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Single Living

I’ve had the honor of meeting numerous Catholic Match members, both in person and through CM’s online community. Over the years, one of the ‘phenomena” of the Catholic Match community that has always intrigued me (and I must admit, sometimes puzzled me), is the plethora of opinions on those three hot button words: “long distance relationships” (LDRs for short).

 

In a world where “online dating” has lost much of the “stigma” attached in its infancy, I would’ve guessed that the majority of singles would be relatively relaxed when it came to search radiuses and what they write in their profiles and interview questions about how far they are willing to “look.”

Oddly enough, this is not the case. The debate about “how far is too far” and “are LRDs really worth it”, rages as intensely as ever.

Do you limit the geographic distance you’re willing to search for a spouse? If so, what’s your reason – your core intention – for not being open to a LDR? Is it financial restrictions or a physical disability? If so, those are serious reasons and definitely should be taken into consideration when you select how far you’re willing to search.

In my experience, however, the overwhelming majority of dating site users I have polled give, shall we say, less serious reasons for limiting their search.

Some of the most popular reasons I’ve encountered include:

• My job is here – and I wouldn’t want to leave it.


• I’ve worked hard to climb the ladder at this company – I can’t jeopardize that with a long distance boyfriend – what if he wanted me to move to marry him?


• I hate traveling.


• He can come to me if he wants to, but the girl shouldn’t have to change her whole life for a boyfriend.


• My whole family lives in this town.


• It’s too expensive to fly and I hate driving.


• I’ve always wanted to get married and settle down in this neighborhood.


• I’ve lived here my whole life – this is where I want to raise a family.


• I’m not moving for a wife, so why should I travel for a girlfriend?

It starts to look a bit selfish when it’s typed out on paper, but countless singles have reasons similar to the above for limiting their field of potential dates.

So. Are these reasons good reasons? Should we really be putting our careers, our relatives, our hometowns, our pocketbooks, our comfort levels, etc – above the potential of meeting a future husband or wife who doesn’t happen to live in the same town as we do? Of course, it’s totally and completely our choice. But many of us need to stop complaining about the fact we’re still single if we’re unwilling to make sacrifices and do hard things for the sake of finding a spouse.

An Interesting Parallel

I have numerous friends who’ve met their spouses online. While I was composing my thoughts for this article, I made a mental list of all the couples I know who first met on a dating website. Oddly enough, there was one thing in common with all of these friends: they all met their spouses outside their geographic areas.

Of course, I’ve read success stories on Catholic Match where the couple went online and realized that they lived in the same town, their parents knew each other, AND they attended to the same church. But these stories seem to be atypical.

It’s much more common to hear stories like my friend Dan, who lived in Pittsburgh and met his wife, Celeste from Maryland, in the Catholic Match forums. Or tales like my friend Mary, who lived in Wisconsin before Sean from Iowa found her profile online, and drove the hundreds of miles to visit her one weekend each month. And then there’s Yvonne from Australia, who met Jacob in a Catholic singles chat room. Jacob sure got a lot of use out of that laptop in his Palm Beach, Florida living room, before his and Yvonne’s Down Under wedding.

Melissa and Joe

Melissa and Joe’s story is one of my all-time favorites…because in a big way, this particular couple changed my own perspective on the LDR question.

Melissa lived in Oregon, and when she joined a Catholic dating website, she very specifically stated in her profile that she was only interested in communicating with men within a 60 mile radius of where she lived.

Joe lived in Wisconsin. For weeks he respectfully yet persistently emailed Melissa. While Missy enjoyed his emails, she was also slightly annoyed that this guy from the Cheese State kept contacting her when her profile firmly stated her wishes. Finally she confronted him outright: “Why do you keep emailing me when my profile says I’m only interested in local dates?”

Joe’s reply shook Melissa out of her comfort zone:

“Most guys would travel half way around the world any day of the week to win a million bucks- me included. In my estimation a godly Catholic wife is worth infinitely more. If you’re that woman for me, I’d travel way farther than Oregon to be in a relationship with you.”

Joe and Melissa are now happily married.

Count the Cost, Weigh the Rewards

Long distance relationships are not easy – to this I can firmly and personally attest. I’ve been dating a wonderful man whom I met on Catholic Match for the past year, and we live about five hundred miles apart from each other. (I often tease my friends that they should buy stock in Verizon Wireless and US Airways, since I singlehandedly keep both companies in business.)

There has been much sacrifice involved in my long distance relationship. And yet, neither one of us would change things for the world. The financial and time sacrifices have drawn us closer together, and have taught us how to budget, prioritize, and sacrifice for something that’s worth it – a million times over.

My challenge to each one of my readers is to deeply, thoughtfully, prayerfully examine your intentions for limiting your search radius for a spouse.

If you are called to the vocation of marriage, is finding that person whom God has hand-picked for you the most important thing in your life? Is anything – job, friends, relatives, comfort zone, even finances – worth placing in front of the love of a lifetime?

Love demands sacrifice, and sacrifice expands our capacity to love. Widening your online search radius might very well be your first step in finding both.

(P.S. If you start searching outside your 60 mile radius on Catholic Match and find your future spouse – I’d really REALLY like to hear about it. :-)

 

Stephanie Wood is the coordinator of NextWave Faithful, a young adult division of

Family Life Center International

that seeks to motivate, equip, and encourage young adults during
their “transition years” to live faithful lives for Jesus Christ and
His Church. She is the host of “NextWave Live” on the EWTN Global
Catholic Radio Network, and is a frequent speaker and writer on topics
relating to Catholicism and young adult life. Stephanie can be reached
at stephanie@catholicmatch.com  

(This post has been read 327 times)

21 Comments

  1. Jim-149694 May 6, 2009

    Go Stephanie! I so agree with you. There is simply no earthly reason to expect that the one for you is also somehow a neighbor — not if you are looking for a spouse. Dating opportunities? Sure. But a world class love affair with your spouse? Well, for that you should be willing to look throughout … the world!

  2. Carolyn-300324 May 10, 2009

    Stephanie I could not agree with more. I met a girl who said her uncle lived in the midwest and after a year of Emailing he was going to see his girlfriend in N.C Thanks for telling us of your experience. I will keep it in mind

  3. Michael-222302 May 18, 2009

    I couldnt agree with this article more and being a Irish guy on a largely …. North American dominated site, I have given this some time to think would i would be willing to try a "real long distance" relationship and I have to say yes .. if the right person comes across sure it may be difficult but if you met the right person …. wouldnt it be worth it? Great article

  4. MariaIsabel-374991 May 20, 2009

    I am agree with this article…
    God knows where is the person that complet me and i complete him, God is going to put the way to meet us, God have a wonderfull Project in our life, we only need to confidence and hope in his word. Let us him be our rudder.
    The real "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 1 Cor 13: 4-10
    God Bless You!!!

  5. Barbara-437833 June 26, 2009

    I, too, have expanded my search to NO PREFERENCE. However, my ex and I had a long-distance relationship, and not knowing a lot about him contributed to our divorce. If you do this, I'd suggest dating at least 3-5 years before marrriage…not less than 2 years.

  6. Tiffany-66114 September 3, 2009

    I"d travel all over the world. Don't care.

  7. Lourdes-441340 September 3, 2009

    What girl would like to have the guy as Melissa did? Joe is a man not easy to find I think, but Melissa had to do much with this too. She was clear what she wanted at that time . I would like to know how she cautivated him, and this only can answer me is Mr.Joe.I hope he will and soon. Thanks Stephanie for giving this report to us, members CM. God bless you always!

  8. Beth-97807 September 9, 2009

    Speaking from experience, I would do it all over again! I don't have children so for me taking a big risk & flying across the Atlantic was exciting but also scary. My fears were calmed when he said "If you don't like me there is aways Rome". I took a chance & whether or not our relationship leads to marriage I know I have a very dear friend in Italy. After all, all roads lead to Rome…

  9. Ros-470595 September 10, 2009

    I guess distance is no longer the problem because nothing is impossible with God. I have friends who married men they chatted online. Now they are in US, living happily as husband and wife. LDR is good when you meet honest people who believes in God..

  10. Grace-39317 September 11, 2009

    This is a beautiful article and so encouraging. I apologize for being a skeptic of LDR all this time. Now I understand. All we have to do is keep our faith in God alive and prayers. God bless, Ms. Author!

  11. Hai-142814 September 13, 2009

    Thank you for the insightful article! This helps clears up some misconceptions.

  12. Carlos-167015 September 13, 2009

    excellent article. Finally someone wrote something about LDRs thats logical. Thank you!

  13. Brenda-444789 September 20, 2009

    Years ago I wrote a speech that I have a firm belief in and it was titled, "Where there is a will there is a way." I try and always keep that in mind when I meet obstacles and so far, that belief has never failed me. Think then, how much more true and powerful that statement is when applied to God's will for us. Every night I pray that I may seek out God's will for me and embrace it fully. Of all the obstacles that I have encountered along the way, distance seems to be one of the more manageable ones. Besides, it is my belief that most things worth having are worth working and sacrificing for and that we grow through these challenges. Thank for sharing this article as I personally know the difficulties and frustrations that long distance relationships can bring but I will not let that alone deter me from seeing where God is trying to lead me.

  14. Rhea-460303 September 21, 2009

    This is a very good article.Sad to say a lot of men make "distance" as an excuse not to pursue someone.I think personally that's something that prevents those CM guys from communicating with me (funny, but that's how I feel).The success story entitled "Continental Love" is a very good example on how true love works despite the distance.Come to think of it, what if the one for you is NOT within driving distance but actually on the other side of the world?Are you willing to take the risk?If you ask me,I'll definitely go for it.Why box up yourself in your comfort zone?Think about it,the success of LDR's depends upon how two people will work it out.Compromise.Hopefully, the sacrifices will be worth in the end.

  15. Tiffany-66114 September 24, 2009

    Travelling is fun. I'd go anywhere in the world I think. :)

  16. Belinda-123775 September 25, 2009

    If I felt a strong connection with someone, I would go to the ends of the earth to be with the one God chose for me. I have not mileage limit.

  17. Raquel-407986 September 26, 2009

    I enjoyed reading the article; however, Idid meet someone within the first 2 weeks of beign on Catholic Match that lived, literally, on the other side of the United States. It was very nice to have a very slow pace to get to know each other first. we emailed for over a month, then talked on the phone for another month before he flew here to meet me. It was disheartening for both of us as we grew closer, because I realized that I could not pull my toddler away from his grandparents. My parents are in their upper 70s. I ddint grow up with my grandparents, they lived over seas. My son sees his grandparents, every other day, if not every day. I have the self-assurance, that if their health failed, I could be there to help care for them. Right now, I have to say, I would stay driving distance, because of my sons realtionship with my parents. Sorry

  18. Ramona-311989 September 29, 2009

    Although I totally agree that distance can be challenging and long distance relationships can be difficult, I do believe that Mr. or Ms. "Right" may not be in your backyard. One never knows what God has in store for us and if it's meant to be and in God's plans for you….it doesn't matter if you are continents apart or right next door….. it will happen in His time. I know that there have been some very interesting men who have perhaps been put off by distance….and like Joe, I say the right person is definitely worth it!

  19. Amy-56598 November 25, 2009

    I totally agree with this article. It amazes me that people can be so stubborn, and inflexible about the distance thing!!

  20. Theresa-123031 October 5, 2010

    Hi all:
    What encouraging words in this article and I enjoyed reading all your insightful comments. Thank you!
    For me, I firmly believe that: “All things are possible with God” (Matt 19: 24-26; Luke 1: 37). As in any other venture in life, I would say prayer and putting God first is utmost; after which everything else will fall into place.
    God bless,
    Theresa

  21. Mary-285153 June 17, 2013

    Yes this comment is made a few years after this article was written. But it is thought provoking and I think an excellent challenge for many people to think about “how far would I go to meet the man/woman of my dreams.” Although I am willing to travel, I have had quite a number of guys who initiated contact with me, then later stopped writing because they stated they couldn’t deal with the distance (or hinted… or just stopped writing with no explanation). What is more interesting are the people who say they are willing to travel, but when they actually encounter someone whom they would have to travel for… they realize that they actually aren’t that willing to anymore. Which is disappointing for the other person who was willing to meet them halfway, or visit them in their country and take turns on that point. I hope it isn’t too much to ask people to be honest with themselves, and say “I am not willing to go the distance” but to also ask themselves “Is it reasonable for me to be that inflexible? Is it really unrealistic for me? Am I more satisfied being alone in my comfort zone, or being with my soulmate outside of my comfort zone?”

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