As a lot of you regulars know, I am converting and have been thinking a lot about Confession.
To make a long story short, I married a guy I pretty much detested because we'd made a child together (the dangers of casual sex) and I felt I should "do the right thing" and marry her father. It wasn't religious pressure, as I was not Christian at the time, it was more me feeling perceived social pressure. I didn't wanna be "that girl" who was 19 with a year old baby and not married to the baby daddy. And my mother was dying, so I thought marrying would make her feel as if I was being taken care of and she wouldn't spend the last year of her life worried about me and her granddaughter.
I knew the marriage was very unlikely to work and was basically mentally planning the divorce at the courthouse while we were marrying. I'd also smoked some pot on the way to the courthouse because I needed to calm myself down and keep myself from bolting. I wasn't "high", but I was "buzzed". Amazing what one will do to themselves when they think they are doing what is right even when every instinct is screaming "RUN! DO NOT DO THIS!"
After years of emotional and physical abuse (on both sides), lies on top of lies on top of lies, refusal to keep a job or pay bills, and multiple infidelities (on both sides), I told my ex it was over. He cried and told me he behaved badly because I didn't love him enough and because I had been unfaithful, too. I told him that I had been unfaithful because I loved him as a person would love any human, but not as a woman loves a spouse and that those infidelities kept me sane in an insane marriage. He convinced me to try again. He said he would change. He'd stop lying, be responsible, stop the abuse and stop the infidelity if I would try to be affectionate and stop my infidelities, too. I agreed to a trial of one year figuring change takes time.
Almost to the day, nothing had changed but me. I held up my end and he didn't. I met a man I was absolutely head over heels for, but did not act on it. I didn't even tell him how I felt and only saw him in a large social group at a club we (ex and I along with friends) frequented. My ex, however, got caught by me red handed with yet another woman at that same place and I knew there was no fixing the disaster of a marriage I was in. I told my ex it was over and began dating in anticipation of a divorce.
I ended up marrying the man I met at that club. We dated for about 2 years, had a baby, moved into a rental together, my divorce became final, and we married as soon as we could. We've been together 13 years, married 10.
This year my husband came back to the Church (cradle Catholic who had fallen away in teens) and I came with him. I am attending RCIA and waiting on an annulment to be able to become fully Catholic. I have spoken openly and honestly with our priest and he is aware of the entire situation, even some things that I have not posted here.
I do not deny that I behaved badly and committed grave sins. I was wrong, no way around that. For that I am deeply sorry. I regret that I married the first time, I regret that I responded to my ex's bad treatment of me with bad treatment toward him. I regret that instead of leaving I believed I was doing "the right thing" by continuing the sham marriage and that I had affairs instead of being strong enough to resist. I have a boat load of regrets.
The problem is this...as much as I regret the circumstances surrounding meeting, dating, and marrying my husband I do not regret being with him or the time we have shared. Every step in my life I took, even the ones off the right path, lead me to where and who I am now. If I could do it all over and do it the right way, I would. But I cannot.
Without the mistakes I made and the grave sins I committed I would never have met my wonderful husband and I may never have discovered the wonder and beauty of the Catholic faith. Heck, without making those mistakes and committing those sins I may never have realized the wisdom in the Church's teachings and I don't think I would have been able to accept God into my life and heart. I also would probably have been a very judgmental person, but because I made so many terrible mistakes I am able to understand the weaknesses in others and try to help them become better people with love instead of criticism.
Once the annulment is finalized, I will be received fully into the Church and have my First Confession, First Communion, and convalidate my marriage. Pretty much back to back.
So, how do I handle this in Confession? Can I be absolved of these sins because I do deeply regret them even if I do not regret the end result?