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My Other Lover



Hear that? It’s 11:00 p.m. and a beautiful silence has fallen over our home with both of our girls sleeping away peacefully.

They say that someday I’ll miss the noise and I try to believe them, but who are “they” anyway? “Do “they” recall the numbing shrill of tween battles, the endless bickering, the stop touching me’s, the constant, who’s taking who where and when? The snarky, tearful peer drama, or the puppy-chewed recital dress?

For now, I think I will embrace my peaceful kitchen and fill the air with only the tapping of my laptop keys as I escape to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (not to mention catching up on emails and texts that have gone unanswered in the whirlwind of the day).

My husband comes scavenging for me after a little while and finds my face glowing as it stares into the screen. He jolts me from my social media coma. “How come you never stare at me that way?” he asks. Before I can answer his non-joke, he says, “How ‘bout you join me in bed and leave your other lover?” I stammer out an apology and slam my laptop closed. I’ve come a long way since then, since I’ve put him first over my “other lover”.

Looking back, I realize he was right. Sometimes my social media world really was my other lover. How was I not realizing that, what I thought was simply decompressing from my day, was really just peering into other people’s lives instead of reaching out to my own?  The guilt enveloped me, because I knew that this was not the first evening I had done this to him. Here we were, finally at a place in our day where we could re-connect, when the world (and our family) wasn’t pulling us away from one another and I was choosing to give my attention to a screen and my virtual friends. Come to think of it, that was hugely disrespectful to him and he, quite understandably, felt rejected.

myotherlover2Now that I’m back, we lie in bed and talk about our day, upcoming travel, unload our annoyances about work, laugh at stuff, and snuggle in for some “Modern Family” to laugh at together. He smooths my hair, which has always been one of the things he does that relaxes me the most. I love that he knows that. It’s warmer in here, beneath the covers together – much better than the false sense of warmth and companionship I used to get from my social networks. It’s real here. It’s real life – and it’s our life. My social media life is still important to me, but it will never be more important than my relationship. But tonight caused me to remember when to unplug. Relationships need this reconnecting time, and we all need to remember to turn to each other instead of our phones or laptops to unwind.

I chuckle a little to myself at this ironic thought swirling around my head. As women (and men) around the world bury themselves in their computers and iPhones, they are turning away from their live relationships. Everyone is so busy chatting on social media and tapping on their keys…it’s no wonder anyone is getting tapped.