If you, like me, have spent any time pursuing online dating, you’ve probably made a few mistakes along the way. I know I have!
For instance, I made a snap judgement about a man when in hindsight, I should have spent more time getting to know him. I leaned forward too much in the early stages of getting to know someone, instead of leaning back into my own life with openness and peace to whatever may come my way. On other occasions, I invested too much of myself emotionally too soon or became attached to a man early on.
Since my divorce and annulment, I have had to unlearn what I used to know about dating and learn new practices, new things about myself, and how I can be a better, healthier dater.
2020 has already been a crazy year. However, as we look forward to the future and what this means for you as a Catholic single trying online dating, there are five dating mistakes I think we should all agree to give up moving forward.
1. Letting your heart run away with your mind
When I look back on my dating journey, I have wasted a lot of emotional energy on the dreams I would make up in my head about a man I liked. Those romantic feelings are normal. But when they take up too much space, they have effects that are not always positive.
Take time to acknowledge the feelings or emotions you notice about this other person. However, don’t allow them to rule your entire worldview. Relationships take time to develop, nurture, and grow. Don’t rush those smaller steps in between.
2. Forcing something to happen
Some of my most embarrassing dating mistakes came when I was trying to force something to happen with a man. While I wasn’t obsessively calling or texting a guy, it was smaller actions and the internal energy I carried inside myself. I would feel anxious, nervous, and worried if he felt the same way I did.
There have been times I’ve acted outside my integrity in this department. I came across as pushy or intense to men. Thankfully, I’ve learned from those mistakes and really grown a lot in this area.
Be open and show up as your authentic self, but never force something to happen with a man or woman. If I’m trying to control the situation or forcing things to develop, that never works out. My job is not to convince a man that he should date me. My job is just to be myself! Eventually, my authentic self will attract the right man into my life.
3. Attaching yourself to a particular outcome
Often in dating, the outcome we desire is a serious, committed relationship that eventually leads to marriage. I think for women this point relates to us more, but regardless of gender, attaching too quickly to the outcome you want is dangerous.
It serves as a block to seeing a person fully as they are, or allowing you to miss critical red flags. While you may want to see this relationship go a certain way, don’t just focus on the result you desire to see.
Instead, be open. Trust in the slow work of God as your relationship grows, deepens, and unfolds. Remember there is no formula for your life or for your love life.
4. Forgetting the golden rule
The golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated applies perfectly to this conversation about online dating as a Catholic. Dating is hard, and we all make mistakes. Keeping this principle of Jesus on the forefront of our minds is critical as we navigate dating, rejections, and uncomfortable people we meet.
What does the golden rule look like when it comes to online dating in 2020? It looks like never ghosting people. The golden rule means being honest with your feelings if you know you’re not attracted to someone and don’t want to go out again. It looks like not playing games.
That little, yet powerful teaching of Jesus has been a simple way for me to take a gut check on whether or not I’m treating the men I meet the same way that I want to be treated.
5. Focusing on the other person instead of your own life
In my past dating life, I would sometimes become too focused on the man I liked and his life instead my own unique life. Becoming too focused on the other person is one way you can easily lose yourself in a relationship.
Have a rhythm or balance to the amount of time you spend together to how you care for yourself in your own life. Live your own rich, full life. Be healthy, self-aware individuals on your own and apart from each other.
There are so many other types of dating mistakes we could discuss, but I think this is a good place to start.
Is there anything else you would add that is currently missing? What dating mistakes have you had to give up from your own experience?
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