By Monica Murray Derr (Rated G)
If you’ve ever ventured into the world of online dating, I feel your pain. I suffer through this horrible experience with you. Even if you, like me, have chosen only to use the apps that are faith-based and rely on more than just swiping, it’s still the worst way to date.
Despite my dislike for this method of dating—which I continue to use and spend money on—I don’t want you to think I’m complaining about the people that use these services. With one hilarious exception, I have only spoken to and met nice guys. At no point have I decided to stop pursuing a relationship with someone because he was a jerk.
So what’s the problem? Why am I still a single pringle? Well, only God has the answer to that second question, but I have some thoughts about the first. I believe much of my frustration with online dating, even when using faith-based platforms as I do, is that the process is inorganic from the beginning. You can’t completely remove the “swipe right” aspect of it. You are presented with a picture and a small amount of information, and from there you have to decide whether or not you’re interested. What am I supposed to do with that?
This is the part where you jump in with, “But if someone set you up on a blind date, you’d have about the same to go on.” To which I reply, “No. I would have less.” And, to be honest, I think I would prefer that. The problem, I believe, specifically with faith-based online dating is that you have too much information too soon. The casual, natural stage of getting to know each other is completely bypassed.
The process usually goes something like this: the app matches you up or one likes the other’s profile. Messaging back and forth commences. If that goes well, you meet in person. If that goes well, you meet again. And again. This second “again,” Date Three, is where the trouble begins.
Because you initially met through an app for people who share the same faith, and therefore broadly the same worldview, and, most importantly, the same intent (i.e., marriage), there is an expectation that comes with Date Three. I usually explain it this way: once we reach this point, someone (in my experience, usually the man) assumes that 3 dates = 1 relationship. This is math I cannot get behind.
Men and women are different. Shocker, I know. I’m going to speak in broad generalizations here, but bear with me. In general, women take longer than men to decide whether or not they want to pursue a relationship. This is because women are first attracted to the soul and then the body. To be attracted to another person’s soul, let alone fall in love with said soul, requires a fair amount of time to get to know the soul in question. Much more time than is taken up over the course of three dates.
With this in mind, I want to put down here what I wish I could put on my dating profile. Or at least say at the start of the first date.
Hello. I am gratified, pleased, and even flattered that you have found me cute, funny, well-read, and interesting. Even better, I have found you to be the same thus far. But before you sit down, there is something I need you to know. It is going to take me a long time to get to know you well enough to decide whether or not I am genuinely attracted to you and want to seriously pursue a relationship. You will make your decision much sooner. Very much sooner. I will take weeks. Maybe months. And it could be that I decide, yes, let’s pursue this relationship and discern marriage. It is, however, equally possible that once we get to know each other reasonably well, the answer will be no. It could transpire that you will be the one to say “thanks, no thanks,” and we’ll both be spared a lot of time and awkwardness. But if I’m the deciding vote, neither of us will be so lucky. I know what this makes me sound like. If you’re not willing to allow me several weeks to make up my mind if this and subsequent dates go well, you should probably just go home.
On second thought, it’s probably for the best that I don’t say any of that. Maybe I should just ask him to listen to this podcast about Twelfth Night before we meet for the first time.