Saturday, November 16, 2013

Opportunities Lost

I should have dated more in college.

I don't mean the type of dating where one is searching for a mate, spouse or life partner. Just the type of casual dating where you get to know people better.

Many of my college friends are on Facebook, and I have struck up online relationships with several that I never really experienced during school. I knew them at school, chatted with them in the student center or somewhere on campus. But I think I missed out on really getting to know them beyond the simple, "hey, how's it going?"

I know that establishing a deeper connection with someone during dating can lead to intimacy in a relationship which ultimately could lead to lifelong commitment in marriage, and that certainly would have been a risk. I say risk because eventually I did find the woman I would marry, but that was later in life when I was in the Army. I'm not looking to replace her, but I still think that it would have led to deeper friendships with those women with whom I currently interact on the internet.

They are all married now as well. Most of their husbands are strangers to me, though I do know a few as they were also students at the same school I attended.

It's entirely possible that the hormones of youth would have turned such dating into a romantic prowl. And it's also probable that I view things quite differently now at 50 than I did when I was 20. Maybe it wouldn't have worked as I envision it could have.

But now my interactions with them are limited to whatever little snippets, posts and messages are swapped in cyberspace. I don't feel bad about this. I just wish I had taken the time to enjoy their company and learn about them beyond discussing homework or campus events.

That's all I'm saying.


Kevin Bowser said...

There is much to be said for dating. We have many friends who think dating is almost as evil as dancin', drinkin' and smokin'. They believe in "Courting". I think it is a little hypocritical of them to to encourage their kids to Court only only when they are ready for marriage and to eschew dating. (Oh, by the way, those same parents were dating maniacs in HS and college.)
But you bring up an interesting point.

Jeff Howe said...

As you well know, Kevin, there are myriad levels of dating. Unfortunately, we usually ascribe romantic notions to the term. That's not a bad thing because it's one of the steps to marriage. However, getting someone alone in a nonintimate, nonthreatening setting - like going to the Mug for a cup of coffee - and having a good conversation with that person is also a valid form of dating. There are different dynamics when people separate from the group to go one on one and that is what I should have been striving for.

Christians have a way of mucking up perfectly decent norms with all sorts of twisted logic. It's a shame, but understandable. As long as they don't start basing one's salvation on their practices, it's all okay, I guess.