I’m afraid the answer is you. At least a good part of it. You have voices in your head, whether they are real voices from people you love and trust or voices you’ve made up, that complicate dating. It adds to why you hate dating.
p.s. I hope people on your team are not those voices.
These complications are in no particular order. They just are and can be exposed and done away with.
- You have way too many requirements. You have that list of who you want as a love for a lifetime and it is long. Maybe due to fear of vulnerability but if someone isn’t a “Proverbs 31 woman” right away the relationship is not given the time to grow. Of course, there are the very real red lights, yellow lights, and green lights. But when it comes to your list, are you living the Proverbs 31 life? Are your expectations more than you are living your life right now? Maybe your list should be who you want to be and a realistic look at who you are bringing into a possible relationship. Don’t forget to add to this new list your trust issues, your previously broken-heart that still gets in the way of new relationships, your personal issues with Father God, etc.
- Everything is about marriage. No it is not. Can’t a coffee be just a coffee? Can’t a relationship simply grow so you are learning more about you and the other is learning more about him/her at the same time? Can’t there be some mystery and holy tension along the way in a growing relationship? Expressed interest in someone does not mean that the research is already done!
- DTRing too soon. Can you just have fun hanging out and enjoying each other’s company without the pressure of adding titles and timelines to the relationship? I understand that you don’t want to lead someone on, but you don’t need to define the relationship before coffee is finished. Or even after several dates. It’s really not that serious…yet. You are both enjoying learning so much—about the other and about you. Besides you know your boundaries. You don’t need to give the boundaries/rules talk yet because you are not in danger of violating your boundaries because you are on this date. Again, you are not leading anyone on if you are being you.
- Who is applying the pressure? Sometimes your friends are not really helping you. What I mean is they can put a lot of unnecessary pressure and stress on the growing relationship by creating a timetable of what they think should be happening by what date. Invite your friends into the mystery and holy tension and learning too. Hopefully your team is already there with you. God is leading you. And hopefully the other. If you two keep following God and being you, the relationship will grow organically (because God is at work!) without definitions and timelines that others want to place on you.
- Relying on a type to be a match for you. Truth: It is easier to connect with what is comfortable rather than what is healthy. Comfortable does not equal a match. Be brave.
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Here is the truth to help you be brave. When you date outside of your type, do not be surprised to find that you will act more like yourself on that date. Why? You won’t be beginning this date with infatuation. The type of infatuation that has already pigeon-holed this date as the possibility of being “the one” because he’s/she’s your type. Instead you can be more relaxed and more you as you get this opportunity to learn about this person. Also, if your date is not the idealized type you have created, this coffee date will not be clouded by your fears of rejection. Again, you get to be more you. When you are more relaxed and able to be you, your discerner (part-brain, part-instinct, part-Holy-Spirit) is going to be better tuned to figure out who this person really is.
- I must guard my heart or I must guard a woman’s heart. What is that?! Sounds like Christian fluff to avoid vulnerability. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Vulnerability is required in dating. So are your boundaries. Being the guardian of your heart is between you and God.
- The “God told me…” situation. Christians are great at using God as an excuse for anything and everything in their lives. Did God really tell you or do you just wish God told you so instead of doing the difficult thing with honesty you place the blame on God? It’s okay to learn that you should just be friends with someone and not give God credit for that revelation. This is something you discovered because you were brave enough to give that someone a chance. Yes, maybe God did reveal stuff to you about this relationship but very likely the stuff revealed to you was weaknesses in you. Don’t use God so the other person feels devalued. God should be speaking to you through your dating decisions—He is speaking to you about who you are.
Is there really only seven? I doubt it. Can you think of more?
(Photo credit: http://www.oralsurgeryofutah.com/2016/05/13/how-to-avoid-tooth-extraction-complications/)