Tag

Overcoming Dating Fears

I’m Single And Hate Dating, What Can I Do?

Finding A Date, Singleness

Many of us are single but want to find someone and build a relationship, but we don’t like looking for dates. We dislike sifting through loads of profiles online, the awkward first few minutes of small talk on a date, and the confusion of deciding if there is or isn’t a spark. It’s important to know 4 ways to avoid it feeling like a chore, and get the excitement back.

I think there’s so much focus on dating being fun and great that we can find it difficult to admit it can also be hard work and exhausting. Finding someone to potentially commit to and being intentional about it isn’t a simple process.

Dating in a way which is just about living for the moment and only thinking about yourself is easy, but purposely looking for someone to build a deep relationship with isn’t. Going out on yet another date, checking the online profile, again, trying to decide if someone is really trustworthy, can seem like it just isn’t getting us where we want to be.

As someone who thinks dating should be enjoyed, and it should lead to the mutually fulfilling relationships we all want, I realise we need to talk about the times when it doesn’t live up to expectation.

First Dates

So how do you find someone? How do you make it seem like less of a chore? How do you begin to look forward to dating again?

Well lining up more and more dates and creating more and more online profiles would make anyone feel overwhelmed. I think there are 4 things we can do instead, so that we  re-discover the excitement of dating again:

  • More Dates Isn’t Always Better
  • Need To Create Anticipation
  • Strip Back The Mask
  • It’s Not A Step To Something Else

More Dates Isn’t Always Better

So often we can fall into the trap of thinking, if I just go on as many dates as possible I will find someone eventually. However, I don’t think it should be about meeting up with just anyone. So taking the time to stop and think about the kind of person we want to connect with is important.

Being active and thinking intentionally about who we say yes to can make dating feel like we’re connecting with people we really want to connect with, rather than just anyone and seeing if we stumble across something.

Thinking about what we want to try and build, who we want to do that with, and saying yes to the right dates, can help us get excited about meeting better-suited people. (Read Lots Of Dates Vs. Selective Dates: Which Is Really Better?)

Need To Create Anticipation

I’m a big believer in meeting up as soon as possible so you don’t just text or email for ages and create a ‘romantic bubble’. We only really get to know people when we hang out with them in person and talk face to face.

However, not talking properly beforehand at all can end in disaster too. Only emailing after reading a profile or sending a text after a mutual friend set you up, can end with us getting dressed up, getting ready, going to meet someone and realising you just aren’t suited after a lot of time and energy has been invested. Phoning each other first and chatting for a bit means you can begin to know each other before you invest too much of yourself.

The date won’t be something you dread, but it’ll be something you look forward to

There is no need to arrange a meeting with someone if you both realise that it’s obviously not going to work beforehand.

Moreover, if you chat a bit and get on, it means you will be excited to meet each other in person. The date won’t be something you dread, but it’ll be something you look forward to because you have had a positive experience already. (Read What should we do on a first date? Part 1)

So arrange one or two phone calls or Skype chats, see if you are excited to meet up and get to know each other more.

Strip Back The Mask

On dates we want to present the best version of ourselves and make the best first impression, that’s natural and understandable. But when people lie or exaggerate too much, it becomes confusing. We don’t get to see the real them or vice versa.

Focusing on real compatibility can make dating less daunting

When we see dating as a chance to meet someone and be authentic, rather than worry about everything we say and do, it will seem less terrifying and more exciting. Focusing on real compatibility can make dating great (Read Are You Thinking About Compatibility In The Right Way?)

It’s Not A Step To Something Else

Dating can be enjoyable. Dating in and of itself can honour God. It’s not just a step to marriage.

Seeing it as something that needs to be rushed through will not help us to see it as exciting. But seeing it as something we are meant to enjoy and learn more about ourselves and others in, will help us to see it as exciting. (Read Who Else Wants Great Relationships? Why Dating Well Still Matters)

Imagine If…

Imagine if we remembered: More Dates Isn’t Always Better, Need To Create Anticipation, Strip Back The Mask, It’s Not A Step To Something Else. We could go from dreading dating, to doing it intentionally with the best chance of making it work, and with lots of excitement.

What else do you think could help build more excitement? Comments Welcomed Below

Originally posted 18/6/2018


The Worst Advice You Can Hear About Rejection

Break- Ups, Finding A Date

Dating often involves rejection. Us finding someone may involve disappointments along the way. When we face rejection, we’re usually told to just ignore it and move on. But that rarely helps. We can only ignore it to a point, before we start to question ourselves, worry that we’re not enough, and maybe feel like giving up. We need advice that offers us more.

My colleagues always tease me and comment that all my posts start with me saying ‘I was talking to a friend the other day…’. They joke that I cannot be having this many conversations with people about relationships, and/or that no one can have that many friends.

I always smile and say that I do indeed love to talk about dating, relationships, and faith with lots of people (maybe too much), and I do have many friends! In fact, I was talking to one last week (honest) about her experience of online dating.

We were talking about the fear she had around online dating.

She said she didn’t want to use it at first, but gave it a go because her friends were encouraging her to, she was celebrating another birthday and was a year older, and there was still no one in her current social circle to date.

Looking Back

She has now found someone and is very happy in her relationship. As she was talking to me she was reflecting on what her experience was like. Especially because she never really wanted to use online dating in the first place.

She put it off for so long because of her fear of rejection

One thing she said which really struck me, was that she put it off for so long because of her fear of rejection.

This fear can be overwhelming whether we’re dating online or offline. The fear of meeting some you like, then they just end it and say no thanks. Or when it comes to online dating in particular, just the thought of knowing that people are looking at your profile, but deciding not to take it further.

It can be hard. My friend found this part of her online dating experience very hard.

Barrier

This conversation reminded me that talking about how we can date well, and how to prepare for a date, etc., is important, but some people are still trying to get over some initial barriers.

The thought of going through any rejection is a big barrier. Especially when the reality is it could happen more than once as we search for someone.

We end up questioning what went wrong, if there’s something wrong with ‘me’

Most of the time, people say ‘just ignore it and move on’. While moving on is important (Read Revealed: Why Some Break-Ups Feel Good (After A While)), ignoring it is often not possible. We end up questioning what went wrong, if there’s something wrong with ‘me’, why it happened again, and getting our confidence knocked along the way.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee for avoiding rejection when we date, but we can think about how to overcome this barrier and replace some bad advice about rejection, with some good advice.

What To Do

There isn’t a simple solution on offer, but after talking to my friend, and thinking about some other experiences too, I hope that some/all/a mixture of the following points can help us get past the fear of, and the experience of, rejection.

Not Everyone Will Like Everyone  

Firstly, we need a way to remind ourselves that not everyone will like everyone. If we could just start a fulfilling relationship with anyone, we would marry the first person we bumped into. But it doesn’t work like that.

There are good and nice people out there who we will not like romantically, and vice versa. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean we’re being rejected as a person, it just means it won’t work out. Not everyone is suited.

Some People Need A Distraction 

It can be hard though, if you like someone and thought a date went well and they then feel differently. And you may just naturally dwell on it. That is understandable.

So you may need a distraction. We can’t ignore it, but we can’t dwell and obsess over it either.  I’ve written about the importance of planning something in for the day after you go on a date because it will help you keep a healthy perspective. (Read The 3 Best Ways To Prepare For A Date).

We need ways to remember our lives are about more than just dating

We need ways to remember our lives are about more than just dating, especially if we have a negative experience of rejection. Doing something we find fun and fulfilling the day after a date can help us do that.

We Need To Talk About It

Often (online) dating is done in secret, and we don’t let many people know about it. Or we just tell people the good stories, and not about the times we felt hurt or let down by it. But we need to talk about the times it went wrong.

We need to share it and process it with people we trust, otherwise, the fear and rejection can really start to negatively impact, or even stop, our search for love. We need reassurance and support. (Read )

We May Need A Break

Dating is in many ways about perseverance. But no one can go full pelt indefinitely. We all need a break, and time away from things so we can re-group.

If it’s been hard lately, maybe we need some time away.

Imagine If…

No one likes rejection, it affects us and we can’t just ignore it. But we can find ways to overcome the fear as we enter this crazy thing called dating.

Imagine if we stopped letting it hinder our search by remembering that: Not Everyone Will Like Everyone, Some People Need A Distraction, We Need To Talk About It, and We May Need A Break.

What others good bits of advice can you think of? Comments welcomed below.

Originally posted 18/12/2017


1 Big Reason Why People Get Bored In Relationships Explained

Healthy Relationship Rhythms, Marriage

In a society that focuses so much on the new thing, the new ‘must-have’ gadget, the new social media trend, the new fashion craze, anything long-term seems bad. Often people’s relationship perspective can be affected by this thinking. ‘New relationships are fun, old ones are stale, boring and unexciting, right?’. It’s this perspective that can cause problems.   

So the wedding ceremony had happened, we had all eaten the wedding breakfast, the father of the bride and groom had given their speeches, then the best man got up.

I think the best man has the toughest job of all. The father of the bride just needs to share some soppy stories. The groom just needs to thank everyone and everyone is on his side because it’s his day after all. But when the best man gets up, people want to be entertained. He needs to make people laugh and tell embarrassing stories about the groom, but not be too mean.

This best man nailed it. He was funny, engaging and very creative, but right at the end he made a comment that shocked lots of people. He said:

‘I hope today isn’t the best day of your life’.

Now, lots of people couldn’t believe it. But I thought he had a point. And he went on to explain what he meant.

Focus On What Love Becomes

He was saying, and praying that, as the happy couple got to know each other more, as they navigated married life and their potential future family, etc., they would grow more in love and know the joy of being deeply committed and being there for each other.

Now modern-day wisdom tells us that the longer you’re in a relationship, the worse it will probably get.

At the start, you fall in love, want to spend all your time together, and think each other are perfect. We’re told to focus on this aspect of love, the super exciting bit where we’re doing everything for the first time. And when these bits are lost, we should feel like we’re missing out.

People don’t place value on what love evolves into

But just because love evolves over time and relationships change, it doesn’t mean new is better.

The problem is, people don’t place value on what love evolves into and what it becomes. Or why this answers our deepest need.

Unhelpful Perspective 

I had a friend who had been going out with a guy for five years. Then out of the blue, in a very bad way, he told my friend that he wanted to ‘go out and experience life’.

She basically said he wanted to go and meet new people, have the thrill of ‘chasing after’ new love interests and getting to know people he is romantically attracted to.

It was a real shame because they seemed to be happy for most of their relationship and she got really hurt. He wasn’t valuing what love evolves into. He thought new and different would make him happy.

Helpful Perspective

Having been in a relationship with my now wife for a total of nine years, I can say it has changed. It’s not about being ‘super’ excited or getting to know each other any more, which was all fun and great, but it has become something else.

We’re excited to be with each other but not because it’s new

It’s become a relationship where we trust each other no matter what, where we know each other’s worst qualities but still stick around, where we’re excited to be with each other but not because it’s new, but because of all the years of building something together.

It’s not the same as when we were first dating. It is different, but we no longer need to try and impress or worry about if the other person is as committed. And we still want to be together.

I’ve learned that each stage of love is different. One big problem is we can focus on the early stage and think that it’s better than the other stages, then these other stages can seem hard or pointless. This is why some people can get bored and their relationships can break down.

Deepest Need

Our deepest need is to feel loved. To know someone knows us and accepts us. In romantic relationships this can be expressed very uniquely in an incredible way. But these things can only develop over time and need to be valued and remembered. (Read What The Church Can Learn From The Science Of Love.)

These things can only develop over time

Instead of being shaped by films which focus on finding love rather than building a relationship, or adverts which says new is better, or stories that say there is a honeymoon period then it’s okay to complain about your partner to friends, let’s be shaped by something else.

Imagine If…

Imagine if we saw each stage of love as different, and adapted accordingly. Romantic relationships should always be exciting and healthy, but they should be evolving too. (Read Why I Chose To Think Differently About My Relationship.)

Instead of focusing only on stuff which happens/happened at the start of relationships; the stability, deep connection, trust and memories that come over time and cannot be created after a few months, need to be seen as important and valued as the relationship grows.

Do you think our society focuses too much on the start of romantic relationships? Comments welcomed below.   

Originally posted 20/11/2017


4 Strategies For Overcoming Our Biggest Dating Fears

Early Dating, Finding A Date

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…

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.

What one strategy can you start implementing today and how? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 13/11/2017


4 Bad Reasons For Breaking Up Which Must Be Avoided!

Break- Ups

All relationships go through highs and lows. But what if you have doubts and fears, how do you know if they are just temporary or a reason to end it? Sadly, some relationships end, and for good reasons. But some can end for the wrong reasons. Thinking about how to avoid these bad reasons is important as we navigate our way through dating.  

So you went on some dates, then on some more dates, and decided you really liked each other. You had the DTR (determine the relationship) chat, and became official. Social media profiles were updated accordingly. Plain sailing now, right?

Well, maybe not.

Maybe a few weeks or months have passed since then, and you’re wondering if it’s what you were looking for. Some doubts have crept in, some fears are growing, but you still really like them. So which feelings are the right ones to listen to?

So which feelings are the right ones to listen to?

Should you listen to the doubts and end it? You aren’t sure anymore and you just can’t shake these thoughts. But this might be normal right? As you settle into the relationship and get more serious, these thoughts and questions naturally arise, but they do pass as well?

Soul Searching

I actually think it’s normal for people to do some soul searching after starting a new relationship.

Asking the serious questions, making sure the relationship isn’t drifting so someone doesn’t get hurt, is actually very wise and helpful. Deciding if you’re both going to invest more and more is important. The challenge is deciding if your negative thoughts and feelings are temporary or a signal that the relationship won’t work.

Now, if I had a simple five-step plan that would give everyone the answer for this tricky situation, then that would be great, but sadly I don’t. If you’re thinking about your relationship and thinking about what to do, I can at least try and help you avoid ending it for the wrong reasons.

The challenge is deciding if your negative thoughts and feelings are temporary

In a culture that places so much emphasis on finding romance, and being the perfect couple, as well as thinking the ‘newer’ the relationship the better, I think it can lead to some unhelpful/bad reasons for thinking about breaking up.

4 Reasons 

We can fall into the trap of thinking that:

  • The Grass is Greener
  • The Relationship Should Be Totally Fulfilling Me
  • I Don’t Get An Intense Romantic Rush Now
  • I Need To Figure It Out On My Own

The Grass Is Greener

The idea that gets told to us a lot in music, culture, and films, is that that new thing/product/relationship will sort out all my problems. Why work at something when we can upgrade?

And when it comes to romance, the focus is all about the rush of finding someone rather than in maintaining a relationship through the ups and downs and mundane bits. It’s easy for people to think that other girl or that guy will be better.

It’s easy to focus on someone’s best bits, to be drawn to the new and exciting possibility. The skill is in navigating and building a relationship that will last, that can give us the safety and security we really crave.

Breaking up because the possibility of something better isn’t a good or healthy reason to end it. (Read What Does Faithfulness Look Like When I’m Dating?)

The Relationship Should Be Totally Fulfilling Me

‘Be in a relationship otherwise you’re missing out!’ That’s the message that we hear constantly.

Romance is held up as the meaning of life in many parts of our culture. It’s meant to be the thing that saves us from all of our problems. So when we realise the person we date is not totally fulfilling us, some people think it’s time to end it.

In all honesty, this perspective will never lead to a long-term, healthy, and enjoyable relationship. No one person can be the source of all of our happiness and confidence.

If we are thinking of breaking up for this reason, it will not solve the problem, but just transfer it to another relationship. We need to learn to have a full life to share with someone, instead of expecting someone to sort it all out. (Read Are You Making The Relationship Mistake That Causes Less Happiness?)

I Don’t Get An Intense Romantic Rush Now

Relationships evolve over time. The rush you get when you like someone, when they first say yes, and when you start to discover a whole bunch of things about them, is great fun. It leads to intense feelings and a romantic rush.

The intensity often reduces over time, but that doesn’t mean the relationship will become boring or stale. The relationship and love will express itself differently. Growing in love is adapting to new stages.

In films, there are always intense scenes where the future couple first set eyes on each other, and they eventually get together, then the film ends before we see the intensity fade. So we don’t see what happens next. Feelings are important in a relationship, but they can’t be the only thing that guides us because they change so much. (Read How ‘Decisions’ Along With ‘Love’ Can Create Healthy Relationships.)

I Need To Figure It Out On My Own

Independence, self-reliance, and doing what makes you happy. This may be something you believe in and live your life by, but in a relationship there are two people and two hearts involved.

Learning to talk about the relationship with each other, learning to communicate what you expect and what you are both thinking is crucial. Trust and security comes out of good communication. (Read Dating Someone? Commitment Assumptions Can Cause Cracks.)

Learning to talk about everything is key

Deciding to end it without chatting about it, or more importantly, not learning to communicate as you build a relationship together, isn’t a good reason to end it. They may be feeling the same, but they may have another take on it. Learning to talk about everything is key.

Imagine If…

Relationships involve highs and lows, and there are some that will sadly end.

What we can do is learn about how to find ones we think will last, and learn to navigate the lows so that we can enjoy the highs, and keep them strong and enjoyable.

Imagine if we avoided unhelpful reasons, and we focused on helpful wisdom, that can help us build the relationships that will last, and make us feel safe and secure. We must learn how to avoid using the reasons: The Grass is Greener, The Relationship Should Be Totally Fulfilling Me, I Don’t Get An Intense Romantic Rush Now, and I Need To Figure It Out On My Own.

Are there any other bad reasons you have heard of? Comments welcomed below.  

Originally posted 4/9/2017