If an unmarried man has a relationship with a married woman, is the man free of sin?


Hello all!

I have a friend whose wife died eight years ago. He is currently in a sort of long-distance relationship with a woman who is married (to a good man, in her words) and has two daughters. My friend is an older gentleman, and he and his lady-friend mostly e-mail and talk on the phone. However, she’ll be visiting him this month. And, apparently they’ve expressed their love for one another. He has also taken her on extravagant trips, just the two of them. My friend defends this relationship with a married woman by saying he’s not guilty of adultery and that it’s her decision to be unfaithful to her husband.

My question is: what is the Church’s teaching on this matter? I would say my friend is culpable, meaning he is part of this situation and is not without fault since he is not dissuading the attention or denouncing the relationship. But, is he free from sin in the eyes of the Church? The woman is an adulterer, but what is my friend? Simply a man of poor judgement?

Thank you for any insight you can provide! God bless.


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2830 *Adultery *refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations - even transient ones - they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire.171 The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely.172 The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry.173

171 Cf. *Mt *5:27-28.
172 Cf. *Mt *5:32; 19:6; *Mk *10:11; 1 *Cor *6:9-10.
173 Cf. *Hos *2:7; *Jer *5:7; 13;27. (source)

Notice that it says, "they"commit adultery, i.e., both partners, both the married person and the other person, commit adultery, not just the married person.


THIS ^ :confused: Not sure why a man would try to make this argument - he is an accessory to the sin


But seek ye first the kingdom of

**and his righteousness, **
and all these things
shall be added unto you.
- Luke 12:31
+Every day of our lives as Catholics should be centered upon our . . . ** Wonderful Living God **. . . and each life experience prayer:gopray2:fully evaluated in the light of Church teachings regarding the . . . Christian Faith and Christian morals . . . and the subject of this thread specifically deals with the forbidden evil of the breaking of the **Seventh and the Tenth Commandments ** of God . . . which Ten Commandments are a extensively dealt with in the Catechism . . . and the relationship described is an adultreous relationship . . . and in this day and age the term “adultery” is known far and wide even among non-Christians . . . and with knowledge of the sin comes culpability . . .

****. . . :coffeeread: . . .
The Ten Commandments
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the **LORD **thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And **shewing mercy **unto thousands of them that love me, and KEEP **my **commandments.

3. ** Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD **thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

4. ** Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD **made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

5. **Honour thy father and thy mother: **that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy **God **giveth thee.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

**7. ** **Thou shalt not commit adultery. **

[INDENT][INDENT][INDENT]:bible1: Matthew 5:28 “But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
8. ** Thou shalt not steal.**

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s [size=]WIFE[/size], nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his , nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.[/INDENT]
[INDENT][INDENT][INDENT]:bible1: John 14:23 Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one
*, he will** KEEP** my word, and **my Father **will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. [/INDENT][/INDENT][/INDENT][RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank You Blessed LORD our God+
. . . thank You Gracious Heavenly Father+
. . . thank You Sweet Spirit of our Holy God+
. . . thank you Blessed Virgin Mary our Mother+
. . . thank you Blessed Holy Mother Church+[/RIGHT]


Thank you all, and especially to Todd977–that’s exactly what I was looking for. You’re right–it does say “they” doesn’t it! I’m just tired of hearing my friend say he’s not committing adultery and it’s all on her to decide and act. Thanks for the information! God bless.


The short answer is; yes, he is sinning.


Proverbs 6

Warning Against Adultery

My son, keep your father’s command
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Bind them always on your heart;
fasten them around your neck.
When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
For this command is a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
are the way to life,
keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.

Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes.

For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,
but another man’s wife preys on your very life.
Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.

People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
But a man who commits adultery has no sense;
whoever does so destroys himself.
Blows and disgrace are his lot,
and his shame will never be wiped away.

For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
He will not accept any compensation;
he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.

Proverbs 7New International Version (NIV)

Warning Against the Adulterous Woman

7 My son, keep my words
and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;
guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and to insight, “You are my relative.”
They will keep you from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words.

At the window of my house
I looked down through the lattice.
I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who had no sense.
He was going down the street near her corner,
walking along in the direction of her house
at twilight, as the day was fading,
as the dark of night set in.

Then out came a woman to meet him,
dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
(She is unruly and defiant,
her feet never stay at home;
now in the street, now in the squares,
at every corner she lurks.)
She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said:

“Today I fulfilled my vows,
and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.
So I came out to meet you;
I looked for you and have found you!
I have covered my bed
with colored linens from Egypt.
I have perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
let’s enjoy ourselves with love!
My husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey.
He took his purse filled with money
and will not be home till full moon.”

With persuasive words she led him astray;
she seduced him with her smooth talk.
All at once he followed her
like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer[a] stepping into a noose**
till an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
little knowing it will cost him his life.

Now then, my sons, listen to me;
pay attention to what I say.
Do not let your heart turn to her ways
or stray into her paths.
Many are the victims she has brought down;
her slain are a mighty throng.
Her house is a highway to the grave,
leading down to the chambers of death.**


Is he implying that there’s no physical relationship between them and that her unfaithfulness is emotional? Or is he trying to say that since he’s single, he’s incapable of committing adultery?


Ah, those are numbered the way our Protestant friends number them. Adultery is against the sixth commandment as numbered by Catholicism.


Indeed. It’s worth noting, though, that the Old Testament law only ever speaks of adultery as a married woman and a man not her husband; there does not appear to be any censure of a married man copulating with an unmarried woman. Which makes sense, because it goes along with the inequality in Israelite polygamy: men were permitted multiple wives, but women were forbidden multiple husbands.

Now, for Christians, of course, both polygamy and male adultery are forbidden. But this makes me wonder what biblical justification we have for condemning a modern-day heathen husband who strays from his wife.


It is very clear that despite the gentleman’s protestations to the contrary, he is engaging in grave matter contrary to the 6th and 9th (Catholic) Commandments.



Is it not that he is leading/ abetting another to sin also?


Another aspect to this is rationalization, self justification, and presumption, which can become like a disease and carry over into other areas of his life.

Sin destroys right reason.


Umm… 'cause Jesus said so?

Mt 19:9 - "whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”


In my humble opinion, adultery is not so much the physical act (though that is part of it) but rather the betrayal of fidelity you made to your spouse. If a man had a non-sexual relationship with a woman other than his wife, and put this woman before his wife and family then in my book he is guilty of adultery even though he may not be having sex with her. The same would be true, of course, if it was the wife who was stepping out into a non-sexual relationship with someone.

This could also apply to online relationships where people who obviously have no physical contact but exchange racy pictures and talk naughty with each other.

My :twocents:


Jesus obviously isn’t talking about all marriages whatsoever here, since the Old Testament law permitted divorce, and even today the Catholic Church agrees that a “natural” or non-sacramental marriage can be dissolved under certain circumstances.


If the woman’s husband were to find out about it, I’m sure he’d feel that he had been wronged by the man as well as by his wife.

Certainly when my late husband had his adulterous affair with my ex-best-friend, I found myself needing to work at forgiving her as well as forgiving him.


I’m curious about this too. I actually read a claim on Wikipedia once, that Louise de La Vallière, one of Louis XIV’s mistresses, refuse to marry anyone during her affair with the king, because if she did she would be guilty of not only fornication, but the mortal sin of adultery (implying fornication is NOT a mortal sin). And as it turned out she wound up not marrying anyone even after the affair was over, unless you count Jesus, as she became a Carmelite nun at the end of her life.

The quote is below, now the background is that King Louis eventually tired of Louise but kept pretending she was still his mistress, so he could hide his new affair with Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan.


Whenever the king wished to travel with his real mistress, Athénaïs, he made both Louise and Athénaïs sit in the same carriage with the queen. Since Athénaïs was married, it meant that both the king and she were committing adultery, a mortal sin. Louise had refused a smokescreen marriage for this very reason. (In cases where one partner is unmarried, canon law of the Roman Catholic Church considered a carnal affair to be simply fornication.)

The claim isn’t even cited and it’s only implied that “the Church did not consider fornication to be a mortal sin” since if not, why would Louise care.

But maybe I’m missing something?


Surely it is clear that to lead another to sin, to be a willing accomplice, is wrong?


Which (lawful) marriages - entered into and consummated after Jesus said these words - do you understand Jesus was excluding?

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