Sunday, 30 May 2010

Auntie Seraphic & Contacted by Married Man

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

I've been reading your posts about interacting with married men and, oddly, I recently received an email from a Nice Catholic Guy I briefly dated about 8 years ago. From what I know, he is married and has a son. I have had no contact with him for 7 years and our last communication was friendly. I knew he was engaged to the woman he is now married and I had moved on with my life and wished them well.

I responded to his email and told him I was quite shocked to hear from him. The next email I received from him he said that he understood my surprise and that he had wanted to get in touch to apologize for how he acted when we dated and afterward. He hopes that I have been very blessed in life and regrets he may have been a poor example of our Catholic faith. Honestly, I felt he had acted decently and we only dated for a month so it was something I easily moved on from.

Especially after reading your recent posts, I am aware that I should tread carefully when communicating with an ex-boyfriend who is now married. I realize it is a good thing to want to make amends for past mistakes and that he is a prayerful person and God may be working in his life to prompt him to contact me. However, I also know that marriages are delicate and sacred and I am respectful of that. I was thinking of asking him what prompted him to contact me now and whether his wife is aware of it. Any other advice?

Contacted By Married Man

Dear Contacted By Married Man,

Okay, St. Ignatius of Loyola said that whenever we were confused by someone's theological position, we must first make the most charitable assumption and ask further questions before branding our interlocuter a big nasty heretic.

So I will honour St. Ignatius long enough to say that perhaps Mr Married Man really really really feels that it will help his Christian faith and perhaps also his Catholic marriage to contact a woman he used to date and go over the good old days when he was such a wicked thing, breaking up with poor little you and all. Never mind that you might not have given him a second's thought in seven years. Ooooh, seven years. What does that remind me of?

My advice is to ignore his last email and all future emails. He's done what he says he's set out to do--make amends for what he feels were past wrongs--and so that's enough from Mr. Married Man. If he needs more spiritual thrills, he can get them through apologizing to his wife for whatever poor examples he's been setting for her lately. I'm sure there must be something. Like sending deeply personal emails to ex-flames, for example.

Incidentally, as you don't remember his acting particularly badly--and your dating relationship was only a month long--it is clear to me that this sudden bout of nostalgia has little to do with you and your eight-years-dead relationship. There is something going on with him, now. I don't know what it is, but I am sure Nice Catholic Men get just as bored of ordinary daily life as other men, and have periods of sighing over their yearbook photographs and googling up old flames in a nostalgic way. It's just human.

Human, but dangerous. So don't give Mr. Married Man any encouragement whatsoever. Also, as a favour to him and his wife, don't share news of his emails with mutual acquaintances or, for heaven's sake, his wife. My guess is that it's just a blip, and no matter what it is actually all about, he probably thinks it's all about being a better Catholic.

I do not have a direct phone line to heaven, but I cannot think of a single reason why God would prompt a married man with children to email a single woman he used to date right out of the blue and carry on a meaningful spiritual correspondence about himself with her. Unless, of course, you're Sister Joan Chittister or some other celebrity nun.

Hope this is helpful!

Grace and peace,

1 comment:

Alisha said...

It's difficult to know people's hearts...sometimes people may be behaving or thinking of us in terrible ways and we're not aware of it though they think we might be. It's possible he had an honest twinge of conscience, and I wouldn't ignore that. You can still honour the good intentions (if you are, in fact, making the most charitable assumption) and say "I appreciate that you were concerned enough to get in touch with me, but, in my memory, you acted decently and did not cause me any trouble so no need to revisit anything - be at peace! All the best to you and your wife!"

I think this is a decent, charitable response, that doesn't invite any further conversation - and if he were to try to continue a conversation at that point, I would think it more prudent to ignore it.