He Says/She Says: Your Utility Belt for Surviving the “Dating Apocalypse”

When it comes to dating — especially as Catholics — we’re all pretty much running around like chickens with our heads chopped off. On a scale of one to “figured-it-out,” we’re pretty much still in the stage of trying to cook a Thanksgiving turkey for the first time with only half the recipe and ingredients.

…That got weird. Anyway, you see our point.

We’re halfway out of the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” era, but we’re also avoiding the hookup culture. For most of our lives, we were told what not to do for dating, but we weren’t told much about what to do. Dating is supposted to be fun. If not, you’re doing it wrong.

How does one ask a girl on a date? How should a lady respond if she’s not interested? How can a fellow plan a totally awesome first date that’ll leave her wanting more? How does one not only date, but date virtuously, from start to finish?

We’re pretty tired of not finding good answers to these questions — so here we go. Allow us to introduce a blog series on everyone’s favorite, delightfully awkward topic: virtuous dating.

The two of us, Therese and Daniel, are going to share practical tips and suggestions from the women’s and the men’s perspectives. (Sure, yeah, we’re the spokespeople for our entire respective genders. We are burdened with glorious purpose. Get over it.) But on a more serious note, we would like to make the disclaimer that we are not experts. We are products of our culture just like you; we just so happen to be burgeoning writers, so we’re sharpening our quills and sharing our experiences.

For the next several weeks, we’ll tackle every stage in dating and how to approach it virtuously, with respect for the other person. Think of this series as your dating “utility belt,” with each post as a new tool.

You’re probably like, “GREAT! Sign me up, let’s go on a first date!”

Not so fast, Romeo/Juliet. Before we get to the actual dating part, there is a whole pre-dating phase. The first question you’ve got to ask yourself is this: How do I decide who to date in the first place?

Whom are you looking for?

Contrary to what our fling-focused culture tells us, the whole purpose of dating is to (eventually) find a person with whom you spend the rest of your life. Taken in that light, you need to spend some time thinking about what you want in that person.

There’s no formula for the perfect spouse, and no human being is going to meet a checklist of a hundred criteria. But while we should be realistic about what amazing qualities to expect in a future mate, it IS okay to have dealmakers — and deal breakers — to separate the prospective partners from the questionable characters. Here are a few of ours:

Dealmakers (aka, qualities you want):

– Genuine; confident; kind; supportive; your friend; teammate; modest dresser; leads/follows well; honest; available; gets along with your friends; family-oriented; in love with Jesus.

And some deal breakers (aka, characteristics to watch out for):

– Narcissistic; abusive; dishonest; addictive; unavailable; controlling; lazy; disrespectful; not open to life.

Remember: Do look for the major dealmakers, but the smaller “list” items aren’t as important. Don’t be too picky. Don’t be looking for a magical feeling/confirmation/lightning bolt/”love at first sight” before you’ve even gotten to the dating process. Love is built, and it is chosen.

At the same time, though, keep your eyes wide open to the dealbreakers so you don’t make a choice you might regret.

Most importantly: Know God and know who you are. Then everything will fall into place.

In the next post, we’ll focus on the “pre-dating” stage with a topic we’re sure you’ll enjoy. It’s the unspeakable “F-word” of dating: flirting. Boom.

Until then, if you’re really serious about this whole virtuous dating thing (and why wouldn’t you be? It’s pretty much the best thing ever and people need to learn how to do it), then we’ve got a bit of homework for you.

Here are a couple of topics we think are really important foundations to everything else we’re gonna say. If you have a few minutes, check ’em out.

The first thing is friendship. You can’t date well if you don’t know how to have real, meaningful, deep friendships. Here’s what that looks like and how to do it.

The second thing relates to two glorious, often misunderstood words: casual dating. This post should help explain what we mean by that.

‘Til next week!

Check out the rest of our dating series!

  1. He Says/She Says: Your Utility Belt for Surviving the “Dating Apocalypse”
  2. He Says/She Says: The Unspeakable “F Word” of Dating
  3. He Says/She Says: How to Ask Somebody on a Date (and How to Respond)
  4. He Says/She Says: How to Have a First Date that Rocks (and Isn’t Awkward)
  5. He Says/She Says: So You’ve Been on a Couple Dates…Now What?
  6. He Says/She Says: The Virtuous Relationship
  7. He Says/She Says: How to Break Up (and Keep Some Semblance of Dignity)
Therese Bussen and Daniel Paris
Therese lives in glorious Denver, Colorado and grew up in the high desert area of Southern California (and knows what the Israelites felt like waiting in the desert to get to the Promised Land). She graduated from Benedictine College with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Art. When she's not hanging out with friends, Therese enjoys reading, writing, painting, drawing, designing (basically any kind of art), and dancing awkwardly on purpose. She also loves surprising people with her love of shotgun shooting and cigars. Also, a glass of wine is her favorite thing. Daniel is a ninth-year missionary with FOCUS, having served two years on campuses on the east coast and seven years in the national Formation department. Daniel and his wife Allison have been incredibly blessed and are thrilled to be newly married and on mission together.

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