About a month ago, I wrote a post that had to do with the doldrums of waiting for the affair to end. I’d say that now, almost a month later, I’m experiencing a rather new dimension to the ennui of this situation, and that’s the dimension of tedium.
It really gets tedious waiting for an affair to end. Tedious, tedious, tedious. The outcome is predictable, but the patient (the affair) is on life support and heroic efforts are being made to keep it alive. Then there are the onlookers — the “friends,” family members (of the adulterer), and colleagues who either don’t realize or choose to avoid recognizing the fact that the patient is not going to make it, and instead pretend as though it is a person in absolutely robust health. Actually, my assessment might not be totally accurate, since I’m not a fly on the wall at Camp Chickenshit, so I cannot vouch for anything that’s going on there. I suspect it’s little more than an adultery bubble with very fragile walls.
What I can vouch for is the things that I do to alleviate the tedium that ensues in the long weekends that she abandons the city for the rural setting of Camp Chickenshit. For starters, I cleaned the house, top to bottom. I bought some flowers for the living room, since the space needs some color, and I know she’d like them. I took down all the holiday cards from the mantle place, and placed the ones addressed to her (which included in their number quite a few from me) onto her desk. I took the 8 or 9 boxes of books and other sundry items she packed 6 weeks ago and moved them from the laundry room into her closet in the bedroom. I also took a box of clothing that she had left in the bedroom, as well as two stacks of clothing she had left on the dresser, and put these in her closet as well. These things had been sitting around for the better part of the past 6 weeks as well, and I just got tired of looking at them. It was nearly impossible to navigate the laundry room with them in there, and the presence of this half-finished packing job was just choking off the energy in the house. I covered the boxes in her closet with a blanket, so that it might be at least a bit aesthetically pleasing. I took all of her magazines and books off of the living room table and relocated them onto her bookshelves; these were half empty, due to her having packed their contents into some of the aforementioned boxes. I did all of this in the most respectful way possible. I could have just chucked all the boxes into the garage, but that would come across as though I was throwing her out; by placing these items respectfully in various unobtrusive locations, I am (I hope, at least) showing some sensitivity toward her and her possessions.
As it might have become clear already, it’s Monday night, and she hasn’t come home yet. I know that she’s not with her friends nearby; had that been the case, then the dog would have been returned home by now. Instead, she’s still up at Camp Chickenshit. I believe this makes for two extended weekends in a row. Last “weekend” stretched on until Wednesday, due to Valentine’s Day, and I actually had to complain a little bit that the weekend was long over, and the dog had not returned home; I said that I was worried that maybe she had brought the dog home and she had somehow gotten out of the yard. The weekend before, if memory serves correctly, included an impromptu decision to stay an extra day. I don’t know, maybe it was raining or something. This “weekend” looks as though it will stretch through tomorrow (Tuesday). She is supposed to have a rehearsal tomorrow, although she skived that responsibility, claiming she was “sick”. (She was not; click the link in the previous sentence if you don’t know British slang.) I’m wondering if, and actually sort of hoping that the affair is going to start to cut into the adulterer’s business — he’s a gardener, and seems to be missing a lot of work due to these recent long weekends. Pissed off customers might be a good wake-up call for him.
Why two grown people commit acts of mutually unrecognized insanity is really kind of beyond me. I guess, as they say, any of us could become adulterers; I have always felt myself to be a person of very high moral standards, and that I simply would never do a thing like that. Maybe I just never had the opportunity to slip low enough in my life, or maybe the opportunity just never presented itself to me. Maybe my spiritual practice keeps me too grounded in ethical conduct. Maybe I’m just not cut out for infidelity. I just don’t know. It is a truly bizarre thing to watch from the sidelines, though.
I guess it’s tough to be a spectator, though, since it isn’t a spectator sport, especially if you’re the one who is being violated. But if you step back and take a look, it is truly amazing the kinds of behavior you see. Here’s a short list of the kinds of things two grown adults will stoop to when they commit to the path of adultery:
- Pathological lying to the spouse, to family, to friends, to co-workers, to the affair partner, and to themselves.
- Buying a dedicated cell phone for adulterous communications.
- Opening a dedicated email address for adulterous communications.
- Designating a “secret” pick-up and drop-off location for adulterous rendez-vous that is close to home and easily discoverable by others.
- Involving friends, acquaintances, and even family in the adulterous situation by introducing them to the adulterer.
- Lying to one’s own children about the marital status of the adulteress.
- Consulting all manner of spiritual divination methods (runes, tarot cards, astrological charts, etc.) to find justification for the continuation of the affair.
- Constructing elaborate narratives of rationalizations to justify the propriety of the affair.
- Believing oneself to be the exception to statistical evidence, i.e. that virtually all affairs end, and almost none go on to be long-term relationships.
- Believing that exiting the marriage somehow absolves oneself of the crime of transgressing the “forsaking all others” part of one’s marriage vows.
- Believing the affair partner to be trustworthy, despite knowledge of his previous affairs and current “friendships” with numerous women.
- Believing that a life partnership is possible with the affair partner, even though he has been divorced twice.
- Believing that the statistics regarding the success of second and third marriages does not apply to oneself.
- Accepting as normal the inability to sleep through the night, as worries and concerns keep you awake.
- Accepting as normal frequent emotional upheavals and a generalized state of being emotional unsettled.
- Not recognizing depleted energy reserves as being attributable to the affair and all it requires (see other points above and below).
- Living with never-ending guilt in the knowledge that one has betrayed one’s spouse most brutally.
- Living with the ongoing guilt of knowing that one has betrayed the spouse’s and one’s own family.
- Knowing that many people, even friends, look upon you as untrustworthy.
- Ignoring the truly pressing issues of life (e.g. professional responsibilities, earning income, etc.) for the sake the affair.
- Being a walking example of living a life of double standards.
- Truly believing that you are right about everything you do, and that people who disagree just do not understand you, because your situation is special somehow.
- Failing to understand that adultery is one of the most banal and predictable, yet hideously destructive of human behaviors.
- Really believing that, even when presented evidence of the futility of extramarital affairs, your situation is totally different, completely unique, and absolutely will be one of the rarest of relationships that makes it long-term.
And so on. The list above could be extended on at some length, but to do so would just get tedious. I’ve got enough tedium at this point, anyway. I kind of hate to say it, but I sort of look forward to evenings when my wife will not be at home, and sometimes even to weekends when she won’t be around, because she’s such a huge energy-suck. She’s become a sort of vortex that can take all the energy right out of the room. Being around her imbues me with a negative energy that often is palpable, and at times this can be truly distracting.
Still, I try to be upbeat and appreciate her company, as confused as it is, whenever she is around. When she is in the house, she holes herself up in her office and avoids contact with me as much as possible. She will literally sit in front of the computer and surf the internet for hours on end rather than engage me in simple conversation.
Where do we go from here? Heaven only knows. As I’ve said before, I seriously doubt I’ll get any traction at all until the bubble pops and the affair is revealed for the utterly banal act of stupidity that it is. It’s still something special right now, but I sense that it is getting less and less special by the day. The efforts made to save it are getting more and more heroic. She has consulted the advice of an “energy worker” twice now, and will be going again next month. She has looked for apartments, and is exploring the possibility of continuing to stay with friends, while offering to pay some amount of rent. She has convinced herself that she has “separated,” when in fact she has no other legal residence than our marital household, which she continues to visit regularly, even if she chooses not to sleep here. She has done dozens of things, but none of the things that she actually should be doing to lead the normal, adult life that she actually has.
This leaves it to me to be the adult in the family for the time being. We don’t have kids, but at the moment I kind of feel like I have an emotional five-year-old inhabiting the body and intellect of an adult woman. That’s a bizarre concept, but not too far off the mark.