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  1. Hey everyone. My girlfriend and I are 24, "waiters," and have been together for 4.5 months. During that time we have become each others' best friends. We have so much common ground we fit like puzzle pieces. We both come from conservative Christian backgrounds, but left and are currently exploring our faith together. She is everything I would want in a partner, and she feels the same way about me. Unfortunately there is one major problem: at 18 she was raped several times by her first boyfriend (that's all the detail I'll give). This was her first experience with being in a relationship and her first and only sexual experience. She hasn't been in another relationship until me. She told me about this pretty early on and I accepted it without thinking too much about it. After all, it wasn't her fault or decision. As the relationship progressed and we grew closer together, we began to talk about our intentions and views on marriage. And slowly the knowledge of her rapes began to eat away at me. Eventually I told her, and we've been talking it through. My anxiety has been progressively worsening and I've been obsessing over this (I have OCD, particularly in regard to obsessive thoughts). Despite that, she has been absolutely patient and understanding with me. I could use some objective guidance, advice, and encouragement in working through this. I love her and would hate to lose her over something that was never her choice or desire. I know how much that would devastate both of us. And I know it's really hard to find real love, a best friend, and a "waiter" all wrapped up in one. But I'm terrified I won't be able to get over it (which only adds to my anxiety). I know if I can't, then dragging her along would just be cruel. Some questions we've been mulling over: 1. Is rape a type of sex, a type of assault, or both? 2. Would it be right to say she's never had sex before since she didn't consent or participate? Experientially, she sees it as something totally different (like being in a fight vs. being abused, or skydiving vs. being pushed out of a plane). 3. Would it be right to call her a virgin since she has never had consensual sex? Or would we be lying to ourselves? She does still bring the same level of innocence, purity, and chastity as a virgin, right? 4. Does this guy count as a sexual partner? 5. If we get married, will we still have that same "specialness" of two virgins coming together for the first time? 6. Does she still have just as much to give as a virgin? 7. How do I get over the idea of another guy having already "been there?" I feel nauseous when I think about it. 8. She never gave him anything sexual, he only took. But how do I stop from feeling like I will be "sharing" her with her rapist ex-boyfriend? 9. Is this something I will always be worrying about, even into marriage? Or will I eventually be able accept and move past it? 10. Could this help us both grow in the long run by helping her to heal and helping me to focus on the heart and love unconditionally? I love this woman and I want to explore every avenue before deciding I can't handle it. I think I would hate myself for giving her up over something that was never her fault, desire, or decision. I also know that things happen in this life that are out of our control and part of a marriage is to stay together despite life's challenges ("for better or for worse, in sickness and in health"). But I fear that either way I'll always wonder what could have been.