“I miss us”, he says. And that “us” is heavy with meaning. He means the us before kids. The us that was spontaneous, the us that went out to dinner regularly, the us that laughed, relaxed, played, talked and had a hell of a lot more sex. That “us”.
I miss that “us” too.
That “us” is completely incompatible with our current life style. With little kids needing our attention and the constant passing back and forth of parenting responsibilities so that one of us can get a much-needed break. We are in the “passing ships in the night” stage of marriage and kids. I don’t like it, but I’m realistic about what has to happen in order for there to be “us” time.
Someone has to organize baby-sitting. Someone has to triple-check the family calendar. Someone has to organize what we will do. Someone needs to book a restaurant. Someone needs to set the alarm for the next day so that the kids are picked up and delivered to sport on time. And that someone is always me.
When we do get that alone time (that I have organised) we are fine. We have plenty to talk about and it’s not even about the kids. There is still that pull. He still makes me laugh. There are still the smiles we only give each other. I still find him attractive and by all accounts the feeling is mutual. We aren’t broken. And it’s nice to remind ourselves of that from time to time by just being “us”.
But here’s the thing, that takes work and planning and TIME. There is nothing spontaneous about romance. Time is a thing we argue about: who has less of it. My day involves getting three people dressed, fed and out the door with lunches packed. My husband has one person to take care of. My day involves either cramming a full work day into school hours or looking after my busy three year old. If I stop for lunch it’s a fairly big deal. My coffee is never hot.
My husband is very busy at work, but he still gets lunch and a hot beverage from time to time. My evenings are spent trying to catch up on writing and emails. His evenings are spent relaxing in front of the TV. Part of that has to do with our respective interests and the way we find “me” time. But while we are both vying for our “me” time, neither of us is planning any “us” time. It’s dangerous territory where resentment can breed.
My husband is a romantic. To the extent that if it can’t be 100% romantic he tends to leave it. If I suggest that he make a dinner date, then I have pretty much squashed any chance of it happening. Because to him acting on my suggestion is not romantic. It’s him responding to a nag. But if I say nothing, he does nothing.
So here’s my beef — if my husband is missing “us” so much, he has to do something about it. It cannot be my sole responsibility to run our family, our household, our social lives, the kid’s school and sporting lives AND our marriage. The very small act of him organising that date night, making that investment in us, already makes me feel so much closer to where we were before kids. It means he values not only us, but me. That he is prepared to put in some work, rather than just be sad about a version of us that cannot presently exist but will come back when the kids are older. If BOTH of us make an effort.
How’s the romance at your place?
More from The B*tch Board:
- Why Your Fat Shaming is Ruining Our Friendship
- To My Mean Mum Friend: We Need to Break Up
- I Love Him, But I Sure As Hell Don’t Like My Child