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Sadly, this isn’t me at Rose – as I was stalking my own Instagram I discovered just how many pictures with donuts I have (who’s surprised?) – but this IS me with my brother enjoying Mighty-O Donuts in Seattle!

Donuts

#3 out of 4: Rose Donuts

  1. Delicious
  2. Open 24/7
  3. Down the street from a Ballast Point (if donut & beer pairings are your thing… which, they should be)
  4. Deeeeeelicious

Dating

As I’ve said before, you need to know what you’re looking for when dating. Obviously, the process of dating helps you narrow down and define what, exactly, you are looking for – but if you have no idea whatsoever, dating is probably going to be a shit show for ya (just being honest). What type of person are you looking for, but also what are you looking for – a marriage partner, a companion for the next few months, someone fun to spend Friday night with? Figure this out before you find yourself sitting down one on one with that cutie you’ve been eyeing, I promise you won’t regret it.

“We are told to date with intention, what does that mean??”

In Christianese, “dating with intention” typically means dating someone you can see yourself marrying, dating solely with the end goal of marriage, or simply: dating to marry. These things aren’t bad, but it does put a lot of pressure on dating relationships – especially in the early stages. We get nervous about knowing if we want to marry them – right away. We stress over everything “dating purposefully” entails, terrified of wasting our time or doing anything without thinking through the purpose of it. We worry far too much about who is the spiritual head in the relationship (psst – it should be both of you).

Here’s where dating with intention gets messy, fast: when we’re so preoccupied about the intention part, we forget about the dating part. When we’re so focused on marriage, on if they are The One, we miss out on the person sitting right in front of us – who we’re supposed to be on a date with. It’s fine to have marriage as the end, far off goal of your dating life – it is not fine to have marriage as the deciding factor of every, single, little decision in your dating life.

Here’s what dating with intention means to me: being intentional about how you act in your dating life. Are you being honest with your “yes”s and “no”s, are you clearly communicating with those you are either dating or looking to date? Are you being intentional about the messages you are sending members of the opposite sex? Are you being intentional about time spent on dates, actually getting to know someone and see if they are the type of person you’d like to spend more time around – or are you busy playing games, using people, and working harder on being hard to get than actually getting to know someone?

Are you being intentional with the people you surround yourself with, both on dates and in community? Are you being intentional about creating a safe environment to date – healthy boundaries, healthy vulnerability, healthy expectations? Are you being intentional about looking out for what would be in their best interest, not yours? Most importantly, are you being intentional about inviting God into your dating life, seeing where – and to who – He may lead?

Your dating life can be intentional, and you still have no idea if you’re going to marry the person – even 6 months in. Your dating life can be intentional and the topic of marriage stays off the table, for a while at least. Your dating life can be intentional as long as you are intentional.

Which, really, makes someone a great date to begin with. A date with thought and intentionality put into the planning – even the smallest amount – is ten times better than a “uh lets meet at Stabucks?” A date with true intention to get to know you – even with awkward, stumbling questions – is ten times better than “soo….” as they stare at their phones.

I’d argue living with intention is a better goal here – you’ll find yourself dating with intention by default.

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“Is it okay to date someone you don’t plan on marrying? How do you know when to end it?”

Personally, I don’t see the point in dating someone you aren’t going to marry. Some people never want to get married and disagree with this, some people just want to have fun with dating for a few years and then, later, get serious – that’s cool for them. You do you. For me, I don’t see the purpose in investing time and emotional energy with someone, growing your lives closer and closer each day, if you don’t at least hope it will end in marriage. It seems like a lot of useless heartache to me. Break ups are tough enough, I have no desire in a relationship that I know will end in one.

BUT there’s a big difference in dating someone as in a serious, committed relationship and dating someone as in going one a date or two. I don’t see any issue in going on a handful of dates with someone you don’t really see yourself marrying. Mostly because you don’t know someone from day one, so maybe you should give it a few chances – it could still go somewhere. Partly because you can spend one on one with with someone of the opposite sex once in a while – just enjoy getting to know another human being. I always say you can learn something, you can teach something, and you can be Jesus to someone while on a date. It doesn’t have to end in marriage for it to have a happy ending.

If your intention of dating is marriage (like I said, figure that out!), don’t enter into a committed relationship with someone you don’t see yourself marrying. That’s just asking for trouble. Sometimes people find themselves following the natural progression of a relationship they don’t even want to be in – don’t do that. Don’t agree to be someone’s girlfriend you don’t actually want to be committed to; don’t ask a girl to be official just because you think that’s the next step. Never agree to any step in a relationship that you don’t actually desire – it seems obvious, but you’d be surprised.

If you’re in a committed relationship, I’d say at whatever point you’re sure you don’t want to marry them is the point to break up with them. Don’t wait for “better timing” (that doesn’t exist), don’t go on a break for a few months thinking things might change, don’t beat around the bush. If you realize there’s no future for you two, the best thing you can do for them, and yourself, is to end it. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by staying in a relationship going nowhere. In the wise words of Relient K, which soothed me all through high school, “I know that this will hurt. But if I don’t break your heart, things will just get worse”.

While we’re talking about breaking up…

The best way to go about that? In person, honestly (but not the point of cruelty), and quickly. There is no need to draw out a break up (speaking as someone who went through a two month break up), and lying to the person over the reason is not helping. Also hiding behind a text or letter is, quite honestly, lame. The break up golden rule is the forever golden rule: break up with others as you would want to be broken up with.

Breaking up is NOT saying you don’t care about someone, that you never cared for them, or that you won’t always – just a little bit – care for them (sometimes those are the case, but not always!). It’s saying “this – us, together – isn’t good”. Maybe it isn’t good for you, for them, or for both of you collectively – regardless, if it’s not good right now, it’s heading somewhere bad. Fast. I’ve seen too many people not break up with people because “I really care about them” or “they’re going through a lot right now and need me” or “it’s just not a good time right now” – those aren’t reasons to not end things. Those are excuses. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for someone is break off an unhealthy relationship.


16426150_1362441130479818_7163974223235520616_nAfter speaking on my church’s college group’s Donuts & Dating panel, I’m blogging all week about those two very things!

My Donuts & Dating mini series is questions we didn’t get to answer, extra thoughts of mine on the subject, and – of course – my favorite donut spots in San Diego.

Be sure to read my initial thoughts on dating, staying friends with your exes & emotional boundaries, dating with intention & when to break up with someone, how to make yourself attractive & when to ask someone out, annnnnnnnd everyone’s number one question for me: online dating.

3 thoughts on “How to Date with Intention & When to End Things

  1. Pingback: Donuts & Dating: How Do I Make Myself Attractive & When Can I Ask Them Out?

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