I have a quandary, a hole I have dug for myself without assistance. Three years ago I met a girl and we formed a relationship. Circumstances and finances (moving and her losing her job) encouraged us to move in together, and so we did. Neither of us were Catholic at the time.
I am now a convert. I will probably, unless this relationship interferes, be taking first communion this Easter. If not then, then I will get there when I get there. I’m not going anywhere, so there is no hurry. She also is joining the Church, following me.
However, it has become abundantly clear that I need to either complete this relationship in marriage or end it, one way or the other, but this fence has been straddled for too long, and I should never have let it begin in the first place.
But now the choice. I love her, but from my perspective there is no chemistry between us, zero, and there never has been. For her, the matter is 100% different. She’s very attracted to me. We have similar education levels. Neither of us finds the other’s character or ideals offensive. We are both joining the Church, happily. Same views on children. We have some of the typical nonsense level discrepancies between us, number of animals in the house, cleanliness, things like that, but nothing major. No, the only issue is that I’m not attracted to her to the point where sometimes her close presence repels me. She’s a good person.
So now I’m trying to decide. How important is physical attraction? For centuries upon centuries marriages have been set and maintained with no attraction between the parties. But, an equally old and well established tradition is adultery, and this is something that I simply will not do.
My parents and friends tell me that I need to choose what’s best for me, but that doesn’t ring true. Why should a decision as important as marriage be made for purely selfish reasons? Why can’t her needs be as important as mine? or moreso?
I have fears in all directions. If I marry her, and I cannot love her as a husband needs to love his wife, then am I actually condemning her? If I choose not to marry her, then I fear she will leave the Church along with my household, and I will be responsible for that decision for if she stays with me, she will stay with the Church. Because of her age, certain personality traits, and appearance quirks, there is a real chance that, if I let her go, I am condemning her to live her life alone. Before this three year relationship with me, she had never maintained a relationship for more than a few months.
She seems happy with me. She certainly says so and lives as if this were so. I’m not sure what to do or if I am even approaching the problem correctly. If I marry her, I will hurt her. If I don’t marry her, I will hurt her. I could make the decision from a purely selfish standpoint, but that just feels wrong.
I’ve prayed for guidance, but the only answer I seem to receive is “Keep an open mind and have faith.” I cannot ask my friends because it would be very inconsiderate to put her in a position where she might be the proverbial “last to know.” Time is running out though. I need to decide probably by the end of March to make sure she can get her job and life in order. She’s a teacher, that’s when she will need to be seeking and signing contracts for the next school year, a decision which she should make with full knowledge of where she will be living, one way or the other.
So I’m asking in a fairly anonymous place. If it were you, what would you do? Why would you make that choice?
In case you might wonder, my question is sincere, not hypothetical, and with no intention of being inflammatory. And yes, I already know I’m not very smart.