In my last post, I shared my thunks on three dating apps and my experience with online dating so far. For the most part, it stayed fun but all the conversations with different guys stirred up some old struggles and fears. Anytime I share any of this on my Instagram, I always get messages from women that feel the same way. So here I am, pulling back the curtain on some of my struggles and self conscious thoughts I’ve had while dating.
It’s a lie as old as time, right? I keep going through this cycle of feeling confident enough to put myself out there then questioning all the things. Online dating is nice in that you can “put yourself out there” while staying nice and cozy on the couch. 🙂 Although that part is helpful, it also stirs up plenty of insecurities.
If I were honest about my internal dialogue, usually my reason for saying no to a guy’s profile is because I think, “I’m probably not _______ enough for them.”
For the guy who posts skiing, hiking, camping or other outdoor pictures? I’m not adventurous enough. I’ve never been skiing or camping and I don’t even like being outside that much, so he’d get bored with me. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him.
For the guy who posts photos at the gym or showing off his abs? I’m not active or fit enough. He’d be disgusted and frustrated with me.
For the guy who posts cooking photos? I’m not domesticated enough. I don’t cook.
For the guy with the group pic around pretty girls? I’m not pretty enough. I probably wouldn’t fit in with his friend group.
After swiping through enough profiles and thinking all that, it’s exhausting and I forget why I’m trying in the first place. On one hand, I get it: there’s so much pressure to make a great first impression and show off the strongest, best aspects of our personalities on these profiles. Guys probably feel the need to push their strength and masculinity and think that’s attractive for us. Most profiles show off that they’re competitive about everything, hit the gym like a boss, and spend their spare time outside because that’s manly. We get it, guys. You’re a man’s man.
What’s hard about this is that it’s up to the women then to dig and figure out what kind of man you actually are. We have to figure out the right questions to feel out what you value, what you’re looking for in a partner, and how your faith plays out in your life. Then if the answers sound right, we have to stick around long enough to see if it’s actually true and if we align.
Guys, where is the intentionality? Can we drop the manly man facade some so we can cut through the bull? Yes, we want a protector. Sure, we like someone who’s fun and adventurous. And yes, working out is great. Those things don’t build up a relationship though. Ladies like me are tired of wasting our time sorting through all this to find out you don’t have the goods to back it up. So why am I beating myself up and thinking I’m not good enough?
I have to remember that these profiles are the highlight reels and I should cut myself some slack and quiet the inner dialogue. I am who I am and if someone doesn’t like it, that’s fine. Are there areas where I want to grow and be better? Absolutely. But if I’m losing points or a guy isn’t interested because I don’t hit the gym enough or hate cooking, then he can keep on swipin’. Byeeeee.
If the Church talks about dating or relationships (and that’s an if, right?) we hear about intentionality, pursuing each other, and Christ-centered relationships. But what does that look like and how the heck do I meet someone who gets it and wants it too?
I’m trying to do my part to understand but come on now, where are the solid Christian guys? I don’t want to teach someone how to date me. I don’t want to constantly explain the reasons for my boundaries and standards. That’s all I’ve done though. The guys I’ve dated or been with weren’t stepping up. It’s hard enough finding someone where interests, lifestyle, personalities, and goals align. Then there’s the whole dealio on actually dating well. It’s so stinkin’ hard so why isn’t the Church talking about it? That’s a whole other conversation though, isn’t it?
Dating as a Christian feels like a minefield. I always feel like there’s some sort of rulebook and I never got a copy. It’s such a weird topic to bring up to my church friends or leaders because of it. And I’m sorry if this makes me a brat but I usually don’t find it helpful talking about this with married couples who never really had to date. It’s not their fault but the high school sweethearts and those who married out of college don’t really get the level of Jumanji I feel like I’m in. I’m in the trenches of expectations, temptations, solicitations, and some other -ations words I’m forgetting. If you know, you know: it’s wild out here.
I just feel like despite any progress or work I’ve done in myself, dating is not a solo act and I can’t do this thing by myself. I also know that I can do better to uphold boundaries and stick to my standards. Which leads to my next struggle.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this aspect. Being a single Christian gal in her older twenties or thirties trying to date is haaaaard. I mean, to be transparent, I miss some aspects of being married. I miss sex. There! I said it. I’m a horny, Christian, single woman.
Maybe you’re laughing, gasping in shock, or thankful someone else is saying it. From what I’ve seen in my messages, I’m not the only single Christian female on this particular struggle bus.
I try so hard, SO HARD, to keep my head on straight in regards to sexual boundaries while jumping back into the dating pool. I still struggle all. the. dang. time.
I’ve tried to surround myself with truth so I’d be equipped before venturing back into dating. I’ve read books. Listened to podcasts. Journaled and read the Bible on this topic. Followed other single gals online that seem to be doing it right. Pinned inspirational quotes. Prayed on my own and received prayer from trusted friends. I’ve tried to do my part to prepare myself.
From my experiences though, the guys don’t help much.
I get really frustrated that guys talk a big game and say they’re a Christian and want a Christ-centered relationship but also think that sex is part of a healthy adult relationship. Or yes, they’ll pursue me and wait until marriage but it doesn’t take long for them to push for it or the hands to wander. Or instead of getting to know about my faith walk, job, or goals, they ask questions about my sex life.
Again, from the messages I receive, I’m not the only gal running into this issue over and over. I had 35 conversations with guys on one app. An embarrassing amount brought up sex. Each of them claiming to be a Christian on their profile. I don’t expect perfection, but I do expect better than that.
And why do I feel guilty saying no or setting limits? Why do I make excuses or give the benefit of the doubt when guys do inappropriate things? Why did I bother talking to a guy after the first date where he asked questions about my sex life over lunch? Why did I feel guilty trying to enforce boundaries when a guy started pulling me towards his bedroom after our first kiss? Why did a guy ask me to explain why I don’t want to repeat history and have sex before marriage?
All those guys claimed to be Christians. These things shouldn’t be happening. And yet they do over and over.
I’m immensely frustrated with the low bar these guys are setting. Christian guys are supposed to grow into Godly men that can lead a woman. They should be intentionally dating and pursuing us, honor God throughout the relationship, and eventually lead into marriage.
To any guy reading this, I’m challenging you to step up. If you’re married, help the single guys. If you’re single, do better!
I flat out told the last guy I was dating what my limits are and why. I told him that he will have to hold me to it too because I will struggle and want more and so he will need to say no too. He said was pursuing me. We did Bible studies, he wrote me a poem and a letter, and he texted or called me every day. We talked about everything under the sun. So I thought he would work to honor those boundaries. The limits were not honored when I saw him next. It took nothing at all and we crossed the line. And in my weakness, I let it slide. The pursuit ended and any intentionality went out the window too so I cut things off. Classic, right?
For the first time, I’ve felt the weight of my sin regarding premarital sex and am disgusted with everything I’ve allowed. This is why I’ve paused my dating attempts. I have work to do to sort through my shame and gunky feelings here. I wonder if these guys have any idea that they have work to do too.
As I’ve said here and in my last post, I’ve paused my dating efforts for now. I’ll be pursuing personal goals like putting more effort into getting into shape.
In regards to these struggles and lies, it’s a daily battle to speak truth to myself and get my heart to believe it. Some days are easier than others. I’ve been using my Not Today, Depression journal to write out how I’m feeling or lies I’m battling then combatting each with truth. It’s helped me to remember that I am loved and cherished as a daughter of God.
Ultimately, I know that I would rather stay single than be with the wrong guy again. There’s enough spiritual warfare going on that I don’t need a guy to become another avenue for it in my life.
I also know I am far from alone in these struggles. Thank you to the women who have messaged me and poured their heart out! I’ve had so many good conversations and love hearing from y’all.
I hope this post opens doors to others since there’s a LOT to unpack here and would love to hear from you. For those in the singleness/dating trenches too, what helps you? What resources, songs, books, or verses encourage you? What frustrations do you experience? Please feel free to comment here or message me on Instagram about anything else in this post too! I’d love to hear from you.