Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Auntie Seraphic & Confused-Clueless II

This is the email I received in response to the answer I posted yesterday, and my response to that. Again, I will end with a few general observations

Dear Auntie Seraphic, 

You are so lovely. Thank you for responding to my msg! You are correct: I am 20 now but was 19 at the time when I was with him. He is 2- now and, yes, I know, we're both young.

Yes, I have gone to confession. That confession was very painful for me, but I needed it. It was freeing. Our faith is so beautiful! But it's been almost a year, and I still haven't forgiven myself, and it just kills me. I look at myself with such disgust sometimes, and I can't help but give in to the tears... 

I completely hear you about not telling my friends every detail about our relationship, and yes I honestly do feel like they treat it as a soap opera! "Oh! What does [C-C] have to say about [Scooter] today". And not really interested in why I'm really confiding in them. I do owe it to him to keep things confidential, but it wasn't my intent at all to betray him, I'm just desperately searching for words of wisdom and guidance.

I like him--a lot--and that's why it's difficult to talk to him as a "friend" when so many times that "friend" line  is crossed in conversation. What I don't understand is how he can so easily forget about the past and pretend that nothing ever happened. It's extremely difficult for me to talk to him and push the thoughts of the past out of my head and focus on just being friends. We rushed things when I was [at my college town], but as he said "we don't have a choice" because we had to see if we could be something together. And if we didn't try then we'd never know.

Telling you what I like about him could go on for quite a while. He is wonderful to his mother, and his relationship with his sister makes my heart melt. He takes her to movies all the time, they're so close and they are X years apart! He protects her and that's so beautiful to me. A man who can honour the special women in his life to me shows that he will do the same for his future wife, hopefully. 

I don't know if it's just the age aspect, or because his relationship with his father isn't very good, but I can't seem to figure out why he's so afraid of commitment. What blows my mind is, who travels to another city that is a 20+ hour drive away to see a "friend" who is a girl? He's been seriously working on trying to come see me, and his effort has surprised me. Does this mean anything? I still feel like he has feelings, but is too afraid to admit it and deal with them.

As you said, would I still look forward to talking to him at parties? I would. I would be very interested to see how he continues to grow in his faith, and what his dreams are, and what he's accomplished. What I love about him is that he has hopes and dreams now, that aspect reminds me of myself. We compliment each other very well, he's a little quiet and I'm crazy and outgoing and love adventure where as he'd rather stay home and relax. But when we were together, he wouldn't say "I don't want to go downtown and explore!" He'd willingly come with me because he knew it would be amazing and it's something he's never experienced before. I opened his eyes to the city he's lived in for years. Which leads me to where he's from. 

He was born in [a poor, non-English-speaking country] and I know that he is worried about what my family's reaction would be if he were to come to see me. Half of my family is [Southern European], and that's the side that he is worried about, even though I don't see [his background] as an issue. My brother [might]. Ah, I just don't know. I shouldn't even be thinking about that, because he is simply not mine. Because we are "friends".

But now I feel a dilemma. I know God has told me that I haven't been patient, so I am trying. Especially right now, when [Scooter] and I haven't talked in X days, which is absolutely mind blowing because we haven't gone a day without talking. I know you're probably laughing but it really drives me nuts! He knows I've been thinking a lot lately. Maybe he's giving me space, or our mutual friend mentioned what was on my mind to him, and he's backed off now. Either way, I am waiting "patiently" for him to msg me... 

But I'm getting anxious because I am leaving for Brazil on Wednesday! For World Youth Day! I'm sure you've heard! :)  But anyway, hmmm I just am not sure if I should even bother to msg him before I leave. I'm really quite shocked that he hasn't msged me yet.

Well, there is another novel for you to read. I won't continue to bug you after this, though, but when I stumbled upon your blog I just thought, "Wow, this woman has lots of wonderful words, maybe she can offer me some advice."

I will seek more advice from the older friend I've been talking to because I really don't feel like there's anyone else who can help me, especially not my mother!

Thank you for listening to me! God bless you!
Confused & Clueless

Dear Confused & Clueless,

One more email from me. If God has forgiven you, and you know He has, for you have felt sincere contrition, made your confession and no doubt done the penance you were assigned, you must forgive yourself. At least, you must stop regretting whatever it was. Perhaps you are mourning your image of yourself as "super-pure." Well, very few human beings have ever been that "super-pure." In this case, what should comfort you is the humility of accepting that you are prone to sexual temptations like anyone else and have given in to some, and then the joy that God has forgiven you and doesn't care about that now. He just cares about you. If you feel that much disgust with yourself, I recommend you speak with a Catholic-positive counsellor or with a priest or nun who works with young people. 

The devil hates us, so he wants us to hate ourselves, too.  Then when we are tired of hating ourselves for our sexual sins, he tells us that it is the Church's fault for lying to us about sexual sin, and we should just get with the program and do whatever we think we want. This is why it is so important for you to let God's forgiveness fall on you like cooling rain on a blazing hot day.

The reason [Scooter] can forget about the past and pretend nothing happened is because he is a guy and guys are different about these things. He has probably been committing the sin of self-abuse since he was 14, so one more minor (as you did not actually have sex) sexual sin is not going to be that big a deal to his psyche. Also, society in general has never cared that much about the minor sexual sins of men. Society shrugs and says, "Well, that's men." It's women who (A) brood (B) have historically been judged harshly. Men often just do not get that women can't just do stuff and then completely forget about it, like they do.  

I don't think your feelings about [Scooter] are laughable at all. I think they are painful and they remind me of when I was 20. But I do encourage you to imagine putting all your hurt and worries in to a big bag and leaving them at the foot of the Cross for our Lord to take care of, while you get ready to go to Brazil. When you come home, it may be different, but right now the important thing is that you concentrate on the excitement of World Youth Day. It would be terrible if, when you are 30, someone asked you how World Youth Day in Brazil was and you said, "It was totally ruined for me because I spent all my time thinking about a guy and crying over him."

So don't message [Scooter] or try to contact him in any way before your trip. It could be that he himself needs time to retreat from all the drama--men often do that; have you ever heard of the "man cave"? Some men thrive on drama, but others get tired of it very swiftly. Meanwhile, what [Scooter] says about coming to see you means nothing. [Scooter] actually at your door means a lot. With men, it's most definitely their actions, not their words, that matter.

But, as I say, [Scooter] doesn't matter right now. Put him in a bag in your mind and put the bag at the foot of the Cross for our Lord to take care of, too! What matters is that you get everything you need together for World Youth Day in Brazil--your Portuguese phrasebook, your passport--and start to feel the excitement of this amazing opportunity in your life.

Grace and peace,

General Observations

1.  "We don't have a choice" is seducer talk, a line straight out of the movies. And there's a kind of man whose interest is sparked by the convenient fact that a woman is going away very soon.  

2.  The sentence "I owe it to him to keep things confidential" makes me uneasy. What I was talking about was preserving someone's modesty and dignity. Women are terribly hurt when the men we kiss make us the subject of locker room talk. Well, it's not nice to make men we kiss the subject of powder room talk, either. As far as I know, all my friends' babies were created through parthenogenesis. They got married or got some boyfriend; they got pregnant. There's some connection there. Hmm...

3. Making out is dangerous for women because it can make us feel more attached to a guy than is at all reasonable. Once upon a time, cavemen just picked cavewomen and dragged them off, and it strikes me that making out might have been nature's way of helping a cavewoman cope with having to have sexual congress with a complete stranger. Many a time women wail to one another, "What does she SEE in him?" Well, it might not be him. It might be the chemicals zipping and zapping around in her brain. 

4.  Guys are different. Guys are different. Guys are different. And they have really short memories regarding things they want to forget, like all those really sweet things they said last week that they honestly sort of believed at the time.   

5. A man can be great to his mother, aunts and sisters and treat all other women like trash. Although a man being nasty to his mother or sister is definitely a red flag, all his being nice to them proves is that he is nice to his mother and sister. Men in many cultures protect their own sisters while scheming to get their hands on other guys' sisters. This is why men have to have a little chat with each other before they court each other's sisters. Otherwise someone sometimes ends up dead.  

6. It's a bad sign when a man tells you he thinks your family's ethnic group is racist. It means he's racist against your family's ethnic group. It's also a convenient excuse for him not to see you. "It's not my fault I don't come to see you. It's your racist family's fault." Race and ethnicity stuff can make dating an even bigger headache, speaking as a mangia-cake maudite-anglais cracker gora dead-ghost Taig from Toronto.  Red flag.

7. Men are very much afraid of commitment to women they don't want to commit to. Occasionally men are also afraid of commitment to women they sort of do want to commit to, which is why mothers and sisters should yell at their sons and brothers about getting a move on and why girlfriends should try to make a good impression on mothers, sisters and even the nice old ladies pouring tea after Mass. However, men who are simply scared of marriage don't say "Just friends" to a girl they want as a long-term prospect.

8. There is no cure for unrequited love like international travel. And WYD must be the biggest meeting of Catholic marriage enthusiasts in the entire world.  

9. Any consensual sexual sin any of us committed privately a year ago, as a one-off, and have subsequently confessed, and has no long-term consequences, matters less now than the new scuff on our best shoes. As sexual, it is imprudent and maybe even unchaste to think about it, so don't. Almost nobody knows, and nobody cares. Every Christian knows you're a sinner. If Catholic, you say so during the Confiteor at Mass every Sunday.

10. I'm really sorry girls don't trust their mothers more. But this weird post-1919 division between mothers and daughters seems to be so widespread, all I can say is that it is so important for women in positions of authority or in the public eye to be good role models and to tell younger women the truth as it is, not as we wish it were. And younger women must train themselves to always ponder the questions "What is it?" "Is it really so?" and "Knowing that, what should I do?"  Many a time I have stopped myself from a slide into hysteria by reminding myself, "But I have no evidence. I do NOT know that."


Lydia Cubbedge said...

Oh, poor Confused and Clueless! This was me at twenty. The earnest wondering and beating up of oneself, and endless analysis of the boy in question! I actually missed WYD in Toronto because of a boy. Anyway, the seducer line made me get very Southern Baptist and wanting to stand up and shout Amen. When I was twenty, a guy usesd the "We owe it to ourselves to see if we work as a couple," line on me, A year and a broken heart and a few therapy sessions later, it ended with great flair and throwing of rings. More people need to pray for the wee nineteen-to-twenty crowd. They are so easily bamboozled.

Seraphic said...

I think that is a good idea. I'm not sure the schools, even (or especially) the Catholic schools, cast us into the world well prepared for all the social shenanigans ahead. Why should so many girls and boys have to learn "the hard way"?

Urszula said...

I also spend the better part of WYD in Cologne wondering why a certain boy was not responding to my affection the way I wanted him to. If I knew then how he would never figure in my life so many years later, I'm sure I would have put the time to better use... ah, it really is so much better to be closer to 30 than 20 ;)

RMVB said...

Just to warm your heart a little, I am blessed to trust my mother in a lot of life issues areas. I trust her less with financial decisions than emotional/life decisions, but I'd much rather it that way. She believes in me and trusts my judgment enough that I know that her advice is given purely out of love, wisdom and experience.