Finding chastity difficult as a potential convert, currently in a relationship

I have never been married but I have engaged in pre-marital sex with my boyfriend of 10 months. Our sexual relationship began months before I started considoring joining a Church.

Now that I am on the path to converting to Catholicism, I want to begin to tone down the physical side of our relationship because I feel guilty now after any sexual contact with him. It doesn’t make me as happy as it used to - before I considored Catholicism I mean.

I want to continue to use the contraceptive implant - before having it my periods were often long and heavy (almost a full week) and painful. The reason I took the implant was because of my sexual relationship with my boyfriend; but the side-effect of no longer having periods makes me want to keep it no matter what because it’s made such a difference. Not only that, but I have a common medical condition called Irritable Bowel Syndome. Whenever it came time for my monthly cycle, the abdominal pains and IBS symptons tripled and I had to have several days off a month because of it. The contraceptive implant has solved all that and now I only get IBS symptoms when stressed or after eating certain foods.

I’m not sure how to approach my boyfriend about this issue. I am determined for our sexual relationship to begin to tone down before I am baptised into the Catholic faith (if I decide it is for me) because then I understand that any mortal sin I have committed will be washed away? Is that true? I am especially nervous about this because my boyfriend isn’t just an atheist, he’s anti-religious. As I was buying some rosary beads he mocked me for it. Not sure if he was joking or not. He tells me he thinks I am the true one for him and he wants to be with me forever, and everything is right with him - the only thing is I might be changing. I want him to change with me and understand how important this is to me… I also considor it a test of whether he really loves me for me or for my body.

On the one hand, there is that. And on the other, I still think sometimes that surely because I am in a loving, long-term relationship (and we have been discussing WHEN we’ll get engaged, not if) - how bad can the sin be? I will not leave him for this, I will only break up for him if he cannot accept me for who I am. I intend to try and bring the subject up within the next couple of weeks. I really am not sure how to go about this, please help?! :confused:

You are allowed to have medicine which has contraceptive side effects.

If the side effects are abortive however; you should abstain from sexual activity when/whilst using it.

Now; truthfully only you would know the true purpose for you using it; I don’t want to imply you are in any way dishonest; but merely encourage you to deliberate and consider the matter somewhat; to work out if truthfully you are using it for medical benefits now.

When you are baptised all your sins will be washed away. Furthermore; if you commit any sins in the future; you can recieve the Sacrament of Penance (confession) to wipe away sins.

As far as “how bad can the sin be”; all Mortal Sins are mortal sins; they break the bond between us and God; and it is only when we accept humility we can clense ourselves through the Sacraments.

Remember that in St. Pauls letter to the Romans; when we are baptised; we are baptised into the death of Christ; so that we can rise from it to have new life in Christ.

The best policy with your boyfriend is honesty; if he cannot accept you for who you are; then he does not truly love you. Even if he might not understand or agree with you; he should accept you for who you are.

L and L,

First of all, it’s good to see that you are reconsidering whether or not you should be engaging in premarital sex. Many young men and women think that it’s okay to have sex prior to marriage because “everybody’s doing it.” The reality is that NOT everyone is “doing it.”

Also, many young women think that young men will not be interested in them if they do not engage in sex. Trust me, there are plenty of young men out there who admire and respect those who value chastity. I was one such man, and I remained a virgin until my wedding night. And, I sought virginity in the woman I would marry.

Sexual intercourse is a beautiful gift from God that is to be used only within marriage. It is to be used within marriage because the Sacrament of Marriage is the ultimate sign of commitment between a man and a woman. Along with that commitment comes an assurance that, if a pregnancy should occur, the husband and wife will take responsibility for raising that child.

If a couple is not married and has not made the ultimate commitment to one another, it is not uncommon for the man to run in the other direction if his girlfriend becomes pregnant. Or, he might encourage his girlfriend to get an abortion. Or, when a young woman becomes pregnant, has no support and is scared and confused, she might make a decision about her pregnancy that she may later regret.

God’s plan for sexuality is a beautiful one, and when He said that sex was meant to occur between a man and woman who are married to each other, He knew what he was talking about!

Yes, it is impossible for you to get your virginity back. But, it is not too late for you to get back on the right track and do God’s will. If you go online, you’ll find a great deal of information on “secondary virginity.” I encourage you to read it. It just might me the best decision you ever make.

Good luck and God bless you!:slight_smile:


May I ask, are you living with your boyfriend?

Hello friend,

Remember…if you take one step toward God, He takes two steps toward you…and His steps are much bigger :slight_smile:

JohnDamian’s advice is all spot-on.

I was most interested in this part of your post:

I want him to change with me and understand how important this is to me…

I do think that part of a mature, adult relationship requires honesty. It’s your responsibility to talk to him about what Catholicism means to you. I don’t know to what extent people in relationships actually change with each other.

Why do you want to change? In what ways? Why do you want him to change? These are some good questions to ask yourself in a spiritual journal or silent prayer time with Jesus.

I’m sorry that he mocked your Rosary. I carry my Rosary in my purse, backpack…it’s everywhere with me - not as a magic charm (it’s not) but because it reminds me that I’m not the center of the universe :slight_smile:

I also highly recommend that you talk about this openly with a catechist - someone who instructs others in our faith. Ask at your local parish about RCIA - there are usually inquiry sessions and people who can answer your questions about the faith in person.

Welcome Home! The Church’s stand on pre-martial sex is very clear. It is not allowed, ever. I know that is a lot to ask these days when it is every where and the secular world tells you it is prefectly all right. The Church teaches that the purpose of sex is only to create children, and children need a loving, stable family unit with both parents who are married, living together and who want them and care for them. There should be no problem with your implant as long as you are not having sex and putting yourself in the position where you might conceive a child. Unless you are to be baptized, converting to the Catholic Church will not " wash your sins away". You will be given the opportunity to go to confession and be forgiven for your sins, but then you must make a firm resolution to avoid that sin in the future. You cannot do what you want and run off to confess it knowing that you will do purposefully do it again the next time. True contrition is required. Do not expect your boyfriend to change with you (if he does great!). Does someone who is an anti-religious atheist and mocks you for buying rosary beads really sound like someone that you would like to spend the rest of your life with? Tell him you wish to stop having sex until you are married, then listen and watch carefully how he reacts. Does he get angry or does he hear you out? Does he sulk and wear you out until you give in? If you do go your different ways, don’t worry, everything will work out for the best in the end; the Holy Spirit has a plan for you!

OK, first take this from the perspective it is given - my husband put the front on as a good Catholic and was not. It did not work - there were many problems too numerous to get into here - now we are going through divorce and I will be going through anullment - I say I because he has already demonstrated he could care less.

  1. If he is an atheist and you are converting to Catholicism this will be a very difficult if not impossible marriage. If he is not baptized - it will not be Sacramental. Will you deny yourself this Sacrament? Do you think this is God’s plan for you after calling you to the Church.

  2. I strongly advise you to find a pro-life doctor who can find some meds with non-abortificient affects - therefore if you do need to be on medications for other reasons then you atleast know when you do marry some day you will not be taking the life of a child.

  3. Sex within marriage is a renewal of the matrimonial vows between husband, wife, and Holy Spirit. It is not for recreational fun. If your boyfriend respected you - he would respect your religious beliefs whether they agreed with his or not.

God bless you but I think you need to discern your priorities.

This is NOT correct. The Church teaches that sex in marriage has TWO purposes, one is procreation, and the other is the bonding and expression of love between husband and wife.

I would recommend looking into some Catholic books on sex and marriage to give some good information on the teachings of the Church. I am sure some of the other posters here can offer some suggestions, I really liked The Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West.

As to your question about your boyfriend, you REALLY need to discern what his true feelings about you are. In a calm manner discuss your feelings and see if he is able to respect you and your beliefs. If not, and if he rants and raves like a toddler, or tries to wear you down, he doesn’t respect your beliefs or opinions. This is a BIG warning sign.

Also, I would seriously look at other threads in here about mixed marriages between couples of different faiths or no faith. They are a lot of work, and need a LOT of respect from both partners.

You need to be really careful with this statement. It is the intent that matters. And in the OP, she went on the medication to prevent pregnancy with her bf. It is not okay to use contraception for that reason.

Besides the fact that it depends on what the medication is. Some can cause abortions, which is something else to really stop and consider.

“…my boyfriend isn’t just an atheist, he’s anti-religious.”

That is an important admission about your spiritual, emotional and sexual relationship with this boy.

It’s one thing to be a seeking atheist, but it’s 180 degrees out to be a militant atheist who is against faith in a Higher Power.

You have special powers that will persuade him toward belief, you can change him, right? Of course not. He is who he is, today and into the future.

The militant male atheists I’ve spoken with are also militantly anti family, pro abortion. Selfish children in a man’s body. Many militant atheists were Christians and have had to renounce Christ in order to release themselves of guilt for sin. Normally, sexual sins.

Honestly, of all that you write about… the thing that bothers me the most is that he mocked you when you bought your rosary.

To him just some beads. To you something VERY important. I can’t even imagine the talk about something like no sex, before marriage. And no contraception.

You’re going to have to decide where you stand within your faith. And what kind of support you will require. And what you will tolerate in a potential marriage. A man that mocks his wife for her religion, is not likely to support her in the religious bringing up of children.

Good luck!

To all - thank you everyone for the messages of Good luck. I don’t know how exactly to ask him what he would think about it… how do I pick the right moment? How do I phrase it? This is so hard. :frowning: even without the celibacy part itself. I’m now going to respond to everyone’s post, I do repeat myself a bit but I wanted to treat each response as individual so people don’t have to read multiple responses -

JohnDamian - My contraceptive implant is not an abortive one. It stops an egg from being released in the first place, decreases the thickness of the womb and increases the amount of mucus at the cervix. It’s more than 99.9% effective, and in me I no longer have periods which was surprising (although normal with this implant) and it has improved my health. I also think your advice is good, thank you :slight_smile: It is true - he needs to accept me for who I am.

icedtea - I’ll have a look at the secondary virginity websites, thanks for directing me :slight_smile: Although I find the idea of it really odd, it might be a value source of information. I have spoke to him about marriage in a Catholic church and he objected - saying that he would feel dishonest about making promises to a God which he does not believe exists - so he is honest to me in our relationship at least. This is all very new to him, within a space of a week and a bit I have told him I want to go to a Catholic church, and talked about some of the new rules so it is a shock. I love him so much though.

bkayw - I’m not living with him. We do spare a bed sometimes, although we hardly ever have sexual intercourse. Sharing a bed is mainly practical - we are both student nurses, and where he lives is a 45 minute drive away from his current hospital ward. I live only 5 minutes away from the hospital, so staying at mine occasionally means he gets an extra hour’s sleep. In reference to your second post - His reasons for being anti-religious I don’t want to discuss online but bad things happened which convinces them that if a God existed he wouldn’t let such evil in the world. The recent scandal in the Catholic church has re-asserted this view in him and he’s extremely distrustful. His brother is homosexual which adds to his distrust of religion because he thinks they should be able to get married in a church.

catherine126 - I’m going to mention it to the RCIA co-ordinator lady when I see her next week as a potential difficulty I’m having. I want to change to become closer to God, and I want him to change because I know that, unknowingly, he is looking for God. He had a really traumatic childhood which made him believe that there isn’t a God, and he seems to be avoiding the subject with me. Most atheists I know are all to happy to have a friendly debate, but he won’t even talk to me about it. I think there is some tiny part of him who believes (he doesn’t want to make marriage vows to a God he doesn’t believe in because he doesn’t want to be dishonest) otherwise he would feel comfortable talking about this with me I think.

Catholic1954 - It doesn’t sound like someone who I want to be with. I hope he was joking, he didn’t realise they were rosary beads though - he thought it was a normal necklace. I might explain the significance of them to him and try and teach him about Catholicism without teaching him, if that makes sense. Maybe through knowledge he might be more understanding, he really knows nothing about religion he has never been exposed to it in his life, ever.

joandarc2008 - Actually it can be a Sacremental if you get special dispensation from the Bishop, if I remember correctly. That sounds like a lot of fuss though. My contraceptive doesn’t have abortive effects because it stops an egg from being released in the first place. I hope he respects me for it too.

zz912 - I think he’s concerned that our physical relationship will come to a complete end. No hugging, etc. He did mention whether or not I’m going to be celibate now in a sarcastic tone which did offend me because I was considoring it. :frowning:

BrokenFortress - It’s not an abortive one, don’t worry lol

faithfully - He’s said he doesn’t want his children being brought up within a religion because he believes that they should have the choice. I recently read a really interesting argument for the christening of children - the child cannot pick their name and biological family and nationality, so why should their faith be any different? It all stems to his friend being baptised who is now an atheist. This friend absolutely hates the fact he was christened apparently, which I find interesting. He’s anti-religious to the point where he thinks its silly. He doesn’t know anything about religion, apart from the fact that he knows it exists that’s the extend of this knowledge. He doesn’t even know what rosary beads symbolise, he thought it was just a necklace.

[quote=LemonAndLime]faithfully - He’s said he doesn’t want his children being brought up within a religion because he believes that they should have the choice. I recently read a really interesting argument for the christening of children - the child cannot pick their name and biological family and nationality, so why should their faith be any different? It all stems to his friend being baptised who is now an atheist. This friend absolutely hates the fact he was christened apparently, which I find interesting. He’s anti-religious to the point where he thinks its silly. He doesn’t know anything about religion, apart from the fact that he knows it exists that’s the extend of this knowledge. He doesn’t even know what rosary beads symbolise, he thought it was just a necklace.

Well Children brought up in the Catholic Faith only recieve Baptism without “consent”; the other sacraments; namely those of Holy Communion and Confirmation are only bestowed upon an individual upon that person being at an “age of reason”.

I would think a general compramise could be established; where children would be baptised and then encouraged to come to mass; but rightly – no Child should be forced to recieve Sacraments they do not want; so if when the children are at an age of reason they do not want to recieve; then it would be immoral to make them; (although encouragement is fine).

Here are two points-

  1. Your marriage will not be Sacramental if he is not baptized - the permission the Bishop is needed so that your marriage will be valid and licit in the Church and you will still be allowed to receive Eucharist. If you do not receive this permission from the Bishop then you will not be able to marry in the Church. If you marry outside the Church you will be giving up the Eucharist. In order to obtain this permission from the Bishop your bf will have to agree to two things: Raising the children Catholic (including Baptism and other Sacraments), and being open to life. Here are the CCC references:

Mixed marriages and disparity of cult

1633 In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a non-baptized person) requires even greater circumspection.

1634 Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise.

1635 According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority.137 In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage.138 This permission or dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the essential ends and properties of marriage; and furthermore that the Catholic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church.139

1636 Through ecumenical dialogue Christian communities in many regions have been able to put into effect a common pastoral practice for mixed marriages. Its task is to help such couples live out their particular situation in the light of faith, overcome the tensions between the couple’s obligations to each other and towards their ecclesial communities, and encourage the flowering of what is common to them in faith and respect for what separates them.

1637 In marriages with disparity of cult the Catholic spouse has a particular task: "For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband."140 It is a great joy for the Christian spouse and for the Church if this “consecration” should lead to the free conversion of the other spouse to the Christian faith.141 Sincere married love, the humble and patient practice of the family virtues, and perseverance in prayer can prepare the non-believing spouse to accept the grace of conversion

  1. This brings me to the second point- overall except in extreme cases where hormones that have contraceptive side effects are needed for health reasons it is a mortal sin to use contraception.

Here is the CCC:

2397 The covenant which spouses have freely entered into entails faithful love. It imposes on them the obligation to keep their marriage indissoluble.

2398 Fecundity is a good, a gift and an end of marriage. By giving life, spouses participate in God’s fatherhood.

2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

Every single kind of hormonal birth control has the potential to be abortive. EVERY ONE. It may say it prevents ovulation, which it can do, but if there is breakthrough ovulation (which happens more often than people think), then the baby can be aborted.

2nd- why in the world do you think its a good idea to be taking fake hormones to make your body stop working the way its supposed to? No period? This is DANGEROUS!

Seek an NFP-only doc who will help you fix your actual problems rather than masking them and shutting down your system.

My contraceptive implant is not an abortive one. It stops an egg from being released in the first place, decreases the thickness of the womb and increases the amount of mucus at the cervix.

Hi L&L. I suppose this may be a bit OT, but I just wanted to point out something here. You state that your implant is not abortive, yet you also acknowledge that one of the effects is to “decrease the thickness of the womb”. Well, are you aware exactly what that means in terms of birth control? It means that the lining of the uterus is thinner than it would be otherwise, and that if an egg is released and fertilized, there is less chance of it being able to implant in the womb. Most secular sources will say that is not an abortion because they define the start of pregnancy at implantation. So, technically your implant is not abortive. However, there is a chance that it could still lead to the death of a baby, since if it cannot implant, it will not be able to grow. A very young baby, a ball of cells, but if you believe life begins at conception (not implantation), still an individual soul, beloved of God. Yes, your implant (as well as pretty much any form of hormonal birth control, including the “morning-after” pill) could lead to the death of your own child.

Now, to be fair, there is much debate as to how common this scenario actually is, and unfortunately I don’t have numbers I can give you. I have seen much disagreement even among “pro-lifers” as to whether this risk is high enough to call hormonal contraceptives “abortifacient”. Also, contraceptive implants really aren’t used much in the States, but I see you are from the UK. I am assuming that your implant is similar to the Implanon device which is progestin-only, and from what I understand, progestin-only forms of contraception are much less effective in actually suppressing ovulation than most birth control pills which contain both estrogen and progestin. So, the chance of the “back-up” mechanisms of mucus thickening and thinning of the uterine lining coming into play are higher.

This may be difficult to accept, as it was for me when I first found out about this. The doctrine of double effect may still justify keeping the implant. However, I think it is important to be aware.

Hello, I just wanted to say that I agree with the other posters. This situation seems like it is going to require a lot of discernment :wink: I will pray for you for sure.

Perhaps telling you a little bit about myself might give you another little perspective to consider.

I went through RCIA during the 2008-2009 year. Prior to even starting RCIA I was dating my then boyfriend. We had a sexual relationship as well. One difference about my situation was that my boyfriend was actually a baptized Catholic :frowning:

Anyway, It was a constant struggle thoughout RCIA. I wanted to stop sinning. I would go home crying several times. My boyfriend just couldn’t understand why we needed to stop. His heart wasn’t centered on God. He claimed I didn’t really love him when I would refuse him physical intimacy. He laughed at me for my growing desire to please the Lord. I kept holding on to our relationship with the idea that he was going to change.

A year and several months later, we are broken up. He is more respectful than he used to be but he still isn’t centered on God. We also have a child as the result of our poor choices. The child is a blessing but he is at risk for suffering due to the mistakes that his parents made. I know now why St Paul says to flee from sexual immorality.

My point is, is that your boyfriend alone has to decide where he wants to place his heart. All you can do is set a loving example for him. In the end, if he isn’t willing to even at least respect your beliefs, you may have to decide who is more important to you: God or your boyfriend.

Please take my words with a grain of salt as I do not know the entirety of your situation, nor the intent within yours and your boyfriend’s hearts. I will pray though, that the Lord will guide you to where you will find complete happiness and joy.

God bless you :slight_smile:

Following Christ isn’t always easy, especially in the initial steps. There are tons of stories and parables in the New Testement about individuals who want to follow Christ, but who turn away sad because the sacrifice involves giving up some earthly attachment they’re too latched onto. In fact, I’d say the majority of the Christian is a path that constantly challenges you with “Do you love Christ enough to give this up? Christ or this?” We always want both and we often try to find our way with both, but eventually we are left with the choice to either let one or the other go.

I commend you for considering entering this journey and giving up something that is so hard for you to do. What I will say from my experience is that this will test you. Giving up sex with someone who isn’t fully committed to abstaining isn’t easy. Its hard enough striving to be chaste with someone who is dedicated to being chaste as well.

I’d say the first thing to do is talk to your boyfriend about your spiritual journey, the fact that you feel you can’t be sexually active anymore and that if he ends up marrying you, Catholicism will fill up much of his life. You need to ask him honestly “Do you want to follow me along on this journey or is my faith journey going to separate us?” And you need to be honest and prepared for the possibility of losing him, of finding that this path just isn’t one he’s willing to follow you on. That’s when you’re left with a choice between Christ or your boyfriend.

The reason I am skeptical of this working with him is because I’ve been in similiar shoes. My first boyfriend I tried to keep him along the track with me which he went along with for a time. There were multiple other things that happened, but we broke up after a big argument over religion. I wasn’t ready to let him go and the break up was really tough on me. It perhaps was harder because the break up had been delayed for months as I tried to convince myself our paths could still remain united.

After that, I dated another guy for awhile. He did not really respect the chastity thing much. We only ever went so far, but it was too far. Eventually I realized we just wouldn’t work out together and I broke up with him but remained friends. What was hard for me was just the habit of our behavior and the fact that he still kept trying to seduce me. Eventually I asked for advise on a forum much like this one and was told I needed to end the friendship. It was very hard for me, but I did it. He ended up telling me he’d hate the Catholic Church forever since I had been advised to end a friendship. Hearing that was hard. I was very torn with feelings of guilt about it, but looking back, I know I did the right thing.

Since then, its been a very large spiritual journey for me that God has led me, but ultimately I became happier than I ever was in either of those relationships. The path God gives us at times are scary and its very tempting to avoid them, but ultimately its a decision and sacrifice you have to decide whether or not you are ready enough to make. May God give you the courage and wisdom to make the right one.

See, here’s my thought process. We send our children to school. WHY? So they can be educated and make choices as an adult. How we educate our children is often full of choices. Do you send them to preschool? Play based, or academic? Do they go to public, private, or home schoo… BUT THEY GO TO SCHOOL…

We don’t choose their lifetime careers. We expose them to life. Then they choose. Now, some kids will go to ****** schools, and their parents will not put forth effort. And they will work in BurgerKing if they are lucky.

Others will be given a rich education, full of fun extra circulars… their parents will be involved. They will help stir the course. And these children more likely to find careers they enjoy, and that they get paid well for.

And like your friend who is upset that his parents just had him baptized, and then nothing else… Well, sounds like the rich ($$) parents who just plunk their kids in fancy school, and let a nanny take care of them, and then hope for the best. No guidance. Choose the life you want… Good luck with that. Not all kids have a natural sense of common sense. Given the choice, for example, my DH would have Chosen PE to fill his entire high school schedule. Me on the otherhand, had college on the brain.

Plenty of Catholics are raised Catholic and MAKE their own choice… (and some choose elsewhere.)

I’m not sure I understand a person that is against something with a passion without actually understanding it. It kinds of sounds like a 4 year old who will not eat broccolli, 'cause it’s green, and therefore tastes bad. I mean, he doesn’t even know what broccolli is for… But EEEWWWWW!

Regarding the boyfriend that has issues from some childhood past. Not sure what that is. I suppose it’s bad. And given the reference to Catholic Scandel. He must find it hard to function in a world that this same horrifying activity takes place everywhere else. It’s very traumatizing to say the least. But people really need to quit blaming the Catholic Church for the horror that exists within some. It’s not a church teaching. Just like it’s not a German thing to hate and kill jews, It’s not a gov’t plot to keep drug dealers in “the hood” so that some will never get passed the 3rd grade (like one of my college professors liked to teach:shrug:)

Jen - I am so sorry to hear that your situation ended up like this - I remember you coming on here - but thank you for the update. God bless you, your child, and your child’s father.

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