Some of you may remember a post I wrote a few months ago for threads. I was midway through my 30 Dates by 30 Challenge, and appealing for a Christian blog reader to go on one of my 30 Blind Dates with me.
The post provoked some interesting responses – from accusations that as a non-believer I ought not attempt to steal eligible Christian guys, to an article by threads’ own ‘Boy About Town’ going into great detail about why he would never consider dating me!
My date with The Voice – the winner of the threads search – didn’t end up raising any particular religious debate. And it was interesting to find that the main reasons I had never dated a religious guy before (beliefs relating to pre-marital sex and cohabitation) weren’t even issues.
However there was one key aspect of my date with The Voice which definitely affected things. Something which underpinned the success of every single one of my 30 Dates.
I didn’t fancy him.
When I originally asked threads if I could write another post for the blog, I had planned to focus on The Experiments.
Spurred on by the support for my 30 Dates Challenge, and not wanting to end the blog once I successfully completed Date Number 30 in Los Angeles at the end of September, I launched Phase Two.
Inspired by the original threads idea, I set up The Experiments, to continue pushng the boundaries of dating exploring 30 important dating topics, including faith. I’m no longer writing alone, and have invited a number of different writers to join the 30 Dates team, dubbing them ‘The Experimental Daters’.
And so originally I had planned this article to simply be a note of thanks to the editors at threads, who inadvertently prompted ‘The Dating Experiments’ – a phase of the blog which has seen me increasingly used as an unwitting Dating Expert by various dating websites, and even speaking at a Guardian Soulmates dating event last week!
However there’s been a very recent development in my single life which I thought might be of interest to threads readers.
The other day I went on a date. With a devout Christian. Who I really rather fancied.
If you remember back, my original reasons for never considering dating someone religious were practical. I’m a big believer in sexual compatibility (among all the other forms of compatibility), and I have firm beliefs that you need to live with a partner before marrying them, because people are completely different when you see them twenty-four hours a day.
And up until this point, I’d been able to remain behind my atheist picket fence, staring out at guys I fancied, who had such dramatically different beliefs on relationships, that I knew we could never be a match. Or meeting Christian guys with more liberal views, who I didn’t actually fancy.
I’d never met a Christian man with liberal views on the practicalities of a relationship, who I actually fancied. And so I guess I’d never had to delve too deeply into how strictly my own (lack of) beliefs affects my dating ideals.
And then I went on a date with a friend of a friend. I’d fancied him from afar, and only realised he was religious when we were arranging our first date, and he let me know he needed to be finished in time for church.
If I’m honest, going in to the date, while I expected physical attraction, I never expected an emotional one, because I automatically assumed we’d have such polarised views on things. And yet the more we got to know each other, the more I realised we shared very similar moral codes.
For him, pre-marital sex and cohabitation weren’t things he saw linked to his religion. And by contrast, the Christian attributes he did represent, were things which appear in my own moral code, regardless of my religious beliefs.
He had studied theology at university, and was happy and open to debate religion, and certain aspects of religion which he felt had been misinterpreted over the years. And at very few times during conversation did I ever find myself disagreeing with anything he said.
It’s interesting, because I’m sure it’s the conversation the threads editors had hoped I would have with The Voice when we were first set up together.
And perhaps I was more open to having the conversation, because I’d acknowledged that I did in fact rather fancy him, and was intrigued to see how much we had in common, despite the nominal Elephant in the room. Or rather the absence of something rather massive in my own personal space – I don’t believe in God.
Up until this point, I’d always pretty decisively determined I couldn’t date someone religious.
So where does that leave me, when faced with a guy who seems to embody most of the things I would look for in a man? A shared moral code, and basic belief system. But one underpinned by a very different stance on life as we know it.
How much does it matter? Does it matter at all?
Interestingly, I have a feeling it would matter more for him than me. Because where I saw a shared moral code, he saw the absence of a fundamental belief. And if you’ve devoted your life to something, I would imagine it’s very hard to commit to someone who doesn’t believe the object of your devotion even exists.
But who am I to guess?
I will leave it by simply saying, I had a really good date with a Christian. One so good, that it genuinely made me consider my attitude to dating someone religious. Yes, he would have to be a particular type of Christian. But maybe I learned the lesson threads were hoping to teach me after all … just a couple of months too late!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx