Last week we looked at the importance of being where we are in our dating journey. That means applying dating standards to potential dating partners, not marriage standards. Thinking about marriage when considering a casual date is like putting the cart before the horse. No wonder LDS dating is so difficult and confusing for so many!
Applying marriage standards to dating isn’t the only way LDS singles trip over their own feet when dating. Too many test their dates during the date. This practice prevents living in the moment. And you can’t fully enjoy the moment if you don’t live there.
I know what many of you are thinking. How can we know whether or not to go farther with our dating partner if we don’t test? I’m not saying don’t test. I’m saying there’s a time and place for everything, and the date is not the time or place for testing. We test best after the date, not during.
Watch your broadcast
We all broadcast our inner self to those around us. If you test your date during the date, you have an agenda, and you’ll be broadcasting that. Most people will pick up your broadcast, usually to negative effect.
That shouldn’t be surprising. Most people want to be loved for who they really are and not part of some agenda or project. When you test your date during the date, you broadcast you don’t really care about your date as a person but rather as a means to an end.
One of two things typically happens. First, not wanting to be filler material, your date could withdraw from you. If your date could’ve made an excellent companion for you, then you just shot yourself in the foot. You just extended your singles life. Congratulations!
And the other possible outcome? Your test makes your date far more nervous and anxious. He or she knows, in order to go any further with you, he or she must pass your test. But not knowing exactly what the right response is or even what the test itself is, your date will likely bumble his or her way through the date, leaving you with a false impression of who they are.
And that could very well lead you to make the wrong call.
Learn from others
I once knew a woman who was in many respects a perfect companion for me. So of course I was interested in knowing her better. After a few texts and emails, we went out a few times.
Yet in all our interactions, I couldn’t escape the feeling she was testing me. That feeling was especially strong during our dates. I kept trying to put on a good performance without knowing what she wanted to see or hear. All the while, I never really enjoyed our time together because I never could. I was always worried I would say or do the wrong thing, and it would be one too many wrong things, leading her to say “Thanks, but no thanks.”
In the end that’s exactly what happened. She simply walked away.
The last I saw of her was at a singles activity. She came with some guy I’d never before seen. And after months of non-response, she suddenly started talking with me as though we were best friends. Even here she was still testing me. After hearing an clearly unwanted answer to a question about my employment (at the time I was between jobs), she walked away. I never saw or heard from her again.
You must risk
Some might say this experience proves we weren’t meant to be together. My own experience tells me we would have been good companions for each other. I don’t know what happened to her, but I hope she got what she wanted.
I can understand her perspective. Her divorce was particularly painful, and she wanted assurance she wouldn’t experience that pain again. That’s completely understandable.
Yet love is such that you must risk in order to get reward. You can’t get the relationship you really want without making yourself vulnerable. I wish she could have let go during our dates and just enjoyed my company. Even if things still didn’t work out, we might have been friends.
Don’t test your dates during the date. Just be yourself and enjoy what the other person has to offer. You can evaluate your date after the date. Then is the time when you can thoughtfully consider whether going further with this person is a good idea or not.
When you’re interacting with others, be present in that moment. Doing so will allow to experience all the joy that moment has to offer. And that will bring more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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