Tag Archives: Frustration

Update (Sort of); Marriage Fitness Musings (for Sure)

It’s been over a week since my last post, so I figured I should offer an update of sorts.

There really is not much new, aside from my wife’s version of Custer’s last stand. She continues to be obstinate, and continues to want to barrel into that brick wall at 1,000,000 mph. The realization I had a few weeks ago is that there is actually nothing I can do to stop that trajectory, and that my efforts to put some cushions there to lessen the blow of the impact when it occurs only seems to exacerbate matters at this point.

Actually, what I’ve just said above is rather hard to explain, because it has little to do with anything I have been doing, yet it has everything to do with the manner with which I’ve been doing things.

I’m almost embarrassed to say that, having worked Marriage Fitness for such a long time (and that’s what it takes sometimes; I’ll say more about this below) I should have long ago taken Mort Fertel’s message to heart that “you cannot work [his] program with the intention of reconciling your marriage, because that would be manipulative.” This is truly a counterintuitive message. I mean, doesn’t he market his program as a means to save your marriage?

He does, but he does not tell you how that’s going to happen. Honestly, nobody can tell you that. If you sign up for his free emails, you’ll bet a sense of where he is coming from, and I think the sense of ethics that I got from those emails is one of the things that inspired me to give his program a shot. Once you work through the materials, though, you find that message hits you again and again: you cannot do this with the intention of reconciling your marriage.

Well, okay, Mort, then what the heck are you supposed to do? I mean, what should my intention be?

That’s simple: your intention is to become the man or woman of your spouse’s dreams. Your goal is to transform yourself into the kind of person that a million people (pardon the hyperbole) would want to be married to, that is: a person of integrity, of moral values, of trustworthiness, of openness, of candor, and of unconditional love. Those things are worth far more than the mundane concerns of the kind of car you might drive or the size of your bank account; material possessions can be bought, but character cannot. That’s chiefly what Mort teaches: how to be a person of moral principle, and I think that is why his program and its ideas resonated and continue to resonate so strongly with me.

Now, of course, becoming the ideal spouse also means cultivating the relationship skills that an ideal spouse would have. This is where the “techniques” — things like “talk charges” and “giving presence” — come in, but honestly, those are not part of some problem. They are just things that you should be doing if you’re married and, if your marriage is distressed, they are things that you should have been doing all along. Since you weren’t your marriage started to go downhill. This is normal.

So, essentially, Marriage Fitness uses the marital crisis as a platform upon which to build these skills. It might seem a bit odd to put it this way, but really all one does is to recognize that one is still married, and, that being the case, one has the obligation to better oneself as a spouse — even if the other spouse is not willing. One cannot control the other spouse and should not try; one can only control one’s own behaviors. That’s what this program does. It’s hard, at times, because the wayward and/or obstinate spouse wants nothing of it. That is his or her prerogative. The spouse has the right to free choice that the faithful spouse could neither bestow on that spouse nor take away. However, the faithful spouse has a similar right fo free choice, and we (speaking for myself, of course) choose to better ourselves and improve our relationship skills. This may temporarily irritate the wayward/obstinate spouse, but it was his/her choice to attempt to leave the marriage/have an affair/file for divorce/etc., so there are potential prices to be paid for any and all of those actions.

Or, put more simply, the obstinate spouse’s agenda in no way commits the faithful spouse’s participation, especially if that spouse finds that agenda odious.

So, this then brings us back to where I’m at. I finally came to the realization that, even if only on a fairly subtle level, much of what I was doing vis à vis my marriage was basically done with the intention of reconciling my marriage. Thus, the metaphor of “cushions,” above: I could see my wife heading for that brick wall at a million miles per hour, and the compassionate side of me (or so I thought) wanted to lessen the blow of that inevitable impact.

What I’m now realizing is that I have no control over that impact. She wants to hit that brick wall, and so I have to let her do it. It means, at this point, attitudinally taking a step back so that this can happen. This attitudinal shift is actually quite ineffable, and I don’t think it’s really possible to understand unless you’ve gone through it. Here’s what it does not mean: It does not mean cutting off contact. It does not mean curtailing efforts to reach out to my wife. It does not mean halting efforts to improve myself or my relationship skills. I am a husband, after all, and even though my wife might not want that for a time, I have to recognize that commitment that I made to her, and realize that it is, in large part, a commitment to myself.

This is partly what is so ineffable, and also what makes “conventional” wisdom so, well, dumb. Conventional “wisdom” (quotes are deliberately shifted) tells us to kick the spouse to the curb, to give up, to recognize that the spouse has “changed,” and so on. My reponse to such “wisdom” is simple: “so what?” What the spouse does is essentially immaterial; it’s what I do that counts. I am a husband, and I owe it to myself and to the world to learn how to be the best husband possible; even if my wife does not want that, I still have to do it. This is essentially just doing the right thing. Why? Because, even if things don’t work out for some reason (and in a small minority of cases, they don’t), then you will know at least two things: 1) you have done all that you can to give your marriage a second chance, and 2) you have taken massive strides toward becoming that ideal spouse. This is how one moves from being manipulative, even if only sublty, to having pure intentions.

So what about the length of the timelines I spoke toward the start of this post? Well, honestly, marital crises just take time. Things do not turn around in a matter of weeks if one spouse is not willing. It takes months, and a lot of them. The reason for this is simple: there is a journey, both for the faithful and the obstinate spouse. The latter has succumbed to the prison of ego, and as a result has to justify everything. This is a truly stultifying means of existence that never brings true happiness. The response of the faithful spouse needs in part to be to shed his or her own ego as much as possible, such that unconditional love can shine through. (Yes, this makes it a spiritual path.) If the obstinate spouse is embroiled in an affair, then that journey includes the feeding of two egos in a superficial orgy of narcissism. That too is deeply unsatisfying, and will eventually run its course; in such cases the faithful spouse has to find the stamina to outlast the affair. (Again, this is where on so many levels conventional “wisdom” just is not helpful.)

That brings me back to the beginning. My wife is making her last stand. I don’t know how long it will take, but this is very likely her last-ditch effort to save her crumbling path. That path does have a brick wall at its end, and she is currently going 987,462 mph and accelerating. At this point, I can rest in the knowledge that I’ve done all that I can to show her that I am a main of good faith, honor, and integrity, so the rest is up to her.

That rest is simple: she needs just to hit that wall, because that’s what she wants. I won’t take that away from her. Oddly enough, that would not be compassionate. She’ll hit that wall, and then things can change. Until then, I can afford to be patient.

Papers Have Been Served

Thursday, April 4, 2013. The blackest of black days. On this day, I was served divorce papers.

520 days into this ordeal, 520 days from the start of my wife’s physical affair, I get served papers. That in an of itself completely boggles the mind. I’ll relate my thoughts about this in a bit.

The morning started normally enough. I got up and did my spiritual practice, pretty much as I always do these days. One of my main practices is tonglen, which is sometimes known as “exchanging oneself for others.” In this practice, one takes on the suffering of others and gives away ones own happiness and peace. Last Thursday was particularly difficult, for reasons I did not yet understand. I work primarily with the mental image of my wife when I do this practice, and there just seemed to be upwellings of sorrow and grief. I think I may have broken down crying at some point. Then, as I just wrapping that part of the session up, a mental image of the adulterer popped into my head, and it was surrounded by this pointed, angry sort of energy.

I entered the contemplative phase of my practice, in which I do lojong (mind training) and it was during this that I totally broke down. I had a powerful insight or two, but that’s beside the topic for now; mainly it was just incredibly painful.

I wrapped up the practice and went about my morning errands. I contacted my wife by email to let her know that I’d be taking the dog for a walk at a park nearby the colleague’s house where she was staying, and  invited her to join us. She has not seen her dog for nearly 5 months now. The poor dog misses her, too; she’s walking around the house whining as I write this, and this behavior is not atypical.

Naturally, I heard nothing back from my wife. I went out and stopped by a bead shop on the way to this park. I needed to get some beading cord to repair a mala (prayer beads) I had been making, and found some excellent materials there. I then went off to the park and walked the dog. No sign of my wife, of course. We decided to return home.

We got home probably around 11:00 a.m. I happened to have this past Thursday off, so I was generally going to relax around the house and do a bit of work. I made some lunch, and then sat down at the dining room table to repair the mala.

I had just begun to restring the beads when I saw a dark blue pickup truck drive by the house. Pickup trucks drive by the house all the time, but this one was different. It had a couple of lawn mowers in the back, and it slowed down as it passed our house. In the passenger seat sat a girl of maybe 14 years of age who was looking out the window, appearing to try to verify addresses. Something told me this would not bode well.

I continued to work on the mala.

About a minute later, there was a knock on the door. I hesitated, but went to open it.

There stood a short, somewhat portly man, about 50 years of age. He had a manila envelope in his hands. He asked for me by first name, and I verified that I was who he was asking for. I asked that he identify himself, and he gave me his first name. I knew who this man was once he gave me his name. He then said that he had some papers from my wife that he was to deliver to me. I asked him what this was all about, and he told me it was regarding divorce litigation.

“I’m not getting a divorce,” I said to him. He looked at me and said that the process was already underway. He then faked some compassion and said he would like to hand the papers to me, but understood if I wouldn’t take them; instead, he said he could just leave them on the doorstep. By this point, my pulse was racing and the adrenalin was pumping. I gave him a piece of my mind.

“How do you feel about participating in the destruction of someone’s marriage?” I asked him.

“Well, it seems to me that your marriage was already destroyed,” he said. Yes, that was a cheap shot.

I told him that I found the entire idea of what he was doing to be completely odious. He then feigned empathy, and admitted that he was currently going through the same thing.

“Oh, so you’re also destroying your own marriage?” I asked.

“No, my wife is doing that,” he said.

I asked him what his relationship to my wife was, and he told me that he was the adulterer’s brother. I already knew this from the name he had given me. He then asked me if I knew his brother.

“Well, if I’m not mistaken, he’s the man who had an adulterous relationship with my wife,” I said.

“I suppose that makes your wife and adulteress,” he said. Yes, another cheap shot, this time in the service of defending his brother for doing something indefensible. He suggested that I talk to his brother, which in and of itself was quite a repugnant idea.

I had a few more choice words for him, and he laid the papers down on the doorstep, said he’d be filling out a form attesting that he’d duly delivered the documents. I picked up the envelope after he had left and closed the door. I was really quite angry at this point.

Then, I went back to making the mala. I did not look at the papers for  a while. My hands were still shaking from all the adrenalin.

I eventually did go and look at the papers. They were entirely handwritten. My wife clearly had not secured any legal counsel or guidance. There were errors of fact and omissions of important information. She listed a date of separation that was over two months prior to the date that she actually moved out. She was not asking for anything beyond what she had taken from the house. Ostensibly, this would mean she does not even want her dog, let alone any of the many possessions she left behind. She did not list a single item, just a generic statement of “property in her possession,” stating that I could keep property that was in my possession.” She listed no debts or liabilities for herself, but listed student loans (I’ve got a ton of those) and “any debts in Name;” this latter made no sense to me: it was as if she had just copied it off a website.

What’s even more odd is that she signed the papers in mid-February. She further stated on those papers that she signed them here in town, whereas I can almost certainly attest that she did no such thing: the day she supposedly signed those papers was a Monday, and on Mondays she’s at Camp Chickens**t.

I have a schedule that accompanies all this. We have a court date in late February of next year. The date is actually the same day as my father’s birthday. He will be 83 years old. I do not plan to spend my father’s birthday in court. I plan to take my wife down to my parents’ house to celebrate his birthday with him instead.

So, I have 20 days to file a response. Well, actually about 16 now, as a few days have elapsed. I’ll need legal counsel. I’ve never needed a lawyer for anything in my life, so this is totally foreign territory for me. This ongoing crisis has drained our savings to the point that I could not really afford one, anyway.

It is with that last fact that I appeal to you, dear reader, to please donate to this blog, if you would be so kind. My immediate needs are simply to secure counsel to prepare a response. There is no need at this point for anything more than that. I do not need an attorney to represent me, but rather just to provide guidance and to write a response. My intention is to drag this out for as long as possible. Somewhere along the line, the affair is bound to blow up.

My wife has lived a fantasy for nearly a year and a half now. That’s a fairly typical length for an affair: 15-24 months is a pretty average range. There have already been signs that things really aren’t all that healthy up there at Camp Chicken****. She proffered apologies to me in late November. I saw her with the adulterer a few days later and he ran off and hid. She gave me pushback in early to mid-February, and this would make sense, as it would have coincided with her filling out this paperwork.

Then, I spoke with her a few weeks ago. Her energy was open and genuine, and absolutely nothing like that of a spouse who was going to file. However, she was still in that fairy-tale land of Camp C-S. With this act of filing, that fairy tale ended. Things instantly became real for her, very real. Things have been real for me for nearly eighteen months; now the two of them have escalated their agenda, and that smashes them head first into the wall of reality.

You know what I think? I think the adulterer pressured her into doing this. In fact, I’m almost 100% positive that he did. How do I know that? I feel a bit like Sherlock Holmes, deducing all of this stuff, and then using inductive logic to round out my thoughts. The single most powerful clue here came from the adulterer’s brother when he delivered the papers.

As I remember this, there stood before me a small, broken man, a man with no fixed moral values by which to guide his life. This was a man undergoing the implosion of his own marriage. He appeared to think that this was not abnormal in the least. I suppose it wasn’t for him; he watched his brother go through two divorces, and saw his mother end her marriage as well. He likely has many other friends who are divorced. Not only that, this is a man who thought it not inappropriate to bring his teenage daughter along for to execute grotesquely nefarious duty.

What kind of life lesson is that, anyway? Are these the kinds of moral values a father should be instilling in his daughter? Either he told her why they were dropping by my house, or he lied to her; either way, he was utterly morally wrong to bring her along. This was a massive failure of parenting. I think to my own parents as models. My father would never do such a horrible thing to his children. My wife’s father similarly would never do such a thing. Both of them are men or real moral integrity that runs through every fiber of their being.

This poor, broken man was no such individual.

Moreover, he carried the energy of his brother, and that energy spoke clearly: “In our world, we just quit. We just give up. We just file for divorce and move on.”

To think that my wife could feel comfortable around people like him makes me very sad. I know that she must feel terribly alienated in her heart of hearts. I know she must feel very alone and confused. I know she must feel pressured and fearful. But this path simply is not the answer.

That answer is simple: Come Home. That’s all she needs to do, to come home.

Again, I’m going to close with a sincere request for your prayers and aspirations. Please pray that my wife’s mind clear and her heart open. Please pray that she have an awakening. Please pray that, as a part of this process, the adulterer also has an awakening. This likely will be no pretty process, and will almost certainly involve pain and difficulties for both parties, but it is a very, very necessary process. The pressure of the universe is simply too heavy upon them, and this must explain this motion to file. It is a vain effort to relieve that pressure, which instead will only build. But when an affair starts, it creates a distortion in the energetic environment in which we all live; that environment seeks to right itself, and there is only so long that any individual can fight against those massive forces seeking to right themselves.

And one more thing, please do donate if you can. Not only will I thank you, but eventually, my wife will as well.

Anniversaries and Unrighteous Indignation

Anniversaries can be hard, and this one was rather unpleasant.

Just over one year ago, my wife committed adultery. She left on the evening of Halloween, supposedly to attend a party. She told me that she had made some new friends at a job she had recently been hired at, and that she might end up spending the night with them.

It was all one giant lie.

I did not know that, three weeks earlier, she had begun an emotional affair via Facebook with the adulterer with whom she currently lives. I suspected something was not right, as she had become very secretive about things, and especially about her computer, which she would close or shut down whenever I’d enter the room.

So it was on the eve of this anniversary that my wife phoned me, after a two-week hiatus, to come pick up the dog. I was in the shower at the time, and returned her call; I was predictably shunted right into voice mail. She called back a short time later, as I was on my way to the bank.

She was very business-like; I was very cordial. She was telling me she had to do all sorts of shopping and would be busy all day; I took every chance to angle for opportunities to see her. She rejected each and every attempt. She finally agreed to see me quite late at night. Then, she began to throw all sorts of pushback at me, telling me she was finished with me, she wouldn’t be coming back ever, and so on. I told her that I considered myself her husband and would never give up; to this, she got frustrated and hung up on me. Not only that, she immediately shut her cell phone off, so that my attempt to call her back went straight to voice mail.

This was just typical obstinate-spouse verbiage, folks, so if you end up hearing it yourselves (I assume that many of you have arrived here via Google searches for “obstinate spouse,” or the like), don’t be surprised. It seriously is as if all obstinate spouses read off the same script. It was also typical obstinate spouse behavior, absolutely standard, factory-issued stuff. If you don’t believe me, read on.

I finally did see her late in the evening. I had just finished a long day of work, and she called me to let me know that she was at her colleague’s house and that I could drop by to pick up the dog. I headed out, mentally prepared for the conversation that would ensue. I wanted to talk to her about her behavior vis à vis our dog, which she had been using as a bargaining chip in her attempt to undermine our marriage. I wanted to let her know that this was simply unacceptable, and that I would draw some lines in the sand. I knew that I would probably get pushback, and that it could be ugly. Despite all that, I was fearless, and feeling very confident.

I called her as I arrived, and she came out. I gave her a quick kiss on the forehead, and invited her to sit in the car with me. It was just after 10:00 p.m. Things started cordially enough, and we exchanged pleasantries and news of recent events in our lives.

She then asked me what I had wanted to talk about. I had tried to contact her several times over the preceding week, and she simply refused to contact me back in any way. I simply asked her what had happened to the dog — why she hadn’t brought her home as planned and agreed upon.

Then the fireworks began, albeit slowly at first. She told me that we didn’t have a contract, and that the dog was hers, and that she was simply being kind to me to allow to have her on alternating weeks. This was a tremendous revision of the history of the preceding six months. Again, this is standard obstinate-spouse fare. They all do this; they all rewrite history to keep it in line with their own stories. I countered by telling her that our dog was not a possession, but rather a sentient being with feelings, memories, and emotions, and that she deserved to be have a life that involves both of us.

Then the fireworks really began. She then attacked me, saying that she was “done” with me, she was not coming back, she had made up her mind, she would never change that mind, and so on. She told me that she did not love me any more, in fact she did not love me at all. She claimed that I was just holding on to an impossible situation, and that I just would not let her go. She began to call me “sick,” telling me that I needed to see a psychiatrist. She told me that she was disgusted with me and with our relationship. She claimed that I was harassing her, and at a couple of points, she threatened me. First, she told me she’d get a restraining order. I simply looked at her calmly but increduloulsly, and said, “For what?” She had no answer. A bit later, she threatened to file for divorce. To this, I simply said, “What are you talking about?” It was clear from her reply that she had no plan whatsoever, and that these threats were likely as empty as the air through which they were uttered.

There were many other things that were uttered, far too many for me to recount here, and far too many for me to clearly remember. This pushback went on for about 45 minutes. I did draw a few lines in the sand.

At one point, she predictably asked me to take certain logistical steps to further cement her separation from me. For example, she asked me to cancel her cell phone and remove it from the plan. I stopped her when she mentioned this, saying, “Look, I don’t want to talk to you about this anymore. I simply cannot do anything that would further any separation between us or that might undermine our relationship.” This, of course, made her quite angry, but I refused to comply.

She then began to play the angle of her feeling trapped, cornered, or as though she were in a cage. I told her that it made no sense to me, because that cage seemed to be as vast as the sky. She had, after all, taken the initiative to remove herself from both our relationship and from our marital home. She claimed that my reaching out to her made her feel as though she were being pushed into a corner. In response, I asked her how it were possible that someone reaching out to her with love could in any way be oppressive. Her reply was to call this “selfish love” — as though such a thing exists — and she began to impugn, among other things, my spiritual path. (Actually, I guess she’s right to do this, to some extent: if I were really a diligent practitioner, I probably would not be writing this blog, or at least not in the way I have been doing it.) When I attempted to tell her how I felt about this, she interrupted me, telling me that I had no idea how she felt. So, I asked her to tell me how she felt, and I’d just listen. She simply regurgitated previous material, saying she felt cornered, I wouldn’t let go, et cetera. Then, I said, “Okay, I’ve heard how you feel. Now let me tell you how I feel.” I won’t reprint what I said here, but suffice to say that I was honest, a bit blunt, and quite forceful with my choice of words — all eight of them. I was not rude, but rather very frank. She met my comment with a repeated barrage of things like, “that’s because you’re just holding on,” or “you just won’t let go,” and so on.

Honestly, it was a very difficult conversation to have, because it really wasn’t a conversation. Most of the time, she sat there, justifying herself, refusing to listen to me, and when I did try to speak, she would just interrupt me and attempt to justify herself some more. Nevertheless, I think I did get a few of things to sink in:

First, I asked her what I had done to hurt her so badly that she would need to treat me this way now. She had no reply other than, “you won’t let me go,” and, when I prompted her to go back to the period prior to our crisis erupting, she simply had nothing whatsoever to say.

Second, I asked her what was going on in her life right now that made her feel like she could not be totally open and transparent with me. This is dangerous territory, as I was basically giving her an open invitation to tell me that she was still committing adultery. She did not take it. She just continued to dissemble, prevaricate, and justify.

Third, I told her that she had told me a few weeks earlier that she had recognized the fact that she had hurt me, and that she said that she had to take responsibility for what she has done. I told her that appreciated the sentiment, but would like to know when she would actually take that responsibility. Again, she attempted to interrupt, saying that her taking responsibility equated to walking away from our marriage. Here, I drew another line in the sand. I told her that taking responsibility would mean recognizing the pain she had caused and how she had caused it, which she had already done, but would further mean that she would have to commit both to stopping any such actions, should they be ongoing, as well as to never do any such things again in the future. Then, she would need to come to me with true remorse and ask for forgiveness. This message did sink in, briefly, before she began again to rationalize and justify.

Finally, after her continued protestations about my not letting go and the torture she said it was causing her soul, I simply asked her, “What do you want me to do?”

“Walk away,” she said, “just walk away.”

“I can’t do that,” I told her, and I explained why: in order for me to walk away, I would have to agree with her that adultery is not wrong, that betraying your spouse’s trust is not wrong, that lying to your spouse is not wrong, that abandoning your spouse through separation is not wrong, and that being secretive and hiding things from your spouse is not wrong. I told her that I found all of these ideas to be morally offensive, and I simply could not pervert my moral views for the sake of her immoral agenda.

It had taken about forty-five minutes to get to this point, and not once did she make any effort to get up and leave. It was sort of like a game of chicken, to see who would cave in first. When I told her with this last statement that I would not give in to her agenda, she said, “obviously this discussion is going nowhere.”

Then she got up and left. That was two days ago.

Yesterday, she apparently got on a plane, and is somewhere overseas with the adulterer for a few days.

So folks, here I am, still at home, still faithful and committed to my marriage, one full year after the commission of her horrible act of carnal betrayal. I suspect that there may be a bumpy ride up ahead as her path begins to crumble further. Right now she is attempting to keep it together by avoiding me, but as she certainly knows by now, there really is no way for her to throw me. I’ve endured everything up to this point, and I can certainly endure anything and everything else that might happen. Simply put, I can outlast the adulterer and his devious designs for my wife, and I can outlast my wife’s infatuation with that fantasy life, a fantasy that doubtless is fading fast.

While the future is uncertain, there are certain outcomes that I believe are likely. She will continue to feel that pressure that I supposedly assert on her, pressure that is nothing more than the weight of her conscience. She will repress this more and more, and eventually she will show the adulterer that side of her personality that she showed me two days ago. It’s more than likely he has already seen it, just not in its full force. When he does see that, he will end that relationship, and he will throw her out. Then, I will be dealing with an angry, heart-broken, depressed, and embarrassed woman; then and only then will she be ready to heal.

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Things always get worse before they get better

Sometimes things go from bad to worse. After receiving a tiny bit of positive news this morning, I get a very bad piece of news this afternoon. The piece of good news came directly to me, the bad news made its way through the grapevine.

First, the good news. My parents emailed me this morning to tell me that they had received a gift from my in-laws. They had sent their customary Christmas/New Year’s gift last month, and received a gift in return. From the looks of the photo my parents sent me, it is a very nice gift, and they also took the time to handwrite (and translate) a letter for my parents. This is a good thing, potentially at least. I’m hoping this signifies that my in-laws feel some sort of connection with, and possibility to my parents.

A couple of hours later, the bad news arrived through the grapevine in the form of an email heads-up about a developing situation. Apparently my wife’s lover has assented to let her move in, and this is to happen in the next 2-3 weeks. This is very bad news. I am beginning to wonder a bit whether my stonewalling over the landlord’s phone number had anything to do with this development. It certainly is possible. The email said that the lover decided yesterday that her moving in would be okay, and that my wife was looking to hire movers to take her stuff out of here to some other location, so that her lover wouldn’t have to come by the house or see me when he comes to pick things up with his truck. I also believe, from information that came to me in a similar way in the recent past, that the lover’s daughter and son-in-law are in town, and that would mean that they now have met my wife — and I stress that this is my wife, as she is, in fact, a married woman — but have likely been given some manner of lies about the true nature of her marital status. All of this is terrible news, and a major obstacle in the way of reconciliation. I noticed that my wife apparently left with our marriage certificate; I have no idea why she might need this, but it does lead me to believe that she may try to file for divorce against me some time in the near future.

For me, this situation is incredibly frustrating. I have done just about everything right over the past 3-1/2 months, and made enormous strides toward building goodwill that will help us to reconcile. I have even been working on myself, and there have been changes that my wife has noticed. Unfortunately, there are two things that I simply have no control over. First, there is the affair. Everything my wife is doing in the way of destroying her life and our marriage flows from the affair. She is so deep in the affair fog at this point that she simply cannot think rationally. She has probably rationalized to herself that moving in with her lover will give her the space to work on her dissertation. While that may be true in some limited sense, her living with him is not a necessary condition of working on her dissertation. I would imagine that, in her mind, it is a prerequisite for any further work on it, though. Second, there is my wife’s willful nature. She has always been a willful person, and while her goal-orientedness and determination have at times been a positive force in our lives, they have also been a serious problem for her as well. I have watched her numerous times work herself into emotional, mental, and physical crises because she had some objective that needed to be obtained, always with a deadline, and she never would give up if the objective was unreasonable. In fact, our current marital crisis started with one such situation: she took on three concerts, two of which required learning massive amounts of music, and she only had one month to prepare. It was a totally unrealistic task. The affair began at the beginning of this process.

This latter trait is fundamentally the cause for her current behavior. She convinced herself within the first week of the affair that she was going to spend the rest of her life with the adulterer. This resulted in her conjuring up all sorts of ideas of a future life with him, living out in the boondocks, gardening, doing spiritual “practice” with him (it does not seem their practice is authentic at this point, but rather a rationalization for their immorality) and so on. As I’ve written elsewhere, this “new life” was to start on January 1st.

But it didn’t.

Then it was going to start on February 1st.

But it didn’t

Now, it’s apparently going to start sometime around March 1st.

I guess we’ll see about that. A lot can happen in 2-3 weeks. For starters, she will be 2-3 weeks closer to the end of her academic career. And I do mean the end of it, too. To my knowledge, she has done virtually no work on her dissertation since she put in a 5-hour stint after we first met to talk it over last month. There is, of course, every excuse in the book for this, including the fact that she needs her own “space.” By my estimation, she now has about 12 weeks to write the entire dissertation and get it edited. This is a tall order even for a person for whom English is their first language; for my wife, who will be writing this dissertation in a second language, it’s a near impossibility. Her smartest move would be to stay here and work with me. But her willfulness and high pride simply will not allow reality to interfere with the fairy tale that is her “new life.” I advised her a couple of weeks ago that she would need to write one chapter per week, and so far she has written zero chapters in over two weeks. More correctly, she has written zero pages. This does not bode well at all for that project.

So what happens now? I have no idea. I have a very delicate line to walk this week. She has agreed to have a counseling session with me, and I’m scheduling that tomorrow morning. I also expect her to want to talk to me about her new living plans, and I simply cannot and will not allow her to breathe a word about the adulterer. She knows this, too, but I do suspect she is going to try to come clean to me. My dilemma is that, if I cut her off as I should, she could bail out of the counseling session. What I will likely try to do is to stall any relationship talk whatsoever until we have the counseling session, and let things come out then.

I think there are two things that potentially can work in my favor going forward. First is the impending dissertation deadline. As that nears, she will become more and more stressed out. She will not have regular access to me, and frankly I’m not sure how I’m going to handle the whole adultery situation if she does move in with him, as I’d have to acknowledge it in some form. Second is the role her parents might play. They have listened to her and “understood” her, according to her own reports, yet at the same time, she has said that she needs to act independent of their judgment, and I take this to mean that they have expressed disapproval of her actions. I would imagine that, once they learn of this new development, they will become very concerned indeed. I expect her father and mother to reach out to various spiritual advisors and fortune tellers to get an idea as to what to do. Her father received advice from one such person back in December, and this person told him that my wife’s lover was “absolutely unacceptable,” and that, if she continued on her present course of action, her situation would totally collapse. The fact that my in-laws have given my parents a gift will likely only complicate things for them. I imagine that, in addition to their concern, they also have feelings of shame, guilt, and humiliation. They have not reached out to me, and while I consider it unlikely, I wouldn’t consider the possibility of my brother-in-law reaching out to me to be too far-fetched.

At this point, it’s just anyone’s guess as to what might happen. On the one hand, I sort of want her to go live with this adulterous cretin, so that she can find out first hand just how awful he is, how massive his character flaws are, and how impossible that relationship is going to be. On the other had, I don’t want her to go live with him, because it will mean the further destruction of her life, and with it mine as well. I would expect her to actually file for divorce if she did go live with him, and he would probably encourage her to do so.

My one hope is that something or someone gets in the way of all of this in the very near future. That someone could be my father-in-law, my counselor, or some unexpected third person who casts enough doubt in my wife’s mind that she begins to reconsider her actions. That something could be a disagreement or series of disagreements, emerging personality incompatibilities, or even a full-blown argument. I have certainly been hoping for the latter, as a full-blown argument with my wife would almost certainly be a deal-ender.

My one request to you, dear reader, is that, if you are a spiritual person, you please, please, please pray for me. Please pray for the welfare of my wife and that she may be restored to some modicum of sanity sometime soon. Pray for the health and preservation of my marriage. And while you’re at it, please, please, please, please also pray for all the people in the world who find themselves currently in the throes of marital problems big and small.

I am reminded again and again that in these attempts at reconciling marital crises things always get worse before they get better. I have heard many stories that bear this out to be true. Things certainly have gotten worse over the past 5 weeks, and will likely deteriorate further before there is a turnaround.

Frustration, “separation”

Yes, folks, I’m feeling a bit frustrated here. My wife seems hell bent on separating, no matter what I do. It seems like regardless of my actions, no matter how virtuous and no matter how pure the intention, are just bouncing right off. She is just determined to have this affair, no matter what it takes.

I think this time she’s spending with “friends” a couple of blocks from here is bad, bad, bad. It’s bad in the sense that she’s got a pair (or two) of sympathetic ears to talk to, and an additional mouth (or two) that will tell lies for her. This is just disgusting. These people have already run cover for her affair. I don’t know how they can live with their consciences. But then again, the one who really must be having trouble living with her conscience is my wife. As mentioned before, she is the one who is committing all the acts of betrayal and abandonment. She is the one who is committing adultery and trying to prove to the world that it’s actually okay.

Here’s what I know now: She is planning on moving out on Sunday. She has hired “professional movers” to move boxes into the basement of a friend she will be spending next month with. I actually don’t know if this story about “professional movers” is true, or if she’ll be getting her lover to pick stuff up and move it there. What I do know is that this is all so totally unnecessary that it just makes me cringe. I have spent the past 10 weeks doing my best to sow the seeds of goodwill and manifested unconditional love at every turn. I’ve only got to turn up the heat even more this week. It just boggles my mind to see how someone who was once so kind, loving, and gentle has become this hurtful, selfish, uncaring person. It does appear to me that it’s hard for her to maintain that hard-heartedness. She seems to be in constant pain, she doesn’t sleep well, she has given up jobs, her home, her husband, pretty much everything. And for what? An adulterous affair that will crash and burn in the not-too-distant future. I don’t know exactly how or when, but one thing is certain: the affair will end.

The problem is that neither of them can see that. My wife certainly can’t, but she’s never been in an extramarital affair before. Who am I to talk? I never have either, but I have known people who have, and their affairs have always blown up and ended badly. I also know quite a bit about the psychology of adultery, which I’ll get into in another post. Her lover, on the other hand, should know better. He has had at least one affair, if not more, with a married woman. You’d think a person would learn from such mistakes, but if he is willing to repeat those mistakes, then he likely has some serious character flaws.

I said above that the time she’s spending with friends is “bad, bad, bad.” There is one possible good side: she can get more unimpeded face time with her lover. Now, as much as I hate to think about my wife being with another man, it does mean that they’ll have more time to see each other’s faults. As these become more and more obvious, the likelihood of the affair imploding increases. At some point, something will give: there will be a trigger that brings the affair crashing to the ground.