Issues With Christian Dating

teapot with manicured hand with text "issues with christian dating"

As a recovering Christian who still loves Jesus but objects to large parts of the fundamentalist Christian culture I was raised in, I have some reflections on Christian dating in the light of what’s going on in my personal life.

Most people know that back in ancient times, the 1980s, many people didn’t cohabit. Nowadays for the most part people do cohabit, even if they are Christians. Not so if they fall on the fundamentalist evangelical spectrum, or if they have something to hide.

This makes dating a bit like a high-stakes game of poker. You put on a poker face with the intent that if you bid all, you win all, and you’re able to feed yourself at the end of the night.

In this poker round, you are both the player and your bid. You view your date as the pot. Likewise, your date sees themselves as the player and the bid and you as the pot. What I’m trying to say is, you’re both greedy, hungry, anticipatory, and there’s more than fun and games going on here from the minute you message someone on OK Cupid. You’re objectifying each other. Is this person a good mother? Will he be a good provider? Is he a spiritual leader? Will we make a good home together? What will they give me?

What I’m trying to get at here is that there is no enjoyment of the other person for who they simply are, and there is no fun in dating.

For many high-anxiety types who come from fundamentalist homes, realizing the first time I just sat back and relaxed – or enjoyed myself – was a big deal. I was out of college and hiking on my neighborhood trail. I wasn’t analyzing anything, trying to grapple with hidden meanings, or attempting to ascertain whether I deserved to be viewing nature in all its glory or not. Nature was her own thing. She was cool all by herself. She didn’t serve me. I wasn’t here to get anything out of her other than to see what was up. And, I wasn’t here to persuade nature of anything. I was just walking down a dirt trail, tripping over tree roots, getting sweaty and dirty, purely myself. It was the first time I had done something like this. And I enjoyed it for what it was.

Likewise, I believe healthy secular dating adopts this model. You message someone on Bumble because they seem interesting and you want to see what’s up. There are no wedding bells going off in your head at your first coffee meet up. All this is is a relaxation into a person. If the relaxation turns sharp and uncomfortable, you tell the person goodbye, and you ease on into the next phase of life, whether it involves another person for a while or not.

I’m not saying secular dating is without its pains and pitfalls, because anything involving human beings is messy. But I do believe it has far less dangers than the traditional Christian dating model.

Christian dating is, at its best, objectifying and idolizing, whereas secular dating is far more down to earth and honest. If you want to get to know someone, it’s best to see them as a human being instead of a potential spouse. More open conversations flow that way because there’s less stress and pressure.

I may be writing this because I’ve been burned, but I’ve had other girlfriends coming from fundamentalist evangelical homes echo my sentiments. At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether you want to walk down an aisle blindfolded or slowly acknowledge someone for who they are.

Why I Turned to Online Dating

My entire life, I only attracted and dated schmucks. Even these instances were few and far between, maybe once every three years. 

It wasn’t that I was unattractive at the time. I was fit, tan, and pretty. But I was shy and dealing with a lot of trauma. My insecurities outshone my physical features, and that drove away men more than any of my better qualities could attract them.

When I was in college, I had a particularly bad dating experience that left me feeling broken. During and after the breakup I felt like a shell of a person. I didn’t even feel human. What happened between the two of us made me develop agoraphobia and I feared men the most. 

For a while this wasn’t a problem, until I met a certifiably nice guy at my friend’s wedding the summer after I graduated college.

He was tall, handsome, and polite. At the last slow dance of the evening he approached and respectfully asked me if I would like to dance. I said yes. It turned out to be the last song of the reception, and we quickly exchanged names and numbers.

I checked him out with my friend, the bride, and found out he was a close friend of the groom. She was excited for me, enthused with the idea that I had found my future husband at her wedding. Her husband had great things to say about him.

Hopeful, I became electrified when he texted me saying he was coming to my area. He asked me to dinner and I decided to go to a vegan diner relatively close to my house. I really didn’t want to mess things up so I scrubbed my front door which was covered in bird poop (my family and I had a family of swallows that lived above the door that we couldn’t bear to get rid of). To my surprise he pulled up in a brand new red Lexus.

Well, I thought, this is going to be different.

I was dressed in my bridesmaid dress (faux pas, but it wasn’t formal, more like a sundress) and he came to the door in a suit. I think. I don’t remember. He was dressed much nicer and more fashionably than most guys I’d met. My parents met him at the door high school style and I was dying inside, knowing I was falling on my face with this dating thing. It was no wonder I was single and an old crone by Christian standards at age 23.

When we made it to the diner, he expressed he wasn’t expecting something so informal. But he was charmed by the local artwork for sale on the walls, and tried to make eye contact with me. I felt anger turn up in my stomach when he did this, and it wasn’t because I did not like him or find him unattractive. Quite the opposite. My manphobia had reared its ugly head, and I found myself giving him terse and abrupt answers to his polite questions.

I finally had a gentleman, and my brain was on the fritz. This scarred brain, hurt by all the scoundrels it had been with before, did not know what to do with a decent human being.

He proceeded to continue with the date, but I cut it short after I couldn’t bear it anymore. I felt bad about this after a few days because I did like him, who wouldn’t, so I texted him. He told me he didn’t want to be in a long distance relationship, and I understood.

After this I went to therapy for six months, got a big kid job and moved out with a family friend from high school.

Within the first few months of us rooming together, I learned my friend had an evil ex as well that she was trying to put behind her. After I volunteered at a few funerals, she kept nudging me to sign up for Tinder, find a guy, settle down, and have the “wedding of the century” (my exaggerated words in an attempt at a joke, not hers) at our home area to make up for all the funerals. 

I like boy talk as much as the next girl, and it seemed to me that in today’s world, the only way anybody went on a date was to go online. My roommate was extremely beautiful, and it seemed odd to me that no one would approach her in person. She explained that nobody approached anyone in person anymore. 

The more I heard about her dates, the more a creeping notion grew in my brain. It wasn’t about finding someone to settle down with. It was about healing.

Maybe I could use these dating apps to expose myself to men gradually, screen them for red flags, and heal myself of the fear I was living with. 

Although the fear is not completely gone and it bleeds into my current relationship, I have found great healing in going slow and giving it a shot. Along the way I found my fiance. 

It is true that I came across some really bad apples. With online dating, it is imperative to use caution and safety guidelines. 

Some people are real jerks and can really test your emotional limits. Walk away and let yourself be. 

When the time is right, your healing will come. I did not desire healing for years. But when I wanted it I found more than I bargained for.

And now, a recap:

Pocket full of starlight: Online dating can be used for multiple purposes, including overcoming our greatest fears.

Pocket full of darkness: Online dating can be emotionally draining and dangerous, please exercise caution!

How to Make any Man Think You are Irresistible in 12 Easy Steps

Ladies, have you ever dreamed of a man who simply stares at you and says, “wow,” every time he sees you? I know I did, and it happened to me. I’m here to reveal my feminine wiles to you so you too can bag your dream man.

12 Steps to True Love, by Dr. Spoonie Love

1. Be yourself.

2. Develop a debilitating chronic illness that erases all of your precious hard work and goals.

This is the super fun part where people who don’t know you at all may start thinking you’re some poor dumb lazy loser who didn’t achieve the thousands of things you accomplished. You will need to remember these people are idiots, but at this step in the process you have amnesia. The idiots have stolen your brain. It’s not your fault.

3. Make sure you gain 100lbs. Really turns those men folk for a ride.

4. Become so inflexible you cannot scrub your tub or clean your shower.

5. Lose the ability to shower and remove those unseemly leg hairs.

6. Make sure your hair looks like a poodle on a muggy beach.

7. When your hands start to hurt applying makeup, this is perfect, as men prefer a natural woman. You will never have to worry about swimming dates again.

8. Begin to worry about swimming dates due to lack of coordination.

9. Experience an influx of extreme emotions as you realize you have developed a chronic illness and will never be deserving of love or a swimming date.

P.S. You are very wrong about this, which is the point of this ridiculous listicle. xoxo

10. Sit back as the people who already love you continue to love you, and attempt to explain things as needed using any method but interpretive dance.

Should interpretive dance be forced upon you, quietly excuse yourself to a nice couch and use one of your spoons for self-defense.

11. Realize that some people, especially yourself, aren’t going to leave you.

12. Understand that things will be okay, and you are worthy of the people, male and female, who love you.


Going against all common sense, I cut my hair into a curly pixie this past weekend. Stranger still, my fiancé stares at me in awe and breathes “wow.” I think it’s because I followed my 12 step program. Fellas, am I right?