He’s Wrong for Me, But I Still Love Him


In response to my article, Are You Truly Free To Commit To A Relationship?, I received a lot of mail and I wanted to thank all of you who responded and shared your concerns and situations with me. There is one email in particular I wanted to share with you because it discusses a situation that many people are saying they struggle with. It seems some people feel trapped by the dilemma of having strong feelings for someone they know just isn’t right for them. I appreciate the author’s permission to share, and hope this will help you if you find yourself in this predicament.

Dear Lisa,

Up until yesterday I was certain I was free to commit to a new relationship, my last one having been over eight years ago. We were engaged and I was a stupid kid and broke up with him when we went to separate colleges, but I had come to terms with everything.

Then, yesterday, I spent the day with him. We’ve kept in touch over the years and he still considers me to be one of his best friends. I realized I still love him, but he’s not the type of man I want to raise my children with, especially due to some of the things he told me yesterday. He’s emotionally unstable, doesn’t believe in God, despite having been brought up Catholic, and has bought into the lies of the world as far as sexuality goes. What would you suggest I do, other than pray for him—which I’ve started doing—knowing that my love for him is still there and now that I realize I am not free to accept the love of another… I appreciate any advice you can give me!

– Still in Love

Dear Still in Love,

I think the best thing you can do at this point is look at your situation with as much practicality and realism as you can and separate the good from the bad.

On the one hand, you have your emotional love for him, which I have no doubt is very powerful. On the other hand, you readily admit he is emotionally unstable, does not believe in God and is sexually active outside of marriage. So, now that we have those two sides of the situation laid out let’s look at the real issue, which is considering what being married to him would look like.

Please remember that true love is much more than an emotion. It is an act of the will to do good for another person. Married love is wonderful and amazing, not because of the emotions which come and go, but because of the way the spouses treat each other when the emotion of love is not present. They put each other first and when they don’t, that’s when things get difficult. So try to see the two of you in this situation. Knowing what you know about him, how do you think he would treat you when the emotion of love wanes? Do you think he will put you or himself first? Do you believe he would respect your faith in God, or have a hard time with you going to Mass and receiving the sacraments? Would he be open to having a marriage that is open to life, or would he want you to take artificial contraception? It’s questions like these that really need to be thought through.

Let’s say his emotional instability takes over and he makes living together nearly impossible… would you be able to love him through an act of your will?

There is no perfect marriage. Even the happiest couples have their problems. We’re imperfect sinners and we’re going to make mistakes. But how spouses treat each other makes all the difference in the world as to how the couple will weather their storms. And because I would do anything to prevent even one more divorce, I would ask you to strongly consider that this guy is not right for you.

Does this mean he’ll never be right for you? No. Maybe, in fact, you are the one that will help his heart come back to God. It’s certainly possible, but it would be dangerous for you to be in a relationship with him before that happens, so my suggestion is to be friends only and lead by example. If you are meant to be together, you will know it because he will be willing to become the man you want raising your children. Until then, I encourage you to recognize your love at this point is only an emotion and the best thing for you to do is put that in God’s hands and keep dating men whom you can be proud to take home and introduce to your family because they have all the right traits and qualities. Trust me, they’re out there and they’re looking for you.

If you have any questions or situations you would like help with, feel free to contact me at asklisa@catholicmatch.com.



  1. Michael-369664 June 11, 2014 Reply

    Some of the worst people I’ve ever known do great in the dating world. The bad boy types win women over because they arouse them! Normal guys don’t! Underneath the veneer of our religion a human is still there, and we will do what feels good more often than not.. Alpha males are often bad boy types, and women go after them despite their intelligence or background. Men by contrast will often chase women who exude fertility signs–I’ve done this many times, and luckily I never got anywhere. The girl was usually high maintenance and narcissistic. I could have easily gotten into a bad marriage or nasty divorce later.
    There is no logic when it comes to sexual attraction. As Catholics we have one huge advantage–we know the eternal consequences which can result if we act sinfully in the areas of sexuality and marriage. We know our souls can suffer terrible penalties for being wrong here. The rest of our society doesn’t know or care. After death they will find out. Catholics have or should have a moral compass to keep them on course. We live in a very immoral and dangerous culture. Keeping it out of your life is a huge problem.

  2. Amanda-818043 April 23, 2014 Reply

    I`ve learned that it doesn`t work, trying to fix and change people. It isn`t and should not be your job. When you need to play the roles of savior, babysitter, or mother to a guy, the relationship is not going to be good for you. People that don`t view God as a significant part of their life or don`t view sex as a sacred act within a marriage, but to be given out prior, you are already going to have an uphill battle. If they don`t want to change and you want them to change, they are not going to change. Before you start to get feelings for people who are wrong for you, don`t waste your time dating them.You literally have to tell yourself I deserve better, this is not an option to date a person who does not have the same morals, values and ideas as I do. If the basic foundation of faith and religion does not exist, the relationship should not either. Staying friends is actually not a smart idea either. Reason being, you know he isn`t right for you, and the feelings will get deeper and it will be more difficult to get away. Just literally cut it off. I know that will sound painful, but ask yourself How much time do I want to waste clinging on to false hope that this person will somehow turn into the guy I want him to be? I, myself get asked out by people who have been on drugs, had problems with alcohol, and living a sexually immoral lifestyle at my workplace. I can still talk to them at work or be friendly as a coworker, but I`m smart enough to know to not date any of them. Don`t settle, period. Your desire to be respected has to be higher than dating just to have someone.When you see red flags don`t make excuses.

    • Monika-1226387 July 8, 2015 Reply

      I found this to be really helpful, Amanda. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this. 🙂

  3. MaryBeth-902916 November 23, 2013 Reply

    I just had to ask that hard question to a man I truly loved- can you commit to our relationship? His answer was not right now as had other priorities. Broke my heart but I needed to know the answer as I am worth a wonderful relatioship. I am not jsut potential!

    • Amanda-818043 April 23, 2014 Reply

      That`s an absolute red flag. Delaying a relationship commitment .If a person loves you, they will do absolutely anything to keep your in their life, not come up with excuses. If he ever tries to “come back” don`t give him a second chance. You deserve to be with a person, who puts you as a priority, not just an option. Sometimes it hurts to hear the truth or you are sad because you wanted it to work, but always remember what you are worth and you are worth more than a person telling you he doesn`t have time for you. Store this in your memory as a lesson of what you don`t want and let this raise your standards on how you want to be treated. Keep praying that God brings you the right person and everyone, including you is in my prayers that struggles with the same problem.

  4. Stephen-967868 November 5, 2013 Reply

    You have to make a decision about not only whether that person is good for you now, but good for you the rest of your life. And part of the rest of your life is likely having children, In a way, you must become a protector of your future children, and provide them with both a wonderful mother and father.

    Pain may come in the process when we have to walk away from someone we really like.. We just have to accept that life is that way-that certain people in certain relationships can be bad for us. Thank God for allowing you to see that, for helping you to accept the pain, and walk away.

  5. Daniel-796208 November 3, 2013 Reply

    i agree with fulton….

    i also understnd how when men or women fall in love we believe that through our love we can make things work…but thats when we need to ask ourselves and truly answer the question what do we need..and not what we want…

    thats where your true self lies …..if the man or woman cant give you what you need …it would be best to move on…cause no matter how attached you might feel…him changing is irrational and wishful thinking because they are who they are and you are who you are….of course you have to get the person really well before making this judgement…saying you are the instrument that god will use to change this person is selfish because you are making your love for this person conditional to him changing by you due to god…and god has no fault in his or your free will

  6. Patrick-341178 October 31, 2013 Reply

    Fulton is right on!!!! There are a ton of good catholic men with good catholic values looking to meet women that meet the same criteria. That is why I am on this site. I don’t understand why good catholic women waste time with men who lack values. Stop attempting to tame the bad boy!!!!!

    • Amanda-818043 April 23, 2014 Reply

      So many girls go through the bad boy stage, but at the end of the day you end up with trouble. If they are not marriage material, they are not dating material either. It`s rule number one. If they would not make a suitable father and you could not picture them being there in the long run, why waste your time, get your heart involved, and shed tears over a guy who you can actually find anywhere around? They are a dime a dozen unfortunately. Smooth talkers, charmers, cheaters, manipulators, etc. Not worth any of that and women need to stand up for themselves and accept nothing less than a man of faith that they can trust that doesn`t just talk the talk, but walks the walk.

  7. Fulton-750189 October 30, 2013 Reply

    What do you mean, “you are not free to accept the love of another?” I am getting tired of Catholic women carrying the flag for men they KNOW will not be a good soul mate, and reject men the Lord has planned for them to meet. This woman needs to (spiritually) grow up…

    • Jessica-844048 October 31, 2013 Reply

      If you had read the first article it says, “For those who have never been married: Do you have unresolved feelings from past relationships? Are you holding on to the hope that someone who broke up with you will come back? Do you harbor resentment for someone in the past who has hurt you? These things clutter your heart with negativity and bad feelings. Where is the room for love?
      There is a great joy in meeting someone you really like, dating, and falling in love. You should be able to experience the thrill of giving your heart to someone special and that comes through being truly free to give your heart to someone else.
      I encourage you to take some time, preferably in Eucharistic adoration, and reflect upon any of these issues you may need to address. Take the time to resolve your past relationship issues, it’s worth every moment you spend.”

      Maybe the woman was searching for some answers to help her move on. You really don’t know her struggle so why should you judge her so harshly?

    • Amanda-818043 April 23, 2014 Reply

      It`s very easy to judge other people`s relationships and say How is she putting up with that? Unfortunately the bad behavior starts to come out mostly after the relationship has already developed, along with the feelings that develop as well. Once the woman gets there, it is very hard to break away. It might take awhile to walk away, but I pray for all the ones struggling, that they do gather the courage, strength, and wisdom to say I deserve better, and I will get better.

  8. Siani-926756 October 30, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for the article. I have been struggling with this kind of situation for 3 years. He is just not right in most conditions. My parents do not approve our relationship. We had been on and off 3x, still cannot forget him. The statement in article attract me, “dating men whom you can be proud to take home and introduce to your family because they have all the right traits and qualities”. Well, he is not the man whom I am proud to introduce to family and friends. I went out and be around with his family and friends. But he never wants to be around with my family and friends. That make me not comfortable. I keep asking myself, is he the one for me ? I keep praying to God, put my life on His hand, to lead me into His way.

    • Amanda-818043 April 23, 2014 Reply

      If your parents don`t approve, it`s the biggest concern of all. Why? They love you, care for you, and know what`s best for you. This is of course if you have a family that cares about God and raising their children right. When they tell you in so many ways, they aren`t too fond of the guy you are dating, it`s sending the message that they don`t want you to be hurt or to be unhappy. They can see the drama of the on and off relationship and they can see that it really isn`t working out. It`s not a good sign when you have to keep breaking it off. I pray for you that you can cut the relationship off if it isn`t healthy and to me it sounds like it is not. Good luck. 🙂

  9. Anita-471998 October 30, 2013 Reply

    @emily I feel for you, I m sure this is was a difficult decision. May you be given all the strength from above in your situation..

  10. Emily-1025070 October 30, 2013 Reply

    This made me cry. I broke off a 5 year long relationship last month because we argued so much over birth control. We were good for each other in so many ways, but he just couldn’t understand how it’s possible to have more than 2 kids in this economy. We argued so much I had to break it. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

  11. Patrick-341178 October 29, 2013 Reply

    “. He’s emotionally unstable, doesn’t believe in God, despite having been brought up Catholic, and has bought into the lies of the world as far as sexuality goes. ”

    sounds like a great catch!!!!! Unfortunately, many good catholic women seem to like the challenge of taming the “bad boy”……

  12. Anita-471998 October 29, 2013 Reply

    I agree with Robert, there is nothing wrong with loving someone who has lost their faith, I find it sometimes a little conflicting that we are so judicious with virtues when looking but are asked to work on it in marriages even with a tyrant spouses…. Shouldn’t we be just as accepting, charitable in every phase of life, I don’t know just a thought why is it ok to work on somebody or something post marriage and not before, Is it because we don’t have all the necessary graces to work on relationships as much as we would have after marriage…I might be wrong here but I feel we are very secular n cautious when dating and then get very Catholic and bear our crosses after marriage…. Obviously this argument doesn’t hold true if you don’t like the person at all…or if the feelings are not mutual…. But if you love the person why can’t the couple work on it and become a better version of themselves, instead of breaking up, moving on, looking for better etc etc….

  13. Luara-1021251 October 29, 2013 Reply

    I have heard many cases like this, I understand how you feel but I still believe that you have to love yourself also. You don’t have to tie up yourself in this kind of relationship forever. Open your heart to others then you will see ….that you deserve to be loved more than you do.

  14. Laura-56149 October 29, 2013 Reply

    When I went to counseling to help get through my divorce many years ago, I learned a very useful truth. Once you love someone, you will always love them. They have a little piece of your heart. That does not mean you can live with them or even have any type of relationship with them. Once I accepted this, I was able to move on. It is not easy to accept, however we are able to give our hearts to more than one person.

    • Maria-930320 October 30, 2013 Reply

      Laura: That makes sense to me. I’ve often thought “What’s love got to do with it?” as Tina Turner sang. Love stretches to many people, degrees, and in capacity, but does not and cannot WILL another to be the way we want them to be or hope they will become. As you remind us, love does not guarantee that living with “them”, raising children with them, building a long life together with them is the right thing to do, or even possible, just because we have love for them and have hope for the relationship. That is the sad, stark reality, and it is not always easy to untangle our long-term emotional love for someone from our intellectual view of reality, that which is observable. Somewhere in our hearts, we know, as does our pilot, God,…and if we are patient, prayerful, and seek his direction, I have no doubt he will reveal to us in His time, that which we languish uselessly about.

  15. Robert-834944 October 29, 2013 Reply

    True love means wanting the other person to go to heaven. In that sense, there is nothing wrong in loving someone who has lost their faith. In fact, one could that you should remain in love with all people you meet by the simple desire that you wish to see them in heaven someday.

    But when it comes to marriage, there’s more to it. Yes, I’m looking for someone whom I can love and help get to heaven. But (not to sound selfish), I’m also looking for someone uniquely capable of helping me get to heaven. And perhaps more importantly, should anything happen to me, I’m looking for someone who can raise any children to get to heaven if I can’t be there. When I’m trying to discern whether a relationship is worth pursuing or not… I often ask myself “would I want a future daughter to grow up to be like this person?” In the case of this article, I don’t think the woman in question would want a future son to grow up to be like the man in question.

    This is not to say its impossible for a Catholic marriage to work out between a believer and an atheist. There was such a couple that worked very close to Padre Pio that worked out. But personally, I would never be able to do that.

    • Robert-834944 October 29, 2013 Reply

      *one could say that you should remain

    • Amanda-818043 April 23, 2014 Reply

      I agree with what you are saying. Finding someone who is faith minded is just so important. If that common ground is not there, there most likely will be a lot of arguing and trying to change each other`s mind. How can you enjoy a relationship when you are concerned about the person`s soul or where they will end up when they die?

  16. Jean-504066 October 29, 2013 Reply

    I think the advice to discern God’s will based on how things are rather than on how they might be someday is very wise.

  17. Rizavilla-990068 October 28, 2013 Reply

    Hehe,,, i can relate with the article… His really wrong for me, BUT it doesn’t mean i want him back or the feelings is still here… I know his not my true love…

  18. Kwaku-654846 October 28, 2013 Reply

    Lisa masterclass!

  19. Helen-353634 October 28, 2013 Reply

    Excellent article! and thank you for sharing it. Like Michelle’s comment, I too particularly liked the wisdom of ” love is an emotion but true love is the will to do what is best for the other person in difficult times”. When the emotion wanes is when the reality of the persons true intention of will becomes clear. I like to think that there are sincere people out there too : ) God Bless, Helen

  20. Lisa-933589 October 28, 2013 Reply

    Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for this–there are so many other crazy possibilities too, like those that pretend to be practicing Catholic, pretend to be chaste, follow church teaching, do service etc–but are insincere and flat out liars(some may even be married & engaged, sexually active with others as they court you as Catholics!) . Obviously they would not be a good match–but I think many are vulnerable especially after divorce, death of loved one or loss, lonliness , recent move etc–True Love is not an emotion and yes, there is no perfect marriage. However, if words, actions and/or values/wishes don’t match or are not honored–then best to put it in Gods hands, let go & let God–as there is brokenness to heal. Gods will leads to peace, not doubt. JMJ+Lisa Someone once said when in doubt, don’t! It is important to heal and have self awareness before jumping back in–old friends can be a real temptation too.

  21. Michele-989480 October 28, 2013 Reply

    Great article. I especially like the way you explain that love is an emotion but true love is the will to do what is best for the other person in difficult times.

  22. Judy-891101 October 28, 2013 Reply

    I can relate to this article

  23. Deepthi-937839 October 28, 2013 Reply

    I’m in a similar situation. Thank you Lisa for this. Made me see a lot of sense. My decision to move on is now stronger and i guess i don need to feel guilty anymore. I put in my best into the relationship but wen he didn’t put in efforts, i guess yes its just best to Walk Out of it With My Head Held High 🙂 🙂 thank you so much Lisa 🙂

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