I cannot believe it has been nearly a month since I last posted! Getting ready to study abroad and then getting settled in Ireland really took up my time. I’m adequately settled now though, and ready to resume the blogging life. So, greetings from Ireland!
What I want to write about today is not particularly related atheism, but it’s related to my life. As I’ve mentioned before, back at home in the states I have a wonderful fiance named Patrick. (He’s an atheist). I’ve known him a little over 4 years now, and I couldn’t be happier that I’m marrying him. But being with him has opened my eyes to my relationship with relationships. And I’m not talking just romantic relationships, I’m talking any personal relationship.
Let me tell you, my children will NOT be getting dating/relationship advice from the public school system, and certainly not the church. Because they seriously fucked me up. Between school, church, my parents, and random other adults who had influence in my life, the message I was constantly berated with was, “Don’t spend too much time with a boyfriend. Don’t ditch all your friends to have a boyfriend. Go on fun and exciting group dates! Really, never be alone with a boy.” I even read this Christian book Dateable. Here’s a nice quote
“It will not last. You heard me. Whatever relationship you are in right now, whether you are 14, 15, 16, or even 18 years old, know this: It will not last! Period. The end….You will break up. It will end. It will hurt. It will get in the way of your purpose in life, and it will complicate things and distract you from your passion and destiny.”
It was a long time ago that I read it, but I’m fairly certain the book also mentioned that girls should never ask guys out because they will take the rejection too personally, and if a guy says anything nice it’s because he has used it on so many other girls and is a player (You asshole Patrick, you must have proposed to so many different girls), and of course, the typical “the only reason a man looks at you is so he can hopefully put his penis in you”.
And that’s just dating advice. The friendship advice always seemed to be, don’t just do something because your friends are doing it. Do things alone or independently. Always be making new friends. And as I got older, if I ever spent a lot of time with one or two friends, my parents would tell me that maybe I should spend time with some of my other friends. Still to this day my mom points out to me that I’m probably hurting old friends feelings blah blah blah.
And when I went off to college, everyone starts to talk about this NY Times article titled “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend.” I’m not going to go into too much detail about it, but just because someone printed it in the NY Times doesn’t make it fucking gold.
Now, 2.5 years into a happy relationship, I still struggle to act fully committed. Patrick and I spend WAY fucking less time together that I think we should or want to. I have been SO manipulated throughout my life to be both the socialite and totally independent. I have been so scared that being in a close relationship would mean not being fulfilled and internally miserable.
But guess fucking what? I am capable of determining what amounts of time to devote to whatever and whomever I want in order to create my optimal happiness without this stupid advice.
I am so sick of hearing this advice given to people. I am so sick of the church promoting this culture of never getting too close to someone of the opposite sex. What is the point of telling people to spend less time with people they care about and enjoy being with? Stop being so afraid. Stop telling people they won’t enjoy life or “find” themselves if they don’t backpack around Europe by themselves meeting strangers. The one thing I wish I would have done is spend more time with the people I care about and not be so concerned about chasing this magical and mythical idea of the perfect young adulthood filled with adventure and fulfillment.
I wish people hadn’t spent so much time scaring me about close relationships and instead showed me their value and taught me that they take effort. I’m so sick of living a life where as soon as a relationship starts to require effort I move on. It’s not fulfilling.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.