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Confused about relationship with boy who is discerning
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Author:  Eva Pogner [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:11 am ]
Post subject:  Confused about relationship with boy who is discerning

I'm in love with this boy from my church, who also goes to the same university. (By "in love", I mean that I would be glad to marry him in some years if at all possible.) We are good friends, with basically everything in common, we see each other almost every day, and we message throughout the day as well. Since we love all the same things, and feel comfortable sharing our innermost thoughts and feelings with each other, we always have plenty to talk about.

A week ago, after Mass, I told him how much l liked him, while assuring him that he didn't have to do anything about it, and that I just wanted him to know that I was there for him if he ever needed anything. (I meant it.) He thanked me, confirmed that he didn't want to date while he was discerning his vocation, but, surprisingly, also admitted to feeling the same way about me.

So, we're not dating - but...:
- We know we like each other, and regularly make reference to that fact.
- The day after my "declaration", we immediately started making plans to hang out alone again.
- When we get a choice, we always sit together at meals, when we go to the pub, or wherever.
- He's making me a rosary, which is very sweet.
- We confide in each other, including private, family-related issues.
- We pray for each other every night.
- He's made comments to the effect that he would *like* to get married some day (he didn't say specifically to me, but the comments were in messages to me, after we admitted to liking each other.) In general, I'm getting the impression that he doesn't want to date because if we were dating, it would be with the intent to marry, and that won't be possible if it turns out God is really calling him to the priesthood, so, the way he sees it, dating me without the certainty of being able to marry me would be leading me on.
- It's implicit, but clear, that we are not romantically interested in anyone else. I've taken to immediately shutting down any romantic overtures from third parties.
- From all the smirking, it seems that most everyone, including our priest, is aware that we have a special relationship of sorts.
- We get along wonderfully well, but there is an awkwardness there too - sometimes we'll find ourselves making eye contact and fondly smiling at each other from across the table, only to realise how obvious we are being, and quickly look away, blushing. When our feet accidentally meet under the table, he will jump and almost fall off his chair.
- We check up on each other throughout the day via messaging.

So, does anyone have advice on how to behave in this sort of situation? I'm terribly confused as to how to act. While obviously I would personally prefer it if he didn't become a priest, I realise that's up to God, and in the end, I just want him to be happy. So, is there anything I could do to make his discernment easier?

Author:  kage_ar [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Confused about relationship with boy who is discerning

Welcome!

How far is he in the discernment process? Has he contacted the Vocations Director of your Diocese or of the Order he is considering?

I'd advise you to give him room to discern if he has a religious vocation without distractions. Pray for him, but, do not go down the "romance road" until he has first discerned - with help of a good Spiritual Director - that he does not have a religious vocation.

Author:  Eva Pogner [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Confused about relationship with boy who is discerning

kage_ar wrote:
Welcome!

How far is he in the discernment process? Has he contacted the Vocations Director of your Diocese or of the Order he is considering?

I'd advise you to give him room to discern if he has a religious vocation without distractions. Pray for him, but, do not go down the "romance road" until he has first discerned - with help of a good Spiritual Director - that he does not have a religious vocation.


Thank you. I know he's thinking about it quite seriously, and has been for a long time, but he's a first-year theology student, so he wants to finish his degree first. He's quite open about it though, and I think our priest is aware.

I have to admit that I'm scared of the absolute certainty with which I love him - it's a sort of overwhelming tenderness and caring, and I feel so serious about it, too. He's really wonderful, and I'm not sure I would want to get married at all if not to him. And we have such a beautiful friendship! So I don't know if I can distance myself, especially since he reciprocates my feelings.

Author:  Bombadil [ Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Confused about relationship with boy who is discerning

I'm with kage. You have to let him have space to discern, that doesn't mean you have to avoid him or anything. I guess you are just going to have to wait and see. You never know, you may find some other nice boy you like.

Author:  Givi46 [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Confused about relationship with boy who is discerning

I'm discerning a vocation to the priesthood myself, God willing I'll enter seminary formation next year, so here's what I'd say given my experience so far. It's really, really, really tough to discern while falling for someone.

Also, and more importantly, you matter too! He needs to discern and that's all well and true, but it may be a bit cruel of him to keep an intimate (I mean that in the old non-modern sexual sense) friendship which may leads to a romantic one while he's going through this process. So keep that in mind, your calling and your goal in life are your primary objective and you should take care of your own feelings here.

Author:  Highlander [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Confused about relationship with boy who is discerning

What he said.

Be available to engage with third parties. Explain to him that you are discerning what your vocation should be as well. No sarcasm, just the way I see it. What you should not do, IMHO, is deny yourself an expanded social life in order to be a standby for him.

If he decides that you are his future, then he'll be there --- even if it takes some time. Opening your social life may reveal to you that being tied to him at this point in your life is not in your best interest -- or his, if he is moving toward the priesthood. But if he decides that he has a religious vocation, you owe it to yourself to have prepared to move on. Which doesn't mean can't be friends and that you can't support him, but that your primary social focus needs to be moving beyond him.

You sound smart, you have clearly evaluated your situation, and I'm sure you can apply these talents to what you need to do for yourself.

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