We have strong values and beliefs and seek companions with the same. This drastically narrows the dating options, leaving us to wonder, is their any chance of finding a match?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

High Standards

Standards--a word often used in dating.

Don't lower your standards.
Have high standards.
Your standards are too high.
He/she has no standards.

I have been thinking about this word and its meaning quite a bit for the past year or so. Since I'm reviving the blog--and as the plight of the religious dater is worse than ever--I figured this was a fitting topic to start things up again. 

I believe that I have reasonable standards. I am committed to living the principle and teachings of the gospel in which I believe. I want to date a man with similar standards, and who expects the same from me. Is that too much to hope for? I didn't think so, but I'm beginning to wonder. 

About two years ago I posted about the guy who just never followed through. We had a great first date, and then for the following year he kept asking about me from our mutual friends. Finally, about eight months after that one date, my girl friend got fed up when he asked about me.

She said, "You keep talking about her, so why don't you just ask her out?"
He replied, "Yeah, but with a girl like Bridget, I'd have to work for it. I'd have to step it up. I already have girls who make it so easy." A year later he was married to one of those girls, and then four months later they were separated.

Recently I have found myself surrounded by some great guy friends. They often say that they think highly of me, yet none ask me out. One night I decided to ask two of my close male friends why that is. They basically gave me the same response. "You know what you want and a guy would have to step it up to date you." Partly flattering, but partly insulting. Why am I so far off from the men with whom I associate? I have a job, I hold a calling in my church, I have many hobbies, I have a great circle of friends, I cook my own food. Are these bad things? Does this put me in a different category of humanity? I would certainly say no. I am like everyone else. I have insecurities, challenges, frustrations; but I suppose the difference with me is that I face them and that I do everything I can do improve upon them.

And this is where the difference lies.

When I look at my girl friends, I see women like me. Women who develop their careers, who have hobbies and interests, who serve, who travel, who do and talk about interesting things. When I look at our peers in the opposite sex, sadly I do not see equality. I see men who lack motivation and ambition, who have self-doubt, who work in entry level jobs with poor pay and no career paths, and I see rampant pornography addiction. When I look at the single men at church it scares me. I have spent my whole life limiting myself to dating within the LDS community so that I was dating boys who had to the potential to one day marry me in the temple. However one day it hit me; if I marry outside of the church I may marry someone who never believes what I do, however if I marry within the church, I will have to lower my standards and expectations. The irony of this statement is heartbreaking.

I may be a woman with high standards, but I'm keeping them high, because I keep them high for myself. I want to wake up each day with joy in knowing that I'm doing important things and working towards my goals. I want to go to bed each night feeling good about the choices I made that day. I want to pray each day in confidence about the way I live my life. If that puts me on too high of a step, shame for the boys behind me, but I will not lower my standards.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

He's Not a Boy, Not Yet a Man

With some slight adjustments to one of Miss Britney Spear's song, we get a summary of my recent dating experiences. Yes, that was experiences with an "s".

If you have read any previous posts I have made it clear that I have not been one to date much. I'm a relatively normal and healthy LDS woman, but I'm tall, opinionated, and I hate animated films. Unfortunately those traits do not bode well with the majority of LDS men. Also, I'm over the age of 31. I've expired and have been cast out and forced to live among the insanely young baby breeders, teenagers, and the oldies. I love my ward, but it's more effective to poke fun at those who are different from me.

So the point that I was trying to make is that lately I have been dating. It all started back in November when I was matched up with a guy and we seemed to hit it off right from the start. He is significantly younger, but I didn't feel the age gap and I saw a lot of maturity in his views and thoughts. I liked him from the start. The only problem was that he didn't live in my city, and the only contact we had was over the phone.

After a few weeks of talking with A, a guy I've known for years started asking me out. B is also younger than I am, but not as much as A. We went on weekly dates and had a great time, but I wasn't sure if we could connect on a deep level, especially when I felt I already had that with A.

What started to happen was that I saw things I liked in both of them, while simultaneously seeing boyishness which reminded me that we are in different places in life. I am very open to dating younger guys, but with A I started to feel like I was his mother, and with B I felt like I was his teacher.

So there I was, sort of dating these two guys and seeing all of these things that bothered me, but trying not be shallow and quick to make decisions. Don't be critical of me - they were big things. Righteous judgement, Folks. I saw good, but I had to keep asking myself if it was enough upon which to build a romantic relationship.

When my close friend met A she later told me that she thought he seemed like a boy, and that I belong with a man. The same thing has been said about B from the masses of mutual friends we share. So what exactly is a man? Well, from recent experiences, I have a few things to add to the list.

A man will not respond to a text about a date with "word."
A man will have his own car and be able to pick me up.
A man will take care of his health.
A man will talk to me about his intentions.
A man will make an effort to get to know my family and friends.
A man will be kind to my mom.
A man will make a move after a month of dating.

These boys/men who were in my life meant a great deal to me and I will cherish the memories and all that I have learned, but I move on, and I'm moving to the place where the men hang out. Does anyone know where that is?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Share Your Thoughts: Matchmaking

The idea of being set up makes many of us groan and roll our eyes. I can't tell you how many times people have tried to find matches for me. A recent one went like this:

Wannabe Matchmaker: "I know the greatest guy you have to meet! The only problem is that he lives in [insert small town with population of 3000]"
Me: "Why does he live there? What does he do?"
WM: "He's a rancher."
Me: "So the facts that I'm a vegetarian and scared of farm towns would probably get in the way."
WM: "Oh yeah, that wouldn't work."

Now some of you might say that I'm being too picky and ruling guys out on shallow terms, however I would say that compatibly is what makes a match, and looking at my priorities and values, I wouldn't have compatibility with a guy like that. I love big cities, travelling, trying new restaurants, animals while they are alive and free, etc. I'm sure the aforementioned guy is kind and has a lot of great qualities, but our lifestyles wouldn't jive. Plus I already knew of him and had other concerns that ruled out agreeing to an introduction.

The reason why I share this is not to evaluate my matching compatibility, but to point out that one of the biggest problems with people trying to set up blind dates is that they don't often have enough criteria to make the match. They see a single girl and a single guy who seem relatively normal and go to the same church and then conclude that they should date on that criteria alone. This rarely leads to a solid match.

This leads me to the point of this post. I want to know what you think of matchmaking, dear readers. Have you had some dating successes? Could you use the help of a matchmaker? Would you pay for a professional matchmaker if he/she guaranteed to find you the companion of your choice? Is using a matchmaker a sign of desperation? Please share your thoughts!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Online Dating: Take 2

My online dating experience is already over, but as promised, I am back to complete my series of thoughts on the subject.

What I found is that if you put up a photo when things are looking good (fresh highlights, tanned skin, wearing red), and you write a cutesy profile, boys will come to you. I find this in itself to be incredible. To some I am considered an attractive gal, but I have never been the girl who is asked for her phone number from strangers. I'm not sure that I've ever been "hit on" in any sort of public setting. It's possible it happened and I didn't notice, but the signals were never obvious enough for me to realize that a boy was looking my way.

So, because of growing up always being the sidekick to the girls getting the attention, I have become accustomed to not being noticed. I have dated, and guys do pay attention to me, but it's generally when they have gotten to know me, therefore I find it fascinating that when the circumstances are different, i.e. an online photo and brief write up, I am capable of getting bombarded with attention that quite frankly, becomes overwhelming.

In my first week I had 4 dates, 2 with the same guy. I already shared my experience with Buddy #1 in my first post on this topic. Buddy #2 was a lunch date and we had a great time chatting about travel, careers, etc. He seemed to really enjoy being with me, but then as soon as he asked which church I attend and I gave him the answer, all interest faded. I was okay with this as I did not feel any romantic connection, but I was interested in this noticeable change in his body language and attention to me. Dropping the Mormon card can really shake things up. Needless to say, there has been no further contact from Buddy #2.

Buddy #3 was the high rolling sort of fellow who wined and dined me and took me on a very expensive second date. The Mormon card was dropped with him before we even met, so the first few minutes of our meeting consisted of him repeatedly asking, "So, you can't have sex? Are you one of those good Mormons who actually practices that?" Once we got past that, I had fun with him and we had a great intellectual connection. I came away from our dates thinking the world is full of great men and I can find guys with whom I enjoy chatting for hours, however there was a void in our conversations, and I realized that was because my core values, my beliefs which mold my character and life, were never discussed. Anyway, he turned out to be a total manipulative psycho, so no loss there.

After my last experience with Buddy #3 I ended up deleting my profile and turning away any other guy who had tried to meet up. I know the method of making online introductions and meeting can lead to lasting relationships for many, but I don't see that working for me. I also realized that even though I was suddenly opening up my dating pool to interesting, successful, intelligent guys, I was missing a spiritual connection. That may be the only connection I can make with most guys in the Mormon world, but I realized that at the end of day when I am thinking about the kind of companion I want, I wouldn't skip on the spiritual connection for anything. In conclusion, I continue my dating quest with less effort to go out of my way to meet guys who do not share my religious beliefs, but I am also open to anything and know there is a world out there of people who may want to learn about what I believe and adopt those beliefs for themselves.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Shut Yo' Mouth!

We here at 'Plight of the Religious Dater' are (as far as I know) of the smart, sassy, strong variety. We're here, we're single, we don't want any more bears! (name the show)

That being said, today I feel like a kvetch. Seraphine over at Zelophehad's Daughters said it much better and probably with more intelligence and compassion (fangirl alert!), but it's been on my mind so I'm taking a crack at it, anyway. Here's the sitch: you're visiting your home ward and run into your old youth leaders. Or perhaps you're in a new family ward. Or you're at a family picnic and run into your Aunt Sharon whom you haven't seen in a few years. Or maybe you're having tea with your mom. (ack!) And you hear one or more or a combination of the following:

"You're still single? *awkward silence* Well, good for you for being so strong!"
"I have a brother in law that just got out of rehab. He's got three kids and is kinda obese, but he's single, too! Can I give him your number?"
"Oh sweetie, it's okay. You're totally going to find a super hot, hilarious, sweet guy...in the next life!"
"Yes, this is my husband." *grabs man's arm*

I have heard a variation on all of these, and I'm sure there are many more. In every situation I have fortunately bit my tongue and smiled and said something mild in response. Time and experience have taught me this ever-important skill. I do realize that most people are simply trying to be helpful and nice and don't mean anything by their comments. But these comments highlight the unnerving assumptions that exist in LDS culture about 'older' singles. That we're:

a) At the brink of suicide
b) Desperate
c) Easily comforted by unfounded platitudes
d) Out to steal a married man

In my experience, these are by and large not the case. Yes, there are exceptions. For instance, I know a few women who are greatly comforted by the notion that a wonderful, righteous, foxy man awaits them in the Millenium, and I don't begrudge them that one bit. It just doesn't do anything for me. And perhaps there are single women out there secretly plotting to steal away that 39 year old father of five in all his pot-bellied, balding, carpooling glory...but I haven't met them.

I don't think I need to explain why these assumptions exist. You know them already. In a highly family/marriage oriented church that hasn't yet bucked the cultural tendency to marry young, it's to be expected that people will have trouble relating to you when you don't fit that norm.

How to deal? Ignore and have compassion. People usually mean well. And if they don't? Screw 'em. You know that you're pretty stinkin' awesome, that you're doing the best you can in life and that things will happen when and if they happen. Rock on.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Location, Location

I still need to complete my series on online dating, but first I wanted to further discuss the topic addressed by Francine on Geographical Impairment. I think it is something to which most LDS singles can relate. I have asked my self those same questions for years and at times have felt that I needed to stay in the "Mormon Centers" of the world or I would never find anyone. Other times I have believed that upping the quantity doesn't necessarily up the quality, and that you can find love anywhere.

Many years ago when I was studying at BYU and living in Provo, Utah (Mormon center of the world for those of you unfamiliar with our church), I remember nearing my graduation and feeling very panicked about the future. Was I worried about trying to find a job with my generic B.A.? No, I was worried about leaving Provo and never finding anyone to marry. I couldn't leave Provo as a single! So I stayed, dated a guy, and a year later I still left Provo in a state of singleness.

As I already mentioned I have gone back and forth on deciding where I need to live, and what are the most important factors. I have lived on 4 continents, in 5 countries, and in 7 cities. Some have been Mormon centers, and others have been cities with very small LDS communities. Each place has provided diversity, new experiences, and a new dating pool, however one thing has always been the same: I remain single.

What I have concluded from my history of moving around, and feeling the pressure to live somewhere with a lot of singles, is that you can meet someone anywhere. For every story of two people meeting and falling in love at BYU, there is a story of someone going to a ward in the middle of nowhere thinking he/she will be the only single, only to be introduced to another single and then finding true love.

Therefore, I think it's about identifying your needs for happiness and contentment, and finding a place that satisfies those needs. For the past 2 years I was living outside of North America in an area with less of a Mormon culture, and less members. The dating pool was smaller, but people networked and we still managed to date. When I came to the age of YSA expiration, I decided that I wanted to be near my family, and that I also wanted to live in a city with other LDS people in my age bracket. I knew that I needed a network of people in my situation so that I could survive attending a family ward without a family. Living here has proven to be what I need at this point in my life and although I have struggled with finding a good job and good friends, I am happy being with my family and I have had more dating opportunities than I did even back in the Provo days.

Francine, not sure if any of that was useful, but those are my thoughts.

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