Help for my sister, advice greatly appreciated!


My 18 year old sister has recently started dating the father of her baby.

While they weren't actually dating at the time, my sister became pregnant when she was 16. The father has paid child-support since this all happened, but other than a few visits here and there, that's been about the extent of his "participation".

About two to three weeks ago, they decided to actually give their relationship a try. They both say they've never really stopped having feelings for each other and that their relationship may be in the best interested of their child who is now one.

The other day, my sister told me that he is purchasing a house and that she will be moving in with him in the next two months. She doesn't plan on telling our mom, who has raised us Catholic our whole lives, until about a week before she leaves. This will break her heart.

It seems like everything as far as the move is basically set. Unless they have some kind of falling out before then, it's very likely that she will actually move out and start this new life she seems to have already chosen.

My sister knows the truth and she knows what the Church's teachings are. How can I convince her to stay? Can I convince her to stay? I fear for my sister's soul as well as my niece’s well being. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!




With a child involved, it's a lot more complicated than just someone shacking up with her boyfriend, and it may be in the child's best interest to have both parents in the home taking care of him even if they aren't married. It is certainly better than not having a father in her life at all and having her mom expose her to an endless string of new boyfriends as what often happens in these cases,or getting married because of family pressure and putting the child through a bitter and painful divorce.

I personally would not press the issue beyond stating your opinion and then leaving it alone. She already knows it's something she shouldn't be doing and that it will upset her family, but the kind of "tough love" tactics like cutting off contact that posters here sometimes suggest taking with adult children who don't do what the parents want often just break apart a family without actually solving anything. Plus, as your sister, it's not really your place to try and stop her. You have no authority over her. The best thing you can do right now is just pray.


Other than pray for her, there's really not much you can do. She's 18 and you don't have authority over her.

If you were both raised Catholic, then she already knows the moral issues that she faces. She's putting off telling your mother because she probably knows this will hurt your family. Tell her your opinion, but then leave it alone. Don't put a wedge between the two of you because of this. She is free to make her own choices, and she has to do what she feels is best for her child. You'll be in a better position to be a positive example to her (and your niece) if you remain on good terms with your sister.


To be buying a house... and having been paying child support... Sounds like the father is older than your sister. Perhaps he hasn't been able to legally date her 'till she turned 18??

I wonder how your mother would feel if the started dating now? Or is he "off limits". I wonder if you sister feels this is the only way to spend time with him without getting in trouble? Perhaps she can't move out into her own place and care for her small child.

They've definately done things backwards... It sounds like this is her way of trying to make things right? I wonder if she'd get the support to date him and make that effort in an appropriate fashion???


I don't see where there is anything you can do. Your sister is 18, you have no control over her, you have expressed your opinion. I would not sever ties with her. She is your sister and may need you in the future. Pray that it works out and they eventually get married.
The one thing I would recommend is that you be there for your mom. She is going to be very upset from what you said,. just be there to listen , comfort, pray with her, whatever may help her to cope. .


Tread carefully and remember that you can win an argument and still lose a person. I know from (too much) experience that coming in from a high moral standpoint and shoving doctrine down someone’s throat does not work at all. Perhaps mention ONCE that maybe it would be a good idea for them to date for a while longer and then get married and move in then, because then if things go sour it will be less traumatic for the child (not only do mom and dad break up, we suddenly have to move now too). And make sure to say it gently, calmly and avoid patronizing tones. Other than that, lead by example, spend time with your niece so she is exposed to positive religious examples and pray for them daily.


I would be concerned for my sister's soul as well since it is a mortal sin to live together without being married but as other's have suggested, there is nothing you can do.

Also, the father has paid child support. No where in your post do you complain about him. He sounds like an OK guy.

Perhaps try and help your sister with the reason's she sees for moving out. Perhaps as a parent herself, she resents living under her mother's roof and having grandma but into the child rearing. Perhaps with a young child, she does not see a way to study and have a career so the opportunity to be a stay at home mom looks pretty good right now.

As much and we should not sin, we need alternatives



It can be but isn’t necessarily. There are a million ways for something with the potential to be a mortal sin to be actually a venial sin. A mortal sin needs the full consent of a well-informed will unhampered by other influences. And plus, sure it gives scandal, but you can’t just assume people are having sex because they live together.


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