Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flying Solo...For a While

Listening to: The Lumberjack song – Monty Python
Mood: On

I’ve been married for just shy of 9 years now. Every year since Daddy G and I got married, we have spent about 1 month of the summer apart; sometimes a week longer, sometimes a few less. It wasn’t a negotiated, or even decided thing, it just kind of evolved. I took the kids back to my mother’s house for a visit. We socialized with my family and lots of old friends. I have always loved my visits, but by the end of the 4 weeks, I’m missing Daddy G a lot and aching to be in my own house again. I never thought much about how he would feel about it because it was vacation and I had too many things to do to sit around thinking.  I’ve since come to realize that he hated it. Daddy G spoils me quite a bit in that he encourages me to do things I want to do (like visit my family) and he does it selflessly for the most part. Likewise, if he wants to go out with the boys (or on a boys weekend even) I’m the last person in the world to complain.

Recently, we’ve had the situation reversed a bit.  Daddy G has gone back to the US for 5 weeks to wrap up his citizenship (Finally!) and obtain a US passport/Indian PIO card.  We’re halfway through it now, and I hate it. I know part of it is living in India and feeling a bit isolated without the person I count on most, but it’s been rough.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I would really rather not spend another vacation in this way. Anyhow, now that we’ve moved to India, my days of disappearing off to my mom’s house once a year have come to an end.

I’ve heard a lot of propaganda about couple’s taking separate vacations and how it can be a good thing. After all, it’s great to have a bit of a break from someone you’re around ALL THE TIME, even if you do love them. I suppose for some couples this is true.  If you have no common interests, it may be rather boring to vacation together.  It is easier to remember what you enjoyed and appreciated about a person after you’ve been away for a while.

The thing that bothers me most about this idea is longer vacations. A month is a long time to be apart from someone else. When Daddy G and I were dating, his job took him to a city 6 hours away from mine. He could afford to fly over and visit me every 5 weeks. I can still remember how exasperating those 5 weeks were and how long they stretched out, even with daily phone calls. I can distinctly remember the point when I realized that I didn’t want to live this way any longer. I was actually contemplating a move to his city when I found out I was carrying my elder daughter. We obviously got married and the rest was history. The thing about living apart from someone else is that you drift apart, even if you’re trying your best not to. Times have changed quite a bit since those phone calls. We have Skype and the girls and I try to talk to Daddy G every day or two so we all feel connected. It’s still hard though. Unless you make a distinct and heroic effort to include the other person in your life, it’s easy to feel like you’re leading 2 different lives, which leads into dangerous territory. In my opinion, some of the best and happiest marriages are where people feel that they have a common path and goals. This is pretty hard to do when you’re not actually spending any time with the other person.

Then there’s the question of getting back on the same page after your spouse or you return. I’ve talked to quite a few people who have told me this is a problem, as well as experiencing it firsthand. There’s a bit of awkwardness that appears as you try to both get back on the same path together.  It can definitely put a space in your emotional and sexual connection. I’ve found that the longer two people are apart, the longer it takes them to sync back up when they are back together.

Another thing to consider is how your children will react to the situation if you have children. My children have been unsurprisingly unhappy about the whole situation. They are very close to their dad, which I am very thankful for. There has been a bit of acting out though. My hat once again goes out to single parents. I’m not exactly sure how you do it without a partner backing you up. For all we talk, it’s hard for Daddy G to be involved in managing the kids. Because we are both in separate time zones, it’s not always easy to have him help with something going on with the kids. He can’t be there to back me up or discipline the kids when a problem is happening.

We’re wandering into sappy territory here, so you’ve been warned. As I get older, I find myself wanting to spend time with Daddy G.  We don’t’ have all that many interests in common, but I do enjoy spending time with him and talking with him. That’s pretty much why I married him, so why stop now?

I don’t think I’ve reached any conclusions right now about separate vacations. If it works for you, fabulous. Do it. If not, why make yourself and be miserable. I will say this though. I think families function best when they are together unless they have some divorce worthy drama.

What are your thoughts on separate vacations/spending time apart?                                                    


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