Post # 1
So I was raised but not really a practicing catholic. FI and I are not getting married in the church – just so you know where I am coming from. But I have a friend who very much is a catholic – goes to church, got married in the church. She is alos very much a Catholic and would never consider a divorce…until…..
Her marriage of a few years is off to a very shaky start. They have issues and are going to a conselor. Pretty big issues but they started counseling with the attidue of “Divorce in not an option, lets work this out.” Well, my friend met another man whom she is infatuated with. Completely. She has called this guy her soulmate, says she feels things for him she has never felt for anyone else. They used to communcate rather frequently (he knew she was married), but she never took it too far. Her hubs probably suspected, butnever really knew about the conversations….this “mental cheating.”
After finally listening to her friends, she has cut off all communication with the “soul mate.” I thought hings were going better, but a few weeks ago we hung out and she told me she still thingks about “soul mate” several times a day and still thinks this guy is her soul mate. She has not communcated with him in 4 months, blocks phone calls and emails from him. My comment to her is that this guy cannot possibly be her soul mate becuase she has committed herself to hubs. That is it, end of story. She can’t a divorce and still take communion, so she is with hubs, for better or worse. I also said some things about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence, etc, etc.
With this short summary – what would you have said to your catholic friend? Just curious!
Post # 3
Oooh- I am intersted to see the responses. I am not Catholic, so I won’t comment- but I am interested in what other bees think!
Post # 4
I was raised Catholic, but I am no longer. I’m not sure that disqualifies me from posting… maybe it does. Anyway.
I beleive she can apply for annulment within the Church under certain conditions.
Otherwise I would advise counseling. This does not sound like a situation that will improve, TBH.
Post # 5
My Fiance is Catholic and we are getting married in a Catholic church. We have had several pre-marital meetings about the meaning of marriage and tips for a successful marriage. In one of the meetings, the priest talked about emotional or mental “cheating” when having friends of the opposite sex. It’s too late to change what happened, but the solution is to make your spouse the most important person and thing in your life. It’s tough and I don’t know how I would say it to a friend (it sounds good coming from a priest), but she needs to change her mindset and make her husband the most important thing in her life.
Post # 6
OP, I think your response was right on.
She’s not fully committed to making her marriage work if she still is regularly thinking about the soulmate. In a situation like that, you just can’t have it both ways!
Post # 7
I think she is confusing “what if” (lust/fantasy) with “what is”.
She needs to make a whole-hearted effort to seeing the good in her husband and their marriage. Her so-called “soul mate” is married to someone else, she needs to forget about him.
If she really wants out of the marriage, it needs to because because she doesn’t want to be with her husband, not because of her fantasy with someone else who is off-limits anyway.
Post # 8
like a PP poster said, the church does grant an annulment in certain situations if she wants to look into that.
Otherwise I think counseling, both by herself to work on not thinking about the other guy and focusing on her husband, and as a couple is necessary.
Post # 9
Yeah – I should have mentioned….as far as I know they only grant annulments for drug abuse or spousal abuse….neither of which is the case here (otherwise I would have given her much different advice!!)
I do like making a point of the difference between “what if” and “what is”….
Post # 10
I was raised Catholic. I just wanted to say that I’m not sure that the Church only grants annulments for drug/spousal abuse. What’s she’s already done, the emotional cheating is adultry and she could probably swing an annulment out of that.
I don’t mean to sound harsh but I’m sure if she has the funds and there are no children, it might be easier.
Post # 11
Yeah the only reason I mentioned the annulment is beacuse it seems like there’s more going on that what the OP said, at least that’s the impression I got.
Post # 12
It’s good advice, but there’s a very good chance that this won’t go away on its own. When a person attaches significance or emotional value to another person – or especially the idea of another person – and they’re in a relationship where for whatever reason needs are not being met, it’s sort of a setup for failure. The emotional high she gets from this new guy is absent in her marriage, which already seemed tense.
Getting around that is almost like getting around an addiction (to that emotional whatever). It takes a lot of time, a lot of support, and a replacement of what’s missing with a healthier choice.
My point being.. they’re going to need a lot of help. Chances are she’s run through the arguments like ‘grass is greener’ in her head and while it was enough to cause her to cut ties, it will take time to make them stick.
Is there counseling within their church community? Even post-affair counseling, since there was an emotional component?
Post # 14
hmmm…I really don’t think you can get an annulment just for adultery. (Think about it– all the people who can’t get annulments would just GO HAVE SEX with the person they wanted to! a little too easy…) An annulment has more to do with your state of mind and knowledge of what marriage is about (eg, whether or not you understand/believe that it is forever
but, yeah, what a sad situation. I will say a prayer that your friend can find the emotional connection that she needs and craves with her husband and doesn’t even have to investigate divorce. 🙁
Post # 15
If they don’t have children, then they could get an annulment. Not having children is a valid reason for an annulment, since a Catholic marriage is not valid unless the couple eventually has children. The thing is to prove that one partner went into the marriage without the intention of having children.
During pre cana, our deacon told us the story of a man who got an annulment without much effort after he discovered that his wife was on the BC pill.
Post # 16
I think there are really two separate questions here. One is whether or not she can save her marriage….or if she wants to. The other is if she does leave her marriage, how does the Church view that…and can she ever remarry?
The first question I have no answers for. I have a friend that was in a similar situation. She did get a divorce but did not end up with the “soulmate” for other reasons. She has since remarried to a man she met a few years after her divorce and is very happy with him. She now says that the “soulmate” really wasn’t a soulmate after all, but he was someone who opened her eyes to things that were missing in her relationship with her ex-husband. She made a much better choice in her second husband and actually doesn’t regret what happened because it let her to him.
As for the Catholic part of things, marriage is a sacrament and indissoluable. But divorce alone will not make her unable to take communion. It is remarriage outside the Church that bars a person from the Eucharist because the Church still considers the person to be married to her first spouse; thus, she is married to one man and living and (presumably) having sex with another man.
As previous posters have mentioned, though a valid sacramental marriage only ends with the death of one of the parties, if the Church finds that the marriage was invalid from the beginning, that marriage can be annulled, leaving both parties free to marry in the Church. Adultery, mental or physical, is not grounds for an annullment, however. The OPs friend would likely have to prove a case based on one or the other (or both) of them being unable to fully consent to marriage. They’d have to prove that at least one of them wasn’t mature enough to understand the full extent of what they were doing. If they could prove their case, then an annulment would be granted.