Should I break it off with my girlfriend before Confirmation?

I’m worried, because I just found out that I may be in a serious situation, and my Confirmation is scheduled for this Easter Vidual. Let me start off by saying that my girlfriend and I are not having sex, nor are we living together. I’ve been seriously thinking about breaking off our relationship, but I haven’t brought myself to do it yet, because I don’t want to hurt her. Now, because of something I’ve just read on another thread, I may be required to break off our relationship before my confirmation.

This is my girlfriend’s situation. She is a Southern Baptist, and she says that she never intends to convert. She was married some years ago by a justice of the peace. The man she married was a Catholic only by name. He never went to church and he never even talked about God. He chose to marry outside the Church, so there was no priest or minister involved. A fiew years later, they got a divorce, and I think that he may have remarried. He never asked for an annullment.

  1. Was her marriage valid, and would she need an annullment for me to even date her?
  2. Even though we’re not having sex, and at this point, I don’t ever want to marry her, have I been in an adulterous relationship just by dating her?
  3. If I have been in an adulterous relationship with her, but I break it off and go to Confession, would there still be any roadblocks to my Confirmation?
  4. If I break it off with her, what’s the least harmful way I can do it? She’s not Catholic, so she doesn’t understand annullments. I don’t want to break her heart.
  5. She has a daughter that’s thinking about converting partly because of something I did, and I don’t want to hinder that conversion by causing bad feelings if I break up with my girlfriend. What do I do?

Josh good luck,Even if a marriage is not a sacrament you still need to get permission from Rome to have it annulled…My sister just went through this, but it wasn’t a difficult or lengthy process for her

I don’t think you are omitting adultery by just dating someone who is divorced, but I am not a theologian so don’t take my word for it

The least harmful way to break it off is to tell the truth, as kindly as possible, to her…I might save a lot of heartache down the road for both of you

Going to confession absolves you of any sin, as long as you are sorry, and intend to do better …You should be able to be confirmed

A Catholic must marry inside the Church (or have the necessary dispensation) for his marriage to be valid. (A Protestant who marries another Protestant, however, does have a valid marriage.) Because she, a non-Catholic Christian, married a Catholic outside the Church, there was no valid marriage to speak of.

You are doing nothing wrong by dating her. She is free to date and remarry. Neither of you are committing adultery. You do not need to break it off with her.

Update: I found this in the Catholic Encyclopedia, and it is still true to the best of my knowledge. I heard a priest say as much last Thursday: “The latest legislation affecting mixed marriages [between Catholics and non-Catholic Christians] is that of the decree Ne temere which went into effect 18 April, 1908. By this decree all marriages everywhere in the Latin Church between Catholics and non-Catholics are invalid unless they take place in the presence of an accredited priest and two witnesses.”

She would be wise to have the tribunal review the situation and issue the proper paperwork.

So, if we ever decided to marry in the future, would she still need to get an annullment first?

Since she was married to a Catholic, who was obligated to follow the Catholic Church’s form (rules) for marriage, their marriage was never considered valid by the church. She needs to obtain a decree of nullity for lack of form from the tribunal in your diocese. This will require her to obtain a copy of her ex-spouse’s baptismal certificate. (She does not need to contact him, just the church where he was baptized.) The pastor at your church either handles this himself or has deputed someone else to do it for him.

This is usually a relatively quick (a couple of weeks) process.

Good luck!

So, by dating her before she gets her decree of nullity, am I committing a sin? What do I do if she doesn’t have a clue what parish he was baptized in?

You stated you don’t want to marry her. So regardless of her previous marital situation, why are you dating her if you know you don’t want to marry her?

Her marital situation would need to be investigated, and **if **it as you described it would likely be a documentary case due to lack of form. She would need to sit down with your priest, discuss the situation fully, fill out the paperwork he gives her, and follow his instructions as it moves along. Don’t get worked up about details of paperwork-- the priest will guide her.

Whether or not you should be dating her until she has a decree of nullity is something you should talk to your priest about. Whether or not you have committed any sin (doubtful) is something you should talk to your priest about. And, no your Confirmation is NOT in jeopardy.

And, so, back to the main point-- if you know you don’t want to marry her… why are you dating her?

At one time, I was thinking about marrying her, but now, I don’t want to. The reason I’m still dating her is because as I said before, I haven’t had the courage to bring myself to break it off, because I didn’t want to hurt her.


You should talk to a priest. Maybe ask Fr. Serpa here in this forum.

I do believe yes, until the Marriage Tribunal “clears” her situation with an annulment…meaning there was never a marriage. She is presumed a married woman. In which case YOU aren’t allowed to date her in any way whatsoever!

Yes, by going to Confession, you may clarify things and get forgiven. The relationship must stop until the Marriage Tribunal is done with it…whether she understands or not…is pretty immaterial…we are talking adultery here…:shrug:

Hurting her feelings isn’t as bad [for you AND for her, since you seem to care about her] as committing adultery, no?

God converts people, not us or our actions. If her daughter is converting because of you, it’s not a true conversion, is it? Pray to the HS, He will take care of her. :wink:

Only the Marriage Tribunal can rule in these situations, not anyone else!

Josh…isn’t this even MORE cruel? :confused: I think so! Ask the HS for courage. Maybe begin by saying you need to be free from all ties during this time…then, you guys can re-visit things. Then, agree for some “time-off”…no point in seeing each other just as well, no? When you are dating, it precisely means that you are trying to discern whether you want to get into a deeper relationship with this person or not…in this case, not. You aren’t doing anything wrong. If you continue and get into a deeper relationship, maybe then, she would have a point as to question you.

You aren’t doing her a favor, really!:frowning:

It’s the Easter Vigil…easy mistake. Linguist talking :wink:

  1. Her first marriage was invalid, but she would still need to receive a declaration of nullity from the Marriage Tribunal to marry a Catholic in the Church. It would probably be a quick matter.

  2. No, you have not been in an adulterous relationship. You said “at this point”, so that tells me that at one time you were “investigating” whether you could see yourself married to her. That is legit.

  3. There is no sin and no roadblock to your Confirmation (in the matter presented).

  4. Sorry, can’t really help you there. Just be honest. You don’t have to bring up the annulment, try the other reason. You could tell her that you don’t feel called to her in marriage. Pray about it. Then tell her you prayed about it.

  5. Nothing, absolutely nothing can ever obligate you to continue a dating relationship. Try to be gentle in #4, tell her you want to be friends, and mean it.

God bless

…see if this makes any sence to you. I married a staunch southern baptist 31 years ago on the 20th of May. We have 4 beautiful children and 2 grandchildren with one on the way. She is still southern baptist, (not really practicing) but southern baptist. Me and all the kids are Catholic (Practicing Catholics). Spouse and I both agree if we had it to do all over again, we would have never dated. Because we dated, we fell in love (at least with the idea of love at that young age), but we grew to love and continue to be in love these 31 years. I have known her since 1972 and we married in 1978. We both concur, if she has no plans to convert, and you believe that…do your self and her a big favor…

…RUN LIKE HELL…oh, Peace:thumbsup:

I am signing on again merely to respond to this post because the answers given up until know are wrong, in part or totally, and unhelpful to the OP, at least as it relates to marriage and annulment. Canon law of 1983 is now in effect, not 1908, and the old Catholic Encyclopedia is NOT a reliable guide to canon law issues today.

If you are living with the young lady but not having marital relations, no you are not committing adultery. You may be giving scandal to those who know you, which is another issue, but that is the proper concern of only a few people. You must discuss this with the priest who is in charge of your Confirmation preparation and be guided by his advice. Speak to him this week, as he will be very busy Holy Week. You are however setting and example for the child who lives with you and must be guarded in all aspects. You have also established, by virtue of the fact you are functioning as a household, a relationship not only with the young lady, but with her child. That alone is very dangerous and potentially harmful if this relationship does not lead to marriage, for the damage that will be done to the child who has come to trust and possibly love you during this time. Not to mention the natural pain that will come to you and the lady if there is a break-up. Please take this into account whatever you decide.

If the facts about her first marriage are as you relate (and bear in mind you may not be in possession of all the facts) her first marriage is invalid due to lack of form because the Catholic party did not observe the laws of the Catholic Church on marriage. This by the way has no effect whatever on the status of their child. Should she wish to marry you or any Catholic in the future, she must submit those facts to the parish priest who will guide her through the rather simple paperwork process which establishes in writing the fact that she is free to marry. This is NOT an annulment, and Rome is NOT involved, this is handled on the local diocesan level.

The young lady is NOT required to convert in order to marry you or any Catholic, but her freedom to marry must be established. This leads to a deeper issue you do not mention, which is how will children of this new marriage–if it happens–be raised? She needs to make no promise, but you as the Catholic party must promise to welcome children God sends you, to have them baptized and raised as Catholic, to the very best of your ability. You two must discuss this, and perhaps other issues you have not yet considered before you plan to marry, and should have discussed them before moving in together. This would be true no matter what your religion, marital status, previous relationships etc., no matter who you are or who you marry. That is why the Church wisely provides a marriage preparation process, so that couples confront and come to agree on the essential issues surrounding marriage and family.

The old Richard Dreyfuss movie “Goodby Girl” with all its moral ambiguity, does a good job portraying what can happen when a boarder or roomate, male, develops a relationship beyond that with the landlord (female) and moreover, her child, and the damage done when that relationship breaks up, especially the damage to the child. Another good movie that shows how the child suffers through the relationship ups and downs of the parent is “Jerry McGuire”. should be required viewing IMO for any man or woman considering a live-in relationship with a person who has a child.

I raise these issues not to criticize but to direct your thinking in an area that, from your posts, may not be at the top of your mind right now, but which may be very helpful for you to consider during your Confirmation preparation. Remember that the sacrament will incude a profession of faith, and that you must understand enough about Church teaching, on morals and marriage as well as other doctrine, to make that profession sincerely. Perhaps because I deal most directly with the children in such cases, I tend to see things from their perspective.

the proper terminology, to correct some previous answers, is that a Catholic is obliged to marry in accordance with the laws of the Catholic Church, that is, to observe Catholic canon law on marriage. When we say “must marry in the Church” that is rather confusing, as it may be taken to mean, “in the Church building” which is incomplete and inaccurate.

Hi Josh -
I agree with Sunflower - it is cruel and dishonest to keep stringing her along if you see no future with her. The fact that she is a Southern Baptist and has indicated to you that she would never become Catholic tells me that she is a woman of principle who takes her faith seriously. Given that, I am sure that she would understand and respect that you can not go against your conscience in these matters either. I’ve been in similar situations and have found that it’s best to agree to disagree and to have enough respect for one another to go your separate ways as far as dating is concerned but still leaving the door open for friendship and future dialogue.

Congratulations on your upcoming confirmation. I pray you are able to clear these other matters up so you can fully appreciate and participate in all the next two weeks hold for you without distraction. Peace -

Apparently, I did not make myself clear. As I thought I said before, I am not living with her, so that’s not even an issue. Future children aren’t an issue either, since she can’t ever have any again, because her euterus was removed due to precancerous cells that were found. This happened before we even met.

Dear Josh, you sound a kindly and good man,
and congratulations on your impending Confirmation!

You didn’t commit adultery by dating her, Josh

I guess all I can say is what you’d already know!..that if you don’t want to marry her as you say, then you shouldn’t.
If not true to yourself, even if it seemed like kindness, it isn’t, and would unravel.
It stops her from moving on if you’re not honest with her.

It is extremely distressing to hurt anyone.
I’m really sorry that you both have to go through all the emotions of breakup, but now or later, it isn’t going to hurt less.
I ask the Lord to help you do so in the most Christian way possible, and that she will be able to find strength in her Christian faith.

Regarding her daughter, you would also need to find the love and the words to explain to her that you love her and her mother but you don’t believe that to marry her mother is right for you. If her intended conversion is based only on affection for you, it doesn’t have depth, but if it comes from God’s grace, then you must trust God to help her to remain faithful to this grace. I really don’t envy you the dilemmas you face.

I’ll keep you three in my prayers.

[quote=Sunflower]I agree with everything else except this point…unless the two of you have done NOTHING that you would not mind your future wife doing with another man…holding hands, kissing, embracing, watching movies cuddling, etc. IF you two have done nothing of this sort EVER…and you don’t go out on “dates”…I’m assuming here that you WOULD mind your future wife going on dates with other nice men…

I feel this is unnecessarily stringent. I feel that holding hands, embracing, and watching movies are appropriate dating behaviour, kissing and cuddling may be appropriate, I know at least one couple who did not kiss or cuddle beyond an arm around each other.

To say that one is uncomfortable with one’s future spouse holding another person’s hand, in the past sounds unreasonable. This is normal affection.

Josh unless she knows how you feel about her and still is OK dating, I think you are toying with her feelings

Why not let her find a man who will love her and accept her and look for a good Catholic girl.?.Honesty is always the best policy

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