I remember what life was like before my divorce… I had the privilege of identifying myself as a married woman; a wife with a husband and a home. I was Catholic and proud to be one. I felt a calling to become an even better Catholic through my vocation to marriage. I was a normal part of my neighborhood which was filled with families. My nieces and nephews would come to visit and it always made me feel good that they called my husband “uncle.” It seemed I was doing everything right and could hold my head up high.
Then came the day when the label “divorced” was harshly slapped upon me. And believe me, it was a harsh slap.
The life I loved and recognized was gone. Everything had changed, and one of the most difficult aspects of these changes was the way people thought of me… oftentimes by people who didn’t know my story or had any clue what I had been through.
Many people find themselves in the position I just described. Some had no option but to divorce, and some had no say in their divorce. Regardless, they now have to rebuild their lives, which is challenging to say the least, and the annulment process isn’t always the first thing to follow.
Sometimes, other things must come first like settling in a new location or working through the details of child custody. Some dioceses even have a waiting period before you can file after receiving a decree of nullity. So, if you’re in this position, you become DBNA (divorced, but not annulled) by default.
At this point, it’s fairly typical that your new state in life becomes difficult and awkward. You might feel more comfortable staying away from other people because they might judge you or you might be tired of having to explain your circumstances. Maybe you stay away from social functions or no longer participate in your parish community. You might not feel like talking much to your neighbors or going to lunch with co-workers.
But you, as a human being, aren’t hard wired for this type of life. You need a community of peers that provide a loving and safe environment. Being a part of a community after divorce is essential.
Our society is built on families, and associations between families. Day to day, you are a member of different communities; sports leagues, parishes, PTA, business associations, book clubs, neighborhoods, etc. and they all play a role in forming who you are.
More importantly, we are all created in the image and likeness of God (cf Genesis 1:27) and God is not a solitary being. Our Creator, Himself, is a community of persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Since we are made in God’s image and likeness, it only stands to reason that we are creatures made for love and will always have the need to be a part of a community. Every person who reaches out to another, does so in imitation of his Creator.
God is not a heavenly hermit, so neither should we be hermits.
This is why Catholic Match is such a significant and reliable resource for single people, and has become a unique community for divorced Catholics. In their specific circumstances, divorced men and women are most in need of a place to reach out to others and have others reach out to them. Even if you are unable to have a romantic relationship because you do not have a decree of nullity, you still have access to a community of like-minded single men and women with whom you can connect and find strong, healthy social relationships. It’s part of the healing process, part of regaining your personal self-worth.
I encourage you to make the most of your membership on CatholicMatch and reach out to others who can support and encourage you as you move forward.
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