First off, I’m new here, so please pardon me if this thread has been covered before. My boyfriend and I have been together very seriously for three years. We only recently broke up because he wants to go to seminary to be a priest. I am trying my best to be supportive of his decision; however, it is obviously difficult. In order to get the advice I am soliciting, I will tell the story from the beginning. I apologize for the length.
First off, a bit about him. He’s 23 years old. Went to college and received degrees in Theology and Philosophy. He’s always been actively involved in his faith and has a job as a youth minister.
As I said, we’ve been together for three years. About 1.5 years ago, my boyfriend broke up with me out of the blue. He then quickly began a decent into a downward spiral of self destruction - smoking, excessive drinking, partying with the wrong people, drunk driving. This period of my life was one of the most challenging I have ever experienced. I talked to counselors, my friends, his friends, etc to try to get him to stop, but he would not. I ended up calling his parents (they live in another state) to tell them about his behavior, and it was only then that he began to come back. Luckily, near the end of this tumultuous time, I was able to convince him to go to counseling and we began dating again. He started attended weekly counseling sessions, and he slowly got better. During the time he was in counseling, he would not tell me the reasons for his behavior, but I did not pressure him to tell me - I wanted him to do it on his own. Then came the day that he felt he could tell me the reason for his breaking up with me and the ensuing behavior.
Since he was young (12/13), he has been addicted to pornography and masturbation. He also has depressive tendencies that run in his family. The counseling was to try to address these issues. I also learned that, over the course of the 2 years we had been dating, he cheated on me twice (kissing) with two different women at the catholic summer camp where he worked. This was obviously troubling, and it took me quite a while to get over this. There was mistrust and hurt. However, I stayed with him - I wanted to be by his side and support him through his counseling. He left counseling about a year ago after being in it for about 6 months - he did not finish the counseling as his therapist had prescribed due to monetary issues.
Fast forward to now. Up until a few days ago, our relationship had been stronger than ever before. He was growing into the man I knew he could be. He was responsible, loving, and had a job that he enjoyed as a youth minister. We were starting to plan our future together. A couple of weeks ago, he informed me that he had started discerning for the priesthood. Once again, I stayed by his side and tried to be supportive of the process he was going through. I remained hopeful that he would choose me (selfishly). A few days ago, he informed me that he would be applying for seminary and that our relationship was over. Again, I was hurt. I felt like the way he said it was so odd. He told me that in his discernment he felt that his “heart was on fire” with the love he had for me and that he had never loved nor felt love from another as he did from me. He then said that he has the same fire in his heart for God and that he must at least try seminary.
This is where the solicitation for advice comes in. I am scared that he will go through this process only to be rejected due to his prior psychological issues. I know the application/interview process is intense and that his issues will come up. Do any of you have any thoughts on this? What I should or should not do? Part of me thinks that, at this point, I can no longer help him. I have sacrificed so much for him to heal. Should I suggest to him that he first finish his counseling as prescribed? Any and all advice (and prayers) are welcome.