This guest post by reader Allie Millette addresses a common problem which is more challenging now than ever before. The daydreaming part is not new. Heck, I was guilty of that back when I dated in the 80’s and 90’s. What is different is the casualness of if all and how common it is today for a guy to want to walk the line between friendship and relationship. Things can easily turn into a ‘frelationship.’ Allie’s insight here (combined with Emotional Chastity and the 3-date-rule) is wise advice for preventing frelationships. Thank you, Allie for this guest post!
When Cindy asked me to do a guest blog post, I was so excited! Then I asked her what she wanted me to write about and she said, “How about the challenges of dating in 2013?” My heart sank. I can’t fit that into one little article. So I sat down and really thought about it. Obviously, there are many challenges to dating, but I think the most difficult part for me is being friends with a guy. Yep, that’s what I said. Friendship is the hardest part of dating, in my opinion.
I have noticed that in my generation, people skip over the friendship thing altogether. Either you are interested or you’re not. But it is truly so sad. How can you enter into a relationship with a person without getting to know them and being their friend? All of my ex boyfriends except for one, were guys that I was friends with first. They had to be because I would not have dated them had I not known them to the extent that I did.
I’ve noticed that I don’t try to be friends with men anymore. In fact, the current dating culture makes it difficult to become friends first. We are so conditioned to think that if a man requests to spend time with us, he is interested in more than a friendship. In reality, there are a lot of men out there who wouldn’t mind spending time with a beautiful woman on a friend level, but they are deathly afraid that their acts of friendship will be misunderstood for acts of romance. It’s a vicious cycle.
About a month ago, I started reflecting more on my friendships with men. I realized that I don’t fight for my friendships at all. I will let myself get so carried away in the daydream that the guy ceases to be my friend and becomes this weird prospect for someone I want to date. Ladies, I know I’m not alone in this. The reality is that as much as we HATE being looked at for our bodies and being reduced to an object by men, at some point, we need to realize that we are doing the same exact thing to them by reducing them to a prospect for our relationship goals…whatever they are.
So I tried a little experiment with myself. I stopped striving. I stopped trying to get face time with the men in my life, I stopped trying to analyze and predict what would happen with them. I honestly will say that I stopped intentionally flirting. (Most women have a natural flirtation about them.) The biggest thing I had to do was stop the daydreams.
Oh yes, the daydreams. They will take you places you have never been before. They are dangerous because they build up this fake world in your mind and you become oh so disappointed when reality doesn’t live up to that beautiful pretend world. This version of Neverland is where women find and cling to unrealistic expectations. Giving up the daydream is paramount in fighting for your friendships with men.
What I found when I did this was complete and total peace. I was no longer worried about how men saw me or whether or not I was doing everything I could to get his attention. I was able to just relax, be myself, and have fun. It has enriched my friendships greatly. Not just my friendships with men, but my friendships with women. Why, you ask? Now that I don’t see men as prospects, I don’t see women as my competition. I am simply free to love the person in front of me for exactly who they are, not what they can offer me.
I had a beautiful experience of this freedom just this past weekend. I went to visit some friends in Colorado and one friend in particular had me over to her house for her brother’s birthday party. First of all, her family is fantastic. I’m pretty sure I ended up telling them that they were “like southerners who live a little further north!” They were so welcoming and loving. I met several wonderful people while I was there and the whole time was not distracted by the annoying thoughts of “Do I look okay?” or “Is that guy looking at me? Should I smile? Should I not smile?” The only thing I was concerned with was the person right in front of me. It was a beautiful victory.
Of course the Lord wants us to find our vocation, but I’m afraid there is so much emphasis on it that it has become the end rather than the means. The Lord created us for eternity with Him. That is our ultimate destiny. I remember when I first started thinking I needed to change from a “dating” mentality to a “friending” mentality, I immediately thought, “I will be an old maid.” I basically had to completely change what I was doing, not for the purpose of landing a man (I’m still very single!) but for the purpose of maintaining my sanity. For the purpose of loving life again. For the purpose of loving God again and not being bitter that I wasn’t the one chosen. This process of learning how to be a friend wasn’t easy, I also had to face the most basic friendship in my life. My friendship with Jesus. How do I treat Him? I had to look at my past behavior and realize that this whole time He has been waiting there to love me while I just keep looking for my prince charming elsewhere.
I already know that no man will satisfy the longings of my heart, but Jesus will. I literally sat on my bedroom floor and cried for hours one day because I had to face the reality of “What if you (God) never bring that man into my life? Will I still be okay?” Ladies, that question changed my life. Of course I will be okay! I will have eternity with Him! Oh and by the way, I do NOT plan on settling for just any man simply because I want to be accepted into the “cool married kids club “. I am the best version of myself when I am in God’s will. I am the best version of myself when I am genuinely happy, laughing, confident, and generally not caring what anyone else thinks. I am the best version of myself when I am loving the person in front of me, not distracted by the prospects of the world, and when I’m serving.
God has put us on this green earth to LOVE Him and the people he puts in front of us. So, my challenge to you today is to throw all of the dating advice out of the window! Stop being so concerned with whether or not you’re doing it right, the woulda, shoulda, coulda and get out there and start “friending” people in real life (not on facebook). Love the people in front of you. Always.
What are some other challenges of dating in 2013? Please consider sharing your experience in a future guest post (anonymous guest posts are welcome!). I love hearing from you! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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