Beware Dating the Separated

Dear Andrea,

Seven months ago, I became involved with a woman whose husband had abandoned her. At first our relationship revolved around her heartbreak over her husband’s actions. He had been unfaithful to her on at least two occasions. He had moved out of the house twice. … He had also emotionally abused her in many other ways too numerous to go into here ….

Initially, I just listened and provided a sympathetic ear for all her problems.… Slowly we became closer and closer, until one day she told me she was in love with me…. I fell in love also and we began a very close and loving relationship…. She filed for divorce about three months ago and all the paperwork has been submitted. In this state, the divorce becomes final six months after the day she filed.

…So our lives became closer and closer and we finally became engaged to be married. She swore everlasting love to me, she would forever be faithful, and she swore that we would always be together… Our relationship was faith based and I truly thought God had brought us together.

About six weeks ago, her ex-husband found out about our relationship. He started to phone her constantly. At first she told him not to call. But he persisted in a obsessive way. He would call fifteen or twenty times a night. I told her not to return the calls, not to talk to him, and that whatever she does, do not meet him. He promised her he would do anything, including go to church (which he had always refused to do before), go to counseling (which he had always refused to do) if she would just take him back. Then he kicked it up a notch, and confessed all the things he did to her, including the adulteries. He said he was the worst husband there ever was and he doesn’t blame her for leaving. But now, he has reformed. He has learned a painful lesson and he will never do anything wrong again if she will just take him back. He calls her and cries and sobs on the phone. He plays the “I’m still your husband” card.

Then last week she agreed to see him. More tears and begging. This affected her greatly. She told me she feels so guilty. She says she feels such pressure and that she wanted to be alone.

… Last night we had a wonderful evening together. But when she got home he was waiting for her. More theatrics and tears. I thought this was getting to a critical point so I dashed over to her house. I pleaded with her to stop this insanity. She had to be firm and tell her ex-husband the truth about us and to let him go. She said that she would take care of it.

Today I woke up to none of my usual email messages from her. Or phone calls. So I tried to email her and phone her. Nothing. Nothing all morning.

Around noon I received an email that stated this: “I would like to share a few thoughts I’ve had recently. I know there are no guarantees when it comes to love. Real love requires risk, putting one’s feelings out there in the most vulnerable state. Without that risk, we will never share true love with anyone. The thought of risking another chance with… [“Uriah”] scares me to death, but in reality, the risk would be no less with anyone. No one knows what the future holds for us. The best we can do is put our faith in God and pray that he will lead us down the right path. That path does not always lead to what we think is our best interest, but it does lead to God’s will. I believe in this with all my heart.”

She has continued to ignore my telephone calls. I would really appreciate some advice on this because I think I’m a little too close to the issue think clearly.

Thank you,

David

Dear David,

Her husband plays the I’m-still-your-husband card because, until the divorce is final, he is still her husband. I know this is difficult for you emotionally to accept, but please listen. Getting involved with a married woman to begin with was a mistake. That’s adultery, the same offense her husband committed. Adultery is a divorceable offense, but she and her husband both have now committed the same sin and it seems to me God has been convicting her. If her conscience says God’s command for us to forgive would have her reconcile to him that is what she must do, regardless of his past offenses.

I suspect the coveting in your heart makes you want to believe his repentance is insincere to protect against your own conscience. That’s also why I kept getting told how your family and friends all approved of your relationship. Because you lack the peace of God’s blessing. He cannot bless your relationship with this woman when she is still bound to another man. Beware of this trap. Your family and friend’s approval cannot substitute for God’s and He will never approve of what His Word condemns.

I would never insist a woman live with a man that has abused her, but she has that choice. In general, abuse alone is not a divorceable offense, so unless adultery has also been committed, as you say it has in this situation, the abuse victim’s choice would be living alone (or with other family) until her husband dies, or more likely, takes up with a new woman himself. You would be well advised to seek God’s forgiveness for coveting another man’s wife, back off, and let her go. As painful as the truth is, any promises she made to you while still bound to her husband are of no affect.

Take this as a lesson to not give your heart away to another man’s wife, should another woman separated from her husband ever attempt to reel you into her web with a sob story. Never give your heart away until after the divorce is final—and then ONLY if the woman is free biblically as well, either because her spouse committed adultery, or divorced against her will, especially by an unbeliever.

I would also like to add to those already remarried, even if you were at fault biblically in the divorce, you do not need to and, biblically, should not, divorce your current spouse and return to your former spouse. If you have not already done so, do confess your sin before God and ask His forgiveness. You will know you are right before God when you can admit to others what you did was wrong. Not being reconciled to God leaves us with no peace and creates a need to justify ourselves, typically expressed by trying to convince others and ourselves what we did wasn’t wrong.

To those concerned about their testimony, tell the truth. “I sinned, but God’s grace has set me free and enabled me to go and sin no more” brings God far more glory than any pretense. Just remember, God’s grace frees us from sin, not to sin. As the scripture says, God will not be mocked. You reap what you sow. Sow to the flesh, and you shall reap destruction, to the spirit, life.

One more note, if someone you know goes off with an abusive spouse or boyfriend and you have reason to believe this person has left with them under duress and/or is in physical danger, do not hesitate to call the police or other appropriate authorities.

Love in Christ,

Andrea

2 Comments

  1. David, your situation sounds very similar to what I just went through. You said your fiancee’s ex-husband name is Uriah which is my husband’s name. We got married on 8-31-06. Your situation is exactly what Uriah went through before marrying me. I just want to know is this the same person. Does he live in California?

  2. Author

    note: the names were changed to protect the individuals involved. Uriah is Bathsheba’s husband, whom King David murdered in order to marry Bathsheba to hide their affair.

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