I use the term “separation” a bit facetiously. My wife began packing yesterday, and was really seeming to be gung-ho about moving out and all that. For all I know, she still might be. She left for her friend’s house last night, and told me she’d be back in the morning. She did come back, a bit late in the morning. And then she just began by pretty much living in this house again. She took a shower. She put on her makeup. She did her hair. She checked her email. She had breakfast and made coffee — enough for the two of us.
The one thing she didn’t do was pack.
She’s sleeping in her friend’s basement room on a comfortable couch bed, according to her, but it was really cold down there so she couldn’t sleep well. She said she’d take an extra blanket with her when she went back. (You know, it’s plenty warm inside our house, but, well, never mind.) She had a job to go to that would require a lengthy bus ride, so I offered to take her there on my way to work. She assented, and spent a very uncomfortable half hour in the car with me. I was fine: calm, very kind, a little talkative, and so on; she was quiet, withdrawn, and visibly uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the reality of her finally acting out on her separation that’s getting to her. This is serious business, this separation stuff, and I’m not sure she likes it. Maybe she can convince herself that she does, but somehow I think she’s going to end up hating it.
There are sacrifices we make in life, and some are more severe than others. The sacrifice my wife has made in order to have this affair is just totally asymmetrical to the sacrifice I’ve had to make, and also to the sacrifice her lover has had to make. In his case, he doesn’t really need to change much about his life in order to have this affair. He owns a house, owns his own business, and doesn’t need to leave any of these things in order to have a lover. His sacrifice is the discomfort and possible shame of having to keep things secret. But, as he is a serial adulterer, he should be pretty comfortable with that by now, no matter what he might say. My sacrifice — aside from the risk of losing my marriage, which is considerable — is that I have to live without her presence in this house most of the time, and that she’ll be boxing things up and getting them out of here.
Her sacrifice is massive: she has to leave her husband of 7 years, leave the house we’ve lived in together and the home that we’ve built for the past 3 years, leave most of her jobs (eventually all of them, actually), give up her career aspirations, fail in her attempt to get her doctoral degree, and face the disapproval of her family, and perhaps of friends as well. On top of all that, there’s her knowledge that the affair actually is immoral, and is the wrong thing to do. At the moment, there’s enough infatuation to tide her through, but as the pressure builds and the infatuation wanes, problems will arise that will take that will cause that affair to implode.
Honestly, I don’t think she can deal with it for that much longer. A few weeks of couch surfing might be enough to cure her of her infidelity once and for all. At least that is my hope. She’ll get some extra time with her lover, but that will likely only help her to see his flaws all the more readily. Until that whole cherade comes crashing to the ground, I’ll have patience, keep working on myself and this relationship, and see what unfolds.