The Pain Of Deception In A Relationship

Hi Michele,
I am suffering from the pain of deception from my previous marriage. After two years, I came home and he was gone, all of his belongings removed. All the time we were together he professed love to me. So I was shocked and very hurt. He continued to contact me and forced my hand for divorce through financial concerns. He left me broke in more ways then one. He was constantly in and out of my life. This past July he told me he loved me and wanted to put us getting back together into God’s hands. Then, I found out he married another woman who is ten years his junior. I feel so betrayed and used from this man. I am hurt but I try to see the bright side in this. I am happier in my personal life without him controlling me or being demanding. On the other hand I feel so betrayed, used, and deceived. I am trying to forgive and move on but that is easier said then done. How can I move on? He made me feel I am not good enough for real marriage. I don’t know how to feel.

Thanks, C

Dear C,

You have been through a lot. Finding out a person that you loved and trusted is not the person you thought he was is devastating. It cuts to the very core of who we are, touching that place that makes us question if we are lovable. It is truly one of the biggest betrayals a person can live through. It sounds that you are still in the grief process, which is not only normal but honestly healthy. You have been through a huge loss, both of the relationship itself and of your idea of the person you were with. Taking time to process and feel that loss will actually help you in the future. Honoring your process may not be comfortable, but it will serve you in the long run. It is likely that you will fluctuate between feelings of disbelief, anger, and sadness. These feelings all coming together can certainly be confusing. However you experience it right now is ok.

This is the time to give yourself the space to walk through the process. It sounds like you are also starting to wonder if somehow you are now less able to be married in the future. He has taken a lot from you, but you can reclaim what was lost, and when you are ready you will be stronger and wiser for this experience, even if it doesn’t feel like it now. Hold onto that new found peace of being “happier” in your personal life. You will need it as an anchor in the future. Protect that peace against any intruders.

There is no one way to move on, sometimes moving through it is the way to move on. Part of letting go is certainly forgiving, but it may be a bit soon to move to forgive him right now. An important first step might be to forgive yourself first. You may need to give yourself grace for what has happened. Taking the time to think of the signs you may have missed, or choices you could have made differently, is certainly important. Do you know why you found him so attractive? There may be parts of your “self” that you need bring into awareness, possibly needs or wants that made you more vulnerable to him. Were you holding on the idea of getting married so tightly that you missed some important red flags? Did he have qualities that you really wanted for yourself?

A very good book for understanding why we choose who we do is called “Safe People” by two Christian psychologists, Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend. The book helps to explain why we get drawn to people that are not “safe” for us.

Remember that you were acting in faith and trust, working of what you thought was true at the time. This is a great time to lean on your faith and know that Christ wants to be with you in your pain. When we are being treated unfairly, when we have been betrayed by someone we loved and trusted, then we are closest to Christ’s heart in his passion. He bore the pain and suffering for us first, so we can turn to him in our own struggles.

There is nothing you can do, and nothing that could happen to you, that can reduce his great love for you. Bring your pain, tears, and questions to the foot of the cross, and ask him to help you move through this process. Spending some quiet time in prayer, reading Scripture, or going to adoration may be a great way to help you connect to his healing power and comfort. It may not fix everything immediately, but it can certainly help reduce the weight of your burden.

Hope this helps and God Bless,