Catholic daughter living with boyfriend

Our daughter, who is now 20, announced that she no longer believes in the church and moved in with her boyfriend. My husband and I are shattered. She gave no indication that she was struggling with her faith. Background: they were dating 4 years and he was welcome in our home. I am a cradle Catholic and my husband is a convert. We attend Mass weekly, say grace before meals, and all our children have received the sacraments of the church.
We have told her that while we do not like or approve of her choice she is our child and our love is forever. She comes home for birthday dinners and will visit but things are strained as I no longer feel it is appropriate to include her boyfriend in our home life. Praying to St. Monica and Padre Pio but wanted to ask if there is anything more I can do as a parent. This is a painful first for us.

I’m so sorry you are going through this, My daughter is 19, and living with her boyfriend also She quit going to church some years ago, saying I was forcing her and it would drive her farther away.
I did the same thing as a young adult; I didn’t come back to the church until I became severely depressed, and God spoke to me. He has not given up on your daughter or on mine. We just need to trust him, that he is at work even though we don’t see it. I try to say a rosary every day for her and my sons.
One thing we do differently is welcome the boyfriend into our home. He’s a nice young man, just someone who has bought into the secular lifestyle. I don’t know that forbidding him entry would help with the situation. It was her choice, after all. I regard them both as still trapped in the stage of growing up, and pray they will grow into maturity. If the subject comes up, I say what I think, trying to say it in charity.
We need to pray for all our sons and daughter. God bless.


That is what we have done also - for both our children. You never know where it’s going to lead. In our case, our children have not yet returned to the the Church, but daughter got married & we have become an important Christian witness in our son’s ex-girlfriend’s life.

Does your daughter understand that she is not just disobeying the Catholic Church but also Jesus?

I am sure she knows. Her reasoning sounds something like ‘well I don’t believe that Jesus was God or that there is a God so I am essentially offending a stranger’. Sigh. I’m a little confused by those accepting of their childrens sign. others? We have other children and I do not want them to think living in sin is acceptable in any way. Our daughter and boyfriend have both been told that should she return to the Church and marry in the Church then we would count him as a son.

I agree with Viki63 - you should welcome your daughter’s boyfriend in and show them both how a Catholic family act. As well as this, ignoring the person your daughter has decided to make a life with will only cause separation and tension. I don’t think it’s a good idea to ignore him - your daughter is responsible for living with him as much as he is for living with her.

Now you’ve mentioned it to them, don’t keep telling them over and over again. It won’t do any good, and will probably make your daughter less likely to listen to you. You can show your younger children that what they are doing is wrong without ostracising them.


I feel you pain, and have already prayed for you and your family.

However, I would keep your heart open to reconsidering your stance above.

By banishing the young man from your home life, he is denied seeing a loving Catholic marriage and family in action, and therefore his jaded view of relationships is validated in his mind.

Opening your home, rather than closing it, is an example of Mercy; which we are called to exercise during this Jubilee Year.

While praying to St. Monica, consider that if she had given up on Augustine, there may have been no conversion in his life…although I can’t say with authority, my hunch is that while she prayed for the errant boy, she still had an otherwise loving relationship with him, including, including him in her daily life.

Christ came to save sinners, not to save the righteous. By including him so he is provided a loving example, as I mentioned above, you knock on the door for him, that Christ will surely answer.

Peace and all good!

I am sorry for your situation. Some who don’t agree with a particular teaching separate Jesus from His Church and ‘blame’ the Church. But it seems your daughter no longer believes in God so you have to start from the beginning.

Of course you should not be accepting of the situation and you bring up a good point about what it would say to your other children. Unfortunately many today equate welcoming as accepting. You have to make that distinction that while you are welcome in my home I do not accept your lifestyle. Explain your concerns to your daughter about the other children.

Keep praying for her- as well as her boyfriend. I stopped going to church years ago and grew far away from God. I got pregnant at 20 after a one night stand and have been with his father, off and on (on for the most part) for 17 years. I felt a call to come back years ago and although it’s been really hard, and up and down, I am learning so much now. A person’s spiritual journey is so personal, and sometimes people need to hit rock bottom before they realize what’s missing. My parents never let go, and included him in everything. We still live together- although we are going through a very rough time right now because I am realizing that I can’t be happy with him anymore because while remaining with him- I have to give God’s commandments up. I am finally growing strong enough to pull myself out of the situation- for me- as well as for my catholic son. I’ve moved out of my room and am sleeping in the spare bedroom and am taking steps to ensure I am living within the laws God set for us. He doesn’t understand it- but I am no longer putting our relationship first. I am putting God first. If I am forced to give one of them up- it won’t be God… not this time… not ever.

I feel for you- because I have put my parents through so much over the years. They have wept with and for me, but their prayers have led me back to God. Keep your chin up and pray as a family for her and her BF. Our Holy Mother is never deaf to the cries of her children- where we fail as mothers, she never does.

You and your family will be in my prayers.

closet leo,

Sorry to hear that your daughter has abandoned her faith. As a once wayward child myself, I can tell you that no one is beyond God’s reach or His mercy. Jesus can bring her back, you just need to persevere and trust in Him.

As far as spiritual steps you and your husband can take towards her conversion, I would suggest the following prayers:

  • The Rosary everyday.
  • The devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows is especially powerful for conversions. This is because under this title Our Lady blocks the demons from interfering from the recipient receiving grace. (10:15 mark)
  • The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Our Lord told St. Faustina: “When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion. This is the prayer: "O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You.” (Diary,186-187)

I would also have Masses said for your daughter’s soul. Masses said for those in mortal sin may give the recipient the necessary graces needed for repentance and/or conversion. Make Holy Hours for her and consecrate her to Our Lady if you haven’t already. The more channels of grace that you can tap into and offer up for her conversion, the better. Also, don’t waste your sufferings, pray a Morning Offering everyday, including the intention of your daughter’s conversion.

You may want to watch this video of the conversion story of Sr Miriam James. Prior to becoming a religious, Sr. Miriam struggled for years with alcoholism and lust. Her parents repeatedly tried to get through to her but could not. They resulted to cutting off all financial support. Thereafter her mother gave her over to the Blessed Mother and prayed that she become a religious.

Sister Miriam offers the following advice to parents: “As a child who was once wayward, I beg you parents, please do not give up on your children. Make sacrifices for them, pray the Rosary for them, give them away to Our Lady. And you know what, you might never see the fruit in this life, but that doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that God hears your prayers and those prayers are answered, whether you see them answered here on earth or in heaven.” (14:29 mark)

As some of the other posters have stated, I would not exclude her boyfriend from your home life. I would simply pray for his conversion as well. However you should see your pastor for his guidance if you feel unsettled about welcoming him in your home.

One last word of advice, I’m unsure how feasible this would be, but many have gone on pilgrimage to Medjugorje and have had conversion experiences. One book in particular I would recommend in this regard is Full of Grace.

God bless,


I am so sorry you are going through this. As others have shared, it is possible for you to invite her boyfriend over, I wouldn’t ever let them share a room (if they live out of town) and I would not visit their apartment/home or let your minor children visit but it is possible, even charitable to let them visit your home.

Remember, that your daughter turning her back completely on Jesus and denying Him is in good company. St. Peter walked with Jesus and was loved by Him in the flesh. Yet he completely denied Him. Of course it is understandable then that our children can reject the faith when it is taught by us imperfectly, when someone can reject God who is completely perfect. That doesn’t make it any less painful for you though. Please be assured of my prayers.

I understand you are upset at both of them…but since their relationship seems to be getting serious, perhaps it’s better to include the boyfriend. Not including him won’t change your daughter’s or his beliefs…it just comes across like you are punishing them.
Plus, it will further strain your relationships with your daughter.


I will admit there is a bit of punishment mentality on my part. That being said, the four years they dated prior to living together we had welcomed and invited. In four years time he attended one Christmas, one New Years, and one graduation ceremony (our daughters). The excuse was always that he was allergic to our dog. As I am also allergic to the dog I offered to share my Benadryl:) I feel confident that we did our best to be welcoming. Ours sons bring their girlfriends and will spend the day. We drive an hour to pick up one of our sons girlfriends so that we share the burden of transportation with her parents. We were never against the relationship. Please pray for my husband and myself. I truly cannot see how welcoming him now would change anything. The opportunity to see a Catholic family had always been there and was rejected. Sigh.

He’s only been in your house three times the entire four years…or has he come other times when it wasn’t holiday time?
Re allergies, everyone has different levels of reaction. I know I can only be in a house with cats for 20 mins before my entire face blows up…and Benadryl doesn’t help one iota. Plus, he may have been expected to be with his family at Xmas/New Year’s.

Welcoming him now may not change anything…but *not *welcoming might–for the worse.


Pope Francis said yesterday:

“This is the essence of Christianity: to spread the regenerating and gratuitous love of God, with the attitude of acceptance and mercy to everyone.

Just an fyi.


I agree. Have you ever gone out with him and your daughter, but left the dog at home? He might feel more comfortable if he doesn’t have to worry about allergies. Some people may not feel comfortable taking Benadryl for something they can easily avoid, anyway.

Right now, it sounds like the more your daughter and her boyfriend see of a Catholic family, the more likely they will be to replicate it.


Keep an eye out for Pope Francis exhortation regarding the Synod themes. It is supposedly due in March. With any luck he will address the very issues you are dealing with now… ie. relating to children who are ‘living in sin’ or who are living a gay lifestyle. I am hoping that it will address what attitude we as parents should have that can be related to a scripture principle that helps us grow in the best direction with our children.

God bless.

It’s what the young crowd does these days. It’s sad, I agree, but I don’t agree with it. I myself as a 27 year old live with my fiancé out of poverty and was told by my priest to sleep in sperate beds. A bit easier said than done especially since we live with her parents being recent college graduates, but it happens.

It doesn’t sound like your daughter made this move out of poverty but as a simple matter of rejection of Catholic dogma, religion, or whatever her rationalization may be. But give it time and she will come around (in seeing the wisdom behind it, and her faith in genral) Might be next week, might be 20 years from now.

All I know is the Lord knows it best and he knows these things for a reason. There is a very rational negative aspect that comes from cohabitation without the sacramental bond of marriage. I’m not saying it always works out perfect when someone IS married in the eyes of our Lord, and his Church, but it comes with consequences. Trust me I have experianced them and seen it first hand. Sounds like your daughter has chosen the more challenging path like myself and many others but what can ya do? Just pray and give it time. Make it clear you don’t support her decision, but you are obligated to be there for your daughter as her parents. As to what exactly that means within this context and your particular circumstances I have no idea.:shrug: Like anything in life, make the best decision you can and rest easy knowing you gave a crud.

Thank you all for your prayers :slight_smile:
We are meeting with our daughter and boyfriend in two weeks. I’m praying this will stop some of the he said/she said that’s been happening. The two of them seem to think we disapprove of him (bf)! Been trying to explain that it’s our daughters rejection of faith and actions that we disapprove of not the individual with whom she is with but I’m starting to feel that it’s easier for our daughter to feel ‘victimized’ than deal with the question of faith. They have asked for halfway. They have asked that bf can participate in family dinners/birthdays/Christmas and such which I am actually agreeable to. So I don’t believe that allergies were really at the heart of lack of participation in the family before. But that’s okay. We asked that our daughter attend Mass once a month. Not believe, not participate even just put her butt in a pew for one hour once a month. Bf would be most welcome as well and we could all go for lunch after. Her reply was ‘that’s not really halfway for me’. ??? :shrug: I have great faith that the Lord will have what he will have. If nothing else this situation has lead us to a greater prayer life and some wonderful conversations with our sons about what love is. If I ever figure out the ‘what to do’ part of my original post I’ll share. I know we are not the only family struggling with this.
Thank you Polluted for your perspective - that helped a lot :thumbsup:

It’s great to hear that these developments. I think it’s important to remember that there are two issues, a family issue and a faith issue. It looks like the family issue is being worked on. But regarding faith it is hard to find a halfway point.

As a nonbeliever I know that can it may seem simple to you but to an extent you’re asking her to participate (however minimally) in something she might not believe in or possibly disagrees with.

That said, I show up a few times a year (in addition to Easter). Instead of making it just a faith thing just explain that it is important to you and it is more a bonding with family activity, not just religious.

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