I have been following Brett’s relationship blogs – and especially the comments on them – with interest and have been reminded of some of my pre-Brett dating vibes. Here are a couple of thoughts – disconnected, but hopefully useful.
I tell people I never dated anyone before Brett. Which is partially true. I never “went steady” (ha ha ha ha ha I just said that!) with a guy, dated for a prolonged period of time (i.e. more than two dates), “courted”, or kissed a guy. But I did go on dates with guys. Some of them were incredibly awkward – the sit at X coffee shop and play with the sugar packet until it please-God-ends kind of awkward. Some of them hurt so much that I wished I’d never gone or even met the guy – the “Hey, let’s go on a “date” kind where “date” was his fun word for let’s hang out alone together, “I’ll pick you up at 7”, and talk about another girl the whole night – the please-God-let-the-floor-open-up kind of hurt. After some of them I couldn’t wait for the next one, the call, the sms – which never came. Nothing. One of them – an intimate movie and dinner where I felt the most special and wanted that I had ever felt up till that point – sent me into a 4 month crisis of faith and one of the darkest times of my spiritual life. I left church, pushed friends away, ranted and screamed at God for hours, cried, and rebelled. Because he wasn’t Christian. How could this most amazing guy – the first one to ever treat me like I was desirable, and special – be off-limits? The way I described it to friends at the time was that it was like I had seen this beautiful garden and been allowed to walk a few steps into it, and then beauty and happiness that awaited in it was suddenly ripped away and I had to turn on this hard, dark, path and trust a God I didn’t even really believe in any more that He had something better, something that exceeded this good thing I had tasted, down the road. He did. But wow that path was pretty hard at times.
I get it. I get the “being ignored by Christian guys” thing while non-Christian guys were taking the risk and treating me amazingly. I get the million guy friends, the sms’s that built emotional attachment but never amounted to anything, I get the mixed signals. I get the touching and flirting and hints and signals that are oh so exciting. And I’ve been there where the guy has turned around and said, “Oh that? No I was just kidding and playing with you. Oh, you thought I was into you? Nah, not so into you.” And I’ve seen it happen to girls I love – and it is NOT cool. Church-guys, listen up yo, I’m not saying the girls are innocent cos I’ve seen them play this one too, but it is NOT okay. Just as an aside. I also get the pain of seeing the “serial dater girl” – the really pretty one who is always in a relationship. I’ve seen her work her way through groups of my guy friends and I’ve struggled to understand why they would want her and be attracted to her and get into a relationship for 2 months only to have her going out with their best friend a few months later.
My “good” Christian guy friends told me I was cold and hard and my heart was frozen. I took those words and grabbed onto them and let them twist and turn within me and they made me cold and hard, they made me build up more walls, they froze my heart so that words like that couldn’t hurt me again.
Here’s the thing though. Not all the Christian guys in my sphere were ignoring me, playing the field, and playing with my heart. Just the ones I had my eyes set on. There were guys who asked me out, were genuinely interested, sent sms’s and tried to initiate friendship-relationship. But they weren’t the cool ones, the hot ones, the fun-loving dynamic personality ones. And I treated them like junk. I rejected them, I played hard to get, I gave mixed signals, I spoke about how wonderful other guys were around them, I ignored them, I trash-talked them, I built up “wonder-men heroes” in place of them, set the bar and told them inadvertently that they would never measure up to the spiritual guy (you know the one, cos there is one in your church – the upfront, leader, got it all together dude). When they asked me out I said no without giving them a chance. I effectively said, “I know enough about you to know that I will never like you enough to marry you”. Invariably I hadn’t even had a single conversation with them by the time I had weighed them, measured them, and found them severely lacking. Ah, this is all to my shame now! How dare I do to them the hundred things I was complaining, ranting at God about, that other guys were doing to me. I am sorry. To each and every one of those guys. Because I never gave you a chance to show me who you were. In doing so I not only ended up feeling lonely and unwanted, but I missed out on getting to know and become friends with some super quality guys just because they didn’t fit my mold.
Part 2 to follow: