Do you know that line? You know the one from the song “Tempted,” by The Squeeze?
Alarmed by the seduction,
I wish it would stop.
Kind of a propos to those of us dealing with unfaithful spouses.
Yes, I wish that it would stop. And along with it, I wish that the pain would stop. I would say that most days I’m okay, I’m not really suffering, but there is an underlying tension to it all, not knowing what’s around the next corner. I just never know what sorts of twists and turns await me as we inch nearer to the end of her relationship with that feckless boob.
There is also an underlying layer of pain. It’s very subtle most of the time, and I don’t really notice it. I usually relate to it directly when I do my morning meditation, which these days is pretty much just tonglen. But every now and then there is a trigger that comes unexpectedly, and there comes the pain, and on come the tears.
Take today, for example. I had just made my lunch, and was sitting watching TV, which I rarely do. It was a cooking show, of all things, and the host was throwing a party for a couple with an infant that was probably only 3 months old. The moment I saw that infant, I started to cry. I still had a mouth full of food.
I’m not really sure why I started to cry. Maybe it was all the dreams that were never fulfilled in our marriage. We never had kids, and my wife is now nearly to old to entertain that idea. We could have had kids, but she was never willing to put in the effort that would have made our financial situation conducive to raising children. She never showed me any seriousness in trying to finish her doctorate, and never showed any interest in having a “real” job, or at least to work enough to bring in more than a couple hundred dollars a week, if that. It’s as if she has absolutely no clue what it costs to live in this world. And it’s also as if she was expecting to import the norms of another society to ours.
You see, in her home country (Japan), single-income families are the norm. The man works full-time and the wife stays home and raises the kids. Employees often commit to their employers for life, and employers pay their employees as salary that is, among other things, based on age and family size. I distinctly remember my wife telling me, right near the beginning of our marital crisis, “I just wanted you to make all the money so I could do whatever I want.” Seriously. That was the unguarded, honest comment of a grown woman.
Mind you, this is the same grown woman who at the same time claims that she wants to be “independent.” I don’t see that happening, not now or ever in the future. She does not have the life skills to make that happen. It’s not that she’s incapable, quite the contrary. It’s just that she lacks the perspective of what it actually means to be independent, to have nobody there for you to help out when the money runs out, when hardship strikes, etc. She has always had someone behind her to help out: her parents, her teachers, friends, and, of course, me. One of the first things I did when we first started dating was to give her several hundred dollars so that she could pay her bills. Of course, she still has someone behind her now — the adulterer — although I don’t know how keen he is on actually supporting her.
So she really doesn’t want to be independent. She actually seems to want two things: 1) to be autonomous, and 2) to run away from her problems. The first is a delayed act of maturation that never happened in her life. She never was truly autonomous, despite having left home to go to college, and then having left her home country to pursue graduate degrees. She was still accountable to the friends and family back home who were helping to bankroll her. So now she wants that autonomy, but does not realize that it doesn’t require destroying your marriage to get it. As for the second, this is also a maturity issue. She really wanted to marry her father. She wanted to marry someone who she felt would sacrifice everything for his wife and his family. Not that I wouldn’t, but her father’s story is rather unique: his father died when he was in his early teens, so he had to quit school and begin working at the age of 16 to support his mother and his family. That’s the standard I was being judged against, apparently. The story of the adulterer is one of a person whose parents split up while he was a child, and who had to help support his mother. Similar story, in a way, but with a few key differences: the adulterer learned early on that broken homes were the norm, and so his marital homes — both of them — ended up broken as well. He is nearly 50 and still does not know how to conduct a successful long-term relationship. He has also been the victim of and has committed adultery. This is hardly a positive role model.
But what can you say to an adulterer who thinks she’s “in love”? Nothing. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it’s not love they feel. It’s dopamine addiction. It’s a form of narcissism that manifests in a shallowly indulgent short-term relationship. It will end, and soon. Spring is upon us. The buds are forming on the trees and the early blooms are already present. But the bloom is not quite off the rose of their relationship. I actually don’t know where it’s at. I do know that the more time they spend together, the quicker the bloom will wilt and that relationship will end. It’s been nearly 6 months since this madness started. Something tells me that April will be a critical months for that illicit relationship, and the gateway to reconciliation.