Tag Archives: Hopeful Signs

Another Milestone

It was a year ago today that my wife moved out of our house. She hired a mover, whom she paid a couple hundred bucks, to move her stuff a couple of blocks from here in to a friend’s garage. She did not tell me this, but that’s what I learned later. Sometime after that, the stuff got schlepped up to Camp You-Know-Where, ostensibly in the back of the adulterer’s pickup truck.

I’m not sure really how to mark a milestone like this. My wife has had 365 days of not living here to figure things out. I don’t know if she has done that, yet. But it is clear to me that her heart and mind seem to be in a different place very recently than where they were at just a month ago. Know-betters, listen up: when you say an obstinate spouse is “done,” and “can never change,” you really don’t know what you’re talking about. Nobody is ever “done,” and the only thing for certain in human existence is change. I won’t go into the philosophical aspects of this, but even on its face the idea that a person cannot change is both ludicrous and inconsistent with both logic and fact.

So it was that I came home from work this afternoon with a mission: to make a video for my wife. I sat myself down by the shrine in our bedroom, and taped 5 versions of the same thing; in the end, I went with the first complete version, as it was the most genuine in its emotion and spontaneity. In this video, I described the idea and process of journey, relating to her the fact that we both began a journey a year ago today; hers was one of choice, mine was not. I have learned many things during that journey, and have experienced a year of true transformation and self-betterment. I don’t know what her year was like, and I related this confusion to her; I suspect it has been nothing at all like my year, and that any personal growth that could have happened has been stunted all that time.

I related to her that journeys, while perhaps embarked upon with a good deal of excitement and sometimes a bit of fear, seldom turn out as we might have imagined. They might be better, or worse, but in general they’re just different: our imagination, it seems, provides very different images than what reality provides.

For this reason, I closed my video with an offer. I told her that the door to our house is still open. Should she feel tired or weary from her journey, or just want to be here for any reason at all, she can just come back.

She will not be judged. She will just be welcomed.

The Stone Wall Cracks, Again

Ninety-three days is a long time.

It had been 93 days since I had seen my wife. It had been 93 days since I had heard her voice. That ninety-three days ended yesterday. I helped bring it to an end.

December 12, 2012 was the last time I had seen my wife, and she was very cold to me. This was came ten days after I had seen her with the adulterer, and I’m pretty certain that experience did not go over well with him. So, it was I suppose no surprise that I would have gotten some drawback from her in the aftermath of that event. I just didn’t expect it to last so long.

I had a few dribs and drabs of communication with her. One exchange came in January, while the adulterer was away for a day or so, and his absence led to a flurry of emails between myself and my wife. The other exchanges I can pretty much count on one hand: She contacted me again in January to complain about my sending her parents a Christmas card; this was soon followed by a letter from my mother-in-law asking me to give up on her daughter. Two more emails came in February; the first carried a request to work on our taxes and a threat to close down all her bank accounts once the taxes were complete. The second came about two weeks later; this time she had changed her mind about taxes, and was deciding to file separately. Again, this carried a threat: she needed my Social Security Number, and said that, if I did not provide it, she’d let the IRS know. She also more or less demanded that I stop leaving things for her at her colleague’s house when she is in town.

I have met quite a few skeptics of Marriage Fitness and even a few nay-sayers about its methods for connecting with an obstinate spouse. I have heard people call it “pursuit,” “stalking,” “pathetic behavior,” and so forth, and have had people advise that “you should just let go,” “walk away and she’ll come back,” or even “file for divorce to wake her up.” I have even received unsolicited emails through this website, either from well-meaning individuals, or from those who felt they just simply knew better, and had thought about writing posts to refute some of these claims, but never got around to it. So here, in part is that post.

In that last email I received from my wife in February, she did in fact say that she felt “stalked” and that I was “obsessed.” Now, let’s think about that for a minute: it makes no sense for a man to “stalk” his spouse, nor does it make much sense to call expressions of caring and love “obsession.” But, to the twisted mind of an obstinate spouse — especially one who is having an affair — anything that does not mesh with their agenda can be construed negatively. This is important to understand. The obstinate spouse wants one thing, and one thing only: compliance. When you don’t give it to them, the begin to resort to whatever tactics they think might be effective in getting their way, and this includes things like the terms my wife wrote to me in that email.

My response to that email was just to ask her to call  me, which she predictably did not. I also did not bend to her requests to stop. This would have been consistent, of course, with the unsolicited advice of the well-meanings and know-betters out there, but it also would have been disastrous. Instead, I exercised a bit of sensitivity, and simply dropped off some mail that had arrived for my wife the following week when she was in town. I emailed the colleague to let her know, and this small packet was duly passed along. I also included a small gift in that packet. This detail is highly significant, and I would encourage the potential “well-meanings” and “know-betters” out there (along with all the otherwise curious folks) to read on. 

Last month, I decided to repair a mala that I had, which had broken some months previous. It was quite expensive, and the repair costs were anywhere from $30 to $150. I dropped by a local bead store to find a bead that had gone missing from that mala, and one of the workers there advised me that it was very easy to fix myself, and showed me how to do it. I bought some cheap beads with which to practice, and then made a mala. In fact, I ended up making two of them, since I wanted to practice some other techniques, like making tassels and such. I found it to be an excellent mindfulness practice, and it’s one I shall continue.

I not only ended up with two completed malas, but I also had a bunch of extra beads. So, I made a few bracelets, stringing them on red beading cord, finishing them with adjustable knots. I gave one of these — a lapis lazuli bracelet — to my wife with that packet of mail. I did not receive any pushback at all. Well, actually I received no feedback whatsoever.

I finally felt skillful enough to repair my broken mala, and did so a couple of weeks ago. Again, I had some left-over beads — higher-quality lapis lazuli beads this time — and made my wife a hand mala (i.e. a quarter mala with 27 beads), finishing it with a white tassel. I left this for her as a gift that week. Again, no response whatsoever — until yesterday, that is.

I finally got my wife on the phone yesterday. I had contacted her via email at the beginning of the week to say that we needed to talk, but got no response. So, I contacted her again mid-week, forwarding my earlier email as a reminder, and she did then respond. She claimed to be “busy” the following day (Thursday), but could call me on Friday. We set a time, and she did, in fact, call.

We spoke for nearly an hour. It was as if the past five months had not happened. The connection I have had with my wife is alive and well, and all the goodwill I have bestowed upon our relationship is still there. She told me things were “great,” and that she was “happy,” but the tone of her voice clearly indicated this not to be the case. It’s hard to describe, but her voice sounded cramped and constricted when she said these things; a person who really feels this way is open and spacious when they talk about them.

Now, I did get a bit of pushback, but if you can imagine what pro-forma pushback would be like, that would be it: she told me she wanted to file her taxes separately, and to deal with some financial issues, but really it was weak sauce. I informed her that we live in a community property state, and that we would each have to file coordinated statements of income with our tax returns, and that this would mean that she would be liable for taxes on my income. She did not believe this, and I reinforced the point by letting her know that, by filing separately, she would lose most of the benefits of filing jointly. She said she wanted to do more research about this, so I let it go. This discussion is also significant, but for a different reason: a wayward spouse does everything he or she can do to live in the fantasy bubble of the affair; having discussions about real-world issues, such as taxes, brings them out of that bubble and helps them to awaken, if only just a bit.

We then went on just to chat. I told her about the work I’d been doing around the house. She said the landscaping I had done in the back yard looked great (I gave her a couple of pictures with the last batch of stuff I left for her this week). I told her I would appreciate her advice, and particularly her feng shui counsel. We talked about our dog, and quite surprisingly she made no effort to assert any desire to take her away. It’s as if she has left the dog here as a “placeholder,” so that she’ll have a reason to come back in due course.

That “due course” could happen a lot sooner that I had imagined. Honestly, I had been feeling quite frustrated with this wall of silence, and had even begun to feel that perhaps my efforts were just being poured down some invisible drain. I suspect the nay-sayers and know-betters out there would assert that this was exactly the case.

Well, all of you nay-saying know-betters, listen up: you’re wrong, each and every one of you.

About twenty minutes into our conversation, right as things shifted to the personal, my wife said, “thank you for the bracelet.” She said she thought it was very beautiful, and particularly liked the choice of colors — a vibrant red and a dark blue. She said that she had put it on the wall, so that she could look at it. Not at Camp You-Know-What, of course, but rather in the basement apartment at the colleague’s house. She also thanked me for the hand mala and said she was keeping it in her purse. These are not the actions of an obstinate spouse who is 100% committed to her agenda of marital destruction. No, these are the acts of an wayward spouse who is beginning to awaken from her fog, bit by bit.

Clearly, the nay-saying know-betters would have me believe that my efforts were futile, that it all was just dumping precious time and energy down some invisible drain. That it all is, in fact, “stalker-ish, obsessive” behavior, or something along those lines. So how would they explain these expressions of gratitude? How would they explain the fact that, at the end of our conversation, my wife  said  “let’s talk again,” leaving the door open, so to speak? How would they explain any of this? I mean, if they’re right, none of the things I have been doing for the past year plus should have worked.

Well, I can explain it. I know my wife; they do not. I know her tastes and fancies. I know what tickles her soul. Demonstrating the fact that I know these things through small but frequent acts of giving is not obsession. It is not “stalker”-like behavior, nor is it any sort of odd form of “pursuit.” No, these are instead one very simple type of thing: these are acts of love.

I know the path to my wife’s heart; I found it ten years ago, and it really has not changed since. I know the heartstrings and how to tug on them. I know how to light the gentle fires to melt the ice that had built up there. The adulterer knows none of this stuff, and this is why he’ll soon be history. He knows only narcissism, egocentrism, and selfishness. He gives my wife cheesy stuff she secretly despises — believe me, I’m sure of it. There is more power in the tiniest act of genuine generosity from my side — just the slightest thing that says, “I know you,” than there is in a thousand different things the adulterer might try to do for her. He simply does not know her soul, and never will. He doesn’t really care to know, for adultery is not fundamentally about such knowledge.

Is this the tipping point, at which things might begin finally to change? I do not know. But suddenly things are looking a whole lot different than they were just a few days ago.

Once again, things trend positively

I don’t mean to have been silent recently, but I’ve just been very busy. I’m up to my neck with work. This is not in itself such a bad thing, but I’ve been pretty tired as a result, and things like posting to this blog in a substantive way have been kind of a non-starter.

Anyway.

Wednesday was the day that my wife normally comes into town. She didn’t show up last week because, well, it was the 4th of July. This week it was the 10th of July, and thus there was no excuse not to turn up. Honestly, I was feeling a bit frustrated and even a bit ticked off for a couple of reasons. First, because she hadn’t turned up the previous week. This meant that I missed my weekly “date night,” and these can be really critical to the reconciliation process. On top of that, there were some pretty pressing financial issues that needed to be dealt with, and I needed her participation. I had tried calling a number of times, but every single call went to voice mail. This is typical.

Anyway.

I called on Wednesday morning as I was on my way to work, and she picked up. All the irritation and frustration dropped away at the mere sound of her voice. I only need to hear her voice to remind myself why I haven’t given up. We chatted briefly. I told her I wanted to see her. She agreed. I told her I’d be done just after noon, and we arranged to meet.  She texted me just before I wrapped up my morning stint to let me know where she was. I dropped by to meet her. We went out for lunch. She had already eaten, I had not. I took her to one of her favorite parts of town, a place where she can’t dare be seen with the adulterer, and we had pelmeni. I had discovered a place that makes only these; this discovery happened after our crisis had started, and thus my wife knew nothing of its existence. So I ordered a plate, and we shared it.

After this, we did a bit of window shopping at a nearby frame shop. They had some cards that she really liked, as well as some frames that were quite interesting. This is exactly the kind of thing she likes to do: browse funky little shops. Then we headed to another part of town she loves, again an area that she could not ever be seen with the adulterer. We had coffee at a favorite coffee shop there. There is a grocery store nearby this coffee shop that had recently closed. This is sad: one of our early “fake dates” (we were just friends, but there was definitely something more happening) happened when we were driving around and I told her about this grocery store that had opened — an upscale, gourmet store — and we both decided to go check it out.

Did I ever mention that my wife was the one who pursued me? She was merciless. She wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

But I digress.

So we had coffee. Cuban-style coffee, to be precise. This place has a little “lovers’ grotto” in it that is quite garishly and humorously painted, with slogans like “besame mucho” adorning that little nook. It was a fine day, and we were happy enough to sit outside. I went inside to order, she sat outside and “Facebooked.” This seems to have become an obsession with her. Remember, I am blocked from her Facebook profile; I could, however, see that she had posted pictures recently, including one titled “oohs and aahs.” Not that I was peeking or anything, it was basically impossible to miss. At any rate, we sat outside and enjoyed our coffee. So far, so good.

After this, we headed to yet another part of town she likes — one in which we had an early “fake date” — and checked out a gourmet provisions shop. You know: gourmet mustards, olive juice (for cocktails), white balsamic jelly, and other arcane stuff only a gourmand would want. Heck, only a gourmand would spend $25 for a small jar of white balsamic jelly.

I had earlier broached that we needed to have a “business meeting;” she took this to mean that I wanted to discuss her previously stated desire to get out of our cell phone contract and other minutiae. I told her we could speak of it later. So we came home. The dog went crazy with joy at seeing my wife. We began to talk about financials. Things got a bit contentious. I defused the situation, allowing her to come out on top, to feel like the “good guy” who could help out in our situation a bit. Then, inspiration struck: I asked her if she’d be willing to have another session with my counselor. I’m not quite sure why I asked this; I guess I just felt like it would be a good idea to have her agreement, were she willing, in case I might need it sometime soon. She agreed. She asked me if my counselor is helping me, and I assured her that he was. In fact, I speak with him less and less, as I don’t really need guidance most of the time. She did say, “I’m not going to change my mind.” Of course, she had to say this: he really got under her skin during our last joint session, and she desperately has to defend her poor life choices. I’m not sure how this is possible, since she seems to be drawn inexorably back to me, more and more, each time I see her. So, I just ignored that comment. (Note to those of you who are in similar situations, i.e. dealing wayward or obstinate spouses: just ignore what they say. They’re trying to throw you; there’s no credibility to the things they say.)

At this time it was getting a bit close to a lesson she had scheduled with a student. She had already told me she wanted to have some seolleongtang, and there is a restaurant that specializes in this dish about 15 mintues from our house. I had offered to take her there, so I told her I’d drop her off at the student’s house, and then pick her up an hour later so we could set off for dinner. That’s what happened next. I dropped her off and later returned. We headed for the restaurant.

There was nobody there at all when we arrived. There is a wide-screen TV that faces the entrance of the restaurant, and my wife had always liked to sit facing that TV so that she could watch the various Korean dramas and TV shows that they show on it. She did the same this time, and I jokingly bum-rushed her to the seat she wanted, telling her that I was going to be the entertainment, not the TV. She did get her coveted seat, but she only watched the TV to get a rise out of me. Otherwise, we had a great time.

Then, we headed back to town. She had told me that she was getting a sore throat, and it dawned on me that I had some throat coat tea at home — one teabag to be precise — so we stopped by there to pick that up. I also picked up the dog, so that she could come along for the ride. We stopped by the bank briefly, and were about to head to the place that my wife was staying at, when she sort of indirectly expressed that she wanted to hang out some more. This wasn’t overt, but more that I suggested we could do something else, and she said, “but you must be tired.” I told her I was fine, and with that we headed out to get some gelato. Again, we had a great time. Our dog is a big hit with people for a lot of reasons, and we can pretty much count on people coming by to say “hi” to her. We shared a gelato from the same cup.

Okay, I italicized this, but this is not new: we’ve done this a few times in the past couple of months. I highlight this to illustrate the complete illogicality of the wayward spouse. Supposedly, she is on a “new path” that would exclude me in favor of some better person, yet she still does things that she would only do with someone with whom she is on intimate terms. So we had gelato. It was good. Then we went on to a nearby grocery store to get some flowers for the woman with whom she is staying. I helped her to pick them out. I dropped her off at the colleague’s place.

The next morning we met fairly briefly to get some financial documents notarized. Nothing major, just some odds and ends that needed to be taken care of.

And that was it. I likely won’t see her again until next Wednesday.

This reconciliation stuff gets tiring. I’m pretty certain that if I could see her every day we’d be reconciling, like, tomorrow. But she does have the logistical advantage right now. Despite that, I am still making headway. Let this be a lesson to anyone considering divorce: there is another, far superior way: it’s the path of wholeness. It is worth making the sacrifices needed to bring about reconciliation. I do believe the universe rewards that far more than it does those who would choose the path of destruction.

I seek to be whole. I think my wife does, too. Even if her ego attempts to blind her of this, I’m sure her heart knows it.

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That doesn’t make sense; or, some very hopeful signs

Today was my weekly allotted meeting with my wife. It also happened to be the day on which she chose, belatedly, to celebrate my birthday. It was a very good day.

She texted me this morning to tell me that she would be ready to go around 9:30. I had kept the whole morning and early afternoon open, so I was ready to go at any time. I had a gift wrapped and ready for her, too: this time, it was a picture she had left behind, one of her dog as a puppy that one of our former neighbors took and gave to her. It has great sentimental value to her, and for some reason she chose to leave it behind in our bedroom. I thought it fitting to give that to her. I was looking through the closet and came across an envelope with some Austrian coins. My wife first went to Vienna many years ago, probably in the late 1990s, and she kept her leftover currency in that small envelope as a souvenir. I put a little note on it, something to the effect of, “I came across this in the closet” and wrapped it up in the same package as the picture. I put this into a colorful paper bag, along with a card that I had bought. On that card, I wrote a simple note thanking her for wanting to celebrate my birthday with me, and saying that it meant a lot to me. These I took along with me in the car as I went to pick her up. At home, I left behind a small gift of a pack of Japanese potato chips, salt and seaweed flavor, exactly as pictured in this link. I left this along with the dog’s carrier, because she’d be coming to get the dog today, since next week is her “custody” week.

As for the dog, I put her into the car, since I figured my wife would want to see her. We set off to the acquaintance’s house. I called just before arriving there, and when I pulled up I saw the van of the acquaintance’s husband in the driveway. He lives out of state now, and they are in the process of separating, and probably will end up in divorce. As I wrote about yesterday, I would hope that their situation be illustrative to my wife about the horrors of divorce, and also illuminative as to how fundamentally different and better our own situation is. She came out, bags in tow as per usual. She seemed pretty happy to see me. She was also happy to see the dog. She got in the car, and I jokingly tried to give her a kiss, and she backed away. We chatted a bit, and we both agreed that we shouldn’t schlep the dog around, so the first thing we did was to stop by the house to drop off the dog. On the way there, she told me that her acquaintance’s husband had come home to pack up his stuff and move out. This should be illustrative as well for her, I’m hoping. Then we set off for coffee.

On the way out, my wife brings up the uncomfortable things. She wants to reckon our cell phone bill and cancel her phone line. I make no comment. She wants to shift her rental piano to my name. Again, no comment. She asks me to stop by a nearby bank, where she has an account. These are the “secret” accounts that I’ve known about for a while, and she told me she opened them because the branch was nearby during the time she was staying with her friend a couple of blocks from our home. This is true: she could just walk there.

Unpleasantness out of the way, we set out to have coffee. I headed us toward a favorite spot where they make a drink called the “Sevilla,” which is basically a mocha with orange zest in it. She offered to pay. We chatted for a while and had a pretty nice time. So far so good. She brought up lunch, and she offered to take me out for sushi. (Yes, that picture is what I ate.) But it was still a bit early, so I suggested we go off to a favorite neighborhood to do a bit of shopping. She also mentioned that she had a gift in her bag for me.

We got to that neighborhood, and she gave me that gift. It was beautifully wrapped, and I nearly broke into tears. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and she did not back away — in fact, she offered me her cheek. I suggested I open it later. She noticed some new shop — I guess she hasn’t been in that area for some time, since it appears the adulterer doesn’t really get around too much. We stopped in a “natural apothecary” so that I could buy some incense, and she aksed them for some herbal tea that would help her throat. It seems like her health is a bit depressed these days, which is not surprising, considering the stress she is putting herself through. They put together a concoction for her, and she bought some bath salts as well. We then did a bit of window shopping and ended up in a clothing shop. She browsed a bit and I tried on a shirt. It was very much like old times.

By then it was nearly lunchtime, so we headed over to the sushi place. We got there and were seated promptly. It was a very good date. Lots of chatting about fun, frivolous stuff, and no relationship talk at all. She confessed that her digestive system is giving her some trouble these days, and she couldn’t finish her lunch. All in all, we had a great time. I told her that I had some thing that I’d forgotten at home; this was just a ruse to drop by the house so that I could put her gift inside the house. She excused herself to use the ladies room; I was waffling on about dropping her off later on a bit early so that I could go home and take care of things, and she said something truly unexpected: “let’s just go home.”

Wait… what?!?

She has not said anything like that in a long time. Since about January or February, she has been referring to it as “your house,” and has been clear in saying that she does not live there anymore, assuring me she won’t come back, etc. And here she makes this huge Freudian slip, calling it “home.” I could hardly believe my ears.

She was in the restroom for quite a while, and when she came out, the first thing I’d noticed was her eyes. It looked like she’d been crying. You know the look people get when they’ve cried? Their eyes get sort of glassy and a bit puffy, and sometimes their cheeks are a bit discolored from the tears. Well, there was no sign of running mascara or anything like that (maybe she’d fixed that while she was in the ladies room) but her eyes definitely had that post-cry look about them. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. I think she had some tears while she was in there.

We set off for home, and when we got there she just wanted to wait in the car. That was fine by me, no need to push on that one. I took my gift for her into the house, and placed it into a larger bag with the dog’s leash, the bag of potato chips, and a box of throat coat tea that I’d bought for her some months ago. I figured that was a perfect opportunity to give her something she needs. I tied that to the dog carrier with a ribbon, and then left the house. We had just gotten on the highway when I mentioned that she could leave her big, heavy bag behind, since she was going to come by to get the dog later. So, we turned around, and went back to the house so that I could put the bag inside for her. Then we finally left for our last stop. But first, I opened the gift, which was simple, but very thoughtful. The card was right on the money: the cover was absolutely an inside joke, and she wrote a very kind message inside. She told me she had seen that card and thought, “that’s perfect.” Ha! She’s turning into me! That’s what I do when I shop for little things for her. I see something and think, “that’s perfect.”

That last stop was to the same shopping I took her to last week. On the way there, I took a bit of a detour and suggested we stop by a shop I wanted to show her. This was a consignment shop at which I’d gotten a few things for her over the past few months, and I figured she’d like it. The first thing she noticed was the big, friendly dog on the couch as we entered. He came up to greet us. She immediately started browsing and saw a bunch of things she liked. She eventually saw the collection of Fire King glassware that I’d bought a few pieces from. She didn’t buy anything, but I got a lot of ideas about what she does like. I told her I’d been visiting a number of consignment places from time to time to look for unusual little things. That definitely made an impression on her, because she has never known me to be that kind of person (I am now), but she has always been one to go to such places.

We finally did have to leave, so I dropped her off at the shopping center where she’d spend the next hour or so, prior to heading out to teaching some students nearby. I thanked her for everything, and told her I’d see her in a couple of days. (I did not say a week, I just said “a couple of days.”) This time, she offered me her cheek very clearly, and I gave her a kiss. Then she got out of the car and waved goodbye as I drove off.

If I were dating my wife, I’d say that I scored a 9.5 out of 10. (I’m subtracting the 0.5 for the uncomfortable stuff at the beginning.) Well, heck, I am dating my wife at this point. Remember? I’m the other man now, in a way.

I set off for work, and when I arrived I sent her a text to thank her for everything. When I eventually returned home, two things happened. First, I dropped my cell phone on the driveway and smashed the display screen. It’s one of those Android “smart” phones, and I’ve been wanting to ditch it in favor of a plain “dumb” cell phone, so I guess now I have my opportunity. Second, I came inside the house and found that my wife had left me a couple of cookies. I texted to thank her for them, and she just moments ago texted back to say that she had baked them and wanted me to taste them — but she only had two left! Well how about that…

All in all, I’d say it was a good day. I am feeling very hopeful about reconciling quite soon, and am cautiously optimistic about everything. I guess I have to be a bit cautious so that I don’t derail anything good that’s happening right now. We’re not reconciling yet, but it seems like the momentum has shifted somehow in the past 2 weeks, and I just hope it keeps going in that direction from here on out.

It’s been seven months

On October 14, 2011, I was in the kitchen making dinner. My wife had begun preparing for a grueling work schedule that would continue through the month of October, and she was really beginning to feel the pressure, and to recognize how unfeasible that workload really was. She came into the kitchen as I was finishing up cooking, and I gave her some food. Then, I made one critical mistake: I took a pot that was not in use off of the stove, and instead of putting it back in the pantry, I put it on a crate underneath a utility table. We keep a couple of skillets there, so I figured it wasn’t a big deal.

It was. She erupted at me, and asked me why I didn’t just go put the pot back where it originally came from. I responded that I was in the middle of cooking, and that there were other more important actions to take, like, for instance, feeding her, so she could get back to work. She then said, “You are lazy, and you will never change,” and left the kitchen in a huff.

When I entered the living room, she was sitting on the couch, watching TV and eating the food I had prepared for her. As I sat down, she really unloaded on me. She told me that she felt our marriage was over, and that she wanted to separate. Actually, she wanted me to leave the house. I had heard her get this way when she’s been under similar pressure in the past, so I thought this was just temporary and would blow over. I said, “look, I know you’re uner a lot of stress right now…”

That was clearly the wrong thing to say. She told me that this time it was different, and that she meant business. She wanted me out of the house, and suggested I move back to California with my family at Thanksgiving. Or, perhaps I could get an apartment that was closer to work. Either way, she wanted me out. “I deserve to be happier than this,” was her summative remark.

I was flabbergasted.

This was the beginning of my marital crisis. Today is Monday, May 14, 2012. The scene I described above happened 213 days ago, making it exactly seven months since all of this began.

I thought our problems were solvable. What I didn’t know at the time is that, to her mind, they were not and never would be solvable. She had begun an emotional affair 5 days earlier, and had been probably flirting with the idea of starting that affair for at least a month prior to it beginning. From that night forward, she did not sleep in our bed. She moved herself into the living room, and slept on the fold-out couch at night. She did that for two and a half months. Then she decided to make it more “real,” and moved in with a couple of friends in early January. She would spend most of the day here, but would sleep at their house. This apparently wasn’t real enough, so she began to limit her time at home in February, and eventually actually did move out toward the end of March. That was 52 days ago. At some point thereafter, she moved in with the adulterer. I don’t believe this happened right away, but as near as I can figure, it was probably on or around April 6. That would make it 38 days that she’s been living in the house of a twice-divorced, serial adulterer, a man who has no qualms about lying to his own flesh and blood (his daughter) about the nature of his “relationship” with my wife.

I have been waiting patiently for the affair to end for over six months now. I have heeded the credible advice I was given, and just gotten out of the way so that it can run its course. I have continued to reach out to her and to work on myself in the interim.

I am all but certain that the bloom is likely off the rose at this point. They initially did not get to spend much time together, but since at least February they have had relatively unrestricted access to one another. And, there is really nothing like living with someone to learn what they are really like. I don’t think my wife and I ever really began to have disagreements or arguments until we began cohabitating. Of course, there was a big difference: neither of us had another committed relationship going on, and so there was nothing to hide or to be dishonest about. Neither of us was or had ever been married. She has all these problems now, though: she is married, she does have to hide things from me and from others, and she does lie about things constantly. That’s a trifecta if ever there was one, and it will bring down that affair.

213 days is a long time. I know people who have been in marital crises for even longer. One thing I have in common with these people is that we are committed to our marriages, and will not give up on them just because things have become difficult. I know people who have obstinate spouses, and others who have spouses who, like mine, are committing adultery. I know of some wayward spouses who are hiding their affairs and trying to keep a sense of normalcy in their marriage, and others who have decided that the affair is the path of the future, and are doing everything in their power to make that fairy-tale future a reality.

The one thing that all of these departing spouses, obstinate and wayward alike, have to contend with is a formidable force that they had not reckoned with: the unconditional love of their spouses who are standing up for the marriage. Our message is clear: “no matter what has happened, and no matter what is happening now, I still believe in us, and I will always believe in our marriage.” This is an inconvenient message for spouses to hear, if they are seeking to undermine their marriages. They are reminded that they are quitters, that they don’t want to look at their own fixings, and that their spouses are taking moral positions that need no defending whatsoever. Thus, they tend to fight back, and they sometimes fight back hard.

With all that said, I’ve seen some encouraging signs over the past week. I have no idea where they’ll lead, or if the trend will continue, but  just moments ago I received an email from my wife thanking me for helping her in editing some texts she had translated. She was emphatic about it, too: “thank you soooo much,” she wrote. Her behavior this past week has not been characteristic of a woman who wants to destroy her marriage. Instead, it’s been one of a woman who still feels a connection to her husband, and who is reluctant to give that up, even if she thinks her current trajectory requires her to do so.

So that’s where we’re at, 7 months on. I am hopeful that there will continue to be positive signs, and that these will lead to a real breakthrough in the coming days.