So many questions


#1

Hi, to make a very long story short, I married in the Catholic Church two years ago and was married for a short time–literally weeks. I received an annulment shortly afterwards as it appeared to be a very open and shut case, though…it wasn’t.

Due to a very manipulative person coming forward with more information surrounding the events leading to our marriage, it has shed quite a bit of light on the situation and now my ex-husband has requested that our tribunal re-open the investigation into our marriage. They have agreed that the new information makes it necessary to do so.

Meanwhile, before any of this talk about the annulment not being valid was raised, I met a very wonderful man on a Catholic dating website. We spoke on the phone for three months and were just about ready to meet when this information hit the fan. (We live long distance from each other.)

Ex and I were married in a very big archdiocese and the tribunal is extremely busy. It wasn’t until this summer that they officially agreed to re-open it.

However, I kept talking to this other person but did not agree to meet him because I was worried about the ramifications of meeting a person under these circumstances. We had grown to care about each other very much. The situation caused a lot of arguments and resentment. There was a long period of time where we stopped speaking and tried to move on.

We are talking again and while there are other issues surrounding communication that make me wonder about compatibility, the major issue is whether or not I’m sinning. Since I should consider my first marriage valid until now proven again otherwise, is it adultery in my heart to talk to this man and think about him in a romantic manner?

Is it okay if I meet him? It has been so long and I would just love to meet this person. I should mention I also have two daughters from my ex-husband (twin babies) and a baby neice I am adopting (another long story). So, there are children invovled.

I should also mention that even if it turns out I am married with to my ex after all, I will NOT EVER have a relationship with him. He turned very emotionally abusive and was physically abusive twice. He also has never even seen our baby girls, although he did want to after he found out the new information.

I have talked to so many priests about this and I get varying answers, ranging from “use an informed conscience” to “it is a mortal sin and you are committing adultery” even though I fell in love with this person before I even knew my decree of nullity would be questioned. There has been one priest who said it’s okay to “carry on” but to do so with the idea that we could very well split up. But if we “carry on” does that mean what? We have to be strictly friends? Is chaste kissing allowed? I know people waiting on annulments who definitely express romantic interest in another. I mean, if I was married I certainly wouldn’t be kissing another man. Are the rules different?

I also feel guilty because I am almost 27 and he just turned 34. He would make a very good husband and daddy and time is continuing to go on. I don’t want to mess up his ability to find a loving wife if I cannot be it for him.

I feel like there is just a huge emotional attachment and a lot of longing for interaction in a tangible sense. We both struggle with chastity to varying degrees of success and I do worry that something could go wrong in that direction, though he is a very faithful Catholic. I just know it has been hard for both of us in past relationships.

What would any of you do?


#2

So many questions… I’m sorry that you are in this heartwrenching situation. I have never heard of a tribunal opening up an annullment case once a decision has been reached and a decree has been handed down. But my advice to you is that you spend your time and energy dealing with this new development in your former marriage and put the other relationship on hold until you determine where you stand in the eyes of the Church. I’d also advise you to post this to a forum that is moderated by a priest for additional clarification on your rights in this matter. God bless you.


#3

Thank you CupofKindness. You have such a sweet username, and it fits. :wink:

Here is a link to a long-ago thread of mine that went into more detail concerning why it might (at the time, now it has been) re-opened.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=612926#post612926


#4

Murphster,

I remember your post from awhile ago, the story was so unique. What would I do? Well, since you mention chastity issues, that would be over-riding for me. If I needed to stay away to keep chaste while waiting to find out the state of my marriage, then I’d stay away. Chastity is important to me in a personal sort of way, it is hard to explain, but I would prioritize it.

Myself, no, I would not do kissing or the like. I do know just how much longing and desire and hope can be in a gaze and a holding of hands. If I were to do that with another while not free to seek a marriage, it would feel wrong to me. I would not go forward until I became free. That’s the general way I would respond.

Is there any kind of timeframe on how long you will be in this odd sort of limbo? I’m so sorry you are in this boat!!!


#5

[quote=Murphster] …Meanwhile, before any of this talk about the annulment not being valid was raised, I met a very wonderful man on a Catholic dating website. We spoke on the phone for three months and were just about ready to meet when this information hit the fan. (We live long distance from each other.)…
[/quote]

With everything else you are dealing with, the LAST thing you need is a long distance online relationship. You need to deal with the annulment situation and not complicate it. If this man is indeed, wonderful, he will understand.If he doesn’t, then you will be spared further heartache.
~ Kathy ~


#6

Murphster:

I read your original thread. Would you mind posting what Father Sherpa wrote? To be honest with you, in spite of the fact that so many lies and hurts have occured around you which you didn’t expect nor deserve, I think you ought to post-pone your relationship with your new friend. I am thinking of all of the souls involved here. I think you owe it to yourself, your husband, your daughters and this other man to make absolutely certain that you cannot be your husband’s wife, either because the Church says so or because you have decided, once and for all, that you can no longer life with this man.

I think of the case of Jason and Susan Torres. That saintly man did everything he could to save his wife and unborn child. Then he did everything he could to save that precious baby girl once she was born. Although that baby later died, at least Jason, when at last he faces God, can say “Lord, I did everything in my power to preserve their lives.” He has a clean conscience, he fought as hard as he could, and in the world’s eyes, perhaps, he lost the battle. But of course, he did not and Jason’s heroic actions show the depth of his commitment to his family and his love of God.

Murphster, I don’t know you at all, but I wish I did. You sound like an incredible woman. Had this BIL never lied to your husband, you probably would be a happy family now rather than two broken-hearted people. The issue of your marriage’s validity would have never arose. Instead, you’d be a happy wife with a doting husband, parents of two beautiful little girls.

I would be sad if you were filled with doubt for the remainder of your life about the outcome of your marriage. Especially since you and your husband are devout Catholics. And although you’ve spent months talking with another man, until you’ve met him and courted, you really don’t know if he’s the one. Plus, the tribunal might determine that your marriage is valid, then you have the fact that you are still married complicating your new relationship. It sounds like you have a long process ahead of you that may take months to understand and sort out.

Would you attempt a reconcilliation with your husband? Might this be God’s plan for your family?


#7

Dear Cup,

Thank you very much for your reply.

As for my husband, two years ago when we went through the divorce, he also handed over his rights to the girls without checking for a paternity test. I did ask him to name the girls since I wanted them to have some connection with their biological father, even if they never had a relationship with him. He has never seen the girls to this day.

After finding out the lies, a year and a half later, he wanted to meet us (we lived in a different state then, and we have since moved across the country for other reasons) for a weekend so he could see the babies. Part of me wanted to let him do this, but the other half of me had so many emotions about the news and I was very afraid to let him be around the girls when they were so little and just forming relationships with those besides myself and my nanny. The fear also came from not wanting to share the babies I had nurtured and raised all by myself through a horrible pregnancy, painful divorce, humiliating annulment, etc. I wasn’t over the whole idea that he had abandoned his family without a second glance and treated me terribly in the process. I worried he might treat the girls terribly as well, given that he had thought of them for so long as a living testimony of my supposed infidelity. Anyway, I told him I wasn’t ready and that I needed time to think about what I wanted to do.

He knew, through my BIL, that I had “met” someone else and was becoming very emotionally invovled with him. When I was working, I spoke and traveled a great deal to speaking engagements, though often they were day trips so I could get back home to the babies. During one of these trips, I spoke at a lawyers’ convention and my ex was there. He cornered me and demanded to see me socially so that we could “talk.” It almost seemed like he wanted me only because he knew someone else might have me. Does that make sense?

He recently petitioned the courts for visitation rights and we met with our lawyers and a mediator. By this time, we were living across the country and he knew it would be difficult to see the girls on a regular basis. (By the way, living across the country does not mean I live anywhere near the new guy. Just FYI.) :slight_smile:

Anyway, he had this whole plan of sharing holidays with him and seeing the girls once every four months, otherwise. In my mind, that is not being a father and nor is it very emotionally healthy to ship babies off to a man they’ve never met before and expect them to thrive in that environment. I can’t imagine anything more confusing.

Given that he has never seen either of my girls, nor really even asked about them and inquired about their personalities or preferences, he has little knowledge of them. I’ve made the effort to talk about them and ask if he wants to know this or that about them, but he also seems to treat them as posessions he merely needs to obtain.

He called me after this mediation where nothing much was really resolved because I wasn’t agreeable to his terms. By this time, the annulment investigation had just been re-opened and communication between us was very difficult. However, he happened to call and have the opportunity to hear the babies in the background. One of my girls is very advanced in speech and language and her articulation and vocabulary is excellent, really off the charts, given her age. However, my other baby has developed very little speech and she may have some neurological issues. I’ve noticed some alarming things and we are on a waiting list to get her evaluated at a University.

He asked to hear the other baby speak to him, on the phone (my other little one said hello, how are you today? and he couldn’t believe it) and I told him that she wasn’t able to do that. This concerned him (even though really neither of them should be able to do that yet, given their ages) and we began talking about some of her difficulties. He seemed shaken by the idea that something could be wrong with her, even though we don’t know what yet.

He ended up withdrawing his petition for visitation that week. I don’t know if it’s because something “might” be “wrong” with one of the girls, or not, but it was interesting that he suddenly didn’t care to see them upon finding that out. When I asked why the sudden turnaround he said we should just focus on the annulment and see whether or not we are married and go from there.

Continued…


#8

I have tried to put myself in the position of considering what it would be like to get back together with him, but I just can’t imagine doing so. He seems so faithless when it comes to doing anything tough.

It’s also so hard because this other man is very gentle and kind and wants very much to be a husband and a daddy. He speaks about his neices and nephews all the time. He is very kind about the situation with the babies and even the fact that I’m adopting at least of one of my neices, possibly two. His heart is generous enough to love possibly four children that are not his own, and yet my ex seemingly can’t even accept one of his own as being good enough because there might be something wrong with her

I know it’s so easy to trivialize this guy as just being an “online relationship” but it is breaking my heart to turn away from someone who is loving and kind and gentle with me. My parents died when I was young and it doesn’t feel like anyone has treated me with the same sort of abiding love until I met this faithful, devout individual. It’s so hard because I think all the time how different my life would be if I had only met one of them and not both of them, and if my BIL had never been a part of our family.

So to finally answer your question, no I don’t see myself getting back together with my ex husband at all.

I really do wish my mam was alive or especially my da, they both had such a clear-thinking conscience and I know they would tell me what to do. As I said, I feel like there is no moral compass because even every priest tells me something different.

I know the most conservative thing would be to just never see this person and never speak to him. I tried that and I basically ruined his love for me. I stopped telling him how I felt about him, I stopped any discussion of seeing him. It hurt both of us very much and I don’t think he will wait for me much longer. We barely talk now as it is, but I guess I hang on and I know if I told him I would meet him, everything would turn around. What if in a few years I finally get the annulment (my ex keeps saying he’ll take it to Rome if it comes back with a decree of nullity, and of course I will have to take it to Rome if it comes back as a valid marriage) and this man is married already. That is selfish way to look at it, but I’m so tired of missing out on what was supposed to happen. Like, I was supposed to have parents that lived, I was supposed to have a husband and a father for my girls, and after that didn’t work, I was supposed to meet this man and have a beautiful life. Now even that opportunity has been snatched away from me.


#9

I am so sorry you are dealing with something so extrordinary as this. It really does sound like a movie or book.

I think you need to pray on it for guidance and discernment. Maybe God really wants you to be with the first guy, and others are trying to keep you from God’s plan. You just do not know until God lets you know. Pray! If you are willing to listen God wants to talk to you! It really could be this new guy too. I do not claim to know what is best, but I can only say is pray and listen with an open heart. Nothing is imposible with God, for a virgin gave birth under impossible circumatances. Only God knows what is best for you, because he sees all. Emotions are sometimes difficult because they cloud our minds from the truth.

I will pray for you and your family. Give the girls an extra squeeze for they are your angels sent from God. If your nearly two year old speaks so well, ask her if she rememebrs what Heaven looks like. I asked my son when he was that young if he remembered what God looks like, he responded “yes, but it is getting fuzzy”.


#10

Have you told the online guy your situation and the reasons for not speaking as much?


#11

Murphster:

I wonder if your husband is totally overwhelmed by the fact that he has abandoned his children, so he is paralyzed emotionally and unable to act. Plus, the thought that one of his daughters has a disability… I would imagine that he might feel a strong sense of guilt about her condition. I doubt that he’s rejecting her because she’s not perfect. I have a six year old daughter that was speech delayed, has some speech issues, and is on the waiting list for the scottish rite hospital for an evaluation. But I’m here to tell you, that she is a treasure and is relentlessly loving, upbeat, generous, and kind. Her teachers adore her and I marvel at her goodness. I cannot think of any child who is like her in this way (though each of my seven children is special in their own way). We call her ‘Joy’ (her nickname) because she is that and more. Your husband cannot possibly love that special daughter or her sister, because he doesn’t know them.

Before all of this happened, was he a good man to you? What was your courtship like? By the way, where are his parents?

And if I was your mother, and I am near enough to that age (had I been a mother at, say eighteen!), I would tell you that your daughters, your beautiful girls who are the joy of your life, deserve to know who their father is and that you have an obligation to your girls to make that relationship a possibility for their sake only. Then, and I’m still in the “if I was your mother” mode, if your husband continued to be a jerk or indifferent to them, I’d steer clear of him forever and keep the girls away too.

I am truly sorry for the pain you’ve endured. Your husband sounds like a man who is confused and detached, yet he seems to want more. Does he want to reconcil? Why is he pursuing this issue? And let me add that you do not have to answer any question that is too hard. I hope what I’ve typed has helped, and I apologize in advance if I have been presumptuous in my reply. Your family is in my prayers.


#12

Dear Cup,

You ask good questions and I appreciate you helping me work this out in my own head and also on this anonymous forum.

The irony of my husband leaving me over the pregnancy (though I realize it was related to his thinking I was unfaithful) is that we met at a Christopher West conference. If you are familiar with Christopher West, you’ll know he wrote the book called The Good News About Sex & Marriage. I really enjoyed the fact that an understanding of the beauty in God’s design for married sexuality was the core of our relationship. We were together for a year before we married, he proposed six months after we met.

Yes, I would say he was a good man to me before all of this. I loved him very much and felt loved by him in return. There was some pressure about chastity in our relationship, especially after we were engaged and moving toward marriage. However, I felt like a healthy desire to share our love for each other was natural and did not think badly of him for sometimes wanting mroe then we should give to each other at that point in our relationship. We did manage to stay chaste, thankfully.

He was big on combining bank accounts early on in our engagement, however, which did make sense for practical reasons, yet raised some issues. As it happens, due to my parents’ untimely death and the situation surrounding it, my siblings and I all received a large sum of a settlement payment. I invested that upon receiving it and made out very well. My fiance at the time was from a very wealthy family, but they did not (and do not) believe in giving hand-outs to their self-sufficient children. Though he is an attorney in a large city and did very well for himself, there was a part of him that had an issue with my investments and real estate turnarounds that became very lucrative. When we joined bank accounts, I thought it was so we could more easily purchase a home in a different state (where I worked most of the time, though an easy commute) and also furnish our new place together in the city where he works. However, he went out and bought a yacht (seriously) the week we combined accounts. He also went on a several thousand dollar shopping spree buying various electronic gadgets, clothing, etc. He also bought a car worth several hundred thousand dollars ($550k) right before we were married. He claimed it was his version of investing.

We were very blessed financially and this did not hurt us, but it did cause me a lot of anxiety about what exactly he was thinking. However, I loved being generous with him and I had the mentality that what was mine, was his. My brother also enjoys cars so I thought maybe it was just a guy thing and I should be nice about letting him have this one crazy expenditure.

(I live fairly simply and don’t consider myself to be extravagant at all. I know it’s easy to say that, but I could detail my life for you and I think you would agree. I view the money I’ve made as an opportunity to take care of my family and that’s basically it.)

After everything went horribly wrong, his behavior changed dramatically. I did consider the financial stuff to be a red flag, but physical abuse is always wrong. He slapped me and beat me upon me speculating about the pregnancy and went ballistic. He also left me on an island on our honeymoon and did not tell me where he was going, much less that he was flying home without me. I was served a week or so after returning home by myself.

As for the babies, he believes that whatever is wrong with the youngest angel (by a few minutes, at least) is my fault because of the pregnancy. I became eclamptic and suffer some short-term memory loss at times. Doctors predicted at the time that there might be some effects on the babies but they couldn’t be sure. They were born early but managed very well. He’s convinced this is probably what has caused her problem and so I think he blames me and not himself.

He is persuing this issue for reasons that are beyond me. He claims to still be in love with me but his actions don’t really show that. He has also always had a little boy complex of wanting what he can’t have, and I truely think he desires me more now than he ever did only because I no longer want him.

I spent a year and a half missing him and loving him and grieving the loss of his love. Why he left was always a mystery to me, and I could only conclude he wasn’t ready to be a father at the time. I spent all that time in therapy, getting over him and trying to move on.

Let me post before it gets too long…


#13

I understand your point about wanting to be sure the angels have a relationship with their biological father. But he gave up his paternal rights to them by signing over the papers and not bothering to insure that they truly weren’t his. Of course, I didn’t know that was even a question in his mind since he didn’t bother telling me.

After I found out about the lies, I was so sad for him. Well, for all of us really. The angels are just absolutely delightful and such a joy to parent. I love them with all of my heart.

Being that all they have is me, in the whole entire world, I feel like I have to be extra especially careful with them. I feel like shipping them off to their biological father every four months and every other major holiday would be damaging and confusing at this point in their young lives. The whole thing makes my heart have palpitations whenever I think too hard about it. Since he withdrew his petition, I don’t plan on forcing the issue. I don’t know what he’s expecting to happen if it turns out we are really married. I do know that he thinks I will give in and be with him if he is my only choice for the rest of my life. I feel like he is trying to back me into a corner and force me into being with him.

His parents have never seen his girls. His brother, for a short time after the babies were born, did come see them and also attended their baptism. His brother is a nice guy. His parents’, however, are difficult to relate well with and spend time traveling and having holidays. They haven’t spoken to me since the wedding.

I hope that answers your questions and helps you see why I don’t feel too much hope or excitement about getting back together with this person. He’s made my life miserable for the last two years and I don’t want him to hurt my babies. Or me, for that matter.


#14

Dear beckyann,

Yes, the new guy knows the situation inside and out. He has had a LOT of frustration with everything and particularly wanting to meet anyway, despite the roadblocks.

Sometimes he says we could or should try to be just friends and other times he admits that there will be the constant temptation to behave romantically since the thoughts are always there.

It has caused so much arguing and so many hurt resentments. We have both said things that are unkind and he has a communication pattern of withdrawing and not speaking to me for awhile. Eventually he will, and we work through our feelings, but it does hurt to feel I’m blamed for a situation I didn’t ask for nor ever desire.

We broke it off over a week ago for about the third time, and I haven’t called him since then, but we’ve texted each other on our cell phones. We both want to talk but we’re not sure how to proceed or what to really do, especially since how do we even know what is allowed? He gets sad and frustrated that I won’t just tell him I love him anymore. (Please don’t think that’s weird, we’ve been talking for 10 months and feelings can’t be kept at bay after awhile.) He says because there is no verbal expression and physical expression is out of the question, it causes us to stop acting in a loving way and then we fight. He misses the affectionate way we used to speak to each other right before we were planning on meeting, and now that I don’t know if I’m committing adultery by saying those things, I’ve stopped and it’s hard for him.

That is sort of where we are at right now.


#15

[quote=Murphster]Dear beckyann,

Yes, the new guy knows the situation inside and out. He has had a LOT of frustration with everything and particularly wanting to meet anyway, despite the roadblocks.

Sometimes he says we could or should try to be just friends and other times he admits that there will be the constant temptation to behave romantically since the thoughts are always there.

It has caused so much arguing and so many hurt resentments. We have both said things that are unkind and he has a communication pattern of withdrawing and not speaking to me for awhile. Eventually he will, and we work through our feelings, but it does hurt to feel I’m blamed for a situation I didn’t ask for nor ever desire.

We broke it off over a week ago for about the third time, and I haven’t called him since then, but we’ve texted each other on our cell phones. We both want to talk but we’re not sure how to proceed or what to really do, especially since how do we even know what is allowed? He gets sad and frustrated that I won’t just tell him I love him anymore. (Please don’t think that’s weird, we’ve been talking for 10 months and feelings can’t be kept at bay after awhile.) He says because there is no verbal expression and physical expression is out of the question, it causes us to stop acting in a loving way and then we fight. He misses the affectionate way we used to speak to each other right before we were planning on meeting, and now that I don’t know if I’m committing adultery by saying those things, I’ve stopped and it’s hard for him.

That is sort of where we are at right now.
[/quote]

You sound like an intelligent woman. The one thing I have trouble with and will never understand is how can you tell someone you have never met face to face that you love them? Unless I missed it somewhere, you said you have never met. If I am wrong, I apologize. That is one thing about online romances I disagree with.You may call it love, and I may be old fashioned, but when I tell someone I love them for the first time, it darn well better be while I have my arms around them.

                   ~ Kathy ~

#16

Murphster:

Thank you for the background information. I didn’t know that he was abusive, that changes everything. Now I see that he is an unstable man and unless he has an incredible conversion sort of experience (or a lot of counseling) he probably won’t change the way he views life and treats you and your precious babies. He appears to be an incredibly selfish, cold hearted man that you should keep away from at all costs. I’m so sorry for the terrible things he did to you.

And after thinking about the annulment, I can’t understand why he even has a case. The fact that the information he acted on was a lie doesn’t change the fact that his consent was defective, even though it was based on a lie. He still acted in an inappropriate way, he chose to act that way rather than handle the matter in a loving, gracious manner. His mindset at your wedding was deeply troubled and that damaged his ability to enter into the marriage freely. It is his mental disposition that ended the marriage, not the lie. We only have to look at the actions of St. Joseph to see that a man has more than one way to deal with a delicate situation with one’s fiance’. St. Joseph didn’t fully understand Mary’s condition, yet he didn’t beat her or humiliate her. In fact, he went out of his way to protect her in spite of the pain he was undoubtably feeling. With St. Joseph as a model, it’s clear that your husband failed miserably and didn’t even seek God’s will in this matter at all.

I read somewhere on the “Ask an Apolgist” forum that if you have an annulment you should live your life according to that decree, not what might happen down the road. As of today, your marriage is annulled and you are free to enter into a relationship with another man.

Please don’t sign away those custody rights. Also, since he abused you, you might want to think about pressing charges. If the fact of his abuse didn’t enter into your annulment testimony, then by all means include that in the next round. That is very serious stuff, and he certainly doesn’t deserve time with his daughters if he cannot manage his anger and lashes out physically. How would he ever deal with the endless demands of two toddlers? No wonder you are so determined to protect your babies. You must. That is what your parents would want you to do more than anything else, you can be certain of that.

I need to make breakfast for my family and start my crazy day. I’m praying for you. Thanks again for your reply. Although your situation is so very hard, you seem to have the inner resources to provide your daughters with a happy life.


#17

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