Anxiety over Annullment Situation


Over the past year, I have fallen in love with and became engaged to a divorced woman. At the time, I was caught up in the excitement of new love and didn’t think through the implications of her previous marriage. Now I am going through crushing bouts of anxiety about the possibility of her annulment being denied. I’m completely alone in my anxiety. There is no one I can talk to about this. Everyone in my family and hers is so happy about our engagement that it would cause severe turmoil in both families if I announced that our marriage was now conditional on the annulment being granted. Her family isn’t Catholic and mine attends every Sunday, but only follows the big, obvious rules (abortion, birth control, etc). And I certainly can’t say anything to her about my concerns. She is so euphoric about the engagement that it would crush her if I even hinted that there may be a hitch.

I have looked at the grounds for annulments, and as best as I can tel, she has a case. First of all, neither she or her ex were Catholic. However, he was in the RCIA process and they managed to get married in the Catholic Church. During their marriage preparation, the priest had serious concerns about them and at one point asked them to seriously consider if they were ready. All the way up to the wedding day, she wanted to call it off, but felt internally pressured to go through with it because she didn’t want disappoint anyone. He was physically abusive before the wedding, and she made him promise that he would not hit her again before she would be marry him. He promised, but became abusive again shortly after the wedding. It’s not clear if he ever completed the RCIA process. She says she doesn’t remember him attending church after they were married. He has since remarried and joined the Anglican Church. In fact he is due to be ordain as a priest next month. Some of the stories I’ve heard about him sound like there are some serious stability issues. Of course, only a tribunal can say for sure. I’m just so scared about the uncertainty right now.

At the time all this occurred, she was pretty much an atheist, but has since come to believe in God, although still searching for understanding. I’m helping her with that.

Anyway, I just need to vent and share my anxiety with anyone who will listen.


thanks for posting, painful as it is to share your story, as it helps us make the point about not dating until both parties are free to marry. It really won’t help the situation to speculate about possible grounds and outcomes since there are so many variables. Certainly when the time comes make extra sure to avail yourself of the marriage preparation, especially Re-Foccus, available to you. She will have some baggage from her previous mariage, and hopefully will find, as others have, that the annulment process can also be a healing process. Anxiety won’t help, prayer will. Hope we can find it in our hearts to pray for her ex and his new wife, who will certainly be needing it.


You have my prayers. :gopray2:

It sounds like she has an excellent case for an anullment. Read up on the process and/or consult your priest before talking to her so you can help her understand why it’s necessary.

Be open with her about it, but not blunt. Emphasis that God wants us to be holy and happy with him forever, even if it means a bit of bother and embarrassment now–it’s worth it! :thumbsup:

Both of you should talk to your priest about getting the anullment process going. You may have to postpone the wedding, if you’ve set a wedding date, but that’s not as serious as being invalidly married and living in sin.


Also note that the tribunal is only finding out about the validity or invalidity of marriage. It doesn’t have the power actually to make a valid marriage invalid.


Reading your post, the thing that struck me was this: She has already been through one wedding and failed marriage where no one was really honest about readiness and the issues that were so obviously present. Don’t do that to her again. She might be crushed, but she deserves the chance to go through this process honestly the second time around. And so do you.

If you both REALLY love each other and want to have an honest, stable, committed life with each other, then this speed bump should not stop you. Yes, it will take time and it will mean coming down off the emotional high. No one should get married based on that emotional high anyway. That is not what marriage or real love is. Real love is the commitment and caretaking that are left after you have seen the worst the person has to offer, after you have held their head while they throw up, after you have dealt with losing a good job and the fear you will lose your house or have to go on welfare to feed your children together. There are times when you get that high back, and you feel like you are courting again, and it is a sweet and delicious time when that happens. But it never lasts, and it is not what marriage is really about.

So the best thing you can do is to bring everything crashing down to earth and see what happens after that. You shouldn’t go into marriage dishonestly, which is what you would be doing by not seeking the annulment and following “the rules.” And, once it happens, you will find out her real level of commitment, and yours. If neither of you is willing to face this small hardship together, then you are not ready to be married to each other or anyone else.


sage advice


I am said to say my experience in the annullment process is not good. My sister once avery good Catholic married a man that after 6 months had affairs with other woman. My sister became very ill and depressed. The doctors advise her to divorce her husband right away. She did so. She later attempted to get an annullment from the church. After one year and $5,000.00 later she still did not have the annullment. She went to the dioseace of San Diego to find out the status. She was informed more investigation was needed and for another $5,000.00 they thought her annullment would be granted. I bet if she were a Kennedy and couple of donations the annullment would have taken no time.


I agree with duskyjewel. It is so important that you be honest and really communicate your feelings. This is important not only before marrying someone, but also afterwards in a marriage. So many problems can be dealt with before they get out of hand, if you are able to honestly communicate with each other. I think if you work on talking to her about your feelings in a compassionate manner, then you will be relieved of a lot of this anxiety. I think for both of you it is important to know where you actually stand in the real world, not a fantasy world, so that you can make real plans and progress in reality. Get together and talk to a priest because it does sound like she has good grounds for a declaration of nullity and it would be good to get the ball rolling on that as soon as possible.


this sounds with all due respect like an urban legend, I know of no diocese in this country that has a fee over 1000 to 1200 for an annulment proceeding, which is waived in case of need. She should not have had to ask the diocese for a status report, the deacon or priest managing her case should have kept her apprised. the lenghty complicated investigations are those where either party had more than one previous marriage, or where names and contact info for witnesses is not provided.


It is uncharitable for you to say that money is what gets an annullment quickly or that priviledged people will somehow get their marriages declared null faster.

Annulments take time. They are a lot of work and require money. Perhaps your sister had a particularly difficult case, I cannot say.


I am a divorced and re-married Catholic. Now how can that be. I thought very much about joining another church to worship God. Then I said no I am a Catholic I know how to pray there. So I go to Mass and pray to God. I don’t go to Holy Communion. I would rather worship God in a Catholic church than any other.


Or maybe not. Have you read Sheila Rauch Kennedy’s book, Shatterd Faith, about her husband’s (Sen. Joe Kennedy) attempt to have their marriage annulled? He wanted to marry his cute little Catholic girlfriend (some Catholic!) after he cheated on his wife and dumped her with their kids. Sheila was not even Catholic, and yet she fought tooth and nail for the validity of her marriage and succeeded in getting her case appealed to Rome, which I guess is very rare. She truly believed that her marriage was valid in every sense, and that he just decided at some point that he wanted to go have fun instead of honoring it. That decision after the fact does not invalidate a marriage, and she fought hard to make that point. She made Joe’s life, and quest for an “easy” annulment, really difficult. Does anyone know how her case came out? I really hope she won. It took alot of guts for her to stand up to both the Boston Church and the Kennedy family.

Sorry, T1pp, that your thread got hijacked by this. Hopefully we can get back to your issue.


On the bright side… I found the annulment process a healing one if not a little longer than I would have liked. I was Catholic and divorced and dh was Lutheran and divorced when we met. My annulment was a simple defect of form since my ex insisted on eloping. DH however was married in the Lutheran Church(but had gone through RCIA a year before he wanted to ask me to marry him) and his was a little more complicated. About a year after the initial application the annulment was granted but with a stipulation that nobody caught until we were well into our marriage prep. It seems they granted his annulment because he was very young and wasn’t mature enough to make such a decision (he was 18). So they required him to have counselling to acertain his maturity at age 32 before we could get married. No biggie except that the invitations were already printed before they caught this (thankfully I had not mailed them yet). So dh went to counselling for 2-3 months with a nun in our diocese that has her MSW. By the time she said she felt he was mature and understood the meaning of a sacramental marriage we feared that our date would be taken. As a result we did get the day we wanted but were only able to give our guests 4 weeks notice. I had to get everything arranged in 4 weeks since it all came to a screeching halt 3 months earlier. Our biggest hitch was getting hotel rooms for all our out of town guests since there was a convention in town that weekend. Thankfully my boss is best friends with a hotel owner and gave him his big break in business. After telling my boss of 6 weeks the problem, one phone call later and all was solved. Whew!!!


No problem…it’s still informative. We’re definitely going to get the ball rolling on the process. I’m calling the diocese next week.

I’ve researched this and talked to several people who have experience with annulments, and I’m very encouraged that it won’t be a problem. But I have to keep in mind that this is not automatic. If the annulment is denied, then what? Do we just go our separate ways? Trust me, she won’t understand. Neither will her family, and I doubt my family will either. There has already been precedent set by some of the younger cousins getting married outside the church, but continuing to practice Catholicism. It created a scandal at first, then it became untalked about. Now it’s quietly accepted, although not approved of. I’m sure that’s what will be expected of me.

The most unfortunate thing is I’ve already gave her our contingency plan if the annulment doesn’t go through. The other day, we drove by a Greek Orthodox Church and she pointed at it and asked if it was a Catholic Church. I said, “No, it’s an Orthodox Church.” She asked, “What do they believe?” I told that she would find out if her annulment is denied because that’s what we’ll be converting to. No…I’m not leaving the church. I just said that in frustration.


T1pp, please have faith in the Church. Right now, in your situation, that is the most important thing. Don’t already be planning your conversion if things don’t go your way. Spiritually speaking, that’s not a good thing. It is also not a good thing to put anybody or anything in front of your relationship with God. You can only love this woman properly if you love God first and are obedient to him. Honestly, if you can do that I am completely confident that you will find that he will not let you down.


I promise I’m not planning my conversion. That statement comes from a time when I was considering joining the EO. Unfortunately to do so, you have to renounce the Catholic Church–which I would never do. Not to take the thread off topic, but I have struggled in the past as to which is the original church founded by Christ–The RC or EO. I still don’t know. If I had to place a bet, it would be that the RC + EO = TC (True Church). Separated, they are imperfect, yet valid, fragments of the one true church. Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to have “dual citizenship.” Anyway, that’s off topic and I don’t want to get in argument about that. It’s not something I firmly believe, just something I suspect.


A bit OT, but since I brought it up before…how disappointing. Sheila Rauch Kennedy totally sold out and now wants the Church to allow divorce and remarriage. :frowning: She was only opposed to the concept of annulment, saying the marriage never existed.

See this link:


As difficult as it may sound, for now you should get her in touch with the Priest who will get her in touch with the tribunal, then more directly to friends. Put the entire romance/wedding planning on hold.

Explain to her that you love God first, and that you need to cool things until you know if she is free to marry. God will provide you the strenght to withstand even irate family members!


I truly wish this was urban legend. My wife & I were told my annulment would cost 10K to 12K. Due to this and several other Church mistakes, my wife didn’t receive the Eucharist for over 20 years.

Serious errors & mistakes occurred. If you want the details, I will post.


I forgot to mention my annulment fees were waived an dh paid $300 annulment fee and then for counselling…

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