Previous Months' Topics

This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen

How could a Catholic couple, who went to Mass every Sunday, used natural family planning and raised three children in the faith, get divorced after 20 years of marriage? In this case, the answer lies in seduction, infidelity and sin.

This is the story of a wife who endured a cheating husband, was divorced against her will and now lives with the aftermath of heartbreak and a broken family. Her viewpoint is given under the anonymous title “Divorced Mom.”

(Click here for an interview with a dad with two young children who was divorced against his will.)

Fathers for Good: When were the seeds of marital troubles sown?

Divorced Mom: His view of marriage, I would venture to say, was skewed by his perception of his parents’ relationship. He was rather disgusted by them, impatient with them, kind of typical teen attitude toward parents (or so I thought). My parents made so much more sense – to both of us, or so it seemed. My parents knew how to live, have fun together, live a good life. They were being good people. I thought we were following their example. And it seemed as though we were – both of us.

Thus, my view of a proper marital relationship was formed by my parents who were friends and lovers and companions. I wanted that for my own marriage. I didn’t understand how my husband didn’t seem to want that, too. I didn’t know what he wanted, or how to be the person who would make him see me, love me, as a husband (in my view) should. So I tried to be who he wanted me to be rather than to be myself.

FFG: The infidelity must have hurt.

Divorced Mom: I definitely believe in temptation and sin. I think that once a man (or woman) succumbs to the temptation, the marriage is poisoned. I guess spouses can get past it, but only with great faith, strength of character, turning away from further temptation, and much, much forgiveness on both sides. How hard it must be to forgive oneself for infidelity when you really want to go back to your wife or husband and you are truly sorry! But I think it’s possible. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have hung on for so long waiting for a turnaround and a change of heart, a return. I likened him to Odysseus and I, Penelope, waiting so long for him to realize and remember where his treasures lay.

But how long does a person wait? When the waiting is destroying you and causing you to live like a corpse, walking dead, and your husband continues on with the other woman, stalling and stalling, seemingly waiting for me to say some kind of magical words that would make it all just fine, and doing absolutely nothing to put our relationship back together, nothing at all … how long?

One can only truly survive in truth. You can live a lie for only so long. Then you have to be honest with yourself. Finally, it was dead. His rejection of us, our marriage, the total turning away from me, finally there was nothing left inside of me and I realized that even if he were to come back and ask me to love him, I didn’t believe I could anymore, at least not the way I wanted to love my husband. Perhaps I could pretend, be civil, be fake, live a nominal existence as his wife, but it would be horrible. But nevertheless, I wasn’t even offered that possibility. In the end, he didn’t want to be forgiven. He just wanted out.

FFG: How do you move on?

Divorced Mom: I am a pretty happy person naturally. I don’t dwell on the past. I don’t like to live in the past or be miserable over petty things. I want to live, enjoy life, be the best me that I can be. So I had to let go of wishing that things had been different. Things were what they were. Things happened as they did. We certainly didn’t jump into a divorce, but it was a definite, inexorable movement in that direction.