There is no rule saying that everyone needs to be dating. There is no rule saying you should “try on” members of the opposite sex to see “who fits,” and there is no rule saying once you are old enough to get married that you have to date. In fact, many painful and complicated relationships could be avoided if people took the time out to ask, “Should I be dating now?” And there are a few situations in which the answer should be “no.”
Reason #1 – You Want a Relationship Because it Will “Fix” Your Feelings
Some people reach out for romantic relationships when the other areas in their life are falling apart. There is a huge problem with that: relationships do not take away problems, they add to them! That infatuation high that distracts you from the hardships of life is nice, but it is going to pass away sooner or later and you will just end up having a bigger mess to clean up.
The truth is, if you are unhappy outside of a relationship, you will probably be unhappy in a relationship. On top of that, you are going to end up taking that relationship down along with your feelings. A relationship will not cure depression, anxiety, or even abandonment and insecurity issues. Sure, it will distract you for a while, but those feelings will resurface themselves and your relationship will suffer for it.
If you feel like a relationship is the only way to “cure” you, you are going to be gravely disappointed. No relationship can cure your suffering, except for the relationship you have with Christ.
Reason #2 – You Are Too Young to Get Married
If you are too young to walk down the isle, you probably do not need to get into a relationship. Although you are not too young for romantic feelings, the truth is, dating at a young age causes more problems than fulfillment. Relationships are complicated, even for people at a marrying age! As a teenager, your focus should be on your friendships, schoolwork, and hobbies. These things solidify your future and need all the attention they can get.
Relationships at a young age might do more damage than good. Dating can cause a lot of anxiety, confusion, and pressure that you do not need to deal with at this time. It can turn into one big distraction. It is not that your feelings are not real or are not important, but just because you want a relationship does not mean you are actually ready for the responsibility of one, or that it is profitable to have one.
This is probably the only real time in your life where you will be able to focus on what you want to do and where you want to go. Take it. You have a better chance of meeting your future spouse while pursuing your interests than you would making googly eyes at someone in a classroom. Remember: if God wants you to be married to that person someday, He can bring him or her back to you easily in the future.
Reason #3 – You Are Not Really Ready for the Full Commitment
Just because you are old enough to date, does not mean you have to. Dating can be seen as a recreational sport, and people will tell you to “go have fun,” but it is really not “fun” for the person sitting across the table from you who actually is interested in the full commitment. Dating someone without intending to commit is leading them on. No one deserves that. If you still want to date without intending to commit, at least be honest about it. State your intentions at the very beginning to avoid any unnecessary damage.
From another angle, if life it too hectic or your focus needs to be elsewhere, you are probably at a point where you are not ready to commit the way you need to. So don’t. No one told you that you have to. And if someone did, they are wrong. Pursue a relationship when you are ready to, not when other people tell you to. You will only cause a bigger mess by acting prematurely.
Reason #4 – You – or the Person You Are Interested in – are Married to Someone Else
It seems like so obvious a reason that it needn’t be mentioned, but some people need a gentle reminder. If you have made a lifelong commitment to someone, that is the only person you are allowed to date. It does not matter if you are on the rocks or even separated, your commitment was made to God and in front of a bunch of witnesses. (Remember that line, “For better or for worse?” This just happens to be the “worse” season.) It is not acceptable to break it your vows because you do not “feel” like keeping them. Your feelings are not in charge of controlling your actions. Dating someone else is only going to hurt them, make your life more of a mess, and ruin your marriage even more. Dating around will not make you feel better about your suffering marriage.
On the flip side, if you are interested in someone who is married and is pursuing a dating relationship with you, think about this: all the promises and commitments they make to you, they made to someone else first on a much larger scale. Hardships come in every marriage; long periods of marital storms are inevitable. If they bail out when times get hard now, they more than likely will do so again later.
Just because you want to date does not mean it is profitable to. Look at your life and decide if it is something you should be doing. Even if you are ready for marriage, but do not think the time is right, it is better to wait.
There is no rule that says dating is a requirement! Do not feel pressured to. You will not miss out on anything if you choose to wait.. Your future spouse might thank you for it later!