As a single non-dating woman, I held off really writing on dating because people like to throw my inexperience at my face. Although I appreciate the insight that comes from experience, there’s also the insight that comes from observation (learning from other’s mistakes and all that). From what I’ve seen and heard, I want to tell you 5 lies my friends told me about dating.
These are true for a lot of people, which have led to a lot of broken hearts. I don’t think they need to be true though. I’m not naive enough to think I can change how the dating world works, but you and I can change the way we view dating. Starting with these 5 lies.
1. You need to date different guys to figure out your type.
Growing up on Disney princesses, I guess I wanted love at first sight. I didn’t want to date around. It felt like cheating! But my friend said I had to so I can figure out the type of guy I liked.
I had never gone on a date when I decided to wait, except for dating God and myself. That might sound weird, but I purposely went out to spend time with myself and with God. Usually with a journal in tow, sometimes a pocket Bible, I went to parks, malls, restaurants, and downtown areas. What I found out surprised me.
The more I got to know God, the more I got to know myself.
Makes sense, though, that getting to know the Creator gives more insight on His creation. You don’t need to date around to figure out your type. Your type, your preferences, yourself – you get to figure those out by growing closer to God because He speaks directly to your heart and reveals things about yourself.
Men are not dishes on a buffet line that you take little samples of until you find what you like. That’s not fair to them. Would you like to be treated that way? God is offering you a feast filled with unconditional love. He should be our type.
Did I ever figure out the type of guy I like? Yep.
2. It doesn’t matter what other people say.
This is a funny one. When I was younger, I had more friends who were quick to defend their relationships and significant others. They said things like:
“There’s only two people in this relationship.”
“Only our opinion matters.”
“Don’t listen to what other people say about your love.”
Now that I’m older, I have more friends who say things like:
“You marry into a family.”
“Love can really be blind. You need to listen to the people who love you.”
“God surrounded you with wise counsel.”
It does matter what other people say, but it has to be the right people. Know who love and support you. Know who knows your heart and dreams. Know who your people are, your tribe, your family. Listen to the people speaking life into your life. Listen to the people who aren’t afraid to say the hard stuff. And take heed if your love interest raises their red flags.
3. You can’t help who you fall in love with.
Love is a choice.
Stay tuned, will you? This is a whole new post that I will write about. It’s the biggest truth I’ve learned about love.
4. He can change for you.
My friend was so adamant about this. He is different with her, she insisted. He’s changed. He only acted like that with his ex, but he’s not like that with her.
Then they broke up. And he showed his true colors.
“Why didn’t you warn me???” she exclaimed.
“I did!” I told her. “You didn’t listen.”
“You should have been more forceful,” she lamented. “He’s not leaving me alone.”
The guy was just a tad obsessive.
I’ve been standing on the sidelines watching my friends date and nobody has ever changed for another person.
“True change is within” Dalai Lama XIV, How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life.
It’s romantic to think that a person will change for you, but true change – change that lasts – has to happen within that person because he/she wants to change. Changing for other people is temporary. Even children. I’ve seen people drastically change because they became parents, but I’ve also seen parents revert to old lifestyles. The difference was the change inside. True change is within.
Perhaps you can be a catalyst for someone to change, but you can’t be the sustaining factor of that change. And why would you want to? That’s a lot of pressure! It’s not fair to you or him.
“Don’t you think God can change people?” a different friend asked me.
I do, but he wasn’t changing because of God. He was changing his behavior to meet her and their parents’ expectations. He was changing for people, and ultimately, he reverted to his old ways.
He won’t truly change for you. He needs to change for himself. Go ahead and be the catalyst for his change, but let him change and grow for the benefit of his life and not yours.
5. If you’re meant to be together, you’ll be together. Sometimes coupled with: it shouldn’t be hard.
If you hear this, it’s a cop-out and a lie. Relationships need work. I can’t attest to this personally in terms of romantic relationships, but just ask anyone who’s married. This lie leans on fate without free will to excuse people from putting in the work.
As children of God, I believe that He can give you your “soulmate” if you turn that part of your life over to Him. So you are meant to be together, but that relationship will still need work. We – with our imperfections – can mess up the plans of God, and if we continue messing up, we can find ourselves in a path entirely different from His.
God also gave us free will. Many people choose their own mates and God blesses that relationship. God has redeemed relationships filled with brokenness and seemed doomed to end. Those stories are around us and guess what, those people work on their relationships.
And that rounds up the 5 lies my friends have told me about dating.
Should I add to the list? What dating lies have you heard or learned from?
Next week I’ll tell you the biggest lie my mom has told me about dating!