Giving Online Dating a Try

Post Author: Jessi Higginbotham

Online Romance

Online Romance

It’s no secret that dating is hard. As women, we’re still trying to achieve equal pay in the workforce, so dating can often take a back burner to work. For clergywomen, dating seems to be especially difficult.

A few years ago, I began to notice the same dating advice coming up again and again in conversations with friends: “Have you tried online dating?” At first, I was a bit put off by this. Perhaps I read too much into the suggestion. My thought was this: clearly my friends think I cannot possibly meet anyone wearing my Geneva Robes and clerical collar, so an online profile where a man can read all about me and then find out I’m clergy might be the best route. While wearing my collar, I was once told by a congregation member, “You’ll never catch a man in that.” I assumed my friends were thinking the same thing.

With the question of “why online dating?” looming over me, I finally polled the audience, my group of Facebook friends, to see what I could find out. I asked anyone I knew to simply answer a question – why would you suggest online dating to a single person?

One distinct, clear, and concise answer appeared over and over – people meet people online. It’s a thing. It happens. It’s real. The statistics are out there, today over 25% of relationships begin online. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows someone or is someone who met their special someone online. My assumptions about my friends’ advice were squashed, their suggestion had nothing to do with me being clergy, it was a real, honest, heartfelt suggestion. Try online dating.

For years I’ve thought that being clergy meant I needed to have more faith than the average person. In the dating realm, I needed to have faith that God would bring me the right man. I wasn’t supposed to have doubts or fears about my future as a wife and mother, I must have faith. More than one person has actually said to me that my career is all about faith, so I should have faith, it should be easy. But faith is actually hard, for clergy and laity alike.

Jesus tells us to ask and the question will be answered. He never said the question would be answered right now or that we were even asking the right question, he simply said that God will answer. Because of this I recently posed this question to a group of singles from The Young Clergy Women Project, “Would you like me to pray for you to find a partner and would you pray for me?” The response was wonderful. Dozens of women asked to be prayed for and offered to pray for me.

So after I polled my friends on “Why try online dating?” I prayed about it. It may sound like a silly thing to ask God, or it might seem silly that I didn’t ask God in the first place, but I finally asked. Unfortunately, God isn’t a genie who answers at my beck and call, so I haven’t gotten a clear answer. I’ll let you know if I figure it out. But until then, I’m willing to give it a shot.

Jessi Higginbotham was born in Jacksonville, FL. She attended Florida State University for her undergraduate degree and Columbia Theological Seminary for her Masters of Divinity. She serves as the Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Delray Beach, FL.

Image by: Don Hankins
Used with permission
4 replies
  1. Lucille in CT
    Lucille in CT says:

    I have to know: how is the online dating going? I am not clergy, but I am a 49 year old single woman, and I have just this year thought about online dating, but it’s a tough sell for me. Has it been a positive experience for you?

  2. Jessi Higginbotham
    Jessi Higginbotham says:

    It’s slow but definitely a holy process. I let God into the process to work along-side me. If I feel something isn’t right I don’t ho-hum around. I try to be smart and wise about my decisions. I also ask for advice from good friends. I’d say it’s a positive experience but hasn’t brought me “the one” just yet.

    • Lucille in CT
      Lucille in CT says:

      Thanks for replying! I didn’t think you’d see my comment and briefly contemplated googling you to try to connect via email or something, but then I was afraid that might look like I was weird, LOL.
      I like how you called it a ‘holy process’…. That resonates with me. I haven’t thought like that but I like the idea.
      I’m glad it’s been a positive experience for you! Right now I am conversing with one man who seems very nice. We are now, a few days in, skirting around the idea of meeting. This is when I typically start worrying too much and want to throw in the towel because I have not done this in over a decade, and even back then, I was not a great date. I think I’ll be better now (more self-assured—despite all I’ve said just now—better at small talk, etc), but who knows. I’m going to keep that in mind—the holy process…..
      THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING BACK!!! Best of luck to you….!


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