Dating is full of great feelings like excitement, anticipation, love. But it can also produce negative feelings like sadness, heartache, and disappointment. Unfortunately, these can all be mixed in together sometimes and lead to confusion. It’s important to know how to keep a healthy perspective and make sure pursuing someone doesn’t become an obsession.
I was chatting to friend the other day who was telling me about, in her words, her new boyfriend.
He had a good job, he also volunteered for charities, he was polite, funny and good looking. So I asked how long they’d been going out, and she said they had been on one date.
Now she realised she was getting a bit carried away and was making a joke about it. But I feel like a part of her wasn’t joking. And many people I know get carried away in this situation. We all have/can when emotions are involved.
It just reminded me how important it is to keep a healthy perspective and avoid unhealthy obsessions when we are dating and looking for love.
(The following extract is taken from page 102-104 of The Dating Dilemma book, read the introduction for free.)
Head Space and Energy
Have you ever felt so desperate to make a good impression on someone that you’ve found yourself acting a bit odd around them? Falling for someone has a habit of making fools out of us all. But there’s a more serious consequence to this pitfall.
We pin all our hopes on one person and we can begin to compromise
Obsessing about finding a relationship or being with a certain person takes up head space and energy. It distracts us from finding fulfilment elsewhere. (Read Are You Making The Relationship Mistake That Causes Less Happiness?)
We pin all our hopes on one person and we can begin to compromise who we are, to lose sight of what God has called us to. This weakens us and any relationship we start, because no-one can fulfil us to that degree.
So how do we date without obsessing? Before we answer that, see if you recognize yourself in any of the following:
- You long for a relationship so much that you’ll go out with anyone.
- You never talk with God about your relationships or ask him to guide you.
- You never talk with God about anything except your relationships and future girl/boyfriend.
- Now you’re dating, everything is about them.You dismiss singleness as ‘God’s waiting room’.
The chances are we’re probably all guilty of some of these things. We have all made our search for love an idol at some point. If you’re obsessing about someone you’re not yet dating, the worst thing you can do is start going out with them!
You may well be great for each other in the future, but right now you are about to build a weak relationship because you are asking them to be everything they can’t be. When we find ourselves obsessing about someone, to the point where it’s taking over, we need to bring it to God. A friend told us:
When I’m in a relationship I often ignore God. I lose sight of the bigger picture. If it was the other way round and I ignored my boyfriend this much, I would get dumped! (Hannah)
She realised she needed to change, and that was the beginning of things shifting for her. It may also mean that you need to take control of your thoughts and distract yourself, not in an ‘I’ll-avoid-the-issue’ kind of way, but rather in a ‘I’ll-stop-sitting-here-wallowing-in-my-obsession’ way.
Go out with other friends, or spend evenings on your own, reminding yourself that you are a complete person, with or without someone to date.
Time’s A Keeper
If you fancy someone at 9 am but have gone off them by 9 pm, it’s probably best to leave them alone!
Many bad decisions are made in haste, so often the best thing to do is to wait. If you fancy someone in March and still feel a connection in May, then perhaps there is something there. If you fancy someone at 9 am but have gone off them by 9 pm, it’s probably best to leave them alone!
Imagine how unkind and self-centred it would be to put someone on a pedestal, date them and then drop them – all because they had the audacity not to match up to the crazy ideal you had of them in the first place. (Read Why I chose to reject finding ‘The One’)
You could even spend time away from them and chat to some wise friends about your feelings, to see if it’s right to continue. We can sometimes obsess about our friendships too. Recognising if this is our weakness will help us do something about it.
Being free from romantic obsessions means we don’t need to:
- Make them the reason for our existence
- Put our life on hold until they show up
- Be afraid to face the truth of how unhealthy this (potential) relationship is
There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship, and we can all get carried away when we meet a potential partner. But in order for a relationship to thrive, you need to avoid obsession and make sure you’re both involved in building a mutually enjoyable relationship.
Imagine if we allowed ourselves to enjoy finding and building a romantic relationship with someone worth committing to. But also kept a healthy perspective and avoided obsession so a relationship could thrive.
What else can help us avoid obsession? Comments welcomed below.