The highlight of every child’s Easter basket is the chocolate bunny. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. I don’t know about you, but I have always preferred the solid chocolate bunny over the hollow bunny. What an utter disappointment to bite into that ear and have it shatter chocolate crumbs all over. Half the fun is the struggle to work your teeth through that solid mass of chocolate.
The hollow bunny looks just like a solid bunny. But it has no substance. Unless it’s labelled, there’s no way to tell if it’s hollow or solid until you experience it.
Dating frustrations are much like this experience of the hollow versus solid bunny. You’re on a date with someone who is attractive and seems great, but then you discover that he is not what you expected. Perhaps he is not as spiritual as he claims to be. Perhaps she is shallow and superficial. Perhaps he is overly self-centered and wrapped up in his own concerns. Perhaps she can’t have an interesting conversation.
One of the most common complaints I have heard over the years from Catholics about the people they’ve dated is that they were not what they seemed. They encountered a hollow bunny.
A person, for the most part, can’t help who he is in many ways. And the substance of another is often a subjective matter. Someone uninteresting to you, for example, can be fascinating to another. It’s a matter of being evenly yoked: properly suited for each other.
But some aspects of the hollow bunnies most certainly can be helped. It’s fundamentally deceiving, for example, to present yourself as a practicing Catholic, and then behave in ways contrary to Christian virtue. A solid bunny strives to live the faith they profess, and is considerate and respectful of the person he is dating in the name of that same faith.
Fortunately, that lack of substance is usually presented early on, and you can thank God that you found this out quickly so you don’t waste your time.
Putting aside the obvious ways to determine if you are with a hollow bunny, what about when it’s not so obvious? Some people you date and build a relationship with seem so solid. They are very outgoing, funny, talkative, charming, fun, interesting, cultured, and very serious about their faith. It seems they have it all. Or do they?
How many of us have dated someone like this only to find out that you still feel there is something lacking or missing in the relationship? But how can that be? Are you being too picky? Asking for too much?
Remember, the hollow bunny is not obviously hollow, and in fact, it can pass for a solid bunny without a problem. So this person is going to be attractive in every way. And that attraction is going to be a distraction from what is really important for a long lasting relationship with you.
With YOU! It’s about you, not the other. YOU have to be the one who keeps focused on what is really important to you. For solid bunnies, what’s really important is deep friendship with a consistent connection that keeps both of you exploring the person of the other.
A hollow bunny and a solid bunny would have a difficult life together. The hollow bunny will know it’s not solid and will keep trying to be what it can never be. And the solid bunny will tolerate the hollow bunny, knowing all the while the hollow bunny cannot satisfy, no matter what either of them do. This is why two people who have seemingly great qualities can still have a relationship that is rocky or comes to an end.
There are all kinds of reasons a solid bunny will stay with a hollow bunny. Physical attraction can trump conversation. Having someone fun to do things with can trump true friendship. Wanting to get married, have children, or some other goal-oriented motive can trump patience in getting to know each other as a person well.
Hollow bunnies are attractive people. But they should be with other hollow bunnies. Solid bunnies might be distracted for a time, but they eventually realize the person he is with is a hollow bunny. It’s best to make this determination during the dating process so that the love that is declared and exchanged is real and has a solid foundation.
Sadly, too many solid bunnies are prone to make three mistakes:
1) Believe everyone they meet are hollow bunnies and decide he has to settle on this type of person because his chances of finding another person of similar substance is unlikely.
2) Believe he can make a life with a hollow bunny, sacrificing what he needs as a person.
3) Attempt to become a hollow bunny in order to get along better with the person he is with, or believe he can change the hollow bunny into a solid bunny like them.
To settle on a hollow bunny is self-deception. You’re basically saying that who you are is unimportant. True love starts with your real self, and connects with another real person. The worst thing you can do is change who you are for another person.
We are who we are. Fighting against our own nature, our own personhood, our own interests, talents, attractions, etc., is a futile exercise. The cornerstone of love is the ability to mutually give of yourself.
Finding a suitable partner means uniting two hearts as one, based on a friendship that develops until you can’t imagine life without the other. As you date, pay close attention to how you become friends, and how you share that friendship. If you have substance together, you have much to share, and much to give. Go for a solid person who can build a solid life of love with you.