Is it a sin to be in love with someone other than my husband?


#1

Three years ago, at a time when my marriage was falling apart, I met a man, who was also married. He was the first and only friend I had made in this new city where I lived. We became friends and we fell in love. Neither of us felt comfortable with the idea of just “having an affair” and we both, being Catholic, also knew that it was a grave sin to be unfaithful to our spouses, no matter WHAT was going on in our marriages. (Mine was REALLY bad at the time). So, we parted ways, (no talking, no seeing eachother, no nothing)! I stayed with my husband, in spite of his numerous infidelities both prior to and after my friendship with this man. It was the most difficult and painful thing I had ever been through.

In the last year, my marriage has improved in many ways and my husband has also grown very much spititually. However, after all this time, I have never stopped being in love with this other man. I don’t see him or talk to him - but it’s still there. I love my husband, but not the way I should. I want to, but I am beginning to wonder if it’s possible. He is a good man, and he deserves so much from me, that I WANT to give him I don’t know if it’s just because of the betrayal on his part, or what. What really concerns me, is wondering if it’s a sin to love someone else, even if I am remaining faithful to my marriage vows? I feel so terrible about this. I have no where else to turn, Can someone please offer some insight?


#2

[quote=1woman]Three years ago, at a time when my marriage was falling apart, I met a man, who was also married. He was the first and only friend I had made in this new city where I lived. We became friends and we fell in love. Neither of us felt comfortable with the idea of just “having an affair” and we both, being Catholic, also knew that it was a grave sin to be unfaithful to our spouses, no matter WHAT was going on in our marriages. (Mine was REALLY bad at the time). So, we parted ways, (no talking, no seeing eachother, no nothing)! I stayed with my husband, in spite of his numerous infidelities both prior to and after my friendship with this man. It was the most difficult and painful thing I had ever been through.

In the last year, my marriage has improved in many ways and my husband has also grown very much spititually. However, after all this time, I have never stopped being in love with this other man. I don’t see him or talk to him - but it’s still there. I love my husband, but not the way I should. I want to, but I am beginning to wonder if it’s possible. He is a good man, and he deserves so much from me, that I WANT to give him I don’t know if it’s just because of the betrayal on his part, or what. What really concerns me, is wondering if it’s a sin to love someone else, even if I am remaining faithful to my marriage vows? I feel so terrible about this. I have no where else to turn, Can someone please offer some insight?
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Obviously it’s not a sin! You can’t control who you have romantic feelings for.


#3

[quote=udral]Obviously it’s not a sin! You can’t control who you have romantic feelings for.
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I do not agree with this. The primary thing for marraige, as stated in the Gospels, is that you love your spouse. If you have feelings for this man still, you need to put closure to it. You are in a marraige now - you need to make your marraige a true priority.

Infidelity and the pain that it causes both during and after is a very hard thing to overcome. But if you both center your life in Christ (which appears to be what you are both doing), you’ll be able to see what these past relationships are - just past relationships. It takes time, understanding, honesty, patience and the Sacraments to continue to strengthen the bonds of marraige and to forsake all others.

The heart and soul cannot be divided like this.


#4

St. Anthony of Padua said that God can make impure thoughts leave our soul and keep them from returning. So even though we can not control our emotions, with the help of God we can see the error of our ways so to speak. This reminds me of a movie Same Time Next Year starring Alan Alda of Mash fame. Your heart is telling you what you do not want to hear. It is a sin to lust.

St. Agustine said “a heart is restless until it rests in Thee, Oh God.” Take Jesus with you when you think of this other man. Then ask Him to be with you in your marriage. Only God can restore lost trust-and it will take time.

Catholic Answers Lenten Retreat 2006


#5

[quote=1woman] Can someone please offer some insight?
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Well first you should realize that you do not have a realistic picture of the other man you are “in love” with. You have an idea of what he would be like if you had been together, but that isn’t reality. When real life hits and you have to worry about bills, work and maybe kids, the luster of that initial passion is gone.

You are in love with what you think life with him would be like. When you realize that idea isn’t realistic, you may find it easier to stop dwelling on him and trying to build the relationship you want with your husband.

God bless.


#6

I’ll have to agree with Semper Jase. You’re in love with a memory.

I can’t say whether it is a sin or not, but I think it would be best to put this man in the past where he belongs. Keep your mind busy, so you won’t find yourself thinking about him.


#7

Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance. I agree with the above posts–you seem to be bridging the fantasy with reality in your mind (or what you imagine the reality would be). Your husband has obviously matured spiritually & emotionally.


#8

Love is something we choose to do. Love your husband! If you remained with him in bad times and he is changing for the good, then pray to God to help you continue on this road to recovery. You yourself said he is a “good man”, why not choose to love him. Forgiveness and trust comes with time. Pray, pray and pray to the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and trust once again! God bless you and your husband on this long but wonderful journey.

I also agree with the above post, you are basing the relationship of the other man on imagery, not reality.


#9

Feelings are not good or bad…they just are! It is not a sin to love. We are called to love our neighbors. We are also called to love our spouses. We are given the capacity to love at all different levels…this is a gift and you should feel blessed that your heart has the capacity to love deeply. HOWEVER…the way you love the people in your life must be ordered towards God. It must be faithful love. If the love you feel for this other man keeps you from loving your husband the way you know you should, then you need to take it up in prayer and ask God to give you the clarity you need to see this situation for what it is. Ask God to give you the eyes to see your husband as your lover again. Also - and this is so important - pray for the other man and for his marriage and for his wife. Pray that he will be able to remain faithful to his vows and that his wife can be the woman who he loves with all his heart.

Also…keep your sights set on things “above” not on earthly desires and lusts. All that will end eventually anyway. Think of heaven and have hope that someday you will be there and you will be free. You will not be bound by your marriage vows. You won’t need marriage vows in heaven. You will experience the greatest love of your life in heaven. Pray that your friend will find this same hope. It may strengthen you to serve the Lord more faithfully in your marriages.

Also…try and recall all the reasons you married your husband in the first place. Think of all his good qualities and stop focusing on the negative habits. God is using your husband to draw you closer to Him. God may also be using this other man to make you realize that you NEED God’s grace in your life if you are to be guided through this emotional fog that you’re in. Go to confession and confess that you have entertained impure thoughts about a man who is not your husband. Ask for the grace to overcome your lust. Participate in the Eucharist on a regular, if not daily basis, and seek the joy that is found in that mystery. Grace is the only thing that will change your heart. You have to want to be faithful and obedient to God and God only. If you are…all the rest will fall into place.


#10

[quote=SemperJase]Well first you should realize that you do not have a realistic picture of the other man you are “in love” with. You have an idea of what he would be like if you had been together, but that isn’t reality. When real life hits and you have to worry about bills, work and maybe kids, the luster of that initial passion is gone.

You are in love with what you think life with him would be like. When you realize that idea isn’t realistic, you may find it easier to stop dwelling on him and trying to build the relationship you want with your husband.

God bless.
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Well said. !


#11

[quote=LeahInancsi]I’ll have to agree with Semper Jase. You’re in love with a memory.

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I agree with this also, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions. We’re just some random people on the internet who knows very little of your situation. I hope you find some closure.


#12

It is something that you have not control over. What you did have control over…you controlled though. And that is what matters.


#13

[quote=1woman]Three years ago, at a time when my marriage was falling apart, I met a man, who was also married. He was the first and only friend I had made in this new city where I lived. We became friends and we fell in love. Neither of us felt comfortable with the idea of just “having an affair” and we both, being Catholic, also knew that it was a grave sin to be unfaithful to our spouses, no matter WHAT was going on in our marriages. (Mine was REALLY bad at the time). So, we parted ways, (no talking, no seeing eachother, no nothing)! I stayed with my husband, in spite of his numerous infidelities both prior to and after my friendship with this man. It was the most difficult and painful thing I had ever been through.

In the last year, my marriage has improved in many ways and my husband has also grown very much spititually. However, after all this time, I have never stopped being in love with this other man. I don’t see him or talk to him - but it’s still there. I love my husband, but not the way I should. I want to, but I am beginning to wonder if it’s possible. He is a good man, and he deserves so much from me, that I WANT to give him I don’t know if it’s just because of the betrayal on his part, or what. What really concerns me, is wondering if it’s a sin to love someone else, even if I am remaining faithful to my marriage vows? I feel so terrible about this. I have no where else to turn, Can someone please offer some insight?
[/quote]

I know from personal experience that it can take YEARS for your feelings to recover from infidelity. It is NORMAL for you to feel less (or a different type) of love for him. And I also know from experience that if you put your marriage in God’s hands and give it time to heal, your love for your husband will return in a new and awesome way. Don’t be discouraged by your feelings right now. Give it time.


#14

Thank you to everyone so far. I will take to heart all that has been said so far. I have thought much about the possibility that I have blurred the line between fantasy and reality, and yet I still struggle with it. I do pray for him and his wife and his family (I know all of them), and I truly do not want to be a part of making him less than the man he is supposed to be, or hurt his wife or his children - or hurt my own family for that matter. Love is supposed to give - not take, and I find strength in that. Please continue to keep me in your prayers, and continue to respond, as I am in need of the support and understanding of my brothers and sisters in Christ.


#15

I wonder if this could fall into more of an “attachment” problem rather than a sin. There are things in the world we are attached to that keep us from loving God. Having an attachment to another person must keep you from loving your husband fully. Obviously, you have to work on breaking that attachment just as we have to work on breaking our attachments to the world.

I think frequent reception of the sacraments would help.

Minor, loosely connected analogy:

I used to read romance novels until I grew disgusted with the sexual content. Then I switched to Christian romance novels, but I found that I was really dissatisfied with my husband when reading those. So, I dropped them. My attachment to them was hurting my marriage.

I wonder if you could work on transferring your love for the “other man” to Christ? . Maybe you could meditate on Christ. If you like to read, St. Faustina’s diary would be good.


#16

1woman,

Three years ago, at a time when my marriage was falling apart, I met a man, who was also married. He was the first and only friend I had made in this new city where I lived.

I hope you understand this was the beginning of your series of mistakes. While the proposition that a man and woman can “remain just friends” is generally a dubious one (though like everything, there are exceptions), to enter into such a situation (“occassion of sin”) when things are bad at home is a recipe for disaster. It is highly inappropriate (both for reasons of prudence and because it is so likely to cause scandal to one’s spouse) for married persons to be involved in such close, personal friendships with members of the opposite sex. I stress the “personal” part, because obviously having family friends who one associates with as a couple is another matter entirely - the circumstance itself (husband/wife around) tends to kibosh the possibility of anything inappropriate from developing.

So, we parted ways, (no talking, no seeing eachother, no nothing)! I stayed with my husband, in spite of his numerous infidelities both prior to and after my friendship with this man. It was the most difficult and painful thing I had ever been through.

By “infidelity” I’ll assume you mean precisely this (adultery). If that’s the case, I commend you for struggling to make your marriage work, in spite of your own lapses and the obvious hurt such a sin causes a spouse.

What really concerns me, is wondering if it’s a sin to love someone else, even if I am remaining faithful to my marriage vows? I feel so terrible about this. I have no where else to turn, Can someone please offer some insight?

In one sense, we cannot help “feeling” what we do. What is within our power is our consent - do we relish such sinful feelings and sensations? Do we welcome them? Or do we genuinely want to put this away?

This is probably one of the greatest errors of our day - that love is fundamentally a “feeling.” While longing (eros) very much involves sensations within the soul and the flesh, it is not genuine love. Genuine love can in fact exist even when we’re at our most ragged. And genuine love is best manifested when it is tested - when it costs us something. This is precisely why we are to “love our enemies”. While in truly enlightened people (not me!) this can evolve into a perspective where we are capable of warmth even toward our adversaries, this is not the essential, foundational part of Christian charity.


#17

The fact that you ask the question “is it a sin…” tells me that your conscience is telling you that all is not right.
There is a saying that “Feelings are the devils playground”

God does build into us the knowledge of truth doesn’t He? Cling tight to your lovely husband and pray hard. The two of you must have something beautiful going on there for the devil to want to upset it so badly.


#18

To JMJ Theresa - what you have said regarding attachments has truly hit home for me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will strive to meditate on Christ instead, and I will pick up your suggested reading as well.

To Palamite - I agree with the progression in my mistakes. Satan loves to make us think we are safe - and for me, I thought because I knew this man, and his family, and because they were a part of a very close family/social circle, that it was safe. I was wrong. I ended up having to switch churches, take my kids out of their extra-curricular activities, etc - and even there, it seemed impossible to cut all the ties, as our families are very connected still. I thank you for “commending” me, however it has only been thru God’s grace thus far. I am hopeful though, especially now, having brought this out for all of you to help, that I will not merely bear this, but will overcome it.

To Halo - you are also so right. I too believe that God must have something wonderful in store for my husband and I, or Satan would not be trying so hard to destroy it. He tries to get me to think that I am just setting myself up for disappointment - that my husband will just be unfaithful to me again - so why invest; but I am trying to rid myself of those thoughts, (which is why JMJ Theresa’s advise is going to be so helpful I think).

Thanks again to all of you. God bless and I look forward to hearing more from you all.


#19

My thought is that you are dwelling on one thing that is missing in your marriage (which evidently this other man supplied) rather than on all the things you do have. I’m not sure just what it was (infatuation/feeling passion? interest in some topic? attention?) But whatever it was, it was probably about you, not about this other man.

I would make a point of daily thanking God for all the many blessings that you receive: indoor plumbing, the taste of your favorite food, your family, the way a breeze tickles your hair. You can even be thankful for the ability to feel sad about what is now over.

I think if you practice (and it is a practice; not something that comes automatically) being grateful you might dwell less on what you don’t have. It may takes weeks, months, or even years but I think it will help.


#20

I want to say that I understand completely what you are going through - and NO it is not a sin to love someone who you are not married to. If I remember correctly to love our neighbors as ourself was one of the bigger commands given to us. My question then is how much do you love yourself? That was a tough one for me to tackle.

I have been there, and I still miss this person deeply, every day. The problem is not love for someone other than your spouse, the problem is the situation at home. Somethings can be revived quickly, somethings take a long time, but there are somethings that a person can’t fix for someone else. I don’t know what your situation is, but in my case it was just as simple as experiencing a reality that I had never experienced before. My marriage was full of “love”, or love as well as I knew it. However it was not love at all, it was just all that I knew.

Its like I was in the dark with matches and the flame would go out and I would have to grab another match and light it to keep that flicker of “love” there. But being exposed to a healthy, spiritually open person was like opening the blinds in a dark room on a sunny day. Pow - right between the eyes. Even flowers grow towards the sunshine. In my marriage, the sun was blocked by my spouses alcoholism.

There was no sex, I would never want to do anything to hurt this person spiritually - by the way if someone knows how to bring closure to this type of thing, please let me know because I would love to know.

Its not a matter of them pulling me away from God, it was a matter of them pulling me towards God. I have grown more spiritually just by having them in my life that I ever have.

Its not a sin, don’t feel guilty. Guilt will eat you alive - just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean you are guilty. There are so many people out there who do sleep around, do drugs, kill people and they have no sense of guilt.

All I can say is pray

Terry


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