It’s been more than three months since I joined CatholicMatch as an official member and more than two months since the first guy I asked out (yes, ladies, sometimes we have to make the first move) became my official boyfriend.
We’re beginning to settle in to our “new couple” routine, from weekly dinners to weekend events shared together. I’ve met his friends, and he’s met mine. He’s met my parents, and I’m soon to meet his. We’re slowly but steadily moving forward at a pace I’ve come to appreciate. So unlike the whirlwind, full-steam-ahead marathons I’ve experienced in high school and college relationships, this partnership is more balanced, more guided and definitely more real.
The loaded words “we” and “us” are thrown out more casually than before, and we bring up plans for this spring and summer more nonchalantly than in our early dating weeks. We’ve articulated our deal breakers and confirmed that not only our values but our preferences for dating are, in fact, similar. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to seriously date someone who didn’t share my Catholic faith, but by meeting on CatholicMatch, I’m assured that our faith and core being is something we share fully.
I’ve spent more of my life single than in a relationship, so I’ve become accustomed to letting go and trusting in God’s plan, which so often seems to conflict with the timing and order that my Type A personality has laid out. Now in an exclusive relationship, I’m still forced to let go, but in a new way than ever before.
My dating history is a part of who I am, and many of those experiences have had residual effects on my heart, which I carry around with me every day. From the guys who never called to the guy who dismissed the idea of exclusivity to the guy who claimed I broke his heart, they have all played a role in my development as a strong, faithful woman, but the pain and the tears caused by those same men are difficult to let go of when starting anew.
So when my new boyfriend cancels plans last minute for work reasons, I have to remember that he really is stuck at work and not just making up an excuse to hang out with his guy friends. When he says he will call later, I have to remember that he will call, unlike so many other men in my past. When he says he cares about me and that he’s happy, I have to remind myself that those aren’t just words, rather truthful affirmations of our relationship.
I’ve learned how to feel at peace in my life as an individual, and now I am learning how to feel at peace in a relationship, when so many other relationships have crashed and burned. Not only do I have to trust this new person, but I have to trust God that His timing is right and that He has my best interests at heart.
Throughout my dating years, I’ve always ensured that the men I spend time with are worthwhile by asking myself:
Does this person make me more whole?
Does he make me a better, stronger person and a more faithful woman?
Is he someone I am proud of and someone I see a future with?
In my current relationship, I still ask myself those same questions. But unlike those past relationships, I can proudly say that I can answer each question with the highest amount of faith and confidence.
And the answer is yes.