Not long ago, I was leaving a work-related event when a young girl approached me on the sidewalk with a box full of homemade jewelry. She explained that she was selling her beaded creations to help her mom pay a phone bill. Feeling generous, sympathetic to her cause, and just in an overall pleasant mood that evening, I selected a bracelet that appealed to me. I then handed her some bills and told her to keep the change.
The blue, knotted piece of yarn has not left my wrist since. On the bracelet is one word comprised of four letters: FREE. I chose this particular bracelet to serve as a tangible reminder that I no longer answer to anyone. After years of being in a relationship, this symbol is helping me break old habits and enabling me to change my thought patterns. I love seeing this word upon waking each morning.
The divorce process sucks. My life is certainly more difficult in some ways now that I am a working parent raising kids, largely on my own. However, there are perks to being divorced as well.
Below are 21 reasons why I am happy to be on my own.
1. I get to do it my way. Throughout my marriage, I learned that it was easier just to defer to my husband’s way of doing things around the house, whether it was the choice of salad dressing at dinner or how I folded our laundry. I am my own person again. I make all the decisions.
2. I can eat what I want, whenever I want, with no disapproving comments or looks. Yes, he did introduce me to new cuisines, but it often meant giving up the foods I loved most. Now I can eat the foods I enjoy like Ben & Jerry’s at midnight. The best part: No one says a word.
3. It’s my money. I no longer have to fear he’ll go overboard on a trip to Costco. I buy only what I need, I track every expense, and I expect my debit card to work on every transaction. No one else is spending my hard-earned money. I am in control.
4. I don’t wait up late at night wondering when he will be home. Yes, it does get lonely at times, and I miss adult conversation, but I was often alone at night during my marriage. The difference is that I am no longer resentful or frustrated that I haven’t heard from him. I worry less too.
5. I don’t have to clean up after him. Working full-time and caring for children is challenging enough without his extra chaos. I love the house clutter-free and organized the way I keep it. While I do miss wearing his socks, I don’t miss picking them up off the floor.
6. I make my own plans. I don’t have a lot of free time now, but the time I have is my own. No longer do I factor in his plans, his family or his friends.
7. I don’t need approval. I tried hard to please my spouse, but often fell short. It seemed that I was never quite good enough. Now I always measure up. My opinion is all that matters.
8. I choose my clothes. I dress for myself, and I buy what I want—though these days it’s very little on my budget.
9. No one criticizes me. When I make a mistake, I own it and I make amends, but at least I don’t have someone else pointing out my flaws regularly or saying, “I told you so.”
10. There is more space in the house. I have room in my closet, the dresser and my bed. I actually appreciate sleeping alone most nights.
11. The TV is mine, after the kids go to sleep that is.
12. Holidays are more enjoyable. If the kids are with me, then we’ll spend holidays with my family. If he has the kids, I can ignore the holidays completely and get a break.
13. I move at my own pace. I am extremely punctual. I can’t stand being late or waiting for others who don’t value time as I do. Now, I wait for no one.
14. I can fall in love again. Suddenly the options seem limitless. I can flirt. I can date, and one day, perhaps I’ll even find myself in a relationship though I can’t imagine ever getting married again.
15. I call bedtime. I love being able to crash when the kids go to bed. I don’t miss his illuminated cell phone next to me at night.
16. I can relax. Being unattached is just less stressful.
17. I can have my own opinions. I don’t miss the arguments. My life is so much more peaceful now.
18. I can write, paint and dream big. I am free to pursue my interests again. I believe in myself.
19. I don’t have to make excuses for anyone else. We are no longer a team. Though I try not to say anything negative about the father of my children, I no longer have to defend him or his actions.
20. I get to drive. No more white knuckles and praying in the passenger’s seat, I am in the driver’s seat now.
21. I can make my own future. I don’t regret my marriage or the choices I made; after all, we produced three incredible little people. Our children are my world, and I look forward to many wonderful years ahead.
For far too long, I compromised. Ultimately I lost myself in my marriage. Today I am divorced and I am free, and I wear the bracelet just in case I ever lose sight of that again.