Should I date someone who is discerning?

I dated a guy for a year…we’ve known each other since preschool. He broke up with me freshman year of college because he was pretty sure he was going to seminary. Before that he was talking about getting engaged…and then he decided he wanted to be a priest. Obviously I wasn’t thrilled, but what could I do? I told him I’d pray for his vocation and that if he ever changed his mind and I was still single that I would want nothing more than to get back together. I loved him.

For the past couple of days hes been talking to me…calling and texting. He’s said that he misses me and that he never stopped loving me. He says that he’s gone to adoration every day and prayed that god will show him the way, but he regrets losing me. He says that he thinks we’re “meant to be together”…but he’s still not 100% sure about seminary and he doesn’t know if he’ll “ever” be sure. It doesn’t make sense to me.

He wants to get back together…but when he left with the intention of going to seminary it was really hard. I cried every night for two weeks, but all I kept telling myself that if God had chosen him to be a priest, then I had to move on and figure out my own life.
I still love him and want to be with him. He loves me and wants to be with me. But I don’t know if I can be with him until he decides about seminary and I told him that…I can’t make myself go through that again. Was I being too harsh? Like I said I love him but I don’t want to set myself up for disaser…:confused:

This is a heart-wrenching situation, he must be a wonderful man. You are not being too harsh, you must be strong. For your sake as well as his, he must be certain of his vocation (priest or marriage) before seeing you again. Perhaps this longing is a sign that he should not become a priest. That is for him and his spiritual director to discern. God bless you, I know from experience how difficult this is. Believe me, you don’t want to get between God and a future priest. Pray for the grace to be steadfast and pray for your future as well. If he is not the man, then God has someone better for you. This might seem hard to believe, but trust me, it’s true. God love you for putting his needs before your own. You are quite virtuous for doing so. You will not regret this, you are a stronger woman for it.

Thanks :slight_smile: yes I know that as hard as it is its always best to go with what God wants. That’s why I told my friend that he needs to figure out WHAT God wants before he brings me into his life and starts a relationship again. He is a wonderful guy, he’s not perfect but I know he’s trying to put God first in his life. I think in time God will show us both what is right

Hey beegirl–
You absolutely need to be this firm with him! And I speak from experience…my fiancé was in seminary when I met him, and he began to have feelings for me. I told him in no certain terms, figure it out and then we’ll talk.

It was very hard on our friendship; we went for very long periods of time without speaking just in order to gain clarity. I nixed texting, saying I love you, talking about the future–all of that. It just wasn’t appropriate. But every time I would reprimand him for being too affectionate, he would agree that I was right and strove harder to not lead me on.

You’re doing the right thing. Guard your heart until he can freely ask for it! And pray, pray, pray!! I prayed more during those 9 months than I ever have in my life! Pray the rosary constantly, because Our Lady was absolutely my guardian during that time, being the most comforting and kind mother a girl could ever ask for (not to slight my own mom, who’s great!).

Clearly, my fiance discerned out, but that took a while. And at one point he said, I don’t think I’m going to leave. And even though I had tried to be so careful, it was still heartbreaking. Be patient with yourself, firm with him, and rely on God for everything!!

I am a seminarian, and as a seminarian we are told that you can’t truly discern a vocation to the priesthood if you are in love with someone still. It seems that he is getting conflicting messages though, and must determine which is from God. In my opinion it seems that if he loves you and you love him so strongly that this love must be from God. If you receive a direct calling from God you must follow it, but if unsure you must choose the vocation that will lead you to salvation and others to salvation by your example.

This is excellent advice. He must figure out what he wants (or, rather what God wants) before he dates you, or even calls/texts and tells you he loves you, etc… So yes, you will have to be firm with him, and tell him that you will talk after he has things straightened out.

He sounds like a good guy who wants to do the right thing. I will pray for you both

When we think of discerning, we seem to think it only applies for a religious vocation. Everyone has a vocation, whether it is to the religious or lay life.

Your friend is discerning what he is called to do for his entire life. At the end of his discernment, with God’s help, he will have an answer that brings him great peace and joy, whether the answer is he was made for the priesthood or not.

What about you? Your life’s vocation deserves prayer and discernment too. Pray and ask, God, What is Your plan for me? Listen and be open to His guidance.

I think the seminary would tell him the same thing that you did. It is not that one vocation is “giving himself to God” and one is “giving himself to a woman.” With you, it is giving one life to God either as one man or as a couple.

Here is a quote you can send him, from the homily of John Paul II at the canonization of St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein). Maybe it will help him.

"Dear brothers and sisters! The love of Christ was the fire that inflamed the life of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Long before she realized it, she was caught by this fire. At the beginning she devoted herself to freedom. For a long time Edith Stein was a seeker. Her mind never tired of searching and her heart always yearned for hope. She traveled the arduous path of philosophy with passionate enthusiasm. Eventually she was rewarded: she seized the truth. Or better: she was seized by it. Then she discovered that truth had a name: Jesus Christ. From that moment on, the incarnate Word was her One and All. Looking back as a Carmelite on this period of her life, she wrote to a Benedictine nun: “Whoever seeks the truth is seeking God, whether consciously or unconsciously”. Although Edith Stein had been brought up religiously by her Jewish mother, at the age of 14 she “had consciously and deliberately stopped praying”. She wanted to rely exclusively on herself and was concerned to assert her freedom in making decisions about her life. At the end of a long journey, she came to the surprising realization: only those who commit themselves to the love of Christ become truly free. This woman had to face the challenges of such a radically changing century as our own. Her experience is an example to us. The modern world boasts of the enticing door which says: everything is permitted. It ignores the narrow gate of discernment and renunciation. I am speaking especially to you, young Christians, particularly to the many altar servers who have come to Rome these days on pilgrimage: Pay attention! Your life is not an endless series of open doors! Listen to your heart! Do not stay on the surface, but go to the heart of things! And when the time is right, have the courage to decide! The Lord is waiting for you to put your freedom in his good hands.

“St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was able to understand that the love of Christ and human freedom are intertwined, because love and truth have an intrinsic relationship. The quest for truth and its expression in love did not seem at odds to her; on the contrary she realized that they call for one another. In our time, truth is often mistaken for the opinion of the majority. In addition, there is a widespread belief that one should use the truth even against love or vice versa. But truth and love need each other. St Teresa Benedicta is a witness to this. The “martyr for love”, who gave her life for her friends, let no one surpass her in love. At the same time, with her whole being she sought the truth, of which she wrote: “No spiritual work comes into the world without great suffering. It always challenges the whole person”. St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross says to us all:** Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie.**”

Thanks everyone…and thanks for the quotes EasterJoy, those are great :slight_smile:

which is it?
the answer to thread title is obviously “no” but that is not your question
the actual question is should I date someone who may be manipulating me by using the “discernment” line

if he wants to get back together it means the discernment is over, so you had better take steps to understand his intentions

I hate to be skeptical too, but I’ve seen this time and time and time and time again with some of my friends. Boyfriend couldn’t commit to the permanency of marriage, so he entered the seminary. And once there, couldn’t commit to the permanency of the priesthood so he kept contacting his former love, always waffling between the two because he couldn’t handle having to make a final decision.

Is this from insecurity? Uncertainty? Immaturity? I have no clue, but your guy friend needs to make a decision and follow through with it. That means now, since he’s in the seminary, he should be cutting off contact with you completely as he discerns. This is important. He can’t discern if the priesthood is truly what he is being called to if he’s being distracted by you, or won’t realize how much he needs you in his life if you’re always there.

He can’t have it both ways.

Every one of my friends was hurt in the end, sadly…having had given their hearts to this long, drawn out relationship only for the guy to finally mature and accept the religious calling, or to leave the calling *and *her altogether.

I’m sorry if this sounds harsh…my husband is a former religious brother and he didn’t pull this kind of stuff. If he had, we wouldn’t be together, because I wouldn’t have been able to have my heart toyed with in such a way.

would you go back to dating an ex bf who left because he told you he was interested in another woman and was discerning whether or not to embark on a romance with her?

i don’t think you sound too sanctareparata…i think you’re right and thats what i told him. i told him i needed him to know FOR SURE what he was going to do with his life before he made me a part of it or before we had any sort of relationship.

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