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Nobody knows what dating is anymore.

5 Jan

Happy new year, everyone!

It occurred to me recently (and earlier) that one of the (many) big problems in dating is that no one knows what dating is anymore.  No one knows what it means.

Dating used to mean a man and a woman going out to a restaurant or some other activity to get to know each other and to foster romance.  Now it means…whatever the person thinks it means.

In Christian circles, dating can mean anything from formal courting to hook-ups (and hook-ups can mean anything from kissing to sex).  In non-Christian circles, some people think it’s not dating unless sex is involved, and anything else is being “Just Friends.”  With no clearly defined meaning of dating, it’s no wonder that everyone is confused.  If you see a guy and a girl spending a lot of one-on-one time together, I could think they’re dating but someone else could think they’re just friends.  If someone asked YOU if you were dating someone, you could answer one way, and the other person could get a completely different idea of what you mean, all because the two of you are coming from completely different points of view as to what dating actually is.

How are we supposed to have any meaningful dialogue about dating when no one knows or can agree on what it means?  Meanwhile, those of us who are still trying to date just get more and more confused….

I haven’t forgotten the blog!

24 Sep

Hey guys, I haven’t forgotten the blog – I’ve just been in the throes of writer’s block.  I’ve started drafts for posts and then not liked them, and I don’t feel like there’s anything “big” going on in the Christian dating advice arena right now that is screaming for commentary.  Plus, my thoughts lately have been kind of existential and not really within the purview of this blog.  Also, I got a Kindle last month and have been doing more reading.

If anyone has any ideas for posts, let me know in the comments!

If you don’t manage your life, your life will manage you.

18 Aug

If you’ve taken Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course (which I have and highly recommend), you’ll know that one of Dave’s sayings is that if you don’t control your money, it will control you.  I was thinking recently that this overall principle applies to life as well:  if you don’t manage your life, your life will manage you.

We all know someone with a chaotic life.  The person is always stressed, always catching up, always overworked, always looking for misplaced things, forgetting things, and trying to squeeze things in.  Maybe the person is usually able to get all of their work done, but they’ve expended a lot of energy to make it happen.  Meanwhile, there are other people who seem to be able to cross everything off their list without breaking much, if any, of a sweat.

If you’re directing a lot of your mental energy every day just trying to stay on top of things, it’s going to be hard for you to move forward.  You’re just expending too much time and energy inefficiently.  You only have so much gas in the tank, and you might not have enough left at the end of the day to devote to doing the things you need to get ahead.  Life doesn’t roll out the red carpet for you, and the sooner you structure your life according to this fact, the better off you’ll be both now and in the long run.

Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20.

12 Jun

In case this video hasn’t made the rounds to your internet neighborhood yet –

Meg Jay is a clinical psychologist whose practice focuses on 20-somethings.  In this TEDtalk she discusses why now is the time to invest in your life, rather than believe your 20s are a ten-year freebie pass to mess/wander around because life and direction are just going to be there for you at 30.  I think she is actually the first person I’ve heard who tells people that the decisions you make today can cut off possibilities for your future (such as the ability to have a family when you want one).  Even church advice is typically of the “get married young, but if God doesn’t bring your mate into your life in college, just keep hoping and praying – God’s timing is perfect!” variety.  Meanwhile, girls are turning 30, dressing frumpy, and waiting for that sacrificial leader to walk in the door on Sunday and choose them.  Good luck with that!

Jay’s talk is important because a generation of young people has been raised to believe that they can have whatever they want, whenever they want – they are just that special, and all they have to do is wish hard and it will happen.  Especially now, with the ubiquity and immediacy of texting, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media, you can get stuck in a bubble where reality doesn’t intrude – where you don’t (and don’t have to) contemplate reality.  This makes getting hit in the face with reality even worse, AND you’re totally psychologically unprepared to deal with it.  While Dr. Jay does not give Christian advice, she does hit a lot of the same areas that the Boundless types are always harping on, except Dr. Jay does it in a way makes a lot more sense and is far less annoying.

Also, although Jay focuses on twentysomethings, her advice is good for any age.  Now is always the right time to take stock of your life, get focused, and do things that will help you get where you need to go.

Young girl has crush on older guy at church for 3 years; he finally asks her out; she discovers he’s beta and now feels revulsion for him.

5 Oct

Or, Why the Church Desperately Needs the Red Pill.

In the latest “Boundless Answers,” a 21-year-old female reader asks for advice about her current dating relationship with a 33-year-old man.  According to the reader, she had a crush on this guy for three years and has never dated anyone before.  Oldie finally asked OP out after getting the green light from other adults at church.  Oldie is moving slower than molasses in the winter and since January has taken OP out on about six dates and “really likes [her] but doesn’t put any pressure on [her] to like him back.”  On paper, he is everything OP has ever wanted or prayed for.  Consequently, OP has completely lost all attraction for Oldie and is distressed at this development.  Why doesn’t her heart match her head?

Enter Candice Watters to give textbook bad Christian advice to the rescue.  First, Watters decides that the only reason OP liked Oldie in the first place was because it was Oldie was someone she couldn’t have.  Not only that, but OP imagined onto Oldie all sorts of qualities that Oldie couldn’t live up to in person.  So basically, Watters is claiming that OP Edward Cullen-ed Oldie in her mind.

Next, Watters declares that the age gap is an “added reason for caution and concern,” reminding OP that only two years ago, she was still a teenager.  (My analogy:  you know, kind of like how when you are 18 and can vote, you should realize that only two years earlier, you were 16 and couldn’t vote, so you should realllllly think seriously about voting.  I mean, are you even ready for that?)  Watters is right that often there is a big gap in maturity when there is a large age gap at that age, but she seizes on the age gap issue like Oldie is an alien to young women, even though OP’s parents and the adults at her church overwhelmingly approve of Oldie and his (slower than a tortoise) pursuit of OP.

Just to make sure that the situation is spiritualized as well, Watters equates OP’s “intuition” with CONSCIENCE.  Yes, biological feminine intuition that a man is unattractive is now given the stature of biblical conscience, and Watters reminds OP that it is a sin to violate your own conscience.  Somehow this is twisted into the (correct) conclusion that if you have serious doubts about marrying someone, you shouldn’t.  Finally, Watters concludes with a reminder that God will never forsake OP.

This whole article had a giant neon WTFWTFWTF light scrolling above my head.  The assumptions that Watters makes are astounding.  Unless substantial portions of OP’s original letter were edited out, there is nothing in OP’s letter that indicates either OP’s crush being out of place, or that age is an actual issue.  Yet Watters assumes that it is wrong for a young girl to have a crush on an older guy, and then, when that guy has been vetted, approved, and encouraged BY THE ADULTS IN THE CHURCH to pursue OP, who is now a legal adult, that the age gap is cause for added “caution and concern”  – even though OP states that she has been praying all along to have a guy very like Oldie!  Then, to make sure that no one can dispute her reasoning, Watters uses the old “listen to your feelings conscience” escape hatch.  Because obviously the Lord would use a woman’s conscience to tell her that a man isn’t the one to marry.  Why attribute anything to biological fact when you can put a spiritual spin on it?  (And what about all the women who marry “the wrong guy” even though they felt on their wedding day that he was the “right” guy?  Did the conscience kick in late, or did the conscience just change its mind?)

Watters has no clue about the true mechanisms of attraction – that much is evident by the wild grasping of straws in her advice.  Her reasoning was so full of unwarranted assumptions and twists of convenience, that the possibility that anyone could read it and believe it sound (or even follow it) just kills me.

OP, if you are out there and you happen to stumble across this blog, please listen:  there is nothing wrong with you.  What is going on is that on a fundamental biological level, your body is rejecting Oldie as a mate because he has not been sufficiently alpha.  He sounds like he is a good man who is boring and has no game.  If he were exciting and playful – if he knew how to tease, if he didn’t capitulate, if he showed he could lead you instead of letting you determine the progression of your relationship, if he made you feel safe and secure but still kept you on your toes – in addition to all of his other good qualities, you would probably not have any qualms, and Candice Watters’ “concerns” about the age gap would be completely irrelevant – the only reason Candice is even “concerned” about the age gap is because she can’t explain why an otherwise good man who you were initially attracted to would now be unattractive to you.  Having no way to explain this phenomenon, she has turned to the age gap as a last resort.  Trust me, she would be urging you to the altar if you hadn’t said you were repulsed by this guy.

When you’re young, crushes usually revolve around the following three criteria:  he is cute, he would be nice to me, and he gets along well with other people/other people like him.  Then you get to know the guy and realize he is boring or has personal traits that are ladyboner-killing (e.g., indecisive, cares too much about what other people think, won’t touch you at all because he defers to the virgin forcefield surrounding you and/or seems uncertain about how to proceed in your relationship, likes you more than you think he has reason to at the moment, has social awkwardness, etc.).  My guess is that your crush was based on his good traits, but then you got to know him up close, and he killed your ladyboner with betaness.

Do both you and Oldie a favor and break up with him.  Until he learns to be the driver, you’re going to feel more and more revulsion for him and ultimately start treating him like crap to try to get him to show some alpha traits, and then start feeling contempt at his weakness.  Avoid that ending and break up now.  You’ll never be able to love a man you can’t instinctively respect.

Project idea: please weigh in!

15 Sep

While I was cleaning today, I had the idea that I could do a podcast for the blog as a roundtable discussion with readers.  This wouldn’t be a regular feature, and it wouldn’t replace blogging, but just as a fun extra, since having a conversation in real time is different from leaving comments on a blog.

Let me know what you think, and if you would be interested in being a participant.**  Also, if there are any topics you would be interested in discussing.

**You would need to have Skype, since that’s probably how I would conduct the discussion.  If anyone has a better option, please let me know, since I’ve never done a podcast before.

Listen to your grandma!

14 Apr

I’m battling a cold at the moment.  I went home for Easter, and on Monday I visited with my grandmother before flying back.  She had a cold and warned me not to touch her.  I, however, did not listen, and now I’m paying for it with a river of snot gushing out of my nose and a throat that makes me sound like an 80-year-old chain smoker.

Have things to say.  Will just have to say them when I’m feeling better.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend so far.