This is a brief look back on the month of November 2011, the month in which I began the process of trying to reconcile my marriage.
As mentioned in an earlier post, it was at the beginning of this month that I discovered my wife’s affair, and quite stupidly confronted her with it. On exactly the same date, I had signed up for the Marriage Fitness program, which I actually had planned to cancel and send back, as I thought that the discovery of the affair was the final nail in the coffin. Nevertheless, I decided to give the program a try, since it did offer a money-back guarantee, so I figured I’d have nothing to lose.
The start of the month was very difficult. I felt completely unmoored, had no sense of where my life or marriage was headed. I began to apply the principles of the counseling program I’d chosen, and these were very counterintuitive: don’t talk about your problems, and try slowly, over time, to restore goodwill. Fortunately for me, my wife was not overly obstinate and would allow me to talk to her and touch her regularly — two things the program recommends as essential — but I could not really tell if I was making any progress.
Also in that first week I had a private session with one of the program’s counselors, who was able to instill in me a sense of trust in the process of reconciliation, and to give me some advice that was helpful to my particular situation. I was also able to interact with other people on weekly telephone question and answer conferences, and quickly began to realize that my situation was nowhere near as dire as that which others were facing.
About my situation, briefly: My wife decided toward the beginning of this month that she would separate from me and file for divorce. Her decision to do this was pretty close to 100% dependent upon the affair. The equation was simple enough to her: divorce me, wipe the slate clean of all her problems, and move in with her lover to start a “new life.” Yes, that was the term that was used, “new life.” This “new” life would start on January 1, 2012. (That was yesterday, by the way; this plan has hit quite a few obstructions along the way.) Since I had had some time to reflect on things, I decided that divorce was not the right option, and that we’d do better trying to reconcile.
My wife is a very determined person, however, and when she has a goal in mind, she’ll do anything and everything to see that it gets met. She told me that she wasn’t afraid of losing people from her life if that needed to happen. Her relations with her parents became strained, and both her mother and father expressed open disapproval of her actions. Nevertheless, she continued undeterred. Since she was still living with me in the house, she had little opportunity to see her lover. In fact, she saw virtually nothing of him during the majority of this month, with the exception of a possible brief encounter or two of which I was unaware. She had, however, planned to spend Thanksgiving with him, and this had been contingent on me going to spend Thanksgiving with my family out of state. A week prior to the holiday, I told her I’d be staying, as I figured that would put some pressure on her. Perhaps it did, but she still went to be with her lover — for 5 days. She told me that she was going to be with “friends,” but I knew what that really meant. She returned with a renewed determination to divorce me and move on.
The week prior to her departure for Thanksgiving I had begun a regimen of giving — little gifts, thoughtful acts, and so forth — which are a core part of the marriage reconciliation program I have been implementing. Her initial reaction was of confusion, saying things like, “why are you doing this for me?” when I’d give her something as small as a couple of chocolate truffles. But this did have an effect, and even though she was dead set on leaving me after returning from her 5 days with her lover, she ended up softening her tone within a day or two and growing a bit closer to me.
That doesn’t mean that the affair was over, not even by a long shot. But that will be the topic for the next post.