Ladies, Don’t Be Afraid to Date During a Post-#MeToo World
The thought of going on a date, as a single woman, in this post-#MeToo world can be terrifying. We’ve all heard of the horrid tales of what some women have endured at the hands of people they knew and trusted. Some of us have, unfortunately, even lived to tell the tale. While it’s good that we can now have this dialogue without fearing of not being believed, it can also strike fear into those who have little to no dating experience. So, what’s a girl to do?
I can’t tell you whether or not the guy you’re interested in is a creep or not – that’s something you’ll have to discern yourself – but I can pass along two great (and important!) pieces of advice that have served me well over the last couple of years.
1. Listen to your gut instinct.
Whether you call it your “women’s intuition”, a simple “gut feeling”, or take it as a prompting from your Guardian Angel, you cannot go wrong trusting it. Many a time have I had a feeling that something was off about the guy and/or the way he was handling the beginning our acquaintance only to see, not much later on, that I was right. If there’s something that doesn’t seem right, try to figure out why. Has the guy acted or said something that contradicted the sweet words he had said to you? Is there something that isn’t adding up? Get you inner Nancy Drew on the case. A word of caution about gut feelings: make sure that the “feeling” is not a product of unfounded fear. Sometimes we fear the worst due to what we’ve heard from other people. Remember that not all guys and situations are the same… and that fear does not come from God. If you’re still unsure of the guy, pray a novena and/or talk to someone whose advice you trust before making any more plans with him.
2. Don’t be afraid to set your own boundaries.
This advice has come (in one form or another) from several married guy friends and even from a priest over the years. Ladies, don’t be afraid to let the guy know your boundaries. Just think of this as your personal jerk detector. If you fear that he won’t like you or want to date you, that’s already a red flag. If you set your boundaries and the guy has problems with them, run, don’t walk, away! Don’t compromise your beliefs and your level of comfort out of fear. A great guy will accept your boundaries, even if they don’t exactly match his own. A really great guy will even encourage you both to keep them if either of you come close to crossing the line.
3. If necessary, seek help.
This isn’t something I’ve been advised to do by anyone. This is something that, as a young woman living in today’s society, I wanted to add. If you’ve ever felt unsafe or have experienced any type of abuse (mental, verbal, physical, or sexual) in the past and you haven’t had a chance to work any unresolved issues from it, please seek professional help. It doesn’t make you weak. On the contrary, it shows you how strong you truly are and it gives you the opportunity to start healing from any hurt you might’ve experienced. Not only will help you deal with the aftermath (which is the main reason why you should do it), but it’ll also help you have healthier relationships in the future.
It’s too easy to fear the possibility of dating someone new – someone unknown – because of the negative news that we’re constantly bombarded with. Despite what some more cynical people may say, not all men are the same; not all men are after “just one thing.” Yes, some are grade-A creeps but there are also some wonderful, God-fearing men who will make excellent, loving husbands and fathers one day. Remember that not only is fear not from God, but that it will keep us from potentially living out our vocations with a great guy.