Why you should be using Tinder (If you’re not married)

We often think that failure should be avoided at all costs. It’s the worst possible thing that is we can do. This paradigm is beat into our heads throughout our education process, and we’re not taught failure’s critical role in our individual growth. 

We learn most from the things we do not immediately accomplish. Those are the things we study more, work harder at, and actually remember. 

So if you want to get really good at something, you should go push yourself to do stuff and fail as quickly as possible while learning everything you can from the experiences. 

And now we return to the subject: why you single people should be using Tinder. 

My brother told me his entire focus while dating was to find women he didn’t want to spend his life with. There’s an incredible amount of wisdom in this, but this view feels cynical to most people. 

Your reaction may have been: “I date to find someone I want to spend my life with!” Of course you do. But consider the opportunity to use proof by contradiction. Assume the logical opposite of the thing you want to prove and prove it false. 

Just as valid. Same outcome. 

So where does Tinder come into this? Tinder changes the game for you. I started using it on a whim, but it’s been incredibly valuable. 

By meeting complete strangers who like pictures you post and a blurb you write about yourself, you gain experience quickly. You rapidly iterate your dating experiences and meet people you would have otherwise. 

In essence, you fail over and over and learn about yourself and other people. 

Can it make you cynical? Probably. I have a friend who constantly got unwelcome propositions via Tinder. After a large number of these, she asked me what about her profile and / or swiping strategy matched her with more than her share of douches. So we chatted about how she was approaching things and figured out some ways to improve her matches. 

So if you’re not dating enough or you’re continuously dating the same schmucks or people who don’t interest you, try Tinder. Learn something about yourself, the people you meet, and find people you don’t want to marry. 

I’ve been doing it for months, and I’ve had some fun relationships and found a lot of women I don’t want to marry. Maybe in the process I’ll prove the opposite and find one I do. 

A guide for using this blog

The title is slightly misleading. Lots of website have style guides and media guides. This isn’t like that at all. 

It should be no surprise that I’m fairly open with what I post here. I am aware I may have many readers, but likely won’t. Those who end up here are likely facebook friends who are curious about what I posted regarding my blog on a Sunday afternoon. However, some of you may be women doing appropriate background searching on a guy you are going on date(s) with. 

I’m talking to you. 

The content here is public; I know that; I’ve been aware of it from my first major post in January. But please understand the power you hold as you read. 

You were likely drawn here as part of a way to protect yourself or “make sure this guys isn’t psycho.” That’s a good thing to do, but be careful. Mystery and learning about the other person while dating is important.

You may have a huge urge to judge me based entirely on what I’ve written. I suggest you be very careful about that. I am open and authentic, but I still control 100% of what is written here. I don’t hide anything, but I still try to hold some things close to the chest. 

One girl read my entire history, decided I was broken, mentioned it frequently while we dated, and turned me off entirely to getting to know her more. If that’s your judgment, just say so and tell me you’re not interested, because I’m not interested in dating a therapist/counselor/coach/fixer. 

But I suggest you read with caution and form your judgments based on our face-to-face interactions. A good friend did that and our conversations have allowed for me to maintain a level of disclosure I find appropriate and tailored to the level of trust I felt with her. 

You are privileged with this information. What will you do?

The difficulties of being a gentleman

This post could also be titled:

“The biggest dating mistake Lee J ever made” or “Why won’t he hold my hand?”

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I really like touch. I think it’s the greatest sensation. If you’re a love languages person, you’d say, “Lee J, touch is your primary love language.” And you’d be 100% right. 

Here’s the difficulty: I rarely initiate touch when I want to deepen a relationship. So when I’m most interested in a girl, I’m less likely to make the first move toward holding her hand or putting my arm around her. (There have been a few exceptions to this, but only due to incredible ignorance (I’ll get there soon) or strong inspirational influence.)

This has left several women I’ve dated quite confused early in the relationship and has been the reason I never dated several others. 

The way I mentally see it is 

The more interested I am, the more I need to respect her, and my past experiences (mostly one) taught me I need to be a gentleman and only do what the girl wants me to. 

So that leads to a lot of difficulty, especially early when women often want “romance,” “surprise,” and whatever else. I’ve got not problem with those things after I’m comfortable with her, but I’m scared to repeating past mistakes. 

A girl kissed me kind of out of the blue (looking back I should have seen it coming) when I was 16. I liked it a lot. A lot more than I expected to and a lot more than I liked her. It was a good learning experience. 

A few weeks later, I was asked to a dance by a friend of a girl I went to seminary with. Her parents were extremely conservative and only allowed her to go to the dance because they knew I was LDS and similarly conservative. 

Things went pretty well as far as I thought and (in typical fashion) I could only assume other guys at the dance were in a similar situation I was (catholic girls school dance). So I misread the social cues when all the guys and girls started kissing after the dance. 

Major error. Like in my worst top ten of all time. I realized as things played out I had basically brought shame upon me, my parents, my ancestors, my church, my pets, my cows, and anything else I might have been able to bring shame upon. 

So I resolved never to make that mistake again. 

I haven’t. 

I’ve had some less than natural first kisses (girls don’t always want you to ask if it’s ok, btw), and I’ve had more than my fair share of missed handholding or cuddling opportunities, but I’ve never made that mistake again. 

I doubt any of you will end up being the one this matters most to, but if I haven’t held your hand after a few dates, and you wonder why, this is it. So if that’s something you want, say it with words or actions. We’ll both be thankful you did.

I can make choices, but I can’t see all the consequences of the choices

A few weeks ago I started dating a girl. It was a really positive experience for me and we complemented each other in many ways.

As time passed, I saw more and more that I was regressing into some traits I wasn’t comfortable with and realized that continuing the relationship would not continue to be positive for me.

I was faced with a pretty ugly decision. It has been many months since I felt as needed and as valued as I did with her. And I knew I would be giving that up to return to the dating world of talking with random (sometimes really odd) people at church, online dating, and tinder.

How do you even make a decision like that?

How do you balance the fact you feel valued and needed more than you have in a long time against the strong likelihood it will become more and more unhealthy for you over time? How do you balance the need you fill for the other person and the desire you have to fill that need against the need you have to stay mentally healthy? How do you deal with the knowledge that you’re going to drastically hurt someone?

Making hard decisions sucks.

And you never know what will come from them. At what point will God stop opening doors? Will He ever? Will He be here for the person you hurt? Will He be there to comfort you in all the pain you pull onto yourself in that moment and for the days and weeks afterward?

Will He trust you to meet and become friends with or date someone else after doing what you did?

Probably.

I tried to follow inspiration. I had some ideas what were most important in my life and what Father wanted me to do. But most of it was based on what I felt I needed, on what I wanted to do.

I made a choice. I knew some consequences. I haven’t seen them all yet.

I’ve made a lot of choices recently. I quit my dream job. I don’t know what will come of that. But I relied on what I felt was right and the inspiration I received.

I can’t see what comes from my choices, but I can trust they are good and Father will make something positive out of them.

Accepting and giving love

I’ve had a lot happen this week. It may turn into several posts.

I like to consider myself a fairly normal person. The people who know m best know how accurate that may or may not be. But I hope things I experience are things you can relate to.

I have a need to be loved. Coexisting with that is a need for validation. I come across a bit conceited because I don’t really like the fact I have those needs and because I greatly dislike false validation.

However, I experience fear every day that my efforts are not enough, that what I’ve accomplished in life severely lacks, that I may never accomplish what I believe I can or should.

Heavenly Father knows my needs. He knows my fears and concerns. He knows what I need to grow, and what I can endure. When I receive priesthood blessings, He always tells me He loves me and is pleased with me. That is a great comfort and always needed.

We are aware that we often only accept the love we feel we deserve. I know that is very true for me. I have difficulty accepting love during my darkest times. I have difficulty having hope for future blessings and experiences when those times happen.

Believing others when they show me love is important. It’s something I can improve and something that will make a difference for me. When I have hard times, I can ask friends to speak with me and listen to what they say and how to see their love and Father’s reflected in them.

I was able to be that person for a friend a few weeks ago. She’s had a rougher past year than I have, and as she told me about it, I sat, listened, let her cry, cried with her, and did everything I could to show I cared and to reflect the love Father has for her.

It was apparent she’d been having trouble accepting how much someone could care about her. It was good to be the person she needed then.

Some day, I want to be with someone who sees me for who I believe I am, who loves me in spite of my faults and fears, and who I believe when she says I honestly deserve all the love she and my Father give me.

Until then, I get to learn from friends, and I get to rely only on my Father to learn to accept love in my life. The reality is we deserve more than we accept, so it is up to us to open our minds more and be wonderfully accepting of the love and kindness we actually deserve.

Our challenges affect us forever

I didn’t ask to have the year I did. In fact, I fervently prayed for a completely different set of experiences. I worked really hard for things that I felt inspired to pursue, things I knew would be blessings in my life. I strove to land a full-time teaching job. I worked to be appointed as a head coach. And I fought tooth and nail to keep my relationship together and make progress toward making eternal covenants with her and God.

Now, none of those things exist in my life. I have no contact with the girl, I don’t teach for pay, and I no longer am the head coach. All those things I worked for, all those things that mattered most have been taken away. To top it all off, I experienced depths of depression I never thought possible, I mourned more deeply than I expected I could, and I quit the things I thought would bring me the most long-term joy.

But my heart is opened. I feel more deeply now than I ever have before. I’ve learned to draw on the pain I experienced and the worries I have about my future to empathize with friends who experience trials and challenges in their lives.

I wrote last week about seeing the people behind their trials. The things I experienced make me better. The long-term perspective shows that I am more like Father than I was last year.

But I am not the things I experienced. I am not a failed teacher. I am not a depressive. I am not a bad coach. I am not a failure as a boyfriend.

Viewing myself as these things limits my growth and improvement. Taking these experiences and recognizing lessons I can learn from them, has shown me to see my friends behind their trials.

The largest take-away is I must actively be pursuing the things that matter most. I value helping others. I value serving. I value following Father with trust and faith.

What I experienced this last year teaches me to be spiritually strong. It teaches me to follow God and be more like Him. I will be forever affected by my experiences, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.