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Separation Anxiety
by Brianna Gebhardt

The beginning of this story started out with a white wedding, full with purple flowers, silver ribbon and good eats. There was a moment during the reception when my stomach growled and I realized that I hadn’t gotten to eat even one bite of my ridiculously expensive food. It seemed wrong that at my own wedding I was left to starve in order to cater to the guests – at what point did the guests of honor become the invitees instead of the bride & groom? Sigh. I should have known then and there that nothing was going to turn out as I expected.

My husband and I met years ago and hit it off immediately. He was (and still is) a great guy, with all the trimmings: handsome, good job, respected, intelligent and athletic. On paper, he would have won the hearts of many. Our first year was rough, with me unemployed, him losing his job, moving to a different state, getting a kitten together, and dealing with intense in-laws. It’s a miracle we survived that first year!

Not long into our new life he got an offer to move to Germany for 6 months, and of course I was all for it, even though I was going to have to stay behind. I figured that military wives did it all the time, and this wasn’t even close to that kind of worry or stress.

Six months came and went quickly, but it altered our marriage altogether. I had become more independent and savvy, and he had become needier and more reserved (even more so than he was previously, which was already a step away from being akin to a hibernating bear). Most evenings fell into a routine of each of us going to our separate computers in our separate office rooms and having two completely separate lives, with the exception of sleeping and sex – which also, over time, turned into separate bedrooms and thus, no sex.

That pattern led us to an amicable divorce. I had heard horrific stories of hostile marriages and intense situations where one spouse left the other high and dry. My fear of this was unnerving. I would stay awake at night praying that we would just get through this relatively unscathed.

Fortunately, this hostile environment only erupted occasionally and would last about as long as a 16-year old’s orgasm. We’d then move on until everything became irritatingly polite. While I’m not complaining about this, it has become a rather confusing state to live in. When things aren’t all about the shouting, swearing, throwing and torturing the other spouse, I think our emotions get a little confused.

Recently I’ve been feeling a separation anxiety from my husband. In one month, I moved out from the house we bought together, and into my own place. Deep down inside I know that I am doing the right thing, that it’s time to move on, that this relationship wouldn’t have taken either of us to a level of intimacy and love that we both deserve. But it’s comfortable, and familiar. And I struggle with losing all of that. Especially at night when I wake up from a deep sleep thinking there might be something in my house, I know I can call down the hall and ask the hubby to check on it. Say goodbye to security & safety!

For the ladies out there in a similar situation, I want to say this: it’s perfectly normal to feel conflicting emotions. But at the end of the day, go with your gut. I continue to attempt to resolve my feelings about this impending divorce, but my gut screams at my loud and clear every time: “You’re doing the right thing, lady! Don’t be a wuss!” So there I am again, picking myself up off the couch, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia in my hand, the remote in the other, dust myself off a bit and keep on moving forward into the great unknown. Which, unfortunately, tends to include a series of really pathetic reality TV shows. The good news is this: I know that by moving forward I will someday find what it is I’m looking for – and this leaves me wide open to receive all of those wonderful things just ready to fall into my lap if I let them.

About the author:

Brianna Gebhardt lives in New England and holds an M.S.Ed in counseling. She works with adolescents with behavioral challenges, and in her spare time refuses to work, but to crochet, read, write and have fun instead! She’s written for several other publications and is currently working on her first book.