Saturday, July 26, 2008

"I Want You To Be Gone"

This is the fourth post in the real-time adventure that has become my life since I admitted to her in the wee hours last Thursday morning that I have had an affair.

Today is Saturday and since I didn't go to work, E and I were in the house together for a good part of the day. It wasn't comfortable. I went out twice for errands and didn't hurry back.

I have been reading a brilliant book called Learned Optimism by noted psychologist Martin Seligman, and managed to squeeze out an hour or two reading it over coffee.

No Longer Helpless

Cracking open the situation between E and myself has greatly relieved my feeling of being helpless to change things. Not coincidentally, that is precisely the subject of Seligman's research. The causal connection leading from helplessness directly to depression has been, during the past 25 years, clinically proven with great rigor. So it's entirely predictable that as I take action now to change my situation, the low-level clouds of depression that have been hovering over me for ages are quickly breaking up.

I'll give an example. Scattered on or around my desk at home is important paperwork that I have utterly neglected for months, and some of it for a full year. Not minor stuff, but things that absolutely must get done. But I haven't been able to face it! Classic depressive symptoms. Well, today it has been getting done! And I even repaired a broken door handle that I'd pointedly ignored for months. Good, and getting better.

But it's not all good.

"We need to talk"

It was late afternoon then when E stuck her head into my office and said, "We need to talk." Well, of course we do (and she took no notice of my progress at my desk).

She had been over to talk to her sister and sister's husband. Told them all about our situation. Then E said to me, "I'm going to stay somewhere else for a few days, and when I get back I want you to be gone. I can't stand being in the same house with you. I hated sleeping in the same bed with you. And since I'm not to blame, I think you should be the one to move out."

To be more precise, she wants me to move out until I'm clear that I want to try to make our marriage work. If and when I agree that I'm committed to that goal I can come back.

And that's the major sticking point: I'm not sure I do want to make it work anymore. Confessing an affair that ended months ago is one thing. But the real issue is whether and how we move forward from here. E is indeed hurt and angry over the affair, but she is more disturbed by my lack of repentance.

But Should I Move Out?

I'm not entirely convinced that it's a good idea to move out. It's as much my house as hers, and I've heard rumors of legal issues when one spouse moves out. There's also the question of whether it's really the best way to resolve our problems. It's not as if I'm shagging anybody else right now.

Speaking of which, in all seriousness I'm glad that Tigs and I are done. That would certainly be an added complication right now. Notwithstanding my newfound empowerment, my stomach is starting to knot up and I wouldn't be good company. And this way Tiggy doesn't have to stress over it -- we're in "no contact" mode so she knows nothing of this week's events.

Perhaps it's time to get some professional legal advice ... or just Google it.


Ro said...

Professional advice is never a bad idea (I wish I'd taken it!) but I can tell you one thing: if you're concerned about the implications of leaving the house, don't be. Under UK law, divorce settlements are based on a 50-50 split (with variations, of course).

Of course, she might decide to change the locks. She might decide to have a little clear-out. That's a risk you may have to take for a little peace and space - it's only possessions, right? That doesn't mean this might not be a good time to look at stashing the special possessions somewhere though!

anna louise said...

If you think things are heading down the separation way then grab whats yours first.I wish i'd taken a friends advice,who took half of the money out of all the bank,savings accounts and set up new accounts before telling her hubby she wanted a divorce.
If you dont want to leave then dont.Is there another room you can move into.Tell her you will confine yourself to that room,office,kitchen area and not bother her.

Apollo Unchained said...

Thanks Ro.

Yes, California law is the same. So it's not that I was worried about losing the house per se, but more about losing access to the house.

You have hit the nail on the head with the key advantage (to both of us) of moving out: peace and space. I suspect that E's sister's husband, who is a professional counselor, gave her that advice.

I did some investigating last night and it's starting to sound like this is a non-issue for a "working arrangement" as opposed to a legal separation. But I should probably consult an attorney anyway.

Apollo Unchained said...

Thanks Anna Louise,

Yes, moving into another room had been my first thought. I'm normally gone all day anyway, and could even shower at work. I really only need a place to sleep and keep my stuff. But I have to admit that there is the "peace and space" issue, and the tension of being in the same house.

As to the accounts, maybe I'm dreaming but it seems unlikely that E would try to screw me -- she has no income of her own and doesn't even pay the bills herself. She'd be creating a lot of problems for herself. Of course there's no accounting for irrationality or the advice of enraged friends and family but I don't think she's there yet.