Is this considered mortal sin?


#1

There is a long story behind this and I won’t get into why but my wife has severe psychological issues. A very negative self image is a predominate one and while I love her to death and do all I can to help her, sometimes I need to talk to someone. I met a woman at work who I have become friends with. I am afraid that if I tell my wife she will become very jealous. While she won’t object to me being friends with her, it may cause her to fall deeper into depression and possibly she will think I am cheating on her, which I would never do. I’ve gone to talk to her a few times and told my wife I was going somewhere else. Does that put me in a state of mortal sin? I have been praying about it and what I feel is that it isn’t because I am not going to do something that is grave matter with this woman but I would like the input of others, specifically a priest. I am finding different answers when I search about whether lying is always a mortal sin.


#2

Please stay away from this woman and try to work things out between your wife this woman has no right to be discussing things with you that only you and your wife should be discussing with each other Do all you can to reassure your wife that as far as you are concerned that she is the most beautiful woman on the planet God bless.


#3

I think whether lying is a mortal or venial sin depends on the reason for the lie in the first place. If in your heart you are lying because you are attracted to this lady then I would say this is a mortal sin. If you truly feel that this lady is only a friend and you simply want a female opinion to questions you might have, then I don’t see the lie as being mortal. Of course, this is just my opinion, but I feel it comes down to being honest about where your heart really is.


#4

I am not having problems with my wife and am in NO way attracted to this woman or trying to escape my marriage, just to set the record clear. I love my wife dearly and try my best to help her. Sometimes I just need someone to talk with and get advice from. I know that in this day in age it may sound like I am trying to cover up an adulterous relationship but there is nothing like that at all going on. The only reason I haven’t told my wife is because of her extreme insecurities about herself, and all the men I know have no interest in discussing things like that. My friend is a devout Baptist and devoted to her boyfriend, who is in Afghanistan right now. Again, just to make it clear, I am devoted to upholding the vow of fidelity I made to my wife. So much so that I am the target of harassment at work because I refuse to admit that I find other women attractive, because I don’t.


#5

You are still playing with fire. My own uncle ended up committing adultery, but it started out in an “innocent” way, much like yours. He had female friends, and he and they confided in each other. He would have denied any sort of attraction or danger in the relationship. And it led to adultery and heartbreak and suffering for everyone.

Furthermore, you owe everyone truth. Though there are all sorts of “but what about the Nazis” scenarios which people bring up, you can have no such scenario here. You are lying to your wife. You are going out with another woman while lying to your wife about your whereabouts. You ought NEVER to do such a thing, as a married man. What makes this lie “necessary”? The fact that you are spending time with another woman, which you know yourself would hurt your wife. Why are you doing this? Is your time with this other woman more important to you than your wife’s feelings on the matter? If the answer to that is yes, then you know perfectly well that you are doing wrong. If the answer to that is no, then why oh WHY are you spending time with this other woman at all? (If it is because this other woman wants to spend time with you and you do not want to hurt her feelings – again, why do the feelings of ANY other woman outweigh those of your wife?)


#6

you’ve lied to your wife to spend time (albeit emotionally supportive and nothing else) with a woman who isnt your wife and isn’t a professional therapist.

i dont know if it’s a mortal sin or not. but why is that the litmus test? little and regularly scheduled lies are OK then?

it’s potentially very damaging.

either tell your wife or stop seeing your friend. talk to a man friend, a priest or get a therapist.


#7

Dear converting2024,
This is no dout cheating, you are cheating on your wife. Not in a phyical way jet, but Emotional. And if your wife has these tendentcies (low self estem) then you need to just stop. This woman that you are talking to is also loney, but is not willing to say it. You my friend, are in the path way of sin, and you must find someone else to talk too, like a priest. You are on this forum and this is good. We are here for you my brother! may god keep you safe from yourself. Lord here our prayer, Amen


#8

This relationship is a distraction from real problems that need to be worked through. You are pondering whether or not it is a mortal sin. Your conscience is speaking to you, listen to it and talk it over with a priest in confession.


#9

Everyone may be jumping on you because of this gals gender. If you treart her as a friend and dont cross the line I don’t see an issue. You need to talk to someone and you should have someone to confide in. Just dont take it to the next level with this other girl


#10

Everyone may be jumping on you because of this gals gender

. that and because he’s already lying about her.

If you treart her as a friend and dont cross the line I don’t see an issue.

he’s already crossed the line. he’s lying about spending time with her.


#11

Having a friendship where you are sharing all of the details of your marriage with another person, even a person of the same sex, can be a real problem. He has SERIOUS problems he needs to deal with. He needs to talk to his priest and to a counselor, not have clandestine meet ups. What he is doing is avoiding problems by creating new problems.


#12

I’m going to start off with the unpopular suggestion that there’s no such thing as “emotionally” cheating on your wife. You’re either having sexual relations with a person not your wife or you aren’t. If you are, you’re cheating; if you’re not, you’re not. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this relationship you have with this other woman.

That being said, as another poster put it, you are “playing with fire.” These sorts of confidential friendly, very personal relationships can very easily – more easily than you suspect, by all accounts – turn into marriage-destroying sexual affairs. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but you’ve got to be careful.

The commandment against lying is one of the most difficult laws of the Christian life. But it is absolute. You are not in a state of mortal sin here, because of the circumstances, the object, and the intention. It is nevertheless a venial sin, and venial sins are not a joking matter; they separate you from God all by themselves, and they do become mortal sins with frightening ease. You can continue this relationship, perhaps, with care, and with advice from a spiritual director, but you really can’t continue to lie about it.

And, incidentally, that’s my last recommendation on the matter. I think spiritual directors are overprescribed in the hardcore Catholic world of CAF, and there’s an assumption sometimes that “everyone should have a spiritual director,” which I think is just not true. Only some people need a spiritual director – only people who are navigating treacherous waters of faith and morality and vocation in real life and struggling to discern God’s will for their lives.

That describes your situation pretty well, though. Ask a trusted clergyman to serve as your spiritual director. Do what he says. Keep praying.

And good for you for worrying about it in the first place and coming to CAF for internet advice!


#13

Their is, most definating cheating going on, when a husband starts to tell another women about the marrage and then lying about his wereabouts, that my friend is called cheating…you can cheat with your thoughts, you can cheat with your mouth, you can cheat with your hands, you can cheat with your body. cheating is cheating…don’t go and say that it’s just us girls cause that is races, bias, and not chirstin at all. I agee that the man has a problom yes but he is CHEATING…Dear converting2024, my brother, please do not let this get any further. It will take you by surpize, then what ? divorce…not O.K…I ask all my true brothers and sister to pray for conveting2024, My god keep you safe from harm and My god the father be with you forever in your heart, Amen


#14

I really appreciate the concern expressed by the fellow board members. Based on some of the responses I am afraid some of you are not actually reading the entire situation. All you read is that I’m talking to another woman about my wife and lying to her about it. I hope you all know that I love the LORD and my wife very much. All I want is to do what is best for our marriage. I am not emotionally detaching myself from her or avoiding/ignoring her in order to talk to my friend. I have spoken with my wife about how her issues make me feel, but she is very sensitive about them and knowing that it makes me hurt only makes her feel worse about herself, which is what I do not want to happen. I would have to lie to her if I was going to talk to anybody about this, because like I said, if she is confronted with the fact that her issues are affecting me it only makes her feel worse about herself. What can I do? Also, we do not have access to therapy right now and the counselor at the parish told her that she needed help that she(the counselor) could not provide.

I do not feel good about having lied to her and those of you who suggested that it is my conscious speaking to me are right. I don’t think many of you truly understand the depth of her problems. I must stress that these are not your “normal” run of the mill issues. If I were to tell you what she went through as a child it would bring all except the most hardened of hearts to tears. It is hard because sometimes I feel like I am going to lose it. I offer it up in prayer and that helps a lot but it also helps to have someone to speak with who kind of knows what my wife is going through and has overcome it. I have tried speaking to my mom but she doesn’t understand. I do not have any other close family. I went through some major changes during my conversion and all my former friends are from a life I no longer live. “Friends” who would suggest the answer to her problems is found in a bag or a bottle.


#15

Dear converting 2024,

The closest one comes in the Catechism to a mitigation of the gravity of a lie is the statement that it is not a lie to withhold truth from one who has no right to know it. (This itself is, I understand, currently under debate as to how far this allows one to go in withholding, but that is irrelevant right now.)

You are a married man; there is nothing, NOTHING that you may legitimately withhold from your wife. End of story. You owe her truth. You are lying to her.

And you are lying to her in order to spend time with another woman? Really. Lying under these circumstances, given your willing assent to do so, would be mortal sin. The matter, lying to one to whom you owe absolute truth, would most definitely be grave.


#16

You need to talk to your priest about this.

It is a very bad idea to become emotionally involved with a woman who isn't your wife and wrap it in the guise of just a "friend" who you lean on in troubled times. You are seeking comfort with this other woman. That is a dangerous situation to put yourself in. If you need someone to talk to, get a counselor or see your priest.


#17

maybe not but it surely puts you in a position to hurt your wife gravely, which you admit and recognize
what are you thinking?
any friendship you have to lie about is no friendship a married man should encourage for a minute.
spend your time and energy helping your wife, including getting her professional and pastoral help if it is warranted,
when you wife is in need you have no time, energy or emotion for friendships which exclude and potentially hurt her


#18

Mortal sin or not, as another poster said, your conscience is speaking to you about this. You have affirmed, as sincerely as you can here, that you love the Lord and you love your wife, and from what I can tell on this anonymous forum, these sentiments seem to be genuine. But you are picking up that something isn’t right about this friendship with this lady, it would upset your wife if she found out, cause her unnecessary distress, which you don’t want - you have essentially brought a third party into the relationship without your wife’s knowledge or consent, while fully aware that if she found out it would hurt her dreadfully.

The truth is not always easy to take, but listen to these anxieties you have about this firendship. I believe it is the Holy Spirit prompting you to end this friendship because it is not in any way good for your marriage. I also sense that you feel very alone at times in your relationship because of your wife’s problems, and while you support her, you have no one bar this lady friend to support and listen to you. I can fully sympathise with that, many times I have felt alone in my marriage, isolated, sometimes as if I were on the edge of an emotional precipice, and there has been no one I could turn to to share my problems with - except Christ, and he is the best comforter of all.

You need to lean more on the Lord, in times of suffering, and I’ve had them, because sometimes there is no one else except Christ to hold us up. We may feel totally isolated, crushed by everything around us - turn to Christ then, not the world for support. If you have the opportunity, seek counselling in a professional environment, something that your wife could know about, but if that is not possible, seek solace in Eucharistic Adoration, you will be comforted - but do not seek solace with another lady, it isn’t right. However innocent the relationship may be, it needs to end and not in a blurred way - a line needs to be drawn where you say you shouldn’t have discussed your private life and have decided that since it would upset your wife, you will now work things out with her directly.

Sorry of this is not what you wanted to hear, but if for example I found out my husband was discussing our marriage issues with another woman, albeit innocently, I would be absolutely devastated, no exaggeration. Totally devastated.

The only third party who should be involved in your marriage is God - this is what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you.


#19

OP, you ask, “is this a mortal sin?”

people respond “mortal? i dont know. but the potential for real harm is very present.”

and you say, “but i have no counselor, my wife is very damaged, i have no friends, no family, no available priest etc etc.”

so if the objective mortality of the sin is the ONLY reason you would discontinue this relationship which you’re lying to your wife about about then, perhaps you dont love your wife all that much as you say.

see, when making decisions that affect his wife, a good husband has a lot of other boundaries and standards to guide him before mortal sin comes into play.

in humility and trust, ask God to send you a trusted male confidant. HE will.


#20

To the OP:
Knock it off. There is no reason for you to go to a woman to vent. Go to your priest instead, and ask where you could find a spiritual director.
Then, spend as much time as you can with your wife.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.