Gloria Riedesel, a real estate professional in a sleepy Seattle bedroom community, looks back at her decision not to date.

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” I threw my life onto an altar of human holiness and hid my insecurity behind a mask of devotion.

Much to my chagrin, I got nothing in return for this sacrifice except the gift of being a dating-retarded twentysomething!

Looking back on my decision not to date until I was “ready for marriage,” it is evident that this course has led me to become a bit of a cripple when it comes to approaching women.

I have invested hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in coffee shops around Seattle, thinking that I might strike up a conversation with a cute girl one day, perhaps land a date and discover that we have both chosen the same names for our children. I just wish I had more to show for the past 10 years of my failed romantic life than a few quick flings, an extensive knowledge of the Star Trek universe and the deep brokenness that weighs heavily upon my heart.

Books, seminars and youth pastors told us that our generation had fallen away from God, that “casual dating” had become too commonplace in the Church.

Given the option of actually speaking to a girl, or refusing to date based on my loyalty to spiritualized groupthink, I went with the latter. I was the kid who needed to get pushed, prodded and thrown into the deep end of dating—or at least learn how to talk to women other than my mom!

) Simply waiting for “the one” to come along set up a pattern of lazy pursuit and fortified a natural insecurity that screams to be worked out during those awkward teenage years.

Over the past several weeks, I have spoken with a number of individuals who embraced the non-dating lifestyle, and each describes a long struggle with confidence and self-esteem issues around the opposite sex.

The problem I have with women is in the interview process.

I used to think this whole awkwardness I have with dating—the way my mind goes blank around an attractive girl or how unsure I am at making the first move—was the result of some stupid, self-righteous decision I made in high school.

I was popular in high school, but I felt like one of the weird kids because all I heard in youth group was how I failed to match “the standard” of righteous living. So, I did what any other self-righteous kid my age would have done.