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Research Blog Four: Are we a 'community of the wronged'?

CP Updated

 

Note: This blog is part of an ongoing non-commercial research project - and has been posted with the full approval of the Wikivorce management team.

Dear all,

Once more, thank you all for your responses to my last research blog – that was quite a long time ago now, though! I’m back with some more reflections and questions for you all.

I’m also starting to contact people to ask them if they are prepared to be interviewed. Because I’m researching the first nine months of Wikviorce, I’m only approaching people who were around in 2007. There aren’t many of us, to be honest, who were there then and are still posting now. I suppose in some ways that’s a good thing, as it means people have moved on. But it’s also great that there are some people still here supporting others even though their own divorces were long ago. Of course there are also some of us (including me) for whom the divorce process seems to be going on forever… Anyway, if you were a member in 2007 and are still posting, you may well hear from me, if you haven't done so already. I'm doing the interviews by email (through PMs if people prefer), to preserve everyone's anonymity.

One of the things that I have been thinking about recently is the extent to which Wikivorcers in 2007 saw themselves as a ‘community of the wronged’. There seems to have been a general feeling that everyone in the site had been done over by their ex-spouse in one way or the other. I get the impression, looking back and going through the forum at the time,  that people felt that we were mainly not to blame for our divorces, but that our ex-spouses were mad or bad people who had treated us appallingly.

I wonder how people feel about this now?  I have the feeling that these days we are all a bit more prepared to admit that both sides contribute to the breakup of a relationship. Is that because there are more people around on the site now who are no longer in the early stages of separation or divorce (in 2007 the overwhelming majority hadn’t got divorced yet, and many were only just separating)? Or is it something else – the fact that the site is bigger, maybe, or perhaps the regular posters are just in different circumstances.

What do people think? Are we still mainly a ‘community of the wronged’? And if so, does it matter?

Best wishes,

Carrie

 

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This is a very interesting question.

On the whole, there is this perception that we are a community of the wronged - but with years of hindsight behind me, I believe that both sides feel they were wronged in some way. There are, of course, exceptions to every situation, and there are some who simply don't care about the trail of destruction they have left in their wake.

In trying to understand why we are here, and why our ex's have behaved the way they did (or the way we perceived them to have), hearing the opposing point of view can help. My ex is an alcoholic - one of the reasons why our marriage failed and I divorced him, for a long time, I felt no sympathy for alcoholics, but after reading posts by a member who was a recovering alcoholic,where he detailed not just his battle with the bottle, but hiis [final] acknowledgement of the pain and grief inflicted upon his family, I felt I had a better understanding of the opposing situation to my own - the Yin to my Yang, if you like.

I have seen people who have admitted to adultery, and who explained their reasons for do so, hounded out of the community, cast aside as a social leper and at times, given a really rough ride. I would have thought that to admit being unfaithful and acknowledging the pain caused would have taken a good deal of courage. Likewise with new partners - often not the cause of the marriage break-down, but also treated with disdain at times. Without knowing the whole situation, we can not pass judgement.

Wikivorce shouldn't be a "closed shop" - we should be open to all who needs us, whether that's for support, advice, information etc. But I suspect that is an idealist's dream.
R
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I was a member in 2007 - but under a different name. Forgot my log in details so had to join again. I think if I felt "wronged" by anything, it was the unfairness of being dragged into a legal mire over which I had no apparent control and of which I had no real understanding. I was terrified of the potential consequences for me and the children especially as his financial demands were so unreasonable and felt very upset that his solicitor appeared to be treating me like an evil monster when all I had done was maliciously support him financially and emotionally through years of depression and alcoholism. It was like being punished for trying to stick to my marriage vows when he hadn't kept his side of the deal.
If I feel/felt wronged about the marriage breaking down I guess it was because all the hope and dreams we had started with had gone so badly awry and there were three little lives caught up in the mess. They deserved better, I deserved better and so did he. We now have something much better. I don't know if he thinks he has ...

Hadenoughnow
H
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I don't know about "the community" but personally I feel wronged. I suspect that I need to feel wronged to get me through this - it is an antidote to the rejection. My husband has not been entirely unfair to me, but not been that considerate either. I still feel wronged. The fact that I still loved him when he had apparently stopped loving me makes me feel wronged. The fact that he walked out before I was ready to say "okay, it's not working" makes me feel wronged. The fact that there was nothing that I could do to affect his decision, and that I, and the kids, have had a hunge amount of change and disruption because of a choice he made that we had no part in, that makes me feel wronged.
HF
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I think those of us who are 'regulars' are generally people who have been 'wronged', not necessarily by adultery, but by a refusal by one party to acknowledge the end of the marriage, respond to solicitor's letters, go to mediation, pay maintenance, 'allow' contact with children....I think it is the sheer bloody mindedness that kicks in with one party that leads the other party here seeking answers. My own first post was about whether the 'lifecycle' of separation and divorce that I was going through was normal. Within 10 minutes, I knew that it was! There was, and still is, much comfort in that for me.

I saw myself as a 'victim' of my ex's behaviour for a long time, I admit. But with time and distance, you do come to terms with your own part in the failure of a marriage and learn to accept that you are never going to get the answers you seek in anyone other than yourself. I still have moments of total disbelief and anger (which I am sure comes out in posts here from time to time) but they are fewer and much farther between and I am much more 'at peace' with myself and my ex's actions than I was a couple of years ago.
M
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I don't think it that the site is bigger has much relevance but personally feel that the wwb is far more accessible now to people and that probably makes some difference between now and 2007.
It is in a way still a community for the wronged and that is obvious when you see the posts and comments from the participants on here.
Many are just looking for some answers and support as to why it happened to them - regardless of the circustances or situtation which they find themselves in.
My final comment is that it does matter - to know that you are not the only one feeling all the rollercoaster of emotions - to accept that maybe you were part of the reason - but that everything you are going through it normal and eventually, hopefully, and given time things will get better!

D
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Personally, after the shock of my stbx leaving wore off, I could see that I played a part in the marriage breakdown. After all no one is perfect. However, this was no justification for his lies, cheating and serial adultery. The fact is that no one deserves to be lied to and cheated on, no matter what there is no excuse for this poor conduct.

My view is that if my husband was unhappy and did not love me anymore, well that is one thing and I would have expected some kind of discussion/negotiation before he made his final decision on the marriage. But to lie, cheat, find someone else then announce the end of the marriage as a fait accompli - well no matter what spin is put on it, that is just plain wrong and disrespectful.

I keep coming back to the same point, nothing I did in the marriage warranted this treatment. So yes the sense of injustice is palpable. And if that makes us a community of the wronged then so be it. Key is for me working out why I ended up with someone like that and I have shared my thoughts on this with the community in my last blog. You can behave in a way where you allow someone to break your heart by placing your faith in someone that is incapable of meeting your needs. That is true in my case and that is where my accountability lies. I let this happen to me so I dont consider myself a victim in this sense. Just naive and too trusting.
S
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Yes, I agree with Pixy,

There are still many of us, and I am sure a lot of newbies, who were not around Wiki in 2007 and have been made complete and utter fools by the people that we thought we could trust with our lives. The hurt that they inflict with their adultery is like no pain I have ever experienced and certainly would not wish it upon anyone else.

As the old saying goes there are two sides to every story, there is my 'take' on things and his 'take' on things and like any penny each side has a different picture!

Speaking only for my own personal situation, yes we had the old every day ups and downs, just like everyone else. It would not have been a marriage otherwise, but the reason I am finding the support I need in this 'community of the wronged', is because I am trying so hard to understand what he thought to be quite acceptable behaviour and could no longer tell what was right from wrong. His betrayal and lies have had such an impact on my general trust of other people, which makes me incredibly sad.

My STBX had no right to treat me and my children with such contempt or little or no concern. So with that in mind I know that without the support and guidance of those more experienced Wiki's, I certainly do not know how I would be coping at all!

There are so many people here who have been wronged, but it seems that with time they have identified the pre-break up problems, where things had maybe went wrong and are learning to face up to them, come to terms with them and move on, meanwhile creating new and better lives for themselves. Their inspiration is invaluable to my healing process.

I have had more support from my virtual friends here, than I have had from any of my once 'so called' best friends. With this in mind I do think that Wiki is a life line for the broken hearted.

What ever name you decide to give your community it will always stand for [b]group with shared origins or interests[/b]!

F
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Of course we are mainly a community of the wronged. But that doesn't mean that we don't understand that our exes also believe themselves to be wronged. Also there is a whole lot of difference between marriages that break down for reasons other than adultery and those in which one partner feels devstated by being betrayed by the man (or woman for that matter) who resort to the age old cliche of 'my spouse does not understand me'. My impression is that most people on this site (or at least those that post) are here because they are coping with adultery and associated lies. The magnitude of betrayal by the one person you are supposed to be able to trust in life makes it impossible initially at least to feel anything other than wronged.
P