I don’t understand why the Church seems to be silent on emotional affairs between a married person and an unmarried person. I have yet to find anywhere a condemnation of an “emotional affair” anywhere in Catholic circles.
As I understand it, adultery, as defined by the Church, must involve sexual relations. The Church seems to minimize the fact that Jesus said that looking lustfully after a woman is adultery.
The widespread use of instant messaging and chat room discussions has sharply increased the amount of people involved in emotional affairs.
I ask this question because my wife got emotionally involved with another man she met offline, and gave up on our troubled marriage.
She did bring this to the attention of two priests, a Legionnaires of Christ (LOC) Priest, and her parish priest (who did the old “mercy of god” and “you shouldn’t suffer with this” spiel). Both told her that they could only be friends, and that she should treat him as any other brother in Christ.
She was told that it’s not sinful, for example, for a priest to be attracted to woman, which is true. But what priests are supposed to do is not cultivate those attractions/desires.
The priests failed to understand that the foundation of their friendship was not Christ but desire of heart and flesh. As a result of this advice, my wife continues to:
*]Confide in him
*]Plan for their future
*]Tell him she loves him and can’t wait to start their new life together
*]Accepts flowers, jewelry (heart pendant) and gifts from him
*]Spend holidays, such as Christmas, out of town and overnight with him
*]Gives him her emotional fidelity
[/list]This behavior is not behavior she does with other single Christian men she knows.
This “friendship” has done nothing but cultivate the emotional affair instead of ending it.
Our divorce will soon be finalized. Though divorce has tangible impact on our lives, it has no impact whatsoever on the fact that we are still validly married until proven otherwise.
Non-christians often date during separation and divorce, and this is the way of the flesh. Yet Christians shouldn’t follow the world and the flesh but the way of Christ. WWJD?
Yet this flies in the face of communion with Rome. Canon law favors the presumption of the validity of marriage. Yet the prevailing attitude seems to be favoring the presumption that the marriage is invalid till proven otherwise.
Where Rome has failed me and countless others is in not condemning emotional affairs. It’s given priests permission to allow the cultivation of these affairs through continual “friendship”.
I think if Rome was to speak out on emotional affairs, our situation would be much different.
Finally, the whole thing essentially in the end will reward her behavior by allowing her to remarry. IMO, the church should ban marriage between two people who were involved with each other in such a fashion, even if an anullment was granted. I guarantee you that there will be far less anullments!