Non-catholic boyfriend- what to do?

Hi. So my boyfriend and I met at university and have been going out for 6months now. I am a Catholic, he isn’t any religion though he was baptised a Catholic. He isn’t an atheist and believes in a God. He was adopted and went through a rough adolescence/early adulthood. Anyways he is 30 and I am 23. He is doing a PHD and I’m still not sure what I am doing. We are looking for jobs which is proving to be very difficult. Anyways when I first started going out with him, we were very different and I am surprised we are still together. He wasn’t even sure he ever wanted to get married. He had girlfriends of 2yrs + and lived with one before and never asked any of them to marry him. He didn’t think he would want to have kids. I am not a virgin and unfortunately, we had sex. I fell pregnant. It was the most stressful time of my life. I didnt know how he would react or if he was fine with abortion. When I told him, he said that he was against abortion. I don’t know why since he is secular. He said even if I wanted an abortion, he would have a hard time accepting that decision. That was a relief and suprise and we decided of course to have the baby (I wouldve had the baby regardless of his opinion). Sadly, I had a miscarriage. He was very upset. We fought a lot during this time as we were both very wounded and I expected a lot from him to comfort me but it was hard for him with all the pain he was experiencing from the loss. Anyways, a month ago, he mentioned that he wanted to marry me, that he had found the right person. My eyes nearly popped out of my head as he wasn’t even sure he would/wanted to ever get married. Now all of a sudden he was proposing. I said I could see this happening but needed more time. He wants to get engaged in a year. Anyways, we were still having sex and I have been feeling anxious about it. I said I needed to stop sex to clear my head. I decided that I’d like to wait until marriage but feel selfish as I didnt say this to him before we had sex and it would be an abrupt change for a man who doesn’t abstain due to Christian beliefs and has had sex before. He was a bit annoyed when I told him, saying it will be very hard but if it’s what I have to do he will wait and try his best to. So now we’re not having sex. In short, this is the most amount of compromising he has ever done in a relationship. He isn’t cohabitating. He changed his whole future plans to be with me (was supposed to live in a different city and do a masters not a PHD, long story), he is now wanting to get married and said he wants to have kids with me, and though not too happy about it, is not having sex. Anyways my questions are:

  1. Can people change? Can Catholics and non-Catholics make marriages work? Can non-Catholics ever ‘meet’ God via their spouse/wife? I’m not forcing my beliefs on him or making him convert, it’s all up to him.
  2. I am praying so hard to God to reveal whether this is the future spouse for me even though its only been 6months. At times I feel yes and other times I’m not so sure yet. I feel as if God is giving me no answer. Why? Will he?
  3. We have no money to get married. Still have study to do. My parents have said to always get married to a well established man and to have a career, full time job and deposit on a house down pat. He doesnt have anything as he has rented from the age of 19. If so, we won’t be able to get married for ages. Can a marriage work if two parties are both students? Or is it best to wait until the living circumstances are better. It would be hard to not be intimate for years and years on end. I think I am ready to get married as I am a forgiving and sacrificial person but the finances get in the way.

First off, I am sorry you had a miscarriage, must have been awful.

Second off, it’s good that you are understanding about Non-Catholics. People aren’t bad people if they don’t believe everything we do. All of us have issues with the Church, the lies, cover-ups, Vatican hiding money, closing churches that meet criteria of a successful parish etc.

Can you imagine how hard it is for Non-Catholics to look from the outside in?

If you love this man and you obviously do, abstaining from sex is foolish. Sex is a natural bond between 2 people and I encourage you to enjoy each other. Abstaining will only push this man away from you. It will put doubts in his head about what kind of love life will he have once he is married, will he get it once a week, once a month, etc? A lack of sex and passion tempts people to have an affair.

You can have a great life with this man, he is motivated by studying for his PhD and wants to be with you. Give something back to him, have sex, have it often and enjoy yourself. Get engaged, plan your life together and I wish you a successful pregnancy after you get married.

Don’t let people judge or preach to you about abstinence. Everyone has skeletons in the closet.

Oh sweetie, this has broken heart written all over it! If it is meant to be then you two will still be together after becoming established once school is finished. Yes, people can and do change, many spouses have been converted through the example of their spouses, and students can successfully and happily make marriages work. That being said, all of those relationships are in the MINORITY. The MAJORITY of those relationships end in misery and take years to heal. The best course of action will be to remain celebate and work on intimacy in new, chaste ways. That is the key to a successful marriage. Even if you two were married, there are many times when sex isn’t possible. For instance, your spouse travels for business extensively, or is in the military, or becomes sick or injured, or you are using NFP to avoid pregnancy for a serious reason, or your kids are sick and you are exhausted…the list is endless! I’m speaking from experience here. I was one of the lucky ones in the minority that was blessed to make a hard relationship work. All three of my sisters and most of my friends have been in the majority and failed. Some have remained married and have committed to never divorcing but they are miserable none the less. Pray to St. Joseph to help you find someone like him. Commit to being chaste from now on. If this man is a keeper he WILL wait for you patiently and time will prove his worth.

First off, I am so sorry for the loss of your child. That must have been devasting, and you and the father of your child are in my prayers today.

To answer your questions:

Can people change? Yes. People can change. But you have to realize that you are not going to change him, God can change him. I wrote extensivly on this in this blog post, please read it to get more on this subject here : timeonthemountaintop.blogspot.com/2013/02/you-cant-change-them.html

*Can Catholics and non-Catholics make marriages work? * Can they work? Yes. Are they hard? Yes. My aunt is married to a non-Catholic and it has showed it’s conseqences in how her children’s faith life has been shaped. They are not enthusiastic about their faith because they see that their father doesn’t care or go to Church. Chist warns us in the Bible to not be unequally yoked.

Can non-Catholics ever ‘meet’ God via their spouse/wife? I’m not forcing my beliefs on him or making him convert, it’s all up to him. You (and those on here and in your life praying for you) are definatly praying for the conversion of him. But you have to plan as if he will not convert. Are you ready to be married to a man who is not Catholic and does not neccesarily want your children to be raised Catholic?

*I am praying so hard to God to reveal whether this is the future spouse for me even though its only been 6months. At times I feel yes and other times I’m not so sure yet. I feel as if God is giving me no answer. Why? Will he? * Is this man helping you be the best version of yourself? Are you positive that he will be able to lead your family spiritually and get you and your future children to Heaven?

*We have no money to get married. Still have study to do. My parents have said to always get married to a well established man and to have a career, full time job and deposit on a house down pat. He doesnt have anything as he has rented from the age of 19. If so, we won’t be able to get married for ages. Can a marriage work if two parties are both students? Or is it best to wait until the living circumstances are better. It would be hard to not be intimate for years and years on end. I think I am ready to get married as I am a forgiving and sacrificial person but the finances get in the way. *

Finances are the number one marriage-killer. Your parents gave you great advice, since a man who is in an established career that will provide for you and your future children will be a great provider and a comfort of feeling secure in your finances. If your current vocation is to be a student, will it take away from your maritial vocation to be a student and a wife at the same time? Will it be hard to be a mother while still worried about your grades? Are you ready to be a wife and a mother as your number one priority?

To tackle the issue of sex and cohabitation, please realize this. If the man you are seeing loves you, he realizes that abstaining from sex is what is best for your SOUL. The health of your soul is so much more important than the pleasure of your body. Putting your soul in the state of a mortal sin just because it “feels good” and it is “enjoyable” is ruining the nature of sex.

Sex is supposed to be free, total, faithful and fruitful. It means being free of worry and guilt. It means giving your whole self to your spouse, minus contraception and abortion. It means being faithful to your spouse and to the Church in your expression. It means being totally open to life at all times, so that whenever you are together, you are open to the possiblity of having a baby.

Deciding who you will be married to 'til death do you part is a HUGE decision. One that will not only affect you, but also the people around you and your future children. Please know that I am praying for you and him.

God bless you,

Chloe M.
www.timeonthemountaintop.blogspot.com

First off, welcome to CAF! I’m so happy you seem to be finding your way back to God! I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can. Do people change? Not usually, in my opinion. Yes, it CAN and does happen for some. But I feel, in general, people are who/what they are, and that’s that. The only thing that can change a person is prayer and the hand of God. The fact that he wasn’t ok with an abortion is a good sign. What I would suggest is start going to Mass, confession and Eucharist adoration regularly. This will not only help you discern what God wants for you, but it will help you remain strong to abstain from sex. And you never know, if he sees you becoming more devout, he may follow your lead…
I also HIGHLY recommend the 54 day Rosary novena (Google it!). It’s one powerful novena that has given me 3 miracles over the last year! Ask Our Lady for guidance and clarity about this man and your questions about him being the right one for you.
As far as waiting for financial stability before getting married, I don’t know. I mean, I totally understand your parents logic. But, it will be much more difficult to abstain when waiting years to become financially stable. Bottom line, if this guy is the right guy, he will remain so whether you get married in 6 months or 6 years. Again, prayer is the only way to discern God’s plan for this. You absolutely have my prayers! I’m sure you’ll figure everything out soon. You’re young, and I know it seems like all decisions have to be concrete now, but you have lots of time. This guy is annoyed at no sex (no big surprise, really. No matter, he’ll survive!) but if he loves you, he’ll be patient. If he truly has a good heart, he’ll find this precious about you. You aren’t doing this TO him, you’re doing this FOR him…for the good of his soul and your own. Bravo!! It seems like you’re an amazing person! I really hope things work out for you both!

go to a priest and confess. premarital sex is mortal sin and that is what the Church teaches. Sex is God’s gift and only meant to be used in marriage, not outside or before.
There are many studies, a number of them by secular sources that show that premarital sex and living together before marriage does more damage to the marital relationship and is more of a set up for divorce than those who wait. If your are serious about your faith and want to practice it, you shouldn’t be having sex with this guy which is clouding your judgement on what is best.

Married you cannot seriously be encouraging people to commit mortal sins, just so they can keep a man around, are you? That seems like a bad idea, both for the OP’s soul and for her temporal life, (if this man turns out to be a jerk, they have only been dating 6months).

This is exactly why they should abstain. Sex creates unity, a unity that is only shared by married people, those who gave vows to stay together until death. She is trying to discern if this man is the right man to marry. Sex will only complicate that discernment. It would make it difficult to leave if she discerns that this man is not for her and prevent her from noticing his flaws or dismissing them.

OP congrats on your decision to become abstinent. I am sorry about your miscarriage. Stay close to the sacraments, make sure you go to confession, every time you fall.

As you discern marriage, be very careful. Marriage is a difficult, even when your spouse shares your values and convictions. As a Catholic you will need to raise any child Catholic. Is your boyfriend ok with not using artificial birth control? Is he willing to abstain if you have serious reasons to avoid having children? Is he gong to be a road block to you getting yourself and you and any potential children to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligations? Will he respect your beliefs and practices. Will he shun prayer, or your fasting, or religious items in the home. Is he confrontational, will you spend your marriage in confrontation about your faith and will that drive you from your faith. How does he feel about a Church wedding? Baptizing the children as infants, first communion and confirmation for children? All these things you must have clear answers from a man who keeps his word, (and is not gong to change his mind half way through) before you even think about getting married.

Please don’t listen to Married, having sex just to keep someone around is not the way to build a relationship. It is the opposite of trust, it is action based on fear. Guard your heart, you are not yet married, no vows have been said, you are both still free to leave if something is not right. It is good to know that your future spouse has some self control, if you are ever sick, on pelvic rest, or otherwise cannot fulfill his “needs,” it is good to know that he will not go philandering just because he is not getting any. Those times of abstinence would be for the good of your body, but this time of abstinence is for the good of your soul.

I will pray, for you and your boyfriend.

Wrong wrong wrong…keep having sex? If mutual love and respect is based on sex, it’s not real love at all. Abstinence teaches a great many things. It teaches to communicate with words. It prepares you for those times in married life when you have to abstain (i.e. natural family planning, those 6 or so weeks after giving birth, sickness, etc…).
I find it admirable that she wants to abstain now. She doesn’t want the hormones fooling her. She wants to discern this with a clear mind. Good for her! And that’s what she needs to do now…what’s right for HER to help her figure things out. I think it’s terrible you’re suggesting she’ll lose him by not sleeping with him. Not all men are that shallow. If she DOES lose him because of that, she’s better off without him,if you ask me. He will make his intentions VERY clear if he leaves because of that. Women should never use sex to keep a man. That’s sad and disgusting.

I too am very sorry about your miscarriage. I have suffered 8 as well. It is so very hard and my heart aches for you. That being said, please ignore the rest of this post entirely. Abstinence in marriage does not lead to affairs. Being unchaste is what leads to affairs. If a couple is truly chaste in mind, heart, body and soul, affairs are never even thought of! I’ve been with my husband for over 20 years, married for nearly 15. During the last 8 years we have been separated due to military duty and deployments as much as we’ve been together. If we were not believers in chastity I’m sure we would have strayed by now. Chastity, honesty and commitment lead to trust. Trust is what makes marriages work. Sex is such a small part if marriage. It is important but no one has ever died from being a virgin or recommitting to chastity. Just ignore people who will yell you otherwise.

encouraging someone to continue in premarital sex which is mortal sin is sinful itself. Sex is designed by God for marriage and marriage only. It is not based on “everyone is doing it or if it feels good its ok”. Sorry but this has been some of the worst advise I’ve ever seen on CAF, it is against the moral teaching of the Church and it is mortal sin. This has nothing to do with someone judging you. OP deep in her heart knows this is wrong and participating in premarital sex is clouding her judgement while this guy is pressuring her into marriage and he doesn’t believe in God. This is a setup for a bad divorce later on.

WHAT?!!

Thankyou. I told him I want to raise my future kids as Catholic, he said that is fine but he doesn’t want them to be close-minded and just ‘blindly’ follow everything (he doesn’t understand this part of faith). He is fine with baptising children, holy communion for them and confirmation etc. He is fine with me needing time for prayer, he is fine with me fasting (I dont eat meat on Fridays so if we go out to dinner I just order vegetarian). I told him I want my children to go to mass with me (I go to mass every Sunday) and he is fine with this. This is all good I am just scared that in marriage his opinions will change, though he is an honest person (more honest than I am) so I have hope that this won’t happen. The only thing he is not against is artificial birth control. I told him about NFP and he is a bit skeptical about it and needs more education on it. But this is what we will probably have to do regardless of faith, as he can’t use condoms and I feel ill and get bad side effects from the pill. I know it will be hard not having a Catholic boyfriend to support me in my faith. I know I will have to be the strong one. If God thinks this is possible then that is fine but if it is not possible then I hope he takes this cup away from me so to speak. I feel very drawn to this man, not because of the sex (felt like this before sex). I feel very emotionally intimate with him and I feel like he is more positive around me and I am a good influence on him. Whether he is on me, that I am still not sure about.

Thankyou. Yes my parents are wise, but at the same time, it would be hard to abstain for 5,6,7 years! Which will probably be the time when we would be working fulltime after study. My boyfriend mentioned he would like to get married in the next 2-3 years. He is fine with renting and then saving up for a deposit, though his parents said when he gets married they will give him an deposit for a apartment or house, so I guess that will help. I expressed my concern to him about getting married as students and having to rent and maybe waiting 5,6,7 years would be better, but he finds this sad and says that when we die we will be looking back at those 5,6,7 years and regretting not spending that time as husband and wife (living together, being intimate, saving together etc, studying together etc) even if finances are a bit difficult and we don’t materially have much. I don’t know who is right, me or him? Who knows.

Thankyou for posting and praying. Yes my parents are wise, but at the same time, it would be hard to abstain for 5,6,7 years! Which will probably be the time when we would be working fulltime after study. My boyfriend mentioned he would like to get married in the next 2-3 years. He is fine with renting and then saving up for a deposit, though his parents said when he gets married they will give him an deposit for a apartment or house, so I guess that will help. I expressed my concern to him about getting married as students and having to rent and maybe waiting 5,6,7 years would be better, but he finds this sad and says that when we die we will be looking back at those 5,6,7 years and regretting not spending that time as husband and wife (living together, being intimate, saving together etc, studying together etc) even if finances are a bit difficult and we don’t materially have much. He is already 30 too, so abstaining for such a long time is harder than for a man of 18/20. I don’t know who is right, me or him? Who knows.
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