Dating In Community Is Risky Part 2

30 May

Okay so in my last blog, I kept you hanging. So why do I think it’s best for people to date within their own community? Why do I want to date in mine?  I’ll start with two reasons with separate parts, otherwise I might have to make a Part 3 for this blog!

Fear is not a good enough reason to not date in community. In 1 Peter 5:7 it says  “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” As a Christian, I want to trust God with all of my cares. That includes my dating life. Yes, it’s scary to try again and date in community. It might end. I might have to watch someone I once loved date someone else. Possibly even one of my friends because my friends are awesome and why wouldn’t he want to date them? (again, another blog) I’m afraid that I will be left alone and maybe someone will blacklist me because I already dated once. I’m afraid to start from scratch and have to get to know someone all over again after investing so much time and energy on something that didn’t work out.  Are these real fears? They feel real. The reality is, it comes down to trust. I have to trust that I am enough. That God loves me so much that he will be with me through it all. And he has been. When fear gets in my way, I am reminded to go back to the places where he has been there for me before and remember how I trusted and through that I can choose to trust again.  I’m a woman and I process the world through my feelings. But, I followed my feelings all of the time, I would have ended up in several terrible marriages. I would have left my community 7 months ago.  I would have run and hid. I would have been afraid to grieve and still been paralyzed by it. Instead, I chose to stay. I chose to endure. To be fair, there are plenty of times I come home for a serious cry after having to live this out. But I still think that right now it is what I’m being invited to. A higher level of maturity. A deep trust.

Meeting someone in my community is not the only option, but it’s the best option. When there are potentially amazing  people right in front of you, why would you need to look somewhere else? Where else am I going to meet someone who holds true to the same core values that I do?

A bar? Nope. I’ve been to plenty of bars. I’ve met guys in bars before.  I’m not saying that it’s impossible to meet a solid,  Christ-following, mission-minded man in a bar, but it’s the exception, not the rule.  Just like missionary dating. (Been there, done that, wouldn’t recommend it). Rather than spend my time  and money out at a bar on a long shot, wouldn’t it be better for me to invest in the guys who are more similarly aligned with  me which will yield a higher possibility of a successful relationship in the long run?

What about online? Okay, tons of my friends have met and married the man or woman of their dreams online. It happens. It works for many. I’m not ruling this out by any means, but it definitely complicates things when you meet someone online who doesn’t live nearby or attend your church.  Suddenly you’re living for Skype dates and weekend meet ups. Or if the person does live nearby and it does work out, one of you will have to make the hard decision to leave your community and join another.  This is not the worst thing in the world. But wouldn’t it be easier and better (assuming there are people in your community to date) to date in a way where people know both of you and can speak into your relationship? Relationships become insuluar quickly and easily enough without having to introduce more factors that may make it easier for a couple to withdraw further from community.  When two people from two different communities date, it makes it harder for any one community to help keep them accountable. The couple then must make it an even bigger priority to hang out with people in community who can help them determine if their relationship is healthy or not. I’m a big believer, now more than ever before, of dating within the context of community. If we date without having people check in on us, ask us questions, or help us through tough spots, we can easily become myopic, seeing only what we want to see and we will, in effect, potentially waste a lot of time trying to figure out a relationship that should have probably ended much earlier had we allowed others to see it for what it really was. NOTE: There is this phenomenon happening where people who are online dating and who are involved within the same community get matched.  To me, this is indicative of a bigger problem. Why can’t these two people  who get matched up online date each other in real life? Why pay all of this money to find out you’d be a good match when you can just take the risk, ask someone out (or say yes to the person who asks you out), and find out on your own without dropping $50 a month? Seems ridiculous, no?

Set-ups?  I’m ALL for set-ups. I personally think it’s a married person’s business and responsibilty to advocate for marriage and to help set up their unmarried friends. I have a single friend who literally told her married friends that she would pay  them $1000 if they introduced her to her husband.  There is something to be said for married people who have been through it and who know you really well and who want the best for you setting you up with someone who they think is a good match.  Of course, you need to trust the people who set you up and if they are too invested, it can be messy. I have another friend  whose parents try to constantly set her up with every single guy they come across.  That doesn’t work because she sees through their motivations and just gets annoyed at the set-ups. Ideally, I think people should set you up with people you may not know very well who are in your community.  This extra push can help put some relationships that would never otherwise  start due to unrealistic expectations, fear of dating in the same community, and fear of rejection on the right track from early on.

More to come… in Part 3.

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One Response to “Dating In Community Is Risky Part 2”

  1. Sarah D May 30, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    I resonate with a lot of this Melissa…thanks for putting it out there!

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