photoMorning friends,

I just returned from California, visiting my daughter’s family and being Nana to 3 adorable little girls.  There is nothing better than being a grandma.  My oldest granddaughter Amaya celebrated her 4th birthday.

The RBC (Radio Bible Class – Daily Bread) webinar that deals with Shepherding an Emotionally Destructive Marriage, will be offered on April 2.  This webinar is geared for church leaders, pastors, counselors, and lay leaders who need to be better equipped to deal with emotionally destructive marriages.  Once again, Chris Moles and I will share what leaders need to know. Sign up by clicking here for it even you can’t attend, as you will receive a link to listen later.  You will also receive a free e-book written by me, on The Church’s Response to Emotionally Destructive Marriages.  Please share this with your social network, friends, and church leadership.

Today’s Question I married my High School sweetheart and we were married for 28 years.  I loved him, and was attached to him, very much, but know now that it was often an unhealthy relationship.  There were good times, and fun times, (he is fun) but he also hurt me a lot.  When I finally said that things had to change and that we had to go to counseling, or we would have to separate, he chose to leave, and then he said that he didn't love me anyway.  I was devastated; I thought he would choose to save our marriage.  He put my children and me through a lot (later, he said he was trying to teach me a lesson), and he didn't come back.  I filed for divorce, and we were divorced.

After he had been gone for 3 years, he said he loved me and wanted me back.  Of course, I said that I wanted him back, but only if he we went to counseling – and he said he would do anything.  I didn't let him come back into our home  (my children, and family were very upset that I was seeing him again), but I began seeing him regularly, and I was so very happy-  except for the pain of finding out all that he had done while we were apart.  He began going to counseling with me.  At the first session he seemed sorry (he did a lot during those 3 years away that were so upsetting and so painful for me), and he talked about how much he loved me, and that I am the best thing that has ever happened to him, and that he wanted to re-marry me right away.

But beginning with the second counseling session (and these were only once a month, because of the cost, and my ex said he we couldn't afford it), he began to get angry with the counselor (and the counselor is an excellent Christian counselor) and after the fourth session, he would not go again.  By then, I was already attached again to my ex, and I kept seeing him, but, after about a year, I caught him in some lies, and he was acting different, again.  He was going back to his old lifestyle, the porn, and the men, and women he had partied with.  I had been with him (and intimate with him) for a year and a half, and then he abruptly walked away again, right when our youngest child left to college, and he has now been gone for about a year and a half.

I know it is crazy, but, even after 6 years of this, I feel like I still love him and I still hurt over all of this.  I am also very, very, lonely –  even though I love the Lord, and I work full time, and I go to church on Sunday, and Wednesday,  and I go to counseling regularly,  I walk regularly,  and I might get to do something with a friend, or my sister, once or twice a month. (But I love to be with very close friends, or family, a lot more than that.)  My friends, and sister, are married, and they are all so busy that it seems hard for them to get together with me very often.

Someone said to me that it is better to be alone, than to be with my ex –  and I said, “No, it isn't.”   As I said, there were many difficult times, and pain too, in my marriage, but this is also very difficult and painful, and very lonely –  which I did not go through when I was married. 

Also my ex-husband, will still contact me, by text, asking me how I am doing, and even asking me if I am seeing anyone –  and I have never even met another man, in 6 years!  He said he asks me that only because he hopes that I meet someone, because he wants me to be happy and in love –  and that statement hurt me.   It is hard for me when he texts me, and I have asked him not to, but he still does.  Even though he is with other women, he wants to still have contact with me – but that is too hard for me to do. 

I also have contact with him, because of financial reasons. I barely make it month to month, just trying to pay for necessary things, like rent, power, and food, and I can't afford to buy cars, or pay for any type of insurance.  So, the cars that my son and I drive, are cars that my ex will let us use.  Also, I was awarded a small amount of alimony each month, but it is usually late, or short, and I end up having to ask him for it.

My questions are – How do I get over him?    Will it ever stop hurting to see him or hear his voice?   Will I always love him?    Will all of the hurt and pain, and loneliness, ever go away? 

Also, everyone, and I mean everyone, keeps asking me if I am dating yet, (it has been 6 years since he first left)  but, I never even meet any other men.  I so desire to be married, but I still seem to have feelings for my ex.   If I finally, completely, get over my ex, will God bring me a husband one day?  (I can't imagine life continuing to be this way)  

Unfortunately, at this point, even though I did go through hurt and pain in my marriage, I would rather still be married to him, than to be alone. Even though my marriage was difficult –  on top of my feelings for him,  many, many, things about my life changed when he left.  Can you help me with any of my questions? 

Answer:   I shortened your question a bit but left much of it in tact because I think many other women will relate to your pain. When you are with someone so long and from such a young age, it can be very hard to imagine a quality life without that person or with someone else.  You never really had a chance to become a fully functioning adult without being married to him.  You went from being emotionally and financially dependent on your parents to being emotionally and financially dependent on your boyfriend/husband.

One of the great tasks of adolescence is to learn to be independent. To learn think for yourself, to find your own group of friends, to develop your own sense of competence and mastery, and to have a voice that reflects your own values, ideas, and feelings. When a young woman marries before completing these tasks, she then often becomes focused on raising her own children and her personal growth remains dormant, leaving her in a very vulnerable place especially if her marriage fails.

Here’s the deal.  Either choice you make will involve pain.  Right now you’re longing for your old life because your current life isn’t very exciting, financially stable or as people-centered as you’re used to.  Your letter reminded me of the Israelites who longed for the leeks, garlic and onions and other wonderful food they enjoyed in Egypt (even while they were slaves) because the journey through the desert was so tough and they were sick of eating God’s provision of manna ([truth]Numbers 11:4-6[/truth]).

You’re reminiscing on the good times you had with your spouse, but you’re minimizing the pain of the bad times.  Here’s what you’ve told me:  Your ex-husband cannot be trusted. He lies.  He loves you, he loves you not. He’s cheated on you. He is involved in pornography.  Even now you have to ask him to give you your court ordered alimony and often he comes up short. Yet he has money to hang out with his friends, take vacations (that no you no longer get to go on with him) and have extra cars on hand that you have to ask to borrow.  Your children don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be in touch with him and he still ignores your requests to not text you.

Therefore it seems much smarter to me for you to choose to work through not only the pain of letting your ex-husband go, but the pain of learning how to create more of the life and lifestyle you want.  You said loud and clear that you are lonely but that your friends, sister, and children are busy with their own lives. Okay, but that doesn’t mean you have no other options. What can you do or where can you go to meet other single women who also would love to have a companion to go to a movie with, have dinner together, or take a walk or a bike ride?  Where can you volunteer so that you have the opportunity to meet more people, be more active, and perhaps even meet a healthy single man that would be a better fit for the person you want to become than your ex-husband?  For example, what about attending a Christian singles retreat?  Even if you don’t meet a man, you may meet many wonderful women who are also single and longing for someone to share activities or even some expenses with.

I know as more of an introvert, it’s harder to initiate those social situations. But volunteering at church, at a hospital, a soup kitchen, or other large organization will bring you in contact with other volunteers who might be great candidates for new friendships.  You might also want to look into going back to school for a job that will provide greater financial security for you in the future.  You are not too old and if you visit your local community college, you can often find grants and scholarships that are available for women in mid-life who are reentering the job market or need new skills to gain a better paying job.

Last, but not least, where is God in this whole picture for you?  Can you trust him that he has led you out of slavery and into a new place?  Can you continue to walk with Him through this desert time into the new place he wants to take you?  If all your emotional, mental, and psychological energy is focused on what you wished you had back then (and I’m not sure you really want that – I think you are still hoping for some fantasy of what you wished you had), you are not able to avail yourself of those same resources you need to press on to create your own future.

Life is a lot like creating your own novel.  God or even other people may orchestrate some of the chapter titles but we are co-creators with Him in writing our own story.  So my friend, right now you’re in the chapter, After the Divorce.  How would you like that chapter to end?  Write it down.  Then back track and ask yourself what specific steps do you need to take, now, a month from now, six months from now, a year from now, to be closer to where you want to be?   And then, what would you like your next chapter to be called?  Your life-story is far from over.  Don’t be passive, but co-create with God and you will be amazed at what takes place.

 

Friends, share your journey of how you’ve taken more ownership of your story, how you’ve let go of your ex-husband, and grown up into your own life.

33 Comments

  1. Jen G on March 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Thank you! Much needed today. I also shared this with another lady from my Divorce Care class, who is feeling this same way. Divorce Care is also a great place to meet other same-sex relationships. I know I’ve met many ladies who’ve walked with me through my grief. And I’m so thankful and less lonely.

  2. Betty on March 26, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I just saw this on Facebook. I skimmed the question, but so much was like reading my life story! I truly do not want to back to Egypt! It was a terrible existence. But when someone is skilled at impression management, and cares only about appearances, he can make it seem like the entire problem was with you. When that person tries to rally support from mutual friends and church family, and has not ever expressed any remorse for the abuses and wrongs, it is unsettling to say the least. So much crazy making, gas lighting, lies, and slander. Continued pornography addiction and yet buddies with the pastor and deacons and serving on the worship team. I have seen fake people and even sociopaths at work, but when I finally moved out of denial and realized that I was even more gullible than I first believed! I guess I just have to keep forgiving and refusing to hear others’ reports about him. And accept that some are simply gullible like I was.

  3. Vikki S. on March 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    We can leave but our minds can be in ” stay” mode.
    Go love your day – just today. Go to the park and walk. Go listen to a free concert at a church. Get busy with you.
    Begin considering he is the one who has moved on and its ok!
    Its ok if you do too!
    Its ok to say ” I still love him but Im not going back.”
    Its ok to love and keep on walking.
    Its ok to decide for yourself how you’d like to be treated, and for today notice that your fear and anxiety are choices. But so are coffees at Starbucks. Go spend time choosing a new coffee you love, or a new library to visit, or drive 5 miles in a new direction and see whats there.
    Your life is BRAND NEW- its ok if its taken you 6 years to see that.
    Its ok to love someone but decide they are toxic to you. I love lobster, always will but Im allergic to shellfish – it’ll kill me.
    He’s your shellfish.
    Dont even worry about other fish in the sea or dating- just do you the you God gave this earth because we need your gifts, talents, strengths.
    Let you and God have first love status.
    And “your life will be as a prize to you”..( thats a verse- cant find it right now)… Bless you and hugs for your journey.

    • Caroline on March 31, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Beautifully said. Thank you!

    • April on April 5, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      EXCELLANT!!!!! Thank you for great practical steps toward positive change!!!!!!

    • Denise on April 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Excellent……”just do you, the you God gave this earth because we need your gifts, talents, strengths.” Thank you for sharing Vikki, and praying that this simple truth take deep root into each of our hearts.

    • Robin on April 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      Thank your for your words. They spoke to me when I first read them, and they again, speak to me today. Strong, strong words of encouragement, as we seek to move ahead in our journey of singlehood. Thank you!!!

  4. Diane on March 26, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    My heart goes out to you. I know your pain personally. I honestly envy your divorced situation because I haven’t been able to make the break yet (hopefully soon).
    Leslie is spot on with her reply. Especially with porn in the picture. Unless he is willing to grow up and be mature you would be subject to his relationship whims which will always be painful. You would never get the respect or love you deserve.
    Consider going back to court to have your alimony adjusted. Leslie’s advice of other ways to increase your social activities are excellent.
    Best to you…

  5. Susan on March 26, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I feel your pain. I too had a very difficult time getting over my fiance recently. I can relate to everyting you are saying. What helped me turn the corner was something I read in Leslie’s book “Lord I just want to be Happy”. It said to find something good about the break up. I had not done that. Honestly, it was hard for me to find anything good in it because we had a great relationship but because I could not/ would not relocate to marry him until my son graduated from high school, he broke up with me. It was devasting. Once I took Leslie’s advice and struggled to find the good in the break up, and made an effort to get a social life, I began to heal. As a result I am so much more emotionally independent now and healthier. I am truely content being single and it feels like a great place to be. Now I am more prepared to handle a relationship if it comes my way . . .and if it does not, that is ok too . . .I have made a happy life as a single mother. God bless . . .I am praying for you. Hang in there. Read Leslies book . . and do the exercises, it really helps.

  6. Dianna on March 26, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Your questions and feelings are so valid and hard to endure but will not continue if you will risk safe, good change. I was single for years and it took some effort, time and risk taking to make friends and enjoy being single.

    I know that this has to be so very painful but, do you really want the continued and probably worse pain that the relationship w/ your ex would bring? He may be fun and I am just divorcing a very fun guy but the porn, struggle w/ lack of mutual responsibility and commitment of godly values just hasn’t been cutting it.

    We tried different counselors, separating, making changes and it still hasn’t worked. I see some of the same reasons in your situation. Your ex doesn’t seem committed to a relationship w/ you, nor to being accountable for alimony which you have been awarded and need. You still are dependent because of these things and w/ transportation, too. This makes the relationship too one-sided, w/ him in too much control w/o commitment.

    One of the ladies gave such great ideas as to how you can try a little something around you each day. I would add trying free groups and classes at the local library, taking a ride on the public bus to just see where it goes and window-shop and Celebrate Recovery is a good, safe support group to meet other people.

    Leslie made several good points, as she always does. I would like to highlight her suggestion of looking into gaining job skills at the local college or training institute or an online university. You sound like you may very well qualify for grants to pay for the classes. I know a single mom w/ a low income who went back to college via online and the program even paid for a computer for her to use!

    Then, there are great women’s bible study groups that would love to have you join.

    I pray for godly resolution for you. I know that you can move on; I hope for your best move in God’s plan for you.

    • Sandra on March 31, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Your situation sounds much like mine, however I stayed married to my husband for 57 years! I was only 17 and he 20 when we married. Soon after, he began going out on weekends to party, coming home drunk at wee hours. I cried and he promised to stop, but never did,becoming even worse after our two daughters were born, as he also began having affairs with other women. I finally started taking the girls to church and received Jesus as my Savior when I was 25 years old. This gave me joy and I hoped and prayed that my husband would be saved also. He wasn’t,and resented my involvement in church, becoming jealous, verbally abusive and threatening. I considered leaving him, but loved him, feared I wouldn’t be able to survive financially alone, plus was told at church if we divorced, I couldn’t remarry, and that I needed to “keep praying for him and treat him with Christian love.” Again, I loved him, and didn’t want to be alone for the rest of my life, so I stayed and prayed, until he finally moved out fives months ago, as he couldn’t abide with the boundary I had set two years ago (that I would not submit sexually until he changed). He stopped drinking and having affairs after a stroke 15 years ago, but the insane jealousy, verbal abuse , accusations and threats got worse. However, I guess we’d still be together, if he hadn’t left, and now he wants to return, but I will not take him back, as I now enjoy the peace and freedom I missed all those years. Although alone and struggling financially, I believe God will provide and never leave me.

      • Sandra on April 1, 2014 at 11:08 pm

        I never thought I’d find someone married longer than I was at the time my marriage ended! For me, it was 42 years. Similar story: married as a teen.

        To the writer of the original question: I’m at month fifteen of “no contact” other than what was necessary for the divorce. And then, at my request, only texting to finalize divorce issues. I saw him only at my mother’s funeral but he kept his distance. He could control me even on the phone, so when I left him, one night when he pulled a surprise, drunken rage and I “heard” “You need to leave, now,” which I believe was the Holy Spirit, I did.

        In the early days, to offset the emotions and to bring my head into reality, I made lists.

        When I missed the “good times,” I made a list of why I was no longer in contact with him by detailing the bad times.

        When I began obsessing over his incessant accusations, I made a list of the TRUTH of me and my REAL motives.

        When I worried that I was committing the unforgiveable sin, I made a list of the scriptures where God makes it plain His will for us is for our good, not for evil (see Jeremiah 29:11).

        I made myself change my thinking. I also did a LOT of research and realized I had, indeed, created a fantasy man. And I had made many excuses for his basically critical spirit.

        I haven’t had to make a list for several months, now, but every day I’m in the Scriptures for more on God’s REAL plan for relationships, I am in very frequent contact with an excellent support group, and I visit sites such as this for in-between comfort, help, and hope.

        It’s hard, that’s for sure. But I am MUCH MORE AT PEACE, my blood pressure has gone down ten points to normal, I’m sleeping better, and rarely have panic attacks, not major but annoying, that used to be almost an daily occurance.

        I also avoid triggers as much as I can, such as music (I once left a grocery store before I was finished shopping when a certain song came on the PA system), I gave away all the DVD’s that we enjoyed together, and I avoid places we used to eat. That won’t always be necessary, but for now it’s a good thing for me.

        I WILL NEVER GO BACK.

        I love that my days have continuity. I love the pervasive peace in my home. I love it that no one is seemingly waiting to criticize me or put me down or accuse me or gaslight me at every turn.

        I pray you will have the strength to do what you have to do, too. You might also access information about narcissists. Your ex sounds like a candidate for that classification. And it does get easier.

  7. Leonie on March 28, 2014 at 9:19 am

    You owe it to yourself & kids to cut off contact with him & move on. I found that as long as I left an avenue for my ex to communicate with me it messed with my head & emotions. Do not give him an inch because it plays havoc with you & it will never be in your favor. Even now when there is essential communication about the kids my ex can’t help himself & says unnecessary stuff that I would rather not know.
    Betty just described my ex! We had 3 little children & had just moved back to Canada from South America. We were in our new community 3000km from my family & friends when he left me. (9 days after we moved into our home). Everything was my fault and every counselling session became about what was wrong with me until I refused to go to counselling anymore. Some counsellors couldn’t believe how cruel he was to me without being drunk or on drugs but doing these things ‘in his right mind’. I didn’t know he had a porn addiction until we separated. He announced he was in love with a Philippine woman he met crossing the street in downtown Toronto! The kids were 8, 6 & 2.5 at the time. I was reeling, not grasping that he could do this to us. Each counselling session became about what was wrong with me … I went through all the same crazy making, gas lighting… He became buddies with the pastor at the new church we went to, pretending remorse while still seeing the girlfriend. (But he was giving a big tithe every week.) I had to leave that church to get help for myself & our 3 little ones. He stalked me badly for 8 years and took me to a legal trial where things did not end in his favor. One of his methods of harassment was to keep taking me to court & he put the full force of his finances into these attacks (I was a stay at home mom he was the breadwinner). Someone in my life helped me call his bluff so I praise God there is peace in our lives now. He dares not even look at me anymore, when I meet him in public by chance he looks at the floor & walks away rapidly.
    It is so important to stop worrying about your ex. These ladies have given excellent advise & Leslie you are a gem that God is using to speak to so many of us about what a healthy life should look like. Please don’t listen or allow your ex to tell you what he is doing while apart from you because it will only wring your soul, I promise, you don’t want to hear it.

  8. Addie on March 31, 2014 at 12:56 am

    I can so relate to you! I am in the divorce process and have been separated for 2 years now. It has been a 29 year marriage and I too got married right out of high school. I struggle with missing him and with a lot of grief and pain. We did have good times together and he could be so sweet at times and of course those were the ones I lived for because the rest of it was very difficult. I have to keep reminding myself of the hard times, the incredibly destructive things he did to me and my kids, his denial and unrepentance for them and the hopelessness of his refusal to change. I had to write them down so I could read it when I am doubting and feeling like I should have tried harder.
    I made a choice that even though this is not the life I wanted or chose, it is the reality of the situation I am in. I daily read God’s Word and He gives me the strength to live each day. My Divorce Care group has really helped me to know that I am not alone in my pain and struggles and helps me to move forward. I was able to get financial grants to go back to school so that I could get a job that should help me to be self supporting. I will be almost 50 when I am done with my program but I am just trusting God for the outcome. He has given me strength every day and I am finding that I am really enjoying the school work! I am doing better in school than I did in high school. Several people told me that older people do very well in school but I really didn’t believe them until I am now living it.
    Moving forward into a new life that I never envisioned is not easy but I am beginning to enjoy little things about it more. I still struggle with making new friends that are single – it all seems so foreign. But this is an awesome opportunity to draw near to God and be reminded of the great things He can do in a life and to put my trust in Him daily! I’ve put the idea of dating away unless God miraculously brings the right person by. Just focusing on my life is something new and it is getting a little more exciting every day. I am remembering interests from long ago that I was never able to pursue. Now I am thinking about little things that I want to buy when I have a job. Like my own comfy recliner and a decent car. Things I was never able to think about while living with my husband who always kept us in chaos and financially drained. He always got the best chair in the house and whether my car worked or sat broken for months didn’t bother him. I am gaining a sense of control in my life for the very first time.
    I wish this for you too!!! On the road to healing!!!

  9. Cheryl on March 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    So blessed by the support people have given the questionnaire . I too struggle with much of the same. I have been in a toxic marriage for 12 years, separated several time but fear has paralyzed me from moving forward. I too worry I will. Never be able to love another due to my love for my husband. But he has put me through a great deal of pain, lies, financial insecurity adultery, and left me homeless, forced to live with my parents at age 53. He is living his life as if nothing has happened and partying like a rock star, as I struggle daily to have a vision for my future. I want so much NOT to care for him yet I still do. I appreciate the comments here for they give me a great deal to ponder. I also know now I am not alone in this struggle . Blessings to all.

  10. Peg on March 31, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    One key bit of advice I would give you in your plight to get over your ex is to pray for God to take that love/attachment/whatever it is away. Ask Him every day to heal the pain and take away that co-dependency. It is almost like your life has stopped and yet you really have a new beginning with lots of possibilities. But I agree with Leslie that you need so very much to find other pathways that will create better job opportunities and give you opportunities to make new friends. Dig your heels in and REFUSE to even think about your ex. When you practice NOT thinking about him and the good ole days, you will gradually get over him. But it does take practice. Take charge of your thoughts when you find yourself moving back into remembering “how it used to be.” Accepting that your ex is truly NOT interested in the same thing you’re interested in will be necessary. Remember though that what he is sowing will eventually be what he reaps. His life will ultimately fall apart because he’s seeking the sinful life and the wrong things for fulfillment. Seek God above all as you strive to move forward. God has extended his mercy and given you a life away from this man who is not equipped to be a good husband, much less a good father. Be thankful first thing every day. We are told in scripture to be thankful and not look back to a life where there was abuse and wrong treatment. It’s wrong to cherish a life that was filled with abuse. God expects us to cherish the really true and good things and people. Loneliness seems to have a stronghold on your spirit. I would encourage you to work hard (it takes hard work) to form strategies that will erase that loneliness. My divorce will be final in 30 days and I am already beginning to feel lighter. However, I’ve had some days when I had to struggle against thinking about the past. I find that when I work hard to keep those thoughts from taking hold, my lonely feelings disappear. Really, if you are a born again Christian, you are never alone. I have spent more time praying and studying God’s Word and listening to sermons online. Those things fortify my spirit. Best wishes as you work to forget this man and try to have hope that God will bring someone else into your life once you are healed and ready for that person. It’s important that we work to get beyond the sorrow and regrets. I am already thinking about what kind of man I would want God to bring to my life once I’m healed and ready. I am also thinking about how I can improve myself and become the BEST that I can for the plans God has for me. Focus on seeking God first and allow Him to put new plans in your mind and spirit. He will take that dependency on your ex away if you pray for Him to do so.

    • mary on April 2, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Peg
      I see this also.I was divorced in Jan after 24 years of marriage to a 3 personality disorderd sociopath and was emotionally,verbally and spiritually abused terribly! Within 2 weeks of the divorce final and him becomming homeless, he went on “the hunt” with his disorders and found hinself a wealthy widow his age (63) and never left her.She has everything he loves to do for recreation but it won’t matter because in due time he’ll abuse her also. She was right where I was 24 years ago as he did the same thing to me from his first wife! They announced “their” marriage 2 weeks later. He cannot be alone and has to have a woman take care of him, sexually, financially, and physically. No love as he can’t with his disorders though he feignes it to keep his wives. It’s just his needs. He has never admitted his wrong doing and as my therapist says, he’ll never change. He has pronounced christianity for 45 years but he is not one.His marriage is in violation of Gods arrangement. God got me out of there and I will love him always, but we musn’t look back as Lots wife did. God is in my life and I pray daily for Him to take my love for my ex away from me. Prayer is everything! God doesn’t want us to stay in abusive marriages. That was never His arrangement. Please know that we all understand what you’re feeling. My payers to you and us all here.

  11. Alan Davis on March 31, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    I began to date (I will call her Joyce) a lady that I have known for over 30 years. Our first and only date was in January 2014 at which time I began to notice that she was still in love with her ex-husband. Her ex-husband emotionally tortured her for 8 years before she divorced him. They texted during our date and she even called him once during the later part of our date, but her emotionally controlling ex told her to move on with someone and have a healthy relationship. No I’m not buying and I think he is deceiving her to get what he wants when he needs what he wants. I told Joyce that his emotionally affectionate response is a controlling mechanism to keep her in love with him but she just defended him. She denied that she was still in love with him but (with a heavy heart) I ended the relationship because I do not want to fight for the love of a woman. We are still friends and she contacts me at least once every two weeks, but I am moving on. I have sufficient drama in my life and I do not need to take on someone’s unnecessary self-induced problems.

    To all the good ladies who are still in love with an emotional/physically abusive ex-husband, please move on. A good non-controlling man will not date someone who is obsessed with another man, well at least I will not. A good non-controlling man does not nor should he be forced to fight for the affection of a woman still in love with her ex-husband. Since I emotionally removed myself from my controlling ex-wife I have found happiness and my children are responding well to my new found freedom. Go on a nice safe date and find peace with being single.

    Alan,

    • Jayne on April 1, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Well said, Alan. Good to have a man’s point of view. Thank you for speaking the truth forthrightly and in a loving and gentle manner.

    • Brenda on April 4, 2014 at 8:57 am

      Thank you Alan, No one should have to fight for the love of a potential mate. You are wise to not get involved further. This woman is obviously still allowing herself to be controlled by her former spouse.
      I am not in love with X and block his every move to attempt contact. I think I am along way from relationship ready and really not looking for a date. I am still finding out who I am. Are there really that many men out there that are safe? When I was a girl my mother always said, “let’s see who there is to date” when I would want her to give me an age when I would be able to date. I remember that when I meet a man who might be safe and quickly change my mind after a few conversations. So far, the only men that I think might be safe are already spoken for and unavailable.

  12. Carol on March 31, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    As many others have stated, you are still being controlled by him.

    I highly recommend the book and accompanying workbook “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend and also the book “Safe People” by the same authors.

    I, too, was married to a man who was, in many ways, controlling. When I began dating after the divorce, I sometimes found myself in relationships with men who were controlling; but this was not always the case. I noticed that the men I met through eHarmony were not controlling. This makes sense, considering eHarmony’s expertise in matching based on dimensions of compatibility; and I am obviously NOT compatible with controlling people. So I have made a conscious decision to limit my dating to eHarmony matches… at least until I become more skilled at identifying people who are “safe” for me.

    Incidentally, I continue to make a conscious decision to not respond to texts, e-mails, or phone calls from the controlling men I have dated. They might never stop, but they will not control the situation by eliciting a response from me.

    These are some of the strategies that have helped me.

    Life is hard. God is good. I wish you well in your journey.

    • Brenda on April 4, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Carol, Would you mind if I ask your age? Although, I see pictures of men of different age groups on the ads for dating sites, I wonder if the pictures are far more glamorous than what is actually out there. Not that looks count for much, I am just curious as to how honest the questionaires come out to be.

      • Carol on April 22, 2014 at 9:32 am

        Brenda, I am in my late 40’s.

        You are wise to realize that the advertisements for online dating sites are simply that — Marketing. This became obvious when I noticed that the ads for a particular site contained the exact same photos over a long period of time.

        You also posed another really good question about the process of online dating: How accurate is the matching, based on the personality assessments? The old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out” certainly applies in this situation. And, because it’s not easy to be objective about yourself, it stands to reason that some people might give inaccurate responses to a questionnaire.

        Another eHarmony feature that I found very useful were the 1000+ multiple-choice questions that applicants could answer, so that their matches could learn more about them. Based on the answers, I could easily “take a pulse” on topics including finance, parenting, spiritual growth, and moral values.

        I hope this information helps. Enjoy the journey!

  13. FloridaLizzie on March 31, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Wow, this was such an interesting story. I didn’t see this post until today, but had to respond. I can relate to having a 27 year marriage, being quite dependent and being shocked and dismayed when my ex-husband left me in December 2012. I had much fear of life without him. But God gave me one huge gift–when my ex-husband left, he went quickly and burned every bridge in his life: he left his wife, his church, his friendships, and his job. The week after the divorce was final, he moved out of state. He acted in such a vicious way that no matter how much love I might have felt, I knew God had set me free from someone who was not the man I fell in love with. Going back to Egypt made no sense.

    Rather than stew or pine for yesterday, I prayed God would give me the courage to heal and move on. He gave me many supportive friends and family members, and my church has been good through it all. But I knew I had to work at my healing, and believed that God had a future and a hope for me, and I was going to go through the stages of grief and move on, no matter how hard it was.

    I went to a Divorce Care group, and did all the homework. I may not have made permanent friends there, but it very helpful to realize that what I was feeling was normal. It was something I would recommend to everyone in any stage of going through divorce. I learned to work in my yard, and it was good therapy. I spent a lot of time with God, and found Him to be closer, stronger, and dearer than I could have ever imagined. As horrible as the divorce process was, I just did the best I could every day to work my part-time job and take care of my home and legal battles.

    It was actually a blessing not to get permanent alimony. As frightened as I was about taking care of myself, I am glad it caused me to depend on God and not stay dependent on my ex. I got temporary alimony that has just ended, and this gave me time to think towards my career. I had not worked full-time in 25 years, but had homeschooled and worked part-time. My only child was grown and lives in another state, and even though I doubted myself, I trusted God would be my Helper. Sure enough, out of the blue, a former employer asked me to come back to work and have a career, and even though it isn’t easy, it’s been very good for me. I have had some struggles with an auto-immune disease for 25 years, but so far, I think not having a crazy husband in my life has made me healthier.

    I found that some friendships changed, but that hasn’t been a bad thing. I have a group of women friends that meets for dinner every Thursday night, ages 20-60, and we love talking about what God is doing in our lives, whether single, divorced or married. I’m also in a women’s Bible Study for Sunday School with a lot of younger women, and it’s been such a blast to be growing in the Word, but also sharing my own experience, strength and hope. I’ve been able to host some wonderful events in my home for my church, and I feel like my life is a gift from God to be used for His glory. Somehow, I manage to squeeze in a lot of fun once in a short time.

    Right now I often feel overwhelmed by how much work there is to take care of my home and yard while working full-time, so I am considering having a student come rent a room and pay some rent plus do some chores as part of her rent. That might allow me a little more time to go take an art class, or go off shopping or to a movie with a friend or my sister. I’m praying about it, because I’ve been quite content living alone, but don’t want to get totally set in my ways.

    I can’t say I have much desire to remarry yet, as my marriage was very difficult, and the divorce was final only a year ago. But I live one day at a time, believing God has many good adventures ahead for me. I have a bucket list with places where I hope to travel, and I hope to take a missions trip, visit my son and his wife, and go on a cruise in the next 2 years. It never hurts to dream! I don’t see myself as very brave or inspiring, but I’m often surprised when others tell me that my response to this huge trial has built their own faith. God’s response to my trials has built my faith, too!

    Honestly, I would say to the woman who wrote with the question that the advice of Leslie and the other women who wrote in is great. Read it, and pick one thing to focus on at a time! Once you see the reward of taking responsibility for your life, you’ll have a little more courage and desire to do more. It takes faith to embrace change, but you must come to acceptance of the fact that you can’t have your old life back. And you won’t find your new life until you open your hands and release the past to God. He has so much more ahead of you. Don’t waste your One Beautiful Life for another second! I’m praying you will start today.

    • Jayne on April 1, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Beautiful advice! Praise God! I am so blessed and encouraged by your testimony and the others who have come out of destructive relationships.
      Thank you Leslie for your ministry!

  14. Tina on March 31, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Her ex-husband is still controlling her and loving every minute of it. He enjoys that he still has some power over her with the alimony payments and her borrowing vehicles from him – the alimony should be through the court and taken out of his pay so this doesn’t happen! She needs to find vehicles somewhere else. He is teasing her with his texts, he loves the idea of her still loving him and wanting to be with him so it inflates his ego when he teases her like that and it is the ultimate manipulation when an ex says they want you to find someone else – it’s sick – I don’t know if it lessens their guilt or what! I don’t know how she can avoid him texting or calling her, because they surely have to talk about the children, but I would say if the conversation turns personal – she should delete it and not reply at all! It’s time to mourn the loss of this relationship and move on because the reconciliation did not work and showed his true colors. (My husband left me and divorced me also, I’m not just offering advice I can’t relate to).

    • Nikki on April 2, 2014 at 7:27 am

      “I don’t know how she can avoid him texting or calling her, because they surely have to talk about the children, but I would say if the conversation turns personal – she should delete it and not reply at all!”
      When my exH started getting very nasty in his texts I simply advised him I would not read them but forward them to my sister who would then read and advise me only of the information I need to know such as pick up times for kids. He ranted and carried on that she was not to reply to him but she did…..he soon backed down and started texting ‘nicely’ again. And in the time he was deciding to behave or not behave, I was free from his venom. I do have to thank my sister for this. She is very strong and her and her husband were willing to take him on. But it worked really well both in the short and long term. He now knows I have no hesitation to set up boundaries.

      • Renee Mosley on June 5, 2020 at 12:07 pm

        Wow! What good advice to have a family or friend step in with reading the messages from the abusive exH. Shut them down, remove the abuse! Great advice!

  15. Lizzy on March 31, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    You admit to being the one to file for the divorce, going through with the divorce, and being sexually intimate with him outside of wedlock; then say you are upset what he did for the three years that you were divorced and he was free to do whatever he wanted. Plus, if he was sleeping around and you were just one of many, do you know what kind of diseases you put yourself at risk for? did you ask him to be STD tested prior to being intimate? If you will sleep with him without being married, how are you any different from any of the other women he slept with? God doesn’t grade sin on a curve. If you wanted to date, you could. You are lonely because you are bathing yourself in self pity. The Bible says that God will be a husband to us. God is to be our provider. You are depending on man and not God. You keep going back to your EX-husband and asking for cars, alimony, etc.. He is not to be your provider, he is nothing to you any more. That is why he texts and says, “have you met anyone, are you dating”? The reality is that, he doesn’t love you. You need to go to school, or a training program, get a job, stop blaming him for you deciding everyday to live in a pity party. That is as much sinful as his pornography. It doesn’t mean you don’t ever cry, but goodness, stop blaming him for you wasting your life. God loves you, Satan has you bound and Jesus came to free you. He came for you to have an abundant life, overflowing with his goodness and provision. But we have to exercise what we are given, not sit back. You ex is gone.Bury it and move on, God will walk through your pain with you, He longs to see you whole.

  16. cindy on April 1, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Thank you ladies for your sincerity and help and thank you Lizzy for your honesty about the situation. I have been contemptating divorcing a passive aggressive controlling husband and these comments have been enlightening. I really need wisdom from the Lord regarding thu s. I would appreciate your prayers. Thank you dear sweet sisters in the Lord who, although I do not know a single one of you would pray and offer advice to a total stranger. God is so good and provides EVERYTHING we need. 🙂

  17. Pam on April 1, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I really appreciate hear everyone’s comments and stories today. I, too, was in a very toxic, spiritually and emotionally abusive marriage for 29 years. It’s been 5 years since our divorce was final, and though I am getting healthier and stronger, I still struggle with holding on to hope for the future. At 58, and having to work full-time, I don’t think I have the wherewithal to go back to school. I do like the job I am currently in, but am making only $11./hr and have no idea how I will make it financially when I am no longer able to work (retirement? what’s that?). Anyway, it does help to know I am not alone!

  18. Teena on April 3, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Ladies, I’m truly sorry for your pain. Not any one of us deserve it. Perhaps we should have been more dependent on God who provides our needs. I too got married at 18 yrs old and am still married finding myself in an emotionally destructive relationship BUT the proverbial handwriting is on the wall and I’m not falling for it. With the help of Christian counseling I’ve recognized it is what it is. With Leslie’s help I am understanding that I have a responsibility. I JUST read in Matthew 1:20-25. In these scriptures it says (Amplified Bible) verse 21 She will bare a Son and you will call His Name Jesus (that is Savior) and He will save His people from their sins (that is PREVENT them from failing and missing the true end and purpose OF LIFE WHICH is GOD). Praise Him! We’ve been saved from destruction and given an abundant life in Him. Please let’s not waste it.

  19. Yearning to be desired again on September 14, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I so appreciate being able to read all this as my husband was also my high school sweetheart (I wasn’t his though as he was older) and have been with him basically since 16. We have 5 children together age 9-18. The first part if our marriage was really good even though everyone has issues and he probably was passive aggressive… However, shortly after the bottom fell out of the RV industry, we had our 5th child unexpected and our first son in his mid 40’s, and then lost his parents – he turned to alcohol and friends including a woman who was NOT good for our marriage and started years of hell where he was emotionally abusive and threatening etc… Too much to list. It’s so so so sad that we once had this awesome little family and now it’s horrible, and he blames me for everything and then says I blame him and control him!! Ugh. My family are strong Christians but do what you say most do – that I should submit and pray and “be more Christian like” (not bad but it was keeping me a victim) and that I needed to be more responsible for the house etc… In other words he got to run off when life got hard and drop all of life in my lap! And then get to complain about how I handled it and everyone felt sorry for him. He did big sins like emotional affairs (that better be all it was) lying, hiding finances, threats, alcoholism, soft porn, passcoding me out of his phone with her phone number! And blocking me on Facebook with no mention of me at all and no pics with me in it.., and yet while I did kick him out again (he left twice before) but he stays with a friend and comes home after work to get his next set of clothes and then off to side work – partly so kids werent fully aware but they are. I just have a hard time because he wasn’t always like this and wouldn’t this be a “sickness”? The really hard thing is him withholding allove and affection smc even sex to punish me. He says that’s not why and it’s just stress but it’s why…. I want to show my kids Committment and loyalty and keeping my vows of better or worse richer and poorer and sickness and in health – but yet show them that it’s not ok to be treated this way. They are kinda mutually exclusive it seems! My kids are suffering with this as he left us no good choices.

Leave a Comment





Read More

I Need Him To Care And Be Honest. What Do I Do?

Morning friends, Psalm 37:34 says, “Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path.” I love that. Do the next right thing and hope in God, not what God will do. So often we pin our hope on the outcome of what God will do, but he never promises us a perfect outcome….

Read More...

How Do I Re-enter The Job Market After Being At Home.

Morning friends, Have I told you lately how thankful I am for you all? This community is an amazing group of people who are so engaged and invested in encouraging one another, supporting one another, praying for one another, challenging one another (in a good way), and loving one another. I am always amazed at…

Read More...

Can Trust be Rebuilt?

Morning friend, We’ve had some good discussions this week on forgiveness and remembering. But let’s take another person’s question about repentance and restoration of a relationship after serious sin. Today’s Question: My husband has betrayed my trust over and over but I still hope we can make our marriage work. What does it take to…

Read More...

Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?