Image and Reality
Simonov's life divided between time spent at a variety of places on the front line and visits - probably short at first - to Moscow for debriefing, writing up and re-assignment. He saw Valentina when he was in Moscow; but when he was on the front line - and particularly when he was in danger of death - she increasingly became an ideal for him, bearing little relation to the real woman.
The ideal was necessary to him, in order to survive. But the real Valentina was very different. He soon became aware that she was also seeing other men. About this time she commenced a long affair with one of the heroes of the war - the future Marshal Rokossovsky.
It seems likely that Simonov discovered her unfaithfulness about the same time as he had a particularly dangerous experience, in which his life was saved, probably at great risk, by a colleague or a soldier in one of the units to which he was temporarily attached. This experience of true comradeship was something he had always longed for and it gradually strengthened his ability to manage without the idealised Valentina. But at first, there was a conflict between the two impulses...