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Dating 101: Let’s Be Honest

From JP | July 9, 2012 . By Jonathan Pokluda

Continued from part 1.

Dating does not have to be confusing or complicated; most people just make it that way. If both parties would simply be honest, and intentional, we could avoid many of the dating complaints I hear.  Here are some more of those complaints:

Girls “claiming” a guy, because they like him

Ladies, he is not yours. You do not own him. If you have broken up, that means he is probably going to eventually look for someone else to date (and you should too, eventually). If you have not broken up because you never dated, then that quite clearly means that he does not belong to you. You have no right to control who he might date.

I know it might hurt if he chooses someone else. Be honest about those feelings with the girls in your life, ask for prayer, and turn your focus elsewhere (Matthew 6:33). If his new someone is a friend of yours, I know that is really messy. But please remember, he was not yours because you “liked” him. Work to let go, and move on. Also, consider how your feelings got to this place. Ask the girls in your life to help you with not creating an unhealthy attachment to someone you are not in a relationship with.

Girls taking a couple of dates too seriously

Say it with me: “It’s just coffee.”  His “Would you like to grab coffee sometime?” does not equate to “Will you be the mother of my children?”

I could advise you to ask questions so that you know where you stand. However, better advice would be to only date guys who clearly let you know where you stand, so that you don’t have to ask. Guys, help me out here. Defining the relationship (a DTR) never hurt anyone.

Guys are not intentional

Again, in case you missed it: a DTR never hurt anyone. Guys, do you want to understand women? OK. Lesson number one: they wonder a lot. They wonder about how you feel about them, wonder how to interpret what you said, and wonder what you meant by how you acted, what you wore, or why you ordered what you ordered at Starbucks. You can help them out by being honest and letting them know what you think about them. If you say you will call, call!  Honesty might be difficult for boys, but for men it is a way of life.

Men are honest with care. The “with care” part does not mean “less than the truth”, and the “honest” part does not mean, “punch to the gut”.  Work to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

I am asking you to be intentional, but not intense. “Intense” prophesies the next 15 years on date one. (Say it with me: “It’s just coffee.”) “Intentional” says: “I had a great time, and I’d love to see you again sometime soon. Can I call you next week?” Just be sincere (Romans 12:9).

“Frates” or “friendationships”

This is the new “friend zone”, where the guy asks a girl on a “friend date” (a “frate”) or carries on a close friendship with her. Girls, you are left wondering whether you are his buddy, or potentially his future bride. He gets the emotional connection with the opposite sex that he desires, and you get left with lots of questions. He plays with your heart, and your heart is left confused—or worse, hurting.

If you are wondering why he is texting you at 11 p.m. to tell you goodnight, when he has never even asked you out, text him back with something paraphrased from 1 Corinthians 14:20: “Grow up!”

Leading people on

Not cool. If they are just a friend, say so; don’t go about building someone up for a more devastating fall. Be honest (1 John 2:21). We might cry for a minute and hate you for a few days, but we’ll get over it. Just because you don’t know what you want, does not give you the right to try and have everything. You are not a “player”; you are a child.

Men, if you are not ready to get married, then don’t pursue a relationship—much less anything physical. Ladies, if he wants to kiss you but not be committed to you, let him be someone else’s “prize”.

Dating does not have to be confusing or complicated; most people just make it that way. Don’t make it that way.

To be continued in part 3.

JP

  • TJC

    “Men, if you are not ready to get married, then don’t pursue a relationship—much less anything physical.”

    I think this would lead most men (even godly ones) toward masturbation. Masturbation leads to porn. Too much porn leads to a man being sexually dissatisfied with his girlfriend/fiancee/wife when he gets one because it will be impossible for her to meet his heightened and taboo fantasies.

    Dating should be a way for a person to learn about which traits in a mate are important. So, even if the person is not ready for marriage, if he/she makes it clear to the partner (and if the partner agrees to continue the relationship), then both have something invaluable to gain from the relationship. As it turns out, I’ve seen some of the happiest marriages start from 2 people falling in love without expecting to. Their stories are incredibly romantic and inspiring.

    BTW, I provided a fake name and email to allow me to submit my comment, but hide my identity.

  • Kevin McConaghy

    Sorry to break this to you, “TJC”, but your arguments do not make any sense. It’s circular logic. Avoid being sexually dissatisfied with your girlfriend (!) or wife…by starting a physical relationship with someone who is not your wife? Date when you are not ready to get married…because it might lead to marriage?

    I would have gladly discussed this with you outside the public forum, but hiding your identity made that impossible. If you truly think that you are right, or have a point worth making in public, be willing to stand behind it with your name. If you think I am wrong or would like to comment further, you will need to use a real name (it doesn’t have to be your full name) and email address (the email address is not displayed publicly).

  • JP

    Hey TJC, Thanks for commenting. I would add, recreational dating is a very new idea. I believe it can be done well in groups…but dating for the purpose of looking for a spouse is more intentional then simply being at the same movie theater with someone of the opposite sex. I am confused about the masturbation comment. That is a choice. We should pursue purity when we are single. Lots of stats support this idea. Sexual relationships have a much higher failure rate than those couples who did not have sex before marriage.

    I’d love to further understand your concerns.

  • Jefferson

    I think what TJC meant was that men are naturally wired to pursue a relationship a woman regardless if whether or not they’re ready. The same applies to women. When you put up a wall by saying, “Don’t pursue a relationship, much less a physical one,” people will find other avenues to pursue such as masturbation and porn. You can’t remove a negative stimulus with a negative reinforcement.

    You can’t learn about relationships, dating, sex, or any other disciplined task by just sitting on the sidelines. You’ve got to get out there and do it and learn as much as you can along the way. That way, you’ll be fully mature once you meet the chosen one.

    By the way, recreational dating is NOT a new idea. It actually began around the 1920s as our Western society began to develop. It was disrupted during World War II; but revitalized again in the late 1960′s/early ’70s with The Sexual Revolution. With that, people have more options and it’s helped define the behavior of future generations.

  • Kevin McConaghy

    Whether or not recreational dating is considered “new” or not depends on your context. While 90 years might seem quite “old” to you or me, in the context of human history, it is extremely new. That is 90 years out of thousands. In other words, for maybe 99 % of human history, people found a spouse in a much different way. Those ways might seem odd to us now, but obviously they worked, and somehow seemed to work better when it comes to producing lasting relationships.

    I think I get what you are saying about not sitting on the sidelines, but we have to carefully consider *what* we are learning. Practicing recreational dating, for instance, does not seem to teach commitment. It seems to teach quickly falling in and then out of love, which might be why so many marriages end in divorce. And I know that practicing sex before marriage is common these days, but do I really need to list the reasons why that can be a bad idea?

    There are other ways to learn. You can learn commitment, conflict resolution, and selfless love without being in a dating relationship, probably better than if you are in one. You can learn to not base your joy and self-worth on the actions or opinions of another. I would think that these are the important things in having a lasting and happy marriage.

  • Jefferson

    Well, not to get too much into the semantics, I don’t think people just fall in, then out, of love. Chances are; they never fell in-love at all. The novelty simply wore off.

    I do agree that there are many methods in learning a skill; however, what you said doesn’t really fulfill. And it relates to what I said about sitting on the sidelines.

    You can surf all the websites, study all the books, watch countless videos or attend numerous seminars; but you will never fully learn, develop, or experience without actually practicing and performing the task itself, whether it’s sports, music, art, business or even…sex. I’m sure there are reasons why premarital sex is a bad idea; but it can also be a good idea, if done responsibly and for the best intentions.

  • JP

    Jefferson/TJC, et al.
    Premarital sex is a bad idea statistically for many reasons. However, the only reason needed is that God, The Creator of you, me and everything, says so. He said this because He loves us and understands the damage that comes from it. However, if he said it simply because He felt like it, that should be enough- assuming we believe in Him. If you believe in Him- follow Him. Now, if you do not, we should be having an entirely different conversation.

    Now I understand you want to have sex- that’s a great thing. I also understand that Self-Control should be learned and practiced before marriage…without it, you are set up for incredible failure. Matt 6:33

  • [...] a godly man asks you out and you are open to dating, say yes. If you say no, be honest as to why. Men, be intentional; women, be honest. If you are walking closely with Jesus and dating a girl you can cherish who exemplifies the above, [...]