Divorce and Being Catholic


HI and I would like to thank everyone in advance for reading this post. I need some help here. My husband has left our family for another woman. Over the past two years he has been pretending to work on our marriage while still seeing this other person. I just found out now for the 4th time that what I thought was a reconcilliation is actually an illusion. I do not believe that I can continue forward with a life like this. We have tried everything. We went to Retrovaille, we went to marriage counseling, we have done individual counseling. There is really nothing more I can do to save my marriage and to be quite frank he just does not want this marriage any more. Sooo for the past 5 yrs I have been homeschooling my children and teaching them the Catholic Faith as well as living it with them. I am at a loss right now as to how to make them understand what is about to happen in their lives. I know there are certain things they will have to deal with and handle but I am trying to attack this in the right way, or the best possible Catholic way so my children will not lose their faith that has blossomed over the past 5 years along with mine. So what should I do in relation to the questions about daddy not being here anymore? Do I give real answers? Dad does not want to live here anymore. or Dad is confused or does not know what he is doing so we should pray for him? My spiritual advisor states that I should tell the children that their father is struggling with a difficult sin and that he is not strong enough to fight it. He told me to have them pray for him, which we do. How do I handle the questions on why he is not here? Why he chose another family over ours? Why mommy is crying all the time? I want to be a source of strength in their mixed up world right now but I feel like I have none due to my emotional state. Could anyone give me some good advice as to how to handle this all in a positive Catholic faith filled way? I would greatly appreciate any and all advice at this point. My husband is telling me that by telling the kids he has done something wrong then I am turning them away from him. What he has done is wrong, especially from the Catholic Church point of view? I believe they know this as they know the 10 commandments and really understand what being a Catholic means. Well thanks again for any and all advice.
God Bless,


I am sorry to hear of your situation. It is so sad and I have been there myself. I had four children and my husband left me for another woman as well. In hindsight, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. He would have destroyed me completely and in the years that followed, God was my rock and my faith grew. He always looked after me. I prayed for my husband with my children. They knew what was right and wrong and they also knew that not all people choose to do things the right way, God’s way.
I don’t know how old your chidren are but they don’t need to know too many details but they are not silly, they know that if their daddy is not with them, that he is doing something wrong. You are not turning them against him. Their reaction and sadness is due to his decision to sin.
Personally, I have never beaten around the bush with my children. They prayed for their dad. They knew he did the wrong thing. People choose wrong all the time, they saw it. And they also saw the consequences of these choices. It is just reality. Today, 13 years later, he is not a happy man, not that I would wish that for him, but it’s due to the life he has led.
It sounds as if you are doing all the right things. Just tell your children to keep praying for their dad.
And pray for God’s will in your life, and He will never let you down.
I pray that you find peace and happiness amid your sufferings. Maybe you can offer them up for his soul and ask your children to do the same. Children’s prayers are very powerful with God.
God bless you and keep you close in this difficult time.


I think your spiritual director is giving you good advice. You should also try to find a Catholic counselor for you and the kids.

Also, check what divorce resources are available in your diocese. Many parishes have programs such as Beginning Experience and/or “Just Me and the Kids” programs for those experiencing situations like yours.


You’ve gotten real good advice here. There isn’t a lot you can say to sugarcoat this whole mess without minimizing the seriousness of what your husband is doing. Of course he is mad. He wants his cake and eat it too. (He’s had that for years. Why should it stop now?)

He wants to be a bastard without the reputation of a bastard. Well, it doesn’t work that way with kids. They will watch him make a new life with a new wife and have kids by her and be loyal to THAT family and ignore them more and more. And his actions will speak so loudly his kids won’t be able to hear a word he is saying when he claims he loves them.

Just YOU make sure you go to mass as often as possible. YOU be there all the time for what they need. YOU constantly tell them how much you love them and how there is no place in the world you would rather be.

You are about to enter a very lonely time. You are mourning a death. But no one brings you casseroles. You get no insurance payout. You get no sympathy cards. All the downside of being a widow and none of the public sympathy. Mourn him like he died. He did. The man you loved is GONE. He may never even have been that man after all.

You will cry. You will even cry in front of your children. Remind them God takes care of them. Tell them to pray for daddy’s evil black soul. (Well… don’t put it exactly that way, but you know what I mean…)

What he is doing to their sense of the world is unforgiveable. He is scandalizing his own children. He is teaching them a vow on the altar of God means nothing. He is teaching them that love isn’t permanent, not even the loyalty of a man toward his children. God sees this. YOUR job is to teach them that YOU keep the vows. That it matters to you, even if it didn’t matter to him.

Because when the new wears off and the old shines through, all he’s gotten is a woman who runs around with married men, and all she has is a cheat. Let me shine a light down the road… I’m eleven years ahead of you. My ex still hasn’t found anyone like me. He doesn’t trust his girlfriend (he’s had several.) They are breaking up soon (she is moving) and he has to start over finding a new one. His daughters are disgusted with him for the waste of time and money and happiness his own search for fulfillment has cost them. He STILL isn’t happy (go figure!) despite the sadness and misery he has brought everyone else.

It has made them very cautious in life and in relationships.

I was talking to one daughter last night about a divorce class they went to in elementary school. She said every other kid in that counselling class is now gay. If you have sons, now is the time to really make sure they hang around grandpa or trusted uncles. They need good male role models more than ever.

I’m sorry you are going through this. It does get better. And there are worse things that can happen than having a cheating husband move out and away.


Yeah, be sure your kids have the opportunity to talk w/ someone outside the family. They need to know it’s not their fault. No matter how many times you tell them, it isn’t, it’s common for kids to somehow think it is their fault or that they can fix it.


What a difficult situation for you to be in.

Have you considered seeking an annulment? It sounds to me like your husband did not enter the marriage with the intention of being faithful, and his behavior during/after your seperation seem to confirm that as well. It seems like grounds for an annulment.

I second that you need to find a strong male role model for your children since their father is lacking in that regard. An uncle, a grandfather, a close family friend, a pastor at your parish.

Another thing to do (and as a child of divorce myself, I can heartily attest to this) is to be careful not to run down your ex in front of your kids. That’s not to say you can’t explain objectively why their Dad is sinning according to the Catholic faith, but be careful not to call him names or make judgements on his soul or anything like that. It’s hard on kids because they feel torn between two parents. Also, if they get hear insults from their Dad about you and you don’t reciprocate, then they’ll figure out pretty quickly who is the better person in the situation.

Good luck. You are in my prayers.


Many thanks to those of you who have so kindly replied to me. I spoke to my spiritual director again today and he stated that I am doing all the right things for now and that he is just going to have to accept the consequences of his actions…which at this point means he is not seeing his kids as he would like to. That is due mostly to my mistrust of him and wanting to be there with the kids when he has them and not being able to do that right now due to my emotional state. We are going to mass as a family and I am stressing the importance of praying for his soul. Believe me they are worried about their father being in a state of mortal sin…Believe it or not he went to mass today. Not sure why and when I asked he replied “are you telling me the sinner can not go to mass?” I am not sure if he is receiving communion but he has in the past when in mortal sin so I am not so sure I want him taking the kids to mass with him and seeing this. I greatly appreciate all the positive messages and advice.
God Bless,


Please whatevre you do do not put the children in the middle. Be honest with them. Because they will know you aren’t telling the truth if you don’t.
I will pray for you and your fam,ily.


I can only tell you what I did when my ex decided to leave us (me and our children). First thing I did was to get my kids into counseling at Catholic Charities…Of course we had daily prayer for daddy too, and those two actions alone really helped my kids get over alot of the anger. They were mad at daddy not just because he left but also because they perceived his leaving as a major loss of income and standard of living… which was mostly true, but truth be told, I made much more money but when he left it was me saying that no they couldn’t have this or that because we couldn’t afford it that really upset them. I think more because they worried about me than about what they couldn’t have.

He became their scapegoat for all the things they couldn’t do… I never said it that way but just because I said we couldn’t afford things that is how they interpreted it. I had to come up with other ways of saying no to them that wouldn’t make them immediately blame dad. The other thing I had to do was stop making excuses for him. Instead of letting the kids think I had gotten my days mixed up and that is why daddy didn’t show up for visits, I had to find a way to just leave it go… and it hurt the kids but they had to learn who they could depend on.

Yes, I ended up divorced and I petitioned for a Decree of Nullity… which was granted. But I waited years to do that so I could examine what was best for the kids. We never stopped praying for him and I explained to the kids that daddy was sick… why else would he stop visiting them???

I tried very hard not to get emotional in front of them. But kids are smarter than we give them credit for. When I wouldn’t tell them everything that was going on, they rigged my phone to broadcast through their base station in their room so after they went to bed when I called friends to vent… they heard it!:eek: One night as I was talking to a girl friend on the phone, I walked down the hallway to check on them… imagine my surprise when I heard my voice coming from their room!!! After that incident (which they were punished for) I told them if they wanted to know something, they had to ask.

The things they were most interested in were verifying things they had heard their dad say… it was really hateful! DD was 4 when she came home from a visit crying and went to her room, got a penny and gave it to me with tears in her eyes… when I asked why she said because daddy said he wasn’t going to give me another penny… SO SHE WAS!!! I cried!! I had to start monitoring all his calls… so I went and bought a speakerphone and when he called, one kid at a time was allowed in the room and I sat on the couch with them and held them while they talked to him.

My ex caught on pretty quick to being on a speakerphone… and even tried to get dd to say that she was on speaker… it was so cute! He said, “Why do you sound so far away?” And she replied…“No daddy we are in the same green house we always lived in, you moved away” After a while he stopped calling and visiting.

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