As I have gotten older the frequency of people suggesting online dating to me only increases. If you have ever had a conversation with me about online dating, you would have heard me preach about how I would never try it. I held and might even still hold the opinion that people who do it are desperate and there is nothing but creepy men on dating sites. Whenever, this option is suggested to me I could feel my heels dig into the ground as I strongly resist that option. NO! I am not going to do the online dating thing. That is not going to be my story. God does not need me to go online to give me a husband!
Ironically, coffee date guy from my last blog, I met online. This is how I complicate my own life. I go on this site one night while babysitting. I was waiting for the kid to go to sleep and was bored. I thought it might be fun. It was a social experiment. I went on this site in Reno and it confirmed what I believed about online dating. Now, I’m here in Washington, new territory, new men. I wanted to compare the experience. Then, I swipe right for this guy who recently ran his first half marathon, says he’s a Christian and is over 6 feet tall. We start messaging back and forth with very substantial conversation. He’s pretty cool. He admires my questions and judiciousness. He wants to meet me. I turn him down. He respects my pace and tells me that when I ready to meet to let him know. I contemplate this because it’s one thing to just message back and forth. If we stop, things can go back to normal with very little damage done. But you can’t take back meeting someone. I consider it and then choose to meet him. That’s when the coffee date happened. It was fun, not awkward (like I imagined), great conversation and a two and a half hour long date. Since then we have gone on a hike, had lunch, and seen a movie. He wanted to do something this weekend but I declined and use the weather as an excuse. He’s great and I’m thinking, judging by what he tells me and the fact that he keeps wanting to see me, that he sees a future with me. Ahh! Crap! Now I am getting too deep into this experiment. This is someone’s life. I can’t play with that. I need to tell him that he’s great but I don’t feel the same way. I did this to myself. Now I need to have this hard conversation.
Maybe it’s the fact that I met him online or maybe it’s due to the fact that I like someone else but whatever the source of my lack of feelings for him is, I just can’t keep this up. It does seem odd to me that I’m not interested when logically I think that I should be. I have discredited feelings when I think about what I want in a man. I should add another “f” to my list, feelings. How important is attraction and what level of attraction should be present when considering dating someone? Should I wait this one out a little longer in hope that feelings develop? I do not know. Why does this have to feel so complicated?
In the mean time the guy that I do like does nothing to communicate interest. There are little things that he does and if I read into them we are destined to be married. His best friend doesn’t get it either. He thinks he should talk to him and basically say, “Hey! What’s your deal? You like her. Go for it!” He was going to talk to him yesterday but like plans with coffee date guy didn’t happen due to the weather, so their conversation didn’t happen either. I’m a little disappointed. I am trying to have the right perspective. God doesn’t need his friend to talk to him in order to make something happen. Maybe that will be the tool that propels this forward. If not, that is okay.
Through these events, I have come to the conclusion that God does not need me go online to find a man but he may have a good one on a dating site. One, I would not have met otherwise. God does not need someone to call out his friend in order to for him to finally make a move. However, that may be what he needs. I believe God has a plan. What we do can be used as tools in the grand scheme or we are just fools trying to make things happen that shouldn’t. It’s hard to know what’s right. Waiting is hard. The desire to try to manipulate things is strong. For now the best thing for me to do is wait on knees and ask for wisdom.
There must be some psychological reason for this. I seem to have a habit of liking the guys that don’t ever like me back. Why do I continue to hold out in hopes that one day things will suddenly change. It’s almost as though I find it attractive that they don’t. Then, there are those who do like me right away and I don’t know what to do with that. It freaks me out, I wonder why, and then I resist their attention. Even when it is a guy that makes perfect sense I don’t know what to do with it. And when I say makes sense, I mean he meets my “Five F’s”.
I have what I call my “Five F’s”. These are the five different categories that I mentally filter a guy though if I’m considering him. Faith, family, food/fitness, fun, and finances are the different areas that make up my five “F’s”. As I get to know someone, observe him and ask pointed questions, I see how well he lines up to the “F’s”. Under each category there is a range. If he is not too far off then he meets my standard for that “F”. I want to know how serious a guy is about his faith, how important family is to him, if the value of health and eating vegetables are present at all in his life, what he does for fun, and if he is financially responsible. If a guy likes me and all he eats is pizza, plays only video games and never goes outside, has tons of debt, and Jesus is a second thought; then our lifestyles would not collide well.
I recently meet someone. We meet for coffee and talked for two and a half hours at the coffee shop. From what I learned about him, I would say he was a match according to my “Five F’s”. But internally I was like, “Yeah, he’s nice, taller than me, smart, good job, likes running, serve the Lord, and loves his family but I’m really not that interested. I think I like someone else.” He makes sense! What is wrong with me? I know! I’m still stuck on someone who I hope will suddenly decide that he likes me and makes a move. My coffee date clearly likes me or at least I think so because he wants to continue seeing me. Its fun but I have a hard time thinking of him as anything more than a friend. I like this other guy more. A guy, I have liked for awhile but nothing ever happens with him. This is why I think there must be some psychological explanation. Have I just let myself get emotionally attached to the one guy and can’t seem to let go? The one I really like doesn’t even meet all my “F’s” like coffee date guy and yet I’m okay with that.
This seems like something that you see in movies. The girl goes for the guy that she feels all the emotions for and not the one that makes logical sense. I have always been under the belief that we should not make these kinds of decisions based on emotions. Emotions are fleeting and love is a choice. Even in a marriage that last a lifetime the two individuals won’t always feel romantic emotions for each other. I’m struggling to sort out my belief about emotions with my actual emotions in this situation. I’d almost rather sacrifice what I think for what I feel. The one that I really like is not a bad choice but maybe the other one would be better. I’m just not feeling it. O Lord make me wise! I need clarification here! I think this is just something that I am going to have to sort on while on my knees in prayer!
I’m a fox without a hole. At least, I joke that I am. It’s partly true. Since the first time that I moved to Washington until now I have had 4 temporary living situations. Even my current one I would consider temporary (though I may be here longer than the others). I was a live in nanny. I knew I wasn’t going to do that forever. Then I moved back in with my sister who at the time was planning her wedding. The good Lord knew that I wasn’t going to live with her after she was married. She, her man, nor I would have wanted that! After she was married I moved in with my parents. That was a humbling experience. I love them but after living on my own for 8 years and not only on my own but out of state it felt like a set back to my life. Now I live back in Washington. I love my living arrangement. I rent a room in the home of a very kind couple. There is another girl, a friend of mine that also rents a room there too. The four of us get along fabulously; we respect each other’s space and have a system that works when it comes to sharing the kitchen and getting our laundry done. But once again this is a temporary arrangement. I’m going to be 30 this year and help me please if I’m here more than 3 years. See! Still, I’m a fox without a hole. I don’t have my own home. As I consider these facts about my life the goal setter in me starts scheming.
Somewhere along the way as I’ve gotten old, remained single and pursued my interest, I made a conscious decision to live as though I will always be single. Living 600 miles from my family has also shaped my independence. That was almost by force. When one is removed from their source of support they are put in a position where they just have to figure things out. For example, first time I got a flat tire in Portland and daddy couldn’t just come help me; I learned how to change a tire after that. Now that my 20’s are ending and I am approaching 30 I have a plan regarding a home for this foxy lady. I spent my 20’s focusing on becoming who God wants me to be, getting myself through school, figuring out my career path, prioritizing my health, developing healthy friendships, remaining debt free, and doing some traveling. These are all great things for someone in their 20’s to work on and then maintain through their 30’s and onward.
I’ve decided that my next goal will be to save to buy a house. For some reason I was thinking that would come when I have a man (either he’ll have one or we’ll save and plan together). I didn’t think that I could do it by myself but then I realized why not? I put myself through school. What I paid in tuition could have been a down payment on a house. I’m a young, ambition, smart girl who can and has done more than I ever thought I would (by the grace of God). My plan in the next 3 years is to save enough for a 25% down payment on a house. Hopefully the housing market will be better by then. So, as I think of my current situation. It doesn’t feel as endless with a goal in mind. 3 years! I can do. And if a man comes along he can jump on board with my plan or we can revaluate the plan and set our own goal. Here’s to the future! I don’t know what God has in store for my life but I’m going to take it one day at a time. I have my plans but he determines my steps.
Running is a way that I deal with life. God and I have the best conversations when I am running. I solve all of my life problems on my runs (or at least I feel better about them after the endorphins are flowing through my body). I started running about 7 years ago after my boyfriend and I broke up. Emotions are excellent fuel for a good run. After he and I broke up, I was hurt, sad and angry. Sometimes, one does not know what to do with all of those feelings. I could run on my treadmill and work out what I was feeling in my mind and sometimes vocally (it’s a good thing no one was watching me talk to myself). Afterwards, I’d feel so much better. It was at this time that I set a goal. I wanted to run a marathon. Haven’t done that yet, but running the half marathon is a good start. I remember when I got on my treadmill with the intentions to run a mile without stopping. I was running at a 5 mile per hour pace and finished that first mile in 12 minutes. Not very fast, I know! I was very proud of that mile! I went into the house (the treadmill was located in the garage) and bragged to my sister how I just ran a mile without stopping. This is very impressive! Well, looking back at those early running days and contrasting them with what I can now do, it’s really not impressive at all. That is one of the beautiful things about looking back. One can see all that has taken place, the growth that has happened and the cause and effect of decisions. Along with the sudden desire to run a marathon another thing that I resolved at that time was to thrive and not just survive (I’m sure someone else came up with that but at the time I felt very cleaver with my little rhyme). I prayed that God would make me into the “Alina” that he wanted me to be. The next 7 years up to this point were filled with transitions and were transformational and continue to be.
After my heart started to heal, I started to evaluate my life and where I thought it was going. Without my boyfriend my dream of getting married was put on hold. I was working a part-time job at a preschool and though I loved the job, I felt like that was all I was ever going to do. I could not see any opportunities in my futures. But I had a dream, a dream that I had buried. It started to resurface. Before this point there were times when I would hear about people who had gone to Bible College and I would think it would be amazing to go too. But I didn’t pursue it. I had planned on getting married young and working at the preschool. That was going to be my life. Or at least what I thought it should be. I remember this day very well. I was in my classroom sweeping the floor and I had a thought. I told myself, “I want to go to Bible College.” At that moment I started to pursue it.
That decision brought more growth and opportunities, more than I could have imagined. I started at Multnomah University in Reno in the Fall of 2013. Being that the main campus was located in Portland OR, my interest in the Pacific Northwest was born. I made my first visit to Portland during my first semester with my close friend, Kaysi. I remember as I was preparing to head home from that trip feeling so sad. I fell in love with that place. It was weird because I had visited other places but none of them captured my heart like Portland Oregon did. I knew I would come back and I did. I visited 5 times within a 3 year period before I moved to Washington in 2016.
I am so grateful that I did not marry my boyfriend. I am still single. If I ever do get married it will definitely be at an older age than I ever expected. But my life has been full. I have sought the Lord. He has turned to me and heard my prayers. He continues to grow me more into the “Alina” that he wants me to be. He has blessed me with the opportunity to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I also get to teach kindergarten. Fun fact! When I first looked into Multnomah in Reno, I wanted to pursue Elementary Education but the Reno campus does not offer that major. However, God did not forget that desire of mine. I graduated with a degree in Bible and Theology and I get to use it in a Christian school teaching kindergarten.
I run daily. I want to train for another half marathon. Someday I will run a full marathon. Running has gotten easier through much perseverance. Running is still hard but it gets easier as I get stronger. My strength has grown and I have also grown more into the version of “Alina” that I should be. I am thriving!
Things like pursuing a career or working towards a college degree are all things that I can plan, save and make happen. I can set five year plans and chart out my course for reaching these goals. Having a husband could be a goal but I cannot pursue it the same way I would other big goals. Hhhmmm let’s see… how about I just be married before I turn 30. Well, it looks like that is not going to happen. I could be but that would require me to lower my standards and settle for any creeper that asks for my phone number. For me, that is not an option, so I remain single. I would rather be single than be married to some of the guys who have asked me out. As flattering as it is to be the center of attention, it is also discouraging because I rather it be with the right guy and not the cult member who can’t get anything done, only eats pizza, is allergic to the outdoors and church, and hasn’t talked to his family in 10 years. It makes a girl wonder how she can attract such creepy men. I am convinced that the creepy ones lack any awareness of how awkward they are and have no fear of pretty girls. The descent men see the pretty face of a nice girl and think that she will bit their heads off if they say hi. Because really, my face screams, “talk to me and I will bit your head off.” Try me!
In the past when I have liked a guy, I think I tried too hard to make things happen. It didn’t work. Relationships are not like trying to get good grades. They do take work but one person cannot make them happen. Manipulating things such as walking down the hall at the same time as he does or signing up to play on the same soft ball team never made any man fall for me. Actually, when I was most successful at getting the attention of a man was when I did nothing. Men that were never on my radar would ask me out. Of course, they were not on my radar because I did not like them. So, I was just myself and did my thing (which I guess they found attractive). However, their attention always did come as a shock. I would wonder why they were talking to me. I wanted them to leave me alone.
In this new season of my life and now that I am back in Washington, my new plan of action is to do nothing, nothing in the area of a relationship with the opposite sex. I will do my thing. I will keep running every morning, I will keep working hard to be the best kindergarten teacher I can be, I will continue to grow healthy friendships and in all of these things I will seek God. If a guy that I like comes around, I will not message him, try to manipulate situations or do anything to try and get his attention. If he wants to talk to me, he will. If he wants to message me, he will. If he wants to make something happen, he will. If the creepy men have taught me anything, it’s that being myself is enough. This of course takes patience. It can be frustrating too. At times I wonder why I am still single and other people are getting married. As I approach 30, I am thankful that I did not waste my 20’s. I went to school and finished. I traveled. I lived in new places. I discovered what I believe and stand for. I grew and so did my standard (which narrow my choices in men). I get to teach kindergarten and live in the Pacific Northwest. All these things I thank God for. Through all these things there have been many joys and struggles but I have seen the faithfulness of God. If he has been faithful in all the areas of my life up to this point, then he will continue to be. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes, the area of finding a husband feels like God doesn’t care. He clearly has the whole world and starving children to be more concerned about. However, my mind is not capable to grasp all the cares of the world but God is big enough to care for the whole world AND the little cares that burden my heart. If I believed that God was incapable of caring for the world and my cares than I would be making him smaller than he is. God does not fit in any human box. He is big and his was we cannot grasp his ways. He can move mountains and has in my life. So, I will patiently wait and continue moving forward doing what I believe God has called me to. If he brings me a husband (and I hope he does) that will be great and if not, God will continue to be great and good and loving.
I spent one week on a dating app. It was a social experiment. If you know me, you know that I have no interest in online dating. I know people that have used online dating and it worked great. For me, I have made the choice not to use it as an avenue to find love. During my time on the app my intentions were to learn about how people try to sell themselves and maybe learn something about myself. Essentially the first impression from people’s profiles are what moves the other person to either “swipe left” (rejecting them) or “swipe right” (expressing interest). What I liked about the app that I was on, was that the ladies are the ones who initiate and send the first message. Guys can’t send out a message first. I did not want creepers messaging me. I also didn’t really want to talk or meet anyone. My account was purely for science.
It was amazing to me how many men used the same kind of statements in their bios. Most of the men want a “Partner in crime,” “good vibes,” and someone with their “Sh*t together.” So, if I want to commit felonies with a hippie attitude (but I must have my life together), I would make a great option for these men. It also amazed me at how they tried to sell themselves. Maybe I’m just a breed of my own but the top things on my list were not mentioned in their bios. Maybe some girls really want a man who kills spiders. I personally enjoy seeing a spider out in nature (not in the house). Some are beautiful and make stunning webs. And who doesn’t want a man who is good at cracking “dad jokes” and has a great “dad bod”? At least they are honest about how they are built. That is important for some girls to know. However, there was a large number of the men who emphasized that fitness is important to them. I’m all about being healthy and fit but it’s a bit much when a guy states that they want a girl with a “tight light waist.” Thanks for being honest guys!
Most of them also listed their height, which for this Amazon woman, is very important to know. They usually made some kind of comment about why they included it. Which, it usually was due to the fact that they get asked. So, my guess is they updated their bios after being asked a number of times.
Most of them don’t like it when girls use photos with filters such as the filters that add things like bunny ears. I would never choose to use photos like that. I want to look real. They apparently want to see the real deal too but hopefully my waist is tight enough?
After a week I felt that I had compiled enough information. But honestly, I was annoyed, and my eyes were starting to bug me from looking at the quick motion on the screen from constantly swiping left. There were barely any men on that app that I would have been interested in. Actually, the app told me I ran out of people. The men that are shown are based on your location. So, I guess I eliminated all the men in Reno and should move back to Washington. If my science experiment proved anything, it proved that there is no one here for me or that I am just too picky. My plan is just to let God take care of this area of my life. In the mean time I will keep “dating” my running schedule and preparing for the half marathon that I am going to run in a week! My commitment to my running feels like a relationship or another full-time job. If I ever meet a man that I could be interested in, he’ll have to be able to keep up.
“The more I grow in my faith the higher my standards grow,” said my good friend, Michelle. I have realized this is true in my life as well. I think if I got married at 19 or 20 when my girlish heart had wanted to, I would have made a stupid wife. I would have gone for any guy who was, first taller than me, then a Christian. Sure he lives at home, doesn’t own a car, keeps dropping out of college because they make you write papers (what did you expect?) and the only job he can get is selling knives for Cutco. But he says he loves Jesus and me! He has potential. Let’s get married someday and hope that he grows into the man that he could be. Thankfully that relationship didn’t work out!
I’m thankful now. But when that relationship ended, I was destroyed. He hurt me so badly. He’s words are burned into my brain. The events that led to our break up where ugly and he did some things that I don’t understand how someone who says that they love you could do. When I asked him about his actions he said, “I wanted to hurt you and I knew that would get to you.” Wanted to hurt me? But you love me. Those two things cannot coexist. I was destroyed. My body felt so much pain I questions how it was even able to support life. Time moved slowly. It seemed that I would hurt forever. These new wounds trigged old wounds that I had never dealt with. I hated it. I had not felt that pain in such a long time and it stacked on top of my current pain. I was frustrated that I was feeling so many things that I did not want to feel or even felt capable of dealing with. I would cry at night. My sister could hear me down the hall into her room. She was worried. I would go on drives just to scream in my car where no one could hear me (praise God I didn’t crash!).
I prayed to God while lying flat on my floor. I prayed that God would make me into the “Alina” he wanted me to be. That I would grow into a godly woman. Slowly I healed. The moments of pain slowly faded. Slowly I became okay. Then I became grateful that the relationship ended. I went to Bible College. I lived out of state. I kept praying to grow into the “Alina” that God wanted me to be. He must have been pleased with that prayer. He answered it and continues to grow me. I’m thankful for the woman that God is making me to be and all that I have learned about myself and life in the last ten years. My standards are higher.
At times it feels like a curse to have high standard about what kind of man I want. That kind of man just doesn’t seem to exist or is already taken. The leftovers at this point seem to be creepy men who go for any pretty face that they see. I know that it’s not true. There are good men out there. I just don’t know where out there.
Kindness is something that I have greatly grown to value in a man. I have known too many mean men. The man I described about is one example. I want someone who will be kind to me, kind to everyone! Flattery is not a form of kindness. That has been used by men who just want me to be their girlfriend because they like my face or maybe just my butt. Being back in Reno I have observed something. I think it was always there but my increase of value of kindness has heightened my awareness of kind people. I have observed my dad and my new brother-in-law. They are kind. I love watching how they treat other people. I love how they treat my mom and my sister and everyone else. Good men still exist! My standards are still high. I won’t marry potential. Patiently, I wait for a kind man of God who is hopefully taller than me (can’t let that one go).