christiansingleguyslife

Dating and relationships – energizing or draining?

Dating futility and a feeling of loneliness

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I am still dating. This time a met a girl via another website, that I have since closed my account on.  She found me I think, but I was ready to write her off in my mind as she had a few yellow flags. But for some reason I agreed to meet her for lunch during her workday. It went much better then I expected….she vibed with me. Some chemistry in our demeanor’s…nice. She let me tell my stories and seemed genuinely entertained… she also interjected and seemed witty/intelligent with class. She appeared to take care of herself and wasn’t hard on the eyes. All good things. However, she hadn’t defined any of her faith perspective in her profile, and had chosen the category, “spiritual, but not religious”.  We had one thing there that I agreed with, “I like to think of myself as being less religious and more open to building my faith outlook on model of love Jesus demonstrated with the woman at the well, or the story about the prostitute – Grace”.  I didn’t really have many other options. Not many orthodox Christian women out there were grabbing my attention.  But since the Christian girl in the town 8 hrs. from my place suddenly fell off the map, I thought with miraculous hope, that JC often does things using unexpected sources…when I doubt or perceive something as a long shot, he sees all the possibilities (Rom.8:28). I thought I would just go with the flow….not like my well thought out plans had worked for me so far (getting all my ducks in a row..so to speak).

Insecurity – a double edge sword

One problem I have recognized after seeing this woman two more times, is that I have talked too much. She has asked me questions about parts of my life, and I have given too much detail in my answers. The good news is that this means I am attracted to her. The bad news is that even though I have asked her questions and found out some things about her, I realize  that I have a weakness. I don’t feel very worthy with women I’m attracted to. Thus I end up talking too much about myself, in an effort to promote myself, and make myself appear worthy of their attention. Insecurity. This doesn’t usually have the desired effect. Then when I’m not really attracted, I say very little, and listen more.  I appear more self-assured…. sucks!

Loneliness – my past

I have been struggling with my relational outlook lately. In church this morning, the message was about how we have a tendency to measure ourselves based on our performance, even though we know that is not the New Testament message.  I know Jesus loves as much at our low points as he does at our hi-points. But what I find difficult is this feeling that I always feel alone in this world….no one who reads me like a book. Sure my sister, and a few of my cousins have good chemistry with me, but I am only around them a few times a year…. and I am a physical dude…meaning I connect better through activities. I think I have felt alone since I was a child, if I am being really transparent,  My dad was a good father, but seemed distant mostly because of fatigue, and a heavy work schedule. My mom however, seemed pre-occupied most of the time, and even though she was present, she didn’t really seem to be hearing anything I was saying. When she did listen, she made such a big deal out of things, that what I felt most was embarrassment in front of my peers. So I ended up not really trusting my mom or dad with my heart. Later in my 20’s my dad and I made a connection as a result of some counseling I received and a paper analyzing my family life.  This was quite good until he died about 5 years ago.

She told me the red flag on me for her was that my profile indicated that I’d never been married. Wow…not surprising, but it does make being a good catch poor motivation for being a decent guy. Maybe I need to work on my ‘don’t care bad dude’ character more.

Coping Mechanisms and our limited perspectives

I left church realizing that a lot of people need to be less hard on themselves, but somehow holding onto this intangible feeling that I am not worthy to most women.  No 10 session package of counseling will resolve this… I need to have some more positive experiences with woman to build my confidence again. The idea of meeting a beautiful prostitute is attractive in this context: One can role-play that  they are on a date with a beautiful woman for a certain price, and be guaranteed that she will not reject him. For several hours his confidence is back, and he feels like a stud. I can see how some decent guys end up falling to this temptation that sometimes leads to an addiction. The bible says that God knows the desires of our heart… that JC feels our pain of loneliness… we see life thru a dark glass… I think this implies that this will all make sense when we get to heaven… there is no pain from loneliness in heaven…. there is no loneliness… people are anointed with the ability to communicate with complete transparency… what bliss that will be!  In the mean time I will have to keep my mask on and push the self-absorption of self-loathing aside. There are so many people here who are hurting and have no hope to look forward to… no life purpose… who live lives of desperation as they try to survive their life as they have experienced it… that is worse than this temporary life of loneliness…

Morality vs. Spirituality

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Being a 40 something single guy I feel the vibes/awkward body language when people realize I’m single. Maybe I’m a creep they are thinking, or maybe they are thinking “Wonder why he couldn’t meet anyone…what’s wrong with him”. Or maybe they think, “lucky guy…he has no worries”. I’m sure there are other thoughts on this. However, somehow I have experienced certain events thru the church community that have resulted in me feeling shame. Like the time I admitted I slept with my girlfriend to the pastor. I was a leader of a bible study group at this time, and in the fall the church has this habit or ritual of having all their bible study leaders on stage to be introduced, and prayed for. After this confession, during a service, all bible study leaders were asked to the stage. Of course I went up. Everyone was introduced except for me. Prayer, and then we were sent to our seats. I found out later, that I was deemed by the pastors to have a spiritual deficit because of my behaviour with my girlfriend. In other words I wasn’t close enough to God to be a good example to others. Seems that the church requires perfection for leadership, and Christ requires honesty, humility, and grace to be his follower. Seems like two different standards.

Morality – do we focus on it too much?
Our values over which behaviours indicate true morality are as skewed as our approach to each other is unchristian. Because of the way we judge each other, we become the evaluators of each other’s spirituality and worth. This evaluation belongs to God alone. Read the scriptures carefully, and you’ll find that the pages of the bible are filled with murders and adulterers who love God and are loved by God. A lot of their bad behaviour seems to happen when they are in relationship with God. Could it be that God’s way of approaching human morality and behaviour is radically different from ours?

The curse of Human Nature
Ryan writes in his book (Ashamed no more): “The appeal of a moralizing approach to faith is this: If a person can live a dramatically self sacrificing life or an apparently moral life, it is the curse of human nature to hear that whisper in our hearts, ‘I’m doing good things; I’m a moral person; God must be pleased with me.’ That is the whisper of spiritual idolatry. Instead of our love being focused on God and his desire to love us in spite of ourselves, it is focused on us and our achievements. Jesus calls us to do what we do and to want to do what He wants us to do only because we are increasingly captivated by God’s passionate love for us. “

It seems in our current church culture that some behaviours are more morally essential then others and some sins are more acceptable then others. Sexual sin, and perhaps abortion, are seen as strong indicators of one whom is not spiritually in relationship with God, more so then sins like ‘gossip’, or ‘gluttony’ . From what I have seen and heard, the church community is quite accepting of gluttony, and seems to overlook gossip as nothing more then a slip of the tongue. Hardly enough to suggest removing someone from leadership. Seems to me that Jesus was more concerned with feeding the hungry, and visiting the prisoners then he was about serving in church leadership. Somehow we have been having a tendency to slide away from the real gospel.

The Dark Side
The dark side of Christian morality is that some of us so want to feel good about ourselves we convince ourselves that God is probably pretty glad we are on his side. We wouldn’t say that out loud, and maybe we don’t even realize that we are thinking it. This is moral hypocrisy, and when we finally confront it, we are likely appalled by it. Pride is at the heart of this.

So everyday I attend church, and serve in sunday school, I know Iam likely being judged in a positive light. But when I admit to lust, or others suggest I used a girl by dating her several times and then disappearing, I am negatively judged. This is how people use moral behaviour to judge the level of someone’s spiritual relationship to God. A visitor comes seeking God at church, but ends up being confronted with a moral teaching that points at one of their habitual sins. This may be good, if they can repent and turn away. however, if they have an addiction to gossip, alcohol, lust, or some other sin, they may leave silently under a cloud of shame. Do they return to church next Sunday, or do they feed their addictive coping mechanism even more just to improve their mood and eliminate the pain of their shame? Where do we experience shame in our lives? How do we respond to shame?

Another Dating Disappointment!

Amy golfingMy dating life is not a lot of fun. As a matter of fact the more dissappoinment I experience, the tougher it gets to keep my heart soft. Getting one’s hopes up only to be dashed again and again hurts!

I met this one girl through Christian Mingle. However, she lives a day trip away. After several conversations, it seems that we really are on a similar page. We share testimonies, and I start to feel hopeful about this one. However, I know the first litmus test will be in meeting her and spending some significant time with her doing some activities. I agree to travel her direction. After some discussion about schedule, we agree to have a visit in two weeks. I will spend one day there, and travel back the following day. However, when the time comes close, I remind her that it will only be 36 hours. She states that this can’t work because she has already made other plans. I make an adjustment, and she agrees at first, and then states that she can’t get her parents to take her child as it is her week with her daughter, and they are going away. No problem I state, as I know this reality is true, and don’t think it is appropriate for me to meet her daughter right away. We rescheduled for a week later when her daughter would be away. She thanked me for being so patient and understanding. We texted a few times during the week, and shared devotionals, along with a review of my most recent teaching from a sunday morning church service. Everything seems good. I have arranged for a dog sitter, and my car is highway ready. However, 48 hours prior to the visit, she states via text that she hasn’t heard that much from me recently and is wondering if I am still coming. Before I can respond, she states her cousin in another city is having a wedding shower, and she is thinking of attending. She states that she can always fly up to see me later. I responded that I was definitely planning to come, but she has stated that she is going to her cottage for the day, and will be out of reception range. My response was 1 minute after her text arrived, but I got no response after a few minutes. Then I phoned her and got her vm to which I left a detailed message expressing my planning and desire to come to see her as planned. I wanted to discuss this with her as I wondered if she may be feeling insecure about not hearing enough from me during this previous week.

At this point, I am feeling like I have been punched in the gut…I have a physical sensation that I want to vomit. My perspective with online dating is that you can only chat so long with someone before meeting them in person. If this takes too long, the spontaneity and momentum start to decline, as the initial meeting time period from first voice contact increases. I feel stuck… How long can we stretch this out? I don’t have any commitment to her as I haven’t met her. Iam starting to think she isn’t serious about meeting me, and wonder if I should start pursuing other options. I allowed my hopes to get up that this might be a good possibility. Now I feel so down, and defeated. How many times must I go through this cycle? There are no simple answers, but there are some simple platitudes out there like “Let God find her for you”. Hhmmm…. does this mean that I am not letting God be part of the process because I’m using an online dating site? I wonder if Abraham should have stayed at home until he got a written message or prompt to move his family to a new land. Doesn’t faith have something to do with us taking a physical step? Platitudes are frequently used by people who are too tired or lazy to listen carefully and empathize before recommending a different approach. They frequently come across as moralizers. However, some platitudes when used in the write context, communicate deep meaning…like Rom. 8:28. God frequently has indicated in his word that we should listen first, pray, and speak when the spirit prompts us too. We as Christians need to practice this more…me included. The tendency of many of us seems to be to give quick advice or a wise saying, or attempt to trouble shoot the problem without first considering the persons feelings. I’m not trying to make any of you feel bad… I’m just saying. Anyway…. the life of the single guy is not a bowl of good times. It is frequently a bowl of loneliness, and feeling disconnected with the community. Most of the time I am most comfortable when I am so busy at work or volunteering that I don’t have time to be introspective. This is why I avoid church social events unless I’m going to be busy serving, and not having to field stupid questions relating to my singleness. Ahhh….I wanted to scream today: “I can’t take this anymore….and then blow my brains out!” Instead I just went to the most un-judgemental spot I know… the gym…and then worked out (poor weights) very hard. So what should I do? Stay in touch with her? Tell her how frustrating this feels? Play it cool? Or just move on and wonder what could have been… Right now I feel confused, which doesn’t happen that often with me.

Does Jesus empathize with the Gay crowd?

Penguins

I read this book recently by Justin Lee. It is called “Torn”. He is a about 35 now, and he describes his early years as growing up in a good evangelical home and having a good relationship with his parents. In high school he was nick-named by those peers who were not really his closest supporters, as the “God-Boy”. He was ok with this as he was very keen to be an ambassador for Christ and fulfill the ‘great commission’. He dated a close female friend through most of high school and for a year afterwards. However, the curveball he received in his life hit him during this time. He started noticing a change in his desires, and realized that he might be more sexually attracted to men then women. He tried very hard to ignore these impulses. Eventually he told his girlfriend, and his parents. He experienced some fairly unsympathetic responses from his Christian community outside of his family and girlfriend. The story goes on to tell about his journey and search for truth through theological ideologies, and different Christian ministries that promised to take away his desires. Finally he explores his own search of scripture. He so wanted to find away to rid himself of his bodies desires, and live in God’s blessing. What an amazing read. Very enlightening. He wasn’t only feeling rejection from the Christian groups, but also from the pro-gay groups. He would not consider himself to be like the people some of us have seen in the ‘gay pride parades’. He states that he is more conservative. After what sounded like an exhaustive search, he realized how lonely he felt. He started a website to develop a small social network of supportive friends. However, it turned out that the need for this social support was so in demand, that his website has grown into a fulltime position. I have joined his website community. I don’t have homosexual desires. I am very heterosexual in my nature. However, I joined it because I believe that Jesus wanted me to join it. Their are a lot of people there looking for the same thing as me. They are looking for community, acceptance, support, empathy, and deep friendships. I think this book is a must read for any Christian person who desires to be authentic, relevant, and fulfilling the golden rule.

Justin premises his motto as the ‘rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs Christians debate’. This is a tough challenge as both sides can be very sensitive regarding their passionate perspectives. He supports this perspective throughout his story with convincing evidence. He states that there has been confusion over the definition of what being gay means, and defines ‘Gay’ as someone who has romantic same sex desires, but doesn’t necessarily act on them. Someone who acts on these desires romantically/sexually is someone who is actively living a gay lifestyle.

What is our Response?
I gave a copy of this book to one of my pastors. I haven’t promoted my opinion, but I have suggested to close friends of mine that they read his book. My job requires me to work with teens and their families, and this issue is a common challenge. I need to know how to respond, and what my convictions are. I believe that a lot of the churches have missed the boat on this issue. I don’t think that Justin is saying he has the answer, and I’m not sure I do either. But I do know that we as the church must do a better job of ministering to these people with empathy. Empathy means trying on their shoes, and really understanding their perspective, without telling them how they should feel. We as the church need to be better listeners. Read his story…listen to others. When I went through his theological exploration with him, I started to question some of my previous conclusions. I must admit that it is still a mystery to me, but I am not as sure what the bible says about it anymore. The most important thing I have concluded from his story, is that we as the church may be too focused on the Gay-Christian debate, and need to be doing a better job of displaying grace, understanding, and love in action with respect to the gay community. What are your experiences?

Am I a Big Red Kangaroo? I sometimes feel like one!

ImageThere are a lot of pros and cons to being single. My married friends remind me of the pros like having more free time to work out, and eat well which leads to having a very fit body, and a more active lifestyle. This of course is assuming that the couples who are making this comparison have young children who need either constant engagement and planning, or need to be driven all over for specific activities. Then there are the ‘dinks’ (Duel income no kids). They have lots of opportunities to explore life together, and even go on vacation trips at a cheaper rate then a single person. Food is cheaper, and so is rent or home upkeep. As a single guy I pay more per person for shelter, food, and vacations, and I don’t have anyone to share it with. My dream since I was about 18 was always to have a family with children, and to spend lots of time imparting my life experience and wisdom to those children, as I watch them grow up and thrive. A bonus is to see how our genetics mix to create a super child who takes  our  best qualities and discards our negative qualities. But mostly I just wanted to have a good relationship with these off-spring of mine. But of course this is all a moot point. I have no off-spring of my own. I didn’t multiply as the bible commanded, and now I feel lost at times.

 

Creeps at Church

The times when this  hits me the most are when I’m sitting in the church for worship, or right after when everyone is mixing. People will wave and say hi, and some will seek me out to chat with me about how things are going etc. I sometimes will look around to see if there are attractive looking women who might be available, but this is usually fruitless. Not that there aren’t attractive women at church. There seem to be a reasonable amount. But of the female acquaintances that I have had at church, I do remember hearing about the “Creepy guy” who gives them bad vibes, even though there is nothing they can specifically put their finger on to identify him as this guy. Some have tried to identify it as the way he looks at them, or maybe it is that he invades their private space too much, or his eye contact is too long. Most of the guys that have been identified this way too me, have seemed like nice, harmless guys. So I think to myself, “I could be labeled just like them, especially if I try to introduce myself to too many women.” Then I find myself standing back, and justifying this situation, and my response: “These woman are on their own journey of discovery…they are here to worship and seek truth from the Creator… not to be pursued by some mystery guy they don’t know”. Who knows how long they have been coming to church. My approaching them may be their first impression on their first service in years. They may be thinking, “Who is this guy? Is he trying to hit on me in hopes that he might set up a date? I already have a messed up boyfriend/husband sleeping at home? Give me a break and some space please!”

And so I am standing there looking around and thinking about the possibilities of who these attractive women are, and then realizing that  chances are that I’m about to make things worse for myself. I will either get the label, “the Creep” or “the predator”. How attractive does that feel. Not. So maybe I will stick with being another face that passes by and remains unknown. Out the door I go to see my lonely dog, and then to babysit my friends foster children while they go out and enjoy life.

 

Church avoidance

I have found over the last few years that I am avoiding church events. They just remind me what an outsider I really am. I don’t fit. Younger couples, older couples, same age couples, and their children all have something in common.  My heart grows sad the more I think about it, and then I want to be a million miles away. I’m not even sure what the speaker or whomever is talking about unless it is a theatrical event. I walk out of there feeling more down then ever.  The best is when couples announce that their 19 year old daughter is getting married. I remember when I had those dreams, and those kids were ankle biters. “What is wrong with me that I can’t get it done”. This is a major voice in my head. I feel so much awkwardness when I talk with them about this marriage coming up. Instead, to avoid this painful awkwardness, I have started a new strategy: Avoid church events! I still volunteer for the Sunday School, and attend the odd service. But when there is a Christmas gathering, or a volunteer appreciation event, I skip it.  I feel like the Big Red Kangaroo who has been rejected from the pack, and is starting to go crazy, and has a reputation of attacking lone hitch hikers in the Australian outback. Think how lonely that guy must feel.

 

Diving in and being upfront

Some of my well meaning married friends stated, “Women love it when a guy is direct…not enough guys are direct….they never have the gumption to just ask a girl out”.  Some of this is true, but some of it is not. Some women, especially at church I would think, like the direct approach. However, some woman like the subtle angular approach, as it seems to take pressure out of the exchange, and may give them more time to decide if we are a guy they would want to get to know. I think some woman are afraid that if they yes to a date or coffee meeting, it is some huge commitment, half way to a marriage proposal.  I thought about this and it kinda motivated me. I had talked with this one woman on several occasions as she picks up a niece from Sunday school.  I check everyone’s ID at the door as they leave the room with the right child. She seems quite friendly, and I am 95% sure she is single, as I found out the guy she lives with is her brother. I decided to walk up to her after church and start chatting. She was on her way out, so I said, “We should do coffee some time”. She responded “sure”. I stated that I needed her number or email to give her a call to set it up. She complied and gave me her number, and then said bye. I texted her a few days later, after an unsuccessful calling attempt. I left her a brief message with a quick intro, then a prompt on a good time for coffee. After an hour she responded and said she isn’t comfortable with talking outside of church, and that she would rather talk at church. I didn’t respond as I knew that was a polite way of saying, “I’m not interested”.  She might have been 10 years younger then me, which may have been a factor. Or she may have already formed an opinion about me. Funny thing is when I go to the gym, I chat with girls 15 + years younger than me, and there is no awkwardness. They even occasionally invite me to their parties, or out with their friends, and there is no awkwardness. No pretense.  I’ve been chatting casually with this drop dead gorgeous sweet (approx.20-25 yo) girl at the gym recently. Today she challenged me to race beside her on the stepper for 30 minutes. It felt nice and friendly, to feel accepted without the awkwardness. However, I do value what I believe about life, and don’t want to push it away to have companionship. Companionship will only be shallow, unless you can connect on the most important levels.

 

Lust and intimacy

I like what former pastor T. C Ryan says in his “Ashamed No More” book.  Lust is seen as such a bad behaviour by most of the Christian body. However, it is really rooted by a legitimate desire for intimacy. No one wants to feel lonely. The problem is when they pursue things to fill this void that are not legitimate. The cycle of addiction that can happen when we create bad habits, is truly evil. Like being chained to a giant rabbit that we can’t seem to catch, and we are left always wanting more. I don’t want this. But some companionship with the opposite sex would be nice.  

Lust, Sex, and Connecting in our Culture.

Sex…something rarely talked about at any depth in church, except inferring to it as part of a marriage union, or cautioning us about dancing or spending too much time alone with the opposite sex. However, we are living in a culture that is obsessed with sex. It is everywhere: in advertising; in movies; on billboards; internet, etc. Oh, and of course there is pornography. A multi-billion dollar industry… more money is spent on porn every year in the USA then the combined total spent by all the franchises in professional football, baseball, hockey, and basketball combined. Recent literature states that almost 50% of all people in the USA are sexually addicted. This isn’t just a male problem. It includes a significant percentage of females too.

What is a sexual identity?

So lets talk about it a bit. We all have a sexual identity as part of who God made us to be. Our inner spiritual being that is contained in our fleshly vessel affects our heart. Gen.1:1-2; 5:1-2 reminds us that our humanity is a reflection of our Creator, and our sexuality is an aspect of our humanity. Our sexuality is God-given, and God reflecting. Human sexuality is a beautiful, powerful gift from our Creator.

We don’t really understand what it means to be human and spiritual and sexual. We generally only think of our sexuality as only erotic. But to be masculine or feminine is much more than expressing oneself erotically. Our sexuality provides us a way of feeling about life and seeing and interacting with others, but Eros is only one aspect of it.

In our culture today, we know how to use sex for a lot of things, but we don’t understand how it works, or what to do when someone has trouble with her sexuality. One way or another, everyone will have some trouble with their sexuality.

What kind of role does the Church play?

One of the most difficult things about our current struggles with cultural sexual brokenness, is that in the arena of divine and human interaction, the very place we ought to find the most help with our sexual self-expression, too often we find the least. The church is meant to be a community of spiritual nurture and healing. But most of the time it avoids or misapplies how the gospel addresses being human and being sexual. The result is devastating.

Lust – Motives?

“We often misuse our God-given desire to connect with others. We have the right impulse to not be alone but we struggle with this because our natures are flawed. Because we are spiritually broken people, we engage in disordered living. If we are disordered in our hearts, our approach to connecting is fractured. This brings us to lust. We lust when we co-opt something or someone to meet a legitimate desire we have in a way that honors neither us nor the person/thing we desire. Lusting is fragmented living. Lusting comes out of desires that are normal – even God-given – but our bent vision and short cutting strategies mean that when we attain what we desire, we do not find fulfillment or contentment.” (Ryan, T – “Ashamed No More” – 2012)

Lust must surrender to love, before we will have a wholesome, healthy experience. Whenever I have discussed or heard lust discussed in a church community, never do I hear anyone identify that the starting motivation or root of lust is a legitimate Godly desire. That this person, be it myself, or a friend of mine is wanting to make a connection, but is going about it in a dysfunctional manner. As a culture we can be so obsessed with sex in an erotic or romantic perspective, and then be so two-faced about it. A 20-year-old man is attracted to this 16-year-old girl whom he met while working alongside her at a restaurant. He ends up having sex with her ( after being romantically connected to her for a year prior), and is then charged by her parents for rape, and put in prison for 2 years. We are so quick to point the finger at this guy who acted out his desire to connect, be it dysfunctional in God’s eyes, but one step over the line by societal standards. Rom. 3:23 says that we are not perfect and never will be on this earth. However, in this area, the church seems to present very little “grace”.

Are our expectations for a life partner realistic, or are many of us too idealistic?

I’ve talked with many guys who feel that the Christian women they have pursued, have rejected them because of some idealistic notion that people shouldn’t have these types of desires to connect in a sexually obsessed culture. Men and women need have grace for each other. This perfect Adam you are waiting for may not exist exactly as you have been lead to believe. Sure, I as a man want to draw near to God. I want to apply the golden rule that Jesus gives us to every relationship. I desire to respect and cherish any woman I seek after for a relationship. I want to know her emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and sexually. However, it seems to me that many Christian women minimize the sexual attribute of our humanness. However, many people I meet in this culture think of sex as only erotica, or romanticism. It is connected to our spirit, and is much more than this. I would love to identify 5 goals we should identify or attain as people to bring us closer to this self-awareness, but I am still wrestling with this myself. However, I think the church community as a whole needs to present this issue in a much more open and gracious discussion then it has over the last 20 plus years.

Questions to ponder:

Have you ever experienced frustration or disappointment because of this stumbling block?

How does your church community proactively approach this subject matter?

Watch out for hidden land minds!

California girl

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My last experience with the Colombian took a lot out of me, but I still wasn't done yet.  I went on a Christian dating site, and put in a very specific search, found two women. One in California, and one in Texas. Bonus, they were both on this continent! After a few email exchanges, I started to chat on the phone with the California girl. She stated that her background was Netherlands, and I could pick up a slight accent. We seemed to really click on the phone…. it was really easy speaking with her. She told me that she followed her ex-husband around thru 19 countries when they were married before he went through what she called a mid-life crisis, and ran away with a younger woman. From what I saw in her pics, and how she came across on the phone, she seemed like a really beautiful woman with a real faith that was less religious focused. After a few long calls we discussed where the best airport would be to fly into, and what things we could do around her area. She was sounding quite excited about meeting me. She had recently had some surgery, and was more available then normal to chat on the phone, as her mobility was not up to normal.

She needed physical Chemistry
She stated that although I sounded and looked like a great guy, physical chemistry was very important to her. Thus she requested that I send as many pics as possible to her. I quickly found 4 pics that showed me in a favourable light and sent them to her. We had been responding fairly quickly to each other and I was surprised when I heard nothing after 24 hrs. I finally contacted her via text. I told her I had sent the pics. She stated that she hadn’t received them. After a few moments, she responded to me, “Did your pics show you without a shirt on?” I stated that one of them did as I had just exited the hottub in my yard. She stated that this was a deal breaker. She indicated that she received a pic with some inappropriate skin photos  (a guys penis) in her last encounter with a guy through online dating and realized that all he wanted was sex. She then stated that me having no shirt on in one of my photos reminded her of this. I said after everything we have talked about including faith, etc, you are going to lump me in as a pervert based on one topless photo out of 9 pics you saw of me. She apologized and said yes.

Negative past Experiences – Trauma
After a about 20 minutes, she called me back and explained that it may seem extreme to me, but she is just trying to put boundaries in place to protect herself. Her ex husband broke her heart, which caught her completely off guard, and these guys and their penis pics were almost as traumatic to her. After a long conversation, she seemed to understand that I was not like these other guys who never attempted to reach her again when she dismissed them. I was persistent because I knew who I was and that my motives were good. She agreed with me, but after some more clarifications, she stated with some dismay, that she could not give our relationship any opportunity to go further. It seemed that because she was quite traumatized by her earlier experiences that her flight mechanism was in full effect, and as a result she could not help herself. The fear that I would be like these other perverts was insurmountable in her mind, even though she realized that logic implied that this was likely untrue.

Feeling Very Discouraged
This really crushed me. It felt like I had stepped on a hidden land mind. I was so disappointed, that I felt like God was against me. How does this kind of thing happen to me! This was the last straw, and my energy felt so low. I knew that I wouldn’t be looking a relationship any time soon.

Two months later (June2013), I received a text from her telling me that she had found someone. I asked her why she was sharing this with me. She stated that she thought I would understand. I texted her back that I may understand her traumatic symptoms, but that I have feelings too. In our last conversation, I said to her, she implied that she couldn’t see me because she thought there may be a chance I was a “slime ball”. Why would I care about her future success… and then added, “I hope it turns out well for you”. To me this was just weird. Did I learn anything from this? I learned I suppose that at any age over 30, it is hard to find anyone without unresolved baggage.

Part 3 – Colombian Girl

Arriving in Bogota, Colombia

During our phone discussions, we agreed to meet in a different city, although I was a bit confused, and if I had known better would have met her in San Andros. We met in Bogotá, her old stomping grounds apparently. It was larger than Cali, and considered Colombia’s international trade city. As Sofia is a student, I had to pay for her round trip to Bogotá, which cost me about 400.00. My flight was about 1300.00 not including food and other expenses along the way. I arrived in Bogotá at the beginning of Spring Break on Saturday evening. We were BBM’ing each other once I left the plane, but this airport was considerably larger, and we were having trouble locating each other. Sofia started to show impatience with my inability to find her, and stated via BBM:”I am getting angry!”. I responded that if anyone should know their way around this airport between us, it is more likely her. Finally after about 20 minutes of this, we located each other and caught the shuttle to the Holiday Inn. It was located in a nice area, and was a nice looking hotel. I had it booked for a week through Expedia.

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A difficult first evening!

The first night started off with an awkward tone. Sofia asked me how I could have allowed the physical activity to happen between us. She implied that it was more my fault as I am a more mature Christian then her, and now she has sinned because of me. I used Roman’s to explain grace. Sofia stated that my theology was different and had never heard it spoken this way before. Despite my best efforts I could not effectively make her believe that God had grace for us. This was a difficult evening for us. I showed some exasperation with this conversation, and this upset her. Later that evening, I apologized to her for this display of impatience, and she responded, “You should be sorry, you acted like a little child” (I dropped the bible on the bed and sighed –  this was my child like behaviour). We slept in the same room after I made amends, but did nothing sexual together. The next day we had breakfast together on a 2nd floor  marble patio with palm tree leaves waving near us. The service was great and included in my hotel package.

Fine Dining … fireworks!!! More Red Flags!

After some sight-seeing, we went for dinner at a restaurant she picked. It was about 5 floors high with a vacant center so that one could see the bottom floor while eating on the top floor. Very rustic setting, and stylish. Mixed grill was the specialty, and we didn’t go cheap. The bill came to over 200.00 Canadian. The waitress dropped off a couple of souvenir post cards. Sofia stated that she would take one, and I could have the other. I noticed that hers had a different design, and so I asked to look at it. It was definitely more my preference as a souvenir! I stated that I was going to ask the waitress for the same one as her as I really liked it. Sofia then stated that I was acting like a “copy cat”. I responded, “no, I just like that one better”. She stated that I am a copycat, and pathetic. I said, “Are you serious? These are just postcards, and I prefer one more than the other.”  Sofia then stated that I’m acting like a boy. I then dropped both post-cards on the floor. Sofia then stated “I want a real man, not a boy! Are you a man or a boy!!” She then proceeded to lecture me at the table about this and asked if maybe I wanted to pursue other Latin girls instead of her. She stated that this would be fine. She then gave me an ultimatum. Luckily the music it was loud, but I still thought the waitress could tell things were not going well for us. She was yelling in English, and everyone was speaking Spanish, so they couldn’t understand most of it at least. I was thinking, ‘Here I am in downtown Bogotá, Colombia. I am told not to trust the taxi’s, and I have a week left in this foreign land. She is hugely over-reacting. Be cool.’ Then she keep yelling at me. She says, “Be real… quite pretending…showing the authenticity! ” She starts listing ways in which she sees me being  cheap during my time with her…”Why didn’t you buy me a new swim suit instead of only thinking of yourself! You paid for my plane ticket but didn’t even give me enough for a taxi until I had to ask you… u took the first coffee that was poured… you are always thinking about yourself!” She went on much longer then this. I was very surprised by this at first, and then I started to explain my actions but she would have none of this. I finally said that I have been a bachelor for a few years, and thus I am not used to spending time with a romantic partner everyday. I like to do things and put my partner first, but I have to think about it, because it is not a habit for me yet. She responded that I should do this automatically as she is always thinking of me first. I became defensive and stated that I have noticed things about her too. She stated, “Really!? then tell me what I do. I am trying to help you with your relationships by being honest with you! Be honest with me!!”. I decided to that I would say something but quickly regretted it. I gave examples to demonstrate why some of my friends wondered if someone like her might be using me. She literally blew a gasket when I confessed this. She was very defensive, and gave examples of why this was not even close to being true. Finally after all this tension, I stated that would like to continue “knowing her” for the rest of the week as this is what I came to Colombia for in the first place. She seemed to calm down at this point. We started to joke around a bit more, and then I paid the bill. We asked for more drinks, and even thought about dancing.  We found a cab and returned to the hotel. We slept in the same bed and did not touch each other until a I reached out and pulled her into me. She seemed to enjoy this and pressed against me. We stayed close like this for 5 minutes without talking before separating and going to sleep.

Seeing the famous online church live! Sofia’s Insecurity.

Everyday we planned to do a day trip after breakfast on the hotel patio. We even attended the church she followed on the internet: “Avivamiento”. It was huge. If we would have sat near the back, we would have been out of range and had to have watched the service on a TV. It was like a giant warehouse with separated areas, and people seated in every area. I told the usher we were first timers, and she brought us right to the front of the balcony where we could see the stage directly. It was very meaningful to Sofia, and I was able to participate in worship as I understood some of the Spanish, and the music seemed so familiar like my own church. It was kind of sobering for her I think. When we returned to the hotel. the woman at the front desk who probably recognized me from all the times I had come down to ask a favour (dvd or a wire for my laptop to watch a movie with Sofia). smiled and gave me a welcoming look. When we got upstairs, Sofia stated that she saw the BBM number I had written on a piece of paper, and stated, “I’m not stupid Keith. I saw how that girl was looking at you when we returned. I also saw that BBM number. You and her are planning to get together sometime?!” The BBM number was for a Christian buddy from my church back home as it would cost too much to text or call. He gave this to me via email, as I needed his advice on how to respond to all of Sofia’s accusations. I didn’t tell her this latter part. I actually thought about what it might be like to go touring around with this front desk girl at this point, as she seemed quite charming, friendly, and sincerely helpful, not to mention quite pretty. Sofia was wearing me down with all these challenges and complaints, and I was starting to wonder about her sincerity.

Everything is unraveling… let me out of here!

It seemed like everyday, we would have a great afternoon, but then every evening she would start to criticize me, or feign self-pity by stating that if  I buy something for her, I will claim she is using me. Although I paid for some medical shots she needed for her work, and every cab ride and meal, she seemed to be trying to plant a guilt trip on me all the time. I was starting to wonder if I could ever please her. On the fourth day, we had just finished coming down the mountain on the gondola, and were looking for a taxi. At this point we were hot and tired and had spent 45 minutes in a lineup for the gondola. She suddenly blurted out that she needs to go home. I didn’t argue with her about it, but was curious. She stated that she needed to attend an appointment that her mom had arranged for her or it would cost her mom (apparently she had forgotten about it until a phone with her mom earlier in the week).  We went back to the hotel. I called the airline company for her and arranged for an earlier departure (that night at 10pm).  She seemed so happy with me that I did this for her with no opposition to it. I considered staying, but I had concerns of being here on my own and all the paranoia she had planted in me about the locals and how they were looking for guys like me. So I made similar arrangements for myself to leave that night at 11pm. We ate dinner together in the hotel restaurant. She was in a very good mood. I felt confused and unsure how to feel. I found out I would get no refund on my remaining 4 nights. Sofia was surprised by this and went to argue with the hotel representative, but had no better luck then me. When I paid the final bill, I asked if she knew the name of the young male waiter who had been so helpful in going the extra mile for me on so many mornings. She pointed him out watching a soccer match on TV. I went to him and gave him what they considered a very generous tip for making my stay more pleasant. He showed great appreciation for this gesture. In the shuttle on the way to the airport, Sofia seemed down. She stated, “Keith, you are very generous with everyone but me! I was hoping to get a gift for my daughter while I was here, but now it seems too late.” I inferred that because of our early departure there is no time for this. However I said, “you might be able to get her a souvenir at the airport”. Sofia seemed to be pouting. I realized then that she was trying to get me to give her some cash. I had already given her more than she needed for her taxi once she reached Cali. I was planning to use my remaining money to buy local coffee beans for my friends at the Bogotá airport. I told her I was limited but gave about the equivalent of 15 dollars Canadian with Colombian currency. She seemed quite disappointed with this offering. I was thinking as I did this, ‘How pathetic, she is trying to manipulate me for money right to the very end’.  I hugged when she got out at her stop. and told her I would be in touch and I hoped she had a good trip. Part of me, while somewhat disappointed, was relieved to be leaving her.

Summarizing my thoughts and feelings about what happened.

I thought a lot about what her game was on the way home. I wasn’t sure, but I thought her motives might be genuine. She did compare my efforts with her ex from N.Y., and it seemed that he was more generous than I (getting a corner suite instead of a regular hotel room, etc).  I think maybe she liked being treated like a princess, and was hoping I would match up to this while also respecting her faith. Her ex had no real faith, and this was a big negative to her. I realized that she was quite well taken care of by people in general. Her daughter went to school near maternal grandma, and also stayed with her while Sofia was studying to finish her degree dermatology. He mom had even arranged a nice town house by Cali standards for her and her sister to share rent free. She had a massage business she did on the side (mostly female clients). She had been well taken care of financially, and her dad (not with her mom) seemed to favour her over her sister, and likely spoiled her. I come into her life and she assumes I will have the same financial resources she experienced in her marriage to the NY guy. I spend 6500.00 on flights, hotels, taxi’s and meals, etc. during these two visits (not counting all the long distance skyping we did ).  I believe she suffered from having a very high sense of entitlement, giving very little consideration to my point of view. I do believe she was sincerely interested in pursuing a real relationship with Jesus, but all these personal, and cultural experiences played a significant role in how all this played out for her.  As for me, when I got home, she was BBM’ing me about 14 hrs.’ later (after she had slept) and I spent two hours going through customs and getting my bags dumped out. She thought I didn’t want to ever talk with her again. She had watched this preacher again online, and had a revelation of how poorly she had been treating me. She apologized several times. I stated that we need to think about this more. I also suggested that the next trip, if there was one, would be her flying here. I stated that we need to be sharing in the same daily devo’s to get to understand each other better until this time or decision was made. I sent her my devo’s via email every day for the next month.  However, I found out that another old flame for N. America had re-connected with her around the same time as our trip. She wondered if he was the one, and did not want me “to have any illusions about our relationship”. That was the last straw. She kept talking but I place the phone on my car seat and drove away as she chattered on justifying how this happened. I BBM’d her to “keep in touch”. She sent me one stating that she wanted to keep me as a friend as she desired my spiritual wisdom in her life. I didn’t respond. Chapter closed.  It was quite clear to me. I had taken a risk and an adventure, and it didn’t work out…unlike in Hollywood.  I felt drained emotionally.

Sofi A

Part 2 (long over due)

Long Flight and a friendly Samaritan

After two brief stopovers in Chicago, and Miami, I arrived in Cali, Columbia 14 hrs later, after leaving my home town. I met an interesting local guy on the last segment of the flight, who turned out to have businesses in both Miami, and Cali. He was born and raised in Cali, and seemed like a reasonably honest person. I decided to confide in him. He applauded me for taking such a risk, but then warned me about the dangers of meeting these Columbian women. He stated that many of them have a reputation for using men, especially men from affluent nations like the USA, etc. I described my own concerns while agreeing with his caution. He was nice enough to offer me a place to stay, and gave me his contact info if this girl turned out to be one of those women. He then waited for me in the airport when it turned out that my baggage had been lost, and I had to put in a claim with my broken Spanish. Not a good start! I saw him as I went through the exit to the outside (no indoor waiting area). I looked around in a crowded area, and saw her. This kind gentleman came over with his 10 yo son and I introduced him to Sofia.

Seeing her in Person!

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She was wearing hi-heels, and had a lot of makeup on (made her look different then her pics like the one above). She seemed about 5’10 – 5’11” in her 4 inch heels. She had a cab waiting for us. He seemed to know her and was waiting beside her. We walked up to the cab and got in after explaining where the hotel is that I had booked. It was about 9pm, and dark out. Sofia tried to tell me that I needed to pay the cab fare as she had paid for it on the way to the airport. I had no problem with this. She explained that this cab was the only cab she used, as street taxi’s could not always be trusted (armed guards on every street corner). The taxi drove through busy downtown streets like he was in the race of his life. The cab was so small my knees felt cramped, and I must have banged my head on the head rest in front of me 5-6 times (sudden braking). We arrived at the Radisson which turned out to be a very nice hotel with a pool and pool side food service (black and white). We had to quickly drive to Sofia’s home which was only a 5 minute drive away, as she did not have proper ID to be allowed to visit with me in my room. She lived in an interesting neighbourhood or “the nice part of town” as she said. Every home was so pressed together that it seemed more like row housing. Every home at bars over all the windows, and seven foot metal gates that were padlocked. Sofia told me to wait in the taxi, and to keep window up as she did not want her sister to see me. Her sister, according to Sofia, was quite a difficult person and was to be avoided by me. She only took about 5 minutes.
Finally we were in my hotel room, and Sofia brought a bottle of wine to toast my arrival. After a few glasses, I was making an effort to have her share in a devotional with me. This was something important and since we were to have such a compressed visit, I wanted to try this out with her. She seemed interested. However, before we finished it we ended up in each others arms kissing. This was ok, and very validating for me. She was a very beautiful woman. After some cuddle time, we lost control. She seemed so excited and pleased with me, that she stated, “I can’t help it”, and proceeded to take her top completely off. Things went downhill from here, and she stayed the night.

Shopping – sight seeing – my proposal!
We ended up shopping the next day for clothes as I had nothing to change into. We were to go swimming in the pool after this, but we had to stop by her place to get her swim suit, as well as buy one for me. She complained about the heat more than I did. We enjoyed a breakfast brunch beside the pool before we left, which was quite nice (food quality, and presentation). The whole weekend seemed to go quite well, and we saw many things together, and ate at several nice restaurants. By the end of the trip I was very direct, and felt like she was looking out for my best interests (telling me not to tip so much, etc), and told her that I would like to continue pursuing her in this relationship context. We confessed to God about getting carried away regarding the physical intimacy. she seemed quite happy with this ending to our whirlwind trip. I gave her money for her cab to get home from the hotel at 5 am in the morning, and then left for my plane. My bags had been located and returned the night before (a little late). The ride home was long but seemed to go as well as one could expect for going through customs twice. I wasn’t the first guy who had done this apparently!

Future Planning!
I contacted Sofia via Skype soon after arriving home, and we talked several times before announced that I would return again for spring break ( a week this time). My plan was that if this went well, I would arrange to have her flown to my hometown to meet my family and friends. She had already lived in Illinois, near Chicago when she was first married, but returned home with her young daughter after things fell apart. Sofia was very excited it seemed to hear that I was planning to return so soon. A lot of our discussions focused on understanding a “grace” perspective of the bible, as she had been raised Catholic, but was now attending or listening to an evangelical/charismatic type preacher in Columbia (“Avivamiento Church”). He seemed to have good theology, but I had only listen to one message on his website, and had read what was in English to understand some of his ideology. My own pastor had heard of this preacher, and gave him a thumbs up.  I was starting to feel quite optimistic that this whole adventure may have the desired ending I have been looking for my whole life. Stay tuned for part 3.

No luck on the dating home front…greener passages elsewhere?

(Part 1)Wow…I got this crazy idea from a friend of mine about date women from other countries. I read a book on another  guy’s experience, and even though I originally scoffed at these ideas, I was now feeling pursuaded to give it a try. I decided that latin women would be more to my liking because they had a much higher probability of living real Christian values, then lets say ‘Russian women’. Russian women, according to this author are more likely to be ‘gold diggers’ or after citizenship. Russian women are very attractive, but so are many latino girls. After deciding that latino girls were my target, I learned from research that certain countries has that were more dangerous and least touristy were also home to the most authentic faith’s. However, the obvious drawback is that it is dangerous to meet them. Women from more domestic and tourist friendly nations were much less dangerous, but also more likely to use their looks to manipulate a guy into marriage for the sake of citizenship. So, after realizing that their were 3 tiers, I chose a country in the 2nd tier, bought some contact for a handful of promising women’s profiles. I chatted with one almost immediately on email, and then quickly to skype. However, after several conversations, although very skilled in the English language, she seemed to avoid any questions of mine about her testimony. This seemed to be going nowhere.  After a few weeks she sent me a note saying that she had met someone. I was disappointed but knew that I wasn’t feeling very connected with her anyway.

After a few more very brief contacts, I started chatting online with another latino girl who was just getting back from her Australian travels. At first it was slow going, and she was somewhat obstinate as she she kept questioning why a good looking guy like me was on this sight. she admitted that she was suspicious my motives were sleezy. She became upset with me a few times because I didn’t call exactly when I said I would. However, the bright side about her was that she was open about sharing her testimony, and seemed genuinely interested in my spiritual faith testimony.  We talked about meeting over Christmas, as I had holidays, but this tentitive planned disappeared as we both appeared to have cold feet about taking this step. I knew it would cost me at least 3000.00 dollars, and quality time I normally gave to my family.

Suprisingly, after Christmas, she continued to contact me again. This time there seemed to be a much more welcoming spirit coming from her, and she seemed to trust my motives. Each conversation seemed to get better, and deeper about testimony and life experiences. After over 6 months of regular phone chatting through skype, we agreed to meet each other. I made some special arrangements, and stretched a longweekend into 4 days. I bought my plane tickets. I was finally going to meet her!  A few things had to fall into place to make this visit possible…and they did. I discerned that I was taking a good step.

The final week before leaving was nerve wrecking. I couldn’t figure out what to pack, and obsessed over this enough to lose sleep. I was really nervous. I was fianlly going to meet Sofi, or so i thought. I had some concerns about this as I had heard some very worrisome stories. I prayed a lot that week to God. He spoke to me and said, “If it is meant to work it will work”, and that this trip may be more about something God wants to show me during this travel it. This realization took the pressure off thinking I had to be and look perfect. God was large and in charge, and would guide my path.  This was going to be an amazing trip” no matter what”.   (part 2 is coming!)

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