There’s lots of attention given to dating in the media, online, and in our culture. There’s also lots of talk about how fun it is and how easy it should be. Yet many of us still have dating fears because we’re not sure who to ask out, when to say yes, or how to start a relationship. These fears need to be addressed because they are real, but not impossible to overcome.
As someone who writes a lot about dating and relationships, I think it’s important to explore how to date well and how to build mutually enjoyable relationships. I also think we need to remember that all relationships, romantic or otherwise, are meant to be fun and bless the people involved.
Yet despite all the advice and all the encouragement, I still meet people who are scared and worried when it comes to dating. I see it in the comments people leave on posts and on social media too.
This is especially true in some churches, where there is a big weight placed on people’s shoulder when it comes to dating. Many believe you should only date someone God tells you to and/or you should only date the person you marry. This can all build up a lot of fear and worry.
I think it’s important to explore some of these fears here because they are real and can really stop people pursuing a potentially life changing relationship.
The 4 Fears
In my experience, there are 4 common fears and questions people ask when it comes dating. They are:
- Will I Marry Them?
- Do I Really Like Them?
- What Do I Do On A First Date?
- What If They Say No?
Will I Marry Them?
There are some Christians who believe that God will bring us ‘The One’, and/or before people go out with someone, they need to know (preferably through God’s audible voice) that they will end up getting married.
I have written before about the fact that I don’t believe in ‘the One’. I think God has a better plan for us, and believing in ‘the One’ just means we become terrified about choosing wrong. (Read Why Wouldn’t God Tell Me Who To Marry? and Why I Chose To Reject Finding ‘The One’)
I think the aim of dating isn’t marriage, it’s to see if you like each other, are compatible, and want to commit more to each other. Sometimes the answer is no and it ends. Sometimes the answer is yes, and it leads to an ‘official’ dating relationship, which could lead to a long-term dating relationship, which could then lead to marriage.
Your only aim at first is to just see if you like each other a bit more after each date
Overcoming this fear is not about trying to work out if you will get married straight away, but realising you don’t need to answer that question. Your only aim at first is to just see if you like each other a bit more after each date.
Do I Really Like Them?
Okay, so maybe you realise that marriage shouldn’t be at the forefront of your mind, but how do you even know who you like? Or what your type is? Or if you should go out on a date (again)?
I’m not going to say just go out with lots of people and say yes to everyone, because that can lead to more confusion and actually cause a lot of harm to yourself and others.
However, if you like someone or they like you, and you think there is (a bit of) a connection there, then you should go out on a date. People are often so quick to focus on other people’s negative traits and ignore the positive ones. By focusing on the positive traits and on the connection, the chance of a strong relationship growing is possible.
If you realise it won’t work after a few dates, then be honest and clear about that. But a date can help you decide if there is something worth pursuing. The fear of not knowing how much you like them shouldn’t stop us from finding out. (Read 2 Fears Every Single Person Should Confront!)
What Do I Do On A First Date?
So many people have never been on a date, or very rarely go on dates. If you’re single and have not been on a date for a year, you are in the majority.
There is no such thing as a perfect date, there will be slightly awkward moments
The best way to overcome this fear is to get some advice. What makes dating scary is the unknown, so having a bit of advice and knowing what to do can take away that fear. (Read What Should We Do On A First Date? Part 1).
There is no such thing as a perfect date, there will be slightly awkward moments, but we can get advice so we know what to expect, and calm our fears a bit.
What If They Say No?
The biggest fear is hearing a ‘no’ after asking someone out.
It’s embarrassing and gutting, especially if everyone else in church, or in your friendship group, hears about it. But sadly, this is a risk of dating. Sometimes people will say no and relationships will sadly end sometimes (Read What If You’re The One Who Got Dumped?).
The only strategy that can help is remembering to keep a healthy perspective
There are no magic words to make rejection ‘fun’ or ‘okay’. The only strategy that can help is remembering to keep a healthy perspective.
When rejection happens, it feels like the worst thing ever. However, we need to try and invest in other people and other things that fulfil us, so if it does happen we can realise it’s not the end of the world. Even though we are allowed to be upset. (Revealed: Why Some Break-Ups Feel Good (After A While)
Imagine if we didn’t let our fear get in the way of a potentially amazing relationship. By remember these strategies, it will hopefully allow us to start dating, instead of being put off.