As in any failed relationship, there are moments when sadness strikes unexpectedly. I was having my own difficult, missing him moment last weekend. While looking over photos from the 2014 trips with Husband #2, emotions hit me hard.
I sat there looking at the highway winding next to the river with the white cliffs soaring, thinking of the sunny days we drove that stretch of road during our country meandering, my hand on his thigh, his hand on mine, occasionally lifting mine to his lips for a sweet kiss placed on my palm.
Further down the stack, a photo of the street we struggled to navigate on the icy night when we walked to dinner, both of us clinging to each other so as not to fall on the uneven, extremely slippery pavement. Dinner was memorable and my mind wandered to later that same evening, when Husband #2 unzipped my knee-high boots and rubbed my cold toes with his warm hands.
More recently, a street scene from one of the islands we visited on our cruise. The palm trees swaying, the warm breeze, ships in the harbor, and the two of us perched under an umbrella (so I wouldn’t get sunburned) with cold drinks in hand. We spent several hours at our table talking about nothing and everything, not really worried about time beyond the arrival of our meal.
And, lastly, the photo from the revolving restaurant where we enjoyed the view of our host city, with me feeling very MadMen with my new dress and ultra-swanky martini in hand. I thought about our frosty post-dining walk through the central square, with the lights twinkling, the sidewalks bustling, and boundless energy in the air.
There were more photos, more memories, and more tears, all the while a nagging voice in the back of my mind saying, “it’s OK to miss him. You can call him just this once.” A part of me silently wondering if being in a long-distance, part-time marriage was really all that bad…after all, look at all of the good times we had together.
Those happy visits were like sugary confections – oh so yummy but not the nourishment that resulted in a healthy Deja. The trips to see him represented a relationship diet filled with only candy, cannolis, and melty milk chocolate…
So I thought about the times I needed to eat my partnership vegetables. Like Popeye, the strength of a marriage comes from the spinach, the not so glamorous events when it’s about team and less about fantasy.
I needed emotional sustenance when my father died, when the roof leaked, when Son #1 graduated from high school, and when I struggled with my job search. I wanted physical/proximity carrots, meats, and potatoes for the little highs and lows of daily living. I want my spinach – kisses in the morning when starting the day, a friendly voice asking how I was doing, a second opinion on what to make for dinner, a spontaneous roll in the hay, and even a silent partner to help shovel snow off of the driveway (after a moment of reflection on the beauty of nature).
Slowly, the moment passed (but not before I read and reread and read again my “Dear Relationship Genius” letter).
The temptation to reach out was strong but I did not call. I did not text. I did not write to Husband #2. I turned away from the candy counter and put asparagus on my relationship shopping list instead. And then I went and worked out.
The candy-romance is a nice treat, but having dessert-only interactions is very superficial. I’m ready to break out the relationship cookbook and try some new recipes for my healthy loving behaviors.