I was in a wonderful(or so I thought) relationship with a man for 6 years during which time we were sexually intimate. I had a very spiritual encounter and returned to my Catholic church. After that experience, I told my boyfriend that I did not feel comfortable with sexual intimacy outside of marriage due to my renewed spiritual life. I wanted to return to God and follow His commandments. My boyfriend (of 6 years!) broke up with me because he said “without sex, he could not feel loved. And that marriage was out of the question until we cleared this matter up.” I will not give up my new resolution with God, but my heart is broken. Is this relationship worth pursuing?

A: The problem is not that you turned to God. It’s that you made a major decision and change in your life without talking it over with your partner. I completely understand why, in your 50s, you are reevaluating your relationship with the spiritual side of life. But when in a committed relationship, it’s reasonable for the partner to want to be included in the conversation. If, on discussing it, you had known the implications for your relationship, you might have gone about things a bit differently. If he had been in on the issue from the beginning, your boyfriend might have gone down the path with you – or not. But you would have understood where he stood early on.

The relationship isn’t worth pursuing if you want to make your decisions without any input or reaction from your boyfriend. If you do want a relationship you have to start acting like you’re in one. That means apologizing for leaving him out of this important reconsideration of your life course and listening with an open heart and mind to his feelings and opinions. The two of you also need to look at what has blocked you from considering marriage after 6 good years together.

I honestly don’t think you need to choose between love for your boyfriend and love of God. I hope you can work this through.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie