As well as being an actual widow, I have become a work widow. My boyfriend works in other cities and other countries more than he is home. I am often left by myself in an empty house.
I’m not the only one. My friend Leeane had the same problem.
Leeane’s husband used to be in the army. They met when she was doing army reserve training. She loved the way he looked in a uniform.
Once they were married, Leeane hated that her husband was away for weeks, even months at a time. She nagged him about how much he neglected her. In the end, he gave up his job in the army and got a job in the local bank. Leeane had everything she had wished for.
But things started to go downhill once her husband was home all the time. It wasn’t because they got on each other’s nerves, they enjoyed each other’s company more than ever, but Leeane started losing her desire to have sex with him. Her desire faded along with the image of her husband commanding his troops.
One of the biggest drivers of sexual desire comes with wanting something or someone you can’t have. Whether that means lusting after a man who you are unsure feels the same way about you (as you do in the first flush of romance) or fantasising about someone else’s husband, the most intense sexual feelings emerge when we are denied instant gratification. In a relationship (as with a lot of other things) not getting what you want as soon as you want it, makes you want it even more. And the opposite is true — even the most delicious meal served up three times a day gets boring.
Leeane didn’t want her husband anymore because she already had him. Not only that, he wasn’t as passionate about working in a bank as he had been working in the front-line of defense. The man she had fallen in love with didn’t exist any more. He had morphed into a mild-mannered office worker in a business suit. In the end, Leeane shut down her passionate nature and stayed in a sexless marriage with the man she had created. After all, he had sacrificed so much to make her happy.
I think about Leeane when I moan about my boyfriend being away. I don’t want to stop him doing what he loves, and I don’t want to lose my longing for him. It might be uncomfortable to have to wait to see him, but when he’s around, we can’t get enough of each other.
My boyfriend is hardwired to seek adventure and solve problems. If I take that away from him by demanding he changes his job, I risk losing my desire for him.
And besides — absence makes the heart grow fonder. This I know to be true.
What about you? Does you partner leave you while he goes off to save the world?
How do you cope? Do you think it makes him sexier?
9 thoughts on “Alone Again”
Totally agree with you – my marriage fell apart as a result of my ex coming home from an overseas contract “too early” he thought he should come home because I wanted him home – what he didn’t understand was that I wanted him to come home on his terms not mine – I was prepared to wait it out because I believed that that was the right thing for him and our relationship …. absence does make the heart grow fonder and so long as the lines of communication stay open while they are away, you don’t really have the emotional feeling of them being away… just my thoughts anyways…. as always a thought provoking blog from you Katie, love your work 🙂
You make a good point about communication sustaining the emotional connection. Thank you.
Also if you continually ask him to change his work, his passion, his job, his essence, him SELF, you run the risk of him physically leaving you anyway, not giving into your seeming desire to create someone else. And then you’d be without him completely.
There’s a lot to be said about knowing yourself so you know exactly what you want for the most part from your partner so you don’t get wrapped up in the change game.
That being said, of course some compromising is in order, but remembering that you’re separate people still even once you’re together is super important so neither one gets lost.
You make some wonderful observations, Laura.
Thank you for sharing them ♥
Both my ex husband & current husband work away; my ex was constantly away & after a while our 15 year marriage floundered as we led parallel lives – I enjoyed the freedom when he was away as he was a very controlling person. The passion died early on. My current husband works away but not so much but our love for each other sustains us, even after almost 15 years this time round, and I miss his company when he is not at home. I don’t like him going away but he loves his job and when he’s happy I’m happy.
I think what you said about “the man she created” is very true – happens so often. On the one hand, it’s a trite romantic notion to think that someone would give up everything for you. But on the flip side, I think having someone who knows his passion and retains it as well as his associated identity is even better. AFter all, if your partner gives up something for you, I think it really does intrinsically change the person they are. A little separation (or a lot, if that’s your situation) is a good thing. One of my favorite parts of Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” is in the section on marriage: It’s too long a paragraph for here, but begins “Let there be spaces in your togetherness…” and makes the point that space to be individuals ultimately makes each – and both together – stronger.
Great post. xo
Interesting. I don’t think that long distance relationships or ones with frequent time away work for everyone, but I think that you are right that if that has always been the dynamic of your relationship and is a part of who your partner is, it probably cannot be changed without fundamentally changing the relationship and the person.
I do believe in having spaces in relationships, Katie. This is why though we do holiday together, we attempt to spend some days every year travelling separately.
Now is probably a bad time for me to comment. My pilot husband and I are in the middle of a move. The day after our household belongings arrive, he has decided to pick up a trip (go back to work!) So, in essence leaving me to deal with it all. All I can think right now is what a huge asshole he is. He thinks he’s helping out by working more to defer the costs of the move. I just want him home to experience moving in as a team to our very first home (together). I had visions of a pallet in the middle of boxes-exhausted, but excited and sipping a glass of Pinot! Unmet expectations and shear exhaustion just make me want to RUN AWAY.
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