Addressing morals with my girlfriend

This might be a long post, but I’ll try to compress as much as I can.

Background: I have been in a long distance relationship for about 8 months with a woman who is very compatible with me in so many ways. She is sweet, loving, and is a calm presence in my life, but our differences in sexual morality are causing a strain. See, she was baptized Catholic at 8, but it was a decision her parents left up to her. She wasn’t brought up taught about the faith and received no other sacraments. So, it’s understandable she’d have a very secular view on sexual ethics.

We have talked about it, because we’re getting closer and it’s unavoidable. So these issues definitely need to be sorted out. I have told her that I don’t want to do certain things that would be sinful in the context of dating and even in marriage if it happened. It makes me sad because it seems like all I do is say, “I can’t do this, I can’t do that” and she, to her credit, has been flexible while I can’t really make compromises.

Lately, things have been going south. When I explain my faith, my beliefs, I hurt her because I get so defensive. I don’t want to do that. I love her, but I still want to be true to my faith. How can I find a balance in the way I present my views? Because of all the objections I raise, I fear that she thinks I am not attracted to her, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

So here’s the thing. I am working on an email to tell her my thoughts on some pretty important issues like sex before marriage, contraception, etc. Yes, I know it’s only been 8 months, but I think it’s best to address marriage issues right now instead of later. I have a feeling contraception is going to be the biggest issue, as she seems pretty set in stone that she would only ever use the pill (she takes it for irregular periods right now).

Now, I am under the understanding that it’s okay to have relations and use the pill for therapeutic reasons in marriage AS LONG as the intent is not contraceptive (correct me if I’m wrong). But sadly, even if she didn’t need the pill for her symptoms, I’m sure she’d still use it as contraception. In this email, I am trying to tell her of the health concerns of using the pill and trying to paint natural family planning in a positive light.

But well, since she does have irregular periods, I understand NFP would be more difficult. And if we wanted to have sex while choosing to avoid pregnancy using NFP, we’d likely not have many days in which we could, which I know is something she really doesn’t like.

Ok, now to the point of this post. How can I be as charitable as possible in presenting these views? Has anyone gone through a similar situation? Any advice? I know that I can’t change her mind. It would take an act of God in her heart. I really do love her, and while I don’t want to break up, it may have to happen. But first, I just want her to know where I stand in a loving way.

You can tell her something like this.

*I am a practicing Catholic. My Catholic faith is very important to me. I believe everything that the Church teaches, especially in matters of morality. Chastity is very important to me, not just now but in the future if we were to get married.
*
If she doesn’t agree to respect your faith, then you need to look for someone else.

Doesn’t sound like you are all that compatible. What the previous posted suggested is concise an true.
If she gets upset, then she’s not the one.
You may be disappointed, but better to find out now, than to argue about having children or various other issues if you were to marry her.
Good luck!

Thank you for choosing the chaste road, I know it may be hard, but I have heard that it is worth it!

Anyway to address your issues, I wouldn’t do it through an email, I would tell her face to face. Things can often be mistranslated via the internet or texting. Talking to her face to face will allow her to hear the tone of your voice and her not think that you are being judgmental when in fact you’re trying to be caring.

About telling her about your view on sexual relations, just tell her flat out. Just explain to her in a nice way that you don’t want to go there until you are married. If she truly respects you and your relationship she will understand.

If not, then I would say move on.

Good luck!

I am wondering if you have met this person “in person.” If not, you are long overdue. People lie, and fudge al the time on the Internet. I don’t have really good advice. I do not put a lot of “faith” in long distance relationships. Sometimes they work, but more often than not the person(s) involved are not happy campers. To me, Internet Romance is like a painting on the wall entitled “Love in the Abstract” waiting some one to turn the canvas upside down and render a visual value for the painter or beholder.

It sound as if she is not interested in having a family, so I would consider very carefully, esp. as you do not see eye to eye on certain Catholic values and teachings. My guess is that you should really consider if this a person that you want to spend the next 40 to 50 years with. Then what do I know; I’ve never been married. I will pray for you and that everything works according to His will.

Here is the thing about NFP.

It’s not an easy road to travel…even with a married couple who are totally committed to both each other and to the Catholic faith and have “regular” periods.
Believe me…my husband and I know this.

Trying to do NFP with a non-practicing spouse who isn’t on board with NFP is even harder. Doing this with a woman who is the non-believer?
Down right impossible…imho.

If you know she only wants to use contraception…you won’t have much (if any luck) convincing her to use NFP instead.
She has to want to go down that road…on her own time…and you’ll have to accept whatever decision she makes.
NFP would be an even harder sell to a woman who has irregular periods and especially one who isn’t on board with the faith in it’s entirety.

Hi and welcome! I’m glad you’re here asking questions!

The purpose of dating is to find a life partner. A practicing Catholic will strengthen and build your faith up as you walk together and face difficulties together. Someone with a worldly view on life will constantly be wrestling with you.

Luke 6:47-49 New International Version (NIV)

47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

It’s not smart to give your heart to someone, then try to make them follow Catholic teaching. You’ve put the cart before the horse my friend! You are building your future marriage on sandy soil if you marry a worldly person.

For a practicing Catholic, wisdom says to find out on the first date if the person is a practicing Catholic or not. 1) No point in wasting each other’s time and 2) it’s kind and respectful to break it off early. 3) If you get emotionally involved, it gets even harder to break off a bad choice in a spouse.

May God guide and keep you close!

Yes. And if you have never met…she’s not even a girlfriend in the strictest terms.
She’s a girl, she’s a friend. But until you have a face to face relationship for at least a few months…she’s not a girlfriend.
Try to have this conversation face to face as someone suggested.
I met my husband online, but it was Catholic site. Online “dating” is like testing the waters.
You might meet someone with the same faith and values, and then you can take it face to face from there. Even on Catholic sites though, I’ve met plenty of guys looking for a one night stand. :frowning:
Good luck.

Thank you all for responding! I truly appreciate your advice on this matter. It’s a shame we don’t see eye to eye on matters of morality, but I suppose that is life. I have a small request to make for anyone who sees this post. Would you mind praying for my girlfriend and I? I think we both need the prayers.

Of course. But you never said…have you met yet?

No, we have not met yet in person. The distance is well…let’s just say far. I understand a lot of people are skeptical of long distance relationships and for good reason. In this case, though, I know I’m not being “catfished” or anything like that.

If, by some miracle, things are able to work out, I would travel to see her. But, you know, we have much to discuss. If we must break up, it’s better now than later on down the road. I feel very attached to her so this won’t be easy if it’s the course to take. And thanks for praying for us!

I met my husband who lived in Ireland while I live in the SE United States. We conversed via internet and phone calls nightly for 2 years. before I travelled to meet him on a buddy pass.
BUT…we were on the same page all along. And, we’re not exactly kids. I was a widow, and he knew I had 2 daughters at home, he had never been married. No annulment or baby mama drama. :wink:
I hope it goes well for you.

modem - you need to spend actual time with this woman before you even attempt to talk about sexual mores and chastity. I don’t want to be Debbie Downer, but calling someone your girlfriend or boyfriend when you have not met face to face is absurd. You appear to be a very thoughtful and faithful person so I’m sure you have thought these same things yourself. May I ask how old you are? I will be praying for you.:slight_smile:

I am so happy to hear that your relationship worked out. And how nice that you were both on the same page, too! Long distance relationships can be difficult, but they can work out. I imagine how excited you two must have been to finally meet in person. It must have been amazing! And thank you!

It has occurred to me to wait to bring these topics up, but somehow we got to these topics in our conversations. And now that the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, I don’t see a way of putting off this important conversation for later on. I also promised her I would tell her my views. It’s a rough situation for sure.

I am 23 years old and thank you so much for your prayers! Trust me, I really need them.

It doesn’t have to be a rough situation. If she’s a thoughtful girl, you may impress her with your moral fortitude.
Just because she has been exposed to some secular views, doesn’t mean she’s totally on board. I’d wait and see. you won’t know until you know.
But again, better to find out early on, rather then after you’re totally committed and smitten.

OP,

Just out of curiosity have you shared any other parts of your Catholic Faith? Especially, the joyful aspects? Perhaps if she understood your commitment to your faith and why, she might be interested in learning more. Jumping right to the sexual aspect of a relationship sounds very secular to me.

I agree with the others about this discussion taking place face to face. But, it may be too soon for that even. Without knowing more about your current relationship, it’s hard to advise.

I’m praying for both of you and feel certain the Holy Spirit will lead you where He wants you to go.

God Bless You.

You know, you bring up a really good point. I get so caught up in making sure she knows what I wouldn’t be comfortable with that I often forget the joyful aspects of faith and why I believe it’s beneficial to live as a Catholic. I don’t know if this conversation will happen face to face, unless through skype if she wants. I suppose, in hindsight, we really should have waited until later to discuss these issues.

I still have some hope that our relationship might work out. She does believe in God and has told me of times she’s felt His presence in her life. She has Catholic friends who are devoted to their faith and has told me they all get along just fine. I don’t know what the future holds, but let me tell you, I really, really appreciate your prayers for us. Thank you so much!

Waiting until later would then mean you would really be attached to each other.
If you are a practicing Catholic, putting your faith to the side while you date is putting Christ to the side. If he is first in your life, that should be clear on the first date.

To spend time with someone, fall in love with them, and then say they aren’t Catholic, what am I supposed to do, is a foolish way to look for a life partner. Build your future on the Rock that is Christ.

Showing the joy of faith has already been mentioned. Then, apart from faith, there’s also hope and charity. And grace. Something perhaps to talk about if she’s willing. If not, probably better not to force her too hard, as you could estrange her. We’re all called to witness, so it’s not like people should be entirely left alone and given up for lost when they don’t initially want to talk, but on the other hand you don’t want to defeat the purpose, either. Maybe get some advice from a missionary priest or one that has a re-evangelization ministry.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.