Teach Me: Dating vs. Courting...Romantic Relationships. Where Do I Fit In???

I'll simply start this post with a confession- I have no clue what I want in/from a romantic relationship.

Please don't confuse the above statement with one that is similar to it but is not true for me: "I have no clue what I want in/from a man." 

Oh, I know what I want in a man...maybe too well...

*Disclaimer: When I use the term "romantic relationship" I do not wish to imply the presence of romance in the relationship, (it may or may not be present int the relationship). The word romantic could easily be replaced with intimate; I'm simply referring to dating/courting/intimate relationship status*

A while back I wrote a long list (it must have had at least 40 different things) about what I wanted in a man.

I have an awesome relationship with my father and as he was partially responsible for the majority of things I wrote on my list I brought my list to him proudly. However, he laughed in my face then said

"You have too many things here...you only need three."

Of course I was puzzled. Three???

What?

According to him the only three things I really need to find in a man is:

1.That this man lovesGOD

2.This man respects me and

3.This man has ambition.

Yeah.

Okay.

I had those three on my longer list...but um, I'm looking for a little more than that...

I'm talking nice teeth, large hands, 6'0 or taller...I'm sorry is that, is that shallow??? Lol oh okay sorry, um, :clears throat: I digress...

The moral of that story is I ditched the list but not those three things. (Love you Pops!)

However, it would be remiss of me to continue without telling you that I still have a few other things that I'm looking for in a man. The majority of these added things are not physical traits and honestly they can fall under the larger umbrella of loving God.

I'm only interested in a man who can be honest. A man of character and integrity. I could go on but I won't the point is knowing what I want in a man is not the problem.

**And let me say this lists are lists and people are people. A list is just that...a list.

It's written.

It's two dimensional.

It's dead.

It's static.

It's fantasy.

It has no life or personality.

It's limited.

You cannot marry or date a list.

People are much more complicated and they are quite alive and they change (sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse). Men like women are wonderful and imperfect. People can never be reduced to a list and they shouldn't have to deal with being reduced to one either! :steps down from soapbox:**

That I know.

Dating???

Courting???

Romantic relationships???

Yeah...not even the slightest clue.

First of all, am I totally to blame? I don't think so. With all these different terms out there: dating, courting, talking, booed up, in a relationship, it's complicated, in an open relationship - am I totally to blame for not knowing what I should be doing or how I should be going about it?

What does all that even mean!?!

And if they all mean something different why is that acceptable??? Ugh. It's annoying! I'm going to move on.

I don't know what the ideal romantic relationship looks like. Even as a Christian I'm not sure what's acceptable.

Am I allowed to have options?

Is it okay to be interested in more than one person?

If so, can I go on a date with more than one person, in order to get to know each of them better???

At just about 22 I haven't had a serious relationship since my first semester of college and I haven't gone on very many dates (<- Awww. that looks so sad in writing lol) At least I don't think I've gone on many dates...what makes a date a date??? I'm so confused.

Maybe it's time to bring up some hypothetical situations:

T, Y, L are three different people who are interested in you and consequently you're interested in them. It's all innocent.

You haven't gone out on an official date with either of them but there have been times where you've kicked it with each of them separately. You're friends.

All of a sudden all three of them want to go on an official date. Can you go out with all three of them?

Now let's say "L" and you really hit it off. You two don't talk everyday but when you do talk the conversation is good. You certainly don't refer to "L" as your boyfriend/girlfriend, man/lady (or whatever other titles are being used these days) but you find yourself holding hands with this person, maybe even kissing them - what does that mean???

Is that acceptable?

Or are you two simply using each other because both of you are getting something out of it?

Then Let's say "T" has good conversation too. You talk to T more than you talk to L. Even though things seem to be progressing with L you still want to talk to T and get to know T and who knows maybe you'll even decide to pursue something with T.

Is that wrong???

I understand the concept of courtship. It is dating with the intention to be married. 

It's basically, if I've got this right, the step in between getting to know each other and getting engaged. Right???

Do courting couples need titles???

I really need to know how important titles are in romantic relationships.

Do people have to know you're a couple before you get engaged?

Is it rude to introduce your romantic interest as "my friend"?

As a Christian, I'd like to do things the right[eous] way.

I must confess that the idea of "dating" more than one person intrigues me, perhaps because I've no experience whatsoever with that.

Even so, that still seems rather shallow and I'd like to be able to commit and know that I'm investing in something and someone worthwhile.

I don't think it would work out very well for me if I thought I was with someone "unofficially" and then all of a sudden they're marrying someone else.

It's all fun and games until someone gets married.

I suppose that's why it's important to be on the same page.

How public should a romantic relationship be? I believe in privacy of course but I don't believe in being someone's secret. That's a red flag, I think. But then again what do I know. Really???

Teach me!

What's your opinion of what an ideal relationship looks like?

How should romantic relationships play out on social network sites??? (<- is that a random question, oh well, I'm interested in the answer nonetheless).

Where does the fun end and the work begin? I know that real romantic relationships especially courtships take effort to work. I suppose that's a starting point, realizing that romantic relationships (REAL romantic relationships, or romantic relationships that are done right) probably require more giving than taking.

 Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

From what I know I think I'd like to know that when I'm in a relationship it's a committed one, one where I am able to be vulnerable, one where I'm able to give of myself completely and not be worried that I'm sowing the wrong seed or sowing in the wrong soil.

One where I am a better person for being in it and accomplishing more than I would if I were still single.

Most importantly I'd want to know that GOD is pleased and that my relationship is a light to others around me.

Ultimately it needs to lead to marriage and marriage is a ministry. 

Does that mean I'm not interested in dating around at all???

Honestly...I don't know. I don't really see myself doing that but then again that was never an issue because I was never placed in that position.

So is it wrong??? A person who dates around, are they exploring their options or doing too much???

Where does one draw the line?

Thoughts and comments please. Teach me!!

Wishing you success in every area including your romantic relationships. If you have a dating/marriage relationship that works for you then: Share the wealth and Spread the light.&.love

Blessings all.