DEAR HARRIETTE: I started dating a young lady a couple of months ago, and the sparks are definitely flying. We have been hanging out a lot, and we both really do like each other. We agreed to take it slow, even though it's hard. I feel like I have to live up to the values I've been taught. I am a leader in my church, and one of the things that I committed to was celibacy. I am a grown man who was previously married, but I have been single for a long time. I'm not sure how long I can hold out, given my new circumstances. It's way too soon to think about getting married, and I wouldn't want to rush to that extreme just because I'm wanting to be intimate with this woman. I'm really in a difficult spot now. I like her a lot, but I'm not sure how to manage this. -- On the Brink, Brooklyn, New York
DEAR ON THE BRINK: Whether you are 16 or a full-grown adult, temptation is still temptation. It is natural for you to want to be intimate with someone you are attracted to. You already know this, but the greater challenge is curbing your sexual desire for this woman and replacing it with getting to know her and seeing if you two are compatible.
It seems to be rare these days for people to make the choice not to become intimate with people they find attractive. Yet, since this is your practice and your commitment, stay the course. Talk to your date. Be upfront about your values and your intentions. If you want to remarry, pay attention to see if this woman could be "the one." If not, reduce your temptation risk by ending the relationship once you know it is not what you want long-term.