I have been dating a young man for a little over a month right now. We are both 21 years old. On our 2nd date I laid down the ground rules - I told him that I was a devout Catholic, and that if he was to continue seeing me, we would date in a chaste way. He agreed, and treats me better than I have ever been treated by a man I was dating. I have told him EVERYTHING he would have to do should we get married (no contraception, no prenuptual agreements, children must be Catholic) and he’s accepted them. He is very sweet and VERY respectful.
He was raised in Brazil, and although is baptised, does not consider himself a devout Catholic.
From then on, I wanted to learn about his values asap in our dating. He mentioned that he has been very wild before, but 100% regrets it, that he was raised in a very wealthy home, and considers himself very materialistic, but is working on changing that. Whenever we’ve had discussions, he comes to realize that my mentality, Catholic theology, is correct. He has given up sex, clubs, even drinking. Although I was noticing some differences in values, it seemed to me they were similar enough that although he had an awful past, he was in the process of becoming a good Christian man, if not for the belief itself, at least in terms of a lifestyle change. Especially for a man at 21, this is exceptionally rare. I am called to forgive him for his past, and I have been trying to. I will admit however, that he believes his values can be altered, but he is skeptical that he will be able to completely view the world in the way that I do.
However, he recently told me something VERY troublesome…he has had sex with many people before, and even when he was having sex with a former girlfriend whom he loved, he has never seen it has more than physical gratification. With his girlfriend of 2 years, he felt NO emotional connection. He is convinced he is now “wired” this way, and that is all sex will ever be for him. When we delved into his past more, I found out UNBELIEVABLE things - when he was 14, his father (who claims to be Catholic and attends Mass), took him to a prostitute and encouraged it to become a common practice. Until about a year ago, he would have sex with random women on a regular basis, including prostitutes. As a woman who is dating him, this worries me in so many ways. If I were to marry this man and save myself for him, what if he can never see it as mere selfish, physical gratification? How can I respect his family and the way they raised him?
My immediate response was to end the relationship. Before I felt I was assisting him in changing his values, helping him live in Christ as much as possible, but this seems like too much of a heavy load for me, as I am only 21 and have my own personal struggles, including lust. However, it saddens me that such a good man, one who is respectful, thinks about morality and has a stronger sense of right and wrong than any Christian I have ever dated, and really really seems to be changing, should be deemed “hopeless” by me. It is very much due to his upbringing, and he is doing EXCEPTIONALLY well given his situation.
I do not believe he has converted enough to not fall back into sin, and I do believe, were it not for me, he would still be living a very sinful life by Catholic standards. I know he is trying to change, but I do not believe his intention was ever to change to such large a degree as I am envisioning. That being said, I think if we were to continue dating, a conversion would be entirely possible, and at the very least, he would live a much healthier life. I feel if I end this relationship now, I have not done all I can do… I care about him as much as he cares about me (a great deal!), and do not wish to leave him knowing he is would live a very sinful life without guidance. But what if he is not able to convert? What if sex is always lustful for him? What if he remains dependent on material possessions?
Please help me, I am so conflicted I have sought advice from my peers, but I desperately need the assistance of my fellow devout Catholics
Thank you very much!!