We cannot figure out what he is doing.
He’s given differing excuses for why he has to leave. He told Alison he needed space and time to work on the business. He told the school counselor she was still his best friend, but they were too different. He told us the marriage was killing him and he had to get out to be happy (don’t get me started). He actually refuses to talk about it much and hasn’t spoken to Alison in a week. He was very angry that Anthony and I were here last Tuesday, or that no one warned him we were here before he showed up to take his oldest son to tae kwon do. But as we all said, he should have expected that we would be here and he had no right to be angry about this since he is the one that created the mess.
So, we sit here sometimes and try to figure out what is really going on with him.
The reason we have to do this is he isn’t talking to any of us. He had one talk with Alison that he was leaving, but his actions before and after didn’t ring true with that fact (until he walked out the door, of course). He had one talk with us but told us something different from what Alison remembered hearing and different from what the school counselor reported. Before and after the Tuesday talk with us, he wouldn’t respond to emails or phone calls from Alison or us or other friends reaching out to him. We’re left in the dark about what he is really thinking and doing. And what actions we do see seem so out of character that we don’t know how to interpret them. We find it difficult to take them at face value because that would mean we don’t know David at all.
The “he’s lost his mind” theory:
He has always been responsible and a stand-up guy. Not perfect, and like all of us there were things he avoided or wasn’t happy doing. But he did what counted and he promised his wife that he would never leave her or the kids. He knew from her background that she had a fear of that and he made a promise to her.
So, did something traumatic happen during his business trip to Vegas or there is some chemical imbalance or what? Why would he do this after 10 years of consistently promising and being faithful? Why would he sabotage all the progress he has made with his wife and the example he has set for his children?
The “he’s in trouble” theory:
When people hear what is happening, often the first response is to ask if there is a financial pressure. We keep looking and wondering if he lost money, invested in something, couldn’t cover the bills with his internet business, or something. Whatever it is, surely it’s easier to handle together with his wife.
Did he mess up some other way? An affair or other mistake or lapse in judgment? Still, it can be worked out. We can’t imagine anything so terrible that running away is better in the long run.
The “he’s been lying all these years” theory:
David has always been fun, and smart, and reliable. His walk with God hasn’t been as close lately as in years past, but he has been on that walk. He seemed to love his wife and children in his words and actions. Sure, he could be selfish and not always as attentive or generous, but we all are like that, it is an ongoing struggle to overcome our selfish desires. David seemed to be aware of that and diligent about overcoming those areas of weakness.
David told us this was not “out of blue” like we all seemed to think. He didn’t really imply it was a recent development though, but something that has been there all along. Perhaps we believed the words and actions that indicated he was a loving and faithful man, while dismissing the words and actions that indicated he was troubled and self-centered as the anomalies. Did we have it backwards? Has he really been this self-centered all along?
His actions in how he has treated Alison, walking out without any effort at counseling or reconciliation, not telling her where he is, not calling to talk to the kids for 9 days (and counting), having his lawyer email Alison (spcifically at a time when she was home alone with no children to be strong for or to comfort her?) all indicate he can be cruel or at least is trying to purposefully hurt his wife and children. We would never imagine the man we know is capable of this so we have to search for other possibilities.
The “Hollywood” theory:
Is he protecting the family from something? These are the wild theories when we are desperate for something that matches the character of the man we know. The misunderstood hero role, some reason he can’t talk and explain what he’s doing. We can’t really put stock in these, but they are almost a comfort as an alternative to accepting what is being revealed as the real Dave.
We feel like we are going in circles most days. When we lack information and details the mind gets busy trying to find answers. It is amazing to see how we crave certainty and knowledge. And how we resist knowledge that may say something we don’t want to believe.
And the sins of the parents are repeated. David’s parents split up when he was a child and all four of their children have had struggles with relationships and their identity. Perhaps Dave existed all these years, putting up a good front, but struggling all along with unresolved issues from that time.
Alison struggles, as we do, but she knows that Dave, she, and their relationship can be fixed if he will come home and work with her. But if you haven’t seen examples of people working hard and making a success of a marriage over decades, how do you convince yourself you could be different? How do we reach out to him to try to help him see that it can be done?