I have written before about the loss of male privilege and the loss of friends. Now I have to deal with the possible loss of my wife. Maybe not in the physical sense. Neither of us want to divorce because we know the effect that would have on our kids.
This is emotional loss. The loss of intimacy. We still live each other, but that love is changing. We still sleep in the same bed every night. Sometimes we give each other space. We have a king size bed so that is easy to do. Some nights we still spoon each other. Other times we hold hands. Few are far between are those times we can summon up the passion we used to have. Maybe it’s the fact that we are just an old married couple. More likely it has to do with her sleeping next to a husband that increasingly looks more like her wife.
I was out the other night with a friend. When I dropped her off at her apartment we talked a bit. I wasn’t prepared for her coming to tears when she told me how hard it has been for her to sleep alone. She was married 7 years and she recently got her final divorce papers. She misses her wife dearly. I wanted to give her a hug and tell her with time it won’t be so bad. But I froze. I couldn’t say that because I haven’t experienced it myself. What I said through tears of my own was “Dear, I know things are bad right now. It’s too fresh a hurt and I understand. I have to go home to the woman I married 21 years ago and who sleeps most of the time on the other side of our bed. The pain of being just an arm length away is almost unbearable. It might as well be miles.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes. Then I had to leave. When I got home my wife was still up watching tv with our daughter. She came to bed and kissed her on the cheek. We cuddled for a bit. But it still wasn’t the same.