What can I say? It’s been a strange couple of days. I received a four-page letter from my wife two days ago, then don’t see her at all yesterday. I didn’t see her at all today, either, but there has been a lot of contact between us. This is really a bit unusual.
First off, I’m not a big fan of text messaging. I don’t do it much, and will normally only do so if there is a logistical reason. If I want to reach my wife, I’ll call. I figure it’s a good thing that she hears my voice, anyway. Often if I do call with something important, she texts me back. My response is often to call back in reply, and sometimes I actually do get her on the line, rather than having my call go straight to voice mail.
Today, when I left for work, I figured there would be a better-than-average chance that she’d come home. After all, I wouldn’t be there, and she could hang out with the dog, practice, relax, etc. Since I suspected she might return, I left a note to thank her for her letter, additionally wishing her well on her performance tonight, and also left a little gift with it — just a couple of rubber stamps with pictures of butterflies and such. She loves this kind of thing. I thought that, in light of her statement in her letter that she felt she had been giving me false hope, I should just show her that my behavior isn’t changing.
Right around mid-day I thought I’d text her. Why? Two reasons. First, it was logistical, and second, I was pretty certain she’d read it and respond. Oh, and there’s a third thing: it would be a way to make a connection, even if it were a bit impersonal. I texted her to ask her to drop by the house if she had a chance, so that she could check up on the dog, maybe let her out, and just to keep her company. I got a text back a few minutes later telling me that she was already at home and was hanging out with the dog. I followed that up with a couple of frivolous comments, and then told her there were some treats that were given to me as samples at the pet store, and she could give the dog a few. This was all good. A bit later on, I texted her to tell her that I had cooked some rice before I’d left, she could find some Japanese curry in the fridge, and that she should help herself. She texted back a bit later to thank me for it, and to say it was tasty. That was about it, for then, anyway.
I got home not entirely sure what to expect, except that I knew she wouldn’t be here because of her performance tonight. I went into her office to check the answering machine, and found that she had read my note, had carefully rearranged the gifts onto it, and had additionally (and I’m not sure why) placed her wedding rings atop the note as well. She hasn’t worn those in over four months now, so I don’t know if there is any significance to this act or not. I then saw that she had been looking at the book I got her for Valentine’s Day, and it was now open to a different page. I then went into the bedroom and found a stack of laundry, neatly folded on the bed. I had a load of laundry I was waiting to do until I had some time tomorrow, and I could have put it off longer, as there really wasn’t much to do. She did it for me. She also had replaced the bath towels in the bathroom and had used the bath towel I had left for her. This means, of course, that she showered here for the first time in at least a couple of weeks, I believe. She had also washed the dishes that she had used for her lunch.
All of this is significant. As I wrote earlier this week, I suspect that she misses this house, and misses her life, as she is currently adrift in the worst possible way. She’s still too prideful to admit any of this, but it is clear that she took the first opportunity she could to come home when my presence would not be felt, physically anyway. I suspect that she comes home on occasion when I’m gone, but does not leave a trace. But it’s not just the coming home. It’s also the unsolicited givings: the letter, the folded laundry, the cleaned dishes, and so on. There have additionally been gifts given that were not provoked by anything in particular. I had been advised that, over time, if you really change your behavior toward your spouse, they will eventually change their behavior toward you, even though their feelings haven’t yet caught up. This is partly a way of assuaging their conscience, but it is significant in that changes in actions lead to changes in feelings. In other words, if she keeps manifesting these kinds of behaviors toward me, I can expect to eventually see her feelings change for the better as well.
So, I texted her again — although I had called her beforehand with a totally frivolous message just so she’d hear my voice — and my text thanked her for having done the laundry. She texted back a bit later to say the concert went well and to say that she hoped I’d had a good day.
Right now, I’ll take what I can get. I’ve been a bit confused by her behavior, but I suspect it could be the start of the thaw. That’s my hope, at least. She took the distance, according to her, for the sake of “clarity,” and supposedly that led her to be even more certain of her direction. Were that really true, she just would have disappeared off the map by now, and would find there to be no real reason to engage me. She still engages me, though, so that likely is a sign of internal conflict regarding her feelings for me and her life that she has had with me. I imagine that she is beginning to question whether it really is worth throwing away 7 years of marriage for the sake of a totally unproven relationship with a twice-divorced serial adulterer whom she has not even known half a year. Despite what she may think, her experience and knowledge of me, are her perceptions of me as a more stable, better person are going to be more powerful in the long run and, I suspect, in the near term as well.
I’ve been running this race for five months now. I’m not ready to stop yet, and I won’t stop so long as the finish line is out there, somewhere. I suspect I’m getting near.