When is separation and divorce the only option​?


#1

[before I posted this, I saw all the other marriage pain posted in this forum. As part of this Body of Christ, I pray that love that originates with Him be our solace and His grace guide us all.]

In the annulment process, if I understand it, they ask for a story of your marriage. The point of the story, if I am correct, is to show that one of the pair did not enter with full purpose. If that is the case, then the marriage, though valid, is not sanctified.

This note is not an attempt at justification in preparation of a separation and divorce, but about my personal struggle with recent events in my marriage and, looking back, recognizing the pattern that may have been there from the beginning. So many occasions of discovering truth beyond fabrications.

I don’t want to divorce. We have kids. We have two decades of life intertwined. There have been many good times. Yet, here I stand at a crossroads, nearly two years after discovering that my wife was planning to take her relationship with another man beyond innuendo to consummate her affair. This, with the support of several friends. In nearly weekly meetings with the former avowed religious counselor, the key focus was on communication and what I had done to precipitate the situation. She says all that I read in her Facebook conversations was venting and without true meaning. I believe she is fabricating a story, another story, and she has been doing that sort of thing, from the beginning of our relationship.

So, I sit here writing this, before Our Lord in our adoration chapel, seeking His guidance. To leave my wife and remaining kids, to leave our marriage, feels so wrong. Yet, since I moved out three months ago, I sleep through the night most nights, and that was not the case when I was there, for the last two years. She had re-established contact with him, and they were texting and she was sending him pictures, too. Don’t know what they were. I swore not to invade her privacy again. She says they’re just friends. I can’t accept that. And I know the history of obfuscation and denial that proceeds these most recent events.

I know her anger that frightened the kids. Lies heaped upon lies and her feeling subjugated and needing to lie to avoid criticism. And I just wanting to support and love her well. To love like Jesus. Knowing that she was human and faulty, sinful, like me. Forgiveness was not too hard, but curious wonderment about what it was about her that caused her to act as she did. What was in me that drew it out. Laying it out to God. Laying it out to her. Eventually, I removed my desires for my marriage, my opinions that caused anger, and removed my expectations about anything she said she would do. I have called it a sacrifice I could do for Him.

I’ve spoken with friends, received their support. I’ve spoken with my pastor. I hesitate to begin the ending process because it was my vow to God. Through the years of pain, even an old girlfriend’s offer of support and unconditional love five years ago, I asked God to make me better, not her. I asked friends and priests what He was asking of me – presenting me with these trials and temptations. Such testing. I put it all aside, and trudged on. Before, I had asked God to take me home sooner. It didn’t happen. My spiritual advisor says I’m a better Christian for this experience. Maybe. I just know I can’t continue on this way.

For my part, I thought we had God as a focal point for both of our marriage trials. She says God and she are not on the same page anymore. She calls my faith a crutch. She told her would-be lover and her friends that I am mentally ill. I wonder about what all the duress I’ve placed on myself has done to me. I wonder sometimes whether my faith is illness or my salvation. Sometimes.

Our relationship is coasting now. My heart would not let me stay any longer. I seek His guidance and the prayers of others that my leaving is the best thing for all concerned. Your will, Lord, be done.


#2

am I not reading this correctly?
you are concerned for the effects of your wife’s behavior, anger, lies etc. on your children
she is expressing that she has an emotional if not physical affair with another man and has all but decided to abandon you for him
yet you are the one who wonders if you should leave your home and children?
if it is your “religious counsellor” getting you to think this way get another counsellor.
your place is with your home, family and children, than is your vocation no matter what comes. leaving is not an option.


#3

I'm not sure what the previous poster is saying: She should leave the home b/c of her sin or you should all go on as is...?

Anyway you've been so truthful and clear here with your plight. Bless you. My sister went through a familiar thing. I spoke with her on the phone almost daily for a while, even though she lives 1/2 way across the country. I know at one point she prayed desperately the prayer that David prayed in one psalm (can't recall the exact): Please answer me quickly, God. It was very soon after that she received her answer as to how to proceed.

I would say that keeping your heart turned toward him, that He will answer.

How old are your children?


#4

Hi Indymb, sorry to hear about your marital troubles. In my opinion, in the beginning it's good to separate the question of "what do I need to do to protect myself?" from the question of "is my marriage even valid?". In other words, if you are being badly mistreated, don't worry about the validity of your marriage, just start out by doing whatever you need to do to protect yourself. It is not a sin to protect yourself, regardless of whether your marriage is valid or not. So, you separated to protect your sanity, after your wife's emotional affair (and possibly more) has been going on for two years. How about the kids, how do they cope with their mother's temper, now that you are gone? Don't they want to leave their mother, and stay with you? Also, does your wife bring the other man into the house, are the kids exposed to his presence?


#5

[quote="gretahope, post:3, topic:210514"]
I'm not sure what the previous poster is saying: She should leave the home b/c of her sin or you should all go on as is...?

I would say that keeping your heart turned toward him, that He will answer.

How old are your children?

[/quote]

I've tried the previous poster's concept for years now. I would pray for perseverance and my ability to love better, but felt at times that it would be better to "be called Home early." I still entreat Him and Godly friends.

My sisters too have been very supportive, and almost nagging about why I continued to try. They don't really understand living for eternity rather than the present, though at times I wonder if I lean too far toward the former. My kids range from 10 to 23.


#6

The boys cope pretty well – they don’t cross mom, if they can help it. The girls and she used to really get into it, physically at times, but they’re out of the house now. I’m the bad actor for leaving. The person in question doesn’t live nearby and is now married anyway. She was/is trying to make a friend out of him, as a professional colleague. I tried to swallow that mentally, but my heart wouldn’t let me…


#7

I find it a little strange that you would write your OP in adoration, because it seems more like a rant against your wife than one seeking guidance. And I find it a little strange that after you have talked to counselors, your priest and many other people in your real life, you continue to ask people for their opinions about the situation on a message board. What could you possibly gain from any of us that the people you have sought out for guidance haven't already told you, especially the people that are qualified to help you?


#8

[quote="PatriceA, post:7, topic:210514"]
...especially the people that are qualified to help you?

[/quote]

What, aren't the rest of us, ordinary people with ordinary common sense, qualified to help him? ;)

I have some very qualified shoulders to lean on, I used to lift sacks of grains on my shoulders all the time, 90-, 135-, and 155-pounders, when I worked in the agriculture. I also have some reasonably qualified ears to listen, not a musical genius, but I will listen to people who need someone to talk to. Free of charge. :D :thumbsup:


#9

I am questioning why OP is considering leaving the home, given that it is his wife who wants to go to another man, and especially given that he has expressed concern about his wife’s treatment of their children. I still can understand why he would be the one to leave, if indeed the wife is determined to end the marriage. It is way, way to soon to even consider annulment, as yet their is a chance to reconcile. Only when the marriage has irretreivably broken down, usually at least in this country through civil divorce which remains to only means to assure the rights and support of the injured spouse and minor children, will the Church even begin an annulment investigation.

I ask again, why is OP considering leaving the home if he is worried about how the wife is treating their children?


#10

I don't think I can be of any help. I am in the same situation as you are. I am the more "religious" one in our marriage and my husband often attributes me as mentally ill because of it. For example he use to think that it was ok to watch porn together. I was against it and he would demean me and my views stating so much that my religious views are exagerrated and have nothing to do with faith. Of course I didn't buy into it. Yet he claims that he is closer to Jesus than I am. I feel imprisoned; my only outlet is prayer and God. I hope to find help on the forum as you seek it.

Many members of my family say that it is up to me to change myself, so that he could become a better person. To some extent it is true. However it didn't change how I feel about him. He was and sometimes still is abusive. I dislike him for it. Does God ask me to suffer him to change him for the better? I don't know how much longer I could do this without any repercussions to our children. They already display behavioural problems at home. Are our children better off if we content ourselves instead of trying always to save our marriage? I don't know.

There is one clue that you gave that demonstrates you are better off separated is the fact that you were able to sleep through the nights when you were away from your wife. Just a thought. God help us.

God Bless


#11

I can see leaving the wife - but why would you leave the children there if you are concerned about the abuse?


#12

I think that if you've tried everything you can and she is going to continue, why stay with her?
you will just live your life unhappy and i dont believe that you should be forced to do that.

People can change at any age, and i this is how its going to be, you might as well move on, and start a new life. only if you have tried everything to get it to work and have given it time. there is only so much you can do. you shouldnt have to put up with a bad wife like that either


#13

Here are a few lines that concern me:

[quote="indymb, post:1, topic:210514"]

So many occasions of discovering truth beyond fabrications....

....here I stand at a crossroads, nearly two years after discovering that my wife was planning to take her relationship with another man beyond innuendo to consummate her affair. This, with the support of several friends. In nearly weekly meetings with the former avowed religious counselor, the key focus was on communication and what I had done to precipitate the situation. She says all that I read in her Facebook conversations was venting and without true meaning. I believe she is fabricating a story, another story, and she has been doing that sort of thing, from the beginning of our relationship....

....since I moved out three months ago, I sleep through the night most nights, and that was not the case when I was there, for the last two years. She had re-established contact with him, and they were texting and she was sending him pictures, too....She says they're just friends. I can't accept that. And I know the history of obfuscation and denial that proceeds these most recent events. ...

....Forgiveness was not too hard, but curious wonderment about what it was about her that caused her to act as she did. What was in me that drew it out....

I thought we had God as a focal point for both of our marriage trials. She says God and she are not on the same page anymore. She calls my faith a crutch. She told her would-be lover and her friends that I am mentally ill.** I wonder about what all the duress I've placed on myself has done to me. I wonder sometimes whether my faith is illness or my salvation.** Sometimes.

[/quote]

Are you being gaslighted?

From Wikipedia: "*Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory and perception. "Gaslighting" had a colloquial origin explained below, but the term has also been used in clinical and research literature....

The term derives from the 1938 stage play Gas Light (originally known as Angel Street in the United States), and the 1940 and 1944 film adaptions. The plot concerns a husband who attempts to drive his wife to insanity by manipulating small elements of their environment, and insisting that she is mistaken or misremembering when she points out these changes. The title stems from the husband's subtle dimming of the house's gas lights, which she accurately notices and which the husband insists she's imagining.

"Gaslighting" has been used colloquially since at least the late 1970s to describe efforts to manipulate someone's sense of reality. In a 1980 book on child sex abuse, Florence Rush summarized George Cukor's 1944 film version of Gas Light, and writes, "even today the word [gaslight] is used to describe an attempt to destroy another's perception of reality."*

Here are the signs:
*1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself
2. You ask yourself, "Am I too sensitive?" a dozen times a day.
3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work.
4. You're always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend,, boss.
5. You can't understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren't happier.
6. You frequently make excuses for your partner's behavior to friends and family.
7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.
8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.
10. You have trouble making simple decisions.
11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person - more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
12. You feel hopeless and joyless.
13. You feel as though you can't do anything right.
14. You wonder if you are a "good enough" girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.
15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.*From psychologytoday.com/blog/power-in-relationships/200905/are-you-being-gaslighted

Is it your faith that has you second-guessing yourself and all the rest, or is it the lines you have been fed by your wife? Which one is consistent, and which one keeps changing?

I don't think it is the Lord who has been gaslighting you, friend.

Is she using psychologically-inappropriate means to manipulate you or your children? Look into both possibilities. Get a counsellor for yourself, of your own choosing, not hers, to talk to about your situation. If your children are still in danger, try to get them out. If they have been in the line of harm, try to help them get counselling of their own, even if they are now out of the house. It would be best if they sort this out before starting married lives of their own.


#14

If home life is intolerable, you are allowed to get out of there. Take the kids with you, because if you can’t tolerate it, then neither can they.


#15

I was also baffled by Indymb’s statement: " …nearly two years after discovering that my wife was planning to take her relationship with another man beyond innuendo to consummate her affair. This, with the support of several friends. In nearly weekly meetings with the former avowed religious counselor, the key focus was on communication and what I had done to precipitate the situation." It sounds like this counselor accuses the OP of being the one who somehow drew out this behavior in his wife, and saying that the OP is at fault for precipitating this situation. Unless I totally misunderstand what the OP is saying, this counselor should be dropped promptly because he is doing more harm than help. “You made me do it” - that’s the typical line of cheaters and abusers, who do all kinds of mental gymnastics, in order to shift the blame on their victims. A counselor should not be involved in this kind of blame shifting.

I also am worried about the children, both those who are still with the wife and those who already left. Indymb, ask your boys, maybe they do want to come and stay with you. I gather from your post that your wife is a rough person and the boys are still risking her wrath, if they cross her. I understand parental discipline, but rage is not the same as discipline.


#16

[quote="Still_Hoping, post:10, topic:210514"]
I don't think I can be of any help. I am in the same situation as you are. I am the more "religious" one in our marriage and my husband often attributes me as mentally ill because of it. For example he use to think that it was ok to watch porn together. I was against it and he would demean me and my views stating so much that my religious views are exagerrated and have nothing to do with faith. Of course I didn't buy into it. Yet he claims that he is closer to Jesus than I am. I feel imprisoned; my only outlet is prayer and God. I hope to find help on the forum as you seek it.

Many members of my family say that it is up to me to change myself, so that he could become a better person. To some extent it is true. However it didn't change how I feel about him. He was and sometimes still is abusive. I dislike him for it. Does God ask me to suffer him to change him for the better? I don't know how much longer I could do this without any repercussions to our children. They already display behavioural problems at home. Are our children better off if we content ourselves instead of trying always to save our marriage? I don't know.

There is one clue that you gave that demonstrates you are better off separated is the fact that you were able to sleep through the nights when you were away from your wife. Just a thought. God help us.

God Bless

[/quote]

Honey, please go to and/or have those family members go to an Al-Anon meeting for at least several months. (whether or not there is alcohol invovled). It teaches about detachment, boundaries, and how we are not responsible for other people's decisions and how they choose to run their lives. I'm so sorry you have to hear that, and sad to say, many Catholics use this kind of thing to tell you that you are responsible for "getting your usband into heaven"----this I've never understood :shrug: --- since it's essentially enabling him to continue as is with no confrontation as to his sin, just your continued suffering. We aren't Christ. He died for our sins, but he wasn't co-dependent. He doesn't enable our sin to continue. He gives us choices, but we are the ones who make choices and lets us.

Unless people are confronted with their sin there most likely will be no change. If the other person expresses the fact that they respect themselves enough not to put up with abuse, etc....then there's something clear on the table to work from or ignore. Otherwise , it's business as usual. I grew up with the scenario of business as usual b/c on of my parents seemed too scared to confront, and we kids were abused as a result of that fear. It's better to just be truthful in love and lay things out, rather than let things keep staying the same, year after year after year. Kids get the message "my gut is telling me this is weird and wrong, but since no one is validating that I guess I'M THE ONE THAT'S screwed up and can't trust my gut."

My $.02.


#17

[quote="gretahope, post:16, topic:210514"]
Honey, please go to and/or have those family members go to an Al-Anon meeting for at least several months. (whether or not there is alcohol invovled). It teaches about detachment, boundaries, and how we are not responsible for other people's decisions and how they choose to run their lives. I'm so sorry you have to hear that, and sad to say, many Catholics use this kind of thing to tell you that you are responsible for "getting your usband into heaven"----this I've never understood :shrug: --- since it's essentially enabling him to continue as is with no confrontation as to his sin, just your continued suffering. We aren't Christ. He died for our sins, but he wasn't co-dependent. He doesn't enable our sin to continue. He gives us choices, but we are the ones who make choices and lets us.

Unless people are confronted with their sin there most likely will be no change. If the other person expresses the fact that they respect themselves enough not to put up with abuse, etc....then there's something clear on the table to work from or ignore. Otherwise , it's business as usual. I grew up with the scenario of business as usual b/c on of my parents seemed too scared to confront, and we kids were abused as a result of that fear. It's better to just be truthful in love and lay things out, rather than let things keep staying the same, year after year after year. Kids get the message "my gut is telling me this is weird and wrong, but since no one is validating that I guess I'M THE ONE THAT'S screwed up and can't trust my gut."

My $.02.

[/quote]

(Add-on) But back-up: First and foremost do what you think God is telling you to do. If God-and-life are telling you to hash in through with her and continue on as-is, just please let your kids know what you're doing and the truth in it and all. Don't leave them thinking, "God is making Dad and us be unhappy in this."


#18

Her anger has been mostly directed toward me and it scared the kids when they were young. I’ve since tried to not make her angry, regardless. She would not hurt the kids.


#19

[quote="joandarc2008, post:11, topic:210514"]
I can see leaving the wife - but why would you leave the children there if you are concerned about the abuse?

[/quote]

I did not mean at all to say she abuses the children, in fact she's very involved with caring for their health. I miss not being with them.


#20

[quote="PatriceA, post:7, topic:210514"]
What could you possibly gain from any of us that the people you have sought out for guidance haven't already told you, especially the people that are qualified to help you?

[/quote]

Reaching out to the Body of Christ, I suppose, and making sure I've left no possibility unopened.


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