Chastity in a Dating Relationship


#1

Hello everyone. I'm a 21 year old unmarried female who has failed to remain chaste. I was raised Catholic and have been blessed with always having some amount of faith - though at times it's been pretty microscopic.

I started dating when I was 18 and lost my virginity to my first long term boyfriend in college. After we broke up I had a few affairs. During all of this I was away from my faith. About 7 months ago, I reconciled back to the Church and broke up with my second long term boyfriend who wasn't Catholic.

I've now been seeing a man who is Catholic and takes his faith as seriously as I do. He's had similar struggles in the past with chastity as well. We've been in a relationship for three months. We both are extremely opposed to premarital sex but we've faltered three times and actually had sex. The first and second time it happened were about a month and a half ago, separated by a couple of days. After the second time it happened, I was so angry with myself that abstaining for the past month wasn't difficult at all. But then on Friday night, I had a few drinks with him and that's all it took. We completely lost hold of how strongly we're opposed to this! And then yesterday, the regret was overwhelming. This past month, I had been falling for him a little harder and then when we had sex it created such a strong attachment for me. And we have no marriage to reinforce that attachment I feel. But I mean, what did I expect to happen? God intended sex to be this unitive. I'm just really angry at myself and I don't really know what to do now. Obviously, I need to go to confession. Again. But is there any coming back from this for my boyfriend and me? This can't happen again. I thought we had (at least to some extent) overcome this. How do I make sure this doesn't happen again?


#2

If you have struggles with chastity when drinking, then you shouldn't drink.


#3

[quote="PaulfromIowa, post:2, topic:321110"]
If you have struggles with chastity when drinking, then you shouldn't drink.

[/quote]

Very good advice.

It doesn't sound as if your boyfriend is very strongly opposed to premarital sex, because he has allowed it to occur 3 times. Either he is weak, or you're both drinking too much, or he's insincere when he says he wants to remain chaste.
You have only known each other 3 months, that is no way long enough to decide whether you want to be life partners or not. But the goal of a spouse is to help you to heaven, which you're not doing for each other right now.
I would suggest you go to confession, and maybe make an appointment with a priest to talk it over. Of course sex will make you feel closer to each other, as you know it releases chemicals designed to do that.
If you cannot refrain from violating your principles, I suggest you agree to separate for several months. Perhaps you can communicate by phone and continue to see if you are interested in marriage.
Remember, the purpose of dating is to discern marriage. His goal should be to protect and respect you, not lead you into sin.


#4

There's always hope. Nothing's impossible for God. If you're both faithful to him He will be faithful to you. Do not give up, whatever you do, DON'T fall for the lie the devils going to try to tell you, that it's already happened so whats the point in not doing it again. No. You already know the problems with that so I don't need to tell you.

Pour yourself out to God, tell Him you want to remain pure and follow the plan He intended, the only way to true happiness and freedom. Ask Him for help. Ask the Blessed Mother for her intercession, she always helps us. Maybe saying a rosary together with your boyfriend can be a good way to regain your purity? Lots of graces from the rosary.:thumbsup:

And try to avoid places putting you two in compromising situations. Go somewhere public together where your less likely to feel temptations. This might seem weird at first, but maybe having your sister or someone you trust come along who can be like a guard for you. It helps to have backup. When we are alone with someone we love, of course theres going to be strong feelings!!! But when theres other people around with you, I find that helps. Also gives you the chance to see your boyfriend in different social situations, which is important.

And like the poster above me said, better not drink anymore on dates, that can ruin even the holiest saint!!

But don't despair, God can turn all our mistakes into something good, we just have to trust Him and follow Him.
And by the way, welcome home!!! :hug3:
God bless!!


#5

I think it’s pretty safe to say we’ve all been in this boat at one time or another, either with this sin or another (or, more likely, more than one). :slight_smile:

Do not dwell on feelings of guilt-- your enemies will try to ensnare you in it, hoping you will despair. Instead, focus on contrition: Acknowledge that you did wrong, confess your sin honestly, resolve to do good, focus on starting fresh. And when you start fresh, my best advice is to focus on the goal. When we’re always thinking over and over “I will not do X, I must not do X, I should not do X,” we’re always thinking of X. This can become another sort of trap. Instead, focus on what you do want: “I should do Y, I will do Y.” If you were a runner wanting to finish the race, you’d keep your eyes on the road ahead, not what lies behind. Focus not on the vices you want to avoid, but rather on the virtues you want to cultivate. :slight_smile:

By the grace of God, yes.

As I mentioned above, focusing on the virtues you want to cultivate-- what they really mean and how you can actually attain them-- will help. God gives you the power to do this, if you are willing to receive it.

This can involve changing the patterns of your behavior. If drinking weakens your resolve to do what’s good, for example, you might try drinking less, drinking only in public spaces with other friends present, even giving up drinking for a while. Think about where you’re going and what you’re doing. Will your choices help you to cultivate the virtues you’re working toward?

If you make bad choices along the way, acknowledge that you did wrong, confess your sin honestly, resolve to do good, focus on starting fresh. Each moment is a new chance to do the right thing. God will give you the power to do it. Focus on the virtues you want to cultivate and the best means to do it.

I hope this might help a little. :slight_smile:


#6

First off, it's great that you've come back to the Catholic faith!

Secondly, the solution to the problem is to avoid occasions of sin.

Do not drink. Do not be completely alone together. You can have one-on-one dates--it is important to get to know one other when you're discerning marriage--but they should be in a public place. If you go over to each other's place to visit, someone else should be there, and if the other person(s) leave, then the person whose place it isn't should also leave. No going into bedrooms alone together.

Chastity is not easy, but it can be done if you avoid occasions of sin. Too many people underestimate the power of temptation, and, with the intention of staying strong, put themselves in situations of near sin and then wonder what happened when they did sin.


#7

Worry not about where you are now...
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isaiah 1:18

Hope in the Lord's grace, trust in His Absolute Mercy, and STRUGGLE TO REMAIN HIS, AND ONLY HIS...! Find joy in keeping yourself according to His precepts... Yes remain His, and you will find an unimaginable joy!


#8

My 2 cents: Don’t put yourself in a position where it is easy to have sex. Have your dates in public places, don’t set yourself up for failure by being alone together in each others homes.
Tell him if he wants to have sex with you he has to call your father and ask permission.:wink:
That would kill a sex drive.


#9

[quote="SuzanneD, post:8, topic:321110"]
My 2 cents: Don't put yourself in a position where it is easy to have sex. Have your dates in public places, don't set yourself up for failure by being alone together in each others homes.
Tell him if he wants to have sex with you he has to call your father and ask permission.;)
That would kill a sex drive.

[/quote]

Great advice! :rofl


#10

[quote="SuzanneD, post:8, topic:321110"]
My 2 cents: Don't put yourself in a position where it is easy to have sex. Have your dates in public places, don't set yourself up for failure by being alone together in each others homes.
Tell him if he wants to have sex with you he has to call your father and ask permission.;)
That would kill a sex drive.

[/quote]

My father being my earthly father as well as my eternal father. ;)

Thanks for your advice.


#11

[quote="aspirant, post:5, topic:321110"]
I think it's pretty safe to say we've all been in this boat at one time or another, either with this sin or another (or, more likely, more than one). :)

Do not dwell on feelings of guilt-- your enemies will try to ensnare you in it, hoping you will despair. Instead, focus on contrition: Acknowledge that you did wrong, confess your sin honestly, resolve to do good, focus on starting fresh. And when you start fresh, my best advice is to focus on the goal. When we're always thinking over and over "I will not do X, I must not do X, I should not do X," we're always thinking of X. This can become another sort of trap. Instead, focus on what you do want: "I should do Y, I will do Y." If you were a runner wanting to finish the race, you'd keep your eyes on the road ahead, not what lies behind. Focus not on the vices you want to avoid, but rather on the virtues you want to cultivate. :)

By the grace of God, yes.

As I mentioned above, focusing on the virtues you want to cultivate-- what they really mean and how you can actually attain them-- will help. God gives you the power to do this, if you are willing to receive it.

This can involve changing the patterns of your behavior. If drinking weakens your resolve to do what's good, for example, you might try drinking less, drinking only in public spaces with other friends present, even giving up drinking for a while. Think about where you're going and what you're doing. Will your choices help you to cultivate the virtues you're working toward?

If you make bad choices along the way, acknowledge that you did wrong, confess your sin honestly, resolve to do good, focus on starting fresh. Each moment is a new chance to do the right thing. God will give you the power to do it. Focus on the virtues you want to cultivate and the best means to do it.

I hope this might help a little. :)

[/quote]

Wow. I think that is some really great advice. I've never thought of guilt quite like that. I'm a student studying elementary education and during a classroom management course we were discussing how to create classroom rules. One of the guidelines for this was to always make the rules positive rather than negative. Like instead of saying, "Don't speak when someone else is talking." You would say, "Be respectful of others." Or something like that. I never even thought to apply that to general life rules. I really think that striving for purity, holiness, and everything that I want is better than focusing too much on how well I'm avoiding sin and avoiding everything I don't want.

Thank you so much! I will definitely share this advice with my boyfriend. :) Maybe it will help him too.


#12

That’s a great example! The positive formulation does not lack the negative, because a respectful person does not interrupt, but also expresses so much more: a respectful person listens, a respectful person gives another his or her fair turn to speak, etc. This is an actual goal to attain, not merely an obstacle to avoid.

We don’t want merely to avoid evil, we want to DO GOOD. :slight_smile:

And that brings up an even better analogy than my analogy of a runner. It has been said that one of the most common New Testament words for sin, ἁμαρτία, means “missing the mark.” Think of an archer or a golfer. If the archer wants to hit the bullseye, she doesn’t keep her attention on the grass that she would like to avoid hitting at the feet of the target, she aims for the bullseye itself. If a golfer wants to sink a putt, he doesn’t think constantly of the sand trap off to the side, he aims for the hole. As the classic song says, in another context, “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.:slight_smile:

[quote=Matthew]A lawyer asked {Jesus} a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

And {Jesus} said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: *You shall love *your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
[/quote]

Here and elsewhere, Jesus explains that the greatest commandments are not the “you shall nots” but the “you shalls”: we should love God and we should love our neighbors.

As above, this positive formulation does not lack the negative, because a loving person does not neglect to worship God, a loving person does not steal, a loving person does not bear false witness, a loving person does not commit adultery. But the positive formulation expresses so much more. The loving person is, as Paul says, patient and kind, the loving person rejoices in truth. The loving person looks to the interest of others, is humble, counts others more significant than oneself. The loving person is gentle and self-controlled.

I think one of the great difficulties many people have with chastity, whether they are single or married, is that we tend to think of it primarily in negative terms, as if it meant only “not fornicating,” “not masturbating,” “not committing adultery,” and such. We think of it as something that limits or restricts our freedom. I think this is a mistake.

Real chastity is not a negative, but a positive. It’s a virtue involving respect, love, and self-mastery that, as we practice it, increases our freedom both to be ourselves and generously give ourselves in service to one another. :slight_smile:


#13

First of all, I applaud you for feeling bad about this and wanting to change your behavior. So many of us try to ignore or justify our wrongdoings/sins until we are in a deep trouble. I am 51 years old and I also had sex with my boyfriends. I now regret it everyday because when I finally met my husband, I knew in my heart that he deserved my purity. The guilt and shame that I live with now does affect our marriage and I really have trouble taking to my daughter about sex because I was not able to practice self control.
Believe me, no guy is worth it. Don't drink and do not let any guy in your apartment. Don't put yourself in tempting situation. By controlling your self, you will empower yourself. Your husband deserves it, your children deserve it, and you deserve it. By keeping and followings our Lord's wise advise , we will truly live fuller, richer, and healthier lives.
Hollywood would have us believe that having sex/one night stands is no big deal but when an intense relationship fails, it usually leads to depression, suicidal thoughts, low self esteem, drug abuse, STD's...not worth it. Hope this helps! God bless you! I will be praying for you! :)


#14

[quote="Viki63, post:3, topic:321110"]

It doesn't sound as if your boyfriend is very strongly opposed to premarital sex, because he has allowed it to occur 3 times. Either he is weak, or you're both drinking too much, or he's insincere when he says he wants to remain chaste.
...
But the goal of a spouse is to help you to heaven, which you're not doing for each other right now.

[/quote]

Sorry Viki63... But you cant put this solely on the shoulders of the O.P.'s partner in crime. It takes 2 to tango, and the O.P. gave no indication that she failed to give her full consent to the events she describes (That of course would be a wholly different story).

To put the burden of chastity wholly on the shoulders of the men leaves a huge gulf in the desires, intentions and actions of the woman. It also feeds into the horrendous attitudes by men that can be summed up in the term "rape apologist" - implying that a woman always "wants it" and that rape is only rape it it includes other forms of physical violence.
As you can understand and have probably seen in the lives of those near you this mentality has devastating consequences for many many women (and a few men) in our world.

To Gash:

Your story is as old as the Book of Genesis.
I would fully agree with those who have pointed out the following:
In Phsycology: you must focus on what you do want to achieve, not on the thing(s) you want to avoid. Otherwise you are doomed to failure. Interestingly this has been the teachings of the Saints for 2 millenia.
So focus on all the Virtues. In dating you must work out ground rules which makes it easy to remain Chaste in your actions - as your thoughts are beyond your direct control.

Ask yourself if you should be dating!!!!
The purpose of Courtship is to discern marriage. both generally and to the specific person. It sounds like you are very much "In Love" with this man.
I cant stress this enough That is not a good basis on which to marry a person!!!
It's a nice bonus, but in no way is it essential.
Of course you need to like each-other and be phsycologically and physically compatible. - However those strong passions will fade, and if you do not have an underlying relationship based on other common interests, common goals, and common approach to life any attempt at marriage will struggle to get past the 3 year itch.

So ask yourself the following questions:
Are you both in a situation in your lives where you can realistically envisage being ready to get married within 2 years if your discernment process leads you there?
If the answer to that is NO then you should probably postpone your courtship!!! otherwise you are just putting yourselves in the way of temptation - with little or no chance of the real good of marriage developing from it.

If It is possible for you to marry in that time frame is it a good idea for you both?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. You might try a penance of fasting from each other's company for at least a month if you slip up again. These fasts can really aid the discernment process. They let you assess your true feelings for eachother without the muddy soup of endorphins that you experience when in each other's presence every time you meet. - That soup of endorphins and hormones does cloud your judgment - as you have experienced.

As others have suggested you need to resort to a set of ground rules that helps you avoid the near occasions of sin.
Try googling the term "Honourable Dating"
Others on here may be able to direct you to similar search terms that will bring up good advice.


#15

I bet I can guess one thing you are not doing with your boyfriend, praying the rosary!! Don't underestimate the power of the rosary, pray it together with your boyfriend, pray it when you feel the temptation, the rosary will lead you both into chastity and make you stronger, the power of prayer is "the weapon" (Padre Pio) against sin. You will often find if your prayer life is lacking there will be more occasion to sin, and also generally more temptations and the more temptation you face the weaker your resolve gets until you eventually fall into sin. Pray the rosary with your boyfriend, it will allow your relationship to grow the way God intends.


#16

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