But I didn't sign up to be celibate!

First off I’m not sure if this goes here, has more to do with my vocation than anything else I suppose.

I’m a 32 year old divorced father of four. The divorce wasn’t my choice really, but well, stuff happens. What. Do. I. Do? I wouldn’t have gotten married if I wanted to spend my life as a eunuch. It’s not only the physical relationship, which I miss greatly, it’s the connection to someone else. The loneliness is suffocating.

I don’t know what my question is really. I’m just struggling with this greatly. Even if I did complete my annulment paperwork and a decree of nullity was issued, between taking care of my kids 4 days a week, teaching PSR, and time with the Knights, I don’t really have the time for anyone else, let alone the money after having my meager paycheck halved.

I know I just need to suck it up and deal with it, but the weight is crushing me. I’m an intelligent, funny, good looking, faithful guy, and I spend nearly every moment either alone or with my kids. I didn’t sign up for this.

First, I’m sorry for your suffering.

At 32 suffering is often a first step in the awakening process. I suggest you look at Prov 3:5-6 and consider daily readings of scripture. It may not seem so now but it has been shown by many that the cure for loneliness is solitude. In that solitude you will find your true self and hopefully your true God. As one theologian put it…we suffer to get well, we die to live, we surrender to win and we give it away to get it…journey well.

I too can understand where you are coming from even though my case was somewhat different from yours and much of my loneliness existed while I was still married. :frowning:

One thing that I noted in your OP that I thought was interesting…The dichotomy between saying how lonely you are and then explaining that you are so busy that you don’t have time for someone else.
I believe that you need to take some time to prayerfully consider this.

As to other matters…
Please do finish the annulment process. This will provide closure and surety as to whether you may consider a new relationship or not.

Once that is complete, and assuming a positive outcome, you might want to consider using a Catholic dating site as a way of meeting like minded, faithful women to correspond with, go to dinner etc. and who knows perhaps even marry one day.

A good woman is not going to need to be expensively entertained. She is going to appreciate that you have responsibilities and will find your fidelity in these responsibilities to be quite attractive.

Just some thoughts.


Awesome advice, as usual! :thumbsup:

the married parent will also have these time constraints, so I don’t think that is the reason.

If you have reason to believe your marriage was invalid then by all means pursue annulment and see what happens. You are not a eunech, which is a physical condition, you are in voluntary or enforced celibacy and continence because of life circumstances, some of the beyond your control, some not, like 90% of the rest of us who face that condition from time to time, and grow spiritually through it, as through all suffering that involves sacrifice.

I’m in my fourth year of the same situation. When my wife left, my two daughters were 7 and 11. I raise them fulll time, 24x7x365.

I have been celibate since my wife left. I have been pure in action - no porn or impure acts - since shortly after. My thoughts get away from me once in a while but even that has calmed down dramatically.

Most men I know in the same situation let things get the best of them because they don’t want to put up with the lonliness. They say, “That’s it Lord. I’ve had enough!” and can’t do it. I hate to say it, but they are not willing to do what it takes to be celibate in this world. Aside from the pressure you mention, there is tremendous sexual pressure from the devil.

All that pressure has to be counteracted somehow. Like air flows into a low pressure weather system and away from a high pressure weather system, we need to counteract that pressure from Satan. If we fill ourselves up with the things of God, we exert pressure on the devil. If we are empty of the things of God, the devil exerts pressure on us.

It takes tons of prayer, dialy mass, adoration, spiritual reading, etc. All this keeps up the spiritual pressure. God will reward you with great grace and strength though. But most are not willing to put in that much effort.


What you need is a friend. Go pick up a copy of On Spiritual Friendship by St. Aelred.

You are about the fifth man whose post I’ve read on this subject in the last two weeks. And I can add about five other guys who are experiencing the same situation in my own life. There seems to be many men who are hurting out there because their wives are emotionally distant,abusive, thinking about divorce, or divorced Just my observation.

I don’t know how long you have been divorced. Stats say it takes a man a year after the date of the final divorce to get his balance. A woman takes six months. So take your time.

A woman friend was divorced twice. First husband abandoned her with two kids, second, abusive, left her with another child. She lost a lot of money on that divorce but settled in with the kids in a modest apartment. She told me that was the happiest time of her 34 years. At 36, she met a man who wanted to marry her. She did not rush into it because she was happy. Took her a couple of years to consider and she eventually did marry him.

Another woman divorced her alcholoic and abusive husband who died two years later. She did meet a divorced man but would not marry him until her kids were into college. She knew his values were not the same as hers and she felt she wanted to raise the kids her way.

If you are short of funds now, look into the laws regarding child support if and when you remarry. One widowed friend with four kids married a divorced man paying child support. His income was seen as available to her children although he had not adopted them. Consequently, her children could not get college loans. His children could because his child support was not shown as the mother’s income. It was not a pleasant situation.

Yes, you are right. Your money situation is not good but it will get better. I would take this time to really get your career going. Concentrate on that, and the kids, your family and friends. When the time is right you will hopefully meet the right lady and you will be prepared. Pray to God to give you strength. He will.

Thanks for all the recommendations and support. I’m a rather solitary creature most of the time, I just really miss the physical and emotional connection of being in a relationship. I’ve been divorced or separated for just over 3.5 years now, and only in the last year or so have I really been trying to commit to behaving in proper accord to my state. I dated and such a lot for the first 2 years after she left.

I know it won’t be of great comfort to you, but if I may share…
I too am in very lonely spot, and yet I am married to the love of my life. You see she has Alzheimer’s. So when you speak of the loneliness of not being in a relationship and desiring that communication and connection - boy can I relate.

Interestingly enough though, the experience has been spiritually enriching in many ways.
Caring for my wife has taught me greater patience, a deeper love for and reliance on God, and definitely fortitude.
Naturally your case is different, and in some ways more challenging. Yet these spiritual lessons are still there to be learned and embraced.
I believe that, by God’s grace, we will both come out of these experiences as better men and better disciples.


Yes, I get it. I was 30 when my husband left me and our 4 very young kids. That was 4 years ago. I’m currently in the annulment process.

I strongly echo what was posted by James (JRKH) and Timothy H.
I also emphasize from personal experience, something that perhaps you’re already doing. During prayer, adoration, or after receiving Holy Communion, offer your whole entire self to God. Keep nothing back for yourself. If you’re lonely, give it to Him, if you’re tempted, give it to Him, if you’re experiencing anger, give it to Him, etc. And then TRUST that He will somehow, in some way give you a spiritually rich gift in return. Loneliness is a universal experience and God knows how to purify your longings. Hopefully you are presently or will experience a deep intimacy with God, who is the only one who can fulfill what our hearts were created to long for.

Thanks again, I know that I’m mostly just throwing a pity party. I’ve just been having a near breakdown the last week or so, this load is too much for someone as weak as myself. Certainly God has more faith in me than I do in Him.

Amen to that.

Pity parties are not necessarily a bad thing…:thumbsup:…Look at Job…

Several years ago my wife got out of control and had to be hospitalized. The run-up to that, over several months, was extremely stressful and difficult. When it finally occurred and I came home I was just completely exhausted and at my wits end. The next day after visiting her in the hospital I came home, curled my 6 ft frame into a recliner and just bawled my eyes out, crying, screaming, calling to God etc.
My only prayer was, “Father I can’t hold on but please don’t you let go of me.”
Then I began to feel his consolation. Curled up in that chair was like being curled up on His big lap and I could almost fell his arms, with big flowing sleeves, enfolding me and keeping me safe.
I don’t know how long I sat like that but it was a tremendous consolation.

God is our loving Father - but he can also be our drill instructor. He will let us drive ourselves down so that we awaken to our need for Him and our reliance on Him. But He will also be there to pick us up, give us a hug, and help us move forward.

Sometimes us “big strong men” are loathe to admit such things, but we all have these times as this and we must recognize them and move toward God and rely on Him.



I want to point out that women go through the same things, especially since we tend to want and like affection.

Recently I stumbled upon an ex I hadn’t seen in a while. Suffice it to say he is a source of great temptation.

So I’m basically filling up my time with spiritual things, to thwart the Enemy’s plan.

I didn’t sign on to be celebate either. I did however sign on to be Catholic.

Divorced for 6 years with 3 children. Only by Gods Grace am I able to stay faithful to my Marriage. Remember that Marriage is not just an agreement between 2 people. It is a covenant between 3 people, Husband, Wife and God. When 1 person decides not to live thier vows, the other must stay faithful for the sake of thier relation with God, for he will always stay faithfull to that Marriage. Marriage is a sacrament, and thus an unremovable mark on a soul. I refuse to live a lie and be “re-married”

I pray for the best for you friend, stay strong, refuse to give up as a Father, and look to the Cross.

BTW I think I was reminding myself of all the above more than anything, I appreciate the chance.

You’re obviously in a tough situation. One of the things I always emphasize to people in your situation is that the focus is not on the husband or the wife, but rather the children. My wife and I had some serious relationship issues (fortunately it had nothing to do with cheating), but we stuck together and worked things out, simply because we placed our children first and foremost in our lives.

I wish you the best.

Actually, only three sacraments leave an indelible mark on the soul. Marriage is not one of them, and terminates upon physical death.

Uh what? Marriage is a union of the flesh and dissolves upon death.


Since I’m also civilly divorced, I’m extremely sympathetic to the thought that I DIDN"T SIGN UP FOR THIS! You’re in my prayers.

Since I had my marriage blessed in the Church after going through the annulment process, I truly do not feel I have a case to get another annulment. I need to live with the thought that my wife, after 6 years, decided to walk away from the relationship and I had the civil divorce finished 7 months later. It’s annoying that it can be that easy to walk away from a marriage. I spent 15 minutes in a courtroom (I didn’t even need to be there for that) during that 7 months and only about an hour of discussion time with my wife after I completely moved out of the house. It’s just sad that it can be that easy :frowning:

So I’ve been divorced for 13 months now and I keep hoping the positive aspects of married life will eventually die down in myself missing that. Your story seems to bring the reality that it may not happen though and I suspect that may be the case for me. The bottom line is that we all need to move forward regardless. I’m doing well in trying to move forward. I did go to WYD in Madrid with my girls and had to deal with the constant worrying about fundraising for 3 to go but we did it. Now I’ve kicked in another gear as far as church involvement. I’m now the president for the LoM for the next 6 years. I’ve started the classes to discern if I want to be a permanent deacon and that will take at least 6 years. You add my normal Sunday CCD stuff, RCIA teacher/sponsor, Eucharist Minister, the weekly 2 hr Adoration, assistant to the high school ministry as well as keeping up with my 2 teenage daughters, one would wonder why I still dwell on this issue. The bottom line is that I still do. :frowning: I’m not convinced that my feelings will necessarily change.

Okay, my pity party is now done.

If you ever wish to get remarried in the Church, go through the annulment process. What you believe and what the Church believes may be two different things.

Agree, if I won’t keep my word to God, who can trust me?

Remember if you are raising your children Catholic they see that as well. Are you just talking the talk, or are you walking the walk? I teach CCD, it’s very hard to reach some kids whose parents are divorced and remarried without an annulment, yet then tell the kid to go to CCD and follow the faith. Sometimes the ‘bad’ things that happen to us aren’t about us. They are about or for someone else, perhaps God needs your children or someone else to see your example.

Divorced for 2 years with 3 children after 21 yrs of marriage (kids now 20/15/13). I’d rather be alone than with someone I can’t trust. I don’t miss the intimacy as much as the feeling that someone had my back in this world. That there was someone I could turn to and rely on, yeah intimacy is a part of that but only a part and reassurance of the rest. I’m 50 but in great shape, and getting better all the time as working out has helped me cope with everything. I didn’t sign up for the celibacy thing either.

FWIW, my kids are much more stable and secure with me being single than if I were in a relationship. I have full custody because their mother jumped into another relationship immediately and it drove the kids away from her both physically and emotionally. I let her visit them in my home and leave so they can have time alone, they won’t go to hers. I can’t imagine how they would have dealt with both of us doing that, making them feel that neither house was their home. So God’s rules help in this world as well as the next. If I weren’t Catholic I may have made some very big mistakes out of my human needs/desires. He truly knows us.

Having the kids seven days a week is a lot of work but someday they will be gone. I’ll miss the mess, the noise, being able to hug and kiss them good morning and good night. Each stage of life comes and goes too quickly. Enjoy all the little things about your kids, enjoy what you can vice focusing on what you lost.

I would recommend you go through the annulment process. IMHO, it is better to have certainty than the temptation of letting something start with that hope that an annulment may be possible. I’ve filed the paperwork for the certainty.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.