Really complicated situation: past and present (long)


#1

This is my story with my girlfriend.

We’ve been dating for one year and 3 months now. When we met, I was a virgin and she wasn’t.

We had sex (very important: we vowed to not do it anymore and are sticking to it) just a little while into the relationship. At that point, I had been a bit hurt by a previous relationship and I wasn’t caring much about anything, including my own virginity. Though I had managed to avoid it and say “no” to other girls who tried to have sex with me, this time I actively pursued it and did it.

A little while later, I began to hurt a lot because of the fact that she had had previous experiences with an ex-boyfriend. I started feeling bad for having given my virginity to someone who didn’t save hers for me. I started asking her to know about how that had happened, and I found out she had been raped by the guy. This was after months of her saying it was just a mistake on her part: she said she thought I’d never understand her reaction.

Apparently, she went through a denial period, and didn’t acknowledge it as the crime that it was. She decided to think that it was her fault, for having put herself in a position where that could happen, and did actually believe the guy when he said it was a misunderstanding and nothing more (he convinced her that he thought she wanted it too, despite her attempts to break free and her crying when he did it).

She became pregnant (because of the rape), and was probably going to do an abortion when a miscarriage happened. This also hurt her even further and made her be with the guy for standing there for her in this dark period.

So, she had sex with him a few times (think 5 or so) over a one year period, after which she decided it was making her feel worse (she realized she didn’t want to have sex with someone who wasn’t her SO, no matter how normal people think it is) and decided to stop doing it. They continued dating, though.

They broke up a year later. She had another boyfriend, with whom she didn’t have sex, and then me.

Now, I’m having trouble believing her when she says that she would have only have had sex with me (supposedly her SO), and that what happened in the past wasn’t her fault and she was traumatized, and that’s what motivated her erratic behaviour.

I know I wasn’t completely sure of her being my SO when we frist had it, but I’m afraid I wasn’t more than a regular boyfriend at that time, despite what she has said afterwards. I keep thinking: “well, she wasn’t a virgin, so she might have jumped onto it simply because there wasn’t much left to lose”.

She’s a Catholic, though she has only been attending Mass with me (previously she only went on the “important days”). I haven’t managed to convince her to get Reconciliation yet, though, I guess I need to read more about it and try to show her why it’s so important.

I really love her, and though I regret the hasty decisions I took when we began dating, I really hope I could let go of this past stuff and marry her and live a serious family life.

It’s been difficult for me to forget about all these things, though. Nothing in her current behaviour indicates she wouldn’t make a great wife, but this keeps nagging me. She agrees on me about Catholicism, about sex only with your SO, and she agrees to practice NFP when we get married, etc. She’s also the most beautiful and loving girl I’ve ever met.

She has also said repeatedly that she has a lot of regret for having had that previous relationship which took away something she intended to keep for me, even though it wasn’t her fault. She asked for my forgiveness about her other times with the guy, but I said I was in no position to condemn her.

Added problem: I might be offered a position overseas in 6 months to an year, which would speed up the marrying process. She has already said that she’s willing to drop everything to go with me (married, of course).

Somehow, I feel like I need to sort these issues out before taking the plunge or else we’ll face problems when we are married.

I guess I really wanted her to be a virgin. Read this carefully, I don’t want a virgin, I wanted her to be one. I made several bad calls based on the fact that she wasn’t, and now I keep wondering if I’m doing the right thing by being with her wishing that something was different, even though I love her very much.

I pray a lot over this but I haven’t been able to find a solution: some days I feel like I have to marry her to be happy; on others I feel like I’m doing more harm to her and me by getting in a marriage where I’ll always feel something should have been different instead of just going our separate ways.

Could use some prayer.


#2

You may not be directly condemning her, but in your head, you are since YOU can’t let go of her past. If you can’t let go of her past, you shouldn’t marry her because you aren’t ready. Also, if you can’t forgive, you should work on that problem because forgiveness is required for ALL marriages. If you get a job overseas, you really should consider either long (very long) distance relationship or just stop dating. From your post, it’s loud and clear that you’re not ready for marriage, or at least marriage to her.


#3

I can only give my reaction to OP’s narrative as a woman, I am judging the story, not the person. I hear a long tale of concern about a man’s feelings, suspicions, doubts and preferences. If there is concern about the woman he loves who is by his account hurting in some of the most grievous ways a woman can suffer, it does not come through in this story.

If OP loves this lady, his no. 1 priority will be her healing, including return to the sacraments, regular prayer together, affirmation of her worth, beauty and good qualities and assistance in access to any kind of help, counselling etc. to aid her healing, which has a long, long way to go.

For any man to take advantage of a woman in this circumstance by using her for sex, particularly for healinghis own hurts and servings is own needs, is in my opinion as a woman, one of the most despicable things a man can do, and the relationship requires healing for that abuse as well.

Sex has absolutely no part in this relationship at the present of both parties are to be brought to the point where they are able to make a full free lifetime gift of self to each other and validly consent to marriage.

SO is a term that has no place in a discussion of courtship and marriage. The relationships in those stages are bf/gf, fiance/fiancee, and husband and wife.


#4

You are in my prayers.

Having serious doubts can be a red flag. Don’t rush the decision - if you get sent away use that time to develop and evaluate the relationship as best you can.


#5

puzzleannie: I guess I really wasn’t clear in my post. I never used her to forget something in the past.

My hurt caused me to be far from the Church (though it didn’t stop me going, I wasn’t as connected to it, if you know what I mean). That made my values regarding the importance of chastity and the wrongness of pre-marital sex to be lessened for a while, which caused me to give in to temptation.

I loved her from the very start of this relationship; I just didn’t wait for marriage due to a weakening of the values, not because I was trying to use her to get over someone else.

I only used SO in the sense of meaning the right person for each other, not just a bf/gf, but rather someone you’d be willing to share your life with. I guess I’ll replace it for SO-to-be.

With that out of the way: she doesn’t think you need to wait until marriage, as long as you’re the right person for each other.

I’ve been getting closer to the Church and I’m once again regaining my values; that’s why I proposed we stopped doing it and could do it the right way, in Christ.

She doesn’t agree with me on it completely, but she understands and is willing to do it for us, as she trusts me when I say it’ll be for the best.

Please, don’t mistake me from someone who was trying to take advantage of her situation. I didn’t know anything about her past when we started doing it and she never once did blink, as if I was forcing her into something that she didn’t want to do. She said she knew I was “the one” since the very start, not someone who was trying to get her into bed.

She actually come off as somewhat liberal in those first moments, until we sat and discussed everything. She said she also thought the same of me.

She never once came across as someone who was hurt in anyway; in fact, the only reason I know of these past issues is because I asked her about it, not because she displays any signs of it in her behaviour.

gmarie: thanks for your words. I’m capable of forgiving, it’s more of a question if it’s right or wrong to marry when you think something ought to be different.

maybe I’m just over-emphasizing this, and everyone marries someone even if they wish something was different (as long as it’s not a huge character flaw, of course).


#6

dawgfan: thanks for your prayers.

It’s just that I don’t really believe in long-distance relationships; somehow I feel a relationship, even one based on true love, needs being close to each other to actually be nurtured and developed.

She also is of a similar belief, and we’d probably just break up if I was to travel.

I really hope I can make this one right. I guess I need some sort of “forgive and forget”, despite my believing she’s not guilty of what was done to her and what that brang with it.


#7

puzzleannie: just to clear things up: we’re not having sex; it’s in the first post, though I admit it’s a bit buried in the midst of so much information.

We’re waiting until marriage, despite our previous mistake of giving in to temptation.


#8

Also: she doesn’t show any signs of needing healing. She’s very strong and stable (much more than I am, that I can affirm). Though she’s been attending Mass with me, I haven’t been able to convey the importance of Reconciliation to her yet.

I’ll in time, hopefully.

Just to clear things even further: I wasn’t using her for my needs: somehow my values of only having sex after marriage had turned into “only having sex with someone that is the right one for me” for a while, which is much weaker.

I was basically thinking like her, not like someone looking for some casual sex to try and forget who actually meant something.

I only did that connection of my weaker values possibly having something to do with a previous disappointment much after the fact.


#9

women who have been hurt in this way often grow very adept in hiding their true feelings, and rationalize current behavior to account for pain and damage they feel, and are excellent in the denial department.

thanks for a bit more detail, as I say, I am not judging the people involved, only the info presented here.


#10

I know, my first post really wasn’t clear and I might have come across as some sort of jerk because of a lack of specificity on the passage pertaining to that.

As for the healing process: I think it pretty much began when she stopped having sex with her ex. Not because she considered him a rapist, but because she realized she didn’t have to commit that mistake for having done it in the past (she still considered it entirely her fault at that point).

When they broke up, she said she really cried a lot, because she only then realized how bad the guy was and the seriousness of his acts, and how bad that actually hurt her.

She also said she hurt a lot when she met me, for she could no longer offer her virginity to someone whom she really loved (she only told me this much, much later, mind you).

But she said she knew she had to let go of that pain to be happy with me; she had to concentrate on the present and on what’s possible.

That’s everything that’s been said about it. She really shows no signs of issues due to that, but I can’t help thinking it must affect her somehow.

Or she’s really healed, I don’t know.


#11

forgive me if I am misunderstanding your posts, its starting to get confusing. I know its hard to actually write what is really happening.

But from what I gather it seems you are having a problem letting go of HER past.

If this is wrong than just ignore the rest of what I am going to say.

But you need to be able to forgive her and let go of anything that has happened in the past. If you can’t let go of that than you will have major trust issues in your future marriage. It sounds like she wants a life with you and you with her, but the problem is she needs the chance to start that life with you fresh. Just like when she finally comes back to the Church Jesus allows us to start a new life again. That’s the beauty of reconciliation, however there needs to be reconciliation reflected as well in marriage. If this problem with her past is bothering you, you can’t get married right now. You need to wait and see where this goes.

I would suggest talking to her more about it. It might be that she is very ashamed of her past (as we all are of our past sins) and wants to be forgiven. Maybe by showing her that you can forgive and love her (treating her past as a different life, so to speak) that will also help her understand the forgiveness of the Church and will foster her understanding of reconciliation and why its so needed. Just a thought.

God Bless :smiley:


#12

Our culture makes it very difficult for young people to deal with marriage and boy-girl relationships. Bad models are everywhere! Our social apparatus of “dating” is very destructive and dangerous. Rape is not uncommon. One of my sisters experienced date-rape twice.

Her past stands between you. If she is such a beautiful and loving Catholic girl as you describe, she deserves a man who will not hold against her the fact that she was raped and then had a period in which she had sex with the rapist. I can’t believe you would hold this against her, but since it bugs you so much, my advice would be to do her a favor and let her go so she can find someone who will love her 100% with no reservations.

If you cannot do this, please see a counselor who can help you understand what she has been through and why she did what she did. I believe you would see it differently if you could start seeing it from her point of view and were focused on her instead of yourself. This might help you there.


#13

Tally: I’d say that really is the main thing. Rationally, I can let go of it, but sometimes I feel like the past is also important. It’s just that I’ve seen my parents’ marriage.

My mother has expressed some anger towards the fact that my father wasn’t a virgin and she was and I’m afraid that’s something that could hurt a relationship. Theirs is a very bad one, despite their refusal to divorce (which would be great if they also made any efforts to actually improve things).

shirleytowers: I’ve thought long and hard about not being the ideal man for her due to my difficulty in dealing with the past. However, I’ve managed to not let that shine through when I’m with her.

I love her very much, and I know we can be very happy together if I let go of this. Somehow I managed to convince myself throughout the years that you shouldn’t have to just accept things that aren’t perfect, and that it was better to have nothing than less than everything.

She has simply managed to change that; I’m dealing with the aftermath of years of shallow thinking.

I also believe she should make a call as to whether or not I’m the right man just as I have to make one about her being the right one or not.


#14

Just one more thing: I’ve read about the consequences of rape, and have actually exchanged PMs with a person on this board that went through a similar experience as hers.

But I have other issues with the past which do not have anything with condemning her or anything, like anger towards the rapist and that kind of thing.

I also should mention that I don’t feel like this all of the time: I find my relationship with her to be just perfect. I love her very much and I know she would make a great mother to my children.

I just wish I never had any kind of “bad thoughts” about the past.


#15

To add to this: I have some trouble believing in the whole “only letting my SO-to-be have anything with me” because she has a tattoo with the guy’s initials (which are coincidentally the same as my own, but I digress).

She says it didn’t mean anything, and she did it because the guy had done one with hers and kept bugging her about it, and kind of dared her to do it, and she knew she could cover it up or get it removed later on. Just as a sidenote, she did it 1 month before breaking up with him and 2 before starting dating me.

She didn’t manage to remove it before we started dating because it was just too short a timeframe between the facts.

Would a girl that supposedly was saving herself for her SO-to-be do a tattoo like this? Does it really not mean anything?

Is it possible for someone to think that a tattoo means nothing if covered or removed?

I don’t know, I’ve always found them to be ugly and a turn-off. She does have another one (not large or vulgar or anything), so I know for a fact she doesn’t have a problem with tattoos.

I guess it’s just one more thing I have to deal with.

If I look at her present, I find her perfect. But these things keep making me a bit over-conscious, I guess.


#16

Wow.
What I can’t get past in all this is your total disregard for what you did to this girl in the present.

Here you are hung up on the fact she wasn’t a virgin for you when you decided to ‘take’ her, when you’re missing the whole point that you did take her, and why isn’t that the focus of your uncomfortableness?

You want her to go to confession for her rape.
I will assume you’ve gone to confession for having relations with her.

But beyond that…just think about what you’ve shared…
when you began dating her you were in a low state of self-esteem…
you no longer cared about saving your virginity for your SO.
you wanted to have sex with this girl.
**you **pursued it with her.
you had sex with this girl.

What if she had been the virgin you are mourning over???
Would that make all this better?
No.

In that low state of self-esteem you were in at the time you would have been responsible for the loss of her virginity…and this is well before you knew whether or not she was your SO and marriage might be in the picture.

So you weren’t the rapist, this time. Still you didn’t fully take her emotional state of mind into consideration as you were bent on fulfilling your own careless streak.

And yet you still took something from her you weren’t entitled to. Given all you’re sharing about how she was in recovery from rape, from losing a child of that rape, from lamenting not being able to give her virginity to anyone, let alone you…you’re sitting here asking us to help you deal with your loss?!?

Dude, take a hard look in the mirror.
Take your focus off of her and get back on track yourself.
Where’s your remorse for the role you’ve played in her ongoing spiritual/emotional journey?
And to that you’re giving her a hard time for her past?
And you are having trouble accepting other things about her past…which, think about it, means, in the long run it’s quite possible you two won’t get married…
and that means you become another chapter in her story…a guy who expressed ‘love’, pursued sex with her early in the relationship, only to then later use the fact that she wasn’t a virgin at that time as one of the reasons the relationship couldn’t work out and you had to move on.
Cruel.

You are definitely in my prayers.
As is your girlfriend.
I don’t know what God has in store for you two, but I do pray your time together will bring each of you closer to Him.


#17

icooker:

I suspect that deep down you want to marry this girl because you slept with her and you are trying to rationalize that decision. The best thing you can do is accept the fact that you lost your virginity, that you used this girl, and breakoff the relationship. You have short-circuited a lot of the work that should have happened in the beginning of the relationship and now you are living with the sad consequences. I know that sounds extreme. Things that haunt you now will magnify over the course of your marriage, unless a tremendous amount of emotional growth and healing takes place in the next few months. And frankly, I don’t see this happening. Most couples can’t do it because of the intensity of feelings already in play. Your girlfriend has a lot of emotional work to do in order to understand what has happened to her and what she’s done to herself. And so do you. You don’t owe her marriage just because the two of you made a mistake. Please don’t compound your first mistake by rushing into a bigger one. Seek forgiveness in the confessional and move on.


#18

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamen.

And two more Aaaaaaaaaaamen’s to Puzzleannie and CupofKindness.


#19

Do not get married. Not after what you have said is your situation.
A lot of healing needs to take place, yes emotionally, but especially spiritually, and especially for her. You need to expect the best, the best woman for your children. You need to expect somebody who is stable, and might I suggest that you need to expect that for yourself as well. We are trying to give you advice that will bring you the most peace. I wish you much peace,

-Alison


#20

YinYangMom: I appreciate the honesty in your words, no matter how hard they are. I have considered that aspect as well. I have gone to Confession for my sins towards her.

I wasn’t really in a low self-esteem mood; more likely, I was way over-confident, thinking I was capable of doing anything. I felt she was the right girl for me from the beginning, so it wouldn’t be a problem to have pre-marital sex. I was gonna be with her forever, after all. It might help to understand this picture of knowing that because I’d known her for at least 8 years when we started dating.

This was my wrong rationalization at the time. Never did I feel I was just giving in to temptation with some random woman.

Another thing: at that time I didn’t mind her being a virgin or not, it never was in the picture at that time. It had never mattered with any of the other girls in my past. Of course, I never intended to marry them. Only later did I fully understand what that meant.

I’m not really dealing with the loss of something: as I said, I didn’t just have casual sex with her at any point. It was wrong, it was a sin, but please do not confuse it with casual sex: that’s not what it was about.

If it seemed like I pressured her into having sex, I apologize, but that’s not how it went down. It was a mutual thing that happened without any of us explicitly suggesting it.

I guess my problem is that it was wrong on both our accounts, not only mine. Please, don’t make it sound like I was taking advantage of her, at least not more than she would have been of me, in the definition of why it’s a sin to have pre-marital sex. She showed no signs of trauma or anything (and still doesn’t) and I only came to learn the truth months from then.

She didn’t want to stop having sex, it was my suggestion and she accepted it.

It’s not a matter of condemning her: it’s more of being angered by the fact that such a horrible thing happened to her and what that cost her and our relationship. Somehow I feel we also wouldn’t have given in to temptation at that time if she was a virgin; as I said, I didn’t pressure her or anything, she might have been less willing though, and I would respect that fully.

I never was a ladies’ man or anything, I wasn’t trying to get “notches on my belt”.

Cupofkindness: not really, I’m capable of admitting mistake and moving on when that’s the case. I really do love her. I just came back from the movies with her and we had a marvelous time. I want to be near her all the time.

My main issue is this: I think that what happened before us shouldn’t have happened (neither what happened between us, but please bear with me for a while). Should the fact that it causes pain and suffering prevent us from getting married?

I can deal with the pain, it’s not unbearable (though it might seem at times), but would she be better off with someone that doesn’t care?

Really, I don’t think I’m better than her or that she’s guilty and I’m condemning her; it’s rather the actual fact that makes me sad, despite her innocence in the matter.

I guess it’s really hard to put in words what I’m feeling without it sounding like I’m a jerk mourning over something that shouldn’t have been mine (at least not yet), but I swear to you it really isn’t that.


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