It's time again for Ask Dad, or as some folks call me, Professor Love, because I have a PhD in sweet caresses and an MFA in dream-weaving. What's troubling your sweet little hearts?
I've been "off" my husband for about a month. I love the guy, he's a great father and hard worker, and I still find him attractive. But it doesn't stop me from wanting to punch him in the face every now and again. I'd like to think this is just a phase. What do you think?
Easiest question I've ever gotten.
I've got a two-word solution for you: Orthodox Judaism.
See, there you automatically are going to spend a few weeks apart each month for reasons of female cycles, cleanliness, and ritual, and you'll inevitably be happy to see each other when it's time again.
Okay, so maybe you two don't want to grow ringlets and don a wig. And I guess maybe you have a whole different set of beliefs and a whole different culture. And I suppose a rabbi may not look too kindly on your converting just because the sight of your husband's face makes you want to barf.
I'll admit it's not perfect. But maybe we have something to learn from the orthodox and others who regulate their time apart.
Honestly, I think it's a damn miracle that there's not a whole lot more face punching given all the time we spend sharing spaces with our spouses.
I don't care how much you meant your wedding vows or how mated your souls are, it's hell having to live every moment as a negotiation -- over dinner, over the remote, over the kids, over the bed space, over what to do in that bed space.
Done right, time apart can be essential.
I adore nothing more than my hanging-out-naked-with-chicken-wings-and-no-napkins time. (Metaphorically speaking of course. Okay, literally, you made me say it.) I need it, and it just doesn't work in the presence of another person, no matter how tolerant they are.
So think about the occasional solo weekend trip. Or staying home alone while the other takes out the kids.
Of course, too much time apart can be worse than too little -- ask Elin Woods -- but there's something to be said for breaks from the constant grind of another person.
So yes, it's probably a phase, but it's like the phases of the moon, it's going to come and go constantly for the rest of your lives together.
The fact that you still feel attracted to him may actually be the best sign, more even than the still-loving-him and great-father part, though those are more important on paper.
Marriage pros will tell you it's when the touching stops that trouble really starts. So it's fine that you want to punch him in the face sometimes, so long as you want his face between your legs on occasion too.
Maybe your husband is game for a little S&M. Perhaps playing the dominatrix will get out some of your aggression. Just make sure you pick a safe word. One that's easy to pronounce. And stop when he says it.
Image via Flickr.com/DanielSandoval