Monday, August 13, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention: "Cheap Girlfriend Syndrome"


I was talking over the weekend to one of the "On Fire" gals about some things and she shared with me a piece that she recently posted to FB. I dug it and so I wanted to share it with you gals. If you want to connect with the author, look for her under "Julie Jeschke". She's definitely onto something as you will see below:

"I am a firm believer that books 'find'  us, when we most need to read them. One such book that I’ve been dabbling in for the past few months is The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, by Timothy and Kathy Keller. I tried and tried to get through it, but I would inevitably get distracted by home-buying or moving or unpacking, and I wouldn’t progress more than a few pages, which I would then have to re-read the next time I picked it up. I finally finished it last night. The following excerpt really spoke to me, exactly when I needed it:

'However, also don’t become a faux spouse for someone who won’t commit to you. While some couples may get too serious too quickly, there are other couples in which one member in particular has a deep reluctance to move forward and commit to marriage. If a relationship has dragged on for years with no signs of deepening or progressing toward marriage, it may be that one person has found a level of relationship (short of marriage) in which he or she is receiving all that is wanted and feels no need to take it to the final stage of commitment.
Kathy and I observed this phenomenon while still in college. We dubbed it the “cheap girlfriend syndrome,” because it most often was the woman who was interested in marriage while the man was not. Sometimes a man and a woman would spend a great deal of time together. This meant the man had a female companion to accompany him to events (when he wanted one), a woman to talk to (if he felt like talking), and a supportive listener (to his troubles, should he feel the need to unburden himself). If the relationship did not involve sex, the man would insist to others that he and the girl weren’t even dating, that they weren’t “involved.” If she ever chanced to question this, he might protest: “I never said we were more than friends!” But this is unfair, because they were more than friends. He was getting much more than he would out of a male buddy relationship. He was getting many of the perks of marriage without the cost of commitment, while the woman was slowly curling up and dying inside.
While congratulating ourselves on this insight, we never thought it would apply to us.
However, there came a time in our relationship, after we had known each other for several years, when 
Kathy saw that this was exactly what had happened, and so she gave me what has come to be known in our family as the “pearls before swine” speech. Though we were best friends and kindred spirits, I was still hurting from a previous relationship that had ended badly. Kathy was patient and understanding, up to a point, but the day came when she said, “Look, I can’t take this anymore. I have been expecting to be promoted from friend to girlfriend. I know you don’t mean to be saying this, but every day you don’t choose me to be more than a friend, it feels as if I’ve been weighed and found wanting-- I feel it as a rejection. So I just can’t keep going on in the same way, hoping that someday you’ll want me to be more than a friend. I’m not calling myself a pearl, and I’m not calling you a pig, but one of the reasons Jesus told his disciples not to cast pearls before swine was because a pig can’t recognize the value of a pearl. It would seem like just a pebble. If you can’t see me as valuable to you, then I’m not going to keep throwing myself into your company, hoping and hoping. I can’t do it. The rejection that I perceive, whether you intend it or not, is just too painful.”
That’s exactly what she said. It got my attention. It sent me into a time of deep self-examination. A couple weeks later, I made the choice.'

I read that, and it was epiphany time: I have been guilty of subjecting myself to the 'cheap girlfriend syndrome.' And I can’t blame anyone but myself, because it was all my own doing. It’s not enough to just keep your clothes on and not get involved physically. Until you are in a committed relationship, it can be just as destructive to confide your deepest hopes and dreams or fears to someone, or allow them to confide in you, as it can be to go too far physically. Both are going to create a bond that isn’t supposed to be there. You want to remain unentangled. You certainly don’t want to be that girl or boy who has their meathooks in multiple people, just feeding on the energy that comes from this false sense of being “valuable” to them. How will you explain these too-close friendships with members of the opposite sex to your future spouse? You can’t just flip a switch and expect that it will all be undone. A certain kind of emotional nakedness and intimacy happens when you make yourself vulnerable with someone.

I haven’t even kissed anyone in two years. I’ve been waiting for the right guy for a change, but not just passively waiting -- I’ve been spending years, becoming the right girl. I thought I knew myself better than that. I didn’t ever consider that I could fall into the trap of becoming emotionally promiscuous. But that’s exactly what happened. I know this is a common thing, too, among my young and young-at-heart Christian friends. That’s why I’m posting this... The lines get blurred, when you have close friendships with people of the opposite sex. Is it totally platonic, really? Or is one of you hoping that the other person will change his or her mind? Are you giving little pieces of your heart away to someone who never asked for them? Are you throwing your pearls before swine, as Kathy Keller felt she was doing, in the excerpt I lovingly typed out for you, to snap you out of it? Or, could you be leading someone on, who you know has feelings for you that you can't return, even though you like the attention?

Snap out of it, my dears! Song of Solomon 8:4 says, “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.” You might feel like you are investing in something, by being emotionally intimate with that boy or girl. There will be a payoff someday, you hope, when they finally realize they have feelings for you. I’m sure people get together under circumstances like those all the time. But is it healthy? Is it honest? Is it true, pure, and lovely? I want someone to really SEE me, good and bad, and see the value in who I am, without my having to make a sales pitch. I refuse to give myself away again.

Here’s a little review of a book that addresses the concept of emotional promiscuity:

There is a reason why we want to have someone to spill our guts to. It's a natural desire and a good thing to know and be fully known -- to have someone know all your deepest secrets and still love you unconditionally. This desire, though, ideally leads us to seek real relationships that will potentially lead to marriage. By being emotionally involved with multiple people, you probably won't be emotionally available when the right guy or girl comes along. And if you are getting your emotional needs met by friends-who-are-more-than-friends, what incentive do you have to seek a real committed relationship? "Why buy the cow...?" as they crassly say?

Guard your hearts!'

Good...good...*GOOD* stuff, Julie!

Keep on keepin' on. You're *definitely* leaps closer to your covenant partner with revelations like this for sure!



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