Hi guys! I’m Aubrie Shuler, Tay’s older sister. She asked me if I wouldn’t mind writing a blog that answers all of your questions about “singleness.” She met Luke at the age of 13 and started dating as soon as they both turned 16 years old. So, she doesn’t really have a ton of experience being single past the age of 15. Which is an awesome part of her story! But I know that there are those of us who are navigating it right now.
First off, I thought I’d give you a little bit of insight into my background when it comes to dating and being single. I dated my first boyfriend when I was a senior in high school. I made the first move to make it “official” which is insane to me looking back at it now. I’d never ever do that today, so it’s probably laughable to my friends who knew me post high school. We dated for a year and a half, but split up the summer after our freshman year of college.
After that, I was single for two years. I genuinely LOVED that time of my life. I made so many incredible friends that I am still close to today.
After those two years, I met a guy my junior year of college and we dated for two years before ending our long distance relationship in January of this year. It was the most peaceful break-up anyone could ask for, which I am so thankful for! I don’t carry any hurt from it and I know the Lord is taking care of each of us on our own.
There’s the short version of my dating life!
I thought I’d do this blog in a Q&A style. I always like reading blogs in a Q&A format because it feels like a conversation between some friends! So let’s talk.
*I’d like to say this–I’m writing from the perspective of having faith in Jesus and trusting that I’m taken care of because He loves me. If you’re reading this and you’re not a believer, I believe you’ll still be able to find tips and encouragement here! You’re a part of this too 🙂
Q1: I’ve been deeply hurt by a past relationship. How do I prepare or know when I’m ready to date again?
A1: I’m sorry you experienced a relationship that left you feeling deeply hurt. I’ve been in some situations that left me feeling confused and hurt too, so I understand. The first time I experienced a breakup I felt incredibly hurt, mainly because I had never experienced those feelings before. Heartache is a REAL thing. Breakups are definitely a way of experiencing deep loss. But, as you read above, the two years after my first breakup ended up being the best time of my early 20s! When I dated again, I felt pretty ready to explore other relationships because I did a couple of things.
I trusted God’s provision, I trusted that He would heal my heart, and I believed in His promises to take care of me because I read it in His Word. I read through all of Psalms (I always recommend that my friends read Psalms for encouragement during a hard “season”). I prayed specific prayers about how I wanted to grow as a person before moving on with someone else someday (I still pray for this–I want to be patient, kind, selfless, understanding, etc). I made playlists of my favorite worship songs and just listened on repeat.
I wanted to be someone who fully trusted God, even when my plans didn’t go my way. Gradually, I truly felt a renewing of my mind. My family pointed out that I seemed lighter and happier! The joy of the Lord was literally visible on my face, and visible in my life. I started feeling confident in who I was, because I was confident in who God made me to be. There’s no one else like YOU and you have so much to offer when you focus on all that God has given to you. This takes time to see when you’re in pain, but you’ll heal.
I’d also like to say, you don’t need to reach a certain level of “ready” before dating. There will always be an area of your life you’re trying to prepare/fix to be “ready.” Sometimes you should just go on the date. I’ll be praying for you!
Q2: I’ve never dated anyone and I feel like I’m going to be single forever.
A2: Just because you haven’t dated someone, does not equate to you being single forever! You can get out there and meet new people. It starts with making yourself available to even let people meet you and get to know you! Being social, kind, and open to a fun time really does help. Just be yourself! Plus, you have plenty of time to get into a relationship. No one is giving you a deadline to find someone–that’d be weird.
All of my friends that have boyfriends/fiances/husbands met in completely different ways. Some met at weddings, in a college class, in church, others were set up by their friends…you never know! So don’t be fearful. 🙂
Q3: How do you continue to trust in the Lord’s plan when He keeps saying no to relationships?
A3: God is the most trustworthy, EVER. He sacrificed His Son for you. If you can trust Him with your eternity, surely you can trust Him with your future relationship, right? Not every guy you end up “talking” to should end up being your boyfriend. It’s probably God’s best if you truly feel that He told you “no.” I personally look back at God’s “no’s” and I’m thankful. I hope you look back and see the growth you experienced after accepting the “no.”
Q4: No long term relationships ever. What’s wrong with me?
A4: Well, I don’t think anything is wrong with you. Everyone’s dating life is completely different. If you’ve had short-term relationships, that’s OK. Look at what you did right in those relationships, and then look at the things you’d like to improve on. Then I encourage you to actively work on it! Don’t be hard on yourself. 🙂 Our stories aren’t supposed to look exactly the same. B-o-r-i-n-g.
Q5: Unsure of God’s promises in providing me a partner?!
A5: Hmm. This might be upsetting to read, but I don’t believe God promises all of us a partner (Some people I’ve known did hear specific words from the Lord about their future spouse, which is definitely awesome–So I’m not saying it’s impossible!) While that would be nice to know we’re all promised a life partner, I don’t believe it to be the case. However, I assure you that God is one who keeps promises.
Here are promises that you CAN be sure of:
You can trust that He’ll meet your needs–pray specifically that God will help strengthen your trust in His plans for you. He is a much better planner than any of us ever will be. Don’t you think so too? 🙂
Q6: How do you plan your future when you don’t know if/when you’ll get married?
A6: If you’re single and asking this question…don’t let the mysterious timing of your possible future marriage hinder you from pursuing the job you want, moving to the place you want to go, or making the friends you want to make. Dig deep roots wherever you go, and be flexible. You never know what’ll happen or who you’ll meet. Live your life!
Q7: Thoughts on dating apps? (Both Christian and non-Christian)
A7: If you’re open to it, I know it’s worked for some people! I personally don’t think I’d do it because it makes me nervous (I’ve watched too many murder docs. I am so extreme; I KNOW). Just be wise, don’t meet anyone at their home, and maybe make the first date a double date. Be safe. Call 911. Ok, good luck *swipes left*
Q8: How do you feel with the people who ask THOSE questions about who you like or when you are going to date somebody, etc.
A8: I’m a pastor’s kid. I get the question all the time, “So…any boys in your life?”
People ask because they think it’s interesting and they’re wanting to see you happy! That’s usually the reason they’re wondering (at least I hope???)
I normally respond with, “Not right now! But when I do have a boy in my life, you’ll be the first person to know.” So I’ll probably have to gather all twenty of those people I said this exact same quote to and tell them all at once.
Q9: I’m quite an introvert, so talking to guys is hard for me, and I get really awkward. Any advice for that?
A9: True story: One time I was having dinner with a guy, and I ran out of things to say. It was quiet, like the type of quiet where you start feeling like “Yikes I HAVE to say something.” So I looked up and said, “So uh, do you have a favorite vegetable?”
What even??? I’m considered a pretty extroverted person by some of my friends, and sometimes I get awkward too! So it’s not limited to introverts 🙂
Maybe you could write down some fun questions and go over them before social events! Look over them in the car before going in and make it a point to sit with at least one person and get to know them. It might help refresh your mind so you’re not nervous. I believe in you <3
Q10: There have been guys that want to go out with me, and turning them down doesn’t get easier. Any advice?
A10: First of all…Shout-out to those guys who were bold enough to say something. I commend them.
I’ve had to turn guys down before. I never want to hurt anyone by saying “no.” Especially if the guy is my friend. It makes me feel horrible, but I also have to do what I feel is right for not only myself, but for him as well. I can usually tell that we just wouldn’t be the most compatible, and I don’t want the guy to continue having feelings for me if I’ve made up my mind. Leading someone on isn’t cool and I won’t take part in it.
It’s a very brave thing to open up and say you like someone. So if you’re responding to someone who says they have feelings for you, and you don’t have the same feelings, I’d say: fully listen to how he feels, respond with kindness, thank him for his honesty, and then ask how you can be a friend to him moving forward–if that’s what he’d be comfortable with.
Miraculously, I have guy friends that were able to totally look past it and we stayed friends! And then there were times when I was young, handled it poorly, and hurt the guy’s feelings. I regret that, and wish I could change it. So–remain sweet (you can be independent and strong without being too harsh–learned this the hard way. Yikes) and show each other respect.
Q11: How do you abstain from getting into a “casual” relationship?
A11: Hm, personally I have mainly experienced long-term relationships. But I guess I’d ask questions once you’ve expressed your feelings to each other, or after going on dates, hanging out, or “talking.” Is he interested in being in a long-term relationship right now? If he says no, and that’s what you’re wanting from him, then let it go. You’ll both end up getting hurt because you’re not on the same page.
I’d focus on being his friend instead. I know it’s easier said than done at times… but when you’re dating someone who has no interest in moving forward with you down the road, and that’s what you desire, you’ll experience pain.
It all truly depends on what you’re looking to get out of a relationship–once you figure that out and have a goal in mind, it makes easier to make wise decisions when it comes to getting in to “casual” relationships. I personally couldn’t be in a casual relationship because I know I get attached too easily if I’m truly interested in someone. Everyone is different though.
Q12: Do you think it’s a good thing to actively look for a boyfriend? If so, how?
A12: I don’t think it’s bad to make yourself available. I guess you should take a look at your motive for actively looking for a boyfriend. Don’t let it become an obsession. I’ve never really “looked” for a boyfriend, but I remained open to the idea of dating and I jumped into groups of guys and girls where I could possibly meet someone. Again, go out and be social with the intention of getting to know others and maybe something will happen–don’t feel pressure though!
Q13: What to do if you feel ready to date but you’ve never been asked out by any guys?
A13: Continue to be yourself, hang out in groups where there are guys and girls (get involved in church, join a club, do anything outside of your house and off your phone, etc) and just enjoy where you’re at. I think it’s attractive when I see that someone is genuinely enjoying their life, whether they’re dating or not.
Plus, I mean, there are other ways to get a date without being directly asked by the guy…like being set up on a date! That is, if you’re up for it and have friends who are willing to help you out 🙂
Q14: Can a girl make the first move? If he seems interested, but he’s not pursuing you yet?
A14: Honestly, maybe he isn’t sure if you’re interested so he’s hesitant? Sometimes a guy needs a signal because it’s scary to make the first move. Like I said, I made the first move in high school (lol). I say just go for it if he’s been pretty obvious.
However, I also do realize that all guys are different. Some may prefer to be the one to make the first move. I personally wouldn’t make the first move (asking a guy out) but that’s because I’m too nervous ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I think this definitely depends on the people involved.
Q15: How do I find contentment in singleness when all my friends are entering into relationships?
A15: Honestly, enjoy being single while you’re single.
When you’re single, you really do get to focus primarily on yourself–your wants, your needs, your family, your money, your feelings, your time, your friends, your home…Add a person into that mix, and now you’re sharing everything. Which sounds romantic! And it is. But that romance wears off at times.
Marriage requires selflessness and intentionality to make it successful. When you’re single, you have so many options available to you which won’t last forever (Not a bad thing that it won’t last forever though, because marriage is truly a gift!). So consider your time as a single person to be valuable time!
Just to add an example of this: The other day I went to Target and Home Goods with Tay and our best friend Ashley. They were finding cute kitchen pans (you know you’re an adult when you think pans are “cute”) and before they could buy it, they were texting their husbands to let them know what they were getting and how much it’d cost.
Meanwhile, I’m up and down the aisles grabbing what I want, checking out of the line first, and ready to leave before they were done. They told me how lucky I am that I can just shop without telling anyone (Of course, all of this was said in humor! Not a super serious conversation. They should be letting their husbands know that they’re draining their bank accounts hehe).
And then there’s me–I’m like “Aubrie, can I get this mug from Target that I really do not need?” “Yes, Aubs. You deserve it.”
I hope you guys enjoyed Part 1 of this little “Single Q&A” blog. I know that my answers won’t magically snap you out of a funk if you’ve been feeling sad about being single. But I hope you feel encouraged knowing that this is written by a girl who definitely desires marriage someday, but is perfectly happy being single too. Continue to walk in confidence, grow in grace and wisdom, and enjoy the life and friendships you’ve been given!
You’re all in my prayers <3,