Dating for Recovering Fundies - Printable Version
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Dating for Recovering Fundies - senda wales - 08-06-2011 12:39 PM
So, I have a problem people.
In addition to the normal jitters, nerves, and anxieties normal people experience on first dates or meeting people, I:
-am generally socially awkward (e.g., I write personal lists/algorithms for how to interact with people),
-am an uber nerd with a tendency to over-intellectualize and analyze everything ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes was great! It totally mirrors the story of Genesis from the Bible of the creation rising up against the creator with the onset of self-awareness and demonstrates our fear of technology!"),
-have a work-from-home job ("Wait, what's, 'Hello?' What are people?"),
-and have 10 years of don'tdatedon'tdatedon'tdate and purity theory drilled into my head from my fundy years ("He's flirting with me! Do I flirt back? Is that too forward? If I flirt, he might get the wrong idea. What wrong idea? This is a date! Or is it? Umm...adfdsafdfj")
I've noticed that I get really nervous on first dates, partly out of just sheer nerves, but partly out of a conscious/subconscious stiffening up when I hear that still, small fundy voice telling me all of this is wrong. Plus, in fundyland you literally get no experience in dating. I did have a non-fundy boyfriend for 3 years in college, but this actually took care of needing to learn how to behave on first dates.
I fear that I'm coming off as a not-very-fun-or-flirty person in first dates, which is kind of a kiss of death in dating. Which makes me even more nervous and less fun. Yes, I know, most people experience this to some extent or another. And I know, in general, be yourself, be genuine, and try not to stress or over-think it and just smile and have fun. (But don't be TOO much of yourself...) I'm pretty sure I'm missing something here. Help?
RE: Dating for Recovering Fundies - C_Fresh - 08-06-2011 02:17 PM
I get where you're coming from, Senda. I grew up in the fundy mentality and my parents discovered the courtship idea when I was a teenager. I was (much much less now) awkward around girls because I had no experience with them. I grew up mostly in small churches where my siblings made up a majority of the kids.
College helped me a lot with my social inadequacies but I never dated anyone. This was good though since I didn't want a fundy girl. I had my first girlfriend about two years ago. It only lasted for about 2 months but it was a great learning experience for me.
I guess my advice to you is to 'live in the moment'. Don't try to force yourself into something you aren't ready for yet. You could try hanging out in larger groups and interacting. That way there is less 'dating' pressure and you can just have fun. I'm not exactly the best advisor for dating since I've only had one go-round so far.
Sometimes preparation can help with nervousness. I find that conversations with people are easier if you know a couple of things about them like their interests. Now if its someone you are unfamiliar with, that's a lot more challenging. Getting a conversation started is the hard part. I've found that once it gets going it makes things so much easier. Music, movies, activities can all be good conversation starters. Roll with the Planet of the Apes movie
I don't know where you are in your dating experience and that can have an impact on how you view dating situations. I was awkward and nervous but having been in a relationship (short as it was) gave me a good bit of confidence once I got over the pain of the breakup. The girl I dated was a lot more experienced than I was and was able to help me along the way. The first time I went to kiss her I got cold feet and backed out (it was my first time ever kissing a girl). She helped me through it and I picked it up pretty quickly and learned the french method the same night.
Part of overcoming the fundy mindset is pushing the comfort zone. It doesn't need to be a lot at a time. Identify a fundy hangup and look at ways to push it. Again, easier to do in a group so there is no expectation. Like your worries about flirting: If you do it to several guys in a group setting it implies much less than if you constantly flirt with only one guy.
Anyway, moving back to what you were originally saying about coming off as a not-very-fun-or-flirty person: not every guy is looking for a girl like that. Personally, I look for a girl that has a good head on her shoulders more than flirty. Yeah, the laughing and flirting is great in the short-term but too many times it's the only thing keeping a relationship going. In my opinion, that's not a good relationship.
I would recommend taking a look at your personality and focus on your strong points. Looking at what may be perceived as shortcomings can become a self-fulling prophecy. Keep your strong points in mind and look for small ways to show them. You are you and feeling guilty that you aren't a flirty person can sabotage you in your quest to get more comfortable with dating. I hope that made some kind of sense.
I know this is probably a bit scattered and maybe not all of it was talking about what you were looking for. I figured I'd give it a go. Hope things get better for you. My work day is almost over so I have to post this or lose it (mabye that would have been better). I'll check back later and see if I hit things in the general direction you were looking.
RE: Dating for Recovering Fundies - Mommy2Kids - 08-06-2011 02:33 PM
For me, online dating helped. I used a Christian site where I could narrow down my preferences, and I used a generic user name. The only way they could communicate with me was through the site unless I chose to give them my generic personal email. I was writing to 10 guys at one time, and eventually they fell away to fewer numbers. And then I met my future husband, and we left them all in the dust.
I was really scared at first, but clearly the risk was worth it.
I read a couple of really great books on dating/finding a mate. Becoming a Friend and a Lover by Dick Purnell is the best book on it that I've read. I wrote lists, too, of the characteristics I wanted, and I tried to be as objective as I could about the men to whom I was writing.
My husband and I wrote, emailed and called for 6 months until we were able to meet in person. That dispensed with much of the where-to-go/what-to-do stuff that takes up energy in relationships.
It worked for us.
RE: Dating for Recovering Fundies - boymom - 08-06-2011 03:34 PM
My recommendation, if you are nervous about being yourself one on one, go out with groups for awhile. Join a night class or a yoga group or volunteer at a local animal shelter or something to just be around people that are non-fundy. Myself, I was quite shy in high school. But sometimes, being out of your usual element emboldens you, cause you are thinking "I don't know these people and I'll probably never see them again." Then you can try new things without too much self-imposed embarassment. And if all else fails, I'm sure we've got some eligible bachelors or bachelor sons here on SFL that we could arrange a match for you.
RE: Dating for Recovering Fundies - Darrell - 08-06-2011 04:54 PM
Quote: I'm sure we've got some eligible bachelors or bachelor sons here on SFL that we could arrange a match for you.
We're already a seminary, therapy, and fashion guide. I imagine adding "dating service" wouldn't be all that difficult.
RE: Dating for Recovering Fundies - senda wales - 08-06-2011 05:26 PM
Thanks C_Fresh! Thanks for sharing. Your post made a lot of sense. It's different for ex-fundies because some things that are common sense to others were total sins to us. So it's helpful to know how others approach this. Thankfully I'm not totally gumshoe, and I do have a sense of confidence that a relationship is possible. It's just the casually dating part that is difficult/scary. (This probably goes back to the "every date is a potential mate" mindset.)
(08-06-2011 02:17 PM)C_Fresh Wrote: I guess my advice to you is to 'live in the moment'. Don't try to force yourself into something you aren't ready for yet.
These are good points. I tend to think I'm fairly well-adjusted, but sometimes all of a sudden I run into a wall while socializing and realize that's my fundy background kicking in. Figuring out in advance where this is happening and being mindful that it doesn't have to be this way is a good start. Feeling guilty about imperfections probably also stems from my mom is always criticizing me for being a mean and terrible person. So also remembering that it's all a process, there isn't going to be a point where I've achieved perfection.
RE: Dating for Recovering Fundies - senda wales - 08-06-2011 05:43 PM
(08-06-2011 03:34 PM)boymom Wrote: My recommendation, if you are nervous about being yourself one on one, go out with groups for awhile. Join a night class or a yoga group or volunteer at a local animal shelter or something to just be around people that are non-fundy. Myself, I was quite shy in high school. But sometimes, being out of your usual element emboldens you, cause you are thinking "I don't know these people and I'll probably never see them again." Then you can try new things without too much self-imposed embarassment.Yeah, this helps. I'm in a group that takes me out of my comfort zone, and I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. In this group, I feel naked because most of the people have tattoos and I don't, lol. They also all drink and swear a lot. Thankfully the group I'm in is very chill and accepting and the people are quite nice. This is all a good thing to help break some of my fundy habits. But it was the transition from group to one-on-one that got nerve-wracking; all of a sudden I couldn't just smile and nod, I had to actually talk, which meant being myself..
RE: Dating for Recovering Fundies - HazelEyed - 08-06-2011 10:22 PM
(08-06-2011 12:39 PM)senda wales Wrote: So, I have a problem people.
Here's the thing about being an uber nerd. It's AWESOME. Find someone who loves that about you! When I was fundy, I had this ridiculous mindset that I just needed to find some random male and become his submissive little helpmeet and everything would be great (no clue where this came from ... not my parents, maybe fundy camp or friends I had or books I'd read or something). I ended up dating a number of guys who I wasn't very physically attracted to and (to be brutally honest) I was probably smarter than as well. And I was pretty miserable deep down because I couldn't be myself, because they didn't like it if I acted smarter, so not only did I not have an outlet for my nerdiness and my longing to discuss deep topics (like for instance, your PotA analysis, that's exactly the kind of conversation I love to have), but I had to dumb myself down so they didn't feel threatened by my intelligence (yes one of them told me that). It was terrible. Don't make that mistake, please!! Don't feel that you have to in any way apologize for being geeky or nerdy.
Anyway, so I say all that to say this (and maybe you know all this, my apologies if you do, but I'm preaching to my younger self here I guess, plus you sort of listed the nerd stuff as a "problem"). Embrace your inner nerd. Find someone geeky who loves all the stuff you do, somebody who loves the fact that you have an algorithm for relating to people (that's so many different kinds of adorable, btw) and they probably won't be thinking about whether or not you're being flirty enough because they're too busy telling you who's their favorite Firefly character.
Some ppl mentioned online dating, and I think that's a fantastic idea.
As to the fundy stuff, I never had trouble with dating or sexuality from my fundy years (at least not once I was out of that mindset, it didn't cling to me), but I had tons and tons of trouble with residual guilt over other things, like dress standards. And I basically had to deal with it one step at a time. I started by establishing what I believed to be true, what my standards were that I'd set, and then I just had to keep working to remind myself and reinforce in my mind that I was not going to feel guilty about an old mindset I no longer believed was true. It's taken time, but I've come really far. So there's definitely hope that you'll be able to detox.
RE: Dating for Recovering Fundies - notdrinkingthekoolaid - 08-07-2011 12:46 AM
I love what HazelEyed said. Be yourself above all and don't apologize for who you are!
I married a geek and became a "geek by association". There is stuff he knows that my brain can't wrap itself around, but his geek-ness has lead me to appreciate genres of entertainment and music that I wouldn't have otherwise.
RE: Dating for Recovering Fundies - C_Fresh - 08-07-2011 09:44 AM
(08-06-2011 10:22 PM)HazelEyed Wrote: Here's the thing about being an uber nerd. It's AWESOME. Find someone who loves that about you!... Don't feel that you have to in any way apologize for being geeky or nerdy. ... Embrace your inner nerd. Find someone geeky who loves all the stuff you do, somebody who loves the fact that you have an algorithm for relating to people (that's so many different kinds of adorable, btw) and they probably won't be thinking about whether or not you're being flirty enough because they're too busy telling you who's their favorite Firefly character.
I'd agree that it can be a good thing. My ex and I first connected over our mutual enjoyment of the Lord of the Rings films (books were great too). It kept us talking for a good portion of the drive to my friend's wedding.
And as far as intelligence goes, I also agree with HazelEyed that you shouldn't feel the need to dumb yourself down to get a guy's acceptance. Some of the best conversations I've had with girls were about technical stuff. Slightly related is the idea that you should have your own opinions. For me personally, I don't want the typical 'mute and cute' fundy girl. I want a woman who has opinions, wisdom and insight. I want her to tell me when I'm wrong not just go along because I'm a man.