Past sexual sins and future relationships


#1

I am looking for some guidance on a somewhat difficult question…
I am a faithful young Catholic male actively involved in a parish community and church groups. In these groups I have a reputation as being a ‘nice guy’, a ‘good guy’, and a model Catholic. For the most part I am, or at least try to be. I am chaste, don’t curse, and people talk about me either as a good future husband or a good future priest!!!
Here is the problem. A couple years ago I went through a time of great darkness and engaged in anonymous sex on two occasions. This was completely un-like me and it went against all my beliefs and everything I stand for. I regretted it immediately and ever since then I have tried very hard to forgive myself and ask forgiveness from God. It continues to be a source of shame to this day as I can’t believe that I did something so shameful and so unable to be erased. However, it is a secret shame as no one knows about what happened.
My problem is, that my shame has kept me from pursuing potential relationships with good Catholic girls I have met. I would really like to be married some day but I know that anyone who shares my values (and people who share these values are rarer and rarer!) would be shocked at what I have done. If not outright repulsed, at least very disappointed. I do not really know how to move forward. In particular, I feel like it is leading someone on even to ask her on a date, especially given my reputation as someone up-standing. I am afraid of the moment when she finds out what a horrible thing I have actually done. (And I won’t get into it but the details were really horrible). Then again, of course it seems silly to announce my sins as a disclaimer before ever going on a first date!
I don’t really know how to bring this up with any of the priests or colleagues that I know so I decided to post here. I was talking about it with one person once, in the hypothetical, and he said that this hypothetical person could perhaps pretend it never happened and never bring it up since it is in the past and will never happen again, but that seems dishonest.
Help! Does any one have any insight? Been in this situation before? I would really like to move past this into healing and new possibilities but I know it may not be easy.
Thank you very much, God bless…


#2

Well, turn the question around. If a friend of yours, a brother or a sister came to you and shared that they had done something similar, but had repented, confessed and had not lapsed again, would you shun them? Think they were forever bad? I really doubt it.

We're sinners-- no doubt. Some of us have sinned in more spectacular ways than others. Read about St. Augustine's life before he became a Christian. Read Fr. Corapi (hope I'm spelling his name right), and how his life turned around, through the grace of God.

If you have gone to confession, and truly repented of your sins, God has forgiven you. You need to forgive yourself.


#3

Hey Norwich, I was sexually involved with girlfriends in the past- never anonymous partners, but I can empathize with you. I have dated several wonderful Catholic women since that time and have been honest with all of them about my past. I did not get into details, but I did tell them that chastity was an issue in past relationships and that I am not a virgin. I was expecting to get rejected immediately because of my past, but not one of them made it an issue. Keep in mind that these are good, holy, pure women that have never had a sexual encounter. They appreciated my honesty but could see that I was truly changed and committed to chastity. It became a non-issue. My female friends from college are all pure, devout Catholics that have remained chaste. Since my last relationship ended they have been coming out of the woodwork to see if I am available. I have found out that literally all of them, have in the past or currently have a "thing" for me. They are aware of my past sins as I have tried to guide by example and sometimes talked about my past sins in bible study etc. It is not an obstacle at all for most women.

I don't think you need to tell them the details, just that in the past chastity was an issue for you and you are not a virgin. Now, the question is, when do you tell them? I don't think you need to or should tell them immediately. Establish a real friendship and tell them if it looks like a serious relationship is developing. I would advise you NOT to tell them before the first date.

God bless you.


#4

Yes, you’ve missed out on a great grace in your life.

God can take the past sin and turn it into even more grace than you would have received without the sin. He’s awesome like that.

You’ve repented. Genuinely, as far as I can tell. God will sustain you.

The danger for falling into sin in the future is still there, yes. Pray and tread very carefully.

As for how women will perceive you? Women are much more forgiving of this flaw than men are. So count yourself lucky. Most won’t care about what you did but more about who you are now.


#5

As they stood there asking Him questions, He straightened Himself up
and said to them, " whichever one of you has not committed any sin
may throw the first stone at her. “
Then He bent over again and wrote in the ground.
When they heard this, they all left one by one, the older ones first.
Jesus was left alone with the woman still standing there.
He straightened Himself up and said to her,
” Where are they?, Is there no one left to condemn you?“
No one Sir.” she answered
" Well then," Jesus said, " I do not condemn you either. Go but do not sin again"
John 8: 7-11 The Good News Bible.

We are all sinners Norwich!
Anyone pointing a finger at you will have three fingers pointing right back at him!:slight_smile:
Seriously though, You have confessed and been forgiven, you must forgive yourself
Jesus Himself has already forgiven you. Should you choose to, you may confide in your future bride; let her know what you did and that the reason you are telling her is because you love her and want her to know all there is to know about you. The right girl will appreciate your honesty and strength of character and will love you more for it. If she does not, move on, God has someone else waiting for you.
God Bless you!


#6

Go in peace son,God has forgiven you if what you tell is true. Move on,maybe you can’t forget,but it is time for you to forgive your self. God bless you.


#7

Been there. I was raised by atheists who not only expected but condoned teenage sex. I held off until I was 18, independent and in college, but I had no reason to stay a virgin.

By the time I became a Christian when I was 25, I had had a lot of experience and I had done quite a few things I was embarrassed by. At first, I only dated “broken” people like myself. Divorced men with or without kids, guys who had similar backgrounds to mine, etc.

The man I eventually fell in love with (not from dating but from working side by side in youth ministry) was a virgin. Initially, I rejected is advances, but he was gently persistent. I finally had to tell him why, tell him I was damaged goods and he deserved a virgin like himself.

He took a few days to think about it and pray about it. He concluded that if Jesus could forgive me to the point of laying down His life for me, then he could, too.

We have been happily married for almost 17 years, converted to Catholicism together, have three smart and funny kids together, endured his brain injury and more. I am so grateful to be with a godly man.

I guess what I’m saying is that you need to trust the Lord, that His mercy and forgiveness are so powerful, other people will be able to look upon you with the same merry and forgiveness.


#8

I have had trouble forgiving myself for past sins before. I realized that by not forgiving myself, it was as if I was saying that I was bigger than God. If God who is my creator, King of Kings can forgive me, I should be able to forgive myself. As many others said, we are all sinners and it maybe surprising to someone but in no way is it a complete deal breaker. Ask God for the grace to help realize that you are not bigger than Him and for you to be able to forgive yourself.


#9

It sounds like you need to forgive yourself. I was in the same situation: I believed that no Catholic man would be interested me once they discovered my past. I couldn’t look past my sins so I didn’t see how anyone else could. It took a while before I realised that we are not defined by our mistakes: we are defined by how we respond after we have made mistakes and what we learn from them. It was in accepting God’s forgiveness and forgiving myself that I realised that people are more accepting than we give them credit for.

You don’t need to “announce your sins as a disclaimer” but you shouldn’t hide them either. Don’t hide away from relationships out of fear.


#10

Dear OP, welcome to the human race ! We have all done things we think are silly and have trouble forgiving ourselves. Also, if you do have the reputation of being 'a great future husband', to be honest, I think that is a big pressure for your parish to put on you. I don't think they mean any harm but I do think they don't realise you would like to be one of the gang as well and be elgible for the sacrament of confession (not the he is so good what does he have to confess)

So, how do I as a single woman perceive this? I will be honest. I think you still need some work to do on yourself. How you go about doing this is your choice but here are my recommendations

1-) Figure out why you can't forgive yourself? Do you have some past hurt or negative message you need to heal from? I know for myself, I have trouble forgiving myself because growing up, when I did things right, I could then never do the same thing again and make a mistake (A rule imposed by parents and teachers). I learn really quickly that if I could never do something right in the first place, I would never be asked to do it. There was a lot less pressure in 'playing dumb' then in trying.

2-) Second, figure out why you turned to that sin when things were dark. Did you not have any other coping skills? If yes, then try to find more healthier comping skills

after a while (and yes this could take years), if you have generally come to peace with forgiving yourself (and you have been tested and are disease free), unless the girl point blank asks, you do NOT need to tell her. Us catholic girls are NOT stupid, we know it goes on. If we don't ask, it is because we don't want to know. I go with the theory, if he has proven to me he is a trust worthy guy, what he brought to the confessional before he met me is not my concern

For now, until you actually get there...... different story. If you meet a girl and enjoy her company, after a few dates you could bring up the topic indirectly. For instance you could say 'I have a few sins a struggle with and I have been talking to so and so for help' Or 'I find saying this prayer helps me when I feel guilty'. See how she reacts. If she immediately wants to know your sin - WALK AWAY. A safe person understand that everyone needs help and it will take you time to trust here. If she is understanding, then as time goes on you can share more and more.

But DON'T lay out your personal business on the table right away. The sexual sin is NOT what will make a good woman run. It is the fact that you are still in the depth of pain that will scare her because if she doesn't know you on a personal level very well, you will come accross as insecure. Or way too trusting way to fast. She will be thinking 'Does he tell everybody these things?

Hope that helped

CM


#11

[quote="Norwich86, post:1, topic:231395"]
I am looking for some guidance on a somewhat difficult question.....
I am a faithful young Catholic male actively involved in a parish community and church groups. In these groups I have a reputation as being a 'nice guy', a 'good guy', and a model Catholic. For the most part I am, or at least try to be. I am chaste, don't curse, and people talk about me either as a good future husband or a good future priest!!!!
Here is the problem. A couple years ago I went through a time of great darkness and engaged in anonymous sex on two occasions. This was completely un-like me and it went against all my beliefs and everything I stand for. I regretted it immediately and ever since then I have tried very hard to forgive myself and ask forgiveness from God. It continues to be a source of shame to this day as I can't believe that I did something so shameful and so unable to be erased. However, it is a secret shame as no one knows about what happened.
My problem is, that my shame has kept me from pursuing potential relationships with good Catholic girls I have met. I would really like to be married some day but I know that anyone who shares my values (and people who share these values are rarer and rarer!) would be shocked at what I have done. If not outright repulsed, at least very disappointed. I do not really know how to move forward. In particular, I feel like it is leading someone on even to ask her on a date, especially given my reputation as someone up-standing. I am afraid of the moment when she finds out what a horrible thing I have actually done. (And I won't get into it but the details were really horrible). Then again, of course it seems silly to announce my sins as a disclaimer before ever going on a first date!
I don't really know how to bring this up with any of the priests or colleagues that I know so I decided to post here. I was talking about it with one person once, in the hypothetical, and he said that this hypothetical person could perhaps pretend it never happened and never bring it up since it is in the past and will never happen again, but that seems dishonest.
Help! Does any one have any insight? Been in this situation before? I would really like to move past this into healing and new possibilities but I know it may not be easy.
Thank you very much, God bless.......

[/quote]

Sad to say, in today's world, chances are that most girls you meet may have a sexual past, including some of the "good girls" at church. However, they may be able to relate to you better than someone without a sexual past can, since the factor of unequal yoking on the virginity front is not an issue that may arise.


#12

Thanks so much everyone for your encouragement and replies. I feel deeply consoled, and a few of these even brought tears to my eyes.

God bless you all.


#13

[quote="Norwich86, post:12, topic:231395"]
Thanks so much everyone for your encouragement and replies. I feel deeply consoled, and a few of these even brought tears to my eyes.

God bless you all.

[/quote]

Dear friend.
There is no such thing as damaged goods. We have all sinned and lost the glory of God.
Maybe even because of your past mistakes you are now a better person. Some people who havent fallen in the area of sex are unable to understand the weaknesses of others.

Like someone else said, the odds are that you will meet some girl who is not wholly unexperienced herself. How would you think about such a girl? My guess is that you wouldn't have a big problem with that.

The biggest problem as I see it, is that you have this shame that you carry around like a heavy load. Shame thrives in silence. I know that cause I have experienced it. I too did really stupid sexual sins in a not very remote past, and I got greatly disillusioned with my self and especially with myself as a Christian. I even came into a clinical depression.
It was stupid. God doesn't want that we suffer like that.. He wants our EGO to die, so we can be free in Him.
Now what matters is what God thinks of me, and He has declared me justified. I am pure because He made me so. And realise this.. you might be surprised that you sinned.. But God always knew you would and He loves you and has good plans for you.

You will find a good woman who will probably have her own wounds too and needs your empathy. When you do meet you need to have the talk. Transparency is very important for healing wounds..
I personally got healed when I experienced that inspite of my past sins people did love me, accept me and men did want me.
Experiencing that - when you are half dead because of self-condemnation - someone embraces you and loves you - not inspite of your self but because of all yourself, including your wounds - you get more and more healed.

So forget about silence. Embrace your story. God gave it to you as a testimony so that you glorify Him and not your self, and so that you comfort other sinners. You are not your sins.

PEACE be with you.


#14

Just know that you're not the only one in that situation, with around 3 billion Christians worlwide, I bet more than half have been in a similar, if not more darker situation. So for your credit, you're really nowhere in the depths of despair as you think you are ;)


#15

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