I’m a 27, soon to be 28yr old single guy, a convert of 2 years. I try to live out my faith, and I want to follow the teachings of the Church 100%. I also feel called to married life, maybe to the diaconate in the future. I want to be a husband and father.
At the same time, I have made mistakes in my past, and those mistakes still often come to mind. There is rarely an hour that passes when I don’t dwell on my past sins, or fall into occasions for sin because of the ingrained pattern of the way I think, the way I look at people, etc. I’m always ashamed and sickened by these elements of my past, but they are still undeniably there.
The last 2 times I have been out on a first date with a girl, both practicing Catholics, we have kissed, nothing too passionate, and I didn’t initiate, but even though that seems too much contact for a first date in my book, I didn’t have the courage to say no, or to explain my boundaries for fear of looking prudish and old-fashioned. Neither of these dates led to a relationship. All the same, I occasionally have flashes that run through my mind of too much drink being consumed and a first date going way too far.Perhaps on some deep subconscious level I still want that to happen, though I am ashamed to admit it. I think this is more temptation than sin, but it makes me frightened that dating might be a near occasion of mortal sin for me.
Am I not ready to date yet? I am so aware of how much damage I have done to my sexual identity in the past, and how much time and intense penance it would take to return it to the state God intended it. I’m worried that if I wait that long before I start dating, it will be too late for me, I’d be too old to start anything, and I’ll end up alone. If that’s how it’s going to be, I may as well accept that now and enter a religious community so that I don’t wind up alone. I know some people are of the view that, if you are called to married life, your sexual identity will never be healed and at peace until you enter into married life, but I just don’t feel right. If I value a woman, I don’t want her to have to put up with marrying ‘damaged goods’, no matter what the potential for healing in the future.