“Your rules are ridiculous!” It was my second date with the charming personality, but something in his tone didn’t sound very charming. “Excuse me? You said you were good with my rules…?”

Our first date had been lovely. I hadn’t been in the beautiful city of D.C.  for very long and I was feeling optimistic and oh so naive. I had a huge girlish crush on this guy. He was so witty, and so ambitious, and he was a Christian… And a lot of other things that are important to me. The first real red flag was at the end of the first date when he tried to kiss me.

Now, my readers are kind of split. One side of you are pretty conservative and are screaming “He tried to kiss you ON THE FIRST DATE?!!! Red flag?!!! Red FLAG?!! Where are his morals if he tried to kiss you on the first date?! That’s a NOPE! Girl GET OUTTA THERE!” The other side of my readers are probably thinking “Um… Okay? He tried to kiss you, what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what you do if a date went well? In secular culture a lot of good first dates end in sex, so why is a harmless kiss so bad?”

For those fitting in the first category, calm down a bit. He asked me if he could kiss me, he didn’t go straight into it, and he seemed really respectful when I said no. It was a really romantic date, and we’d been talking a decent amount before going on a date. I didn’t begrudge him for wanting to kiss me…but yeah, I know I know, turns out I should have just called it quits there, but I was already smitten and completely blind. For the second bunch of you, I don’t kiss on the first date, it’s not my pace. I have my personal reasons for it. Therefore it was a red flag for me, even though it wouldn’t have been for everyone. Keeping in mind the type of guy I want, it was a sign that he didn’t have the same values as I did – That equals a red flag for me.

Why is kissing after a first date (or first several) not something I do? There are so many things that are more important than physical attraction, even though I grant that that is crucial and necessary for a relationship, it is by no means the most important thing (especially at the beginning of a potential relationship). One thing that physical attraction can do, is cloud all the other things that are important to you in finding a match. It helps the infatuation form by stirring up all the butterflies in your stomach.

Back to my story. After that first date he texted me asking what all my rules were. I explained them, including that I don’t sleep around. I want marriage to be something different than dating, something really special, so I’ve chosen the path of abstinence before I’m married. For my readers who didn’t know that about me. SURPRISE! But, yeah it’s super important to me and I’m not in the least bit ashamed of putting that information out there. Because of that rule, (gosh, ‘rule’ sounds so unromantic…but it is what it is!) I wanted to take other things slow, so something like kissing on the first date wasn’t my pace. I prefer to stay objective in dating, I talked about this in my post ‘Mastering the Dating Game’ and when those butterflies start forming it really doesn’t help with objectivity – instead it starts getting really emotion based really fast.

So I told him my rules, I asked him if he was okay with them. He said he was, and it honestly seemed like he was impressed by them, impressed by my standards and level of self worth… and maybe he was, but on the second date he blurted out his more raw feelings on the matter. “Your rules are ridiculous!” Um… What? I thought he was okay with it, but it seemed like his being okay with it was just him securing a second date.

I let him explain himself, and then I went on to explain why I wouldn’t compromise. As soon as he said ‘your rules are ridiculous’ I knew it was over, but I selfishly still wanted him to say he respected my rules again, I was still hoping for him to say, after my explanations, that  he could wait, but he just listened to me ramble on, watching my nervousness with a devilish grin.

He valued being a part of the secular culture, living in the moment, and if it felt right, he thought you should go for it. He highly valued it as another way of getting to know someone. Also what if you weren’t sexually compatible? Then how could you know you were right for each other? Those were his reasons anyway, and although I don’t agree with them, I understand where he was coming from.

I explained my reasons, (Which might be a good future blog post) “If I had to follow your rules,” He said. “I either just wouldn’t,” he continued, “Or we’d be married in six months.” I choked a little at the latter statement. “Um… What?! Then you’d be getting married purely to satisfy your sexual desires, that’s what the marriage would be based off, just getting married purely to have sex!?!” I was more than a little worked up, and my efforts to hide that were in vain. “Yeah, but isn’t that what marriage is for anyway? Besides, if it didn’t work out we could just get divorced.” I mentally puked a little. GAHHHH! What was this man even saying? The Charismatic charm, the gentlemanly attitude, the respect for my opinions, respect for romance, and the alluring wit I had seen before…? I really value marriage, but I’m not naive (or at least I recognize my own naivety), obviously a lot of people think about it ending up forever and it doesn’t, but if you go into marriage with the opposite mindset, (that there is only a 50/50 chance of you actually staying together) It is exponentially more likely that you will be on that 50 percent side that fails. I really value marriage, and view love as a choice more than a feeling, marrying someone you’re okay loving unconditionally through the good times and the bad (Or the really bad).  I had thought he viewed it that way, but obviously not. It all came crashing down, any butterflies that had survived the start of that conversation had by this point spontaneously combusted. I became very aware that this man was far different then who he had seemed to be in our prior conversations and first date.

At least he was finally being honest. I’ll credit him with that.

I reiterated my beliefs as a precursor to saying goodbye, he listened and asked if there would be a third date. No, there wouldn’t be, was he asking it ironically? What part of our conversation made him think there was a chance? Duh, like it’s fine. I get it, that’s how you want to do relationships – I can respect that, but I don’t want to do it that way. Where did he think a third date was still on the table? No, I mentally snatched that third date option away when he called my rules ridiculous. Call a girl’s personal values ridiculous? Eh, yeah, poor move dude.

He texted me several times later asking why there wasn’t a third date. As though it wasn’t clear enough for him when I said “No, there won’t be a third date, that’s a deal breaker for me.” It was clear he really wanted me to give in. He made no effort to dupe me, and say that actually he could hold out, he could try the waiting game, he’d want to get to know me better and he’d try that, because I seemed like I was worth it. He’d respect my views. Blah blah blah… It would be a pretty easy lie to conjure up and one I’ve heard before, (That being said, I may be naive at times, but I’m not completely daft). He tried playing the ‘but I thought you really liked me?” Card. Heck yeah I had, or I wouldn’t have gone on a first date in the first place, but I won’t let any level of liking someone break my standards, incredibly hot or not. Doesn’t flipp’n matter, if you’re going to have standards you have to stick to them when it counts. If you change your standards when it’s convenient, were they really even standards?

Otherwise, once you start dipping your toe in the water that you kind of aren’t okay with – you start being okay with it because of something called ‘cognitive dissonance’. Which means having thoughts or beliefs that are inconsistent with your actions. A state which leaves you feeling unbalanced, and well – and at least for me – with very little self respect. That is when something has to change to restore that balance, either your belief (often through excuses, justification, council, or research) or your action (often through self discipline, hard work, accountability, and perseverance). Often times, it’s easier to change a belief or a standard, then it is to hold oneself back or change behavior.

 

I share that story, because there was an interesting dynamic when he was still trying to get me to go on that third date that I think we can learn from. If I had gone on that date, I would have been compromising right there. Even if I wouldn’t have admitted it to myself, he would have known it and I would’ve known it.  It would have been telling him that maybe that ‘list of rules’ of mine is more of just something to help with the tease, something to be coy, part of playing ‘hard to get’. There is no valid reason to go on a date after you know your standards aren’t compatible, this goes for girls and guys. Going on those kind of dates are just going to make you lose a little bit of self respect. Why would you start dipping your toes in the water? If something is important to you, you should be ready to stick to it, and you should decide before dating whether it’s just a preference or a deal breaker. If it’s a deal breaker, don’t break it on a whim.

 

Breaking standards often starts with dancing at the border, it’s important to know where you stand, and don’t reach across unless you are ready to change those standards without being impulsive, passive or under the influence of strong temporary emotions. That will make it a whole lot easier to retain self respect, and live a life that is your own, one you are proud of.

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