Tag Archives: singleness

Cat in a Box

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It’s closing in on the end of the year. There has been a lot on my mind.

For one thing, my best friend gave me a time limit on The Challenge (https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/the-challenge/). I know I haven’t really given any updates on The Challenge…

My thoughts have been… well… Define “date”.

That definition makes all the difference, really. According to some, I’ve been on a few dates since then. According to me, none of those outings were dates. But for the sake of completing the challenge I would be happy to call them dates.

The Challenge isn’t the only thing that has been on my mind, however. As a new year approaches, I cannot help but recall my New Year’s resolution for 2012. I stood in a group and requested prayer regarding my fear of relationship. Well, that is partially true. I asked for prayer regarding a specific fear – but never mentioned which one. Nonetheless, throughout the year I tried to move forward in conquering that fear.

And I thought I was doing well after I returned from Jamaica. At one point I thought to myself, I feel as if I am more ready now to be in a relationship than I ever have been before… Unfortunately, a few days later a friend of mine told me I was due for a boyfriend and I completely panicked. What do you mean I’m due? Why would I need a boyfriend? I’d rather just be single… I like being single…. Don’t tell me I’m due!

The fact is, I probably am due for a relationship. But stepping into a relationship would require stepping out of my comfortable box. My cat made himself at home tonight in a cardboard box that I have out. I feel like that picture may accurately portray my situation. Although my box is getting kind of small, and it is even starting to bust, I do not want to leave it. There is a certain level of peace inside those walls.

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Song of the Single (Paradise Uganda)

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Isaiah 54:1Ugandan children 3

“Sing, O barren,

You who have not borne!

Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,

You who have not labored with child!

For more are the children of the desolate

Than the children of the married woman,”

says the Lord.

During a visit with my pastor’s family on Monday, a familiar longing stirred within me. Pastor’s three year-old cuddled into my side and asked me to look through a book with her. I miss children.

Earlier that evening her seven year-old brother handed me pages torn from a coloring book. He had colored them especially for me, eager both to earn my recognition and to share his affection. Just a few days prior I had glanced sadly at my refrigerator, noting the absence of artwork from children who love me. Although it is covered with photographs and magnets, it seemed strangely bare. I smiled proudly at his artwork, thrilled to accept his decorative gifts. Who needs museums? Who needs professionals? I much prefer a child’s masterpiece.

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Tonight I discovered some podcasts about a project involving children from Uganda. My friend and a few other dedicated musicians are working to create change in the lives of these children and in the world by recognizing their beautiful voices. These children are talented, and they’ve gone too long unrecognized. They have incredible stories to tell, but they’ve been widely ignored. They have songs to sing; it’s about time somebody listened. Could there be any sweeter sound than that of a child rejoicing?

http://www.fln.org/fln-news/podcasts/detail/news-paradise-uganda-part-i/

http://www.fln.org/fln-news/podcasts/detail/news-paradise-uganda-part-ii/

As I listened to clips of these children singing during the podcasts, tears formed in my eyes. I want to be with the children. I want to be where the children are, do what the children do. I want to sing with the children.

I’ve never even met these children, but my heart longs for them. I’m not musical – not even slightly. The lady in the podcast mentions the rhythm that comes so naturally to those little ones and memories flood back to me. I laugh as I recall dancing with the deaf children in Jamaica. Dancing goes hand in hand with music. Both require rhythm. I was told all Jamaican women could dance. I soon learned that the beautiful teenaged girls at the deaf school – who couldn’t even hear the music they were dancing to – had more rhythm than I did… I suddenly believed the statements were true. All Jamaican women can dance. And I became all the more aware of my own fallibilities.

Ugandan children 2

Why do I yearn to be with these talented young ones? What do I have to offer them? The musicians who’ve taken an interest in these children’s lives can provide them with guidance, training, and opportunities to share their songs. But I’m no musician. What could I possibly give?

I have a mommy’s heart. And as a single woman with no children of my own, that mommy’s heart has an abundance of love eager to flow into these kids’ lives. I cannot count the number of times others have asked me about a desire for children when they hear that I enjoy being single. They are shocked to hear that I don’t really long for children of my own. Sometimes they refuse to believe me. But it’s true! There are so many children in this world already who are hungry for love! I want to love the children who are already here.

Ugandan children

In my travels, I have discovered that children often put me on a pedestal – simply because I am an adult, I am American, I am white. What happens when a small child who has been devalued stands next to woman she idolizes? “Sing, O barren woman!” What happens when that same child realizes that she is more talented than that woman? I may fall off my pedestal, but more importantly that child begins to recognize her own gifting. She feels a touch more self-confident. She feels special. And she often laughs at me. These moments – these awkward, embarrassing displays of my own inadequacies, produce some of the most wonderful memories.

I do not need to be married or birth children. I just need to be around children who need to be loved. I want to love them. I want to appreciate them. I want to delight in the talents of my children – not the children who bear my name, but the children all over this world that God intends for me to mother. I’m just a single girl, thrilled to be a mommy. And although it won’t sound pretty, I will lift my voice to sing about it!

me and the philippino kids

Commitment-Phobe? Moi?

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Scenario 1

“If we hire you for this position, are you willing to commit for at least one year?”

Wave of terror passes over my face.

“Why is it so important that I stay for a year? Even if I only work here for a short time, I will still be a good worker,” I questioned the man interviewing me. I’m not good at sucking up during interviews. The blunt, confrontational side of me never backs down.

“Sarah, it is a waste of our time to hire and train an employee who will leave the company in less than a year. I need to know if you will commit to at least one year,” he responded. He looked slightly annoyed – but overall he was very patient with me.

I self-talked myself through the decision. Surely I could last a year. I agreed. I may have sounded hesitant; but my word is my word.

Next year will mark my five year anniversary with the same corporation. That interview question, although it threw me into a temporary panic, didn’t turn out to be such a big deal.

 

Scenario 2

Should I do it? Should I not? Should I keep looking? Should I wait? I don’t know. Will I find a better deal? Is this the right place?

On and on the questions soared through my brain. I had a lease to sign. Once again, someone was asking for a year-long commitment. Once again, I was not feeling so hot about the idea.

It’s the right price. Right distance from work. Good parking for my motorcycle. They will let me bring my cat. Why must they insist that I sign a year-long lease? What’s so terrible about month-to-month?

I signed the lease. It’s been a year and a half now.

I don’t really have any intentions to move. Nonetheless, I opted out of renewing my lease. Once I fulfilled the first year they allowed me to rent month-to-month going forward. Why place restrictions upon myself that are not absolutely necessary?

 

Scenario 3

“Hi, I’m Mr. BraveEnoughToAskYouOut. What’s your name?”

This is the kind of guy that automatically goes in for eye contact. I don’t dare call him Mr. CommitmentLover, because he may also be a total commitment-phobe in the typical sense of the term. He may dodge long-term relationships or marriage. He may only be interested in a night of pleasure. But he’s got me beat. Committing to that first date is even too hard for me.

Like I said, he’s brave and he goes in for eye contact. He’s searching: Is she interested? What will she say if I ask her out? Is she checking me out?

I dodge the eye contact.

Yes, I am interested. Yes, I am checking you out. But, don’t even ask that question in between. I dodge the eye contact in an effort to squelch your bravery because your bravery will lead to our dating and our dating will lead to me feeling attached and I don’t want to feel attached. You want me to flirt? Quit acting so interested. (I know I’ve adamantly proclaimed that guys should be brave and pursue. I’m admitting now that I’m a total hypocrite and don’t encourage men to pursue with my actions. Sue me.)

Should Mr. BraveEnoughToAskYouOut happen to continue despite my lack of eye contact… I continue to run. Hang out this weekend? I might be busy this weekend… Not really sure about all my plans yet. Dinner? How about coffee? Coffee doesn’t feel like nearly as big of a commitment as dinner…

 

Okay. In the first two scenarios I was practically forced to commit, despite my reservations. Neither situation turned out too badly. That goes to show that if I actually step out of my comfort zone and go on a real date with a guy I actually like, it may not turn out too badly either. If someone manages to get me past that first step – then maybe it will work out. Like the job and the apartment.

We may end up in a steady dating relationship and I may end up appreciating said relationship.

Or he may cheat on me. Or dump me and leave me desperately heart-broken. Or betray my confidence. Or use me. Or die. Or all of the above.

I think I’d rather dodge eye contact and whine about how men are cowards.

 

The Runner’s High

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 My mom called me up one day to tell me she bought a book for me from the thrift store. She knows that I read tons of book about singleness and relationships and psychology. Sometimes I read them simply because I think I may write about them on here. Other times I read them because they truly fascinate me. She thought this one might pique my interest.

I glanced over the front cover: The Commitment Cure: What to Do When You Fall for an Ambivalent Man. What does ambivalent mean? I flipped the book over and was relieved to discover that I must not be the only person unfamiliar with that term. On the back, in dictionary format, I read the definition of “ambivalence” followed by the definition of “ambivalent man”.

How does the author, Rhonda Findling, define ambivalence? Ambivalence is “the existence of mixed feelings toward someone or something. Difficulty in reaching a decision.” As for the “ambivalent man”, he is the “one who exhibits or feels ambivalence toward women; one who plays games. He wants a relationship; he wants to break up. He’s confused, mixed up, inconsistent, and unpredictable. Yet he’s irresistable and easy to fall in love with . . . and almost sure to cause a broken heart.”

Good to know. I opened the book. To give some background, I already mentioned that I did not pick this book up by myself. It was given to me. With that in mind, I quickly realized that I am not the typical reader that this book would be directed toward. Findling’s target audience would be women who are unhappy in relationships that seem to lack commitment or a stable future. She calls to women who want the men they love to quit messing with them and marry them! As a cat lady, I don’t exactly fall into that target audience. I don’t want anyone I’m dating to take our relationship more seriously. That would be difficult, since I’m not dating anyone… I don’t yearn for a man to commit to me in marriage. I’m pretty happy while single. I’m really just reading this book for the sake of curiosity. Nothing more, nothing less.

Findling describes a handful of categories that ambivalent men fall into. Just like a criminal is more specifically labeled by his crime, she labels these ambivalent men more particularly by their behaviors. In Chapter 1, she describes the first kind of ambivalent man; The Runner.

As I sail through the first few pages, I’m dumbfounded by Findling’s description of “The Runner”. I feel slightly uncomfortable. Is it just my imagination, or does this Runner sound a lot like myself?

Although it is packed with information, and loaded with psychological observations (Findling is a psychotherapist), I found this book to be a quick read. As she describes and labels these men who avoid commitment, run from relationship, use women, manipulate others’ feelings, and criticize marriage, I picture several men I know and place them in the most appropriate categories. I’m amazed by how many I know who may be described as ambivalent. In fact, most of the men that I’ve found myself infatuated with could be described as ambivalent. Why is that?

Towards the end of the book, the author begins to address the reasons women are drawn toward ambivalent men. As she rattles off ideas, I find myself wondering why she doesn’t mention the ambivalent woman. After so closely identifying with the runner, I quickly realized that I find a noncommittal attitude attractive in men because I am also noncommittal. I am comfortable with his lack of stability because long-term relationships still terrify me. And yet, chapter after chapter, Findling neglects to mention the ambivalent woman. There are 18 chapters altogether. Finally, in Chapter 16, she directs her attention to girls like me.

There is a 10 question test in this chapter to help a woman determine whether or not she may be ambivalent. The author says that any woman who answers “yes” to at least three questions is very likely ambivalent. My score? Yes to 8. Kind of to 1. I could only give a straight-forward “no” to one question out of the ten. At least I’m self-aware and pegged myself in the first chapter…

I am quite comfortable running. It’s easy. It’s natural. Habitual, even. I run before I even get the chance to worry. Selfish, perhaps. And hurtful to others. The book made that clear. But comfortable. Unfortunately, I came to the decision earlier this year that I no longer want to run from relationship due to fear. Remember? Singleness is okay, as long as I remain single for healthy reasons… Fear, however, is not a healthy reason…

The problem is that running is ingrained. I’m not sure if I know how to stop. I sabotage the relationship before I even begin the relationship. I’ve tried to get past my tendency to sabotage a few times now, in the past few months. Ultimately, it never worked and I walked away feeling tremendously relieved. How do I quit running when running feels SO good? I find myself approaching another potential relationship right now – and I already want to run. I am trying to be positive. I am trying not to be cynical. And yet, I can’t say that I have high hopes. I don’t really feel like putting forth the effort necessary to date this guy. I’ve already contemplated the kindest way to let him down easy. I’m not sure if I know how to not run. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m capable. Perhaps I am addicted to the Runner’s High?

Reflections: Love, Respect, and Sex

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http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/voiceofhope/

Okay, I skipped a few weeks on responding to these 700 club episodes. I’ll admit, it is no coincidence that I procrastinated on this specific episode. For one thing, I’ve written a lot about sex recently. I kind of wanted a break. Bur another reason I avoided this one is because I’m simply not sure how to respond.

I agree with parts of the teacher’s philosophy. I’m not so sure about other parts. I agree that sex within marriage is God’s plan and that it is absolutely the best way to go. I don’t suggest sex outside of marriage. However, his words leave me wondering how a couple will readily embrace the sexual union inside of marriage after training themselves to stay so far away from it.

That is always my issue when I look at the church’s approach to sex. I feel like this “Bad, bad, bad, stay away!” approach immediately followed by “You’re married now! Everything goes!” is just a disaster waiting to happen. I’m not necessarily sure what else to suggest, however.

Purity isn’t the part I struggle with. Single purity that leads into married purity is the issue I struggle with – if that makes sense. I think the sky high divorce rates within the church are a decent indication that whatever the church is teaching about sex and marriage right now isn’t very effective. I still feel as if the church uses the words “lust” and “attraction” synonymously. And I don’t think they should be interchangeable. I believe there is an important line that separates the two. I’m just not sure if I could point out that line.

Your thoughts?

The Green Monster

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Over and over I hear single women bemoan the fact that their friends are coupling off, tying the knot, and popping out little ones.

“When is it going to be my turn?” she wines.

“Why am I having such a hard time finding a man? All of my friends seem to be finding decent husbands!”

“Is there something wrong with me?”

I’ve never really considered myself the jealous type. My friend enters a relationship, and if I don’t automatically assume it will fail (since I’m somewhat cynical…) then I wish them the best. I sincerely hope it works out well. I’m not jealous because I LOVE my life! I never get jealous. I never got jealous.

Until last week. That green monster within yawned and stretched his arms. Rise and shine, Jealous Streak!

You see, my bestie found an **almost-boyfriend. There has been a lot of tension between me and her for the last few months. But last week everything mounted. [Almost-boyfriend: a man who is not yet in a relationship with a woman; a man who is on the verge of moving forward in a romantic relationship; a man who flirts shamelessly and pays lots of attention to a woman, but has not made any formal commitment; the title of a man the week before he becomes an actual boyfriend.]

Mr. UnpaidTherapist walks by my desk at work and I throw out the update on bestie and her almost-boyfriend. He laughs at my snide comment with a comeback stating that I am jealous. He may as well have set up a couch in his office and called me in for an appointment. Minutes later I hurry to fill him in on the actual issue.

He’s right. I’m jealous. But he’s wrong. I’m not jealous. And I don’t have multiple personalities either.

I’m still content. I still enjoy my life. I am not, by any means, overwhelmed with desire for a partner in life. I don’t look at any of the couples around me and seethe with envy. I am not one of those girls muttering the questions and phrases listed at the beginning of this blog with an intense feeling of despair. I don’t covet relationship to that degree.

The man doesn’t make me jealous either. I am in no way attracted to the almost-boyfriend she landed. That issue is a non-issue.

Naturally, Mr. UnpaidTherapist wonders what awakened my green monster.

My best friend no longer needs me. She doesn’t call me on a daily basis, because she is more than distracted by this fabulous new love interest. She doesn’t feel the need to hang out because she spends all spare time with him. She doesn’t really care what I think of this guy because she is so deeply infatuated that other opinions have lost all value. She’s not interested in my trip to Jamaica because her path toward relationship is way more exciting to talk about than a tropical island. She discarded her super-tight Queen of Spades for that studly King of Hearts. As the Queen of Spades, I’m chilling out in the middle of the table, mingling with the rest of the cards, glaring at King of Hearts and feeling dreadfully jealous.

The fact that King of Hearts isn’t even a real boyfriend just adds insult to injury. I’ve been abandoned for an almost-boyfriend? Really?

That was last week. This week has been better. A little bit of prayer, a lot of feeling convicted for a being a terrible support to my best friend when she is super excited about this new turn of events in her life, and a swift kick to green monster’s head helped considerably. I was even able to feel some genuine enthusiasm last night when I called to listen to her gush about King of Hearts officially asking her out this week. (Almost-boyfriend stepped into official boyfriend category tonight. Injury still healing, but insult removed.)

Funny coincidence: Bestie said something on the phone tonight about how she no longer needs my input in her life now that she has this boyfriend. She has no idea that her lack of interest in my input is what threw me into an emotional fit last week. Good thing I’m over it this week.

Eccentricities

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Headed for vacation (Jamaica!!!) this week, so I felt like it was time for a somewhat lighter post tonight. My big bro is coming to cat-sit for me while I’m away. Currently I am in the process of preparing my apartment for someone else to live in… In case you don’t know me, I am sort of a slob. Not to the point of “Oh, dear Lord, don’t enter that woman’s home without a gas mask!” But, I’m no Martha Stewart. There are certain things that I just don’t get around to cleaning very often…

I love to take baths, so my bathtub is cleaned quite frequently. However, my shower curtain hangs outside the bathtub during said bubble baths. While the tub gets scrubbed down, the curtain isn’t touched. Long story made short – tonight I wound up stomping out my shower curtain in a bathtub full of bleach water while wearing polka dot rainboots. How is that for a visual?

These are the moments that I chuckle to myself and realize that, if left to myself in singleness for another 20 or 40 years, my current eccentricities are going to transform me into one of those off-the-charts, crazy cat-ladies! I totally see how it happens. The quirks we all have (some of us more than others…) multiply and intensify. I’m sure I could continue with stories, but instead I am going to share a bunch of hilarious pictures I found referring to cat-ladies.  Enjoy!

This is where it begins….

 

This is where we go if we need training…

 

This is how we keep our cats from fighting with each other since we cannot send them all to separate rooms.

 

After we finally embrace our calling to be cat-ladies, the world will recognize that we are not actually crazy. We are superheroes. And we totally deserve action figures.

 

 

 

Lady Thor

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Uh-oh. Another one is mad at me.

I pulled onto my street and saw my landlord talking to someone in a big white pickup truck. Hey, that looks like Mr.CoffeeEncounter’s truck. I park. I step outside of my car, almost directly next to this white truck. I look up. Crap! That is Mr.CoffeeEncounter’s truck! [For background info on Mr. CoffeeEncounter see: https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/flirt-to-convert-prelude-to-a-coffee-encounter/  or  https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/a-coffee-encounter/]

I wave nonchalantly at my Mr. CoffeeEncounter and my landlord while I bolt toward my apartment. I hope he can’t tell that I’m about to pee myself. Here’s the thing: A month or two ago, Mr. CoffeeEncounter and I were texting. And… well, let’s just say it ended with a challenge… He made an effort to meet that challenge… Ummm… Long story made short – I told him if he wanted to spend time with me, he would have to show up on my doorstep when I just happen to be available. He tried a few times. I wasn’t available.

Needless to say, he stopped trying after that… and I had not seen him until this very moment of pulling up beside his truck. Surprisingly enough, he did not look so thrilled to see me!

After a quick but completely awkward exchange, he left and I went for a ride. The next morning I waltz into my unpaid therapist’s office at work and spill everything. This was the second guy I pissed off that week! I don’t try to make them mad. Why am I so good at making men angry?! (Could this be my spiritual gifting? Jesus made A LOT of people mad, right?….)

You see, Mr. CoffeeEncounter looked so pathetic and wounded that I initially felt guilty for the way I had treated him. But as I contemplated the situation on my motorcycle ride, I realized I had no reason to feel guilty. I reminded myself of all the reasons I gave him that “Show up when I’m not busy” ultimatum. The reasons boiled down to one primary “He always stands ME up!” No, no. I did nothing wrong.

As I stood in Mr. UnpaidTherapist’s office, I gave him a quick update of the situation and then asked him, “What am I doing wrong?!”

He laughed and began describing my Viking helmet. “Thor, you throw down the hammer.”

That’s it. That’s all the counsel he’s got for me. You see, a month or two ago Mr. UnpaidTherapist nicknamed me Thor. After I sought some clarification (“Are you telling me I look like a male demigod!?”] he assured me that the nickname is only due to my hammer throw-down. Apparently I throw down hammers all over the place… not just around guys I like. Not sure how to fix that. Or even if I should.

Reflections: Satisfied in Singleness

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http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/voiceofhope/

I enjoyed this one particularly. I have to admit, the very first point that the primary speaker makes is one that I have also thought to myself time and time again. I cannot stand it when someone hears how long I’ve been single and responds with shock because I’m “so pretty”. I always think what she thinks immediately – that there are lots of ugly married people. And then I  turn to the obvious point that pretty does not necessarily make a woman into a wife, let alone a good wife. Yes, attraction matters. But it’s not just about being pretty.

After loving her sentiment on that point, I kind of hated a different point she made. I disagree with her comment about wanting to be married for the “wrong reasons”. Sex has a bad rap in the Christian community. The Bible soooo clearly says that if you “burn with passion” – get married! In other words, it is okay to desire a spouse in order to fulfill your sexual desires! That being said, the church has turned things all around and seems to teach that singles should want to be married for every other reason on the face of the planet and that sex is just a nice little side thing that comes along with marriage. I’ve been told that I should be so wrapped up in ministry that one day I will just happen to bump into someone else who is absorbed by ministry and we will get married and have an even more powerful ministry together. Sounds good – right? And yet, I don’t see that philosophy in scripture. I never found the verse telling singles only to marry in an effort to further ministry. Nope. Bible says instead that you should get married if you want sex. Sex is not a “wrong reason”. I could continue on this point… but I’ll shut up.

Finally, I like that she pointed out that some of our most influential and foundational leaders in the faith were single. I agree wholeheartedly. Paul made excellent points when he wrote about singles being able to fully devote themselves to God without the distraction of family or spouses. However, I would not go so far as to say that we are the “pillars”. I mean, Jesus was single, and He is quite obviously “the” Pillar. But besides that – I don’t think singles are any more or less important than married people in the church. We are all important. We all have different roles. Let’s make an effort to act out our roles to the best of our abilities – single or married.

The Practice Date

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Kissing is for real dates.

What is a “practice date”? A few weeks back, I read an article on a webzine. A reader sent in a question about “practice dating” and I scoffed. What the heck is a practice date? If two people like each other, they can go on a real date. If they do not like each other, they do not go out on dates. Isn’t that how it is supposed to work? There is no such thing as a practice date. Silly question, reader.

Little did I know that I would be invited to go out on one a few short weeks later. The conversation was nearly over. I had already said “Good night” when the question arrived. Quick response (I think I’d like to date this guy): I agreed with his proposition. Conversation ends. Life goes on.

A few days later, we talk again. All of the sudden I think back to that previous conversation.

What the heck did he mean by “practice” date?

Maybe I am old-fashioned. Or simplistic. But I never realized that dating and rocket science are comparatively complex. As I said before, I thought people who are interested in developing a romantic relationship go on dates and people who are not interested in developing a romantic relationship do not go on dates. Notice, I did not mention people who are ready to commit for life. I said people who are interested. I cannot figure out what kinds of people would fit into this brand new subcategory called “practice dating”. I also cannot figure out what the difference is between a date and a practice date. What is the purpose of this thing called a practice date?

Side hugs are more appropriate for practice dates.

What if two people went on this practice date together and a friend came up to one of them?

“Hey! I haven’t seen you in forever. How have you been? Oh and who’s this cute guy you’re dating? We haven’t met before!”

*Coughcough* “Oh, we aren’t dating. He’s actually just my practice date. Don’t worry, though. You aren’t the first to be confused!”

 

Should money be exchanged? “I haven’t had a date in so long… I just didn’t want to forget how to go about it. So I don’t actually like you or anything, but I was wondering if you might like to practice date me. Just to ‘keep me fresh’. I could pay you! … Unless you think that’s too similar to prostitution…”

 

Then, of course, there is the whole issue of boundaries. In real dating, there are enough questions regarding boundaries. Who should ask who out? When is the first kiss appropriate? How soon should we go formal? When should we meet the family? After how many dates do we become exclusive? The questions go on and on. The answers fluctuate with each and every couple.

What questions need to be answered in “practice dating”? Does it matter who makes the request since it isn’t a real date? Should the family ever even find out about a practice date? Is kissing okay as long as it’s deemed “practice kissing”?

 

Is practice dating intended to perfect that art-form known as actual dating? There is that age-old saying, “Practice makes perfect.” Although, I’ve always preferred a quote I used to hear from one of my basketball coaches. She said, “Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent.”

If I translate that concept over to dating, I could say that I’ve been practicing singleness for quite some time now. If I continue this way, I will likely wind up single permanently. I can deal with that. If I start dating, I will likely wind up in a relationship. But if I start “practice dating”, where will I end up? In an “almost-relationship”? I won’t really be single. I won’t really be in a relationship. I’ll just be frustrated.

 

Is practice dating like a safety net under the tightrope for real dating?

“I want to date this person but I’m not sure if this person wants to date me… I don’t want to face possible rejection.”

“I doubt things would work out between us… I’d rather not work at a real relationship with odds like this.”

“I find this person interesting and I would like to spend more time with her alone… But a date is a big leap.”

 

All of these thoughts bring me back to a guy I used to know. He pursued me almost immediately. I felt attached to him extremely quickly. He asked me out. I said that I would prefer to be his friend. He said that guys and girls cannot be friends. I told him that they could and that I would be his friend whether he liked it or not. After a few months I realized I could not be “just” his friend. As much as I hated to admit it, he was right. Once romantic interest has been established for either person, it is nearly impossible for a healthy friendship to exist. One person will always hope for something more, and ultimately feel disappointed.

 

So when I told Mr. Practice Date that I either want a real date or we need to back away from this close friendship, he said to me, “You realize that you’re doing the very same thing with our friendship as you do with your relationship prospects? You’re doing that same thing where you protect yourself from pain unless you’re unbelievably sure that it will amount to exactly what you want it to.”

In essence, I responded by asking why protecting myself is such a bad thing. At least I haven’t asked anyone out on any practice dates… 😉