I have a question that is tough for me to come to conclusion on. I hope you can reply after careful consideration, but in somewhat of a timely fashion. I am dating a woman who has divorced her husband. Initially, she did not tell me why and over time she revealed that her ex-husband was drinking alcohol, using drugs, and other belligerent behavior. In addition to this, she found out he had been using "online dating websites" and "singles websites" and the like. She states she confronted him about it, and he denied cheating on her; she still filed for a divorce. It took a longer amount of time than I thought it would to coax that much information out of her. I have developed feelings for her, and I recognize that we could have a very harmonious relationship together.
I'm not a devoutly religious person anymore, particularly because of "brow-beating" preachers preaching "hell-fire and brimstone" messages to induce copious amount of guilt and shame; however, with this particular instance I don't want to make a decision that I can't undo or back out of (i.e. get married), later on down the road in life, since I do want a family after I finish my education.
An accusation doesn't make something true. While I'm not going to say a person needs to have caught the adulterer in bed, the evidence ought to be at least likely. I'm concerned that her reluctance means that either she wasn't positive, or more likely that she had a contributing role in the ending of her marriage that she doesn't want to discuss. Remember that she freely chose her first husband and she didn't demonstrate much character in her choice. I would not recommend pursuing this relationship unless you have credible evidence that the marriage ended in part because her husband was committing adultery. Even then, I would suggest taking a long time to get to know her (at least a year or more) before committing yourself to marriage. If you find that too long of a time, then find someone else.
Thank you for your guidance concerning the previous matter. I have "no credible evidence" as you put it, but I know that she told me she tried her best for the entire time they were married. I think you and I both know that a proper marriage shouldn't consist of one of the members drinking and abusing illicit substances, which I'm told he hid from her until close to the end of their marriage since she was very clear before their marriage that she would not tolerate any illegal activity in her home.
If you honestly think that I need to discontinue this relationship, then I also have a feeling that this will be a difficult confrontation to make due to the emotional grieving process to follow since we have been talking for a little over a year already. I want to do it a respectful manner since I entered the relationship telling her that I try to have an open mind and that I would not be judgmental of her; however, what needs to be done in order to ensure my responsibility to my soul and spiritual well-being is cognitively the most important thing to me, but emotionally it truly breaks my heart. I don't know how to approach this upcoming situation with tact, nor do I want to do it in a cold-hearted manner. For this, I ask for your suggestions again. I also don't know if I should end the relationship before Christmas or wait until after.
The question is not whether she had the right to end an abusive relationship. The question is whether being divorce, does she have the right to marry again. I can only state that a person who divorced for adultery as being one of the reasons has a right to remarriage. Going off your statement that she only had suspicions that he was looking for another woman and not that he had actually committed adultery doesn't give me confidence. Your mention that this was reluctantly mentioned also doesn't help matters. I cannot tell you that the relationship must end because I can't tell you for certainty that you can't marry her.
My advice is you become more certain of the matter before committing yourself; otherwise, you will be doubting yourself for years. It might take talking to her ex-husband or one of his close friends. But the time to become certain that she has the right to marry is now, not after you say, "I do."
Thank you for taking time to discuss these matters with me. I have read many of the questions and answers pertaining to this subject on your website, including the Scriptures cited within them. After further conversation with her, I have learned that she discovered his having memberships in those online dating sites on the computer they shared, and I believe that those physical acts of actively seeking other women on those dating websites instead of remaining devoted to his wife was evidence that he was actively thinking and seeking an adulterous relationship. Furthermore, he was making public posts on social networks of dating other women before his marriage to her was technically over. I remember a verse in Proverbs 23:7 stating in part "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he..." as well as the story in John 8 of Jesus forgiving a woman accused of adultery in response to the scribes and Pharisees seeking to test him.
I certainly agree with you about becoming more certain about the situation, which will take time because I don't know of many women that would want to be willing to admit that they were no longer wanted by their husband. That can be a very painful thing to experience, much less admit to another person considering the impact it would have on one's self-esteem and self-image. I truly appreciate your taking time to talk with me on these matters and I hope that you will continue to "keep the door open" should I learn of more pertinent details.
Thank you and best regards in your ministry.