Can you help with the dilemma of ending an affair?

I will ask my question again…perhaps AAA did not answer my question because of the nature of the problem…so I will rephrase it.

How do I end an affair with a person who is poor in spirit and financially poor and who has come to see me as a father figure who provides her basic necessities?? I realize that I may very well be a crutch and that she must take responsibility for her own life. But, that said, I did help her escape a very bad situation - human trafficking is a terrible thing - most people cannot imagine the misery and destroyed lives. She is 27 years old, lives in poverty with no real prospect of getting married and having a loving husband and family of her own; and she was abandoned by her father. I have repeatdly tried to convince her to change her life with education and try to build a career with the hope she would find a new life and meet a good man who loves her and who would take my place. And, I admit, although my heart is willing the flesh is weak - over the past several years I have visitied her 1 to 3 times a year. But, the other side of the coin is this…if I end the relationship, she will most likely return to her old self-destructive lifestyle. If something bad happens to her I will never forgive myself because I am in a position, good or bad, to help her. Yes, she is most likely manipulating me from one degree to another. But what would you expect from a person who has next to nothing? She is still a human being. There is good and bad in everyone -she is basically a good perso - women do not willingly prostitute themselves - they do it out of necessity to escape a miserable existance. How can I refuse a hand to a drowning person? I cannot help the whole world but I can help her. I was born/raised a Catholic. Yes, I’ve fallen away. Yes, I want to return to the Church and be true to my wife. But, life is not black and white. This is a dilemna that I cannot find an answer to no matter how much I read Scripture or research. If AAA does not want to help me what is the point of trying to follow the Church?? Perhaps, it is better to be a good pagan then a bad Catholic?? Please help me.

Dear friend,

Honesty demands that you not create a false dichotomy. There is NO dilemma here. The problem does not derive from the young woman’s needs or that she looks to you as a father figure. The problem is that caring father figures do not have sexual relationships with the people who need them, and you have! The problem derives from your being one more person who has exploited her. You have been kidding yourself. Your question is one long rationalization.

I don’t doubt that she is in need. But she is a survivor and can get along without your ‘visits.’ Meanwhile, you have a wife who has a right to your fidelity. If you want to return to the Church, you need to be fully honest with yourself. The Lord will receive you with open arms. Your fidelity to Him is the best gift you can give to that young woman. You are in my prayers. I will offer Mass for you and her tomorrow.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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