“You never call me anymore.” He said.
“Yes I do!”
“Um no, you don’t. It’s Wednesday and you haven’t called to bug me at work all week?”
So, two things. One, he apparently only pretends to be annoyed with me, which only confirms my theory that my exasperating personality is a large part of my sex appeal. And two, I don’t need to compulsively connect with my husband anymore.
Now, before you get all Dr. Phil on my relationship and whisper about marital troubles or divorce, listen to me.
This whole me not calling Andy at work is an amazing thing.
Early in our relationship (and by early I mean the first nine years up until, like, six months ago) I was a constant connector.
I would say it was because he was my best friend and I missed his voice and talking to him completed me, blah blah, but deep down. Really deep down. Like, Angela Chase internal monologue deep down, it was because I needed him to answer. My whole shakey worth depended on it. I’ve entered into every relationship with the very real belief that “he could do better,” and it made me desperately clingy. I called and texted and when he didn’t respond, it’d consume me. But, when he did, I exhaled, because it meant that even if I didn’t want me, he did, for now.
The thing is, my self esteem can’t be built on the foundation of my relationship with another person because if that relationship ends, everything falls. I love my husband, he’s amazing and funny and sexy and he does this thing in bed… I don’t want to have to teach another person this thing. Losing him used to terrify me, not only because I’d physically miss him with every part of my being, but… what if nobody else wanted me? I’ve had kids and I like pizza rolls, my body was never what I considered “showroom ready.”
I don’t roll that way anymore. My life isn’t centered around being wanted by anyone other than myself. I know that when I call Andy at work, he’ll probably answer, if he’s not busy. But if he doesn’t, it’s because he’s doing something important. Not because he’s disgusted by my chins or back fat. Those are ridiculous thoughts, literally nobody outside your head has these thoughts, stop having them, Brittany.
Our independence from each other has become the biggest success of our marriage. We both have amazing friends outside of each other, and they are just as important as our couples friends. We both travel for work alone, something that would have reduced me to tears a few years ago, but is now one of my favorite experiences. We kiss each other on the curb of Departures and fly off to navigate strange cities for weeks at time alone. Then we go back to our hotel rooms to call each other, gush over our adventures, and make plans to return together.
When we escape to our room and lock the door (because our kids are 5, 7 and 8 and we can do that now that they’re starting to barely tolerate us) I have the confidence to not worry that the light is on or the covers are underneath me or that he’s touching the squishy fat at the top of my inner thighs. He won’t fall out of love with me if I get out of bed to pee and my ass bounces when I walk and I haven’t waxed in 2 months, because that is not how love works.
It’s not that I’ve stopped pushing to connect with Andy, I’ve just changed how I do it. It’s not clingy, desperate pleas for reassurance on his iPhone all day.
But rather, more meaningful moments we choose because they make us happy. It’s a phone call on the green 9 holes in to make sure the kids haven’t killed me yet. It’s a flirty text from the table while having wine with my girlfriends, and if he’s really lucky, a sexy picture from the restaurant bathroom stall.
At first he was scared I didn’t need him anymore, because I was apparently super needy and desperate and that shit leaves a mark, but in a way I don’t. I don’t need him to feel pretty or successful in life. I need him because I love being married to him and I love that he gives me the cucumbers from his salad without me asking for them and I really love that thing he does in bed. And while I really hope I’m never in a position to have to reteach someone how to do that thing, if I am, I’ll survive.