Feeling low, one more time

Sheesh, the last time I was feeling low was just a few days ago, at least according to my blog posts. Now here it comes again.

I spoke with my sister on the phone tonight. One of our high school friends passed away this past Friday. She was a good friend of my sister throughout the high school years and they remained close through college and kept touch into adulthood. They didn’t see each other all that often — that’s what the pressures of married life often does — but they still spoke fairly frequently. My sister said she last spoke with her about 2 months ago.

From what I understand, this friend suddenly began feeling ill about 6 weeks ago. Doctors initially thought she had some sort of infection, and put her on antibiotics. After a week or two she did not improve, and they took her to the hospital, where she was admitted immediately. Tests revealed that she had some sort of blood disorder (details are still coming in, so I don’t know that much right now). Her condition deteriorated. She ended up having surgery, went into a coma, and never recovered.

This is all so sad. My sister has endured a lot of loss recently. First, her husband’s mother died in August, and then his grandmother died last month. And now this. I called her this evening and she just went into tears. She’d just like all of the loss and pain to be over with so that she can get her life back on track. She feels as if things had just been normalizing, and now something else happens. On top of all that, she’s worried about me and my situation.

I am reminded of a situation that occurred a few years ago before we moved into our present house. Our neighbors were an unmarried yet committed couple in their early 50s. We were very friendly with them and in constant contact. The woman, however, began to estrange herself from her partner bit by bit. She had been a successful career woman, and was living a rather idle life. She clearly seemed to want to go back to her former lifestyle, although this was more or less impossible for a lot of reasons. Then her partner’s mother became quite ill, and suffered a stroke and various heart ailments. She was well into her 80s, but generally a very vital person right up until this happened. This woman chose this time to abandon her partner, and it was awful, because it was exactly the point in his life when he needed her most. She wasn’t leaving for another man or anything like that. She just decided to leave. His mother died shortly thereafter.

I’m not in such dire straits, but it is at times like this that we want to be able to rely on the person closest to us. For a lot of us, that person is our spouse. She was my rock, my source of strength, someone who I could lean on, confide in, and who would provide me with a shoulder to cry on when needed. Now she’s absent. Checked out. Not wanting responsibilities. I’m sure she thinks her life is oh-so-painful right now, but it is an artificial pain that she has created for herself through her errant path. Who am I going to turn to when all this actual pain touches me?

Well, I turned to her. I sent an email, asking her to at least pray for this departed friend. And I called her tonight, as I was feeling very sad. Sure, you’re not supposed to do this, but what the heck — she is my wife, after all, even if she wants to pretend that she isn’t right now. I just feel kind of emotionally derailed at the moment, and I just wish that, even if only for a few minutes, she could put her abject selfishness aside and think about others.

Sometimes these kinds of things can be wake-up calls to the obstinate spouse. There are constant reminders that there is a real world out there, a world outside the affair bubble. I just wonder how many reminders it will take before that bubble finally bursts.

It’s been a month

It was a day very much like today, a beautiful, clear, sunny day. It was the kind of day in which the air is so clear that the mountains, though some forty miles away, seem like they are right next to you. It was a day for picnics in the sun, walks through the park, or letting the dog splash around in the water. Except on that day she moved out.

It’s really hard to believe that it was 30 days ago. The pain of that day is still so fresh right now. There are other things that have happened recently that keep that pain fresh.

It’s also hard for me to believe that this marital crisis I have been enduring has been going on for over six months now. Six months. That’s crazy. A half a year already. It is really a testament to the childish egotism of the obstinate spouse that they can hold a position for so long, especially when it’s an unwinnable position like adultery. At least children give up faster. Adults, on the other hand, have much more elaborate ego narratives to maintain.

It’s frustrating at times, and infuriating at others. There are times when I feel peace and times when I feel unease. There is also a lot of pain that comes and goes. Yet I know that this situation is ultimately impermanent, and that at some point in the fairly near future all of this pain and frustration will be a thing of the past.

“An affair is like a bribe.” This was advice I received recently via my marriage reconciliation program. It’s like a bribe in that it clouds the adulterer’s judgment: they say and do things that would never have occurred to them otherwise. It’s as if the whole world is viewed through the tainted lenses of the affair. This is the so-called “affair fog.” It can be very thick and somewhat stubborn to burn off. But it does eventually burn off, and when it does, it is said that the adulterer begins to see the whole world through new eyes. I do not doubt that this is true, although I have no direct experience of this yet.

What I do have direct experience with is my wife’s stubbornness. She has always been like this. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. She will be the last person in the world to admit she is wrong. Honestly, although she has always been this way, the love that we had between us softened those hard edges and made it possible for her to open up to me, to admit defeat, and to feel vulnerable. However, over the past few years things have become more difficult between us, and the stubbornness became a kind of wedge. Now that I’m trying to get us to reconciliation, she is doing everything she can to keep that wedge there.

Why would she do this? It’s simple: when that wedge vanishes, she will be right back to square one, and will have to confront all of her issues head on. None of her issues has changed one iota, and in fact most of them have gotten worse. The wedge keeps her in the fairy-tale world she currently inhabits, where adultery really isn’t immoral, so she needn’t feel guilty about anything she has done, is currently doing, or plans on doing in the future.

Okay, okay, okay. I know I go on and on and on about adultery on this blog. In a way, it has defined too much of my life over the past six months. What I really need to go on about is reconciliation. But I’m not there yet. I’m trying my best to get there. The frustration arises from the knowledge that I’m doing all the right things, I’m staying the course, and I’m holding the vision, but despite all that (or probably more accurately, because of all that) my wife is still digging her heels in and trying to get her way.

What she’s beginning to see, I think, is something that is probably very disturbing to her: no matter what she tries to do to discourage me, I remain as determined as ever to get us to that point of reconcilation. I think this is hard for her to fathom. She is the the determined one, not me. I go with the flow. That was one of her biggest beefs with me, too, that I was not motivated enough to do things. She looks at herself and thinks, “when I have a goal, I just go for it.” So now there are two of us who are determined, but only one of us has the power of virtue on our side.

That’s what will help me be victorious.