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Is it normal that I am _____ years old, and never dated?
“Normal” is subjective.
1) Never dated.
2) Haven’t dated in ten years.
3) Your only date consisted of your cousin being forced to take you to your senior prom in your Uncle Fred’s mint Toyota Tercel.
It’s normal to feel not normal. Especially when what we long for seems to be magnified in everyone else’s life. When you desire to be in relationship, EVERYONE is in relationship.
Even the mail man.
You don’t know for certain, but when he delivers your Arby coupons and heating bill he just seems to have that “I finally met Nancy in Apt. 34 and we are SO in love” look.
You are jealous of the mail man. You feel not normal.
Don’t put yourself in a box of “un-normal” based on what you percieve as “normal”.
Sure, your scratch and sniff sticker collection might be odd to some possible dates, but God made you in His image. He is delighted by you and your love of hologram stickers.
If you are frustrated with your dating streak and want to make a change, ask yourself some honest questions. Try to get a healthy gauge of why you are in this spot by discussing it with people who know you.
And pray. (I don’t say that lightly or tritely.)
What are some questions you would ask someone who is wanting to assess why they haven’t dated in awhile…or ever? Do you think they are not normal?
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Definitely not not normal. I could have just said normal, right? Anyhoo–
I guess, technically, I’ve dated. I have been out on like three dates with three separate creepers. It was nearly 8 years ago, so I don’t really count them. Before that I had a 3-week non-relationship my senior year of high school. If you calculate the number of days I was in some form of dating relationship and divide it by the number of days I’ve existed, it’s a very laughable number.
Wow. All of that to say– it’s normal to have never or rarely dated. There are some things to consider, though. Are you being avoided for some big reason? Are you afraid to date (this one requires some super real honesty with yourself)? Are you acting like the singles group at church is a meat market or are you treating it as an opportunity to serve your brothers and sisters? Are you (for real) content with where God has you right now? (It’s ok to go through periods of restlessness as long as they don’t interfere with your quality of life… or anyone else’s.)
If you aren’t dating because there doesn’t seem to be any singles around, what are you doing about that? Are you serving those in different stations of life while you wait or are you being selfish with your time? You’d be surprised at how serving really does help fill your heart and how it gets you out in the world to meet new people.
Have I said too much?
I’m not sure this is how I would respond to this person directly, but this thought came to me: You know what else is not “the norm” (in Christian singles circles)? Abstinence.
Just because something is not the norm… and is painfully not the norm, doesn’t mean that “normal” is best. Now clearly the non-norm of abstinence is best for everyone, and dating/not dating is much more subjective. But that’s okay too: what’s best for you, for me?
Jennifer gives excellent commentary and advice. I would say what she said.
And I like Joy’s “Don’t box yourself in.”
I would also emphasize that Dateless Dave or Diane is not alone.
Now, what I ‘m going to say next is not true of all non-dates, so I’m not sure I would say this in direct response either; nonetheless, one side of the coin remains that in my experience, quite a few of my friends, men and women both, never dated a lot or never had a date until they were older. These friends of mine have one thing in common. They are uncommon: uncommonly gifted, bright, talented, eccentric: God is using them in uncommon ways. One conclusion I draw from this is that the pool of datables for them is smaller; there aren’t as many people who can hang with them, who are the same caliber.
Renea – I love everything you just threw at me. The different perspective of comparing it to abstinence and the reality that non-dating Darrel may just be unique…making his pool a tad smaller. A fun game to do next would be to see how many names for Normal Non Dating Darci’s and Dustin’s we could come up with.
I’ve wrestled with this too, since my parents (and finally I) realized that there are a lot of problems with the current “dating game”. Even though I wasn’t allowed to date, I was still never asked out, which made me think there was something wrong with me.
I’m nearing 21 now, thinking about marriage, and have come to the conclusion that just being friends with guys and getting to know them on that level is best. If you really want to save yourself not only physically but also emotionally for your husband, then not dating is just fine.
I agree with what Jennifer said about making sure you’re serving others, and loving them like brothers and sisters. Not only is it the second greatest commandment, but it’s the best way to combat loneliness AND get to know lots of different people.
Personally, I’m always asking myself, “What do I fear? Is it society, friends, parents, failure, or some other negative, or am I fearing God?”.
And remember that it’s also “normal” for marriages to end in divorce.
Asking if you’re “normal,” implies that you’re comparing yourself to others, which can be dangerous territory. As Joy says, it’s subjective. Maybe better questions to ask are “Am I actively engaged in healthy relationships?” and “What does God desire for my relationships and dating life?” God created us for community with others, so if you’re not actively engaged in healthy friendships, that’s not “normal” according to your God-given design. Lots of times we shy away from relationship in general because of our human sin nature… we beckon people to come near, but when they do, we say, “Woops… close enough!” Intimacy is difficult and messy. You get your toes stepped on, and you step on others’ toes.
If you feel like you have healthy relationships and want to pursue dating in particular, ask friends to introduce you, try singles mixers or eHarmony. But I think chances are great for most of us that we’ll find someone when we’re focusing on engaging in community and meeting people organically… and for lots of us, the reason why we don’t date much is because the pickings are indeed slim. I loved Joy’s post a couple of weeks ago about that being a result of living in a broken world.
I’ve never dated. Ever. And I’m going on 26!
I definitely feel the “not normal” feeling.
I was homeschooled, I have friends (mostly girl friends) and yet no one has ever really taken an interest in me. But honestly, I don’t really know a single guy that I’d really want to take an interest in me. Granted, I’m on the shy side and not terribly outgoing but there aren’t a lot of “eligibles” hanging around.
Most of the time I am content with my singleness. I feel content and fulfilled with what I am doing with my life and glorifying the Lord with each new day.
However, sometimes I can’t help but feel that I *need* to do something to help myself. I have this desire to marry and raise a family. Always have and always will.
Does anyone have advice? What about online dating? Any excellent Christian sites out there? (more conservative!) than eHarmony.
I’m actually surprised at the number of people I know who are past 20 and have never dated. You don’t have to feel bad about it at all! Ultimately, you only need to find one person, so no need to panic. 🙂
Something I have observed in a few single friends who periodically bemoan their datelessness is: are you be willing to make time for a date? Some people are seriously busy, and while it’s good to be doing things there is a balance. If you’re working two part-time jobs, taking dancing classes, art classes, French classes, doing Yoga and aerobics, involved in two or three volunteer groups, and very involved in your church, you need to make sure that your new date knows that they are important. Maybe you’ll have to say ‘no’ to things, or drop one of your activities. There are few things which will kill a relationship faster than one person being too busy and involved with things to spend time with their new bf/gf. Just make sure that you aren’t soooo busy following all of your whims and dreams that you completely miss opportunities for finding someone. Not to say that you shouldn’t have dreams and be busy, but you shouldn’t always expect the other person in the relationship to work around your schedule and be content if you decide that the only times you can see them is after you’ve finished doing everything else you wanted to do. Having a Significant Other will mess up your single life. You can’t go out with your friends every night, this new person is more important than friends (yes, there’s a balance for this, too). This person requires you to be alone with them, focusing your attention on them (and vice versa!). You need to spend time with this person that is not at your French class or your Yoga class.
Also: Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re the sort of person that your Ideal Match would like to date? The Party Scene really isn’t the place to pick up your typical Good Christian Boy. If you want someone who cares about how they look you should ask yourself “Do I take good care of my appearance?” Be the person that you would like to date. I’m not saying ‘be fake’, I’m just saying ‘don’t expect to pick up a your ideal conservative Chrisitan guy if you’re puking up your guts at the sorority parties every weekend.’ Or something like that 🙂
Samantha – I am in a fairly similar situation. I am going on 23 and have been asked out only once, by someone I had no interest in. I’m blessed to have a dream job and am also usually content in my singleness. My new goal is to try to make the most of the free time (relationally) I now have to be a blessing to those around me. There are few eligible men in my area as well (or at least none that have noticed me 😉 ) In my social circle the trend to be in your 20s and have never dated anyone seems to be becoming more “normal”, though I would agree that judging ourselves against what is “normal” is not necessarily a good idea.
Per your question about online sites: a conservative Christian dating site I have found is MarryWell. It is relatively new and very focused on purposefully seeking a potential future spouse, particularly in a community setting. Might be the type of thing you are looking for.
I think being careful to not put down men, complain about the lack of eligible men, etc and instead encourage what (possibly few) good men there are in your acquaintance and let those around you know your desire to marry is key.
First Reaction: What’s normal? Divorce, step-parents, generations who think relationships are a one way (serve me) only street? Be thankful that you’re set apart from all of that.
Second thought: We’ve taken away some of the pain, but not the desire to be in these relationships. As a society, the “set apart” are still drawn to the same desires as the “normal”. That’s causing a great deal of unhealthy mistrust and emotional discomfort in people at their energetic peak.
Third: The CHURCH is supposed to be the place where “set apart” people can rest from these troubles, but who can find a good one of those around? Where is the “second family” where sons and daughters can trust each other enough to develop interest in one another? How sad that we are relegated to far flung internet sites to feel as though there’s even a chance to meet other people who are “set apart”.
Rachel – I like that you touched on fear. This can prevent us from doing many things in life and I think it’s something we need to put in perspective. I speak about Fear and respect in tomorrows RSOTU video. Tune in!
“God created us for community with others, so if you’re not actively engaged in healthy friendships, that’s not “normal” according to your God-given design.” Love this Darcie!
I think making sure you are creating the space and opportunity to date like Beth said can also help. Online dating works too and I believe eHarmony is pretty legit and research based in their compatibility approach.
For those who mentioned finding someone conservative you should probably put more of the weight on wisdom and discernment to be the judge and not just the dating site.
Interesting thoughts and insights. Love reading them all.