The Purity Culture and Trust

I’m afraid I rather made my husband Sean miserable during our engagement and early marriage. For one thing, I found out that he had had sex with a previous girlfriend, and when he wasn’t regretful for it, I did everything I could to let him know how much this hurt me in an effort to make him feel guilt and regret. For another thing, given that I was taught both that men constantly think about sex and that my husband thinking sexual thoughts about another woman was the equivalent of adultery, I quizzed him daily on whether he had “cheated on me,” and if he admitted that he had thought sexual thoughts about another woman (say, when passing her on the sidewalk), I once again sought to make him feel appropriately guilty.

One thing the purity culture doesn’t do well is trust.

Like most of those of their generation in Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull circles, my parents were not virgins when they married. My mother told me this when I was a young teen, and explained that their lack of virginity at their wedding had damaged their marriage because neither felt that they could trust the other. I was to take this as an object lesson.

I heard other things as well. In one instance, for example, a couple who decided they could not afford more children chose to have the wife’s tubes tied even though it would have been easier and less invasive for the husband to have a vasectomy. Why? Because if the husband had a vasectomy he would have less accountability, fewer checks and balances to make sure he stayed faithful to the wife.

I was also taught that men were obsessed with sex, and that women needed to cover up in order to help them avoid temptation. I viewed women who dressed in “slutty” clothing with anger, knowing that they were out there actively tempting my future husband. I was also taught that women needed to hold out until the wedding because otherwise men would already have everything they wanted – sex – and therefore not make the commitment of marriage. And also, I was told that if I had sex with a man before marriage, he would leave me, since he would have gotten what he came for. (I realize now that these ideas are contradictory.)

Is it any wonder I ended up afraid of men?

Fear. Suspicion. Doubt. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Adultery, both physical and emotional, was a huge concern. It happened in our church, the associate pastor and the secretary. It happened to my parents’ friends, the husband who left his wife after years of marriage. And remember, this was a world where women weren’t supposed to work, a world where men were held up as providers and protectors, a world where divorce meant social death. This is the milieu in which I grew up, and the associated worries and obsessions significantly affected the early years of my marriage.

I couldn’t trust Sean. I simply couldn’t. First, he had had sex with someone else before we were together. Second, he admitted that he had viewed porn in the past, though he stopped viewing it on my insistence. Third, he told me that he was indeed sexually attracted to other women, including women he saw every day. I simply could not trust him.

Fear. Suspicion. Doubt. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

And yet there Sean stood, looking at me with his adoring gaze.

Fear. Suspicion. Doubt. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

And yet Sean insisted that I meant the world to him.

Fear. Suspicion. Doubt. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

And yet.

I’ll never forget how Sean responded when I told him I was pregnant with Sally. His instant smile was so deep and earnest that I thought the rainbows shooting from his every pour would split him into a shower of sparkles. He cupped his hands over my belly and was so overcome he couldn’t speak. When he left for school that day, he was quite literally glowing. I think that was the day things started to change. I think that was the moment I realized I could trust him.

In the following months, I put aside my fears and suspicions. I realized that it was only normal that he was sexually attracted to other women, and that it didn’t mean he was cheating on me. I realized that when a couple didn’t expect each other to be virgins when they met, there was no trust broken when they weren’t.

The funny thing is that as I let go of my doubt and suspicion, as I began to fully trust and appreciate Sean, we became so much closer as a couple. I didn’t realize it, but my doubt and suspicion had been standing between us, holding us apart, keeping us from truly coming together. My fear kept me constantly at his heels, and my constant completely unfounded suspicion alternately baffled and hurt him. It wasn’t until I let go of my fear and was able to look him in the eyes and believe what I saw there that we were able to truly embrace each other.

For all of its promises of perfect love and perfect union, the teachings of the purity culture only wreaked havoc on my own relationship and marriage. It was only when I left those teachings behind that I could step out into the sunshine, take my spouse’s hand without reservation, and lift my face to enjoy the breeze.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://mymusingcorner.wordpress.com Lana

    Again word for word what I heard as a kid and the crappy messages I got as a result. It strikes me as odd that homeschoolers think they are so unique when in many ways our families were so much alike, Lol.

  • http://markkoop.blogspot.ca Mark

    I am interested to know your current opinion of porn – now with all the fundamentalism out of the way. It was easy for me to have an opinion about it when I was a believer. Now – I’m trying to figure it out.

    • HelenaTheGrey

      I cannot speak for anyone else, but my issue with porn is less about what it is and more about how the industry is. While people in the industry downplay it and pay a lot of money to cover it up, organizations whose mission it is to rescue people from human trafficking and sex slavery say the porn industry is absolutely crawling with people (mainly younger women) who have been trafficked and are in essence sex slaves. I know people who enjoy porn and see it as morally fine, don’t like to be told this. But the reality is, it’s real and it is happening, and by supporting the porn industry, you are supporting a form of modern slavery. And most of the women who are rescued from the industry (which is sort of like a violent gang in that once you are in it, it is very hard to get out and lots of women need protection to do so) talk about how they had to take large amounts of drugs just to get through their scenes because that was how horrible it was for them. We all have to make our own choices about these things, but what we spend money on has real wold consequences. And the reality is, any time you watch porn, you are potentially watching someone who is for all intents and purposes, being raped. Maybe she isn’t…but how will you ever know?

      • Doe

        The issue that you’re speaking of has led to the creation of feminist porn, sex-positive porn, and amateur porn. Amateur porn tends to be cheap/free because it is real and features real-world bodies. Feminist porn is probably pricier than whatever crap you can find on the internet, but for people who enjoy porn and want to know that they are not supporting rape and sex trafficking, it’s worth it.

      • Uly

        I’m more into written stuff myself. The only entity harmed in a short story is, quite possibly, the English language.

      • HelenaTheGrey

        @Uly…you aren’t kidding on the English language thing. Holy cow!

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        Fanfictions and manga are my porn source and yep, they don’t usually shine for their originality or good use of the English language.

    • Sid

      Yeah, I feel pretty much the same way as Helena about it. It’s very possible to recognize that porn as a concept is fine, while still recognizing that the vast majority of porn is extremely problematic. The way everything is handled, the way the actors are treated, the messages that are promoted, etc.

      (Trigger warning here)I’d disagree with the idea that “erotica” can’t be harmful. True, there are no actual people involved, but the underlying messages are often the same as in porn. In some cases, it’s perhaps even worse; it’s easy for someone to watch two people having sex, realize that at no point was consent actually given, and recognize that that’s a problem, but an author who wants to write what essentially is a rape scene can very easily add a throwaway “but mentally, she was totes into it”. They essentially make the arguments a lot of rapists use, and present it in a way that is so subtle as to be accepted uncritically. So you have people arguing that, for instance, there’s nothing wrong with a scene from a book in which a guy violently forces a woman to have sex, they fight, she actually injures him trying to fight him off, because the author claims she actually wanted it and just didn’t vocalize those feelings and, no joke, “she made an excuse to get him into a private room, that’s as good as vocal consent”. Having had the misfortune of speaking to people who absolutely loved that particular book and found that particular bit not only hot but completely un-problematic, I don’t think it would be a stretch to suggest that that passage created a few rapists.

      • Christine

        You get all sorts of questionable behaviour showing up in books under the guise of romance. It’s really annoying, because you read it and go “aw” then “ew” and then get into a huge debate with yourself over whether or not it’s horrible (especially when the author was clearly trying to make it not creepy, but didn’t really get it – Tamora Pierce as an example).

  • J. J. Ramsey

    I was also taught that men were obsessed with sex, … And also, I was told that if I had sex with a man before marriage, he would leave me, since he would have gotten what he came for.

    What’s scary is that these two ideas at least have made their marks in mainstream culture. The first one has especially, but even I’ve heard the bit about “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” (And yes, I did notice the unfortunate implications of likening a woman to a farm animal.)

    • Rosie

      And I’ve heard the reply: “Why buy a whole pig for six inches of sausage?”

      • Carys Birch

        THAT’s a new one for me. /amused

      • J. J. Ramsey

        That’s new to me, too, but I like it.

    • http://dukesofearl.blogspot.com Joy

      Mainstream culture is itself rooted in patriarchy, and the idea that sex is something that men seek and desire and women withhold or give for other purposes (emotion, support, marriage) is still pretty pervasive despite decades of sex-positive feminism.

  • Saraquill

    So purity culture makes men appear rather appalling, yet the goal is to marry one of them? That is contradictory.

    • http://madphotog.blogspot.com gustovcarl

      I concur. Men should really be insulted by this portrayal. The patriarchy culture seems to freeze men’s personalities, at best, around the level of a 15-y/o horny teenager, while teaching that women need to go along with it.

      • Nea

        Worse, the patriarchy freezes men’s personalities around the terrible twos, and then adds in puberty. How many of these posts (and how much of the upcoming chapters of CTBHHM) will center around the idea that a man simply cannot handle being told “no,” “not now,” or “I disagree”? Looking from the outside in, I keep wondering why I’m supposed to want – much less take as my moral and intellectual better – someone who needs to be treated like a very spoiled toddler?

      • kagekiri

        It pissed me off when I WAS a horny teenager, and my church, which considered even thinking about sex with a non-spouse a sin (including in your dreams, wet or otherwise; hell, even masturbating while thinking about your spouse was a sin…I’m not kidding), that promoted crap like Josh Harris, that insisted on all that purity crap and had accountability groups whose entire purpose was basically “stop those teenage boys from lusting and masturbating and dating without intention of marriage” by using shame and ridiculous peer pressure; that same church had pastors who made jokes about how all men masturbated (“95% of men say they masturbate, and the other 5% are lying”).

        REALLY? You’re telling me, a flipping teen boy(then) dealing with hormones up the wazoo yet who was still a virgin who didn’t masturbate, who is stunting his attraction to girls to the point he’s basically become nigh-asexual, that you pure-sex-having married people STILL end up masturbating regularly, and everyone’s laughing about it? What kind of depraved sin-hole was I living in?

        In retrospect, yeah, great they admitted it was natural and normal (kinda). But the hypocrisy pissed me off when I was a self-righteous Christian, and it pisses me off now as an atheist dealing with all that repression years later (who else has an ingrained reflex to look away from the TV screen when characters kiss?). They knew it was natural and apparently harmless enough to joke about, but tried to enforce it on those kids who naturally “struggled” with it the most using ridiculous amounts of shame.

        Oh wow, off topic a bit there…sorry.

        TL:DR: It pissed me off when I was a chaste teen Christian boy, and it screwed me up so I’m still dealing with their two-faced hypocrisy about sex and gender roles years after deconverting.

      • Carys Birch

        “(who else has an ingrained reflex to look away from the TV screen when characters kiss?)”

        I can’t look if someone else is in the room. They might think I’m lusting. It’s completely ridiculous and embarrassing, but true. I don’t have a problem if I’m alone… but then again I never could stifle my own sexuality, I just was very careful to hide it.

        Similar vein, my parents have gotten a lot more relaxed since I was a kid. Recently, my mother’s guilty pleasure is Law and Order: SVU. She can’t watch it if anyone else is home though, because they might think she was interested in sex (crimes, but it’s the sex part that bothers her). She watches a lot less TV now that my dad’s retired…

      • Steve

        @kagekiri
        All these churches use sex to control people. Of course they know absolutely well that people will keep “sinning”. Which is exactly why they keep focusing on it. They know that people will come back for the “cure”. It’s been like that for 2000 years really.

        Breaking their victims down mentally by making them constantly feel ashamed and guilty of being human and alive also makes them easier to control in other areas. It’s basic mind control.

    • Maddie

      Not only to marry them, but to defer to them on everything. It’s bizarre, really, if men are so completely helpless, how are they supposed to be the ones “leading”?

    • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

      And they say feminists hate men. The message I get from this culture is: Men are out-of-control sex beasts who need to be carefully managed through displays of womanly submission, or they’ll totally fly off the handle. Also, men should be in charge of everything. Aargh.

  • smrnda

    The purity culture sets up standards that nobody can attain, and then teaches people to be disappointed in their partners for just being human beings with normal sexual impulses. If you feel guilty because of your own feelings, or feel cheated because your partner isn’t pure enough, then you’ll need the church or other Christian ‘experts’ to save your marriage (which isn’t even in trouble in the first place.)

    When you mentioned the prevalence of affairs, I was thinking that the patriarchy deal is a bad deal for men, unless they’re mostly driven by narcissism and insecurity since it’s basically “work 80 hours a week” and that’s the end of it. With the husband and wife in totally separate places, how are they supposed to have a relationship?

    The thing about people is that they have feelings, they form bonds with other people. They do things like ‘have sex.’ The idea that someone can or should avoid this until they find the right person – how do you know if a person is the right person if you have zero experience, and I mean more things than just sex?

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    I don’t know if it was because of purity culture or my own experiences with guys- but for a long time I was very open about the fact that I didn’t trust guys. Because of course they always want sex, and of course they’re all just trying to be sneaky and pretend to be nice to a girl, in order to get sex. I remember how shocked and insulted my ex-boyfriend was when I mentioned something offhand about what I assumed to be his motives for hugging me.

    • TheSeravy

      I think it partially has to do with the group/mob mentality thing too. I have always hung out with boys as a kid until I switched schools. The new boys weren’t ‘t so accomodating as my former group of friends and they definitely lived up to the sex/sports/video game crazed stereotype; they even harassed and bullied a lot of the younger kids and people who didn’t fit in. But one day, something about homework, one of them talked to me one-on-one. I remember being shocked at how nice he was and was completely baffled at how this same person was also the same shallow idiot who was making my life miserable. I think it demonstrates the pressure boys/men feel to fit the manly role when on a personal level, they aren’t like that at all. And if that is how they feel pressured to act in a group, it must be difficult to act otherwise or discuss this issue around their friends and other men they trust. (and on a side note… when I hung out with the boys, the message was that girls are weak and useless and we never talk about feelings, it was all about bravado. that was the 90s, so if that is any indication, it’s no wonder so many men do not respect women. as children, the message has not been positive.)

      • smrnda

        I was going to add that when I was young, most of the boys I knew seemed pretty much okay, but I think a lot of ‘bad male behavior’ comes from too much time being spent in male-only company, where bad ideas about masculinity aren’t going to be weeded out but encouraged, partly as a show of loyalty to the group and a need to gain status at the expense of out-group people.

        I mean, imagine a mixed gender group hanging out. Is a guy going to yell some obscene remark at a random female stranger if in that situation? No, but if it’s a group of all guys, you’d get a different response a lot of the time.

  • alwr

    The whole thing boils down to the extremely flawed assumption that relationships and marriages have no other purpose or facet than sex.

  • J-Rex

    What is frustrating for me is that we’re constantly told how much guys want sex, but both guys I’ve been with want sex less than I do. With my first relationship, I constantly felt ashamed because he was so much better at controlling himself and I felt like there was something wrong with me. It’s a lot better with my current relationship and I don’t get mad if he doesn’t want to, but it just confuses me because there’s this idea that a guy would never not want to have sex and there he is saying, “Not today.”
    I also used to feel like I’d been cheated on when my old boyfriend watched porn. Even going into this relationship, I was still very offended knowing he watched it, but I lightened up over time and now I actually watch it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia lucrezaborgia

      My husband and I have very different sex drives. Even with my eyes wide open, it’s hard for me to accept that I am almost always the one asking for sex. He would much rather cuddle without the expectation of sex.

      • Amyc

        This sounds like my relationships as well. My sex drive is much stronger than my partner’s. I’m also bisexual, so we have an agreement that I can sleep with women*.

        *He can too, but again, he has a lower sex drive, and he’s a tad socially awkward, so the idea of just having a fling with someone is not amenable to him.

  • defuse00

    *pore, you said pour.

    Good stuff.

  • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com Amelia

    “I realized that when a couple didn’t expect each other to be virgins when they met, there was no trust broken when they weren’t.”
    I think this is one of the biggest take-home lessons here.
    DH and I were both not virgins when we met. Regardless of the fact we had both been involved in church groups (him as a pre-teen, me at university, where I was more thoroughly introduced to things like Mr Harris). And you know what? It was actually a really.good.thing.
    For me, who had only had sex once before I met DH (and it was a really quite unpleasant experience), I was glad to have had that “yucky first time” and first time nerves out of the way. Plus, him having had a single partner before me meant he actually had some idea what he was doing. Win!

  • smrnda

    I think the whole purity culture is just not a mature perspective on marriage or relationships; it makes them into being all about sex, and you get people who are 18 who think that, if you just wait to have sex until you’re married, then everything is fine. Of course, when people are incredibly shallow this might be the case. My interactions with conservative Christians gave me the impression that for them, marriage was less about love and more a status symbol. When you got married, you were perceived of as an adult – it seemed like men got married because it impressed other guys and now they were part of the ‘big boy club’ or whatever. (The silliness of having women mentor younger women on how to make marriage work and then older men mentor younger men on marriage – isn’t it better for couples to work together? I think part of this is that religion cannot stand any intimate relationship going unpoliced.) I’m thinking purity is part of that status since you can brag about it, or imagine it makes you better than other people.

    But the whole marriage being a status obsessed pissing contest, it’s just horrible.

    • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

      But don’t you know, there’s One True Formula that’ll guarantee an Absolutely Perfect Marriage, so why do couples need to talk to each other? Just give them The Formula and then they just have to follow it To The Letter and they’ll live Happily Ever After. If they talk to each other then one might lead the other astray, thinking that the problem is The Formula when really they’re just not following it perfectly enough.

      • smrnda

        Another issue with the formula – if couples communicated openly and honestly, they’d realize the formula wasn’t working. But if they don’t, and instead of communicating go the the world of Christian marriage advice for validation, then they can keep a bunch of writers selling books.

  • Callan

    So, really, the things that caused these problems in your marriage was your lack of maturity, your lack of trust and your imbecilic mother. He had a history before you came along? Well, boohoo. Get over it. He should have been a virgin before you were married? Why? What has his previous life got to do with anything? What has it got to do with you, other than making him the sort of man that now regards you as the centre of his life? He finds other women attractive? He may have sexual thoughts about them? So what? Of course he does. It’s called a biological imperative. He is biologically endowed to find the perfect mate, to create the perfect offspring. Every man has it. What makes the man is how he handles it. And guess what, Einstein, he found you. You have no proof of infidelity, but based on the moronic teachings of your own bewildered parent, you were willing to accept the worst of this man, why? Because he is a man and that’s all women seem to need these days. I’m so glad that you learnt to trust him and forgive him for his errant thoughts. How patronising of you. Appreciate him for who he is, and leave your psychoses out of it. Purity culture, what a joke.

    • Karen

      Callan, her post says she already figured it out. Your nasty, condescending comment is inappropriate.

    • http://itsbetterthanyours.blogspot.com AndersH

      So… reading comprehension not a big thing for you, I take it?
      In addition, I think some gay men might have something to say about that biological imperative of yours.

      • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ Amethyst

        Not to mention the fact that in a recent post Libby Anne acknowledged that she is and always has been sexually attracted to women, too.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Reading comprehension is your friend.

      (Though bullshit sexist biological determinism pop science is not.)

    • Hayluh

      Lol @ the pathetic evo psych.

  • http://belljaimie@ymail.com Jaimie

    You know it’s funny. Even back when I was in my teens and early adulthood, I knew I would never marry one of the church guys. Back then I couldn’t put my finger on it. They just gave off a weird vibe. And this was way before I was even questioning the teachings.

    • Danielle

      I can totally relate to this. When I was growing up, my mom would always make these comments about how I should try to “get with” certain guys at church. It would always be one of the several years older, stereotypically attractive, assertive types with a “heart for the Lord.” Being a shy, super-geek type those comments would make me very uncomfortable. For one thing, they would be honestly “out of my league” and people I’d be way too shy to actually start a conversation with. Also, it made it seem like my mom didn’t even think about my personality or interests at all and what kinds of relationships would be good for me, just that I should go for the hottest and godliest man I could.

    • Amyc

      I was the same way. I went on one date with a church guy (that my mom set up) and he was so weird I just couldn’t do it again. We went to the movies and he seemed to be so preoccupied with never accidentally touching me (he even got all squirmy when our hands touched absentmindedly) that neither of us could enjoy the movie or each other’s company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia lucrezaborgia

    …and the foster parents that want to keep my stepdaughter believe in this crap!

    *headdesk*

  • Hilary

    Ye-ouch, that sounds crazy making! Enjoy Harriet Lerner, try Dance of Anger after Dance of Connection, I remember in that book she goes over a woman making very different parenting choices then her mother at depth.

    Libby, what are the roots of the Purity Culture? Maybe I missed it if you talked about it, but from what I udnerstand reading you and your links, it’s not that old, I mean it’s not 6-8 generations running. IIRC your parents didn’t grow up in it, right? Maybe looking at how it started, what it was reacting against in the larger culture, would be some insight into why it seems to do everything possible to create terrible human relationships. I recall something by Karen Armstrong about how fundamentalism is really a modern phenominan, I’m going to look into it.

    Hilary

    • ScottInOH

      I think that, while Libby Anne’s version may be recent (the homeschooling movement is recent, so is Josh Harris, maybe purity rings), the idea that most sexual activity is wrong, that “lustful” thoughts are wrong, and that suppressing those urges is good goes back a very long way.

      My own hypothesis about how it started, albeit one I haven’t tested very rigorously, is that many leading men of the early (and modern) Christian church alternately feared, desired, and loathed both women and sexual pleasure.

      • http://Patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Most early Christian theologians had training in Greek philosophies like stoicism that ultimately made a significant impact on early Christian theology. The mind/body dualism so prominent in Christianity, for instance, came from Aristotle. And of course, Jewish teachings about women, especially purity codes, likely played a role as well, but I am much less verses in all that than in the agreement influence (largely because almost all I know about first century Judaism comes from the Christian Bible).

      • Steve

        St. Augustine in particularly wrote about his own struggles with his sexuality and his self-loathing. He hated himself for his sexual feelings and thoughts and of course blamed women for it and demanded they cover themselves up. He projected his own life on everyone else. So this crap as old as Christianity himself.

      • ScottInOH

        @Libby Anne: Yes, my explanation is very Christianity-centered, and I’d be very interested to learn more about where the early Christians got their ideas.

        My main point was that the purity culture of the last decade or so is just a contemporary manifestation of teachings that have deep, deep roots.

      • ScottInOH

        @Steve: St. Augustine is definitely one of the sources of my hypothesis!

      • smrnda

        You should add St Paul to that as well. He clearly had a very negative view of sexuality, and marriage itself. If it’s really his writings in the Bible, he can’t see any value to marriage other than as the appropriate outset for sexual desires.

      • Christine

        To the best of my knowledge, outside of St. Paul, the early Christian church wasn’t actually that down on women (and for a former Pharisee he was on the good end of the scale). Even a lot of Paul’s advice to women was along the lines of “please, still be respectable women” rather than “how dare you think of being a person”.

        It’s just that the only records we have all had to survive the years when the church was very anti-woman, and things got destroyed or changed. This wasn’t all malicious (not that I’m saying it wasn’t all bad), but some of it was. If a scribe had been taught his whole life that only men could have a role in the church, his best judgement will indeed say that the slightly smudged name is “Junias” not “Junia” (to use one of the most famous examples).

  • Sarah

    Purity culture has infected mainstream society, as well. The whole “lady on the streets/freak in the sheets” dichotomy comes to mind. And I still recall the oh-so-charming guilt trips my ex-husband would lay on me – several times in the middle of making out or sex, he would suddenly stop and ask “Where did you learn to do that?” and shut down. And the most ironic part – we met in college, after we had both accumulated a “body count” in the double digits!

    • Christine

      I don’t think that we can blame purity culture for this – a lot of this is baggage our culture has been carrying around since the middle ages. The Purity Culture just took it to obsessive levels.

  • http://thechurchproject.me Tracey

    Callan,
    F– for reading comprehension. (see me after class!)

  • Pingback: How the Modesty Doctrine Fuels Rape Culture

  • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

    Your Sean sounds like a better man than I was when faced with a similar situation, and my gf wasn’t even in this Purity Culture you talk about, and we weren’t even married. Though, in retrospect, the culture she was from probably internalized some aspects of what you’ve been writing about. My defense mechanism, after I got tired of apologizing for things I didn’t do, was to decide that if she was going to accuse me of being unfaithful, I’d at least give her something to think about. So i started confirming all of her suspicions. By the time someone pointed out to her what I was doing, I had decided I couldn’t handle it anymore and that was the end of that relationship.

  • aletha

    out of curiosity, how did you let go of doubt and suspicion? because i’m constantly questioning my husband “only me?”. and i know i need to stop, but i can’t get past the idea that he’ll cheat because my dad, my ex, and my other ex did. :(


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