The two met at a Theology on Tap. Sharing the same faith and thinking the other was pretty darn cute, they began the natural progression of witty flirting, which included creative excuses to be constantly in the same arena.
As I listened to my friend discuss his past few dates and phone calls with this cute Catholic woman, he leaned in and admitted that in spite of all the good things about her, there was something that was really bothering him, “She told me the longest she’s been single is six months. I like her but don’t like the fact that she can’t seem or choose to be alone.”
Serial dater strikes again!
The above scenario happens more often than we care to admit – in our own lives and in our friends’ lives. There seems to be an obsession with relationships as a way to avoid loneliness and so our culture’s mentality seems to breed serial daters. Serial daters, for the most part, are those who go from one relationship to the next with limited time in between. They enjoy the pleasure and immediacy of relationships more than discerning whether that person is the one God is calling him or her to be in a relationship with. Some (not all) serial daters prefer more casual relationships, steering away from commitment. They live as if dating were a bus schedule: a new bus (person) is available every 15 minutes.
But spending time alone is actually a good thing. It allows one to get to “know thyself” without the distraction or influence of a significant other, no matter if that influence be good or bad. Thinking on your own, discovering talents, likes and dislikes are a crucial part to self-maturity. Indeed, God first created Adam to be alone so that Adam could know himself and, knowing himself, long for another. It is only in answer to Adam’s self-knowledge and his subsequent self-longing that God created Eve.
In addition to the increase in self-knowledge that comes when one is sans relationship, platonic friendships can also increase along with learning how to be a better friend.
Many people attempt to find their worth in another. Yet, it is rarely rightly achieved because we have put our trust, love, and companionship in another fallible human being. We often neglect the one relationship that in itself brings fulfillment to all other relationships: our relationship with our Creator and Savior who knows us better than any human person could ever know us.
I mention this point frequently in my presentations when I speak of my husband, saying, “Ricky will fail me. I will fail him. We realize that our #1 spot does not go to the other but to Christ. Jesus is our #1 and we are each others #2.” For this reason, during our wedding Mass, we said our vows holding onto a crucifix, emphasizing the point that our love in marriage has Christ as the foundation and He is first in our lives.
Please, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that one should remain single for a specific amount of time before beginning a relationship – there’s no equation and the Holy Spirit is above our ways, knowledge and understanding. However, a constant stream of significant others may not be healthy for personal growth or for the health of your future relationships.
So, be good to yourself. Relax. Enjoy your singlehood. Steer away from serial daters and don’t become one. Enjoy the time in between relationships and utilize it as time for you and the Lord. Lastly, enter into relationship with Christ Jesus; not a superficial one but a deep encounter with the One that loved you into existence and keeps you in existence by that same love.