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The Past Past

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My dear Jil, please stop crying. Let me see if I can break it down for you, so you’ll see what the issues are. This man can’t marry you. He wants to marry you but he can’t. The problem is inside him, it really has nothing to do with you.

He wants a “chaste” woman, a woman with no past. You have a past. He can’t get over that. He can’t handle the fact you’ve had so many boyfriends, and slept with many men over the years. It’s not as if the numbers are alarming, but he finds the fact painful. He’ll struggle with even one past boyfriend. He can’t get over your past. He sees you as “soiled.” He has a mental block.

As a pastor he preaches the doctrine of grace and forgiveness, but it’s just mental assent for him. You’re the test of whether he truly believes in grace and forgiveness, and you can see he’s struggling. I don’t think he’ll ever marry you. If he does he’ll treat you like a piece of sin. He’ll alienate affection from you, won’t be able to fully accept you because he has a mental block. And you’ll suffer in such a relationship. He’ll keep putting you down in public. He’ll be angry he ended up with you. The idea of other men having slept with you is disturbing for him, though you hadn’t met when all that happened. Oh, he loves those wonderful qualities you have. It’s why one moment he’s all over you and the next he pulls back.Other things being equal he’ll have married you, fast! You gel on many levels. He finds it easy to talk to you. You were corresponding for all those months he was abroad. That was because he was lonely. But once he came back and the sense of loneliness dissipated, he cooled off. But then he goes away from you, becomes emotionally lonely again, and comes back. And the routine begins again. But as much as he likes you he just can’t accommodate your past. He seems to me like someone who’ll prefer to marry a virgin. Unfortunately you’re not and can’t be. And so he struggles. In a way I actually feel sorry for him: You meet this wonderful girl you love, who you can totally be yourself with. But you can’t just get over her past. That’s the struggle going on inside him. It’s why he’ll introduce you to his friends but stop short at calling you girlfriend. He’s putting enough relational virtual distance between you both, so he doesn’t commit. He does everything but take that one step. And he’s afraid he’ll regret committing to you.

Then there’s the fact he’s afraid you have emotional baggage. And you need to work on that. You’re putting too much stock in a relationship, hoping some man will make you happy. But you have to find happiness in yourself, find happiness in who you are, in what you do. You’ve got to find a purpose for your life, find fulfillment in that purpose. If you’re dependent on a man to give you happiness, why, you’ve fashioned a god for yourself. The man you’re looking up to for happiness is also trying to sort himself out. He’s trying to make sense of life. He’s looking for happiness himself. And this kind of guy – seems to me he never had a good relationship with his mother. I suspect he’s trying to get “away from his mother” as it were, running from her. They weren’t close. He didn’t approve of his mother being with other men. It’s a violation of maternal purity to him. His parents are divorced. You’re the substitute mum. He finds kindness and understanding in you. Why he likes you. Only you have this past. Because you’ve been with other men, you’re impure like his mother. That’s what he can’t get over.

I’m however surprised you’re not discriminatory about whom you share your past with, especially lurid details. Not everyone can handle such information. And you do yourself no good with such comprehensiveness. I thought your faith says, if any man be in Christ he’s a new creature. That old things are passed away. Even you don’t seem to believe those words. You paint yourself with tar and feathers. We all have a past. If God were to judge us on our past who’ll stand? At some point some people just decide to distance themselves from concupiscence and superfluity of naughtiness. But some people can’t get past that past. It’s just a big issue for them. You can’t marry such a person I’m afraid. He’ll forever be looking for a better version of you. And he’ll just tolerate you affectionately though you’re functionally useful to him.

If a guy tells you, “If God wants us to marry we’ll marry” you better be worried. It’s non-committal. At that point the level of interest probably dropped to 30%. It’s a reverse out of the relationship. I reckon the chance of marrying someone who tells you that is only 5%. From such statement, you’d think marriage was a game of chance and not a decision. “If God wants us to marry we’ll marry,” is a strange and fatalistic view of marriage. Spurious logic. He’s essentially saying, if we marry it’s God’s will, if we don’t it’s God’s will. So if I don’t marry you put it on God, not on me. And since we can’t hold God liable you’re left with nothing. In other words, such statements are exculpations of personal responsibility. If you hang on to a relationship after such a statement you must believe in very long odds. A man should not be ambivalent about marrying you. He ought to be sure. If he’s ambivalent he’ll carry that spirit into the marriage. He’ll have doubts about your wedding. He’s going to be watching out for you in the marriage, under certain detachment. You better not do wrong. He’ll keep a record of wrongs as corroborative evidence he shouldn’t have married you.

You want a man who’s sure that he’s sure you’re the woman for him. That sureness will make him commit totally to the marriage. Otherwise he’ll edge his bet. Marriage has to be all chips in. Once you make room for failure life exploits the gap of hesitation. If he’s going to marry you, he’s got to accept your past, the totality of you.

Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com

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