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Stupid Religious Hangup

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careerlady posted 2/7/2014 21:12 PM

So I was raised very conservative Christian. I saved myself for marriage (only to squander it) and even though a lot of women in my profession don't change their name I did after a little while if marriage cause I was embarrassed checking into a hotel with different names.

I took my wedding ring off like 2 months ago cause it felt Ike a lie but sometimes I feel self conscious when I'm somewhere with DS, like it appears he was conceived out of wedlock during some one night stand or something. I feel a related shame that I am not staying married no matter what like good Christians do. Divorce is supposed to be for wimps, right (and of course the Snake keeps using my values against me to make me feel worse)? I know hardly anybody cares about this kind of stuff anymore and I know it's not my fault but I can't help but feel ashamed. Can anyone relate or am I just the last prude in the world? How do I get past this?

Just another shitty thing he's forced on me

nowiknow23 posted 2/7/2014 21:29 PM

((((careerlady)))) That shame is not yours, honey. It isn't your burden to carry. You upheld your vows. The shame belongs entirely to the Snake.

movingbackwards posted 2/7/2014 21:45 PM

As someone with a similar upbringing, I carry a lot of shame for even THINKING about divorce. I know it's hard. But a cheating spouse flies in the face of everything marriage is supposed to be. That's something I have to keep reminding myself. I'm not breaking my vows -- he took care of that. I don't have to live with someone who can lie to me like that, and neither do you. (((Careerlady)))

ruinedandbroken posted 2/7/2014 22:08 PM

I had to call the state child support enforcement agency last year when my X stopped paying his child support. They had to ask me the standard questions; how many kids, ages. Etc. Then they asked me how many fathers my kids had. I was mortified! I know these are standard but I felt like some kind of white trash baby ,momma being asked how many fathers. It was really a gross feeling. I was like, "ONE!" One father!!!!!

Pass posted 2/7/2014 22:11 PM

I mean no disrespect (or not much anyhow) to your religion - and absolutely none to you - but if your religion is making you feel bad about standing up for yourself, and leaving a toxic situation, then it may be time to reconsider your religion. A religion should empower you during tough times (especially tough times not of your creation), not make you feel worse.

However, I am a self-proclaimed "fire-breathing atheist", which tends to colour every discussion I have involving religion. So please feel free to ignore me on this, and I apologize if I have offended you.

Oftencheatedon posted 2/7/2014 22:34 PM

Hopefully you can talk to someone within your faith that can help you.

I am a very conservative Christian. I did not save myself for marriage - but I waited months until we were engaged. I felt like I "had" to marry him because I'd slept with him. He cheated and cheated on me.

We did not marry because he eloped with someone else a couple of weeks before our big wedding. And then came back two months later begging me to take him back. I never looked back.

It's been years ago and I've gotten over it (although I will never like him even as a friend).

Even within the Catholic Church there is often ground for ending the marriage. I am not Catholic but my big non denominational church has classes for those getting divorced to help them get through it without feeling like big old sinners.

Even the bible says infidelity is grounds for divorce.

newlysingle posted 2/7/2014 22:41 PM

I'm not a religious person and I still feel the same way. My kids are 5 years apart and I know that people think I'm the single mom with two kids from different fathers. Thankfully, my kids look a lot alike so that helps.

Also my DS was only 4 months old when XWH left us. I felt so trashy. I realize how stupid it is to feel that way though. I've always respected single moms as I was raised by one. I know that others respect us too.

Harriet posted 2/7/2014 23:03 PM

I have 3 kids, 2 fathers. Been married twice. Does that make me trashy?

Nature_Girl posted 2/7/2014 23:19 PM

Marriage was not meant to keep us in bondage. I have some links that have been and still are of help to me in overcoming my religious hangups. Some have an abuse focus because, well, that's what I've gone through. I don't agree with everything on every one of these websites, but I feel as a whole they help reframe divorce for those of us who were raised with the "divorce is not an option" mindset.

careerlady posted 2/7/2014 23:44 PM

Thanks all,
the funny thing is I don't even really practice my religion anymore as I have found several holes in it. I still believe in God but not in the way the religions I've looked at sell it (I won't elaborate cause the point is not a religious debate but PM me if you want to chat ). And I'm not ashamed when I tell others what happened, I am almost proud to say how many chances I gave him. I know no sane person would question my decision, my devout parents sure haven't.

Though I do feel guilty sometimes about not sticking it out (for no good reason ) my hangup is mainly I guess the people who see me on the street and don't know what happened. And those that only know a tiny piece of what happened. I guess I shouldn't care but I don't want them to look down on me. I'm African American too and have been spending all my life in predominately white circles trying to fight off stereotypes. The feeling I am having is the same reason I always get a bag when I leave the store because I don't want anyone to think I stole anything It's hard to explain. Maybe once I get less codependent or grow a spine or whatever I won't give a damn

NIK and movingbackwards- thanks, I know you're right

ruinedandbroken & newlysingle - I know what you mean about being able to say you have one father for your kids, it's likt you don't want to look like you sleep around...but it's something you can't always control either

pass- it's not even my religion, which clearly allows for divorce due to infidelity, I guess I just don't want to look bad or something to outsiders. BTW how can you KNOW something DOESN'T exist?

Oftencheatedon - that's awful! So sorry! At least you escaped early!

Harriet - OMG I don't think any of us intended any putdown, we were just talking about how we didn't want to look like we were sleeping around and reproducing casually if you know what I mean. If I get extremely lucky I might end up in that position and have another child...but likely that's something else that was taken from me

Nature_Girl - thanks for those links, definitely helps with those down moments where I feel bad for not staying. It's sooooo true what the author says about making "Divorced" a status. That was one of the things I thought about when I decided not to leave the Snake after the first D-Day

Harriet posted 2/8/2014 00:02 AM

I wasn't offended. I meant it as a way to check your own thoughts about yourself - we judge ourselves much more harshly than we judge others, usually.

careerlady posted 2/8/2014 00:03 AM

Harriet - oh good! Yeah for sure I am guilty of that!

Dreamboat posted 2/8/2014 00:09 AM

I am not religious. At all. Not atheist, but not religious in any sense of the word. Even still, I hated telling people I was D. I still hate filling out forms where they ask your marital status -- I am single but I am also D, so what should I check. And then a few months ago Dear Abby tells some poor reader that she is being dishonest by checking "Single" rather than "Divorced" on forms. Not that I put much stock in Dear Abby, but still WTH??

I think it is a societal thing more than a religious thing. And sometimes it bleeds into the lives of the kids (I won't thread jack, but DD has had some pretty bad experiences because her father choose to abandon her and not be present in her life)

I am not sure you ever really get past it. But I have learned to accept it and know that the people who judge me and/or DD are so very shallow and do not deserve any space in my head or my life.


Nature_Girl posted 2/8/2014 00:09 AM

FWIW, I'm white and I honestly do not think "multiple fathers" when I see a black woman with more than one child, nor do I assume she's divorced or a slut or a druggie/hooker or any other thing. A person's marital status is just not something I think about, except if a man is looking at me for longer than a microsecond. I bet you that most people, white or otherwise, don't really give a rat's ass about your marital status at all.

I stayed with my ex in large part because I did not want to get divorced. I saw divorce as quitting. Failure. And by God I was not going to quit or fail. My ex used this against me over & over. He knew I wouldn't get divorced because he knew how passionate I was against it. I was SO extremely prideful. Oh my, so prideful.

SBB posted 2/8/2014 00:28 AM

Oh honey.

Us heathens also have things we cringe about.

My girls look COMPLETELY different. Like, one is lily white with blonde hair and blue eyes with the sad clowns goggly eyes and the rest of her face is mine - my little one is dark skinned, dark haired and dark eyed and is a mini-me except for his big box head (she'll grow out of it).

I am dark skinned with vitiligo so I have white white zero pigment skin over 80% of my body with dark hair and eyes. The sad clown is a weird anglo mix like one of those mutts - black thick eyebrows, light brown hair, ginger bits in his beard ugly boozer ruddy skin. Not loyal or loveable like a mutt, though.

My weird hangup? I think people think I had babies to two different men. Who gives a shit if I did? Nobody. Would it be bad if I did? Hell no. Yet I do wonder if people think that. I don't want them to think that. I used to think about it when I was married too - for some reason I think about it more now.

Just know you're not alone and start working on breaking that give a shit. The shame is not yours.

Softcentre posted 2/8/2014 01:37 AM

Hand up here.

Saved myself until marriage. Felt the same when I took my ring off.

But I'm also a theologian. And when I looked at my shame, I realised a couple of things, theologically(I know you may not believe this stuff, but it may help you to rationalise your FOO beliefs):

1. God gave us the gift of divorce. It's there in the Bible. A gift from God to get out of a lousy marriage because God knows we mess up and that as we aren't all knowing or mind readers.

2. Jesus gave that command about not divorcing, except for adultery,because it was being misused: Men were temporarily divorcing their wives to temporarily 'marry' a prostitute while they slept with her So he told them to stop. He also told then that divorcing a woman in order to marry another was wrong....because of that issue.

3. Jesus said it was ok to divorce for adultery. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We're allowed to D

4. What was Jesus reaction to a woman (of a supposedly 'inferior' race, according to his society) he met who'd been married multiple times and was now just living with a partner? According to his society's norms & expectations, he should shun her, not talk with her, not eat or drink with her (because eating & drinking with someone meant that you accepted them). Umm, well, he talked to her and asked her to give him a drink....Jesus shocked his disciples when they arrived & found him talking and drinking with her, but he didn't care what they thought.

A lot of the ideas and judgement we or others put onto us, isn't real, isn't from God/Christianity. A lot of it is, basically, transference and blameshifting. God's much more interested in us being real and authentic, than giving the right impression.

The whole law thing was given to help us learn right from wrong...and Jesus came because we ALL mess up and get it wrong. If we didn't, there was no reason to come. Yet somehow, it seems like we think that we have to appear perfect. We don't.

Now I know you have doubts about all this stuff, but it's still affected a deep core of you. If you can reframe your childhood theology. then it may help deal with the shame, shame that is not yours, but put onto you by others.

It's worked for me. I'm less worried about what people think, but it's taken time and I'm still working on it.

nekorb posted 2/8/2014 07:02 AM


For me, I have to learn to trust my own thoughts and feelings about things as being RIGHT and OK. When that happens, I won't worry about what everyone else thinks or feels about my situation.

I'm clearly not there yet as even thinking about saying the words, "my husband left me" , makes me feel like there is something wrong with ME. I feel humiliated by it somehow.

We need to learn to be confident in our choices as they relate to us and our situation and not worry about what strangers think. Our true friends will stand beside us.

And I agree with the others who stated that adultery is a biblically acceptable reason for divorce. I still don't want to do it and don't plan to (I'm hoping he doesn't change his mind about LS), but if I choose to do it, it's ok.

Pass posted 2/8/2014 08:17 AM

pass- it's not even my religion, which clearly allows for divorce due to infidelity, I guess I just don't want to look bad or something to outsiders. BTW how can you KNOW something DOESN'T exist?

Hey, CL. I'm glad to hear you're asking questions about your religion. Asking questions is how we gain knowledge and improve our lives, but like I said, my views are a little jaded.

It's not that I KNOW it doesn't exist. There is absolutely zero evidence that it does exist. The only "evidence" we have is a book of stories that were orally passed down through the generations before they were recorded. A lot of these stories are riddled with inconsistency, are similar to older stories about other gods, and are asking me to believe in a magic man in the sky.

I was raised Christian, but started questioning it when I was 4. It didn't ring true, but I was expected to "just believe". I remember getting in trouble in Sunday School, at the age of 7, when I asked if "Love thine enemies" shouldn't include loving Satan.

However, if someone ever provides scientific proof that there is a magic man in the sky, I will happily change my view to accept it.

Please don't think I'm making fun of your belief. You're going through a lousy time, so if believing makes your life easier, I certainly don't want to shit on it.

Softcentre posted 2/8/2014 08:22 AM

I'm not going to t/j this into a debate about God...

I think a lot of how we think others view us, comes from our fears & insecurities. Any one who judges us, has their own projected issues. Trouble is, that with the confidence battering that we've had, it's hard to see that.


Mom4ever posted 2/8/2014 09:22 AM

I don't think it's stupid at all. I am struggling with the fact that I filed for divorce so much. 3 years ago when I got the ILYBIMILWY speech, I dug my heels in and fought it. I told him I would never agree to or sign anything to give him a divorce. I was determined to "stand" for my marriage. I insisted on pastoral counseling. Well, he finally conceded and we went a few times together. I never found proof that there was someone else and I did look very hard. I did have suspicions though. But I really put myself under the microscope and started working on me. I was going to change the things about me that he didn't like. Honestly, there were things about me that needed changing. I needed to face some FOO issues. I did grow. I did become closer to my God. I thought my marriage was better. He quit complaining. But I realize now that I also ignored my gut a lot. There were still areas that I just didn't deal with. Of course, I was a little busy working full-time and raising 3 kids. Background, I was raised by a single mom. My parents divorced when I was 2. I never had a relationship with my father. But all of that to say, I didn't know what a healthy home life looked like. I tried to "fix" everything. I got everyone up, breakfast fixed, ready for school, take to school, and then go to work, arranged for kids after school, get off work, pick up kids, take to practices or whatever, feed dinner, do homework, put to bed.... STBXH worked away from home a lot, in fact most of our marriage. When he was home, he did help some, a practice some here and there, more if he liked that activity, and homework only rarely if he just had to. I always was the one to take off with sick ones and take to the doctor and care for them. Don't get me wrong, I was very blessed to always have a job that allowed me to be able to do this. I wanted to be the one. In his credit, STBXH always was a hard worker and a good provider. When he was home he did the outside stuff and always made sure it was done. And he would help some inside with a little cleaning and laundry occasionally and could handle himself in the kitchen. But it was mainly me. I never took time to see couples who had a true partner.... Someone to stand by their side and help each other. I just always was the good little girl. I went from my mothers home and doing what she told me to do to my husbands home and doing what he told me to do. Even when he wasn't home he would tell me what and how to take care of things and I would do as I was told. I too saved myself for marriage. My STBXH is the only man I have ever been with. We met when I was 16 and I only ever dated him. I guess I am just so literal. I take things very serious. I waited till I got married for sex, I graduated college before I got married, we waited four years to have our first child, I never quit working and helped provide for our family. I feel like I tried to do everything the right way. I never ever even considered looking outside of our marriage. It just wasn't even a consideration. No, I wasn't always happy, but it wasn't about me. I had a family. But no matter how hard I tried I couldn't seem to make him happy. When his work was finally closer to home the last 9 years or so he just never fully connected in. He was always outside doing something or on his computer or running around taking care of things. Sorry for rambling but my kids have pointed out to me that in some respects some things haven't changed. I am still the one taking care of everything, just not him and without his constant criticism. I guess I am also trying to say that one person can't do it all or make it work. You only wear yourself down. I was completely depleted at the end. I didn't even know who I was or what I wanted or needed. I am just figuring some of it out. I think maybe God was trying to show me that I had STBXH placed first in my heart and as the love of my life and that's the place God wanted in my life. Yes, I believe God hates divorce, but I also believe that God does not want a child of His to live in abuse of any sort (physical, emotional, financial, verbal, etc.). Sometimes it can't be fixed because God gives each of us free choice and we can't make our spouses choice for them. We have to live with their decision and God still loves us and will help us do just that. He will always be with us and guide us. And that might just be guiding us through divorce. Again, I'm sorry. I'm obviously still working through a lot of guilt. A website that also helped me was:

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