Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dating Advice: Stop your fretting

*Climbs up on my soapbox

 The Provo dating bubble is an interesting place, I think those of us here would swiftly agree with that statement. With so much focus on marriage, it's hard not to let that become a reason to miss out on opportunities. Now I say this with also disclaiming that I think dating for marriage is great, as long as you are careful about how you let that perspective effect you. One of the biggest issues that I see again and again is people trying to see the end at the beginning, and making decisions based on what might be true versus what they know to be true. This is what you look like when you think like that:

Pretty silly right? Don't do that to yourself.

A prime example of this is when Person A decides not to date Person B because they are "afraid of hurting them". That is kind, and thoughtful, and I am sure that Person A has the best intentions. But I think that does more harm than good. Let me provide a couple of use-case scenarios for you.
  • Scenario 1: Once upon a time I was going on dates with a guy but was really hesitant to dive in, because I had come up with all of the reasons why I was sure that it wasn't going to work out. I really enjoyed spending time with him, he was a good influence on me,  but I had let my worrying get the best of me. I expressed these concerns to him and he told me: "Let me worry about me getting hurt".       Oh.      Okay. I guess I can do that, yeah. Novel concept, right? It took a burden that I had mistakenly placed on my own shoulders off. Long story short-things didn't "work out", but for reasons that I hadn't anticipated at the beginning. I learned a lot about myself and about relationships, and don't regret making that step at all (and I'd feel confident in saying that he doesn't either).
  • Scenario 2: Once upon another time I had gone on a few dates with a nice young man. I was confused because we'd go out, have a great time, he'd seem interested, then I wouldn't hear from him for 2 weeks. That went on long enough to go on a few dates. I was always interested enough to go, but never felt like I was getting the chance to really get to know him. I came to to find out later that he had been wrestling with not knowing what was happening with an ex girlfriend who was coming back into town a few months down the road. He was so afraid of dating me and then potentially hurting me, that he never really even tried to date me. Had he actually given me that option, maybe I wouldn't have even wanted pursue a relationship with him. Dear boy: You stressed yourself out for nothing.
Now at this point you might be thinking to yourself, "Those are awful examples of why I should still pursue things, neither of those instances went anywhere". Alright, alright- touche. I do agree with that statement, but only to some extent. Yes, neither one ended in marriage, but I think both were good experiences, and ones that I am grateful for. I also think that the second example had way more potential than it was given the chance to have.

I believe that there are two things that you should ask yourself when considering continued dating:
  1. Do I want to spend more time with this person? (Really- do you enjoy your time together, would you enjoy more?)
  2. Are our interactions spiritually appropriate? (Do you feel that dating this person would be dangerous to your spiritual health/standing? Don't ignore that feeling.)
If you can answer yes to these two questions, then stop your fussing and go out on another date! If the answer to one of these is ever no, then re-evaluate at that point.

When you decide that you're not going to date someone because of what you might do, or how things might end, or any number of other what-ifs; you are letting yourself get swallowed up in doubt and fear. You're also eliminating the other person's chance to decide what they want. You are so scared of hurting them that you probably are anyway.

Another step I would recommend, if your conscience is still plaguing you, is to express to them what your hesitations are. Tell them "I really enjoy spending time with you, I like you, I think you're groovy, but I have fears that yada yada". Then let them decide if they are willing to take the risk. Stop deciding for them. I repeat, stop deciding for them. I can think of more than one guy that I would have jumped at the opportunity to try things with if they had just given me the chance to.

When it comes to dating, there are not a lot of things that we have full control over. We can't really control if they like us, or if we like them. We can't control if they say yes or no, or if they have fun with us, or whether or not we get severe indigestion on the date.

We can, however, control the opportunities that we give ourselves, and what we choose to do with those opportunities.

So look at the opportunities in your lap.
Ask yourself the two questions. 
And then move the heck forward!


  1. Shelly darling, you are one smart lady. I think that this should be posted in the program at church for all the world to see. Sound advice lady, sound advice.

  2. This is very good advice. I think another pointer is, "If you like a girl, ask her out." She can always say no but allow her the chance to say yes, regardless of your apprehensions.

    In my past, when the possibility for a relationship was passed (because one person moved or was in a relationship or whatever), I'd find out AFTER the fact that so-and-so liked me... and because they never asked, I never was given the opportunity to answer. Not sure if that makes sense....
    I have heard many of my friends, including you, say the same thing. Asking shouldn't be such a terrifying thing. Asking a girl to get froyo is not the same as asking her to give herself to you eternally. It's just ice cream. 16 year olds do it. Light and breezy. Ingush... keep up the good work!

  3. Jennica- Thank you! These are totally the kinds of things I wish I could tell the whole YSA world.

    Janelle- LOVE your remark, that is so true. The pressure that we put on ourselves sometimes can get suffocating. Dating should be fun!

  4. Dating is impossible for me. Only creepy guys want to ask me out not the decent ones.