Stop texting the guy you know has a girlfriend. Stop posting suggestive pictures of yourself. Stop giving googley eyes and pulling him over when you know he is with another girl.
Here’s the thing: whether we like it or not, we all operate under the same human wirings (some of us are better at redirecting that wiring than others). If we were allowed the option, we would all prefer to sit around and gossip and complain all day–because that is more fun and easier than talking about the weather or political conflicts–but it is less draining on our energy to not gossip and complain. If we were allowed to have 10 different boyfriends without social and emotional repercussions, then we probably would (duh, because then we would have more people to purchase us birthday gifts), but it always tends to get sticky when we are trying to serial date more than one person. And, it makes us feel really important and good about ourselves when we have so many members of the opposite sex who “seem to care about us” because they are sustaining some kind of small talk conversation with us.
Now, there is always the argument that “it shouldn’t matter because he should love you enough to not let other girls get in the way”. Yes, I agree (and if you are dating someone who has “just a friend”), then you might want to have some other conversations about their intentions and commitments. But, why put temptation in your way?
I recently read a story about a female body builder who would post pictures of her gym journey–until she finally came to a realization that, by posting those pictures, and she was opening up an opportunity for someone else’s boyfriend or husband to dote over her, to compare her to his girlfriend/wife, and ultimately, open up an opportunity to travel down a path of temptation.
In the study of rhetoric, we have this concept of ‘making something A Thing’–something is not A Thing until it becomes A Thing. For example, global warming/climate change/environmental thawing, while symptoms probably have been around for a while, did not exist until a group of scientists put a term and a set of conditions to it. In mental health, childhood traumatic grief did not exist until someone put a set of rules and a set of conditions to it, and poof! it became A Thing that people could suffer from, and insurance could pay for. In gossip, something does not become A Thing–an issue you care about–until someone makes it A Thing (like, probably that girl’s hair never bothered you until someone else mentioned it, and as soon as she mentions it, it’s now A Thing that you pay attention to). The same with temptation–temptation does not become A Thing unless it is offered to you, so why allow yourself to fall into that territory. It could be that nothing could happen, but it could also be that something really bad could happen. By not allowing yourself to be part of the temptation, you have a 100% chance of not being affected by The Thing, but allowing yourself to be exposed to The Thing opens up the possibilities that it could impact you, and your relationship with your significant other.
And let’s face it–boys are ignorant. They do not understand the the girl asking him, “how his day is” is really just trying to strike up a conversation, waiting for the moment she can find a weakness in his relationship/marriage, and offer her “unbiased” wisdom (that inevitably causes strife). They think that by liking that picture of the other girl, they are supporting her journey to be famous–but that in order to ‘like’ the picture, they had to look at it first. And, they always fail to see the googley eyes and seemingly innocent brush of his upper tricep. To them, all of these gestures are friendly and innocent, and they often fail to recognize the destruction that all of these gestures are intended to cause.
As girls, we already have a bad reputation that we are constantly trying to fight–people give us names, such as “home wrecker”, and “mistress”, and “temptress” (and all of those other inappropriate and offensive names that I will not share here), and all of these words have negative connotations to them. Already, our societal settings expect us to be malicious and catty and immoral and self-seeking and all of those other terrible traits that people expect us to default to as our human wirings, so when we act on those, we reinforce the stereotypes (based on brain and schema research, we remember those things that fit the stereotype, and we forget those things that do not fit the stereotype).
Here’s why we owe it to our other female counterparts to not text their boyfriends, to not post suggestive pictures, to not give googley eyes to guys we already know have girls: because I wouldn’t want someone doing that my boyfriend. It is wrong for me to tempt someone else’s boyfriend/husband, because, no matter how loyal and faithful he is to his girlfriend/wife, I am opening up an opportunity for temptation that is wrong–not fair to her, not fair to me, and not fair to my other female counterparts. No matter how painful it may be (and how wrong I think they are together), I should honor the fact that he is picking her for some reason (and not me), and I should not offer him an opportunity towards temptation–because I would not want someone to do that to me.