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Single Living

As you may well know, “The Bachelor” used to be one of my guilty pleasures. I’ve since given it up, but when I was watching it, a thought occurred to me again and again: the contestants were willing to put thier entire lives on hold just in case they met the man of their dreams.

Never mind that they only had a 1 in 25 chance. 

These 25 women weren’t in dead end jobs, living a transient life, or otherwise prone to failure. These were very attractive, intelligent, accomplished, ambitious and successful women. They all had solid, fulfilling lives with wonderful family and friends, great careers and many pastimes.

They were all excellent wife material. So why on earth would they put themselves on national television with 24 other women to compete for the attention of one man? Why would they put these wonderful, enviable lives on hold for a slim chance of meeting someone?

Not only that, but the relationships that develop on the show are notoriously unsuccessful. Were they really giving up a great life for a chance at temporary love and fame? It didn’t make any sense to me. 

One contestant in particular perfectly exemplifies this type of girl. She was beautiful, lived in a great city, loved her friends, had a wide social circle, and had an profitable career in IT. She quit her job, sold all her furniture, abandoned her family and friends, broke her lease, and showed up on “The Bachelor” with one suitcase of everything she owned. All for a possible shot at an unsuccessful relationship. Who does that?

To my observation, many women do. Not to the extent of abandoning a perfectly satisfying life, but certainly to some degree. When I was younger, I’d had friends that wouldn’t move out of their city to look for a new job or go to graduate school, but preferred go to bars and clubs instead. This was in case there was a chance of meeting someone nice. Never mind that they agreed meeting men in bars wasn’t the most ideal location. 

I’ve often thought that really good relationships are with people who put some aspect of your life into motion; who propel you to new places and experiences. Otherwise the relationship is doomed to stagnation and boredom.

My beloved mentioned that it is good to have a partner that leads you to new places in your life. I respect his point and feel the same. Must be why we’re so good for each other!

In any case, neither one of us put our lives on hold until we met. We’d both carried on with our single lives: we spent time with friends, went out to interesting places, kept engaged in satisfying pastimes, and took an outlook that when the right one comes along, it will be the right time. Neither one of us would dream of putting anything on hold in the name of waiting for the right person. I don’t even know how I would do that.

He started an MFA program before he met me, after years of weighing the pros and cons of going. I kept active looking for work and finding as many part-time jobs as I could. We met in the midst of having many interests and passions, and both promised to maintain those outside interests, keep up with our friends and family relationships, and preserve the aspect of our single lives that kept us happy and satisfied. It was the best decision we could have made. Neither one of us feel that we have no life outside of each other.

And this last point is what these contestants lack, and what my younger friends don’t see. I wonder how devastating it is for them once they leave the show and go back to the lives they abandoned, or worse yet, the life they destroyed. What does that mean for them? And more importantly, where does that put them when they do meet someone later on? Will they also build their lives around their relationship, pushing everything to the side?

To me, the most dangerous thing a person can do is abandon the very things that made them who they are, just so they won’t stay at home on Saturday nights. 

I encourage both men and women, to stay true to themselves, even in the search for true love, even in the midst of dating someone. Don’t give up who you are just because you think you found the one.

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22 Comments

  1. Kathy-730470 March 12, 2013

    Very nice blog. I agree very much with what you have written. Be true to yourself always even when dating or in a success relationship. Good advice !!

  2. Courtney-885262 March 12, 2013

    This is a good post, but it didn’t zero in on something telling: what women will do to *find* love. Especially as we get older and remain single, when all of our friends are coupling off and starting on child number two or three, the desire to start the next chapter in our life, that of a fulfilling, loving relationship, spikes to a new level. Couples hang out with other couples, and it’s difficult to be single in a myriad of marrieds. Finding other single people gets harder and harder. Sure, having a good job and fun hobbies or pastimes are great, but if you don’t have a person to share the fun times with, it’s difficult to be happy. Loneliness wears and tears on our souls after so long.

    Of course I speak of all of this from personal experience. I’m nearly 29, my friends are married and popping out children. I can understand why some women gamble their current life (which they clearly find unfulfilling on some level) for the chance at true love. As humans we long to be with another, to be coupled, to have a partner to face life’s ups and downs with. That there are shows on TV giving women a chance at love, what does that say about how hard it is to find it? There are a lot of wonderful women out there who may have many things going for them, but cannot stand to be alone anymore.

    • Dave-146273 March 13, 2013

      Courtney, nicely said. I would add also that at 29 you haven’t lost out on anything rather you’ve given yourself time to maybe explore the world around you and develop a passion for things that you enjoy, making you that much more of a well rounded person. =)

    • Debra-906835 March 13, 2013

      I agree on finding true love and sharing love with that one we all hopefully will find. Its more fullfilling because you will have the love, caring, trust, to give and receive which us humans in need of compassion in happiness in life. I hope everyone will find love and happiness.
      God Bless

    • Cathy C. March 16, 2013

      Well said, Courtney.

  3. Mark-943459 March 12, 2013

    I go to mass every Sunday hoping to see, greet and meet fairly young women for striking up a possible relationship. Trouble is there aren’t that many women in attendance or that appeal to me. I’ve tried meeting women randomly, but that method is very risky. I want and need some one who is a solid Catholic, some one between 30 and 40 would be great. Women over 40 do not appeal to me.

    • Mary-945952 March 13, 2013

      you’re 62 …. you want to meet a 30 year old??? you would be the same age, or older than a 30 year olds father.

    • Maggie-918313 March 13, 2013

      Mark…whoever you choose will eventually, barring tragedy, be over 40. I guarantee it.

    • Rachel V. March 14, 2013

      Funny, I feel that way about the single men I see at Mass. They are ancient and have funny dyed combovers. I’m 45 and I would never go near someone as old as you are. I can’t imagine anyone under 55 being interested. Sorry but most modern women are looking for someone their own age.

  4. Patrick-872788 March 12, 2013

    “They were all excellent wife material.” How so? Because they were good looking and had great careers?

    “So why on earth would they put themselves on national television with 24 other women to compete for the attention of one man? Why would they put these wonderful, enviable lives on hold for a slim chance of meeting someone?” Most of the people on these shows are wannabe actors/actresses. They are hoping to get a modelling or talk show gig. In the entire group there may be 20% there for love.

    It’s a television show, and most of them are acting. There is little else to glean from it.

    • Melanie-909576 March 13, 2013

      Yes! Yes! Yes! Applause please! Thank you for bringing things back down to earth with some good old common sense.

    • Rachel V. March 14, 2013

      They are on there for the same reason I would have been on there had they had shows like this in the 90s when I was 22 – to get exposure and make some money perhaps as a hostess on a talk show or perhaps they are aspiring actresses or models. I wanted to go into journalism at that age. Thankfully, I chose another path because the internet ended up killing true journalism. However, that would have been a great vehicle for a recent college grad working on her “reel” to shop around to local TV stations. None of them are seriously looking for love on TV. That’s just unfeasible.

  5. Lois-765906 March 12, 2013

    After my divorce, I too fell into the trap of waiting … thank goodness I have finally stopped that! As I told one friend recently – I am happy with my work life, I am happy with my home life and I am happy with my church life…I am happy! :) It has taken me this long to realize that no other person can “make” me happy. Last night, I watched the final episode of “The Bachelor”, a show I would never have watched before but my roommate HAD to see it. It made me sad to see both beautiful finalists laying it all on the line with the hope that they would be “chosen”. I think that, as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: “If something is meant to happen, it will, if it is not, it won’t”. If God has someone for us, it will happen, if He does not, it won’t. Either way, I now finally have peace in my life! Thanks be to God for that!

  6. Jessica-844048 March 12, 2013

    Thank you so much for sharing the gifts God has given you! I needed to read this at this moment because I was searching for an answer as to what step I need to take next and I know now that it won’t be just to wait in order to do something that I am planning on doing! :-D

  7. Candace-587406 March 13, 2013

    Don’t forget that the contestants get to go on lovely, romantic dates, and travel to exotic places. I say “to each his own”…if women want to put themselves out there, it may be worth the risk for them. Isn’t dating about putting yourself out there anyway, with the exception (of course) of America watching. I would have loved to have met Bachelor Sean. He seemed like a sweet guy, and very easy on the eyes. ;)

  8. Esther-532964 March 13, 2013

    Interesting read.

  9. Naomi-825244 March 13, 2013

    Your life is now! Live it! Nothing is so unattractive as a person with no life.

  10. Jim-53179 March 13, 2013

    Does it occur to anyone that the show, “The Bachelor”, is created and edited to convey a theme and message every week by the producer. This is what all “reality” TV show are. I think the show is pathetic and disgraceful. No one should be watching it. Can you really picture Jesus enjoying it? You only have the present moment. Live life to the fullest. I came that you have life and have more abundantly. If God plans for you to be married, it will happened when God decides, which is the most perfect time. While you are “waiting”, make the best of every day. You have no idea what our loving God has planned for us each day. If only we had the right attitude and disposition…..Can you imagine getting to the end of your life and having God say to you, “You wasted 13 years mistrusting in despair, waiting for your helpmate. I had so many gifts I wanted to give you but you wouldn’t let me. You didn’t trust me.”

  11. Pat-5351 March 13, 2013

    I have watched every episode of the Bachelor and Bachelorette since it started, and I find it highly interesting and great study in human nature and the differences between the sexes, as well as a great travelogue/fantasy escape.

    But I have to take exception with two commenters’ statements above:

    “If God plans for you to be married, it will happened when God decides…”

    and

    “If God has someone for us, it will happen, if He does not, it won’t.”

    Those statements are not theologically sounds, because they negate the very real factor of free will. God’s will is not done a million times every day here on earth. WHy do we pray “…They will be done”? Because it is NOT done, all the time.

    All kinds of us are sitting here single right now because of the free will choices others made that impacted us, or that we made ourselves. Do not be mistaken that it was “God’s will”–God had very little to do with it.

    • Lois-765906 March 13, 2013

      Pat, With all due respect, I disagree. My quoting Mother Teresa was meant to show that, in spite of our choices in exercising our “free will”, other people exercise their own choices and yes, sometimes we don’t get what we want. I have always tried to do God’s will. Yet, when my life has not turned out as I had wanted or planned, yes, I do believe it was the will of God. I believe you went overboard in saying what I said was not “theologically sound”. This forum is meant to be an exchange of ideas, not a big theological debate. You and I should just agree to disagree here. Lois

  12. Kathy-730470 March 13, 2013

    Mark you want to meet someone who is 30 to 40 and a woman over 40 does not appeal to you??? You are 62.

  13. Paul R. March 23, 2013

    So sad & Lonely ,what about being a brother or sister to all ,become as little children,still I won’t give up on love ,all things are possible w/ god ,my grace is sufficiant even for thee! one who In the past pesecuted the true believers,It’s overrated,marraige,earth family,Jesus was homeless,It’s obvious all of you have a blessing and an understanding,I’m an old maid myself ,yet there is great love in remaining solo for his sake ,he said “there are three typs of eunics those who are born that way those who are made that way of men & those who make themselves eunics for the sake of the Kingdom

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