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My wife is pretty cool. I would describe our relationship as very strong. I enjoy hanging out with her. I wouldn’t even consider undoing our marriage, since my marriage is one of my favorite things in the whole world.

BUT… Man, do I love when she goes away!

Truth and communication are important, and by using them together, I get double marriage points. I assume many other healthy relationships have this dynamic, even if it is not said aloud, or in this case, printed on said wife’s writing website.

But if you don’t feel comfortable saying it aloud, maybe me cataloging the Spouse is Away Happiness Index™ will begin to normalize it enough that one day, you and your loved one can appreciate it together. Until then, you’ll have to subtly nod along, while wishing for your very own 24-48 hours of freedom.

The thing about one’s spouse being away is that it is easily quantifiable and trackable.

As we all know, and only some of us are willing to admit, there is nothing better in the entire world, than the first 24 hours that one is alone. The glory is unlimited, though the time is not. You feel like Jack Bauer, but instead of being tortured with doing a bunch of shit for other people, you have to do nothing, all for yourself. Honestly, get married for love, OR for these 24 hour spurts alone.

For the first day, you get full control of the remote, what you eat, and the bed. I know there are other things in life, but I ask you, are there really other things? It’s William Wallace’s FREEDOM run, without the William Wallace death scene. And without the reminder that you just compared yourself to Mel Gibson.

Maybe a better analog is being Kevin McCallister in Home Alone.

All of the childlike wonder and liberation from responsibility. Go ahead and leave your stuff all around. You can make the bed later, or just not, since you’ll be getting back in it tonight. Order a whole cheese pizza just for you.

Then there’s sleep, which I would describe as unencumbered and glorious. I could mansplain the manspreading that occurs when I am alone, but I’m a feminist #ally. If I had to describe the first day of being alone, I would give it a 10 out of 10.

Then, when you wake up, it’s Day 2 of your own personal Free Solo, except you didn’t have to do any work to be at the peak. Day 2 is not as good as Day 1 because a little of the novelty has worn off—but not too much—so I would downgrade it to a 9 out of 10. You’ve already done a lot of what you wanted (or already not done a lot of what you didn’t want), so naturally it’s hard to match yesterday’s high. But the peace and quiet is still plentiful, and there is always something else to watch or read. Usually on Day 2 I think about making a plan to see a friend, or coordinate an activity, just because I’ve been instilled with enough type-A personality to make me wonder if I’m wasting days. But I don’t. I enjoy me.

Things change on Day 3.

Day 3 is when I start to remember that I chose to marry someone I love being around. And while those 48 hours are enough time to fill up the tank on me-time, (did I mention the unrestricted gas passing?) 49 hours is a lot for a domesticated human. Day 3 is in the vicinity of 5 out of 10. Even Kevin McCallister missed his family by Day 3.

From there, it gets worse. Beds get pretty disheveled when you don’t make them four days in a row, and now the house sort of smells like a locker room. Your mind betrays you, and starts thinking about the fun things you’d be doing if you were together. Day 4 is a two. A lonely two.

Day 5 is worse. You’re out of activities and things in the fridge.

The good news is you are a day closer to when your spouse returns, but that doesn’t bring enough solace. You know it’s bad when you start pepping yourself up to go to the airport for the pick up, something you wouldn’t have promised in your vows. You even wonder about getting a bicycle built for two even though you’ve never even had a bicycle built for one. Being alone this long is hard, and is probably the driving factor to why you got into this relationship in the first place.

I’ve never had things get to a Day 6, so I can’t tell you what happens to the graph. And honestly, it’s a little scary to think about it. I start to really miss my wife, enough to write it down. I can’t wait for her to get back. And, of course, I can’t wait for her next two day trip out of town.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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