I don't think "none of your business" translates well into Catholic
June 20, 2012 5:27 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the process of applying for an annulment to my marriage in the Catholic church, and am already feeling incredibly violated and offended by what the tribunal wants to know in order to pass judgement. Help me figure out if I want to suck it up and proceed.

When I got engaged at 20, my parents were the only ones who cared that it be a proper Catholic wedding - I'm not particularly religious, neither were my fiancee or his family. I think of it more as family tradition than anything spiritually meaningful in my life. But to make my folks happy, we got married in a church. Fast forward about a decade - I've been officially divorced for over 4 years now. It was a dreadful experience I'd just prefer to let go and not think of again. I have zero contact with anyone from that period in my life besides my own family.

I've been dating a wonderful guy R for 1.75 years now, we are pretty solid together. He recently converted to Catholicism. He came into the fold via his roommate S and S's circle of friends from the catholic youth organization, who are now dear friends of R's too. Though his friends are very strict religious types, he's a lot more liberal about it, and I agree with his personal views. I actually like going to church with him because it's familiar, friendly, and I find the singing and ritual meditative. He likes that i go with him and am supportive of this aspect of his life. He's still a fair bit more religious than i am, but it's a level I'm comfortable with. I am indignant at the idea of very traditional Catholic values being imposed upon me though, which has resulted in my having issues with his best friend S a few times, and now with this annulment business.

R and I see our relationship lasting for the long haul. Knowing he'd like to eventually seal the deal in a Catholic church, I have been looking into getting an annulment. The Catholic church doesn't recognize divorce, if I want to get married in the church again I need to have a tribunal review my case and judge whether they will grant an annulment.

To even get the info to begin an annulment, i had to be interviewed by a staff member at the Catholic Family Services Centre so she could decide whether I had a case. She asked every last detail up front and basically gave the impression a) she is holding this in confidence so why should I hold back? that's not helping your case to hold back and b) she might not even let me try unless she was really convinced I would have a solid case. Since I need to prove it was never a real marriage to begin with, I must submit a written testimony of all the sordid details of the marriage. I also have to provide them with my ex's contact info, and 3 consenting witnesses, so they will all be interviewed too. Preferably these witnesses will be from both sides to make a stronger case. It will take 18 months or longer, and they will charge me $800 to cover *part* of the expense.

Reading through the application package, the whole process just leaves me sour and offended because it is far more prying than I feel is necessary. Beyond my recounting all the miserable, despairing details of my failed relationship, which will be judged by a tribunal as valid or not. They're even asking for personal information on our present circumstances that I don't feel pertains to the former marriage, so it's none of their beeswax. The other problem is that most of my marriage problems were hidden from others, so no one knew. Witnesses won't really help. It all feels worse than having a room full of strangers peek in on my pelvic exam, it's literally going through the divorce a second time. I feel like if it was just the money, ok. Or just the invasiveness, well maybe. But together it feels insulting, taking advantage, punishing, vengeful for not taking my marriage seriously.

Yes I've talked to my bf about this, and he says if it upsets me this much then maybe we shouldn't worry about it. Part of me is relieved because I don't particularly look forward to getting married in the Catholic faith again, especially with his mega-catholic friends possibly getting involved - we've been to at least 10 weddings in the last 2 years heavy on the religion and I've found them all rather uncomfortable. That's a bridge we'd cross when we get there though. I don't really care about having a wedding at all, I've already done that. I'd rather let R decide what he wants to do since it's his first wedding, and he said he wants this option to be open for us when the time comes. It's just not a small thing to ask of me.

I react strongly to things I'm morally opposed to, but in some ways this shouldn't be that big of a deal and I know it. I wish I could not care about my privacy being invaded by a bunch of strangers, and their dragging other people into it too. It feels like a sacrifice I should be willing to make for my current bf, to show good will. But I'm very torn and I need your input to decide whether I can actually go through this or not. Am I blowing it out of proportion? Do I suck it up and proceed, and make this sacrifice for my boyfriend? Has anyone gone through the annulment process and can tell me what it was like?
posted by anonymous to Religion & Philosophy (27 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You don't want a Catholic wedding, or a wedding at all.

Your boyfriend (not, not fiancee!) is currently indicating he doesn't care if you two have a Catholic wedding.

Why are you considering preemptively preparing for a wedding that neither of you has a desire to go through with right now?

At the very least, this can wait until he actually proposes to you.
posted by saeculorum at 5:32 PM on June 20, 2012 [22 favorites]

He already told you that he doesn't want you to worry about it if it's going to be this painful. Moreover, I'm worried that it would be easy to hold it against him in retrospect.

So I would tell him how much it's sucking, and why, and get his buy-in on backing out.
posted by ftm at 5:34 PM on June 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

With the caveat that I have no direct experience of this - only knowledge of several relatives who've gotten annulments, in one diocese that may or may not be representative - the annulment process as I've understood it is pro forma. My now-aunt had an 18-year marriage that produced two children annulled. They asked her the same invasive questions you're being asked, she answered them to the best of her ability, they gave her a little hassle and, voila, a year or so later she had never been married at all.

That said, your post speaks more broadly to a lack of comfort with religion playing this big of a role in your life. If your boyfriend is telling you not to worry about it, I think you should believe him.
posted by downing street memo at 5:34 PM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Am I blowing it out of proportion?

No, I don't think so. It feels invasive because, well, it is invasive.

Do I suck it up and proceed, and make this sacrifice for my boyfriend?

I would point out several things here for you to consider:

1) "suck it up and proceed" is pretty negative language to use toward yourself; you're treating your feelings and needs with a lot more contempt and a sense of punitiveness than I think they deserve. Why do you think that is?

2) Your boyfriend doesn't actually seem to want you to make this sacrifice in the first place. What is driving your sense that you should do it anyway?

3) You guys aren't even engaged. Why put the cart before the horse.
posted by scody at 5:35 PM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

That's a bridge we'd cross when we get there though.

Honestly, both of you should be aware of that bridge and decide how you're going to cross it now. Talk it out, so that there are no surprises later. You're clearly uncomfortable with a Catholic wedding and marriage and he's clearly looking forward to it, despite him saying it's not a big deal. His friends are clearly expecting a Catholic wedding. He almost surely would like one, seeing as he's more religious than you.

Ya'll really need to work this out before getting engaged.

As to the annulment proceedings, it sounds like you'll hate and resent it. That's not a good way to start off a marriage.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:37 PM on June 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

First, I think you should get a second opinion (if possible) or ask to speak to someone who's been through the annulment process in your diocese before deciding whether to proceed. How difficult the process is can depend on the diocese.

Second, I'm Catholic, and, look, one of the biggest arguments in favor of no-fault (civil) divorce is that it dramatically protects abused women. When women who are victims of abuse can seek a divorce without having to assign fault or go through the fault process, they are more likely to seek the divorce and more likely to get it safely because it doesn't as directly affront a man who's already abusive and controlling. I'm well-aware that there are many divorced-but-not-annulled women in the Catholic Church who can't face an annulment both because it's cruel to force someone to go through that a second time (having gotten up the courage to go through it once!) and because you can't (as far as I'm aware) get an annulment without contacting the ex-spouse as well. Which is to say, as a Catholic, I don't give a rat's ass if someone is divorced. If you are divorced and did not seek an annulment, I assume there is a good reason, and I further assume that if you (or your spouse) are serious enough about your faith to be attending church after going through a divorce (given how rude people can be about the fact that you're divorced), that your reasons are between you and God.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:43 PM on June 20, 2012 [13 favorites]

(Third, I have a really good story about an annulment after one of the spouses was struck by lightning, if you want to memail me.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:44 PM on June 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think it is interesting how you've described your divorce - you seem, to me at least, to be wanting to distance yourself from that part of your life. You want nothing to do with that time period and you'd like to move on. You don't want to be associated with that place.

Now, the church annulment process (I'm not Catholic, nor received an annulment) seems to be doing exactly what you're trying not to do - examine your divorce. You're trying not to have that in your life and, for the annulment to go in the way you've been told, you have to dig up that how period of life. And why would you want to go through that? It sounds traumatic, stressful, and a just plain terrible experience for you - why relive it?

And I think you might be reliving it as you began looking at this process which instantly brought back your past into your present. And that's terrifying. I think the question for you isn't whether you should do this for your boyfriend (with his new found catholicism, he's going to be a religious zealot no matter how cool he is or laid back - and he probably doesn't realize that at the moment but it's normal and can be fine), but rather, are you willing to go back into that period of your life and work through it. If not (and it's perfectly okay if you're not!), then don't. Just enjoy your life now and the distance you're putting between yourselves and your past. If, however, you do think you want to go through that - to travel back into that place for your own benefit - then maybe it would be better to do that with someone before the annulment process goes forward. It's possible that the process has a pastoral/spiritual care element to it which might help, but a priest, spiritual leader, or a therapist might help you begin the process of untangling this period in your life. The reason why I throw in a priest/spiritual leader is because there are religious elements involved here and they might be able to help with that.
posted by Stynxno at 5:49 PM on June 20, 2012

Well, I wouldn't do it, because the idea that the church can make a marriage never have happened is one of the most offensive parts of Catholicism, IMO. My (raised very conservative Catholic) parents divorced after 23 years, and probably could have gotten an annulment, because my mom is gay. However, I was very very glad my Dad did not pursue this when he got remarried to my Catholic stepmom. They did what all good Catholics in my hometown do -- they got married by the liberal Methodists down the street, and went right back to their normal parish as a married couple. He plays guitar at Sunday mass, she translates the priest's sermon into Spanish for the Spanish language mass. No one ever says a thing.

Unless your boyfriend and his social circle are truly conservative Catholics, I think you should take him at his word. Find another Christian church and design a simple, devout, ecumenical service. If that means his friends have to go to church again on the same day to have communion (a big deal with my extended relatives when we got married without a full mass), oh well. We just smiled sympathetically when people complained and didn't respond.
posted by Malla at 5:51 PM on June 20, 2012 [23 favorites]

Agreeing with Malla - you may be able to find a more liberal Catholic Church that would be willing to perform the ceremony. I went to Catholic school and were surprised at the number of priests that would preach contradictory messages from the same reading of the Bible, but they were all Catholic.

For my Confirmation I was not told by several priests I was not allowed to choose a sponsor that was divorced. However almost everyone in my family is divorce. I chose my divorced aunt and simply went to the liberal priest that didn't bother with the "silly" questions. Are they a good person? Yes. Is there a legal impediment? No. Then let's proceed.

Honestly an annulment is incredibly difficult to obtain - it doesn't matter if you saw it as a real marriage or not, the Church needs to recognize it as a real marriage, and if it was consummated and neither of your are related it will be pretty difficult to convince them otherwise. Not impossible, but difficult.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 5:58 PM on June 20, 2012

Yes I've talked to my bf about this, and he says if it upsets me this much then maybe we shouldn't worry about it.

Your boyfriend is right.

From everything you say, it sounds like the religious stuff doesn't really matter that much to you, and being unable to marry in the Church wouldn't be a dealbreaker for your boyfriend, either.

This sounds really invasive and judgy and dogmatic and basically everything that modern people tend to distrust about organized religion.

So why not just give yourself permission not to go through with this?
posted by Sara C. at 6:02 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would wonder if your bf is going to remain as enamored of Catholicism once he is a bit more distant from the influence of those particular friends. If he is considerably more devout than you are and continues to become more so, this might be a problem.

The present efforts by the church, for example to oppose employer provided plans that include birth control, is very out of tune with the thinking of most Catholics. This is very patriarchal and regressive but the piety and power appeals to some men. Just make sure your guy is not turned on by the certainty of all that pontification because it tends to disempower women and you might not like such an unequal relationship after a while. If you have had run-ins with his friends already about this, let it at least give you pause and have a good long discussion with your bf about how much loss of bodily autonomy and judgment you actually believe is right.

I went through this as a young woman and the first application ended with the official telling me there was nothing to be done but "pray for a happy death." It struck me as extremely cynical and unfeeling at the time. In the neighboring state, where my fiance lived and his family had some influence, the application was routed by the parish to the bishop's official who handles such canonical matters. He explained that because my first husband had not been baptized (and I had, although not as a Catholic) this was a case of an unequal marriage unrecognized by the church. This was a long time ago, so things might have changed. At least there are certain reasons why a marriage in the Church can be annulled. It's not just a matter of the interviewer assessing the quality of the marriage or something but the need to find a ruling or canon law which justifies the annulment.

LIke most things, it probably still matters how far up the chain of command you can go. And like most things, people tend to change over time--if you have found yourself less fond of religion even though you go to Church with him, and he is very gung-ho, that might be a bit of a caution flag because the Catholic Church shows little or no sign of relaxing their views in these matters.

Please do take seriously your reaction to the probing questioning of this process. If it is repugnant to you now, you might not really be able to embrace this religious requirement being imposed. Have a serious and full discussion with your bf. Whatever you do, I wish you well and hope you can find a way for both of you to develop in this happy relationship which doesn't at the same time violate your sense of self and of propriety.
posted by Anitanola at 6:21 PM on June 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

My parents were married in the Catholic church, divorced, and met other people who also had been married in the church and subsequently divorced. So, three annulments would have been required in order for my parents to marry my stepparents. They got part-way into the process and were all "hell no," especially because it would have made me and my step-sisters "bastards."

My mom and stepdad got married in a Protestant church but knew a priest who was willing to unofficially co-officiate with the pastor. My dad and stepmom got married in a restaurant by a judge but a priest did a reading.

My point is that it's not necessarily a binary thing - Catholic involvement or no Catholic involvement. If you're not comfortable with the annulment, but you or your boyfriend want some religious aspect of it, talk to some more liberal priests. It won't be official in the eyes of the Church, but it doesn't seem like that's a priority for either of you.
posted by desjardins at 6:41 PM on June 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Just to clarify, an annulment doesn't actually mean the marriage "never happened" in the sense of a memory eraser ray; it means it wasn't valid at its formation, so it didn't exist, in the way an invalid contract wasn't actually a contract. Also, annulments don't render children illegitimate, which is like not even a thing anymore, since just about everything to do with "legitimacy" of children is now a civil matter (inheritance rights, health care rights), and in most places in the U.S. you're on the hook for supporting your children no matter what the status of your relationship with their other parent is. (I can't think of a darn thing that "legitimacy" would matter for in the U.S. Catholic Church anyway, and a quick glance at canon law didn't turn anything up.) Even in really conservative dioceses and even with older priests, it's pretty unusual to hear the language of "legitimacy" used w/r/t children (including those born of adultery), and I've certainly never heard it used w/r/t an annulled marriage.

Canon 1137 is the specific canon law citation that says children of putative (apparently valid at the time, but legally invalid for some reason) marriages are legitimate. Illegitimacy used to be a (potential) bar to priesthood (that was routinely given dispensation), but the 1983 code removed this.

I was going to joke that it might still matter if you were attempting to inherit the throne of the UK, but of course A CATHOLIC CAN'T because of that whole thing in the first place.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:10 PM on June 20, 2012 [7 favorites]

especially because it would have made me and my step-sisters "bastards."

It actually wouldn't. That is covered in great detail in canon law. Not to question your parents' decision, which sounds like the right one for them, it's just that this is a persistent urban legend about annulment.

(To give a thumbnail sketch of how this is finessed, the annulment declares that a sacramental marriage never happened, not that a legal marriage never happened. There is no such thing as sacramental legitimacy or illegitimacy when it comes to the children of a marriage, so the children's legal status as legitimate remains intact. It sounds like your parents had poor canon lawyers, maybe, if they didn't explain that?)

knew a priest who was willing to unofficially co-officiate with the pastor

Yes, fabulous idea! This varies from diocese to diocese, but in many dioceses priests can easily get dispensation to concelebrate at a Protestant wedding, in case you or your bf want to have a favorite priest participate even if you don't have a Catholic wedding.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:11 PM on June 20, 2012

An annulment means that the marriage contract was invalid at the time of marriage for reasons that existed prior to the marriage. what happened after the marriage is not all that relevant except to buttress what happened before. A person can not be able to enter into a valid marriage for many reasons. the most common are they were too immature and did not understand what they were getting themselves in for or one of the parties was psychologically compromised to a significant degree. For example, severe personality disorder, untreated trauma, alcoholism, no intention to have children or be faithful, gross immaturity. It is not a formality but is taken quite seriously by reviewers. No one except the reviewers is able to see what was said and it is very confidential. It is a legal proceeding under Catholic Canon Law and the testimony of the parties is the basis of the decision in large part. The witnesses can help reviewers better understand the circumstances and personalities. It is not meant to be an intrusive process but one where someone wants an annulment for a variety of reasons and so they approach the diocese for the annulment. An applicant has to meet the criteria set out in Canon Law to obtain an annulment and in many cases they do not. If you or partner wish to marry in the Church then it is worth the time and trouble if you can freely duscyss your life history and that of the person you married. If not, then why bother.
posted by madstop1 at 7:39 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

My father recently took statements from witnesses in an annulment for a man in their parish. He told me a lot about it--not the personal details! not a single one--but a lot about the process and his feelings about it. To me it sounded incredibly invasive and horrible and nothing I could imagine doing. The man wasn't even a Catholic yet (or was a very newly baptized Catholic, I can't remember), his ex wasn't Catholic and neither was the marriage. (That the Church recognized that marriage as an actual marriage seemed surprisingly enlightened to me, and an unfortunate inconvenience.)

Anyway, I can ask him if he would be willing to answer any questions for you (with the caveat that different diocese will be different). Memail me if you'd like.
posted by looli at 7:46 PM on June 20, 2012

[Folks? Please answer the OPs question and don't turn this into a space to rant. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:30 PM on June 20, 2012

First, I'd like to say that I'm going through this process myself, except I'm applying on the basis of non-canonical marriage. It's...definitely a doozy. Memail me if you want to vent, ever.

If your boyfriend wants a Church wedding, and you don't want to go through the process for the annulment, this is something that could eventually come up as a problem. However, you say that it is both the money /and/ the invasiveness that you find disturbing. What about having your boyfriend pay for it, since he's the one who wants a Catholic marriage? This way you're only dealing with one negative portion, the questions.

The thing to remember when it comes to this is that this is not designed to make your life hard, and the Catholic church totally has no idea how invasive it is in some ways. They're probably thinking you've told all of this to your priest, and writing it down is just for the annulling authority to see what's going on at a local level.
posted by corb at 8:45 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Why are you torturing yourself over something that you don't want, that is not consistent with your religious views, that offends you, and is of unclear value?

You don't want traditional Catholic values imposed upon you. Don't pay the church actual money for the privilege of doing just that!
posted by desuetude at 9:02 PM on June 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

Your boyfriend hasn't demanded this of you. He's been perfectly gracious and generous in saying that he didn't want you to go through this pain for him. This is a nice gesture. Accept it in the spirit it was given.

(And no of course you aren't overreacting. It sounds like a ghastly pain in the ass, and if you don't believe in the spiritual authority of the tribunal, the process is not only unpleasant but dishonest.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:15 PM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have been through this process. For me, it was with a very conservative diocese in the US. Nothing like explaining to a seventy year old priest how many women your ex husband was scoring with on the side in the lead up to the wedding to make your day.

Having said that, my advice would be to shop around for an advisor you are comfortable with. My first appt was with a seemingly nice middle aged nun who made me feel like a slut who deserved what she got for having premarital sex in the first place. I just could not bring myself to confide in her. I'm glad I kept looking. The priest I ended up with was unexpectedly awesome. For me, writing my statements was actually rather cathartic. I'm not the best Catholic in the world, but I don't think that the church is asking too much in forcing you to examine what went wrong the first time before being willing to marry people a second time. Yes, it is invasive. And I think you should feel free to skip it if you just don't want to do it. But I would suggest talking to a few churches, talk to a few advisors and you might find one you click with and then it isn't so bad.

As for witnesses, mine couldn't say much either, I kept my own counsel. And in fact, my sister took the chance in her statement to skewer me alive. Didn't impact my annulment at all.

Last thing, it took eighteen months start to finish. So if you want it, start it now. Don't wait until you start scheduling the wedding, which they also won't let you do til it is done. Good luck.
posted by supercapitalist at 5:05 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

If this isn't important to YOU, then it isn't important. You and your BF aren't engaged, and frankly I think you have LOT of work to do if you do become engaged.

If you can't be married in a Catholic Church ever again, is that a deal breaker for your BF? Is it for you?

You checked out the process and have decided that you don't want to do it. That should be enough for everyone involved.

At your core, you don't believe that having the annulment will materially change your life. You won't feel better about how that relationship played out. The only thing it does for your is cross some item off of a Church checklist.

Don't think about what this means for your boyfriend, think about what it means for YOU. Only do it, if it's important to you. If it doesn't matter then don't do it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:07 AM on June 21, 2012

The key here is to envision what your future self and spouse will want. I hear both signals of strong desire to participate in the faith as well as some ambivalence. Consider a future where you may want children partake of communion along with children or various other functions where you may be happier with the option of full participation in the Church. You can seek the annulment later but on top of it all you may not like the idea of having your marriage re-affirmed. It is a trivial matter, but what I'm suggesting is that if you think you and your potential spouse will want this done it is likely better now than later.
posted by dgran at 8:46 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Which is to say, as a Catholic, I don't give a rat's ass if someone is divorced.

Neither does the Catholic Church, actually! If you actually were married (and this sacrament can be effected inside or outside the Catholic Church--hence all the questions), there is no such thing as divorce. The Catholic Church only gives a rat's ass when you attempt to marry a second spouse. Bigamy is a sin.

Marriage is a sacrament--a spiritual union of two souls before God. It's more than a mere civil contract. A civil divorce has no effect on the sacrament if it was actually confected. You believe you became unmarried to your ex-husband because of the civil divorce, but the Catholic Church--in order to prevent bigamy--does not recognize divorce as a possibility if the sacrament was actually confected. If you're married, you're married forever. Hence all the questions--did the sacrament of matrimony exist or not?

OP: "But together it feels insulting, taking advantage, punishing, vengeful for not taking my marriage seriously." This begs the question--was there a marriage? The questions stink (and the process isn't intended to be vengeful, though I apologize for any Be-A-Good-Wife-Marriage Police individuals you might encounter in this process--the Church is human, too!), but you're not going through the divorce all over again--you're going through whether you were or were not married all over again. It's a nice distinction, but a crucial one.

Seconding this comment and this comment as great answers. It's a tough process, but it's necessary. Do it now so you don't have to do it later should you want to do it later--you're starting your new life out on the right foot, with certainty that your relationship bears the mark of a sacrament, a vehicle God gives us as a channel for grace. You might think that's all bullshit now, but your bf probably doesn't--besides, people change--and you just might some day.

posted by resurrexit at 9:02 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm RC, and went through the same thing you are going through when my first marriage ended. I looked into annulments a year or so after the divorce. In the end, I decided that what they were asking was too much, so I filed the forms away and that was that. I still go to RC mass weekly, and 10 years after my divorce I remarried in a United Church. In a way I was/am a bit saddened that I couldn't have my second marriage recognized by the church, but I really could not go through that process. I don't think you are blowing it out of proportion. I can understand why you would be looking into doing this now rather than down the line when you get married. I'm not even sure I could have gone through the process even if I wanted to by the time of my second marriage. I have no way of contacting my ex, and with so much time gone by it would be hard to answer a lot of those questions. To tell the truth, the entire thing soured me on church weddings as well. If your boyfriend is understanding and supportive, then he will support you on not wanting to go through this. It is not a small or easy thing, and an unwillingness to go through an annulment has no reflection on your current relationship or how you value marriage.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:35 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does your boyfriend want you to make the sacrifice for him? Based on what you've said maybe he would be fine to find a priest who is happy to co-officiate.

Maybe try having the conversation with him again. I think you need to know exactly how important it is to him. Obviously if he would consider it a big sacrifice not to get married in a Catholic church you still don't have to go through with getting an annulment, the whole process sounds awful, but it would probably be a different kind of decision than if it was actually just a preference of his that he could overlook.

I don't think that it 'shouldn't be a big deal' though. It sounds really upsetting and will probably have a negative impact on your mood and happiness while you are going through it. You need to take that seriously because acknowledging that is part of the decision process.
posted by Laura_J at 2:44 PM on June 21, 2012

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