Honestly, the thought of my wife leaving me never crossed my mind until it happened.
No, there's no trouble in the Rocque household, but this past weekend the Mrs. took her first trip without me since we got hitched. To make matters worse, she didn't just cross state lines but she left the country, which meant we couldn't even talk on the phone. Outside of the email she sent on the first night to say she'd arrived safely, it was a complete communication blackout.
The Mrs. and I have been apart before, but that was prior to us being husband and wife. Somehow that makes things different. Going away for a “girls trip” or a weekend visit to her mother’s house was cool then, but ever since the wedding we’ve been inseparable. It’s easy to take someone’s presence for granted when you see him or her every day, so when they’re gone it hits home. Here I was with a long holiday weekend with no work on the agenda and my favorite person in the whole wide world was unreachable.
Even though my wife and I make a concerted effort to maintain our individuality, our recent separation was a bit of a challenge emotionally. Here are three things I did to make the time go by and keep my sanity while my wife was away. (The same could apply to anyone in a committed relationship going through separation anxiety.)
That’s What Friends Are For
Newlyweds tend to spend most of their free time with their significant other. As a result, friends tend to get the short end of the attention stick. Having my wife away allowed me the opportunity to be semi-single again and hang with the fellas. That’s not to say I can’t or don’t when the Mrs. is around, but not having her around was a good excuse to grab a drink with my boys and catch up with people I hadn’t spoken to in a minute.
A big part of dealing with being apart from the person you love is keeping busy. Staying idle for too long while your partner is away is a recipe for depression. Instead of falling into that trap I kept my plate full. When I wasn’t hanging with friends I took care of things on my personal to-do list that had remained dormant for too long. From painting our room to making that trek to the bank to drop off that jar of pennies, I didn’t give myself the chance to experience any downtime.
Go on a Date With Yourself
Surprisingly, a lot of people are scared of being alone. However, I don’t happen to be one of those individuals. While the Mrs. was away I relished in the quality time with myself. I took an early morning walk to clear my head and wound up sitting in Prospect Park doing something people who live in major cities rarely get to do—just sit down and take in the beauty that’s all around us.
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and I tend to agree. Having my wife gone for three days allowed me to miss her and ultimately appreciate her presence more than ever. Still, I’m in no rush to have her (or myself) go away for an extended period of time to relearn those lessons.
Do you appreciate time away from your partner as much as your time together? How do you deal with separation anxiety in a relationship? Sound off!
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, New York-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.