What to do About Dating Part 1: Standards
Valentines Day is coming up, so what better time than now to talk about dating?
In my case, it's more of a lack of dating, but not because I haven't tried. Swipe right, swipe left, trying to think of something clever to say, do I actually give this random guy my phone number, do we meet, where do we meet, what if we have nothing to talk about, what if he turns out to be a jerk... it's exhausting.
The problem doesn't lie in meeting people from the internet. At least not for me. Thanks to blogging, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I've gotten to know a ton of people through the Internet, met them "in real life," and consider some to be dear friends.
With dating, there's so much more to sort through, jerks to avoid, and awkward conversations to endure. Thankfully, the most recent app I've been using has updated their messaging system, and it's made things much better thus far. I'm avoiding a lot more of the guys I'm not interested in and able to focus on the ones I am. Hooray!
But... that doesn't mean my problems are solved. Not by a long shot. It's high time I talked about them.
Leading up to the big V-Day, I'm doing a 3 part series on my experiences with dating.
- Being Upfront
This is by no means a series where I'm dishing out advice on how to make your dating profile amazing, what to do or what to talk about on dates, or the best pick up lines. I'm the last person for that.
This series is more about the thoughts I've been having when it comes to dating. Talking about the dilemmas I've faced. Sharing some funny stories. Things like that.
As I write today's topic, I'm going to try and be as inclusive as I can. I will talk about being straight/cis woman/Christian because that is the particular perspective I come from and those are my experiences. However, I will still try to make this as relateable as possible no matter your orientation, gender, religion, etc. I'd love to hear different views and stories. So, feel free to share them in the comments, or email directly at eehornburg [at] gmail [dot] com.
This also means you'll be getting a bonus blog post this week on Thursday with my January Reading Round-Up! (I wouldn't forget about that!) I also might have a bonus Flash Fiction story up on Friday. So, those of you who subscribe via email, your inboxes are going to be full this week!
The standards and expectations bring into relationships are fascinating. We all have images in our minds of what our partner will be like and set deal breakers for what will and will not work in a relationship. (Or hook up - whatever you're looking for!) What works for one person is a complete turn off for another and vise versa.
I wish I could tell you the pattern I have when it comes to swiping left or right. Some days, I'm stingy and don't like a single profile that comes across my screen. Other days, I'm in a generous mood and give almost every guy a chance. (I usually come to regret that later.) It feels so random and depends on my mood.
I do have a few rules when it comes to giving a guy a chance. They're somewhat shallow like height (I'm 4'2... every guy towers over me, but even I have a limit), or I don't like the photo, if we have common interests, if they're hold a dog in their photo, how much they add in their profile, etc. But even with those things, there's still times I'll pass or accept and break these rules.
I guess they aren't really rules. More like guidelines.
I mean... just the other day I was chatting with a man who's profile said he was 6'5.
It makes me wonder, what is an actual deal breaker when it comes to dating and relationships? And when is it, if ever, okay to bend those rules we make for ourselves?
I'm not just talking about things like height, hair color, or if every single interest you have IS THE EXACT SAME. I'm talking about the big stuff. Religion, do you want a family, personalities complimenting each other, do you want the same things in life, politics, etc.
The more I talk to men and swipe through the apps, the more I think about this, and how some of my deal breakers have changed. And if they should continue to change.
Example: a few years ago how someone voted may have played a role in who I was interested in, but ultimately, if they were a good person I was willing to be lenient if we didn't agree. Now, in light of the last few years, you bet your ass someone's political beliefs are a deal breaker for me.
When we go into a relationship, compromises happen all of the time. I've seen them happen. One person vows they'll never get married or have children, then a few years later they're married with a baby. One person smokes but when they find someone they want a relationship with and they say "I don't date smokers" suddenly you see them with a nicotine patch on their arm. Another person may say that they never want to live with someone before they get married, but eventually move in with their partner before a ring is on their finger.
And all of these people are happy and comfortable with the choices they've made.
So, what's the deal? When did they change their mind and how did they become comfortable with it?
For me, my big deal breaker has always been faith. I grew up in a traditional Lutheran household, went to a small Lutheran elementary school and university, worked in the church for five years, and always imagined I would end up with someone who shares the same faith as me.
But then, as I talk to guys, I've found I'm just as wary (if not more so) to try dating someone who is a Christian than those who aren't. A lot of times, it's the Christian men who have more of an issue with the fact that I have a disability (more on that at another time), and for the non-Christians it's totally fine. Or politically and socially I have more in common with the non-Christians than the Christians. (I'm not even talking about strictly Lutherans either.) I worry more about the Christian men judging due to the topics and characters I write about in my novels. It makes me wonder if I should open my sphere of men I should be interested in.
On the other hand, if my faith is something that is so important and such a large role in my life, is that something a future partner or spouse should share?
This doesn't have to be just about faith and religion - this simply is the big issue I personally come across. I'm sure people who aren't Christian, many times have the same questions about their own morals/ethics/standards/deal breakers as well.
As anyone would do, I took to the Internet with my question.
It struck up a great conversation, and I loved all of the comments and input I received. There are a lot of women just like me, who are strong Christians, but find dating to be a complete nightmare. Just hearing them say that they understood where I was coming from and were having the same issues as me was a tremendous comfort.
There were also, as I expected, people who encouraged me and shared Bible verses and experiences about dating other Christians. Then talked about praying about it and leaving it up to God. Which, I also appreciated and understood. I know the same verses and prayers and advice. Yet... it kinda of made me feel like Alexander Hamilton as he's rap battling with Thomas Jefferson.
And then I feel guilty for feeling this way - because I know they have the greatest of intentions and as I said, I totally get and see where they're coming from.
But, I see the people in my life that I know who married someone who doesn't share the same faith as them, and they're happy. It works for them. A friend privately messaged me and was like "you make compromises and religion was one of mine" and she's happy. When talking with another friend she said that yes, she thinks sharing that is what works best, but also that there's no harm in getting to know someone. There are a lot of people who marry those who don't share their faith. They're still Christian. They still go to church. The world hasn't ended.
Yet, I also had friends say that they would hate for me to let go of my standards and settle.
So, when is someone compromising and being realistic, and when is someone letting go of their standards and settling?
Okay... I know what some of you are thinking. "OMG WHO IS THE AMAZING GUY YOU MET THAT IS MAKING YOU CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DATING?"
There is no one particular guy. I'm still single. I'm not seeing anyone specifically.
Do I need to shout it for the people in the back? No? Okay, good.
These are simply thoughts I've been having as I fall down this rabbit hole of dating. I've been talking to a lot of different guys, and I've noticed there's a lot of them who don't fit that original image I had of who I'd want to end up with. Does that mean I don't give them a shot? I'm not sure.
Now, I ask you all, because I have zero answers or solutions. I'm sure ultimately, it's up to each individual person and couple. There is no one answer. But still, I'm curious.
What are your deal breakers when it comes to relationships? What are you willing to compromise? Have you found yourself changing your deal breakers as time goes on? What's surprised you about dating? Please, lend some insight to someone who hasn't given up on the idea of romance quite yet!
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