Why you shouldn’t casually date

I am sure I will get totally bashed for this post, and that is fine.

I have to start by saying, up until recently, I was a firm believer that everyone should date whoever they want whenever they want and as many people as they want. I decided that unless you were in a committed, Facebook official, labeled relationship, you could do whatever you wanted without the other person having the right to get upset about it.

Granted, I haven’t been asked on too many dates in my day, but I just knew that when I finally did get asked, the ball would start rolling and if two guys asked me out in one week, I’d go with both guys on different nights and not think twice. Because that’s the no-feelings, heart-of-stone attitude all us independent women are supposed to have these days, right ladies?

Wrong.

Since when did tossing other people’s feelings aside become the “independent” thing to do?

Those people asking you on dates, yeah they are people with feelings, too. If they took the time and courage to ask you on a real date, not “hey let’s like hang out and watch a movie at my place or something,” but a real spend-time-together, get-to-know-each-other, plan-an-actual-date kind of date, then they probably already have some feelings invested.

Going on a date with a guy or girl doesn’t seal the deal and mean forever, and you never have to go out with them again if you don’t want to. But if you do, then you’re saying to them that you are maybe interested in furthering the relationship into something more.

So, if you go do the same thing with three or four other people, are you saying you are interested in a serious relationship with all of them?

This isn’t The Bachelor. We don’t get to have dates lined up exiting a limo to win our hearts. We don’t get to toy with all their emotions and then finally pick a winner. (Yeah I love the show, but it is in no way realistic or healthy).

Hanging out with people is fun. Getting to know people is fun. And there’s nothing wrong with being “interested” in more than one person. But pursuing more than one person – that is making a conscious decision to begin a relationship that has the possibility of becoming serious and eventually leading to marriage. That should not be taken lightly.

This goes for girls and guys. Guys are not the only ones pursuing. Ladies, once a guy does pursue you, it is your choice to let him or to stop him before hearts get broken. A relationship always, always goes two ways. If it doesn’t, it’s not a relationship.

So, if you’re being pursued by one guy on Monday and another guy on Tuesday, you’re confusing three people – both guys and yourself.

Guys, if you’re pursuing two or three girls, then you aren’t pursuing anyone. You may think you are being a gentleman and trying to date the right way, but the only right way is to focus on one person.

“Casual dating” is such a thing in our society today. Going for dinner or drinks or coffee or whatever is labeled “harmless”  – that way, it isn’t really serious dating so we don’t feel obligated to be committed.

If you aren’t ready for some type of commitment, then stop letting him pursue you after date four or five. Because if there’s a fifth one, chances are he wants there to be a sixth or seventh one.

If you aren’t ready for a commitment, just stay single until you are. IT’S OK TO BE ALONE I PROMISE.

Hang out in groups and get to know multiple people, sure. Go eat lunch with your guy or girl friends. Go grab coffee. Hey, get crazy and watch a movie. But when you know there are real feelings involved and there is potential for something serious, don’t play the field because you will end up losing.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too, and you can’t have a relationship with all the people you’re “dating” and be at peace about it too.

Life is full of decisions, and dating really is an important one. Every date is a potential mate – corny, but absolutely true.

So, don’t treat the person who could be your husband or wife like just some article of clothing you’re trying on.

If you decide to buy that really great sweater, it’s usually because you really like it and it feels right. You aren’t going to go out the next day and then the day after to buy a different sweater that just feels alright for the time being.

Treat the person you are pursuing or you are being pursued by exactly how you want your children to be treated when they start dating. Treat them as a human being with tons of emotions if nothing else.

Refraining from “casual dating” and “playing the field” really teaches you a lot about yourself and about each person who comes into your life.

You don’t have to stay with the person you’re dating forever. You have the right to decide when something or someone isn’t making you happy.

But if you never give them your undivided time and attention because your mind is foggy with feelings for four people, you might never know if they are the one who fits so perfectly.

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What I Learned From a 65-year-old Man Who Asked Me Out

I’ve been single for quite a while, and I have really learned to love it. I am 110% happy being alone, but lately, I decided to start actually praying really for just a date.

I’m not looking to get married any time soon or anything, it would just be nice to go on a fun date with a good guy. I’m not desperate by any means, I think I’m just ready for a little change to my norm to get me out of my comfort zone a bit.

So, I asked the big man upstairs to hook me up.

Now when I pray, all I really ask is that the man will be a real man and ask me in person, or at least during a phone call, not a text message. I am over text messaging or messaging over social media about important things. I’d hate to tell my kids their dad asked me out in 140 characters or less.

God does certainly have a sense of humor, and I just know He gets a total kick out of my life, which is fine. I am always okay with the hilarious every day events that happen to me if I can share them with someone and make them laugh, even if that someone is God.

I was shopping with my mom today, per usual, when we separated so she could shop for my brother. As I was headed to the jewelry, an older man approached me. I will talk to literally anyone, so I smiled and responded.

He asked if I was local and said he hadn’t seen me around before. I explained I was, but that I didn’t live in town anymore.

Instead of trusting my instincts and listening to the little voice telling me to walk away, I felt bad, so I kept smiling and talking while he told me about his daughters.

I proceeded to answer his questions and told him where I worked and my parents names. Don’t ask me why. I have no clue how to lie on the spot. I’m surprised I didn’t give him my social security number.

He then said, “I’m not trying to hit on you.. I’m just trying to take someone to dinner.”

I laughed. When I get nervous, I laugh and just talk more. I said, “Oh that’s so nice, but I actually live in Huntsville.”

“That’s fine, I can come to Huntsville if you want me to,” he quickly replied.

Oh sir, I do not want you to. That’s what I wanted to say to him, but I just laughed again.

He said, “I lost my wife 7 years ago and I’m just trying to take someone to dinner. I tried Facebook and I’ve gotta get off all that crap.”

Well great, now I feel bad because his wife died.

Then I realized, Kaitlin you can lie to this man for the sake of your own well-being. And you don’t have to continue this conversation. Run.

So I said, “Haha…well I actually have a boyfriend.”

Lie. Such a big, huge lie. I almost burst out laughing at the lie.

“Well I figured you did the way you look,” he said.

Well that really was very nice of him to say.

Joke was on him for sure.

“Haha have a nice day,” I said as I swiftly went to hide in the purses and call my mother.

While I was highly disturbed that a creepy man the age of my grandfather asked me out, he really taught me a lot. And he’ll never even know, for which I’m thankful because that means I won’t have to have another terribly awkward conversation with him.

1. I need to be more specific with my prayers.

All joking aside, God is my friend. He doesn’t want me to just scratch the surface when I talk to him. He knows my heart, but He wants me to tell Him all about it. He wants to know what I want and what I’m struggling with and all my hopes and dreams and fears. He’s the only One who can ultimately make a difference in any and all areas of my life, so why hold back when I’m talking to Him?

2. I can’t be afraid to go after what I want.

The thing about that old man is that he was not afraid to go for what he wanted. He wanted a dinner date, so he was determined to find one. He didn’t think about how silly he would look or what might happen if he got turned down, he just did it. I want to be more like that. I want to be comfortable with who I am and go for what I want even if it means I might fall flat on my face. The worst anyone can say is “no,” and we can’t be afraid to hear “no” because it’s inevitable in life.

3. I don’t have to stay somewhere just to make someone else happy.

There comes a point when we have to take the wheel of our own lives. There’s no fun in being the passenger in your own life. God put you in the driver seat of one life and one life only. He gives you the directions, but you have to drive. It’s kind of like a Driver’s Ed car, God is always in the car with you and He can hit the breaks at any time, but He wants you to drive and make the mistakes and wrong turns so you can learn how to go the way He’s pointing  you. If we are always waiting for someone else to say “go” or until someone else is happy, we won’t ever be in charge of our own happiness. I am such a people pleaser, and I used to think that meant I was nice. Being a doormat is not nice. I’ve got to learn to walk away from a situation when it isn’t adding anything to my life or anyone else’s. That doesn’t mean I have to be rude, it just means I shouldn’t feel obligated to always entertain everyone else when I don’t feel ok with it. I gave up a lot of information to the man that I really shouldn’t have. It taught me to stop giving a piece of my heart to everyone I encounter. Not everyone is meant to have a piece of it.

While my encounter with the man three times my age was nothing less than awkward and made me sweat and run away and nervous-laugh more than usual, I learned something, and that’s what matters.

I think we learn something from every single person we meet and every single thing that happens. If we pay close attention to every day we are given, we can learn a little more about ourselves and the world around us. Even when we get thrown into incredibly awkward, uncomfortable situations, we can make the best of them and use what we learned to propel ourselves forward in some way, in some area of life.

And as for the man in Belk, I really do hope he finds a dinner date that’s a little closer to his age.