Almost everyone has a dating past, but some of us have more of a past than others. When it comes to romance, those pasts can be even trickier to deal with.
I’ve got to be honest, though. I was twenty-one when I got married. My dating “past” is pretty finite. I was talking to someone recently, though, who is middle-age-ish and who hasn’t been married yet. She’s still hoping and praying for the man God has for her. When I said something – to be honest, I don’t remember exactly what – about dating someone with a past, she just laughed and said, “At my age, everyone has a past.”
Her comment – more than whatever I said, obviously – got me to thinking. I write a fair number of characters who have a past. Sometimes it’s a difficult upbringing or some other sort of trauma. I don’t write a lot of characters, though, who have a colorful dating/relationship past. That may well be my own life experience seeping into my fiction.
So I thought I’d ask you all some questions. We’ll call it research. 😊
Whether you’re single or not, have a colorful past or one that’s more monochrome – it doesn’t matter. I’d love your input! Pick any question you want, and answer it in the comments below. As a bonus, one commenter will be randomly selected to receive a $5 Amazon gift card.
- How much do you tell the new person you’re dating? Do you lay it all out there on the first date, or do you wait till date three? Or until there’s a ring on the finger? (Not the latter, I hope!)
- What about when you move past casual dating and things get really serious but you still can’t quite let your own past go? You’ve moved on. You’re not enslaved by the past – but the emotions from your past still burble to the surface sometimes. Maybe you dated someone who told you that you were dumb/unattractive/too needy/fill-in-the-blank a lot, and those insecurities are hard to let go of. Maybe someone cheated on you, and you have a hard time trusting. Maybe something happened in your past that has made you afraid of certain situations. What do you do when those types of emotions threaten your new relationship? And what can your current dating partner do to help when those things come up?
- If you have an insecurity that is crippling your ability to form lasting bonds with other people (a romantic person, in particular), what can help you to overcome it?
- What kinds of relationship pasts are easier to overcome? Which types are harder to overcome?
- And here’s a hard one. Do we as Christians have a double standard? Are certain kinds of pasts forgivable for a man while making a woman completely undatable?
I know that the biblical answer for almost all of this is that if the past has been repented of, we shouldn’t hold it against someone. If God’s forgiven it, we shouldn’t hold onto it – whether it’s our past or the other person’s. But…sometimes those spiritual truths that we know to be real are difficult for us to live out. Sometimes our insecurities, fears, self-doubt, and other emotions get the better of us. And that’s okay. God is with us in those moments, too. One of the fun things about writing fiction is that I get to create those moments of crisis…and then I get to resolve them so everyone gets a happy ending.
I look forward to reading your answers!!