Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why Dating Sucks

Our ward just started a Dating/Marriage and Family class. Originally, I was told that I was going to help teach it, but it sounds like it will mostly be taught by the bishop's wife and other members of the bishopric. Which is fine by me, as I rarely have anything to add other than sarcasm, irritated sighs and bouncing-in-the-chair frustration.

This first week, we spent a lot of time talking about the question, "Why does dating suck?"

Most people offered up your usual answers:
  • It's hard
  • It takes too much effort
  • The level of vulnerability
  • Level of discomfort
And I sat there shaking my head. Because I have yet to really understand why dating has to be so hard. It sucks because people are doing it wrong.

I didn't really know how to put that into words, so my thoughts were that people take dating too seriously. Yes, in the Church, we are taught that dating leads to marriage. And marriage is more than just a lifetime commitment, it's an eternal one. (So why do we, as a culture, make this decision so freaking fast all the time? Don't worry, I actually DO know the answer to that...)  So there's this whole extra weight in dating once the realization that marriage could actually take place after a series of dates.

As one guy in the class put it, "Dating becomes personal. It's no longer fun and laid back - that's the high school attitude."

Sorry. What? You can't have fun while dating because it might actually come to something? I'm going to cry a big fat false on that one.

Maybe I still have the "high school attitude." I see nothing wrong with going on a few thousand dates with some of my best guy friends, even if I know that we're never going to get married. Group dates may not be as fun as they once were, but they can be (as long as it isn't the ONLY type of date you're going on, in which case, yeah, they blow).

I just don't get it. Dating doesn't suck. It's the lack of dating that sucks. And it's this whole, "I'm too mature and looking for an eternal companion so I can't have FUN dating" attitude - also known as the "vested interest" attitude - that creates LESS dates, which, as I said, sucks. Because people with this "vested interest" attitude automatically write others off because they couldn't see themselves marrying a certain person.

I still see no problem with going on dates with several different people. Just like high school (theoretically) when you aren't supposed to have a steady boyfriend/girlfriend. It's not a waste of time. Or emotion. It's fun! And you become better friends with people; you extend your circle by incorporating their circle of friends - which increases your dating pool. If you find that you don't want to marry the person, you can still ask them to a movie on occasion! Because it's fun. If you don't want to marry the person, then you just don't date them exclusively. Just make sure that when you are dating around, your dates KNOW that you are. This is not a secret, or something to hide. There's no problem in dating around, unless you are doing it secretly and one person is a little more invested in the dating than another person.

If we would stop taking this all so seriously - that is, until it gets more serious - then dating wouldn't suck. It wouldn't make you vulnerable or uncomfortable or take a lot of effort. RELAX PEOPLE! Go back to the high school attitude, or even the Freshman BYU student attitude, and have a good time on your dates! If it comes to something later, then so be it. That's the point of dating.

And ask me out. Because, seriously, it's not dating that sucks - it's your attitude.


  1. Can I get a witness? Amen, girl. Well said.

    BTW...I remember having these exact same conversations in my ward. You know, back in the day. Glad to see some things never change. Well, I'm not actually glad to see that. I'd have hoped that would've changed by now.

  2. I like this, and I agree... people in Provo need to remember how to have fun, for real. Being married is good, Todd is my ALWAYS date... even if we never go out ;)

  3. Shelli Armstrong. I love this post. I agree with you 199%. Not quite 200%. Yes, I am now stalking you.


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