Maybe this isn’t the best title for a post, but somehow it seems at least a bit appropriate. Wednesday is the one day during the week that, for now at least, I can count on my wife actually showing up at the house. She has a student that she teaches here, and then she heads off to a rehearsal afterwards. It is therefore one of the few opportunities during the week that I can count on leaving something for her and she actually might get it.
So it was today. She never turned up while I was here, but I had a gift at the ready. Just before Christmas, I had stopped off at a consignment shop, totally on a lark, and found some Fire King dishes on display. I know my wife loves Fire King products. She had bought several on Ebay in the past. So I took the opportunity then to buy her a couple of gratin dishes. I knew she’d like them, especially since the color was quite unique. Yesterday I stopped by the same shop again. I was getting a haircut just up the street, so it was on my way to work. They still had all the Fire King dishes there, so I decided to buy a few more pieces: a couple of little bowls, plus two coffee cups. The shop owner said she’d give me a 20% discount on them, since she wanted to move the products.
Also on a lark, I’d stopped by a chocolate shop, to see what they had on offer. They had these little chocolates in the shape of a hedgehog, that were filled with some sort of nuts and crispy cookies or something like that. I had bought my wife a little ornamental hedgehog made from organic products (sunflower seeds and things like that) from one of her favorite shops a while back, and she seemed to like that — she packed it with the stuff she moved out, anyway. So I bought the chocolate hedgehog, and then put it inside one of the little Fire King bowls, placed both in a little gift bag and left it on her piano.
I got home tonight and the porch light was on, so I knew she had been home. When I came inside, I saw something on the dining room table that appeared to have been left for me. It was a bag of coffee beans from one of the artisanal coffee roasters here in town. There was a note that said, “enjoy the coffee,” that she had signed. I peeked into her office and found the gift had been taken. Not only that, but in the kitchen I noticed that she had used one of the coffee cups I’d bought. Hmmmm…
So what’s incongruous about all this? Well, that’s pretty simple. My wife moved out on Friday. This is one of the most hurtful things she could have done to me: to have movers come and haul away furniture and boxes of belongings. Nevertheless, I manifest unconditional love. And in return she leaves me a gift. I don’t know what else to make of it. She was downtown and was thinking of me. She brought me a gift of coffee beans. It’s not the first time that she has given me gifts. For an obstinate spouse, she is having a hard time staying obstinate. A truly obstinate spouse would not do this kind of thing. It might give the recipient “false hope”. Wait — she actually told me the she didn’t want to give me any false hope. Hmmmmm……
There is one other detail here as well. I had an advisory board meeting tonight for a non-profit I work for, and the woman who is currently housing my wife also serves on that board. Tense moments? Not really. I see her every Saturday, and I’ve long gotten used to her perfidy, in addition to that of my wife. They both have guilty consciences. So tonight, as I’m leaving, she sheepishly asks me how I’m doing. I tell her I’m doing fine, which is basically true. That’s about all I had to say. She sounded and looked so guilty, though! And that’s a good thing.
Do you see what I’m dealing with? I have a spouse who desperately wants me to agree to her agenda, to get out of her way, to allow her to smash and wreck everything we’ve built over the past 8 years, all so that she can enjoy the poisoned fruits of an illicit relationship. Yet at the same time, this spouse feels guilty, guilty, guilty. I have tugged on her conscience and her heart strings. She wants to ditch me, but somehow cannot really do it. I’ve been applying very gentle heat to melt the iceberg around her heart, and slowly there seem to be cracks in the ice walls. She’s trying with all her might to patch up those walls, and I’d bet that the gift today was just one attempt to keep that wall from collapsing.
The problem is that the wall will collapse, even if I do nothing. My continued engagement just speeds it up. I am a bit tired at this point, honestly. I’ve been dealing with this situation for nearly 6 months now, and actively trying to reconcile for almost 5. In the marriage reconciliation process, that’s kind of like a half- to three-quarters-full bucket. It seems that most of the cases I know about have taken anywhere from 7 to 9 months on average to reconcile. When infidelity is involved, as it is in my case, the adulterous relationship has to crash and burn first. That typically takes about 6 months on average to reach the point where the bloom is no longer on the rose, so to speak. After that, it’s just a matter of weeks, if not days. I don’t know where I am in that regard, but I think I’m getting close. She has tried very hard to throw me off her trail, and nothing has worked yet. When she sees that nothing will work to derail me, then the wheels will come off the affair, and she might be pissed off about it, too. But in the end, she is a married woman, and married women don’t get their needs met outside of their marriages, or at least they’re not supposed to. That’s why, at the end of the day, I’ll win this battle.