My wife gave me the dreaded “It’s not you, it’s me” speech last weekend.
I couldn’t believe her timing. We were traveling 75 mph on Route 95, the main north-south Interstate Highway, outside of Washington, DC, a flurry of cars, SUVs, and big rigs on either side of us, and out of the blue she gave me that line.
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
My head plummeted to my chest. My mood was shattered. My thoughts instantly spiraled out of control, drifting back to a series of memories, everything from meeting my wife for the first time in her Alexandria, Virginia apartment to taking our newborn children home from the hospital, to helping each of them set up their first dorms and apartments.
I tried to figure out what had happened. What had I done wrong? We’re coming up on our 29th wedding anniversary, have three children, and have built a life together. Hadn’t she just told me that she loved me?
And out of nowhere, I got “It’s not you, it’s me” thrown at me.
Missing the signs
I nearly ran off the highway. When I looked over at her in the passenger seat, I took a deep breath. Her words seemed to hang above our heads. She held her right hand tight onto the ceiling handlebar and stared straight ahead at the road.
I wanted to shake the steering wheel. When I looked down at my gauges, though, I let up on the gas, realizing that I had inadvertently pushed our speed well above 95 mph. Finally, I asked for more information on where I had gone wrong and what I had missed.
Ahh, that’s what you mean.
My wife must have realized my concern. No, no, she said, she wasn’t taking about our marriage, she was talking about my driving. We spent our youth driving on busy highways like Route 95 and smaller backroads from one end of Virginia to the other, visiting college friends and getting away for the weekend. It didn’t matter if we had a place to stay or not, we had each other.
We still travel a lot now, but not like those early years. Somewhere over time, we got more organized in our planning. My wife too has lost her love of the open road. She still loves to travel, she’s just not fond of the fast speeds, bumper-to-bumper travel, and death wish drivers weaving in-and-out of traffic.
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
Of course, she was using the phrase to explain that she trusts my driving, but she gets motion sickness now and doesn’t get the same enjoyment out of our Road Trips. I let out a huge sigh. Oh, that’s what you meant. Ahh, thank goodness honey, I love you too!
(Yes, I wrote this blog, tongue firmly in cheek, but no husband ever wants to hear: “It’s not you, it’s me.”)