How To Date?
A Letter to the Dating Girl,
Did you immediately heave a sigh when you read the word “dating”? Human connection seems so immediate today but also impossibly distant, right? When, and why, did it all become so complicated?
It’s cliché, but I’m picturing that scene in “He’s Just Not That Into You” where Drew Barrymore vents to her coworkers about the complexity of relationships in the modern age:
“I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work so I called him at home and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry and so I texted to his cell and then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control. And I miss the days when you had one phone number and one answering machine and that one answering machine has one cassette tape and that one cassette tape either had a message from a guy or it didn’t. And now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”
And that was in 2009, three full years before people could even swipe left. Drew, I love you, but you have no idea what lies ahead.
I’m definitely not an expert when it comes to dating. I’ve had a handful of successful first dates, two serious relationships, six months of using a dating app (a.k.a. the Lost Age), and, one fiancé and now husband. (Hi, handsome.) None of that makes me either a success or failure, but are pieces of my story.
I don’t know what pieces of your story you’re currently wrestling with, but I can promise you I understand what it’s like to be confused, betrayed, pursued, neglected, and just like Drew, exhausted from rejection.
Dating today is hard, but here’s what I’ve found that makes it just a little bit easier in my book…
Start dating only when and if you’re ready. Love is not a race and a partner isn’t the prize. If you haven’t taken the time to fall in love with yourself first, falling in love with someone else is ten times harder.
“Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.” – Proverbs 19:8
Be open to the possibility that your love story is not going to be how you imagine it. Instagram, Pinterest, movies, books… they all tell us that being in love looks a certain way, feels a certain way, and requires certain milestones.
“If he likes me, he’ll text me back right away.”
“If he likes me, he’ll love my friends.”
“If he loves me, he’ll do X, Y, and Z…”
Please, dear Dating Girl, stop trying to live your love story through the lens of the world and start living it through the eyes of God. He has written His hopes and dreams for you on His hands, and He’s holds your heart so preciously. Don’t do Him the disservice of trying to write your love story before it can flourish in His own, beautiful time.
Know your worth. We live in a time when someone can think they know us without ever actually meeting us. You are beautiful and weird and confident and wonderful, Dating Girl. Don’t be afraid to share that offline with someone you’re crushing on. The right person will see what a treasure you are and it won’t matter who texted who first, trust me.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” – 1 John 4:16
Dating in the modern age doesn’t have to be a checklist, Dating Girl. It can still be fun and full of surprises and adventures. You are in charge of your own life, and that includes choosing how and who you spend your time with. Say yes to yourself and no to the people who don’t make you feel as incredible as you know you are.
After all, you are the hero of your own happiness.
P.S. The waiting game is pointless. Call them.