A year ago I fell in love with a man who is forty-two years older than I am. He is sixty-three, and I am twenty-one. He says that he loves me very much, but he doesn’t talk to me about any plans for the future…. I have not had intimate relations with him because I was raped and he doesn’t know about it. My family doesn’t want me to break up with him, because he gives me money. I pay my bills and help my family with it.

Sometimes I feel like I love him, but sometimes like I don’t because I get embarrassed when he holds my hand in public…. I can only say that if God takes him away from me, I want to remain alone. I don’t want anyone to know about my dishonor.

Dear Friend,

The fact that you were raped does not mean that you are dishonored. The rape was not your fault! You were the victim; you didn’t do anything wrong. You are just as pure now as you were before you were raped. Purity comes from your choices, not from the acts of others. But unfortunately you have come to believe the lie that tells you that you are no longer pure, and that same lie is causing you to make very bad decisions.

You say that you have not had intimate relations with the older man because he doesn’t know about the rape. We are glad that something stopped you from choosing to give yourself physically to the man, but for a very different reason. It is because an intimate relationship is only significant and honorable when it takes place between a husband and wife. God created sex to be the expression of love that binds a married couple together. Outside of that marital relationship, sex almost always brings deception and broken trust. So we encourage you to continue to guard your purity with this man as well as with any future boyfriends.

The same lie that tells you that you are no longer pure prevents you from hoping for a romantic relationship with someone your age. Instead, you have been willing to settle for the attention and financial advantage of a man old enough to be your grandfather. Don’t listen to the lie, and don’t listen to your family members who want you to stay with him for his money! Don’t wait another day to tell him that you are too young to understand his world and therefore you are no longer going to be seeing him.

Any future boyfriend who is worthy of you will understand that, even though you were the victim of rape, you can still approach your wedding night as pure as any bride. The time to tell him about the rape is when the two of you begin to talk about marriage. Until you find that special man that you will marry, you do not need to tell any other man that you go out with about the rape.

It is possible that the rape is continuing to affect your life to such a great extent because you have never really dealt with the aftereffects of it. We recommend that you ask your doctor or a hospital to refer you to a support group for the victims of sexual assault. That might be the only way that you will be able to believe that our advice is trustworthy.

We wish you the best,