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    Scared to start dating

    I repressed my desire for dating and relationships with the opposite sex and decided that courtship was the “holier” course of action for my life. But my immature mentality left no room for error, so I ended up staying in the relationship far longer than I should have—which caused heartbreak and a whole lot of wasted time. The Church has often created a “fear culture” around the topic of dating—putting so much pressure on singles to find the “right person.” On the other hand, the culture at large defines dating as this feel-good, romantic, emotionally-driven, sexual experience.I bought into the theory that dating was wrong and the only way to find God’s one and only match for my life would be to wait for some sort of sign from God. It’s a culture that embraces pleasure and passion as the foundation of relationships.If and when people do start dating, the early stages can present them with endless worries: “Does he/she really like me? In fact, as things get closer between a couple, anxiety can get even more intense. How can we keep our anxiety in check and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to someone we love?Put simply, falling in love challenges us in numerous ways we don’t expect.

    They couch their singledom in other terms so that it doesn’t sound like a cop-out.

    We may steer away from intimacy, because it stirs up old feelings of hurt, loss, anger or rejection. Pat Love said in an interview with Psych Alive, “when you long for something, like love, it becomes associated with pain,” the pain you felt at not having it in the past. We have trouble feeling our own value and believing anyone could really care for us.

    We all have a “critical inner voice,” which acts like a cruel coach inside our heads that tells us we are worthless or undeserving of happiness.

    I quickly learned that author Lauren Passell and I are kindred spirits.

    Tell the truth with humor and let the chips fall where they may.

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