Last October he decided he wanted to stop having sex and wait until marriage (which he thought would be with me). It took me half a year to finally realize that this was the best option for us. However, if and when we were to get married, it wouldn’t be well until after undergrad which is at least three years away. Before he even decided that he wanted to stop having sex, he slowly stopped liking to kiss me and would only do it during sex and foreplay. Now that we don’t do anything sexual except for when the temptation takes over us, it seems like we never kiss. I try to get him to kiss me, but he doesn’t like it and it’s even hard to get a peck out of him when we’re saying goodbye.
What does this mean? He even has admitted to not liking it with me (and this by no means has anything to do with his arousal because he is still very much so attracted to me). It’s hard not to take this personally and it’s hard not to have this put a huge damper on our relationship when we can’t even kiss each other let alone do other intimate things. — Missing the Kissing
Some people just don’t like kissing. But it seems like he once did like kissing you? And then decided he didn’t? And you’re sure he’s “very much attracted to you,” despite his not wanting to kiss you and deciding to wait years to have sex with you again? And what do you mean that you don’t do “anything sexual except for when temptation takes over”? Does that mean you do have sex? When “temptation takes over,” who initiates whatever it is you do? Does he feel guilty about it later? Has he ever blamed you when this temptation takes over?
Beyond the idea that he simply doesn’t like kissing, which I don’t buy or I think you would have been aware of that sooner, I have several theories and none bode well for the health of your relationship:
1) He’s not attracted to you. Despite the fact that you think he is, he’s not. It would explain why he doesn’t want to have sex with you anymore and why he’s not interested in kissing you. It wouldn’t explain why he’s still with you, but the following theories would.
2) He’s gay. Giving up kissing and having sex with a woman isn’t so hard when you’re actually attracted to men. The reason he hasn’t come out is because:
3) He’s super Christian and not only believes sex before marriage in sinful, but also believes being gay is a sin, too. So, he’ll rope his high school sweetheart into joining his faith, waiting until marriage to have sex, and then marrying him years down the road when he’ll especially need a beard to fit into his church community.
If I were you, I’d run far and fast. I honestly cannot think of a single explanation for his suddenly not wanting to even peck you that ends well for you. Sorry, I know that’s not what you want to hear, but I think you’d be saving yourself a lot of heartache and potentially a miserable marriage and life if you MOA now.
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Nookie October 6, 2016, 8:11 am
Ha, that’s exactly what I thought too! He’s probably gay and being religious, is trying very hard not to be. Sorry LW, if I were you I’d break up with him – you’re 19 and in college. This should be the time when you’re having fun and learning about yourself while studying, it’ll be hard to break up after three years but think about the next 30-40 – do you want to be in a relationship with little to no physical intimacy for the rest of your life?
Ashley October 6, 2016, 8:16 am
He may be gay, he may be struggling with how to be Christian and a sexual being at the same time. Having grown up in a small southern town, I remember my classmates giving each other those lines after sleeping with each other…”your taking me away from god”. Things like that. In any case, whether he’s gay or not, it is obvious you are unhappy and not on the same page regarding the level of intimacy in your relationship. Break up with him and explore your faith on your own, form your own ideas. The no sex before marriage thing may be easier to hold to when it comes from your own convictions, rather than forced upon you by someone else.
Kate October 6, 2016, 8:23 am
He wouldn’t necessarily not be with her even if he’s not attracted. I know a couple of guys who stayed with their girlfriends for a year or two or even longer while not being attracted. In one case it was that the girlfriend had an awesome personality and was just a great person, but not his type physically. He cheated and she knew it but stayed with him. He started giving her shit for gaining weight and they eventually broke up. The other guy, his girlfriend was really fun and cool at first, but then she became increasingly less so, and he wasn’t attracted to her but didn’t break up with her for like another year.
Kate October 6, 2016, 8:30 am
And this would certainly also apply if he’s gay. He likes the companionship, the idea of having a girlfriend, but the attraction and intimacy are not there. Contrary to popular belief, a guy will not necessarily break up with you even if he’s not feeling it and hasn’t been for a while.
Brise October 6, 2016, 8:34 am
Why are you still with him? The first relationship is very rarely the one that leads to marriage. You grew apart, you don’t have the same expectations, you seem dependent, very dependent on him, and you don’t feel happy. You feel frustrated and rejected. Anybody would. Take some distance, admit you own needs and let him find himself. He is too contradictory. And he is no good boyfriend. You will be so much better away of this sad influence. Love is not like this.
Anon October 6, 2016, 8:43 am
Yeah, I think it’s likely he’s gay too. Several of my friends are gay Christian guys, and almost all of them doubled-down on the Christianity at first, becoming much more conservative, some of them getting into more fundamentalist denominations, hoping that would change who they were. A couple of them even married women, believing that if they were committed enough they could change. Not surprisingly, it didn’t work for any of them, and luckily they’re all in healthier places with it now.
But regardless of if he’s gay or not, clearly this relationship isn’t working. Move on, stay friends if you want, but don’t get stuck in a relationship like this just because of your history and your care for him as a person.
Juliecatharine October 6, 2016, 9:02 am
Gay or straight this guy isn’t going to make you happy. Please run before your self esteem is utterly shredded by his lack of even basic affection.
BecBoo84 October 6, 2016, 9:03 am
While I agree that one of the options presented by Wendy is probably accurate, it is also possible that with his new commitment to not having sex until marriage, he feels like kissing/making out leads to increased temptation, which is why he feels that it’s better to avoid it. I had several friends like this in high school and college… it wasn’t so much that they wanted to save their first kiss for marriage, but that they were worried that if they started down that path, it would be hard to stop.
Adrienne October 6, 2016, 9:46 am
LW- I feel sad for you. Regardless of why he isn’t kissing you, I see this one of two ways:
1. He’s being honest when he tells you this is all based in his interpretation of his faith, it doesn’t seem to be that way for you. Either way there, it seems to be a one-way street with him, and you’ve got to go his way.
2. He’s not being honest with you about his reasons. Other DWs have given lots of different reasons why, but at the end of the day he’s not being honest with you. Honesty is needed in a relationship, and toy shouldn’t stay in one of your partner is dishonest about something of this importance to you.
People are in our lives for different reasons. It sounds like he helped you look inward towards your own faith. If he’s helped you explore and find an important part of yourself, then maybe that was his role in your life. Not to be your husband, but to help you become more yourself so you are ready to meet that person.
Either way, he’s not the one.
andameda October 6, 2016, 9:49 am
Exactly what I was thinking! He may very well be gay and still in tge closet. Girl… I know that he’s your first love and everything, but I think that it might do you good to see what else is out there. I mean, you’re 19 and in college, you have your life ahead of you, and maybe I’m wrong, but I see a tendency that couples who have been together since high school (before their formative, adult years), almost always have a tendency to grow apart after a while.
Miss MJ October 6, 2016, 9:58 am
I’d MOA. This isn’t just about sex, it’s about the fact that your BF found a new brand of religion and has unilaterally decided to change the relationship dynamic you had in ways that you really don’t agree with and he’s not willing to listen to your POV because “religion.” So, basically, there’s no compromise. Either you give up all physical affection for 3 years (which seems very upsetting and alienating to you) or he feels he’s violating what seems to be to him a deeply held (if new) religious principle. Neither of you has to be necessarily wrong in your positions for this to new fundamental incompatibility and I think that’s where you are.
Miss MJ October 6, 2016, 10:00 am
Ugh! *to be a fundamental incompatibility…
SpaceySteph October 6, 2016, 10:29 am
Idk, it could be a religious motivation. The Duggars are all side-hugs-only until marriage so I could see that maybe if he got involved with an ultra-religious denomination that he may want to go that route. He could be struggling with how to dial back the physical stuff due to his newly intensified religion after having already gone farther with the LW. We remind women that they have the right to provide and then later withdraw consent, that saying yes to sex once doesn’t mean they must always be ok with sex. That even marriage does not imply continuous consent. That you aren’t a tease if you want to dial it back. Does not the same apply to men? It should.
Regardless of why, though, the LW needs to decide if that’s something she’s willing to wait for. And you can respect his choices and his religious beliefs and still decide its not for you. If you decide to try to stay, LW, it’s time for open communication: why doesn’t he want to kiss you? Is he attracted to you? Is this about religion or something else?
But honestly, if it were me, I’d be out. You’re young. You need to experience life.
dinoceros October 6, 2016, 10:47 am
I don’t think folks are saying he has to want to have sex just because he had it once, etc., but the main issue is that he has expressed that he doesn’t like it or really being physical with her at all. There’s no indication that if they did stay together for 3+ years and got married that he’d even want to do it then.
SpaceySteph October 6, 2016, 1:44 pm
People are jumping to he’s gay or he’s not attracted to her and I don’t think that those things are necessarily true. I find the religion explanation credible, I even find it credible that he is attracted to her and his backing off on kissing might have more to do with guilt and religion than it does with how attracted he is.
My recommendation was still not to stay tied down to him while he figures this out. But I think that its a bit unfair that folks are jumping to “he’s gay.”
RedRoverRedRover October 6, 2016, 2:29 pm
My question though would be, what caused this religious awakening? People don’t usually become born-again for no reason. The LW doesn’t mention any kind of traumatic experience or hitting rock-bottom or anything that would normally precede such a huge change in his religion. So unless she just didn’t mention it, something’s happening internally. Having gay thoughts that he’s afraid of would certainly be one explanation, and the fact that the religion makes him give up sex is definitely a plus if that’s the case. It’s not the only possible explanation, but it does fit the facts pretty well
Northern Star October 6, 2016, 2:44 pm
It doesn’t have to be some sort of “rock bottom” experience or suppression of gay thoughts. Some people just wonder if they’re missing something, and FIND it. Or maybe the boyfriend’s family or friends brought him into the fold. I have several family members who found religion, and sex before marriage was a no-go, so this doesn’t strike me as unheard of.
Portia October 6, 2016, 3:20 pm
I agree, it doesn’t have to be a hitting-rock-bottom sort of experience that can lead someone to this. I know a number of people who joined these born-again or fundamentalist religious groups in early in college. Sometimes it was almost like joining a fraternity/sorority, where the person made a bunch of new friends who were into that and peer pressure took over, sometimes it was about looking for family or “tribe” like someone said recently in the forums and they felt like they finally belonged. Or it could be because of the newfound pressures of college and finding a way to deal with it. A lot of these kids are vulnerable and someone offering community or a path to live can be inviting.
dinoceros October 7, 2016, 9:07 pm
I don’t think it’s “jumping.” He said he doesn’t like having sex with her. I don’t think it’s extreme to think that that means he isn’t attracted to her.
dinoceros October 6, 2016, 10:44 am
A person can respond physically and still not be attracted to someone. For him to say that he doesn’t like doing this stuff implies that he’s actually not attracted. Whether that’s because he’s gay or asexual or just not attracted to you personally or whatever, you’re going to just have a platonic relationship with him from now on. So if that’s not what you want, then move on.
Nicole October 6, 2016, 11:28 am
Sorry, but any which excuse, he’s still a loser. Dump him.
RedRoverRedRover October 6, 2016, 11:41 am
Even besides the sexual stuff (which is obviously a problem), I think the religious stuff is coming between you. It doesn’t sound like you’re fully on board, at least not to the degree that he is. You say his faith has been growing “insanely”. Then he “helped” you find your religion, which is fine if you’re happy with that, but then it took six months for him to convince you that not having sex was the best thing for your relationship. Six months! And what went on for these six months? I’m guessing a lot of cajoling and fighting until he finally wore you down and you agreed to do things his way.
Differences in religion can be fine for some couples, and for others it’s a killer. It only works if each person understands and respects their partner’s relationship with religion. You’ve worked hard to respect his, but what has he done? Tried to push you to follow it his way. Taken you past your comfort zone. Basically said it’s his way or the highway. That’s not respectful.
Think about whether in 10 years you want to be married to what seems to be a very conservative or even fundamental Christian. Are you comfortable with that? Is that how you want your children raised? And this may just be the beginning. Many conservative churches teach adherence to gender roles to the point where it’s outright sexism. Is that what you want to teach a daughter? Or a son?
Personally I’d think long and hard about being with someone who’s had such a strong and quick religious awakening. They tend to be the most strict and zealous ones, in my experience. And if you decide to break up with him, be ready for him to make you feel like a bad person for wanting sex. He may call you a sinner, or he may call you much worse. If he does, at least you’ll know you made the right choice.
othy October 6, 2016, 2:06 pm
I completely agree with this. When my husband and I started dating, I was in the pretty religious camp while he was agnostic. Then I hit college, had a lot of ‘losing my religion’ experiences and now I’m firmly in the atheist camp. My husband was supportive of me every step of the way. Also, even though I was no longer religious, I didn’t want to have sex with him until we were married (ah, the joys of parents who are ultra conservative about sex). He respected my decision to wait, and I made sure he knew I loved him and I found him sexual attractive.
To me, it sounds like she’s just not on board with his religion and that alone is reason for her to leave him.
blink14 October 6, 2016, 12:23 pm
I would be most concerned about the part where he helped you find “your faith.” Did you feel like he pressured you into it? Was it something you were unsure about and went along with to please him? I would take a really hard look at what you’ve learned about religion, and how YOU feel about your own faith – make sure you are believing in something and practicing a faith that you feel strongly about it on your own, not just because someone else influenced you.
I think Wendy’s suggestions are very valid, and I would add in one more – he may feel like he is supposed to stay with you, because you’ve been together for 3 years, you’re at college, he can rely on you for support, etc. He may not have an ill intentions at all, it could simply be that he isn’t attracted to you anymore, on a physical level, and is holding on because you have been a constant in his life. Its very common for couples to break up once they enter college, you are in a new world, meeting new people, and a lot of relationships come to a natural end where you still care for one another, but that romantic connection is no longer there.
RedRoverRedRover October 6, 2016, 12:44 pm
He could also feel like he needs to stay with her because he had sex with her. If he marries her, he’ll have only ever been with his wife, which is likely what his religion is pushing, that you should only have sex with your spouse. If he has to find someone else to marry, he’ll have had a sexual partner who he didn’t marry.
Moneypenny October 6, 2016, 12:29 pm
On a basic level, disregarding the religion aspect – It sounds like physical affection is important to you in a relationship, and that need isn’t being met anymore. There will be other men out there who will be happy to kiss you! Go find one of them. There’s no use being in an unfulfilling relationship where your bf’s religious zeal trumps your needs for physical affection.
Emily October 6, 2016, 12:41 pm
I agree with everyone else that I don’t think this relationship is the right one for you, and that you should find someone you’re more compatible with, because if you need physical affection, and he is unwilling to give it to you (whatever his reason, he is absolutely within his rights to decide that he’s uncomfortable with something and then not do that thing) you are fundamentally incompatible.
That said, I’d like to raise an eyebrow at ‘it took him six months to persuade you’ that having sex wasn’t good for your relationship, and your implication that you still occasionally have physical relations of some description which your boyfriend isn’t very happy with. If I were you, I’d think seriously about the consent issues this raises, and, as I’ve already said, look for someone who is enthusiastic and wants to kiss you/more…
Northern Star October 6, 2016, 1:16 pm
He’s probably afraid to kiss you because you do not REALLY believe sex before marriage is a sin (that’s what I’m inferring from your letter)—and he does. He only kisses you as a precursor to sex and has for awhile. So of course kissing leads to sex in his mind. Why add to temptation?
I think the newly converted are like recovering alcoholics. The freshest members are the most zealous about not being near a DROP of booze, and they are very concerned with the “right” way to do everything. They settle down after awhile. Doesn’t mean you have to wait while your boyfriend figures everything out, especially if you are simply not on the same page. If he’s constantly undergoing rapid changes, he might not be the same person in a year… in three years, when you’d theoretically be ready to marry… or 10 years down the road.
Teri Anne October 6, 2016, 2:30 pm
The boyfriend’s brand of Christianity, which is promoted by the Duggar family, is very patriarchal. Husbands make unilateral decisions about every aspect of the couple’s life such where to live or how many children to have, and wives are expected to obey without questioning. Even kissing before marriage is forbidden, but after marriage wives are expected to give their husbands sex whenever he wants regardless of how she feels. Birth control is forbidden, and wives are expected to have as many children as possible. If a wife gains weight or otherwise loses attractiveness from multiple pregnancies and her husband strays and has an affair, it is considered the wife’s fault.
I left fundamentalism a few years ago, and I was aware that many fundamentalist couples who advocated patriarchy had in practice more egalitarian marriages. Many of these couples were actually quite happily married. But the boyfriend’s unilateral decision to change the dynamics of their relationship, and the pressure he put upon her suggests that he would likely expect her to be a traditional submissive wife.
I have another serious concern for the LW if she decides to convert to the boyfriend’s brand of Christianity. This culture places enormous emphasis on sexual purity for women, considers even liking a boy a sin (they call it emotional fornication). The LW has had sex with her boyfriend, which would lower her status in the community.
Skyblossom October 6, 2016, 3:49 pm
The thing that stands out the most to me, and has been mentioned by a few others, is that he changed your relationship unilaterally. He decided that it should change and he decided that the two of you shouldn’t have sex and he decided that the two of you shouldn’t kiss or be physically affectionate. These are important things and in most relationships that work well the couple makes these kinds of decisions together. He has picked the religion and then he has helped you to grow in that religion. He seems to be making all of the fundamental decisions in your relationship. Do you want to spend your life that way? His decisions don’t seem to be making you happy. They are made by him without regard to your happiness.
You get to decide what you need to live a happy life and then decide whether you can meet those needs in a relationship with him. If you can’t you will be miserable. If you are already unhappy in the relationship and don’t see any improvement any time soon then there isn’t much point staying in this relationship. At this time it isn’t working for you. He has learned that in this relationships he makes the decisions and you end up following. That probably won’t change. If you break up with him he can either find someone else who already has the same opinions and wants the same thing as him or he will learn the hard way that he can’t change the relationship and make all the decisions and expect his partner to remain in the relationship.
Do you want to live like this for years? Do you want to live like this for life?
Teri Anne October 6, 2016, 4:05 pm
The purity ideology has been repackaged by fundamentalists, but it has been around for many centuries. Purity ideology was alive and wellin suburban Chicago in the 1960s, where I was raised Catholic. After becoming engaged to my late husband, I discovered that he had been dishonest with me by not informing me that he had been married before, a big deal for Catholics. I considered ending our engagement, but felt a lot of guilt because we were sexually active, which I believed obligated me to marry him because having sex made me impure. We did get married, and he turned out to be abusive. My advice to the LW is to please not feel obligated to stay with her BF because they have already been sexually active. This is a new era, and it is time to lay the purity ideology to rest.
Samantha October 6, 2016, 5:05 pm
I usually enjoy the comments on DearWendy but today all I see is people bashing the young man. He found something that makes him happy and the young lady had six months to decide if she was willing to let go of sex in order to be on board with him and his beliefs. She had choices and decided he was worth it until she decided his changes werent making her happy.
Instead of saying the guy is a religious nut, gay or whatever, why dont we respect he made a decision that works for him for whatever reason which I believe truly are religiously based.
If the lw were a man, he would have gotten a new asshole ripped into him for suggesting she is a lesbian because she decided she no longer wished to kiss or have sex with her boyfriend because she wanted to wait until marriage.
The real problem here is they are outgrowing each other and that’s fine. They simplyneed to move on and grow in their directions, respecting each other and their process.
Skyblossom October 6, 2016, 7:05 pm
I don’t think people are bashing the young man. Lots of people are suggesting he may be gay but that isn’t bashing unless you consider it bad.
Many have suggested that the two are no longer a good match and that they should break up. Again, that’s not bashing, just stating facts.
I do think that when one partner unilaterally changes the relationship it is troubling because it leaves no room for the wants and needs of their partner. It leaves their partner in the position of having to change or having to leave and that is the point where the LW finds herself. She has tried changing but she isn’t happy and the relationship isn’t working for her. That still isn’t bashing the young man. Just a statement that when one person changes their partner often finds that they are no longer a match.
If the young man is happy being a fundamentalist Christian that is fine. If she isn’t that is also fine. That still doesn’t bash the young man. It just means that they are no longer a good fit.
Ron October 6, 2016, 8:05 pm
Well, Samantha, you actually raise the nastiest possibility: that this guy’s religious beliefs have always been what they are now and that he dated her in order to convert her, a sort of bait-and-switch which is a thing in some fundamentalist circles.
Northern Star October 7, 2016, 9:10 am
No, I don’t think that’s what Samantha said at all, Ron. How in the world do you leap to the possibility that this guy “dated to convert” his girlfriend, when the letter writer says very specifically that her boyfriend has been growing in his faith for a long time now, and there is absolutely nothing to suggest his motives are underhanded?
If the Master Evil Plan all along was to convert the girlfriend, he wouldn’t have had sex with her at the beginning.
Ron October 7, 2016, 9:47 am
Of course he would have, that binds her more closely to him. The goal is to get her to choose love over her own religious beliefs.
Northern Star October 7, 2016, 11:08 am
No, you have that backwards. It seems like that’s the LW’s goal. She wants more physical affection than her boyfriend’s feels comfortable with, given his religious views.
The LW probably can and should move on, since she’s not getting what she needs to feel happy, but assigning some twisted, nefarious motivation to her boyfriend with ZERO evidence is frankly absurd.
Samantha October 7, 2016, 9:01 pm
I see what you’re saying. I don’t have any issues if he were gay, I just felt like he was getting treated like the bad guy and understand what you mean about making a sudden change.
I think they just need to break up and grow in the direction they choose. Every time I read advice columns I always wish we had the whole story.
I’m just playing devil’s advocate since all we have is her side to weigh in on.
I hope everything works out for them in the end, together or apart. Thank Northern Star for sharing ur perspective with me.
dinoceros October 7, 2016, 9:04 pm
Uh, what? People aren’t bashing him. Saying someone is gay is not an insult. Saying that someone should break up with someone they are not compatible with is not bashing.
Samantha October 9, 2016, 5:17 pm
Let me clarify: what I meant is people aren’t saying maybe he’s gay in a nice way. I felt that instead of taking his word at it being because he doesn’t want to do it anymore because he wants to be chaste, I saw a lot of comments saying he was most likely gay and not in what I would consider the nicest way.
I could have worded myself differently but I just gave me pov that we should take what he said at face value. I didn’t mean to say people thought that being gay was a bad thing.
Hope that clears it up.
Bittergaymark October 7, 2016, 5:07 pm
I am on set and its shooting day 8 in a row so I don’t have much time… So here is my take.
HE’S GAY. Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, Gay, GaY, GAY.
End of story.