This past month has been one of the most difficult periods I’ve had to endure thus far. While it’s true that the period immediately following the revelation of my wife’s affair was utterly shattering, and while I was so unseated by that whole situation and the uncertainty of our future that I could barely eat — I lost nearly 20 pounds as a result — at least during that time I had pretty much constant contact with my wife. Since the beginning of the year, that contact has been dwindling, down to the point where, from about April or so, I was seeing her only once a week.
Since the beginning of last month, however, I have seen my wife zero times per week. I have not seen her for over a month now. Her phone has gone silent — she doesn’t even turn it on — and I’ve had maybe three pieces of communication from her, all in text form, in the past month. It really sucks.
At the same time, she has gone very public with the affair. She has a new blog, and has posted copious photos to the adulterer’s professional Facebook page. The adulterer began to acknowledge that it was my wife — he mentioned her by name — taking those photos. He referred to her as though their relationship were an utterly normal thing, for in his mind he probably thinks it is, or at least he wants to think it is. He has also almost certainly misrepresented the true nature of that relationship, i.e. an immoral, adulterous relationship with a married woman, to just about everyone. Most recently, my wife has posted pictures to that Facebook page in which she appears. At first, these were relatively innocuous-looking photos of her in his garden, taken from above to show that panorama. In the past couple of days, however, close-up pictures of her have surfaced, including pictures of her embracing the adulterer. This latter picture was really quite revolting, for he had a smug look on his face, as if trying to boast of his accomplishment.
Now, let me just state this for the record: I don’t see these photos because I snoop. I have a minimal presence on Facebook that I maintain largely for professional reasons. However, my wife and I have a lot of mutual “friends,” and it seems that whenever one of them “likes” one of these photos it shows up on my newsfeed. At this point, I’m considering deactivating my Facebook account, since none of this information helps me at all.
Honestly, the photos don’t really bother me that much. She is trying very hard right now to normalize and legitimize her affair. This is impossible: by its very nature, that relationship is both abnormal and illegitimate. The only hope adulterers have at this stage of the game, that is, at the stage in which reality starts to descend and the instability of the relationship almost certainly begins to be know, is to out themselves to the world as much as is possible. For every person that they can convince that their affair is normal, the more normal it seems to them. And for every person that says nothing, the more such implicit recognition makes them feel comfortable. But, the relationship is so tenuous and so unstable that it likely would take little more than a few well-placed comments from influential people to truly begin to unseat it.
At this point, I’m just wondering where the heck those people are. My father-in-law should be one such person, but to my knowledge he has just sidestepped the whole issue, seeming to prefer any kind of confrontation with my wife. My mother-in-law also could be one such person, and she in the past has been vocal in her opposition to my wife’s actions; this, however, just led to fights and arguments between them. As a result, I believe she has backed off as well. I shudder to think that my wife has tried to introduce the adulterer to them, but at this point it is not entirely unlikely.
So what’s with all the silence, especially when it’s coupled with this renewed vigor to publicize the affair? Wouldn’t it make sense for her to go all out and tell me all about it, too? You know, something like, “look buddy, this is my new life, like it or lump it.”
Well, she hasn’t done that, and she possibly will not, because she knows how I’ll react. The last time she tried to bring it up, back at the end of November, I slammed that conversation shut. If she tries again, I will slam it shut once more. She desperately needs me more than anyone else to help her clear her conscience, and I simply will not do it. I’ve had some conflicting ideas from my counselor about this, by the way. Some months ago he told me that, if she were to admit that she lives with the adulterer, that I should acknowledge it, lest I look like I have my head buried in the sand. Yet on our most recent session, I asked if it were something he’d try to bring up in session with her, and he suggested that, if she were keeping it secret, that it would be best to leave it that way. This is because it would require her to keep lying about the affair again and again.
There is a very curious dynamic that seems to occur when one spouse checks out and wants to destroy the marriage, yet the other spouse stays committed. The obstinate spouse gets frustrated, desperate, and angry. I even know of such obstinate spouses who did rather rashly file for divorce against their spouses, only for the spouses to reiterate by refusing to participate, instead dragging the situation out as long as possible. It is very hard to be the bad guy, and the obstinate spouse hates having to be the bad guy. The obstinate spouse wants nothing more than for the faithful spouse to pony up and help destroy the marriage.
In my case, this desperation was actually expressed to me. She sent me an email a month ago in which she apologized for losing her temper with me over the phone, but said she was frustrated because I was refusing to recognize that she had “moved on.” Of course I’m refusing to recognize that, because I was never consulted in the process, and I do feel that it is the responsibility of any married person to involve his or her spouse in a decision of such gravity. Since I was not involved, I consider that decision to be wholly illegitimate, and one that I cannot and will not condone.
That’s precisely where her problem lies. I refuse to participate in the destruction of our marriage. Her “new path” is one that progresses from the idea of destroying our marriage, although she claims not to see it that way. Her prevarications include the idea that she still values our past — it is her “treasure” — and that she is not denying that. Hogwash. You don’t get to destroy a marriage and say that you are truly appreciative of it. She is frustrated with me to the point that her only means of dealing with it right now is to pretend like I don’t exist.
Talk about putting your head in the sand.
Actually, the adulterer seems to be doing the same thing. The 800-pound gorilla in the room (or, judging from the pictures I’ve recently seen, in his kitchen) is the fact that he is cohabitating with a married woman. She appears to have no real workable plan for getting herself unmarried, and even if she were to do that, she would remain married for at least a year while any such case would wend its way through the courts. I’m certain that the adulterer would not be prepared to wait that long.
Just as it takes two people to create a marriage, it takes two people to tear it down. When one refuses to do so, and instead begins actively to repair it, it backs the destructive partner into a corner. She needs a team of complicit bystanders to make her feel that she is not backed into that corner, and that her affair is actually normal and just. That’s where she’s at right now. Eventually, she will come to realize that the only way out of that corner is to come right back out into that big, spacious room I’ve created, where she can join me to rebuild our marriage into something better than it has ever been.Read article for donation information.