So, at what point does one just give up on ever having the family life he or she had hoped for?
Evidently my diocese is backlogged with annulments (sad enough), and I've been waiting for a very long time (about 18 months since completing the paperwork and beginning to obtain what limited affidavits I could, given that nobody knew "us"). It seems like Catholic ladies I've met in person and here won't have anything to do with a divorced man... so why even try for the annulment (likely to be granted, just taking time)?
I'm very, very frustrated with the annulment process... and feel as though, at nearly 40 and not even able to date, there is virtually no chance of someone special coming into my life. No chance for having the family I'd prayed for for years before ever pondering marriage or subsequently finding the Catholic faith. No chance for really being loved. Life was not supposed to be this way.
Add to this the heartbreak of running into so many "Catholics" at work and elsewhere who claim the faith, but don't live it. I guess, when I came into the faith last year, I knew there were some who were outliers... but I've been sheltered from them by being around guys who DO take our faith seriously.
I've had a great Catholic lady friend for a couple years... the woman who introduced me to this wonderful faith a couple years ago...but she is not planning to remarry. She has children and is content living her life for them... her decision and I support her, though it was painful to hear she would never be one I might pursue for marriage. Meanwhile, it seems as though Catholicism is made for families, and I'm excluded. Everything I'm learning and seeing (That Man Is You program attendance at my parish, and simply observing folks at mass) is of a man's role toward his family, marriage, and having children. There are lots of Catholic couples at church... and good Catholic ladies are in seemingly short supply.
The heartbreak of not having a family with children has been substantial and is actually being driven deeper as I'm reminded of being alone every time I attend mass. Still, I go. Daily, oftentimes, as my work schedule frequently allows morning mass attendance on weekdays. And, I'm active in TMIY, Christ Renews His Parish, and probably will be filling another church need by starting a new ministry soon.
I don't want to fall away from the church, but it seems like there is so little hope of ever experiencing God's grace and the miracle of fulfilling Catholic marriage. Some guys seem to recover from bad marriages, as evidenced by some of the witnesses given at the CRHP retreat I attended early this month, but it just seems like such a small possibility.