She's gone. I have to come to terms with it. I must accept it. I have to extinguish my silly childish dreams that any moment she'll change her mind.
I talked to her candidly this morning, and I told her that I felt like she wanted me to wait while she went off and did her own thing, and if she didn't like it she'd be back, but if she did, well, it was fun while it lasted. She confessed that in a way, that was exactly what she was asking. Then we began discussions on how to separate our finances.
Honestly, I think not knowing is worse than anything else. At least if I know it's over, I can begin the healing process.
When I was a kid, we had a mangy old black tom cat who would go out, roam around, get in trouble and come home all torn up. He was a mass of scars, yet he never seemed to give up his perpetual fight. I remember one time my mom had to doctor him with peroxide, and it bleached his fur. He looked ridiculous, but still carried himself with a a level of arrogance known only to cats. Now it's time for me to put peroxide on my wounds. My ears are torn, I'm in pain, and I'm tired from years of the same, but I must continue the fight.
They say if you love something you should let it go. There is no question in my mind that I love her. Amazingly, after 8 years, my heart still skips a beat when I see her. But when you love someone, you have to do the right thing. So now I let her go. I sincerely hope she finds what she's looking for - she deserves to be happy.
I don't know what the future holds. I don't know what my life will be in 3 months, or 6 months, or a year. Maybe she'll go out and realize that the grass isn't really as green as it looks from here. Conversely, it's equally possible she'll discover that she's happier on her own.
In either event, I know you can never go back. If she changes her mind, and if I feel the same, we can go forward together perhaps, but nobody can ever go back. No matter what happens, though, she is my friend, and I love her. Goodbye, by wife.