What to say to 18 year old God daughter that just moved in with her boyfriend

I just found out that my niece and God daughter just told her father that she is moving in with her boyfriend. Her father is my younger brother and not really practicing his faith. His marriage ended about 7 years ago due to infidelity and since, he has had multiple girlfriends and has lived with a few of them. This is the example he has been setting. Now he is upset about his daughter moving in with her boyfriend but I told him he does the same thing so he does not have a leg to stand on. I asked him WHY he did not approve. I told him that even though she is only 18 and he is 42, there is no difference between what she is doing and how he lives. When he told me about her moving in with her boyfriend I tried to use the time as an opportunity to point out how he was living his life since his marriage ended and his divorce. I don’t know how much will sink in but I’m not sure what to say to my God daughter to help her see that this is not acceptable even though her parents live this way. I will give it more thought and pray on it but I also wanted to hear some other thoughts / advice. Much more to say regarding the back ground of their family but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Thanks in advance…

I think most 18 year olds feel invincible. When I went off to college, I never really thought about morality or my own mortality, that one day I’d have to make an account of the gift of my life to the Almighty. Everything was new and exciting. Then one day I realized my lifestyle was destructive and I came home to the Church. The situation you are describing is typical. Our culture says don’t marry until you’ve tested the waters. Move in with someone and see if it is right. Play husband and wife without the commitment. Unfortunately, this is a destructive path, especially at such a very young age.

When you talk to your God Daughter, its always good to start with a positive, like “you know I love you, but you are my God Daughter and I have a duty to you.” I would then do the best I could to explain why what she is doing is wrong. Ask God to give you the words. Perhaps give her a book like Mere Christianity. Tell her you’ll be praying for her and reminder her that she can come home to Our Lord anytime by making a good confession.

I will say a Rosary for you this morning.


Talking to her, I think I might say, “Do you see yourself marrying John [or whatever his name is] and having a family with him?” If the answer is “no” then my next question would be, “Then why are you considering living with him?” If the answer is “yes,” I might ask, “What do you feel that you need to accomplish before you get married, and are you doing that stuff right now?” Alternately, “Have you moved in with John because it’s convenient, or because it’s the right thing to do?” Alternately, “If you get pregnant, what happens then? Are you prepared to be a parent and maybe even to do it alone?” Alternately, “Can John support himself, you and a baby?” Use a really even tone of voice. We’re asking questions and trying to get her to think about her choices, not being accusing.

If the answers are, “We’re in LOVE and we can’t be apart from each other but we’re too young to get married and we’re on 15 kinds of birth control,” it’s a little tough to rebut that, but I take it that a lot of the answer is that she’s 18 and tired of living at home with dad and his carousel of girlfriends.

Best wishes!

No since in buying the cow when you get the milk for free! This guy is just using her. When she is fifty, he will be 74! When she is 60, he will be 84! Ask her what she thinks of that. Oh yeh, tell her she will be sleeping with all the women he has slept with! Oh yeh, she endangers her salvation. Very sorry for your disappointment. Many of us can repeat similar stories.


From a practical standpoint, marriages are more likely to break up if the people have lived together first. I don’t know if there are any statistics on how many break ups occur among co-habitating couples without marriage.

Sigh. It may be that there is nothing you can say to her that will budge her thinking, but if you talk about the love you have for your wife and how marriage so completely changes a relationship, it may plant seeds. If you can try to build her up, show her that she is worth more than this, it may plant seeds.

But be very careful and let her know that anything you say to her is rooted in your love for her. Try to show her that you are a person she can come to if/when the break-up occurs.

Unfortunately, there are some things we just can’t know until they happen; we can only listen to others… so for those who refuse to listen, they won’t find out til they actually marry.

Praying for her.

It may be that talking to your brother is more important than speaking to your niece.

Certainly tell her all the reasons why living with her boyfriend is neither a moral nor wise course of action. But before you speak to your niece you might consider what, if any, alternatives you can suggest to her. Going back to her father’s house might NOT be the best place for her. Can she live with another family member?

Thanks to all for your advice and especially for your prayers.

I think you’re confused. She’s not moving in with a 42 year old. The 42 year old man is her father. Her boyfriend that she is moving in with is only a couple years older than she is.


What I’m concerned about is that she very well might be fed up with her father having girlfriends move in so she puts space between them. Given the cost of renting she probably needed someone to help pay the bills and figured that the boyfriend is the best bet. When someone is in a situation like this you need to offer some kind of alternate living arrangement so they can actually extricate themselves from such a situation. If you live close by and have a spare bedroom it might be good to offer it after going through the questions Xantippe proposed.

I think a great gift that you can give your God daughter, would be to invite her to coffee or out to lunch. If that is not possible than give her a phone call or write her a card or note telling her how special and wonderful she is!

I don’t think this is the time for lectures on sin and morality (not that I am against those.) Your niece was torn apart by a divorce at the tender age of eleven! Since then look at her life…she has seen women used like garbage and this has damaged her outlook and her heart and soul. Her father has paraded women in front of her one after another, bringing them into his bed one after the other, with no regard for their dignity.

Your poor niece is simply acting out the role of a woman as was the example given to her, which is to bed down with a man for a while and then move on. So very sad. Talking to your niece about mortal sin or telling her that this is not the way to live will fall on deaf ears is my worry. However if you tell her she is special, beautiful and wonderful, now THAT will get her attention because those are the words she longs to hear!

Realistically, you probably have to face where you “are at.” Is your niece going to have a really good talk with you and suddenly change her mind about moving in with her boyfriend? My guess is that would be highly unlikely. However what you CAN do is open the door for further dialogue. Plant seeds with her, tell her you understand why she is moving in with her boyfriend but that she is so precious and that she deserves so much more. This way you may have a chance to talk with her again when this relationship ends and she is left alone and lonely. God bless you, hope this helps a little. Please be assured of my prayers.

Her father is 24 years older than her, not her boyfriend. Just thought I’d clarify; it seems you misread the OP’s post.

Most 18 y.o. kids can’t even think beyond their next social event let alone what they’ll be like at 60 or 84; “84” is something that happens to other people as far as they’re concerned.

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