Go slowly, come back quickly

I admit it: I didn’t come up with that title. I stole it from J.D. Salinger. Although he was writing about the feelings of the wives left behind in World War II, as their husbands were shipped off to combat, I’m appropriating it to express my feelings about my marital situation.

My wife wants to disengage. That much is clear. It’s been a slow process for her, and I’d like it to be even slower, if I could make that happen. I’d also like for her to come home as quickly as possible, and just let me love her and heal her wounds. But that’s not going to happen right now.

She had an appointment with a massage therapist-cum-energy worker today, a person a friend had referred her to. She blew about $140 on it, too. The therapist is located about 10 miles from here, and that required her to take a 90-minute bus ride that involved at least two transfers. That’s right, we’re talking 3 hours roundtrip. I offered to give her a ride, but she declined. She actually preferred to spend 3 hours on the bus rather than letting me drive her the 15-20 minutes it would take to get there by car. Such is the behavior of a wayward spouse.

I suspect that the session was about more than just massage, and that she also got some half-baked marital advice. I know this because our house is small and I overhear things. The affair isn’t working out so well. There is mistrust. The fact that there is mistrust is because of me, of course, and specifically because I will not assent to divorce. Why should I? The only reason she wants a divorce is so that she can devote the rest of her life to her lover. Problem is, it seems like she’s finding out that he isn’t so devoted after all. That simply has to be my fault: I’m standing in the way of the two of them being together, and if I’d just simply gone away then none of this would have happened, right?

Are you still with me, dear reader, or has the illogic derailed you? Don’t feel bad if it has, because the illogic derailed me a long time ago. That’s what I’m faced with, though: a spouse who wants a divorce so she can have an affair. Huh? Look, by the time any such divorce could go final, the affair will long since have become history. I know that, but she doesn’t. The wayward spouse has no sense of logic. They have fatuous and irrational impulses and desires that are fueled by infatuation. This is the so-called “affair fog” you hear talk of. It always burns off, and when it does, the wayward spouse suddenly begins to wonder what the heck they were thinking.

Anyway, I’m fine with there being mistrust between my wife and the adulterer. That’s par for the course. There was no trust there to begin with, just lies and deception. How could there ever be trust flourishing under those circumstances? What I’m not fine with is the likelihood of my wife wanting to come to me in the very near future (read: tomorrow or the day after) to have a “talk” about the “future.” This “talk” of the “future” will revolve around the “necessity” of divorce. It will also likely revolve around expressions of gratitude to me; this is something I heard a bit of in the past, as someone advised her that you had to express gratitude before “moving on”, and I do know that the masseuse-cum-energy worker gave her similar advice.

What’s my to-do, then? Well, same as it’s always been. Draw a line in the sand: no divorce. That doesn’t mean that I can stop her, but that I simply will not cooperate, which pretty much has been as good as stopping her thus far. Hopefully that will remain true until such time as the affair ends. Then, draw another line in the sand: no talk of an active affair, ever. Period. When it ends, she can talk about it, but not a moment before. I do suspect she’ll try to bring it up; she has insinuated that she needs to do this by telling me that I “never want to listen” to her. That’s nonsense. I’m always happy to listen, it’s just that I do have ethics and a sense of morality, both of which preclude me from listening to someone natter on about infidelity.

Will I look like a jerk in her eyes? Probably. Does that bother me? No. Really it’s just a matter of pointing out, in a way, that she has simply put the cart before the horse. If you really feel that you have to go outside the marriage to get your needs met, then you have the obligation to end that marriage first. Of course, human impulses being what they are, few people could wait the requisite 6-12 months plus for dissolution paperwork to go final before getting their needs met, so they end up in the sticky situation of plunging themselves into the jaws of immorality.

But heck, I wasn’t the one who decided to have the affair, right? So it’s really not my problem to solve. Feel like crap because you’re cheating on your husband? The solution is simple: stop cheating. Then, reconcile with him. It’s a basic, two-step process. But no, that would just be wrong to the adulteress. For her, she’s got to stay the course and destroy anyone and anything that attempts to get in her way. Some spouses are more destructive than others in this regard. I think mine has already reached her destructive limit and is having trouble going any further.

And that’s a good thing.

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