EDITOR'S NOTEHe Said-She Said is a monthly advice column featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION: I'm a single Christian woman in my early 40s who has never been in a serious relationship. I've spent most of my life focused on the Lord, ministry, traveling, education, building relationships with my family, friends, and career. Because I have no husband or children, I've "occupied" [my time] by doing the things I felt God led me to do. Now (maybe too late?) I've realized that I can do both; I can live a full, interesting, godly life AND I can be open to a husband . . . but when it comes to relationships, the average pre-teen has more experience than me. I hesitate to respond to men sometimes because I wonder if they'll think I'm some sort of freak because I've not had experience in this area. I really do want to meet someone and the circumstances in my life are such that I can do that now. I am emotionally and spiritually ready. But I'm not sure where to start and how to handle the dreaded questions: "How many relationships have you been in before? What was the longest relationship that you've ever had?" Nor am I really sure where to start. I'd appreciate any advice that you can give.

HE SAID: One of the most common (non-physical) exercises we, as humans, seem to participate in is the “what if” game. We consider and contemplate all sorts of various ways a situation may turn out, oftentimes leaving us with a negative slant or a pessimistic outlook to our circumstance.

When we apply this innate response to dating, we can conjure up how an entire date “will” go, conversations included, long before we meet anyone. Oftentimes, this just leads to creating fear and doubt about ourselves. 

What if he wonders why I’m not married? 

What if she asks about past relationships? 

What if he thinks this? 

What if she doesn’t like that? 

What if, what if, what if.

We can experience an entire relationship in our mind prior to our first meeting. Heaven forbid should any of our scenarios come to pass, which would only fuel our lack of confidence and, in a strange way, bolster the belief in our “instinctive skill.”

I once heard nearly 85 percent of the things most people worry about never come to pass. That percentage may even be higher when it comes to dating!

Matthew has some great instruction for all of us: Do not worry about your life (Matthew 6:25).

So you’re in your 40s and never been in a serious relationship. 

Although you may see this as a drawback, it can also be viewed as an advantage, especially over those “pre-teens” you’re comparing yourself to. Their relationships are typically superficial, not based on personal qualities or eternal values, last only a couple of weeks and often end unpleasantly.

For those who have been in a committed relationship and have experienced a break-up or divorce, there may be emotional scars, which if left unresolved, can cause difficulties and impact subsequent relationships.