Reply To: College fresh(wo)man, never dated… How to start?
Hey lemonade021! I’m so glad that you put this question out there because it is seriously an important one and it is something I faced my freshman year as well. So, like you, I entered college with a clean dating record and knew at some point, I might meet someone who would convince me to change that. And, sure enough, I did. But, let me give you some definite advice I wish I would have listened to when the whole romantic whirlwind started.
-First, pray, pray, pray! Tell God specifically the attributes you are looking for in a man and have faith that in the right time He will send someone into your life.
*Note: When creating this list, make sure your list is at human levels of capability and not at an impossible prince charming level. Remember Romans 3:23 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
– Second, create a list of your values that you will NOT compromize on (ex. No pre-marital sex, no kissing utill we have dated for ___ months, acceptable and non-acceptable physical touch, acceptable and non-acceptable language/lifestyle). Now, you may be saying, “I feel like I already have all these in my head. Why write them down?” Do it regardless! I can’t even begin to explain how much of a help it is to see these things written. When everything is down in ink, it literaly solidifies your values. Plus, when you do find that special someone, you can sit down and go over your list together.
*Note: Now, when a young man of interest reviews this list with you (and, if you are lucky, he might even have his own!), be bold in saying what you expect! Don’t give a loose answer open for various interpretations or an answer that is sugar coated that way it doesn’t sound so blunt. (I struggled heavily with sugar coating things…). Also, I can’t stress this enough. You are a beautiful treasure of God and every part of you, spiritually, mentally, and physically is a gift to be shared in the right time. My point here is that you should never let a young man try to convince you to change or “loosen up a bit” on your values. If he truly respects you, he will take special care not to trod on the boundary lines, but to observe them with careful distance!
-Finally, don’t just settle for anyone or for the first guy who shows an interest in you. Take special time to find out who the person truly is before you throw your heart and your deepest memories and secrets to him. I spent literally the first six months of college getting to know the guy I dated before we went facebook official. That gave me plenty of time to really know who he was, what his character was like, what his values were, and if we would be compatible. If he is, great! If he’s not and you know it, don’t be afraid to let the relationship go. I say this from personal experience. Long before I began dating my now ex-boyfriend, I knew he didn’t have some of the important attributes I was looking for in the man I was eventually going to marry. I loved him and though that would be enough. That “love” only lasted me a little under four months in a dating relationship before I broke it off. In the end, we were both heartbroken and I felt like a jerk because I knew all this should have ended a lot sooner.
Alrighty, time for your last question – how does dating work. Okay, it depends on what your definition if dating is. If we are going off of my definition, it is pursuing a person in the prospect of marriage. Kinda bold, I know, but hey, don’t date who you wouldn’t marry because you will marry who you date. Now I’m presuming that you are referring to a dating relationship and not going on a date. Dating relationships are amazing! If you are dating a guy, he will probably feel like your best friend. As for how it works, it’s just like hanging out with your friends. You can spend time one on one or you can both get together with both of your friends in a large group and hang out. I highly suggest doing both since it will give you a chance to see how your knight in shining armor interacts with the world. Every once in a while the two of you might go out and do something special together, but for the most part, you will just continue living on your life before, just you will share a part of your life with someone else. At times, it gets annoying and stressful. You never know when an important or unexpected topic will come up that will require more time for discussion than you have planned. Believe me, I had a few half-hour meetings turn into two or three hour discussions. This is a struggle that everyone has to learn to deal with in their own way because, if that over-expansion on time gets too out of hand too often, it will definitely mess with your grades!
I hope I answered your questions as needed. Feel free to send back a reply if you have any more questions you would like answered or if I failed ro answer something. God bless and praying for you lemonade021. 🙂