Annulments are painful


I thought I went through enough pain with the break up of my marriage and ensuing divorce from a husband who no longer wished to be married in a sacramental way. Now that I’m going through the annulment process, that pain is much worse. I’m starting to second guess this whole procedure and just back out.

My ex husband also went in for the interview and had a break down because he had to admit to everything. Now the Tribunal has chastised me for insisting he go in for his interview (a condition that a case court judge ruled he must do if he wanted the CD of adulterous pics back. Those pics were the only real proof I had that my ex had been adulterous). He was leading a secret life that none of my witnesses knew about. I didn’t even know about it until the year before our marriage ended. Nobody knew, and nobody could believe it. He has a sex addiction.

He has completely destroyed my sense of trust, yet the Tribunal thinks I should be communicating with him. How can I when he hurt me so deeply? I need emotional and physical distance from him until I heal. Everytime I see him, my heart aches. He think it is anger, but it is grief. He is someone I no longer recognize. I want my old husband back, but he is gone, if he ever existed.

I tried to explain this to the Tribunal, but was cut off. I should add that my ex had a restraining order put against me, under false accusations after our marriage broke up (I am shocked at how easy it is to lie in front of a court judge, but if you don’t believe in anything, it is easy. My ex is an atheist, so what does he swear on to tell the truth?). So technically, I am not supposed to contact him at all. I am wiling to go along with that, so why is the ex upset that I no longer wish to speak to him? And why is the Tribunal insisting that I do?

I feel like I am on the edge of a break down myself. I am barely holding it together because I don’t want to lose my kids.


It seems highly unusual that the Tribunal would require contact between the two of you.

Talk to someone else in your diocese about this, such as your advocate.

Do not violate any court orders. Simply tell the Tribunal there is a civil order preventing contact and you will NOT violate it.


Dear Ailina,
I find such an attitude on the part of the Tribunal to be surprising, but perhaps they are in conscience trying to ensure there is no way of restoring the relationship.
Have you been able to seek the advice and support of your parish priest or anyone else in your diocese?
Your husband’s emotion may be very engaging. It is no doubt genuine in its way and therefore very convincing.
Perhaps they see your refusal to speak to your ex-husband as stubbornness and proof that you may be unreasonable. I do hope that you have family support. I can understand how distressed and confused you feel; and will keep you in prayer.

I ask God that dreadfully difficult as it is, you can find a way to speak with your husband, maybe with someone you trust, someone not susceptible to his emotion, not of a partisanship nature, to be present…if this means the process can continue and you feel more secure about retaining your children, would this be worth doing?

Prayerfully and with love, Trishie


How can I speak with him when he is still in daily internet chat with the people he has been involved with, people who live deeply immoral lives that he is now convinced is normal? He had been doing this for several years before we split up too. I have not been his confidante for years; they have. He said he could not talk to me…I think it was more like he WOULD NOT talk to me.

He has completely broken my trust, has a restraining order against me, so what are we supposed to talk about? It is searingly painful to talk to him or even see him when he comes to pick the kids up. I think he must have charmed the Tribunal with his tears. They do not know how often I have cried over the past several years over this betrayal. Guess I should have broken down there too.


This does seem strange. Every case I know of was done via documents.

Prayers. Ask your Priest for assistance.


Your pain is deep and it hurts. I’m not the tribunal so unfortunately I’m speculating on what they’re asking you to do. The fact is he committed a grave moral sin. He is in an extremely dark place now. It sounds like you are being called to open the lines of communication with someone you have not forgiven. How can you forgive him unless your wounds have been healed? In my experience when a similar situation happened to me step one was to heal. Step two was to forgive. Step three was to be able to have a new way of dealing with communicating with them going forward. I turned to prayer. It was the only way for me.

God bless and I will pray for you.


I’m in shock! I just received a registered letter from the Other Woman’s husband. Apparently their marriage is now over too. He claims he didn’t know my ex-husband was married and had a family when they all started swinging together. He is very upset that his wife left him and his kids for my ex. Talk about a tangled web of deceit.

When my ex went in for his annulment interview, he apparently broke down in big tears and cries and said he was so very sorry. But according to the Other Woman’s husband, when he asked him to stop contacting his wife, my ex “was smug and uncaring and refused to stop”. Methinks the ex put on a show of crocodile tears for the Tribunal. It is very scary how he can fool others as easily as he fooled me.

So should I contact the Tribunal with this latest bit of information about the sort of man my ex is? I think his life is about to get very difficult now that this other man is on the warpath.


You should seek the advice of the Priest or Deacon who is your advocate.


This is a good idea. My mother got her annulment, and they never spoke to her ex (who left her and their 2 year old son for another woman). My mother did all the work herself, and said it was one of the hardest things she ever had to do and only did it so that the marriage she had with my father would be valid in the eyes of the Church.


Yes, it’s painful. Do it anyway. Give the advocate for your case the phone number of the woman’s husband so he can discuss the way your husband is “playing” everyone.

I liken the procedure to having a broken bone. It’s going to hurt when they have to set it so it can heal right.

I’ve never heard of a tribunal that forces you to talk to the other person. Mine was all done in writing with an individual interview with the deacon.

Is there any way you can find out if this secret life or these tendencies were in existence when you were engaged and dating and in the early days of your marriage? Anything click now in retrospect?

This man doesn’t seem to have a clue about the exclusivity of marriage. And if he didn’t go into it believing it was exclusive, then there was no sacrament confected.

I’d call my chancery if I didn’t get any resolution from the advocate. You should not be having to contact anyone with whom you have a legal restraining order. What? Do they force battered women to contact their batterers also?


I called my Tribunal rep. today, and told her about the letter. I also explained why I do not talk to my ex, that it is impossible to talk to someone I have 0% trust in, not to mention his restraining order. I’m starting to think he is a sociopath, because he is so convincing in his sincerity. I still find it hard to be clear headed around him sometimes because he sure can spin a good web, which is another reason I avoid him. He is very manipulative. I already feel stupid enough for not realizing he was adulterous for so many years. He hid it very well.

Anyway, although the Tribunal rep. thought the letter wasn’t important, I said I will submit it anyway as a character witness to all three of them. I know it is after the fact of our marriage, but it might count for something about the way he thinks.

In any case, going through all this has pretty much convinced me that I am never going to re-marry, because my judgement was so wrong the first time around. It isn’t worth the grief and anguish.


In any case, going through all this has pretty much convinced me that I am never going to re-marry, because my judgement was so wrong the first time around. It isn’t worth the grief and anguish.

Don’t despair about re-marriage right now. You have much to much on your plate to be thinking about the future. It’ll only add more anxiety to your heart. I would focus on the healing you need right now for yourself. You need to become whole again for the sake of your children. Take care of today and the problems at hand. Tommorrow will take care of itself. Keep on praying for healing and help.

I’ll pray for you.


I, too, have not spoken to my ex-husband over lack of trust/betrayal issues. I know intellectually how badly he treated me and why he is not worthy of my friendship, but I’m still fighting with the temptation to “just be nice” to him. how do you heal from the betrayal? Each time he picks up the children, he manages to convey to them how he’s “moved on” and “never been happier”, etc.

Our divorce is not finalized yet, and I know I want to file for an annulment, I’m anxious to put all of the pain behind me.

Is their asking you to speak to him the most painful part? I’m surprised that they wouldn’t sympathize with you more.


The Tribunal has to be impartial in order to do their job. There is an element of "he said/she said " to the process. My ex is very charming and seems like such a nice guy, so it seems unlikely that he would be leading the life he is leading. So far, he tried to make me seem like the crazy one.

Having never gone through the annulment process before, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. But it certainly has made moving on difficult, because it feels like there is always something hanging over my head…like some imminent Judgement Day.

I imagine that it would be much worse if I had to revisit such a horrible time in my life, at some later time when/if I have met someone new. Who would want to closely examine all the grotty stuff that led to the failure of the first marriage when you’ve long moved past it?

In any case, this dragged out process has pretty much convinced me that I never want to remarry. I’m pretty busy with my family and friends right now, and it seems like a full life already. Or perhaps that was the whole reason for why something like this is such a long and labored process.


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