It’s not uncommon for women who have been betrayed to be single and without any hint of a romantic relationship for a long time after the affair and divorce. Sometimes the infidelity leaves a woman so wounded that she simply has no desire to try dating again. Sometimes a woman’s marriage was so toxic and hurtful that she is perfectly content without a man in her life.
But for many betrayed, now-single women, it’s a different story. They would like to begin dating again. They would be flattered and interested if a man began to pay attention to them. So when they go years at a time without a date, they begin to ask themselves questions like, “Why does no one like me?” or “Why does no one ever ask me out?” or “What’s wrong with me?”
There could be any number of reasons that a betrayed former wife doesn’t get asked out. But if a woman isn’t living the life of a recluse, it’s probably a good idea to look inward.
Maybe she’s never dealt with her pain. The pain of being betrayed can be felt as grief, anger, depression, anxiety, and other emotions as well. It can settle in for the long haul as resentment, cynicism, or bitterness. Sometimes, unresolved pain is the underlying problem, even when it looks like there is another more obvious problem.
Pain is such a powerful feeling that it has a tendency to be transferred to others if it isn’t dealt with in a healthy way. Formerly wounded wives, without realizing it, can treat others with indifference, sarcasm, judgment, belittling, criticism, and controlling, just to name a few. Particularly with sarcasm, belittling and criticism, the woman may feel like it’s easier to spread pain to other people than to feel it and deal with it herself.
Maybe she reeks of desperation. She may feel very insecure being alone. She may believe that she is “less than” other women if she doesn’t have a man. She may feel like she can’t survive financially on her own. The betrayal may have been a huge blow to her ego so she feels the need to prove to herself that she really can get a man who is satisfied with her.
So now, her facial expressions and body language and overly-affirming, agreeable words all convey that she is trying too hard to be liked. It’s unattractive to have to try that hard. It comes across as desperate. People are naturally attracted to other people who come across as confident. Desperate women, if they do get a date, are the kind of women that men take advantage of, not the kind of women that a good man marries.
Maybe she isn’t fun to be around. She is a Debbie Downer. She finds fault with everything. She hardly ever lets herself smile and be happy. She just doesn’t have any joy in her life.
Joy is the most vulnerable emotion and it makes sense that someone who has been betrayed in life would have a hard time being vulnerable again. She doesn’t want to be happy and fun and carefree because she’s trying to protect herself from being blindsided by a crushing blow like betrayal ever again. So she keeps self-protecting until her friends have gradually been pushed away. Without friends, she is less likely to go out. Without going out, she is less likely to meet anyone at all. So she becomes more and more lonely.
She just can’t muster up the courage to be pleasant and have fun because ”what if.” What if she gets hurt again? What if the next man rejects her too? What if she tries with everything she’s got and still fails at getting what she wants? The sad paradox here is that she has adopted a life without happiness in a misguided attempt to make sure she is never robbed of her happiness again. Without risk there is no reward.
Maybe she self-sabotages any potential relationship or friendship because she is afraid. She worries that if someone gets close to her, they will know the “real her” and they will reject her. Perhaps she wrongfully blames herself for her ex-husband’s affair and now she is fearful that another man may cheat on her too. So she finds ways to sabotage any potential relationship right from the beginning, to the extent of not engaging with men at all sometimes.
She doesn’t even give anyone the chance to accept or reject her. She mistakenly feels like her emotions are safer that way, but in reality, she has simply chosen to swap out the suffering of rejection with the suffering of loneliness.
Maybe she sees herself as unworthy of friends and relationships. A spouse’s betrayal can have a way of shaking a person to their very core. It can even alter their view of their own self-worth. Sometimes there is also verbal or emotional abuse in a marriage where there is physical betrayal. That abuse can leave the abused spouse confused about their own self-worth and about their own worthiness to be loved.
None of these beliefs is easy to overcome. But it is possible for a hurting divorcee to find emotional healing. It is possible for her to exhibit emotional strength that is attractive to good and decent men. It is possible to have a healthy relationship after being betrayed and divorced.
To be emotionally healthy (a.k.a. attractive to the opposite sex) a wounded woman (or anyone for that matter) needs to reshape what she believes about herself. She currently believes one thing, (for example, that she is unworthy of being loved) and it is causing her more pain. She needs to reexamine what is true and start believing that.
The best source for understanding what is true is going to be understanding what her Creator believes is true about her.
God believes that people are worth Christ. God did not want mankind to be separated from him for eternity. The only way to restore fallen humanity to Himself was to send His Son Jesus Christ to die for and redeem them (John 3:16). That includes every woman who has been made to feel worthless by someone else. She never needs to be isolated and unwanted. Jesus has bridged the gap between God and mankind (1 Timothy 2:5) so that we’re never alone (Hebrews 13:5). This is the ultimate cure for loneliness.
God believes His children are worth calling to Himself for rest. Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Is there anything more exhausting than feeling alone, abandoned, or unwanted? Jesus calls the weary so that we’re never alone.
God believes His children are worth connecting with. He has given us access to Him through prayer and the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:26-27) With Him to talk to night and day (1 Thessalonians 5:17), we are never alone.
God believes His children are worth comforting. He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us understand Him (John 14:26). Understanding who God is and being known by him is the deepest and most intimate relationship a person can have. The relationship that we can develop with God is one that lasts for eternity. With him forever, we are truly never alone.
“Single again” is not an easy stage of life to be in. It’s challenges are many and unique. The wounds from the previous relationship are real and need to be addressed. A therapist can provide solutions for moving forward with life after betrayal and divorce.
However, God offers comfort for a broken heart and eternal hope for a broken soul. He offers a relationship that is more intimate, fulfilling, and satisfying than any relationship another human can offer.
In John chapter 4, Jesus meets a woman at the town well. This woman had been used and abused by men for most of her adult life. Then she met Jesus. That changed everything. Meeting Jesus and believing what He had to say gave her the acceptance and significance she had been searching for. She wasn’t afraid of the same things anymore. She didn’t relate to other people the same way as before. She met Jesus and the pain in her soul was healed.
That is my hope for every hurting, lonely woman who reads this.