Dating my soldier husband during the war.  "Become Stranger" - O2

Irina Chek is a Ukrainian poet and documentary filmmaker, who is the wife of the famous writer Artem Chek. The woman decided to make an honest confession.

“It has become a stranger to me”

Ciłyk admits that war and the front have turned her beloved husband into a completely different man, and that short meetings don’t look like movies, incl. “Cold War” by Polish director Bawi Pawlikowski. Just serving in the Ukrainian army in 2016 made her husband cold and distant for a long time.

Although we dreamed of meeting for several months, when we finally managed to realize our dream (in a neutral area – in the industrial front city of Severodonetsk), it became clear from the first minutes that something important between us broke, disappeared, died. Stranger. My husband was a complete stranger to me – she used to say “Wysokie Obcasom”.

The man was fired. However, it took six months to get back to “normal”. He finally admitted that he had suicidal thoughts after returning from the front.

I only saw Cage very confused and lonely, his heart frozen like ice. Time passed, I cried, I cried again – she adds.

But in the end, tenderness and intimacy returned between the spouses. However, this situation did not last long, because in February 2022 the Russians invaded Ukraine. Ciłyk learned of the matter from her husband, who was later crammed to the front. The nightmare started again.

Dissatisfaction, fatigue, coldness. This is what these short meetings and long goodbyes look like. Emotional dullness is the primary guarantee of survival during the war, because if you allow yourself to feel something, there is a great danger of suddenly and irreversibly falling into endless, intense pain, as the Ukrainian woman explains.

The first and only meeting so far with my husband was like this as well. Fatigue, hunger (during the war, shops do not work for a long time), freezing cold and hordes of cockroaches in the old apartment. “History” did not have any romance, even painful. – I would have preferred to see myself in a black dress and layered nylon stockings, dark eyes of excitement and a voice bursting with passion – the poet sneers.

Karolina Sopusica, journalist at

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