My boyfriend of two years and I have a very happy, stable relationship. We've also had a very healthy sex life.
However, he recently admitted that he no longer feels comfortable having sex, as he’s returned to his Catholic faith and wants to stop completely until we’re married.
I'm 22. He knows I’m not planning to get married soon, and that I really enjoyed the sexual part of our relationship.
I don’t share his faith, and don’t completely understand his reasoning (we’ve already had sex countless times, so “waiting” doesn't make sense to me).
I love him so I’d never leave him. But I’m worried this will strain our relationship. Already, things are a little awkward because I don't want to make any sexual jokes or do anything too provocative.
It’s affecting my own self-esteem, too. It almost feels like we’ve gone backwards, and I’m feeling less close to him. Is this my fault? What can I do?
P.S. We have strong trust between us and I know he’s not inventing a reason to mask another problem, because he’s still attracted to me, and struggles to now remain chaste.
He’s admitted that he really wishes he could have sex with me, but he’s scared of going to hell. It’s hard for me to respond since I don’t share his religious views.
You’re both frustrated but he has an overriding commitment to being chaste and you do not. If you truly love him and hope for a future together, you need to try to respect his religious beliefs.
There’s more to Catholicism than its doctrine regarding sex before marriage. Read, learn, talk to a priest, to gain a deeper understanding of the family values his religion stresses.
You may still not agree with it all, you may never convert, but there’s no point hanging onto a relationship that’s becoming uncomfortable and distant because of his faith vs. your distance from it.
Especially since you already know there’s no chance of you marrying for several years ahead.
Love, with or without sex, is about going the distance to understand your partner’s belief system. It’ll affect many aspects of your life if you stay together – including how you deal with his family and religious occasions, how you plan to raise children, etc.
A lot more needs to be considered by both of you now that he’s returned to strong faith.
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband’s upset at his wife’s excessive flatulence (April 3):
Reader – “Take it from someone who has Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - passing gas is embarrassing for this wife.
“If she has IBS, there's not a lot you can do. Yes, you can watch what you eat, take psyllium, drink more water and exercise, but it still doesn't cure the passing gas.
“There's no cure for IBS, or even for other digestive problems. If she doesn't have a diagnosis, she needs to see a doctor.
“IBS can cause a lot of pain, and can damage your intestines if not treated properly.
“As for her making jokes about passing gas, its probably done out of embarrassment rather than being juvenile about it.
“He should be patient, be there for her, and offer help.”
Ellie – He’s offered the help of suggesting she needs to see a doctor. She refuses to do so. It’s not just the gas, it’s the relationship. But hopefully, she’ll learn from all such readers’ comments that she could be causing herself deeper health problems by ignoring this gassy signal.
FEEDBACK Taking time out “between relationships” (March 31):
Reader – “Being “in love” is a form of insanity that can only be cured by looking reality straight on.
“We fall in love with the fantasy of who and what we wanted in a mate, not who they really are. They do the same with us.
“Remember the flaws that killed a relationship, on both sides.
“You cannot truly know another person until you’ve lived with them for a couple of years; the same applies to how they know you.”
Reader’s Commentary “Research and death review reports confirm that a woman's risk for serious harm or death increases when leaving an abusive partner.
“Tell your readers and advice-seekers to turn to their local women's shelter or counselling centre for help with safety planning when leaving an abuser. Quietly leave at a safe time rather than forewarn or confront an abuser.”
Tip of the day:
Respecting another’s strong religious commitment is essential for a lasting relationship.