For many people, the pain and suffering of a failed dating experience can be too much, and they´re ready for an alternative such as stopping to date.
Have you read Joshua Harris´ “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”? The message of that book is controversial among Christian singles.
“Kissing dating goodbye” has become a movement; many singles stopped dating and submitted their love life to God entirely.
Many of them have also welcomed, even anticipated, the gift of singleness. Not that something is wrong with being single, but how would you know if you´re really meant to be one if you didn´t even try?
Harris pointed out some valid reasons why you should stop dating—dating can cause a lot of hurt and suffering, you become disillusioned in the process, you pick the ”wrong type”, you don´t know how to make it work, you can´t find the “right type”, or if you find the “right type”, you don´t like him as much as the “wrong type” or that person does not like you back.
Sounds familiar? I could literally check almost all of the above. But are those sufficient reasons to abandon dating altogether?
Many people are killed from car accidents, should you stop buying and driving a car? Cars don´t kill people, drunk drivers do.
In the same manner, dating does not hurt you, but “dating out of control” does.
What does that mean?
Dating is supposed to be a fun way to meet new people, the more the better, make friends, get to know yourself better, learn how to deal with men, and find out the type of man that suits you well.
There´s a lot of wrong perceptions on dating. Some women think that if one is dating simultaneously, she´s a cheap woman.
But there´s a big difference between dating “exclusively”, that means you already have a committed relationship with a man (if you still date other men, then that´s cheating), versus dating to meet new people to find the one.
Dating becomes a nightmare if you approach it with too much expectations too early, if you don´t enjoy the process, and if you don´t have boundaries.
If you want to know how healthy choices grow healthy relationships + how to set the right standards, read Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend´s Boundaries in Dating.
Dating can be done poorly and can lead to hurt. But it can be done well and be wonderful.
There are four most important reasons why you should not kiss dating goodbye:
1. Dating helps you learn more about yourself, the opposite sex, and relationship in general.
As you put yourself out there, meeting new people, you get to know more about the nature of men, you learn how to deal with them, and you become more comfortable around them.
Once you get into a relationship, even if it eventually fails, you walk away with crucial lessons which you can use to make the next relationship work.
Dating becomes even more effective if you do it with the guidance of mentors such as your parents, your pastor, and youth groups. This is essentially true if you´re a teen.
Reading reliable dating + relationship books will help you better if you´re an adult.
2. Dating helps you build relationship skills
“Intimate relationship takes a lot of work and a lot of skills”, say Cloud and Townsend.
Some people did not come from happy homes with a set of parents who mirrored to them how a successful relationship works. They only get to learn those skills firsthand through dating.
Some people enter dating and relationships with baggage such as serious insecurities, vulnerability, trust issues, communication + listening handicap, assertiveness, and among others, which they learn to work out through the experience.
3. Dating lets you learn what you like in a man.
I can personally attest to this. I used to think that I only need a man who is more intelligent than I am, someone who is academically oriented, and an achiever. I used to ignore potential suitors who did not meet those requirements.
But it was only when I dated a guy who ticked all those requirements that I realized that while he may be intelligent and an achiever, he may not possess the other more important qualities that I unconsciously looked for in a man.
The man I dated did not have a strong personality; he´s passive and I could easily put him under my skirt.
Because of that experience I adjusted my standards according to my new discoveries.
The guy I married is not an academic achiever, but he is smart and has a strong disposition in life. I could not put him under my skirt and I could relax (something I needed so badly after being a long-time bread winner for my family) and let him lead.
4. Dating can heal and repair
There are two sides to this story—dating can heal your broken heart if you know your boundaries, but it can also break your heart even more if you have no standards and you simply give yourself away in the rebound process.
Since he was only after for that one thing, he quickly ignored her afterwards.
To heal her broken heart, she dived head first to the next guy she met. She slept with him and dated him for over a year … until her heart healed.
But the rebound guy turned out a psychopath. He took nude photos of her and used them to blackmail her when she wanted to end their relationship. He stalked her and her friends, including me.
Even if she´s married now, the rebound guy still stalks her online. She couldn´t keep a Facebook account which she uses to connect with friends, she couldn´t use her real name online, and she has to switch accounts every after few months.
But for me the last dating experience I had helped me heal my toughest broken heart.
I was fresh from break up when I met my husband online. He was really nice and understanding; he knew my story and did everything to take my pain away. He stuck around in spite of my standards, he genuinely helped me heal.
It´s true that dating opens doors to pain and heartache, but even pain is blessing.
Unless you go out there, meet new people, date and have intimate relationships while keeping your standards, you won´t learn how to deal with men, develop relationship skills that you can use for a successful marriage, and you can even miss out on Mr. Right!
If I kissed dating goodbye after a series of heartaches that I experienced, if I didn´t keep dating and looking, I wouldn´t have met the man that God had chosen for me.