My wife was unfaithful to me, and it lasted almost a year. After eight years of marriage, I decided to split up with her because, even though I forgave her, she didn’t want to change. Instead, she continued the affair with the other guy.

Now I don’t have anyone, but I’d like to remarry. I live with my two daughters, who are nine and twelve years old…. Would I be failing God if I were to get married again? I want to make it clear that that I was never unfaithful to my wife.

Dear Friend,

We are very sorry about your wife’s unfaithfulness. We know that both you and your daughters have suffered over the disintegration of your family.

We believe that your first priority should be what is best for your daughters. They have been abandoned by your wife, so they need you to be the constant and stable presence in their lives. If you try to divide your affections between them and some new romantic interest, your daughters will probably feel that they have lost the only parent that they have left.

My parents were divorced when I was ten years old. My younger siblings and I were left with our mother, but she was not content without a man in her life. So she started going out and leaving us home alone. She still loved us, but all her energy was directed toward finding romance. So I was left to care for my siblings.

I was steadfastly opposed to my mother bringing a new man into our home. I felt that I had to protect my siblings and that I even needed to protect my mother. But in spite of my feelings, she did remarry, and the remainder of my childhood was more tumultuous than the first half had been. It was a constant “us against him” battle. There was absolutely nothing good about having a stepparent.

A stepparent can be the kindest, most loving person, and still not be accepted by the stepchildren. The children already have all their own hurts and difficulties, and it is not fair to a new person to have to deal with a situation that is so fraught with heartache. Nor is it fair to a new marriage relationship to have so much strain put on it.

We are not saying that it would be a sin for you to remarry. According to Jesus Christ’s teaching, the infidelity of your wife frees you from the vows you made to her.(1) But that does not mean that it would be best for you to remarry.

It is true that many people are too selfish to put their children first. They, like my mother, believe that they deserve to find romantic happiness and that the children will just have to adjust. They will tell you that children are better off with a woman in the house, especially when there are daughters. However, in spite of their advice, we believe that you should put all of your energy and affection into your daughters, and delay any romantic relationship for when they are older.

We wish you well,

1 Mt 5:32