Need Advice About Messing Up


#1

Okay, to make a long story short: about 4 years ago I began dating a really sweet guy. Let’s call him “Jonas”. He was everything I wanted and needed at the time: focused on God, intelligent, calm, kind. The only problem was that he told me he loved me on the third date. I really liked him and did not want to dissuade him, so I told him I loved him too. We were in a relationship for about nine months. I had to end it because I had been sexually abused about a year and a half prior to meeting this guy, and I was holding a lot of feelings of self-hatred and guilt because of the sexual abuse. I was beginning to let the impact of the sexual abuse take over the relationship… I was crying on every second or third time we were hanging out and kissing, I started to tell myself that he did not deserve someone as worthless as me. I started to tell myself that I needed to break up with him and date people closer to “my level” (people who would treat me badly because I felt I deserved it).

I eventually broke up with Jonas. I did not leave Jonas for another guy or anything (I was not even looking at other guys at the time)… but I did feel that I deserved worse people because I hated myself so much for the sexual abuse. Jonas had even known about the abuse and tried to make those monsters in my head go away, but I did not want to let him be with someone as imperfect as me. He was so upset the day I broke up with him.

We started talking again several months later. I was hoping he would date other people, but he never did. I started dating again, but nothing ever worked out. I moved out of the city we were living in. Jonas and I started talking more on Skype. He helped to talk me through many problems in my new city (I was a graduate student in a world literature department getting bullied for my beliefs… he was a philosophy student facing a lot of the same problems). I saw him as a very precious friend. At the end of the school year, I tried to kill myself over another guy. I had to move back to my old city.

Jonas tried to revive the relationship during the summer that I was in my old city again. I could not bear the guilt about being with him after having had such strong feelings for someone else. I told him to let go of that hope, but I still wanted to be friends with him. He moved out of the city at the end of the summer, and I moved out of the country. We still kept in touch, and were talking online for three hours a week. I was sad and ashamed because of my suicide attempt, but Jonas put a smile on my face and I felt like I was not completely worthless. Around April of this year, we were talking about meeting up in Rome since he was going there for a conference, and I was living near Nuremberg at the time and could manage a flight. I was looking forward to seeing him, but I was not sure how I felt about him. Ever since our break-up, I have avoided thinking about being with him again. The suicide attempt over the other guy made me certain that I could not be with Jonas again (not out of feelings for the other guy… that hope was dead and buried a long time ago… I was just anxious about how Jonas felt about the situation). Jonas hinted that going to Rome would lead to romantic developments. Afraid of letting him down, I warned him to not have expectations of anything happening in Rome. He said “We’ll see.”, so I felt the need to tell him no once again. I told him that I hated myself and there was no way I was going to heal enough to love him or be worthy of his love. I told him I had stopped loving everything (the truth) and that I did not want him wasting his life waiting for me to fix myself. Then, to get him to stop hoping for good, I told him it was “NEVER going to happen”. That was the last night we spoke. He cut off all contact after that.

It has been six months, and I have since moved back to the country and am living in the town where I tried to kill myself. The bullies and the other guy are gone, and the loneliness and quiet have given me more time to think and to heal and to pray about these things without pressure to commit to something. I miss Jonas. I know I care about him deeply, and losing him as a friend is so painful to me. I don’t know if I love him, but I think I do. I think I lost the best thing I ever had. I want to get back in touch with Jonas, but I assume he is finally dating again and am afraid that I will be interfering with a beautiful thing he has and deserves to have. I don’t want to put him through an emotional roller coaster just because I screwed up. I am praying about it, but still don’t know what to do.

Should I get in touch with him or leave him in peace? I know at this point that if anyone is going to make a move, it has to be me. But will that cause more damage?


#2

Yes, you did lose the best thing you ever had. And it is lost now.

Yes, if you call him you will continue your inconsistencies and hesitations. You say yourself you don't "know if you love him". Your loneliness is not his problem.

Yes, you will put him on a roller coaster, not because you wish to, but as you say, you are not healed from several biggies: sexual abuse, suicide attempt, other failed relationships.

You might want to stop jumping in and out of relationships and locations until you have some spiritual peace and psychological stability.

Yes, for his sake, if you care for him, please leave the man alone to get on with his life.


#3

I am probably not the best person to give advise, but you won’t ever know if you don’t try. So say a prayer, and give it a go. Otherwise you will live with the what-if scenario and it sounds like you have been through enough.
God bless and good luck.:thumbsup:


#4

You should not be having all those feelings of worthlessness. Pray about meeting up with a holy priest and having the conversation in your original post brought up to him. The Sacraments and good spiritual direction will definitely help.

Allow the Lord to bring about spiritual healing for you. The Lord loves you beyong your imagination.

People want to help, but not all the responses will be helpful to you.

May the Lord and His Blessed Mother be with you on your journey!


#5

I have been trying to get help for a very long time, but has been a very slow process. I have gone to many different priests to try to find ways to overcome the problem. I am now seeing a psychiatrist, but it’s still early in the process. It is just the sexual abuse made me hate myself because I wanted to be beautiful and pure for the man I was going to marry. Jonas is 32 now, and he is still pure. I am 25 and lost that purity at 19. I lost the gift I was going to give to my future husband. I had such a hard time living with myself after that.

I know people are trying to help. I know that he is lost to me and I deserve it. I just wish God would hear me and let me be forgiven. There is just no joy in living anymore.


#6

Hi Magarete. I am also planning on going to graduate school and have had some bad sexual history. One thing to keep in mind is that everyone messes things up and no one is perfect. Here is a prayer you may find useful. It is a prayer for trust by Thomas Merton that I often say and it helps me to get through times when I feel like I'm useless because it reminds me that God is always there.

ignatianspirituality.com/9647/a-prayer-of-trust/

Hope this helps :)


#7

[quote="Margarete_Faust, post:5, topic:304034"]
I have been trying to get help for a very long time, but has been a very slow process. I have gone to many different priests to try to find ways to overcome the problem. I am now seeing a psychiatrist, but it's still early in the process. It is just the sexual abuse made me hate myself because I wanted to be beautiful and pure for the man I was going to marry. Jonas is 32 now, and he is still pure. I am 25 and lost that purity at 19. I lost the gift I was going to give to my future husband. I had such a hard time living with myself after that.

I know people are trying to help. I know that he is lost to me and I deserve it. I just wish God would hear me and let me be forgiven. There is just no joy in living anymore.

[/quote]

Dear Margarete,

Remember that Jesus makes all things new again! Look ahead......not back.

Peace in Jesus,

Dorothy


#8

[quote="Margarete_Faust, post:1, topic:304034"]
.....I think I lost the best thing I ever had.....

[/quote]

You may feel that way, but I suggest you are wrong. Often quoted, but seems appropriate here.

One night a man had a dream.

He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.

Scenes from his life flashed across the sky
and he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonging to him and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life had flashed before him,
he recalled that at the lowest and saddest times of his life
there was only one set of footprints.

Dismayed, he asked, "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
I don't understand why, when I needed you most,
you would leave me."

The Lord replied, "My precious child.
I love you and I would never leave you.

During your times of trial and suffering
when you saw only one set of footprints...

That was when I carried you."

Author: disputed.

I suggest God is the best “thing” you ever had, and He remains with you.

I am not qualified to give you much, if any advice. I especially am not comfortable addressing your questions/concerns about contacting Jonas. Your posts touched me, though. I will pray that you trust in God and understand His love for you that you may continue, one day at a time, till the sunlight breaks through the clouds.


#9

[quote="bsf, post:8, topic:304034"]
You may feel that way, but I suggest you are wrong. Often quoted, but seems appropriate here.

One night a man had a dream.

He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.

Scenes from his life flashed across the sky
and he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonging to him and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life had flashed before him,
he recalled that at the lowest and saddest times of his life
there was only one set of footprints.

Dismayed, he asked, "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
I don't understand why, when I needed you most,
you would leave me."

The Lord replied, "My precious child.
I love you and I would never leave you.

During your times of trial and suffering
when you saw only one set of footprints...

That was when I carried you."

Author: disputed.

I suggest God is the best “thing” you ever had, and He remains with you.

I am not qualified to give you much, if any advice. I especially am not comfortable addressing your questions/concerns about contacting Jonas. Your posts touched me, though. I will pray that you trust in God and understand His love for you that you may continue, one day at a time, till the sunlight breaks through the clouds.

[/quote]

Lovely post! :)


#10

What was the purpose of getting into a romantic relationship if you knew your sexual abuse was a hindrance in your life? Well, we all make mistakes as your thread topic implies but you must now accept that you must heal before bringing such issues into any mans life. They may want to help but they are not professionals as it relates to such a tender topic.

Focus on healing. You can not become "re-flowered" and must accept that as well.


#11

[quote="Doeco, post:6, topic:304034"]
Hi Magarete. I am also planning on going to graduate school and have had some bad sexual history. One thing to keep in mind is that everyone messes things up and no one is perfect. Here is a prayer you may find useful. It is a prayer for trust by Thomas Merton that I often say and it helps me to get through times when I feel like I'm useless because it reminds me that God is always there.

ignatianspirituality.com/9647/a-prayer-of-trust/

Hope this helps :)

[/quote]

Hi Doeco,
Thanks for the trust prayer. It helps articulate things that I constantly have in mind but can never quite put into words when I am stressed out.

Good luck in graduate school. If you are in literature or philosophy, it will be hard to fit in in the face of people who are dedicating their lives to discussing race, gender, and sexuality in atheist humanist terms. Granted, there are still some good people in those programs, but it often takes time for them to get past some of the negative stereotypes (I even treaded carefully and still could not escape them).

I'll pray for you to not live in your own past. I am trying not to live in mine, but when things are not working out, it's hard to not look back and try to see where things went wrong.


#12

[quote="johnnyjones, post:10, topic:304034"]
What was the purpose of getting into a romantic relationship if you knew your sexual abuse was a hindrance in your life? Well, we all make mistakes as your thread topic implies but you must now accept that you must heal before bringing such issues into any mans life. They may want to help but they are not professionals as it relates to such a tender topic.

Focus on healing. You can not become "re-flowered" and must accept that as well.

[/quote]

Actually, I was not deflowered, at least not under the scientific definition. I was "played with" under insults and pressure from my boyfriend at age 19. He would not let me leave the relationship when it became too much for me, and he would not stop telling me I was worthless, ugly and stupid. He told me my worth would come from making him happy. I cracked under the pressure and felt trapped in the relationship because he would not let me leave it (I tried breaking up with him once and he pinned me down on his bed until I promised I would stay). He then got tired of me and broke up with me, after I gave him my purity (I promised God that I would protect my purity no matter what, so I broke a promise to God). At that point, I was very dependent on this boyfriend because I felt that I had lost God for his sake, and I was crushed, especially because he knew exactly what my impurities were doing to me.

I tried dating again in the hope that healing would come from love. I had admired Jonas from the moment I first saw him (he was a teaching assistant for a class I was taking), and I was so excited to find out that he was Catholic and friends with my priest. I never expected to end up with him, and I was so happy until he started telling me he loved me. I then became more depressed because I felt like dirt. I did not want Jonas to be corrupted from my past, because I knew that I was not healing in the way that would make things right again. I know I would never be the pure bride he deserved, and the feelings of worthlessness came back in full force. I was not trying to hurt Jonas by dating him... I thought he would be the solution. Obviously he is not since there is something deeper than the simple fact of finding a good man. I have to be okay with myself, and I was not. If I had known differently, I would not have dated Jonas. I truly thought at the time that dating someone who I already knew to be a nice and devout Catholic would at least help me to see that there are better guys out there than the abusive boyfriend I had.


#13

Dear Margarete,

You are not dirt, and don't forget that!

God created you and He loves you.


#14

[quote="Margarete_Faust, post:5, topic:304034"]
I have been trying to get help for a very long time, but has been a very slow process. I have gone to many different priests to try to find ways to overcome the problem. I am now seeing a psychiatrist, but it's still early in the process. It is just the sexual abuse made me hate myself because I wanted to be beautiful and pure for the man I was going to marry. Jonas is 32 now, and he is still pure. I am 25 and lost that purity at 19. I lost the gift I was going to give to my future husband. I had such a hard time living with myself after that.

I know people are trying to help. I know that he is lost to me and I deserve it. I just wish God would hear me and let me be forgiven. There is just no joy in living anymore.

[/quote]

When you said that there was no joy in living anymore, I knew how you felt. I've had a rough past myslef. I watched my biological dad abuse my mom for years. (i was too little to do anything though) in all reality he emotionally abused me as a child. he hasnt spoken to me in 4 years this month. im not trying to tell you my life story but i just want to let you know that i know how you feel. i felt like i couldnt trust anyone for years, and still have issues i felt worthless to, and i also wanted to kill myslef. but God rescued me from all of this. Even when were at our lowest points He is still there. God still loves you soooo much. you're never alone, and there is so much hope for you in this big world. i will pray for you. and no, i wouldn't go back with jonas. go to God. :)


#15

I feel your pain. I think when it comes to recovery from any type of abuse, it is important to seek professional help. Christian counselling, confession, supportive friends and time are the best healers. Most parishes have lists of counsellors to refer people to. If they don't call some protestant churches and ask them for a good name. In this case most counsellors which are Christian are also familiar with Catholicism which again is Christian. Priests are great but most aren't trained to provide the type of help one needs. Meeting with one and asking them to recommend a person, or asking them to hear confession, or provide some type of spiritual direction is great.

Your ex also needs to hear the truth therefore contacting him and explaining the reasons why you behaved the way you did, might also help him understand some things. Sooner the better because we live in a small world and chances are he has heard that you are back in town from someone. Until your heart has healed, I don't think reentering into a relationship is a good idea, nor is seeing the person all time. Contact is ok as long as it's limited, and one doesn't meet at a romantic place nor a location that contains many old memories. One has to be smart.

I realize that I have already messaged you but I wanted to write a few words in case someone else sees your post and thinks that is them. Abuse is very common these days and we need to take the time to get professional help before we enter into a relationship. If we don't, our past hurt will cause problems inside relationships and hence they may not work out because someone wasn't ready to heal from something from their past.


#16

[quote="Margarete_Faust, post:5, topic:304034"]
I have been trying to get help for a very long time, but has been a very slow process. I have gone to many different priests to try to find ways to overcome the problem. I am now seeing a psychiatrist, but it's still early in the process. It is just the sexual abuse made me hate myself because I wanted to be beautiful and pure for the man I was going to marry. Jonas is 32 now, and he is still pure. I am 25 and lost that purity at 19. I lost the gift I was going to give to my future husband. I had such a hard time living with myself after that.

I know people are trying to help. I know that he is lost to me and I deserve it. I just wish God would hear me and let me be forgiven. There is just no joy in living anymore.

[/quote]

I want you to know that according to the Church, you still have your purity. Sexual abuse is not mutual and so you still have your purity intact. God loves you and you need to start seeing yourself as God sees you: His daughter. If God is the King, and you are his daughter, that means you are a Princess. A Princess to the King of Kings. God sees you and He loves you. He knows you are in pain and He wants to help you. I would suggest finding another Priest to talk to, or perhaps getting a therapist to help you with this. You are a beautiful human being and you should never feel as if you are inferior to this man that you love. If I were you I would try to get back in contact with him. He has shown patience and kindness in his love for you, and that is a very good sign. But he can't fix your problems, he can only help you. Only with God and with accepting that you are pure, that you are not "used goods" or any of the like, but rather you are the daughter of God and you are beautiful and respected in this light will you finally overcome this. But it is good to have moral support, and a boyfriend such as this will help you. Ultimately you must be ready to help yourself, and I hope you know that you are worth it.


#17

[quote="Margarete_Faust, post:12, topic:304034"]
Actually, I was not deflowered, at least not under the scientific definition. I was "played with" under insults and pressure from my boyfriend at age 19. He would not let me leave the relationship when it became too much for me, and he would not stop telling me I was worthless, ugly and stupid. He told me my worth would come from making him happy. I cracked under the pressure and felt trapped in the relationship because he would not let me leave it (I tried breaking up with him once and he pinned me down on his bed until I promised I would stay). He then got tired of me and broke up with me, after I gave him my purity (I promised God that I would protect my purity no matter what, so I broke a promise to God). At that point, I was very dependent on this boyfriend because I felt that I had lost God for his sake, and I was crushed, especially because he knew exactly what my impurities were doing to me.

I tried dating again in the hope that healing would come from love. I had admired Jonas from the moment I first saw him (he was a teaching assistant for a class I was taking), and I was so excited to find out that he was Catholic and friends with my priest. I never expected to end up with him, and I was so happy until he started telling me he loved me. I then became more depressed because I felt like dirt. I did not want Jonas to be corrupted from my past, because I knew that I was not healing in the way that would make things right again. I know I would never be the pure bride he deserved, and the feelings of worthlessness came back in full force. I was not trying to hurt Jonas by dating him... I thought he would be the solution. Obviously he is not since there is something deeper than the simple fact of finding a good man. I have to be okay with myself, and I was not. If I had known differently, I would not have dated Jonas. I truly thought at the time that dating someone who I already knew to be a nice and devout Catholic would at least help me to see that there are better guys out there than the abusive boyfriend I had.

[/quote]

I 'm sure it was quite painful and I feel for you. I think women have to stop believing men when they say degrading things to them. Yes it sounds simplistic but I can't tell you how many times I hear women say that a man made them this way or that. Start believing that you make yourself who you are.

One persons level of corruption is defined different than anothers. Please believe me when I tell you that that although you went through a degrading experience, you are not ruined. And, if you remain a virgin as you say in the traditional sense (because you did not WILLFULLY give it up), you can certainly feel "intact" because virginity is not just about the breaking of the hymen, but about an emotional giving of ones self the "first time".

There are so many good men that would want to a have a woman that has your mindset of purity till marriage with loyalty and trust it would shock you. You would still be the best sex partner a man could want. Many of us have had rough roads (including myself) in the sex realm that took us off track, don't feel isolated because you are not alone.


#18

[quote="ATeutonicKnight, post:16, topic:304034"]
I want you to know that according to the Church, you still have your purity. Sexual abuse is not mutual and so you still have your purity intact. God loves you and you need to start seeing yourself as God sees you: His daughter. If God is the King, and you are his daughter, that means you are a Princess. A Princess to the King of Kings. God sees you and He loves you. He knows you are in pain and He wants to help you. I would suggest finding another Priest to talk to, or perhaps getting a therapist to help you with this. You are a beautiful human being and you should never feel as if you are inferior to this man that you love. If I were you I would try to get back in contact with him. He has shown patience and kindness in his love for you, and that is a very good sign. But he can't fix your problems, he can only help you. Only with God and with accepting that you are pure, that you are not "used goods" or any of the like, but rather you are the daughter of God and you are beautiful and respected in this light will you finally overcome this. But it is good to have moral support, and a boyfriend such as this will help you. Ultimately you must be ready to help yourself, and I hope you know that you are worth it.

[/quote]

Margarete,

Reading your post absolutely broke my heart. I think the above reminder is very important in this situation. I cannot say anything more than what's already been said. As "one of the nice guys" it is heart wrenching what that guy did to you. It was very selfish of him (to say the least) to do that to you.

I pray that you can find the peace you are looking for.

God bless you.


#19

[quote="ATeutonicKnight, post:16, topic:304034"]
I want you to know that according to the Church, you still have your purity. Sexual abuse is not mutual and so you still have your purity intact.

[/quote]

I consider it to be abuse, but there was a level of mutuality that I know makes me share in the guilt. I was strong when he first started to pressure me, but I did not leave the relationship. I went to a priest for advice, and the priest told me to just avoid the near occasion of sin by trying to restrict when we spent time with each other in the evenings. My boyfriend at the time could not keep his hands to himself, but I would just reprimand him and try to make sure that when we had physical contact it was not too much. He suddenly changed after a few weeks of pressuring me and began with the insults. He told me by not reaching that level of intimacy, that we would never have hope of staying together. I got scared because I cared about him. I was afraid of losing him. I should have been more afraid of losing my soul. I gave in once and regretted it. I cried to him, telling him that we had to stop. He seemed to be okay about that until a few days later, and the cycle would start again. It was an endless cycle of sinning and repenting. The more we sinned, the more I grew dependent upon him, because of both the arousal (I had never been aroused in my life before then) and because after the first time we sinned he told me that I would be a hypocrite if I stopped, that if God really had a problem with what we were doing, I could not take any of it back. The only strength I showed after that was the one time I tried to break up with him. I told him I wanted to stop the cycle of pressure and sin from him. He held me down on his bed until I promised I would stay. That was the only time he was physically forceful with me. I should have called him and told him I was leaving him, but I did not. I told myself that his efforts to keep me in his life were signs of love.
Yes, I am still a virgin, but I am not pure. I want to set that record straight. I stayed with him until he left me. I begged him to come back, because I felt that only he could be my husband if I were to ever hope to keep my promise to God. I offered to give that man everything, even my full virginity, if only he would come back to me. Looking back, I know it's pathetic and he never deserved the depth of feeling I had for him, but the scars remain. It has been hard to be in a relationship ever since. I am trying to let go. I have been trying for close to six years. I just wish I had someone's open arms to run to.

I thank you all for your help and prayers, but I do share in the guilt of what happened.


#20

[quote="Margarete_Faust, post:19, topic:304034"]
I consider it to be abuse, but there was a level of mutuality that I know makes me share in the guilt. I was strong when he first started to pressure me, but I did not leave the relationship. I went to a priest for advice, and the priest told me to just avoid the near occasion of sin by trying to restrict when we spent time with each other in the evenings. My boyfriend at the time could not keep his hands to himself, but I would just reprimand him and try to make sure that when we had physical contact it was not too much. He suddenly changed after a few weeks of pressuring me and began with the insults. He told me by not reaching that level of intimacy, that we would never have hope of staying together. I got scared because I cared about him. I was afraid of losing him. I should have been more afraid of losing my soul. I gave in once and regretted it. I cried to him, telling him that we had to stop. He seemed to be okay about that until a few days later, and the cycle would start again. It was an endless cycle of sinning and repenting. The more we sinned, the more I grew dependent upon him, because of both the arousal (I had never been aroused in my life before then) and because after the first time we sinned he told me that I would be a hypocrite if I stopped, that if God really had a problem with what we were doing, I could not take any of it back. The only strength I showed after that was the one time I tried to break up with him. I told him I wanted to stop the cycle of pressure and sin from him. He held me down on his bed until I promised I would stay. That was the only time he was physically forceful with me. I should have called him and told him I was leaving him, but I did not. I told myself that his efforts to keep me in his life were signs of love.
Yes, I am still a virgin, but I am not pure. I want to set that record straight. I stayed with him until he left me. I begged him to come back, because I felt that only he could be my husband if I were to ever hope to keep my promise to God. I offered to give that man everything, even my full virginity, if only he would come back to me. Looking back, I know it's pathetic and he never deserved the depth of feeling I had for him, but the scars remain. It has been hard to be in a relationship ever since. I am trying to let go. I have been trying for close to six years. I just wish I had someone's open arms to run to.

I thank you all for your help and prayers, but I do share in the guilt of what happened.

[/quote]

He emotionally manipulated you. He made you feel that if you didn't have sex with him then you didn't love him. I'm not sure what the Church would classify this as, but your culpability is definitely lessened because of this. You did not have full consent in the most literal sense of the word. You didn't want to do it, but you were emotionally manipulated to give in because he made you feel terrible by not doing it. He then continued this by telling you there was no way out of it after that, and it got very abusive (As can be seen at the end when he held you down). I'm really sorry that you went through this, and I will pray for you. If there is anything I can help you with I would be glad to.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.