This is a letter from a reader with a typical relationship situation in college. It is shared with the intention that her struggle and the responses she received will benefit others who are experiencing similar situations.
Hi, my name is Tracy and I need some advice. I am a 19-year old college student and I have been in a long distance relationship. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 years and have decided to wait until marriage to have sex. Only we are not completely pure, there has been the occasional foreplay, I’ll be honest about that. And he seems to get very aroused and at times he asks if I would let him, but I never have and I won’t. His views were the same as mine once before, but he said that they changed. He wants to have sex just once to see what it feels like. His theory now is that “if it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t.”
You see, we are both in college and live about two hours away from each other. The first year he lived 40 minutes away so we were long distance for the first year and then the second year he was at the college and now this year he is finishing his last year in college as am I.
In the beginning of our relationship, we agreed that waiting for sex was a good idea. But lately he’s been saying stuff like he doesn’t think that he can wait and stuff. I’m really scared that he might have to end up dumping me so that he can actually experience what he wants to experience. I really love him and we have broken up once, we let each other go and came back to each other as the saying goes. “Let something go and if it comes back to you then it was meant to be and if it doesn’t then it was never yours to begin with” or something along those lines.
I want to make everything work and we are trying hard to keep our long distance relationship as close as it possibly can. We talk every night and I send him surprise letters and I always email him. But he has his friends on the side in college and the odd time he doesn’t have time to write me an email or find me important enough to phone. But he has to have his time with his friends right?
I’m just being selfish. I’m going to print out a bunch of the stuff on your website and read it to him in person so that I know he’s listening and we might be able to win him over. I don’t even know what his plans are for the future for us, he doesn’t like talking about it and he doesn’t even really know. He’s still a kid and doesn’t want to get married anytime soon. His parents are more than 20 years apart and had both my boyfriend and his older sibling before they were married. They both were old enough to remember and attend the wedding. He says that his parents have a little to do with him having a different view. I just don’t know what to do or what to say to him to convince him otherwise.
I just finished reading Straight From a Guy and I think I feel a little better. Because I guess all guys, even if they wanted to save themselves, if in the situation would love to have sex with their girlfriends if she said “yes.” I just have to keep him thinking pure and not lead up to tempting situations? This should help right? I think I’ll let my boyfriend read this article and many of the others that I’ll find. Well, thank you for your time and I hope you can give me some sort of good news.
Thank you so very much for writing. I am extremely thankful to read that you have committed to waiting for sex! Humanly speaking it is tough, needless to say.
Many people who write me have gone the road of sex outside of marriage and are facing devastation of one type or another. On the other hand, you believe Our Father when He says that sins of the body are especially serious. And He gives the example in Song of Solomon of the Shulamite woman whose gate was locked (Song of Solomon 4:11-13). This means that she waited till marriage.
But, fasten your seatbelt because what I am going to say next may be hard to hear. This time of your life needs to be one of establishing friendships with both young women and young men—Christian ones, in terms of close friends. Consider the fruit, in terms of ascertaining whether any of your friends love Christ.
It would be a mistake to forego getting to know other men right now!
Understandably it may be difficult to picture your backing off from the closeness you have with your boyfriend. Nevertheless, you want only God’s man for your husband. Your future husband should be ahead of you spiritually rather than behind, as it seems your boyfriend is.
Good that you mentioned avoiding tempting situations. Yes! Refuse to spend time alone with him. It is not your job to keep him pure, but instead his job is to look to the Holy Spirit for that. If you haven’t read the Eric & Leslie Ludy’s book, When God Writes Your Love Story: The Ultimate Guide to Guy/Girl Relationships, get it.
Another one is Choosing God’s Best: Wisdom for Lifelong Romance by Dr. Don Raunikar. In fact, try to get two copies and give your boyfriend one. Tell your boyfriend that you have decided to hold out for a man who is strong enough spiritually to not push for sex! Then, step back and let God work.
It may be that your boyfriend will get upset. But this will be a major test of his love for you. Give him only a week to give you a decision on whether he will continue to pressure you or not. The fact that he seems young and has not thought about marriage is important.
Please begin to look around at the young men that God has put in your path. Is it possible that He wants you to get to know some of them? An age-old mistake that women make is to give in to a boyfriend who wants sex (it wouldn’t be just once, I would venture to say) and then she realizes she has given up something huge! Holding back is actually very attractive, because it is God’s way.
His parents’ situation is just that. It may be a partial explanation but it is not an excuse! Big difference!
Again Tracy, it is beautiful that you are holding out. Don’t let anyone dissuade you. Do you have any girlfriends who are supporting each other in waiting? If not, try to find some.
May He bless you and keep you.
It’s my hope that you can use both feedback to see from two sides (male and female) and make the best decision that’s pleasing in God’s eyes.
As a guy, it’s very normal to be aroused when you get into a “foreplay” as you mentioned. Even from my experience with my girlfriend, I have to be very careful not to do something that I was going to say “more is better” or else, it would be hard to stop and it will become lust and it’s sinful. That’s why I need to be careful in choosing the activities together. And yes, when we are alone, it’s very difficult not to do more things that you’re not supposed to do, so it’s best to avoid the situation in the first place. If you need to talk privately, just do it over the phone or go to a semi-secluded place where there is still enough people around you.
The theory if it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t is a camouflage that “I want it to make it happen” because it is irresponsible and shifting the blame to “opportunity and the moment” while God wants us to take charge of our situation as best as possible make sure “it doesn’t happen!” By saying that, I know already that the mind is set to make it happen, so be very careful with that. I can speak from experience where my mind can play tricks on me too, and the devil can do the same to tempt us, so remind your boyfriend about that and see if he has a teachable heart on this matter.
The bottom line is if he loves you, he would try his best to keep your purity and not robbing something that’s precious from you, that may belong to someone else. Don’t give in, because the chance of him dumping you after you give in is much bigger (because of lost of respect) than now, even if you get dumped now, you know that he’s not for you in the first place and you’ll still have the gift for your future husband, while when you give in and he gets sick of you and look for someone else new, you’ve already suffered a major loss. I can’t describe it to you how big it is, however it’s huge enough of an impact that I’ve seen many girls are devastated by it.
The fact that he doesn’t want to talk about marriage and future while pursuing sex should raise a major red flag. So be very careful. You should be important and precious in his eyes, not as a sex object but as someone to connect with and to talk to. If you love someone, you’ll spend time with him/her. Of course we can argue about “how much time,” but nonetheless you will have to spend time with your loved one.
I can concur with Ann with regard to the attractiveness of holding back, and that’s one of the reasons I have a lot of respect toward my girlfriend. She also focuses on my treatment on her too and set the boundaries, and let me tell you girls have the power in that department, but once you give in, you have forfeited that power. I also love her that much that I will wait (both of us are virgins) and if God’s willing we’ll get married and open the “gift of sex” together on our wedding night. But it’s still possible that we won’t marry each other, so the gift may belong to someone else. No matter what it’s unloving to push for sex (plus a big sin) so let me say it again, “Don’t give in!” You won’t regret it! Even if you end up breaking up with him because of that.
Pray hard and good luck! Write back if you have any questions or comments!
P.S. Robert married his girlfriend four years after he wrote this response and he opened the “gift of sex” with his bride after their wedding day.
All the names and other personal information have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals in this article.