I wrote this article last year for a Christian internet dating site. I have edited it with a few more thoughts. I think it bears repeating. I am not trying to discount getting to know someone through dating sites. Studies show that people who meet on Eharmony for example have a higher success rate than meeting in person. Yet at some point people have to go toe to toe and eye to eye to dance in the minefield of relationships. That’s all I am saying here. Dating sites are a tool at best. Don’t get the cart before the horse.
Sometimes you have to use common sense. I know this will go over like a lead balloon. Internet dating sites lend themselves to serious discernment problems. You can’t have a “relationship” with someone you have never met. You can feel deeply, feel strongly, and all kinds of things but you can’t have a relationship with a chat box or phone call or even a few phone conversations. Relationships take quality time and take one on one interaction, and eventually growth together in person. That simply can not happen online where aspects of personality and character can not be seen. It’s far too important a matter to play roulette with. At some point you have to meet and see where the relationship might go.
Miracles happen and things stranger than fiction have. Generally speaking that’s the exception more than the rule. You can at best develop an “acquaintance friendship” Friendships take a long time to form and relationships even longer. Online one might jump right into the latter without the former and begin roles never assigned to them if in real time. The problem with this kind of thinking is that you can give your heart over to a person you have not met because you are living in a pseudo fantasy land and wind up with disaster.
A person can expect you to fill a certain role based on where their heart is and they wind up with a disaster. This creates chaos, distraction from the LORD and folks get hurt that way. Be mature, respectful, and direct in these things. Do not play games or expect mind reading. Guard your heart, use your brains, and above all remember this is the Internet.
We have to understand God’s heart for us is not to walk into a disaster. Disaster that often breeds with the availability of Internet anonymity. Too many can “be all they wanted to be” vs. be real. I know I have used the word “fantasy land” before but that is because there is no word to describe the plane that the Internet affords. It’s still being defined. What I do know about and have seen is the brokenness of people who have played in this media and found themselves hurt. I have seen it and experienced it. I think the Internet’s own virtue is it’s own demon. The fact that you can connect with so many on so many different levels because you aren’t distracted by the physical. I have a couple of long term friends that I have come to know as kindred brothers and sisters in the LORD but I know how rare that is and given their character I am thankful they are real. I have met them both and to me they are extended family. Even those friendships are 8 years old and did not foster overnight.
Men, if you are reading this understand intelligent women are not just protecting their heart but yours as well if they are wise enough to hold back. A weaker woman will create you as a white knight in shining armor. A strong woman will still develop ties that are going to cause her heartache if she doesn’t make healthy choices. That is unfair for you and her. Yet if a woman can’t see at best all people have armor that has rust spots and chinks she will get herself involved with someone who isn’t real.
Women, if you are reading, understand words are just words. Action reveals what a person truly believes and exposes their character. Until you are in person, you really have words and maybe a bit of knowledge about them. Be aware of sites that offer too many contacts which also offers too many distractions. Juggling men will lead to being perplexed. One pursues you that you are not interested be honest and cut that off. It’s not fair to make people an option. Another delays pursuing you because to him you are an option. The old saying goes, “never make someone a priority who only makes you an option” A third guy is great but keeps you clueless. Shake hands, be friends and move forward. Some say that they are not ready for anything but are on a dating site fishing. . Don’t be insecure about that, understand it’s good news. Clarity is much better than guessing. This division of the heart is not good for a woman to bring into her life. God is not the author of confusion. A man will seek what matters to him. He may not do it at your speed but you will know if he’s interested or not. No need to sell yourself, throw yourself at him. If a man isn’t casting a net in your pond the best thing you can do is gratefully accept that.. Know yourself and your God who will provide the desires of your heart. I know I am not winning friends with this post. I love people, love the LORD and had to get it out there.
Men approach relationships different. I don’t pretend to know what all of those differences are. I just know that women aspire to relationships emotionally more than men I think. (keep in mind this is my own opinion and observation)
The goal should be though if CHRISTIAN to do it in a Godly way vs, worldly way. You can’t trade urgency for real passion, heart, fun and companionship. Rushing a relationship is like lighting a short fuse. I for one do not want to be the cause of anyone being hurt and want to do things in a way that lasts beyond the fireworks and pleases GOD. If I had to draw lines to do that I just can’t apologize for that. Passion in it’s place is well worth the wait.
I think a woman should be pursued and found as a treasure. Keep your options open until you meet a person and see their life first hand. Be careful out there.