“All the single ladies. All the single ladies. All the single ladies, now put your hands up!” Most of us have heard this now infamous song whether playing it on our iPod after a breakup or at a wedding when it’s time for the bouquet toss. This single ladies anthem by Beyonce is a catchy and empowering song that makes you want to dance and fully embrace the freedom of being single. The freedom of being able to choose who we want to date, when we want to date, and what criteria qualifies or disqualifies a date that progresses into a relationship and eventually marriage.
Did you notice the keywords in the paragraph above? Freedom and choice. Yes, girl, we have the freedom to choose while dating!
OK, so what exactly are we free from and what are we choosing?
We are free from the old school teachings that imply single women have less value than married women. We are free from the modern day ideology which says you have to be loyal or “ride or die” to a man who isn’t worthy of you. We are free from insecurities telling us something is wrong with us, we’re high maintenance, or we need to be in a relationship to be complete. We’re free from the popular belief that being in a toxic relationship is perfectly normal. If we desire a healthy, fulfilling relationship, it starts with a vision of what that looks like in real life, and we must stop entertaining the unhealthy, devaluing ideals listed above.
OK, now that the stereotypes and insecurities are out of the way, we can make wiser choices about who and why we want to date. When we know what the end goal is, dating becomes:
- Fun and purposed
- It removes the pressure to perform
- You have less anxiety
- You’re not fearful of what the guy’s reaction is going to be
- You can be authentically you, nothing more and nothing less
So, how many dates do you give a guy?
Two or three dates is sufficient time spent with a man to determine if you’re interested and comfortable enough to continue spending more time with him. I read a quote by Christopher Connors that stated: “An authentic person puts the people around them at ease, like a comforting, old friend who welcomes us in and makes us feel at home.”
When you begin dating someone, you’re trying to get to know them on a personal level, and the only way that’s possible is if you feel like he’s honest, welcoming, unguarded, and authentic. It won’t take 10 dates and an overnight trip to the beach to find out if a guy makes you feel emotionally safe and comfortable being your true self around him. Isn’t that the real goal in choosing a mate? To find someone who gives us permission to be ourselves and loves us anyway?
Remember, you’re the one in control here. In these modern days, it’s important that we women of grit and grace recognize our worth and live it out even when pop culture attempts to distort it. The Bible says, “When a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” That’s you; you are the good thing! Just you simply being you adds value to a man’s life because we women never simply do “nothing.” We are doers; we love deeply, we help out, we’re creative, we’re problem-solvers, we sense and feel things that men don’t, so we’re able to help inspire them towards greatness. We give birth to babies, some of us know how to cook delicious meals while others can organize a house better than Mari Condo. We women offer a great deal to men, and they know it. That’s why we get the freedom to choose who we want to share all of our awesomeness with.
Are you feeling empowered yet? That is what I’m trying to do here. I’m trying to get you to realize your worth and not in an “I’m going to burn my bra” kinda way, but an intrinsic, human, female, lovely, amazing creature kind of way that you are.
Knowing your why for dating can bring clarity.
When you know why you’re dating, the choice to continue or discontinue dating someone becomes very clear, so the time it takes to make a decision is fairly quick. It’s the character and quality of the man that you’re investigating while dating. I don’t need to know his mother’s maiden name and the last four digits of his social security number to verify a guy’s integrity; that is something we women can usually feel.
Does this guy only talk about himself? Does he feel slimy even though his words sound good? Does he seem nervous or a little unsure of himself, but it feels safe and natural to be around him? Listen, you have to trust yourself and know what you want. The last two relationships I had ended for reasons I was uncomfortable with from the very beginning, but I overlooked them and ignored my “woman’s intuition.” I think this is the case for many of us. We want to be in a relationship, so we overlook or ignore things we probably shouldn’t.
In Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, Boundaries in Dating, he states, “If you do not allow yourself to rush into falling for someone that you have not become friends with first, you will be surer when you let yourself go to the next step. Certainly, you might find yourself having all sorts of feelings. Enjoy them. But do not believe them. Only believe your experience of getting to know a person and seeing if you can share at a deep level. See if you find that he or she is a person of the kind of character you would trust as a friend.”
A man’s values will be expressed through his words and his words will be supported through his actions all of the time. Observing this cycle will help you decide if a guy can progress from just dating to relationship worthy.
Even though Taylor Swift has another blank space to write her new temporary guy’s name on, it doesn’t mean you have to make those same mistakes. You know what your goals are, you know what kind of woman you are, and you won’t spend your time wastefully.
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