Dear Aunt Dara,
I'm 18 years old, and met my recently 23-year-old ex-boyfriend last year. We became friends after I saw him at a friends’ church and told them I thought he was cute. They told him to add me on Facebook. So we began talking, and instantly hit it off. At the time I had met him, I was extremely rooted in Christ and lead worship at my youth group on Wednesday nights. A couple weeks after talking to him, we met at a church bonfire. He then invited me to hang out at his house, though he told me to bring along my friend. He told me he thought my friend was cute, even though he knew I had feelings for him. Things like this continued. He said that my friends were attractive, and when we were with them he would compliment them, pretend to forget my name, etc. A few months later, I stupidly lost my virginity to him. Even typing this I want to cry. I should have waited for the man God wants to be my husband. I sinned against God and His will for my life. Afterward I started struggling with other sinful acts. I started stealing. I am so ashamed and embarrassed, but I feel like I must tell my story. I also started talking to another man, who eventually I slept with once. This is all while I still was with my ex-boyfriend. During all of this, my ex never knew what was happening, and yet he refused to date me, which was part of the reason I was searching for love, rather than going to God. I desired the love that my ex would not give me. So I made even more mistakes. In January after I confessed all that I had done, he finally decided to commit to me. He said he felt guilty for causing me to sin. A while later, I found out he had an addiction to porn. This devastated me. He was sleeping with me, and I felt ugly and extremely hurt. He promised not to do it again. He himself has a past, which I struggled with. I forgave him completely, but a lot of times I didn't feel good enough, and wondered if the other six girls he had been with and slept with were better than me. But I tried to forgive and forget. I brought it up a lot, because I felt that I needed to get my emotions out to him, rather than keep them in. That's what I thought couples were supposed to do. A while later, he broke up with me. He told me he never truly loved me, and his love for me was built out of hurt, yet he had continued to use me and have sex with me. A few days later, when I was starting to get over of the pain of losing him, he asked me how I was doing. I told him I was doing fine, and because of this he wanted me back. He didn't like it that I was moving on. I accepted him back, stupidly too soon. I was (or thought I was) in love with him. We made a lot of rules, and I asked him to refrain from watching shows with inappropriate things in it because his addiction to porn had wounded me so badly. We then wanted to begin talking to God together and praying together, though this did not last long. I then discovered he had been watching porn yet again, and I wanted to break up with him. I had tried helping him through his addiction because he had been using a Christian accountability app for the internet, but he found a way around it. He had even watched stuff while at my house. This damaged me even more, which caused me to discuss even more things that hurt me. I forgave him again, because I myself sin. Fast forward to now, he broke up with me yet again because "it wasn't working,” which I know it wasn't. I just believe that couples should work things out together, and go to God together. It hurts a lot, but writing like this helps me. I had given everything to him, including my body, which I regret wholeheartedly. Yet, I feel as though in a few days he'll come crawling back and I'm afraid I'll let him immediately back into my heart. He's hurt me so many times, even before we were ever dating. I was sending him Bible verses every night. I guess I can blame myself for bringing things up constantly. I struggle with depression. I know that this is hard to deal with in a relationship, but he has his own problems. He's 23, living at home, and has no ambition to move forward. I tried getting him to go back to college with me so we could work on starting our lives together. There are other things that bother me, such as him being disrespectful to his parents, telling them to shut up, yet relying on his mother too much. Sometimes I feel like she’s the girlfriend, and I'm not. I'm hurt, and want to heal. I want a godly man who thinks twice before doing something to hurt me. I just wish he could be that godly man. I know this is because I've been connected to him in a way I should not have been connected to him. I had been sleeping with him for about 8 months. My friends have told me I would be an idiot to let him back into my life unless he truly changes. My father is extremely upset about how hurt I am. He told me he didn't want me to let him back in my life, as he doesn't want him to hurt me again. But I love him, so it's hard to let go and move on. I've been praying and reading my Bible, which helps as well. And this break up, I've been better about leaving him alone. I struggle with sleeping at night though and now it's even worse. Since I've known him, I’ve had nightmares every night. It's taking a huge toll on me, and my body. I want to grow closer to God, and become the person I'm supposed to be. I was so close to God before I knew him. I had a friend who discovered what I had been doing tell me, "I used to look up to you for spiritual advice, now I can't and it hurts.” I've hurt so many people in my life. I've hurt my family, though they do not know what I have done. I need to heal before I tell them, especially my older sister. She's my best friend, and I can't believe what I've done. I've let her down. I know she'll love me regardless of my sin, but it still hurts. I want to share this story, because I want people to know that all sin will lead to pain. No one can love us like God can, and people will constantly let us down. I know I'll continue to struggle with my sin and the pain I'm feeling, yet I want to give it all to Jesus. I want to encourage others to not live like you're married, until you're married. It hard to sleep next to someone at night, and then be left in the morning. I just want encouragement to not go back to this destructive relationship unless God can heal it. Though that would take a long time. And at this point, I feel as though God's telling me it's not His plan. It hurts, but I know His plan for me is far greater than any I'll ever have for myself. I also want to encourage others to not put their life on hold for someone such as this. I decided not to go to my dream college because of this man—this man who hurt me repeatedly. But now, I've decided to go to college where my sister is working on her master's degree and hope to soon get an apartment with her. It's a Christian college, and I can't wait to be surrounded by godly people. My sister is deeply rooted in Christ as well. If you've read this all, I thank you for taking the time to do so. I'm sure there are countless errors throughout this, as I typed quickly, but it's my story. It's not perfect, so it doesn't have to be written perfectly, because God is perfect for us.
Regretting My Sins
First of all, you are to be commended for having an honest and tender heart. You know right from wrong, feel genuine remorse for your sins and have insight into the thoughts and motives that have led to your sins. Please be assured that God is pleased with your broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51). Your story is a perfect example of how one sin can lead to another and then another, and when you are healed you will be able to help others through your witness of God's grace.
Conversely, your ex-boyfriend’s behavior does not demonstrate a heart that is sincere and humble before God. From what you have written, he does not demonstrate any remorse for his sins and his motives are selfish. His behavior toward you does not demonstrate love. He has been using you for sex. He has demonstrated a pattern of sinful behaviors and broken promises and he will only continue to hurt you. He said himself that he never loved you. It's not because you are unlovable or that there is something wrong with you. He is not rejecting you because you are an awful person. He is rejecting you because he has poor character and lacks moral integrity. You deserve better. I understand that you think you love him and you hope that you and God together can change him, but trust me in this: Many broken hearts and damaged lives use the same rationalization, "But I love him," coupled with the hope that he will change. Your love cannot change him. If you stay with him, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of heartache and regret. If you are pregnant, he may stay with you for a while, but this relationship cannot and will not last and a baby cannot hold him.
Here are my suggestions, and I pray that you will follow through with them.
1. Stop having sex with him immediately. Repent. Go and sin no more. (John 8:11)
2. Confess your sin to God and pray for His forgiveness. (Psalm 51)
3. Forgive yourself. As long as you hang onto guilt, you are giving Satan an advantage over you and he will use your guilt to convince you that you are not worthy of God's love, mercy, and blessings. (1 John 1:9 and Psalm 103:8-14)
4. Develop a more intimate relationship with God and allow Him to fill your emotional void. Do not seek a man to fill that which only God can. (Psalm 139)
5. Get professional help for your depression from a Christian counselor (or a counselor who is a Christian) and ask that person to pray for you. (James 5:16)
6. Concentrate on doing well in college.
7. Pray that you aren't pregnant.
You have been in my prayers and I will continue to pray for you.