Divorce as Rejection

What ultimately is divorce? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have my laptop back and everything looks to be working fine, so let’s jump back into this topic. When it gets down to it, what is the #1 pain of divorce? If I could sum it up in one word, it would be rejection.

Many of us have experienced a break-up in our lives or have asked someone out and been told no, and those can compare, but divorce is just so much worse. Divorce is when someone makes a promise to you and then breaks it. Divorce is when in a marriage you have given everything you have to someone and they have said that it wasn’t good enough.

For me, this has hit quite hard as if you asked my parents about me growing up, I always wanted a woman in my ilfe, and this was long before I knew about the birds and the bees. I never had that faze in my life where girls were icky and had cooties or anything like that. I can still remember the first crush I had was back in elementary school in Transition and that lasted all through elementary school.

I also had got used to being told no later on when I would ask any girl out. No. No. No. I still want to roll my eyes when I hear a lady say something like “I just want a nice guy who cares about me and my feelings.” Let’s face it. We’re all a bit superficial at times and those looks play a big role in it. I would just prefer the honesty.

So when she came into my life and was interested in me, it was something incredible. I had never once encountered a girl that was actually desiring of me. Not only that, she didn’t get turned off by the Aspie traits that I have. Everyone who saw us thought we were the best couple. My best man at the wedding in his toast said he didn’t think there were two people more suited for each other. The counselor doing our pre-marital counseling said he had only met seven couples he thought were a match made in Heaven and we were one of those couples.

And yet something went wrong.

Did I make mistakes? Obviously. Everyone does. Only a fool says he goes into a marriage and makes no mistakes. Anything worthy of this? Not a bit. The message given is that things were so bad with me that she thought she had to break her promise to God to escape.

Now I realize that sometimes people divorce over issues like divorce and adultery being done. In that case, the party that divorces when their spouse is unfaithful in that way is responding to a rejection already. I recommend trying to work things out if possible, but if the other party isn’t willing, there’s nothing you can do.

Today, I notice that I am very sensitive to rejection. It’s different for different people. A girl I used to go to DivorceCare with said once the ultimate one breaks the promise and rejects, the other rejections don’t really hurt anymore. For me, they do. They remind me of that rejection.

I used to tell people I was on the spectrum and have no problem with it. Now I do it and get nervous beforehand worried that they will reject me. If I make a mistake at my job, I am sure for some time that I will be fired. It hasn’t happened yet, but that is still there. I do try to approach women, but I am still again sensitive to any hint of rejection.

Rejection is so painful because the message given is not just your actions but that you as a person are inadequate. You are not good enough. I find this ironic since what she always complained about was other people saying she wasn’t good enough. Now who is the one saying that?

By the way, I want to stress that while I am honest about her behavior when I speak of it, I am not trying to speak ill of her honestly. For her, I really do want the best for her. I want her to have a holy and happy life eventually. I do have my concerns about that, but I try to eliminate any animosity. That doesn’t do me any good after all.

My DivorceCare leader and I had a discussion a few months ago that covered rejection. I told him that I didn’t understand when he said he wanted me to speak less, but was always praising other people when they spoke. That was one thing among many. He thanked me for sharing and said “I thought you knew that I was encouraging them because they were new. I didn’t realize you didn’t see it that way.” In truth, I didn’t. It felt like a rejection every time.

I also realize that ultimately, this is not an issue with other people. This is an issue with me. I cannot demand that other people change to fit my happiness. None of us can. Anyone has a right and freedom to reject me if they wish. It could be wrong perhaps, but it is their choice. I also have a right to not accept everyone who comes to me. I have a desire to remarry, but I don’t want to remarry someone who isn’t a Christian.

I do know that at my workplace I will soon be able to have health insurance. I have a therapist already, but one of my plans is also to get a psychiatrist then so I can work on the issues that I am dealing with and if need be, get medication. I wonder if I might have a form of PTSD from everything I went through and I think a psychiatrist can best determine that.

Now some of you might be tempted to go all spiritual on me and say “Well God accepts you. Isn’t that good enough?” In a sense, it should be for all of us, but God also made us social creatures. We are not meant to be alone. Even in the most glorious state in creation for man, it was not good for man to be alone. When our Lord walked this Earth, He had friends. Could there not be a hint of the pain of rejection in his words when he says to His disciples in John 6, “Will you go also?”

If I desire friends in my life and don’t want to be rejected, will anyone really tell me that’s wrong? If I desire for even strangers to like me and not reject me, is that wrong? If I also, which I do, desire a lady in my life to share my journeys with, will anyone say that that is wrong? These are all desires that I think are God-given so we should celebrate them and try to meet them.

Can this kind of thing be taken too far? Yes. That is something that I have to work on on my end, but at the same time try to better myself for my interactions with other people. I have read some books on interacting socially lately to try to work on this all the more. I can easily say I don’t ever want to go through the pain that divorce brings and is bringing again.

I say bringing because everything I do around me often is a reminder of it. When I go to bed at night, there’s no one lying next to me or no one who can reach over and touch me or vice-versa. She was the only person who I really craved the touch of. I live with my parents again now and I don’t even like it if they touch me.

When I am at work, I wonder if I would be where I was if she hadn’t rejected me. When I find myself going out there trying to make friends again and trying to win the heart of a lady, i often think about what I have lost. Yes. Despite the wrong that has done, I have lost something.

The Scripture says the two become one flesh. How can you become one flesh with someone and then when they are gone not have a real loss? When you marry, so much of your life becomes integral around another person and then that person says they don’t want you anymore? What are you to think of that? In some sense, does your identity not come into question?

I look through Facebook memories and so many times, I see myself making a post on how much she means to me. In the comments, I can sometimes see her talking about how much she will always be devoted to me and always love me and how thankful she is. Yep. That stings every time I see it.

I had a coworker ask me about animes recently. I don’t remember what brought it up, but that was hard to talk about. After all, the main person I know about those through is her.

When you’re 41 also, it’s much harder to find someone who is in your age range who is still looking for someone for marriage. Put in all my eccentricities and it can become even harder. Still, I think it’s worth it. I have a therapist working with me in this regard, but it is difficult.

If you’re in a marriage and struggling, please do try to work out your struggles. Aside from abuse and adultery, divorce should be a last option. It is a great pain to the person who is being rejected. I have met people who have lost a spouse to divorce and death and to a person, I think aside from just one maybe, all of them said divorce was worse.

Yes. Divorce is worse than death.

It’s worse I think because it’s an ongoing living death. You know the other person is out there and has intentionally acted in this way to get away from you. This person has decided that you are unlovable. Now I still maintain that if you think your neighbor is unlovable, the real deficiency is in you and not in them, but that doesn’t change that it hurts.

Yet I think the more I stay hidden away and don’t get myself out there, the more I am just bringing that rejection on myself. As I go out in the world, will I still get rejected? Obviously. Whether it’s for friendship or a date or a job interview, it will always hurt, but that’s life. You can’t control that other people will do hurtful things to you, but you are in control of how you respond to them. I have to make a deliberate choice to choose to overcome. Everyone has their choice to make. I also have mine.

Thank you for all who have been supporting me on this journey, fellow travelers.

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

 

 

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)

 

Listening and Evil

Sometimes there’s nothing you can say, and that’s a good thing. Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and talk about it.

Yesterday I had a situation happen that was very disturbing to me and very hurtful. I won’t go into it, but I will tell you I experienced angst because of it. I did not sleep as well as I could have. I remember messaging a friend about it because I wanted someone to talk to. At one point, my friend told me that they wished they had some platitude that they could tell me, but they were coming up empty.

But you know what?

I’m glad they didn’t.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know we mean well when we say things, but I think we often think our lives are like some TV show where the perfect thing to be said is said right then and there. Well sorry. Your lives are not written out on a cue card in situations determined¬†in advance by you. It’s easy to know what the perfect thing to say is when the situation is pre-scripted.

In fact, how many of us have heard something like some sort of platitude that suddenly caused the heavens to open up and we felt the sunshine of God’s love falling on us? Hardly ever. I am sure sometimes someone can say just the right thing, but I am sure it is the rarity.

My friend last night was not able to provide a platitude, but you know what they were able to do? They were able to listen, and that’s what I really needed. They were able to hear me vent. I needed to vent. I had a lot of pent-up emotion and I had to share it with someone who would be able to hear it and bear it.

Now if you’re a man like me, this is something we really struggle with. Women don’t struggle as much as we do because they are so much better at empathy. When we men hear about a problem or suffering, it is our goal to fix the problem. If the women in our lives are hurting, if we fix the problem, then we can fix the suffering. That makes sense doesn’t it?

It makes sense, but it’s wrong. You can fix the problem and the emotional aftershock of it is still there. Imagine a scenario where a woman was raped in her own home. What is done? Well a security system that is state-of-the-art is put into the house so the woman and local police can be alerted of any intruders. The woman is safe, but she will still feel the hurt and pain of the horrible victimization she has received even in her own house.

Your lady will want her problem fixed eventually, but for awhile, she just wants to be heard, and frankly, sometimes that’s all any of us want. We just want to be heard. We just want to know that our pain is something real and to acknowledge it instead of having it tossed aside. We can too often treat the pain as an annoyance. Sometimes other people’s pain will mess with your schedule. So what? Their suffering is more important than your schedule.

Too often we treat people as the interruptions to what we want to do instead of treating people as the reason why we do what we do. After all, if you are in ministry, who are you here to minister to? It’s not to God. God doesn’t need you. It’s not to angels. They don’t need you either. It’s people.

By the way, for those wondering, no. This is not a lesson I have mastered. This is not something I have perfected. I am still regularly screwing up at this one. Add in my being an Aspie and you can see how much I struggle at being the person that I need to be. Like you, I am growing in sanctification.

This is directly relevant to the problem of evil. When evil first strikes, the best thing you can do is listen. If you have someone who will not listen at all but only speak, you are dealing with someone who is a fool.

As someone who has helped others on the path of apologetics, I have the same rule for people. I often tell them that if you are the pastor of a church someday, and a woman comes to you and is crying asking why God allowed her teenage son to die in a car accident, if you turn into an apologist or philosopher or theologian at that moment, I will come over and smack you.

Is there a place for such answers? Yes. Eventually. Give some time and you can discuss the problem of evil with such a person, but for the time being, they do not need that. They need more than anything else a listening ear. They need someone who will come alongside them and hear what they have to say so that they will not feel like they are all alone, because most suffering convinces us that we are all alone.

Are people often being rational then? Well, no. Not really. That’s also to be expected. It would be a mistake to think people will always be rational. We all have pockets of areas where our emotions take us over. We are emotional beings as well and grief is something to work through.

The Bible tells us to mourn with those who mourn. That’s good wisdom. We should take their sorrow as well and help them carry it. That involves listening. When we meet someone who is suffering from the problem of evil, sometimes the best thing that we can say is absolutely nothing. We can just listen. Perhaps we can offer a hug or something like that.

Oh, by the way, with that last one guys, and this is something else we struggle with, this is not a time to be trying to get romantic. If you have a wife struggling, sex might be a great way of comfort for you, but not necessarily for her. (Though you sure won’t complain if it is!) This is a time to put your own desires aside and just listen. (You can also be sure that she will appreciate it later on.)

We live in a fallen world. As Christians, we are called to be Jesus for one another. The question is how good are we going to do? We must remember that thoroughly profound truth in the Gospel of John. Jesus wept. Yes. Yes He did and there is no shame in people weeping today (Yes men. It’s okay to cry) and to come alongside and weep with those who weep. After all, Jesus was the manliest man that ever was, and he did not hesitate to weep.

Sometime soon, you will be called to say something about the problem of evil when you encounter suffering in someone else’s life. Perhaps you won’t know what to say. That could be a good thing. Don’t say anything. Just be there.

In Christ,

Nick Peters