Q: Hi Meredith,
I started seeing someone exclusively a year ago. We met through a dating website and hit it off. She was new to the area and we started to see each other a few times a week, spent weekends together, went on trips, etc. We got along really well.
About 10 months into the relationship, she went back home for a few days for the first time since moving here. The entire time we had been dating, we never discussed religion. Although I was brought up Catholic and attended Catholic school for most of my life, I have considered myself to be an agnostic. She was raised as a Christian by very conservative and evangelical parents. But after moving to college, she became more liberal and Christianity became a lot less important in her life.
Anyway, she went to church with her parents while visiting and had an epiphany of sorts. She decided that God and Christianity are an incredibly important part of her life. When she came back from visiting home, she told me that she no longer wants to be in a relationship with someone who isn't Christian. This was very unexpected for me. I decided to re-open myself to Christianity and to explore some of the doubts I had.
Things were looking promising for us until she told me that she no longer wants to have premarital sex, no exceptions. She believes sex is sacred and only for marriage. We are both 25 and I don't see myself getting married for another four to five years. I strongly believe that sex is essential in a long-term, exclusive relationship and told her that this was a deal-breaker for me. She is very upset about this. She argues that abstaining from sex shouldn't break a relationship when both parties are in love.
Before she became abstinent, I could honestly see myself marrying her down the road (and vice versa). Am I being unfair for leaving her solely based on no-sex? It really hurts me to know that she feels I'm being unfair and selfish to breakup over this.
– Am I Being Unfair?, Boston
A: You're not being unfair. You have a legitimate reason to break up with this woman. If you want sex and she doesn't, this isn't going to work.
When you started this relationship, you had similar philosophies about religion (at the very least, they meshed), but she changed her priorities and now you're incompatible. You saw yourself marrying her, but she's no longer the "her" you knew months ago. Tell her that your religious interests just don't match anymore, and that while you're open to more religion in your life, you'll never rule out premarital sex.
She might call you selfish, but that doesn't mean she's right. Your gut knows best.
Readers? Is he being selfish? How important is the religion -- and the sex? How can he live with her opinion of him? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.