Said something in a way I shouldn't have


My older niece, who is not Catholic, recently moved in with her boyfriend. I explained to her that it was not appropriate to live with someone she was not ready to marry and she became very angry with me. She told me that she did not judge me, I should not judge her. (Her mother died when she was 13 and had never raised her in any faith, nor did her father and they were both Catholic). Having an online typed discussion with my younger niece, her sister, about how upset I was with her sister decision, my younger niece answered back even her father and the boyfriends family, who are Lutheran’s were not opposed to the idea, that atleast she was not sleeping around and giving “it” away to everyone. I shot back “no, just to her boyfriend”. With that, the younger niece told me I was rude hung up on me and we have not spoken since. She told her sister (my older niece) what I said and her sister no longer speaks to me either. She said that she was furious that I would say such a horrible thing about her, that I had called her a whore and how could I do that. I have apologized to the older niece explaining that I was angry and should not have put things in such disgusting terms but she refuses to accept my apology. I have lost a sister and a brother, my parents are divorced and my family is getting smaller and smaller. Should I try again to apologize? We celebrated separate holidays for the first time since she was born 24 years ago.

By the way, my older niece seems to think I hold she and her sister to a higher standard then my own children and don’t preach to them. My own children understand that if they choose to live with a boyfriend or girlfriend while they are not married that I will not associate with them as long as they do so.

I know that I should not have said what I said in anger, but I do feel she is wrong to live with her boyfriend and I thought she should know how I felt and I told her. Unfortunatley my anger got the better of me when I spoke with her sister. And I am the only family member who feels that living together is wrong.



Hi Spunky,
I know many families that are having this same problem. I don’t know the statistics but it seems like over 50% of young couples are now living together without the benefit of marriage. Does that make it right, no.
When a person doesn’t understand the Christian teaching and importance of forgiveness, it’s very hard to reason with them. Maybe you can appeal to her own sense of selfishness by telling her that holding a grudge and not forgiving is not healthy for her.
At the time, I don’t know what else to say but I wanted you to know that I’ll be praying that this issue is resolved. Jesus said that there would be division in our families over Him and that is what we are seeing today.


It probably wouldn’t hurt to try again to apologize to her, making sure, of course that you don’t actually apologize for your belief, just how you stated things. Include such things as:

I’m sorry for hurting your feelings. I respect you and don’t think you are a whore. I’m so bothered by this , not just because I think it’s wrong, but also because I love you and don’t want to see you get hurt. And I believe living together like this could really cause you hurt. But I didn’t mean to make less of you as a person and I shouldn’t have [insert transgression here]. You are a wonderful [insert compliments here] person and I really like having you in my life. I can’t pretend I’m ok with living together, but I hope we can talk about it more calmly next time…

Or something like that. If she still refuses you, then all you can do is hope that your life will somehow be a silent witness to morality. If she regains contact with her, you can gently evangelize her, or gently point her to others who will evangelize her (give her some good books to read, invite her to church, etc.) You have a lot of courage. God Bless.



I would appologize again, not for your opinion but for that one comment that you made and also for talking about her behind her back. You did the right thing in letting her know that what she was doing was wrong, but your obligation ends there. She is an adult and you have to allow her to make her own decision. You gave her good information and it is up to her what she doesn with it. Also, you probably should not have been talking to her sister about it in the first place, you dont want to be gossiping about someone.


While what you describe does not sound like the ideal way to present it, give yourself a break. It was something that desperately needed to be said and even money says you were the only one who said it. Like the bartenders say–better a good drink in the wrong glass than a bad drink in the right glass.


P.S. I suspect even if you presented the truth with a velvet touch you would have still gotten the indignant response. Truth tends to do that.


If you were not involved in your neice’s spiritual formation, and nobody else nurtured her along the way either, this is hardly the point to enter the scene in your SWAT gear.

Apologize. Don’t tell her what she is doing is OK. Just say:
“I’m sorry. I spoke out of turn. But this is something that really means a lot to me. It’s not just reactionary prudery. If you ever want to know why, I’m here.”


[quote=monica fan]I know many families that are having this same problem. I don’t know the statistics but it seems like over 50% of young couples are now living together without the benefit of marriage.

Apparently the rules were revised sometime in the last 40 years making it that fornication is no longer a sin. I just don’t recall which revision of the Bible that was in.


You’ve already had your say; anything more is rude, intrusive, and will certainly NOT cdonvince your neice of the error of her ways.

Did you raise her? Are you supporting her now? If not, you really have nothing more to say about this unless she asks you. And judging from what you’ve told us, you said what you had to say so badly that your advice most likely will not be sought.

Stay out of it, mind your business, and do what you can do: pray. For your neice’s situation and for you to acquire some good sense and good manners.


For your neice’s situation and for you to acquire some good sense and good manners.

Any one else cognizant of a certain irony here?


I guess you’re the only one.


[quote=SweetPea]I guess you’re the only one.

No not the only one. She already felt bad about what she said. As HUMANS we sometimes get emotional and say things we don’t mean.She doesn’t want her number 1)to lose her soul 2)to lose her self worth and feel guilty and ashamed and look back with regret 3) have some guy use her. She got to emotional and feels bad,please give her a break. God Bless


Spunky -

You’re correcting her because you love her and are looking out for her well-being. Living with her boyfriend IS wrong and IS innapropriate, but just telling her you “don’t approve” can come across as judgemental and condemning - not signs of love.

Is there a way you could let her know how important she is to you, how much you want her to be happy, how much you think she deserves honor, life-long commitment, tenderness, fidelity, chastity; all the beauty involved when sex is saved for marriage? Can she feel that your concern comes from love and compassion? (If it doesn’t, perhaps just an apology is in order.)

That was the only message I was open to at a point during my dating years when I considered moving in with a boyfriend. Having a parents and a godmother who let me know how much I was worth as a precious daughter of God convinced me to wait for marriage. Had someone merely told me they “disapprove” of cohabitation or threatened to cut me off if I engaged in premarital sex, I might have lashed out to protect myself and moved in just to spite them.


[quote=Spunky] My own children understand that if they choose to live with a boyfriend or girlfriend while they are not married that I will not associate with them as long as they do so.


Hello Spunky,

Even Jesus spoke with and shared meals with tax collectors, sinners and prostitutes. It was the evil Church leaders who boldly denounced such a practice. Jesus always told sinners to repent from their sins.

I think you are very right in letting your niece know that what she is doing is a sin against Jesus and the Father. I think that you should also teach your children not to fornicate. I do not think that you should disassociate yourself from your own children if they do sin.

Correcting a loved one out of concern for their eternal soul is Christlike love. The rich man in Jesus’ Lazerous story, who was burning in hell for his sins, begged Abraham for just such an opportunity. However, I would not disassociate yourself from your niece, and more importantly your own children, should they turn to sin. Continuing to accept your child into your life, while correcting them, should they turn to fornication, will be a stronger encouragement for their repentance than casting them away will ever gain.

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten


Everyone has been very supportive, even those who have chastised me and I thank you all and may God Bless you.

My original comment to my niece was that “if you do not love someone enough to marry them, you should not be living with them” and her answer was that she does not judge me, I should not judge her.

There was no one my family or in his family tellling them it was wrong. Even his famly, who are Lutherans were encouraging them to make this step. I was a lone voice in my family and in his family.

I was involved in helping raise my nieces until their mother died. I tried to show my sister and them the importance of faith and helped my sister regain a faith while she was dying. She still, however, felt that her children should discover and pick their own faith when they were older. We didn’t even use the time that she was dying to teach them a faith.

Yes, I shouldn’t have been speaking to my niece’s sister, but originally her sister was against the idea and I thought I would have an ally who might be able to help. I was not aware that her sister had become sexually active and had changed her opinion of such things, thus the melt down with the conversation with her.

I do know that Jesus sat down and visited with sinners, but when he left he told them to sin no more. Are we supposed to just accept what everyone is doing? Isn’t that why so many people live together now? Because it is acceptable today, we treat them as we would any other married couple. Where is the lesson and the consquence for living together if they are treated as if they were married and there are no consequences. And when it does not work out, and they split up, no one tells them the reasons that living together do not work and they go on to try it again. Or they say well, that didn’t work, I surely will never make a commitment to marry.

In the 70’s divorce became acceptable and people felt that they had a right to be “happy” even if that meant abandoning their family. Kids were told that, yes, your father or mother should not have left but he/she is your parent and you must keep a relationship with them (even if they are living with the person they broke their vows with), divorce and living together became acceptable and the breakdown of the family began.

With a whole generation of broken families, people should be screaming at the top of their lungs that this just does not work and we need to move back to a commited family. I want that in my own family. I don’t know how I would get that if my children knew that if they choose to live with someone, I would be ok with that. Jesus even told Peter to “get thee behind me Satan” when he made a comment to Jesus that he surely would not allow himself to be taken to the cross. That is a pretty powerful rebuke. My son was recently pressured by a young woman to move in with him and his comment to her was " I respect you too much to treat you in such a manner, if we are to live together it will be as a married couple." She got angry and broke up with him. This young woman had my son’s respect and didn’t want it.

Well, a little off topic, but maybe not. I wanted to give you all a glimps of what else is happening inside this family. I try very hard to be an example and I fail quite miserably at times. I am at the present not even living with my husband because of his rage and anger and a suicide attempt on his part, but I am still trying to live a Catholic life, helping him with his mental illness treatments while keeping my family safe and trying to figure out what I am supposed to do. I married for better or worse in sickness and in health and it appears that he is very ill, so it looks like I will be married for the rest of my life but not living with my husband. My family keeps getting smaller and smaller.

I will try again to iron out things with my niece as it has affected the entire family.



The problem is not so much what you said as that you said it behind her back to someone else. The gossiping is the problem. Follow the first reply person’s advice.

I find it interesting that you told your own children that you will not associate with them if they cohabitate yet you still want to associate with your niece. Sounds like a double standard. Also, your own children might see the inconsistency and will thus not take you seriously on your original threat. Not a good thing.

Do the apology and then go on with your life. Be glad that you will not be having a front row seat to a train wreak. Pray for her a lot. Pray that the young man will be cast from her life.

I am always amazed when someone acts like a whore and then is surprised when someone actually points out that they are acting a like a whore.

Sounds like the other niece needs some information on dating. Of course, it can’t come from you now. Just pray that someone else in her life will step up to the plate.

I guess the original response would have been to have the offending niece over for tea and then talk to her gently about your concerns in a loving manner.

Familys are wonderful but they can also be a real pain.


I am not certain why Spunky should apologize? Perhaps emotions were strong when the discussion took place, but I can’t find any legitimate reason to apologize. The issue at hand is a common one and a serious one. One that is too often glossed over and accepted as a just way to lead one’s life.

My opinion is Spunky should continue to speak, in a charitable way, to the niece, but never compromising the truth. Her instincts are on target.


Spunky -

Take it from someone who is a little more blunt and a lot less charitable than I should be sometimes.

Let things lie. If you see them at Christmas, be sure to give them a hug and tell them you love them. Someone above mentioned apologizing for the way you said things, but this should really only be considered if the opportunity arises.

I’ve walked in your shoes more times than I care to admit. Although the older I get, the better I get at holding my tongue. :slight_smile: Heck - you shoulda known me 25 years ago!

God bless,

closed #18

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