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Men and Emotional Chastity

May  26th,  2020
Parker B.
By Parker B. read
Posted in Culture

“Savannah and I have actually started dating.”

These words cut me deep. 

Savannah was the girl I had a huge crush on for months. After a lot of back-and-forth in my head, I decided I might finally ask her out soon. Sitting in the car before going to an event, those words above were spoken to me by a good friend.

Now, I never told anyone about my feelings for this girl, not even my closest friends, so I had no real reason to be mad – but boy did I feel betrayed. I had spent months and months imagining a future with this girl that dating her already seemed like a forgone conclusion. I was basically dating her in my head, it was only a matter of ”when” it may become reality than “if” it would for me.

I had done a really bad job at one of those dating buzzwords we hear thrown around a lot – emotional chastity.

For the longest time I was convinced that emotional chastity (staying rooted in reality and not fantasizing about a future with someone you’re not even dating) was something men didn’t struggle with. I had heard countless talks about how women struggled with emotional chastity and men struggled with physical purity. I thought it could be no other way. The usual narrative is that it is no other way.

But newsflash – men struggle with emotional chastity too.

Say it from the rooftops! Just as anyone, guy or girl, can struggle with temptations to lust so can anyone, guy or girl, struggle with temptations to rush things too fast in their heads.

Now, there can be plenty of debate over whether “emotional chastity” is a real thing or not. Regardless of what can be said about that, I think it’s true that what emotional chastity tries to prevent is real. If we’re honest, we can get very caught up in a fantasy world, imagining relationships with the people around us. We can all be honest in saying that when we do that, it doesn’t always lead to the most grounded or healthy interactions with those around us.

It’s something we all tend to fall victim to, man and woman alike. So to my brother out there who struggles with emotional chastity – you are not alone. Countless other men find themselves there too.

To my brothers and sisters out there who think men don’t overthink things, don’t plan futures in their heads, or are only concerned about physical things – it’s time we realize this is a human problem. In our fallen nature none of us are spared. We’re all in this together.

Now, to be clear, I think there is something to be said about the differences between the sexes. Naturally, even biologically, guys will tend to struggle more with physical chastity and girls will tend to struggle more with emotional chastity. It’s how we’re wired and so we may be more disposed to lean towards those tendencies. But the point here is that either one can struggle with either issue, even both issues.

We as human beings naturally have a tendency to idealize everything – especially people. When we meet someone who exhibits a few of the qualities we look for in a future spouse, our minds get racing. We think “could this be the one?!” and we end up blowing those good qualities out of proportion. Suddenly this person becomes “The One” and their real, good qualities become “everything we’ve ever wanted.”

It’s hard because we desire a love that is real. We all desire to be seen, known, and loved by another and if we see someone who may be that “other” we want to latch on and not let go. We convince ourselves that this love will come from another person. But we know all too well that this ache will not be satisfied by another person but only by God Himself. 

So what’s a guy to do if he finds himself in a place like this? Act.

We as men are supposed to pursue, we’re supposed to initiate. Asking a girl on a date can be a scary thing. But the more we just sit around and imagine a relationship with someone, the more we end up loving a fantasy, not the actual person. If we just sit in our feelings for months, we’re only inviting emotional unchastity to creep in – giving it a nice cushy home.

So ask yourself “Is this something real? Is this someone I actually want to date?” If the answer is yes, then act! Don’t stay in your head, my brother. If you do, it may end up being too late and you’ll only end up regretting what could have been.

I believe in you. This world needs brave, courageous men that are willing to take a risk for the beautiful, virtuous women that are all around us. You’re exactly the kind of guy for the job. You have the power to help change the tide. 

Parker B.
Parker B.

About the Author

Parker is a 2019 graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University with a BA in Communication. He grew up in the town of Denham Springs, Louisiana and is an avid basketball fan, casual poetry writer, and lover of life. Parker first encountered the Culture Project when a missionary visited his university’s student center. As someone who is passionate about love, virtue, and the writings of St. John Paul II, he immediately felt a strong pull towards their mission. After much discernment, he answered the Lord’s call to serve as a Culture Project missionary and share his passion with others. “Everyone is made for love and so everyone longs for it deeply. If no one ever tells us where true love is found, how will we ever find it? I hope to speak the truth and help others find this Love they long for.”

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