Broken Marriage - Faith being tested

Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum. I am a 31 year old man and right now I feel my faith is being tested more than ever. I learned this week that marriage is pretty much over.

To give you some background information, I have been with the same woman for half my life. We began dating in high school and got married 6 years ago. We have a beautiful five year old daughter.

We spent many happy years together, but shortly after our daughter was born, our relationship began deteriorating. We fought constantly, especially on petty trivial things. Resentment grew and even though we continued to love one another, love was no longer enough.

My wife had a burnout at work in 2010 and was forced to take time off work and this put a huge strain on our marriage. I was scared and probably not as supportive as I should have been. The following year I had a major accident where I was brought back to life through medical intervention. Again, this tested my faith as well as our marriage.

This year started off well. After fully recovering from my accident, my wife and I began living healthier and lost all kinds of weight. Things were looking up. However, she began going out partying more and getting the attention of other men. As I tired my best to convince her this was unhealthy for our marriage, tensions grew, anger grew, and she became more and more withdrawn. Eventually, we began seeking couples counseling in September, but by then it was too late. I feel had we gone for counseling years ago, we would not be where we are today. After moving out, our counselor did not see the reason to continue therapy if she was not engaged in improving the relationship.

In September, she decided she wanted to move out, to figure herself out and what she wanted. Around this time, I noticed she began becoming closer to a male friend of mine who was also going through a broken relationship. We confided into one another over many beers, as men usually do.

Although we were “separated” I still held onto the idea that we would somehow get back together. Christmas morning, I learned that her and my “friend” are now together, that she has been physically intimate with him. I’m devastated, hurt, betrayed and confused. All signs are pointing to divorce. She does not love me anymore, she is no longer the same person I married. But I have a hard time going forward.

I am meeting the priest of my parish tomorrow morning for comfort. I need strength not for my self, but for my daughter. All I can think about is my wife with another man, his arms around her instead of mine. I have become obsessed with these ideas and images that I am making myself sick. I need to be well for my daughter, but I cannot put myself past these my own feelings.

I am desperately reaching out to God and crying out for help. Your help and advice on how to handle this horrible situation is appreciated. Thank you my brothers and sisters.

Brother, you have my deepest sympathies and my most sincere prayers. I cannot even imagine what you’re going through or how I would handle it (though I’d probably do something stupid and impulsive, like beat my “friend” into a coma with a tree branch).

God must be calling you to sainthood, because He always showers His most beloved with the most difficult of trials. I don’t want to say except to embrace the trial, offer up your difficulties in reparation for your own sins and those of the whole world, and pray for the best resolution possible.

As a purely prudential matter I would recommend you start gathering as much evidence as possible of her infidelity and contact a divorce lawyer. If divorce is inevitable, you need to ensure that your daughter is kept in your care, so that her moral sensibilities are not perverted by exposure to her mother’s indiscretions. Sadly, divorce courts tend to favor mothers to the point of injustice, but with diligent preparation you can ensure that your daughter is spared that outcome and is not denied the care and love of at least one worthy parent.

Thank you brother. The problem is she has always been a good mother and I have no qualms about joint custody. She will view this as me seeking revenge for hurting me. Also, I do not have the financial means of going through a message divorce.

I’m just scared because I have lost the one person I can always count on. Now that I am alone, I need God to enter my life even more and give me the strength and courage to move on.

Joint custody is a mature option that is usually best for the child. But be aware she may get full custody if she can show that the relationship with your former friend is a “stable” one, because the courts will see that as a more traditional environment where she will get love and support from two adults instead of just one. It won’t matter that it was technically adultery because you were separated at the time.

The best advice that I can give is get a female attorney! Seriously, it really helps to have a woman standing by your side and legally vouching for you as a father. Have people in your life write and notarize letters to the court attesting to your character and ability as a father. At least some of these need to be from women. (Don’t have children write them, it will look like you coached them.)

Calmly and maturely go for joint custody. Don’t smear your ex, acknowledge that she is a good mom (because you just said that’s the truth), and don’t get sucked in to mudslinging and character assassinations. Be calm, mature, and loving.

I promise you’ll be a breath of fresh air to the mediator and you will come out smelling like roses.

Thank you for the advice. I don’t believe she will want full custody. She recognizes that I am a good father and a capable father. It will be very hard to prove otherwise. Also, her family has been supportive of me throughout this ordeal and she would be shunned by her family if she took my daughter away from me.

Dear one,

Thank you for coming here, I am thinking of a lot of practical advice that I can give you about divorce, custody, attorneys, visitation, finances and the like. However I can see that it has only been three days since you found out this most devastating news. Christmas morning must have been complete heartbreak for you, I am so very, very sorry.

Right now your physical body has received a big shock. You are probably suffering from a lack of sleep and headaches from crying. Do you have good friends or family you can turn to? Call them immediately and tell them you need support. Take a few days off of work if you are able to and get some rest to help clear your head a bit. This may sound trivial and I don’t mean it to be…but it is very important that you take good care of your physical self by taking naps, getting rest, relaxing in a hot shower, taking vitamins, getting plenty of fluids and taking it easy as much as possible. Your heart is badly broken and your body will suffer, if you take care of yourself physically it will make the emotional pains slightly easier to bear. I speak from experience when I say an emotional shock is made much worse when you haven’t slept or eaten and you don’t need that right now.

It is good that you are meeting with your parish priest. This is a very difficult cross to bear, hopefully he can refer you to a support group for help if that is something you are interested in. You are not alone, many people have been through what you have been through, you are not alone in your suffering. I am so sorry you are going through this.

When you have had some rest and spiritual support and a few more days have passed perhaps then you might want to seek legal advice, right now your head is probably spinning so fast that anything an attorney would tell you would go in one ear and out the other. It has only been 72 hours you have been dealt this blow…give yourself a little time to get some rest and pray. I wish I had more to offer you, I will pray for you.

Thank you Monicad for your support. To add to the problem, my wife just called me and I have been pretty emotional for the past half hour. Apparently, my daughter told her that “daddy has been crying” and she laid into me about that. I know crying in front of my daughter is wrong, and might give her a complex or something. But for her to be in the position she is in, it is so easy for her to pass judgement. This is why I reached out to my priest. I need God’s help to lift me up and we strong not just for myself, but for my daughter.

As my physical state, I have been fairly neglect as you can imagine. I do have family to turn to, and for the first night without my daughter since Christmas, I chose to stay with them instead of an empty house. Hopefully the sleep will be sound tonight.

Yeah - all I can do is offer prayers and virtual hugs.

These things are always devastating - especially when you’ve been holding on to hope that you’ll get back together.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that some times when people lose a lot of weight, they get more confident in themselves because of how differently they are getting treated by the opposite sex. They like the new found power.

I’m not saying that it was right for your wife to leave and not work on the marriage, but it’s easier to give into temptation if you aren’t 100% committed to making your marriage work.

The others have offered good advice. Get evidence about the infidelity. Contact a lawyer. Be prepared for the fact that a lot of fathers really just get screwed by the court system, regardless if they are the better parent or a good parent. Sadly, a lot of judges/lawyers have their own agendas. Family law in most states is bias towards the mom. That’s just the way it is.

It’s one thing to say before a divorce that you are going to be mature about it, but once the process starts things get really emotional and you have to do your best to keep your wits about you. Be the person Jesus would want you to be in this situation. Create peace where you can and don’t talk nasty about your ex around the daughter.

It’s good that you are talking to your priest. Thank you for sharing your struggle with us.


I am so sorry for your pain. You have been given good advice. I am praying for you.

Thank you everyone for your support. I had reservations about opening up so publicly. I’d good to know I am not alone in my struggle.

You are not alone. You will have people from all over the world praying for you and your family. I am one of them. I’m so sorry your are going through this. Give your pain to God.

All I can think about is my wife with another man, his arms around her instead of mine. I have become obsessed with these ideas and images that I am making myself sick.

Would it help if you labeled these thoughts as an especially destructive form of pornography? If you are one of the men who have fought and won the battle against pornography, then you can fight these thoughts the same way. Or try to turn them over to Our Lady.

To add to the problem, my wife just called me and I have been pretty emotional for the past half hour. Apparently, my daughter told her that “daddy has been crying” and she laid into me about that. I know crying in front of my daughter is wrong…

Um, no. You are crying because your wife has destroyed your marriage. If you “suck it up,” you are telling your daughter that what Mommy did is OK. It’s not. You don’t have to tell your daughter that what Mommy did was wrong, but (in my opinion) there’s nothing wrong with you telling your daughter that you’re crying because you miss Mommy.

And she may have told her mother that you were crying instead of telling her that she, your daughter, is crying. It’s obvious that Mommy wants your daughter to be OK with the split, so the little one won’t want to confess to being hurt. It’s too much guilt for Mom to think she hurt her daughter as well as the man she took those vows with. But splits hurt young children, even when there is good reason for it, like abuse.

I suffer from depression; I find this psalm to be comforting, in a counter-intuitive way, I hope you do, too.

As a hart longs
for flowing streams,
so longs my soul
for thee, O God.

My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God?

My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”

These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help

and my God.
My soul is cast down within me,
therefore I remember thee
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep
at the thunder of thy cataracts;
all thy waves and thy billows
have gone over me.

By day the LORD commands his steadfast love;
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock:
“Why hast thou forgotten me?
Why go I mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”

As with a deadly wound in my body,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

Psalms 42:1-11 (RSV)

:crossrc: for you…

Just wanted to follow up with how things are going.

I met with my priest this morning. It certainly was comforting and he gave me a lot of food for thought. He also re-iterated things I should already be doing, such taking care of myself, find hobbies and social events to occupy myself and not get involved with what she is doing at the moment. Most of all, concentrate on my daughter.

I felt strong during the day up until I called my daughter. Every year around this time we used to get together with old friends from high school for dinner. As I was talking to my daughter, happy she was having fun, I learned my wife and brought along this new guy and his daughter… Needless to say, I flunked the old WWJD test and immediately questioning her on it (What do you think you’re doing? How did you introduce this guy?)

Now I know it may seem trivial, but is this something to be upset over? I can say we had a conversation the other week about who among our friends know we were living separate. She at the time told me she didn’t want everyone knowing our business. Yet, she blows that door wide open by bringing him to a dinner party. I know that if these friends are my real friends, they will continue to welcome me into their lives. Heck, I can almost guarantee there was a sense or awkwarkness. All our friends have been acustomed to seeing us together since we were kids, and now this…

I have to offer these things up to God. I have to stop “caring” so much about what she is doing. I should begin accepting the realities that come with this situation. But I am scared, hurt, angry and full of such toxic emotions. I just feel I am running out of cheeks to turn and keep getting knocked down.

Maybe it is time to stop turning the other cheek. Maybe it is time to fight.

First, get the best legal counsel you can and get active with the divorce or separation.

Second, if it won’t damage your legal situation with your daughter, let everyone in your circle know what she is doing - especially people she does not want to know. Maybe they would be more inclined to ask her the tough questions.

And you don’t have to be mean or vindictive about it. Just state the facts and voice your concern about your marriage, your daughter, and your wife’s soul. Sin wants to remain secret and in the dark. Only you can shine the light on this.

I am so sorry. You have every right to be hurt and angered by her actions. Flaunting a new relationship while still married to you is going to come back to bite her. She obviously doesn’t care what anyone, including God, thinks about her actions. I feel for so sorry for you and your daughter. Her Mother should be a role model for her.

I will continue to pray for you and your family.

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