Who needs soap operas? Look at my life


#1

So last year I started dating a wonderful Catholic man who had just had his non-marriage found invalid. He has two children from that non-marriage, and he has custody but they live with his sister in the Philippines. We are discerning marriage, and so far everything is looking great. We’ve talked about being open to life, natural family planning, how to raise the children (existing and future), money, where to live, how to deal with extended family, and we’ve gone through some tough times together. We discussed raising the children Catholic and I’ve been investigating conversion. My boyfriend spoke to his priest, who agreed to marry us after we start marriage preparation. We even picked out engagement rings.

Then in April, his ex-wife kidnapped the children. We prayed. The ex-wife returned the kids and came to Korea to harass my boyfriend in person. She was phoning and e-mailing me for a time. I started going to Church because I just felt we weren’t going to get through this without God’s help.

Last week, my boyfriend found out what the deal is. The Philippine government will not recognize either the divorce or the annulment, since they took place outside of the Philippines. According to his government, my boyfriend is still validly married. According to the Church, he is not. Since the kids are in the Philippines, his ex-wife has the right to petition for custody to prevent them from being exposed to a father who she believes is committing adultery and planning to commit bigamy.

So now we’re back to square one. I can’t date him if he’s married, and he has to go back to the Philippines to apply for his marriage to be annulled there. His priest here says he’ll still marry us if we want to, because the Church says he’s unmarried and therefore there’s no impediment, but neither of us wants to do that. It seems sneaky. My boyfriend’s lawyer in the Philippines basically said that if it’s her word against his, he’d better make sure we’re not even in the same room together until the court hearing. She can’t prove we’re committing adultery because we’re not, but it would look bad if he were seeing me.

So now what? At this point, I still think of him as my boyfriend - but a boyfriend I can’t see for the six months or so that his lawyer says it’ll take to sort this out. My boyfriend calls me from the public phone at work on his lunch break, and that’s all I get from him. He says he still wants to marry me, but of course we can’t get engaged until this mess is sorted out. I figure I’m just going to concentrate on work and my master’s degree for the next six months, spend six months without dating, and get by with a little help from my friends. I told him I’d wait for him for six months, and then we’d see how things were going. I’m willing to wait up to a year, actually, but he says he doesn’t know if he can wait that long. What the alternative is, I don’t know.

So, why am I telling you this? I don’t know. I’d appreciate prayers and commiseration. Advice is also nice, but please don’t say you told me so. I know a lot of you did tell me so, but I still think he’s the right man, just in a bad situation.


#2

Well then, I suppose the best thing I can do is to say some prayers.

Kathy


#3

Prayers you have, dearheart. I know this hurts.

Have you thought about returning to Canada for now? Even just a vacation?:console:


#4

Chicago, I read your post and immediately started bawling. Apparently going home would be exactly what I need right now. Unfortunately, I’ve got two jobs, one graduate course, and no vacation time this summer… still, maybe there’s a way… it’s $2000 for a ticket in the summer, and I don’t have that in the budget right now… I couldn’t pay my tuition if I quit one of my jobs… Ahh! Too much to think about! But seeing my family would be a great help. I miss them so much.

Thank you for the prayers, both you and Katie. It’s such a comfort knowing there are people out there who care about me.


#5

My prayers are with you, JW. I don’t know, but in some ways, I’m wondering if God is trying to lead you away from this relationship. Just seems like an awful amount of road blocks, to this situation, that has come up recently. I might choose to look at this, as perhaps, some signs from God, that He might want you to pause, before continuing to pursue this relationship.Now he is still married? I just think I might proceed with extreme caution, and perhaps discuss all of ths with a priest, to see his thoughts and perhaps he will provide you with some wise direction, since the situation has changed so dramatically. I’m so sorry though–this comes at a shock to you I’m sure!:frowning:


#6

As the nullity of the marriage is a Church Tribunal decision, the Church is universal, so, I’d advise to set that matter to rest in your mind.

The important thing is the civil divorce. You would be wise to educate yourself on the Phillipino laws regarding civil marriage and divorce. In the “information age”, it should not be difficult to learn if that country recognizes civil marriage and/or divorce from another country, and under what circumstances. You may then either be assured that you are getting the entire picture and be able to make a decision, or, you may find out that you are in a soap opera and make another decision.

My advice, get the knowledge for yourself then you can make an informed decision.


#7

So now what? At this point, I still think of him as my boyfriend - but a boyfriend I can’t see for the six months or so that his lawyer says it’ll take to sort this out. My boyfriend calls me from the public phone at work on his lunch break, and that’s all I get from him. He says he still wants to marry me, but of course we can’t get engaged until this mess is sorted out. I figure I’m just going to concentrate on work and my master’s degree for the next six months, spend six months without dating, and get by with a little help from my friends. I told him I’d wait for him for six months, and then we’d see how things were going. I’m willing to wait up to a year, actually, but he says he doesn’t know if he can wait that long. What the alternative is, I don’t know.

I think this is the way to go. The important thing is being truthful abouit everything and not sneeking around.

6 months? A year? In terms of a lifetime committment, what is the big deal? Take whatever time is necessaary for y’all to be legal in Church and Civil law.

Is there a chance she can win custody of the children, and if so what effect would that have on y’alls impending marriage? And if she did, does that mean he would want to stay in the PI?


#8

After he told me, I looked it up myself. The Philippines don’t recognize any divorces granted to Philippine citizens - only annulments. And the annulment can’t be due to lack of form (my boyfriend’s reason for annulment) but needs to be for another reason. He does have other reasons, but went for the faster lack of form annulment when the marriage ended. Since they got married under pressure from her family due to premarital sex and a pregnancy at 20 years old, there’s a good chance the marriage will be declared null the long way, too. A priest refused to marry them, so they had to get married civilly. In MY mind, he’s not married, but I’m certainly not going to marry him until he has legal permission from his own government to do so.

Six months or a year isn’t too long to wait if we look at it from a lifetime’s perspective. Military couples are separated much longer than that. I keep telling myself that, but still it’s hard. I work with a lot of soldiers - if I wanted to do the long distance thing, I’d probably be dating one of them right now! :rolleyes:

As for her chances of winning custody, I just don’t know. She abandoned the family, and lived in the same town as the kids without seeing them for a couple of years. That’s got to work against her. In the Philippines, I’ve heard that the father usually gets custody because he generally is in a better financial position to care for them, so the courts are already leaning in my boyfriend’s favour. When it comes down to it, though, the winner is usually the person who can afford the larger bribes to the judge and lawyers. I looked up the general cost of those bribes, and they’re not outside the realm of possibility for my boyfriend.

If he loses the kids, I don’t know how that’s going to affect our relationship. We’ve talked about it, but we just don’t have that planned. My boyfriend doesn’t want to live in the Philippines, eking out a living and struggling to raise his daughters and keep them from poverty. If his wife gets the kids, he probably couldn’t even afford the child support payments on what he makes living in the Philippines. He’d have to leave the country anyway, so there’s a chance we’d get married even if he lost the kids. I just hope that we can get married and raise his daughters. I don’t think I’m wrong in believing they’d be better off living in Canada with us than in the Philippines with their mother.


#9

That sheds some more light. Another thing to keep in mind, there is a civil/legal process called annulment. It sounds as if that is what the country requires. In the US, a civil annulment has nothing whatsoever to do with a Catholic Tribunal decree of nullity. When you say that they will not accept the Catholic Tribunal’s “lack of form”, that makes it seem that they are speaking of a civil annulment.

(This is one of the reasons that using the term “annulment” for a Trubunal process is sooooooooo misleading.)

A civil annulment here would be granted by the state, here is a clip from wikipedia:

Grounds for a marriage being voidable or void ab initio vary in different legal jurisdictions, but are typically limited to fraud, bigamy, and mental incompetence including the following:
[LIST=1]
*]Either spouse was already married to someone else at the time of the marriage in question;
*]Either spouse was too young to be married, or too young without required court or parental consent. (In some cases, such a marriage is still valid if it continues well beyond the younger spouse’s reaching marriageable age.)
*]Either spouse was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage;
*]Either spouse was mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage;
*]If the consent to the marriage was based on fraud or force;
*]Either spouse was physically incapable to be married (typically, chronically unable to have sexual intercourse) at the time of the marriage;
*]The marriage is prohibited by law due to the relationship between the parties. This is the “prohibited degree of consanguinity”, or blood relationship between the parties. The most common legal relationship is 2nd cousins; the legality of such relationship between 1st cousins varies around the world.
*]Prisoners sentenced to a term of life imprisonment may not marry.
*]Concealment (e.g. one of the parties concealed a drug addiction, prior criminal record or having a sexually transmitted disease)[/LIST]


#10

I am sorry that this is happening to you and I will keep me in your prayers.

But I have to say this to you. You are hurting so much and this whole saga is making your very unhappy. Sorry to say but this man has too much baggage and unless he sorts out his baggage I cannot see you two together. You have really tolerated alot and accepted alot. And sometimes things happen for a reason we do not know why they happen but they do. Have you ever thought that maybe this man is not for you and that there is something else out there for you.

I know that this is not what you want to hear right now but you need to think about it. This relationship has caused you more hurt and pain than anything else. And you really need to sit down and think is it all worth it at the end of the day. You are still very young and have a bright future ahead of you. You are working two jobs to pay for your studies. Right now I think that you should concentrate on your studies.

You need to pray about this situation that you are in. And ask God to guide you in the right direction. Do some soul searching and if it is to wait for this guy but if it is not make room in your life for the fact that you guys might not be together after 6 months. Really pray for the answers that you want. God will give them to you.

I of all people can understand what you are going through right now our situations may not be the same but I can understand the pain and agony that you are going through. But instead of listening to people I listened to God and he gave me the answers. Not the answers that I wanted but he gave me the direction that I need to follow. And I was very angry with God and asked him why had he forsaken me like this becoz the answers he was giving me were the wrong answers. But it was what was best for me.

So hang in there and I will pray for you. There is a light at the end of that tunnel hang in there. Put your life in God’s hands and let him be your guide.


#11

Isaiah 54
The Future Glory of Zion
1 "Sing, O barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,"
says the LORD.

2 "Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.

3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.

4 "Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

5 For your Maker is your husband—
the LORD Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.

6 The LORD will call you back
as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
only to be rejected," says your God.

7 "For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.

8 In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,"
says the LORD your Redeemer.

9 "To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again
cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with
you, never to rebuke you again.

10 Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,"
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

11 "O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will build you with stones of turquoise, [a]
your foundations with sapphires. **

12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.

13 All your sons will be taught by the LORD,
and great will be your children’s peace.

14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.

15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

16 "See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc;

17 no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
and this is their vindication from me,"
declares the LORD.**


#12

Thanks for the prayers and advice, everyone.

kage_ar, I appreciate the information about civil annulments. I’ve been searching the internet for the Philippine civil annulment requirements and procedures. My boyfriend’s lawyer assures him that he has a pretty good case, since his wife’s actions after marriage indicate that she was too immature to understand what she was getting herself into. Her abandoning the kids indicates mental instability, which is also grounds for annulment. I don’t know much about the exact requirements, but the lawyer is pretty confident.

Robaynne and Whatevergirl, I know this may be God’s way of telling me that this man is not for me. I really hope it’s not, but it could be. I’ve thought about what other purposes God could have for bringing my boyfriend into my life - a big one is that my boyfriend has brought me to the Church. I decided that no matter what happens with him and our future, I’m going to become Catholic. At least this way if nothing else comes of this relationship, I’ve gained something important.

I’m just not ready to give up yet. This man is such a wonderful person. He’s thoughtful, attentive, and a devoted father. He’s exactly the sort of man I want to be my husband and to be the father of my children. He works hard. He encourages me to be a better person than I thought I could be. With him, my dreams seem possible. With me, his dreams are possible too. We aren’t dreaming big - our dreams are pretty simple.

We just want to work hard, raise a loving family, help our friends, and to teach our children respect and the right way of living. We want to be living in a modest house, with his two daughters and a few younger children as well. He wants to work hard during the week, and come home to a nice meal and an evening with the kids. Go to Church on Sundays, spend Sunday afternoons in the park, and have friends over in the backyard for barbecues in the evenings. He wants his daughters to live somewhere where they don’t have to worry about falling victim to prostitution. He wants to choose his kids’ schools based on quality of education, not fear of violence in the neighbourhood. These are dreams we can achieve with God’s help. We’re not asking for the moon - I’m just not willing to believe that God wants me to give up on this just yet.

But for the next six months, I’m going to pray about it. I’m going to pray for this relationship, and I’m going to pray for what’s best for the children. I’m going to pray for God’s will to be done. But having said that, I’m sure God made me this stubborn and patient for a reason. Maybe I’m a fool, but I’m going to wait a little longer before I give up.


#13

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