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QUESTION: I am a 45-year-old woman who was widowed five years ago. I feel ready to date again, but as a Christian I believe you should have sex only when married (my late husband was the only man I ever slept with). How can I survive today’s casual dating society, where many men expect sex on the third date? And how can I broach the subject of my beliefs?
ANSWER: You don’t need to be a devout Christian to prefer the thought of having sex within a committed relationship. I think it’s especially true of anyone who has enjoyed a long and fulfilling marriage, curtailed by a beloved spouse’s death. The detached dance of bed-hopping can appear hollow by comparison.
While it’s true that many men seek casual sex, plenty of others are alarmed by the aggressive pace of modern dating.
One 50-something acquaintance told me he was stunned into silence when the woman he’d just met for a ‘get acquainted’ drink opened her purse to show him a pack of condoms.
The good news is that the best internet dating sites offer detailed questionnaires where you can state your beliefs and preferences up front. The easiest route for you would be to join a Christian dating site, such as ChristianConnection.co.uk, where all matches will understand and respect your faith (although, of course, not all Christians eschew sex before marriage).
My one caveat is that the path to true love isn’t as straightforward as we’d like.
Plenty of churchgoers are married to agnostics, atheists or humanists. Rare is the person who develops a passion for someone whose views exactly mirror their own.
When I see personal ads that state ‘non-smokers only’ I think: ‘Really? Can you be that certain you’ll only adore a human being who is not nipping out for a death stick?’ I loathe cigarette smoke, but if I’d weeded out all nicotine-lovers I would never have tied the knot, as my husband once had a 20-a-day habit.
What I’m saying is that you can have shared morals without sharing a faith, or a particular conviction. You need not exclude non-Christians.
It is, though, important to find men who share your wider values. eHarmony.co.uk has a detailed questionnaire on its dating site and goes to great lengths to ensure you are paired with those of a similar disposition.
The site is not cheap, but a friend recommends it; she stepped out with three charming men (none of whom was a fly-by-night rogue) before meeting the surgeon who is now her husband.
Of course, you could set about dating the old-fashioned way and call on friends and family to set you up with suitable men - or join a lively church that holds plenty of social events.
Either way, outline your dating views early on. I would simply tell your dates: ‘I’m quite old-fashioned and like to know a person properly before becoming intimate.’
If you do meet another life partner, I have just one piece of advice: keep the engagement short and the honeymoon long. - Daily Mail