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Love Letters

No more premarital sex

Q. I started seeing someone exclusively a year ago. We met through a dating website and hit it off. She was new to the area and we started to see each other a few times a week, spent weekends together, went on trips, etc. We got along really well.

About 10 months into the relationship, she went back home for a few days for the first time since moving here. The entire time we had been dating, we never discussed religion. Although I was brought up Catholic and attended Catholic school for most of my life, I have considered myself to be an agnostic. She was raised as a Christian by very conservative and evangelical parents. But after moving to college, she became more liberal and Christianity became a lot less important in her life.

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Anyway, she went to church with her parents while visiting and had an epiphany of sorts. She decided that God and Christianity are an incredibly important part of her life. When she came back from visiting home, she told me that she no longer wants to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t Christian. This was very unexpected for me. I decided to reopen myself to Christianity and to explore some of the doubts I had.

Things were looking promising for us until she told me that she no longer wants to have premarital sex, no exceptions. She believes sex is sacred and only for marriage. We are both 25 and I don’t see myself getting married for another four to five years. I strongly believe that sex is essential in a long-term, exclusive relationship and told her that this was a deal-breaker for me. She is very upset about this. She argues that abstaining from sex shouldn’t break a relationship when both parties are in love.

Before she became abstinent, I could honestly see myself marrying her down the road (and vice versa). Am I being unfair for leaving her solely based on no sex? It really hurts me to know that she feels I’m being unfair and selfish to break up over this.

Boston

A. You’re not being unfair. You have a legitimate reason to break up with this woman. If you want sex and she doesn’t, this isn’t going to work.

When you started this relationship, you had similar philosophies about religion (at the very least, they meshed), but she changed her priorities and now you’re incompatible. You saw yourself marrying her, but she’s no longer the “her” you knew months ago. Tell her that your religious interests just don’t match anymore, and that while you’re open to more religion in your life, you’ll never rule out premarital sex.

She might call you selfish, but that doesn’t mean she’s right. Your gut knows best.

Meredith

READERS RESPOND:

You’re not wrong, and yes, I think you should walk away. Not just because of the sex, but because she is unilaterally setting major conditions and expecting you to just agree with no compromise. Your religious beliefs are no longer important, your opinion on intimacy is no longer important — what is she next going to tell you to give up or change for her?

ENJOYEVERYSANDWICH

You’re not wrong or unfair. Sex can be extremely important in a relationship and unless both parties are exactly on the same page about abstaining, then that becomes a deal breaker. She changed the terms of the relationship without discussing with you, and it’s something you won’t be able to compromise on. You’ll need to find someone whose values align with yours, as much as possible. BOSTONGAL116

She is dictating to you, not allowing discussion or any compromise. These are not indicators for a successful long term relationship. It doesn’t matter if it is about sex or what you wear or eat for lunch, this relationship is no longer on a healthy path. Run away.

HEYITHINK

I am sorry your girlfriend changed her tune 10 months into a relationship and I do not blame you for not being on board with it. No premarital sex would be a huge roadblock for most people who are not practicing your girlfriend’s brand of Christianity. Unless you are willing to subscribe to her flavor of beliefs, you should break up with her. I am sure you can find someone more in synch with your religious, moral, and liberal views. MSENIGMA

Hmmm. I thought the hallmark of a good Christian was to be selfless and not judge people on their decisions. LOIS

The relationship ended when she miraculously became a “Christian” again and made demands about your beliefs. You are an agnostic, but you suddenly were OK with being “Christian” because in your mind you had to, and you were still having sex. Well, if you were raised as a Catholic, then you know premarital sex is not OK. You’re either all in or not. As much as I fault your girlfriend for changing the rules midstream, I lay fault at your feet as well, for compromising your beliefs the first time she gave you an ultimatum. End it; it’s over anyway. MARINOLAW

You can’t dial back being virtuous and virginal. She should have thought about that before. There is also the possibility she doesn’t enjoy sex with you and using her return to Christian values as an excuse. Just a thought.

AMAZONPLANET

Making a decision like that is fine. It’s when you force that decision on others so they have to change to adapt to you that becomes a problem. RICH1273

I would never even consider remaining in a relationship with someone who would unilaterally decide on such radical changes and would simply expect that I would go cheerfully along . . . and would actually take the position that I’m the one being selfish and unfair to HER if I don’t. I can’t even put myself in the shoes of someone who would think that way. This isn’t just about religion and her definition of morality. It’s about her inability to see beyond her own needs. You can’t find common ground with someone who is their own island. GOTHAM77

Before you make your final decision, you might want to find out what counts as sex and what does not. SUNALSORISES

Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@globe
.com
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