What should I do?

Hi,

I am recently engaged and very happy! However, something has been bothering me…I have anxiety and I have told my fiance about it, but how in detail do I need to go? I went to a counselor a while back and I am currently on a medication to control my anxiety. He knows all of this. I don’t really like to talk about my anxiety and he never really asks because he says it doesn’t matter to him that I have anxiety, he loves me regardless.

Anyway, I suffer with scrupulosity and I have an irrational fear that I may have had sex in the past and somehow blocked it out because it was traumatic or something. Now, I have no memory of any of this and I believe I am a virgin and told him I am a virgin…it’s just kind of a nagging fear in the back of my mind.

Do I need to tell him about this? I don’t want to burden him with my anxiety and frankly I don’t really want to talk about it with him. Is it bad to not talk about it and just push it out of my mind and try to more forward?

Any advice???

Hello Doves!

My heart and prayers go out to you - it must be tough living with that nasty condition.

Now, I may not have much personal experience with anxiety (or marriage… or romantic relationships in general… :blush: ) but it seems to me that while you don’t need to feel obligated to tell him every anxiety-driven thought that crosses your mind, you should never be afraid or hesitant to talk to him about something that bothers you. Even if you know it’s irrational fear, let him be there to comfort you about it. Now that you two are going to get married, you’re going to face all of life’s little challenges as a team.

I’m not sure if you should tell him about this particular anxiety. I think you know that you never had sex before, and never would. You’re too good a person to have done something like that. Sometimes my own anxiety gets out of hand. I have some meds I take daily, and one I take “as needed.” Problem with that one is that it makes me groggy. But really, if he loves you as you are, accept his love and love him in return. I would say “stop worrying about it,” but I know how hard that is. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

No, you must not tell him of this anxiety, because that is all that it is. It is a fiction that your mind is presenting you - you have doubts that you shouldn’t have. If it is any help to you, most people who are molested DO NOT block it out, that was a theory that has never really proven to be true. Most people who have been molested remember it all too clearly and cannot just block it out. So it is really not something you should worry about.

But I would advise you to work with a spiritual advisor and/or a counselor to help you sort through your anxiety and scrupulosity. Medications can help, but the spiritual guidance of a good confessor is the right treatment for scruples.

Start as you mean to go on. Truth is better than lies and deceit. Be upfront with each other. Pray to God for guidance.

God bless

This is not uncommon. I highly recommend the book Never Give Up: My Life and God’s Mercy by John Janaro. He also suffers from OCD and mentions in his book how he sometimes has obsessive thoughts about being previously married without realizing it, or that his marriage is in some other way null. The book is meant to help you make sense of physical and emotional suffering such as the anxiety you describe. Get the book if you can.

I’m not sure what to tell you about your other problem. I have had a priest tell me not to share sins that would cause a burden to someone else. This might fall into that category (though I don’t mean to suggest that your thoughts are sinful; I recognize that they are beyond your control). I suggest instead that you share with your fiance that you will probably struggle with this problem throughout your life, and maybe the two of you can work out ways to communicate when it’s getting particularly bad. In the throes of a nervous breakdown it’s hard to say, “hey, I need help!”, but your fiance may learn to recognize a cycle of anxiety and you can look for signs that an anxiety attack may be coming. Furthermore, I suggest that whenever the thought comes to mind that you may not be a virgin, that you look instantly at a crucifix and say Jesus, I Trust In You. Then start praying…Hail Mary, Glory Be, Our Father, the Memorare, Hail Holy Queen…whatever prayers you can think of until it goes away. There are times when I feel like I am truly too weak to pray so I just pray “Jesus, help me,” again and again until the thought leaves my mind or at least quiets down a little bit.

Sin begins with thought, so it’s important to persevere in keeping our thoughts captive. For someone with severe scruples, OCD, or anxiety, that is much easier said than done. I am speaking as someone who has also taken medication for anxiety…I do understand how little control one can have over those anxious and obsessive thoughts. And, though I realize that those thoughts in themselves are not sinful (as long as I do not choose to dwell on them), I do bring them up in confession regularly. I’ll say “I am having a particularly hard time pushing away intrusive thoughts” and go into detail sometimes, but confessing it and getting advice from good priests helps me continue to fight the good fight.

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