I'm 33, a single mom, and for the past year and a half have been almost hiding away in a dateless zone. I love life and truly love being single, but I would like to date and eventually marry, and I know that is not going to happen so long as I love being single.
Is there something wrong with me? Maybe. The reality is that about 6 years ago, I stopped being comfortable around men. I completely stopped being myself. I was dating an extremely critical, emotionally abusive man. I know that now, but at the time I thought he just "spoke his mind" or "kept it real." After I broke up with him because I didn't want that kind of relationship any longer, I immediately regretted it, because I had become co-dependent. It kills me to think that I put myself through that situation.
It wasn't until recently that I realized any of this - that he was emotionally abusive not just to me but to women before me - and that I have been hiding ever since. Shortly after we broke up, I dated a man for about a year that I eventually had to get a restraining order against. Clearly my choices were getting worse.
I dated sporadically after that - all the wrong men. So if I am broken in any areas, I know at least one of them is my "people picker." I simply choose the wrong men to get into a relationship with. I haven't dated for the sake of dating. I've always dated with the intention of getting into a relationship. And since I go out with all the wrong men, I end up in relationships with all the wrong men.
So about a year ago, after briefly dating the absolutely wrong man, I kissed dating goodbye. The intent was to draw into a deeper, more consecrated relationship with Christ. That worked very well. I certainly know who I am in Christ now and what Christ means to me and to the world. I am purposeful with my relationship with Christ and believe I am a daughter of God the Father - and King. That much I know is true.
What I don't know is - who am I as a single woman? As a future wife? What do I need? What do I want? Why do I choose the wrong men? Why do I attract jerks? Why do I stay with jerks? Why don't I like singers? Why don't I like A, B, and C and prefer D, E, and F?
I'm so out of practice with normal men, that I recently met a guy at church I instantly liked, and went off chattering like a complete motormouth after he asked just a few nice questions. After the interaction, I felt ridiculous and wondering, what the heck is my problem?
The truth is, I don't actually know, and that's why I'm doing this. I'm reading a book called How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Dr. Henry Cloud, a Christian author many people know from the Boundaries books.
In Chapter 7, we are challenged to meet five NEW people per week and in order to count, the situation must be as follows:
- They are new to me
- They have to have enough of an interaction with me to want to go out with me
- They have to have enough information about me to following through on that desire
I am a little frightened of this challenge, because it means that I'll need to actually talk to men I don't already know. I have a difficult enough time speaking to the ones I do know, let alone strangers. It's also frightening because it means I'll need to speak with them long enough for them to feel like they want to see me again or at least speak to me again, and ask for contact information. That means I must be interesting on some level. And attractive on some level. And most of the time I don't feel that I am either of those things.
Yet I am looking forward to this. I don't want to actually begin dating until I can clearly see where I am broken, why, and receive the healing I need to be a good woman for a good man. The book is wonderful (my second time reading it) and I'm really looking forward to having fun on dates! But not yet.
And so I am blogging and asking my friends to keep me accountable to meeting these 5 new men a week for awhile. I can meet them anywhere - in church, at work, at the Barnes and Noble, grocery store, Starbucks, playground, wherever. I may need to get out and do things every now and then (shocker). But I am committed to this. I believe the outcome will be good.
Wish me luck!