Can I date if I am meant to remain single/never get married?

Hi! Yes, I am young (21F), but ever since I was young, I have had this incredible desire to remain single. I believe that if I stay single, I can focus on serving God and being at church, whereas if I get married and have a family, I’ll be more focused on them instead of doing what I love: being at church and volunteering.

Ever since I turned 21, my mom and aunt have been speaking with me about marriage and boys. I’ve had my crushes, admittedly, but never felt anything strong enough to make a move or go on a date. I have rejected several men, not only because of lack on interest, but none of them were Catholic.

There is finally a Catholic gentlemen who is possibly interested in me. My mom and aunts have been wanting me to dress more girly, try new hairstyles and be nice to him, in hopes that he asks me out. I would give him a chance, but I just don’t know if it’s right.

I know dating a person doesn’t mean I will marry that person, but is it wrong of me to date someone without the intention of ever getting married OR should he ask me out, I accept and see if this is what God really wants for my life?

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Yes it would be wrong to date without the intention of marriage. Typically, especially with Catholics, dating is a precursor to marriage, and dating without the intent to marry would be like leading somebody on.

I see nothing wrong with dating him to discern a marriage vocation, but be clear you are not sure about marriage. There is only an issue when you date with the resolution that you will not marry. It would waste your time and his.

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I would say go ahead and date. You may think you want to remain single, but for crying out loud, you’re 21 years old. Perhaps Our Lord has brought this young man into your life, to show you your true vocation.

Unless a person is under vows, or discerning a religious vocation to which courtship could be damaging, as far as I am aware, there is nothing evil about a single person keeping chaste company with an eligible person of the opposite gender.

This is really something you need to bring up to a confessor, not that it’s a sin question, but just to see what he tells you.

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I would say it depends on what you mean by “date,” what you do on the “date,” and what you tell him.
IMHO, there is nothing wrong with going out to Starbucks for a cup of coffee and talking about how you are not interested in marriage at this time. And then going directly to your home and not engaging in any type of passionate activity. Respectful Platonic friendship can be beneficial.

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I am married with children. Nothing is stopping me from going to church and I volunteer with three groups at my church. I know you think you will be totally focused on your family, but you won’t be. They will grow up and not need you to do as much for them.

Have you dated and been in any serious relationships yet?

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No, I have never been interested in anyone enough to go out with them. I have been asked out by a lot of males however.

I would not mind a companion, but marriage is not on the table at this point in my life.

Just let him know.

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I agree! That is the main reason I don’t want to go out with anyone, I do not want it to seem as if I have true intentions when I really don’t.

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Well, that’s something. I think maybe you should give it a try sometime so you can fairly rule it out. However, it is interesting that you have turned down dates. You do not have to be in love with someone to date them. There may be someone you would like as a companion but you won’t know if you turn them down all the time.

I can see how you may think you are too young to marry and not interested, but I don’t think you are too young to date.

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He has mentioned before that he also does not want to get married or have children, so we are on the same page as far as life plans. I just do not know what the Catholic teaching is on this matter. I know marriage requires two people to be willing to have children, but neither of us do nor do we want to be married. Would it be okay to date then or are we doing something wrong by dating with no intention of taking it further?

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It sounds like you are friends that enjoy spending time together, and there is nothing wrong with that.

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Ah. Well this part makes me think it depends.

I concur with others that there’s nothing wrong with (chastely) dating this man, to see if you both change your minds and end up concluding yourselves called to marriage. The purpose would be to see whether, through the experience of dating, your intentions today turn into different intentions a few months from now.

But if after dating awhile you still mutually don’t see things growing towards marriage (which is necessarily open to children), then at that point I’d stop dating and continue to socialize only as clearly platonic friends. Because dating is just a discernment process for marriage. It’s not a perpetual life state of its own. If that makes sense?

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You are too young to know if you want to get married or not. When you really think about it, the majority of women who serve the Church do so while married with children. This is not an either/or situation.

There is no way for you to know if you are being called to marriage unless you do date. Going out on a few dates with some in no way means you have intentions to marry that person or any other person. Dating is a means of finding a spouse, but you may have to go on many dates with many different men to find the man who is to be your spouse.

The reality of life is most 21 year olds don’t know much how life works yet.

Do not change who you are to get this guy to ask you out. If he is seeking a girly girl and that is not who you really are, then there is a problem from the start. Always be true to who you are as far as personality and style.

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This is not about your mother and your aunts, it’s about you.

Do YOU want to date and spend time with the man?

Are you prepared to tell him that you are, at best, not sure about whether you want to get married? You don’t need to lead with this info on the first date, but if it turns into a second or a third date, you should be letting him know your thoughts on marriage so he can decide whether or not to keep investing his time.

It wouldn’t hurt for you to go for coffee just to see if you might hit it off with this man. You could end up making a new platonic friend, even if you decide you don’t want to have a dating relationship with him (or he decides the same about you).

Also, many if not most of the people who volunteer at the local parishes do have families, or did at one point during their time as a church volunteer even if they are now elderly and their kids have grown and gone, spouse passed away etc.

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At the risk of sounding archaic, being married to a man who can support his family financially can give the wife the freedom to go and volunteer. My wife works harder volunteering than many people with full time jobs, but it is more rewarding (for both of us) that she volunteers.

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Why it is more rewarding for you (his husband) in particular?

Male what? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (Generally, adult human males are called “men”.)

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Both of you just decided to be single forever? Not because you are discerning a religious life, but just because?

What?

I feel like this is an elaborate troll, but I don’t want to be uncharitable.

I would say neither of you should be dating, you should be spending your time examining your choices.

Meeting people is paramount to being human, making friendships and maybe finding love/romance. I know this year has been the epitome of anti-social and it’s not very easy to meet people now yet alone date, but after things get better, by all means meet new people, develop new friendships and see what happens. Most of my friends didn’t get married til their late 30s, 40s and even 50s.

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