26 March 2020

8 Things People Told Me About Catholic Dating - That Turned out to be Wrong

Let's acknowledge the awkward, giant elephant sitting in the living room of our hearts: Dating as a Catholic Woman in 2020 is a weird place to be.

I am 34 years old and unmarried. As I have navigated the dating scene (and learned from many mistakes), I have heard plenty of unhealthy and weird things; and just plain bad advice.

I suspect some of you can relate to this.

Maybe it was a rigorous "purity culture" that lacked pastoral compassion. Perhaps it was unhealthy attitudes from books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Or maybe it was an excessive focus on things like virginity, modesty, or how a Christian woman "should act."

I think for many Christian women today, that list would go on and on.

Over the years, as I have learned to date in a more healthy, self-aware manner, I have thrown away much of what I used to believe about Catholic dating - and there was a lot of garbage to toss out.

Based on a conversation in the FemCatholic Forum and my own experience, here are eight things we were told about Catholic dating that turned out to be wrong.

Head over to FemCatholic to read more ...

Would you say some of these were true to your own experience?

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  1. You go girlfriend. Seriously, you have such an insight, and as I wrote on your blog before I wish there were more women like you in the church. I wish there were women not idealizing marriage and talking about how the REALITY is. Just because a man is Catholic, does NOT mean he will be a good man, I am like you talking from experience. They are just human, and they can be as manipulative and unhealthy as non Catholics. They can pray as much as they want and say they love Jesus, but it doesn't mean we will be happier with them.
    And I agree SO much with that marriage is not the end goal. It is very true, but we are brainwashed to believe it because of the movies we grew up with and with the Catholic "ohhh marriage is perfect and sweet - culture".
    I am almost 25, and after a few years of not dating I entered into a relationship, with HUGE disapointment because I listened to the lie that once I find a Catholic good guy, I will be happy and everything will be allright. Of course this wasn't the right person for me either, but just the fact that I thought a relationship would fix me points on very unhealthy patterns in our Catholic societies.
    There is one very mature man in my church, who is not Catholic, but who supports his wife so much that it is so beautiful to see. He is more wise and mature than many of the Catholic guys I have met. He is also older, but he told me "Julia if you are looking for a boyfriend to be happy, it's not gonna work out. No one should ever take responsibility for your hapinnes."
    Thank you again wise girl. Let's stay sane in all this chaos, and let us ignore the voices that feed us with unhealthy lies.

  2. Love this article! I always feel a little out of place in these types of conversations, because my husband (a fellow Catholic) and I married at 20 and are still very happily married nearly 7 years later (so it feels awful to tell single girls my age that they may not get married until their mid-thirties or later), but there is so much worth discussing here. Even though I spent several years thinking I'd become a religious sister, I also spent a period of time pretty obsessed with Christian "purity culture" and I read ALL the things. Because I wanted to be holy, and this was-supposedly-the way that all the holy girls were supposed to do things! And, like you pointed out, there are some deep problems. I think especially of how marriage and virginity are idolized. The retreats where teenage girls are given a white candle (to light on their wedding nights) may have good intentions, but thinking about it now, it just makes me so uncomfortable.

    Have you seen the Jim Gaffigan movie "Light from Light"? I saw it at an art museum last fall, and it doesn't have much to do with this topic EXCEPT that there are a couple of teenagers-a boy and a girl-who are best friends. And at one point in the movie, the girl tearfully asks the boy why he won't ask her to a dance, because she wants to go. He responds that he's not sure if he wants to marry her-and walked through the possibility that if they happened to attend this dance, they might kiss, and fall in love, etc. That tiny scene of the movie was excellent, I thought, because you look at the boy and think, "Oh, he's ridiculous; it's a dance, not a proposal!" but then you turn around and see extravagant "Promposals" and such high stakes being placed on every single relationship with the member of the opposite sex, and you realize that the mentality in that movie scene is being played out time and time again.

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