Advice in friendship with someone of the opposite-sex?


#1

Dear everyone,

I am writing to ask for your advice on how I should progress in my friendship with a seminarian. I have discerned my vocation for a few years, and just so recently reached a point where I am at peace and joy with God’s calling for me to become a devoted wife and mother.
Now, there is this friend whom I’ve known for a long time. I’ve had feelings for him years before, but had put aside this friendship to clear off any potential distractions to my religious vocation discernment. Several years later, now that I am certain of my vocation to marriage (unless the mysterious God has other plans for me!), I have re-encountered this old friend and our friendship has become quite deep and intimate over the past few months. The problem is, he just entered the seminary last fall to further discern the priesthood. I try my best to be conscious of his sensitive discernment state, and so refrain from contacting him often and unnecessarily. Our main way of communication is through letter correspondence, which occurs once or twice a month, each time being quite a deep exchange of our hearts regarding our spiritual life.
At first, I thought this to be no problem as long as we maintain our distance and space. However, my friendship love for him has given way to romantic love. And, as I pray more about this friendship, I do not see it prudent to continue a friendship at this depth for the sake of our current respective vocations. I truly esteem and love him as my friend, and have no intention of being a possible distraction to him and his discernment. Since I now have developed a romantic love for him, I am afraid of the possibility that he might, too, and lose his interior freedom to discern God’s will. Perhaps I am simply projecting and being too cautious, but I know that the evil spirit will use any occasion he gets to preclude God’s will.
At the same time, our friendship is not a typical friendship; it is deeper and much more intimate than even ones I share with my closest female companions. Because we are both so mutual in our giving and receiving in this friendship, I do question his intention for this friendship. Yes, I am a little confused, you can say.
So, how should I proceed in this friendship? How should I approach him about our friendship, if I should at all? Thank you so much for your time. God bless you.


#2

I suggest you should give him some space. I would also suggest stop writing him letters. I’m assuming these are hand written letters. Letters are very powerful these days with all the emails and text messages that make up the majority of communication now. Hand written letters seem deeper and more personal now than ever before. I write Confirmation letters to my students with words of encouragement and praise for their spiritual journey and I can tell it impacts them. For his sake switch to email. For your sake stop communicating with him until he is done discerning.


#3

I am so glad that you have the strength and courage to discern issues like this. May God give you the grace and courage to discern the right path! I will pray for you to have wisdom in this matter.

I don’t think I can give you a lot of guidance here, but I did have a few thoughts come to mind when reading your post that I would like to share with you to help in our discernment of this matter.

Remember that chastity is not just physical. What I mean is that we have to have emotional chastity as well as physical chastity. Right now, I would advise you against giving away your heart too soon. As you are both in discernment right now, it would probably be best to stay away from deep, intimate conversations.As Mikeeh said above, maybe switching to a less intimate form of communication would be wise as well. In this way, you help yourself and him remain emotionally pure.

I think friendship is always a good thing. We need friends in the world to challenge us and to help us stay on the good path. Just be careful that your friendship remains emotionally chaste and God filled.

May God bless you today and every day! Keep fighting the good fight!


#4

Yes, give your correspondence with him a break. Six months/nine months/until next Christmas. If he is really your friend, he will understand. If he does have romantic feelings for you, he may not understand right now; but that is all the more reason to take a break.

Develop your friendships with others while you are on this break.


#5

Thank you so much everyone, and forgive me for my quite unwise decisions so far. I needed an outsider perspective to be more objective. Your posts were a confirmation to my discernment. I will heed all of your given advice. God bless you.


#6

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