Another My Boyfriend is Discerning Priesthood Post... :/

Hello All,

I am sure you have seen many like these but now its happened to me. My boyfriend just ended our 3 year relationship last night and I am devastated. First off, I am 27 and he is 31. When we first met and began dating he wasn’t a “full fledged Catholic.” He was in Freemasonry, and did not make his confirmation. After we began dating, which was a lovely romance of flowers, poetry and lots of courting, we talked a lot about marriage and six months later he was confirmed Pentecost 2014.

Anyways, he, Evan Is a very intense person, very intellectual and took St. Augustine for his patron. He did a lot of study and reading to connect with the faith. So we have had some issues in the past, very lustful and giving into temptation and worked so hard to overcome that. And so he has been discerning where his call to the Church life is. For a while he thought maybe the diaconate, which of course I was gung ho about.

Time goes on, and this past year has been tough. There’s just no spark in a lot of ways. I felt I was the one pursuing him, and I’ve told him. I even almost fell for someone else and I felt ashamed and guilty of it. I spoke to my spiritual director for while on that. Several times while in deep prayer I felt so strongly towards Evan and never gave up. But close to 3 years and everyone wants to know where the ring is.

More recently, Evan finally found a spiritual director and things changed. Our arch vocation director changed this year and was able to meet with Evan and then things started to shift. I was so afraid for so long that he would find a spiritual director and then boom here it is he wants to be a priest. I wasn’t searching for the most “intense” catholic or anything because I didn’t think this would be a possibility. But here it is.

I’ve wanted nothing more than to be married and have a family with him. And even up to a couple weeks ago he was asking me why I want to be married, but it felt like interrogation and that none of my reasons sufficed. When I asked about if he even really wanted to get married, his response was something like yea why else would I ask.

Then last night (as you can see im doing my best to give an overview), he comes over so we can talk about whatever and then drops this bombshell on me about how this hurts him and he loves me and he knows he hasn’t been able to give me what I need. And he says he was told by voc dir. that if he applied to the seminary for the fall he thinks evan would get in. So here I start balling my eyes out, and he continues that he’s been praying and fighting against what he wants (marriage, me) and what he think his calling may be. If he doesn’t do this he will be wondering the rest of his life.

So here I am a mess. And he tells me how I am a big part of this, I asked if he ever met me would this have happened and the answer was probably not.

I love the man so deeply. I never felt for anyone the way I had him. And he’s has a few very long relationships and I had unfortunately too many short lived and friends with benefits relationships, so I am not a novice at all this. Each time I found someone I felt like I was closer to living out the relationship God wants and being with the one. And I was truly convinced it was him. I had prayed several times during adoration, during my re-consecration to jesus through mary… it felt so sure, the signs pointed to him, I felt at peace when I asked am I meant to be with Evan.

So here I am… in my one BR alone… back to the way it was before I met him, Except his hand print is on everything… to the play station he gave me, the bike he bought me, all the pictures of us, gifts from Italy, jewelry, clothes, rosaries, my record player and most of my vinyl. He almost bought me a guitar last year… but even to the chapstick I use. I mean so much of him is engrained in my life now… I can’t bear this pain. I don’t want to let him go I am not ready and I cannot accept.

I told him I need to talk to him again because last night was mostly him and then me balling my eyes out. I wasn’t in a state to ask intellectual questions.

So basically, besides comfort I just don’t know what to do. I know to pray. But now I can’t look at priests the same thinking someone I love and who was intimate with at one point, who I know so much about could be up there and one day be my boss (I work in ministry). I don’t feel comfortable with that. And I certainly don’t want to be with anyone else no matter how good looking I think Albanian men are… I want Evan I want him and that’s it no questions.

I know to pray, I know im supposed to accept especially we are all support the priesthood, but please anyone but Evan. I love him. But I can’t let go.

Without getting into specifics, I can tell you from firsthand experience that one of the (many) questions we face in the application process for the Archdiocese is how long it’s been since our last relationship. Not only does it come up in the application packet, but also in the psychological evaluation, where the question manifests itself as an exploratory one. :hmmm:

Not that I’m saying they’re going to deny him, but simply that it’s not as if one can simply decide to switch gears without it being scrutinized carefully. :nerd:

If you want to talk about it further, feel free to PM me. :compcoff:

That’s part of it too though. I don’t really know what they look for.
He has a master in music education, and no formal philosophy and theology background. Hes been a teacher for about 10 years. I don’t know how soon he plans to apply because if they ask him how long since his last relationship it mens we need to be broken up probably at least a year and in that case he may be serious.

These are things I still need to talk to him about. I don’t know if he is discerning and just being open to the call or if hes conpletelt decided this is what he wants.

Its tough because I know love is willing the good of the other. Im a stubborn tough cookie who has been depressed before over bad break ups. But we all know this is a different kind. No one cheated, no one left for someone else. Its different from the outside.

I don’t know what to expect quite frankly except to just keep talking and reasoning with whatever will ease my mind.

Praying for you. Keep praying for God’s will to be done. His will is always what will bring you the most happiness in the long run.

From reading other posts on this topic months ago, I learned that most dioceses make a new convert wait two years before they may apply for the seminary. This is because there is a “honeymoon period” in which a new convert is super excited and emotional about his new faith and wants to share it with everyone. The dioceses want to wait for the candidate to mature in his faith first so he is more sure of what he really wants. He needs to wait the two years for clarity because the initial excitement will probably wear off and then he may see things differently.

You need to focus on yourself and your own healing. Develop or return to some hobbies, see friends, etc. At first when you and a person break up, it seems that he is the only one for you and you will never be as happy again. As time goes by, you may realize that everything that happened had a purpose and turned out for the best. Focus on taking care of yourself. There are other fish in the sea.

Also, do not get intimate with a man before marriage. Not only is it a mortal sin, but it creates an attachment to a person that may cloud your judgement. In other words, you might think because you enjoyed an intimate life together that they you are meant to be married. It sometimes causes a woman to overlook red flags because of their intense longing to be married and have a family. If you can hold off on sex before marriage, you can look at things more objectively and see if the other person is right for you. I am not judging, I know this from experience. Also, I doubt if a seminary would be prudent to accept a candidate who hasn’t been chaste very long.

God bless you.

This part sticks out to me, because Fr. Larry Richards responded to this very thing recently on EWTN: In response to a seminarian telling him he was distraught and in love with a girl and wanting to be married, he said (yelled, actually), and I nearly quote, “Get the heck out of seminary! What are you thinking?! God would not do that to you!

Fr. Larry Richards strongly disagrees that God would call someone to the priesthood who wanted to be married and was in love with a woman. I have also heard him tell how, perhaps it was the night before he was ordained, he was very distraught about giving up marriage, not having his own children, etc., but that this passed (though sexual desire or temptation continues). So he apparently distinguishes between temporary temptations and ‘being in love with someone’.

So it sounds like the man you want to marry is confused. Perhaps you can look more into this bit from Fr. Richards, perhaps get him in touch – you can contact him (or a secretary) at that website, and maybe you’ll get a response personalized to your situation to help him.

At the same time, I’d encourage you to start looking for another boyfriend (though maybe this is emotionally impossible, I don’t know), because if you’re attractive enough to get a boyfriend, I think you are able to get another. Kind of a “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” kind of thing – perhaps just because I don’t have a high regard for a 31-year-old being wishy-washy about marriage-or-priesthood.

I hope this helps somehow. Fr. Larry Richards apparently thinks this guy is being dumb, isn’t being called to the priesthood, and should marry you.

He could also be feeling like he has to do some kind of mega penance for having been intimate before it’s the proper time.

OTOH, he may get to the seminary and see it as prison. Priesthood is all about service. If he’s not 100 percent on-board with Our Lord, he could harm his eternity.

I would join your suffering to that of Our Lord and Lady, as a penance for indulging, and for the conversion of those tempted to do the same.

I know of one guy who got a girl pregnant then went to the seminary. She was resentful of Catholics until I rolled my eyes when I heard what he did. I don’t know if he persevered.

Your situation is similar to experiencing a death in the family, only it doesn’t have that kind of permanence. You could keep a journal of what you’re going through. Also, recall to yourself the times you’ve experienced death in any form and the fact that you’re still standing.

I personally would not have permitted him to even entertain the thought of seminary when he has all this going with you. You should know after three years whether or not you’ve met the right one. Hubby and I knew it and were married six months later. This is year 27 for us, and we have survived the death of a child.

Whatever he decides, it has to come from him. And the only way he is going to decide is if you leave him alone. No psychology, guilt trips, crying, pleading, whining. It’s not fair. Leave him to figure it out on his own. If he decides he wants you, fine, but it has to come from him.

I am not sure what you mean by you wouldn’t permit it. It’s his decision to make, not hers.

However, I agree that after 3 years, they should know. I am thinking his answer is no. :blush:

Forgive me, but I think you are in love with the idea of being married.
And I think he doesn’t have the spine to tell you that he’s not all that interested.
He’s going through the motions, and the motions meant a lot to you because that is what you were seeking.
It’s very sad. I’m sorry you have been hurt like this, but this young man needs some serious time alone, discernment, and more consultations with his Spiritual Director and Vocations Director. That means you have to let him be.
It’s tough, but you don’t want to force it. That will never ever work out, and you’ll be far worse off.

This is excellent advice from Ether: *

Kind of a “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” kind of thing – perhaps just because I don’t have a high regard for a 31-year-old being wishy-washy about marriage-or-priesthood.

It’s going to be very difficult. But you can’t invest anything more in him. It will be your undoing.

I’m questioning his motivation. What spurred him on to suddenly consider seminary? Is there something he isn’t telling her?

And yes, I agree it is his decision, and yes, she’s going to have to give him some room. But getting another boyfriend so soon isn’t always the way to go. She’ll need to grieve, but if she truly loves him, she will give him his room and be happy for him when the decision finally comes.

I’m also having to agree with pianistclare, that the OP seems to love everything about marriage. When I met hubby, our paths just seemed to blend. There were no excuses about why we were together. We just were.

I’m just so sick and tired of being hurt. I have been in so many relationships, each getting better. This was my longest relationship. He has had relationships longer than me before. He has cohabitated before and knew that never works. We fought to do the best we could in our relationship despite our imperfections. We both see the sacraments and are very involved with our parish.

I’m just having a hard time coming to terms with all this because this wasn’t the man I met 3 years ago. He’s changed so much, if not more than I have.

I am not in love with the idea of being married. Him and I spoke about this a lot and I felt like I had to defend myself. I just know that I wanted to be with him and he was the one, I was ready to go for it. Why it dragged on became the thorn in my side.

Him and I were even talking and looking at rings and wedding costs at one point. That’s why I am so baffled and upset that its happening like this. I guess I should have known perhaps the signs were all there and I refused to believe it.

I just felt that I gave it all the energy and time and went through my own hardship to come out really feeling like he is the direction I needed to go. It wasn’t just about being with anybody, but being with HIM.

I do see my spiritual director on Monday, wished it were sooner.

People change. Unconditional love accepts that and works with the changes. God is the only One who doesn’t change. Work with Him first, and HE will provide, just as long as you’re obedient to grace. By all means, pray the rosary. Our Lady knows the details of Her Son’s plan for you.

Sounds as if you need to go on retreat yourself. See if any of the area monasteries permit that.

And for your sake, I wish your SD appt was sooner. Can you not phone?

I was talking to a friend last night that thinks based on what I told her that perhaps he doesn’t know for sure yet.

He didn’t seem clear that I WANT TO BE A PRIEST, but rather if he doesn’t take the next step he will NEVER know.

So it all seems up in the air. Plus he didn’t think he would apply for THIS fall . He is a teacher though, so I don’t know when he IS planning to do so.

He didn’t even say really clearly if he was ever going to apply, just that he needs to know if that is where he is being called to or not. :confused: He very explicitly told me he loves me. And he’s said it not only that night but many times recently.

Another thing, I don’t know if I wrote. He said that Fr. voc dir. asked the hypothetical; he applies, gets in, does it for a bit and finds its not for him. He gets out, then finds im married with a family. How does he feel. He responds, he would have to be happy for me, but “man that would suck for me.”

I don’t know. I want to hold on I know the world is going to tell me not to, but the problem with this is that there’s too much ANYTHING COULD happen floating around. I have heard stories of this and it working out, or not I don’t know.

All I know is if God lets us be together, he needs to really fight for me just to show that he made a mistake and loves me… or rather that he’s willing to have a life with me that’s really it. I would forgive him regardless. But I would have to really have a good reason to let him in.

I think your friend is telling you what you want to hear, because she thinks it’s more merciful.

Let him go.
If he come back? Worry about it then.

The lovely Dorothy Cummings McLean has two old blog posts you should look at–not exactly your situation, but you may recognize some aspects:

In case you don’t get around to clicking, some ground rules:

  1. Don’t date and date and date and date and date the same guy.

If you are a grown up person (and you are) it shouldn’t take multiple years to decide to marry or not marry. It should be getting clearer and clearer with every month.

  1. Don’t let a guy who is discerning the priesthood create a situation where you need to compete with his vocation.

If he is discerning, let him discern…all by himself.

  1. Take care of you.

The man I am married to now, my one and only husband, broke up with me when we were dating. The advice above from Irishmom2 is spot on.

My husband, then boyfriend had very valid reasons to break off our relationship. Without knowing his reasons, my heart was broken and devastated. After a little while and a flood of tears, I clung to my faith, and I offered him up to Christ. I started dating other guys again, even though by this time I thought I probably was leaning towards discerning singlehood. Not ‘giving up’ on marriage, but actually thinking I might be called to singlehood. Not a bad thing. The happiest woman I know is my godmother. She is nearly ninety and never married. But, I know looking back I was called to marriage, because that is where I ended up. At the time I didn’t know.

All these years, more than 20, I never knew why he broke up with me, but he told me this year it was all him. And a few other things, that had nothing to do with me in particular. Stuff he was dealing with and it had no reflection on me then or now. Keep this in mind. This breakup is no reflection on YOU dearheart.

After about 8 months or so he popped back up into my life. Unknown to me, my boyfriend wanted to marry me and our time apart cemented this in his mind. Because I had taken our break up so hard I wasn’t too eager to take him back. But as we did start seeing each other I pretty much laid out the law, the key for me was slow. When we were started ‘dating’ again we went to mass together before our dates. About 1 year after we re-animated our relationship, we were engaged. We got married just over a year after that even though we then knew each other for four years.

I couldn’t have foreseen it at all.

I suggest boxing up all the personal items he bought you into two or three boxes. Stuff to keep, stuff to send back to him (by mail with no note, don’t even think about texting him to come pick it up!), and stuff to give away. I suggest the sentimental stuff from Italy you might want to keep and either put it in your scrapbook pages (keep box) or give it to your Church’s thrift store/religious shop (give away). I suggest giving him the game station back (box to mail) or gifting it to a nice kid or putting it away for a while. But clean house honey. You need fresh air right now. Boxing the stuff up is a good break up ritual.

Go get yourself something beautiful for the space you just emptied. Like a fun "patron saint’ plaque or a new hobby you’ve wanted to try. (My kids adore those knitting looms. Keeps your nervous energy hands moving and you can donate the things you make.) Treat yourself kindly. Go sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament often. Like everyday if you need to, Jesus is there and he’d be so happy to see you now.

Keep in mind Irishmom2’s advice. It’s very good. Keep your head, even as you mourn the loss of this man. Hand him over to God’s keeping. You don’t know what God’s plans are for you, but they are very Good. Jeremiah 29:11

Your story reminds me of Fr. Michael Gaitley’s journey and his friend Sr. Bernadette. You can watch when you feel up to it.

I’m not saying your story will be his, but keep this in mind you can pray for your friend to discern his vocation. Have a mass said for him. (My go-to mass request place is the Seraphic Mass Association, they can even send a card on your behalf.) Pray for your future husband, whoever he may be and ask St. Joseph for his help. Sometimes the best prayer when our heart is breaking is a prayer of Thanksgiving while tears stream down our face. “Thank you God for being with me during this break up. Thank you for bringing into my life those people you want in it. Help me to be a Blessing to them.”

You are in my prayers!

I suspect he’s going to have to do quite a number of courses before he gets into actual seminary.

Very good advice!

Thanks everyone for the insights, by the way.

Its been many years since I’ve talked on forums in general.

I actually heard Fr. Michael Gaitley’s story in person! He is one of my favorite priests. I love his energy and passion and much more.

Anyways, yeah Evan would have a long way to go before he ever gets ordained anyways he’d probably be closer to 40 at that point. My current pastor though was ordained later in life too, but he had a VERY different life than Evan.

Evan also comes from a background of a not very religious family and divorced parents he is also going through a lot because his dad is getting surgery next week.

I just feel so bad. I love him so much and its painful having to accept this has nothing to do with me. Maybe we do need this break and it will help us find whatever God wants us to. But of course, my heart wants Evan as it always has.

I want to support him and be happy for him as he has always supported me with starting a youth ministry, starting my masters in catechetics, he’s encouraged me to better manage my money, and just be an overall more wholesome person, not that I wasn’t before. But he said he thinks we have helped each other become better people.

Evan likes Fr. LR very much actually and has encouraged me to listen/read some of his stuff. But yeah. I don’t know.

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