I am 31 and would appreciate some real-world advice on an issue, as a Catholic/Christian.
I have to give you some background first.
My first girlfriend, Antigone, was/is the love of my life.
We met as we both went to Catholic high schools before going on to college. We were both conservative Catholics from comfortable backgrounds. However we did have different situations.
• Her parents were divorced. My family was/is very intact.
• I was an ROTC cadet and then officer in the Army. She was an art student/artist with no sure income.
By the time we were both 24, we were looking at marriage. She did not move in with me at this stage, as we both knew living together before marriage was wrong. Anyway, I was living in officer bachelor housing and she was trying to start as a graphic artist, and stayed at her mother’s place.
However, when I moved off-post at 26 as a 1st Lt, Antigone came to stay for long periods. She looked after my place when on deployment and stayed on when I got back. She would set up a studio in my home. I loved having her around. She was artistic and chaotic and disorganized – opposites attracted. I loved taking care of her and I also loved the joy and spontaneity she brought in to my life. I could not imagine a future without her. She was a pacifist and opposed war but supported me being in the Army. I wanted her as my wife and to have and raise my children.
We became keen to marry. However, as her parents were divorced and her family split, she did not want a formal Church wedding. Instead, we decided to plan to elope.
Also Antigone by 25 really wanted children and by 26 was obsessive about it, especially as her friends married and had children. You may think this strange but when we went shopping, she would often get emotional when we passed young couples with children. I know she went to visit baby stores when depressed. One Saturday in Spring, when shopping at a mall, she took me to different stores to get her some flip-flop thongs and some roman sandals – each time she told the sales woman that she need new flipflops and sandals because we were trying for children and pregnant woman feet expand. She would even wear loose maternity clothes at home.
As a way to explain our elopement, we started to have sex. I desired children but also desired Antigone physically. She also had a very high sex drive, but really wanted children. While against Church teachings, we saw it as our almost religious duty to have children together. One particularly sexual Saturday, Antigone was convinced that she had conceived. Expecting that she was pregnant and as I was shortly to leave on a month-long exercise, we started to think of how to elope on my return. I started to look at engagement rings.
When I returned, it turned out that Antigone had not fallen pregnant and she was now remorseful. I do not know what happened but she became very sad, without telling me why. I was tired from the exercise and probably unsupportive. We then attended a family wedding on a Saturday.
On the following Sunday, after the wedding, she told me that she believed we would never work out and that she needed someone less rigid than me. She told me we were over and that we should not contact each other. I did not see it coming.
I was hurt beyond words and felt that my future wife and children left with her that day.
I am now 4 years on from this experience but have never really recovered. I find it hard to date and when I do I am attracted to girls like Antigone, whose chaotic ways are probably bad for me. I am thinking of using some Catholic singles service.
I do not know how to reconcile with my faith what occurred between Antigone and us. I know that sleeping together before marriage is contrary to Church teachings.
However, while I have sincerely confessed and have not repeated it, I do not feel bad about it. I cannot see how it is healthy for a man (cannot speak for women) to live without sex. I often yearn for Antigone, even now.
I do not know how to move on. Yet in a way, I am fortunate to have never married, as I have been promoted in the Army, my career has gone well, and would probably not have deployed to Iraq twice if I had not been single.
Thank you to any one who can give me any practical advice on how to get out of this bad place. I do not know what to do or whether to use a singles service to move on. Please do not respond if you have nothing to contribute except condemnation and ignorance. I know enough sinless perfect Catholics.