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the toll work travel takes on marriage

what is commuter marriage, commuter marriage, living apart, the toll of work travel on a marriage, married and single, single parenting

You’ve all seen me write about it but maybe you’re wondering what is Commuter Marriage?  As I stand on the front stoop watching my husband pull away for the 17th Sunday, bound for his hole he calls an apartment in Iowa, my throat closes up and I feel like I will be swallowed completely by the huge lump in my esophagus and my eyes burn and sting as they get a little watery.

I watch my girls run down the sidewalk waving and screaming , “Bye Daddy, I love you!” and my heart is breaking into a thousand pieces inside. Every week it stings my very core; every single time. Sometimes worse than others, but always. I really loathe all this single mothering that I’ve been doing lately but more than that I hate that we are all getting used to it, comfortable even.

What is commuter marriage? It’s hard on the family.

The girls are getting used to not having Daddy around, and I am getting used to handling things on my own, and sometimes when he’s here, I think he feel’s like he is out of place in his own home. That is what really bothers me. Isn’t this how people drift apart? Isn’t this how families fall apart? I love my husband, and he loves me but if you get used to not having someone around, pretty soon won’t you stop missing one another?

When your husband travels for work, it’s not consistent and it’s random and you learn to deal with it by looking forward to the next time he returns. But when your husband has a residence in a whole other state for a job because his office is there and you KNOW he will be gone for at least 4 of the days of the week, it’s a little harder to swallow.

There is no room for superfluous personal days or no chance of no travel because every week you know, come Sunday afternoon..he’s pulling away and you are left behind on that damn stoop and he’s left watching you grow smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror.

I thought being married meant someone to share my life with. Recently, I feel more like I am a kept woman; a lonely one at that. I have someone to pay the bills. We’re getting to the point where we are forgetting to tell each other the little things that happen in our day to day and that scares me. Pretty soon we won’t know each other. I can deal with geographic distance but not emotional distance. I mean, I never thought I’d be married and alone.

What is Commuter Marriage? It’s being married but alone.

What do I do? Do I tell him to quit and come home because I need my friend, my partner, my husband? Or do I just keep going on ignoring the fact that this is really hard and slowly becoming impossible? Some days, I am okay with it. Other days, I can hardly bear it.I am lonely and I miss our relationship. The day to day, seeing each other, talking about nothing, sharing laughs and feelings, stolen glances and touches. Now, everything is forced into a weekends time and it’s not enough.

I feel like such an ungrateful asshole. I know I should be filled with gratitude that he has a job at all in this economy but it’s extremely hard when you’ve spent every day of the past 13 years with this man and suddenly you are living separate lives. I know he is just as lonely there but some days I feel overwhelmed with all the responsibility of holding it all together. Some days, it is just too much.But what do you do when you have bills to pay and kids to feed, mortgages, groceries, and school loans? You suck it up, you be a grown-up, you get out of the fetal position, stop crying and stand on that damn stoop and wave goodbye and hope its not for the last time. Commuter marriage is not for the weak.

What is commuter marriage?

It’s survival and groceries and mortgages. It’s not being homeless. It’s saying goodbye more often than you ever dreamed. Have you or would you ever be in a commuter marriage and make it work?

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