I do not understand my husband's ex.
She's ultra-religious. To church twice on a Sunday, and in various church groups through the week. Most of her friends are church folk. Now, no faith-bashing, Christian-mocking here. I consider myself a Christian. I was even 'born again' as a teenager, though my beliefs have changed a helluva lot since then.
The ex-wife is what Andrew Sullivan
terms a 'Christianist'. She doesn't have much in the way of a genuine, vibrant, giving faith; she seems to have no Christian principles at all, certainly not in her dealing with people she doesn't like. (I am counted among that number.)
What she does have are a lot of Rules. (Rules which only really count when someone whose opinion she values is watching, mind you. Which does not include her ex, and certainly not me. However, it seems not to God either, who, one would think, is always
So. The Rules say, "No sex before marriage."
Which had been no problem for the eight or nine or so years following her divorce, because there were no takers for Her Bitchiness. Meantime, her ex (my sweetie) and I were shacked up without the blessings of Holy Matrimony. The self-righteousness that came our way via the children and various comments and emails for the first year or so were sickening in their moral superiority.
And then - wonder of wonders! - she found herself a boyfriend.
After two or three years of steady dating, they are still not having sex! We know, because the children assure us of this fact. Their mother has told them so. They are not having sex. Even when they go away for weekends together. Even though they spent an entire week at his cottage last summer. Imagine the self-control! Even though mom's boyfriend not
a Christianist, even though they each have their own home, even though they have every other weekend child-free -- the relationship is platonic.
We don't argue, obviously. One doesn't undermine a parent to the children, and there'd be no point in it, anyway. They wouldn't believe us.
However, the mother does believe that sex before marriage is wrong. (Which justifies lying about it to one's children, because of course, lying isn't a sin...)
So, when her children get to be sexually mature, ready for dating, she of course impresses upon them the importance of modesty, caution, self-restraint.
Well, no. Those are Principles, and this is the Rule Lady.
I must explain for those who've just popped in for this one post. I am not opposed to adolescent, pre-marital sex
, providing it's respectful, loving, and they take appropriate precautions. It makes me a bit nervous, of course, because teens are young and make stupid mistakes. But I don't think it's a sin. I don't think it's a moral evil. It's just sex.
So, the Rule Lady tells her kids:
1. Pre-marital sex is wrong.
2. Don't ever come home telling me you're pregnant, or the girlfriend is.
That's about it. Useful guidance for a teen who's sure he/she has met the love of their life, but is under legal marrying age, don't you think?
I understand all that, though. Despite the hypcrisy of her position, it's consistent with a life lived guided by Rules and other's opinions rather than by principles and internal integrity. I've seen lots and lots of people like her.
the part I don't understand.
Her just-turned-seventeen-year-old daughter has a boyfriend. They've been going out three weeks or so. He's nineteen, a university student. With his own apartment. When she was out with him earlier this weekend, she phoned an hour after she was expected home, asking if she could spend the night. We said no.
(We refused because:
- we had hardly seen her all weekend, and a sleepover means we wouldn't see her till early afternoon the next day.
- we have not had a serious sex talk with her, and have no idea where she is on the subject.)
We've talked about sex and birth control with all our teens, of course, his and mine, but it hasn't gotten personal with this one yet. It's all been theoretical information, and she's poo-pooh'ed the possibility. Her expressed intention was to "save it for marriage". (Just like her mother!!!) Naive girls who think they "aren't that kind" are thus unprepared for the eventuality are the ones who end up pregnant. Duh. So, before she's allowed an overnight at the boyfriend's, we need to know she's prepared for the eventuality.
In the ensuing conversation, we discovered:
1. The girl has no curfew on weekends at mom's house. (We're not stupid; we double-checked this claim with the girl's mother.) The girl has NO curfew.
2. The girl has already spent at least one night at the boyfriend's house during a weekend with her mother. (We double-checked this one, too.) She has indeed spent an entire night with him.
So, we have a mother who believes pre-marital sex is wrong, who would offer no support if a pregnancy occured, who has not provided sex education, but who allows her teenage daughter to spend the night at her boyfriend.
What the HELL is she thinking?
Labels: irony, parenting, sex, step-children, teens, the ex