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Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.

Tobias and Sarah's story is from the Book of Tobit, and his journey is guided by Saint Raphael.
Learn More: Tobias & Sarah as led by Saint Raphael

VICTIM or VICTOR ?

Jul 7th 2013 new
Everyone experiences some kind of mistreatment in life. But instead of allowing trials to devastate us, we can let God use them for our growth. How do we experience true victory in every situation. What was or is your situation...and how did you deal with it. Maybe someone else can benefit from knowing how you came through!

My situation: found ex was cheating on me. Hired private detective to make sure so their were no questions about it. Then took my son and moved in with my parents. Lived with them for two years to save money to buy my own home. I could have wallowed in my own my self pity, but, instead, realized that I was the one who kept our marriage vows, I stayed in line with the Lords teachings, and that increased my self esteem. Don't allow someone else to make you feel like you caused them to cheat...no way. It's 100% their doing. It's the choice they make and they have to live with it forever.

Jul 7th 2013 new
(quote) Laura-857740 said: Everyone experiences some kind of mistreatment in life. But instead of allowing trials to devastate us, we can let God use them for our growth. How do we experience true victory in every situation. What was or is your situation...and how did you deal with it. Maybe someone else can benefit from knowing how you came through!

My situation: found ex was cheating on me. Hired private detective to make sure so their were no questions about it. Then took my son and moved in with my parents. Lived with them for two years to save money to buy my own home. I could have wallowed in my own my self pity, but, instead, realized that I was the one who kept our marriage vows, I stayed in line with the Lords teachings, and that increased my self esteem. Don't allow someone else to make you feel like you caused them to cheat...no way. It's 100% their doing. It's the choice they make and they have to live with it forever.

When circumstances go against us, we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again. When we lose our job, we go search for another one. When a tornado destroys our house, we mourn the loss of our material things, deal with the insurance company, and rebuild a shelter.

When people hurt us, we have the New Testament advice of forgiving "70 times 7 times", and the parable of the Prodigal Son. Come to think of it, we also have Matthew 18:15-17, which advises us on how to deal with sin in the Church.

When I stop and ponder my marriage and divorce, I see how I did not follow the teachings stated above. I did not know how to handle conflict or confront properly, and I was too prideful to forgive, quite selfish and self-centered. My heart grew too hard, so that even trying Retrouvaille and marriage counseling after we separated did nothing. My husband allowed his anger and hurt to make him be a bully throughout our separation, and I was victimized in the divorce settlement. I could have chosen to follow Judas's example, I guess, and totally give up and crawl into a hole. Luckily, somehow I found the Beginning Experience ministry, where the Holy Spirit helped me do a lot of emotional work to better myself. I was Peter, begging God for forgiveness and mercy.

It took the end of my marriage to crack open my hardened heart, to remind me of His Goodness, and to remind me how I am to be God's Love to others in this world. I still have a long way to go, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not an oncoming train. Sometimes what we consider devastating is really not so. Some seeds have hard hulls which need to be crushed a little before the embryo inside can emerge to take root, grow, and bloom. And it takes practice to die to self over and over and over again until it becomes loving habit.

Jul 7th 2013 new
(quote) Laura-857740 said: Everyone experiences some kind of mistreatment in life. But instead of allowing trials to devastate us, we can let God use them for our growth. How do we experience true victory in every situation. What was or is your situation...and how did you deal with it. Maybe someone else can benefit from knowing how you came through!

My situation: found ex was cheating on me. Hired private detective to make sure so their were no questions about it. Then took my son and moved in with my parents. Lived with them for two years to save money to buy my own home. I could have wallowed in my own my self pity, but, instead, realized that I was the one who kept our marriage vows, I stayed in line with the Lords teachings, and that increased my self esteem. Don't allow someone else to make you feel like you caused them to cheat...no way. It's 100% their doing. It's the choice they make and they have to live with it forever.

Well put Laura. Everyone makes choices, whether they are good or bad, and are fully responsible for the consequences of those choices. It is so ironic that many marriage counselors and marriage-saving programs try to tell the non-cheating spouse that their spouses decision to cheat was partially their fault. eyepopping I am a school teacher of 5th and 6th graders. Imagine if I used this type of logic with my students!!

Unfortunately, the current faulty logic that the decision to cheat by the cheating spouse was somehow the other spouses fault is rampant in the marriage counseling field. Fortunately we had very experienced Christian marriage counselors that felt a spouses decision to cheat was completely their responsibility and recommended I legally separate from my spouse because he was not taking responsibility for his decisions. I am very indebted to these counselors for providing me with a sense of clarity when I was hurting so badly.

I did not have parents to move in with and I have 4 children so I had to literally force my former spouse to move out of our house. With no family support and relying only on God's strength (as I had none at this point). I was able to keep him from returning (though he tried multiple times).

I will not be the victim, only the victor. Praised be to God, for when the faithful no longer has the strength to battle He carries us on to victory, just as he promised in scripture again and again.


Jul 7th 2013 new

Wow, Laura; what a powerful thread idea. (Is there a better thing to call this?)
I was quite moved by your story, it reminds me of another CM'er she was quite distraught over having been counseled that she would not get an annulment. She had so much love in her; and so much pain; and a weak heart. God gathered her home in December.
I pray you great success in your goals and dreams.

Lina; your story moved me as well. I especially empathize with your closing line, "And it takes practice to die to self over and over and over again until it becomes loving habit."

I married a girl from High School. Our first relationship didn't go so well. I'll admit right here that I was horribly naive back then, and remain a bit so today.
We had an on and off relationship through several years, and finally her words were, "We should quit doing this, and just get married." I had reached that feeling already, but hadn't yet popped the question; I said, "Ok!" I had a semester of college to complete. I "officially" proposed to her during my Christmas Break. I graduated, and we decided I should move in with her.

By this time I had felt so strongly that she was my intended. In my mind and heart we were already married. Things started getting 'wierd' pretty quick, when I asked what was wrong, she pretty much brushed it off, and said she had a lot on her mind. This, became the core of our relationship/marriage. I did everything I could think of to make her happy, to improve our relationship in EVERY way. We never really had any huge problems or challenges or even disagreements - and yet, there was always something missing; everything seemed to "fall short". I would ask what I could do or do better, she would say I was fine...

I went through several crisis - concluding that we were done, and I felt I was dying; but God stepped in each time with a powerful message via - a sermon, a movie, a seemingly out-of-place keynote speech at a software convention (Frank Abagnale Jr !?!- "Catch Me if you Can") - and 'told' me to re-commit myself to my family. Somehow he also gave me the strength and even Joy to do it... that recommitment eventually became a daily prayer.

Things got pretty bad in the final years; she took to drinking and some rather horrid, verbal abuse to our sons. I did my best, started looking into Al-Anon; at which point she up and said she was leaving. She ragingly painted me and the boys pretty ugly; and split.

We only communicated by email. I soon wrote her that I just didn't understand - that none of it made sense. She wrote back, "I'm sorry. You deserve to know the truth. I never wanted to get married. I didn't have the guts to call it off; I was afraid of what my family and friends would think. I've been living a lie, and I can't do it any more. I'm sorry that I stole half of your life."

Suddenly EVERYTHING made sense. Victim or Victor - neither and both.
The greatest frustration was feeling that I had so much love to give, but it was never accepted and so it remains now, available for someone else - God Willing.
Jul 7th 2013 new
(quote) Lina-796057 said:

When circumstances go against us, we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again. When we lose our job, we go search for another one. When a tornado destroys our house, we mourn the loss of our material things, deal with the insurance company, and rebuild a shelter.

When people hurt us, we have the New Testament advice of forgiving "70 times 7 times", and the parable of the Prodigal Son. Come to think of it, we also have Matthew 18:15-17, which advises us on how to deal with sin in the Church.

When I stop and ponder my marriage and divorce, I see how I did not follow the teachings stated above. I did not know how to handle conflict or confront properly, and I was too prideful to forgive, quite selfish and self-centered. My heart grew too hard, so that even trying Retrouvaille and marriage counseling after we separated did nothing. My husband allowed his anger and hurt to make him be a bully throughout our separation, and I was victimized in the divorce settlement. I could have chosen to follow Judas's example, I guess, and totally give up and crawl into a hole. Luckily, somehow I found the Beginning Experience ministry, where the Holy Spirit helped me do a lot of emotional work to better myself. I was Peter, begging God for forgiveness and mercy.

It took the end of my marriage to crack open my hardened heart, to remind me of His Goodness, and to remind me how I am to be God's Love to others in this world. I still have a long way to go, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not an oncoming train. Sometimes what we consider devastating is really not so. Some seeds have hard hulls which need to be crushed a little before the embryo inside can emerge to take root, grow, and bloom. And it takes practice to die to self over and over and over again until it becomes loving habit.

Thank you Lina for putting everything into perspective. Those of us who have experienced the end of a marriage, which goes against everything God intended for a husband and wife, are able to forgive only by the Grace of God. It is not in mans human nature to forgive; man by nature is very selfish. I am so grateful everyday for God's grace in my life for without it I would be a bitter, angry soul.

Two months ago my former spouse decided that after not having anything to do with the kids for 5 years he wanted to go to the family birthday dinner for our son, however he told our son that he didn't want me there. When I found this out I asked my former spouse "why". He responded, "you make me feel bad". I asked, "what do I say or do to make you feel bad". He responded, "just seeing you makes me feel guilty". I responded, "I have forgiven you; you need to forgive yourself".

Lina, you expressed the importance of not only forgiving others but also forgiving yourself.
Jul 7th 2013 new
(quote) David-870960 said:
Wow, Laura; what a powerful thread idea. (Is there a better thing to call this?)I was quite moved by your story, it reminds me of another CM'er she was quite distraught over having been counseled that she would not get an annulment. She had so much love in her; and so much pain; and a weak heart. God gathered her home in December.
I pray you great success in your goals and dreams.
Lina; your story moved me as well. I especially empathize with your closing line, "And it takes practice to die to self over and over and over again until it becomes loving habit."
I married a girl from High School. Our first relationship didn't go so well. I'll admit right here that I was horribly naive back then, and remain a bit so today.We had an on and off relationship through several years, and finally her words were, "We should quit doing this, and just get married." I had reached that feeling already, but hadn't yet popped the question; I said, "Ok!" I had a semester of college to complete. I "officially" proposed to her during my Christmas Break. I graduated, and we decided I should move in with her.
By this time I had felt so strongly that she was my intended. In my mind and heart we were already married. Things started getting 'wierd' pretty quick, when I asked what was wrong, she pretty much brushed it off, and said she had a lot on her mind. This, became the core of our relationship/marriage. I did everything I could think of to make her happy, to improve our relationship in EVERY way. We never really had any huge problems or challenges or even disagreements - and yet, there was always something missing; everything seemed to "fall short". I would ask what I could do or do better, she would say I was fine...
I went through several crisis - concluding that we were done, and I felt I was dying; but God stepped in each time with a powerful message via - a sermon, a movie, a seemingly out-of-place keynote speech at a software convention (Frank Abagnale Jr !?!- "Catch Me if you Can") - and 'told' me to re-commit myself to my family. Somehow he also gave me the strength and even Joy to do it... that recommitment eventually became a daily prayer.
Things got pretty bad in the final years; she took to drinking and some rather horrid, verbal abuse to our sons. I did my best, started looking into Al-Anon; at which point she up and said she was leaving. She ragingly painted me and the boys pretty ugly; and split.
We only communicated by email. I soon wrote her that I just didn't understand - that none of it made sense. She wrote back, "I'm sorry. You deserve to know the truth. I never wanted to get married. I didn't have the guts to call it off; I was afraid of what my family and friends would think. I've been living a lie, and I can't do it any more. I'm sorry that I stole half of your life."
Suddenly EVERYTHING made sense. Victim or Victor - neither and both.The greatest frustration was feeling that I had so much love to give, but it was never accepted and so it remains now, available for someone else - God Willing.
David, thanks for sharing your story. Of course it isn't the whole story but there are definite concerns for your former wife's faulty way of thinking. SHE was the one who said "we should quit doing this and just get married", BUT then after the marriage ends SHE says, "I never wanted to get married". It sounds like she is not wanting to take responsibility for her decisions, which is very typical of the "alcoholic personality" (I too was married to one). Unfortunately I carried on as you did, constantly trying to please my spouse but there was no amount of effort on my part that would ever make him satisfied, thus he turned to addictions.

God never intended for us to be "satisfied" by our spouse alone or we would not need Him. He intended for us to be "dissatisfied" even while married so that we would seek HIM to fill that void. Unfortunately many people marry thinking that all of their feelings of emptiness will be fulfilled by their spouse, only to find out differently. Instead of turning to their Heavenly Father they turn to vices of the world, and the marriage does not have a chance.

Blessings to you.
Jul 7th 2013 new
(quote) Joan-529855 said: Thank you Lina for putting everything into perspective. Those of us who have experienced the end of a marriage, which goes against everything God intended for a husband and wife, are able to forgive only by the Grace of God. It is not in mans human nature to forgive; man by nature is very selfish. I am so grateful everyday for God's grace in my life for without it I would be a bitter, angry soul.

Two months ago my former spouse decided that after not having anything to do with the kids for 5 years he wanted to go to the family birthday dinner for our son, however he told our son that he didn't want me there. When I found this out I asked my former spouse "why". He responded, "you make me feel bad". I asked, "what do I say or do to make you feel bad". He responded, "just seeing you makes me feel guilty". I responded, "I have forgiven you; you need to forgive yourself".

Lina, you expressed the importance of not only forgiving others but also forgiving yourself.

"The unforgiving heart clings to the past, refusing to extend to others what our heavenly Father has extended to us. As a result of a resentful attitude, there will be certain negative consequences in the life of an unforgiving person. One of the most significant repercussions is that bitterness takes root in the heart, and then it spreads its poison to choke out every godly trait there.

The truth is that people choose to be unforgivingit is a deliberate decision and a self-inflicted pain. We carry the illusion that other people have caused our misery, but in reality, we have elected to take on a form of self-imposed bondage. It is a spiritual acid that eats through the spirit within us. Few people realize the terrible effects of unforgiveness.


Jul 7th 2013 new
(quote) Joan-529855 said: Well put Laura. Everyone makes choices, whether they are good or bad, and are fully responsible for the consequences of those choices. It is so ironic that many marriage counselors and marriage-saving programs try to tell the non-cheating spouse that their spouses decision to cheat was partially their fault. I am a school teacher of 5th and 6th graders. Imagine if I used this type of logic with my students!!

Unfortunately, the current faulty logic that the decision to cheat by the cheating spouse was somehow the other spouses fault is rampant in the marriage counseling field. Fortunately we had very experienced Christian marriage counselors that felt a spouses decision to cheat was completely their responsibility and recommended I legally separate from my spouse because he was not taking responsibility for his decisions. I am very indebted to these counselors for providing me with a sense of clarity when I was hurting so badly.

I did not have parents to move in with and I have 4 children so I had to literally force my former spouse to move out of our house. With no family support and relying only on God's strength (as I had none at this point). I was able to keep him from returning (though he tried multiple times).

I will not be the victim, only the victor. Praised be to God, for when the faithful no longer has the strength to battle He carries us on to victory, just as he promised in scripture again and again.


I will not be the victim, only the victor. Praised be to God, for when the faithful no longer has the strength to battle He carries us on to victory, just as he promised in scripture again and again.


I Love this!!!
Jul 7th 2013 new
Funny that I was just contemplating this topic today as I drove home from Mass. I've been on my own for 8 years, raising my two daughters with very little help from anyone. Needless to say, I get tired...very tired...and I wish daily that I had someone to share this journey with. My story is so long and convoluted...it reads like something directly out of a soap opera, and I guess part of me can't believe it really happened, but it did. It's hard to summarize (and I'll have to leave a lot out), but here goes...

My ex-husband and I were both in the military...both officers. From the very beginning, it was obvious that it would be difficult (if not impossible) for both of us to have successful military careers and a family. It's not easy coordinating jobs for two careers in the military and raising a family at the same time (some people do it, but often times it's the families that suffer for it). After 7 years on active duty, they were going to separate us, and we had two very young children, so I made the choice to get out of the military and resign my commission. (Later, he would say that's when our marriage ended for him, but that was only one in a long list of "reasons" he gave me.) Once I became a military spouse, I found short term jobs, but they didn't pay nearly as much as my officer salary. I took care of the kids, the house, and the moves, but somehow my husband didn't see my value no matter how hard I worked. After 11 years of marriage, he got deployed to Afghanistan. I missed him SO much! He was only gone for 4 months, but it felt like forever to me. While he was gone, he became deeply involved in a relationship with a woman who worked for him at our home base. They could talk daily on military phone lines, while I only got to talk to him a couple times a month. This was pre-Skype. At the end of the deployment, he came home to her, not to me. I fought as hard as I knew how to give our marriage a chance. I didn't want our children to grow up without him, but I knew they would if we left, and I loved him and the life we had built together. He stayed in our home, but continued the relationship at work (while telling me it was over). She left her husband and made herself completely available to mine shortly after his return from the deployment. After about 18 months, it became completely obvious that she wasn't going to let go, and he didn't want her to. (Long story, but he was lying to me and deceiving me the whole time...telling me one thing and doing another.) When I caught them the final time, he finally looked me in the eye and told me he would never be faithful to me and I needed to leave. So, I did...no job, no home, no savings...nothing. Just me, my two girls, our dog, and a small car...and a 3000 mile trip from the west coast to the east coast. We lived with my brother for a few months while I tried to figure out what to do (and prayed daily that my husband would realize his mistake, fix it, and we could go home! That, obviously, did not happen.) I decided to become a high school math teacher, since I had a math degree and I thought it would be "perfect" for a single mother. Meanwhile, the mistress left her two children with their father and moved 850 miles away from them to move in with my husband (long before we had even seen a lawyer, let alone filed for divorce.) I worked my tail off to earn my teaching certification (it took a total of 4 years), but I was able to teach while taking classes. Our divorce was finalized two years after he kicked us out, and he married his mistress a few months later. He has paid his child support regularly (I guess I'm lucky in that), but the girls only see him 1-2 times per year. He's gone on to have another child (and another on the way.) It's still extremely painful for me, and the feelings of abandonment and fear often still wake me up from a sound sleep feeling panicky. BUT...I have survived. My girls are beautiful and intelligent...the divorce has affected them (how could it not?), but they are well-behaved and have not gone down the path many kids of divorce do. Thank you, God! I was able to purchase a small house for us, and we have everything we need. I actually enjoy teaching more than anything I've ever done, which surprised even me!

It took me 5 years to decide to start the annulment process, because I first had to accept that he wasn't coming back and also come to terms with the idea that I wouldn't go back even if he did. I wouldn't allow myself the freedom to date until it was finalized. My annulment was granted without any issue two years ago. Finding someone with my values has not been easy. I've tried this site a couple of times with no luck, but I just keep telling myself God has given us what we needed every step of the way, and He will provide a companion for me when the time is right..in His own time. While I sometimes still have those feelings of helplessness, fear, and loneliness, I am a survivor...more victor than victim. I just hope "His time" comes soon!
Jul 8th 2013 new
JoLea... a remarkable, and painful story. I congratulate you on your perseverance and annulment. May God Bless you with Peaceful sleep. Thanks for sharing your story, and most of all: Thank you for your Service!

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