This morning I was to drop the dog off at my wife’s acquaintance’s house. We had arranged a drop-off time of 9:00. She would have the acquaintance’s daughter look after the dog, and I would take my wife to the bus stop nearby to catch the bus. She was to have a session with the “energy worker” today; it’s a long bus ride, but she declined my offer to take her there, claiming a desire to be “independent.”
I got up early to take care of various morning chores so that I could be out the door in time to meet her. Then, about 30 minutes prior to our scheduled drop-off time, she sends me a text saying not to worry: she’d come by this afternoon to pick up the dog. I saw this text about 10 minutes after it arrived, since I was doing other things. Since I did not respond right away, she then called my cell. You see, the only reason she will ever call these days is for some issue like this. I had just read the text and decided to ignore it. That’s right: I decided to ignore it, and go ahead with the original plan. I also ignored her phone call and let it go to voice mail, as I was just about to head out the door. That’s right: I ignored her phone call, too, and let it go to voice mail. Does this sound familiar? Why, yes, that’s pretty much what she does to me. She has an ulterior motive, and that is to avoid me. I had an ulterior motive, and it was to keep her from blowing me off. If I didn’t show up at the acquaintance’s house, I wouldn’t see her for another week.
There is a coffee shop quite near the acquaintance’s house, and I managed to drop by in time to get my wife a coffee and a little pastry. I had them put the coffee in a new insulated cup I had bought for her, then I drove over to the house to meet her. I arrived and knocked on the door. She opened the door and looked kind of disappointed. She said, “No, didn’t you get my message? I told you not to come by this morning.” I bluffed, and looked at my phone. Aha! There was the text. I told her I could leave the dog anyway, and I’d take her to the bus stop. I noticed that, in her right hand, she held the Top Secret Cell Phone, you know, the one I’m not supposed to know anything at all about. It was open and in use, as though she was on the phone with Top Secret Person #1 (i.e. the adulterer), or sending/receiving a text from said person. I just ignored that detail. I offered to give her a ride to the bus stop, and told her I had a coffee in the car for her. She asked me to wait in the car, and she’d come out.
She took a few minutes, but did emerge with a couple of bags. She looked awful: puffy eyes with big black circles under them, a cramped and uncomfortable body language, and the general appearance of a tired and beaten-down person. I guess life really can be hell when you decide to put yourself through the ringer she has been shoving herself through for months on end. She got in the car, and we discussed her bus schedule. She asked if maybe I could take her to the main bus station downtown, and I didn’t hesitate at all, and just told her that would be fine. I gave her the coffee and the pastry, and she consumed both with gusto.
On the way to the bus station, she told me the acquaintance’s story. She is a bit older than us, and has two kids, one in grade school and the other just starting college. Her husband was laid off a few years ago, and began drinking. She started working harder to support the family, and naturally problems developed. Around this time, the younger child began pulling her hair out because of the stress within the family. At some point in the past year, the husband brought a woman home and apparently slept with her in the house while the rest of the family was there. The wife discovered this woman on the couch the next morning, went back to bed, and didn’t say anything. Things did not improve. The husband walked out on them in February and now lives in another state. She is currently trying to dissolve her marriage.
I found this entire story disgusting, from start to finish. This is a classic tale of two individuals who do not know how to handle a crisis like job loss as a team, and allow this situation to destroy their marriage. It’s not a terribly different tale than my story, except that there are no kids in the equation with me and my wife. I was going to express my exasperation, but just said that I didn’t want to be judgmental. I am hoping that my wife will find her story to be instructional. It contains familiar elements, including adultery, only the acquaintance was on the receiving end of that situation.
We got downtown a bit early, and just hung out in the car. I was pleasant, and joked around a lot with her. She asked me if she could leave one of her bags with me, as it was quite heavy and just too much to carry; she’d come by this afternoon and pick it up, along with the dog. I told her that would be fine. She seemed very, very tired and extremely worn down. Her energy was very low. Supposedly the “energy worker” can help with this somehow, but actually I wonder about this: if this woman, the “energy worker,” sees my wife once a month, and each time she is no better than the previous (and in fact may be worse), then what the heck is she doing? To my knowledge, the “energy worker” has not raised significant doubts about my wife’s life trajectory and the extent to which that trajectory affects her energy states. There seems to me to be an obvious correlation between these two things: destructive path ? depleted and unbalanced energy. There really is no amount of “chakra tuning,” or whatever the hell this woman does, that can fix that. It’s sort of like putting oil into a crippled engine: you might get it to run for a bit longer, but it will still break down. I don’t know, maybe she sees my wife as a cash cow. Despite her energy state, we had a pretty good time. She thanked me for everything and then got out to leave. I honked to her as I drove off, and we both smiled and waved at each other.
This is not the behavior of the truly obstinate spouse. It is the behavior of a spouse who is deeply unsure, terribly unsteady, and very likely to soon reconcile. That’s my sense, anyway. I was very, very happy as I drove off, because I had a renewed sense that we are very near the end of this crisis, and that happier days are just around the corner.
On my way home, I stopped by a frame shop. Yes, a frame shop. They have all sorts of nice cards and things, and I bought 5 postcards and a greeting card, with the intention of giving the latter to my wife today, and saving the others for later occasions. When I got home I had yet another inspiration, and ended up going out to buy a couple of chocolates; I washed my wife’s new insulated cup (she did not take it with her, claiming that she had too much to carry) and placed the chocolates in a gift bag that I put inside the cup. I stowed this in her bag that she left with me. I wrote a frivolous little note in the card, and placed that inside a magazine that she had in the bag. I also readied a bag for the dog that included a couple of cans of food and some treats, and inside this bag I put a bar of Belgian chocolate for my wife. Is this overdoing it? Nah, it’s just par for the course.
You see, every time she sees me, I give her something. Every time she comes home, there is something good waiting for her. Every single time. The only exceptions would be if she turned up unannounced, or something like that, and that virtually never offers.
The timing and placement of these gifts is significant, I think. She finds herself in a very difficult and basically intractable situation, and has been trying desperately to throw me off her trail since the beginning of the year. Nothing she has tried has worked so far, and that’s because nothing she can try will work. She’s my wife, and I’m going to just treat her that way. I’m sure the stuff I do irritates the hell out of the adulterer, but I do not care: she is my wife, not his, and he’ll never get any further than he currently has. She will discover all of these gifts at his house, and she may well discover some of them in his presence. I do not know if she tells him where these various things come from, as I have managed to secret various things for her discovery when she has left to be with him in the past. I suspect that he has learned of some of them, and others are hidden from him. I’d imagine that, at this point, it is more the latter than the former. Either way, this has got to make for an awfully awkward situation: it causes tension if she tells him, it causes tension if she lies to him about them, and it causes tension if she hides it from him. See what I mean?
Now mind you, I don’t do any of these things for this reason, i.e. with the intention of causing stress between her and the adulterer; I do these things because she is my wife and I want to do nice things for her. The side product of all of this is that it very likely does cause tension in that illegitimate relationship. and most certainly does a lot to spoil that affair. If he sees the cards I get her, he’d see that I know her taste intimately; he does not, and never will, and further seems to have rather poor taste when it comes to such things. Although my wife does seem willing to ignore this, I’m sure it does bother her to some extent. (Probably a lot, actually.) The same is true of the gifts and other things I give. Giving is very powerful, by the way: it changes both your spouse’s feeling about you, and it changes your own feelings toward your spouse.
So there we are. I don’t want to try to predict the future, but things are going to change, and I do think that will happen soon.