“Help! I Can’t Get Anywhere with Dating and I Feel Lost!”

    I’m a 20-year-old college girl who feels like I missed a step. I dated a bit in middle school and high school, but nothing for long enough to really become comfortable with dating in general. After a few terrible relationships, it’s been a few years and I can’t help [but] think there is something wrong with me. I feel like I’ve related this scenario to my self-esteem and I feel so lost while all my friends are dating. I’ve transferred colleges and moved cities, too, so things feel difficult in so many ways. How can I feel grounded, and what advice do you have for someone who feels so normal, but can’t get anywhere with dating?

    Hey girl! Thanks for trusting me with your question. I can imagine that you’re totally frustrated with the dating scene, and that past relationships have left you feeling self-conscious. But I think this sums up one of the reasons casual dating can be destructive, right? Sometimes, I think that the less we date before marriage, the better. Seriously!

    You want advice? Don’t stress over dating. Don’t be so concerned about what those around you are doing. Focus on your walk with Christ and He will guide you with patience and fortitude.

    Also, the last thing you want to do is assume that there’s something wrong with you and that’s why you’re not dating. That only creates negative feelings that reflect in your overall personality. So, stay positive and know that dating doesn’t define you.

    Besides, you shouldn’t be so quick to date. The person you date should be a candidate for marriage, so he should have the qualities you’re looking for in your future husband. If you rush into dating for the sake of dating, you’ll probably rush into another “terrible” relationship. Ugh! And who wants that?

    So here’s what I think you should do:

    1. Nurture your relationship with Christ. Is He the center of your world? How strong is your desire to know Him compared to your desire to date? Refocus your mind on Him.
    2. Focus on your work. You’re in college, right? So work on doing your best for Christ without the distractions that relationships bring. Your time to date and marry will come; now is the time to study.
    3. Know what you’re looking for in a husband. If you make a list of qualities that you desire in your husband, it really helps you focus on who you’re looking for in a husband, not just a date.
    4. Keep busy with hobbies and activities. Find a church nearby where you can take part in service to others. This will keep you busy and focused on serving the Lord, which in turn will help you strengthen your faith.
    5. Take dating seriously. Recognize dating for what it ideally is: the first step to marriage. Once you recognize the significance, you’ll be more concerned with dating the right guy, as opposed to simply dating.
    6. Love being single. There’s nothing wrong with being single, especially since you’re still young! Enjoy it! The time for dating will come soon enough. Until then, see the positive in being single. Embrace it! Take advantage of the freedom you have to do the fun things you’ve always wanted to do.
    7. Hang out with more singles. If you hang out with other singles, you won’t feel left out. You can meet new people at your church or during your activities. Hanging out with more like-minded girls will help you in your desire to remain focused on God and not guys!
    8. Pray. In all things, pray. God is the answer to everything. He will guide you—just pray to Him and ask Him for patience.

    Good luck and God bless!

    Need some advice? Ask your relationship questions in the Ask Olivia Girl Talk forum or in the comments below and I might answer them in a future article!

    Ask Olivia
    Got a question about boys, your besties or God? I'm here to help! As the girl all my friends always came to for advice, I've turned my girl talk, level-headedness and love of Jesus into a job -- one I love because I was a teen not long ago, too! Click into Ask Olivia in our Girl Talk Forums to ask me a question!


    1. Be careful with 3! Your priorities in looking for a husband should NOT be a laundry list of specific qualities — your priorities should be similar to God’s priorities. Does he have a genuine relationship with God? Does he love earnestly? Can he admit his mistakes? Does he know how to laugh at himself? Those things are way more important than “can cook” — you can learn how to cook together!

      Also be careful with 4 — don’t be too busy! One of the ten commandments is to keep the Sabbath — to rest. Being too busy has negatively impacted my relationship with God. A better way to say that would be “be your own person!” Have your own interests! Love things! Be passionate — be it about yoga, homeless outreach, soccer, biochemistry, art, exploring — love things and do things you love. And don’t forget to rest.

      In regards to number 5 — I’d actually say, don’t take dating too seriously! Don’t be afraid to grab coffee with someone. Just make sure it’s clear to them, and clear to you, that going on a date with you doesn’t entitle them to anything. They don’t get to kiss you, or hug you, or assume they’re going to marry you just because you’re dating them — each one of those steps is one that should be deliberate, to both of you. Definitely don’t be casually /intimate/… but if your definition of a “date” is grabbing coffee and talking about fair trade economic practices — please get coffee and talk! How else are you going to know you want for step 3? Only be /intimate/, emotionally or physically, with someone who is /committed/ to you — but they shouldn’t have to commit to have a chat about chemical thermodynamics! (Or am I the only one that talks about that on dates?…)

      Totally agree with 7 though! Christian community is killer. It’s amazing to see how deeply people can love one another when they don’t expect anything in return — no relationship, no flowers, no cards, no nothing — just you’re my friend, we’re family in christ, and I’m here for you no matter what. Every individual needs that kind of community, whether you’re young or old, married or dating or single or ‘it’s complicated’!

    2. Is there a way to save articles on your profile? I would love to have these to go back to without having to search for them! And I really like this.

      I’m currently “dating” a guy who asked me on a date a week ago, but I really don’t see the relationship going anywhere. I’m someone who cares about people’s feeling so any harsh action is just not a me thing. So, I have to break up with him. He got me stuff for my birthday which was 4 days ago and honestly I feel terrible about it.

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