When, as a good Catholic (or aspiring good Catholic;)) should you give up on someone?
I've posted here before and had some helpful answers and some that were less so: not because the advice was rubbish (often it was good advice and worth heeding) but because of the pedantic and compassionless way it was delivered.
I have a friend who, if circumstances were different, I would definitely consider husband material. He is without doubt one of the most considerate, kind, unselfish, down to earth and basically all round lovely human beings I have ever met. He is not a Catholic, but he is a Christian and does attend his family church.
Where I come from (might be different in the US, but somehow I doubt it!) it is rare indeed to find a man who can make it clear he finds you attractive and enjoys your company but never, ever puts any pressure on you to start a physical relationship. He knows exactly where I stand on dating married men (as in - I don't!) and he accepts that as far as I view the situation, he is still a married man, despite the fact he had a civil divorce over 20 years ago. Just to be clear - we have never held hands, kissed, slept together, had text sex etc.
It is rare to find such a genuine person and he really does make me want to become a better person too.
So.........no, I am NOT asking should I enter into a physical relationship with him! I already know that would be wrong and having it reiterated again and again like I am a naughty puppy is just painful. I do know that it is very likely, given the circumstances of his first marriage, that he would get an annulment - but that is his private business and anyway - he hasn't got one at this moment in time, so its still a big no! I am also not (as has been suggetsed) hoping he will wake up one morning 'see the light' and go and apply for one!
I can't put into words how much I value his company and his friendship and being truthful, I do find him very attractive - but I also have the willpower not to act on this. I never drink in his presence; never engineer a situation where we will be alone for long periods and always manage our contact so he never gets the wrong idea. He does know how I feel, as we've discussed it and he feels the same i.e. we'd like to be together, but accept that we can't - so we don't:thumbsup:
The real problem is, this friend is an alcoholic. Of course, this is another factor that would make a relationship a big no.
However, what does the Church say? I would do anything to help my friend. He has made a complete mess of his life through drink in many ways. I want to support him and work with him. I am not naive about alcoholism and I definitely don't need a lecture on its perils. I have seen a person dying of its effects and witnessed the effects this disease had on his family too.
My gut feeling is that I should continue to see this man and continue our friendship, because with God's help, I am strong enough to do so. I have my head screwed on; he respects this and we get through, despite some sticky moments. He is starting to really open up to me and is even considering getting professional help and if walked away now, I would feel I am failing him.
It is really hard sometimesm because I do love him (note I said 'love' and not 'lust after')
and the Church does teach us to live in hope and that nobody is beyond redemption.
Also, who ever managed to live a really good life without putting themselves out there and taking some risks?!
The hard-line approach is 'don't have non Catholic male friends that you find attractive as you are setting yourself up for a big fall and it will all end in tears!'
Or even 'what will other people think of the relationship?'
Of course, Jesus only ever hung around with the worthy, good and educated and socially acceptable....:rolleyes:hmmmm, I think not!
I do realise though, that technically I am putting myself in a situation where I am more at risk of sinning than if I stayed at home and read a book! I also realise that by risking seeing him, I am perhaps - maybe - helping him and me become better people and if I have faith, I have to believe there is hope that with prayers and perseverence he may one day overcome his demons. He is deeply ashamed of the person he sees himself as and I just wish I could make him see he is still worth loving.
So, finally :D the question is - when do I say 'enough is enough - I can't do any more'
I do hope one day to get married and to be honest, I can't see any other man understanding the relationship I have with this one! I can't really see myself 'moving on' as people so tritely say, because due to the problems in our path and the courage and respect it has taken on both sides to negotiate our way, this does feel more like proper love than any of the relationships I've had with 'respectable' partners.
A final plea - I hope I have conveyed that this is a very personal and painful subject for me. Genuine advice is gratefully accepted - but posts like "I would never have let it get to this in the first place" and not really helping anyone but the poster - who might feel a bit worthy for a few minutes!