You’ve met someone special on a Christian dating site, you’ve sent messages, spent hours on phone calls and now it’s time for the first date. What should you do and what to expect from those dates? Some great tips from Dr. Jim to make sure that your first date is successful.
Dear Jim: Do you have any tips for singles who met on the Internet and are planing a first date?
Have you head the expression ‘things always look good on paper’? There is an element of this that is true for those who meet others on dating sites and want to begin a relationship.
Although I do hear of some singles that flatly out lie on their profiles, I believe that most profiles are completed in honesty. Let me ask you a question? When you completed your profile, did you finish the task wondering whether or not you had really done a complete and good job? If you are like most, you wrestled with whether or not what you had put done was exactly what you wished to project.
Let’s say that you did meet someone and that your emails and phone calls to each other became very important and you wished to see if you can move to the next level of a relationship. You mutually agree to meet each other – face to face. For some these mean meeting somewhere in the same town, but for others it means across the state or even across the world.
Here are some thoughts that I have gleaned from relating to hundreds of singles using the Internet for dating:
- Be sure that this is a mutual desire!
- Confirm that you are really ready to meet the other person by sharing this with a close Christian friend of the same gender. Ask for their objective input as to whether or not this is the right timing and idea.
- Do not give personal addresses out to the other person!!!!!
- Do not meet each other in a neutral city alone. IF you have to meet in a neutral city, the woman should take along a family member or friend. Why? Sex! I receive email after email from women AND men saying that they met like this and had no intention of having sex. However there was no accountability and the setting was conducive to making the wrong decision. This choice is more often than not followed by a decision to NOT continue the relationship beyond this one meeting. No only does God clearly say not to have sex outside of marriage, the odds are against your finding the relationship you REALLY want in this way. Sex before marriage. What does God say about it?
- Who will pay for what expenses should be discussed and agreed to BEFORE the trip – or eve date. If it is a date, I would suggest that the man say something like ‘I am prepared to cover the expense of the date, is that okay with you?’
- Unless it is a trip to another country, I would not involve any family members in the initial meeting – other than perhaps the one who is along for accountability/support. The children should NOT be involved in this first meeting – no matter what their age is. You do not even know if you like the ‘presence’ of the other person until you meet them and spend some time with them. Why take your children through an emotional roller coaster ride? Dating With Children.
- Make a commitment that this initial face-to-face meeting is to be between two new friends who are related in Christ. The subject of being in love and romance should not be a part of this meeting. Place the needs of each other first and relax and enjoy.
Set the expectations LOW for this first meeting. Relax and enjoy making a new friend. If more follows, so be it. Do not let fantasy take over and get ahead of reality.
Time frame from time of meeting online and first date
If possible, I do believe that face-to-face meetings should be done within the first month of meeting each other on line – if things are developing mutually. There is no substitute for this personal interaction to allow each other to really know whether or not there is anything to contribute to further relating.
Honor God and each other in every thought and action and it will be a time that each of you can look back on with satisfaction and peace.