The No-Wife Diet

Okay. I just came back from my in-laws (Korean in-laws) where I had to somehow convince them (in lower-intermediate Korean) that separating from their daughter isn’t really separating from their daughter…. I’ll have to wait until Monday to find out if I was successful when my wife is standing at their door with her bags packed.

As my wife and I headed back to our apartment down the block, my wife muttered, “…they’re going to fight tonight.”

“Fight!?” my son blurted out. “No William. Not a real fight.” I quickly answered.

Yes, I have a 3-year-old son. And taking care of him will be part of the deal to separate. So, it’ll be much more than pretending I’m single again — that’d be too easy right? It’ll be pretending to be a single dad.

I jokingly call this idea The No-Wife Diet. This idea came into existence 2 days ago when I tried to explain to my wife my weight gain is partly due to our marriage — yes, our being together. She obviously took offense to this in thinking I meant my weight gain was directly a result of her. It’s not. I know better. I think….

When we’re together, I simply want to go out more often: to restaurants, to the movies, to ice-cream parlors, coffee shops, etc… Sometimes she suggests it; sometimes I do. I enjoy time with her. If we weren’t together, I (and she too) wouldn’t want to visit these places alone let alone want to watch movies at night while munching on fried take-out items...right? Although this idea started from the premise that it’s to lose weight, there is so much more behind it that’s driving me to push through with playing single dad for one week — the proposed amount of time which I hope, will extend to a couple months if all goes well.

“But living apart is extreme!” my father-in-law replied with his arms crossed (well that’s what I think he said). He also appeared a little redder than usual. “You have to solve these kinds of problems as husband and wife! As a family!” He spoke as if we were really separating. The tone of his voice had become louder and more aggressive. “You have to take control! Use your willpower to lose weight!”

I could understand his frustration. We were pitching this as a way for me to lose weight. Unbelievable right? And if it were just for that reason, it’d want to strangle me too.

“But everything will just go back to being the same after this little experiment!” my mother-in-law exclaimed. “And what could you possibly achieve in just a week?” Initially afraid we were secretly getting a divorce, my mother-in-law had seemed to warm up a bit after my 10-minute rant in broken Korean.

Again, although we were asking for a week, we knew we’d allow it to go on longer if it was going well.

Anyway. Back to my mother-in-law’s question is where I got to open up a little about why this is more than just about losing weight. “It’s not just about losing weight,” I interrupted. “It’s about appreciating each other more.”

And this is where it becomes cliché.

Most if not all marriages have arguments over who does more or who’s underappreciated. This can obviously worsen when a little one comes along. What’s different in my case, but becoming more common, is when a clash in culture gets involved with how each partner expects to raise their child. For me, this frustration is rooted deeper in how I’d like to live in general (let’s not go there now). It was bearable, but has become less so watching my son grow up with values I don’t exactly agree with. Yes, my wife and I discuss these things and try to work them out. But I guess you could say recent gains are suffering from diminishing marginal returns….

What do I expect from this?

I simply feel there is a better way for us to be living, and trying to explain that to my wife, or to my in-laws in broken Korean has been a slow and tedious venture the last 7 years. This was the way I’d grow old I was beginning to think. So, as this silly idea began to manifest itself into reality, I understood I had to jump on this as an opportunity of a lifetime.

Fingers crossed, I hope to be separated from my loving wife whom I’ll get to date on the weekend, and writing about life as a single father by the end of Monday. Sounds ridiculous.

Fingers crossed. By the end of this silly experiment, I hope to understand my wife more. I hope we appreciate each other more. I hope we find a better way to conduct ourselves as a family for our son, health, and future.

Disclaimer: This is my first attempt at… whatever this is. I also imagine I’m going to be pressed for time so bear with me. My wife has referred to this as a vacation, but rest assured she will not neglect her son. She will be spending just as much time with him as usual due to our irregular work schedules.