Monday, November 5, 2012

Rewiring the marital connection

There are wonderful things about not living with my husband full time and a few not-so-wonderful things. The wonderful:
1) We (rarely) get tired of each other
2) Which means the chemistry keeps on humming along
3) We get to focus on work and friends when we're not together
4) And each other when we are together
5) We get the benefits of being single (e.g., independence, the freedom to wander around your apartment in sweatpants--or worse)
6) With the benefits of being married (e.g., love, companionship, security, deep intimacy and regular sex!) Forgive me if I've left anything out!

But there are some negatives, and I've discovered those particularly since being laid off a few weeks ago.
First of all, it's easier, I think, for two people living separately to go off on their own emotional paths. For instance, over the last few weeks, I've been very absorbed in adjusting to my new work status (freelance!), and all that comes with it: Worrying/wondering how the money will come in, adjusting to the ego blow of being laid off after so many years of service, and did I mention worrying about how the money will come in? The bottom line: Reeling from all the uncertainty. I'm not used to this kind of uncertainty after 11 years of two regular paychecks a month.

Meanwhile, my husband has been working hard on his long standing business and feeling excited about finally completing (almost) his gazebo project. We had a weekend long gazebo gathering less than 24 hours after my last day at SELF. Not ideal timing, but while I was emotionally spent, he was exuberant. And while he can't always understand my angst, and wishes that I would enjoy my freedom and my severance, I feel like I'm due a few weeks of angsting. Or even more than that.

The result has been an emotional disconnect on my part--my feeling that I am going through a crisis and that my husband is having a completely different experience (because he doesn't consider it a crisis). In black and white terms, I know that it's NOT really a crisis, but the way I work is that my first reaction is to launch into crisis mode, then I begin to adjust. I need the crisis button pushed because that propels me into ACTION.

But after a weekend of unfettered togetherness with a little spontaneous socializing with the neighbors mixed in, I am feeling much, MUCH more connected. A week in London kind of stablized my emotions and helped me feel more like myself again.  Lots of sleep and exercise helped me feel less tired. And then there's the fact that it's pretty damn nice not to have to get up and go to an office every morning. I'm just starting to appreciate the freedom of not being beholden to a magazine's shipping schedule (for two weeks of the month, it was difficult for me to make social plans), and even beginning to imagine swapping my apartment and going on spontaneous trips for cheap--I can do my work from anywhere, after all--I even held a media bistro chat from London, and wrote a freelance piece. Easy. So I think I am being less of a head case, and he is starting to understand what I need (concrete reassurance, as in, "I'm not worried and I know you can handle this and I am here for you" as opposed to a rote "Don't worry! Stop stressing out!"). And we finally had time to just talk, cook together, do chores around the house (clean up the gazebo after the storm), spend time in the hot tub, kayak, etc., etc., all of which helped me remember why I married the wonderful guy I married. Below, ending the weekend with some wine and a fire in the gazebo. I am blessed, and I need to remind myself of that every single day.

My happy hubby

Stoking the fire

Just after sunset from the gazebo

Cat andirons--not just for Halloween!


  1. Love reading your blog. This one was spectacular. My favorite quote from a male widow I met when I was just married. "We had good YEARS and bad YEARS, we ended on a good year."
    Keep writing and I'll keep reading.