Dating is Not Confusing

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There was a time when I would literally spend hours analyzing a single text message. And this single text message maybe contained five words. Other times, I would find myself scrolling through an entire text conversation trying to decipher if this guy was interested in me or not. Why do we do this? We say that the dating world is so confusing, but I think we cause the confusion ourselves. I’ve had conversations with loved ones who expressed to me how complicating dating can be, but when they explained their specific situations, it really didn’t seem that complicated at all. Scary, perhaps. Vulnerable, you bet. But complicating? Not so much. I think it’s easier for us to say a situation is hard to understand rather than accepting the true reality at hand. 

When I think of the times dating seemed the most confusing to me, it was almost always when the man wasn’t measuring up. And when a man wasn’t measuring up, it usually meant I was lowering my standards. I repeatedly wouldn’t hear from him. He would contact me when it was convenient for him, or he wouldn’t contact me at all. The effort just wasn’t there. Plans to take me out would fall through or plans wouldn’t be made at all. The simple answer to all of this? He’s not interested. Walk away. It’s that easy. I know, I know. It is such a bitter pill to swallow. And instead of walking away then, I would choose to stick around. I tried to fix the problem or figure out how to change the situation rather than seeing it for what it was; a square peg and a round hole. You cannot force something that doesn’t fit. If a man isn’t making the effort, if he isn’t showing up when he says he will, he is not for you. Rejection hurts. It sucks, but we are causing ourselves more heartache by sticking around in this limbo with someone who really doesn’t care for us at all. Because if this person actually cared about you, he wouldn’t be wasting your time. He’d be honest with you and allow you to move on with your life.

So what else is it that makes dating so confusing? People date because it’s expected of them. I was certainly guilty of this. I was a twenty-something-gal who wasn’t married, and it seemed the only way to change this was to date. It is one thing to go out on a date and get to know someone; it is a whole other thing entirely when we continue to date someone we know we are not meant to marry. And isn’t marriage the whole purpose of dating? Dating is a courtship. If you’re not ready to get married, stop dating. When we date without a purpose, when we date for our own selfish motives—be it loneliness, attention, or physicality—we create confusion. People get hurt. Physicality causes attachment which can cloud our judgement, and worse, lead to temptation and sin. Loneliness can keep us in a relationship a lot longer than we’re meant for, and when we stay in these relationships, we’re misleading the other person involved. Again, we have to learn to walk away. Walking away from something or someone we know is not what God wants for us takes strength. Be the strong one. After three dates, you know if you are interested. And after three months, if you don’t see this as someone you can marry, you will never see them as someone you can marry. Believe me, I have been on this merry-go-round. Stop wasting your time. 

One question that always puzzled me when dating: how will I know this is the one?  I would pray to God to make this clear for me. And you know what? He did. When the right one came along, there was clarity. It was obvious. But I truly believe it was because my relationship with God was my first and foremost priority at that specific time. I wish I could say this was always the case, but it took me so long to cooperate with God and allow Him into my relationships. To take my concerns, plans, and hopes to Him in prayer and honestly ask Him what He thought. There was no confusion. But isn’t that the truth when it comes to our God? 

Before you choose to date, know your purpose for doing so. Ask the tough questions. Do we share the same values? Are there any red flags?  Talk to God about the person in front of you. Allow Him to work in your life. I promise, He will make dating simple for you. There truly is no confusion when God is present. He has given us His peace and comfort at all times, and we need not be afraid of His goodness.

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