I get a lot of comments from people saying that “I’m such a good guy for sticking by my wife,” “my love must help her so much,” yada yada yada. I get them in person, from family, and on this blog.
And I’ll admit. I’ve done a great job. I don’t even say “good,” I think that “great” is justified. I stepped up in a really fucking hard situation and I carried myself with grace, strength and had the endurance to not give up. I give myself a lot of credit and a pat on the back.
But we’re all flawed, we’re all selfish, and we all have our shortcomings. And I’m here to confess one of them:
I don’t miss my wife.
There I said it. She’s out of town, she has been gone for over a week and doesn’t get back for another few days. And I don’t miss her. I actually am really enjoying having her gone.
That’s an awful thing to say, but I would say it’s particularly awful because she misses me a lot. I get texts messages and calls from her almost every hour. I’m on the West Coast, she’s on the East Coast, so every morning I get a text that says “Call me when you’re up.” Or if I’m in class “Call me when you’re done class.” Sometimes if it’s a few hours that I’m occupied I’ll have a few voicemails and a few text messages, a sign that she’s anxiously waiting to hear back from me. She doesn’t necessarily have anything to say, she just wants to say hi and hear my voice. She is always so happy when I call. And that doesn’t make me feel good and loved. It makes me feel annoyed. I know I’m going to have to put on a fake smile and tell her how strong she is, how well she is doing, all of that other stuff when I just want to hang up and have my own space. Terrible.
While she is pretty obviously reflecting upon how much she needs my cheerleading and unwavering smiles and hugs, I’m stretching out and realizing how much I needed some space. I put so much of my own priorities aside that for this week I have enjoyed allowing myself to feel shitty because I need and I don’t actually need to hide it. Typically, I need to schedule my own feelings and release them when I’m alone…but not now. I’ve been allowing myself to do nothing without feeling like I should be keeping her busy. I’ve been allowing myself to indulge my sexual frustration after a 9 months of very limited sex (in an entirely solitary way, don’t worry…this is not that type of confession).
But basically, I’ve done all of this and I haven’t missed her in it. And this is the challenge of the caregiver. I take care of her and I feel good and noble about it. But when she leaves, I don’t miss her…and then I feel guilty about it. I wear my badge of love proudly but then I relish in the chance to take it off and hide. I even at times deliberately miss some of her calls, just because I don’t really want to talk to her.
My mom sent me an email with a link to photos from their time together and I saw pictures of her and didn’t miss her, I just saw her for what she is as a recovering woman who is self-conscious about it and trying to process what happened to her, but I didn’t yearn for her to be home.
So I’m not missing my wife. I even stretch out and sleep diagonally on the bed, with the windows open, and the blinds pulled, none of which I get to do when she’s home. And I feel guilty about it.
She’ll come home and I’ll go back to being supportive. But for now, I still have 4 days to do what I want and need to do.