Question:

My girlfriend and I recently talked a bit about our past relationships, and the subject about being virgins slowly came up. Although I have tried my best to live a good Christian life, there came a point where under pressure I lost my virginity. It only occurred once and never again afterwards. I realized how I had fallen into pressure from someone so close to me. I repented and there was a moment where I truly felt God's forgiveness. After that day I felt peace.

When my girlfriend and I were talking, it turns out that I could not bring myself to say I was not a virgin. More, I felt as if I was still a virgin. (Is that OK?) My question now is, should I tell her right away? She lives in another city. We have talked about my moving there and committing ourselves to a long relationship where marriage is in the future. I feel bad that I did not have the courage to tell the truth because of fear of rejection, although she never implied before that it would be a deal breaker. I felt that inside me. I'm confused as to whether I should sit down with her and tell her, or let go of the past and bury it where it belongs.

Another part of it is that after we talked she commented that even if I hadn't been a virgin, it would not have been a deal breaker. At that point my heart sank. I have never kept anything else from her of my past, nor lied to her about anything. But it has been something difficult for me. Thank you.

There are also moments where I feel complete peace inside. Is that normal? Not that I agree with not telling the truth, not at all.

After my experience with God, I just felt peace again, as I once did when I was a virgin.


Answer:

Let's start with your feelings. It appears that you are making moral judgments based more upon what you feel than what God has said. A person knows (not feels) he is right with God when he can look at his life and know he is living as God desires him to live. "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (I John 2:3-6). Even when we sin, when we turn from those sins as God directs, we can remain confident of our place with God because we know God keeps His promises. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (I John 1:9-10). The word "faithful" is key to this point. God is absolutely trustworthy in offering us forgiveness for our sins.

When a person has complete confidence in God, then there is peace in his life. "For "He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil"" (I Peter 3:10-12). Before you committed fornication, you had peace because you knew, for the most part, that you were doing as the Lord directed. Your fornication, however, revealed a weakness in your character.

I notice that you shy away from accepting full responsibility for your past sins. I suspect that if you and I talked about what happened and why, we would discover that while there was strong encouragement to have sex, it was your choice, in a moment of weakness, to take off your clothes. And in lying to your girlfriend, you said you couldn't make yourself tell the truth -- that too is a lie. You could have told the truth, but you were too afraid.

I'm sorry that you sinned, but I think it is a strong mark in your favor that you chose the path of righteousness and did not repeat the sin of fornication. The problem, though, is in the definition of the word "virgin." A virgin is someone who has had no experience with sex. That is no longer true of you. Virginity is not a feeling; it is a fact. You are no longer guilty of the fornication that you committed, but the memory of what you did cannot be erased.

I definitely agree that past sins should be buried as much as possible. "Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20). But this isn't a reason to lie about it. You were asked a direct question, and you knew that it had the potential of affecting your relationship -- in other words, the question was an important one. Anytime you have sex, there is a potential for a child. I assume you know that a child did not result from your sin, but in general that potential is something a person needs to know. No one wants to find out ten years after they are married that their husband produced a child many years ago and he is now standing on their doorstep. Or consider what might happen if she accidently meets the girl you had sex with and what happened came to light? Though neither might not be a problem with your past sin, you added another problem to your relationship, you've demonstrated the willingness to lie in order to make yourself look better.

As hard as this is going to be, you need to straighten the situation out. First, you need to confess your sin of lying to God and repent of it. Second, you need to tell your girlfriend that you've lied and why. Then tell her the truth, that you aren't a virgin. That you experienced sex once when you were pressured into it. And that you've regretted it and turned away from it. Don't make excuses for either sin, just explain what happened. But the one thing I want you to never do is say who the girl was or make any comparison between your girlfriend and her. Don't go into details: she doesn't need to know them, even though she may be curious and jealous. It is over the details that you should insist that the past is over and done with. If she ever thinks otherwise, mentioned that you dumped the girl who encouraged you to sin, but you are with the woman you love.

I wish you well. It is going to be difficult. She will be more upset with you for lying than for your past sin. Your honesty will both harm the trust she has in you and begin to repair the damage as well.

Now, to make everything clear: if you decide to move to the city where your girlfriend lives, it will not be to move in with her. Period. You don't repent of fornication in the past by setting yourself up for fornication in the future. You will find your own place and the rule will be that you and she cannot be alone in your place or hers until after you are married.

Thank you for your advice. I did confess afterward. We would not be living together if I move there; we agreed on that. Only until after marriage will we live together. I did come to accept it was my choice at the end. She didn't ask me directly if I was a virgin. I had only expressed what I thought about waiting before marriage, but I think the way I said it made it seem I was. I just don't know how to begin the conversation. Thank you for pointing out that weakness of mine.

Starting the conversation isn't that hard, it is getting past the dread that will be difficult. You can say something like, "I was thinking more about our conversation about waiting until marriage to have sex. I feel very strongly about waiting, but I don't want to leave you with the wrong impression. I was pressured into sex once and I've regretted it ever since. It is one of the reasons I don't want the same thing to happen to us."

Just remember that the details of what happened are best left buried and never make a comparison between the prior girl and the one you love.

And it would be OK to start the conversation like that even if she has the impression that I am still unexperienced? In her mind she thinks that I am still a virgin, and I did nothing at the moment to stop her from thinking that when we talked about it. Although I didn't clearly say I was still a virgin, I feel like my actions of not saying anything spoke for itself. She even praised me a bit for still being a virgin. This was two days ago to be exact.

That's the main word: "dread." I fear that she will look at me thinking, how could I feel that I had to keep something from her or lie to her. Did I not have faith in her accepting me as I am? That gives me dread. And that she will forever have that feeling or memory of me and think of me as a liar or completely break off with me.

Thank you for your time and advice. You are helping me.

I know you dread talking to her about this, it is what caused the problem originally, but will it be any easier if you wait until later to tell her, or if she finds out about your sin later? You made a mistake and the best way to handle it is to face the problems sooner rather than later.

If you look again at what I suggested saying, notice that I didn't use the word "virgin." I suggested that you state plainly what you think about sex before marriage and why you didn't reach your goal. I think this is a better way to approach the topic than using "loaded" words that carry assumptions.

Notice how you are again edging away from responsibility. Though you knew you mislead her, you wanted to think of yourself as a virgin when you were not. Then you soothed yourself by saying she didn't directly asked you, but you knew she was left with the impression. Now you are saying she praised you for being a virgin and you didn't say anything, but you're excuse is that you just didn't say it clearly. Is it better to just face the fact that you mislead her because you were afraid?

I don't know how she will react. I don't know her. I'm guessing that she will be upset and for good reasons. This isn't going to go smoothly, but it will benefit you in the long run. There are going to be hard times in your relationship. One of the hardest parts of a marriage is learning how to resolve problems. The sooner you practice, the easier you will have things later in life.

Be prepared for her asking why. Be ready to tell her the truth -- that you were afraid of losing her. But remember this as well. What we fear is almost always worse than what actually happens.

Let me know how it goes.