Single Parent Faith

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dating— The Wolf who Hides Behind God

“Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.” ― André Malraux

When I think of entrapment, I am reminded how often we single women (with children or not) may fall erroneously for a wolf….uh….man…..hiding behind the cloak of a Godly man.

A few years back when I initially joined an Internet dating site, I met a guy who was extremely helpful by emailing me tips and assistance for managing my new profile. I must credit him for informing me that unbeknownst to me, my real name was revealed on my emails. He advised me to use a bogus name when setting up my email.

I was very appreciative of his help because after all, he didn’t have to let me know this was happening, yet he did, to protect my privacy. That gesture gave me a false sense of security about his character. Though I was still cautious, I agreed to talk on the phone sooner than I usually would with a guy I met on an internet dating site. I usually waited weeks after exchanging many emails, and only if during that time he consistently revealed good character.

Observation: Stay within the web site’s email system, so it protects your identity. Do not share your personal email address until you know the person better.

We met for coffee once and then on another day met at a restaurant for dinner. He was very likable. We were talking from the start, as if we knew each other a lifetime. We talked seamlessly and listened extremely well to each other. He shared about his life and how active he is with his church. He said he volunteered a lot through the church, belonged to a men’s accountability group which met regularly, he played the base in the church band, and he even met routinely with the men’s ministry pastor. He spoke passionately about his conviction and love for God.

I noticed all the things a woman notices. That he pulled out my chair, that he was a gentleman. He was very gracious with the waiter (you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat others), and when the check came he didn’t let it linger uncomfortably on the table. He quickly placed his hand on it, sliding it to his side, ever so assuredly, yet not dramatically so as to call attention. He tipped the waiter well—not that he purposely put the check in view, I just got a quick peak, to see how he was going to treat the guy when no one was looking.

After leaving the restaurant he walked me to my car and reached to give me a hug. The next thing I know, his hand dove from my shoulder, toward the back of my jeans where he attempted to slip his hands into my jeans.

Shocked, I lurched away and exclaimed, “What are you doing?”

“I’m sorry I lost myself. That wasn’t appropriate. I’m sorry, please forgive me.”

“Don’t do that again. I respect myself and expect you to do the same.”

“I don’t want to give you the wrong impression of me. I respect myself too and respect you. I know my action doesn’t reflect that. For that I am sorry.”

He appeared to get it and sounded sincere. His words seemed like he accepted accountability. Everything else in the evening went exceptionally well, and contradicted the behavior. That was my reasoning for giving him another chance. However, I didn’t put myself in a vulnerable position by allowing him to pick me up from home. Again I met him at a restaurant.

Observation: Never give out your home address until after you have met several times in a public place, and know him very well. If he’s got a problem with that, or makes fun of you for having this rule, he’s not respecting your boundaries. Boundaries should be in place to protect yourself and your child.

The next time we met, at the conclusion of another dream date, he did it again. I then ended the date. He of course asked for….you guessed it: another chance. Hmm, a pattern emerges here. The old adage kept repeating in my head: “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” The last thing I want to do is fight for my physical security with someone. I don’t deserve that. No woman does.

He didn’t “understand” why I wasn’t giving him yet another chance. Over the next few days he obsessively sent emails and left me repeated phone messages. He kept apologizing and asking me to give him another chance. Can you say, Thank Goodness that I never gave him my home address?!

Observation: You don’t know someone until he doesn’t get his way. Then you see another facet to his character. This is not always quick to reveal itself.

Observation: When a guy doesn’t respect you, he will interpret you giving him another chance as validation that you respect him more than you do yourself.

One day I mistakingly answered the phone, and he repeated, “I don’t understand why you don’t give me another chance.”

“My job is not to make you understand my decision. You either accept it or you don’t. I don’t need your approval. I have already conveyed to you that you do not respect me. The fact that you have to argue with me about my decision shows me that you’re not honoring my decision, which means you do not respect me.”

“But I do respect you. Give me the chance to show you I respect you.”

I realized if I kept talking to him I would reinforce his behavior. Giving him any dialogue whatsoever is in essence participating in the argument. I did not owe him anything. We women often fall into the trap of thinking we have to explain ourselves. Guys like this know it and use that to their advantage. They bait us into contact that way. Before we know it we’re defending and justifying our decision. There’s no need for that.

Observation: When you determine to close contact with someone, do not under any circumstances respond to his emails or calls, no matter how justified you may feel to give him a piece of your mind. Let it go. Otherwise you will open Pandora’s box to his obsessive nature when he sees that disrespecting your boundaries has favorable results. He gets to talk to you again, even if it’s not under favorable circumstances. A guy like this believes that if he is persistent, you will cave in. It’s a game to him.

You will know a man by his actions. Never mind what perfect words he uses, how great a time you have initially, if he cannot demonstrate respect and integrity. I’m not talking about a perfect man mind you, people make mistakes, but when he misrepresents himself, that’s in a whole different category. That is outright deception.

Even if I didn’t have a child, I would have responded the same way. But especially having one, there’s no way I could have a man lacking integrity enter my child’s life. There is no relationship so important that I would jeopardize my child’s safety. Integrity is a clear black and white issue, with no room for error. Children need to be protected, as do we, from men like this.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind regarding a guy who may insincerely label himself a “Christian”:

1. If a guy says he’s “Christian” (or spiritual) don’t believe it until you see him in action. His action is where the truth speaks.
2. A guy can quote scripture, but that’s meaningless unless he’s living it.
3. It doesn’t matter if the dating web site is a “Christian” site, use extreme caution and take it very slow in getting to know someone. Only with “time” will he reveal his true nature.
4. All the same rules apply whether you meet a guy online or not. But be especially vigilant if you meet online since you do not have references to vouch for him, as you might when introduced by friends.
5. If his actions and the subjects he chooses to discuss contradict what you feel in your heart a man of faith would do, listen to your intuition.
6. Slow down and don’t rush into anything. Don’t even rush to date the guy. Give things time so he can show you what he’s made of before you say yes to dating him. If he’s in a rush, take that as a red flag. A guy lacking integrity will be on his time-table, not yours.
7. You never owe a guy an explanation. You can just stop corresponding. No explanation is required. In fact, if you sense he’s inauthentic, it’s best to drop him like a hot potato, otherwise he will play head games and try to convince you otherwise, when all along you have an innate knowing that God has instilled in you. Listen to this instinct. Don’t silence it and give away your power to a stranger who attempts to convince you otherwise.

A guy who lacks integrity will wear God like a cape— easily placed on and taken off. When it fits the situation, and when he believes it gives him an advantage, he will wear it. This cape is worn by someone insincere who is trying to bait women looking for a “Christian” guy.

The truth is, this cape wearer knows how to put on the charm, and has traits that are downright loveable and fun. There is some attraction to begin with. There are things he does right, otherwise there would be no deception. It’s easy for a deceptor to “act” his way into a role the first few times you meet. Only in time are the fangs exposed. So remain alert and not too vested in the relationship, until he proves he has integrity and deserves your attention.

Ella Venezia
Copyright © 2012 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved.

Image Source: ©All rights reserved by swawilg


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