The Dating Game

Updated: Nov 16, 2018

1 Peter 3:3-4

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

Dating after divorce is scary. I'm going to be honest when I say it has NOT made it onto my bucket list. I fear it. I dislike the games men play and the immaturity that arises during the process of dating.

I'm sure my fear has arisen from the fact that the last man I dated, fell in love with and then married turned out to be a monster, but there are so many other variables that have made dating a very unsettling experience for me.

I'm learning to recognize red flags in people and to be aware of their actions and behavior, but I'm absolutely petrified I will end up in the same situation again. I've been putting a lot of introspective work into understanding and figuring out what drew me to an abusive person in the first place so it doesn't happen again. Until I have full understanding, I'll probably continue being freaked out with the whole dating process.

Dating today is so different from the dating I did in my younger years. I am very intimidated by meeting people on social media and dating apps. There's cat-fishing. Swipe left. Swipe right. Judge. Judge. Judge. When did dating become all about physical appearance? When did it become so shallow? What about the heart of the person in the profile photo? Why are people so fake?

I tried two dating apps/sites for a short amount of time and I was riddled with guilt every time I logged on. It was so easy to get sucked into the jury deciding who's fit to date and who's not based on a few photos and words on a screen. Too easy to get caught up in superficial relationships that did nothing to enhance my life or my relationship with the Lord.

For every swipe right, I received a response in the form of gross nude photos in a matter of minutes. I've been ghosted and made to feel worthless more times than I care to admit. I've been benched and put on the sideline. I've been contacted by an unsettling number of married men looking for a secret lover. I've been asked to send nude photos of myself because my profile photo didn't "reveal" enough about me.

The few dates I went on all ended with the demand for sex in return for him buying dinner. Ugly, passive-aggressive texts shaming me for not putting out blew up my phone. I have never felt more like an object in my life.

Not one of these men cared about who I was as a person. Their intentions were clear and hurtful. Their actions and harsh words chipping away at my already fractured self-esteem.

Listen, guys, what are you trying to prove? How can you say you're a Christian on your profile and act in that manner? When did your junk become the determination of dating worthiness? Why is it all about sex?

You may be good-looking on the outside, but lewd photos and demands for sex on the first date just proved you are not the man for me. You are not good on the inside. No thanks.

I've decided that online dating is not for me. I'm just old school I guess. I've heard the Lord's voice say repeatedly, "You will not find the man I have for you on the internet." I've listened and I know He's right. He's protecting me from the dating game because I'm not a very good player.

I'm not saying this is the case for everyone.

Some of you may have met amazing people on the internet and I think that's great! I hope the Lord blesses you abundantly, but I've made the personal choice of avoiding online dating because it does not add anything of value to my life. In fact, if anything, it causes me emotional pain and exacerbates my anxiety. It makes that all too frequent voice in my head play on repeat, "You're always going to be alone. No one will ever love you or want you. You're pathetic."

I used to let that voice get to me. I would succumb and throw in the towel. My dating experiences only confirmed what anxiety kept telling me.

I've learned to overcome that feeling and ignore the voice telling me I'm not worthy. Because I am. To Him. And I'm really great with being single. Really! I enjoy the peace and freedom associated with it. I can work through the loneliness and be OK.

The Lord has a plan. I may not understand it. I may not feel comfortable in it right now, but I have faith that if it is His will, He will line up the right man to come along at the right time. I rest in the assurance that His plan is for my good.

In the meantime, I must keep moving forward and working on myself. Working on becoming the quiet and gentle spirit that is so pleasing to Him. Working to be as much like Jesus as I possibly can while I'm on this earth. Following His instruction and direction. He tells us, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you" (Psalm 32:8). I know He is looking out for me.

I will trust that the Lord will make it apparent to me if and when the right man comes along. A man with a Godly heart. There will be no second guessing. I'll know him when I see him because the right man will not play games with my heart.

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