Last updated on November 5, 2020
I have begun talking to this guy who I am interested in dating. I am 19, and he is 21. We have known each other for a year as friends and have only gotten closer since then. Last year, he asked me out, but I said no (mainly because I didn’t feel romantically toward him, and I was still trying to get over somebody else). But this year, I find myself growing interested in him. Our biblical views are very similar, as well as our goals in life and our past struggles with mental health issues such as depression. In fact, we are so similar, it seems crazy to me. He is one of the kindest and most Christ-like people I know, and I don’t doubt that he would make a wonderful partner.
However, I am unsure of how strong my romantic feelings should be before making things “official.” It’s not that I don’t feel attracted to him – I do – but I’m struggling to figure out why I don’t feel as strong feelings for him as I did in my past “relationship” (which was never technically official). In that past relationship, it was all distance, and it was the only person I had ever really felt like that toward. We did some immoral things that I regret, and it took an emotional toll on me that took a very long time to get over. I can’t stop comparing how I felt toward him with the guy I am currently interested in. I feel excited about potentially being with this new guy, but it is not that strong, stomach-fluttering feeling I have felt before. I am beginning to wonder if that past relationship emotionally numbed me to feeling those romantic feelings.
I have been honest with this current guy about how I feel, and he says that I should talk to somebody about it. He says his feelings toward me are very strong and have been for a while. I am wondering if my romantic attraction for him will grow over time (after all, it has grown in the past year, since I am now interested in him. And even in the past day or so, I am starting to feel more romantic feelings for him. It has been my prayer). Last night, we agreed to make things official, but it sent me into a panic because I was told by another friend that it was too quick, after just one date. As of now, he and I are exclusively together, but we have decided to wait and go on more dates and see how we feel about each other being romantic partners since it is a lot different from just staying friends.
My biggest dilemma is over how strongly I should feel romantically attracted to him before we make things official. I don’t want to commit and then realize that I suddenly don’t feel that way toward him. He has said that he values our friendship very much and does not want it to be damaged, so I trust him on that and I do not feel pressured by him to jump into a relationship. When do you think it is the best time to fully commit to each other, and how strong should romantic attraction be before deciding to do so? Do you think romantic attraction can change over time, as you get closer to somebody?
I appreciate your time. Thank you, and God bless.
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26).
You find this man different from your past romances. Shouldn’t this be a good thing? In the past, you followed your feelings and that led to sinful behavior. This time you have feelings, but what is guiding you mostly is your reasoning.
Feelings change. Feelings rarely last. You have something greater than feelings. See:
Put God first and live according to God’s teachings. Treat each other as valued people and not sex objects and you’ll do well.
Thank you for the information. I feel more confident in where I should take things from here.
I do have another question if you would be willing to answer it. This man that I am interested in has had a sinful past and has since repented, but I am worried about the possibilities of sexually-transmitted diseases. I do not know much about this subject. He has mentioned having sex years ago with numerous women but says it was protected sex. He has had no symptoms or anything and has mentioned he spoke with a doctor, but from my understanding, you can still get diseases. Is it likely he may have an infection, even after showing no symptoms for many years? Should he be tested before we continue on in this relationship?
Again, thanks for your time.
Anyone who has had sex prior to marriage ought to be tested. Many sexually transmitted diseases do not have noticeable symptoms, which is one reason they spread so readily. Wearing a condom during sex hinders the spread of diseases but it is unable to completely stop all diseases. Likely he has been tested, but there is no harm in asking him to be tested if he has been tested since his last encounter.
If you also have been promiscuous in your past, it would do you well to also get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
I apologize for all the questions lately, though I feel like I am in need of some guidance.
I am still having trouble knowing when to make things “official.” We are exclusive and have each chosen not to date around, but we have not declared ourselves officially boyfriend and girlfriend. This is my first relationship and I am unsure if my feelings are strong enough to fully commit. I know that dating is meant to see if you would like to marry that person, but for some reason, I feel like I am committing to marriage already. He seems more certain of his feelings than me. But I am worried about committing and then changing my mind too early on, but maybe this is just me being paranoid. I feel like there needs to be something “more” there romantically, in order for us to date, even though there are definitely romantic feelings present.
I have been praying to God all the time that if this relationship is not in His will, that something will happen to make it apparent to us, though neither of us believe in signs. I have also been praying that my feelings become stronger and more straightforward, and I do believe that they have. Both of us have the same interests, goals in life, and Biblical beliefs. He is planning on doing overseas mission work and will graduate college next year, while I still have a couple years left.
I guess what I’m wondering is, should I date around in order to really find out my romantic feelings for each of them, in relation to this one guy? How do I know when to make things official/committed? He says he is ready, and is leaving it up to me to let him know when.
Thank you and God bless.
You can’t expect someone else to make this decision for you. God tells us how to select a good spouse in His Word, but He expects you to make the decision.
Could you find a better person? Possibly. Could you find a worse person? Definitely. But these are not the questions you should be considering. The only question that matters at this moment is whether you think this might be a man you could be happily married to for the rest of your life.
Deciding to date is just the first of a series of steps toward marriage. Dating holds no commitment. It only expresses an interest in the other person — interest enough that you are willing to spend more time getting to know the man. It isn’t permission to misbehave. The two of you treat each other with respect, understanding that the person you are dating might end up marrying someone else. This means:
- No sexual talk or sending provocative images (Ephesians 5:3-7)
- No sexual touching (I Corinthians 7:1)
- No making out or other lewd behavior (Romans 13:13-14)
This is a time for you to learn about who the other person is and from that to decide if you really would like to marry him or not.
Thank you again for answering and for your time. We have begun dating and are excited to progress in our relationship. God bless.