Being active in church while divorced...never thought this would be me.

Being active in church while divorced...never thought this would be me.

Throwaway account...

Married well over 10 years. Married in the Temple.

Wife is abusive. I filed for divorce almost a year ago, and finalized a few months ago. We did marriage counseling for over a year with multiple therapists to fix things, but she didn't care, and didn't see anything wrong with her treatment or behavior (emasculation, gas lighting, flat out insulting, abandoning me in several health crises). During the divorce, I had to fight hard just to get less than half parenting time with my children.

Church is rough, every Sunday. People avoid me like the plague. I try to be pleasant, and welcoming. I attend for myself, not for anyone else, just to make that clear. People that I believed to be my friends, really showed their true colors after I filed. Only one person has remained in contact with me, but many consider him to be a controversial a-hole at church...I've found him to be the most compassionate and understanding of anyone, including my Bishopric.

As a male church member with an abusive ex-spouse, I've found little to no support from my leaders or fellow members, aside from the usual "well, the Lord will forgive you" kind of thing...forgive me for what, exactly?

Any other divorced members, men or women, care to share your experiences? This is a real struggle for me currently. It's not affecting my testimony. In fact, I feel closer to the Lord than I have in my entire life, including my 2 year mission.

Thanks everyone...

EDIT: away...

Clearly not quite the same thing, but I had similar feelings after breaking up with my fiancee in a student ward. She was my first girlfriend, and way more interested in just being married than being married to me (she was engaged two more times within six months of me breaking up with her).

I eventually realized she didn't treat me like someone who loved me and pulled the plug about a month before we were supposed to get married. She was heartbroken, and cried constantly throughout church. Everyone hated me. They had zero details about our relationship, but since she was crying I was the jerk. I was the executive secretary at the time, and one of the bishopric stopped talking to me altogether. My roommates were the only ones that had seen how terribly she treated me, but everyone else just assumed I was some awful person. It really wore on me.

Only one other person got it. The other counselor in the bishopric had had a very similar experience in his younger days. He told me he knew how rough my situation was, and that it would get easier. Just that little bit of solidarity was a lifeline to me during this time, so I hope someone can provide that to you. People are judgmental and members of the church are no exception. Keep being your best self and people will come around, and if they don't they aren't worth your time anyway. Best of luck to you!

Oh boy howdie! My time to shine!!! So my situation is different from yours in that my wife left me for another guy while trying to claim that wasn't what was happening. There were mixed reactions, but 6 weeks after the divorce when all of the sudden she was married again to someone else and I was still a wreck, most people figured it out.

Here's the weird parts about being a single man in a family ward to me. Some people will just avoid you because they think being single is contagious. Some will think that you are desperate and try to set you up with every temple worthy woman your age. I had a couple of (married) women get too friendly with me and had to put a stop to that. Really it's an everyone acts differently when you are single situation.

After about six months it settles back down and people start to realize that you didn't catch a disease, you got rid of one.

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Divorce is tough, no matter the reason. Unfortunately, divorce is more stigmatized in the LDS community and I think it’s harder for divorced men.

I’m glad you did what was best for you and you are finding peace. Stay close to your friend who is supporting you. You need more people like that in your life.

people start to realize that you didn't catch a disease, you got rid of one.

My mother-in-law divorced her abusive husband and calls divorce "the second best institution", after marriage. There has to be a way out when things are bad ... and there is. And it's not a sin to leave an abuser, period.

I don't have any experiences, but I'm really sorry you're going through this. Sometimes the church "family" can be really harsh and judge is for rumors or situations they don't understand. I got married outside of the temple and many people wouldn't even come to our wedding, but got really offended that they weren't invited to the sealing a year later. My family had also been harsh to my husband on occasion because they believed it was his "fault" we weren't getting married in the temple. However, 5 years later and my family and pretty okay with him now. I don't know if it will help, but if your ward is anything like my family, just keep going for you and eventually they will get over themselves. Good luck and you'll be in my prayers. :)

Obviously it's stigmatized in the sense that Mormons view marriage as much more significant and consequential than many other cultures, but I'm not sure it really is more stigmatized in terms of social consequences, at least not because of Mormonism.

When there's a divorce, especially one with a lot of angst involved, mutual friends and acquaintances are pulled in different directions. They try to walk the line, but mostly eventually have to fall in the camp of the party their most tied to. That's how it is in any divorce, and not just Mormon divorces.

Maybe what's unique about the Mormon divorce experience has to do with the way Mormon communities work. Mormons will tend to have many more acquaintances in common, since the Church social group is a shared experience. Add to that the baggage of an expectation of morality based side-taking - where some people might take the side of the person they are not closest to because of a perceived moral failure (and be seen as betraying the person they are closest to), while others will take the side of the person they are closest to whether they committed some betrayal or not (and be seen as betraying a moral obligation). Either way there's a lot of room and opportunity for hurt feelings.

I think I'm going on too long, I just wonder if the Mormon divorce experience isn't more a consequence of the nature of our communities, and less anything to do with a particular stigma about divorcees.

That sounds really tough. For some reason I've known three people fairly close to me who have had their marriages end recently. In all of those cases, though, there was a pretty clear bad guy. And in all of those cases the bad guy was the husband. I'm fully aware that is not universal. But I wouldn't doubt that there's some gender-based stereotypes playing in.

People avoid me like the plague

Thinking charitably, I would also guess that a lot of this is general awkwardness/unease. They don't know what to say so they don't say anything. Not admirable, but likely not malicious, either. The guy who's the controversial a-hole is probably more comfortable with awkward social situations. :P

I'm sorry you're going through this. I know we have divorced regulars here. Their advice will surely be more useful than mine.

I don't remember ever posting in this sub.

Super helpful comment