Read part 1: How I Got Into Purity.
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:
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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 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.
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.