Dating a Non-Catholic


Hey guys, I just joined today because I’d like a religious outlook on my relationship. I’ve been with this girl I’m dating now for a little over 1.5 years, with a 2 month break around this past Christmas. I was raised Catholic and recently decided to pursue an advanced degree in Catholic Theology upon graduation next year. I am happy with my current (and first) girlfriend. However, I feel a bit of a disconnect when it comes to religion. She is a presbyterian, but is generally open to Catholicism (not sure about conversion). When saying who I should look for in a wife, my father, who is joining a seminary now after my parents got an annulment, always had “Catholic” as a top priority in my future spouse. I have come to agree with this idea.

This may be ordinary (I’m not sure since I’ve only had one girlfriend) but I find myself looking for something better than what I currently have. For instance, there is one girl I know who is a theology major also on campus. She is extremely pretty, she is a very nice girl, and has excellent morals and faith. She is the type of girl I have always seen myself looking for in a potential wife. I’m not sure I could say the same about my current girlfriend. In one year, we both will graduate, and we will probably part ways. But I’m not sure if I should stay with her even until then. We live on a small campus, so that further complicates things.

My girlfriend and I have not been sexually active (but have done some less-sexual things). We stopped all of that recently because I decided to remove myself from that sin. She seems to be more free sexually than I would like her to be. I would rather date someone who is more conservative and religious when it comes to sexuality.


  • current girlfriend is presbyterian
  • been together 1.5 years (minus this past XMAS)
  • I’d much rather date/marry catholic
  • we stopped doing ‘sexual things’ recently
  • don’t see the relationship lasting past graduation

Should I keep it together? I don’t want to hurt her again (after this past short breakup). What about the other girl I mentioned? Also, do you guys think its possible for the current girlfriend and I to avoid sexual activity, despite having limited experience before?

I apologize if my sexual references are ‘explicit.’ Please let me know if I should remove them. I think it adds to the story though, as that is a big part of the debate in my head.

Also, is this the right place for this topic???


I don’t know if you went back and edited, but I certainly didn’t find your sexual references to be “explicit” - in fact, I thought you were talking about kissing and snuggling. That is neither here nor there; you’ve been to Confession, and you won’t be doing it again, anyway.

There is only one thing I feel moved to say, which is that, according to Catholic teaching, dating is for people who could potentially marry each other.

It seems unfair to this girl that you have been stringing her along for a year and a half while all along knowing that you could never take the relationship any further than just dating.

It seems like the most fair thing you could do is break the relationship off as soon as possible, so that she can be free to date men that she could potentially marry. You should do this regardless of whether your new fancy has any interest in you at all. In fact, I think a year without dating anyone at all would probably do you some good, clear your head, and help you to decide what your values are before heading into a new relationship. :wink:


jmcrae: thanks for the reply

I didn’t want to go into any details on our physical past.

I want to make it clear that I haven’t been dragging her along for the ride for a year and a half. She was my first girlfriend, and I care for her deeply. I, at one time, believed that marriage was possible between us. Although I knew that it is far away for me and I try not to focus on that too much. I’m questioning the relationship again. I went through a similar ordeal when I broke up with her in November, and I regretted it entirely come January, when we got back together.

I guess to some degree I need to ask myself what I want. I love the girl, but I’m not entirely sure if this relationship is what I want, or if its good for me spiritually. I guess I have a lot of soul searching to do this summer. HAHA. thanks for the reply.


Read the couple of jillion posts here about mixed marriages. See if you want to walk down a road where you do not share the most important thing on this earth with your wife.

Presbyterian = Calvinist. Your kids would be caught smack in the middle of a deeeeeeeep difference of faith.

Would you date/marry a non-Catholic?

Your father is spot-on and you have the right idea to form a Catholic household and raise Catholic children.

You have already realized your current girlfriend is not marriage material. Clearly your values are different, and differing faiths is not a recipe for a united Catholic household.

I see no reason to continue to “go” with her for another year. It’s not fair to either of you. The length of time you’ve alreayd invested in this relationship is not reason to keep going as you have been. In the future, perhaps you will view these important topics as items to bring up sooner, thereby not spending 1.5 years in a relationship that has no future.


This really stands out to me.

I met my husband at 15 years old. We started dating at 17. I was his first girlfriend. I asked him, when we were around 19/20, if he’d like to date other girls to “make sure” he wanted to marry me. He refused, saying that he would just compare everyone else to me, and he didn’t want to lose me to someone else. We had a Nuptial Mass at 22.

When you have somethin’ good, you know it, and the thought of losing it breaks your heart… That’s how it should be. I’m so happy my husband didn’t “settle” on me – He adores me. :thumbsup:


If you are “looking for something better”, it time to let her go.
It is best for you and her.


Keep praying about it and have courage to do what you feel God is calling you to do-- even if it’s hard or it isn’t what you expected. It seems that you already feel that you need to end this relationship, so you must do it if you discern that it is God’s will. In my own experience, I dated a great guy in college but began to feel God calling me to something else. I agonized over it b/c I didn’t want to hurt this person, but I had to do what I knew God was asking of me. There was nothing wrong with him; he just wasn’t who God wanted me to be with. If I hadn’t ended that relationship I wouldn’t have met my wonderful Catholic husband. Keep praying and step out in faith.


When I said “something better,” I guess I as trying to say someone more in line with my marital goals (faith). I am going to have to reflect on this more.

truly beloved - I’m not sure what you’re trying totell me. Are you saying don’t get rid of something good, implying I should keep my current girlfriend. Or are you trying to say I should make sure the woman I am with is someone I truly love and want to be with?

Thanks for the replies guys, its all been helpful…



A Catholic spouse is ideal. Don’t settle for less. You won’t regret it.


ahhh, thanks! haha


rusty I am an old lady who did it all wrong the first time… I married a guy I thought was Catholic… right after the wedding he revealed that he was a “pagan high priest” I spent 13 years in hell trying to make it work… in the end he walked out the door and turned his back on 3 of the most wonderful kids in the world.

When I met my current husband, I had taken the time to really figure out who I was and what was important to me in a relationship… the biggest thing on my list was someone I could share the biggest part of me with… my faith! Only problem was that dh was Lutheran. I knew I shouldn’t even date him but I was drawn to this good man… he started going to mass with me and my kids almost from the start, and then would go take his dd to Lutheran services… One day he went to a healing mass with me and I could tell how much he was moved… Next thing I knew he was talking RCIA… woo hoo!!!

Anyway… here was my list of must haves in a husband:

  1. Catholic… and not in name only (in every aspect)
  2. must be able to pray together… couples that pray together have a 1% divorce rate… and I never plan to divorce again!
  3. must believe in the family structure (husband is the head, wife is the nurturer)
  4. Must love my kids as much as I do… and I must love his as much as he does…
  5. He has to show responsibility (i.e. visits his kids, pays child support)

I realize most of these wouldn’t pertain to your situation… but it is a good example of what you will wish you knew when you get older if you have regrets about your marriage…


Well I talked to my girlfriend last night, and basically told her more or less whats going on in my head. We are still together, but she knows how I feel now. I have a lot of thinking to do, and I think I owe her some time for me to think things over before making a final decision.

She is frustrated because she was raised in a mixed marriage herself, but she was raised Presby instead of Catholic. She gets a little upset when I say I’m looking for someone Catholic when she says she is open to my faith. I’ve always believed it to bge problematic for someone to convert for me (and not b/c of their own spiritual conversion). I’d rather someone be a happy Presby than a Catholic only by name.

I tried to explain that I want to share my faith with someone in a relationship because my faith is the most important thing to me. She kept saying she loves me and doesn’t want to lose me again, and that makes things more difficult because I love her too and I don’t want to hurt her, but I’m not sure if this is really what I want in a relationship.

I still have a lot of reflection to do. I’ll be going to mass this weekend, so that will give me some time to think. Like I said, I live at a Catholic college campus, and there are monks and religious everywhere, so I have resources available for help.

Thanks again guys. Any more advice would be really helpful…


Just to update the situation again, I talked to my dad about all of this briefly. I will be calling him after work to discuss in more detail. He cautions me against telling my current girlfriend of my expectations. He warns that this could result in my girlfriend changing to be more like what I want in a woman. My dad also agrees that a Catholic woman is the only way to go. I’ve always been weary of having a girl convert for me because I don’t think it would be an entirely sincere conversion. We don’t need anymore Catholics who don’t practice/believe their faith… Do you guys agree with my father’s opinion of telling my girlfriend my thoughts? How much should I involve the girlfriend in my decision?


I think you just answered your own question.


Look, be honest with your self and with her. You are not in love with her… if you were you would not be checking out another girl, sit here and mention the flaws of your girlfriend, compare her to some other woman and talking about “tolerating the relationship” until somewhere down the line.
Would you not feel betrayed if she was on her computer saying the same things about you… that she really wanted to leave but she didnt wanna hurt you. What a sick kind of pity… If I were your gf I would want you to end it if I was aware of your thoughts, its that simple.
And dont go blame it on her lack of Catholicity… she was pres when you met her… and you know well that this has something to do with YOU and your lack of love for her… Just be a man and be honest. She deserves that much.
Also… if your gf lacks purity in your eyes, dont forget you have helped take some of her purity away… and although she might be weaker than you in this area you could prove your love by being a strong godly man to her.

No, you dont get any shoulder from me …:shrug:


Wow. I’m quite taken aback by this. I’m not sure how you got all of this from my post…

I do love my girlfriend and I’m insulted that you would judge me otherwise. I have recently started to question the relationship because of the re-awakening of my faith. And this is what I get from you? I have rethought many aspects of my life recently, and this is just one of them. I am starting to think that a non-Catholic relationship is not good for me, and is not what I want.

Does anybody else share in this poster’s opinion? I’m not sure why he/she thinks this way.


Yep brother… Thats exactly what you get from me… yes indeed.
I stand by every word. I am seeing it from the perspective of your girlfriend… and she is in the vulnerable situation where she is in love with you and is faithful also in her heart while you are inhere saying you wanna have “something better”… better than what? better than love? Naah… you got bored with her and your love chilled… thats how I see it. Who says your gf is not the one deserving something better?
I take it you are at Steubenville perhaps or some place like that and there are alot of pretty pious people… and thats fine… Look I am not saying you should not strive to be holy and full of love and search for a good humble catholic woman… just dont take a person for granted … If you are not certain about her then you need to cut the relationship out. Otherwise you leave you gf with very little dignity.

I will quote you and then you try to reverse the roles and see how that looks to ya… read it as though your gf was the one writing about you:

"This may be ordinary (I’m not sure since I’ve only had one girlfriend) but I find myself looking for something better than what I currently have. For instance, there is one girl I know who is a theology major also on campus. She is extremely pretty, she is a very nice girl, and has excellent morals and faith. She is the type of girl I have always seen myself looking for in a potential wife. I’m not sure I could say the same about my current girlfriend. In one year, we both will graduate, and we will probably part ways. But I’m not sure if I should stay with her even until then".


Cut him some slack. It’s his first girlfriend. It seems like he’s trying to do the right thing.


I think you know the answer already. You don’t see yourself marrying this girl.

You want a faithful Catholic wife which is great!

Do the right thing, end the relationship, and start looking for that Catholic girl!

Your lucky, it took me until 34 to rediscover my faith and know I wanted a good, Catholic wife. Praise the Lord I found one!

God Bless


Thanks for the support bilop.

I know I am new at all of this, and perhaps I am a little confused about how I’m feeling (I can somewhat sympathize with your opinion Grace). Like I’ve said before, I’m starting to realize my faith more fully, especially with my new career plans (Theology Professor???) and my dad joining the seminary. I just have to pray about this and hopefully God can lead me where he wants me to be.

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