The Best Dating Advice I Ever Received

It never ceases to amaze me how many people I know who end up in bad dating relationships. Not only are the relationships unhealthy for them, but for whatever reason, they are attached to the relationship and don’t want it to end.

I received an email from a young woman asking for advice in her current dating situation. She shared with me that she was struggling in her relationship with her boyfriend. She said she loved him, but in her email she described her boyfriend as “clingy, bossy, demanding, and too proud of himself.” She described how he pressured her to have sex with him and how he didn’t support her faith. She hoped that he would change, but deep down, she said she knew that, “he wasn’t the one for me.”

My first thought was, “Isn’t the next step obvious?”

It’s a dead end relationship. It’s time to break up.

When I was sixteen years old, a friend of mine gave me the best dating advice I’ve ever received. He told me, “Every dating relationship ends in one of two ways—you either get married or you break up. If you know the person that you are dating is not the person that you are going to marry, end the relationship immediately. Waiting to end the relationship simply delays the inevitable.”

While this advice is simple, common sense, there is some subtle wisdom in the words. Too often, people get into relationships for all the wrong reasons or they stay in dead-end relationships due to some kind of emotional dependency. Dating should always have a purpose and the purpose of a dating relationship should always be to discern marriage. If, during the course of a dating relationship, you discover that the person you are dating is not a person that you would marry, you should end the relationship. The conclusion is inevitable—one way or another, if the relationship is not going to end in the lifelong commitment of marriage, then it is going to end in breakup.

Sometimes, we get comfortable in relationships and we don’t want to face the reality that it’s going nowhere. I knew a person who had been dating the same person for seven years. I asked her, “Do you think you are going to marry your boyfriend anytime soon?” She responded, “I still don’t know if he is the one for me.” I responded, “After seven years, you still don’t know?! That may be a clear sign that you aren’t supposed to be together.” It can take courage to move on from a long-term relationship. But you have to understand that the longer you stay connected to something that isn’t God’s plan for your life, the more difficult it becomes to find the vocation and path that He has for you.

Sometimes people ask me, “Isn’t it good to date lots of people? After all, how will you know what you are looking for unless you have tried dating a lot of different people?” There is nothing wrong with going on lots of dates—you certainly need to get “out there” if you are going to meet a future spouse. But a person who consistently jumps from bad relationship to bad relationship is not, “learning what they are looking for.” That is a person who is training themselves in the habit of bad relationships.

Not everything in a relationship is black and white—but one thing that should always be straightforward is the purpose of the relationship. If it is not heading toward marriage, then it’s not headed in a direction that you want to continue. Keep your eyes on the purpose and it will improve the quality of your relationships.

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Everett-Fritz-headshot3-840x1024Everett Fritz enjoys speaking on the topics of chastity, discipleship, and youth evangelization. He is one of the developers of the YDisciple program from the Augustine Institute and holds an MA in Theology. He is publishing his first book with Ignatius Press and Lighthouse Catholic Media in the September 2015. Everett resides in Denver with his wife Katrina and their three children. You can connect with him through FacebookTwitter, and his website.

17 Comments

  1. Hi, I just really like the positive message you and the chastity project convey to young individuals like myself. Your recent article The Best Dating Advice I Recieved, it really shed some light on my dating practices. I’m a single, who is almost twenty and has never been on a date because, I’ve never really seen anyone that I was attracted to that shares the same values as myself. Thanks for the positive message.

    By Colleen McInerney | 2 years ago Reply
    • Hi, I was in exact same situation as you’re now. I had my first date last year, when I was 21. It was a great dating, but he was still not the one I was looking for. Sometimes, I know it seems like we are strangers in this crazy world, and that it seems almost impossible to find a good person, but now I believe that it is not impossible, even if it does not easy; I can testimony that it’s possible and real, and God can help us to meet those people who He knows whom will be compatible with our faith and values, and of course, going to great places are also a good help! I learned from a priest that we can ask your guardian angel’s help to meet a good person, the same way the angel Raphael helped Tobias to meet Sarah, and I did it, and I’m sure he helped me! Now I’m 22, and I found a good guy from my church, and he’s my boyfriend! I can testimony that it’s worth waiting for doing things in the right way, in the best way! God bless you! And may your guardian angel help you to meet a great person too!
      (I’m sorry if my english isn’t great, I’m Brazilian :p )

      By Gabe Souza | 2 years ago Reply
  2. I fund this an excellent read ad well as much needed advice. Currently I’m struggling with a relationship that has ended but there has still been contact. Most of the people around me say he is manipulative and rude, yet I’m still attaced
    I still care, is the bottom line. I’ve taken too letting go best I can by focusing on getting through one day, one hour, one moment at a time. To move on I’m looking for support as well as advice and reassurance that I’ve made the right choice. This read helped with that some.

    By Amanda | 2 years ago Reply
    • Im going through the exact situation. Keep praying and seek God always. And I find surround myself with the same faith helps tremendously~ You will be alright..

      By Maybelle | 2 years ago Reply
  3. Well said. I have seen dating that goes on almost endlessly and they look more unhappy and bored than I feel after 28 years of marriage. We were taught what the faith teaches on dating – just what you wrote – and it yields good fruit.

    By Ann | 2 years ago Reply
  4. Thanks for sharing value!

    By Linus | 2 years ago Reply
  5. Don’t forget about the bonding hormone, oxytocin which is released in couples during sexual relations. This bonds them together in a way that can make breaking up difficult. The moral: don’t have marital relations outside of marriage.

    By Diane | 2 years ago Reply
  6. I think one of the hardest things to witness are your friends and loved ones in dead end relationships. And because sex has the ability to blur the perception of their relationship and creating a false and premature emotional bondage; they’re completely oblivious. Praise the Lord for chastity in relationships. Being chaste in my current relationship allows me to see my boyfriend as he is. And I make a choice everyday to love him. It allows me to discern for marriage with a clear heart and mind (with the super powers of the Holy Spirit and prayers from our blessed Saints of course)!

    We need to continue to pray for our friends (and ourselves) currently in relationships and their willingness to accept the will of God in it and for courage to take action, if any.

    By Ria | 2 years ago Reply
  7. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes viewing everyone else and seeing their happiness (besides seeing the serious problems they are facing ) Blinds me to the truth that things are black or white there is not grey . Either the person is for you or their not.

    Thank you
    Everette for this !

    By Arianna | 2 years ago Reply
  8. What on earth are you talking about? I mean please explain to me how deliberately misgendering trans people (particularly trans women) equals grief, please explain how calling or insinuating that trans people (especially trans women) are rapists/sexists/paedophiles equals grief, please explain how denying trans people equal access to public spaces that are appropriate to their gender identity equals grief, please explain how actively promoting Transphobia within society equals grief, please explain how supporting systemic discrimination of trans people from governmental institutions and civil society equals grief, please explain to me how blaming trans people (especially trans women) for all the failures of the women’s movement or LGBT movement, or any other progressive organisation equals grief. I mean the list of things that these individuals force upon Trans people could go on and on but I’m not going to bore you. However if you want to take the position that that these individuals have done nothing wrong and that they are not morally responsible for helping to harm trans people then you go and do that but don’t for a second think that we agree with it, or that we accept it, or excuse it you have come to the wrong place for that.

    By Dale Ikenberry | 2 years ago Reply
    • Please explain to me what your comment has to do with the article above. I don’t get it…

      By Everett | 2 years ago Reply
  9. this is what we all need

    By Thelma Luna | 2 years ago Reply
  10. ive been reading a lot of articles related to chastity as currently im engaged in a relationship and its been an year. The first time I met him I was attracted to him and had no feelings towards him but then later both he and I developed feelings towards each other. He is a non christian. I told him that I cannot have a relationship with him unless he shares the same faith I do. he said he will but nothing has happened for a year since. I’m doubtful whether to break up with him cus of this factor. he has been faithful and been taken care of me alot. Because of these factors I keep hoping that it is Gods will that we met. But is it so?

    By Devanshi | 2 years ago Reply
    • Be careful about “missionary dating.” You need a spouse who shares your faith. Someone who will lead you and your future children to heaven. Someone who will attend Mass with you and pray with you.

      I’m sad to say that marrying a non-believer almost always leads to either the non-believing spouse resenting the Christian spouse, or the Christian spouse loses his/her faith. The kids will wonder why Dad never goes to Mass and when they enter the rebellious teen phase, a lot of them will demand to stay home too. Very rarely does the non-believer end up converting during marriage. It is fine to have non-Christians as friends, but you need to have high standards for dates.

      By Stephanie | 2 years ago Reply
      • “Missionary dating”, sometimes known as “Evange-dating” for my friends who like to make up words… Totes hilar.

        By Emma | 2 years ago Reply
  11. If your date is pressuring you for sex, it’s time to break up. You are wasting your time and will most likely end up with a broken heart. (Your date should be attracted to you, and it’s fine to let the other person know that you find him/her attractive, but you need to be on the same page as far as faith goes, and Catholics don’t believe in sex outside of marriage.)

    Seven years is way too long to date someone (unless they started dating when they were too young to date). Temptation builds and gets more difficult to remain chaste when you’re together for so long. You need to date long enough to know whether or not you’re compatible, so don’t rush into marriage just so you can sleep together, but dating too long means the guy is dragging his feet and that’s not a good sign. I’d say somewhere between 18 months and three years is ideal. And don’t date if you can’t see yourself getting married within that time frame (dating in high school is generally not a good idea; just be good friends).

    By Stephanie | 2 years ago Reply
  12. Great advice!!!!

    By Janique | 2 years ago Reply

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