Ask Dr NerdLove: My Crush Keeps Betraying My Christian Values

Ask Dr NerdLove: My Crush Keeps Betraying My Christian Values
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Hello, you love swamis of the Internet. Welcome to Ask Dr NerdLove, the dating advice column that’s powered by Protoculture.

Image via Shutterstock

This week, we’ll be talking about some of the more unusual questions that can crop up in your dating life. What do you do when you’ve fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with? And what do you do when the spirit is willing but the flesh stubbornly refuses to cooperate?

Occasionally life will hit you from angles you don’t expect, so it’s time to hit back. Let’s do this.

Dear Dr NerdLove,

I am an 18-year-old homeschooled guy who has never dated anyone before. I have liked many girls I’ve known, but have always shied away from the idea of dating because they didn’t ever seem “just right”.

In the recent years, I’ve had a secret crush on a certain girl (I’ll refer to her as “L”). We’ve known each other since we were little grade school kids romping around on the beach and having fun, and we grew up as friends. Everything seemed nice and rosy up until middle school. That’s when L took a turn for the worse (behaviourally and morally). She called stupid the idea of waiting until marriage to have sex, something which utterly contradicts what I believe as a Christian, according to the Bible. Although I still liked L, it saddened me deeply to learn of her new viewpoints. Things hadn’t gotten much better in the years to come. She succumbed to the flirtations of other guys without restraint, going along with anything just to be given attention (all the while that I watched it all dejectedly). She’s even casually dropped a couple f-bombs when sharing with me some mildly bothersome experiences from school. Despite all these metaphorical daggers being inadvertently stabbed into my heart through the years, I’ve still had a crush on her, and somehow kept alive a faint glimmer of hope. My heart has refused to acknowledge that the way things are now is how they will be forevermore.

First of all, I don’t fully understand why I have a crush on someone I know has plenty of significant faults. The only explanation I have construed is the element of time — that we’ve known each other for at least a decade. And maybe that we share a lot of similar interests. Other than that, I’m clueless.

And as for the dating situation: like I said, I have never dated anyone yet. I have been cautious and vigilant in whom I’d even consider as a potential date. Any fault I’d see would be a turnoff, and I just couldn’t seem to gain any ground.

I have had an idealistic perspective on dating in general. My dream is to marry my first date; I want to make it count. I want to be able to say I have never dated anyone before I would have met my future wife. Please tell me honestly… is this a reasonable notion to hold on to? What advice would you have in regards to L? Could (or should) there ever evolve something more in our relationship, or should I keep out? I appreciate your time in reading my letter, and all your advice.

Thank you,

Drowning in Befuddlement

OK, there’s a lot to unpack here, but before we get too deep into things, Drowning, we’re gonna need to have a little talk about reasonable expectations. Because right now, you’re setting yourself up for major disappointments.

You want your first girlfriend to be your only girlfriend. OK. Cool. It’s good to want things. Let us start with the fact that this is vanishingly unlikely to happen. I can count the number of people I know who married their high school sweethearts on the fingers of one hand with enough spares left over for the rings of every human Green Lantern. You have better odds of winning the lottery and getting a Mondo poster than you have of making this happen.

Why? Because humans have agency. Even if you’re radically committed to making this happen no matter what, there’s no way to ensure that your future theoretical girlfriend isn’t going to be the one to dump your butt. Even if you scour the earth and find someone who’s on the exact same page as you on this “first time/only time” issue — and at that point you’re basically down to whichever of the Duggar girls are still single — people change as they grow. What seems impossible to you now becomes very plausible in a year, two years, three. Hell, my whole career is based on doing things that I thought were impossible when I was your age.

But ignoring the likelihood of things, let’s look at the more practical side of why this tends to be a bad idea. Let us start with the simple matter of finding someone who’s right for you. Yes, I know you have a checklist of things you want in a potential mate. What you want and what you’re actually compatible with are often two very different things… and you will almost never find this out until you get the shit kicked out of your expectations by the hobnailed Boot of Reality. Sexual compatibility, for example, is something that destroys many relationships. If you and your future spouse aren’t compatible sexually, then you’re going to be miserable. Right now, all you have is theory and supposition about what you want and how things are going to work. But theory without testing — and no, masturbation doesn’t count for these purposes — is functionally useless.

That theory vs experience issue will also affect who you think you’re attracted to and why. Take, for example, the trope of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She represents the common mistake guys make: Expecting a partner to fix some lack they see in themselves. She’s there to Make Men Better rather than to be a person with her own wants and dreams. Almost every guy falls for this trope until they get some real dating experience under their belts and realise the things they think make an MPDG desirable would drive them crazy in short order because life isn’t a movie. The stolid, unimaginative man isn’t going to be happy when his impulsive, excitable girlfriend is constantly changing plans or making last minute decisions, after all…

Similarly, dating experience helps you learn how to recognise bad situations and weed out partners who might be toxic for you. That person whose life seems so exciting and dramatic is often also the person who depends upon you having poor boundaries. That relationship that seems too good to be true? Yes, it in all likelihood is too good, but you’ll be so excited by her drama that you’ll miss the warning signs.

Then there’s the fact that relationship maintenance is a skill, and one that’s developed through deliberate practise. Once you get out of the initial honeymoon stage, you’re suddenly going to be faced with the reality of trying to make your life mesh as seamlessly as possible with another person’s, and that’s going to cause you a lot of headaches over the years. Part of the benefit of having dated around means that you learn far more about keeping a relationship alive and happy, instead of trying to get it right the first time.

So no, I don’t think that trying to ensure your first girlfriend is your only girlfriend is a good idea. I think it’s unworkable at best and a recipe for misery at worst. If you want to take a swing at that… well, cool. You do you. Just realise you will be narrowing your dating pool to single digits.

But I don’t think that’s the main issue we need to deal with here. That issue is your friend and the way you talk about her.

I think it’s time for you to take a seat and brace yourself because it’s time to meet the Chair Leg of Truth. Quite frankly: You’re being a dick to someone you call a friend. You’ve got one doozie of a Madonna-Whore complex rolling around in your brain and you’re spending a lot of time getting caught up in the mote in your neighbour’s eye.

Let’s be real here: Your continuing crush on L isn’t continuing “despite” her “flaws” — more on that in a second — it’s because you want to bang her. Your pain isn’t because of her, it’s because you won’t acknowledge your feelings for her conflict with your attitude towards women and sex and you’re blaming her for not conforming to your vision.

After all, L was great as long as she was your perfect virgin. Now that she’s had the temerity to grow up in ways you don’t approve of, you’re apparently comfortable doing a shitload of judging on things that you have neither the experience nor the perspective to judge. And while I’m no Biblical scholar, I seem to recall Jesus having some fairly decisive words on who gets to do the judging.

I notice, for example, that L seems to have lost all agency in her own life; she didn’t decide to date someone, maybe even sleep with them because she’s a person with a sex drive and because she may have wanted to share intimacy with someone she loved. According to you, she “succumbed to his flirtations” for “attention” as you were helpless to stop her. Which, y’know, is a lovely attitude for someone who seems a bit more pissed that his own pants-feels are going unrequited and is choosing to blame the “slut” instead.

Disagreeing with you on religion, having sex, swearing… those aren’t personality flaws. They’re things that you might not be able to handle, but they’re not “flaws”. All that’s going on here is that you’re using them as a way to justify seeing her as lesser. That slut-shaming attitude you’re carrying around, whether you realise it or not, is part of what leads to a lot of pain and misery in the world; after all, she brought it on herself. She’s a slut. She’s trash. She’s immoral. But hey: Let he with two free hands cast the first stone.

You want to deal with your feelings for L? Then it’s time to accept the truth: You want her. You may not like that you want her, but that’s your problem, not hers. She had sex. Get over it. She doesn’t agree with you on religion. Get over it.

You want to call her your friend? Then get over her supposed “flaws” and start being able to accept her as a person.

You want to have better odds of finding someone who might be willing to date you in the first place, never mind marry you, and make that relationship work? Then you need to remember that Jesus’ best friends were lepers, tax collectors and prostitutes. The vulgar, the crude, the apostates and the sexually “immoral”. The point of Christianity isn’t “ha ha, you’re a sinner and I’m better than you,” it’s to love others as they are, without reservation and without judgement.

Until then? Jerk off and wait for things to fade. And if you can’t stop obsessing about her “flaws”, put some distance between the two of you. She needs a better friend than you’re capable of being.

Hi Dr NerdLove.

First of all. How are you? Thank you for taking your time reading so many letters and answering questions from fellow Kotaku readers.

Now, let´s get down to business. You may call me Mr E, and I am back in the dating scene after eight years of a monogamous relationship; my problem is pretty straightforward. I cannot reach climax with the women I have been meeting.

That is really my problem, and I was wondering if it could be psychological or physiological. I have been feeling comfortable with the few partners I have met, and I am betting it has been a two way street so far… Or at least it seems until, after a long time having sex, I get tired and call it quits.

It is frustrating for me, and I am pretty sure my partners feel inadequate when I cannot reach orgasm. I know you may not be the solution to my problem, but I know you can guide me in the right direction.

Sincerely yours,

Mr E

You don’t mention whether you’re unable to orgasm when you’re by yourself, Mr E; if you aren’t, that would go a long way to suggesting that you have a physical issue. So, keeping in mind that Dr NerdLove is not actually a doctor, let’s break this down a little.

There’re a number of possibilities that could be affecting your orgasm. One possibility is that while you may be comfortable with your partners, you may not be attracted to them. If you’re dating people you think you should be into but aren’t, that could cause issues.

You might also not be having the kind of sex you need to have to get off. The conflict between the sex you’re having and the sex you want can often mean that your arousal pattern never reaches that peak because there’s that one critical factor missing.

You might be feeling guilty or believing that you don’t deserve to be happy or enjoy sex with someone — especially after getting out of a long-term relationship.

There’s also the possibility that there’s a medication issue. A number of antidepressants like Zoloft have side effects that make it so that you can’t cum for love nor money.

But if you’re able to orgasm on your own, but not with a partner, then the most likely issue is in how you’re masturbating. Guys have a tendency to jerk off in ways creates stimulation, friction and tightness that the human body simply can’t match. You may be squeezing tighter than any human orifice possibly can. You may be using a technique that generates far more friction. The problem with this is that, if you get used to that particular masturbatory style, you’ll have basically carved a groove in your brain; now you’ll need that specific stimulation in order to get off and you can’t get it through partnered intercourse.

So what do you do?

Basically: You take your penis off the table. Er, as it were. You have to break not just the habit of how you’ve been masturbating but also the texture, routine and patterns your cock has gotten habituated to. You, for all intents and purposes, are going to starve your penis of sensation. This means no masturbating, no blow-jobs, no penetration. Your dick is just for pissing and decoration for the next month.

This doesn’t mean that you’re going to go without sex, mind you. Make out with your partners. Go down on them like you’re drowning and they have hidden a scuba tank between their legs. But your penis stays out of it. You don’t touch it. They don’t touch it. You are just going to leave it alone until basically it becomes so starved for stimulation that anything will set it off. And that is when your date is going to be the one to get you off.

Following that successful orgasm, you’ll need to change your masturbation habits. You’ll want to vary things up to keep from getting habituated again. Use a light touch sometimes and a stronger one others. Lots of lube, minimal lube, slower and softer, fast and furious and so on. You might want to consider getting a toy like a Tenga Fliphole or a Fleshlight: Something that will give you sensation akin to the human body instead of something that bodies could never meet. Just be careful not to let yourself get stuck in a pattern again.

And if the issue is in your head? Then it may be a good idea to talk to a sex-positive therapist and work with them towards finding a solution. Check out the Society of Australian Sexologists or the Australian Society of Sex Educators, Researchers and Therapists to help you find someone in your area. If you’re American, the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists has a referral page.

Good luck.


Were you a virgin until marriage? Have you had difficulty with performing in the sack? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, and we’ll be back in two weeks with more of your dating questions.

Ask Dr Nerdlove is Kotaku’s fortnightly advice column for matters of the heart, hosted by the one and only Harris O’Malley, AKA Dr Nerdlove.

Harris O’Malley is a writer and dating coach who provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr NerdLove and the Dr NerdLove podcast. He is also a regular guest at One Of Us. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and on Twitter at @DrNerdLove. Dr Nerdlove is not really a doctor.


  • I was getting angry just reading that first letter. Glad he got put in his place so eloquently.

      • I feel like a site with a global readership as big as Kotaku could probably find one letter a week worthy of reply. Hell, little, independent, Australian only N64 Gamer magazine used to publish at least a dozen every month and I know they were real because two of them were mine over the years. What makes you think these letters are fake?

      • While normally I disagree with this assertion, this particular letter does seem fake as all hell.

        • I think if you traveled outside of your normal social circles you might be surprised at how common letter-writer-dude’s attitude is, in some very specific demographics.

          For perspective: We may very soon see Pauline Hanson in political office again.

          The weird, the unbelievable and unreasonable, the divorced from reality? They’re fucking out there, man, in ridiculously scary numbers.

          • That’s the truly terrifying thing.

            It’s not just that they’re out there… it’s that there’s so many of them.

          • Ugggh I get angry every time I read a headline about Pauline Hanson…. Cannot believe that she and her ilk have legitimate platform to voice there absolutely horrific opinions. So so angry.

          • That’s the problem, they are being given a platform.

            It’s a pattern emerging around the world, hard right anti-foreign rhetoric. Keep people afraid and stupid, stops them from actually taking a good look at the world.

          • I’ve also traveled in those circles. There’s a certain brand of Christian who believe fervently in moral rectitude within very tight constraints and since they believe the Bible to be self-evidently true, very judgemental of those who choose not to fit that mold.

            Unfortunately, because imposing that will on other people is part of the mindset, the same sort of people wind up proclaiming themselves as the voice of Christianity, when there’s a large, moderate majority (at least in Australia) that fervently wishes they would just shut up. The zealots would probably be voting (1) CDP and wondering why they always get such a small primary vote.(*)

            As they get older, they either get a clue or become George Bush.

            (*) I’ve always put the CDP last on my ballot, even when I was a practicing Christian, precisely because I despise this mindset.

            I felt like cheering when I read the reply here.

          • They are. I dated one woman who was this way for a few months. Told me we were 100% waiting for marriage.

            That relationship didn’t last long…

          • Sure they exist, I know people who got married fresh out of high school just to have sex, but this letter seems tailored to the response. I mean this isn’t just stupid it’s perfectly stupid. If I wanted to rant about the insane expectations of hardcore young Republicans I couldn’t write a better letter to bounce off of.

            Also considering the guys attitude towards swearing and his religious views I’ve got to wonder how likely this person would be to consult this particular column. Even if he decided to avoid help from within his Christian community in favour of a nerd-themed dating column this doesn’t seem like the right nerd-themed dating column for him. I mean what did this guy read here that made him think ‘this guy will know how to get my dream girl back on a good, Christian path’?

        • 25 years ago I met a whole bunch of lads who had similar attitudes. Wouldn’t surprise me if you could find ppl of the same ilk if you looked hard enough.

        • This letter could have been penned personally by at least three people I have known in my life.

          The world is full of people. It’s surprising how many of them seem like they are from the moon, but are not.

    • It was quite impressive how the guy managed to put the girl on a pedestal and look down on her at the same time.

      >My dream is to marry my first date; I want to make it count. I want to be able to say I have never dated anyone before I would have met my future wife.

      And wow. Thats the kind of thing that would make almost any woman run screaming.

  • First of all, I don’t fully understand why I have a crush on someone I know has plenty of significant faults.

    Well, at least she doesn’t have a crush on an obsessive, stalkerish control freak like yourself dude? Can’t fault her for that. She sounds like a pretty fun chick and you really sound like you’re putting ‘pussy on a pedestal’. Get laid and get some perspective.

    • But the Magical Sky man said you shouldn’t do that.

      He also said a ton of other things I can only guess that the Letter writer does because most Christians get really upset when you tell them the bible says they can’t. Eating Bacon? Bible says no (Leviticus 11:07). Wearing jeans and a T-Shirt? Bible says no (Leviticus 19:19). Not even Joking here, this is all in Leviticus, but the only rule people care about in there is the one they can use to persecute Gays. Doesn’t matter if they break all the other rules in there.

      Oh and you should eat Grasshoppers (Leviticus 11:22) if you believe in God, because totally truthfully that’s in the Bible.

      Also a casual read of the Bible sees you killing a lot of Bulls. Since your sacrificing the animal I’m still unsure if God loves Steak or hates Cows.

      • You should also tell the town full of gay rapists to literally rape your female servant to death on your doorstep so the nice man can have a quiet night of polite conversation with you.

      • Aaah Leviticus, one of my favourite bits, I love it when someone uses a religious excuse for being homophobic. “So, I could never figure this out, is it ok for an Australian to have slaves from New Zealand if you have common ancestors?” “Have you decided which of your brothers gets to keep your wife if you die?”

      • Stupid Leviticus.

        My wife is having a son soon. Now I have to deal with the fact that she is going to be unclean for 33 days (12:4).

        Also I’m going to have to find a lamb and a dove. So much work (12:6)

  • Eh if you are that strongly Christian then only date Christians and stop being so judgemental of anyone that is not as straight and narrow (boring) as you. Have to realise that basically anyone not Christian will disagree with you on most of your strong ideals.

    tldr; Silly religious people…

  • The guy in number 1, drowning, needs to seriously take off the Rose coloured glasses. You’re not disappointed, you’re jealous. Your childhood friend who you have romanticised and put in a pedestal discovered the D and loved it, she wants D and she gets all the D she wants because that is her choice, she doesn’t want yours so you justify your anger over that by saying you are disappointed in her choices. You will be alone forever, or settle for an unhappy relationship because you have this 30’s ideal of how a relationship should be. The obedient wife who is nervous for her wedding night because it is her first time and has saved herself just for you, she has never had impure thoughts because her Christian values permit it. Regardless if these letters are real or not, how dare anyone judge a girl for what she chooses to do with her own body, and to try to force their own beliefs into them. God that made me angry.

  • My dream is to marry my first date

    Nawww, so cute.

    As someone who was born into a religious family, I can totally relate to this poor brainwashed bastard.

    The ideal was, that the first EVERYTHING was just as important as losing one’s virginity. First time holding hands, first date, first kiss, etc. You wouldn’t marry someone who was ‘tainted’. Your ‘ascendance’ into true love is all meant to be a perfect fairy tale story. You don’t hear stories about Disney princesses having a total of 1000 sexual encounters with her 5 ex boyfriends just before she finds her prince charming.

    Regardless, it’s a common closed-minded view that needs to die. It molds you into a sort of ‘psuedo-aspergers’ person, completely ignoring social cues, holding you back from being truly understanding, you end up judging just about everything, comparing it all to the bible, and that simply makes you uncaring, unfair, and a tiny bit sexist.

    I mean, look at these…

    I have liked many girls I’ve known
    She succumbed to the flirtations of other guys without restraint

    You have a crush on this girl? And then that girl? And then a different girl after that? Sure, it’s okay for you to do it, but when SHE does that crap you fucking flip!

    If you’re too set in your ways to change, you’ll go into your first relationship, have it fail before your eyes, and watch yourself crash hard because your divine plan fell through your fingertips.

    You should date people. If anyone asks you out, don’t turn them down regardless of what your morals say. Get some experience on your resume. Girls don’t like having a ball and chain around their ankle so don’t build walls around girls you have a crush on. Maybe try sex before marriage, cause who honestly wants to spend the rest of their life with someone who isn’t sexually compatible? Do you know how long a human life span is? Would you honestly want miserable sex from start to finish?

    • Disney princesses having a total of 1000 sexual encounters with her 5 ex boyfriends just before she finds her prince charming.

      Considering a lot of them are like 14 you’d kind of hope not.

    • You don’t hear stories about Disney princesses having a total of 1000 sexual encounters with her 5 ex boyfriends just before she finds her prince charming.

      Hmmm… you mustn’t be visiting the same websites that I do…

  • Speaking as a Pastor, Drowning’s attitude is awful and disappointing. He is judgemental, he is unloving, and certainly does not represent the kind of values and moral teaching that Jesus did. Frankly, if he were a part of my church, I’d pull him aside and have a hard word with him about his attitude towards women, and people in general. It’s disappointing to hear someone so vigorously describe faith as some kind of transactional process whereby “everyone else must change so that I can have what I want”, whilst treating a woman, regardless of where she is at in her stage if life and faith, and regardless of the choices she has made, as some kind of house cat that has been incorrectly trained.

    Drowning should be ashamed of his attitude, and endeavour instead, as the author of the article has suggested, try simply loving this woman as she should be: as a flipping person.

    • My pastor would have his head in his hands at the attitudes of this kid. Because he’s a champion and the only person from the church I grew up in who I have any respect for.

      A church with people like that kid is the best atheist factory imaginable.

    • you’re sounding mighty judgmental your self there Pastor J.
      while i cant say that i am sticking up for the guy being a narrow minded turd completely, i dont agree with your flavour of Christianity.
      if you had some empathy and some understanding of what home schooling does to young people, especially in a Christian home. you would know that it stunts and skews their view of the world considerably. so if you wanted to give ‘harsh words’ to a clearly under educated and confused guy who has the the social skills of a pre-teen, it should be his dumbass parents who have done him more of a dis-service then anything else, that you go and talk to. better yet, get some perspective.

      pastors like to think that because someone is a Christian, believers SHOULD know how to see the world and the word and act accordingly. but, circumstances happen, people are shaped differently by different situations, which has physiological effects on brain development, social development, values and beliefs.

      you say his attitude is awful and disappointing, yet, for him to be home schooled, means i he likely has very limited interaction with people in social settings, especially through his critical years of puberty, no wonder he has a messed up outlook on life, love and relationships.

      someone of your position, as angry as it may make you initially, needs to look at the why behind the what, and not get offended at the ‘bad’ name this kids might be giving Christianity. pretty sure the churchs shoulders are bigger enough to handle that sort of defamation, if that’s what it even is.

      • Perhaps you are right, Family Of Origin is often the cause of great harm to people’s understanding of social interaction and their ability to empathise. However, FOO only ever goes so far; at some point, people start to make choices for themselves.

        Also, harsh words are different from hard words, in my experience. A hard word is hard because of what that word calls you to do and be, a harsh word is just mean. Maybe my frustration has gotten the better of me, and I do often get frustrated at the bad rap that Christianity gets when some people grossly misrepresent it. However I like to think (and I do stress like to think) that my beef is with the mindset, not the person. Almost always, that’s the challenge: addressing the issue whilst protecting the person. I’m still not amazing at that.

  • Discussions about how impossible it is to find a lifelong partner in the first person you date are hilarious to me because they’re 100% true, but it still happened to me.

    She was looking for one last fling before she graduated college and I was eager to finally get into the dating pool. We’d been friends for a semester beforehand and here we are, 12 years later and sharing a mortgage. It’s super weird, but here we are. I don’t necessarily recommended it, but it’s worked out fantastic for us.

    Relationships are weird.

  • This right here is a text book case of religiously fueled hyper coddling doing some serious damage to a kid.

    This guy clearly hasn’t had any sort of proper exposure to the world outside of a very small community.

  • Let’s call her “L. Simpson” …. no that’s too obvious, how about “Lisa S.”

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