Dating and relationships – energizing or draining?

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.  

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