The "Habitual Dating Cycle"
Do you know someone that always has to have a love interest in their life? Someone who is never satisfied with just being single for a season, but who gets their needs met from having relationship after relationship?
The “Habitual Dating Cycle” is characterized by someone who has made dating a habit by dating many, many people. They are never fully satisfied and eventually become bored with who is in front of them - so they move on. People who habitually date usually care most about getting their own needs met, and not as much for the heart in front of them. Many times, they are not even aware of their condition, as dating habitually is an issue of the heart.
Habitual dating is bonding with someone and then breaking it off. It is practice for divorce.
Everything we do should flow from a place of identity. If we don’t know our identity and how valuable we are, we won’t value ourselves as we should - and we will attract people who won’t either. You aren’t ready to date unless you know who you are and whose you are. Our beliefs drive our thoughts, our thoughts drive our actions, and our actions shape our destiny!
You WILL leave an impact on someone and its either going to be good or bad. Habitual daters plow through relationships and a lot of times don’t clean up the mess they created. People who walk in their identity as a son or daughter, don’t habitually date. They date with intention and purpose.
I was recently thinking about why some people date habitually instead of with intention and care. Here are some possible reasons that I came up with:
They come from a Fatherless home. Kris Vallotton recently posted on kvministries.com, when men are raised without fathers, there can be a tendency to become players. Why? I believe it’s because they are seeking to fill a hole that only Jesus can fill. Maybe they started habitually chasing girls in middle school and then never had a man show them how to treat a woman honorably. They failed to grow out of that kind of immature behavior. Girls do it to for the same reason.
Some people date habitually because they are addicted to the rush they get during the first phase of a relationship, known as the “infatuation” phase. Habitual daters have a chronic appetite to experience the feelings they associate with during this time, and when the rush is over, so is the relationship - and the habitual dater is left feeling empty and disappointed. After a while, a habitual dater can end up settling because they are tired of the cycle they are in.
Some people date habitually because they have a list so long of what they want in a person and they are trying to find that “perfect” one. Unfortunately, that is never going to happen because there is no such thing as a perfect person! If your list has things like, “must like the same music,” or “must love hiking,” you might want to focus on the 'absolutes' instead; like, “must love Jesus,” or “must have the same core values”. The absolutes are the important ones. A lot of times, opposites really do attract and you might be dismissing someone who could be a great life partner based on non-absolutes.
If you can identify with having dated many people and feel like you are a habitual dater - and want to stop the cycle - what do you do?
Commit to not dating for a season. But go a step above that - also commit to not being in an emotionally intimate relationship with the opposite sex! Don’t fool yourself, if you are hanging out all the time with a friend of the opposite sex and are emotionally intimate with them - talking to them several times a day and spending every waking moment with them - that is called a relationship! Dedicate a season to not dating or being in this type of relationship, solely focus on Jesus and work on your heart issues. So much good will come out of it!
Commit to getting some inner healing. Break off any soul ties you might have with past girlfriends or boyfriends. Jesus is faithful to complete the work He began in you. Healing is a process, and taking the first step always leads to more. Do you want to have a healthy marriage in the future? Healthy people create healthy marriages.
Position yourself for growth by hanging out with people that will call you up to your identity. Choose friends who will tell you the truth. Proverbs 27:6 says, “faithful are the wounds of a friend.” If they aren’t willing to wound you with the truth, then the friendship isn’t really that deep. True friends will be honest with you, even when it hurts. Invite leaders and mentors in your process that you trust and who truly know you. Good mentors will ask hard questions about yourself and your relationships. Listen to what your mentor is saying. Put weight on their words. We need people that we can trust more than ourselves.
God has such a great destiny planned for your life. Don't waste your time going from one relationship to the next. Get some help if you need it. Get with Jesus and make some changes! You’ll never regret stopping the Habitual Dating Cycle - you will only regret it if you don’t. You can do this!