Wife in Ongoing Affair

My wife has been having an affair off and on for over a year now. Most recently I overheard a conversation she had with him where she accidentally “butt dialed” me where she repeatedly expressed her love for him. She appears to have no remorse, nor any intention of terminating the relationship. I gave her an ultimatum at one point recently that if there was any contact I would pursue a divorce. Of course I caught them together shortly thereafter.

Here is the kicker. She is very devout in her faith. To all appearance we are the model Catholic family. We are in kind of the “inner circle” of people in our parish who are seen as very devout. We both teach religious education classes in our parish. She is active in volunteering at the Catholic school our children attend. She is on the Respect Life Team, regularly goes to adoration, etc. No one at our church knows about the affair. If they did it would be scandalous.

We have 5 children from 13 down to 6. She wants to “stay married for the children” whatever that means. What to do???

Log off the internet and contact a priest. One outside of your parish if you feel you must.

Yeah, I think that would be a good plan.
Prayers for you… I’m so sorry. :frowning:


She is not devout. She is an adulterer. Her immortal soul is in GRAVE PERIL. Personally, I would pray and separate until she realises the damage she has caused and shows appropriate remorse. I am so sorry for you. You are in my prayers. I would also contact your PP.

I have been to a priest. Not sure how orthodox he is though. Without answering my question about divorce directly he seems to be saying divorce would be ok under the circumstances. He says thing like “you have to decide if you can continue to be in a relationship like this”. Guess I would want to know if it is ok.

You can see a second priest if you are genuinely suspicious of your priest, but the larger point is that there shouldn’t be an airing of personal dirty laundry to largely anonymous strangers on the internet. You certainly have my prayers, but you need flesh and blood face time with qualified people.

She is clearly not devout if she is doing this. She’s nothing but a poser. This situation is not fair to you or your children. You stated that one was 13 years old. Does he/she suspect anything?

It is clear that you have grounds for annulment and rightly so. I would separate from her for sure if I were you, just my opinion. I guess what it all boils down to is: do you want to be in a marriage with an adulteress and a poser? The decision is ultimately yours.

You’re in my prayers sweetie :frowning: :crossrc:

God Bless!

She is not devout if she was she would be ending the affair and going to confession. She doesn’t sound repentent. A spouses betrayal is devasting, I’m so sorry you are going thru this. My prayers are with you.

We don’t have enough information to make that judgement. I wonder if you are making the mistake (very common) of thinking that annulment is just the Catholic version of divorce. An annulment is a declaration that there was never a valid Christian marriage due to incapacity on the part of one or both parties. The fact that one partner is guilty of an ongoing adulterous relationship does not prove that the marriage was never valid.

NeedingGrace, my heart goes out to you. I will keep you in prayer.

Bottom line: The idea of “staying married for the kids” is a no-win situation.

If things are just as you say they are, there is no fundamental respect in your marriage. Therefore, you must be the responsible spouse and recognise the situation is futile – because you, and moreover your children, deserve better.

Your priest is indeed expressing the Church’s position on civil divorce:

CCC 2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law.177

If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense

I would highly recommend that you consider a civil divorce. At the very least as a back-up plan. Custody, finances, property, etc. are touchy issues and you want to be as prepared as possible if a problems arises.

I pray that you will find the best solution as quickly as possible.

Devout in her faith??? No, she’s lying to herself, to God, and to others!!! This is horrible. So she expects you to lie down and take it, because she will “stay married for the children???” This woman needs a swift kick in the behind and I would tell her unless she breaks it off immediately that she will find her things on the front lawn and the locks changed, and accounts frozen. Tough love time.

If it were me, I would burn it to the ground and let the folks in the parish know why you’re separating and why you’re fighting to keep the kids with you.

But then again, I have a long way to go in learning charity.

Also I should note, that I’ve got plenty of my own grievous sins and injury to repair with my spouse. The thing is that since I actually, you know, have contrition, it wouldn’t wound my pride one bit if people knew that I was radically into porn for quite some time. Your wife is the worst kind of liar and I should know since I was a pretty good one myself.

Thanks for all the responses. I understand people’s instinct to come down on my wife. That, however, is not what I have come here for. Advice on going forward is what I seek.

We’re not coming down on your wife. We are telling you how to go forward. Stop allowing her to lie to the world and to God. You’re worth it and your kids are worth it.

That’s seriously my advice. The fact that you’re in any way apologetic instead of being apoplectic is kind of disturbing to me.

That said, look, blowing it all up might not be as terrible as you think. And I say that because in my experience, it took all of my brothers and sisters and my in-laws knowing about my addiction to pornography for me to actually change. I needed to be absolutely smacked in the face and have my pride blown up for anything to happen. My wife left for two weeks. Everyone knew. Everyone knew I joined a 12-step program related to sex/porn addiction. You think that’s not scandalous? Sure it is. It also saved my soul big-time.

It also probably saved my wife more heartache and betrayal. I never once contacted anyone for phone sex or did chatting or anything else. But you don’t think this kind of addiction would progress to that at some point? Yeah, it probably would. It has with other people. Just go ask my father who has had a couple of affairs that my family buried. What did that solve? Nothing. It totally destroyed my mother and led to all kinds of problems down the line with all the kids in our family. We knew SOMETHING was going on and it caused anxiety to go through the roof. At least five of the six of us have had serious emotional problems as a result.

So yeah there was more than a little vindictiveness in my tone and I’ll totally concede that. I would be out of my freaking mind if I heard about one incident let alone something ongoing. That said, when it comes to hypocrites and frauds… many times we need to get smashed by reality in order to get back to God. Again, I speak from experience as a big-time fraud myself.

Good post.

My heart aches for you. I can’t imagine the pain! My advice may seem trite, but go sit with Jesus in adoration. Pray for your wife… the welfare of your marriage is not the only card on the table right now. So is the welfare of her soul. This is very tragic indeed.

I pray the Lord guide you through these terrible, icy waters.

Honestly, my family would have been way better off had my mom left my dad decades ago after the first affair. Instead, we moved and it happened again. Then we moved again and while I think the affairs stopped, the porn and strip clubs didn’t. And then my mom ended up on prescription drugs and has seen a psychiatrist every week for the last 10 years. My father has been hooked on porn for a good 35-40 years at this point. Most of the extreme behavior has ceased but I’m pretty sure he still isn’t in any kind of real recovery despite all of this. It’s my job I guess to carry the torch and let God end this hideous scourge in my family through my example and my outreach to my brothers. Hell of a task for a guy who has his own wife and kids to deal with.

Look, this stuff is not going to stay buried. And when it comes up, it’s going to wreak all kind of hell, especially if you don’t stand up for yourself and your children and prove to them through tough and decisive action that this kind of sin has extremely serious consequences.

She said she wants to stay together for the kids - does she want a fake marriage, or a real one? Is she willing to work to rebuild your marriage? If you’re both willing, you can take back your marriage. It may not usually work out that way, but it can happen. Has she been able to express why she decided to go outside the marriage? Talking to a priest is a good thing, but if you want to save your marriage, talking to a good marriage counselor is critical.

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