Boyfriend/Girlfriend Arrangements on Retreat


My boyfriend and I are planning on going on a weekend silent retreat together next month. I ended up taking the last spot before he signed up, but they told him he would still be able to go if we shared a suite. There’s a wall to separate the suite so in effect it can be two bedrooms-which is what we would arrange it as-and we’d share a bathroom. Both of us agree that sharing a suite isn’t ideal, but we’d really like to go on this retreat together, and we think we’d be just fine with that arrangement as far as chastity goes.

Thoughts on this? My main concern is I wouldn’t want it to cause scandal.

Any way you can trade with another person, have the person in charge arrange it so he switches it out? Let’s face it. That’s a very tempting arrangement.

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I agree that that would be better! Any thoughts on it if that’s not possible?

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The most successful path to chastity is through being real with yourself, being humble about how weak you are. And yes, it’s very wise of you to realize it’s scandalous, as well. Sorry. I know it’s a hard answer.


Then simply share the suite, utilize the two bedrooms, respect each others privacy in the shared bathroom situation, and enjoy the retreat. Answer any nosy “questions” honestly and explain why the situation came up. Others are going to believe whatever they want; that’s human nature, you can’t do anything about it. Yes, an alternative situation would be better, but if not, make the best of what is.
Look, when two people are alone in any given situation, they can either be having a conversation about something, oh say, the microeconomic situation in Australia, or they can be having wild and crazy sex. People are going to believe what they want. Simply, be true to your values. And you might learn about the respect you have for each other.


I think you’re better off talking to a priest about this than asking that question here. I think some people assume that any moment a boyfriend and girlfriend are alone together that they will inevitably sin against chastity and the entire world will be scandalized.

I have a hard time imagining that sins against chastity would be at the forefront of someone’s mind while on retreat. But then I also find it a bit odd that “they” (I’m presuming whoever is putting on the retreat) suggested that you two share a suite as an option.


They’re sharing a suite together…
I know I’d be tempted lol

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  1. what kind of retreat is this? Is it a Catholic one? Will people know you are only boyfriend & girlfriend, sharing a suite?

  2. How old are the two of you?

Regardless, this doesn’t sound good and surely isn’t ideal. But there MIGHT be ways to mitigate scandal if you are older and not going to a Catholic retreat. But if this is a Catholic retreat at a Catholic retreat house/grounds; then I don’t see how you can avoid scandal if people know you are not married.

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The problem with this answer is that you are totally discounting the sin of scandal, which 100% includes the people asking the “nosy questions.”

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At some point, people have to use common sense. By your response, I can assume that you consider every instance where a sexually capable male and female couple is alone is an occasion of scandal. A worldview like this one is one of the reasons so many people despise religion. The idea that every couple is engaging in sinful behavior because they are alone. I’ve been in these situations many times before, and nothing untoward happened. If people with pathetically morally suspicious minds want to think whatever they do, then to he*# with them. Mind your own da*@ business!

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Okie dokie

Scandal happens, it’s a thing, and the church addresses it and doesn’t just excuse people should mind their own business.

Well, you would be assuming incorrectly.

I don’t think it’s scandalous for a couple to be alone in all situations.

But I do think it’s scandalous to share a hotel room, sleep head to head in the same bed, and/or live together.

If people with pathetically morally suspicious minds want to think whatever they do, then to he*# with them. Mind your own da*@ business!

Thing is, you say “mind your own business” but you fail to understand that the fact they noticed IS THE SIN OF SCANDAL. Again, you are acting like a protestant or secularist by acting as if scandal isn’t a sin


Phil, I am responding to this thread. The OP said it would be a two bedroom situation, not sharing beds or sleeping head to head in the same bed. Or living together.
Yea, two unmarried people slipping into room 135 at the No-Tell Motel is one thing, this situation the OP is speaking of isn’t exactly that.

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correct, which is why I said in my original post to the OP the below:

Regardless, this doesn’t sound good and surely isn’t ideal. But there MIGHT be ways to mitigate scandal if you are older and not going to a Catholic retreat. But if this is a Catholic retreat at a Catholic retreat house/grounds; then I don’t see how you can avoid scandal if people know you are not married.

If they are going to a Catholic Retreat house , then I don’t see how they can avoid scandal unless they both wear fake wedding rings. But if they are going to some non-Catholic, silent retreat, then perhaps they can mitigate the scandal.

God Bless

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I’m guessing if you call up the retreat house and explain that you two are not married, they will help work things out (maybe there are people who would be willing to share a room, maybe you guys could bring along a couple of friends so it is less “alone together”.) I’m a little shocked that a Catholic retreat house would room unmarried folks in the same suite.


Actually, I couldn’t agree with the LL more. Then again, if an unmarried couple were to share a suite in a Catholic Retreat House and say that they were doing so chastely, I would be more likely to believe them there, than at the No-Tell motel. Guess I’m not totally jaded with humanity, yet. I think there are Catholics who are truthful and do respect the rights and opinions of others. Then again, maybe I’m the last person in the world who is willing to trust someone because they are Catholic. Who knows?

  1. Yes, it’s a Catholic retreat. There’s a possibility that people could end up finding out that we’re in one suite, and that’s our main concern. Again, there would be a folding wall to separate the bedrooms, but other people wouldn’t necessarily know that.
  2. We’re in our mid-twenties.

Make the phone call to see if you can change things. If it works, great. If not, you can be discrete and not leave the retreat rooms together to go to your rooms. Do not mention to people the situation. And, of course, exercise the usual caution when the hour gets late. It will take a bit of discipline to not fall into a long conversation, which can lead to fatigue and/or sin, and just go to bed on time.

That is not the sin of scandal on the part of the couple. It could even be the sin of presumption on those asking the “nosy” questions.

Scandal occurs when someone with moral authority over others behaves in a way that destroys the faith within the community. The priest and nun having an affair would be scandal; it suggests to the parish community that the church’s sexual morals don’t matter. Even the unmmarried couple leading the retreat sleeping together might be borderline scandal; they have an influential roll over the formation of the participants

Two participants in a retreat sharing a room, however, in a manner that possibly suggests a sexual relationship is not scandal. The odds are immense that many if not most participants have had sexual encounters outside of marriage, and possibly brought that partner to the retreat. This fact is not unknown to the participants.

The relative moral authority of other participants over each other is simply not so strong that a couple sharing a bathroom but sleeping in separate beds presents a significant foreseeable danger of scandal.

Fornication is the sin of fornication. Even murder is the sin of murder. Scandal is the sin of foreseeably destroying the faith of community through one’s actions; it is a serious sin on its own, separate from the underlying immoral behavior involved or rumored.

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The definition of scandal is not limited to people in authority, although the sin definitely increases in gravity with the more influence a person holds.

“St. Thomas Aquinas defines scandal as a situation in which “a man may be disposed to a spiritual downfall by another’s word or deed, in so far, to wit, as one man by his injunction, inducement or example, moves another to sin…something less rightly done or said, that occasions another’s spiritual downfall.” [1]”

But I will say that there is a certain amount of gravity here on the part of the Catholic retreat organizers in allowing for such an arrangement.

Im not sure what your point is by bringing this up here?

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