‘I’ve got exciting news, HopefulGirl – I met an amazing woman on holiday,’ my pal told me over a drink. ‘We both think this could be the “big one”. There’s just one problem… she lives in the States.’ Oh, boy. Of course, I’ll be delighted if my friend has met Ms Right – he’s desperate to settle down and he’s been unlucky in love. But 4,000 miles is an awfully long way. I don’t envy him one bit.
Practice makes perfect, so the saying goes, and this maxim is just as true for dating as it is for other areas of life. You may be one of the lucky ones who falls in love with the first person they chat to online, but many of us need to go on a number of dates with different people so that we can become aware of what we truly want in a relationship and learn how to set and keep healthy boundaries.
This a question I get very often when speaking on dating and one that recently landed again in my inbox. And obviously Christian Connection has many answers to this question and a good practical guide to help you navigate the process. But from my background and expertise as a psychologist counselling single people, I can add a few thoughts to this.
There’s no denying that a trip to the cinema to see the latest sweeping romantic drama makes for great entertainment. And a night in on the sofa with popcorn and a romcom is a whole lot of fun. But do the scenarios, characters – and perhaps most importantly – outcomes in these films represent real life? How – and why – is dating different to the manner in which it’s portrayed in a lot of fiction?
“Please only contact me if you live within striking distance of my home city,” I wrote on my dating profile. I’d decided I wasn’t suited to long-distance relationships, and I wanted to weed out anyone who didn’t live reasonably close. It didn’t work – I still heard from people across the pond and beyond, who thought a few thousand miles was nothing between friends and “a flight to the UK is a small price to pay to find out if you’re the one”. Maybe they were right… maybe not.
Dating can be amazing, but it can also be confusing too. While some men are happy to ask for help and talk about the difficulties, some aren’t. But I do think there are 3 principles we can follow, (no matter what our gender is,) to help us date better. Namely: 1. We Don’t Need To Be Perfect, 2. Control Doesn’t Work, and 3. Everyone Needs To Learn This Stuff.
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Since the UK launch in 2000, thousands of Christians have found friendship, love and marriage through the site.