The dating game

Joey Garcia

I met a great guy through an online dating site. We had two dates. We enjoyed each other but realized that we were not compatible. He is a conservative Republican who works in politics, and I am a liberal Democrat. He is an atheist, and I am Episcopalian. My grandfather is a minister, and my religion is very important to me. My Web date and I went our separate ways. Both of our profiles are still on the site, and every week this dating service e-mails possible matches to me. This man is always on my list. Is this a sign? Should I try again?

Hmmm, my Magic 8 Ball says, “Don’t count on it.” It would be ill-advised to revive a romance with someone whose belief system directly opposes your own. I imagine the drudgery of online dating has discouraged you. But if you must dump your values in order to be with this man, I’d say you’re facing a test of your faith, not a sign of your future. Instead of second-guessing a healthy decision, practice trusting that someday across a crowded (chat?) room you will meet a partner whose values match your own.

I work in an environment where I am one of the only women. Most of my friends are men and always have been. I don’t really like or trust women. My new boyfriend thinks this is weird. I think that he is probably jealous. At first this was an occasional topic of conversation. Now it’s a constant irritation between us. Should I dump him?

Nah, dump the attitude about your sisters. If you don’t like women, it’s probably because you don’t know yourself very well. (You are female, after all.) It’s also possible that you don’t want to associate yourself with a gender that may have harmed you early in life. If you don’t trust women, you’ve probably experienced a painful lie, and that betrayal was never resolved. The antidote is to shift through the female relationships in your past and process the negative feelings associated with each one. Eventually, you will learn how to choose female friends who are honest, supportive and sincere.

I dated the same girl during all four years of high school. We attend the same college, where we dated exclusively our freshman year. We planned to remain virgins until we married. We broke up over the summer. I dated someone else and had sex. My former girlfriend and I are talking about getting back together. Should I tell her that I had sex? I realize that I really love her, and I am afraid that I will lose her if I tell her the truth.

A lie is a lousy foundation for a lifetime together. If you don’t tell her the truth, and she finds out later (she will at some point; that’s how these things work in life), she’ll know you cannot be trusted to respect what is important to her. If you don’t tell her now, you are telling yourself that your fear of losing her is greater than your love for her. Silence also says that your fear is bigger than your integrity. Is that the person you want to be?

I suggest that you begin your healing process by getting tested immediately for sexually transmitted illnesses. Next, engage in the reconciliation process of your religion. Then, admit your past to your girlfriend. Tell her that you love her and want to be with her. Be willing to practice abstinence again. Give her time to grieve the honeymoon that she imagined with you. If you can sort through this together, you will deepen your connection to each other and learn valuable lessons that will strengthen your marriage.

Meditation of the week
Decades ago, my grandfather wrote me a letter that said, “You are so lucky to be born on such a special day! November 2 is All Souls’ Day, a Catholic holy day, and it is the U.S. Election Day, an important day in the civic life of your adopted country. We are choosing a president on your birthday!” I was in elementary school at the time, so I didn’t get too excited. Now, all I want for my birthday is a president who is committed to national healing, international peace and social justice for all.

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