I’ve got another question from a brother today that addresses his concerns about his conservative views on casual dating. He asks:
“I’ve had a dialogue in my head for quite some time about the approach I should take to dating. I grew up in a very conservative family in a very conservative area. I have carried the value of only needing one woman for the rest of my life.
“However, recently I’ve considered the idea of dating casually without any intent for a long-term commitment. I feel a lot of resistance to this, though, and oftentimes sabotage opportunities with women I’m interested in. Am I wrong for only having gone out on a couple of dates with one person in his life? Is it wrong to have this sort of value?”
If you’ve been around the our Porn Addiction Counseling program for a while, you know that I recommend dating casually when you’re early in your reboot. I support you talking with and dating multiple women at a time because the primary goal is learning to enjoy interacting with women without expectations.
Dating multiple women at a time makes you less likely to be overly engaged, needy, and dependent while casually dating. You don’t see the woman you’re with as your only option which keeps you from feeling and behaving desperately.
However, if you hold a conservative view of dating you may struggle with seeing more than one woman at once. Some conservative segments of society frown upon the practice. Even if you aren’t ready to settle down, the idea that you would see multiple women isn’t an acceptable approach to the dating process.
I believe this is an antiquated concept. Dating in the Western world has changed a ton over the last few decades. Most people see nothing wrong with casually dating multiple people. It’s almost assumed that you’re seeing more than one person at once until exclusivity or commitment is explicitly mentioned.
Casual dating allows you to interact with and enjoy the company of other women. You’ve spent so many years isolating yourself from the world and lost touch with the skills necessary to build a relationship. If you only date one woman at a time, you hold yourself back from engaging with as many of them as possible. Why put yourself at a disadvantage there?
You should also consider that the way society views sex is much different than it used to be. Things are far more sexualized today than they ever were before. I was watching a show on HBO Max the other day and saw more penises at once than I ever had in my life. Everything is sexual nowadays.
Casual sex is also much more common. Both men and women are more likely to have more sexual partners before settling down than our predecessors did. Most of the women you date have likely sex with at least one or two people before. The majority of people are no longer “waiting ‘til marriage” like we were told to do when we were young.
Unfortunately, I see many of our conservative brothers rushing into marriage for the sole purpose of having sex. If your only focus is sex, brother, you’re going to have a miserable marriage. It won’t take long for men who hurry into these lifelong commitments based on the expectation regular sex to realize they made an incredible mistake.
Dating shouldn’t automatically equate to marriage just like dating shouldn’t automatically equate to sex. I support casual dating without the expectation of either prospect. You’ve spent the entirety of your porn addiction learning to objectify women, whether you realize it or not. Porn addiction problems strips all intimacy from the equation and destroys your ability to have healthy interactions with women. Casual dating is the first step to learning how to engage with women without objectifying them.
I’m not recommending you abandon your values, brother. You’ll find no one more supportive than me when it comes to adhering to your values. But I want to challenge you to reframe your beliefs about dating. Dating multiple women casually doesn’t have to mean rejecting your values. It’s simply a way to relearn how to interact with them without unrealistic expectations.
I do want to point out, though, that not everyone adheres to the same values as you. There’s nothing wrong with holding to your conservative values, but expecting the women you date to hold them as well is likely to set you up for frustration and disappointment. I’m not saying that every woman lacks these values but far fewer are sticking to them than they were before.
I also want to mention that if you’re dating for the sole purpose of getting married, I think you should pump the brakes a bit. Your brain is still rewiring and you don’t want to make a lifelong commitment without fully thinking it through.
If you aren’t already married then you have no reason to rush into things. It’s better to take your time and get to know some different women at a deeper level than what they have to offer physically. There is plenty of time in your life for marriage, brother, but right now is likely not the time. You don’t want to find yourself regretting your decision in the future.
Instead, focus on asking yourself whether casual dating truly goes against your conservative values. Do they need to be mutually exclusive or can you find a balance between the two? I firmly believe that you can have both, but it’s up to you to decide what is best for you.