Current Happenings; Or, the Long Dark Night of the Adulterous Soul

Once again, the Great Wall of Silence has descended upon my relationship with my wife, and I’ve needed a few days to think about its significance.

I did speak with her this week — twice, in fact. I spoke with her on Tuesday morning, when she called me as she had promised to do. I had told her that I had some important information to relate; this was about her dissertation and the procedures involved now that she’s overrunning, and so I let her know that I’d called the university to get this information as I felt it important for her to know about. She thanked me, sort of, and then said she wanted to have the dog this week. I agreed that this would be okay, and she asked me to drop the dog off at her colleague’s house. She said she’d be there by about 10:00 a.m. the following day, and that she’d call me. Her demeanor on this call was a bit stand-offish, as though she was trying to keep me at arm’s length, but she did soften up at the very end.

Wednesday morning arrived, and I had heard no news, so I called her. This call went straight to voice mail, as virtually all of my calls do, and I left her a message to call me back. She never did. Instead, I got a text later that evening asking me to drop the dog off at her colleague’s house after 10:30 p.m. I felt this was a bit ridiculous, so I called her back to say that I was rather tired after a long day of work, and that we could arrange something the following morning. She texted later to say she was sorry to hear I was tired, and that I could just drop the dog off on my way to work the following day. She said that she wouldn’t be available at all in the morning.

I called her just after 10:30 that evening, and she picked up. She was rather short with me, and a bit rude. I turned on the charm pretty hard. I told her that I did want to see her, and she told me that she had to see her “friend” in the morning, and that she wouldn’t be available at all. She might be free in the afternoon, but she had a lot of errands to run on campus. She said she’d try to call me.

One point of clarification: when she says “my friend,” as she did in this conversation, she is almost certainly referring to the adulterer. She does not have any other “friends” that she cannot refer to by name around me, at least none that I’m aware of.

She never called. I thoroughly expected this. I packed up the dog, and set out for work. I also packed away a few little gifts for her that were stowed in the dog’s travel crate. I called her to let her know that I was nearing her colleague’s place, and that call went straight to voice mail. I arrived at the colleague’s house, and there were some people doing work on it, mostly painting and small handy-man kinds of jobs. I felt very uncomfortable going into this woman’s house; I knew where the key was hidden, as did these handy-men, and I went inside and left the dog’s goodies as well as the dog. The apartment my wife stays in is a terribly dingy, depressing basement space. She had actually thought about renting this space, but the adulterer swooped in and gave her free access to his house instead. So now she just typically stays in this basement apartment one night per week. The dog was very nervous about me leaving her behind, and I was not terribly happy about it either, as I did not feel the situation was terribly secure. I then left and called my wife — again straight to voice mail — and told her about the whole situation, that I didn’t feel it to be very secure, etc., and to ask her to please let me know that the dog was okay.

No response. This has all gotten so, so tiresome.

Here’s my take on all this. She pretty much has to cut me off again, because her life is becoming increasingly unstable. She needs to avoid contact with me, because I am able to get through to her emotionally, and I come across as a different person than before. She likely finds this much more attractive, and I do have the sense that she is on some level considering what it would be like to come home and return to our marriage. This is one part of the puzzle.

Another part of the puzzle is what likely happened on Wednesday while she was on campus. She told me that she needed to speak with the graduate advisor, and that she probably needed to get her ID card replaced as well. These two things might take about an hour. This raises the question as to why she’d need to spend the morning with the adulterer, or at least ostensibly be with him, since I don’t know that to be factually true. I believe she was very, very nervous, because in addition to these other errands she probably had to go see her doctoral advisor.

Now let me tell you a couple of things about this person. He’s a colleague, and I’ve known him for quite a long time. He is a very talented individual, but emotionally he is quite ego-centric and often can be rather melodramatic and insecure. He views the accomplishments of his students as an extension of his efficacy as a teacher, and takes it quite personally when they don’t succeed. My wife is, I believe, one of the first students he’s had in recent years that has overrun. He had one student a couple of years ago who failed to pass her final defense. That event reflected quite poorly on him, and he certainly wants to avoid any other events that would make him look bad. So how does it look now that he has a student who is overrunning?

Not good. I do believe she went to see him, and I imagine he told her he wanted to speak with her in person. Just follow me here, as I know this is all conjecture, but the likelihood of this being accurate is well above average. My wife setting foot on campus alone would have been enough to get her nervous, as she would be likely to bump into people she’d rather avoid. So here she is, on campus, feeling uneasy, and now having to deal with her doctoral advisor. He would certainly want to know where she’s at with everything. She would then launch in to her long, belly-aching story about how her marriage has fallen apart (her doing), how she is getting a divorce (untrue), how life is difficult for her, et cetera. She may have also told her advisor about the adulterer, and that she’s living out there in the boonies with him. So how do you think this would strike her advisor?

Not very well. Not very well indeed. In fact, I could anticipate that he would have ripped into her. He would likely have been very impatient with her and implored her to be more professional. In fact, he would almost certainly have insisted on it on no uncertain terms. That is, the message would probably have been, “I do not care what state your personal life is in; you need to finish your dissertation and you need to do it now. I have been very patient with you and I am now losing my patience.”

There’s another side of this; a third side, if you will, or a second-and-a-half side: since English is my wife’s second language, her advisor was expecting me to help her with this dissertation, and I had told him on numerous occasions that I would do just that. I gave him my word and even now I plan on keeping that. If she had in fact given him the belly-ache story about leaving her marriage, I believe he would have then launched into all of his concerns about how the dissertation would get edited, who would help her put it together, and so on. This clearly is not something that he wants to do. It’s a further complication for him in a story that already is more complicated than it needs to be.

So, my take on it is that my wife very well could have gotten a pretty big wake-up call this past week. This certainly would have unleashed a lot of tension and fear into her life, and this then would propagate into her living arrangement with the adulterer. Their relationship, I would imagine, is already skating on thin ice, and now she has all of this tension that will equate to trip wires all over the place. Should he trip one of these wires, and he will, there will be a blow-up.

I sense that right now they are both in avoidance. He is in avoidance of pushing her buttons, and this would include his likely insistence that she go ahead and file; that idea alone almost certainly causes her tremendous stress, and I think he would rather bury his head in the sand and just believe that somehow it magically will just happen. Her avoidance includes avoiding all of the incompatibilities and aggravations that have undoubtedly arisen between them by this point. I mean, it’s been nearly a year now, and no relationship stays blissfully perfect forever, right? Her avoidance also includes steering clear of me, as I ground her back into reality, and quite powerfully at that. And reality is one place she just would not like to be right now. After all, her story has been one of utter blissful perfection, of a life that could not possible be better than it now is. While that story might have been relatively easy to maintain through the summer months of the blooming garden and its subsequent harvest, I imagine that, with the arrival of the academic year and also the recommencing of her work obligations, that story is getting harder to keep in place.

In short, it feels to me like the fog is starting to lift, but that she’s trying very hard to keep it in place. It’s sort of like a person who wants to stay asleep, and who fights against the process of awakening. That awakening will happen regardless.

This is the final phase. I know it. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I think we may very well be looking at days, rather than weeks or months. I could be wrong, but these rapid shifts in her behavior — from cordial and connected two weeks ago, to curt and stand-offish two days ago — seem pretty clearly to indicate that her situation is very, very tenuous indeed.

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