- 2005 29 Jun
Dating. I’m tired of thinking about it, I’m tired of talking about it, and I’m really, really tired of writing about it. Maybe that’s because I’m not doing it.
I thought I was ready to make a new start, that I was honestly open to the possibility of meeting someone. Since I began this series of columns, I have challenged some of my own prejudices about pursuing a relationship and I have forced myself to make some – at least minor – changes. So I’m being more open, taking small chances I might have passed over in the past, and going out of my way a bit more to talk to people – okay, guys – I don’t know. It just hasn’t translated to any actual dating yet.
Instead, the only result has been more thinking about dating and more talking about dating and, now, more writing about dating. All this elicits from me one very unenthusiastic response: Ugh.
Just Make It Stop!
This months-long focus on dating has led me to the realization that I don’t like focusing on dating. I’d rather sit in rush hour traffic all day. I’d rather be forced to listen to polka music. I’d rather go to the gynecologist (although even there I’m forced to discuss my dating life – or lack of one).
What I’ve learned is this: Maybe relationships just aren’t for me. At least working to find one doesn’t seem to be something I have a knack for.
I had planned to join an online dating service last month. I really did. But when the time came, I just couldn’t go through with it. I know some people have met the love of their life this way (I went to an engagement party just last week for a couple who met on the Web), but I also know so many people who have been disappointed after spending countless evenings getting their hopes up only to find out that their latest match wasn’t Mr. Right (he wasn’t even Mr. Right Now).
I can hear Dr. Henry Cloud, the man whose book was behind the idea for this series of columns, gently reminding that the more people I meet, the better chance I have of meeting someone I’ll like. And I agree. I’ve said several times now that I don’t have a problem with the principles in Dr. Cloud’s “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping,” and I’ll say it again. I just don’t know if I have it in me right now to hang in there until I find that date that’s a keeper.
A Surprise Fringe Benefit
One positive thing that has come out of all this dating talk, though, is I’ve been forced to be more open – with myself, my friends and my family. Accountability can be hard to come by when you’re single. Everyone’s afraid they don’t have the right or they don’t want to overstep the boundaries of friendship. But since I’ve opened up my dating life, married friends who may have been afraid to appear as if they were prying in the past, now forward articles they find online or ask about my progress. And because I was the one who solicited help, I now feel more obliged to spill, even when I’m feeling frustrated about my single status.
This has led to some entertaining moments (like my pastor’s wife scouring the staff at the local pizza place to see if she can pick out my “type”) as well as some great discussions that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I feel like I have a better understanding of my feelings on dating and relationships. And my friends have a better understanding of just where I stand on all that, too. Conversely, I understand more clearly how my married friends see the singles around them as well as what they like about their status and envy about mine.
So this weekend, while the men of our church head off on a “guys only” retreat, I’ll be meeting up with five married friends for “girls’ night.” When we first started planning, I joked that for me, every night is girls’ night. But on a more serious note, I’m glad to be naturally included and to be surrounded by women who seek me out not because of my marital status or despite it, but just because I’m me. It’s how it should be.
And while I don’t necessarily want my future to be “girls only,” for now I think I’m fine right where I am.
Wendy Lee Nentwig is a freelance writer and editor in Nashville, Tennessee. When not covering music from Beck to Bebo Norman, she collects old metal sign letters, laughs at the cartoon series "Home Movies," marvels at the talent of writers like Rick Bragg and David Sedaris, and is a connoisseur of fountain Cokes. Her favorite part of being single is never having to share the remote.
"How to Get a Date Worth Keeping" is authored by Dr. Henry Cloud and recently released from Zondervan Publishers. Based on over ten years of personally coaching singles on dating, Dr. Henry Cloud shares his proven, very doable, step-by-step approach to overcoming your sticking points and getting all the dates you could want.
Read the fourth article in this Singles series, "Right Guy, Wrong Faith," here.