Crosswalk.com

Should You Reject Someone Because of Their Sexual Past?

Kris Swiatocho, Cliff Young

EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to [email protected] (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION:

I met a Christian man who eventually pursued me. Impressed with his spirituality and politeness, I gave him a chance and we got along well. We were already planning our future when he dropped a bomb - he told me he was sick with herpes. At first. I accepted him wholeheartedly but I knew that I cannot disclose it to my parents (they were not Christians). However, my church accountability partner told me that I should seek their blessing as my final authority. I told them about it and they asked me to leave him. I obeyed them as I believe that we should always obey our authorities, especially our parents. I broke up with him. But then up to now my decision still haunts me - I feel like I rejected a good person just because of his past. He has been living clean for years and the disease was just a consequence of his past. But I know that I did the right thing by obeying my parents. What can you say about my situation? Is it right for me to continue feeling this way?

HE SAID:

You have met a very decent and honest person for him to disclose his condition to you prior to your relationship going too far down the road together.

About one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years have genital herpes according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. It is a very common disease and oftentimes a person who has been sexually active is not even aware they have herpes due to the mild or limited symptoms that can easily be mistaken for another skin condition.

Some things to consider if you are second-guessing your decision to move forward with your relationship, as outlined by the CDC.

There are ways to reduce the risk of contracting herpes.

Complications for a woman with herpes can occur during pregnancy including miscarriage and passing it onto her unborn child.

There is no cure although there are medications that can prevent or shorten the outbreaks.

Those are the clinical non-emotional comments.

I totally understand your parent’s perspective and they have your overall well-being in mind. In the end, as an adult, it is your decision.

We all have free will to make our own choices in life, and along those decisions come consequences, some more manageable than others. They can be of social, emotional, financial or physical in nature, or a combination of.  This is a consequence of your boyfriend’s previous choices.

Many people marry knowing full-well their partner suffers from a sexually transmitted disease, and sadly some do not. True love, commitment and a strong relationship, especially one blessed by God, can withstand anything, even herpes.

It is not wrong of you to break up because of this one issue. Unless you can wholeheartedly marry him holding no grudge, condemnation or ill-feelings for what may happen to you during your marriage should you contract herpes, then you shouldn’t marry him. 

When we choice to form a holy union with someone, we are doing it for how they are now, not for someone you want them to be (or not).

SHE SAID:

I am thankful to know you do respect your parents and have honored them, but unless you are under 18, I do not believe you need your parents to approve of your future spouse. Now whether they are believers or not, regarding his STD, they are simply concerned of your future. What if you were to get the disease? What if this disease caused other issues down the road? Could it affect having children? All of these are important points. It would be the same if he had other health issues. If he was in a wheel chair, missing a limb, had a chronic illness such a diabetes, heart or lung disease. All of these illnesses would affect your future. And you would need to pray and be sure it is what God would want. So, to me it’s not about his illness, as you have clearly pointed out, it was something as a result of his past. And you do need to think of how it could affect you. But the other issue here is about the Lord. 

Because your parents are not believers, their direction would not be inspired or led by God. As much as their approval is important to you—no matter how old you are, it cannot be your only decision factor. Personally, I wouldn’t have said anything to them about something so personal to your boyfriend. It should have stayed between the two of you. In the same way, you may have shared some personal things about yourself that only he should have known. You should seek counsel from your pastor, Sunday school teacher or a Christian counselor. 

So now what to do? I think you may have decided too quickly without talking to your boyfriend about it. I think you should have discussed more about the STD and the effects it could have on your relationship—sex wise in your marriage and kept it between the two of you. Now could you go back to him, apologize and see if he is open to dating again? Perhaps. But be ready to hear that he is not interested due to you telling his parents about his STD and for leaving him over it. Being around your parents could be hard for him. But if he is open to dating again, I would and this time, allow the Lord to direct you and only wise counsel of believers, trusting the Lord for His direction. 

Proverbs 19:20-21, "Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." 

HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.

SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of four books.

DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.

GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to [email protected] (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.

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Publication date: August 24, 2017