What are the boundaries for dating while awaiting an annulment?


After 34 years of marriage, my ex-husband and I separated last year and the civilian divorce was final in December. At that point I was advised that he became engaged to the other woman. I have seen her, been talked to about her by relatives, and she seems like a terribly nice person (and is also Catholic). When my ex and I separated, we both went back to the church (he was a full-fledged “catholic” and I had only been baptised. I went (joyfully, I might add) through RCIA classes and was confirmed and received my first Holy Communion at Easter Vigil Mass this year. I am loving the Church, loving life, and looking at the possibility of a teaching related vocation. But…I have also gone out on a couple of dinner “dates” with a nice Catholic gentlemen I met through a teacher I work with. My main question at this point is, because the annullment process is ongoing and could take another year or so, should I go to confession if I kiss the man I am going out on dinner dates with. I’m sixty-one years old and in amazingly good health, but I am totally ignorant about dating rules (boy, have I been out of the loop, so to speak), and I am really a bit afraid to ask. Help! What do I have to confess to at this point, kisses, hugs, or even just thinking about them?

Thank you,



Dear Re,

Until an annulment has been granted, the Church still recognizes you as a married woman. It is no more appropriate for you to date now than it was while you were still with your husband. The marriage has not been declared null yet. So you must not act as if it has. Hold your horses! I know this isn’t easy to hear. But the wait will be worth it. You are in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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