Freedom without Guilt

Looking at the positive side of divorce.

My friends have all been incredibly supportive as I go through the divorce process. They’re constantly offering uplifting words of wisdom and telling me to treat myself well.

Another author, who I remain in contact with mostly via Twitter, said in a private direct message:

long time ago— after breakup—I asked myself—what couldn’t I do while still in arelationship—I went to art school. You?… travel…?

I responded truthfully:

I’ve always had a lot of freedom to do what I want. Now I have freedom without guilt.

And I think that sums up the situation pretty well. Although I’m still not sure how the divorce will affect me financially, I know it won’t change the core of what I do with my life.

My husband didn’t didn’t have any real direction — he’s been like a rudderless ship for a long while. I need a direction to move in, so I made my own. My husband always gave me the freedom to do that. (I think that’s where our relationship was far better than average — we gave each other the freedom to do what we wanted.) He also followed my lead in many things: learning to ride motorcycles, owning and riding horses, and learning to fly are just three examples.

Although he never complained about us mostly doing “my” things — until it was too late and the marriage was over — near the end I felt a sort of unspoken resentment from him when I did or suggested doing things he didn’t approve of. When I carried on — as I always did when he said nothing to stop me — I felt deep down inside that things weren’t quite right, but could never identify the source of the feeling.

I realize now that it was guilt.

His unspoken cues signaling disapproval of certain decisions and actions were picked up by my subconscious, making me feel guilty without knowing why. The feeling manifested itself as a sort of uneasiness that made what I was doing just a little less enjoyable. Or, worse yet, made me doubt, for no logical reason, whether what I was doing was right.

That’s all gone now. Without the disapproving frowns and glares, I can get on with my life without feeling guilty. That is, by far, the best outcome of this divorce.

It’s a real shame that he didn’t speak up and communicate better with me while we were together. I think a lot of the problems that we had in the last few years would’ve been resolved before they eventually destroyed our marriage. Communication was always a one-way street with us. He claims I never gave him a chance to speak, but in reality he never really tried to.

Hell, I don’t talk all the time.

One of the things I’m looking for in my next partner is someone who can always be honest with me and communicate exactly what’s on his mind. I’d rather be with someone who lets me know — in no uncertain terms — when he’s not happy with me than feel that uneasy sensation of guilt when I’m doing something he doesn’t approve of.

What do you think?