Need a perspective from others about this divorce

Forgive me for the length of this post.

My wife and I have been married for about 10 years (civil marriage) and 5 years in the church.

We were both in the correct frame of mind at our marriage, a lasting union, and have 2 children together. We were both previously married, of which both were annulled. She had two children from the prior marriage, or which I freely accepted them as ours and loved them as if they were our own.

We agreed when we finally talked about marriage that we would never divorce because of the pains it puts children through. We both were in agreement and we both knew the responsibilities of marriage.

We had some rocky times as I moved many times due to my career but we always had good times as well.

I had to take a job overseas (non military) due to the economy and could not take family with me. Just before my one year contract was up and I was to return home she filed for divorce. There is no infidelity on either part.

I returned home immediately to be with the 2 boys as this news was devastating and I did not have communications with them for several weeks. Once home she wanted no communications and I had to get an attorney to see my boys.

As time progressed (about a month) we began to communicate. She said that she wanted the civil divorce but not an annulment. Our communication increased mostly on the phone and I have been able to be with my boys more than agreed upon.

The boys want us together (ages about 3 and 8) and have made many comments to each separately as well as in front of both of us.

I have offered to go to counseling together, retreats, talk with a priest together etc but she states not right now. I have taken full responsibility for my shortcomings and faults. I offered for all of us to go to Mass together on Sundays now and then, and I am told not yet.

She is in counseling. She has sought the advice of a priest and has learned that we are not candidates for an annulment. I told her that we cannot lie to the children nor give them false hope as they have been in anxiety for over 16 months and this is bothering them. They are holding onto the hope of mom and dad reuniting as a family. She told the older one that this is like an engine that needs repair. You have to take it apart then replace parts and rebuild it.

So it is now six months from the time of her filing for civil divorce and I am still not sure where she is going. We agree on the details of the divorce and are not fighting. We talk on the phone, sometimes for hours, about normal things. It is as if she is a wife on the phone, but when it comes time to try to get together she just won’ commit and really does not want to communicate.

She also will not discuss any plan, path, etc toward a return together. She shows no outward affections towards me even thought I still do. We live 1.5 hours apart now and she did not want me moving into the town she lived in.

We have gotten together once this fall for the boys to go to the park for about an hour. That went well. The boys wanted all of us to do something together.

I have treated her as my wife as even after the filing of the civil divorce we are still married in the eyes of God and the church. Neither one of us is looking for another mate. I still wear my wedding ring and act as married, not putting myself in positions to be tempted.

My issue is that I wish for the marriage to be saved for many reasons and that I am being placed in a position that is what I call in limbo. I am married, wish to remain married to this woman, yet not receiving any affections or information about our progress or lack of, from her. I am human and I miss her and the family and I present outward signs of affection and support to her, yet there is nothing substantial in return.

So here I am married to this woman, living apart, having my children a good amount of time, missing companionship and the ability to share my life with her.

I have prayed and believe that I should give her time to sort out her issues, but I am having a tough time letting life go by without sharing with her.


I know that prayer is very powerful and that the small improvements since May are important and are a result of prayer. I would ask for your prayers for my family.

Keep praying, and offer sacrifices (fasting, etc.). Pray to St. Joseph and Mary.

Aside from that, does she understand that a marriage is not a contract, but a covenant? A contract is an agreement between two parties for the exchange of goods and/or money. A covenant is for the exchange of persons.

If I were you, I would tell her that you are putting a halt to the divorce proceedings until you both go to counseling and try to sort it out. You are sending mixed messages by going along with what she wants but then saying you want to stay together. Make it clear that you are going to fight for the marriage until you are absolutely certain that it cannot be saved.

I have no advice since I have never been married and can not even begin to imagine the pain you are in. The most frustrating part of it all is your wife does not even seem to want to let you know why she is behaving this way.

However, I do hope the following will be received as the huge compliment it is intended.

You sound like an Angel the way you are abiding by Gods rules and are willing to do what it takes. I am a woman and I would love to live in a society where all men would be like you. Faithful to their vows, no if ands or buts about it.

Your strengh is an inspiration. I now it probably feels like a slap in the face to hear ‘Wow you are great’ when it is coming at the price of suffering so. But please believe me your rewards will be great in Heaven. God owes me a least one favour :wink:


My heart really goes out to you and your family and I’m praying for all of you right now, especially your children, that love for one another will be restored.

Please believe me when I say that you are a determined and incredibly responsible family man by your actions - job searching, valuing marriage, going to counseling and Mass, and providing for your children and loving and accepting hers. This represents a true and rare form of love that embraces caring and sacrifice of the other. You just need to be told how valuable and rare of a jewel you are in today’s world.

A Christian counselor once told me “The one thing God can’t do is make anyone do anything (your wife).” What surprises me is that she has done this without much warning and that she is so evasive afterwards. Furthermore, cutting off contact with your boys for over a month and forcing you to get an attorney sounds very punishing of her towards you and no one deserves that for any reason.

Many times, failure to make a decision (hers) is a decision in itself. Being indecisive and talking to you for hours with little value to the broken marriage isn’t good. She could make the decision to either reconcile, (you sound like a wonderful person), or care enough about another human not to induce any more hurt by leading you along. I question how she had the capacity to love (unitive purpose required for a valid marriage) at the beginning but her actions now don’t reflect that.

My advice would be to continue talking to your priest and look into your parish’s divorce support community. I would make the boys my top priority and move to the town they are in and begin looking into custody arrangements on your terms - even full custody, if you feel that is best for them. Pray the Rosary daily and ask for Mary’s interceeding prayers for the boys and your wife’s change of heart in the short term. The focus becomes making the boys feel loved and secure.

Lastly, I have a terse observation on this: It is too early to say that no one else is or previously was involved in her decision to abandon the marriage, especially for the abrupt and evasive behavior. Rarely to people fall out of love and it is usually that they are lured or pushed away. You sound like a wonderful person, so that only leaves one other option, but you may never learn the truth you deserve to know.

If you want an annulment, file for it on your terms, after time has passed and you gain more clarity.

You are in my prayers.

I will keep you and your wife and children in my prayers. Pray your heart out for a reconciliation. If it isn`t too late, I would tell her you are not proceeding with the civil divorce until you get the answers you need from her.

It sounds like something else is going on. Do you think she met someone else but does not want to hurt you by telling you that? I wonder if she is depressed perhaps that is causing her behavior. Did she feel abandoned when you left to go overseas? Was it a joint decision for you to take the overseas job? You dont need to answer those questions here, but they are worth thinking about if you havent done so already.

I will keep you in my prayers.



Wow - I am so sorry. Ask her if she would be alright with putting a halt to the legal divorce or maybe doing a legal separation instead if your state allows it and meeting you in the middle until she is more sure of what she wants. Also, ask her if maybe you two can agree on this statement to the boys: That mommy and daddy both love them very much and that whether or not they live together due to their marriage in the Church they will always be married in the eyes of God…" It may be something you both may need to hear later - and you can explain it as age appropriate and will help impress upon them the permamence of marriage.

I will touch on this as I have nothing to hide from man as God sees into my heart.
I do not think she met someone, if she did it is certainly over. She has spoken with a priest and during a discussion in the subject of looking for others she said it would be adultry. She is also holding onto her faith, going to Mass etc…

She is depressed, on medications for depression and anxiety. She has had a lot of things happen while I was gone. That was a mutual decision to keep the income coming in as well as health insurance. She had a hysterectomy(full) in November and things changed.

She has built up a “wall of hate” and cannot seem to let it go. She refers to “broken promises and shattered dreams” yet she is breaking the boys hearts and shattering their dreams for a normal mom and dad…family.

While I was not perfect in the marriage, I let my career (law enforcement) take over (sins of pride for sure) but I never faltered with fidelity, and love for my family.

My close friend and another friend have told me that I am nuts, but they are impressed at what I am doing. I thank you for your kinds words. I am sad to see a stranger can see who I am but my wife will or does not. I cried when I read this.

A priest I spoke with said that I will be blessed for this.

When I was overseas my wife had the surgery and I was terrified I would lose her on the table. I prayed the rosary every night and asked God that if He was to take someone to take me so that the boys would have their loving mother.

I will pray for God’s will and the strenght to follow it.


As the situation is complicated I forgot:

She said in June that she wants the civil divorce and after we may be able to work on our relationship. She said she wants to wipe the slate clean then if we get together re-marry in the church.

We are married in the church and I think this is her way of erasing the “pains of this marriage”.

I thank
all for your advice and look forward to more…

Forgive me, but I am terribly confused about something. If you two have been married civily for 10 years then how can she have a 3 and 8 year old from a previous marriage? In any case, the children should not have a say in what is an adult problem. They are too young to handle adult emotions. Protect them by not mentioning your wife negatively in front of them. You’re in my prayers.

It is not a slap in the face at all. Your comments are very telling. I cannot even begin to tell the story as it has so much involved…being 5,000 miles away and feeling anxious to return home to family, to feel something was not right, then to receive papers.

I have a devout feeling to my marriage vows and to my family…believe me it is not easy. I know that at my age and in my situation I could find a woman who would be thrilled to be in my company. I thought of this a while back, but my fidelity is great and I would never put myself in this position.

I have spoken with some friends who admire what I am doing, although they think I am nuts. But my faith and vows are clear. I still remember vividly what I was thinking when I said my marriage vows.

I can only hope that she is telling the truth and wants to try to get together after the divorce as she has told the boys the analogy of rebuilding an engine. I cannot stand to see the boys hurting, wanting mom and dad to take them to the park, pool etc…

Again, thank you for your kind words, and yes it would be a much nicer world to have more attitudes where fidelity was key.

I found this quote a while back and try to think of it frequently

If a man finds it very hard to forgive injuries, let him look at a crucifix, and think that Christ has shed all His Blood for him, and not only forgave his enemies, but prayed the Eternal Father to forgive them also.

– Saint Philip Neri

These are our children, hers are 19 and 16.

We do not speak of things about the separation in front of the boys, yet they make unsolicited comments./ They know what is going on and are obviously very observant.
It is tough to listen to a child cry for mom or dad when they are in the other location.

The children are loved by both parents and that is well affirmed by mom and dad…that is one major thing we both agree on.

You are doing the right thing so far. It would seem that your wife has a mental illness, perhaps precipitated by the stress of your separation. I would not take anything she says right now as a durable position on her part. We say things when we are in pain that we do not mean. We tell ourselves stories that we won’t believe in a better moment. The good thing is that at least she is telling the children stories with a happy ending, and not bad-mouthing you to them.

Keep being a good husband and father, and find yourself support so that you do not descend into bitterness yourself. That priest was right: you will not go without your reward for your fidelity, no matter how it turns out. Take care of yourself, though. Your strength is not infinite. You have to learn how to recharge in fidelity without her help for awhile.

I would also suggest that you learn as much as you can about depression and anxiety disorders. Those change your perception. There may be a lot of flaming hoops to jump through that may be invisible to you now, but that you can perhaps anticipate if you are educated about how these disorders tend to progress and what kind of maintainence they will need when your wife is in recovery.

IOW, should your wife recover from this, know that she is not out of the woods. Relapse is common with these disorders. Learn what you need to know to support her recovery and continuing health thereafter. This is a case where virtue needs the help of knowledge, depend on that.

First of all, I would definitely halt the divorce proceedings. This idea that after all this time and money is spent on lawyers and in court that you will be able to start fresh doesn’t wash and it doesn’t make any sense. Once the divorce is over, it will be that much easier for her to cut you out of her life if that is what she wants and you won’t have a leg to stand on.

Secondly, I personally think that you should stand up to her and tell her that this is not fair to the kids. Even kids whose parents hate each other often harbor reconciliation fantasies for years after a divorce. What must it be doing to these little ones to be in a constant state of limbo with her telling them this engine repair b.s.? Remember that the children are learning about marriage and relationships from you right now and are much more perceptive than we may give them credit for. They deserve stability and so do you. If she wants a divorce, o.k., but this talking for hours about nothing important and all this stuff has to stop. If she really wants a divorce, she needs to be prepared to live without you and your emotional support and the daily chit-chat that goes along with any marriage. If you keep giving her exactly what she wants, she will be perfectly content to stay in limbo forever.

Finally, you say things changed after her hysterectomy. I have a suspicion that this is the source of the depression. I know a woman who just had one 2 weeks ago and she is miserable. She is in hormone hell! Many women get depressed after this because their hormones are going crazy and all messed up. She needs to find a good doctor who can get her on the proper kind of hormone replacements, and she needs to keep trying until she finds the right balance that works for her. I bet you would find that things change a lot once she feels like herself again!

Seems very strange that she wants the divorce, but still open to reconcile down the road, just doesn’t make any sense. I hate to say it, but I think she is using you, probably getting outside advice, and telling you those things so you stay still and do nothing to protect yourself and your children. I would confront her as soon as possible about this divorce, and if she is not willing to stop it, then you can’t trust anything she says and you need to do all you can to protect your rights and those of your children.

Just so you know, in a lot of cases the judges on a custody/visitiation issue will go for the status quo, so if you are not seeing the children, and if in the judge’s eyes you are doing nothing to change that, it will probably stay that way.

Not trying to make things hard for you, just advice because you are going through a very painful event, and it is not my intention at all to make you more sad. The children are suffering and your wife needs to realize that what she is doing is harming the children and wounding them. It is a myth that the children of divorce turn out ok and is not a big deal (our society sadly has that view) Also, you say you both love them and it well affirmed by both, however your actions are telling them differently. In the child’s heart they are feeling they are not worth it, if you loved them, why aren’t you together to give them a family? A child’s love for the parents is one, they love you as one, as a parental unit, they are not old enough to distinguish love for each of you separetely, so you see how that can be very confusing for your children?

I am sorry you are going through this, and I will pray for you and your family.

First, thank you for your prayers. You are not causing any pain or making it hard. I see this with the boys. They want mom and dad together and make this very clear through their unsolicited comments. When they come to my apt they have a great time and want to stay here. The 3 year old says he wants to live here and mommy can move here.

There are more things I see…believe me I think about this all the time. I want this to work and have made everything available to make it work yet she does not. I am not making this a me vs. her at all, but I am and have been ready to repair this problem.

I have taken the high road and done all for the children.

Thanks again.

Since I returned to the states I have seen the children every other weekend and one week a month in the summer. I have also had them more weekends and extended weekends than in our temporary agreement. She has been very agreeable to visits and extensions.

Thank you for the heads up. I am trying to keep a lawyer on this but after the contract work was done I was unemployed with no money since May and finally just got employed. So I now have my lawyer threatening to drop me as a client.


Consider telling your children that you love them, they are worth staying together and you are doing everything possible to be back together but because of things that they cannot understand now there’s not much you can do alone. In that way, you are reassuring your children that at least for you, they are worth it (which I think is very important for a child to know) but you are not saying anything negative about your wife. I think, and this is just my opinion, that your 8 year old needs to hear this, your 3 year old is probably too young. Hang in there man, you know God does not abandon us.

I’ve been/am in a similar position as yours, and even though it may seen that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there is and you will get there. Are you going to therapy to cope with this? or at least talking to your priest? You are going to need that kind of support. Feel free to PM if you want to talk in private, ok?

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