Welcome to The Plaid & Paisley Kitchen
This post series is going to be a departure from recipes. I made the decision to open up my life to my readers this year. I want to share with you stories from my life. Stories that I hope will speak to you and help you in your life and relationships.
This is the third article in my How to Not Lose Your Husband Like I Almost Did series. Last week I touched on the early warning signs that something may be wrong. The week before we discussed how just because one person says the word divorce it doesn’t have to be the end of your marriage. My husband asked for a divorce and we found our way back to each other. You can read The word divorce is not the end here and Early Warning Signs Something is Wrong here.I was 26 almost 27 when we got married. We had both already lived very full lives before we met. I was Steve’s second wife, he had 2 small boys, had been in the Air Force for 8 years and fought in 3 wars. I had been to college, worked as a corporate trainer, traveled the country opening new locations and had a very active social party life!
Now all of a sudden we were merging two completely different backgrounds into one lifestyle.
In the beginning, I thought this was so grown up and I loved the thought of becoming a wife and leaving my single days in the past. The thought of being Mrs. Sirois made me giggle with joy! Sixteen Years later it is still a nice warm feeling to know that I am a wife. Over the years, I focused so much on being a wife and doing the things that I thought a wife should do, or what I thought would make him happy, that I forgot what made me happy. We moved every 2 or 3 years. As Steve’s career grew, mine dwindled.
It’s hard to move up the ladder and gain momentum when you move so often. We were moving as each promotion for Steve happened and with each new state I had to start at square one with a new company. When we moved to California, it was the height of the Recession. There was no job for me. A college degree and 15 years of career work experience didn’t mean a thing anymore.
I spent my days floating in the pool and drinking wine. At first, I thought I won the lottery! I loved my life of leisure. Then I got bored. Really bored. I drank wine. I sat by the pool. Day in. Day out.
My husband was travelling the world, growing his career and making connections. I was home alone. Bored and drinking wine.
Disappointment in my life really started to creep in. I didn’t have any children of my own. I had no career. All my friends were scattered all over the country. I didn’t see much use in the pointless life I was living. I couldn’t even be a good wife anymore. One, he was gone. Two, I began to not to care what he thought. It wasn’t like he was around to notice.
I was so bored and lonely, that when my husband did come home I was so starved for attention, that I would cling to him. Looking for some sort of validation that my lethargic life really did have some meaning and purpose. I wanted his attention and I wanted out of the house!
He was exhausted and wanted to go to bed. I was full of words, having gone days without talking to anyone. He had just spent all his words at work and just wanted peace and quiet.
The rift widened and I felt even more alone. Really these were the two years when the cracks turned into a divide.
He was too busy to notice how miserable I was and I was too miserable to communicate well. I had lost all sense of myself and found myself dwindling in his shadow.
I have heard this similar scenario from many women. Somehow along the way we forget that were dynamic interesting people with much to give the world before we became wives and mothers. Even though we wouldn’t trade these roles for the world it’s just not the same as being us.
In the subsequent therapy, that I have been in since the night my husband asked for a divorce, this is a subject that we have talked at length about. You have to protect your sense of self. Who you were before you got married and became a mother is still inside of you. She is still important.
If you do anything for your marriage and yourself, make sure that you do not lose yourself completely in your new roles. Do what you can to carve out time for yourself. Hobbies, friends, classes, sports….. Make this your time and let your family know how important this is to you.
The hardest part of therapy has been to learn to be me again. Crazy, I know! Once I saw the importance of who I was outside of the marriage, I actually started to feel better. When I started to feel better, my husband noticed. It was the beginning of the thaw that brought us back together. Once I didn’t feel this pressing need to be with him, to have my existence validated by him, he began to have more respect for me again and treat me more like he used to.
It’s so easy and you don’t even notice it happening, slowly you begin to identify solely as a couple, then you lose yourself inside the role of wife. When you don’t act like you, it’s hard for your husband, he fell in love with the real you. Take some time to get to know yourself again! I would love to hear from you. Do you feel like you have lost a little bit of who you are in your marriage?
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Next Week: Intimacy, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.