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We Don’t Talk Anymore, After Being Married For 5 Years

It was a typical day at work; meetings after meetings. When I finally found some time, I rushed to the loo and started checking my phone. Two missed calls, one text message, and 64 unread WhatsApp messages from the various groups I’m a part of. I ignored the missed calls and started responding to the WhatsApp messages. Some group conversations are fun, especially the ones from school and college. It’s great to keep in touch with people who are spread across the world.

After I was done, I headed back to my desk. Oh, another conference call; I had forgotten. I threw my phone in my drawer and headed to the conference room with my laptop. The negotiation on the call continued, and one new e-mail popped up on my screen. The sender was familiar to me, but the subject was empty. I asked my colleague to continue the call and ran to my desk to get my phone.

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The e-mail was from my wife, and it read, “Call me NOW! Been trying to call you.”

man working on his laptop_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Yes, those two missed calls and that one unread text message that I hadn’t bothered to respond to were from her. I was panic stricken as I reached out to my phone and hurriedly read her message. My son had fallen down the stairs at school, and had hurt himself badly. My wife had managed to get to the hospital and was trying to get in touch with me to let me know.

As I rushed out of my office, a large cloud of guilt hovered around me. Well, it wasn’t really my fault that my son had injured himself, but the fact that I hadn’t responded to my wife’s calls or messages were something I couldn’t get my head around. Nonetheless, I made it to the hospital in less than fifteen minutes and learnt that my 3-year-old son had had to get stitches on his forehead, along with a cast for his fractured arm. Oh boy!

I found my wife sitting on a metal bench in the hospital outside my son’s room. It was obvious she had been crying. I sat beside her. There was absolute silence for the first ten minutes, as I was trying to catch my breath since I’d sprinted from the parking lot looking for them both. We both sat quietly, as if we don’t talk anymore. It wasn’t new; we had been like this for a while now. But when I looked at her face, I saw that silent tears were still rolling down her cheeks. I wanted to touch her arm and tell her that everything would be okay. But I couldn’t. We didn’t say a word to each other; we simply couldn’t.

man sitting idly by while woman is crying_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Right then, the attending doctor came out and broke the awkward silence between us and informed us that our son was doing fine and we could go see him. We went in. He was lying on a bed, fully conscious, with his right arm in a cast. He seemed fine, indeed. I decided to take the day off and drive home with my wife and kids.

In the car, my son started narrating his “fall” story, and how he had been brave the whole time, that he had hardly cried at all. How his teachers carried him and how he couldn’t feel his hands for the first few minutes. He swore that he hadn’t cried and had been a big boy about it. His chatter filled the car as we occasionally nodded and acknowledged what he was saying. He wanted to stop over for ice cream, which we did. While he ate his ice cream, he expressed his happiness at missing school for the next few days. He chattered on and on, until we reached home.

That drive back home while my son happily chattered, reminded me of how, once upon a time, my wife and I would talk to each other incessantly, whether about random things or interesting ones. We could talk to each other about anything; anything at all under the sun. It reminded me of the time when we were dating and would meet for lunch. Our conversations spilled over into coffee and sometimes into dinner too. That’s how we’d spend our day. The non-stop chatter, just like how our 3-year-old was now doing.

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I remember spending one night with her on a trek, where we both lay down in our sleeping bags over a hill under the thick starry skies. We didn’t sleep that night, but witnessed the beautiful sunrise the next morning. That’s how much we loved talking to each other. But times had changed. We had now been married for five years, and the communication had come to a standstill.

man woman after an argument_New_Love_Times

Image source: Shutterstock

It seemed like we had our own lives to lead. Mine was to get to work, and hers was to raise our son. We had completely immersed ourselves in our responsibilities, had messed up our priorities, and had come to become more aloof with each passing day. We had begun to come to terms with the quiet between us. We no longer went on dates, because we couldn’t get a reliable babysitter. So when we did go out, it was with our baby boy in tow. And that was anything but a date.

Just like that, we had become two people who could sit next to each other without uttering a single word. And, we didn’t bother to break that silence between us. It simply grew. It grew so much, that today, I realized I couldn’t break through it. I simply couldn’t. We don’t talk anymore; we don’t even spend time with each other. The silence had grown so much that it made us appear distant to each other. Somehow, and somewhere, we had succumbed to the pressures of “being married”. We now fit into that category of people they say who grow apart from each other after knowing each other for way too long.

The last time we were alone at home was when I had taken the day off when I came down with the flu, and our son was in school. That day, I had been in bed through the day. Although she did care for me and checked on me every now and then, I realized we hadn’t spoken, really talked, to each other in a long time.

I tried making conversation with her, but she’d only reply in monosyllables. It was as if, she didn’t like talking anymore. And I had then subsequently lost interest in prodding and poking to make her want to talk to me. The only other time we spent with each other was in our beds before going to sleep. She, on her phone, and me, on my iPad. We’d watch funny videos, exchange them, and then simply go to bed. Although we did enjoy sex, it seemed to me like we were now doing it because we “had” to do it, and not because we wanted to. So, it was as though we had to have sex once or twice a month to keep the physical side of our marriage active.

Everything had changed in the last few years. Sometimes I wondered if we were even the same people who fell in love with each other. If we were the same two people who were madly in love with each other. If we were the same couple who spent hours talking to each other. No, we weren’t.

couple disagreement_New_Love_Times

Image source: Shutterstock

Time had changed everything for us. Not that we were stuck in a loveless marriage, because we weren’t. We had just become too busy living our lives. Monotony had taken over our lives. That’s when I figured, we hadn’t even taken a vacation in more than 2 years. We were now that couple who ate their steak in silence, who perfunctorily toasted to “to many more,” and then simply gulped their drink in absolute silence. However, we did care for each other and we knew that we’d be there for each other, but we had forgotten to talk to each other. We had forgotten the art of doing it.

We simply couldn’t hold a telephone conversation with each other for more than 60 seconds. Even if we did, it was only to remind the other of something they had forgotten to do. Like drop off the clothes at the dry cleaners, or pick up our son from his play date! That was that. Unlike how we would call each other to say “sweet nothings” in the early days of our courtship, we had become automatons. We didn’t talk to each other apart from the “necessary” things that had to be spoken about.

Our son demanded to watch TV, now that he was “sick.” We knew he would throw tantrums on the pretext of being “unwell” for the next couple of days. So, we let him. I sat down next to him and my wife went to our room. A couple of minutes later, she appeared again and sat beside me on the couch.

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We were watching cartoon network! I thought she said something, so I looked at her. She was looking at the screen. She got up again and came back with a large bowl of chips and popcorn for us.

“How was your day?” I whispered to her.

“Uh, it was a disaster. Don’t ask,” she replied.

“Hmm, I can imagine,” I managed to say, trying to empathize with her.

We continued watching cartoon network, until our son dozed off beside us.

Yes, we don’t talk anymore.

Featured image source: Shutterstock

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We Don't Talk Anymore After Being Married For 5 Years
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