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Absence Makes the Heart Not Want to Cut Each Other

I would like to preface this by saying that Kyle and I are fine.  Completely.  So no one needs to freak out and start looking for a replacement son or anything.  (Seriously, you didn’t think you could get rid of me, did you?)

However, I will propose that a little bit of distance can be a healthy thing in a relationship.

In case you missed it or forgot it or never gave a shit about it in the first place, you’ll remember that back in May Kyle received a badass promotion that made him my boss.  This has been awesome for many, many reasons.  I now have awesome state health insurance.  I’m no longer paying up to $20 a day for parking thanks to Kyle’s parking pass.  And those super long, exhausting days?  Are emotionally so much easier because I have him there for support.  Oh, plus the fact that Kyle’s an awesome boss who’s making my work environment all around a better place to be.  (Even if he still makes me mop.)  Plus, plus, I think we make a great team; ever since we started working on shows together in college we’ve always worked really well together.  Basically I get to go to work everyday and work side by side with my best friend.  It’s kinda the best thing ever.

But there is a small downside.  As we all know, there is such thing as too much of a good thing; even fried bologna sandwiches will taste like ass if you have to eat nothing but fried bologna sandwiches everyday.  Kyle is  definitely my fried bologna sandwich, and I am Kyle’s chili dogs.  (His original answer to “What’s you most favorite food?” was a Denny’s Lumberjack Slam.  I don’t even know what to do with that.)

We wake up together.  We drive 40 minutes to work together.  We work side by side.  We take our meals together.  We drive home together.  We watch tv and sometimes get to eat dinner together.  We go to bed together.  And on our days off?  We tend to spend it together, whether we’re downtown shopping or in the mountains hiking or just hanging out around the apartment.

We are pretty much always together.

The problem with this is that it means that we are exposed to the immensely wide spectrum of each other’s various personalities and moods.  Every dip and rise and nuance and ripple in our emotions throughout the day is felt by the other person.  And that’s a lot of pressure, you guys.  As his wife, I want to try my damndest to be his emotional rock, to sooth and support and praise and encourage him depending on what he needs.  (I’m going to go ahead and assume he feels the same way about me; he fucking better.)  And to try to be that person for someone 24/7 can be exhausting.  Especially for him, considering (let’s not kid ourselves here) I need a much stronger rock than he does.

And then there’s my greatest fear. Becoming this:


Or, even worse, this:


I fear loosing our individual selves.  That we’ll become that annoying couple that can’t do anything without each other and become an empty caricature of people.  A couple can no longer function without each other.  Like pretty much every married couple portrayed in commercials.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe with all my heart that Kyle makes me a better person, but I want to be a whole person.  I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that I can’t think or act for myself, and lord knows I don’t wish that for him either.

Enter the Anit-Date Day.

Most couples, especially if they have children, find themselves scheduling a Date Night in an attempt to stay close and have some time for just the two of them.  We do the opposite.  Anti-Date Day is where we agree ahead of time that we can take the day for ourselves.  We don’t have to go out together, we don’t have to talk to each other, we don’t have to look at each other.  We can do whatever it is that we need to do in order to make ourselves happy and sane, completely without guilt.  I can paint my nails and watch Criminal Minds.  Kyle can sleep until noon and lay in bed and watch tv until 2:00.  I can go window shopping downtown and go to the Farmer’s Market.  Kyle can play Portal until his eyes bleed.  Even something as simple as watching tv in separate rooms on Monday nights so I can watch Intervention and he can watch his nerd shows goes a long way.  It sounds selfish to turn to your spouse and say, “I know you hate it when I do X activity, but fuck you, it makes me happy and I’m going to do it.”  Okay, it is selfish.  But sometimes if a person isn’t a little selfish, they stop caring and start being a lot selfish.  And that leads to decisions like who’s going to get the cats.

I love Kyle.  Love him with everything I’ve got.  He makes me a better person and my life would be empty without him.  He has my heart.

But sometimes the best way I can love him is by telling him to fuck off for a while.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • allison September 29, 2011, 11:15 am

    I think that sounds super healthy. I always love being in relationships where you CAN be together all the time, but then again, you can’t beat alone time.

    That sounded dirty. I didn’t mean it that way. Not really…

    Aaaaaactually, it’s one of the reasons we like our apart time so much. Makes the together time extra “togethery,” if you catch my drift…

  • Kate (and Ben) September 29, 2011, 4:05 pm

    YES!!! So fucking awesome!!! We believe in our separateness so much that [in an elegant non-fuckish way] we included such sentiment in our wedding vows. It is so very important.

  • Camels & Chocolate September 29, 2011, 4:24 pm

    HAHA. That last line was just perfect.

    On the flip side, I’m having trouble even seeing my husband on the ship with the intense hours this job demands. Which just sounds crazy as we live, work, eat and play all on board a 600-foot ship. And yet I see him at meals and late hours only usually.

  • Karen September 30, 2011, 4:37 pm

    as Kyle’s mother and the person to whom the first paragraph might be addressed, I can say with certainty that every couple needs time to be just “alone.” I enjoy my alone time now with the kids gone & my hubby still working. I enjoy taking trips with girlfriends. I enjoy eating lunch at a restaurant by myself!!! This is such a healthy attitude and I’m glad that Kyle & Stephanie recognize the need to decompress from being totally together all the time. It will keep them each healthy & keep their marriage healthy….thus making me a happy happy woman!!!

  • adriana October 5, 2011, 5:13 pm

    I am ALL for this plan! Alone time is so crucial in relationships. I don’t know how you do it (kudos btw) – I think Sean and I would drive each other mad if we had to be around each other 24 hours a day. This is why I kind of love his 24 hour shifts schedule – I get time without him, and he gets time without me. I don’t think it is selfish at all, and I totally understand the worry of losing ones’ self. So more power to you guys! I think you’ve got the right idea!

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