Q&A - Struggling With My Sexual Past
I’m a Coptic Orthodox Female in my early 20s, born and raised in Europe. I read your “Struggling With my Partner’s Past” post, and I really love the way you responded to that!
My question is; I’m on the other end of the equation of that story, I lost my virginity, and I’ve been too scared to commit to anyone. I’m too afraid that they’ll leave me or reject me once I’ve told them about my past. I don’t know who to talk to, and I’ve even been too afraid to confess. My last relationship was with a non-christian man, and I regret taking that step with him every day. I’ve prayed and cried about it for months, and I’ve finally forgiven myself, and made a promise to do better. Now my “final step” is to confess which I’m really struggling with.
Now I guess my question is; how do I go about confessing, and when is the right time for that? I don’t regularly confess and I don’t feel comfortable with it.
My other question is; how do I go about getting to know a new guy? I have realized the importance of being with a man that I can grow with spiritually, and would like nothing less, but I’m too afraid to get to know anyone, because I’m afraid of being left, once I’ve told them my past.
Lastly, I really want to thank you for starting this blog, and being so understanding and direct. Your messages have come to me at the right time, and I’m extremely excited about the book you’re writing!
Thank you, and I hope to hear from you.
Thank you for being so honest and open. I can tell this isn’t easy for you to talk about. So thank you for your vulnerability and courage. I’m glad to hear that God has been using the blog to send you the right messages at the right time half way across the world. That’s all His hand!
First, I’m sorry you had to go through that. Sin has a way of being so tempting and then leaving us broken afterward. I’m glad you were able to see that, and the Holy Spirit in you led you towards repentance. You’ve even recognized that the next step is confession. So you’re right on track!
You asked when the right time is to confess; it is now! Don’t wait any longer; go to your father of confession and confess. Do not be afraid of his judgment — remember that he has the sacrament of Priesthood, and confession is part of that sacramental mystery we might not fully comprehend. He also has the ability to loosen and bind sins in heaven and on earth (see Matthew 16:19). So allow the priest, though his sacramental authority, to loosen that grip this sin has on you. He’s heard it all, and I can guarantee you you’re not the first person to fall into this sin.
Also, take this chance to start building a good relationship with your father of confession. It might be awkward at first, but give it some time, and if you feel like he’s not a good fit for you, find another priest in your area you can relate with.
I also don’t want you to keep regretting it every day. It sounds like you’ve already done the hard work of forgiving yourself. And the Lord is eagerly waiting to forgive you too. Run to Him through the sacraments and tools He’s given you. Allow yourself to become renewed by repentance, confession, and communion. Become united with Him, and He will set you free.
Now about being afraid of future relationships. I want you to trust God fully with that. Trust that He will send you the right person who can accept your repentance and newness in Christ (just like you read in the previous Q&A I received from that young man).
When you are dating someone new, be wise about the timing of when to share this. There has to be trust built with the guy you’re dating— trusting that he can be an honest keeper of the information you’re sharing with him.
You also want to give him the chance to get to know you well so that he’s not seeing you through the light of your past, but knows who you are in the present. We all change and grow, and the right person for you will be able to see that.
Get some guidance from your father of confession in the future to help you discern the right time to share your past.
Will there be some guys that won’t want to continue with the relationship when they find this out? Possibly. And that’s okay. You’ll feel that sting of the consequences of sin again, and that’s okay too. Don’t let that discourage you. Look at it as God showing you he was not the right partner for you. And pray for the right person who will be able to handle the struggle with you!
Finally, If you grew up influenced by purity culture and/or Middle Eastern culture you might have been brought up to believe that a large part of your worth as a young woman is in your virginity.
For example, I used to hear this analogy growing up: “You are like a treasure box, and you shouldn’t let any boys take things from that treasure box. Because if you do, you won’t have anything left to give your husband.”
While the message might have been well-intentioned, it’s a misleading analogy that negates the power of repentance and confession. Your purity is not something to be lost forever; you can always regain it through God’s mercy. Purity isn’t just about physical virginity. Physical and spiritual purity are intertwined. Chastity isn't something to pursue just for a future spouse but because God calls us all to holiness for Him.
Praying this response gives you some peace and courage to move forward!