Friday, January 15, 2010

Dating Dos and Don'ts (part one: the don'ts)

My friends must think I’m some kind of a dating expert, because they come to me for advice on an almost-daily basis. Today a friend asked me when it was time to cut his losses and quit waiting for his woman to fall in love with him. Yesterday a friend came to me to be convinced online dating is a totally acceptable means of meeting people. The day before that, I coached yet another friend through a response to an e-mail from his crush. My favorite example was when one of my best friends begged me to sit down in front of her computer to flirt with her crush on instant messenger, pretending to be her.

On the one hand, the fact that friends come to me is quite perplexing, because I've both had and contributed to more broken hearts in my short-lived dating career than is healthy for any human being to endure in a lifetime. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense because I've been there a time or two billion and can speak from experience.

A good friend asked me this week when my “How To” book on dating would be published. Can’t say I have a book deal… yet. However, now that we're through the holidays and it seems all my friends are breaking up and embarking on new dating adventures, I can offer you my top-ten dos and don'ts, all straight from the precious source of experience, to help guide your 2010 dating escapades. So here is part one: the “Don’ts.” Come back for the Dos!

Don't date anyone who drops the L-bomb within five dates. If this happens, end the relationship immediately. It is not love, never will be, and I assure you nothing good will come of a relationship wherein the concept of love is so atrociously misunderstood.

Don't date anyone whose last name is actually a first name.
This was first announced on MTV back in the early 2000s, but I was reminded of the principle by a best friend the other day. I can't explain why this is, but it's true... a few times over.

Don't date a perfect Catholic. Here's the thing – being Catholic is all about being REAL. We don't pretend to be perfect. We screw up, hurt people, and make mistakes. And then we march into the confessional and beg the Lord for forgiveness. If you want to date someone who is seemingly perfect and doesn't ever need forgiveness, go ahead. But don't be surprised when you learn that was just a phase and he falls off the deep end and is a baby-daddy two years later.

Don’t date someone who is already taken. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised. Is your interest still crying over her ex while in your arms? I’ve been her. Or does he already have his emotional intimacy needs fulfilled by another woman, like, oh ya know, his mother? I’ve dated him. These are not good signs. Men already taken by mothers, or women already taken by exes, are not available for your taking, so do not try until they decide for themselves to move on.

Don't date someone who reduces marriage to sex. It is very good to wait until marriage for sex. However, be sure the person on this path has not become so obsessed with the idea of sex-and-marriage that he or she ends up convinced sex and marriage are synonymous. Yes, of course, sex = "the marital act," and that is very good. But if you are dating someone who reduces the vocation of marriage to the freedom to have morally permissible orgasms, you have a bad egg.


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