Here goes the summertime dating review… What can I say? I am having fun! I enjoy getting to know good guys and doing fun stuff.
I think I’ve articulated my boundaries before but I’ll restate them so y’all don’t think I’m sleeping around with a bunch of guys. I am abstinent and have set a very conservative physical boundary. I can’t say too many people understand it, but they do respect it. What I can say about the gentlemen that I’ve actually been out with is that they have all behaved quite honorably and respected my line even if they thought it was a bit much. So, to any of those guys reading this… again I say thank you!
As I stated in the 90 day review in the spring, I am online dating. I have no shame in it and I think the culture is unique and amusing. I like it. I haven’t dated since high school, and that was simply horny boys in hallways, finding a guy then was super easy. I figured it would be more challenging to find someone out in the real world. Online dating makes sense, and I like that you can see a snapshot of someone at a glance. It helps reduce the time investment, and time, though I’m in no hurry, is also of the essence.
Ironically three of the four gentlemen I’ve seen more than once have been real-life acquaintances first. My goal right now, in The Middle, isn’t to date exclusively (though I am not opposed to giving a man undivided time and attention), or to get serious, but instead to spend time getting to know the character and quality of good men.
Obviously the end goal is a relationship, but what I’ve learned about me is, the kind of trust and respect a relationship is built on is established over time. Some people tell me I can’t expect a man be OK with me seeing a couple guys at the same time. But I can’t make sense of investing undivided time and attention into a man I’ve A) never met before in real-life or B) have only had superficial passing conversations with in real-life. Other people can do that, but that’s not part of my personality. I need to see them, hear them, smell them and, yes, touch and taste them to know them better before being willing to enter into a relationship. I’m not being sexually intimate, I’m getting to know the character and metal of men.
So after eight months of dating, I’ve learned more about myself than any particular gentleman.
I’ve learned that my faith is the #1 compatibility factor for me. I want, more than anything, to share my soul, my questions and my spiritual beliefs with a man who doesn't just tolerate my faith but participates in it as well. I’ve had some wonderful conversations and kisses and evenings with a few guys that I honestly wouldn’t mind spending more time with but I struggle to see a future with a man who doesn’t share my spiritual beliefs. I think it’s disrespectful of their time, no matter how much I enjoy them, to lead them on if I know our spiritual differences affect me that much. What I’m struggling with now is dating anyone, even once, who doesn’t share my spiritual beliefs because we run the risk of getting attached, which, has happened, at least for me, once.
The #2 compatibility factor is their fitness level. Just like I can’t see myself with someone who isn’t of my faith, I can’t see myself with someone who doesn’t make health and fitness a priority. The funny thing is, though I've invested time hanging out and getting to know men who don't share my spiritual convictions, I haven't spent any significant time with anyone who clearly doesn't respect their body. I suppose it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t meet them but I can’t imagine a relationship with someone who doesn’t respect his body.
To sum it all up: I’ve learned that chivalry isn’t dead, good men are really nice and fun and cool to hang with and while the online forum is a good way to waste time (and I mean A LOT of time) it seems the best way, at least for me, to get to know good guys and do fun stuff is to just do life and let it play out… and maybe I ought not even entertain anyone who isn’t fit or a man of faith…