Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
My husband has long wanted to go on an archeological dig, something I have no
interest at all in doing. Insert many rants about heat, bugs, and many other forms
of discomfort. Now that he’s retired, we agreed to a nine-month period of self-
discovery. We are very close and the marriage is not in jeopardy, at least not that
I can tell or he professes. We have set up a schedule of times to talk, whenever
he has wifi access. The last time we did, he said the whole experience was
nothing like he was anticipating, and he might just want to jump ship as soon as
they can find a replacement. Honestly I am enjoying my freedom, though
perhaps because I know it is temporary. I’d like to salvage at least a three-month
window of independence. Is that unfair to ask?
On Her Own
Dear On Her Own:
I’m assuming there was a long period of discussion and perhaps even
negotiation before he went off on his adventure. And, though you don’t
specify what you’re doing with your own time, you seem to be
enjoying it more than you might have anticipated. So no, I don’t think
it’s wrong to re-negotiate the duration or terms.
Tell him that since he made a commitment to the dig, that he should
honor it for at least a month or two. Things may improve and he may
start to enjoy himself more once he is acclimated. Then say you
would like at least a three-month window of self-discovery for yourself.
It can be while he is still gone or after he returns. But that is your
commitment to yourself that you expect him to honor, as you have
respected his original decision. When next you speak, start talking
about timelines, and be sure to say you’d prefer to know in advance
when he is coming home so you can be ready to be his supportive wife
again. In the meantime, tell him you like flying solo knowing he will
return. Congrats to you both. Not enough couples leave room for both
halves to be a single whole.