I once heard a pastor say that he will not allow himself to be alone with a woman that is not his wife. While it may seem extreme, I found myself thinking that I ought to adopt a similar principle. Thus I formed my ‘no alone time with a strange, unrelated man’ rule. It was not just for myself, but for the men I deal with as well.
The trouble with that rule is I tend to travel alone, independently. So I have actually broken that self-imposed restriction more than once. And not just on solo trips, at that. Nothing untoward happened, but I recently realised why it’s actually a good rule to keep.
On my last solo trip, I suddenly felt a deeper level of affection towards my male guide. This, after years of traveling alone and hiring a guide on my own. When I’m older, more mature, and should have known better.
I could blame the idyllic scenery, the fact that I was on vacation, or even the timing (it was a beautiful summer day). But the truth is, I allowed myself to be alone with a man for an extended period of time. In a somewhat secluded place, sharing stories and hanging out.
I know, it sounds rather innocent. Except that it could do easily turn otherwise. In a split second, my heart had already betrayed me. In my unguarded moment, I had allowed myself to feel affection for a man I barely knew.
It doesn’t have to be a remote beach on tropical island. It could easily happen on a car ride home that he graciously offered. Or a quiet corner in a large party. It could be anywhere, as long as you spend significant amounts of time alone together in a space that is not very public. It could even happen in extended online or telephone conversations. You let your guard down, open yourself up, and allow your heart to start playing tricks on you.
Fortunately, I squelched that rising feeling of wanting to get closer. I knew that getting closer to this man was not rational, nor was it proper. But I also admitted to myself that I want to be loved – and that was why I let myself fall.
I’m pretty sure it doesn’t happen just to me. Women want to be cherished. That’s why God told man – love your wife, just as Christ loved the church. He knows our needs.
In this day and age, it’s kind of hard to keep that ‘only relatives can be alone with me’ rule. But the issue isn’t so much the time alone, as it is the consciousness of allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
Draw your personal boundaries. Identify the warning signs. And move out of the red zone once those signs show up.
I’m not one to fall so easily for strangers. But this experience has showed me that even unlikely things can happen when you aren’t vigilant.
Guard your time, and you will guard your heart.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?