Things always get worse before they get better

Sometimes things go from bad to worse. After receiving a tiny bit of positive news this morning, I get a very bad piece of news this afternoon. The piece of good news came directly to me, the bad news made its way through the grapevine.

First, the good news. My parents emailed me this morning to tell me that they had received a gift from my in-laws. They had sent their customary Christmas/New Year’s gift last month, and received a gift in return. From the looks of the photo my parents sent me, it is a very nice gift, and they also took the time to handwrite (and translate) a letter for my parents. This is a good thing, potentially at least. I’m hoping this signifies that my in-laws feel some sort of connection with, and possibility to my parents.

A couple of hours later, the bad news arrived through the grapevine in the form of an email heads-up about a developing situation. Apparently my wife’s lover has assented to let her move in, and this is to happen in the next 2-3 weeks. This is very bad news. I am beginning to wonder a bit whether my stonewalling over the landlord’s phone number had anything to do with this development. It certainly is possible. The email said that the lover decided yesterday that her moving in would be okay, and that my wife was looking to hire movers to take her stuff out of here to some other location, so that her lover wouldn’t have to come by the house or see me when he comes to pick things up with his truck. I also believe, from information that came to me in a similar way in the recent past, that the lover’s daughter and son-in-law are in town, and that would mean that they now have met my wife — and I stress that this is my wife, as she is, in fact, a married woman — but have likely been given some manner of lies about the true nature of her marital status. All of this is terrible news, and a major obstacle in the way of reconciliation. I noticed that my wife apparently left with our marriage certificate; I have no idea why she might need this, but it does lead me to believe that she may try to file for divorce against me some time in the near future.

For me, this situation is incredibly frustrating. I have done just about everything right over the past 3-1/2 months, and made enormous strides toward building goodwill that will help us to reconcile. I have even been working on myself, and there have been changes that my wife has noticed. Unfortunately, there are two things that I simply have no control over. First, there is the affair. Everything my wife is doing in the way of destroying her life and our marriage flows from the affair. She is so deep in the affair fog at this point that she simply cannot think rationally. She has probably rationalized to herself that moving in with her lover will give her the space to work on her dissertation. While that may be true in some limited sense, her living with him is not a necessary condition of working on her dissertation. I would imagine that, in her mind, it is a prerequisite for any further work on it, though. Second, there is my wife’s willful nature. She has always been a willful person, and while her goal-orientedness and determination have at times been a positive force in our lives, they have also been a serious problem for her as well. I have watched her numerous times work herself into emotional, mental, and physical crises because she had some objective that needed to be obtained, always with a deadline, and she never would give up if the objective was unreasonable. In fact, our current marital crisis started with one such situation: she took on three concerts, two of which required learning massive amounts of music, and she only had one month to prepare. It was a totally unrealistic task. The affair began at the beginning of this process.

This latter trait is fundamentally the cause for her current behavior. She convinced herself within the first week of the affair that she was going to spend the rest of her life with the adulterer. This resulted in her conjuring up all sorts of ideas of a future life with him, living out in the boondocks, gardening, doing spiritual “practice” with him (it does not seem their practice is authentic at this point, but rather a rationalization for their immorality) and so on. As I’ve written elsewhere, this “new life” was to start on January 1st.

But it didn’t.

Then it was going to start on February 1st.

But it didn’t

Now, it’s apparently going to start sometime around March 1st.

I guess we’ll see about that. A lot can happen in 2-3 weeks. For starters, she will be 2-3 weeks closer to the end of her academic career. And I do mean the end of it, too. To my knowledge, she has done virtually no work on her dissertation since she put in a 5-hour stint after we first met to talk it over last month. There is, of course, every excuse in the book for this, including the fact that she needs her own “space.” By my estimation, she now has about 12 weeks to write the entire dissertation and get it edited. This is a tall order even for a person for whom English is their first language; for my wife, who will be writing this dissertation in a second language, it’s a near impossibility. Her smartest move would be to stay here and work with me. But her willfulness and high pride simply will not allow reality to interfere with the fairy tale that is her “new life.” I advised her a couple of weeks ago that she would need to write one chapter per week, and so far she has written zero chapters in over two weeks. More correctly, she has written zero pages. This does not bode well at all for that project.

So what happens now? I have no idea. I have a very delicate line to walk this week. She has agreed to have a counseling session with me, and I’m scheduling that tomorrow morning. I also expect her to want to talk to me about her new living plans, and I simply cannot and will not allow her to breathe a word about the adulterer. She knows this, too, but I do suspect she is going to try to come clean to me. My dilemma is that, if I cut her off as I should, she could bail out of the counseling session. What I will likely try to do is to stall any relationship talk whatsoever until we have the counseling session, and let things come out then.

I think there are two things that potentially can work in my favor going forward. First is the impending dissertation deadline. As that nears, she will become more and more stressed out. She will not have regular access to me, and frankly I’m not sure how I’m going to handle the whole adultery situation if she does move in with him, as I’d have to acknowledge it in some form. Second is the role her parents might play. They have listened to her and “understood” her, according to her own reports, yet at the same time, she has said that she needs to act independent of their judgment, and I take this to mean that they have expressed disapproval of her actions. I would imagine that, once they learn of this new development, they will become very concerned indeed. I expect her father and mother to reach out to various spiritual advisors and fortune tellers to get an idea as to what to do. Her father received advice from one such person back in December, and this person told him that my wife’s lover was “absolutely unacceptable,” and that, if she continued on her present course of action, her situation would totally collapse. The fact that my in-laws have given my parents a gift will likely only complicate things for them. I imagine that, in addition to their concern, they also have feelings of shame, guilt, and humiliation. They have not reached out to me, and while I consider it unlikely, I wouldn’t consider the possibility of my brother-in-law reaching out to me to be too far-fetched.

At this point, it’s just anyone’s guess as to what might happen. On the one hand, I sort of want her to go live with this adulterous cretin, so that she can find out first hand just how awful he is, how massive his character flaws are, and how impossible that relationship is going to be. On the other had, I don’t want her to go live with him, because it will mean the further destruction of her life, and with it mine as well. I would expect her to actually file for divorce if she did go live with him, and he would probably encourage her to do so.

My one hope is that something or someone gets in the way of all of this in the very near future. That someone could be my father-in-law, my counselor, or some unexpected third person who casts enough doubt in my wife’s mind that she begins to reconsider her actions. That something could be a disagreement or series of disagreements, emerging personality incompatibilities, or even a full-blown argument. I have certainly been hoping for the latter, as a full-blown argument with my wife would almost certainly be a deal-ender.

My one request to you, dear reader, is that, if you are a spiritual person, you please, please, please pray for me. Please pray for the welfare of my wife and that she may be restored to some modicum of sanity sometime soon. Pray for the health and preservation of my marriage. And while you’re at it, please, please, please, please also pray for all the people in the world who find themselves currently in the throes of marital problems big and small.

I am reminded again and again that in these attempts at reconciling marital crises things always get worse before they get better. I have heard many stories that bear this out to be true. Things certainly have gotten worse over the past 5 weeks, and will likely deteriorate further before there is a turnaround.