The Things We Learn After Being Apart For A While

After successfully replacing her lost passport, my wife finally got to Tokyo, Japan to help her mother out with her mother's sister's estate issues.

At times, it felt like mission impossible coordinating the trip, booking the hotels, going to the countryside to place the urn, and meeting with another country's estate planning lawyers. Her mother lives in Virginia and isn't tech-savvy, so planning was challenging.

As her husband, I felt an uptick in my wife's stress level for several months. But in the end, she got it done! Since we are seldom apart, we decided to chat about our experiences while she was away from home.

What We Learned After Being A Part For A While

I know that being apart from family due to work may be common in many households. If I still had my old day job, I'd still be traveling at least twice a month for short trips and twice a year for long trips. However, for us, as dual spouse retirees who intentionally created a lifestyle of always being together, this was a new experience.

But life constantly throws us unexpected variables. As folks in the sandwich generation, supposedly the unhappiest period for many people, it's our responsibility to take care of both our parents and our children.

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For my wife, this would be her first time away from our children since 2017, when our son was born. This was a mental challenge she had to overcome.

For me, I was worried about how I'd fare taking care of the two kiddos without mama for the week. For insurance, we hired childcare support.

For our children, they learned how to cope without mommy for a little while. As a result, maybe they will become more resilient and appreciative of her.

Some things we learned about ourselves after being apart:

  1. When there is no other choice, the work may actually get easier
  2. You will gain confidence if you face your fears and tackle the unknown
  3. When you have nobody to complain to or seek support from, you just get on with things and feel lighter
  4. We may rely on our partners more than we think, which may make us more burdensome than we realize
  5. It felt amazing to be the #1 parent who got all the love because the kids had no other choice
  6. To make the time go by quicker, we stayed busy
  7. Being alone is helpful for self-discovery and self-reflection
  8. Going back to work full time may be helpful for our relationship and balance

Question: I'm curious to know what are some of the things you've learned about yourself and your partner after being apart for a while?

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Resources And Recommendations

If you haven't done so already, please put together a death file and set up a revocable living trust to avoid probate court and save money. Having clear instructions on how to access various accounts and knowing where everything is important.

Finally, get an affordable life insurance policy. Shop around online through a site like PolicyGenius, which my wife and I used to get new matching term policies. The peace of mind alone is worth more than the cost of the monthly premiums. It will likely cost thousands of dollars and dozens of hours to settle a person's estate.

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5 thoughts on “The Things We Learn After Being Apart For A While”

  1. The kids listen more when you are alone with them. Things get done faster when they don’t feel like they can pit you against each other

  2. Sorry for your loss. My wife is going on a business trip next week. But it’ll be easy for me. Our son is 12 now and he is a lot more independent than when he was young.
    We were apart for 6 months in 2022 so I guess we’re somewhat used to it. I was in Thailand to help my parents.

  3. Taking your first trip away from your kids is a big milestone. True some people have to do it often but others very rarely. It’s a great learning experience for the entire family. Congrats on a successful experience!

  4. Things I learned while being apart for two weeks:

    – it felt freeing not to have to worry about the day-to-day responsibilities of raising kids
    – but I also felt guilty that I was not able to help and be there for my spouse and kids
    – after three days or so, I missed the small things like going on a family walk after dinner
    – even though they always showed tons of genuine excitement when talking over facetime, it felt humbling and I also felt proud to know that my kids were doing well without me
    – coming home to your kids and wife after work is infinitely better than going back to the hotel room (even if the hotel is nice)
    – jetlag sucks

    1. “even though they always showed tons of genuine excitement when talking over facetime, it felt humbling and I also felt proud to know that my kids were doing well without me”

      I feel this. I’m sure it was bittersweet for my wife after never being away from either kid for their entire lives, except for 2 nights away from our son, when she gave birth to our daughter.

      We want to feel loved and needed. Yet at the same time, we will feel proud of their independence.

      Thanks for sharing

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