Emotional Discernment


I’ve been a dedicated Catholic for about five years now, and a dedicated girlfriend for a little over year. My boyfriend says he is Christian, but not practicing any denomination or anything. That doesn’t bother me at all. What concerns me is that he’s given up porn for me and, after much discussion, has agreed to give up masturbation for me. However, he’s said time and time again that he doesn’t think he’ll ever agree with me that masturbation’s wrong. I’m not sure how I should feel about it. While he has agreed to give it up, he’s still reluctant and doesn’t think he should have to. Should I genuinely be thankful for all the changes he’s making for me? Or should I give in to the feeling that it’s not enough?
Thank you for any advice you may give, and I’ll be happy to answer any further questions to clarify.


Just my advice: it should concern you that he’s not practicing his faith.

Also I don’t believe him


If he had a faith where he thought practicing was required, I’m sure he would. Where he’s currently at, he knows Jesus is Christ, but not much else.
You don’t believe him in regards to what?


I don’t believe him in regards to the porn and masturbation.

Anyway you seem pretty young. Do you think he’s the type of man who would be a good father and would bring up children in the catholic faith?


That obvious? lol It’s true, I’m about to turn 22, so I could really use the help you’re giving.
IHonesty is of the utmost importance to him and why I admire him so much. He really has made tremendous progress with the masturbation, and I have no doubt that he’s kicked porn completely. He’s said before that he’d love to have children raised Catholic, and he strongly desires to be a good father. But I recognize just because he wants them raised Catholic, he might hinder it by being a bad example.


I’m 27 and I know how hard it was for me to kick those things and that was WITH my faith, couldn’t imagine how hard it would be without it. Though I suppose it’s possible. Dunno, the fact that he’s all “I don’t think it’s a bad thing” has me feeling suspicious that he actually quit. Tell him to look into nofap to see secular reasons why it’s bad. Lower testosterone and stuff.

Anyway, I would just be a bit cautious seeing as you describe yourself as a dedicated catholic. This man isn’t. And right now things are rosy. But when things get harder and after you’ve been married he’ll start to be more and more comfortable being himself and he won’t be on his best behavior. And without that foundation of faith, you’ll both have major disagreements on raising children. If you think disagreeing on masturbation is one thing, try to convince him you need to practice NFP and you can’t use condoms.

I’m biased. I grew up in a mixed faith household. My parents disagreed on the faith and I became an atheist because of it. Took a long time for me to come back to the faith. I personally wouldn’t seriously date a non-Catholic


Ps do you have any single catholic friends?


I understand your caution, as I would hope any reasonable person would have a good level of skepticism. It’s true, he may fall off the wagon later. We’ve come across a few disagreements with how much he’s giving up and it’s a bit confusing at times. Sometimes he’s glad he’s giving things up and wholeheartedly feels I’m worth it. Other times, when he’s stressed and a bit depressed and life’s got 'im down, he’s worried he’s giving up too much. We’re still looking into that.
We’ve talked NFP and he’s totally on board with that, too. It seems that with everything I thought would be hard to find someone who agrees with me on, he’s only hesitant with masturbation. Which is why I’m so torn and think maybe I should just be grateful. And again, he is trying to give it up. The only problem I need help addressing is that he’s going to continue thinking it’s okay.
I grew up with a “spiritual, not religious” father and a new age-y mother, so finding Catholicism was a bit difficult for me, as well. I think I’d be better off with a Catholic. But I wouldn’t be better off with someone who was Catholic but not sharing in his personality traits.
I’m currently in the market for friends. Having moved around my whole life, and then getting high standards of morality, I haven’t had anyone I can really trust as an ally.


I understand why you’d want hm to give up porn, and it sounds like you believe him. Regarding masturbation, why do you want hm to give that up “for you”. I’m not arguing, trying to understand.

Also, it you are discerning a life together, there are a long list of topics that you need to at least broadly agree on. I wouldn’t be focusing too much on masturbation. Do you agree on having children? What your values are? Etc?

Edit: we posted at exactly the same time; I now see your post above.


Also your profile reveals your name and photo and location; enough to identify your boyfriend on t’Internet.


I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since he’s down for NFP and other stuff. Take him to mass with you!


@Cecilia_Dympna @FloridaCatholic
I welcome your understanding :slight_smile:
When it comes to giving something up for me versus giving something up because he wants to, I view it as Perfect Contrition and Imperfect Contrition. Yes, you should strive for contrition for the sake of God’s love, but you are still forgiven with contrition resulting from fear.
We agree on lifestyle, finances, and personality. He loves going to Mass with me and he’s very helpful in reminding me to pray. We’re currently working on how to give love based on how the other person would see it instead of how we would see it ourselves. It’s been a bit bumpy (a bit because of the masturbation thing), but I’m reasonably optimistic in that area.
It’s not my real name, but you’re definitely right that I should be more careful.


Hi Minnie,

Just an observation but it sounds like you are making requests and perhaps making them repeatedly? Voicing your concern and making clear your unwillingness to settle for these vices is a good thing to do but not only is the effort his, so must the desire be.

Do you feel you’re parenting him? If our other half is falling short of the mark (and we all do from time to time) but unwilling to address the issues unless at your insistence, then we might be faced with an unending issue. Of course I don’t presume to know, just wondering. What I do know however is that we’re supposed to help one other be better people and reach heaven. By the sounds of it, you may very well have already done your part, perhaps you need to weigh up how your boyfriend might behave given carte blanche. Try and see what influence you have already had, maybe that’s the only way to determine whether you take things forward any further. Unless I’m mistaken, the subtext seems to be that you are questioning your continued relationship.

Final thoughts, a relationship over a year long is a good amount of time to learn a thing or two about another person, at your age also, you have lots of options and possibilities, something that will diminish before you know it (not trying to scare you, just remind you of the reality we all face) I can think of a number of girls ten years your senior who are alone and seem sad. Think about when someone might draw things to a close—life is finite.


I think a lot of people make a huge mistake when they enter into mixed-religion relationship. Our relationship with God is the most intimate thing that we have, and not to be able to share it with the person you are most intimately connected on the natural plane is a great sorrow sooner or later. I know too many mixed marriages that have proved this true. The more virtuous the person, the happier our lives will be because he will be sacrificial in all things, not just what we’re nagging them about. It’s much more important than personality compatability.


As in several other topics this morning, do not marry someone expecting them to change.

Mixed marriages come with a warning label for a reason.

Think of this, if you have three lovely children with this man and you get hit by a bus, do you trust that he will bring them up as faithful Catholics?


Well I’d be worried that he doesnt practice any faith. Not to put a downer on things but say you get married and he is happy raising the children catholic as you say but you pass away…what happens to said children then. I tell you, they stop being catholic pretty quickly if you aren’t there. I don’t mean to be morbid but my cousins children are all baptised and her husband died (the catholic) she is Anglican and none of the children go to mass, she goes to church occasionally. Her husband died when the children were all adults too(just barely - teens and early twenties) so they even had catholic input for a long time so it is hard enough to keep your children in the faith in a mixed faith marriage without putting the strain of a no faith adult.

I think your bf’s changes are a good thing and you pushing him towards greater virtue is good but it should be moving him toward an end goal ie faith formation. You say he reminds you to pray, does he pray? does he have a spiritual life? he goes to mass with you, does he participate, ie listen and learn, obviously he cant receive, but he doesn’t just sit and read a book or look at his ipad etc does he? Look up Fr Mike Schmidtz on youtube and see if he has a video on masturbation he is great at explaining things so perhaps he can help you explain to your bf what the deal is and why he should respect what God gave him and not treat himself so poorly.


You’re right, I am questioning. He seems to do superbly, with my oversight. We’ve talked about this a few times and he’s been trying to get better with that, too, but not quite well enough yet. It’s a problem if he’s constantly wanting to get better, and not :confused:
My goal is to find out if I want to marry him or not as soon as possible, because I’m aware of limited time. I have no one to talk about my faith to in person, so I really appreciate you and everyone helping :slight_smile:


You’re right, and I’d say it’s already caused a lot of sorrow. I want so badly to be married to someone I can share my faith with, but I’m sure you all can see why I’m afraid to give up the good I already have in search for greater good that I may not be able to get.


You’re 21. It’s not THAT hard to find someone. I don’t think anyone should enter into marriage because they’re settling


Wow, I’m not really sure he would :frowning:
He prays sparingly (about once a month is my guess). He does love to participate at Mass. I’ve looked at Fr. Schmitz and he doesn’t have much on the matter. I’ve looked at Matt Fradd and I’ve been talking about wanting to show him some of those, to which he responded well. Also @FloridaCatholic mentioned NoFap, which I plan on talking to him about today. I think they’re great resources and may affect him.
However, that still leaves the issue of him only doing things because I want him to, instead of finding out for himself what he can do.

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