Dating as a Christian pt. 2
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My friend read my previous post and told me that she wanted to hear about dating from a single perspective, rather than tips for someone in a relationship, so... here goes "Dating as a Christian Pt. 2".
To be honest, I'm not a very good dater. As you can probably tell from my posts, I have had my share of bad experiences, and I'm sure I could be someone else's bad experience, too. I am a huge feeler, and as much as I try to use logic when it comes to dating, I can never seem to overcompensate enough. Here are some of my personal experiences and some tips, not that I'm a dating pro or anything #foreveralone.
**Please note that all of us are different, and what's true for me in "Dating as a Christian", might not be true for you. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ undefined by a series of act of works. I know my beliefs in dating are a bit more conservative than some others', and that is fine; take my advice and experiences with a grain of salt as it so applies to you. Also, I am a severe INFP who sometimes tries to overcompensate my overly-feeling personality and can come off as an INTJ.
1. Online dating
I started online dating after a friend of mine didn't want to join an online dating site alone. It was interesting, trying to judge whether or not I would be compatible with someone or not based on a few photos and witty sentences. The good part is that almost everyone on the dating app has some sort of romantic intention; of course, we must be vigilant in figuring out if they are seeking a serious relationship or a partner in bed.
Something I struggled with was being ghosted on. I would begin to wonder if I was just a really bad catch, since it would feel like no one was actually interested in me. How could someone I felt like I was clicking with just suddenly disappear off the face of the earth and not want to talk to me anymore? It took a little bit for me to come to the conclusion that it might not be because I'm a bad catch, but that there was just simply a more suitable catch for him in the sea of people he met online.
Of course, there was also rejecting people on my end -- some conversations just seemed to die, or the person was not as deeply rooted in his faith as his profile seemed to insinuate. Learning to be honest about it and letting the person down gently was easier online than in person, but it was still hard at first.
I think the hardest part of online dating was remembering that we are all God's children, perfectly made in His image. I struggled with the fact that someone's profile could really attract me, but I would be just as easily turned away by their physical attributes. I felt shallow and disgusting for having such thoughts. As I continued to pray for God to take away these prejudices from my heart, He opened my eyes to the difference between my "ideal man" and what I need: a man of God who is compatible with me and seeks to have a God glorifying relationship.
I did finally meet someone online. He was physically nothing that I wanted (other than the fact that he was taller than me), but he had a heart for God and that was ultimately what won me over. Unfortunately, we did end our relationship on the basis that we were not compatible. I am very blessed that he was good at defining the relationship, and there was never any question about "what are we?". I know that It can get really awkward trying to ask whether or not it is time to delete the dating app, or whether or not they are still exploring options. What it comes down to is who you are dating, and finding the balance between "Do we know each other well enough?" and "Can we continue getting to know each other exclusively?" Tip: Just be blunt about it and ask. This is the INTJ in me talking, and I know it's intimidating, but the truth is this: if you are dating intentionally, then just ask so you can define your intentions. Whether the answer is they run away, or says "I'm still looking around, but I think you have good potential", or "I have just been accepting dates with you out of politeness", or "I would like for us to move forward in our relationship", at least you have answers. After that, you can see whether or not their answer aligns with what you want and what you are seeking.
2. Meeting in person I personally like this the best, because there is time to build a good foundation of friendship without it being tainted with intentions of dating. However it also makes it hard to figure out whether or not there is mutual interest. It gets hard to break out of the idea of "just friends", and it gets really tough wondering whether or not to "go for it". It can lag on forever and ever, and ultimately just be a dud or an eternal "썸 relationship". It can get awkward if you confess, and the feelings are not returned, or vice versa, and that's sometimes why the silence never gets broken.
Here is my awkward experience in this:
There was a brother that I was serving with. He was going through a particularly tough season with church, ministry, school, and family, and since I was a constant in his life, he opened up to me easily. As I prayed more and more for him in his situation, God began opening up my eyes to his passion in ministry and prayer, and I began falling for him.
I told him one rainy day in my car, "I'm not ready to date, but I am praying for you."
To which he responded, "I'm praying for you, too."
After those confessions, the rest of the school year felt like a whirlwind, and in my eyes, we were in a 썸 relationship and praying about preparing ourselves for an actual relationship. Imagine my surprise when a few months later, he began dating someone else!
I don't think I will really ever understand nor confront him about the situation, but that's just how undefined relationships go, right? Tip: If you are going to confess to someone, make it direct, simple, and no-nonsense. If they like you, then use your friendship as a basis to build on a real relationship, rather than lagging it out until it gets taken away!
3. Meeting through a friend or family member These people know you best. They know someone, or they know someone who knows someone who would be your perfect match. They talk it up and you feel like it must be a match made in heaven, and you have no idea whether you are too hyped up and will be disappointed, or if it will be even better than you expected. What if you don't like this person? Will your friend or family member be disappointed? Does this person just not know you well enough? Or what if the relationship goes sour? Will the relationship with the friend or family member also go cold?
I have met quite a few people through friends and family members, and I will let you know that I trust my friends way more than my family members. It could honestly just be that my family is not Christian, so their views of what a "good man" is different from my view, but it is what it is :) I think one tip I have is: ask someone else about the person. The person setting you up is super hyped up and probably has a million and one reasons why you would be perfect together, but an objective mutual friend would be able to give honest and unbiased perspective!
What are some dating tips YOU guys have? Please comment and interact with each other! Also, let me know what else you would like to read about!