Retroactive Guilt

I woke up this morning and decided to check Facebook before I got started with my day.  I saw that Treun had posted a few new pictures and decided to check them out.

They were old pictures from his time in the military – one official one in his dress uniform and a few from a time overseas in his camo.  He was more than 10 years younger than he is now and wow!  I guess I love a man in uniform.  He was so sexy in those pictures.

Then it hit me.  He was hers back then.  He was still happily married, with two children at home.  Then another thought hit me.  I was still married too with two very small children at home.  Yet, I wasn’t happily married.  Those pictures were taken at the same time that I wrote that one journal entry where I was so absolutely miserable and feeling so trapped.

Hello guilt! I’m sitting here finding another woman’s husband attractive while I was still married.  NO!  That was then, this is now.  It doesn’t matter what was going on in our lives then.  I can look back at pictures of him from then and I don’t have to feel guilty because I didn’t even know him back then.  I am doing nothing wrong now.

The guilt that Celia taught is so deep-seated and ingrained that it even gives me retroactive guilt!  How can I feel guilty for my feelings now even though they were not then?  Hell, I didn’t even know Treun back then.  Exactly!  It makes no sense!  As you sit there and shake your head at how my brain even came up with this, I sit here fighting that Ghost.  I hear the voice of that Ghost screaming in my head, “You shouldn’t find him attractive because he was hers then.  You are lusting after a married man.  He had that picture taken then went home and made love to her.  Those hands that you are drooling over?  They were on her a mere few hours after that picture was taken.  You have no right to him.”

I’m trying to tell myself that we are together now.  Looking at old pictures does NOT make me some kind of cheater.  I know who we both are and had we bumped into each other back then, absolutely nothing would’ve happened between us because that isn’t who either of us are.  Neither of us are cheaters.  Yes, we love each other now but back then, it wouldn’t even have entered our minds because we wouldn’t have been looking at each other that way.

The battle is raging in my head.  I know that I have nothing to feel guilty for, I can look at pictures from the past and find Treun attractive and have nothing to feel guilty for…yet…it is there.  That feeling of wrongness for wanting him in those pictures.

I think it all stems from the fact that I desperately wonder what it would’ve been like to have been married to him all those years – to have had my babies with him.  We went to a party a couple of weeks ago and I got to hold a friend’s newborn.  As I was holding this sleeping little boy, it reminded me so much of doing just that for my children.  I looked over at Treun and the look on his face just made me wish he’d been the kids’ dad.  It made me wonder what my life would’ve been like to have him there, supporting me and loving me while I raised our children.

Treun and I will never have children together.  Neither of us want more babies and it isn’t physically possible at this point in our lives.  Yet, there is a small part of me that longs to watch him with our baby.  I’ve been past my baby-making days for quite some time now and have never had an urge to have another baby yet I wonder.

I think that is where the guilt comes from.  Wondering.  Wishing.  And being absolutely envious of what his ex-wife had and threw away.  She had the life I dreamed of – being able to stay home with the kids and be that kind of wife and mother.  Whereas that kind of life was meant for me, she felt constrained by it and fought against it to the point where she ripped her family apart.  She wanted more than just being a wife and mother.  The ironic part is that I had to go out and work full-time while she still doesn’t work outside the home.

I’m jealous of Treun’s ex-wife.  She had everything I ever wanted and she threw it away yet she still gets to stay at home because of who Treun is.  He gave her enough in the divorce that she won’t have to work outside of the home for another six years even though their youngest recently turned 18 and Treun no longer has to pay child support.  Bubba screwed me over at every turn and continues to do so.

That is where the guilt comes from.  Jealousy.  It is just another way to realize that I picked a bad man to marry and have kids with.  I’m paying an awesome price for that decision.  Treun’s ex-wife picked a good man to marry and she is still reaping the benefits of it, even four years after their divorce.  She’ll continue to reap those benefits for another six years.

I have nothing to feel guilty for in finding Treun attractive in those old pictures.  I just have to work through the jealousy that is eating me in regards to his ex-wife.  I think I can conquer that by focusing on the fact that Treun and I are together now.   She is missing out on the next 40 years with him.  Now I get to reap the benefits of having a good man in my life.  The most amazing benefit?  Getting to be with Treun.  He is such a wonderful man and I get to spend my time with him.  I get to share his life now.

I can’t change the past but I can enjoy the future with him.

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