When I Want It To Be His Fault

It had been two weeks since the last telephone call with my husband, and I was starting to get antsy. Even though I knew he was fine — he finally emailed and explained that the phones had been on the fritz — I just desperately wanted to hear his voice. I traveled to visit his parents for the week, and we were certain he'd call sometime while I was visiting so he could talk to everyone. But no call came.

As I was waiting for my plane, I held my phone in my hand. I just wanted it to ring so badly. I boarded the 9:30 flight and finally shut off the phone.

When I landed, there was a voicemail from my husband. Left at 9:28.

And the stupid thing was that I got mad at him over it.

I walked through the airport fuming. How could this have happened? How did I wait two weeks for a call that came the ONE time I couldn't have the phone on? Didn't he know I was heading home that day? Why couldn't he have called ten minutes earlier? Why couldn't he call back two hours later? What was wrong with him?

I know it's not his fault. I know he had no way of knowing what time my flight was. I know he often loses track of what day it is, since he works so hard with no days off. I know he also constantly gets confused about the time zone difference, since he apparently works on zulu time. I know he didn't call while I was on a plane on purpose. I know this. I know it's not his fault.

But for some reason, I wanted it to be his fault.

I get like this at times during deployment, where I'm just tired of being on the homefront. I'm tired of keeping track of how many days it's been since we last talked and then hearing him say, "Really? Has it been that long?" I'm tired of one-sided conversations and emails that go unanswered and stories that go untold. I'm tired of feeling like if I miss a call, it's my fault for not being available.

And for some reason, I wanted to take that all out on him when he called at the wrong time.

Luckily I couldn't, because I don't have the opportunity to pick up the phone and gripe at him!

Instead, I called AWTM and told her I was grouchy for such a dumb reason. She seemed to get it, and I asked her to talk about her life and take my mind off my irritation for a while. And the feeling passed, and when my husband finally called back this afternoon, I was over it and was just happy to hear his voice. And rolled my eyes when he said, "Really? Has it been two weeks?"

But I truly hate that feeling, when I miss a call and I somehow want him to magically know that he's screwed up and ruined my day.

It's not his fault. It's nobody's fault. And that's why I have such a hard time with it.

About the Author

Sarah has been married to her soldier for a bit more than 10 years. In the past decade, they've been at six different duty stations in four different branches of the Army. They've also endured three deployments, six miscarriages, and a failed IVF. Sarah's blogging focus has shifted some in the past five years, from common military issues to something more personal: the difficult intersection between the military and infertility. It's hard for some couples to start a family; it's even harder when one person spends a lot of time on the other side of the globe. But Sarah was lucky enough to declare Mission Accomplished when their daughter was born 10 days after her husband's return from Afghanistan. And she tries to remind herself how irreplaceable and cherished that daughter is now that she's entered the terrible two's. In her free time, Sarah is a pioneer housewife: knitting, crocheting, and cooking ... and sometimes even firing a weapon.
  • airforcewife

    I think some of that feeling comes from always being in the position of being reactive instead of being able to be proactive.
    At least for me. I get WAY mad sometimes because I feel like I’m the one always waiting for something to happen or someone to roll the dice so I can get to the next space on the gameboard.
    I’m workin’ on it, though! And I go hit things twice a week. That helps. :)

  • abar

    You put my feelings exactly. “I’m tired of feeling like if I miss a call, it’s my fault for not being available.” I finally decided with everything on my plate that it is NOT my fault. I won’t sit by the phone or computer or anywhere for that matter just hoping for something. It makes me way to miserable. I am also so glad to have found this place where I can find out that I am neither crazy nor alone. :) For many reasons I am not connected to my FRG but I am getting connected to others who know what I am going though. If he only knew how much this helps.. oh well… he has never been left at home so he does not “get it”. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reasa

    I think it is more of a control thing with me. I can control just about everything else that happens and when I know he is going to call. But those few times he calls and I have to have my phone off, take a shower and don’t hear it are the worst. I feel so out of control and lost when the calls come thing. I do admit to losing it very bad sometimes but then I pull on the big girl panties and move on with my day.

  • http://www.thunderrun.us David M

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 11/16/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • Apryl

    Honestly I don’t know..between the being irate at him when he calls (doesn’t he know I’m putting the kids down at bed (LOL)) or the idignation I get from him “Where are you I only get 5 minutes to call you…are you there…pick up the phone. Well ok I guess I’ll talk to you when I get 5 more minutes.” LOL
    You just can’t win. You can’t.

  • http://geekturnedathlete.com Nicole

    I guess it helps to keep yourself doing other things when he is deployed. At least that helps me. I thought about him all the time when he was deployed last time, but if I start getting obsessed over it, I turn into a crazy lady! I totally understand! It probably didn’t help that you hadn’t heard from him for two weeks! ;)

  • Katherine

    Please know that you are sooooo not alone in every single one of those feelings. It helps so much to have those minutes/hours to think over the situation (like you have a choice) and get over your initial anger. Thank you so much for posting. I’m not alone!!
    1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/taeleen1 kathleen henry

    I remember missing a phone call from my dad during one of my husbands deployments…he left a lovely message screaming into the phone “what if this had been pwee! (pause)dont you realize that he could be killed at any moment?” NICE! No the thought had never occurred to me moron! As if it isn’t hard enough to be missing those phone calls! Thank god for other people who understand!

  • A.

    I cannot TELL you how much I appreciated this post .. I just came upon this site. My boyfriend has been deployed to afganistan for almost 10 months now, and I haven’t heard from him in 12 days. And I am MAD. What is he doing over there?? Can he really not call me for almost two weeks? Am I crazy? .. And then I’m mad at myself for being mad at him for something he can’t control, and for being angry with him over something so selfish. I mean, he’s working his butt off, and I’m bitching because I can’t tell him all my funny stories. I started to wonder if anyone else felt this way, or if I needed to seek some kind of professional counseling. Thank you, thank you for this .. it’s good to know you’re not alone, and not crazy.

  • crystal vono

    i usually feel this way, it’s so horrible because in your mind and heart you know that its the the way we should be. i started counceling last week and since i then i have been able to control my emotions a little bit better. one of my three goals is to control my emotions–especially when it comes to him. 2nd goal: make it through this deployment! lord help me!