Are you in a “trade” relationship?


I am so angry.  I have been in a marriage for 32 years.  I have been faithful.  I have given him children.  AND I have had a full time job.  Now I find he wants a divorce, and wants to be free to be with other women.  Now I am all alone, he wants to leave me with the kids, the stress is making my job performance suffer and I am at risk for losing my job, and he is off having his fun.  I need him!  Is this God being fair??  



Dear Rhea,

I am so sorry you are going through this right now.  I get that it doesn’t seem fair.

Since I don’t have the luxury of an ongoing dialog, like I do over at The CWG Helping Outreach, I am going to be quite direct.

You talk about your relationship in terms of him getting what he wants, and you not being treated fairly…you do not speak of losing your soulmate, or the love of your life or any other endearing term.  Which leads me to ask what you expected of marriage…why were you in the marriage?  I often ask, and I will ask you:  What is your definition of Love?

I think that what “Conversations With God” has to say about this subject is particularly pertinent right now.  In chapter 8 of book 1, it talks about how we define Love.  In this chapter God says:


For most people, love is a response to need fulfillment.

Everyone has needs. You need this, another needs that. You both see in each other a chance for need fulfillment. So you agree—tacitly—to a trade. I’ll trade you what I’ve got if you’ll give me what you’ve got.

It’s a transaction. But you don’t tell the truth about it. You don’t say, “I trade you very much.” You say, “I love you very much,” and then the disappointment begins.”


A relationship that is healthy, even if it does not last forever, begins with knowing that we are complete with or without that other person in our lives, and having a desire to share that completeness with another, hoping to enhance their lives and yours in the process of sharing.  We all need help along the way, and none of us live in this perfect little love zone all of the time, but it is what healthy relationships are based on, and what they return to when the dramas in life end.  In fact, getting back to that space is what causes the drama to end.

Further, Rhea, we most often think of “relationships” as having to do with romance.  In reality, we are having a relationship with everything in our world all the time.  We know who we are relative to all that is around us, and how we act on those relationships depends on our thoughts about those things, including our thoughts about who we are.  Our thoughts create our experience.  Hard to believe, I know, when we are in the middle of traumatic changes in our lives, like the ones you are going through right now.  Our thoughts do create our experiences, (not to be confused with events) and you can change your experience right now by changing your thoughts about why this is happening.  One very good tool, among many good tools out there, to help you change your thoughts, is the book, “When Everything Changes, Change Everything” that Neale wrote.  (Information about the website is below, and the book can be read for free on the website!)

I am a person who always looks for the “silver lining” in things.  Even when things that appear awful are happening, my mind goes back to the times when things looked hopeless, yet they ultimately proved to be things that opened up doors for me.  (For instance, the hopeless co-worker relationship actually had to happen to me, so that I wouldn’t be attached to that job, and I was open to the next.)  When I do simply accept that there is more, my mind relaxes and gives me a break.  I calm down and am able to let my mind filter what my soul is saying.  Can you see even a tiny bit of silver?  Can you look back at anything in your life and see the silver lining now, that you couldn’t see then?

Rhea, “justice”, by the way, presumes that something is “wrong”.  There is nothing wrong.  Each person simply has their own soul path.

I am going to write a little story around what you say about your ex…I might look at him and think that he is a very insecure person.  Why? Because he is looking for love and acceptance outside of himself.  He seems to need validating by temporary things.  Who he is, doesn’t seem to be enough for him.  Which leads to many questions as to why…

What I have done, by doing this, Rhea, is write a story that moves me from pure judging, to looking for understanding of his actions.  Not necessarily because I think that those actions are working for him in any way, but because I wish to understand that HE thinks that they are working…otherwise he wouldn’t be doing them.

We don’t have to stay with those people, Rhea, we don’t even have to fall out of love with those people, but when we move to understanding, we stop doing one very important thing:

We stop hurting ourselves.

And when we do that, we stop hurting those around us, even if we were hurting them unconsciously.  (Maybe that’s what people are reacting to at work?)

And when we stop the hurting, things seem to fall into place…because we believe that they will.

Ask yourself, Rhea, what might be needing to be looked at within yourself that is causing you to feel that you need someone in your life who has said he doesn’t want to remain in yours.  Is it because you are being treated unfairly in your “trade” agreement, or is it because you are not defining love in a way that includes yourself.


(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of the global website at  She may be contacted at:                                                    

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An additional resource:  The CWG Helping Outreach offers spiritual assistance from a team of non-professional/volunteer Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less. Nothing on the CCN site should be construed or is intended to take the place of or be in any way similar to professional therapeutic or counseling services.  The site functions with the gracious willing assistance of lay persons without credentials or experience in the helping professions.  What these volunteers possess is an awareness of the theology of Conversations with God.  It is from this context that they offer insight, suggestions, and spiritual support during moments of unbidden, unexpected, or unwelcome change on the journey of life.


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