As the old saying goes, “The only constant in life is change.” My life has been ruled by it, moving around as a kid, life in the military, and the same old stuff we all deal with as we age and grow.

For the last 15 years, my wife has been the only constant in my life. We met in Delaware while I was stationed there. We fell in love, got married, and I scooped her away from the only home she had ever known to go live in Spain with me.

We were young, very young. I now know I was dealing with the early stages of PTSD; having met her just weeks after coming home from a rough deployment, she gave me an escape from my pain. The thing about escapes is that they only work for so long, and eventually, I had to deal with my issues. It was not easy, and sometimes she boor the brunt of that pain. Anyone who knows me can tell you I don’t express my emotions well; she, on the other hand, needed all of hers on her sleeve. Needless to say, this difference resulted in a lot of tension, frustration, and confusion. We worked through it, but not absolutely. We had our first child in Spain, I got out of the military and had two more kids in Maryland, but tensions always remained.

Tension eventually rubs raw, like a dog licking a wound; the longer it lasts, the worse it gets. We both tried to change and adapt for the sake of the other, but changing who you are is difficult, if not impossible, and it never worked.

So here I am 15 years later, looking change in the eyes again. We are separating, and my home will not be hers for the first time since 2008. It’s hard to explain; we don’t hate each other or even really fight, but we are distant, and I can sense some resentment in her that I can’t bear. I am thankful that we get along and can raise our kids together, even if we are apart. It will be an adjustment for all of us, but I pray they will understand and feel our love for them.

I have lived with my wife for longer than anyone else (I lived with my mom until I was 11 and my dad until I was 18). If I was not as open as she wanted, she still knew me better than anyone else. It’s going to be strange to live alone again (part-time), it’s going to be hard not to see my kids every day, and it will be difficult not to be upset. Still, in the end, I will never feel regret. I will always love her, be glad for our time together, and forever cherish our children.