Yesterday, at work, I was at my desk putting together a proposal for a customer when my phone rang. That’s fairly common for me in my line of work. However, this did not turn out to be a typical phone call from one of my customers/engineers.
The voice on the other end was a woman who asked me to confirm my name. So I introduced myself, and I asked her the same. There was something vaguely familiar about her surname, but it didn’t seem important at the time. Then she asked if Mrs. Fastenatingguy and I were related. So I said yes, and then as she started to continue the interrogation, I interrupted her and said “excuse me, but what is the point of your call?” She replied matter-of-factly that “my husband and your wife have been having an affair for the last ten months.”
I had to push the reset button–“would you repeat that?” She went on to explain that her husband was handling taxes for my mother-in-law’s estate (my wife being executor) and also for my wife’s home business. As she continued I realized that her surname did mean something–her husband and my wife dated in high school (over 35 years ago). When I started hearing her words again, she was going into details that seemed more than just coincidental. I let her continue to talk because I was dumbstruck. I was not completely “processing” all that she said, but in fact that was a line that she repeated two or three times: “before you do anything, you need to process this…”
I have commented here in the past that my wife and I have remained in a loveless marriage for the last fourteen years. We may live in the same house, but her heart turned to stone a long time ago, at least as far as her feelings for me. We still had our children (now 26 and 17) to raise, and so that was our common (only) bond. My hope was that our children, time, and God’s grace would heal the wounds. After a difficult transition to this new lifestyle, I just focused more on the Lord, and the Church, and our kids, and work. My wife stopped attending mass years ago and got angry with God when her mother got cancer and suffered. Our lives went in different directions. I supported our family (her) financially for many years while she started her own business.
Back to the phone call. I finally got around to saying “but how do you actually KNOW that they are having an affair? If he is doing the taxwork, the time spent certainly seems believable.” But then she said that she confronted him on this just before Thanksgiving, and that is when he confessed the whole thing to her and their daughters. Concerts, lunches, dinners etc over a dozen or so weekends (the guy lives in California). The business related activities may have been genuine back at the beginning, but not so much anymore.
So I am still trying to process this. I am ashamed that I do not feel more horrible than I do, both at her and with myself. This call came at 10:00 am and I continued to work effectively for the whole day, thinking of this situation only a bit. I was emotionally exhausted through several years of neglect, avoidance, silent treatment, and her disdain for me, etc. to the point where I am empty inside. I pray for my wife’s soul and for our children (who I presume don’t know, but I’m pretty clueless here, obviously). Fortunately, our Basilica had Exposition and Confession last night, and I was able to pray and contemplate. But still I have not fully processed this. Not sure what the next step should be in terms of confronting my wife and so on. Just talking/writing out loud.
May I ask for your prayers, and even some guidance or encouragement, especially as it relates to “processing” this. I had a brief discussion with my best friend an hour ago, but his cell phone was low, the battery died, and we won’t reconnect for a few hours or more. So I thought that it might be helpful to acknowledge this in some way–and CAF is an available forum in which I enjoy participating and interacting.