January 13, 2011 at 6:23 a
CitC had a 7/22/2009 post titled “My Little Corner of the World” in which she wrote some pretty profound things, I think:
“I do need to say that I am still fully committed to living the gospel and the law of chastity. I do not resent it anymore. I do not feel like it has caused me any suffering. Quite the opposite. I see how much suffering it prevented. It’s an instant jerk-not-worth-your-time-man revealer. Tell the man you won’t sleep with him and see what happens. His character shines through, like a light or a stain. When he runs, thank the Lord you escaped a hideous relationship with that one. Really. How many bad relationships go on and on because the two are entangled in a physical affair? Masking the problems in their relationships with sex. How many people married the wrong person because they were so enamored with the sex, only to pay the price later? Not me. Thank you Jesus. I’m lonely and bruised, but…. so much better than I would have been. It has blessed me. I can’t speak for others. I see now how fragile I was. How devastating sexual affairs with abusive men would have been. The non-sexual ones were bad enough. My injured soul attracted vultures. That couldn’t have been otherwise. What I was spared certainly could have been.”
January 13, 2011 at 9:06 am
17 – thanks for pointing out the CitC is accessible again. I’ve always liked her writing and her life experiences. The paragraph quoted makes some really good points – the law of chastity can and does protect us from harmful and unhealthy relationships. However, it does so in the same way that abstaining from eating food will protect us from food poisoning, or abstaining from ever leaving our houses will protect us from drive-by shootings. Obviously she is happy with her decision to remain celibate, and I congratulate her, Ardis and others who find joy therein. Ms. Hardy description of her celibate lifestyle includes the words “spiraling further into a disconnected life, feeling abandoned, being discounted.” I felt the same.
Sure the law of chastity prevented me from some bad relationships in my teens and 20s, but it did so by preventing me from having relationships at all. Common sense and taking great care with one’s dating choices can also prevent bad relationships and heartbreak.
I mostly agree with Anon. Except when she states that I am happy in my decision to remain celibate. That was and is not the case. I resigned myself to it and gave up the anger. That's a far cry from happiness. I wrote that post in 2009 after having just escaped what could have been the most disastrous relationship of my life. When I finally cut off all contact with him, I was relieved. I was in the process of learning to be content with my life and myself and my choices. And that post is where the process led. I haven't lost that bit of growth, I'm not angry. But the resignation is difficult. Things aren't so simple.
Anon makes a good point that celibacy can exclude good relationships as well as the bad. Shortly after writing that post, I met a wonderful non-Mormon, the best man I've ever dated, who was willing to date me sans sex. It didn't last very long. We probably would have lasted a lot longer if we were having sex. Because of his romantic and sexual history, our lack of sex hurt him. Things are not simple when it comes to sex and relationships for people over 30. Anyone who is single past that age has been damaged and has emotional baggage.
Add to that the fact that for the majority of non-religious men, asking them to date you without sex is ridiculous. They spent their entire adult lives having romantic sexual relationships, and loving someone without sex is unimaginable to them. They don't even know how to do it. After I told one man about the chastity thing, he said we couldn't date because sex was too much a part of the way he fell in love. I think that is true for most men. Of course it's not necessary, but why would someone want to bother with that when they can go out and find someone else who puts out? It doesn't make much sense for them, so they don't get involved with the "nice" LDS girl.
Losing my last relationship over chastity seriously hurt my testimony. I've had a very rough year. I've been closer to giving up the church than I have ever been in my life. More and more, it feels like the church and the gospel are separate things. I have problems with the church's politics, culture, and some of the GAs. And then there is going to church, it feels like an alternate universe filled with strange people who have strange lives that I cannot relate to; and they are running an organization that feels like it has nothing to do with me. It's kind of like visiting a new school and sitting in on a class for one day, you can't really follow what's going on because you haven't been there-- and all the other kids are looking at the weird new kid.
It's hard to remember why I'm doing this to myself, living by these rules and dragging myself to the torture of church. But I do remember. I made a covenant and I love my God. Yet, I don't believe I will ever be truly happy while single and alone. Under my current circumstances, I am not likely to ever marry, either LDS or non-LDS. So, am I willing to condemn myself to a single life of solitude and sadness for my faith? That's a hard thing to ask of someone, and it seems unfair. So, yeah, I get why the sister who wrote the essay gave it up after she turned 35. I'm not sure she should have announced that to the whole world, but I blog so I'm one to talk. I'm also turning 35 soon. I don't know where my life is going, but it needs to go some place else.