If you’re just joining me, I’m using a few posts to talk about the difficulty of wading through the tricky waters of faith/religion in the dating world. Even if you wouldn’t call yourself “religious” (a word I actually hate), you have SOME set of beliefs that you ascribe to…And what do you do about syncing those with another?
(The intro to this discussion can be found here.)
I figure the best way to dive into this is to simply talk about it from my viewpoint and experience.
This is, by far, THE biggest stumbling block
to finding “the one” (for me… the one for me).
I’m going to a speed-dating event later this month, hosted by Match .com, (which will hopefully be better than my last attempt at speed dating…), and I told a friend of mine – if I knew that all 15 of the men there would be Christians, I’d happily pay four times the amount for the event. A room full of single Christian men? YES to that.
In related news, I’ve just thought of an idea for my birthday, for anyone who needs one…
But I digress.
The point is – finding a man who shares my beliefs is practically impossible. (But, since I am an optimist and have not gotten so cynical that I’ve stopped believing in love – I can still say “practically”…)
Online dating SHOULD be the perfect solution to this problem, right?
I mean – there are BOXES to check, people…it’s simple! RIGHT?
Every site has options for selecting which faith (or non-faith) you are, and which you’re looking for.
All you have to do is be honest. Check the box that TRULY represents you, and this should solve the issue…right?
The problem is (well, ONE of the problems…) – the “choose the box” method doesn’t really work. Well, not on its OWN.
Why? Because people are dumb when it comes to matters of faith/spirituality.
Fine – maybe not DUMB, but largely NOT THOUGHTFUL.
After having been out there for a while now, I’ve realized there really (at least for ME) almost has to be some mention of faith in the essay portion of the profile. Because, I’ve learned that there are plenty of people out there who check the box “Christian,” and have absolutely no idea what that even means. It’s actually embarrassing to me AS one.
The majority of the guys online whose profile lists them as “Christian” are actually just
- Loosely spiritual (they acknowledge that there may be a spiritual dimension to this life)
- Agnostic (acknowledging that there must be some supreme being, but unable to claim any one religion because we don’t have the power to KNOW for sure what’s true
- Christian by name only (they grew up in a household where they went to church or VBS or Christian summer camps)
- Christian in philosophy, but not in their lives (they actually believe that Jesus was the son of God, but never go to church, don’t think that any kind of organized religion is good and have no desire to deepen their understanding of their beliefs)
I went out with a guy who marked “Baptist” on his profile, but then on the date – when it came up, said that he doesn’t really follow John the Baptist anymore. Um…. as far as I know, no religion holds John the Baptist as the person to “follow.” It was a whole strange discussion where I realized that he’d never spent ANY time thinking about or processing what it is he really believes.
In fact, as I think about this topic, it occurs to me that my atheist and agnostic friends have given more honest reflection/thought to what they believe (or don’t believe) than many “Christians” I run across. Seriously. I’m thinking of three friends in particular – two atheists and one agnostic – who have devoted serious time and attention to arrive at the place they’re in, faith-wise. It’s quite impressive, actually!
Sadly, for MANY people, that’s not the case.
So – it’s not enough to check the box.
Here’s just one example of that:
This guy was, at least, decent and sweet about the fact that he’d checked a box that didn’t represent him. We’ll call him “Luke.”
I met Luke on Match.com and we began messaging each other.
We quickly moved to texting and were planning to meet up for drinks or lunch. I used an opportunity in our texting to playfully assess how serious he was about his faith. Here’s how it went:
This is disappointing, but in the end, it saves me the heartache of starting to fall for someone who I can’t really be with…
But at least this guy was honest about where he was. I SO appreciated that.
I go out on dates all the time with guys who claim to be Christian and either full-on lied on their profile, or (more often the case), simply were raised in the church and claim that without really owning it for themselves. It would be the same as me saying I’m a republican simply because my parents are. We would all agree that doesn’t make much sense to call yourself one thing, if you don’t have any honest connection or true identification with it for yourself… and yet – people do it in online dating all the time.
So, I press on.
I include what it is I’m looking for in my profile, I TRY to assess where a guy is in his own journey of faith before meeting up, but certainly within the first couple of dates, and when I DO find men who share my beliefs, I still have to find one who knows how to us an apostrophe, is funny and attractive, etc., etc. Seems NEARLY impossible.
In the next portion of this series, I’m going to get pretty controversial and talk about WHAT exactly it is that I believe. And WHY it’s NOT ok for me to date someone who’s not in the same camp. Buckle up…it may involve snake-handling.
Ok, fine, it doesn’t…….