Abel has an insightful post from a little while back on physical intimacy with a widower. I haven’t much to say on that, but it reminded me of the philosophy I came to on dating and intimacy.

Several years ago I was very close to a young lady named Silke Modaber. Silke was 19 or so and a virgin, due at least in part by her Catholic upbringing. While in college she was seriously dating a guy named Vernon. Vernon was her first serious boyfriend and, as far as such things go, almost “out of her league.” Before too long, she said that she had been thinking about having sex with him and asked for my input.

I actually had to think hard about how to answer. In most circumstances, I would be encouraging provided that he or she was comfortable with it. But I also knew that when we first met she had intended to save herself for marriage and I hated to see her give up something that was once so important to her for a guy that I viewed as a non-permanent fixture in her life. Yet it would have been hypocritical for me to tell her not to when I certainly never waited for marriage, even though at some point I intended to.

I wasn’t in a position to tell her not to and yet that was my advice. It got me thinking a lot about the subject.

I eventually posited it as a what-if. The question I asked her was whether or not she would regret having had sex with him if the relationship doesn’t work out. That way, if it was part of some effort to hold on to him (though their relationship wasn’t in trouble) or if she was just getting impatient, it would at least expose those motives for what they were (even if it didn’t change her course of action).

The more I thought about it, the sounder this philosophy was. I fleshed out the question a little more and it became “if the relationship cratered before it doubled in length, would you regret having done it?” In other words, if you just met the guy would it be a problem if there was no relationship after? If you’ve been with him for six months, would you regret it if it didn’t quite make a year? Yes? Then you probably shouldn’t do it.

Of course, such advice always sounds better to the person giving it than the person recieving it. She said it was a moot point because their relationship wasn’t going to end, she just knew it.

So she did.

And it did.

And I comforted her when she cried and cried.

Category: Coffeehouse

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