So my life feel apart over a year ago and I’ve been trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild ever since. One of my big issues is dating again. Ive been single for over a year now since my ex girlfriend broke up with me. Ive been on some dates since, but no ones made me feel the way she did. I know theres gals out there. But I’m scared my past is gonna drive the good Christian girls away. You see, I ended up having sex with my ex and another girl I dated before her. Since coming back to the church, I’ve sworn to have no sex till marriage and confessed for doing it in first place. But I’m still scared about telling someone about my past. Im scared girls will reject me when they learn about this. Any advice?
Why do you have to tell anyone about your past? If it’s been confessed then move on…
You really only need to tell the other person if you end up getting married and it’s going to affect them (you have an STD, you have a child out of wedlock, etc). Other than that I can quote you various Catholic books that say DO NOT mention past sexual sins to people that you date- that in itself can be an occasion of sin. If it’s been confessed it’s in the past.
Again, you only mention them if it’s going to affect them in some direct way.
This idea that you have to “tell all” to your girlfriend is ridiculous. I know if I date someone, I prefer not to know their past (again, unless it is going to affect me in some way after marriage). It gets weird then, the woman starts trying to make you her psychologist, etc. Also it’s not fair to ruminate over things that have been forgiven by God.
A year is not a long time. I think you will feel a little more at ease with telling a woman about your past when more time goes by. But at the same time, you don’t have to reveal your sexual past to a girlfriend right at the beginning. I am not only worried about my sexual past putting off good Christian girls. I also have a criminal history and past drug and alcohol addiction to explain one day. Not having a spotless clean past will put off some girls but not all of them. So don’t worry about it so much.
Also, please get it right…you were “SINGLE” even when you had a girlfriend. Anyone who is not married is “single”.
Unfortunately, Facebook has changed that concept.
Not to be hard on you or a jerk or anything but let’s not let Facebook change the Church’s teaching on the matter.
I think that a conversation about your sexual past should occur only after you are in a committed relationship and have both verbalized intention of discerning for marriage. Your behavior up to the point of that conversation should say far more about your character than actions that happened prior to the present relationship.
Everyone has a past of some sort, issues that make that vulnerable, the proverbial “skeletons in the closet”. And yes, there are people who will think less of you, and for whom being a virgin is a must-have, despite who you have evolved into. But honestly, those people are generally not able to sustain a loving, forgiving relationship anyhow. Part of what will make you compatible with that special someone is that she will love you, past and all. You will know when it is right to tell her because you will know her well enough to know it isn’t a deal-breaker.
I think it’s great you haven’t dated this past year. I don’t think you should rush to date, but should focus on cleaning up your own house, so to speak; putting your interior state in order so that when that right girl crosses your path, you won’t mess it up!! God bless.
you don’t need to tell anyone anything. you made a mistake and you relized confessed and that is that.
A year or more is not unreasonable. Give yourself time to heal. Explore new hobbies or interests. Travel if you can. Being single can be a blessing!
There is no need to discuss sex on the first few dates. A “good” Christian girl who still likes you after a few dates wouldn’t suddenly change her opinion based solely on your “past” when it finally comes up.
I guess my one catholic friend made me nervous. She was talking about guys at her school and she said she couldn’t imagine ever being able to be with someone who wasn’t a virgin. She doesn’t know I’m not a virgin but it still spooked me.
Despite receiving God’s forgiveness, this past year has been very difficult for me. Ive missed my ex a ton and fought the feelings of anger and sadness all year. I know I have to get myself in order cause I’m still a bit of a mess. Just worried about my past coming back to haunt me.
Should an Engaged Girl Reveal Her Past?
Problem: I am engaged and looking forward to a very happy marriage. But there is one doubt in my mind that seems to cast a shadow over my happiness. Long before I met my fiance, I fell into sin with another person. This has long since been confessed and deeply repented. The doubt in my mind is whether I should tell my husband-to-be about this previous fall]. Is such a confession necessary or even advisable for persons about to be married? I dread the thought of it; but do not want anything to stand in the way of our happiness.
Solution: It is neither necessary nor advisable to make a confession of your past life to the man you are about to marry. You made your confession through the priest to God, and your sin was forgiven. The only lasting effect the sin should have on your life is to keep you humble, grateful for the forgiveness you received, and more and more dependent on God’s help to remain good. But there is no reason for your revealing the past to anyone.
Sometimes a man who wants to marry a girl tries to insist that she tell him whether she had ever in her life lapsed from virtue. This is an unjust demand, an uncalled for probing into the secret and sacred conscience of another. A girl has no obligation of making a personal confession even in the face of such demands. Indeed, she may even recognize in such demands a danger sign: they may be motivated by an excessively jealous spirit that would cause her great sorrow after marriage. Even in the case that a boy or girl in love might suggest that they make mutual confessions to each other, the idea should be resisted and rejected. Lovers and engaged couples should be content to be able to say to each other that they cherish the grace of God and freedom from sin above all other goods, and that they will be loyal to each other for the whole of their lives. Moreover, it is more important that they help each other to avoid sin in their own pre-marriage association than that they worry about their own or their partner’s repented past.
***Should an Engaged Girl Reveal Her Past?
Problem: We are several girls in our late teens who would like to disagree with an opinion you expressed several months ago. You said that a man had no right to ask a girl whom he wanted to marry whether she had previously fallen from virtue, and that the girl had no obligation of admitting anything about her past to her fiance. We think that if a man wants to know what kind of girl he is marrying he should be allowed to ask her about her past, and that she should honestly tell him. After all, it is important to a man to know that he is marrying a good girl.
Solution: We are in perfect agreement with the statement that it is important for a man to know that he is marrying a good girl. It is the purpose of the period of company-keeping to provide a man with assurance on this point, and equally so to provide the girl with assurance that he is a good man. By going together for several months, a man and woman can learn all they need to know about the ideals and moral characters of each other, if both are interested enough in this matter to look for and draw out from the other the spiritual and moral principles that are considered of greatest importance. A girl who lacks character and sound moral principles will not be able to hide her lack from a man who really considers such things necessary for a happy marriage. And a man who has not acquired solid virtue will clearly manifest his weakness to a girl who realizes that without it a happy marriage could not be hoped for.
This testing of each other’s characters on the part of a boy and girl keeping company does not require open and complete revelations of each one’s past. We have set it down, and we repeat, that it is a general presumption that it is not wise for two people preparing for marriage to make full confessions to each other. It is not good for a man to demand of a girl whom he might ask to marry him that she tell him whether or how she ever fell into sin in the past. In our experience, we have found that most men who insist on being told such things have had rather chequered careers themselves, and have a leaning toward an unhealthy, not to say morbid, kind of jealousy. There are exceptions, of course, and our presumption, that in general it is best to leave the past buried, leaves room for them.
It still remains possible, we believe, for a man to learn all he needs to know about a girl, even up to whether she has ever been a sinner or not, without asking direct questions or demanding revelations. And it is possible for a girl to learn through company-keeping whether the man she is going with hates sin, loves virtue, and is willing to face the sacrifices and responsibilities involved. The sad thing is that so many are not interested in these supremely important matters.
From the book: Questions Young People Ask Before Marriage
by Donald F. Miller, C.SS.R.
Published by Liguorian Pamphlet Office
Redemptorist FathersLiguori, Missouri
Second Printing 1955
Reprinted fromTHE LIGUORIANA Catholic Monthly Magazine
Published with Ecclesiastical Approval
I always hate to contradict a priest, but I strongly disagree with Brother Donald above. The possibility of undiagnosed sexually transmitted diseases makes not revealing a sexual past very dangerous. The level of detail revealed, however, need only be in proportion to the danger involved.
ETA. Rechecking the date, I originally read 1995; the actual publication date was 1955. The advice is at the very least outdated, having been published 20-30 before HIV/AIDS became widespread.
If that’s the concern, then get a blood test.
One shouldn’t be discussing past sins in mixed company.
Anyway, someone could lie about their past. There are no guarantees in life.
Your past is going to be a trail; don’t worry about it. Dealing with it will be penance enough. Don’t beat yourself up about it, too!
Do not be “spooked”. The Catholic woman you talked to is one Catholic woman, not the entire bunch. There are nice Catholic girls who have fallen just as you have, because they were very fond of someone and put themselves in a near occasion of sin. There are also women who have not fallen as to sexual purity but whose falls in other respects makes them realize that they are fallen women in their own way, and will surely marry someone who is fallen in his own way. That’s about the only kind of person to marry that there is. It is the only kind of people in religious communities that there are. Make amends and do your best now; that is the way!
I, for one, can’t imagine hiding my past from someone I’m going to marry. (Not that I have any sordid ‘past,’ but I simply can’t imagine that someone I’m that close to, I wouldn’t talk about past relationships, because they’re a vital part of who I am.)
This conversation has focused heavily on whether you should even tell a prospective bride that you’ve slept with other women. What should also be mentioned is that plenty of women, even devout Catholic women, will accept you. There’s this whole thing about forgiveness, redemption, seeing a person for the new man he’s become…
There are plenty of Catholic women who are, for lack of a better word, reverts themselves, and may have quite a sordid past, but it’s not who they are now.
You absolutely have to be willing to disclose whatever a prospective spouse wants to know. If there is something you don’t want to talk about, the person has to be OK with you having these things you don’t talk about. You don’t get to hide that the things are even there. That does not cut it.
Having said that, some people, perhaps most, do not want more detail about past “experiences” except whether or not the other person is a virgin, whether or not the fall or falls took place outside a relationship headed for marriage, whether or not the other party to the fall is in any way still “in the picture,” and whether or not their prospective spouse has had an opportunity and succeeded in exercising self-control. Do they have the capacity to be faithful in the face of the temptation to do otherwise or, for instance, are they only pure when the opportunity to be otherwise hasn’t been present? I mean, has the person had the inclination and the opportunity and yet stayed the course and controlled himself or herself for an extended period of time. That is the huge question.
Are they still in love with someone else? This even applies to someone with whom they have always been chaste in the past; the question is whether the person’s affection is already divided. That is another huge question. In the OP’s case, it is important to get past the relationship with the other woman, to consider it utterly over. If he takes up with her again, let it be from scratch, from the ground up. Whether he gets together with her again or never does, the sooner he puts the last relationship behind him–meaning the sooner he does the work of grieving over it and then moves on, not meaning that he forgets it as if it never happened!–the better.
Yes, there are people who have no “past” and can’t cope with someone else who has one. That is OK. They simply have to be left to find one of the other persons with that history and that need. There are others who will do well to marry, even though they will not be virgins when they do so. Even those destined to be priests or religious sometimes have a “past”. It is better to avoid falling, but once fallen does not mean always down.
Everyone has a past of some sort, issues that make that vulnerable, the proverbial “skeletons in the closet”. And yes, there are people who will think less of you, and for whom being a virgin is a must-have, despite who you have evolved into. But honestly, those people are generally not able to sustain a loving, forgiving relationship anyhow.
I find myself surprised at the regularity with which statements like these are made, and the fact, seemingly, that said statements are made in seriousness and not as a test of Poe’s law or some other such observation about satire on the Internet.
I recommend using emoticons if you are just satirizing people who [attempt to] hold such an obviously untenable position.
A “good” Christian girl who still likes you after a few dates wouldn’t suddenly change her opinion based solely on your “past” when it finally comes up.
I would have advised using scare quotes on the word “good.”
Since when does being imprudent make someone “good” (with or without scare quotes)? Will this be yet another chapter in the book of good becoming evil (or virtue becoming vice)?
A girl has no obligation of making a personal confession even in the face of such demands.
Brother Donald is very much correct here - no one is obligated to reveal such information about themselves (men and women, but women seem to be emphasized in this non-disclosing regard).
However, no one is obligated to marry someone who hasn’t revealed necessary information. That last part is almost always left out.
In the 1950s, promiscuity (that is, premarital sex) was properly understood as being undesirable (e.g. not a positive), but the effects on subsequent marital dissolution and marital satisfaction (etc) were not at all understood. It is not surprising in the least that outdated, inaccurate, and potentially harmful advice such as his should be as commonly supported as it is today. Science is not stuck in the 1950s, and it is best that comments on this topic recognized and reflected that, rather than denied it.
Please educate yourself on the realities of sexually transmitted diseases - your ignorance here could very well seriously affect someone’s health. Letting your ideology drive your advice reflects poorly on you.
Why is that, and why not just company in general?
What’s your point about saying that? Anyhow, if they lie about their past (that is, answer a question regarding marital suitability untruthfully), the marriage is undoubtedly invalid.
What should also be mentioned is that plenty of women, even devout Catholic women, will accept you.
Based on the latest research, here’s how it works: people of similar socio-sexual orientation associate, and often marry, those with a similar socio-sexual orientation. That is not “sexual orientation,” by the way. Basically, the women who are most likely to be sexually “expressive” will usually associate with men who are equally so (and sometimes a little more so), but rarely, if ever, less so. What that means is that a women who waits until marriage is most likely to associate with a man who would also do so. Like attracts like.
In practice this sees some men and some women (approximately equal in percentage of their respective genders) insist only on marrying a virgin. Further along the sexual experience scale sees some men and some women (approximately equal in percentage of their respective genders) insist that their spouse be sexually experienced (and have no objection to any level of sexual experience). Between those two regions are some men and some women (approximately equal in percentage of their respective genders) with a range of understandings of what they are willing to accept in a spouse in terms of sexual experience.
There will be women who reject you, out of concern for STDs, infidelity and divorce risk, infertility, and other factors. There will also be women who will accept you (and the accompanying risks). The chance of you being rejected is going to be much higher for Catholic women than it is for secular women, by the way (though I expect you knew that).
There’s this whole thing about forgiveness, redemption, seeing a person for the new man he’s become…
Treating forgiveness as being equal to acceptance is annoying at best and heresy at worst.
In our experience, we have found that most men who insist on being told such things have had rather chequered careers themselves, and have a leaning toward an unhealthy, not to say morbid, kind of jealousy.
I find it fascinating that Brother Donald would stoop to the level of shaming language. There’s also the issue of the association fallacy (amongst other fallacies), but I’ll leave it alone, since I think it’s rather obvious to most.
Ok, so you’ve pretty well established that you disagree with Fr. Miller’s advice. The question is then, what SHOULD someone do who is in the process of courtship/dating?
I’m willing to consider that Fr. Miller’s advice is wrong but you haven’t expressed practically what needs to be done.
You read an awful lot into my statement. Maybe after lecturing others on their ‘ignorance,’ you ought to be a little more careful about seeing things in others’ writing that isn’t there.
There are those who can forgive. There are those who can accept. If you regard that as heresy, oh, well.
[quote=CathLifeHacker]Ok, so you’ve pretty well established that you disagree with Fr. Miller’s advice. The question is then, what SHOULD someone do who is in the process of courtship/dating?
I’m willing to consider that Fr. Miller’s advice is wrong but you haven’t expressed practically what needs to be done.
Regarding STDs: there’s nothing that can be done for the totality, and that’s the issue. The CDC itself states clearly that if you don’t want to get STDs, abstain from sexual acts or only engage in sexual acts with those who also have abstained from sexual acts. Basically, there are STDs that cannot be tested for, and there are some that rarely show up on tests.
Beyond that, I don’t know what you’re asking, or if you are asking more.
Ignorance of fact and different interpretations are not the same thing - please don’t play that game. That said, I didn’t actually interpret your statement - see below.
[quote=holyrood]There are those who can forgive. There are those who can accept. If you regard that as heresy, oh, well.
Regard what exactly as heresy? There is quite a bit of irony now if you are reading that from my comment.
Anyhow: acceptance is not forgiveness. To state that forgiveness requires acceptance is not what the Church teaches. Since it is not what the Church teaches, it is at variance with what the Church teaches, and therefore it is heresy. I did not say that you stated that, by the way. I just used your statement, particularly the mentioning of forgiveness, as a springboard for dealing with a frequent misunderstanding of forgiveness.