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Litzy

Ex-husband interested in marriage again

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My ex-husband was raised in a partial-member home and I am a convert to the church. Some time into our marriage, my  husband left the Church. This was hard on me, but my family is rather eclectic when it came to religion, so it wasn't that bad. I was happy in the marriage. 8 years later, my husband became odd and distant. Eventually he confessed he had waited 8 years for me to leave the church. He was frustrated and depressed because I had no sign of leaving and that our two children, whom we agreed to have free choice when it came to religion, also stayed active.

 

We wound up divorcing two years ago because of this.

 

Now, my husband regrets his behavior. I've largely moved on. My ex is a good man in many, many ways and I do love him. I was raised to highly value marriage and part of me thinks I should see him again. But I also can't deal with his nasty behavior toward the church of the expectation I should leave for his sake.

 

Any thoughts? I'm trying to find a neutral voice here that doesn't know us.

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Am I reading right that you still wish to stay active in church? And will he still hope that you don't?

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At this point, he is effectively just another eligible man (who happens to be the father of your children and your ex-spouse). Approach a relationship with him just as you would with any other man. How important is LDS Church membership and activity to you? And do you have any reason to believe he would not still find your Church participation as irritating as he did two years ago?

 

My first-blush, totally unreilable impression is that you should not get involved with him again. (Please note the qualifiers.)

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Ask your ex (and yourself) what has changed that would make things happen differently this time?

 

If there are some very good very solid answers, then consider it.  Otherwise don't repeat your prior mistakes

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So I'll be a little bit of a dissenting voice.  To give a proper answer really requires more knowledge.

 

But to start off, I disagree with Vort, he's not "just another man ---who happens to be the father of your kids".  That IMO believe is extremely demeaning, denigrating and disrespectful of the role father's play in their children's lives. 

 

Children deserve to be raised in a family with both a mother and a father and in the vast majority of cases the individuals best suited to be a mother and a father are the child's biological mother and father.

 

I believe the fact that he is father of children carries significant weight, so no he is not "just another man". Regardless of the age of the children, even if they are grown it still carries significant weight.  Even as an adult, simply seeing my parents united as one working to resolve their problems gives me strength to carry on myself. So regardless of what age the children are, if he is any bit of a decent father he will forever be involved in their lives and consequently in your life.

 

The more knowledge that would be useful is the reasons of the divorce.  Frankly, if the divorce was only about dissenting views on religion then quite frankly that was a really crappy reason to divorce in the first place.  Divorce is really only justified in Abuse, Adultery and maybe Addiction (and that's a big maybe).  So unless disagreements about religion involved the above, I'd ask exactly why did you not resolve to work it out in the first place?

 

So my first inclination is that unless the marriage involved Abuse, Adultery or some serious additions, I say why not.  You obviously were in love with him and had a happy marriage for a period of time.  At the same time, if you did decide to see him again, I would certainly approach it starting from the beginning . . . i.e. court each other and I would ensure that if religion did lead to the divorce that both of you find a way to compromise and learn to work through your religious differences.

 

I'll add that you should know pretty quickly, for example since you two are not married obeying the law of chastity is extremely important.  If he starts pressuring for things of that nature or enticing you to commit sin, then you can tell him xyz are your standards and if he is not willing to support you in your desire to keep those standards it's over . . . the same things you would do with just about anyone you would date. If both you and him are willing to let each other live your spiritual lives without interference then . . .  

Edited by yjacket

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Good grief... does his offer expire at midnight or something?  It's okay to postpone a decision until you have all the data you need.  

 

If you've totally ruled him out for remarriage, tell him No with a capital N.  If you have not ruled remarriage out, then why not tell him you're willing to gather data and explore options and understand his vision for a remarriage (and vice versa) and how he'd treat the Church?  Make it clear that this little discovery period in no way obligates you to remarry and that many outcomes are possible, but that you're willing to try to find a way forward.  If you enter this period with a prayerful and discerning spirit, and you give it time, I bet this decision will pretty much make itself. 

 

If he balks at this and wants to remarry pronto, then I'd suspect something more sinister is afoot, and I'd tend to agree with Vort on this.  And I agree with everyone else here that many risks are present.  Tread carefully.  

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Random observations:

 

1)  What do your kids know about the reasons for the divorce?  How would they interpret your getting back together--or even look like you might be moving in that direction? 

 

2)  I think yjacket's reasons are valid ones for staying together.  I do not think that they are, in and of themselves, sufficient reason to take a second shot at a marriage that is dead.  You are still a daughter of God, and regardless of prior missteps you do have a right to a temple marriage to a worthy priesthood holder.  You've got your own exaltation to think about; and IMHO you shouldn't let yourself get guilted off-track simply because you happen to have children with someone a) with whom your prior marriage has ended, and b ) no longer meets the criteria you had originally set for a husband.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Did he find divorce wasn't what it was cracked up to be?

 

This is something to think about. Why after two years is he now ready to try again? Is it a mixture of loneliness and maybe the convenience of OP being single as well (I'm assuming)? My understanding is that second marriages are at higher risk for not working out, and marriages thereafter, the odds are worse. So it's really really really important to reflect on what made life so unbearable (for one party or both) that caused divorce. Divorce is painful enough, it's not something I'd wish on anyone, if they're able to avoid it. Are you avoiding it?

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2)  I think yjacket's reasons are valid ones for staying together.  I do not think that they are, in and of themselves, sufficient reason to take a second shot at a marriage that is dead.  You are still a daughter of God, and regardless of prior missteps you do have a right to a temple marriage to a worthy priesthood holder.  You've got your own exaltation to think about; and IMHO you shouldn't let yourself get guilted off-track simply because you happen to have children with someone a) with whom your prior marriage has ended, and b ) no longer meets the criteria you had originally set for a husband.

 

If they didn't have a family then I would agree, but regardless of whether they are divorced or not, they are still a family. Forever into eternity he will always be the father of her biological children and if he is a decent father will always be involved in her life in some fashion.  The marriage may be dead, but the relationship isn't dead, simply because of the children.

 

Yes, she has her own exaltation to think about, but at the same time there are plenty of women who marry outside the church that have their spouses come into the church.  There is a lot of unknowns, such as age of children, relationships etc.  She admitted she had a "happy marriage" to someone who she still loves.  Loved well enough to spend 8+ years and have 2 kids with.  And I am fairly certain that if she did decide to remarry him with God's approval that God would be merciful and provide exaltation for her and her family.  At this point, scaring her into thinking she can not be exalted because her husband isn't a member if she married him is just conjecture.

 

I am in no way advocating that she should get remarried to him, only that there doesn't seem to be anything that really stands out to me as saying "no, do not see him again".

 

In general, it constantly amazing how many people seems to think that divorce is always the answer, that people don't change, etc.  There are no guarantees in life, no guarantees that she'll remarry to someone better, maybe so, maybe not, no guarantees that remarrying him would work or wouldn't work.

 

I honestly do not see the harm in a cautious approach to reunite a broken family, really what is the harm in it, especially if the divorce wasn't because of Abuse, Adultery, etc.  If she gets remarried to someone else or if he gets remarried it will cause a whole new world of challenges that may or may not be good.

 

Unless there is some massive red flag (which I don't see), I would say pray about it and see if it feels right or okay.  If so travel down the path a bit and see how it works out.

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Bare with me, I may have had a little too much fun with the multi-quote function.

 

 

Am I reading right that you still wish to stay active in church? And will he still hope that you don't?

 

I do. Ever since my conversion and baptism, I've felt quite comfortable with the Church. I work to keep my testimony up. I enjoy the social aspect. I feel my faith is strong. Heck, I like the Church.

 

My ex admits his dream is we are family without the Church, though he says he is better prepared to accept our personal faith. I still worry his desire will again override everything else.

 

 

At this point, he is effectively just another eligible man (who happens to be the father of your children and your ex-spouse). Approach a relationship with him just as you would with any other man. How important is LDS Church membership and activity to you? And do you have any reason to believe he would not still find your Church participation as irritating as he did two years ago?

 

My first-blush, totally unreilable impression is that you should not get involved with him again. (Please note the qualifiers.)

 

Membership is very important. When the topic came up, I had issue with the fact my membership was such a problem to him in the marriage. I have his word, which seems fairly sincere, but as long as he admits to a hope I will one day leave, I worry.

 

 

I'd be worried he'd get frustrated about the church again as well. I'd be sure he's truly at peace with everyone's religious choices before rushing into anything.

Did he find divorce wasn't what it was cracked up to be?

 

This is another worry of mine. I worry he just wants my companionship. One kid is in high school, another currently on a mission, but we still had those couple of years we were certainly communicating over our kids. And we do have a friendship.

 

 

 

So I'll be a little bit of a dissenting voice.  To give a proper answer really requires more knowledge.

 

But to start off, I disagree with Vort, he's not "just another man ---who happens to be the father of your kids".  That IMO believe is extremely demeaning, denigrating and disrespectful of the role father's play in their children's lives. 

 

Children deserve to be raised in a family with both a mother and a father and in the vast majority of cases the individuals best suited to be a mother and a father are the child's biological mother and father.

 

I believe the fact that he is father of children carries significant weight, so no he is not "just another man". Regardless of the age of the children, even if they are grown it still carries significant weight.  Even as an adult, simply seeing my parents united as one working to resolve their problems gives me strength to carry on myself. So regardless of what age the children are, if he is any bit of a decent father he will forever be involved in their lives and consequently in your life.

 

The more knowledge that would be useful is the reasons of the divorce.  Frankly, if the divorce was only about dissenting views on religion then quite frankly that was a really crappy reason to divorce in the first place.  Divorce is really only justified in Abuse, Adultery and maybe Addiction (and that's a big maybe).  So unless disagreements about religion involved the above, I'd ask exactly why did you not resolve to work it out in the first place?

 

So my first inclination is that unless the marriage involved Abuse, Adultery or some serious additions, I say why not.  You obviously were in love with him and had a happy marriage for a period of time.  At the same time, if you did decide to see him again, I would certainly approach it starting from the beginning . . . i.e. court each other and I would ensure that if religion did lead to the divorce that both of you find a way to compromise and learn to work through your religious differences.

 

I'll add that you should know pretty quickly, for example since you two are not married obeying the law of chastity is extremely important.  If he starts pressuring for things of that nature or enticing you to commit sin, then you can tell him xyz are your standards and if he is not willing to support you in your desire to keep those standards it's over . . . the same things you would do with just about anyone you would date. If both you and him are willing to let each other live your spiritual lives without interference then . . .  

 

I agree. This was my husband of quite a few years. This is my kids' dad. This is one of my friends.

 

He asked for the divorce, and this still stings a little. We went to therapy, but he would up stating he couldn't be married to a Mormon. After he left the Church, he was caught up in these ex-Mormon communities where he was more or less promised that eventually I would follow him out of the church if he were just patient. In my perspective, his hopes for his family weren't meshing with reality especially when our kids just kept going to church.

 

I know I'm stating a lot of he-he-he here with all my husband did. Someone once advised me I may have kept our family too religiously neutral instead of giving my husband a little more support in his status as the odd man out. My ex agrees with this and says he did feel like an outsider.

 

I still don't know what going through my ex's head at the time, but he was adamant he couldn't be with a Mormon.

 

My thought is I couldn't understand why I had to leave the church to keep the marriage together and why it was so necessary for him.

 

Random observations:

 

1)  What do your kids know about the reasons for the divorce?  How would they interpret your getting back together--or even look like you might be moving in that direction? 

 

2)  I think yjacket's reasons are valid ones for staying together.  I do not think that they are, in and of themselves, sufficient reason to take a second shot at a marriage that is dead.  You are still a daughter of God, and regardless of prior missteps you do have a right to a temple marriage to a worthy priesthood holder.  You've got your own exaltation to think about; and IMHO you shouldn't let yourself get guilted off-track simply because you happen to have children with someone a) with whom your prior marriage has ended, and b ) no longer meets the criteria you had originally set for a husband.

 

1. The kids were in their teens at the time. They knew it was over religion and Mom and Dad being unable to find a working dynamic in the relationship. My kids are very close with their dad. My daughter was very weepy over the whole thing--she is on her mission right now and I don't know if she would support a remarriage or just keeping the status quo.

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Yes, she has her own exaltation to think about, but at the same time there are plenty of women who marry outside the church that have their spouses come into the church.  . . .   At this point, scaring her into thinking she can not be exalted because her husband isn't a member if she married him is just conjecture.

 

I understand that; but I believe such women are a statistical minority.  And it's one thing to marry out of the church; it's another thing to marry a straight-up anti (which, based on Litzy's newest post, sounds pretty much like what we're dealing with).  Also, I think the newly-uncovered fact that it was the husband who ended the relationship in the first place--and ended it specifically because Litzy wouldn't leave the church--as well as the age of the children here, counts for a lot in this particular case.  And finally, I might be a little bit overly influenced by anecdote; but in the last year I've known three women aged 50+ in the ward I grew up in who remarried excellent, faithful men (one widow and two divorcees), and another widow in my current ward in her mid-30s who also just remarried.  Obviously, I'm just some random dude on the internet with a loud mouth and a bunch of ill-informed opinions . . . but my gut reaction to this case is that if the OP wants to remarry, she can do better.

 

 

I honestly do not see the harm in a cautious approach to reunite a broken family, really what is the harm in it, especially if the divorce wasn't because of Abuse, Adultery, etc.  If she gets remarried to someone else or if he gets remarried it will cause a whole new world of challenges that may or may not be good.

 

I think I'd be more likely to be persuaded by the "reunite a broken family" perspective if the children were small; but it sounds like they are near adulthood.

 

 

Unless there is some massive red flag (which I don't see), I would say pray about it and see if it feels right or okay.  If so travel down the path a bit and see how it works out.

 

Oh, I heartily agree.  But I usually go into a prayer with an idea of what my own best wisdom is telling me to do and ask the Lord to either confirm or debunk it.  In this case, I'd be hard pressed not to go into the prayer with a presumption against pursuing the relationship. 

 

But that's just me, and as you say--it's the Lord that matters.  :)

 

 

This is another worry of mine. I worry he just wants my companionship. One kid is in high school, another currently on a mission, but we still had those couple of years we were certainly communicating over our kids. And we do have a friendship.

 

. . .

 

I agree. This was my husband of quite a few years. This is my kids' dad. This is one of my friends.

 

Apologies for the cynicism, but I practice divorce law and cyncism is part of my job.  So, I'm going to ask (and I know it's nosy, so I don't expect you to actually answer; but maybe you should at least consider it) . . .

 

Sounds like the two of you had a "long term" marriage, which means there could well have been a pretty hefty alimony award in your favor.  Are you sure that isn't part of his motivation here?

 

Someone once advised me I may have kept our family too religiously neutral instead of giving my husband a little more support in his status as the odd man out. My ex agrees with this and says he did feel like an outsider.

 

There could well be some fault on your end; but "because I wronged him and I want to make it up to him" is a heckuva reason to marry someone.

 

But, after all this, I'd still reiterate yjacket's observation that confirmation from the Lord is key here.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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But to start off, I disagree with Vort, he's not "just another man ---who happens to be the father of your kids".  That IMO believe is extremely demeaning, denigrating and disrespectful of the role father's play in their children's lives.

 

If you inferred disrespect or denigration for the role of the father in a family, you badly misunderstood me.

 

Children deserve to be raised in a family with both a mother and a father and in the vast majority of cases the individuals best suited to be a mother and a father are the child's biological mother and father.

 

I believe the fact that he is father of children carries significant weight, so no he is not "just another man". Regardless of the age of the children, even if they are grown it still carries significant weight.  Even as an adult, simply seeing my parents united as one working to resolve their problems gives me strength to carry on myself. So regardless of what age the children are, if he is any bit of a decent father he will forever be involved in their lives and consequently in your life.

 

In most cases, I would largely agree with this assessment. But -- he left her. He walked out on his family. That is a huge matter, and not easily glossed over by saying, "Well, see, he's the father, so get back together with him if he allows it."

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I am in no way advocating that she should get remarried to him, only that there doesn't seem to be anything that really stands out to me as saying "no, do not see him again".

 

Maybe the fact that he already abandoned her and their children once.

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My ex stayed involved in the kids' lives (again, they are all quite close) but in essence I do feel he just walked out on us. This does make it hard to trust another romantic relationship.

 

I've been praying about it, and while I get no impression to altogether avoid romance, there's been yet no strong impression towards anything serious.

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Even if he changed his attitude toward the Church so as to "accept" your activity, you should not expect him to become active. Given that, I doubt it would ever cease as a point of contention. You wouldn't ever be able to fully share your church experiences (here's what we talked about in Sunday School or I had a great experience at the temple, etc). Ditto for his support of the kids as they reach an age where the Church needs to be important to them and decisions they make. 

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My ex and I divorced and got back together, so it can work. In fact, the second time around has been much, much better than the first because we both fixed our problems before getting back together. 

 

You need a chip on your shoulder. I know that may sound vulgar, but there are a lot of negative influences in the word. It helps to have an "Us against the world" feelings. 

 

Just saying...

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Maybe the fact that he already abandoned her and their children once.

 

And maybe the guy is penitent and recognizes it was wrong and wants a second chance.  I don't know the whole forgiveness thing . . . yes he abandoned her (not good at all), but it has only been 2 years, it's not like he abandoned the kids at age 2 and then after 15 years of no contact wants to hook up.  2 years is enough time to give enough distance for people to change, but not too long for real abandonment.  Besides from the OP it sounds like he was still pretty actively engaged with the kids after the divorce, I wouldn't call that abandonment. 

 

And while the kids are a little bit older, they are still emotionally growing and it would still benefit them tremendously to have both parents . . . don't know how old the high-schooler is, but those are some very dangerous years.  And I'm sure the daughter, from the sounds of it would be certainly praying that her dad rejoins the church and that her mom and dad get back together.  

 

Sometimes it's interesting to see the things that happen while children are on missions.  It is not an uncommon thing for parents to be baptized while on a mission.

 

And yeah, maybe she could do better, maybe not. I think the alimony angle is really, really cynical.  If the guy was a real big jerk, maybe . . . but from the sounds of it, he sounds like a decent guy who took a really big tumble into the anti-world and screwed up big-time.

 

Again no red flags that say "no, don't do it".  Honestly, what it sounds like is that he got involved in anti-stuff, it messed with his head, the adversary took advantage of it and he ended up losing a lot. It also sounds like (complete conjecture) that she could have provided more emotional support to him while he was going through the process of leaving.

 

So if, he is able to just let her be in the church and support her in that effort and she can do the same for him, the problem that lead to the divorce looks to be solved. And if the problem is solved then I see no reason why she shouldn't consider it since she mentions she still loves him and they have a friendship.

 

Honestly, if they both can forgive each other (if he can forgive himself for being a jerk and leaving his family-if she can forgive him of doing that, if he can forgive her for not providing the emotional support he felt he needed) . . . and commit to have solved those issues . . .what is the problem??   Other than people here being reluctant to encourage others to forgive.

 

I'd also say, the fact that she is considering it, means she isn't completely ready to move on and if she isn't ready to move on, there is no possible way she'd find that "better person" for her if he even exists.  If that is the case, then the thing to do is to pray about it, if it feels okay then take it from the top with a new beginning with new rules and see how it plays.  If it doesn't work out, at that point she'll prob. be ready to completely move on.

 

Again, I'm not saying to remarry, only that there do not appear to be any red flags and that if she feels inclined to see him again and start from the top and if through prayer it seems okay. . . why not?

Edited by yjacket

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I'm not LDS anymore but if I were and actively lived the gospel and my goal was to receive all the blessings that the Lord has promised, I would not be marrying or remarrying someone who is openly against (anti) the Church. To clarify, I think there's a difference between that, and considering dating a non-member or someone who is of a different faith. As harsh as it reads, I agree with whoever said, "She can do better." I think OP can. There are a lot of men out there, many good men, many that are interested in the gospel and would be happy to find a woman to live the gospel with. My opinion, it's not law.

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I am non-LDS, but my thought would be that if your ex-husband can go into this "new" relationship with you, understanding that you will never leave the LDS church and the church will always play a big role in your life; and if he can accept that and live with that for the next 40 or more years, then a remarriage might work.

 

M.

Edited by Maureen

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