I look at our daughter eating dinner and talking nonstop about the Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’. My husband is quietly eating his food and glancing occasionally at her. I look at him and as usual, he can’t look me straight in the eye…he smiles and says nothing.
As always, I start talking about how I have been a bit worried about his health recently, he works too much and always appears stressed. He immediately becomes defensive as if I am blaming him for it…..What I want to really say gets lost in the tension created by just trying to start a conversation…
Dinner’s done, and everyone has retreated to their respective corners of the house. My teenage daughter is robloxxing with her friends upstairs and her father has gone back to his home office…
I hopelessly clean up and pour myself a midweek Chardonnay, like it or not this has become more of a pattern than I would like…All the things I want to actually say to my husband, the father of my child, my partner, and one of my oldest friends are still on the tip of my tongue.
I see him working from am to pm, he has no other life of late. Our marriage has been a struggle for almost 4 years now but we are both still here… There is a deep air of emptiness whenever it’s only us. The only conversations we have are about family back in India or some other thing that needs to be done for the dog, daughter, or bills.
Every day when I see him working, looking as morose as he does I feel hopeless despair. I wish I could tell him how much I still love him…I have begged, I have tried but he seems to have lost all passion for me or that’s what he says. He says he still loves me though…I wish I could understand that…
I just see sadness in his overall being.
No one should have to live like this. I don’t understand this, why is he still here…I have asked him once if he feels stuck and he said yes. He immediately went on to add that he will never break up because he can’t do that to our daughter and our families. He also said he would rather live without sex than cheat on me or have an open marriage, I quote, “My conscience won’t allow me and I don’t want to be open”. That’s what he said when I suggested an open marriage.
Everything aside, I want to tell him how much I appreciate him. He is a great guy, an even better father. An ideal son and a good companion. Patience is his true virtue and he is one of the most honorable men I have ever seen.
He has never been loud or rough, never abusive verbally or physically. He is the epitome of responsibility and duty, never shirks from his family duties. He is generous, kind, and extremely well mannered. He is the only person I would bring up my child with. I trust him with my life, and I care for him deeply…I really do want him to be happy. Beyond it all I want to be the reason for his happiness.. not his sadness.
I wish I could throw myself into his arms, and tell him all that I want to. I wish he would say the same things to me that how he loves me so much too (my biggest fear is that this will not happen, and I have already experienced that fear many times) but I still wish…I wish….I wish…
I try to imagine a situation where I could say all this out loud to him. I know why I am unable to do that anymore — coz I know what will happen next and am afraid of it. There will be little or no reciprocation of feelings, and I will get all sentimental and emotionally disturbed.
He will retreat further into his cocoon of zero communication and I will be left holding my bleeding heart in my own hands. It’s so funny, this has happened so many times in the past too… The intensity of the feelings I have for this man who has shunned me emotionally and physically for the last 4 years really surprise me.
What is this? I have been over this so many times asking for some basic affection, so many times I have had my heart broken and handed right back to me…but here I am still, standing at the same door.
Is it by force of habit or am I really capable of this kind of love too?.
I prefer to think of myself as an earthly being who loves earthly pleasures. I have had my phases where I have felt utter contempt for him. Hurt, disappointed and broken, I have also wanted to hurt him back equally if not harder.
But this has never interfered with the feeling of utmost respect and love. The foundational sense of belonging, responsibility, and partnership. Just imagining life without him seems unthinkable to me. Whenever I have contemplated separation it has seemed too painful and impossible for me.
Even though he has caused me immense pain and heartache, he feels like …no… he is home. I have traveled the world with this man, shared most of life’s significant moments with him.
In the rare conversations where he has actually spoken with me, I have understood that none of the pain caused here has been intentional, none of us wanted to hurt, stop desiring, or passionately loving each other.
These things happened to us gradually and cruelly.
In fact, I think we still love each other. It has just gotten buried under the rubble of numerous family issues, relationship mistakes, lack of effort, international moves, trivial bickerings, and stupid grudges…
Maybe this was all we were destined to be, two people bound together by love and duty who lost their intimacy somewhere along the way..so now we have put our hopes and expectations aside and we continue to struggle. So I am writing it here this evening …
Dear husband, I still love you…very much.
Previously published on medium
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