Failing at a vocation


So I’ve been divorced for about a month now. It is one of the most painful things I have ever done. Divorce isn’t meant to happen. I am Catholic who is familiar with Catholic teaching and believes it. I’ve even taught many of these beliefs at CCD last year(along with my -ex ironically). It is a process that doesn’t feel like it has any resolution. Anyone who celebrates a divorce is demented.

I know its early in the recovery process but I still don’t feel like its getting better. On one hand, I know that I will eventually get through this. On the other hand, I can’t escape the feeling that I failed at my vocation of marriage. I’m not suicidal or anything but I just feel like I am lacking a certain purpose on this earth without my marriage. My successful career and healthy finances are acheived goals that now feel so empty. I know I made mistakes in my marriage (mainly due to lust, immaturity and stress of my job) but yet I can’t help but know that I would’ve never given up on my marriage. It pains me to see friends having kids. I’m happy for them but so sad that I didn’t get that opportunity. I look back on my relationship and am regretful too because I still have so much love left to give. I wish my ex could’ve seen that. I just don’t understand why she gave up with no explaination. Not even the courtesy of saying “its over” to me. Instead, it came through a lawyer.

Right now I’m debating whether to start the process of an annulment. I know that I have many valid reasons to get one (ex left me after I found out she was posting online for lesbian affairs. She freaked, acted physically abusive (while drunk) when I confronted her and then falsely accused me of abuse to my boss once I filed a police report for her behavior. I later found out that she was also going to bars as well as spending extended time on the phone with unknown guys and girls, possibly other affairs). But I also just don’t feel right doing it. I stood with her just a couple of years ago in what seemed like a very valid Catholic mass. I said my vows to her and meant them. She seemed to do the same and even cried through them. I really just think that she became mentally sick (see my earlier posts). Maybe I am in denial but I don’t feel that the person I saw late last year was my real wife. The girl I knew was beautiful, compassionate, witty and fun to be around. I wish so much that I could try to put things back in place. I still feel like I still spiritually stand by her through prayers even if I can’t contact her (her lawyer threatened a restraining order through my lawyer if I contact her).

In the end, a part of me knows that I have to move on. But I feel that even looking at another girl is still wrong. The thought of getting an annulment and being with another girl kind of makes me sick. I know that I will always have my ex on my mind. Part of me feels it won’t be fair to anyone else even if I do get an annulment. Afterall, the girl I married is still my wife. The one I chose to defend and love until the day that I die. The question I have is this…when do I quit? When do I give up on my marriage? Has anyone else felt this way before? Any Catholic advice is advised.


I would not say that you failed at your vocation. You may yet have the opportunity to have a wonderful marriage.

As odd as it may sound, marriage may not be your true vocation at all. This may lead to a period of real discernment because most people just assume that they are supposed to get married. I know a wonderful priest who found after his divorce that he was called to Holy Orders. Big surprise!

Even if marriage is your true vocation, the road to the right relationship can be hard. I have a good friend who was married to someone who was pretty messed up. She finally got a divorce even though it tore her up to think that her marriage had “failed.” A couple of years later God brought to her (basically thrust into her path so that she could not miss him) a wonderful, faithful Catholic man who loves God as much as she does and who is active in the church and his family. They are now very happily married since her annulment was granted.

Perhaps the wonderful, faithful woman that God really had planned for you is still out there patiently waiting for you to get your life to that point where you can be the husband that she needs. She may be sitting in a pew or kneeling in a chapel somewhere today praying for you, her future husband.

It is so hard when a relationship fails because we can pick ourselves apart even when the other person is clearly not worthy of such anguish. You can let them destroy you and any future chance at a good life or you can mourn the loss of the relationship you wish that you had achieved (not the mess that you had) and learn from it.

Steel must be refined in a hot fire before it becomes super strong. Gold must be refined in fire to remove the impurities. This may be your fire to make you the best person that you can be in life. It won’t be gentle or easy, but it can be beneficial if you learn and grow as a person. This may be your time to get yourself together and to focus internally and on your spiritual life so that you can be who you need to be in the future. Eat, sleep, exercise, pray, pray, pray and be good to yourself while you heal. No more talk of “failing.”

I pray that God comforts you as you work through the loss and that He blesses you abundantly in the future.

I recommend a book called “The Exclamation: The wise choice of a spouse for Catholic marriage” by Patricia Wrona. It explains about how we can discern to find God’s will in our life in general terms, then regarding our vocation and our spouse. Once we have found someone who we think that we could get serious about it takes us through individual discernment about that person and couple’s discernment to see if the relationship is right.


I’m on the beginning end of the divorce process so take my advice with a grain of salt.

I don’t know how long your process took, but give yourself some time.
It sounds like you’re wondering when to start looking into the annulment process, as opposed to diving back into the dating pool, but there is no need to rush it either way.
From my understanding, during the annulment process, you need to give a detailed written history of the whole relationship…maybe you could start writing that sort of stuff and if your emotions go haywire, then take a step back.

Just have to say, you don’t need a woman in your life, especially right now. You seem very emotionally enmeshed with your ex-wife (and that’s totally fine, she was the one you were going to spend the rest of your life with, and surely you loved her very much). The last thing you need right now is a new relationship…and it wouldn’t be fair to a new good woman either, to have to deal with all of the fallout from what you’ve had to go through.

Just curious, are you really thinking you want a new marriage someday?



Gambino, remember when I told you, that you are the not the first man to encounter this, and you won’t be the last?

Part of what you are feeling is natural to any divorce, the feelings of loss, regret, what might have been. But a BIG part of what you are feeling is something along the lines of an attack on your manhood, as if it is your fault that your wife preferred women, or that you are less of a man because she chose that particular course. It makes me angry. I want to find her and give her a piece of my mind for the way she hurt you!:mad:

I could tell you that you had nothing to do with her bad choices. But you have to know that for yourself.

Here is the link for Encourage. It is for Catholics who are rleated to people who have SSA. Maybe they can help you, maybe not. The other web sites I found for straight spouses, et al, were not in line with Catholic teachings.

I would strongly suggest you continue counseling, either with a Catholic therapist or a priest. I hope you are still getting out of hte house and doing something fun every week, even if you don’t feel much like doing it. That helps a bunch, too.

And I am still praying for you.


I was you 2 1/2 years ago. The difference was I had been married over 20 years and had 3 children. Today, 2 of the kids are in college one still lives at home with me (DW was also “tired of being a mother” as she put it). Despite the hurt, betrayal, anger, etc. I am just now able to turn in the petition for annulment. I could not get myself to believe that she would not one day wake up and come to her senses. Like you, I could stand seeing other couples together and enjoying one another’s company. That is because it had been that way for my ex and me once upon a time, and I was cynical concerning everyone’s relationships. I wanted my friends to be happy, but at the same time I knew that at one time my ex and I were just like them and how quickly that all changed.
In the 2 1/2 years since the split, I have not dated, flirted, or even considered doing so. I have invited my ex on dates (I believe that she accepted 3 or 4 times over the years). I’ve showed up at her place of business with dinner several times. I have been there when she has needed me financially MANY times. I have even gone to the store and bought her groceries and medicine when she has been ill. Despite all that, I simply do not “do it” for her anymore, whatever that means. She has dated throughout (and even during our marriage unbeknown to me). Therefore, finally, I decided that the best possible thing for both of us was to proceed with the annulment. Not because I am interested in finding someone else, but because I could not keep going through all the “stuff” with her. AND because if she was dating there might come a time again when she decides to re-marry. She has left the Catholic Church and for that matter, God in order to find peace with what she has done. Therefore, I know that she would never go to the Church herself seeking an annulment and thus if she were to re-marry, she would be committing adultery. I can hopefully save her from at least this one mortal sin by attempting to have an annulment declared. I have resigned myself to abide by whatever decision the Tribunal hands down as though it came from God Himself. If it is granted, I may or may not someday meet someone. I am however discerning a monastic calling. I do not believe that I would make a good Priest because I find myself less tolerant of people since all this took place; but life as a cloistered monk sounds very appealing to me.



In time, the pain does lessen to some degree, but in my case anyway, I don’t believe that it will ever go away completely. I often believe that had my wife died rather than divorced me, it would have been easier on me. In death, you know that your spouse hasn’t chosen to leave you. That they still loved you. In a divorce, your spouse is taking an active role in leaving you. They are choosing to live their respective life without you.

Brother, I wish you the best. I’ll keep you in my prayers. God bless.


Thanks for the replies. Tietjen, you describe a very similar situation as me. In a horrible way, its comforting to know someone else has been there before. I just wish there was better news that it does get better long term.

Chgo, Thanks for the prayers. I am usually the one praying for others but I do appreciate them and still need them. I wouldn’t say I’m as down as I was in previous postings but I still am really hurting. I put on a facade everyday. Most people don’t realize I’m hurting as much as I am. For me, I just feel like I exist. I’m honestly tired. I havent really slept well in over 6 months. I’m more comfortable b/c I’m closer to God but I feel as if my best days are behind me at my young age. I mean I know I will have success with my career and stuff. I know I can do great things for God to better his world. And I know I can’t doubt the joy God can give me in my life. But the love of a marriage pales in comparison to my daily life right now. I mean I’m tearing just thinking about the intimacy that we shared. I’m now overseas because of my job and I really miss that level of intimacy and support that I used to get from her while I was away. She understood my soul in ways no one esle has. My “best” days right now are way worse than even just an average day with her.

Regarding an annulment, I’m on the fence. I don’t really know how I’ll ever be the same enough to ever get married again let alone be in a relationship with someone. I really did give her everything and even being divorced, I still act and feel as if I am married. At times I catch myself thinking about what I can do nice for her, only to be reminded of what happened and the nightmare of the past 6 months. So I probably will apply for one and get one because of the circumstances but it wont replace the facts that I was married, that I stood before God with full intention to be married to her. At this point, I don’t think it would be fair to be with another girl. My heart is still set on my (ex)wife. It feels like I will never get over her and I honestly don’t know if it is God’s Will for me to ge over her either.

I don’t know. I’m more confused than I thought I would be at this stage. Am I functioning better in life? Yes. Am I more focused on God? Yes. Am I happy? No. Every part of me still aches for my wife.


Now wait a minute. I celebrated my divorce and I wouldn’t say I am demented. People said “I’m sorry” I said “Don’t be. I’m not”

But that was me.I can only offer prayers for you now. But it will get better.


I was glad it was over. I was relieved there was no more court. I was happy something concrete was in place to govern our conduct. So, yes indeed, I did celebrate as well.


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