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Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.

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I have a confession to make: I've never been on a date before. That's because I a) didn't consider myself ready for marriage (I'm still not 100% convinced I am), b) I was waiting for "the right one" (and had a list of conditions, such as knowing them for a long, long time before raising the question), and c) most of my friends growing up were Protestant. Only recently has it dawned on me that it might be time to look for a spouse and think about raising a family. So what's holding me back?

Just today, I read two articles, one by the Catholic actor Kevin 'O Brien and the other here on Catholic Match. I think they both are related:

So what do you think? Wait for "the right one", or take a chance?
Sep 1st 2014 new

Well, my husband and I decided to marry before he ever asked for a date...but we worked side-by-side for three years first. To be honest, I think our marriage would have been better if I'd dated more first.

You don't have to be ready to marry in order to date. Dating, ideally, prepares you to think about marriage. The more people you date and get to know, the more you learn to understand:
- people in general,
- the opposite sex in general,
- yourself, and
- how you react, interface, and deal with others.

IMHO, waiting to find the "right person" to then begin the dating process is like putting all your money on one spin of the roulette wheel -- too much stress, which will adversely affect your relationship.

You're only 22. Go have some fun.

Sep 1st 2014 new
Hi Aaron. I think you might be taking dating too seriously. Spending time with a member of the opposite sex for fun is important. In my view, dating is not only helps develop relationship skills, but also increases one's sense of self and needs in a healthy relationship. two cents
Sep 1st 2014 new
(quote) Aaron-1107802 said: So what do you think? Wait for "the right one", or take a chance?
I think most of the time you have to take a chance or several to find the right person. Dating is useful in all the ways Marge mentioned, and it may allow you to meet your future wife. It's really not possible to tell if someone is the one without getting to know them. Going on dates is a good way to start the process of getting to know the right one.
Sep 1st 2014 new
I didn't date anyone until I was 21, mostly because I didn't mean anyone worth dating before then, a bit like you. That relationship lasted 3 years and we thought we were going to get married though further discernment and time proved that to be incorrect. Overall the relationship ended badly (in large part due to poor decisions on his behalf outside of our relationship itself) but I'm not sorry we dated.

So I would say don't be afraid to date, but be choosy when you do so. Let the Holy Spirit guide who you date. It may not lead to marriage, but every date will lead you closer to the person you will eventually, God willing, marry. Every relationship, long or short, teaches you about who you're ultimately searching for and what you want out of that relationship or what you don't want.

We should guard our hearts and give them out carefully, but not so much that we miss out on what God wants us to have. We aren't designed to be isolated and you don't know what friendships or valuable experiences you might be missing by being afraid to take a chance.
Sep 2nd 2014 new
Go on dates, just don't take it too seriously. If you have not been on a date before, you will make too many mistakes when you find the right person. I had not dated in 35 years, and I did not do well at first, kind of made stupid mistakes. This is my second time around, and I think that I am doing better, I don't feel so awkward.

Like anything else, dating takes a certain amount of practice.


Sep 2nd 2014 new
Aaron, I agree with Jean---you often have to take a chance to find the right person. I didn't go on my first date until I was 22 either. This was before my conversion; I went on a date with a wonderful, holy Protestant girl that I met at graduate school. I utterly adored her and thought, "She is the one". After a few more dates, she broke things off---she told me very gently that she just couldn't date a non-Christian. I was devastated and depressed for months---and that devastation and depression played an integral role in my conversion to Christianity. She was not the one, as I had thought; and yet she played a most important part in my life.
Sep 2nd 2014 new
It is important to date in order to refine your preferences. Eve at my age, I had friends telling me that! One of the things I have learned very quickly is that I will only date Catholic men able to be married in the Church. In the past, I met people who were very attractive to me in many ways. However, gentleman #1 was Catholic, legally divorced, but said he "couldn't put his ex-wife through him getting an annulment." Even though she left the Church and is against certain critical beliefs. Then, I met divorced gentleman #2, a perfect gentleman. A Man who takes his mom to church every Sunday morning and often volunteers at the church. The problem is that he is Methodist, and he goes to his mom's Baptist church every Sunday! Deep in my heart I knew after our second date that I could easily fall glad over heels for this kind, generous, hard working, good man who cares enough for his mom that he chose to worship with her at her church since she doesn't drive anymore. I also knew that we wouldn't be going to weekly Mass together, sharing in the sacraments together, and therefore decided that I couldn't continue dating him. That is what dating helped me learn about myself.
Sep 2nd 2014 new
Thanks for all the advice and sharing your experiences! Very wise words, all, and lately I've learned to start taking more risks. I actually think the two articles are more relevant to my generation, since older generations seem to be fine at dating - anyone 30 or younger have any thoughts?
Sep 2nd 2014 new
(quote) Carol-1007500 said: Hi Aaron. I think you might be taking dating too seriously. Spending time with a member of the opposite sex for fun is important. In my view, dating is not only helps develop relationship skills, but also increases one's sense of self and needs in a healthy relationship.
Carol, you are right that I take dating too seriously, but my seriousness isn't limited to just dating. I was brought up very seriously, so I am serious about everything. ;) But I wonder if my serious and deliberate outlook on dating and marriage is shared by others my age who were brought up in good orthodox Catholic homes. I think those environments, while very effectively shielding children from the evils of the world, can place a tremendous amount of stress on not making mistakes, so naturally dating is approached from the point of view of not making any mistakes. Plus, all of the examples of dysfunctional marriages we see in popular culture can make my generation very afraid of marriage.

Or maybe that's just me...
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