Unilateral arranged marriage (?)

Thank you for this very thought provoking post. After reading it through twice, I can say #2 and #3 are better statements of where I am. I looked deeply into the validity aspect and would agree it is valid. There does not seem to be any situation under the catechism that would apply so as to be grounds to annul.
Not that I truly am looking to annul.
It is the deception that is hardest, when coupled with rough years of marriage where I felt I could not do right. Being a self confident person that succeeded in most every endeavor, the early years where marked by what I viewed as strengths (as viewed by others) and interests (hobbies) etc being called into question.
A loose analogy would be a dock being slowly battered, cracked, and coming apart from a larger boat constantly bumping or slamming into it.
It is also trust. Marriage is about trust - particularly trust that when your spouse speaks into your life they have your best interest at heart. Too often I have felt as though who I was was not good enough. At first it was hard to put my finger on, and too often I internalized it as I was selfish or something. I needed to be more Christ like and give of myself, modify what I was.
But with this revelation the past seems.more clear. It was a projection of what she missed or wanted from the other guy. My good qualities were fine, but it was the other things I lacked that made marriage difficult. I just was not that other guy. Thus, conflicts arose from budget to kids to parenting to in-laws to job choice and where to live. My preferences we’re -and still are - challenged. My opinion is challenged. And hers, unless I agree to them, are held up as me ignoring her.
Perhaps the foregoing is not clear or jumbled. But the misleading and deceptive place we started from undermines trust.

This is an interesting view. It articulates to an extent my internal debate. God loves me unconditionally even though I error and sin and fall away. I turned my back on him in late high school but returned in late college. I still fall short in numerous ways every day.
But for some reason the misleading basis for the marriage is not entirely the same. She decided she’d had enough of the other guy and I was around (we actually got engaged before, she broke it off, we went our separate ways for two years, and then met back up at a wedding and started dating again) so she “chose” me.
The chronology now is clear - she pulled the plug on that other guy and then we bumped into each other and she chose to move forward but was not honest.
So while many here have said forgive and move forward, for the sake of kids, or because not everyone loves to the same degree at start of marriage, I do need to confront the issue before I can trust again. The aspect to me that is different from your view of being exposed to perhaps a glimpse of His heart is that unlike Him I am imperfect and she is imperfect. To move forward over time, to live out life together, I need to scrape away the lack.of trust and restart - is it just good qualities or character traits still? Or is there genuine love for who I am, all faults included.

Thank you VonDerTann for your understanding of my perspective. “Plan B” is the way is felt when this all came out.
The sacrifice, the trying to change who I was, or to create something I was not was the height of utter confusion. I really tried to figure out why I was viewed so harshly but told I was loved. It was the diametrically opposite expressions that slowly (now I see) eroded me to become a ‘yes’ man to prevent constant tension.

I think, however, that her current sobriety and 5 wonderful kids makes the path mostly clear. To work/pray through this independently and as a couple. I agree that this can be a fresh, new start. How to make that happen (counseling, etc) is not so clear. But was is essential to me is clearing the air as to the initial misleading basis to marry her.
I will say that she also has been diagnosed with border line personality disorder. She has yet to accept that, rather believing that she may have some symptoms but BDP people she has known in her life are ‘crazy’ and she does not want to be known that way. Thus, the general symptom is a ‘i hate you; don’t leave me’ perspective. So, much here to deal with, rectify, and try to forge forward.
Thank you again for empathizing with me. It meant a lot to have someone understand that finding out you were ‘Plan B’ to someone else has been utterly devastating.

This actually moved me. I think it’s an important insight, and (if possible) I think it might be something to focus on and maybe continue to work through under the guidance of a counsellor?

That you’ve even internalizing expectations against yourself, that you now believe are based not on any lack in you (we’re all different and unique creations of God, with different strengths and modes of expression), but because you were being compared to a different person. If your wife is able (and agrees that this is part of what’s been going on), that seems like potentially a huge insight for her to work with, too: that (if it is indeed the case), she’s been treating you like a wannabe-version of someone else, and trying to ‘get you up to par’ – rather than realize that you’re already a great version of yourself, and you’re not a golf game at all; you’re a sailboat. (Okay maybe I’m taking the “to par”/golf thing a little far).

But you know what I mean. Like expecting an apple seed to grow into a plum tree, or a sunflower to grow into a begonia. You are who you are: the unique, unrepeatable human being who God created you to be. You are the person she married, and she has to learn to love you for you – not love you insofar as your traits can match up with the other plant, if she blurs up her eyes.

Anyway, obviously, we internet people can’t psychoanalyze, and honestly I think actual couples counselling (or at least solo counselling for you, if she doesn’t agree to go) may be a good idea. Because if she’s able to want to work on this, on her end it sounds like it will be important to shake loose any expectations she putting on you that are based on comparisons to another person. And on your end, at least you can let go of putting these expectations on yourself, and let that weight off your shoulders.

I hope and pray that God gives both you and your wife the grace to work this out with mutual charity and peace. God bless you, man. And know that no matter what (whether you’re an apple tree or a sunflower or a sailboat or what), you’re exactly the right thing, that God intended to make, and He loves you for exactly who you are. And I hope you can come to a place where you feel that your wife does, too. God bless you both.

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Many thanks MNathaniel. This dialog has helped me articulate and describe what has been below the surface. I do need to talk it through more, and eventually find a way and time to discuss with her.

Follow the priest, I find he is 100%. Accept the life situation God gave you. It is a good opportunity of humility.


First, let me welcome you to CAF. I hope that you’ll find strength, courage, hope and peace here.

I’m very, very sorry that your life and marriage have been so disrupted. I agree with @1ke that you both need marriage counseling.

I also suggest Adoration and daily Mass as often as possible. A retreat just for you and a marriage retreat for the both of you might also prove to be an important link in coming to terms with your lives and charting your futures.

I’ll put your name into my private prayer list and invite you to pray with us in the Spirituality Forum on the Let’s Pray a Perpetual Rosary thread. To know that others support you in your journey is nourishing and unitive. We commiserate with each other, pray for each other, and rejoice with each other. Best wishes to you. Keep the the faith!

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