What does it mean for your love life if you can't navigate today's complicated dating scene?
Want to know a secret? It's something I've been hesitant to share for a long time now. After all, it might break apart my glamorous, advice-giver façade. But I figure, at this point, I'm over it. The world can know.
I don't like dating. In fact, although I'm not big on using this word, I am probably close to hating it. And maybe that's good, because I'm miserable at it too.
My friends constantly bring me their love-life problems to solve. And for some strange reason, when it's not my dating situation, I can suddenly see so clearly and I know exactly the advice to give. But if I had to advise myself? Well... um... The word "hopeless" comes to mind. How to Give & Receive Dating/Relationship Advice to a Friend
Even back in high school I remember watching those girls who could easily mingle with guys and score dates—and they seemed to enjoy it all too. I was jealous. They made it seem so simple. It was like they had some extra chip programmed into their brains, and somehow I missed out on it. When I made my own feeble attempts at flirting even, my palms would get sweaty and I'd start to trip over my words until the guy eventually put me out of my misery and ended the conversation on his own. (Phew.)
At least I'm not as horrible as I used to be. But I'm still not great. And I still don't like it. The whole dating spectacle, that is. It's an ordeal.
First, there's the obstacle of knowing what I want, and refusing to settle for anything less, which I have written about before. No hook-ups. No what-ifs. No game playing for me. If I sense that something of that nature is going on, I just don't waste my time. I want a Christian guy who loves God and who has a specific set of values. If those stars don't align, likely no date will materialize in the first place. But if by some small miracle I get past the hurdle of landing a date, there's worse to come. 4 Signs That A First Date Is Going Really Well
There's the actual date.
I fret over what to wear, and how exactly to do my eye make-up. I start analyzing—what he's doing, whether that comment meant something, whether he's planning on asking me out again, how exactly he's perceiving me—but that never works. So, I try not analyzing—but surely I am missing something vitally important, surely if I shut off the analytical part of my brain it will shut down altogether. Then, there are the million uncomfortable ways in which the date can end; splitting the check or "the reach," an awkward hug, a kiss I don't want and have to deflect, a kiss I do want but doesn't happen...
To me, dating has become anything but fun, to the point where I barely want to date at all. And with high standards and an attitude that it's excruciating instead of exciting, I may be nearly impossible to date. Undateable, if you will. Once I had that realization, it worried me.
I started to fear deep down that my lack of dating finesse meant I was destined to be alone. And that devastated me, because I want to get married some day. I am a romantic. I want love. I want a husband, kids, the big family I never had. And for a time, I began to force it. I went out actively looking for love, knowing all the while it would never work, and then getting upset when it didn't.
Lately, I've taken a step back, though. I've started to think about what God could possibly have in mind for me. And finally, it clicked.
After careful thought and a little divine inspiration, I finally came to a conclusion: I'm just not cut out for dating as we've come to know it today. And I think I've been building up to this revelation for a while now.
I have kept track of friends and family members' love stories, mostly just the ones that have really worked in my mind. The couples that are blissfully happy. The ones who have great marriages. Not perfect, of course, but strong and love-filled in that clearly evident way. And as I've taken an account of them, there are so many common threads: Most met in a way they did not expect. Most developed naturally. Most knew it was real love fairly quick, and never second-guessed. Understandings replaced analysis. Commitment replaced questioning. Why It's Easy to be Afraid of Committment?
When each of them met the right person, something so healthy and natural started to develop it didn't even feel like dating. It just steadily became a relationship, growing in strength everyday. No one started analyzing what "I had a good time tonight" really meant. No one was wondering if the other was going to call the next day. No one had to ask about confirming the relationship status. It was so free of all the frustrating things about dating so many of us, myself included, have come to loathe.
It just happened. Worked out. Made sense. I want that kind of love, the one that lends a sense of clarity. Because when I think about it like that, dating that's not really "dating," it doesn't seem so bad.
Maybe God knows I could never survive an endless number of dates. Maybe He's very selective with me—because He knows it's necessary. That I need this reassuring, gradual build to love. That I need to be spared today's "fun dating," because for me it's anything but fun. If that's the case, He's known all this time, before I did. I think of Matthew 6:8: "...your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (NIV). 11 Reasons Men Who Go To Church Make The BEST Husbands
So, with that in mind, I'm going to keep living. I'm not going to worry about the number of dates I go on, or lack thereof, because it may not happen like that for me. I'll go on the dates I'm genuinely excited about. I'll be open to love, but won't force it. I am going to trust my instincts—when it's right, when it's not. I'm going to trust God.
And maybe I am nearly "undateable," the way we think of dating today. But I'm not all that upset about it. I'm actually sort of relieved. I have a lurking suspicion it's actually for the best.