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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How I Got Out Of Purity

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Read part 1: How I Got Into Purity.

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So there was this boy.

Yeah, really cute boy. Fun and smart and nice and all that. So, because I believed in purity culture, I followed the procedure I always did when I had a crush: Pray a lot. And get really worried. Because man, God might say yes! God might say no!

"Yes" meant I would be with this guy forever, happily married. "No" meant nothing nada none zero zip zilch and this crush has to end. That's how purity culture works, you guys. "God's plan" is definitely one of those 2 options.

Can you see why I would be totally terrified about my ability to hear God right?

If I date the dude, but he turns out to not be my perfect soulmate hand-crafted by God, then I'm a massive failure in the following ways:
  1. I will be less pure. Whatever physical or emotional (or *gasp* sexual) connection I have with the guy will tear huge pieces off my heart in the event of a breakup. Then when I do meet that special guy that God chose for me, he'll be so unhappy with me for what I did. I won't be worthy of love from a quality guy.
  2. The whole relationship will just be a horrible rebellion against God. Because of course, if I had listened to God at the beginning, I wouldn't have gotten into the relationship in the first place. Clearly God was trying to tell me "no" but I was just too selfish and didn't trust God. (Blaming the victim.)
  3. Wasted time. How long does it take to date, break up, and get over it? Like, a couple years, at least. I thought I was gonna get married right out of college. Clock's ticking, people. 
And I prayed and prayed, and chatted with this guy. I liked him a lot, but I was so afraid that by indulging the crush, even a little, I was "giving away part of my heart" and possibly doing permanent damage to myself.

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And then it hit me.

It was all about fear. All this stuff about purity and not knowing if it was the right choice or not- I was being completely controlled by FEAR.

What if God says no but I'm just fooling myself into thinking it's okay, and then I date this guy and I become a bad selfish person who doesn't listen to God?

What if I start to like him more, and then we date but we break up and I regret it forever?

What if I start dating him and then I'm carried away by emotions and I'm unable to make good decisions and I end up marrying him even though God was trying to warn me he's not right for me?

What if I end up kissing him or *gasp* having sex and then I won't be pure and I'll regret it forever?

Basically a lot of "What if [insert possibly likely or unlikely scenario] and I regret it forever?" What if I start dating him, and then through some unexpected and impossible-to-predict turn of events, it ends up being a bad idea?

It was all fear. It wasn't about obeying God. In fact, I firmly believed that God gave me freedom and wanted me to live in freedom. And all that purity stuff was just totally incompatible with that.

Every single reason I had for not pursuing a relationship with this guy was based in fear.

But on the other hand, this dude was so great. Hot and smart and nerdy and fluent in Chinese. If there was a possibility that I could have an awesome relationship with him, man I didn't want to miss that chance.

It would be a risk, yeah, because no one knows the future, but from what I did know of him, I decided he would be worth it.

So I asked him out. Totally without God's permission. And we became boyfriend and girlfriend. Yay! And it was actually really great for a while, but eventually it became really horrible and it ended.

I don't really know what to say about that. Overall, was that relationship a good experience, or something I regret? Maybe partly both? Maybe at the time it was good, and then later it was bad, but now it doesn't matter anymore because it's in the past.

But I really do think asking him out and starting a relationship was a good decision, based on the information available at the time. Here was this really great guy, and I had an opportunity to be with him and see if we could be a couple. And I can't live my life too afraid to take opportunities like that.

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I remember my first steps away from purity culture, back when I had just started dating him. I was breaking all the rules, you see, because I was texting him at night to say "I miss you, good night" and such things. Clearly a bad bad thing to do, because it increased my affection for him and emotional attachment to him without giving me any new information on whether or not we could get married.

I didn't guard my heart at all. And I'm so glad I'm done with "guarding my heart" because really, it was all about fear.

9 comments:

  1. It was all about fear - so true. I remember going on my first date (one casual afternoon in a park date!) and freaking out because he wasn't a Christian, so we would never get married, and now I couldn't say I'd only been on a date with just one guy.
    Yeah, NOPE.
    Seems to me good relationships cannot be based on fear / moral ranking, purity or otherwise, anyhow. :)

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  2. You know, I was sad when my first real boyfriend broke up with me, but I don't regret it now. He was a nice guy, I have fond memories of him and hope he is having a wonderful life. (No, I wasn't involved in purity culture, though I was a Christian and he was not, when we dated.)

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  3. Yeah, exactly. Breaking up is awful when it happens, but eventually people get over it. I have no idea why the *&%# actual mature adult women are going to youth groups to tell the teenage girls that having a crush tears off a part of their heart they can never get back.

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  4. So true. And I'm still "freaking out" now, about my relationship with my boyfriend because I'm not following "the rules" of purity culture but man, I'm still so worried- what if it's true and now I'm dirty and all that...

    My boyfriend always tells me "stop thinking in the purity culture way" but it's not that easy.

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  5. There are ways to override the old messages and send yourself new ones. Suggestion: write down the old messages ("if you do blank, you're dirty") on one side of a piece of paper, and a new message ("if you do blank, you're normal"). Then draw a line through the old messages, and say out loud "These are not true." Then every morning and evening, read the new messages to yourself in front of the mirror. These are cognitive therapy techniques and they work!

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  6. Just a guy who found true loveSeptember 12, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    It's unfortunate that so many people have fear instilled on them about this at such an early age, that isn't really what it's about at all. I think it's one of those things that doesn't make sense until you truly fall in love and find the person you're going to marry. Dating is fine, but the point of dating isn't just to find someone you kind of like and then just get it in, the point of dating is to decide if someone is worth marrying or not. That's where it gets tricky, what if you find the person you'd like to marry, but you're not ready to get married yet? A lot of people would tell you that if you're not ready to get married then you shouldn't be dating, but come on you don't want to marry the first decent guy that comes around either as soon as you're ready to get married. I say just keep it PG. Emotional attachments get wayyy more intense when you get sexual. You think you know what I'm talking about, but it's not something you can really know until it happens to you. Keeping it in your pants is just generally a good idea, sex complicates things. I know I'm not making any convincing statements here, but the best I can offer is that I was once in your situation, I tried "the forbidden fruit" and after I ate it I didn't feel any different at first, but then I realized how empty of an action it is if you aren't fully 100% ready to marry the person in love. I'd like to say learn from my experience and just wait for marriage, but you don't seem like the type that that'll be enough for you. Just like me you'll need to make your own mistakes before you realize that therr actually was some sense in what people were telling you. I hope that's not the case and I hope you learn from the mistakes of others.

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  7. I do believe that virginity and dating and all ideas of what purity is have been made into an idol and it is important to not center your life on doing things because the church or the media tells you to. However if you truly love God, it is still important to do what God tells you to do.

    God is not going to send you to hell for dating, that is not a sin but I still advise you that even though you shouldn't be wrapped into this "purity culture" and fear that you described you should always listen to God and do what he tells you to do. Always seek His permission, not out of fear of what would happen if you didn't (as you said), but out of love and respect for him.

    Just because dating, pre-marital sex, and all that type of stuff looks normal on television,etc doesn't make it okay. A lot of things can look normal and harmless but that doesn't make it okay.

    So yes, purity culture is bad and living out fear is equally as bad, just make sure you are reading the Bible for yourself and hearing God for yourself instead of coming up with your own conclusions or taking it from someone else. Just pursue God first.

    theswtplace.com

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  8. The tough part is trying to find some kind of balance- is it possible to teach that premarital sex is ALWAYS a sin, without also implying that sex is dirty and will ruin your life and make you damaged goods FOREVER? I've been trying to find that balance for a long time, because I'm so terrified of the idea that having sex could actually be okay. But I'm starting to think that balance doesn't exist.

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  9. It is possible to teach that because it's the truth. Sex isn't dirty, sex is great when it's between a husband and wife. It's promiscuous sex, any sex outside of marriage that is ALWAYS sinful. However, if you have sex out of marriage are you forever damaged or prohibited from ever being a good person? No, that's what Jesus came here for. Forgiveness & salvation.


    Don't have sex just to have sex. Sex is not a sin and it's okay to actually enjoy having sex. It's not just suppose to be about reproduction, you can actually enjoy it. However, if you love God you will enjoy it inside the marriage. If you've happened to already have sex before marriage its still okay, you can start over with a clean slate. God isn't going to hold it over your head. Society might, but who cares about what they think.

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