To be quite honest, I am not a fan of dating. I like being in a committed relationship and sharing experiences, conversations, and affection with someone. But I do not like the first date business, the awkward silences, the weirdness at the end of the night, the dance of getting to know one another, while trying to only present the best of one's self, and discerning just what exactly the other person's actions mean. So not a fan. If I could skip to the 6 month stage with my next partner that'd be genial. At dinner with a good friend from college, we talked about dating more than one person at a time. Now, I've always been the kind of person who simply dates one person--as in, he's my boyfriend, and we only date each other. Despite my parents insistence, I mean, encouragement, over the years, I've never really like just dating...as in going out on a date and "exploring"--a term I find to mean something very different from when they were dating 35 years ago. So, seeing as I have this history, I hold to the notion that I wouldn't just date around seeing various men. My friend, a psychologist with a masters in MFT, insists this dating multiple people thing is normal, that if I'm not in a committed monogamous relationship, that I'm free to date (around). We went in circles a bit on this issue "I can't" "No, you choose not to; there's a difference." Our conversation was left unresolved and we moved onto other subjects, though not after I argued that as a pastor it's weird for me to date multiple people at the same time...that it can easily be misperceived. At the end of the night, as we said our goodbyes, he gave me permission to engage in the dating world.
Now, faithful readers, I'm requesting your feedback....thoughts on "dating" (as in outside the realm of a monogomous committed relationship...a.k.a. what dating used to mean)...and thoughts on how that practice might be different for clergy vs. regular folks.