Tomorrow my wife and I have a joint counseling session. I have been in counseling for three months now, and have met with my counselor four times this far. On average, I speak with him about every three weeks or so. I don’t really need to speak with him much more often than this, since I don’t have issues that need constant attention. What I’m doing to try to reconcile my marriage takes time, patience, skill, discipline, and perseverance, and asking a counselor to monitor the situation from week to week would, at least for me, be unproductive.
I should say that I do not see my counselor in person, and in fact have never seen him in the flesh. He lives over 1000 miles from here. I do all my counseling sessions over the phone. This might seem a bit unorthodox, and to some extent it is, but the counseling I get is more like marriage coaching than it is traditional counseling. I am given advice as to how to restore my marriage to optimal health, whereas traditional counseling focuses on communication skills, problems, and issues, and all too often that approach leads to further dissatisfaction with the marriage itself. I decided early on not to go that route. It was both expensive and appeared to me to be counterproductive.
My wife offered to do the session after a long and rather heartfelt discussion last week. She was in a more gentle, tender place as the result of the “energy worker” advising her to be sensitive to my needs, express gratitude to me, and so on. Then things changed: my wife spent the weekend with the adulterer. I learned many details via unsolicited correspondence, since the walls of secrecy surrounding my wife’s affair are pretty leaky. His daughter and son-in-law were visiting, and my wife was introduced to them. This is horrendous behavior that no father should ever subject his child to, even (and especially) if his child is in her early 20s. At some point, the adulterer told my wife she didn’t need to look for an apartment, since he wanted her to move in to his house. My wife conveyed this information to the friend she is staying with (this is indirectly how I this information came to me, unbeknownst to any of the parties involved), and this woman provided my wife with further encouragement. This is massively unethical, especially since this woman is a colleague of mine. I could conjecture as to her motives, but that would be another story entirely.
So, this week my wife has turned somewhat hostile to me. Not completely cold as she did last month, but unsympathetic, judgmental, and generally fairly harsh. In a way, I believe that she resents me right now. I get to live in this house, I don’t need to move or give up any material comforts, and I don’t really seem to be suffering. She, on the other hand, has chosen not to live in this house, has had to give up both material comforts as well as the comfort of home, has an increasingly uncertain future with ominous deadlines approaching (i.e. her dissertation), and seems to be in more or less constant pain. What little relief she gets likely comes in the form of her weekends with the adulterer. That’s her drug fix. It’s his, too.
The outcome of that situation is predictable. If she were to move in with him, she would try to make herself unavailable to me. I know who this man is, I know his address, as it’s a matter of public record via his home-based business for which he freely lists his contact information, and I know his cell phone number, as that was littered all over my cell phone bill back in December. Not that I’d want to hound her, but contacting her would be a pretty simple matter. If she were to move in with him, she would have unlimited access to that drug that is the affair. She’d be on dopamine overload. The outcome of that situation is predictable as well. Her neurochemistry would become increasingly dysregulated, she’d become irritable, and eventually would begin to see that there are many, many problems and stresses that are conspiring to put an end to the affair. Just how long it would take for it all to come crashing down is anyone’s guess, but I wouldn’t give it very long.
What is not predictable is the outcome of our counseling session tomorrow. My counselor is a very skilled professional, and is a very compassionate and attentive listener to boot. I am certain that he will listen carefully to everything my wife says, and then turn the tables on her to get her to think about both what she is saying and what she is doing. I do believe that the process is in large part to give air to all the rationalizations, allow them to be expressed, and to expose them for the hollow excuses for logic and reason that they are. I did send him a rather lengthy email this morning apprising him of my situation and the latest developments, and listed a few goals we might try to achieve. He will come to the situation well informed and will make good use of this precious opportunity. I did let him know that my wife’s typical movements these days are to pack up to Camp Chickenshit on Friday afternoons, and then to return either Monday or Tuesday morning. Usually, she leaves around 1:30 or 2:00. (There is a lot of material evidence for this, by the way: bank transactions, cell phone/text records, etc.) Our session wraps up at 11:00 a.m., so he’ll have a golden opportunity to give her a potent message that hopefully will get her thinking about what she’s doing. At least I would hope that seeds of doubt about the affair will have been planted; at best her guilt will be exacerbated and greater stress will arise over the weekend. I’m not saying that I want my wife to be stressed out or anything, but rather that such stress and other unpleasant emotions and situations are the consequence of her actions.
Time will tell. It’s a big day tomorrow, please wish me well.