What’s the point of a dating fast if we’re made for love?

What images are conjured up by the words “dating fast?” Wait, is that someone not dating by choice? Yes, it’s that and so much more! It can include saying no to casual dating, flirting, making out, and the like; no spending an afternoon daydreaming about your crush or thinking about your wedding; and not encouraging any thoughts of lacking worth or how one relationship will fulfill you.

Wait, isn’t love a great and beautiful thing? Don’t we spend our whole lives looking for love, even if sometimes it’s in “all the wrong places?” Why would we ever fast from love?

I asked myself the same question until one day, during college, I listened to a talk by a priest about friendships between men and women. I realized that many men had not been friends, or even people, to me for a long time. They had become prospects. I was usually on the lookout for that next crush who would hopefully, finally, be the man of my dreams. This caused problems: a lot of heartaches and wasted time, especially the time I spent admiring my crushes on Facebook.

So, I decided to go on a dating fast. I had heard about “the fast” from many other sources, whether from close friends, spiritual advisors, blogs, or even the FOCUS missionaries on my campus who committed to a dating fast their first year of missionary work. But, I had always been skeptical because I didn’t understand what could be gained from a dating fast.

How quickly I learned! I came to realize that fasting shifts our eyes from the trivial to the infinite. It can lift us up and make us better by pushing us to work a little harder and exercise self-control even while we go about our everyday. So, I took the dive and went on a semester-long fast, trying to rid my heart of all the bad thoughts and perceptions I had about love and replace it with the wholesomeness of true love.

Despite how hard and long that semester was, it was one of the most fruitful times of my life. I started seeing the opposite sex and myself as people again: Glorious, flawed, desirable, sometimes obnoxious people, possessing infinite worth. I realized we all deserve more than daydreams, romantic comedies, fantasies, and relationships based only on the physical. We deserve true love, which involves work and hardship and joy and something almost akin to bliss.

To this day, I reap the benefits from that time of fasting. Sometimes, my vision becomes clouded with false ideas of love promoted by magazines, movies, and books. These things try to convince me that I have to have sex to have a good relationship, or that I am not enough if I don’t have a boyfriend, etc. When I’m tempted to entertain such thoughts, I remind myself of what I learned during the fast and I am back on track. There’s no need to start fasting every time I get a little off track. If so, I would be starving myself and that doesn’t help either!

So, to this day, whether I am single or dating, I keep in mind what I have learned: The person you like, or may not like, is first and foremost a person, with goals, dreams, and worth that cannot be fathomed. The same goes for you and me. This mentality has helped me through heartbreaks, hopes, and first dates, and I hope it can help you too.

Happy fasting!

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Kathryn Dionne enjoys writing when she isn’t working for her alma mater, Ave Maria University. She is also a sports enthusiast, despite a soccer injury that cuts her physical exertion a little short. But that’s ok, because watching movies, her other passion, doesn’t involve running, so she still considers herself #blessed. Blogs: glenncococlub.wordpress.com   sleeplessincinema.wordpress.com

11 Comments

  1. Exactly!! why take a dating fast?

    By FULLTHROTTLE23 | 2 years ago Reply
  2. Great post

    By Janique | 2 years ago Reply
  3. Loved this post excactly because its what I need at this moment but, how is it that I go about it?? Tips or further references please Miss Kathryn.

    Xoxo.

    By Teresa | 2 years ago Reply
  4. Awesome blog! I especially like how you talked about looking at people of the opposite sex as people again. I do have some questions though. I’m a sophomore (soon to be junior) and I’ve never even been on a date yet, so how exactly would I go on a dating fast? I’m not planning on dating until I’m in college or at least a senior in high school. I have had many crushes on guys though, and spent too much time fantasizing about possible dates. So would trying to rid myself of such frequent crushing and focusing more on discovering who I am be a form of a dating fast? Also, what tips do you have for viewing guys as friends instead of just people to crush on? I’d appreciate any advice, thank you!

    By Olivia | 2 years ago Reply
    • Olivia, great question! Dating in high school is a colossal waste of time. I’m 23 and have had 3 boyfriends — the last relationship ended when I was 20. I only ever wanted one. Ideally, you date no more than a few years before you’re ready to marry. Because you either break up, or you get married. And you get engaged when you can set a wedding date 6 months to a year in the future. For now, focus on building true friendship with your girlfriends. The good ones will be with you through good times as well as bad times. Also, I just read Jason and Crystalina’s book How to Find Your Soulmate. It changed my life, and I refer to it as the Bible of how to be a woman in the 21st century. Another good title is Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri. God bless you, sister!

      By Amanda | 2 years ago Reply
  5. Dating fasts are healthy especially when someone has been through heartbreak or after a conversion experience. It can be very healing sometimes.

    By Michelle | 2 years ago Reply
  6. I don’t know if you guys do short videos, but you should even if it’s of your talks just because I think more people would be inclined to hear it! Thx

    By Maria | 2 years ago Reply
  7. Great piece and personal witness! For a more thorough explanation with biblical references and a 40-day reflection, check out the book “The dating fast: 40 days to reclaim your heart, body, and soul”

    By Katherine | 2 years ago Reply
  8. Right now, I’m choosing to focus on myself and spending time with friends. That’s the type of love I need right now. The man I spent 2 1/2 years with broke it off less than 2 months before our wedding day, which would’ve been this past weekend, May 30th. I was completely devastated. He wants me back, and has been trying to get me back since a little while after he broke my heart. But so many things have surfaced since then. Many red flags that I should’ve seen but didn’t. So while I’m not calling this a dating fast, I’m focusing on other aspects of my life.

    By Mandy | 2 years ago Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear that. I hope that you immerse yourself in God’s presence and definitely focus on your own healing right now. Mass, Adoration, Bible study, etc.

      By Michelle | 2 years ago Reply
  9. Nice post!!! I also have 3 years With out daiting anyone.. My past relationship was a long time.. And i feel that i need space.. Time.. Joy.. And others things to be prepade to date.. But in this 3 years i have diferents reaction.. The first one.. Was ” God is protectinme me” because i have all my life in God’s hands.. The second was ” i need time to me” and i travel.. I go to missions.. And others things.. The thirt one.. Was like ” i dont need a guy.. ” also i dont acept ANYONE to go out.. Because i only think that he whants me to date or something… And.. The last.. I really think.. ” i need a God’s soon.. WHY? because i understand that woman be crated to do awesome things… And Boys too.. And when they fussion… Its perfect… And i whant to love someone that love God first than me.. RESUME : I HAVE ALL MY LIFE IN GODS HANDS.. I BELIEVE THAT HE HAS ALL THE CONTROL.. AND THE TIME TO BE SINGLE.. ITS TO KNOWME.. TO KNOW MY DEFECTS.. TO KNOW WHATI REALLY WHANT FOR GUY.. FOR A REALATION.. FOR A FAMILY.. Its time to perfecting me.. ALSO whith help of GOD and our MOTHER.. the Virgen.

    By Analu | 2 years ago Reply

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