Belle Femme

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Everything posted by Belle Femme

  1. Dealing with Ambivalence [help]

    Not everyone approaches dating and relationships the same way. This is a very big thing that too many people don't understand, and they inadvertently get hurt or hurt someone else. It sounds like she just wants to date casually right now, possibly non-exclusively, in order to get to know you and see how she feels about you. This is a perfectly normal approach to dating, especially at 19. It sounds like you wanted to move fairly quickly from the casual dating to an exclusive relationship, and when you talked to her about it, she shared her honest reservations about being in a relationship so soon. It's up to you how to proceed. If you can genuinely be comfortable with continuing to date her casually and see what happens, without putting a lot of pressure on her to be in a relationship, then go for it! As long as both people are on the same page, casual dating is a great way to learn how to be in a relationship without the long-term pressure. Once you get to a point that you know you want to be exclusive, however, you need to bring that up with her. If she's still uncertain, it might be time to move on. If casual dating gets to a point where one person wants to be exclusive and the other wants to keep things casual, it's best for the feelings of both people to stop dating. If you are already at that point, where you want a relationship with her, dating might not be the best idea.
  2. I'm a Christian married to an atheist! Our mixed-faith relationship works for a lot of reasons. In no particular order: He was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school, so he understands how religion can be used as a moral base. He also understands different types of theology (and why I have a HUGE problem with the Catholic Church itself). My personal theology is very liberal and based on considerable independent study instead of the sort of indoctrination I see/saw in my conservative southern hometown. He's agreed to attend church with me for Christmas, Easter, and when we're visiting my parents. Also if I'm speaking or singing. We've both agreed to introduce future kid(s) to all Christian denominations, plus the other major world religions/spiritual systems. We want them to study and explore their own beliefs to draw their own conclusions. That said, we've also agreed that we'll find a fairly liberal Christian church to attend and primarily raise the kids within it, both to foster community and to establish a moral framework (see first bullet point). All of that said... I'm quite unusual among the open-minded religious folks in that I WTM. And the conservative ones probably think you're going to hell, so like Steadfast Madcap said, you might not want to marry someone like that. My atheist husband was WTM for non-religious reasons (me too, since my study of the Word and the history of controlling women's virginity has led me to conclude premarital sex isn't a sin), so they do exist!!!! They're just harder to find. Good luck!
  3. Is "sex only within marriage" an idol?

    In certain conservative religious communities, sexual purity has absolutely become an idol. The language used to describe premarital sex and those who have engaged in it is often shaming and abusive. Calling girls ruined, spoiled, dirty, etc. for having premarital sex. Treating sexual sin as though it's greater than any other form of sin. Equating consensual premarital sex with rape. This is the kind of stuff that countless women have experienced across the US, and yes, that is turning sexual purity into an idol. Choosing to save sex for marriage in and of itself, however, is not an idol. I'm honestly disappointed, if not surprised, that our churches don't discuss other American idols, like food, wealth, and fame, more than they discuss premarital sex. There's an overall obsession with excess in our country, but somehow the criticism is mostly an excess of sex and not anything else.
  4. I just read this beautiful and very honest piece from Deeper Story on saving sex until marriage. I love how the writer explains the way her stance on waiting changed as she grew older, how her mother's circumstances influenced her, and her navigation of dating. http://deeperstory.com/like-a-virgin/
  5. Since I'm not naming names, I'm going to list the dates of when I attended their wedding, and if both/one successfully waited. 2007: It was their first kiss at the alter, not sure if they had kissed other people before meeting each other. Definitely both virgins. 2009: Definitely both virgins. 2010: They had been together since high school, so about six years. She was a virgin; he was not. Obviously he then waited with her. 2011: Pretty sure they were both virgins. 2012: She was a virgin; he was not. He then waited with her. 2014: My husband and I! Then also two friends, definitely both virgins. Then I also have many good friends who are still virgins, who are waiting, but they're all currently single.
  6. What if they want to paint their room a color you think is ugly? They can do that, but they have to provide the labor and the materials. If they do a poor job of protecting their belongings from paint, I'm not paying to replace them. Privilege and responsibility go hand in hand. What if they wanted to date someone of the same sex (date, not sleep with), or even just come out as gay or bi? I'm bisexual. I'd have no problem with my child being gay or bisexual. What if they came out as trans* and wanted to go on hormone therapy and be called by a different name? Before going on hormone therapy, I'd want them to see a therapist who specializes in transgender issues. I would be accepting, but I'd also want them to have time to explore that with a professional before altering their body. It would be difficult for me to call them by a different name, primarily because habits are hard to change and because future children with all family names, but I would try really really hard to respect their wishes. What if they feel they need to take ADD medication or antidepressants, but you aren't convinced it's necessary? Ha, having an ADD child is my worst nightmare. I don't have it, but I'm sure I carry the gene. My mom, twin brother, and younger brother all have it. My younger brother doesn't take meds for it anymore, but I think he did all through school. I can't stand being around my twin brother for more than an hour or two if he hasn't taken his meds. He lacks all impulse control. My mom is easier to be around without her meds, but she's also hilariously obviously off them. What if they wanted to switch to a different religion, or declare themselves an atheist? I'm Christian, and my husband is atheist. My children will be required to attend church with me probably until they're in high school. My husband and I have already decided that in addition to attending one church regularly for community and fellowship, we'll also take our kids to other religious places of worship. We want them to have as much age-appropriate information as possible on all the religious faiths so they can make their own informed decision as they get older. In regards to other things, certain activities will never be tolerated at my house. Aka ones that negatively affect other people. So media has to be played at reasonable volumes so as not to disturb everyone else. Smoking is NOT ALLOWED EVER on my property, inside or outside. Or in any of our cars. Same with drugs. I do plan on teaching my kids how to drink responsibly, and hopefully get them interested in expensive wine/beer so they prefer to spend money on a small amount of good alcohol instead of a binge amount of cheap alcohol.
  7. Studying Religious Texts as Literature

    I actually think all religious people should study their own texts in a secular manner. I roll my eyes a bit at people who just repeat basic ideas that they clearly haven't grappled with on their own. In regards to the Bible, it's important to understand how multi-authored it is, the inclusion of contradictory accounts, the politics behind choosing the canon, the politics in English translations over the years, etc. I felt much better equipped to engage with the Word and interpret the scriptures after studying the Bible from a very secular perspective.
  8. A third way for Christians on the 'gay issue'?

    I really love this blog post about homosexuality and Christianity. I look forward to the rest of the series. A few thought-provoking passages: “Neither Peter in his work to include Gentiles in the church nor the abolitionists in their campaign against slavery argued that their experience should take precedence over Scripture,†writes Matthew. “But they both made the case that their experience should cause Christians to reconsider long-held interpretations of Scripture. Today, we are just as responsible for testing our beliefs in light of their outcomes—a duty in line with Jesus’s teachings about trees and their fruit.†Before getting into a more detailed analysis of the various biblical passages involved, Matthew takes Chapter 2 to argue that new information about sexuality ought to compel Christians to rethink their interpretation of Scripture. He reminds readers that Galileo was accused of heresy by the Church when he presented evidence that contradicted centuries of tradition and accepted biblical interpretation regarding the earth’s place in the universe. It would take Christians many years to change their minds, but eventually they did. “Christians did not change their minds about the solar system because they lost respect for their Christian forbearers or for the authority of Scripture,†he writes. “They changed their minds because they were confronted with evidence their predecessors had never considered. The traditional interpretation of Psalm 93:1, Joshua 10:12-14, and other passages made sense when it was first formulated. But the invention of the telescope offered a new lens to use in interpreting those verses, opening the door to a more accurate interpretation.â€
  9. Early Marriages

    I think we should encourage couples to get married when they're ready, preferably after some intensive premarital counseling. "Readiness" will vary from couple to couple. I also think her first argument is pretty ridiculous. Traveling in your 20s is a GREAT idea. I learned so much about myself and became a better, more empathetic, less naive person by working in France my first two years out of graduation. And I really think it's a bad idea to push "good for society" as any sort of reason to make a life-changing decision. And growing up together? Making those big decisions as a couple works great... if you both want the same thing. For me, finding a man who had similar goals and expectations in regards to a house, finances, vacations, etc. was important to me. Money problems is the number one cause of divorce, so you really need to be on the same page about how to handle money before you get married. http://www.twoofus.org/educational-content/articles/too-young-to-get-married-see-what-the-experts-say/index.aspx
  10. Birth control/condoms as a married man or woman

    Male birth control is not impossible. There are ongoing scientific trials and research worldwide. This article summarizes eight different possibilities for male birth control. This drug in India is the most promising. I've read tons of articles on it in the last few years. The scientist has been working on it for decades, fighting bureaucracy and outdated attitudes along the way. More information available here and here.
  11. Skinny Guys, Short S......

    I think skinny men (like my husband!) are sexy! I just wish he wore better-fitting clothes. His t-shirts are all nice and fitted, but his work shirts are mostly too baggy. I'm slowly going through his clothes and suggesting ones for him to discard. He owns more clothes than I do, for the record.
  12. Birth control/condoms as a married man or woman

    I was on the Pill several times prior to marriage to help with debilitating cramps. Like I had some months where I was bedridden the first day of my period because I was in so much pain. I went on the Patch, which is also hormonal contraception, about a month before I got married. It's basically changed my life. It's waaaaay better for my body than the Pill. I don't have to remember to take it every day. I have a 24-hour window once a week to change it (I can go 12 hours earlier or later than I put it on the week before). After six months of nonstop use, my periods are lighter, only last a few days instead of a whole week, they're consistent instead of ranging wildly, and my cramps are almost nonexistent. With the bonus of not getting pregnant. My husband and I want a kid eventually, and it's honestly going to suck so much going off BC to conceive. I just hope I get pregnant really fast whenever that happens!
  13. Favorite Books/Authors

    I totally reread the entire series last time I was an au pair. The oldest child had the first eight books, and I borrowed the others from the library. They're great books!
  14. I didn't have it directly in my OKC profile, but I publicly answered a lot of questions about sex to make it clear I was WTM. On OKCupid, you can also provide an explanation or context for your multiple choice answer, which I really like since sometimes the choices are limited. The fact that I answered I was saving sex for marriage for non-religious reasons is why my husband first contacted me. When dating people not from OKC, I think if you make it to a third date (which is often when sex happens), that's a good time to bring it up. I think it should be brought up before the exclusivity conversation, because at that point you two are starting to be invested in this. If sex in a relationship is a requirement for the other person, you both want to know that prior to wanting exclusivity.
  15. You didn't intend to make that point, but that's what your first comment insinuates by setting up that dichotomy.
  16. I think that context matters. I put pictures on social media from my life, and yeah, sometimes that involves me being sexy. For example, last year I took a vacation with my now-husband and his family on a houseboat. All of us spent most of the week in our swimsuits. Thus, most of the pictures from the week are of us in our swimsuits. If someone is going to judge me for bikini pictures at the lake, I don't want that person in my life. I also think selfies are a lot of fun, although I limit those to Twitter/Instagram. I don't think posting selfies in and of themselves is a problem either. Posting an intentionally provocative selfie (seriously, never heard of this sink booty thing... um, wtf?!), however, does imply that you're seeking validation from the opposite sex. If you're WTM and seeking a fellow waiter, this is not a great strategy. This is a false dichotomy. Sexual harassment (and assault, for that matter) happens regardless of what a woman wears. I started facing sexual harassment in high school when my boobs finally came in at 16 and then grew at an alarming rate for the next several years. Nothing about me changed except my boobs, but suddenly, I was fair game to be called a slut and a whore and for boys to publicly discuss my body in front of me. This came from boys who knew I'd never been kissed and I'd never had a boyfriend. And so-called Christians only made it worse by suggesting my changed body was a "stumbling block" and so I should start dressing differently. I think I've mentioned before that I met my husband on OKCupid. Well, all of my chosen pictures either emphasized my smile or my boobs or both. I chose candid photos that my friends had taken of me in the previous two years. They reflected my life much better than older, posed pictures. And amazingly, even with photos that flaunted my body, not a single guy who contacted me treated me like meat. Sure, I got tons of lame messages that I ignored. But I also received tons of engaging, interesting messages from guys who liked my entire profile, pictures and words. There will always be men who sexually harass women or "treat them like meat." But their actions aren't because women are dressed a certain way--their actions are because they're misogynistic jerks.
  17. I mean... I guess if your adult, hypothetical daughter has never left the town where y'all live, I could see this happening? But almost all of my friends and extended family wanted to go at least an hour away, if not out-of-state (or country) for college, and then for their first post-grad job. I know that not everyone can afford that--my twin brother screwed up his first year of college, lost all of his scholarships, and transferred to a local school. And I know that the job market is tight, so there are people with law degrees living with their parents. But it just strikes me as immature and insecure to be an adult woman who won't go on a first date without her dad's approval. Maybe I'm just in a large, unusual group of friends (and cousins) who value independence and travel, since no one close to me stayed near enough geographically to their parents to even be in "parental approval prior to dating" scenario.
  18. I would agree if I thought his intended audience were teenagers. But I read this article as advice for people in their 20s. If a father insisted on meeting his adult daughter's date before she could go out, that's pretty controlling. Or it's a sign that she's overly-dependent on her parents and can't make her own decisions. I guess that works for some people, but that would be a huge red flag for me to even be friends with someone like that. I can't imagine dating someone like that.
  19. Pursuing a Girl/Woman

    I totally support non-exclusive, casual dating. But the terminology "pursuing" sounds more serious and more intentional than casual dating. I went on dates with other guys when my husband and I first started dating. I had zero interest in a relationship at the time--ironically, I didn't think about being exclusive until after I'd moved away and we were still communicating long-distance. But when we were going on actual, in-person dates at the beginning, he wasn't pursuing me with the intent of marriage. He thought I was attractive and interesting, and he wanted to get to know me better. Later, his intentions changed, which is when we became exclusive. Either you're "pursuing" someone with the intention of getting into an exclusive, committed, serious relationship, OR you're casually dating for fun, to get to know people, to see if anything might happen or not. I don't really think you can do both at the same time.
  20. Pursuing a Girl/Woman

    My husband and I met online, via OKCupid, but he did pursue me, just in a very modern way! My profile showed up under his potential matches in his geographic area, and he checked it out. We had a 96% match, my profile was detailed, well-written, and free from grammatical errors, and I answered a question about saving sex for marriage. So he wrote me a long and clever first message. I responded in kind. We wrote back and forth for several weeks, and he quickly asked me out. The only delay in our first date was finding a day/time that worked for both of us. We went on several dates, but we didn't have much time, because I was just in that city/state for a summer internship. Then I moved to New York, quite far away. But he continued to pursue me by keeping in touch with me via IM, email, Facebook, text messaging, phone calls, and Skype. When he realized he wanted to be exclusive with me, even if we weren't going to see each other for possibly months, he asked me to be his girlfriend. All of this could be done in person if you meet women the old-fashioned way and don't have to deal with a long-distance relationship. Reading online profiles and exchanging messages = taking the time to get to know someone casually, in low-pressure situations like parties or church or other social gatherings. If you get along well, ask her on a date. Be clear about your intentions. No one likes to be tricked into a date. (Yes, this has happened to me. I thought it was a friends-thing, and it was a date). Also, if she likes you, she wants to know that you like her. A friend of mine complained recently that guys are too ambiguous about plans, and she wishes they would be clear if it's a date or not. She might say no, and if she does, respect her wishes. But if she says YES, woohoo! So I've discovered that dating rituals can be different depending on where you live. Ask your sister and your friends what's normal for where you live. Dinner makes a good first date, IMHO. I picked two restaurants that were near my apartment and let my now-husband choose between them. They both had extensive menus with reasonably-priced items. As a feminist, I've personally never felt really comfortable with other people buying me drinks or food, but I've learned to graciously accept when people offer and insist. It's easier for me if I can choose a dish that I would feel comfortable paying for myself, if that makes sense. So a restaurant where she wouldn't feel guilty or extravagant with you buying her dinner is good. Local restaurants are better than chains, but depending on where you live, you might not have much of a choice. Also with the dating rituals... Some people go on several dates before they decide to become exclusive, which is what my husband and I did. Other people spend a lot of time together, not on dates, just as friends, until they decide to be in a relationship. So that's something you should find out from your sister/friends, to see which is more common where you live. Sorry if this is all over the place... I typed it up in-between doing stuff at work.
  21. How should I respond?

    Actually, that's not the point for everyone. Keep in mind, on a waiting site, folks are more marriage-focused than the rest of the world. But how many people marry their high school sweetheart? While more people do find the person to marry in college, it's still less than half. My undergrad was pretty proud that 1 in 4 students/alumni would marry another from the same school. That's still only 25%, and that's a high percentage for college campuses. Not everyone will define a successful relationship the same way, of course. But the way I see it work among my friends are monogamous relationships that last 2-4 years. Break-ups happen for a lot of reasons, although an unwillingess to be long-distance was often a big one. When a person can look back on their past relationships without bitterness or anger, when a person learned and grew from a relationship, then I think of it as successful.
  22. How should I respond?

    I'm married too, so take all this with a grain of salt. I respond differently depending on the particular single circumstances. I am way more patient, sympathetic, and understanding to my perpetually single friends, because I was one of them just three years ago. (I married my first boyfriend). But many of my single friends who whine about being single are women who haven't spent more than 3-6 months in a row being single. They have a string of ex-boyfriends and past successful relationships, often without break-up drama or major problems. The biggest thing I do is listen for cues on if my friend wants advice or just wants to vent/share (complaining vs. sharing sad feelings). If they just want to talk, I do my best to be an active listener. Paraphrase back to them their frustrations, acknowledge their feelings, let them know it's okay to feel upset, remind them how great they are. But I do NOT offer advice unless asked. When I was single, I received unsolicited advice that was basically all variations of "change everything about you to get a boy to like you." Yeah, I ignored all of it, and still found a MAN who loves me. I do occasionally call out facebook rants. It's not a personal or private conversation--it's a rant shared with all 1000 of your friends, so I feel comfortable politely disagreeing. For example, a friend of mine (who is still pretty young at 25 and has had her fair share of successful relationships, so IDK why she's whining) recently posted an Elite Daily article that blamed "hook-up culture" for her inability to get a date. I focused on the logical fallacies in the article and the unfair expectation to demand other people change their dating preferences to suit our own. (I didn't point out the actual problem with dating where we live--it's a small city and most people are already paired up).
  23. What do you think....

    It's stupid and sexist. Gender generalizations help no one. While some men probably fit that description, it's a bit harsh to categorize all husbands as such. A study came out last year that analyzed family films from Sept 2006 to Sept 2009. Out of the 5,554 speaking roles in the sample size of 122 films, 29.2% were female and 70.8% were male. So I'm not too worried that Disney has made small attempts to improve its representation of female characters.
  24. Who comes first?

    In a life or death emergency situation, I would try to save whomever is least likely to be able to save themselves. Small children or people with disabilities, for example. In day-to-day life, I will put my children first while they remain physically dependent upon me. Assuming my body and future baby cooperate, I want to breastfeed until the child chooses to wean. While I plan on having a French au pair help with future kids at a certain point, breastfeeding is literally something only the mother can do. If my milk production is good, I can also pump in order to have some backup supply, but even so, there will be a time period when my entire life is a cycle of sleeping, nursing, pumping, changing diapers, eating, sleeping. Whenever my husband and I decide, together, that we can leave the future baby with a baby-sitter, we will do so frequently to focus on our relationship without a baby in the way. Overall, I plan to put my husband first, which is one reason why we don't plan on having kids anytime soon. I LOVE babies, and kids, and teenagers (just not middle-schoolers, sorry), and I can't wait to have our own. But we need time to establish ourselves as a married couple before we add kids to the mix. While this is certainly an interesting question and topic, life and reality are a lot messier than clear-cut answers. You can want something to be your priority, but shit happens, and you just have to adapt.
  25. I'm attracted to nerdy, skinny men... like my husband.