Sunday, February 26, 2012
The After-Basic Blues
I've always been that girl who hides behind her smile, fearing the day anyone was to discover that my life was not as it chummy as it appeared to be on the surface. My life has never been in short supply of tension, stress, discord, or distress. I feel like there was actually a point in time when I genuinely convinced myself that if I believed hard enough that nothing was wrong, I would be consumed by this great sense of happiness and, indeed, my problems would vanish. Wrong move.
But enough about my dysfunctional past - I want to speak about the present. The reason I bring the whole facade deal up is because that's not who I am anymore. I want to be completely transparent with you all in order to offer whatever bits of help to you that I can. You see, Hubby and I have been having a difficult time getting along since he has been back. After the initial joy of finally seeing your spouse after a long span of separation wears off, you are left with the actuality that, in many many cases, both your spouse and yourself have changed as people in (sometimes) a lot of ways.
What has been the hardest reality for me to face thus far has been accepting Hubby as the new person he is now. When I went down to Texas for his graduation and spent time with him there, he was a true gentleman; I vividly remember him man-talking with his dad about what the Airmen refer to their blues hats as and Hubby bashfully told his father, "I'd be more comfortable talking about this \without Rachel around," because the men apparently refer to their funny looking hats as "pussy lips" or something along those lines. The Hubby before was never shy about saying anything that was on his mind - he treated me like one of the guys, and I was okay with that. But when I was presented with this practically new man, I found myself creating this unreal fantasy that now, since he was now magically bippity-boppity-boo'd into a gentleman, we were going to live happily ever after; I had all of those months apart from him to plot out our perfect future together based upon the person I had incorrectly perceived my husband becoming through his time spent at basic. And now that we are both back in reality, I am finding that I am disappointed because I allowed myself to build up these unreal expectations for Hubby and I feel absolutely terrible about it. I've been so hard on him in my mind and in my heart because I feel let down by him...let's stop and break this down: Rachel feels disappointed by Hubby because of an unrealistic expectation that Rachel, not Hubby, set. Really, Rachel? Come on now.
So what's your point? I'm sure you're thinking after trudging through my seemingly endless story. Well, although it probably isn't completely clear, I wanted to share this particular situation because I feel as though we as military wives change just as much as our Airmen do - we become more independent and more self sufficient. And while, yes, our Airmen usually do change throughout the basic training and tech school periods, it isn't fair for us to set the expectations for them to have to live up to based upon the ways in which we believe they have changed. I, personally, am realizing that the only person's actions who I am accountable are (guess whose...) my own. Rather than painting a perfect fantasy life and dwelling on that for the entire period of absence of our spouses, perhaps we should be focusing on ourselves and how we are going to react to these changes. Afterall, our husbands are often faced with more adjusting when crossing back over into the real world after basic and tech school are finished because we, as their spouses, have adapted to doing things for ourselves and on our own, not to mention they aren't surrounded by hundreds of other men as they have been for quite some time (I've been trying to retrain Hubby to put the toilet seat down when he is finished doing his duty...we are taking babysteps, but he hasn't had to do this for months so it's no wonder why this courtesy habit of his has gone into remission). I want a perfect, quarrel-free relationship just as much as the next guy, but it's an unreal expectation to have and by holding onto that hope for perfection, our relationship will eventually suffer.
So, (in conclusion feels fitting to insert here - ha!) I wanted to share my experience in hopes to spare you all some trouble. Focus on you and how you are going to act rather than getting all wrapped up in the changes of your spouse. Accept them for who they are, love them, appreciate them, but do not try to fit them into the cookie-cutter life that you believe you should be living. The only person you are in control of is yourself.
In what ways did your spouse change when he/she returned to "normal life" after BMT and tech school? How did you react to these changes?