The Twelfth Time: Lyuba and Ivan on the Rocks (1924–30):
Even though Boris has been forced to sign over all his paternal rights to Tatyana and Lyuba is expecting her second child by Ivan, against the medical odds, life for the Konevs is anything but domestic bliss. Ivan is content to be the lapdog of Mr. Glazov, the Russian Uncle Tom who runs the iron factory. His frequent late nights and sometimes staying several days in a row at work quickly take their toll on Lyuba, coupled with how Ivan often goes to visit his parents and pointless baby sister.
As Lyuba struggles to raise her children and keep house with a frequently absent husband, her dear friend Kat is also falling apart from having to deal with eventually three sets of twins and a husband who loves her but who just won’t take her complaints seriously. Both of them are very frustrated they have no outs and are forced to live in poverty and a tenement.
A window of hope opens when Aleksey and Nikolas finally earn enough money to purchase land and houses in Minnesota. Ivan’s dream since boyhood was to be a farmer in the American Midwest, but at the moment, he’s not earning enough money to join their best friends. Finally, when Lyuba hits rock bottom, Ivan is woken up to how seriously their marriage is in trouble, and agrees to a temporary separation. Lyuba is enjoying her time as an independent, working woman, and absence is making her heart grow fonder. But then, shortly before she’s due to join Ivan in Minnesota, something unexpected happens and Boris, who has long been waiting for his former best friends’ marriage to crumble, takes advantage of the situation. By the time Lyuba recovers her senses, she knows it’s going to be difficult for Ivan to forgive her for her twelfth betrayal.