At the beginning of the story, Wilson senses that Jane is pulling away from him. He questions whether his wife still loves him. They have grown distant in their daily lives, really living parallel lives as they both go through their separate days. After Wilson forgets their 29th wedding anniversary, Jane is deeply hurt.
A short time later, she tells Wilson she plans to visit their son Joseph in New York. He assumes she means that they together will go, and he talks of working it out so that he can take some time off from the office. It is then that Jane tells him that she intends to go alone, and she won't be staying for a weekend. She plans to stay for several weeks. Wilson is shocked and upset, but he tries to remain calm as he lets her go.
Jane does return after three weeks, but the emotional distance between them still exists. Now even more concerned about the state of his marriage, Wilson goes to see Noah, Jane's father. His visit with Noah gives Wilson the guidance he needs to make changes in his and Jane's marriage before it is too late. Does she leave him? Yes, for a little while. Does she come back? Yes, she returns from New York, but she comes back to him in a far more important way by the conclusion of the novel.