Being a part of the "chosen generation" can be a confusing experience, especially when it regards dating and marriage.
On the one hand, we are told to analyze our dating partners. Are they faithful? How do they respond to trials? Can we communicate well? This presents some challenges. Why am I not getting an answer to my prayers? How can I objectively measure the strength of their testimony?? On the other hand, we're told to just "be good" and expect that things will work out. We're told that we'll "feel different" and "just know." My parents have often remarked that I only need to pick someone and "make them the one" for me. I'm told that I don't need to actually pray about it because God has equiped me with the ability to discern and make my own decisions. This leads me to feel guilty when a relationship doesn't work out. Am I a sinner because I couldn't make it work with him? Does that mean I'm not righteous enough to build an eternal relationship?
And then there's the speed of the relationship, which is yet another confusing aspect of dating at BYU. There are two separate and opposing mentalities: Some say, "why wait when you know it's right?" Others argue, "what's the rush?" What about kissing and physical affection? I think we make a big deal out of it. Am I less worthy because I've kissed x-amount of guys? (I've kissed four by the way, and I don't think that's excessive...right?) Does kissing a guy help jumpstart the relationship or help me know it's right? Contrastingly, is it something to save for when I'm 1000% sure that he's "the one?" And meeting the family is another thing. For the Strength of Youth encourages us to introduce those we date to our parents. At the same time, meeting someone's family can create vulnerability and intimacy in a relationship when done too soon. It can form expectations that the relationship will "work out" and that it's "serious." Additionally, it can cause the family to think badly of the ex-partner once the relationship has ended. I'm teased because apparently so-and-so thinks I'm "too smart" and "too prideful." I can't imagine what his family thinks of me, based on what my family thinks of him.
I'll be perfectly candid: Since returning home from my mission, I've gone on dates with more than 20 different guys. I go, on average, at least one date a week. Normally two. Always with different guys--so many of whom I've turned down because I wasn't feeling good about the relationship or I felt that we could both do better. Does this make me some sort of female "tool?" Because I get taken out a lot? Am I too picky? I'm told to date around a lot; my dad compares it to shoe-shopping. At the same time, I'm embarrassed about my dating history because I worry what people (especially potential marriage partners) would think of me if they knew how much of a "hot commodity" I am. I even worry what the girls across the hall must think of me! To always be seeing me with a different guy! I worry about what my Grandma thinks--I told her a few months ago that I was in a relationship...she cautioned me to date around more. She has no idea how many dates I go on!
Anyway, that's my jumbled collection of ideas regarding how dating as a YSA--especially in Provo--can be a confusing experience. It's fun, it's exciting, but it can really wear you out. Yet, I still have hope for something better. I hope it's clear when I meet him and I hope it's some day soon!