Is online dating right for me? Why can’t I find the right person? Why do I always end up with a partner who is so needy?… so distant? If God wants me to love, why does he make it so hard? Does he want me to be single?
The world of modern romance is fraught with confusion. Dating has been turned into a game (Is that really his age? How old is that profile picture she posted?). You win the game by getting your needs met. The rules are put up a good front and expose as little of yourself as possible. Given the predicament of finding a good relationship, the temptation can be to play along. The problem is that if you act game, you get game. Put those little white lies (or maybe some whoppers) on your profile, you’ll attract someone who does the same. If all this sounds fun for you, then you can stop reading now and go back to playing.
If you’re still reading (and I’m guessing most of you are), it’s because you want something more – you want a genuine, healthy relationship. To begin you have to change your perspective because the only way to win this game is not to play.
The fact of the matter is that dating is not about finding the right person; it’s about becoming the right person. It’s about doing the inner work to prepare you for a healthy relationship. This means learning more than new pick-up lines or dating strategies. It means putting down your defenses (yes, including that amazing photo from ten years ago that greets visitors to your online profile), stripping away the ego, and getting to the core of who you really are. “But this makes me uncomfortable,” you say? Yes, that’s the point. When we go to those places of vulnerability and encounter those old wounds that most need healing, we create the possibility of a healthy relationship. In the words of Brene Brown, “Vulnerability is at the core of shame, fear and our struggle for worthiness… yet is also the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love… What makes you vulnerable makes you stronger.”
This is the journey of being a contemplative. And this is what contemplative dating is all about.
Come learn more about Contemplative Dating as Dr. DiPaolo returns to the Theology on Tap speaker series, Tuesday, July 25 at St. Monica.
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