13 January, 2009
I am a woman who is not yet married but has had pre-marital relations with two separate men in my lifetime. I have become more religious over the past year and a half and I feel extreme guilt for what I have done. I am ashamed and scared that no man will want to marry me if he knows about it. I know what's done is done and I will not be able to take my wrongdoings back. What do you suggest? Would this information be in a Ketubah? I would want my future husband to know but I do not want to detract anyone from who I really am.
Kol hakavod on your increased observance!
Guilt is a very powerful force, and when channeled in a positive framework it can motivate us to change and improve ourselves. The process of teshuvah allows us to transform our guilt and sins and redefine and recreate ourselves. If however, we dwell on our guilty feelings and allow them to fester within us without motivating us to change, then guilt becomes destructive. Instead of focusing on your guilty feelings, we urge you to change your focus to positive, constructive actions and thoughts.
Going forward, you do not have to disclose your background to a date until your relationship becomes serious. Further, as long as your chatan knows that you are not a virgin, he may accept a ketubah with the language and financial terms of a virgin. Therefore you do not need to change the language of the ketubah.
Please note that a woman who has had relations with someone whom she is not permitted to marry (such as a non-Jew or a close relative) is not permitted to marry a kohen.
We encourage you to develop a relationship with a rabbi/rabbi's wife or mentor who can further guide you on path of observance.
We wish you much hatzlacha!
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