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Divorce & Annulments

Truly, one benefit of suddenly finding yourself single again is the myriad of friendships that will develop as you get out and get to know more people in your community.  As an older Catholic single, I sometimes find myself in this strange no-man’s land between my peers, most of whom are married, and my single friends, most of whom are substantially younger than I am. Fitting in with both of these groups presents both many blessings and also many challenges.

On the one hand, I am devotedly Catholic and I have children, so it makes sense that I would make friends with people who have children the same age as mine. But because we have a strong Catholic community here, there are rarely single folks amongst these peers of my age.

In these circumstances, I find myself most drawn to the parents who work. I am more comfortable socializing with a group of women trying to balance work and family.  I just don’t have anything in common these days with mothers who have the privilege of staying homefocusing their time on caring for their husbands and raising their children. This is not to say that we don’t get along; we certainly do. It is just that friendships tend to be based in common experiences and I find myself having nothing in common with these wonderfully blessed women.

A note of caution herewhen I was newly divorced, I did find myself somewhat resentful of these women who were blessed with the privilege of being able to stay at home. Like many difficulties of my divorce, I had to come to peace with this issue before I really felt comfortable enough in my own skin to enjoy the company of this group. I struggled not to project what I saw as a failure on my part onto these ladies who truly did care and support me.  It was a challenge I worked through and I consider myself blessed to have the love and support of many of these ladies that I was friends with before my divorce.

In addition to my peers, I find myself having more in common with the single Catholics in my area who are focused on living a godly life, balancing a career and searching for that special someone. Of course, it would make sense that these people are substantially younger than I am. Most of the time, this doesn’t present any difficulties at all.  Our friendships are forged in the commonalities of being a Catholic professional in a less-than-Catholic workforce. We talk too of finding love and making it work in a society that does all it can to destroy the very idea of marriage.

These days however, the biggest challenge I have is finding that my oldest daughter and I are walking on the same path. We find ourselves knowing the same single Catholics in this area. For this reason, I have bowed out of participating in some of the local Catholic activities.  I would like to give my own young adults a chance to meet people and make their own friends, without their mother always fluttering around in the background.

My friends and my daughter assure me that this is no big deal, we all have enough in common that we can all be friends. And though this is true, I want my children to meet single Catholics that they look up to and can emulate. These types of connections are made best when mom isn’t in the picture.

I find myself blessed with many different friends of all ages, all working for the common goal of Christ in our very secular society. This bond seems stronger than any age-based friendship could ever be.  If you are also an older, single Catholic parent, how do you walk this reality of fitting in two worlds at the same time?

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6 Comments

  1. Michelle-989480 June 26, 2014

    Since my marriage ended I have found myself in all sorts of social circles—lovely people who are Catholic by birth but are estranged from the Church, actively practicing Catholics and people of various other religions. I believe we are all God’s people and although there can be vast differences in the way we conduct our lives as individuals I try to find the common ground in each person. Age differences: I try to enjoy friends of various age groups~there is always much to learn and I find it keeps one from becoming insular. Yes, it was emotional being around couples and families soon after the marriage ended, but over time it becomes easier. Now I love seeing happy couples and little children~it gives me hope for the world and myself!

  2. David-870960 June 28, 2014

    “If you are also an older, single Catholic parent, how do you walk this reality of fitting in two worlds at the same time?”

    My answer: Quite alone! Seattle is an uber-liberal place, including it seems most of the (esp. single) Catholics I meet – the exceptions being the radicals on the “other side” who seem to fall under the label “Taliban Catholics” (from a sermon by one of our Priests.) i.e. they’ve got it wrong and condemn you if you disagree. My “home” parish seems to have been taken over by a specific ethnic group which holds regular parties, dinners, dances, and such in the facility – but they are palpably exclusive.

    I seem to find much more like-minded women in long-distance situations (I am open to LDR and relocation) … but eventually they quit communicating without any explanation, and I’m not a needy, stalker, so I’m not inclined to “chase”. I’ll follow up with a “Hello” after a short, respectful time; but if that reaps only silence, I have to assume and respect that there is no further interest.

    I also find myself feeling the same with respect to going out with my sons. There comes a moment when you realize that “Dad” is un persona non grata. OR you find yourself trying to figure out whether the gal sitting nearby is gazing invitingly at you or your son! I have been approached by 35-year-olds … but so has my son!
    Oy! How do ya decode that?

    I have made some “friends”, but soon find either they are ‘cheating’ on a boyfriend, or they suddenly up and marry some “ex” who is insecure and will not believe that you were only friends – so I stay away to respect their marriage and not be a reason for strife between them.

    Lastly, I limit myself so as to avoid temptation with respect to not yet having the Decree of Nullity.
    I do pray, and often sense God about me, but I guess my Faith is not yet strong enough for that to be “enough”.

    Thanks for the good article, it is ironically comforting to know I’m not alone in all of this.

    • Dominic-981542 July 2, 2014

      Hay David , I’m the same age as you and I was wondering who are the Taliban Catholics . .
      I was a spiritual damaged human being in my late teens to 36 years of age from parent abuse . . and so I missed out on being able to Love some one and though I never felt the pain of divorce , I went through a very painful lonely time of feeling that empty space in me through all those years as well as getting a broken heart a few times dating , until I experience Jesus first hand . . Though I’m on this site I know deep down its to late for me to ever marry so I have prepared to stay alone knowingly.

  3. Lauren-1083949 July 1, 2014

    I am 35 and have preteen and teenage children. For me it is a strange in between, because most of my catholic friends are late 20s, early 30s, never married. We face the same struggles, but since I am currently in process for a degree of nullity, I don’t date Catholics. I have been dating a Protestant but it is an entirely chaste relationship, no kissing, etc. It’s a confusing place to be. I’m not as much older as the others who have commented, but I am still rather stuck between 2 worlds. It’s very hard, and I constantly pray for God to give me strength and guidance for my personal relationships. Hugs to you all who are going through the same thing!

  4. Michelle-381844 July 1, 2014

    Thank you for sharing this article. My sister is going through this now, after finding out something devastating about her husband for which he is serving time. I am her older sibling, in my 40′s, and getting married for the first time. I often wonder how to include her so that she will not feel these horrible ups and downs of the emotional rollercoaster, but I realize I cannot save her from that. However, I do seek ways to know what would be most comforting to her, or things to keep in mind that she may be feeling. So, articles like this do help an awful lot.
    Blessing to everyone ~
    Michelle

  5. Mary-496974 July 1, 2014

    Hello, it is nice to hear from others. I feel very conflicted at times. I am in my 50s with two sons 14 and 10. Feel like most men my age just want to jump on their harleys and go. Men that are in their 40s that have similar age children feel I am too old. I keep my options open but really feel like it may be a lost cause. Tend to have different sets of friends. Secular and non secular. Divorced, married and single.

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