Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Making up for lost time

Alien abductees say they lose time because of their wierd experiences. Ever since I made the decision to give up sex until marriage, I've experienced the opposite: I've gained time -- lots of it.

What do alien abductees and women practicing celibacy have in common? (I know this is a stretch, but hang with me for a minute.)

We both are deemed strange and unbelievable by society.

When you tell a friend that you haven't had sex for a year or more, she'll probably look at you with very large eyes and say, "Really? Unbelievable!" It's the same response an alien abductee receives to her own full disclosure.

Here's where we depart company, however. Alien abductees say they have no control over what happens to them. (Can you tell I watch way too much sci fi?) Thankfully, this isn't the case with those of us practicing celibacy, especially sensual celibacy. We make a decision to begin a term of celibacy, and we make a decision to end it. This helps prevent accidental sex ("I don't know how it happened." "It just happened!" "See, what had happened wuz...").

The issue of dealing with found time is a real one for women practicing celibacy. Interestingly, during the first days and weeks after a breakup, you'll find that you suddenly have a ton of time on your hands. How do we fill this newly found time? We might call our girlfriends day and night, rebound with guys we don't know or really want, or we might become total hermits (that would be me).

Once you get through that traumatic period, then the reality of your life, good or bad, becomes glaringly obvious to you. If you were smart during your relationship, you didn't give up your interests for the man. If you gave up your interests and put your life on hold because the sex was SO GOOD it clouded your cognitive powers, then you've got some soul searching to do.

I've learned that relationships with a high lust quotient can confuse our sense of time. When we are consumed by passion, we no longer have enough time in the day to get things done. Important tasks fall by the wayside. And then boom! he's gone and you suddenly have a load of time to fill.

My advice is to resist the urge to fill found time with other men. Use this precious time to focus on yourself. What did you give up while you were with him? Honestly, did you neglect your kids, close friends, and other responsibilities? You may need to mend some relationships.

Chicago high schools require students to complete a certain number of volunteering hours in order to graduate. I think this is a wonderful idea for newly single women. It will take some of the edge off of your desperation when you see how worse off others are.

I spent those first few months after the breakup that led to my celibacy practice in therapy, and it was the best thing I could have done. I learned tons about myself, including why I had made such poor choices in the past. I also started writing like my life depended on it, and I've never looked back.

Sometimes I think the reason why women rebound during this period is because they feel ashamed that they don't have a man. Society still does a job on women who are going solo.

There's no need to feel shame or humiliation. This is just a season in your life. Use it wisely because if you don't get it right this time, you'll keep going through the same heartaches over and over again. And you don't want that, now, do you?

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