Dating after annulments

Would anyone consider dating a person who had previously married (annulled of course), or someone who had kids?
I just cant see myself being married to someone who has already done it before, and failed on top of it!

the mere fact that a person’s previous marriage was declared null, that a valid marriage never existed, is not evidence of “failure”. You don’t and can’t know all the circumstances so to make a judgement based on that one fact is foolish and unchristian.

That is a very warped and misguided way of looking at things.

First - there is no such thing as “annuled”. If a marriage is not valid, the parties are granted a declaration of nullity. They were never married in the first place.

Second - to assume that someone is a failure because they have been in an invalid marriage is so - wow - I can’t even wrap words around this!!

Third - you are missing out on the possibility of meeting and falling in love with an amazing person who you might wish to spend the rest of your life with. But with an attitude like that, you will never ever know. How pitifully sad.

Dang - that is just so narrow minded I just don’t know where to go with it.



Oh joy.

On top of being older (50) now I, and others like me, should be judged as a failure because we have a decree of nullity, not worthy of a second chance or second glance.

That did hurt (and I know it wasn’t meant as a personal slur).
It really did. And I’m even a little surprised at how much. I think I need a little time to pray about this. God bless.

To be honest, before I had BTDT myself, I would have been very hesitant to consider it in the case of a divorce and nullity decision. However, I was much younger the first time around and those in my dating pool simply hadn’t had the time to get married, divorced, and receive a nullity decision back. But even then a single mom with a kid, or a widow; that I would have considered with few reservations. (I even asked a single mom out once and got turned down).

At this point, since I now have primary custody of my kids, when/if I get a nullity decision I’m probably going to favor dating women who already have children of their own. There still are not many out there who are divorced with nullity declarations, but those and never-married single moms and widows are a significant part of the age group I’d be interested in dating now.

Yes. I would. However, this is a personal decision that should be made with prayer and discernment.

Wow, that’s incredibly judgmental and presumes that the person “failed” when you would have no idea that that is the case. There are many reasons that a marriage may be found null.

Yes, I would, once I get my own decree of nullity (I hope). At my age, everyone has a history, whether previously married or not.

Thank God for His grace and wisdom to know better than I do about my future spouse. My wife had a child before I even knew her and I had been divorced with the annulment in process when we met. If we had this view of the other, we would not be married for over 5 years and having 3 beautiful children with one on the way.

I think that what you said, personally is somewhat hurtful by the words and the judgement that you are placing upon a lot of people that have kids (from a previous marriage or even out of wedlock) and those that have had their marriage annuled.

Maybe it was not meant that way, but that is how it came off when I read it and re-read it.

How can we (as far from being God as is possible) ever know enough to judge a person as a failure?

Sorry I am going to stop now. God bless!

With respect to your feelings, a marriage declared null doesn’t mean a failure - or even fault (there is fault in simulation or fraud, maybe some culpable negligence in overlooking certain obvious giveaways, but what else can you construe?). It doesn’t mean the person has ever been married, either.

Here’s the key: There is no such thing as annulment. Nothing on Earth can erase a validly contracted sacramental marriage. The difference from divorce is not in erasing it from the beginning like erasing pencil traces with a rubber, whereas divorce cuts it at the point where it ends, but in fact, the tribunal declares a marriage null if it is null, valid if it is valid. There is no creation of a new reality. There is no decision even, there is a process of searching for the truth.

Therefore, a person whose marriage has been declared null, has never been married. Therefore, he or she has not previously married.

Now, of course, you may be scared that the person has already tasted married life with someone else. That legally, the person has been married and divorced, but to us Catholics, civil law cannot take precedence over canon law, let alone our faith, and be the primary point of reference. A marriage declared null is not a peculiarity used to get around the ban on divorce and make everything look pretty for the Church’s own use. For a Catholic, it is primary reality and whatever civil estate is considered by the law is, well, secondary.

Children, an ex-husband in the eyes of civil law, that would surely be a burden to consider if I were to marry a lady, and certainly as a fresh graduate I wouldn’t be able to afford it financially the same way as if I were already an established lawyer or a corporate officer or whatever advanced status in a job. I would definitely think twice and then twice again before making moves on a person in such a circumstance. So something comparable to dating a pretty-looking reasonable-sounding stranger wouldn’t likely happen. However, if the circumstances were special, i.e. a feeling came against my will and maybe some sign of God’s will were to be felt, then I would consider it if I were able to take care of the providing side. It wouldn’t be that much of an issue if it weren’t for the ability to manage the survival. :wink:

My wife was married before. Things have worked out quite well with us! :thumbsup:

I take a slightly different view than some others here.

From a Catholic perspective you would be considering a person who was in a very close relationship with someone else but then broke up. I would consider it especially hypocritical to exclude someone who’s civil marriage was ruled null by the Church and then date someone who had lived with another with another without marriage of any sort.

However, from a purely practical level I think it is reasonable to look at any ‘baggage’ that might come along with dating a person who did have a civil marriage. The fact that the marriage was ruled null doesn’t eliminate the ex-spouse, children, former in-laws, and the economic repercussions that go with them. The same could be said when one considers dating someone who is widowed or had children outside of wedlock.

Life is full of all kinds of ‘mistakes’. Obtaining a ruling of nullity is a sign that the person realized the mistake and decided to repair it. So I would consider it unreasonable to eliminate a person with an annulment (it takes too long to keep structuring my sentences to fit ‘ruling of nullity’ in there) because that person ‘failed’. But it’s perfectly legitimate to eliminate another as a potential partner because of current obligations that person has.

Ummm… personally being a woman with an annulment and 3 kids…and now remarried to a man who has an annulment and one child… I didn’t want to “train” a man how to treat children or how to think of the kids first instead of himself. Yes there are some disadvantages like his ex wife… but then again if it weren’t for the way she acts, he may not appreciate me as much. :thumbsup: Seriously, when you hit a certain age it seems like every man is either severely flawed (which is why he wasn’t married) or he is divorced. There are some rare exceptions like my little brother who is 34 and never married (hint hint…any good women in Atlanta GA) but it’s slim pickins out there as my friend used to say!

My husband specifically sought a woman with children and a decree of nullity. It was the second time around for both of us. He was in his 30s, and didn’t want to waste time on only waiting on the possibility to receive a brand new baby from God (which sadly, never happened). He took the “pre-owned” children in the deal and adopted them. A valid marriage never existed by Church decree. Thank the Lord for His rich blessing of a second chance for us! My husband is the love of my life.

Hmm… My husband was married previously, but it was his wife who failed him, not the other way around. Because their wedding vows suffered from “Defect of Form” I knew he would be free to get married in the Church, so I considered him as a potential mate. I never though much about him “failing” at a marriage.

All of us who elect the marriage vacation come to our vows with failures, and most of us beat ourselves up enough about our should have’s and could have’s without having potential spouses critiquing why we did what we did.

There are times that I wonder if DH was the same man with his ex as he is with me, or how his life would have been different had she intended on keeping her marriage vows, or what would have happened had she been open to having children, but no, I don’t think I would hesitate to be open to marriage with someone who is free to be married in the Church, with or without children. In my case, it would have been nice if DH came with children, as I have not been able to bear any.

While I realize the theology behind annullments, I am certain you can not even seek one util you have filed for a divorce. I also understand that the Church may or maynot find the marriage to be null. A marriage is presumed to be valid until proven otherwise. right? So assuming the person filed for divorce in the first place because their presumed marriage failed, would you? I was not asking for theological answer, just a practical one.

I was just asking if it caused more conflict by adding an exwife and some step kids!

And again, while you may find it practical, the reasoning you put behind it is, IMO, not valid.

You are assuming that because a person files for, or has divorced filed on them, means the marriage failed because of them. But a marriage is made of two persons, and it can be broken by one, not necessarily both. Most of us who have gone through this have actually been very ‘successful’ at being wives (or husbands), mothers (or fathers), but in spite of this, somehow, someway, the other partner found this ‘not enough’ for him/her. And despite the best efforts of one party to preserve a marriage, if the other will not participate, the marriage will fail.

It is difficult enough to cope with how ‘society’ sees us and judges us on ‘wordly’ terms. Knowing that we did our Christian duty and feeling secure in God’s understanding and that it was not our ‘failure’ that precipitated things, and having the healing of a decree of nullity, is healthy for us, body and soul.

That is why it is so troubling to find that, even among those who know the faith, know the situations, etc., there are still some who would lump all of us who have undergone this as ‘failures’, unworthy of even consideration because supposedly we ‘couldn’t make it the first time.’

ok, I think I must be wording this wrong because no one has answered my question. Do you think it is very difficult to marry a person knowing you will have to deal with an exwife, and have to raise or have custody disputes. Theology aside. How do you deal with the baggage (sorry dont know any other word), of a person’s past. I dont mean failure, I just mean that each spouse brings their past with them.

There you are with that word “failed” again. How old are you? I’ve seen you post on a couple of threads, and I get the impression you are quite young.

The fact that a marriage was dissolved civilly and found by the church to have been null at it’s beginning is not necessarily an indication of failure on the part of both spouses. It may have been on the part of one spouse, while the other spouse did all they could to stay in the marriage. No-fault divorce makes it nearly impossible to stop a divorce from happening.

In other cases, it may have been necessary to file for divorce due to abuse or other dangerous situations. And, while the party may not have “wanted” a divorce, they realized they had to protect themselves and their children.

The point is that such a situation is never black-and-white and you should not make rash judgments about a person based solely on the fact that they had a prior marriage.

My advice would be to get to know the person on their own merits and judge their character accordingly. I’d give the same adivce regarding getting to know a person who had never been married. Many a wolf hides in sheep’s clothing. The fact that someone has not been married is no indicator that they are in any way a better candidate for marriage. In fact, the opposite may be true.

Yes, this is certainly possible. And, it is highly individual. You cannot make any blanket assumptions. It will be unique to each individual.

You must “know thyself”. Perhaps you are not cut out to marry into a situation that has an “ex” and kids in the situation. That is more about YOU than about the other person.

You should definitely know your own limits, and if it’s a dealbreaker for you then so be it.

I would ask you to consider that unless someone marries very young and right out of mom and dad’s house (provided that they are not a child of divorce or that there hasn’t been abuse), it seems more likely than not that there will be some baggage. At least in the case of someone who was previously in a legal but sacramentally null marriage (who may or may not have kids), the baggage is at the forefront. You have an idea of what you might be dealing with.

I would also ask you to consider that you are probably not called to marry a person with children. Please do not judge those who are.

Nothing about that in Canon Law. Must be a diocesan rule or something like that. Personally, I don’t see why separation shouldn’t be enough (as in preferring not to break the civil marriage in case the tribunal will uphold the religious one), although living together would display consent to marriage, in which case convalidation or radical sanation should be pursued instead.

I also understand that the Church may or maynot find the marriage to be null. A marriage is presumed to be valid until proven otherwise. right?

Correct. This is meant, however, to protect marriage and not to obscure the truth. Should the spouses prove to be siblings separated at birth in a time of war, for instance, it’s not fine to stick with the idea that one’s married

So assuming the person filed for divorce in the first place because their presumed marriage failed, would you? I was not asking for theological answer, just a practical one.

Not necessarily. The person might have found out that he was deceived or he or his spouse was in error as to person. Or there might have been coercion. Or the spouse might have excluded offspring or fidelity or sacramental character of marriage, or simulated. In that case, one wants a degree of nullity. Since civil divorce is required in the case you describe, the person goes to the civil court for divorce as the first step towards obtaining the nullity degree. This is a practical answer, not a theological one. :wink:

Practical example: You marry some nominal Catholic. You want a baby. He tells you he won’t have any, he hates them, he has never wanted them, he played along because you wanted that ceremony. That’s at least one title of invalidity. As a Catholic, you will not suffer to live in an invalid marriage and the guy won’t be convinced. You decide to go to the diocesan tribunal. You need to divorce civilly first to show that you mean what you write in your complaint. Was your marriage thus a failure?

I was just asking if it caused more conflict by adding an exwife and some step kids!

Still. :wink: Since the posters here saw that you might have understood certain things the wrong way, they considered it necessary to make sure you get them right. It’s only charitable of them.

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