They were fighting. Last night, on my way home, I passed an Upper East Side couple heading south on Lexington. He was wearing a navy sports coat, nice slacks, and his left wrist sported an understated but attractive TAG Heuer wristwatch. She was thin with silver hair perfectly coiffed into a neat up-do. She draped body in a classic A-cut burgundy dress. A pretty shawl loosely caressed the folds of her arms which she moved sharply while explaining to the guy, “You can’t have freedom in a marriage!” I thought, Ewww! She makes being married to her sound like prison!! :( She needs to give her husband his free!! Give him his free!!! After I got home, I kept turning that woman’s words around in my head. You can’t have freedom in a marriage. You can’t have freedom in a marriage. Getting dressed this morning, I thought about her again when I read about China blocking access to Twitter on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
While that woman on Lexington was yelling at her husband about his refusal to be on lockdown, I checked his face for reaction. His facial features crumbled, shoulders slouched and he looked like an animal caged against his will.Â He looked completely and utterly miserable. I kind of felt bad for him. Whether dating, married or single — who the hell wants to feel like their freedoms have been taken away?
Although I haven’t ever cheated on anyone, each of my exes could tell you several ways in which I’ve been an imperfect girlfriend, an imperfect human being. That said, I’ve grown up a lot and I’ve learned a thing or two about how to treat men. One of the JDate profile questions asks about my past relationships. I wrote: “I’ve learned to be a more patient, less judgmental and more forgiving person. In my past, I’ve placed unreasonable expectations on my boyfriends (i.e. one dude wanted to get waaaaay too close to me waaaay too soon and I pushed him away). I now know it’s unreasonable to expect 100% freedom when someone else wants to share their time or their heart with you.” So, now, if a guy is doing or saying something to me that I don’t like, I focus on my reaction instead of his actions — i.e. it’s about how he makes me feel, not about taking away his freedom away while expecting to keep mine 100%.
Who the hell knows why the couple I passed on the street was fighting. Perhaps, he was cheating? If that’s the case, I imagine his response to his wife would’ve been quite different if she’d started with: “When you cheated on me, it made me feel like I’m not good enough for you and you needed to go outside of our marriage to get turned on or and have an orgasm. That makes me feel like I’m not sexy, attractive or desireable enough and you’d rather be with another woman instead of me. So, that makes me wonder if you want out of this relationship and/or if I should get out. But, I’m afraid to go because we’ve got children, history and a life together. And, I’m afraid to stay because I’d feel ashamed, like I don’t value my own self worth.” THAT conversation might’ve ignited a dialogue about the possibility of an open relationship, divorce, working on relationship problems, better sex, a separation or other possible routes. Instead, the pair walked down the street while she forcefully explained that he couldn’t be a free man and he looked pained as he listened in silence. Besides, I didn’t really get the impression they resolved anything with the fight. Hmmm …. I still can’t get that woman’s words out of my head or that guy’s face out of my sight. Is It Possible to Keep Your Freedom in a Relationship? Go ahead; leave your ideas in the comments section below.