With dating apps and the demise of established rituals, dating has become a maze. Many men and women — even devout Catholics — are confused about how to date. They’re endlessly swiping on apps without actually meeting someone.
To help you navigate the choppy waters of modern dating, here are a few important tips based on the struggles we see in the Catholic dating world.
1. For men: Approach a woman with intentions of not dating at first
We get it. It’s really tough for men and women to find a suitable Catholic person who’s serious about a lifelong commitment. The current dating scene is so abysmal that once you do find a marriage-minded person, you may want to rush to put a ring on her finger.
Single Catholic women have literally had guys walk up to them and aggressively ask right off the bat, “Are you married?”
Don’t do this! It makes you look desperate and leaves women feeling like they’re a means to an end, rather than a person with a unique history and interests.
Rather, start with a casual chat and ask questions to get to know her, like where she grew up and what her hobbies are.
2. For women: Make sure a guy knows you’re interested
If he hasn’t made a move on you yet, there are subtle ways to open the door, such as spending time with him. Even if a man is usually the one to initiate a relationship, that doesn’t give you an excuse to be completely passive.
Also, there’s no rule that says a guy must ask a woman out first. He could be too shy. If you’re interested in him, you do the asking.
3. For both sexes: Remember that a date is not a lifelong commitment
Be serious about finding a spouse, but don’t get too serious about the first date. First dates — or even the first few dates — are simply to explore whether the two of you are interested enough in each other to spend time together and then, maybe, enter into a serious, exclusive relationship. You don’t want to jump the gun and become too romantically attached to the other person right away.
Also, don’t carry too many expectations about the first date. While it’s fine to have standards and preferences, you don’t want to go into the date with a huge checklist. Be open to the person and what they have to offer — you may be pleasantly surprised!
If you’re just not feeling it after the first date — or anytime — say so (charitably, of course). Don’t continue to date someone because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or you’re too lazy to break it off. Be upfront and honest. If you want to be friends, make that clear. Otherwise, say seeing one another is not going to work out.
Entering the dating world is much like walking a tightrope. You don’t want to fall into becoming too serious right off the bat or dating with no long-term intention of marriage.
The most important thing is to treat the other person as a human being created in the image and likeness of God. Be sure to have conversations about your faith, so you know you’re both on the same page. Start out slow and see whether moving forward together is the right decision for you.
Rachael Killackey shares her own story and practical…
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