My wife returned home right around noon today. I had been out doing some grocery shopping in the morning, and had picked up some things to make a nice lunch, partly with the idea that, should I see her, I’d invite her for lunch with me.
No such luck. Oh, I did see her, alright. I saw her walking down the street with the dog in tow as I turned into our street on the way home from the grocery store. I checked the mailbox and greeted her. She looked terrible: puffy eyes with black circles under them; it seemed as though she had been crying, which is likely. We entered the house together, and the first thing she said was, “I need to start packing.”
Bam. There it went, a stab right into my heart. She had talked about packing up all her stuff last week, since she felt she needed to send me a “harsh message,” since I wasn’t “getting it” — getting her claims that she’s done, our marriage is unfixable, she’s committed to this new path, it will be the rest of her life, et cetera. Horseshit, pure horseshit, all of it. There also went my entire desire to make lunch. I didn’t have my first client until later that afternoon, but I opted instead to leave early, grab a coffee somewhere, and just avoid the disgusting display she was about to put on.
She set about packing boxes with a fierce determination. I passed by her in the hall and noticed something: she smelled terrible. There was that funk I recognized from before. It’s a combination of cat litter and chicken shit that could only mean one thing: she was freshly returned from the aptly named Camp Chickenshit. I mean fresh out of the adulterer’s truck, even. I bet he had just dropped her off right before I turned down the street.
My wife began to ask me about certain things, did I want this, could she take that, and so on. I looked at her and said, “Look, I know you feel that you have to do this, but this is your house, and you don’t have to feel compelled to leave it.” As I was walking away, she said, “this is not my house anymore.” Whatever. I know she loves this house, and she feels tremendous remorse for what she’s doing. She probably feels like she has done the unforgivable (adultery) and is now compounding that with another unforgivable (moving out, “for real”). But her addiction trumps all. It was kind of like watching a crack addict rooting around for stuff to sell, trying to get her next fix. It really is kind of sick to watch. That’s why I had to leave. It just disgusted me, and made me feel very, very sad.
Before I left, I stopped in her office and explained what I meant with my previous remark. “I just want you to understand that you are always welcome here,” I said. “You are welcome now, and always will be welcome, and can come home any time you want.” She looked at me, a bit tenderly, and said, “arigatou.” (Yes, that’s Japanese.) I asked her if she’d need a ride back from her rehearsal tonight, and she said she didn’t know. I asked her to call if she needed help. She said she would. Then she set about packing again. I left the house feeling a bit morose, but that passed soon enough. It’s amazing how, aside from my marriage, my life in general is going pretty well. I’m doing well at work, enjoying my job, revitalizing my spiritual practice, and things are generally going in the right direction. It’s just her and her piss-poor attitude that could use some adjustment.
I came home with a tinge of dread at what I might find. Well, at least the place wasn’t ripped to shreds. She had packed 8 boxes, some of them labeled, and had left them in the living room. She had taken a number of things out of the cupboards and off the shelves. She had taken down the curtains, which she had made, and replaced them with ones that came with the house. A lot of this seemed rather petty to me, but then again, it’s just stuff. She may possibly come back tomorrow and pack some more. Then I don’t know what will happen. Friday is her traditional day to go to Camp Chickenshit. She’ll probably do that again, so there will be no packing on Friday. The boxes will likely still be cluttering the living room, in which case I’ll relocate them somewhere else, where they’re less unsightly. I don’t want to encourage her to take this stuff out, but she has told me that she intends to move them into her friends’ garage, and then from there into an apartment. I did ask her about that, and she said that she’d be moving into an apartment “somehow”.
That last word, “somehow,” is key. She has no pot to piss in right now, and very little income to support herself on. My guess is that she’s trying to find an excuse and/or external support for moving in with the adulterer again, as I’m sure she’s told herself all sorts of stories about how she could establish a new life there, get more students, etc. What a brilliant plan. We live in a major city where there are thousands of recruitable students. He lives in a small town of less than 2000 people. We’ve been in that situation before, living in a college town about 3 times that size, and the best she could do was to get 5 students in three years’ time. This plan will end badly.
It’s all such a waste. Honestly, if she had put as much effort into our marriage these past 5 months as she has into trying to destroy it, she’d have the marriage of her dreams right now. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to sit by and watch someone not just take the wrong path, but a manifestly stupid path, that will lead absolutely nowhere, that will bring about destruction and oblivion in very little time, and that will cause her to feel tremendous remorse, guilt, and humiliation? Seriously. She can move all her stuff out if she wants, but it will all be coming right back in a matter of weeks, or, if worse comes to worst, maybe a few months. Plus, if she is stupid enough to sign a lease, she’ll have to find a way to get out of it. That’s the kind of idiotic thinking an adulterer puts themselves through, all in the service of their addiction.
I know she is stressed out. I know she feels deeply unsettled by the fact that I have not “moved on” to her satisfaction, and that I will not be agreeing with any aspect of her agenda. I know she’s getting terrible advice from people, and encouragement to continue this hideous path. She is destroying her life, bit by bit, and it seems to be accelerating. It’s like she’s been driving down a road at 50 mph, and now that she realizes there’s a brick wall at the end of it, she’s hitting the gas and revving up to 100 mph. It’s crazy. Insane. Nuts. But I cannot stop her or make her change. In fact, anything I might say will just cause her to push harder on the gas pedal.
So, I just stay the course, manifest unconditional love, and wait. And wait, and wait, and wait. The clock is ticking on the time-bomb that is the affair, and it will all blow up in her face pretty soon.