Tag Archives: Wayward Spouse

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.

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.

Talking to Lawyers, Part II

It’s only Wednesday, and it’s been an eventful week. Not exactly full of the kinds of events I’d prefer, but eventful nonetheless.

On Monday, I had an appointment with an attorney to look over my response to my wife’s petition. It was a bright, sunny day, the kind that makes one glad to live in this part of the country. I had to drive downtown to get to this attorney’s office. The reception area was on the 41st floor — I didn’t even know that there were many buildings downtown that had so many floors. The view from the office lobby was spectacular: panoramic views of mountains and water. The attorney was running a bit late, but we eventually had a brief consult. Her office, as it turned out, was on the 42nd floor. This was a suite in which various businesses and contractors rent office space. It was a small, modest office, with no window views whatsoever. The attorney was very nice, and offered a bit of practical advice. The upshot of our conversation was that it would not be difficult to drag this litigation out just by complying with deadlines. Basically, once the response is filed, there would be no further deadlines until July, and the documents that would need to be filled out would have to originate from my wife.

I did end up filing my response with the court yesterday. I then had to have the document served, and this proved difficult. My wife is not only incommuncado, but is also uncooperative and in hiding. Yes, that’s right: in hiding. That’s how ashamed she is of her choices at this point. She is avoiding any and all contact with me — a person who would never mean her any harm whatsoever. She had listed her colleague’s address — the colleague with whom she had been staying on her visits to town — as the place she wanted the papers served. So, I obliged. I asked a friend to serve these, and this friend was willing; I chose the friend because she has a very open and genuine way with people, and most certainly would be able to put the colleague at ease. This friend also happens to be a practicing Buddhist, and emotionally is a very balanced person.

I originally proposed having the documents dropped off around 8:30 in the evening, but the colleague said she would not be home; I offered to have them dropped off earlier, and was informed that she would not be home until 10 pm. The colleague had a couple of exchanges by phone and email with my wife regarding protocols and practicalities. She suggested my wife contact me, but of course, she refused. There seemed to be some acrimony. Now, mind you, I have made Herculean efforts to build goodwill with my wife, and have done virtually nothing to cause anger or acrimony in her heart. Whatever she is feeling is more or less nothing more than the product of her own guilt.

Eventually, the time was set for 10 pm, and the friend was still willing to help out, so we headed over once that hour arrived. I brought the dog with me. My emotions were very even: no nerves, no pain, no guilt, just mindfulness of the reality of the task at hand. The papers were dropped off, along with a card for my wife (basically telling her that I did not want this, and offering a brief but open and honest message). The friend returned to the car with a bag that had some containers in which I had dropped off food for my wife and the colleague a week or so ago. These had been washed for return to me. I had no idea how these containers would affect our dog, though.

After returning home, the dog began to pace around the house and cry. This lasted for at least a half an hour, and I could not initially figure out why — until I realized that the dog could smell my wife on those containers. I let her sniff one of them, and she then went off around the house looking for my wife. It was really quite sad.

Today I was to drop off the return of service form at the clerk’s office; little did I know that they close for lunch. So, that task will have to wait until tomorrow. My wife should be picking up the response any day now. I suspect sparks will fly up there at Camp C-S. My wife basically provided me with a petition that pretty much obliged me to disagree, thereby causing this to drag out as a process by itself. Her secretiveness and refusal to communicate with me led her to either fail to specify information, or to assert certain information to be true that I cannot verify. What’s potentially worse for her, vis à vis the situation at Camp C-S is that she has laid herself open for the blame game to commence: the adulterer can now blame her for this process appearing to backfire.

My guess is that it could be a bumpy ride up ahead, but those bumps could be severe enough up there at Camp C-S that my wife could either bail out of that vehicle that is traveling that path, or be ejected outright.

Talking to Lawyers

Interesting fact: I’m in my mid-40s, and I’ve never needed a lawyer for anything in my life.

Sobering fact: As of April 4th, all that has changed.

Since my wife filed and had me served, I ended up needing to get legal advice. Now, our marital crisis has really been difficult on me financially, and paying thousands of dollars for a retainer really was not on the agenda. I hope that it never will be. (Click this link to see how you can help.) So, being on a limited budget, I had to do quite  a bit of research to find legal advice that would not cost me an arm and a leg.

I had a brief phone consult with an attorney who does “low-bono” work. This means that her fee ($200 per hour; sheesh, where do lawyers get off charging that much?) would be cut in half. We set up a complimentary, 30-minute consult for early next week; she assured me that, even though it would happen only a few days before my response needs to be filed and served, there would still be “plenty of time” to do all that. She also recommended that I consult with the county bar association, which runs the largest pro bono legal clinic in the country. I had already contacted them that same morning, and had a consult set up for the same evening.

I went to that consult and waited for about 45 minutes. The attorney who helped me was a very nice young lady, probably about 10 years my junior, who primarily does work for non-profits. She had some experience with family law, but was not terribly experienced. However, there was a family-law “mentor” who would be available by phone, should we need more guidance.

I started by telling her that I simply wanted to drag the process out for as long as possible. We went through my wife’s petition, clause by clause, and figured which parts could be admitted, and which could be denied. In this process, we discovered a real oddity: my wife had failed to file two pages of her petition. This seemed quite random: there were two pages that were just missing. These appeared to deal with custody issues (we have no kids, so it would hardly be relevant) and then “other” issues; without her responses, I was at a loss as to how to respond.

So, the “mentor” was called. This attorney turned out to be a woman who had over 30 years’ experience in practicing family law. She was all business, and her message was mostly business, and not that positive at that. She claimed that there was “no hope” if my wife had been separated for a year. I guess she had never seen a situation like that turn around; I, however, have personal knowledge of many such situations turning around, because one spouse made all the effort in bringing about the changes needed for such a turnaround. She began to advise me about all of the possessions and monetary issues I should state, so that my wife would get this divvied up at a later date. She did not seem to understand that I simply do not care about these material or financial matters. My wife could have everything, really; it would not matter to me. You cannot put a price on a human relationship.

Overall, the session was only moderately productive, and I walked away with a few nuggets of decent information. I was encouraged to go to the county courthouse to check my wife’s original filing to see if those pages were missing from the original as well; they were, in fact, missing. I guess the clerks do not care if you file accurately or completely; they just take your money and put a stamp on the documents. In the end, I was able to craft a rough draft of a response, but I simply would not feel comfortable submitting this without having an experienced attorney vet it. I plan on having that consult next week, and having that (or perhaps some other) attorney produce the final response for me.

What is really critical for me at this phase is that I make my response about the errors and omissions of fact in my wife’s petition, and not at all about any financial issues. I will also be challenging her allegation that our marriage is “irretrievably broken,” which is absolutely ludicrous on its face. Then, the whole dang thing will get kicked back to my wife, and it will be up to her to figure out what to do next.

Basically, it appeared to me that my wife put almost no effort into the actual filling out of these documents, even though she had been sitting on them for over a year. These appeared to be the same documents I had seen in her possession a year ago, and it was visible even from the photocopies that her original responses that she had penciled in at that time had simply been erased and written over in pen. I have the very strong feeling that she really did not want to do this, but was forced into it by the adulterer. And, having been forced into it, I think she made a half-hearted effort, hoping that this would be the magic pill that would make all her problems go away. Moreover, I suspect that the adulterer thought that, by forcing her to file, I’d suddenly “wake up,” or something like that, and then “move on” and “let her go,” or some other nonsense. If he believes that, he’s a fool. What both he and she did through this act was to put an immediate and unceremonious end to the fanatasy. Their situation is now very real. That situation is simple: two adulterers, living together, who believe that they can legitimize the illegitimate through every act of going public, and that that legitimacy could be sealed through this legal action.

Legal action has no impact on immoral behavior. What’s immutable stays immutable. Adultery is wrong, and there is simply nothing either of them can do to make it not wrong. This will become evident in due course.

What remains to be seen is how things will play out once my response is filed and served. I believe that they will both become frustrated and angry. I believe that some of that frustration and anger will be directed at me, but I even more strongly believe that there will be even greater anger and frustration that they will direct at each other. This is a fetid, odious situation that is the perfect breeding grounds for recriminations to fly among the infidels. He will blame her for making mistakes, failure to specify information, and omitting pages from her petition. She will blame him for not providing any help, and for pressuring her into something in which she does not believe. My wife will suddenly experience a marked increase in her stress levels, and her guilt and feelings of bad conscience will be exacerbated. She will likely have trouble eating, will lose weight, and will experience difficulty sleeping. Moreover, the panic attacks that have periodically dogged her since she was a child, and that most certainly have burdened her for the past 17 months, will return with a vengeance, becoming a frequent and most unwelcome visitor. She will have the breakdown of all breakdowns, and a meltdown to end all meltdowns. Yes, this is all speculative, but knowing my wife, most of this is highly likely.

I will conclude again here with an ardent plea for your assistance. As always, your prayers, thoughts, and aspirations are most greatly welcomed and appreciated. I do believe that appealing to the unseen has massive power to effect change.

However, there is the mundane concern of filing this response that is proving to be rather burdensome. My budget for the month was already tight, and this will stretch it even thinner. There were some income shortfalls that resulted from liquidity problems one of my employers was experiencing. Therefore, I would ask you to donate to this blog if you have found yourself moved by anything here, if you have found any of this information helpful, or if you just want to generate some good karma by helping out a fellow passenger on this planet who happens to be in immediate need of a smallish sum that will hopefully provoke my wife’s awakening and movement to reconcile. That sum is modest, and hopefully will not exceed about $200. If you can help, please do. I can assure you that any assistance you might provide will absolutely and immediately be payed forward in some form.

Please click here to see how you can help.

Whom Adultery Hurts Most

As painful as it might seem to be the victim of an affair, you are not the person who is hurt most by adultery. Not by a long shot.

The wayward spouses are the ones that are hurt the most.

They are the ones who are flushing their lives down the drain.

They are the ones who have become walking cliches.

They are the ones who have poisoned relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.

They are the ones who think the fantasy can last forever.

They are the ones wh refuse to believe the fantasy is ending when it clearly begins and continues to implode.

They are the ones who lie to anyone and everyone — and especially to themselves — to sustain that illusion of reality, which is nothing more than a farce.

They are the ones foolish enough to believe that a person with loose enough “morals” to get involved with a married person could somehow be a “soulmate.”

They are the ones who deny that all of the available statistics out there on adultery might have anything at all to do with them.

They are the ones who think that their situation is special.

They are the ones who are blind to the humiliation they create for themselves daily by being public about the affair partner.

They are the ones who think that society is too “conventional” and that morality is a personal choice.

They are the ones who inevitably will hit rock bottom.

They are the ones who will have to scrape the detritus of their lives off the floor of the cesspool they have created for themselves.

They are the ones who will look back in shame and agony, and wonder how they could have been so foolish.

They are the ones who will carry that pain in their hearts.

If they are lucky, there will be a patient spouse waiting to help them heal.

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.

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.