Tag Archives: Waiting

Back to Where It All Started

I haven’t posted in a while, as I’ve been very busy; besides that, there hasn’t been a whole lot to report.

This past weekend, I went to the shrine where my wife’s affair started. I hadn’t been there in nearly two years. There was a big, semi-annual ceremony going on there, and the last time I had attended it was two years ago with my wife. Something told me that I should go; if I needed a reason, there were a few amulets and such that needed to be returned to the shrine, and then perhaps one new one that I felt I should pick up. In that spiritual tradition, amulets and other items one might use for personal use or for home altars are annual in nature, and need to be replaced every year. I had a few around the house that were 2+ years old, so I figured I should be responsible and change them out. This shrine is the only place in North America where one can do that.

Even the night before the ceremony, I was still unsure if I’d go. I wanted to be clear on my ethics and intentions; if there were any possibility that I would be going to mess with my wife’s affair—which still seems to be clinging on for dear life—then I’d just stay home. I was pretty sure that my intention was pure, but thought I’d better sleep on it.

I awoke the following morning feeling a bit ambivalent. My intentions were pure enough, I guess, but I just wasn’t sure if it would have been a good idea to go. So, I pulled down my I-Ching book and did a quick reading. The answer was unambiguous: I should go.

It was a fine Sunday morning, and I had some other obligations before the ceremony started mid-morning. Having taken care of those, I set off on the 40-mile drive to the shrine. I suppose I felt a bit nervous, because I did not know what would meet me there; I strongly suspected that my wife would not be there, but I just did not know what to expect.

I arrived and found that the adulterer’s truck was nowhere to be seen. In previous years, he would always be there; he volunteered at virtually every event, as he was more or less the highest-ranking member of the shrine, aside from the priest. It was my sense that, due to the affair, the adulterer and my wife had both gotten themselves banned from the shrine, or at least made very unwelcome. This is, of course, rather odd, as the adulterer lives about 2 miles from the shrine; given the remote location of the town, there really is no other reason for the adulterer to live there. They never did arrive.

But I did. As I stood in line to enter the shrine, the priest saw me and beamed a huge smile. He came outside to meet me, shook my hand, and greeted me with a warm and genuine sincerity. He asked me how I was doing, and I said, “excellent.” Upon entering the shrine, I encountered the priest’s wife. Now, she had been very vocal in her opposition to my wife’s affair, and went so far as to post a disparaging remark about it quite openly on Facebook shortly after that sordid mess had begun. She came up to greet me, and also seemed quite happy to see me. I’m sure it did not escape her notice that I was wearing my wedding ring. She asked me how our dog was doing, and then said she really wanted to see the dog. This also seemed like a very genuine connection. I returned the amulets to her, and went and bought a couple of new ones for this year.

The ceremony went as planned, and afterward I stopped by to thank the priest on my way out. Again, he was very genuine and enthusiastically thanked me for being there. I then returned home.

It’s hard to know what any of this meant. I think that, for me, there was perhaps some sort of sense of that karma coming full circle with my return there. It is of course said that all actions are interdependent, and thus I can probably expect some sort of karmic ripples to be sent out as a result of my visit. Those ripples will almost certainly meet my wife and the adulterer; when that could happen or the effect that might have is entirely uncertain. But, that’s really not my concern; it’s not why I went there in the first place.

I have come to a place of a certain degree of comfort in my situation, actually. This is likely the result of the regular contemplations I’m doing in my daily spiritual practice; these contemplations have recently shown me the deeper meaning of what is going on. I suppost it could be summarized in this way: happiness comes from positive actions, yet all too many people engage in negative actions in their pursuits of happiness. Buddhist doctrine holds that there are ten non-virtuous actions from which one should abstain; pondering these actions can be truly shocking, and can lead to greater compassion for those who engage in them, wittingly or otherwise. Although most of us unwittingly engage in about half of these actions fairly regularly, my wife’s list of non-virtuous actions resulting from her affair probably encompasses eight or nine of them. Pondering this likelihood has shown me the wisdom of stepping back a bit and allowing the natural course of things (i.e. karma) to just go ahead and play out. In fact, my earlier attitude, as seen in many of the posts here from, say, last year, more or less demonstrate how “tight” my energy was around the whole thing. I do think that maintaining that kind of “tightness” distorts things somehow, making it harder for the situation to resolve. I’ve pretty much gotten out of the way now, energetically speaking, so that situation can just collapse under the weight of its own karmic debt; that could happen at any time now.

As for me, life is good, and I’ve got a paid holiday from work. Time to wash the dog, I guess. Happy 4th to all of you.

Off the Grid

I’ve been off the grid for a while, due mainly to a retreat I went on recently. It was a 10-day retreat (yep, a Buddhist thingie) that I did locally; I still had work obligations, so there were a few days I missed, but otherwise the retreat had me occupied for about 15 hours at a stretch.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience and, while exhausting, a great way to recharge the batteries of the heart, mind, and soul. I learned a lot. Most of all, though, I learned the value of letting go.

You see, my thoughts and energy surrounding my marital crisis have been, for a long time now, really pretty “tight.” If you’ve read many of my posts, you’ll probably get a sense of that. In fact, I’ve had comments, some via this blog and others via private email, that have said as much. This retreat forced me to loosen that energy, and at the same time it dialed me into the sense that there is much more richness to life than what one can have if one focuses too tightly on any one thing.

So what does “letting go” mean, really? Does it mean quitting? No, not at all. Instead, it means just being okay with whatever happens.

I’ve reached the point at which I truly feel that I’ve done just about all that I can to attempt to bring my marriage to the point of beginning a reconciliation. I’ve learned the relationship skills and have worked tirelessly on bettering myself. It has been, and still is, exhausting at times. But it has been a truly transformative journey. I know that my wife will see and appreciate those changes; right now, she chooses to avoid seeing them.

I had a chat with my marriage “coach” today, the first one I’ve had in about 6 months. I really haven’t needed much advice, since there isn’t much to work with when you’re being stonewalled. His assessment is that I’m pretty much doing all that I can, and that 90% of what I need to do at this point is just to wait. That seems hard, but there really aren’t any other sensible alternatives.

I do keep in mind the statistics that indicate that 24 months is the typical end point by which the vast majority of affairs will have ended. This would mean that my wife has about 5 more months to run on this situation, tops. I do extend hope that this will hold true, but I would be foolish to try to predict the future. However, as we enter summer there are a couple things that are different now than they were last summer at this time, and these could be key in shaking that situation apart once and for all.

First, her concert season has wrapped up, and she has no reason to come into town at all—that is, unless she joins the adulterer on some of his work sites, and I know that she does this. (How often, though, is anyone’s guess; I’m thinking it could be nearly daily, as I think he keeps her on a short leash.) Second, she has filed dissolution papers. These two things added together put her on an island of her own making—an island with the adulterer, a place where she gets to see if this really is something she wants for the rest of her life. I seriously doubt that she does; from what little I have seen and heard, that life and relationship are as juvenile and superficial as ever. It is still a fantasy-land, but reality inexorably does seep into this and any other kind of fantasy. Moreover, it is an island that is surrounded by a sea of dreck that she has created. It is probably the wish to avoid dealing with that dreck—the detritus of spoiled relationships and ruined friendships—that keeps her marooned on that island of immorality. However, the tide of dreck cannot be stopped, and will eventually choke them both off that island and back into the sea of, well, reality, which includes all that dreck that has been produced over the past year and a half.

So, I basically go on living my life; I reach out as I always have, and then I let it go. At night I can sleep well because I have a clear conscience. During the day I can live my life fully, because I have an open heart. She is welcome to join me at any time.

Coincidences and Signs

Today is my birthday. This is relevant, I promise, but I’ll get to that later.

I awoke this morning in a good mood. I tended to my shrine in the bedroom, or perhaps I should say that I tended to my shrines, since there are three of them in the house. I do this every morning, making sure there are offerings (water, light, scent, etc.) before I even have my breakfast. I make coffee and offer that too, before I even get a sip. This activity brings me great joy, because it is one of generosity. It probably takes about 10-20 minutes most days.

Offerings done, I sat down to check my email. Nothing really new there. Then I read the news, surfed the web a bit, and landed on Facebook.

Now, I haven’t been the hugest fan of Facebook since my wife’s affair began; it was launcehd from that web platform, and one of the first things I did was to remove myself from it for a time. However, I have a number of professional connections there, and the site has brought me some work over the years, so I still maintain an account. So, I check it from time to time, but I’m hardly the Facebook “addict” I was, say a few years ago.

Right at the top of the posts on my “wall” is one from the colleague who lives 2 blocks from here. This is the same colleague with whom my wife stayed when she initially “separated” from me last year. This colleague is the woman who, probably more than anyone else, encouraged my wife to have the affair and to move out. I’ll never forget the day my wife went out for coffee with her when the crisis was just beginning: she promised that she would not speak of our situation to anyone, and then she broke that promise within the hour. She admitted to me a day or two later that she broke that promise.

The post that I read was written around 2:00 a.m., and from it, it was clear that my wife had spent the night at this woman’s house. I understand that my wife had had a rehearsal yesterday, and this accounted for her staying overnight in town. The post said that the colleague had appreciated “true insights” from a “good friend” who is “incredibly wise.” This struck me as rather odd; it sounded like the two of them had sat up for much of the night talking about who-knows-what.

I finally had my breakfast and then took the dog out for a walk. We almost invariably go right past this colleague’s house when we go for a walk, and this morning was no exception. Now, here’s where things get really odd. If you’re not a fan of things metaphysical, then just skip ahead to the paragraph after this one, okay?

As we approached the colleague’s house, the most unusual thing happened. I had this sense of a tremendously negative energy field that was emanating from the side of the house I was approaching. This side of the house was also the location of the room in which my wife would be staying — I know this from previous experience: I have seen the room, and she had told me that she stayed in that room when she first moved out. This was a very palpable experience. It reminded me of my childhood days when, on Saturday mornings, I’d run down to the end of the street to see if my friends were awake yet. I could tell if they were because I’d hear the high-pitched whine of their TV set from outside the window (does anyone remember this from his or her own youth?) and, moreover, I could feel their presence, even though there was a brick wall between us. It was a kind of magnetic feeling, although one that would be more sort of a “positive”-pole magnetic feeling; this feeling I had this morning was a “negative”-pole feeling, and a very pronounced one at that.

Anyway, we went home and that was that. (I welcome the non-metaphysical fans among my readers back to the fold here.)

After returning home, I readied myself for the work day ahead. My first appointment was with an individual who n0-showed. To get to the place I meet this person at I need to exit my neighborhood via the street on which the aforementioned colleague’s house is located. So, I’m driving out and — lo and behold — there is the adulterer’s truck, right there in the colleague’s driveway. But, I had an appointment to get to, so I just kept going.

That appointment no-showed; this person pays regardless, so it was no big deal. I came home about 45 minutes later along that same route, and the adulterer’s truck was gone. I should probably also say that the adulterer’s arrival time is consistent with what I know (anecdotally and experientially) to be his arrival time at the other colleague’s house in the city — the other colleague with whom my wife normally would be staying.

So that was a fine “how-do-you-do” for the morning. I had plenty of other things to do today, as it was a normal work Monday, so I just went about my usual business. I later saw a FB post from my wife on this colleague’s “wall” that said something about this being a Monday, and so thus one should make a “fresh start.”

Okay, so here’s where I start “speculating,” or “mind reading,” or whatever one might want  to call it; for me, this is where I allow my subconscious to start to express itself in increments. I do believe that there is a tremendous amount of information we take in and process on a daily basis, only a tiny fraction of which makes it through the filter of the conscious mind. The rest is absorbed by the body into the realm of the unconscious, or something like that. So, if this bothers you, then just stop reading here. (You can, of course, just go to my donate page and “lob me a quid,” as my first landlady in the UK said when I lived there eons ago; or, you could head over to the resources page and see if there might be something there of value to you.)

Here’s what I think is going on: my wife is struggling. She is plagued by guilt, because she knows the significance of this day, and she feels terrible for having left me alone on yet another birthday. This is, in fact, worse than the last one, because last year at this time we were in contact by email (the adulterer was actually overseas for a few days) and she did ask me out for lunch a few days later and even gave me a birthday present. At this moment, things have degenerated to the point at which she won’t even acknowledge the significance of this day. That is truly sad, and I am all but certain (—Okay, skeptics, are you reading? If so, why?—) that this is eating her up inside. I have learned a fair bit about the mentality and psychology of the wayward spouse over the past months (I’ll write about this some other time), and one thing that seems nearly universal is that the wayward spouse’s mind continues to turn back to the marriage more and more as time goes by, and especially as the affair begins to reveal itself for the sham that it actually is.

So, somewhere out there, not more than 40 miles or so from here, my wife is sitting, or lying down, or washing dishes, or doing something, and it is highly likely that, even as I type this, her mind is turning toward me. There is guilt, remorse, sorrow, anger, frustration, and, most of all, pain. I cannot make any of those feelings or thoughts go away; only she can do that.

It’s crunch time up at Camp CS, friends, crunch time. Things come to  head and decisions have to be made. Her question right now is likely, “do I want this?” and the answer is, well, eventually… no.

The Case Has Been Filed

Today was a black day. It was the blackest day in the history of my marriage, for me, at least.

For my wife, that day of infamy will forever be March 27, 2013. On this day, she went to the county superior courthouse and filed dissolution of marriage papers.

As of this writing, I have been neither notified nor served. So how exactly did I come by this information? Simple: my wife is terrible at hiding her tracks.

I went online this morning to check our bank account balances; I get paid monthly, so the budget always gets tight toward the end of the month. It’s a dance I’ve been doing for a number of months now, and I still haven’t really gotten used to it. Logging on to our bank’s web portal, I found my wife’s checking account to have diminished by nearly $300. In fact, the amount looked suspiciously similar to the filing fee for divorce cases in our county. The transaction was paid by check, and my bank scans these and makes copies available for viewing online. I clicked on the transaction, and up popped a copy of that check, made out to our local courthouse.

This was not a good revelation.

I then went over to the website of our state court system, as they make all of these records available. I input my name, and found the court case. Yes, she had filed. She also filed a confidential information sheet, ostensibly to keep her current address secret from me. There has been a court date assigned already. In this state, court dates for contested cases — which she filed for by default, basically — are automatically approximately 11 months out. Our court date, should this go to trial, is February 24, 2014.

February 24… that’s my father’s birthday. He will be 83 years old on that day next year. You bet I will proactively get that date shifted if I can.

The confirmation of this revelation was definitely not a good thing.

How did I feel? Let me give you a list: betrayed, disappointed, tortured, abused, disrespected, disposable, sad, angry, depressed  — you name it, I pretty much felt it.

It sucks. Big time.

Now, I know there are a lot of people out there in my situation who have been dealing with looming court cases for some time. I guess I have felt lucky that I have not had to walk that path. Now I’m walking that path with them.

There is, however, something tremendously incongruous about this situation. I last spoke with my wife on March 16. This was an unexpectedly positive connection that came on the heels of some pretty unpleasant, business-like exchanges with her via email. The woman I spoke to on that day did not have the energy of a woman who would be filing for divorce 11 days later, not at all. The energy that woman had was that of a person who had walked a very tiring and guilt-ridden path, and who was leaving the door open — wide open — to the possibility of coming home.

That is, I assert right now, the woman my wife still is. So how on earth did this happen? A person with that kind of emotional energy does not up and file for divorce.

I’ll tell you how: the adulterer pushed her to do it. No, I have no proof. However, the timing is really kind of suspicious. It was just over a year since she moved out and about a year since she moved in with him. I can’t help but think that he has begun to tire of her failure to follow through with what must be his pet project of destroying our marriage. I just cannot imagine but that he gave her an ultimatum: file or it’s over.

Really, this is quite, I dunno, insane. I mean, it’s been 17 months already. Seventeen months. In affair terms, that’s advanced senescence, making it the affair equivalent of a 70-year-old. The affair cannot be healthy. If anything, it’s likely on its way out, and this is a rather warped and disgusting ploy to try to keep it on life support a bit longer. I seriously doubt it could last another eleven months.

No, in fact, it’s not unlikely that this will serve as a wake-up call for both of them. How? Well, if I do get served, I’ll disagree with the terms laid out on the petition. That should not be hard to do. She left her preliminary work lying around the house many months ago — over a year ago, in fact, and I saw the one that she took to the courthouse in April of last year to have them check it over. It was riddled with errors. She did not even have basic information, like the financial she would need to file. She has not asked for any of this information, either. Odd that it took her a full year to make it back to the courthouse to try to make it real by filing those papers.

Make it real. Make. It. Real. Hmmmm, let me think about that for a moment.

Affairs are all about fantasy, and not about reality. Well, with this legal action, my wife just made her situation real. Very, very real. And by forcing her to do this (if in fact that’s what happened), he just made his situation real as well. Very real. This adulterer has no frame of reference for a husband who would stand and fight for his marriage after this long. Heck, he was probably seriously confused by my appearance at her concert last December. But really, I do not know what he thinks, nor do I care.

What I care about is getting my wife out of that sick, sclerotic situation. What I care about is helping her return to reality, after having run as fast as possible away from it for the past 17 months. What I care about is making our lives whole instead of blowing them to smithereens. What I care is about love, not hatred. What I care about is honoring our promises, both to each other and to the world. This is the moral path.

So, dear reader, I close with one request. If you feel so moved, please donate to this blog. I haven’t come out with my upturned cap for a long time, because my financial position has taken a turn for the better. Well, while it is better, I simply do not have the wherewithal to pay extensive legal fees, should it come to that. Heck, even a one-time consult with an attorney would probably knock out most if not all of my discretionary income.

Well, actually I have one more request. In my last post, I closed by asking for your prayers. I’m going to do that again. Monetary donations are helpful, and may actually be essential on the mundane level. But it is your supreme aspirations in the form of prayers that would mean more to me than anything. It does not matter what your faith or wisdom tradition is. They’re all equally good. If you have prayer lists you can put us on, so much the better. It does not matter that you might not know my “real” (mundane) name; just saying something like “Rodion and his wife” would suffice. The power of your aspiration will get your prayers sent in the right direction. Please pray that she have an awakening. Please pray that it happen soon. Please pray that the adulterer also have an awakening, and soon.

You can count on me to keep fighting for what’s right.

 

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.

Just Some Thoughts

Just some thoughts, that’s what this post is all about.

Statistics are thoughts, and I liked to cite them here often. For example, my wife’s affair launched as an emotional, on-line affair 498 days ago. Other statistics I have liked to cite include the fact that the vast majority of affairs run their course in anywhere from 6 to 24 months. Six months is 182.5 days; 24 months is 730 days. The average of these two figures is 456.25 days, so that means that right now, my wife’s affair has exceeded the average by 9.15%.

Such statistical thoughts lead me to thoughts of other imagined statistics, here, from  James Joyce’s Ulysses:

What relation existed between their ages?

16 years before in 1888 when Bloom was of Stephen’s present age Stephen was 6. 16 years after in 1920 when Stephen would be of Bloom’s present age Bloom would be 54. In 1936 when Bloom would be 70 and Stephen 54 their ages initially in the ratio of 16 to 0 would be as 17 1/2 to 13 1/2, the proportion increasing and the disparity diminishing according as arbitrary future years were added, for if the proportion existing in 1883 had continued immutable, conceiving that to be possible, till then 1904 when Stephen was 22 Bloom would be 374 and in 1920 when Stephen would be 38, as Bloom then was, Bloom would be 646 while in 1952 when Stephen would have attained the maximum postdiluvian age of 70 Bloom, being 1190 years alive having been born in the year 714, would have surpassed by 221 years the maximum antediluvian age, that of Methusalah, 969 years, while, if Stephen would continue to live until he would attain that age in the year 3072 A.D., Bloom would have been obliged to have been alive 83,300 years, having been obliged to have been born in the year 81,396 B.C.

My thoughts right now is that, in the realm of human relationships, statistics aren’t very meaningful. Such statistics are just abstractions, and cannot express the qualitative aspects of human relationships and their inevitable vicissitudes; thoughts about such statistics are just abstractions of abstractions.

I also thought about going down to the center where I do my spiritual practice, and in fact, this evening, I did. In this sense, my abstract thoughts became real in the world of actions. I went there to look for a book, and in the end I chose a book called The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the MindThis is Buddhist stuff, mind you. It was written by Traleg Kyabgon, a master of the Kagyü lineage of Tibetan Buddhism who died last year. Lojong, as a practice, consists of the contemplation of pithy slogans as a means of generating greater compassion in one’s daily life; there are many commentaries like this one that are available, and they can be very helpful, as the pithiness of these slogans can, at times, get confusing. The slogan I worked with this morning was as follows:

Self-liberate even the antidote.

Hmmmm. The antidote here is the analytical meditation that one uses to cut through confused cognition, but what does it mean to “self-liberate” even that? The commentary I had this morning was by Pema Chödrön, who simply said that you need to let go of everything—even the realization that there’s nothing left to hold on to. This is a slippery concept to wrap one’s mind around: Buddhists call it “emptiness,” or shunyata; while it sounds like there is nothing there, the reality is that “emptiness” is instead full of possibility, endlessly giving birth to the myriad experiences we have each day. Clinging too tightly to our perceptions and thoughts is essentially the cause of suffering. Those of us who have and are experiencing marital crises know this all too well. In fact, working with an obstinate spouse has been one gigantic lesson in ego-clinging: I know when I’m doing it, but I sure as heck know when my wife is. She’s pretty much stuck there 24/7.

So, in working with this statement this morning, I just found myself thinking it (yes, more thoughts) again and again, and prompting myself to just be at ease with whatever came up, and then to just let go even of that. But I guess I felt I really wasn’t getting the meaning of the slogan, and so therefore I went out and bought this book. The explanation was so simple: contemplation can no sooner dissect itself than can a knife cut itself, and so whatever experience or answers that might arise from contemplation simply have to be let go. This is a bizarre, but very helpful image: a knife trying to cut itself. It’s kind of like a Zen koan that deliberately throws a curve at you that provides no mental way out.

And now, at the end of the day, I’m left with just thoughts. More thoughts. Thoughts about tomorrow. Thoughts about the fact that my wife is coming to town. Thoughts about the Japanese breakfast I’m going to cook in the morning and thoughts about how I’m going to pack it up and leave it for her. Thoughts about the things I did not buy at the grocery store for her this time. Thoughts about whether my actions are enough. Thoughts about thoughts, even, like the thoughts of incredible frustration that arose as I was heading out to buy this book this evening: the frustration of feeling like I could be doing more to reconcile my marriage, when in fact I’m already doing as much as I can, and am pretty much relegated to a virtual holding pattern while the affair winds down.

Enough thoughts for today. Tonight, I’ll let my subconscious produce those thoughts for me in the form of dreams. Maybe something interesting will come up. You just never know; but, when you dream, you have to let go.

Letter from the In-Laws, Redux; Or, Rodion Reflects

I had a rather momentous occasion in my spiritual life yesterday — one that I’ll likely go into on another occasion — that left me with some impetus for reflection. Specifically, I’m thinking about the letter that came from my mother-in-law the other day. The post I wrote about that letter was really quite reactive, and by the end of the day I had developed a somewhat different view on the whole matter. The occasion yesterday gave me further pause for reflection.

I guess my initial reaction to receiving that letter was that it was likely that my wife had directly provoked it in some way, for example complaining to her parents and asking them to write to me. On further reflection, that seems quite unlikely.

You see, I’ve had the chance to think not only about what my mother-in-law said, but also the way in which she said it. Her choice of words was quite peculiar: she repeatedly used the verb “to bother over,” as in “I wish you wouldn’t bother over my daughter.” The suggestion from that word is that her daughter was rather a nuisance, and the implication that lay just beneath the surface was that she absolutely did not agree with her daughter’s choices. Thinking more about my mother-in-law’s motives, it even seems quite plausible that this was a face-saving tactic for her: she finds her daughter at present to be quite intractable and impervious to reason, and possibly thinks that this situation will never end.

Well, she’s wrong about that — the ending part, that is. The imperviousness to reason and intractability, well, those seem pretty accurate. But it is just that intractability that will bring about that inevitable ending.

The tone of my mother-in-law’s letter, despite its somewhat harsh wording, was actually quite mild, and the intent of the letter actually thoughtful, perhaps even kind. It was as if she wanted to reach out to me and implore me not to waste my time on her daughter who seems to her increasingly beyond reach. I can sense that she feels more than a bit of exasperation at this situation, especially considering the shame and embarrassment it has brought upon their family. Japan, for all its modernity, is still a “face” culture, and things like this just don’t go over well, especially with my in-laws’ generation.

I did decide that the best response would be no response, and have stuck to that decision. There simply is no point in saying anything about any of this. I feel truly sorry for my in-laws and the pain and suffering this ordeal has caused them, and would do just about anything to ease that discomfort — except, of course, doing what they asked, as this would only make things worse long-term. The discomfort is temporary, and will ease once my wife’s affair crashes to the ground. There will, of course, be a lot of mending to do; some of it will be my job, but the lion’s share will be my wife’s responsibility. And as that responsibility dawns, as I believe it has been doing in her awareness, she withdraws further from that inevitable reality.

A couple of the things that keeps me hanging in there is the thought of those statistics compiled by Peggy Vaughn that indicate that the overwhelming majority of affairs run their course in 6 to 24 months, and the work of Jeff Murrah, that cites 15-24 months as a typical range for an end-point. Another thing that makes this all the more real — the fact that the affair will end, is the knowledge that an acquaintance recently ended an affair that seemed to have lasted about 18 months. This person apparently left the spouse and shacked up with the lover, and was very public about it, posting frequently on Facebook about it and, worse yet, involving the kids with the adulterous partner. I do not know if the marriage is on the way to reconciliation, but from what I could gather, it seemed as if the betrayed spouse was standing for the marriage.

And the most significant thing that is motivating me to stay the course right now is this momentous event that happened yesterday, but that will be the topic for another post.