I go to confession frequently, and there are confession guides which list, among the questions regarding sins against chastity, Have I kept company with someone’s spouse?. And this is listed as distinct from the question Have I been unfaithful? so clearly they are not identical matters, though not doubt related.
Does this mean exactly what it sounds like – spending time with someone who is married? The phrase “spending time” has the connotation of closeness of intimacy. But I mean it in the broadest sense of the term.
Please understand that I tend toward scrupulosity and have anxiety problems. I am not asking this question to try to push limits. For the sake of peace of mind, prudence, and future reference I want to make sure I understand the objective boundaries what kind of interaction is appropriate. (No need to discuss obvious violations, such as romantic or sexual gestures). I am referring more to things like, a phone discussion, for example, or a visit to Starbucks? A list of “do’s” and “dont’s” would be greatly appreciated!!
For example, between a student and a professor? Or former professor as the case may be?
In the interest of full disclosure, I am 21 years old (in case that has a bearing on the answer). I am the kind of person that enjoys intellectual conversations with anyone, and ever since I was in high school, I have had interest in discussing life issues of importance with adults – I found it hard to relate to or have interest in the topics that people my age engaged in, I was attracted to mature conversations – such as with teachers and staff (e.g. politics with the librarian).
In college, there is a co-worker (I had a student job) who is a staff member quite a bit older than me (not married), in his forties I would say, who I had gone to eat ice cream with and another time lunch, casually, because we had to close up the place where we were working and we decided we would carry on our conversation at a local place (he would often warn me about being more careful in discussing out-loud, our political opinions and matters religious during work on account of some co-workers who tend toward liberalism and who have created problems in the past).
But in going to a public place with him, I had mixed feelings because though we are both adults, single, and are friends (no romantic intimacy of any kind) I wondered what others would think of me if they saw this? I do not have a boyfriend, and am a rather reserved person socially, so I feared that if someone saw me, scandalous speculations might be entertained or spread.
Also regarding college, I could drop by, and have dropped by, the offices of professors for questions pertaining to Theology and Philosophy, or more general matters like the moral climate of society, and have a perfectly enjoyable, mature, and decent conversation. But what about off campus discussions, if the professors/former professors are married men and it is they who are suggesting a discussion meeting over a cup of coffee or such?
I guard my chastity, dress modestly, etc. I also do no have any intentions to occasion scandal or infidelity. However, since I am young, I acknowledge that even with the best intentions, because of lack of life experience, I can land myself into trouble if I am not careful.
So again, my question is, what does keeping company with someone’s spouse consist of? And what are some general guidelines, particularly for the example cited above?