Facing The Plight Of A Husband’s Affair
“I think my husband is having an affair”
Meet Janet. Her words spoken by the telephone brought attention to her plight. Before you say more, Ma’am, may 1 interest you in a face-to-face session? “Oh, I’m sorry,” she replied. “Yeah, 1 guess so. I needed to hear myself say those words. Yes, when can I talk to you?” We made an appointment for the next late afternoon. She was my last scheduled client for the day. Fortunately, the time was open to allow for what I call overtime. Some therapists are capable of adhering to a 50-60 minute session. In my world, especially for new clients, I keep open the option of more time. The case of a client who waits until 10 minutes to the end of a session to spring heavy-duty matters is classic. Janet proved to be different. She strode in looking like she was heading to a high-end party and took the wrong turn. Here she sat in my modest surroundings.
Welcome, Janet. Without reservation, Janet laid out a 75-minute narrative. “Like I said on the phone, I think my husband is having an affair. I fix an elaborate dinner every night. He arrives looking disheveled and hours late. No call, no e-mail, no text, no communication. He drops his bag, gives me a peck on the cheek, showers, and then crashes in bed. I try talking to him but he’s gone, snoring away. I override the temptation to wake him. I blowout the candles, eat a small portion of my home-cooked meal, watch TV and go to bed. I started sleeping in the other bedroom. He pisses me off. The next morning, he gets up, readies for work, grabs a mug of coffee and a bagel and waves goodbye. The sound of his car starting up and quickly, he’s gone. This has been going on for several months.” Janet, please excuse the interruption. May I stop you momentarily to ask some questions? She let out a breath. “Ok. Shoot!”
Are you saying that your suspicion of your husband having an affair has gone on for months? And also, Janet, who if anyone have you spoken to about your suspicions? And to the heart ofthe matter, doesn’t your husband stay home, say on weekends, and allow time for dialogue? Janet’s jaw went slack. “I don’t know. When he’s home, he’s working from his office in the basement or he works on the house.” About those elaborate meals you prepare, what happens to all the food? Also, do you eat meals together on weekends?
“Like I said, he holds up in the home office and doesn’t want to be disturbed. Or else, he’s out in the garage puttering around or driving to a store for home repairs. Our conversation consists of a short and brief statement of fact. I can’t remember the last time we sat down together and had a serious talk.”
During the work week, what keeps you busy? Same question goes for weekends. “I am a writer and web designer. I work from home and have been fortunate to create my hours. That gives me an advantage so I can cook, bake, and maintain cleanliness in our home. Our two children are out of the home and independent. Both live out-of-state and work. Neither one is married. My only sibling, Nan, too, lives out of state. I’ve got a few friends. Some I acquired through work, others from years ago when we shared mommy-child activities. On the weekends, I go for walks. I get my nails and hair done. I wonder, sometimes, why I even bother. Everyone including my husband is busy. My only close buddy, Erica, has been going through a tough divorce. We talk mostly about her problems. Our exchange used to be good. Now, she’s bogged down and I rarely get an opportunity to voice my stuff to her.”
Janet, you paint a picture of a life removed from attachments. Your husband, your children, your sibling, and friends have left you alone. You’re flying solo. Do you understand what I’m saying? Is there accuracy to my assessment? “Wow, I guess I never thought about my life in those terms. I do have work connections. I maintain websites, yet the connection is from afar. Only in rare instances do my job responsibilities necessitate face-to-face connections. I make a good income, which helps pay the bills. Jarrett, that’s my husband’s name, is an engineer for a manufacturing company. He makes good money. Our bills are paid. He takes care of that duty. I hate paying bills. It stresses me out. I get the mail and place it where he can pick them up.”
Janet, sleeping in another bedroom, does it afford you good, healthy rest? “Not lately. I toss and turn. I try reading. I’mjust so mad. Eventually I sleep and when I awake, Jarrett has left for work. He doesn’t even leave a note. Still, I get up, shower, eat breakfast, and dress for work. The work I do takes precision. The companies I represent, of course, need my undivided attention. They are pleased and satisfied with my work. Their profits are soaring. I love to make food. When my kids were growing up, we baked and cooked healthy enjoyable meals.” Let me interrupt; sorry, Janet. A quick question … When the kids were home, how would you describe your relationship with Jarrett?
“It was fine. We both worked. I took pains to be home and search out work from home. He came home at a regular time and joined us for dinner. Weekends, after chores, we had fun with the kids.” I wonder when the connection between you two started to change. We made another appointment. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.