NB: this one will probably be a longer one, and more emotional. If that's not your flavour, try another post over on the right somewhere.
Last night (as of writing these lines) I went on an online Christian dating site for the first time. Yeah.
It feels kind of weird, saying it. (Writing it. Whatever.) Like a dirty secret that I'm airing out, even though I've barely used it yet. Previously, I've been one of the first people to say that I'll never use a dating site, dating apps, anything like that, for many reasons - I'm not into casual dating, I think it's a bit weird pouring your money into that before you even get anywhere, and there's already a lot of great people that I know. It's mainly that last one that grates on me a bit, but we'll get to that in a moment. First up, I want to talk about why I went there, rather than why I feel so weird about it etc.
So, for anyone who's been reading/aware of what's been going on for me for the past while, I've talked a few times about my desire to be in a relationship. But almost always, along with the caveat of, "I'm not in a healthy place for that right now." I needed to do some growing, I needed to focus on my relationship with God. Which is good! And I'm glad that I've had the strength to do that.
More recently, though, I feel like I'm getting into a healthier place. I'm no longer blinkered in to just this person, or that person - there isn't really anyone that I'm just super-crazy about, which is fairly rare for me. Not saying there's no-one I'm interested in at all - because that wouldn't be true - but not to the degree that I have been in the past. And I think that means that I can come at it a lot better than I have previously; I have been a bit.....all at once, before. It's not ideal. But hey, emotions, right? Fun stuff.
At the same time, I'm not saying I have it all together now! I don't. I'm still figuring out work stuff (as in, trying to get more, so that I can actually move out again, and stop sleeping on the couch bed), still trying to spend more time with God, and still struggling with stuff like loneliness, and fantasy, and lust, and all that great stuff. But hey, that's just Thursday for me. And Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday, and....anyway. You get the picture.
So I guess I wanted to start taking a couple of steps towards being in a relationship with someone. But then the question is - who? And that's where it gets fun. Because I could give you a list of people (not a super-long list, but a list) that I'd be quite happy to be in a relationship with, or at least get to know better to see if I would be interested in that. But, for all I know, they're not wanting a relationship right now, or I don't really know where they're at with God (which is rather an important thing for me), or they're just really not interested in me (which is totally fine - there's another 3 billion other guys out there for them to choose from).
This is where that last point I made earlier about why I generally don't like online dating sites comes in, and why I'm kind of annoyed at myself. Because for me, the fact that I am looking there, online, rather than just sending a message to someone that I already know - it feels like a sort of fear, and cowardice. That I'm afraid to put myself "out there", and potentially ruin a friendship.
And I'll admit - that is quite a real fear that I have, born from experience. So far, each of the times that I've been interested in someone and talked to them about it, that has resulted in us not really talking any more. Not always immediately, and not always completely, but pretty close to. To clarify - I still think that each of these girls are amazing, beautiful people, that I still call friends, and often think the world of. But I don't really know what they think of me (or, admittedly, if they think of me, in the earlier cases), and perhaps it's best that I don't know. And yeah, we don't really talk.
I don't really want that to keep happening. Maybe it would be a bit different if I'm just asking if someone wants to catch up for a drink (read: tea/hot chocolate/milkshake, not alcohol), rather than getting super-emotional over them, and it probably would be. I'm probably getting a bit paranoid about it. But forgive me - when you're putting your heart on the line (which is what I do), and it already feels pretty tattered and broken, you don't want to be just throwing it around casually. You want to be careful with who you give it to. And I have tried to be, in the past, and I think I was. Just a bit too....quick, perhaps. It's hard to know. Relational and emotional understanding isn't my forte. Thanks, Asperger's. Doesn't stop me from having crazy emotions!
So, yeah. After the constant thoughts of, "I want to be in a relationship, I want to be in a relationship," rattling around for quite some time, and rather insistently over the past while - I checked out a few Christian dating sites. The hard part is finding ones that are free, that also allow you to message people for free. Those ones also have lots of fun ad pop-ups all over the place, but hey - beggars can't be choosers.
It seems like there's some good people there, but it's hard to tell sometimes. People can write what they like on a computer, and what they write isn't always them. I guess that's the risk that you run with this sort of thing - and what you pay for on the better ones.
At this stage, I don't really know what I'm going to do. I think it's something I'll need to sit with for a bit of time, and talk to God about a bit more. I really don't know. I'm just making it up as I go - and hoping I don't make any mistakes that are too massive. Because that's always fun.....
If you want to talk to me about any of this, feel free to drop me a line. Realise I'm talking about a couple of things I haven't talked about in quite this depth before. But be nice, please. :)