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Remember those ‘red flags’ in relationships

Chastity advocate speaks at ‘Love or Lust’ webinar

By Lara Pickford-Gordon
Email: snrwriter.camsel@catholictt.org

Catholic author and speaker on chastity, Jason Evert said practising self-control during dating was training in faithfulness and necessary for a happy marriage. Being abstinent today is an expression of love to the future spouse and family.

“You are going to have the rest of your life to give that gift within marriage,” said Evert. Marriage is a Sacrament persons should enter with their eyes “wide open”.

In his talk at the webinar ‘Love or Lust?’ on September 11, Evert, founder of the Chastity Project, said dating was a period of marital discernment and individuals “need to step back and not shortcut the discernment process.” The session was hosted by the Billings Ovulation Method Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOMA-TT) in collaboration with the Catholic Youth Commission and the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission. Moderators were John Michael Mader and Anna Maria Williams.

Commenting on the “safe sex” slogan of the 1980’s, Evert said “Safe sex is not safe.” “It basically reduces a woman to her genitals as long as she does not get pregnant, as long as she does not have a disease, she is safe.”

He cited data showing high levels of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) in the US. Evert said sex was not just a biological act, it was a human act with the heart, soul, mind, and other relationships—the family, involved.

Using “a piece of plastic” [condoms] did not mean someone was safe, responsible, and protected. “The only safe sex is within the Sacrament of Marriage.”

Evert reiterated in his presentation that even if someone had not lived a chaste life, they could change. They should go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once every two to three weeks, attend Mass regularly and pray the rosary. He urged those who are still virgins to hold on to it.


Trust your gut

Responding to questions, Evert gave an overview of the “red flags” in relationships. Evert said he and his wife Crystalina had compiled a free e-book on Top Ten Guys to Avoid.

Included in the list are the “flip-flopper” who professes love to a woman one minute then ignores her; the “smooth criminal” who pretends he is not interested in pursuing sex to make the woman feel safe so she will do sexual things later.

The “walking hormone”, is the porn watcher who will be pressuring the woman to have sex; the “older guy” who does not have social skills to date women his own age; the “potty mouth”, is sarcastic, verbally abusive, and uses sexually perverted speech. The “control freak” is someone who “will always try and control other people.”

Evert said girls should trust their gut in relationships instead of doubting themselves. They can keep a journal of the bad things that happen.

“Put that in writing so you will have a much more sober assessment of the health of this relationship.”

Evert said women should not try to discern the quality of the relationship by themselves because the positives will likely be exaggerated. “You need to ask friends and family members ‘what do you think?’” Evert said.

Humility was required to accept the feedback from others on qualities they cannot see. Pre-conceived ideas can prevent someone from seeing things objectively.

Evert said men should ask themselves: Is she playing mind games? Is she on an endless quest to be wanted by “various guys”, is she emotionally mature? He highlighted modesty in dressing. Evert said dressing modestly took effort because with today’s clothing there are few options available.

He asked, “does she dress reverently in church?… a lot of times, that shows [a] level of spiritual maturity.” Did she recently break-up with someone?

For females with issues in their past—broken relationships/families, child abuse, the question to be asked was: “Has she taken time to heal from those events?”

Evert said the red flag was not that these things happened in her life, but how she responded. “If she is going through the process of healing and restoration, focus on the friendship and take your time.”

To help with discernment, he displayed a diagram with four quadrants: 1. The right girl to date at the right time 2. The right girl, not the right time 3. The wrong girl to date, at the wrong time 4. The wrong girl to date, the right time. “Where do you find yourself on this chart?”

Evert said men need to know what they want. Attraction may be important but should not be the most important. “We will begin to think we can judge the future of our relationships by the intensity of our present emotions and that is simply not authentic.”


BOMA-TT is conducting follow-up sessions under the title ‘Real Love 101’ see: https://www.isloveforever.com/