How to feel pure despite past sins?


#1

I’m in a wonderful relationship with one of the most pure, beautiful, loving, compassionate women in the world. After meeting her, she told me about some things she did in the past (like premarital sex), and I had a very difficult time coming to terms with these things. However, we prayed together and eventually overcame the difficulties her past presented.

Unfortunately, I still feel pain because of some things she did in the past; forunately, these times are few and far between. The problem is that I feel the WORST because of how she feels. When I feel bad, sometimes she feels like it must be because I see her as impure. Other times, she just feels impure because of her past sins. Truly, she’s a symbol of purity in my life, and I feel terrible when she feels impure because of her past. Sometimes she’ll say things like, “There are so many better women out there, with pure pasts,” or “I’m so unworthy of you,” implying that I should be with a “better” woman. I try to tell her that her past doesn’t matter, even though it hurts me sometimes. Is there anything she or I can do to address this? I don’t want her past to affect her anymore.

Thank you so much, and God bless all of you.


#2

I wouldn’t give a dried fig for the chance of you two marrying and staying married. You obviously have an issue of her past.

She also has an issue with her past, and she also has an issue with your reaction to her past.

If you two intend to marry, you might want to avail yourselves to some really serious counseling. Short of that, you have a major trust issue between you (the elephant in the room), and while you are both making some attempt to deal with it, the elephant is still in the room, and from the sound of your comments, is going to stay in the room.

And if that elephant stays in the room, you might find that, like most elephants, it has big feet and can step where it shouldn’t; and it has tremendous power, which it can use against one of you, and elephants are known to go on rampages, in which people get trampled and killed.

Trust once damaged is exceedingly difficult to reinstate; and while one of the parties may be able to reinstate it, too often both are not capable. The result is a lopsided marriage in terms of trust. Trust is a critical element to marriage; failure of trust usually leads to the disintegration of the relationship.

You also both need to look at how you got into the conversation in the first place; what prompted you to inquire or to listen, and what prompted her to “confess” to you. The whole situation has earmarks of being unhealthy psychologically. Failure to get counseling sufficient to allow both of you to get past this issue is just about guaranteed to bring serious problems and grief in the future. Get help or break it off.

Let me put it in plain English: if you still feel pain,even occasionally, you have not “gotten over it”. If her past didn’t matter, then you wouldn’t feel hurt about it. And she is well aware (and possibly more aware than you are) that his is an issue with you.


#3

Give what OTM some consideration, but also this too. Understand that this is a cross you both will have to carry if you want to have a close relationship with oneanother. You want to know why you should avoid sin? This situation is why. Sins that can take a few moments to commite can have a lifetime lasting impression.

First I say pray to God, asking to change you how you need to be changed. Then change her heart as it needs too. Also keep praying together. All things are possible with God, but maybe it’s better if this is overcome slowly so you both can learn the importance of a relationship with the Lord. If she thinks she is not worthy of you, its true. At the same time you are not worthy of her either. But ask for the Lord’s blessing, and maybe if it is in his devine wisdom He may grant it. Also make sure you follow the guidelines of maintaining the right relationship with her (I don’t know what your situation is, so I don’t want to comment too much on that.)

To me one problem of her feeling impure is pride. Pride because it seems like she feels she has done so wrong that is above the Lord granting forgiviness. Don’t feel bad mostly everyone has pride one way or another, just ask the Lord to lift it. Oh and remind her of when she says she feels too impure for you, what you think God would think of her? For He is like the father of the prodigal son, and is willing to run out to meet his child when that child is ready to come home. Hope that helps. Remember the cross can be heavy, but God will give you the strength if you ask.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help of others too.


#4

I think OTM’s advise was pretty harsh.

When she says those things like you deserve better I would guess she is looking for reassurance from you that you don’t feel that way. I would tell her how proud you are in the changes she’s made in her life, and you love her for who she is now. We all fall in one way or another, none of us are immune to sin.
You may still feel pain on and off, it’s hard to think about someone you love sharing something so deep and personal with someone else. My husband had a very “colorful” past. It took time to put those other girls out of my mind. But focus on who she is now and the courage that it has taken to over come her past sins.

Just like when a temptation comes to mind you must push that thought away, I would do the same when you think about your girlfriends past -push it out of your mind. And always remember we all have sins, none of us are “pure”. That is where the grace of God and and his infinate mercy comes in.
Pray together, especially the rosary I think would be great or the chaplet of divine mercy. And put the past in the past.


#5

She seems to be hanging on to her past for some reason, or else why did she tell you in the first place? I sure didn’t tell my husband my sordid history (and he didn’t want to know either). “Confession” to anyone but a priest is rather self-indulgent. This is a hard lesson for us women to learn because we’re raised in this tell-all, narcissistic, Oprah type culture. We really think that talking and talking ad nauseum about all our problems with friends and parents and SO’s and shrinks is the answer but it is NOT. That’s why the Church is so wise, because there is a time and place for that and it should be left there.


#6

[quote=caroljm36]She seems to be hanging on to her past for some reason, or else why did she tell you in the first place? I sure didn’t tell my husband my sordid history (and he didn’t want to know either). “Confession” to anyone but a priest is rather self-indulgent. This is a hard lesson for us women to learn because we’re raised in this tell-all, narcissistic, Oprah type culture. We really think that talking and talking ad nauseum about all our problems with friends and parents and SO’s and shrinks is the answer but it is NOT. That’s why the Church is so wise, because there is a time and place for that and it should be left there.
[/quote]

Well said. And I suspect that it is not only self indulgent, but may indicate other issues that are not in evidence.

I am tired of the phrase “self esteem” as it has been given so many false implications as to who wer are, and specifically who we are in terms of our relationship with God. We are all sinners, but we also have been given the gift of reconcilliation through forgiveness of sins. I am very uneasy about her purported comments about her worthiness (or lack of it).

After posting my comments yesterday, I was thinking of the original post, and was struck with the feeling thath the poster is probably in their early 20’s; a time of beginning awareness of ourselves in terms of a permanent relationship with another, and a time of deep (and seemingly almost constant) angst.

The older we get, the more that angst seems to dissipate. The writer seems deep in angst (and pathos?) over this relationship. My impression is that it started out on the wrong foot, and my life experience is that when there is an issue as serious as this, it is more often than not fatal to the relationship.


#7

[quote=rayne89]I think OTM’s advise was pretty harsh.

When she says those things like you deserve better I would guess she is looking for reassurance from you that you don’t feel that way. I would tell her how proud you are in the changes she’s made in her life, and you love her for who she is now. We all fall in one way or another, none of us are immune to sin.
You may still feel pain on and off, it’s hard to think about someone you love sharing something so deep and personal with someone else. My husband had a very “colorful” past. It took time to put those other girls out of my mind. But focus on who she is now and the courage that it has taken to over come her past sins.

Just like when a temptation comes to mind you must push that thought away, I would do the same when you think about your girlfriends past -push it out of your mind. And always remember we all have sins, none of us are “pure”. That is where the grace of God and and his infinate mercy comes in.
Pray together, especially the rosary I think would be great or the chaplet of divine mercy. And put the past in the past.
[/quote]

I am all for prayer. I am also all for recognizing serious problems and dealing with them. After a lifetime of experiences, some of which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and a lifetime of close observations of people and what makes them tick, I have found that I usually make a very accurate assessment of what is going on. I would not take umbrage with your assessment that my advice was harsh, although I would probably categorize it as blunt.

I think it was John Lennon who said that life is what happens while you are planning something else. I have always understood that to mean that, too often, we are not really paying attention to what is actually happening, and especially as to why it is happening. I find that many people do not seem to really understand why they make the choices they do, and even more, do not know why someone else is doing what that person is doing. Failing to understand our own motivations, and those of the people we are dealing with leads to massive mis-communication.

PraytoStRita seems to be only minimally aware of the fact that his girl friend’s past is still seriously upsetting him, and doesn’t seem to see that he is conveying his upsetness, based on his moral code, to her and she is reacting both to his being upset, and to what she perceives rightly or wrongly, as his moral judgement of her past.

Trust is one of the most basic elements in a marriage, and violation of that trust is one very sure and very short path to a divorce. The couples who have dealt with marital infidelity and survived with a healthy, loving marriage are few and far in between.

Others have survived with that elephant in the room, and their survival is less than healthy, happy and loving; they simply share the household and bills and not much more.

Although this is not a case of marital infidelity, it sounds in the same area of chastity.

The vast majority don’t survive; they become “clients”. I really would hope that these two could put a happy, loving marriage together, but I am not Pollyanna. It is tough enough to do without a major problem, and they now have a major problem (or several).

Go back to what I said about John Lennon. Life is harsh enough by what gets dealt to us that is not of our own making. For whatever reason (her own need to confess; his direct or indirect promptings that lead her to confess), she “let it all hang out”. Now they have to deal with the harshness that they have created in their life together by her revelation of her history.

I am all for prayer. Failure to get professional counseling in addition to that is to play a high risk game. I would like to think that advice is not “harsh”, but rather, realistic.

Some people see the glass half empty. Others see it as half full. An engineer just asks why they have a glass twice as big as needed.


#8

[quote=PrayToStRita]I’m in a wonderful relationship with one of the most pure, beautiful, loving, compassionate women in the world. After meeting her, she told me about some things she did in the past (like premarital sex), and I had a very difficult time coming to terms with these things. However, we prayed together and eventually overcame the difficulties her past presented.

Unfortunately, I still feel pain because of some things she did in the past; forunately, these times are few and far between. The problem is that I feel the WORST because of how she feels. When I feel bad, sometimes she feels like it must be because I see her as impure. Other times, she just feels impure because of her past sins. Truly, she’s a symbol of purity in my life, and I feel terrible when she feels impure because of her past. Sometimes she’ll say things like, “There are so many better women out there, with pure pasts,” or “I’m so unworthy of you,” implying that I should be with a “better” woman. I try to tell her that her past doesn’t matter, even though it hurts me sometimes. Is there anything she or I can do to address this? I don’t want her past to affect her anymore.

Thank you so much, and God bless all of you.
[/quote]

Has she participated in the sacrament of reconciliation? Once her sins are confessed, they are forgiven by God. She should no longer dwell on these sins. If she does, she may be suffering from a condition called srupulosity. This is a serious condition and she should consult her priest. You have already forgiven her. Now she must be confident in the unlimited mercy of God and rest assured that her sins are forgiven. God Bless you both.


#9

[quote=otm]I am all for prayer. I am also all for recognizing serious problems and dealing with them. After a lifetime of experiences, some of which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and a lifetime of close observations of people and what makes them tick, I have found that I usually make a very accurate assessment of what is going on. I would not take umbrage with your assessment that my advice was harsh, although I would probably categorize it as blunt.

PraytoStRita seems to be only minimally aware of the fact that his girl friend’s past is still seriously upsetting him, and doesn’t seem to see that he is conveying his upsetness, based on his moral code, to her and she is reacting both to his being upset, and to what she perceives rightly or wrongly, as his moral judgement of her past.

Trust is one of the most basic elements in a marriage, and violation of that trust is one very sure and very short path to a divorce. The couples who have dealt with marital infidelity and survived with a healthy, loving marriage are few and far in between.

Others have survived with that elephant in the room, and their survival is less than healthy, happy and loving; they simply share the household and bills and not much more.

Although this is not a case of marital infidelity, it sounds in the same area of chastity.

The vast majority don’t survive; they become “clients”. I really would hope that these two could put a happy, loving marriage together, but I am not Pollyanna. It is tough enough to do without a major problem, and they now have a major problem (or several).

Go back to what I said about John Lennon. Life is harsh enough by what gets dealt to us that is not of our own making. For whatever reason (her own need to confess; his direct or indirect promptings that lead her to confess), she “let it all hang out”. Now they have to deal with the harshness that they have created in their life together by her revelation of her history.

I am all for prayer. Failure to get professional counseling in addition to that is to play a high risk game. I would like to think that advice is not “harsh”, but rather, realistic.

Some people see the glass half empty. Others see it as half full. An engineer just asks why they have a glass twice as big as needed.
[/quote]

You are quick to write off this relationship, and by the way the more than half of marriages that encounter infidelity survive. Your information is wrong. There has been much research that supports this. Not that I would ever minimize the devastation and pain that infidelity causes in a relationship. No one has to tell me, because we are one of the marriages that survived it. It was hard work, but our marriage is stronger and more solid than it has ever been, and I have never been closer to my husband than I am now. Those effected by infidelty must seek the grace from God to forgive the hurt and betrayal, God will give that grace. The “clients” that you see are the ones that are already at the divorce stage. You experience has made you cynical.

Ofcourse this woman had these encounters before “PraytoStRita” ever came into her life so she has not been unfaithful to their relationship, infact he calls her “one of the most pure, beautiful, loving, compassionate women in the world.”

The fact that is women has been honest about her past is commendable, not a character flaw. The fact that she has a hard time forgiving herself for the mistakes she’s made is hardly abnormal. Most people whether they admit it or not have regrets that haunt them all their lives. And the fact that this guy gets upset thinking about the woman he loves being intimate with someone else is also normal. What guy wouldn’t?

What’s important here is letting go of the past, realizing all of us fall short, all of us make mistakes. She is looking for reassurance from him, that he doesn’t think she is a horrible person, that he doesn’t hold her past against her. All of us has “baggage” in some form of another. You my friend have baggage of your own, you have been burned and it shows.


#10

No one can say it better than our Lord:

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
32: not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD.
33: But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34: And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, **and I will remember their sin no more.” **Jeremiah 31: 31-34

Remember this story:
Jesus bent down and started tracing on the ground with his finger. When [the scribes and Pharisees] persisted in their questioning, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the man among you who has no sin be the first to cast a stone at her.” A second time he bent down and wrote on the ground. Then the audience drifted away one by one, beginning with the elders. This left him alone with the woman, who continued to stand there before him. Jesus finally straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where did they all disappear to? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she answered. Jesus said, "Nor do I condemn you. You may go. But from now on, avoid this sin.” [John 8:6-11]


#11

I think it is okay that she told you her past. You have a right to know. But, i had to deal with this same sort of issue. I got out of the relationship because i couldn’t handle her past. However, i didn’t feel that the girl i was with was genuinely sorry for it either. Your’s seems to feel bad and seems genuinely sorry for what she has done. You should feel good about that. That is a positive to staying with her. Remember, you have no right to put her down for her past or make her feel bad about her past. i am not saying that you do but just don’t do that. She has already and it seems that she still is dealing with it on her own. Remember, she has to look at you everyday and be reminded of what she did in the past and how it makes you feel. I am sure it hutrs her and she is sorry for it. Just pray about it. Pray , Pray, Pray. And if you still can’t deal with her past, i think yuo may have to consider moving on for your sake and hers. God Bless


#12

[quote=rayne89]You are quick to write off this relationship, and by the way the more than half of marriages that encounter infidelity survive.
[/quote]

I don’t think I am quick to write it off.

A)I believe what I said is that they need professional counseling.

B) They aren’t married. Although he doesn’t say how long they have been together, the implication of his first post is that some time has gone by. Marriages may survive an infidelity because they started on an even plane: both trusted the other. That trust was subsequently broken. He hasn’t had the same starting point; the trust has been broken before they established the depth of bond that a marriage creates. There is a material difference between a marriage, starting off right and developing a bond of trust and then subsequently having it broken, and a dating relationship which has not developed that level of bonding and trust, having something which is obviously as upsetting to both parties intrude.

[quote=rayne89] The “clients” that you see are the ones that are already at the divorce stage. You experience has made you cynical.
[/quote]

You say cynical. I say realist. She is still dealing with guilt, and is reacting to his projected disapproval (which I don’t think he realizes he is projecting), and he is still having problems that he says he is over, and then says that he is not over.

[quote=PrayToStRita]However, we prayed together and eventually overcame the difficulties her past presented.

Unfortunately, I still feel pain because of some things she did in the past; forunately, these times are few and far between.
[/quote]

I will assume from your comment that you have read other of my posts elsewhere. I do not particularly hide being burned. That, however, does not disqualify me from observing others struggling with a problem.

Further, I have way too many years of observations that have repeatedly turned out to be way too accurate; not necessarily because my observation was inevitable, but too often because my observation and advice was ignored. A lot of people don’t like my advice; after too many years, I have come to the conclusion that it is partially due to the facts that my observations are accurate, people don’t want to admit that, and so they ignore it. I have also had others say that I was dead on in my observation, and my honesty and forthrightness (read, bluntness) helped them to avoid continuing on the path they were on, and rectify the situation.

I don’t want to see these kids fail. I don’t want to see them break up. I want them to succeed, and the stew they are in isn’t helping them. I want them to get out of the stew pot. She has to get over her guilt and start anew. He has to get over it and quit sending her signals that drags her back down into self-loathing. If that is baggage and being burned, then I’ll take baggage and being burned.

Part of intelligence is learning from your mistakes (and sins). One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If they can’t learn to change their behavior and thought patterns, they will continue with the “pain and not worthy” routine. And I think we both agree that does not go far to building a healthy relationship.
[/quote]


#13

If she has been to the Sacrament of reconciliation, than she has been forgiven by God and reconciled with His Church.

Have you forgiven her?

Has she forgiven herself?


#14

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