Sexual History & Marriage


I have been dating a wonderful Catholic woman for some time now, and we love each other deeply. I have been very seriously pondering the possibility of requesting her hand in marriage. We are both in our 30’s and are marriage minded at this point in our lives. She is a beautiful person both inside and out, and I have many good reasons to believe that she would be a wonderful Mother and Wife. We enjoy one another immensely and I know that she has had similar thoughts of marriage as well.

I have one nagging problem that I cannot seem to get off of my mind, and it is frankly the only thing that has kept me from “popping the question”. The problem is that she has a rather prolific sexual history. I don’t mean that she is just not a virgin, I mean that she has slept with a lot of men. Most of this occurred at a time in her life when she was not active in the Church, but she has had sexual relationships with men since becoming Catholic as well. She has sought forgiveness for these acts through Confession and seems to be sorry for her previous behavior. On the other hand, she is also stil friends with some of these previous sex partners. I just cannot seem to get past her long sexual history…it bothers me. She has not been exceptionally forthcoming with me about a lot of this, but over the course of our relationship it has become quite obvious that she has quite a past.

Please don’t get me wrong, I realize that we all make mistakes (myself very much included). I also do not necessarily think it is realistic to expect my wife to be a virgin. I would be hypocritical to hold my wife (or future wife) to a higher standard than I have behaved myself. At the same time, my own personal ideal would be to have a wife that did not have such an extensive sexual history. It is hurtful to me when I think about the sexual relationships she has had in the past. On several occassions we have found ourselves in situations where we around a former partner of hers, and it is very difficult for me to deal with. It is just driving me crazy because I love her so much, yet this hurts me as well.

I would very much like some Catholic/Christian feedback on this issue. Am I making too much over nothing? Should I let the past stay in the past and just “get over it”? Should I simply attempt to forgive her as Christ has forgiven her? Or would I be better off moving on and waiting for a woman that fits my “criteria”? Other than this issue she is a wonderful person…What should I do? What would be the Catholic Church’s position on this issue?

Thanks in advance for your help and God Bless!


Her sexual past probably hurts her more then it hurts you.

I don’t think it is proper for her to entertain freindships with past partners. Now one can not be rude if they meet up by coincidence passing by on the sidewalk. Nothing more then pleasantries would be appropriate.

Sexual relations or not, being in situations with someone’s ex romantic interest is very uncomfortable.


The part that would concern me is that she is still friends with some of these people. That raises some red flags in my mind.

[quote=catechistben]She has not been exceptionally forthcoming with me about a lot of this, but over the course of our relationship it has become quite obvious that she has quite a past.

Nor should she be forthcoming. She was not your wife and didn’t to anything wrong to you.

Maybe this question/answer on would be helpful.


Should I simply attempt to forgive her as Christ has forgiven her?
There’s nothing for you to forgive–she did not sin agaist you or wrong you in any way.

Or would I be better off moving on and waiting for a woman that fits my “criteria”?
IMO, she would probably be better off with a guy who can handle this.


I can sympathize with you feeling uncomfortable when she sees past sexual partners. My boyfriend has more than a few and I refuse to meet any of them or even see a picture. It’s not personal toward them, it’s just that I don’t want to imagine them together. I know it will make me ill.

However, as one poster already it’s not up to you to forgive her sins. Think about it this way, when we go into the Confessional, Jesus forgives our sins and totally forgets them. Try to keep that mentality.

Sometimes I get irritated about my boyfriend’s rough and rowdy past, his annoying habits, and his occasional bad moods. When I let it bother me, I begin to think about the reasons why we fell in love with each other. After you’ve been in a relationship for a while, it’s easy to nitpick and lose perspective of why you love that person. But think back to why you love her and why no one else will better be suited for you. It sounds like you really love this woman.


P.S. I’d try to get her to ditch the ex’s. Or at least reduce communication.


On the other hand, she is also stil friends with some of these previous sex partners.

That raises a red flag. Does she go out for coffee with these friends or is she on a “…Hi how are you…?” basis of friendship.
This may sound mean too, but if you do end up popping the question you should make sure she has been tested for HIV, HepB, and all the other STDS.


[quote=Lilyofthevalley]This may sound mean too, but if you do end up popping the question you should make sure she has been tested for HIV, HepB, and all the other STDS.

Ah, I was going to mention that. You do deserve to know if she has any diseases.


Nope, not mean at all. Just the reality of having multiple partners.


[quote=renee1258]Nope, not mean at all. Just the reality of having multiple partners.

I agree completely. In fact, both should be tested; while more partners increases the possibility, all it takes is one…

(Though I have to say that the period between the test and the results is always soooo stressful to me).


I also wanted to mention that St. Mary Magdalen “got around” so to speak and look what became of her! If you need a saint to ask prayers from, she’s the one to go to.


[quote=StratusRose]I also wanted to mention that St. Mary Magdalen “got around” so to speak and look what became of her!

What are you basing this on?


[quote=Timidity]What are you basing this on?

Well, she is the patroness of sexual temptation and reformed prostitutes. If you’ve seen Jesus of Nazareth she is portrayed as a sinner who Jesus redeems. She was possessed by 7 devils which Jesus exorcised her from.

Read this



Best wishes to you, Ben. I heart goes out to you. I wish there was something I can say to help appease the nagging feeling you have but I don’t. So I say this, I will pray for you, Ben.

May be my prayer can help you:

Blessed Father, please strengthen me and guide me to become (fill in) in Jesus name, Sweet Jesus let me be like you. Let me see the way you see, hear the way you hear, let act the way you would act. I need you. Please stregthen and guide me.
May be that helps.


As a pre-Cana presenter in our parish program, I can offer this as advice. The first session we teach is that of communication. It is the foundation (along with your faith) of your married life. As such we have the couples discuss a number of topics including but not limited to: in-laws, friendships, finances, children, religion, dual careers, household chores, etc. Our hope is to have the couples resolve or at least address any differences before they get married.
I’m suggesting the same to you. Please talk to her about this issue because if you don’t it will only grow and fester. We teach the couples a communication technique that we call “10-10-10”. It works like this: one partner leads off and talks UNINTERRUPTED for 10 minutes (it may be a shorter amount of time depending on the topic). The other partner has to LISTEN without responding for the 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes, it becomes the other partners turn and he/she gets to speak for 10 minutes UNINTERRUPTED.
The final 10 minutes are for both to talk together.
The purpose of the UNINTERRUPTED part is so that the speaker can focus on what he/she wants to say without the conversation being sidetracked.
Also, some rules: no name calling, no bringing in family members, no bringing in unrelated (and maybe unresolved) topics. Speak from the “I” position (I feel…I think); don’t use accusatory terms like “You ALWAYS” or “You NEVER” (puts the other person on the defensive.) And always reflect the content of what was said to you ( don’t infer meaning…repeat it back to the speaker again.)
This is a topic that should be addressed before you think about walking down the aisle.
Marriage is difficult enough without having additional baggage to contend with.
Good luck with it. We’ll keep you in our prayers.


OH MY GOODNESS! are men really still that neanderthalistic?! you are not the one to forgive her and if she is asking YOUR forgiveness for something in her past before you then shes mistaken her past is hers and Gods not yours! and as far as her being friends with her partners thats a good thing, sex was not casual for her, she cared for them but loves you, MARRY her and get over it, if you cant then you dont fully love her, however if you think youve found the one youd be crazy to let her go over something in her past, love who she is now, who she was doesnt matter. and shes probably not forthcoming because shes humiliated, ask yourself what you did to make her feel like she cant be open with you, dont judge her or make her feel ashamed thats not love.


My husband also quite a bit of “experience” before we got married. In the beginning it definately would come into my my mind. Is he thinking about others, were they better? You get the picture. And sometimes I have a twinge of pain in my heart know he had be intimate with women with whom he had very casual relationships, when it had so much meaning for me.

Over time this has passed. He is a different person now, with different values.

But it did come back to haunt him. Seven years into our marriage we recieve a letter in the mail from the county saying won of the young women he had been with (years earlier) claiming that he was the father of her child. After paying over a thousand dollers for a lawyer (we wanted to make sure if it was true he had proper rights to this child, and also we were going to be sued for back child support for all those years.) the test came back that the child was not his.

Obvious this is not an issue in your case but I’m making the point to the young people out there that think there are no consequences to per-marital sex there are many including what we had to live thru. It put alot of stress on our marriage to say the least.

One thing I could never accept is if my husband was still friends with those he had been intimate. My personal opinion is your girlfriend need to put a great deal of distance between herself and her former lovers if nothing else but out of respect for you and your relationship. If this is her past than it needs to be in the past.
TarAshley you are WAY off base. This has nothing to do with being a man. Sex is not some extracurricula activity, we’re talking about sharing something deeply personal, something that is meant to bond two people. I think this guy is only being human.


You should certainly have a long chat with her about your feelings here. She deserves your complete honesty (as you do hers) on this matter. Your feelings are not good or bad…they just are! Work together to decide how you can best deal with these feelings of anxiety over her past. I do not think having someone tell you to “just get over it” is helpful. You are entitled to your feelings whatever they may be. Ask yourself what you need from her to help you feel more at peace. Do you need her to put an end to the casual friendships she has with her ex boyfriends? What is it about these ex’s that make you feel inadequate or uncomfortable? Is it because she may still carry a small torch for some? Or is the fact that she’s been intimate with someone else and SO many just bug you? Maybe there is NOTHING she can do to help you deal with your feelings. If that is the case…keep dating her, but I would hold off on marriage until you get these feelings “in check”. She deserves total openness and honesty from you, and you deserve that for yourself. Good luck!!


Hi Ben:)

Since she has sought forgiveness for her past indescretions and seems to have true remorse, you have to decide if you can “get past her long sexual history”.

What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that you want to forget all about it? Well, that’s not likely to happen. If it means that you need to put it in perspective and accept that it happened, it’s in the past, and she loves you, I think that is entirely possible.

The fact that she is still “friends” with her former lovers is a red flag to me as well. But she is not my girlfriend. But it sounds like this bothers you, a lot. Is she aware of how it makes you feel? I think the important thing is her reaction to your feelings. If she knows how much it bothers you but justifies maintaining those “friendships” anyway, then that speaks toward her character and where you are on her list of priorities… if she doesn’t know how much it bothers you…tell her!!! Give her a chance to be considerate of your feelings.

And please sort this all out well before you even think of proposing!!! It is for the good of you, her, the possible marriage, and future children.

If you think this is a big deal…it is. It is your life.



i apologize if i got a little heated however my sister is in a new relationship and her boyfriends parents make things very difficult for them because shes a single mom at 20 and i am so sick of people judging her for her past. my fiance has also been with one other girl other than me, he was my first so i went through some of the same things especially because this girl constantly called him and drove by his house and followed him in her car, i was infuriated when she got the nerve to call our home after getting the number from his grandmother claiming to be a friend from high school, i had a rather unladylike chat with her over the issue and a vocal discussion with my fiance over the issue. i finally had to let it go and realize he moved here to be with me, i got the ring and the wedding date, so his choice was clear, he loves me and she is an issue from his past. thats all. and now thankfully shes out of our lives after our little woman to woman discussion.


Tar you are entitled to your opinion, however I have doubts when someone remains “friends” with their male friends from wilder times.
Especially one they have had sex with. That is why I asked, what TYPE of friends is she with this guy?

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