Dating advice


She’s really neat, and we have a lot in common, and she’s very cute. In short, I kinda like her. :blush:

Here are the problems:

  1. She’s Methodist, with no real love for Catholicism.

  2. She’s divorced, though from another non-Catholic, I believe.

I asked this question in the AAA forum, but it hasn’t shown up yet…and I’m hungry for feedback. Can/May/Ought I date this woman?

I guess the first issue to answer is whether her prior marriage is an impediment, given that she’s not Catholic. If so, I can’t date her, and the rest is moot.

Assuming there is no such impediment, I’m eager to hear your thoughts/advice.

She really is nifty, though… :slight_smile:



It is an impediment. Plus, it does seem doubtful that someone who isn’t a Catholic would really want to go through all that is required to have their prior marriage investigated for a possible nullity, just so they could date someone.

Sorry. I guess that has to be a tough spot to be in.


Looks like there’s an impediment, yep. What’s more, you need to assume there is, since her marriage is to be assumed valid. Sorry, sir, tough luck. If that’s any consolation, I know how an impediment feels.


If your faith is paramount to you, then finding someone who shares that faith should be paramount to you. Just my 2 cents worth! Good luck to you.:slight_smile:


That is also correct. The sooner you find out about impediments, the better. There’s more to it than just divorce - there’s a lot of things that can make marriage invalid and a lot of it is covered by faith. If you find a Catholic girl, you can at least have some guarantee that those things won’t be there. Not fullproof guarantee, but still.


Stop. Proceed no further. Find a woman who shares your love for God **and **the Church. Build a relationship and marriage with a woman who shares your beliefs, values, and vision for marriage and family.

To do otherwise is very foolish.

Her marriage is valid, and she is not free to contract another. It is imprudent to date someone who is not free-- is in fact still married as far as the Church is concerned.

She would have to apply for, and receive, a decree of nullity through the Catholic Church before she would be free to marry.

“Nifty” is not something to base your future on and entrust the souls of your children to. “Catholic, devout, holy-- and nifty”… now there’s a combination worth pursuing.


you can’t date her at all until the status of her previous marriage is resolved through the canon law tribunal of her current diocese, or of the diocese in which she was married (yes, I know she is not Catholic, but only the tribunal has authority to investigate the validity of a marriage). She is considered validly married until proven otherwise. Keep looking.


Thanks for the replies, gang…I appreciate your insight. My understanding, however, was that a non-Catholic marriage is not bound by canon law. I don’t mean to take the law out of the tribunal’s hands, but I seem to recall reading that very thing not to long ago in a thread on a CA forum (though I couldn’t possibly find that).

Am I completely wrong?



I was married in a Lutheran Church, and I had to get an annulment before I was free to marry in the Church. What I was told is that any Christian marriage is a valid marriage in the eyes of the Church, and therefore must be ruled as invalid, just as a Catholic marriage would be.


all persons are bound by God’s law, which is stated in the gospel and foreshadowed in Genesis, marriage is between one man and one woman, until death. Non-Catholics are not bound by canon law which governs who may witness the marriage and whom Catholics are permitted to marry. All persons are also bound by natural law: the marriage must be open to procreation, the natural purpose of marriage; marriage is one man and one woman etc.

You are a Catholic, and you are bound by canon law as well, and you cannot marry someone who is already married.



Only Catholic are bound by canon law to the Catholic **form **of marriage. As to other impediments, the proper giving of consent and intent, etc, that would still apply.

The Church recognizes all non-Catholic marriages as valid, and if between baptized persons also Sacramental, unless they are shown to be otherwise through the tribunal process (just like a Catholic marriage).

The woman would have to have a declaration of nullity through the Catholic Church for you to be free to date/marry her.

The reason is that the bride & groom are the ministers of the Sacrament to each other. A priest is the witness of the Church for Catholics-- but for non-Catholics that is not needed. Just as the Catholic Church recognizes a Methodist baptism (because a priest is not strictly necessary for that sacrament either) the Church recognizes a Methodist marriage or a marriage at city hall by the JP. The bride & groom marry each other, the civil or religious representative is only the witness.

Honestly, Dante, don’t go down that road. Find a Catholic woman to date.


Thanks, guys…I guess I have a tough conversation in store for me. :shrug:



I’ll second that! I had to take a painful road to this realization, but whatevergirl hit the nail square on the head!

It works for some folks in different faiths, and I would love to hear their stories and how they do it.


I guess I can add a word for finding a Catholic because it doesn’t work out otherwise. Had two relationships like that. There were problems. Really. You’re better off staying with Catholics.


You make it sound as though I’ve been *turning down *dates with Catholic women in order to date Protestants! :stuck_out_tongue:



There are PLENTY of good Catholic holy women (me… me…right here…see??? :wave: ) …

I don’t know how old you are, so I’m not suggesting anything…I’m just saying…


You have received some advice to avoid her just because she isn’t Catholic. I don’t agree. I was raised a Free Methodist, pastor’s daughter, in an environment hostile to the Catholic Church.

Thankfully, my now dh didn’t use that as a reason to avoid me. It took about 2 years but I converted of my own free will and was baptized/confirmed/first communion one week after we were engaged.

I think that there is a saying about how not many people hate the Catholic Church, they just hate what they think is the Catholic Church. (I truly thought that Catholics didn’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day.) I originally had the plan to convert HIM to be protestant, but the truth is hard to avoid. My poor father…

On the other hand, if she was already baptized and married another person who was also baptized, then that is the impediment.

I wouldn’t just say to avoid all protestant women. Especially Methodists; at least I was raised that faith AND works are important. With the right resources (Rome Sweet Home is a good book to start with), it is possible to influence people’s lives.


Being over 70, I had been down this road more than once before. I finally got married at age 25. It always seems that the current apple of the eye is just the perfect one and to pass it up would be the tragedy of a lifetime. I have concluded that for every one of us there are plenty of the opposite gender who would make a good wife so rest assured that as my mother-in-law said,“If you miss the first bus, don’t panic. Another one will,be along soon.” The other pearl of wisdom I have is that there seems to come a time when a person is “ready” to get married. It works best when both members of the couple are available, qualified, and ready at the same time. I look back on 45 plus years of being married to the same woman and praise and thank God that none of the earlier candidates worked out. Some of them seemed so perfect at the time, but in looking back I can see where we would not have worn well together. God is good.


Thank you so much for your perspective…it means a lot, and is well appreciated.



Actually, they’re not advising me to avoid her – just to avoid dating her. I will not rule out dating a non-Catholic, but what I’ve learned here has ruled out the possibility of dating her or any other divorcee unless she’s willing to pursue a decree of nullity.

For what it’s worth, we’ve had our talk (I told her that the difference in religious beliefs is too big a gap – which was my original concern, anyway) and she understands. I haven’t had the heart yet to tell her about the divorce issue. The good news is that she wants to be friends, so perhaps God will reach out to her – if that’s my purpose, I’m glad to help.


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