By Jillian Hensley
Following two unsuccessful dating relationships–and the inevitable wondering “Are there any good guys out there?”–my friend suggested checking out dating apps.
After some discernment, I thought, “Hey, why not? I know some couples who met online that have great relationships. How bad could it possibly be?” and downloaded a handful of apps: Catholic Match, Hinge, Bumble, and Christian Mingle. Careful to be extremely clear on my profile about the importance of faith in my life, I assumed I would only attract guys who were on the same page as me…
I was totally wrong.
Initially, I received messages from those thirsty guys out there who are only looking for ‘pics’ or ‘something casual’–if you have ever been on dating apps, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The only reaction I have to all of them is “EWW”. Taking the time to filter through the boring guys, the overeager guys, the nonresponsive guys, and the blatant noncommittal guys, I came across the guys that actually seemed worthy of my time. These were the guys who responded in a timely fashion, who made the first move in asking for my number, who asked discussion-sparking questions, and who, after a week or so of talking, asked to go on a date (and not the ‘let’s hang out’ or ‘wanna come over?’ garbage that no girl should ever settle for).
As someone who enjoys learning about and meeting new people, the beginning of these conversations was exciting. Yet, once a near-future date seemed possible, I found myself becoming choosy about the information I was willing to share. With some guys I was quite explicit about the role my faith plays in my life, in particular with my beliefs about the sacredness of the human body and the marital act (sex), while with others I shyed away from delving into these details for fear that they would no longer want to pursue me.
The guys I shared my beliefs and standards with expressed that they have never practiced this before, but, for me, they would gladly share in my faith life and wait until marriage (honestly, how strange to claim such a decision after only talking to someone for a week or two); the guys I did not initially share my beliefs and standards with became sexual in their language or, when I chose to finally talk about it, were only concerned with how far I was willing to push the envelope. Eventually, communication with all of these guys ended either before a date even happened or because of a terrible dating experience. As new matches started coming through, I found myself becoming more clear and firm on how I am choosing to live my life and the qualities I am looking for in my future husband. I watched as numerous guys seemed to ‘disappear’ after learning these facts about me and all I had to say to them was “See ya!”.
These experiences have taught me so much about who I am and the person that I am becoming. First and foremost, they have reminded me that I am a daughter of God–a beautiful, strong, loved, cherished, worthy woman who should never settle for anything less than what God wants for my life–something that I cannot come to know without a consistent prayer life and a constant forming of my will to His will.
Second, this has taught me that I should never shy away from my faith, especially when it comes to potential future dates. I need to be strong-willed about my convictions and how I am living my life. If these facts cause someone to walk away, then, honestly, they were not worthy of my time in the first place.
Third, I have learned to ask the right questions. Finding out about someone’s interests and hobbies is important, as that lets us know if we share commonalities and would enjoy the same activities; however, it does not tell us about the person, their temperament, and their ability to communicate with others. Important questions to ask are: What does your relationship with your family look like? Are you a heavy drinker, do you smoke weed, or do you take other drugs? How do you argue? What faith do you practice? And if you’re feeling bold: Do you struggle with any addictions like pornography?
Fourth, it is okay to tell someone that you are not interested. You do not owe anyone you meet on these apps anything. If you’re not feeling it, that’s okay! You can get out any time you want to. Also, Snapchat and Facetime are a great way to know if the person you’re talking to matches their profile, if you have a physical attraction to the person, and if you connect with that person conversationally. Finally, I learned how to embrace being unapologetically me. I love the person that I am and the person that God has created me to be–the right person will unconditionally accept, love, and adore me for everything that I am.
So, dating apps… do I recommend them? Heck yes! Just remember the importance of being totally you, taking the time to really discern each person you’re talking to, and never settling for anything less than you deserve.