What’s it like going through it? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
This season of DivorceCare just ended. I suspect it will be my last time here. I am in the process of applying to be a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and I will then be moving to New Orleans when accepted. Even if I don’t start a semester immediately, I want to be able to get situated, get good employment, and start meeting people.
It really left me tonight thinking about the world of divorce. It’s still a struggle for all of us. I am helping someone out now who is on the journey just as I was helped, but all of us on the path are still hurting.
Other couples can be difficult to see. I am reading through an apocalyptic novel, a chapter a night right now, involving a simple country guy who somehow survives a plague that outright kills most of humanity and recently, he has come across a girl he went to school with who also survived. Tuesday night, they professed their love for each other and well, we know what comes next. No. The book didn’t describe the scene at all, but you did know what was happening. (Do you need to seek a minister to marry you if the world has come to an end like that? Questions theologians ask.)
Did I go to bed depressed some? Yep. I thought about this tonight as we described seeing other couples sometimes. When I was married, it was we were getting together with friends. Now, I am getting together with a friend. When you’re married, your friends seem to be other couples. When you’re single, not as much.
I really do miss that interaction. I wonder if I will ever experience the love of a woman again and getting to give her my love as well. Add in that I’m on the spectrum and that makes it even harder. I understand many guys have a hard time knowing if a woman is flirting with them. For me, it’s far harder.
Not only that, but how do you properly express yourself? How do I know I’m not being a stalker type? How do I show someone how much I adore them without appearing too obsessed over a person?
How do you even make the first move? I remember reading a book on flirting and it told to go through a week at a time. The first week was learning to make eye contact. Hard, but doable. I start looking everyone in the eye as I am told to not just look the opposite sex but the same sex so you can just get better used to eye contact. Okay. Good.
Then the next week was when wisdom shows it’s a good idea, give a gentle smile to someone you deem attractive. I started doing that and I was really surprised how many smiles I got back. I don’t know what that means exactly. I couldn’t help but wonder if they thought I was cute possibly.
So far so good. Let’s go to step three!
I don’t think I came back for months and still I struggle with this one as I despise small talk.
It’s a hope of mine to get to seminary and find guys who will be my wingmen and give me tips on if a girl is interested in me or not. I would totally miss it if they were. I do love the academic life and the intellectual arena, but I am not the best when it comes to the social arena.
Some people might think I focus on that too much. First off, as a guy, I think about physical interaction a lot and miss it everyday so yeah, this is something I focus on. Second, it’s easy for people who are still married to talk about learning to focus on God. Divorce really rips out something from you and it’s as if you’ve lost a limb or even a few of them.
Add in also now that when I am at work, I am essentially bored silly. My work doesn’t challenge me and I realize I did not go to college for this. When I am spoken to by my managers, it is essentially to tell me about things I have done wrong or they think are wrong. I see other people interacting fine and wonder what I’m missing. Really, one of the times I feel the loneliest of all in my life is when I’m at work. I am truly an outsider.
I look at the world around me and see so much chaos going on and I want to be out there doing something and making a difference, but here I am doing what any high schooler could do. I spend 40 hours a week doing it. At least on the way to and fro I can listen to an audible book and while I’m at work I can on breaks read my other books. I won’t deny that work at least pays the bills, but I want meaning in what I do.
When I fill out a survey online and I get asked my marital status, it is still always painful to select divorced. It was a word I never wanted to use to describe myself. I really think I tried to do most everything I could do to be a good and loving husband. In the end, it was rejection.
Rejection is painful. It’s one reason I hate going to work as I feel like an outsider there. I have been there for about ten months and thus far no one has even asked for my Facebook information or anything like that. The only exception is one person who got fired and came through my line and wanted my number and I gave it to him.
I am thankful my parents have provided me a place to live. I am also thankful that I get to spend my time with my cat here. I don’t want to say life is completely terrible. It’s not. I still enjoy my reading and doing my apologetics and I love my gaming time with my friends. I have more money for that now and I also am now playing Final Fantasy XIV online with friends of mine. (If you play, let me know. I am Phoenix Skywing.)
I also try to live by the maxim that the best revenge is a life well lived. I have no wish to harm my ex-wife. I don’t even know where she is right now or what she’s doing. I have a general idea, but I don’t look her up or anything like that. She’s made her decision. I still pray for her every night, but I don’t watch her or keep tabs or anything like that.
For going to New Orleans, I am looking for a church now that is autism friendly. I am also going to talk about getting a job with the New Orleans Baptist Association if I don’t get one at a local church. I have also given some thought to doing Christian comedy from an autistic Christian perspective. One benefit of my work now is I have so many interactions that really show the way people think that I can make plenty of jokes about how people act in a retail environment.
The biggest concern about this is sadly, the church can treat divorce like it’s the unpardonable sin. This is one area we definitely need to improve on. I am thankful I have a good church family. I can’t imagine going through this and having a church family that would kick me while I’m down as if I was an awful sinner because of what happened. Sadly, there are too many people who cannot say the same thing about having a good church.
Until then, I will be sharing my Patreon also so that if I do lose my job, which wouldn’t surprise me frankly, I can at least have some more income coming in in the meanwhile and hopefully, I can get to a point of working entirely from home doing apologetics. I also ask people who want to encourage to mainly listen if you have not gone through divorce. Help from people who have not been there is often remembered as being more painful than it is helpful.
If you have been through it, I welcome you walking beside me, especially if you’re a guy and can share in the struggles that guys have. I remember as an example talking to a guy friend here who has gone through it about the struggle I had at the start of it when I felt guilty finding myself attracted to other women. I remember also thinking about going through a store and saying to myself, “She would like this. Oh yeah. Right. She did that.” I was so used to buying her gifts and now so much I have to unthink. Having a guy who has walked the walk has been essential to me.
Divorce is painful. Even writing this blog has been painful. There are times I can be minding my own business and just get hit with sudden sorrow for a moment or so. One reason I think I game a lot now is so that I can have my mind off of the matter for a short time. I have a goal I can accomplish and I work on doing that.
Many of you have been there and I appreciate that. Also, not all of you are Christians even, but I appreciate your help as well. I am thankful that as much as I love debate, posts like this don’t become debate posts. I am also thankful some people I know have been inspired to speak out and share their stories on divorce. I would love to see the stigma against it broken. This is also why I have a Facebook group for Christian men and divorce. Feel free to find it and join in, but you have to answer all the questions to get in.
And if you have read this long, I appreciate your reading. I do really look forward to what’s coming up in my life, though I won’t deny it is somewhat frightening too. I have never lived as far away as in Louisiana, but I want to do something to make a difference down there as well.
Please be praying for me and consider becoming a contributor to my Patreon as well. All the support I can get will be great and I am a spender who tries to be conscientious with money. I am always looking for a bargain.
Again, thank you for reading.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)