddenly happens. Not only that, but the tapestry is green, and that is the color of karma energy. He said it would be appropriate for the bedroom. Somehow he had the sense that my bedroom needed karma energy. I felt that it needed something, as the energy was just stale in there. I felt so immensely grateful.

I never did find that flower shop, by the way, so I ended up getting some flowers at a grocery store that evening. I came home to discover that my wife had not returned during the day at all. I imagine she’ll be by tomorrow at some point. I plan to ask her for advice as to where to hang the tapestry. She’ll likely say that she doesn’t care, since she doesn’t feel it to be her bedroom anymore. But, she will get to experience Tara’s karma energy face to face.

Instant karma

I was driving to work today, and something unexpected happened: as I was getting on the freeway, this white jeep in front of me to my left blew its right rear tire. I heard it blow and watched a piece of rubber go flying into the air. Then the tire began to vibrate and bounce, and the back end of the jeep began to shake and look rather unstable. The other drivers around this vehicle seemed oblivious; some followed too closely, others just passed by. I decided to do something. I drove up beside the jeep — not the easiest feat, as the freeway was a bit busy, and the jeep was speeding (65 mph) — and honked my horn. The young lady behind the wheel looked over at me, and I pointed to her to pull over, trying to tell her that her tire had blown. I had my window down, but hers was rolled up, so she couldn’t hear what I was saying. At least she slowed down, and I got in front of her; at the next exit she signaled to pull over, and I pulled over with her onto the shoulder. I got out and so did she, and I told her that her tire had blown and that I saw the whole thing happen. She said, “so maybe that was why my car was shaking?” She said she heard it blow, but didn’t see any signs of anything wrong, except for the shaking of course. I showed her the tire, which hadn’t gone flat yet, but was totally misformed and bulging. She said she had an appointment to get to, but it wasn’t far away, so I let her drive off, as she had no time to change the tire, but told her to get it fixed ASAP. Karma points = +100,

Actually, they say in some Buddhist traditions that the first 15 days of the lunar new year are particularly auspicious, and the effects of positive and negative actions are multiplied by 100,000. If that’s true, then that would be karma points = 10,000,000. I don’t know if this is true, and I don’t know how many karma points you get for something like this for starters, but a guy can hope, anyway.

Thus I continued on my journey. I had actually left the house early today, so that I could stop by Daiso for some little goodies. If you’ve never been to or heard of this place, it’s basically like a Japanese dollar store, except that in Japan they’d be called 100-yen stores. In this country, Daiso sells a ton of little things, all of which sell for $1.50; there will also be a few larger items that cost more. But the general idea is that pretty much everything in the store sells for $1.50. I’m not buying aluminum foil anywhere else anymore, I think.

For my trip to Daiso today, I was on a hunt for one thing in particular: bento boxes. I wrote in my a previous post about a bento box lunch I had packed for my wife in anticipation of her latest trip to Camp Chickenshit. Apparently it was a hit. I did some more cooking last night and again had leftovers, but didn’t have an extra bento box since, well, that one I bought is currently up there at Camp Chickenshit and won’t make it back down here until maybe tomorrow. Daiso has a bunch of bento boxes, most of them small, and some so small that they’re only appropriate for children. I bought a pair of bento boxes by a company called “Lube Sheep.” I’m not kidding, that’s the actual name. These were pretty much the largest boxes they had, and would be appropriate for adults. You can see the ones I bought here; they are the “Urara” ones at the top of the page, one red (for her) and one blue (for me). I didn’t get the whole kit that they picture on this page, since they only sold the bento boxes themselves, plus a matching elastic band to hold the whole thing together. The price tag for these suckers: $1.50 each, plus $1.50 per elastic band, for a grand total of $6. I also got a few tiny plastic bottles to hold ponzu or other sauce, since I knew what I’d be packing in these boxes. Oh, and I also got an extra pair of plastic chopsticks, complete with case to hold them, again for $1.50. My grand total was just under $10. Karma points (for thoughtfulness) = +10.

After having had dinner at home tonight, I packed the bento box. I had made some salmon-shrimp cakes courtesy of a recipe by Harumi Kurihara, one of my wife’s favorite cookbook authors. In fact, I took the recipe from the cookbook I bought her. (She hasn’t even looked at it yet, really.) I packed those with some asparagus shiroae; the “shiroae” is a white sauce made of tofu, miso, soy sauce, a bit of sugar, and ground sesame seeds. You can see what it looks like here when applied to other vegetables. The bottom container held the rice, with a couple of umeboshi. (You do know what those are, right?) Karma points (again, for thoughtfulness) = +30.

Since I have no idea what time my wife will be traipsing into this house tomorrow, my plan is to have the lunchbox ready to leave for her before I go off to work. Her movements seem to be getting a bit predictable: she leaves on Friday afternoon, takes the dog, pretends like she’s going to her friends’ house a couple of blocks away, and then returns the following Tuesday. She knows when I’ll be at work, so she avoids coming home until then, if at all possible. Well, tomorrow she does have a rehearsal, so it might not be possible for her to avoid me, and in fact if she does come home earlier, I’ll offer to give her a lift, and then give her the lunch box. Karma points vary depending on the circumstance, maybe +10 to +50.

She has gotten a bit careless with her life these days, by the way. She recently began posting on her blog again, but not in any way that would really indicate where she’s taking the pictures, although I know where they are coming from. We had a tiny bit of snow yesterday morning, mixed mostly with hail, but there was no accumulation here whatsoever. Camp Chickenshit is 40 miles to the north in a convergence zone; it tends to be much colder up there, and they will get several inches of snow when we get none. Her blog post this morning was of a picture she took yesterday of a tree with a bit of snow on it. Wow. This totally leaves her open for a well-placed comment, should I wish not to hold my tongue. I know her friends don’t have a tree that looks anything like the one she took the photo of, and further there was not enough snow here for any tree to look anything like that one did. I’m not sure I’ll say anything, actually, but I could casually hint that I’d seen her blog and that they must have gotten a lot more snow at her friend’s house one block north of here. On second thought, I think I’ll hold my tongue. I actually do pay the ISP hosting fees for that blog; perhaps she has forgotten that. Karma points: for her, -500; for me: 0 (holding my tongue) to -50 (for saying stupid things). Maybe I get slight positive karma points, e.g. +5, if my comments help to bring about the end of her affair, but that’s impossible to judge.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the opportunity to do a bit of giving and generally to have the chance to connect and attempt to work toward reconciliation some more. Things move a lot more slowly when your spouse has decided to disconnect from you and is making every effort to try to evade you. Still, she sends me nice texts on occasion, so it’s not a total wall of ice. Consistency is my friend, though. The more I do things, the more she’ll realize that I’m dedicated and will persevere. She has been advised by the “energy worker” to be patient and help me heal, so she will have a hard time rejecting these things if she wants to take that advice seriously. I’ve had high hopes in the past for her affair running its course and being over and done with much sooner, but it still appears to be going strong at the moment. She does need the weekends at Camp Chickenshit to experience the full range of emotions and experiences that relationship can provide, as these will lead to its inevitable demise. Why am I so certain of this? Well, for starters, my wife is absolutely no smarter about relationships now than she was 6 months ago. I, however, am about 10000% smarter and better informed. I know what to do to keep a relationship healthy, and have a learned and developed a number of skills that are very powerful. She has none of these. This means that, when that relationship hits rocky ground as it likely already has done, and as it most certainly will do in the near future, she’ll have no recourse other than to go down the tried and true route of arguing, complaining, nagging, giving ultimatums, and fighting.That approach didn’t work for us, and it certainly won’t work for them. That man likely has zero relationship skills anyway, as he has never managed to stay successfully married, and somehow believes that adultery can work out. I do know that she finds his language too direct and insensitive at times. None of this makes for a good or successful recipe. Karma points, +100 for consistency; unlimited negatives for her affair and any and all of its components.

As the tension builds between the two of them, which it certainly will due to a number of factors — her dissertation, her unsettled living situation, her diminishing bank balance, and, of course, me — there will be more and more opportunities for disagreements, arguments, heated exchanges, and, yes, fights to erupt. I do believe that they are just one good argument away from ending that relationship. All she needs to have is one really good barn-burner that puts her out to sleeping on his couch and she’ll begin to rethink that whole situation, and fast. She is still in fantasy land right now, in the bubble that is the affair and its attendant fog, but that bubble is very fragile and fit to pop at any moment. Now, if only I could find the right needle to pop it… Actually, I could just let my karma points take care of that, most likely.

My scarcest commodity

My scarcest commodity right now? That would be face time with my wife. She has really done her best this past week to try to disengage from me and take space. She returned home on Tuesday, made sure I wasn’t around, and left the dog in the house. Then she returned for a couple of hours on Wednesday to teach a student. I did not see her at all on Thursday, and yesterday (Friday) she briefly resurfaced for about a half an hour or so. She was here just long enough to get a few clothes, do her makeup a bit, and then take the dog. She did at least ask permission to take her.

Of course, I assented. I had thought about trying to leave the house with the dog as I did last week, but then just thought that to be rather selfish. Instead, I did a bunch of cooking the night before, and tried out a few recipes from a Japanese cookbook I had bought her for Christmas. I also went down to the local Japanese grocer and got her a stainless steel bento box, and made her a lunch box that she could take along to Camp Chickenshit. The recipes were great, by the way, and I packet that bento box full of them, and made it look like the kind of bento box a spouse might prepare for his/her partner, with things thoughtfully and artfully arranged. I put this in a bag with some things for the dog. When she told me she was going, I gave her the bag and off she went.

Now here’s where things got interesting: I then went out to get some coffee. There’s a little coffee shop about a block from here that actually is inside a church. It’s the closest place to go; all the other places are at least 10 minutes away, and this place takes me about 2 minutes to get there. But I do have to drive by my wife’s friends’ house — the place she has been staying. So, while I’m driving to this place, I notice what looks like the adulterer’s truck turning down our street. I don’t know that he normally does this. There was a ladder in the back of his truck. As I drove home after getting coffee, I saw the adulterer’s truck in my wife’s friends’ driveway — the ladder was there, so it was indeed him — and she was loading up her stuff. While she was doing this, and this all happened in the space of a few seconds as I was clearing the intersection, husband of my wife’s friend drove into the driveway. He already knows the adulterer, and that has been established from his Facebook page. Some people have no shame.

Later that evening, I got a text from my wife thanking me for the lunch box. She said the food was great, and it tasted exactly like some of the things her mother cooked for her when she was a child. This is a good sign. I have no idea whether she ate the food in the presence of the adulterer or not, but I am pretty sure that, if he knew about it, he’d be bothered by it. Perhaps not visibly bothered, and in fact his outward reaction might be to show encouragement to my wife to show concern and gratitude toward me, but on some level it’s got to bug him. I’m not backing off. I am showing her (and by extension, him) that she is my wife, and that I do care for her and will take care of her. I am also showing him that I know her far better than he does, and far better than he ever will. Basically he’ll begin to see eventually that he really doesn’t have a chance, and he may very well get insecure and jealous. These are all things that, little by little, will help to end that highly inappropriate relationship. Every time something like this happens, he is reminded that the woman he is with actually is married.

I also learned a couple of things that piqued my interest. I heard through the grapevine that last month my wife came very close to ending her relationship with this man. Actually this was the second time I’d heard of this, but the situation was different this time. The first time, she’d told some friends (that’s how things get to me) that she was thinking of putting the “relationship” on hold while she works on her dissertation, since it was an energy drain and she needed to make her academic obligations her first priority. Heh – that never happened. This second time, she apparently got despondent during the heavy weather we had in January. We had about 10 days of snow, at times quite heavy, and this was followed by rain for another week at least. The adulterer is a gardener, and he lives 40 miles away where they get a lot more snow, and so he just didn’t come into town for something like 3 weeks. So she didn’t get to see him. She even stayed here one or two nights, I think, and she seemed pretty bummed out. Apparently, she wrote him a pretty lengthy letter that was sort of like a farewell letter, and this kind of turned him around. For now, at least. Shortly thereafter, she met his daughter and son-in-law, his brother and his family (including his daughter and son-in-law), his ex-wife, I think, and so on. Then there was some sort of teary conversation in which she was invited to move in. Hijinks ensued.

So that was one thing. The other thing was the hijinks, and yes, I’m being facetious. She had another session with the energy worker, and apparently her energy was totally messed up, to the point that this woman could tell that bad stuff was going to come out. And I guess it did. I don’t exactly know what transpired, beyond the advice that she was given not to move in with that man at this point. There was a process of healing that needed to take place first.

Now what, pray tell, might that involve? Once again, it appears to mean expressing gratitude to me, and being patient in trying to heal my heart to the point (ostensibly) where I’d let go and assent to whatever the hell it is my wife wants. Seriously, this is the advice this woman gives: do this stuff with an ulterior motive, and no, it’s not going to seem manipulative at all. The first time she tried the gratitude routine with me it lasted about 5 days. Thus far this time I’ve seen very little of it, but then again I’ve seen very little of her. The other component is that she was instructed to make prayers of supplication to my family and family ancestors, again expressing gratitude, and asking for forgiveness. I find this very distasteful, but have held my tongue. It’s really nothing more than spiritual materialism to think that praying to ancestors with an ulterior motive — and one of betrayal and abandonment at that — is somehow a virtuous or worthwhile thing, or that it’s not a totally ego-centric and selfish activity. Yet it seems that this is exactly what she’s been instructed to do.

I’m sure by now you see the problem with this course of action: You can make all the supplications you want, you can make endless expressions of gratitude and vow to be patient in order to get your way in the end, but when your actions are immoral, there will never be any relief! That’s just how it is. I do know that she is having panic attacks. I’ve seen these before, and they’re kind of random, but the fact that they have returned is almost certainly attributable to the continued immorality of her behavior. Some people just don’t learn, or it just takes them a while.

So yes, this may take a while for the reality of this situation to dawn on her. She is going increasingly public with the affair: there’s the crap she’s putting on her Facebook page (I’ve been blocked, so I can only catch a limited glimpse via a secondary page that I happen to have) and also the new blog posts she’s writing. She has a blog that she’s kept for about 5 years now, mainly for family and friends overseas, and thus far she has not posted about the adulterer but has hinted that there were some “turning points” or other in her life. Today there were pictures taken at his place. Nothing that would identify it as such, but rather close-range pictures taken of buds in a greenhouse, and  a picture of a hummingbird she took. She didn’t say much about where they were taken or anything like that. But this will very likely backfire on her, especially if she becomes more open in her posting. By the way, I do pay for the hosting for this blog, the domain-name registration fees, and so on. Perhaps she has forgotten about that, like she’s forgotten about a whole host of other things I do for her.

The reality is and likely will remain that, despite the distance she professes to be taking, our lives are intertwined, and there’s just no denying that.

The Case of the Disappearing Spouse

I have seen my wife precisely once this week. This is unusual. Ever since she “moved out” in January, she would put in an appearance at the house, starting from about 9:00 in the morning or so. She’d stick around most of the day, I’d go off to work, and then she’d leave for her friends’ place in the evening. This week has been an anomaly. First of all, she returned from her adulterous weekend a bit later than usual. Normally, she’d come back on Monday morning, but this week it sometime on Tuesday. Last week was an anomaly as well: she came back on Wednesday; then again, Tuesday that week was Valentine’s Day. She came home this week at some point in the afternoon after I had already gone to work. I’m pretty certain this was deliberate. She has access to my schedule via a web-based calendar and I hers. My calendar is updated regularly and highly active; hers is seldom updated and wildly inaccurate. So, she has a pretty good idea of when I will or will not be home. I only knew that she had come home because the dog was back in the house.

Yesterday was the first I’d seen of her since the previous Friday. She was cordial enough, and as I mentioned before, she brought me a hot dog. This is supposedly a good sign, according to the experts, a sign of being conflicted: they want to sustain the affair, yet they feel compelled to give to you to try to assuage their conscience. I had some hopes that she’d return this morning, but that didn’t happen. I left a note on her desk, along with a little chocolate, telling her there was some food on the stove and to help herself. I came home and the note had not been moved, and there was no sign whatsoever that she’d even been in the house.

She will return tomorrow, though. You can pretty much bet your bottom dollar on that. She has to: it will be the beginning of another adulterous weekend for her, and she’ll need to stop by to get some clothes and pick up the dog. I’m wondering about her clothing situation, actually. I never saw evidence that she took much clothing with her on her last departure, but maybe she stocked up for a few days when she was here on Tuesday or Wednesday. At any rate, I’ve made a little bento box lunch for her, and will have to find a way to give it to her on her way out. Not that she’ll want to accept it, though. I’ll just have to disguise it a bit and give it to her in a larger bag or something.

She is definitely, definitely trying to take her distance from me. Somehow this intuitively feels to me like the last gasp of desperation of a severely struggling soul. But who knows? I’m not her, I’m not in her head, and I haven’t spoken to her recently. She won’t answer when I call, so it just goes straight to voice mail. I suspect she’s making herself scarce to see if I’ll stop engaging her. That won’t happen. If there’s one thing that will defuse the adulterous relationship, it will be the fact that I just will not go away. I’m her husband, after all. Jeez, is that really so hard for an adulterer to figure out?

Well, actually, it is. They convince themselves that some of the most illogical constructs are somehow logical. You know, stuff like, “I’ve already divorced my spouse in my mind,” or “I felt our relationship was over, so I didn’t think I was cheating on you.” Yes, they do say stuff like this. It’s craziness. My wife somehow believes that there could be a future with a man who would break into someone else’s marriage. That alone is reason to run away, but there are also the facts that he was unsuccessful twice in trying to stay married, and has committed adultery in the past as well. Watching this situation unfold is like watching a kind of psychosis. It’s really pathological. Two grown adults sneaking around like children, that’s just not normal. It’s also not normal that they somehow have managed to convince others to buy into their behavior. Well, actually that is normal; what isn’t normal is the other peoples’ buying into it.

Anyway, I just have no sense of what’s going on right now. I just have no other choice than to wait this one out. It is very difficult to watch someone you love spiral horribly out of control when all you want to do is prevent them from harming themselves. But unfortunately I cannot stop her from harming herself, she’s determined to do it no matter what. She does not think she’s wrong, nor does she think that she has made or is making bad decisions. I guess we’ll have to wait to see what she thinks about all that in a couple of months’ time. As I’ve said before, I don’t see this situation dragging on a whole lot longer, but I could be wrong. It’s just that the pressures of her life, especially that of the unwritten dissertation, are just going to continue to build. She can try to stay her course and pile on one rationalization after another, but in the end things do have to happen: tuition needs to be paid, text has to be written and edited, a defense has to be prepared, and so on. She also has to start making some money, as her bank account is dwindling ever so rapidly. I hope the final flame-out to be coming in the very near future, because if it does then, with a bit of hard work and good old fashioned elbow grease, we can get her dissertation done and defended. But that pretty much has to start, well… 2 months ago. We’re now rapidly approaching the critical point of no return.

Welcoming the Year of the Water Dragon

I went to a celebration for the Tibetan New Year tonight. According to their calendar, the year is 2139. Like many Asian cultures, the Tibetans ascribe to the 12-year cycle of animals (ox, rat, dog, etc.) that describe the quality of the year; to this they also attach an element, e.g. water, wind, fire, earth. Some systems also attach male or female to the year as well. This year is the year of the Water Dragon. This is an auspicious combination.

In many Asian cultures, the dragon symbolizes the union of heaven and earth, and further represents growth and prosperity. Water symbolizes sustenance and magnetizing energy; since the dragon’s natural element is wood, and water nurtures wood, there is also the aspect of nurturing that comes into play as well. It is said to be a very powerful combination. This also marks the first time in quite a while that the elements have been in harmony with the animal. We are therefore supposed to be at the start of a 12-year cycle of luck. There was also advice given that, as with any new beginning, one should try to let go of past negativity and move into the new year with the sense of a fresh start that is open and positive. We should let go of bad habits, and I can certainly think of a few that need to be wiped away.

Perhaps the symbolism is significant in my life already. There were actually two ceremonies I attended today, one in the morning that included a liturgy for the new year, and then the aforementioned one in the evening that included a similar but slightly longer liturgy. Between the two I was mostly home alone. I was a bit concerned as to when and whether I’d be seeing my wife. She texted me mid-afternoon to tell me that she’d be teaching a student at home, and wanted to know if that were okay. I said, “no problem.” She got home about an hour prior to the lesson with a surprise for me: a Japanese-style hot dog. There is a food truck downtown that makes these, and we’d been talking about trying the for a number of months prior to this crisis; there is a shop in Vancouver, BC called Japadog we visited last year that does this, and it was really good. So she passed by the truck here in town and decided to get me a sukiyaki dog. I was very grateful, and told her I had something to share with her: a bottle of Red Arrow root beer. We had a nice enough time; she was cordial but a bit distant.

She had a rehearsal tonight and had arranged for a ride there, but I offered to give her a lift home. I brought the dog with me. She got in the car and gave the dog a kiss. I joked about her giving the dog a kiss but not me. I then took her to her friends’ house, and just gently reminded her that she could always come home. She rejected that idea, of course, and I had expected that. I just felt like I had to put it out there, that’s all. So, it was a positive end to a pretty much positive day.

My aspiration for this new year is one of prosperity, happiness and, of course, reconciliation. I’m realizing that, in many ways, I can be my own worst enemy, and so I am going to try my best to put aside negative habits and actions and to try to come at the world from a place of positivity.

Hey, hey, hey – another two-post day

I wrote my last update at a coffee shop on my way to work. I had another late start due to client cancelations/reschedules. There was a lady sitting on the couch opposite me, and she had her dog with her and was also toting her son, who looked to be about eight years old, and they were playing cards. The dog appeared to be some sort of flat-coated retriever mix, and its tail kept threatening to knock the drinks over on the knee-height table. That’s what I was contending with while writing that post. Fascinating, I know.

Now I’m sitting at home in the comfort of my living room. I got home around 8:00 p.m. The lights were totally out on the house, so I’d assumed that my wife still had not returned home. I was wrong. When I went to open the front door, the dog was there to greet me. Her behavior was a bit odd: she seemed tired and kind of depressed. Normally, when one of us would come home, she would get all hyper and prance around. She’s a Corgi, after all, and they’re very active dogs. This time, she just seemed kind of sedate. I saw this behavior after her first extended visit to Camp Chickenshit. In fact, she’s never really totally normal after visiting that place. It’s like she’s home again, and everything is familiar, yet she needs to readjust, because the pack dynamics have shifted. Dogs do need that sense of pack dynamics, and they need to know who the pack leader is. Normally that would be me. But when she goes to Camp Chickenshit, I think she gets confused. That role would have to fall on my wife. Maybe there’s no trust in the adulterer; why should there be?

Anyway, so what else did I discover when I came home? Well, for starters, my wife had left a note for me on the dining room table. I had left her a note before I went to work, letting her know that I had cooked some lunch and that there were leftovers in the fridge. I also wrote that I had bought potato chips, which she consumes voluminously these days (without gaining weight; I attribute that to the stressfulness of her situation), and that there was also some root beer in the fridge. Not A&W or Hires, but micro-brewed stuff. Craft sodas are all the rage these days, and there are dozens of places around the country that brew root beer. The note also thanked me for the stuff I’d bought and prepared, and also thanked me for having relocated her half-packed boxes into her closet. (I had to: they were an eyesore and taking up far too much space.) She also thanked me for the chocolate I had sneaked into her bag before she left. She also wrote, “Please let me know if there [is] anything I can do for you.” I felt that statement to be rather odd. There is actually something she could do for me: break off the affair and come home to reconcile, but perhaps that would be asking too much. She signed the note, “Best, [her name];” I found this a bit odd as well, as she must have learned that closing salutation from me or someone else.

So there we are.

I guess I just have absolutely no sense for where I stand right now. The affair is going on 4-1/2 months old right now, so I guess that would make it kind of middle-aged. Affairs tend to perish before they hit the one-year mark, and most probably die away months before that, say in the range of 5 to 7 months of total duration or so. Thinking back on all my pre-marriage girlfriend situations, few of them lasted substantially longer than that, and that is likely true of others’ experience as well. Affairs aren’t boyfriend/girlfriend situations, though, since at least one, if not both partners are married. But, with this aforementioned time frame, I guess that would mean that we’re getting fairly close to the affair’s death from natural causes, i.e. the endless lies, deceit and so on. Much as the human body can only sustain a fight against a mighty virus or disease for so long, so too can a human sustain a fight against the ethics and morality of human society for a limited time. Maybe that’s why I get the sense that the affair is being kept on life support. I don’t have any evidence to back this up, though; it’s just a hunch. I don’t really see it stretching on much more than another month or so. After that, the pressures of real life will just become too severe. But, I could be wrong. My wife does appear to have a small network of friends who support and encourage her path of infidelity, and that is a truly amazing thing to consider.

In the meantime, I continue to wait, to work on myself and my fixings, and to continue to build goodwill such that she’ll feel comfortable coming home when that relationship finally self-combusts.