Date people to get experience. Date someone because they make your emotions go all tingly. Date practically anyone because you are lonely. Date one person so others will think you are a catch. These are just a few of the many messages our society tells us about dating. But a wiser message is, wait to date. It may sound crazy right now, but by the end of this article your mind may change.
How about we begin with the hypocrisy of romance culture. The idea of true love, soulmates and the one pervades popular movies, books, songs, etc… Yet, to date without much thought or prolonged screening is also promoted. We even sell these ideas to teens and children. But if there really is a one true love out there for each person, why waste time on all these other people?
While I do not believe in “the one,” I do believe in being ready. We should all want to be ready when we meet someone who is worth spending the rest our lives loving. But all these other relationships do is cost us precious time and leave unnecessary baggage. This is time we could have spent improving ourselves emotionally, financially, spiritually, etc… So now when someone who could be a good match comes along, they must decide whether or not to deal with the baggage we have accumulated through bad relationships.
Baggage can be any number of things including:
* emotional scars
* baby mamas/daddys
* family fall outs
* fractured friendships
* financial setbacks
* sexually transmitted diseases
* putting off career or other life plans
* ultimatums and suicide threats (a.k.a. the if-you-leave-I-will-hurt- myself people)
There are so many other things that could go on this list, but I prefer to get to the point. The more we give away pieces of our lives to date people we had no business dating, the less of our fresh selves we have to offer the ones we should. And by the time we finally meet a strong prospect, is it really fair to drag them into the mess we have created through our poor choices?
And I already know what some who are reading this will say. It will be something along the lines of, “Even though those relationships failed, I learned some valuable life lessons as a result.” And if you actually did learn your lesson, that is certainly a good thing. But just because we sometimes chose to learn a lesson the hard way, does not mean it was the only way. That is like someone recklessly walking into traffic and realizing it was a bad decision after they were hit. If they simply listened to the PSA video or their parents in the first place, the lesson could have been received without injury. Well this is your PSA video.
In life we almost always have the choice of learning our lessons the easy way, or the hard way. This means, in most cases, we can gain the exact same wisdom without paying that heavier price. So when we decide to date someone just because they are cute, is it worth the cost? When we date because we do not want to be the only single person in our circle of friends, is it worth the cost? Why do we think it is better to keep leasing and trading in cars over and over, instead of simply saving up to buy one outright? We end up charging interest to our hearts we never needed to incur.
But when we finally meet that person we have a special connection with, we want to be ready. And by special connection I do not mean butterflies in the stomach. That could simply be lust, infatuation or low-self esteem talking. I do not mean someone with whom you merely have a good time kicking it. I mean someone who possesses the character and values we admire. It is not someone we hope to “fix-up” or “reform” into the kind of person we want because we really like their outer packing.
And while I bring that up, please stop with the whole dating people for years nonsense. If making a lifetime commitment is really your goal, you can probably find out what someone is really about within a year to a year and a half tops. Life is far too short to wait 2+ years for someone to get their act together; or for them to wait for us to do the same. If we waited to date in the first place, we would not have to waste time doing all of that pointless renovating mid-relationship. And if we believe going to a higher level of commitment will help fix those problems, the answer is always no.
How about we date in ways in contrast to our surrounding culture? Instead of jumping into relationships until we find “the one,” we should spend time preparing ourselves for a good match. If more of us did this we would be less likely to screw it up when a good one really does come along. We would also have a better chance of detecting those who merely want to control, use and abuse us. When we are no longer looking to them to validate, rescue or complete us, we can focus more attention on recognizing who they really are inside. And quite frankly, we do not have to actually date someone to begin that process.
Think about it for a second. Most of us first start to date, then at some later point wonder whether or not they are really worth the time. We date someone before having trusted family and friends see what this person is really about. But by that time emotions and history may make us reluctant to walk away, despite it being clear that we should. In essence, we set ourselves up for failure. Our ideal should be to only date one person and get it right the first time. That way we preserve so much more of the best we have to offer, for someone who is truly worth it.
So please heed this advice and wait to date. We should not resign ourselves to the lie that past dating mishaps make us more experienced. In that case, we could say thrift store merchandise is experienced rather than used. Our heart is one of the most precious gifts we have to offer another human being. To date without real, true purpose is to loan it out to whoever has our attention at the moment. Truth be told, most of us exercise more caution about who we give the keys to our car, than to whom we give the key to our heart.
Now that all of this has been said, I must ask the question. Is this really so crazy?
By Corey Dorsey
Image by presquesage