Five Stages of Marital Grief

Before I married Poor Kyle, I had a lot of aversions to marriage in general.

Someday I’ll show you my list of them.

But for now, suffice it to say that I really struggled with the decision of whether or not to get married—not because of Poor Kyle, but because of my preconceived notions of the institution as a whole.

When at last I did decide to marry him, it was because the pros of getting married outweighed the pros of staying single—one big reason in particular sealed the deal for me: I wanted to be with him, and only him, all the time, for forever.

Can’t you see the stars in my naive little eyes?

Imagine my surprise, then, when newly-married me realised that Poor Kyle didn’t necessarily feel the same way.

Oh, sure, he loved me. I had no doubt of that.

But occasionally during that first year of our marriage, I got the feeling that he wanted to…shall we say…escape from me.

He made plans to go out with friends. He needed to stay late at work.

In short, he wanted to do things besides being with me! I was devastated.

Me? I had (slash have) no friends. I had no job. I had nothing to preoccupy my time besides my husband…the selfsame husband who had plenty to preoccupy his time besides me.

In all my anxious list-making about why I should stay single forever, it never occurred to me to add the fact that I would be the loser of our relationship. (I didn’t expect Poor Kyle to be the loser, either. I just naively assumed we would both be winners. {Actually, I never thought about it one way or the other—what woman goes into marriage thinking she might be a loser wife? Worry about retirement, about tax forms, about government paperwork and registries and lingerie and joint accounts and which car to sell? Sure. But husband/wife social rankings? Uh, not really.})

In later months, I began to work through the five stages of grief (grief for the dream I lost—the dream of being the only thing my husband would ever need aside from food, water, shelter, and Apple, Inc.).

First, there was denial:

I’m overreacting; no way could this be real. He does want to spend every spare minute with me—it’s just that he has to do other stuff. If he’s staying late at work a couple times a week, it’s because he’s really involved in some project, not because he’s shooting the breeze in the break room with his buddies. He would never waste his time with those guys when he could be with me.

Then, anger:

WTF??? He really doesn’t want to spend every spare minute with me? What a freaking joke—I marry this jerk, move a million miles away from home to be with him in this frozen barren wasteland tundra insane-o place, and then he gets mad at me when I get mad at him for not coming straight home at 5:00? Unbelievable. UNBE-DADGUM-LIEVABLE.

Bargaining was next:

Maybe if I lost five pounds, he would need me as much as I need him. Maybe if I shaved my armpits more regularly? If I could only make him see what a catch I am, I know he would want to spend more time with me.

And then depression:

How did I get so pathetic? There was a time in my life when I could’ve dated any guy I wanted [not really, that was just the depression talking]. And now look at me—I’m washed up. A has-been. My own husband has a closer relationship with his phone than he does with me. He would rather spend his time learning HTML with his friends than drying the dishes next to me in the kitchen or rubbing my shoulders.

But now, at long last, after nearly three years of being married, I’ve finally found acceptance:

He loves me; I know he loves me. Maybe he’s not as clingy as I would prefer or had imagined, but it’s going to be okay. My dreams are lost, never to return, but the reality is not so bad, not really.

And do you want to know the funny thing? Now that I’ve come to terms with my reality, Poor Kyle seems to want to hang out with me more than he ever did before.

Too bad he blew his chance ages ago. I’m self-actualized now. I don’t need him around all the time to make me feel complete. I’ve got school, I’ve got (the prospect of) a job, I’ve got short hair, I’ve become a feminist, and I’m free from old insecurities. That’ll teach him to forget how awesome I am.

WHO’S THE LAME SPOUSE NOW, PK?

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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17 Responses to Five Stages of Marital Grief

  1. anna says:

    Traveling for work soon after I was married desensitized my husband and I real fast to needing each other. I would leave for a week at a time, over and over and over. We got used to not being around each other. Otherwise, I wonder which one of us would have been the loser spouse? :)

  2. Alexa Mae says:

    camilleyyy, you are brilliant. this post was hilarious. i laughed literally out loud. i love reading you writes. i remember having kind-of this conversation over fro-yo and i feel in love with the relationship you and kyle have. you are a match made in pro’s and con’s heaven! love you.

  3. haha. pretty sure i’ve been through all those stages too. it happens to the best of us.

  4. Molly says:

    Oh yes, Just imagine now, if you got pregnant immediately after getting married and were HORMONAL on top of just your normal emotions coming to grips with that reality….

    OK I can’t guarantee you won’t again become overly clingy when that does happen… I am pretty sure I prefer to be in closer proximity to my husband 90% more of the time than he, me. And, my husband has really bad asthma and often can’t sleep in the bed with me, which I used to cry about when I was pregnant! What a baby I was!

    This is a good thing for young single girls to read, and hear though. That boys may not just give up all of their friends and interests after they decide to tie the knot, and that, as long as it isn’t in excess, that is okay!

  5. Alaina says:

    I appreciate the advice, as I’m entering my own marriage…hopefully T won’t be ditching me for his friends, but I do experience that with his job sometimes. You crack me up with the 5 stages, though…were you a psychology major or something? :-)

  6. So……. you’re saying its not going to get any better?

    Crap.

  7. Chloe says:

    Hmm, thanks Camille for the advice. Maybe it’s not too late for me…

  8. Dutch girl says:

    When my boyfriend and I got together, I was sooo in love with him and even more convinced of his love for me… A couple of years later he said that at that time (when we met) he was in love with me for about “70%”. I was devastated, of course. What does that even mean?? Men, especially scientists, can be ridiculous. Of course I’ve made sure it’s a full 100% now. Relationships.. hard work!

  9. “There was a time in my life when I could’ve dated any guy I wanted [not really, that was just the depression talking]” is brilliant.

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  13. molly says:

    Loved the addendum. So much accomplishment to at least once in yourself discover your feminism, and have a short haircut! Gives you a chance to see for yourself, that you are the cat’s pajamas!

  14. molly says:

    That was supposed to say once in your LIFE not once in yourself… Sorry… Blackberry typing at 1am is apparently not the wisest choice.

  15. So it WILL get better???? YIPPEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

  16. Now I feel all weirded out I secretly didn’t know the real ending – oh blog post, why must you play with my mind?

  17. DeAnna says:

    LOVE this post! I went thru exactly that, now I know there is a lot of satire in your writing, but seriously I remember going thru exactly those “five stages” about 8 years ago. Got me laughing and my hubby giving me weird looks. At least now I can laugh at myself for how naive and foolish I was.

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