Car Shopping And Dating

About six weeks ago my car got totaled.  Actually it got flash flooded out.  (By the way if you have ever wondered how long you would have if you crashed into water before water seeped into your car – answer – not very long, as in get out of the car immediately).

At any rate, this meant I needed to go through the insurance process and then go find a new car.  My insurance company was very fair, and I had a little extra money to spend.  So I went about trying to find a car.  Now here’s the deal, I was committed to not take out a loan so I had exactly what I had.  I also knew what kind of car I wanted.

I visited around 20 different dealers, looked on all the websites (even craigslist).  There were lots of ok cars, but not so much “my car”.  I’m 6’4″ so there has to be room.  I’m in it a lot as most of my job is out of my office.  It needs to run a long time – my last car (not the totaled one) lasted for 322,000 miles.  And I wanted a V6, because, hey, I’m a man.

About two weeks in I found one.  All the cars I had seen like the one I wanted were at least $1500 -$2000 more than I had and this one was no different.  We met, I drove it, but at that time, the dealer couldn’t go that low.  His price was fair, I just didn’t have it, and I had to walk away.

You see the key to car shopping is actually pretty simple.  Don’t quit looking, don’t buy something you aren’t a little excited about (aka spend a fortune on something you don’t like), and always be willing to walk away.

I could have bought a car the first week and it would have been fine – but I would have been disappointed.  I also could have become discouraged – which I actually did.  But I had community and people to encourage me and loan me vehicles etc.  Finally I could have caved and spent more than I wanted to.  But I was able to walk away.

I share this way too long example because I think it totally relates to three traps we can fall into in looking for a spouse.

Let me just come right out and say that I’ve done all three of these things wrong. . . many times actually.

First, we can for sure quit looking.  There’s are lots of ways to get discouraged.  Maybe we go on a lot of dates, but after a while get dating fatigue and we just want to stop trying.  Or maybe we go on no dates and after a while we just quit asking.  Maybe we get our heart broken and we just don’t want to go back out there.  I’ve for sure been all of those places.  The key in my opinion to this is not dating alone.  In other words you need people in your life who walk with you in this area.  People who can encourage you, tell you what they see you could do better, or just let you vent.  But we needn’t give up.

Secondly we can go with something we know in our heart either isn’t right or just doesn’t excite us.  We say things like, “there’s nothing really wrong with her”, or “I know he’s not a believer but we get along great and he’s open to it”.  Now we have to be careful here.  If anything we in our culture have overplayed the whole don’t settle thing and instead often turn to consumer dating where at the first sign of trouble we bolt.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  But I’ve stayed with stuff longer than I should or tried to make stuff work that I wasn’t into, and that’s at best a waste of everyone’s time.

Which leads to the final trap. We have to be willing to walk away.  Here’s what I mean by that.  Again, I don’t mean run away.  I don’t mean that we walk away because of consumerism or because of fear.  But we need to approach the whole deal with knowledge of “I don’t have to do this.”  I can either choose to do it or not.

This is especially key as a guy.  You have to realize that you don’t need that girl.  You may be willing to wait a while for her, or be willing to listen if she changes her mind but that’s different than chasing her.  When we like someone as a guy, we can often get locked in to the point where “getting the girl” becomes the point.  And this just crushes us.  And it makes us less attractive and keeps us from moving on.

We can get in our head that there could never be anyone else.  But here’s the truth.  There will be. To be honest, knowing you CAN walk away, makes it more powerful when you choose not to.  Knowing that there is not this one perfect soulmate, frees you up to choose to be with someone and begin to become that.

The main key to all of this is having our identity and confidence in Christ.  Knowing that I’m ok no matter what allows us to keep risking, not make desperate choices and know that our life doesn’t depend on it.

Which of these traps do you mostly fall into?  What drives you to that?

Dealing With Dating Fatigue

Once when I was a senior in high school I had two dates in one day.  I went and met a girl for lunch that a mentor set me up with (yes I was already being set up – weird I know).Then that night I went out with a different girl from my school.  Now when you’re a senior who has struggled to get girls to like him, that’s a great confidence boost – I was “the man” for a day.  But when you get older a day like that just makes you tired and there’s not much “the man” about it.

Today I want to talk about Dating Fatigue.  There are a huge group of singles who are suffering from this.  Now some of you are thinking, “I don’t really go on that many dates – I surely don’t have this problem.”  Not so fast.

Dating Fatigue (DF) is more about a feeling and attitude than about how many dates you’ve been on.  Here’s a simple definition of DF – You are flat tired of dating.  You are tired of meeting people, tired of spending money, tired of online searches, tired of wanting to like someone and not, tired of not being excited about anyone, tired of people asking how it went, tired of being rejected, tired of having to reject someone else, just tired, tired, tired.

I’ve been urging you over and over again on this blog to not just sit there and hope it happens but to go out there and get in the game. Nobody gets married if you don’t go on a date, and you have to go meet people to do that.  But the truth is that it can be exhausting.

Even if you are energized by meeting new people (as I actually am) it can still be tiring. This is turned up a notch in a couple of main ways.  For starters we are all busy and we don’t want to waste time dating people we aren’t interested in.  More than that though, as you get older, you don’t have as much time to play around.  If I’m 25 I can kind of ride something out for a few dates, but honestly at 35, not as much, or at least it feels like it.

But most of all, gearing up for hope, and then having it not go anywhere is just emotionally tiring.  Worse, if we aren’t careful, it can affect how we are on the very dates we go on – it can make us bad dates.

Now, I’m talking about dates, not dating.  In other words I’m not talking about relationship fatigue.  That’s another issue altogether.  Nor am I suggesting that getting to know several people is a bad idea. In some ways, whether we like it or not, it is a numbers game.  I’m just saying that sometimes it gets old and we need to deal with that.  So what can you do?  Here are some things that have helped me.

  • Go with hope but with as few expectations (good or bad) as possible.  Just go to get to know another person
  • Realize that this might be the only time you will meet this person, so go in peace and as full of the Spirit as you can.
  • Make the first date short.  This is so key.  You are probably going to know in the first 10 minutes if you want a second date.  If you do, keep it short, and meet again – this actually creates good tension and excitement anyway.  If you don’t, then you aren’t stuck for a whole day (or weekend – yikes that was a tough one).
  • Some people say give everyone a second date.  I totally disagree.  If you know you aren’t interested its ok not to do that.  Nothing adds to dating fatigue more than extra dates to “be nice” or to “try to like someone”.  I would say that most of my dating fatigue came from this (including when I was on the other end of it).
  • Don’t tell the world that you are going on the date.  Others wanting to know how it went just adds to DF.
  • Take a break from dating.  If you’ve been on a lot of dates and are burned out, just step back.  But do me and your friends a favor and don’t announce it.  Just do it.  And secondly, don’t miss on a person you really like just because you are on a “dating break” – for the love – really?! (Oh, and ladies, don’t use this as an excuse to say no to someone.  Just say you aren’t interested – trust me).
  • Self evaluate.  If you have been on a lot of dates and none of them go anywhere, be sure to ask if you might be the issue.  Maybe it’s something you are doing.  It might not be, but it might be worth asking or if you are really brave ask a friend or two.

DF is real!  We slide in and out of it all the time.  Dating shouldn’t be a chore so we need to do all we can to avoid it and then when we do experience it, take a breath, realize that it’s ok, get our bearings with the Lord and community, and then re-enter the scene.

Have you experienced DF?  What led to it?  How have you combatted it?  Help each other out here – what has helped you?