Divorce and Loneliness

How does divorce affect your social life? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

You can be in a room full of people and feel alone. I am not a social being majorly, but I do need to have a few people around. I have times where I want to talk to a friend deeply. I have times where I want to know that I matter to people. Sometimes I can be at work and honestly feel like no one there cares about me.

Something that really changes when you get married is it’s rarely that you get together with your friends anymore. Instead, you and your spouse get together with another couple. When you get divorced, you lose that. All of a sudden, you’re doing things with friends again and it’s just you. It’s not someone else you share with. You don’t drive home from a meeting with another couple discussing how it went. You don’t drive home from church or Celebrate Recovery or a place like that discussing how the sermon was or what happened in group. Nothing.

I come home at the end of the workday and I go to bed. My parents are waiting for me, but I assure you that’s nowhere near like having a wife waiting for you. I remember how amazing it was when we were married and I would bring Allie here for the holidays and go upstairs to my old bedroom and get to be sleeping next to my wife in my old bed. When I woke up in the morning, she was right there. That was nice. I was really living married life.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the joys of kissing, cuddling, and having sex. That’s definitely there, but marriage and sharing the bed together was so much more. Of course, I am a guy and of course, I wanted that and I still wanted it. It would be a mistake to think that was all that I cared about. That was instead a symbol of the unity we were to share together. There was only one woman I ever trusted myself to so deeply and completely.

I feel like she saw all that, took all of me, said not good enough, and rejected and even betrayed me.

That stings.

That even gives me some anger.

Anger is for another post.

When I drive anywhere, i normally drive alone. When I sit in the pew at church, even though I am sitting next to people, it is not the same.

Shiro does something cute at the house? It’s not the same. Allie and I were the only people he truly trusted and he will likely never have that with my parents and even when remarriage comes along, will he relate to a new wife of mine the same way? I don’t know. If I find a roommate while I wait, will he be the same way?

We can’t sit on the couch together and watch TV shows. If I want to play a game, she used to be there and even if she wasn’t playing, she was watching and seemed to enjoy it. Will I ever find that again?

I also want to say that sometimes people will toss out such stinging platitudes as “Work on your relationship with God and be happy in Him and God will send you someone when you are ready.” Please do not say such garbage to me. You truly have no idea how much such platitudes sting. I will be writing a blog post on statements like that in the future, but for now, don’t you dare say that to me. I don’t know a single divorced person I have talked to who likes to hear such statements. I am sure you mean well, but you are doing more harm than good.

Then you throw in the Aspergers. It’s not easy for a neurotypical woman to deal with. Most women are that. When I am on dating websites, I always wonder if this woman would understand my traits. Will she accept I am not ready to go to some restaurants because of my dietary struggles? Will she understand when I miss social cues that indicate messages she wants to send me?

Allie even told me there were three times at least when she was really in the mood and was trying to send me messages and I missed them.

I hate to think about those three precious times whatever they were….

What if I date an Aspie girl? Well, Aspergers normally hits men more than women and even then, it’s harder to find one who is a devout Christian. They do exist, but it is difficult. That’s something that made Allie seem like such a Godsend. Now that is gone.

Sometimes I go to bed at night and want to cry some. I can be holding Shiro and petting him and thinking of how lonely I am, and yet I still tell him and truly mean it, that right now he’s one of my best friends.

It’s that in losing Allie, I feel like I have lost a part of me. I have died in some way. Not only that, I have lost someone out of intent on their part. They wanted to get away from me. I was not worth it.

It is a pain you cannot understand unless you have been there.

Please don’t understand. This doesn’t mean doom and gloom for me. In some ways, I don’t mind a certain loneliness. Leave me in my room with my books and my games and I can be fine. I can play an MMORPG like Final Fantasy XIV or I can chat on Facebook or things like that.

Put me though in a social situation, like work, and it is painful at times. This is especially if I have to work in a place where I have to relate to people on a very impersonal level. I hate running a regular cashier or self check-outs where I work because I am forced into those social situations. Put me behind the counter where I am talking about financial needs and it is different. Give me work that doesn’t challenge me though and I dwell on my problems for the most part.

You’re there and you wish someone would come up to you and really mean it when they ask about what’s going on with you. I still remember how someone in my line came through and said as they left, “You should smile. God loves you.”

Another platitude. This is what prompted me to write “Be of Good Cheer”. Did it ever occur to you to maybe ask me why I don’t smile so much? Instead of being willing to care about my pain and interact with it and perhaps listen to me, no. You just gave a platitude. I am sure you meant well, but it doesn’t help.

Imagine going up to someone who just lost a child or got a cancer diagnosis and telling them, “Smile. God loves you.” Such a statement would be hollow and uncaring. There is real pain going on. There is real loneliness.

It doesn’t help that the work that I do always leaves me thinking that I want to be doing something more. I didn’t go to college for this. It can be hard when people tell me so many good things online, but when I get offline, people don’t really seem to care.

To get back to the Aspergers, I’m not just a Christian man going through a divorce. I am one on the spectrum going through it. I have a hard enough time understanding what’s going on with me with regular matters. Add this in and it’s harder.

I will say in all of this I am thankful for the blog. I know there have been concerns about me airing dirty laundry. It is not my intent. It is my intent to share real pain in the hopes of hearing someone else out there really say “Thank you. That’s exactly what I’m going through. That really helped me.”

Or even thinking about if someone said to me, “I was thinking about divorcing my husband, but I hear what you’re going through and I really want to give it one more good try in counseling before I do that. The pain of divorce is a death that keeps going every time you are reminded that you are alone. I know people who have gone through divorce and losing a spouse to death. For the most part, they all say divorce is worse.

Think about that.

Divorce is worse than death.

So many readers have got in touch with me to share encouragement. That means a lot. Looking at my blog stats, I have seen the numbers have gone up a lot on this topic. That means a lot to me. I also think it means the church needs to do more to reach people who are divorced.

That definitely means not shaming them. Sometimes, people are wrongfully divorced, and yet they are treated like they are the villain. They are not allowed to hold an office in the church or anything like that. There is a scarlet D on their chests.

Don’t think I don’t think about that with redating. I wonder what happens when I meet a girl’s parents someday. “Oh? You’re divorced.” What assumptions will be thought of about me? What if a girl has the same assumptions?

You see, I don’t want to be alone, but there’s a part of me that is also fearful of getting close again. In some ways, I have two great fears with asking a girl out.

One is that she’ll say no.

The other is that she’ll say yes.

But hey, no guts, no glory, and a woman is definitely worth it. They are the most beautiful aspects of creation and definitely worth treasuring. Love is a gift and I want it again.

Yet until then, there is the loneliness. I know I have rambled some in this, but I think the readers appreciate it and understand it. Sometimes when I am at work, I am humming a tune. Someone, I think it was Sunday night, said they recognized it and asked me what it was.

They did recognize it.

It’s from Final Fantasy IX.

It’s the opening theme.

It’s called “A Place To Call Home.”

It’s something I dream of again.

And I resonate with the statement made about Eiko in it who represents solitude.

“I don’t wanna be alone anymore.”

I realize I have to live with my parents for now, but I want a place to be on my own and independent. I want a place I can call my own. I want a place where my cat can roam inside freely. I want a place to call home.

If I get to share that home with a special woman who loves me for me and who I can love in return, that is even better.

I hear you, Eiko.

I agree with you.

I don’t want to be alone anymore either.

Loneliness stings because it is a kind of rejection. It reminds me of that rejection regularly. It feels like a failure. I may be anti-social in many ways, but there are ways I do need other people in my life and as I have said before, having a lady would be oh so special again.

Thanks to all who read this and comment. It’s good for me to do this too. I hope it helps you. I know it helps me. It’s a cathartic moment and I feel like a cross has been lifted from me to some small degree every time I post on this.

I hope it helps you out too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Being Like Jesus

How is it we are supposed to live? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m someone in ministry, so I’d like to think I get it right a lot of the times. I mean by that not just intellectually as in having my doctrine all accurate, but also the way I live. Sadly, there are too many times that I don’t. There are too many times that I lose sight of what’s important. There are too many times that it’s easy to fall into the “It’s all about me” trap.

Sometimes it can be with thinking about people who I seek to do good for and then in the end, it looks like it goes unnoticed and my efforts don’t matter. In some cases, when my efforts don’t seem to matter, I can ask myself if what I’m doing really matters at all. I can easily enter into a “why bother?” stage. This stage woke me up in the middle of the night last night and I ended up praying seeking to deal with it.

“God. How is it you can do so much good for some people and they end up placing their focus elsewhere?”

Now keep in mind, I don’t believe that God normally speaks to us today. I have written on that elsewhere here on this blog, but that’s neither here nor there now. Still, I can often try to picture what God would say. In this case, I could picture it clearly.

“You mean like you’re doing right now?”

Ouch.

There are times I think God takes His proverbial two-by-four and whacks us upside the head. I think this was one of those times and it was just the whack I needed. As I sought to regain sleep again, I thought of a time when it would have been easy for Jesus to lose focus. If there was any time, I think the cross would be the greatest.

Let’s start with the facts about this. For one thing, Jesus was betrayed. Many of us know what betrayal can be like. Jesus did. We can look at the obvious case of Judas. Yes. Judas betrayed Jesus. In that betrayal, Jesus still had love for Judas. While Scripture doesn’t record that Judas repented, would Jesus have forgiven Him if He had? I have no doubt. I have no reason to think that Jesus delighted in the death of Judas.

Judas wasn’t the only betrayal. How about Peter? Remember Peter? Peter was Jesus’s right-hand man. He was one of the people who had got to go on the miracle tour of casting out demons. He had been at the Mount of Transfiguration. He had done many miracles and seen many miracles of Jesus and seen Jesus best His opponents in debate time and time again.

In some ways, Peter’s cowardice could have been harder than Judas’s betrayal. Peter had been in a great position being part of the inner three and had been the unsaid leader of the group. If anyone should have known Jesus and what He stood for, it was Peter, and yet when the moment came, Peter lost sight of Jesus entirely and thought more of saving his own hide.

It was betrayal.

Yet when we get to the cross, what do we see? Jesus is pronouncing forgiveness for those who had crucified Him. Forgiveness. Now before you say “Sure. It’s easy for Him. He’s the Son of God.” keep in mind that Stephen when stoned in Acts 7 does the exact same thing.

When we see Jesus on the cross, we don’t see Him uttering one word of condemnation. In fact, He’s practically still doing evangelism on the cross. Jesus is making sure His mother is taken care of and providing salvation to a thief.

“But didn’t Jesus say ‘My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?”

Indeed He did, and yet that’s Psalm 22 He’s quoting. It starts in sorrow but ends in tragedy. Jesus is still maintaining His focus on God. In the midst of His worst suffering, Jesus is not complaining. Jesus is not focusing on what others have done to Him. Jesus is focusing on His Father.

It was then that I thought about how we’re to be like Jesus and how in my own thinking I had lost the focus and was placing it elsewhere. We can all easily be assured, the more we lose our focus on Jesus, the harder our lives will be. The more we focus on Him, the easier our lives will be.

Now I want to be clear on that last point. I am not saying with that things will automatically work out for you. They won’t. Paul described many of his sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11 and let’s keep in mind he wrote of great joy from a Roman prison cell. Those weren’t the best places to be in. Am I saying his life was easier because he focused on Jesus?

Yes I am. Because Paul had that focus, he was able to bear suffering. Just look at his writings and see what he says about suffering. Suffering will happen. There is no avoiding it this side of eternity. The question is what are we going to do with suffering? How are we going to handle it? Are we going to treat it like the enemy itself, or could we look at it as the tool of the Father to make us more like Jesus if we will let it? Could it be that if we do not do that, that we will have to keep repeating the lesson? I can say for my part that when I did remember to focus on Christ last night and started that looking again and the prayer to be like Jesus, it was amazing how quickly the internal mental anguish vanished.

I also do think that this has some great apologetics value. Not only is living like Jesus a powerful motivator for the life-changing power of Christ in our society, but keep in mind, it’s not about us but about Jesus. Jesus in the Gospels is such a powerful and awesome figure in how He handles Himself that as I thought about it last night, I remembered the claim that it was preposterous to think that someone would invent Jesus. There is just something about Jesus that is so unique and amazing in His presentation that none of us could invent Him. Those who see Jesus as a myth I think have never taken the time to consider how Jesus is in the Gospels and I mean not just in His doing miracles, but the very way He carried Himself and presented Himself.

There’s a reason Jesus is the figure that our calendar is built around. There’s a reason that churches have His name in them. There’s a reason we bear His name in us. There’s a reason most every religion after Jesus still wants to do something with Him because He’s such an amazing figure. It was this that got me thinking back to an argument Tom Gilson made. You can read that here and I highly encourage you to do so.

Once again, I’m reminded that in my suffering and whatever I’m going through, I should look at Jesus and see if He went through likewise. Are there any parallels? If so, I am to walk as He walked. It’s not easy. It’s a battle. It’s going to involve constant dying to the flesh and I can’t do it in my own strength of course. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to help with that. The question is simply going to be am I going to do it and if I try, Jesus will help me as I walk in the right direction, no matter how many times I stumble.

In Christ,
Nick Peters