friendship divorced

Can there be an intimate friendship between a single man and a divorced woman?

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Can one fall in love with a divorced person (but married by the sacrament of the Church)? Could this be authentic love or is it only a sentimental illusion? In the case I am raising the following conditions are given: a) there is no sexual desire towards the other person; b) there is no intention to marry outside the Church, c) kissing and caressing would be excluded from the relationship. Could they be “intimate” friends feeling a special affection towards each other without committing a sin?


Marital fidelity is not limited to the sphere of sexuality but begins with the sentimental or affective sphere. Not only the married person’s body but also his or her heart belongs to his or her spouse and cannot be given to another. For this reason, it is clear that a person who is civilly divorced (and therefore still united before God to his or her spouse) cannot give his or her intimate feelings to any other person. The friendship that is licit between people who are in the state described above is very different from falling in love. For these people, friendship is licit as long as it is not the occasion of “falling in love”. But can friendship and intimate affection between an unmarried man and a married woman not border on falling in love? There is a saying that goes: “between a female saint and a male saint (santa y santo) there is a wall of lime and stone” and also: “a man is fire, a woman is cloth; the devil comes and blows[1]. Through friendships disguised as “holy”, many a crashing fall has begun. We can recall the wise adage attributed to St. Augustine: 


Amor spiritualis generat affectuosum, Affectuosus obsequiosum, Obsequiosus familiarem, Familiaris carnalem“:

Spiritual love engenders affective love, Affective love engenders obsequious love, Obsequious love engenders familiar love, and Familiar love engenders carnal love.


[1] Spanish original: “el hombre es fuego, la mujer estopa; viene el diablo y sopla

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