Lovehacker: My Childhood Crush Keeps Betraying My Christian Values

Dear Lovehacker, I am an 18-year-old homeschooled Christian who has never dated anyone before. In recent years, I've had a secret crush on a certain girl (I'll refer to her as "L"). We've known each other since we were little grade school kids and we grew up as friends.

Everything seemed nice and rosy up until middle school. That's when L took a turn for the worse (behaviourally and morally). She called stupid the idea of waiting until marriage to have sex, something which utterly contradicts what I believe as a Christian, according to the Bible. Although I still liked L, it saddened me deeply to learn of her new viewpoints.

Things hadn't gotten much better in the years to come. She succumbed to the flirtations of other guys without restraint, going along with anything just to be given attention (all while I watched on dejectedly). She's even casually dropped a couple f-bombs when sharing with me some mildly bothersome experiences from school. Despite all these metaphorical daggers being inadvertently stabbed into my heart through the years, I've still had a crush on her, and somehow kept alive a faint glimmer of hope. My heart has refused to acknowledge that the way things are now is how they will be forevermore.

First of all, I don't even fully understand why I have a crush on someone I know has plenty of significant faults. The only explanation I have construed is the element of time — that we've known each other for at least a decade. And maybe that we share a lot of similar interests. Other than that, I'm clueless.

And as for the dating situation: like I said, I have never dated anyone yet. I have been cautious and vigilant in whom I'd even consider as a potential date. Any fault I'd see would be a turnoff, and I just couldn't seem to gain any ground.

I have had an idealistic perspective on dating in general. My dream is to marry my first date; I want to make it count. I want to be able to say I have never dated anyone before I would have met my future wife. Please tell me honestly... is this a reasonable notion to hold on to? What advice would you have in regards to L? Could (or should) there ever evolve something more in our relationship, or should I keep out? I appreciate your time in reading my letter, and all your advice. Thank you, Drowning in Befuddlement

Dear DIB,

OK, there's a lot to unpack here, but before we get too deep into things we're gonna need to have a little talk about reasonable expectations. Because right now, you're setting yourself up for major disappointments.

You want your first girlfriend to be your only girlfriend. OK. Cool. It's good to want things. Let us start with the fact that this is vanishingly unlikely to happen. I can count the number of people I know who married their high school sweethearts on the fingers of one hand with enough spares left over for the rings of every human Green Lantern. You have better odds of winning the lottery and getting a Mondo poster than you have of making this happen.

Why? Because humans have agency. Even if you're radically committed to making this happen no matter what, there's no way to ensure that your future theoretical girlfriend isn't going to be the one to dump your butt. Even if you scour the earth and find someone who's on the exact same page as you on this "first time/only time" issue — and at that point you're basically down to whichever of the Duggar girls are still single — people change as they grow. What seems impossible to you now becomes very plausible in a year, two years, three. Hell, my whole career is based on doing things that I thought were impossible when I was your age.

But ignoring the likelihood of things, let's look at the more practical side of why this tends to be a bad idea. Let us start with the simple matter of finding someone who's right for you. Yes, I know you have a checklist of things you want in a potential mate. What you want and what you're actually compatible with are often two very different things… and you will almost never find this out until you get the shit kicked out of your expectations by the hobnailed Boot of Reality. Sexual compatibility, for example, is something that destroys many relationships. If you and your future spouse aren't compatible sexually, then you're going to be miserable. Right now, all you have is theory and supposition about what you want and how things are going to work. But theory without testing — and no, masturbation doesn't count for these purposes — is functionally useless.

That theory vs experience issue will also affect who you think you're attracted to and why. Take, for example, the trope of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She represents the common mistake guys make: Expecting a partner to fix some lack they see in themselves. She's there to Make Men Better rather than to be a person with her own wants and dreams. Almost every guy falls for this trope until they get some real dating experience under their belts and realise the things they think make an MPDG desirable would drive them crazy in short order because life isn't a movie. The stolid, unimaginative man isn't going to be happy when his impulsive, excitable girlfriend is constantly changing plans or making last minute decisions, after all...

Similarly, dating experience helps you learn how to recognise bad situations and weed out partners who might be toxic for you. That person whose life seems so exciting and dramatic is often also the person who depends upon you having poor boundaries. That relationship that seems too good to be true? Yes, it in all likelihood is too good, but you'll be so excited by her drama that you'll miss the warning signs.

Then there's the fact that relationship maintenance is a skill, and one that's developed through deliberate practise. Once you get out of the initial honeymoon stage, you're suddenly going to be faced with the reality of trying to make your life mesh as seamlessly as possible with another person's, and that's going to cause you a lot of headaches over the years. Part of the benefit of having dated around means that you learn far more about keeping a relationship alive and happy, instead of trying to get it right the first time.

So no, I don't think that trying to ensure your first girlfriend is your only girlfriend is a good idea. I think it's unworkable at best and a recipe for misery at worst. If you want to take a swing at that… well, cool. You do you. Just realise you will be narrowing your dating pool to single digits.

But I don't think that's the main issue we need to deal with here. That issue is your friend and the way you talk about her.

I think it's time for you to take a seat and brace yourself because it's time to meet the Chair Leg of Truth. Quite frankly: You're being a dick to someone you call a friend. You've got one doozie of a Madonna-Whore complex rolling around in your brain and you're spending a lot of time getting caught up in the mote in your neighbour's eye.

Let's be real here: Your continuing crush on L isn't continuing "despite" her "flaws" — more on that in a second — it's because you want to bang her. Your pain isn't because of her, it's because you won't acknowledge your feelings for her conflict with your attitude towards women and sex and you're blaming her for not conforming to your vision.

After all, L was great as long as she was your perfect virgin. Now that she's had the temerity to grow up in ways you don't approve of, you're apparently comfortable doing a shitload of judging on things that you have neither the experience nor the perspective to judge. And while I'm no Biblical scholar, I seem to recall Jesus having some fairly decisive words on who gets to do the judging.

I notice, for example, that L seems to have lost all agency in her own life; she didn't decide to date someone, maybe even sleep with them because she's a person with a sex drive and because she may have wanted to share intimacy with someone she loved. According to you, she "succumbed to his flirtations" for "attention" as you were helpless to stop her. Which, y'know, is a lovely attitude for someone who seems a bit more pissed that his own pants-feels are going unrequited and is choosing to blame the "slut" instead.

Disagreeing with you on religion, having sex, swearing… those aren't personality flaws. They're things that you might not be able to handle, but they're not "flaws". All that's going on here is that you're using them as a way to justify seeing her as lesser. That slut-shaming attitude you're carrying around, whether you realise it or not, is part of what leads to a lot of pain and misery in the world; after all, she brought it on herself. She's a slut. She's trash. She's immoral. But hey: Let he with two free hands cast the first stone.

You want to deal with your feelings for L? Then it's time to accept the truth: You want her. You may not like that you want her, but that's your problem, not hers. She had sex. Get over it. She doesn't agree with you on religion. Get over it.

You want to call her your friend? Then get over her supposed "flaws" and start being able to accept her as a person.

You want to have better odds of finding someone who might be willing to date you in the first place, never mind marry you, and make that relationship work? Then you need to remember that Jesus' best friends were lepers, tax collectors and prostitutes. The vulgar, the crude, the apostates and the sexually "immoral". The point of Christianity isn't "ha ha, you're a sinner and I'm better than you," it's to love others as they are, without reservation and without judgement.

Until then? Jerk off and wait for things to fade. And if you can't stop obsessing about her "flaws", put some distance between the two of you. She needs a better friend than you're capable of being.


Lovehacker is a weekly relationship and sex column where our resident Agony Aunt answers your questions. Need help? Drop a comment below or email [email protected].


This story originally appeared on Kotaku.

Harris O'Malley is a writer and dating coach who provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr NerdLove.


Comments

    rofl, laughing so hard at your response.. if the dude is legit he's going to be an outraged, scandalised and a broken boy by the end of it.

    Seriously... does anyone really think like that anymore?
    Guy has lots of catching up to do or he's going to be severely disconnected from the reality outside his home-schooled door.

      His main problem is that he's 18, give him a break. At that age, we all were complete imbeciles in one way or another. He just happens to be an imbecile informed by religion in a similar way some were imbeciles informed by peer pressure, bad role models, overly high or low self-esteem, etc. In 3 years or so he'll hardly be able to believe he was so stupid, religious or not.

        His problem his a closeted home schooled child who's been raised by devout Christians. Being 18 has nothing to do with it.

          That's just biased. I am not saying that religion doesn't have anything to do. In fact, it has all to do with the specific way in which that person thinks and reacts. But if you think that being 18 and barely having any developed criteria, worldly experience, exposure to different perspectives and a long list of etc. doesn't compound it, then you have not met many 18 years old people, religious or not.

    For once you actually got it right. Based on the other dubious advice given in previous columns, you should quit while you're ahead.

    It still surprises me how Lifehacker posts from the US sister-site without thought of interest or relevance to the Australian readership, can trigger a negative reaction.

    This sour taste is exponentially increased when it relates to topics that don't appropriately fit your audience. Given Australia is one of the least religious nations in the developed world, how does this article help your reader base?

    This may be on me. I may have misjudged the Lifehacker audience, who may be actively interested in pushing a religious (specifically Christian in this instance) agenda.

    If so, please let me know so I can move my ad revenue-generating clicks/eyes to more secular sites.

      Thanks for your feedback, machpety. We actually put a lot of thought into which US articles appear on the website and which ones get canned.

      The notion that we just port everything across without a care for the reader couldn't be further from the truth. When applicable, US stories are also extensively localised to make them more relevant to Aussie readers. (Both in terms of spelling and local links/statistics/pricing/etc.)

      There are plenty of Australian websites that churn out syndicated US content without bothering to vet or change anything. We have always put in the extra effort to maintain relevance.

      In regards to this article, more than half of Australians still identify as Christian, around 25% of whom are practising Catholics. In any event, we're here to offer advice to everybody. Consequently, not every post is going to appeal to you personally.

        In regards to this article, more than half of Australians still identify as ChristianAnd what percentage of that group would have the same views of the young chap in this article? Because he seems very close to being in a cult to me. That's just my personal opinion too.

          Have you heard of the Hillsong church or CCC? In NSW/Sydney they're super churches with huge parishioner numbers and they're on a similar mindset of the US super nutcase bible belt . You are aware the a majority of politicians identify as religious mostly belonging to a Christian offshoot of some form or the other?

            What are you on about? I was asking about the fool in the article, not sure what you're talking about? Are you suggesting that "the majority of politicians identify as belonging to a Christian offshoot of Hillsong or whatever the hell CCC is?" Don't bother replying, I'm not interested in arguing about nonsense.

        "In regards to this article, more than half of Australians still identify as Christian, around 25% of whom are practising Catholics."
        But of these self-identifying Christians how many pay more than just lip service to it? Probably a minority. Anyway, sites like LH, Giz and Kotaku, which are geared towards entertainment or scientific education, shouldn't be entertaining or accommodating false, unscientific, holier-than-thou and outdated religion.

        BTW: how's DIB supposed to read this advice with that unholy photo at the top?

      "If so, please let me know so I can move my ad revenue-generating clicks/eyes to more secular sites."

      You may want to become a little more resilient in regards to an article / viewpoint that doesn't align with your views. You can do whatever you like but if all you listen to is your "own" views, you will live in an echo chamber and you'll never be wrong... to your own detriment.

      How is this pushing a religion? While the writer was as respectful as he could of a religion he clearly doesn't follow he mercilessly skewered all the bad behaviours and beliefs informed by that religion with regards to the asker's problem.

      If you cannot catch a whiff of a religious mention (regardless of whether it is being portrayed positively or negatively) without feeling somehow preached to, you are failing to realise how religious is your anti-religiousness.

      As an Aussie, I don't really see what the issue is. Just because we are not as religious, and I myself is an athiest, doesn't mean we don't want to hear from other perspectives.

      I found great enjoyment to read about the young man's misguded view and the reply was simply brilliant. And I'm sure certain members of the Australian Christian community will also be able to identify with the issue raised and how they have been addressed, regardless of how few there may be.

      I don't see how this is pushing the chrisian agenda, did you even read the reply? The commentary was scathing and if anything should be viewed as anti-religious and how the boy's faith presented him with a ridiculous notion of reality.

      Perhaps your criticim relatescto other content on this site but on this article, it's simply wrong

    Why are my comments being deleted? this is almost a year old article that featured on Kotaku back in July? Written by some one else.

      The link to the original article is right there in the post. Byline is the same in both stories.

    Dude claims to espouse deep Christian values and he writes into a secular blog to ask for advice? I call total shenanigans. Even a home-schooled 18 year old would have better sense than that.

    This article does more to tear down the dude's beliefs than to offer any useful advice. I'm not above dishing out a little truth and reality as an educational tool, but how about maybe also suggesting he try dating at his local church, or looking at one of the many Christian dating sites?

    Is this attitude typical of a "homeschooled christian" ?
    A lack of exposure to other children and attitudes, combined with a reinforced religion?

      when i stopped with my partner in the US we went and visited her family one day and yeah her brother was just like this guy.. its frankly scary..

      wish id been warned before i walked into the situation with my girlfriend when im female.. talk about dumped into the deep end in coming out

    Interesting how, for a supposedly irreligious country, a religious article prompted more comments than most other articles have! This indicates that the editors got it right and there is a lot of interest. Those who disagree with the article of course have significant religious interest; just a different religion! The tenor of them, and that of the article is that the Religion of Me dominates. The advice also fails at Theology 1. Christianity has love (not sooky Hollywood love, but love as sacrifice for the benefit of others) at its operational periphery, but at its operational centre is that 'sin', that is: action or disposition to the non-benefit of others, is unavoidable for us but its consequences in continued estrangement from relationship with the creator (yeah I know that the Religion of Me prefers materialist existential framing) are evaporated in the creator's action to evaporate it being available for us to appropriate. There! and in language that I hope might strike a chord with the Religion of Me folks.

    I think it's fine if he wants his first girlfriend to be his only girlfriend. He just needs to know he can't blame others if he fails and stop expecting this girl-friend of his to adopt his beliefs.

    To set the record straight which cannot be denied, removed, altered or disputed in any way, method or otherwise.
    Male and female creatures on Earth were joining in a sexual act to fulfil a natural feeling and at the same time to begin the process of male and female cells joining to produce off-spring, a natural, inbuilt system to continue the existence of their particular species.
    All creatures release a 'scent' to attract their opposite sex for sexual intercourse, men and women release the scent which is a foundation for love in a natural situation of 'wanting', ( look up the real meaning)
    This creature, natural trait has been in place since creatures arrived on Earth, long before a 'God' or 'Religion' was invented to control the population masses.
    Forget the GOD fallacy, follow the natural, inbuilt creature reality feelings which every creature has.
    Go with her, be with her, push aside the lies and conjecture and fairy tales in a book named Bible, it was written in the same way many movies are made today, what you see or read would not, or will not be, nor happen in reality.
    Ask your priest or vicar or rabbi a question, "If you believe in God, who created God?" and do not be fobbed off with nonsensical answers!

    Last edited 23/06/17 6:35 pm

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