Engaged AND discerning the priesthood?


I’ve got a really confusing/messed up situation that I need some advice on…

I moved to London from the USA nearly 5 months ago to be with my fiance. (We got engaged 3 months prior.) We share an apartment, but we behave ourselves and abstain from sex (and everything else) as we’re not yet married. :smiley:

When we first got together, Dennis (the fiance) was great! He was very loving and I had no doubt of his feelings. But shortly after I relocated to London (away from friends, family and country) he grew distant from me spiritually. For the last couple of months, he says he feels that he’s being “called” to be a priest and needs to discern his vocation. The reason being, is because he doesn’t have the “giddy bubbly” feeling that he had at the beginning of the relationship. I’ve explained that the giddiness is the “honeymoon” phase and it will never last forever in any relationship.

He does not want me to move out/split up. He wants to be able to continue to court the Church (while still being a couple) and I’m “not allowed” to court other men in the meantime. We went to see a priest together who basically told Dennis he didn’t feel that the priesthood was right for him. The priest feels that Dennis gets too caught up in romantic notions. And his romantic notion of the priesthood will also fade once the “new” has worn off.

Dennis, who doesn’t like to be told what he doesn’t want to hear (although I suppose we’re all a bit guilty of that!!), now wants to consult another priest. It’s almost like he doesn’t want to make up his mind so he’s trying to get someone else to tell him what choice to make. Or that he wants to be able to say something like: “I spoke with a priest who thinks I should become a priest so therefore I’m breaking up with you… it’s not that I want to, but the Church says I have to.”

So things get stickier yet… Dennis has a long time female friend named “Lynn.” She lives overseas and they’ve only met in person once. She’s very conservative and Dennis often turns to her for religious advice. This wouldn’t bother me, except that 1.) He’s more spiritually intimate with her. :frowning: I feel like he should be coming to me (the fiance) first if not a priest to discuss deep spiritual matters. And 2.) She has NO IDEA I exist!! :eek: They swap emails a couple times a week, although have been known to go a few months with no contact. Yet she has no idea that he’s engaged or that I live with him! He feels that it’s not being dishonest as she’s never actually asked: “Are you with anyone?” or something along those lines. He’s always known that I’ve felt that that kind of behavior is wrong. 3.) To make matters worse, I found all this out through a third party. Dennis never told me until I confronted him!! :mad:

Look, you all are a bunch of conservative Catholics. Any advice? Thoughts? Prayers? Because I could surely use them!!! :confused:


I honestly don’t see how you would be able to enter into marriage with someone like that. I think you need to move out, and that will help to clear up a lot of the confusion that you are feeling right now. That living with you makes him think he might be called to the priesthood and a life of celibacy is kind of odd, not a good sign. Plus, I think if he has this attachment to this girl online and doesn’t want to tell her that he is engaged, well, to me that sort of indicates that he has romantic notions about that relationship that he doesn’t want to let go of.

I know you just moved across the world to be with him, but don’t let that keep you trapped in what sounds like an unpromising situation. I really do think the reality of this situation will become much clearer if you move out.


Yes, here’s my advice:

(1) Dennis is immature and not husband material. He has spiritual and emotional problems that are not going to be resolved quickly or easily. They are not problems that will go away if you marry him.

(2) Move home to the US and cut your losses. Consider yourself lucky.

(3) Don’t look back-- don’t continue to “discern” anything with him. Frankly, I think he’s a nut case.


(4) Tell him he can’t have his cake and eat it too
(5) He IS being unfaithful to you with this other woman…otherwise he would have shared with her about you
(6) Move back to US and don’t take calls or emails from him… count your blessings that he is an ocean away


I agree that he’s immature… a bit sad as he’s 2 months away from turning 34!!! :eek: And no, I wouldn’t marry him with his current “issues.” I just wish he could see how ridiculous he’s acting… for his own good if nothing else! I wish someone (besides me) would tell him to grow up. Is it just me, or does he seem like bad priest material as well as bad husband material? And is there anything I can do (besides a prayer and a buttkicking :stuck_out_tongue: ) to help him figure himself out? He may be a lost cause as far as a husband for me, but I do want to see him happy with his life.


RED FLAG!!! Out of all the things you have said, this struck me the most.

This man dated you via email before you moved there. He is dating this other woman also - via email. Both of you are secrets from each other.

Let’s be realistic. If they were friends, he’d have told her about you. When I am excited about something, or excited about a relationship, I blab to all my friends.

Those I do not tell, are other than friends. Meaning if I am hiding the truth or just failing to mention the truth ( another form of lying by omission), then I have an ulterior motive. What’s his?

I am suspect of folks with ulterior motives and not being forth right about things and relationships. I LOVE the "just friends " thing.
When the other email sweetie finds out about you, he will refer to you as a friend.

This same scenario happened to me as well. He left me for the email sweetie in London and ended up marrying her - though they were only friends. :confused:


He CLAIMS the reason he didn’t tell her we were living together is because she’s uber conservative and sometimes really opinionated (she lectured him for over an hour once on why she feels listening to music of The Beatles is sacreligious) and he just didn’t want her to go off on him for living with a girl outside of marriage. When I confronted him about it, he was all apologetic (he was so busted!!!), which surprised me as he’s very defensive and so I was expecting way more excuses! It gets me soooo angry :mad: as he’s always running around being Mr. Holier-than-thou. Trying to tell me I’m not Catholic enough or spiritual enough.


No, it’s clear to me. And, it was clear to the priest you visited.


Here’s my frank advice: STOP.

Stop trying to “help” him. You need to get completely away from the situation, and get clarity for you. I think there are some things you need to examine regarding your *own *situation.

Why would you move to a foreign country and move in with a man? Seriously. This has red flag all over it without knowing anything else.

Why have you tolerated this behavior as long as you have, and why did you not key in on these red flags long before now? You knew about the female “friend” and chose to ignore some odd behaviors.

Why are you even now trying to “help” him???

These are questions you need to answer for yourself-- on your own and away from him. I don’t see continuing a ‘friendship’ with him as healthy for either of you.


If you haven’t already called the moving company and booked your flight home, then I’m just stumped.

You are spouting out all sorts of things off the top of your head that you clearly see as character flaws, and yet you are still calling him your fiance???


I’d always been keen on living in the UK. I’ve lived and worked overseas in other countries and loved it!

As for why I moved when I did: we’d been in a romantic relationship for quite a while (after being close friends) and gotten engaged (He proposed at the Vatican.) before I moved over. When we go our seperate ways, as that seems to be inevitable at this point, I plan to stay in London. :thumbsup: I love it here! I consider it the silver lining to all the mess that’s happened.


Sometimes it just takes saying these things out loud, even if “out loud” means words typed on the internet. It helps to put your thoughts together and open yourself up to the possibility that all of your worries are actually well-founded. When you keep all of your thoughts and concerns to yourself, it is easy to be confused and to not see reality clearly. I’m sure the OP will do the right thing.


Sorry for all the buckets of cold water coming your way, but even you KNOW this is not a good situation. Go home. IF your man is ever to grow up, he needs some time and space, and you need to do something other than allow your life to stall while he figures it all out. A man in love acts accordingly–he declares his intent publicly, he is loyal and follows through with his commitments.


With all due respect and love…

At the moment NEITHER of you should be dating/engaged/married to anyone. You BOTH have issues. He’s got all his problems and you are attracted to him in spite of it.


Agree with 1ke - both times.

So sorry this is happening to you. You seem committed to the relationship as an engaged bride should be. He however seems to still be wondering and wandering about what his true call could or should be. As tough as it may be - you need to walk away and let him ponder what he wants to do. He knows how you feel and give him space to decide. By staying you only hurt yourself and complicate things for him.

Do not be afraid. Move on. Wish him well. Pray for peace for you both. Good luck.


You sound independent :wink: then I’d say move out fast my friend and maybe visit Ireland when you can…I think there’s still some nice Catholic men over there :slight_smile: they are very loyal and frankly have way better accents :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously, I’d leave as soon as you can. This doesn’t sound right at all. I know it will be hard. I hope you have a job over there and have some sort of support around you.


I know he’s not the man for me and I wouldn’t say that I’m attracted to him in spite of it all. I started the post to make sure that I’m NOT crazy for thinking he’s out of line in his actions. The priest we spoke with actually told us to “work it out as we do get on well.” And I’m thinking… “Are you serious? Did you just hear him say he’s considering the priesthood even though still involved with me?” Until reading the responses, I’ve been feeling like some selfish witch for not being “understanding” and having patience… which is what the priests have been advising me to do. I’m glad to hear that people agree that I’m not nuts for thinking his actions are wrong!!:thumbsup: !


Nope not nuts. Go…get…scram…you have packing to do. :thumbsup:
I believe you will find peace with this after it is done.


I firmly agree with everyone else here, please do follow your gut on this one!!

He is either too immature for marriage or has issues are way too big for you to deal with. Either way, consider yourself very blessed to be getting out now instead of later!

Beyond the immaturity, you’ve got this “other woman” thing going on. My ex also had a “female friend” on the internet and insisted that it was all strictly friends and so on. Until I found out differently. Anyone who thinks that starting a marriage with internet friends who don’t even know that he’s involved/engaged has no idea what it takes to make a marriage work. Infidelity does not just involve physical contact. He is being unfaithful to you by sharing personal thoughts and feelings that he claims to be unable to share with you. Trust me, it is a short hop skip and jump from that to physical infidelity.

You are in my prayers!



I agree with the others. Move out or kick him out as soon as you can. London is an incredible city. If you can still stay in the city, away from him, and keep your work visa, do it. You don’t have to move back to the states.



You must get out now!

It will hurt, but not as much as it will hurt later if you stay.

If I were you, I would just leave without telling him. I would not want to waste more time in giving him any explanations of why you are leaving. I would leave him a note with all these things you are saying here and on that same note I would tell him not to look for me. I would tell my family and friends of my decision adn I would also tell them that I am heading home very very soon and that you need them for support. God forbid this guy might be a looney and decides to do something to you for wanting to leave him if he finds out that you are leaving him. His ways seem very strange. It’s like living with a total stranger!:confused:

He does not deserve a second chance. You guys live together and still, I am sure you have doubts about who this guy really is and what he really wants.

Good luck and God Bless!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.