Counseling and Dating Don’t Mix (Part Won)
What do you get when you ask folks for their real life first-date horror stories? You get the TOP10 Signs You’re on a Bad First Date. To be sure, laughing at our first-date disappointments sure beats:
A. Beating ourselves up over them
B. Dreaming about beating up our date
But even better, is bettering ourselves by learning from those blunders. And so we come to #5: Your date spends the evening seeking your counsel on how to get over their ex.
Mmmmmm fun! Several issues here. Though maybe not as many as were covered on this particular first date. In this post however, I want to deal with the importance of grieving the loss of a relationship.
First, allow me to share some perspective that might help us see why surviving lost love is easier said than done. In point of fact, our culture tends to approach dating a lot like riding a bike. It’s a rite of passage; part of growing up. And frankly you just have to get out there and try it, if you ever want to learn. Scrapes and bruises are considered normal, and are expected to heal in time.
And if you fall down?
You’re just supposed to get back up and try again.
Actually, in practice dating is treated even more nonchalantly than riding a bike. After all, any parent letting little Bobby on a bicycle without a helmet could have a SWOT team of child service agents swarm in within minutes. Whereas with dating, there is no dating helmet to protect your head, no dating wheels to keep you steady and no one running alongside you in case you fall. Indeed, taking a chaperone on a date is about as archaic an idea as using tin cans and a string to ask your date out.
However, the reality is that dating is a whole lot more like learning to drive a car than a bike. It is a rite of passage, but it is also dangerous, because you’re not merely risking your knees and elbows when you fail. And it’s not just your virginity at stake, you’re putting your heart out there to be bruised and battered. That’s why it’s not so easy to just get back up again after you fall out of love (or someone falls out of love with you).
A broken heart isn’t equivalent to a skinned knee. You’re going to need more than a band aid. That’s why heart wounds don’t heal on first dates with new potential love interests. They heal over time through healthy intimate non-romantic relationships.
You want to compound the hurt from a romantic breakup? Get back up and try again! That’s right! You just go ahead and jump right into another emotionally-charged, chemically-induced, reckless romantic relationship.
Or on second thought don’t. Instead, prayerfully seek out a wise friend who can hurt with you empathetically, and then walk with you through your pain constructively.
And if you wind up on a first date with someone seeking your counsel on getting over their ex, suggest they do the same.
For crying out loud, we’re not talking about falling off a bike. We’re talking about a relationship wreck. You need time to grieve. And platonic same-gender relationships provide a safe place where relational grief can more readily lead to healing and wholeness.
No one wants to help you get over your ex on a first date anyway. Well actually, that’s not entirely true, but we’ll talk about that next week.
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