“He’s just saying all those things because he wants to be with her,” I told my mom.
“Of course he is!” she exclaimed. “That’s how dating works.”
She held back her laughter as best as she could, but I saw that my mom looked at me like a naive little girl, even though I was in college. I had already decided to wait on God’s move instead of dating. I would say I stopped dating, but the truth is, I never started. So yes, I was a naive little girl then, and even now.
What my mom said and the way she accepted “how dating works” was like the final nail to the coffin of my dating life. If the dating world was filled with lies and masks, then I didn’t want anything to do with it. And that’s when I realized my mom was wrong.
The biggest lie my mom told me about dating was that dating is filled with lies and masks, and that’s just how it is.
I’m not too naive to know that this biggest lie is also a pretty big truth. The dating world is filled with lies and masks. There are people who would say and do anything to win the affections of their love interest.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Wait! Before you call me naive for believing the dating world as a whole would change to a more honest experience, know that I don’t believe that. The world, after all, is filled with lies and masks.
But how you and I date, that’s something we can change.
We don’t have to accept how things are. We don’t have to do things the way the world does them. We don’t have to settle for “that’s just how it is.”
Do you know the story of the little girl and the starfish? Hundreds of starfish washed up on a beach, and a little girl was throwing them back into the ocean one by one.
A man comes up to her and says, “Why are you doing all this work? There’s too many starfish and only one you. You’ll never make a difference.”
The little girl picks up a starfish, throws it into the ocean, and said, “I made a difference to that one.”
So the man picks up a starfish and throws it into the ocean.
I can change my actions. You can change your actions. In the grand scheme of things, how you and I date will probably never change the world. Things will most likely always stay the same. Changing our dating habits, attitudes, or mentality will probably never make a difference.
EXCEPT to you. Except to the people you date without lying or putting on masks or playing a game. And then, maybe except to the people who see what you’re doing and follow suit.
Call me a hopeless romantic, but I do believe we don’t have to settle for the same old same old unless that’s what you want. But aren’t you tired of it? Of the lies. The masks. The game.
I am and I’ve never even played, but I’ve seen enough broken hearts in the field and tired players who want to give up or have already given up. In all honesty, don’t look to me to pioneer a new way of dating. I don’t date, remember? And I’m not going to be the guinea pig of modern Christian dating. That’s not where God has me in life right now.
My point is, just because dating works a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the only way. What’s always been done before doesn’t have to be done tomorrow. If you don’t want to settle with “that’s just how it is,” then don’t.
Take a break. Join me on the sidelines. Or change the rules. Create your own boundaries. Safeguard your heart. Give your inner hopeless romantic a stern talking to. Remind her of her first love: God, who loves her beyond her wildest imagination. She doesn’t have to settle for lies and masks, or empty promises and sweet nothings from men she’s not sure of.
Don’t believe the lie. How dating works for other people doesn’t have to be how it works for you. You can change what you do and make a positive difference, even if it’s only to one starfish.
Here are the 5 lies my friends told me about dating.