Confused - Dating


#1

I am a Catholic girl and believe in the teachings and values of the bible. I have made alot of dating mistakes including premarital sex, not being equally yoked, shacking up…you name it. Dating today is so very confusing to me. I thought people dated with the purpose to get married and that just doesn’t seem to be the norm anymore. I am 36 years old and want marriage and a family of my own. How does one find a good man and yet follow all the “rules” that are in place. I know so many other christians who got together and didn’t follow one rule and are happily married and seem to have God’s favor. I truly have tried to follow the “rules” but I feel so cursed. I see Christians everyday shack up and get married or have babies out of wedlock or have premarital sex and they don’t wind up with a string of broken relationships as I have had. Why does breaking the rules work for some but it seems for others of us we are somehow punished? My last relationship was with a Christian man who was in the middle of a divorce. We started a physical relationship but I began to feel as though we were committing adultery since his divorce was not finaled so I stated that I could no longer see him until his divorce was finaled as we had dated a year and still it had not been finaled and there was no talk of moving forward. I left…got blamed for hurting him and he moved on to another woman who is a christian woman herself that he met at a bar. They have bible study together everyday and she was going through a divorce of her own. Both of their divorces ended in infidelity but neither of their divorces were finaled before they began to live together. They lived together for 6 months and married…I feel as though if I would have agreed to move in then he would have married me but I just didn’t feel it was right to move in. It appears that he has the favor of God and his relationship is blessed beyond measure while I thought I was doing what was right in the eyes of God yet I feel cursed. What is right or wrong anymore? I am confused, without hope, and depressed. Can anyone shed any light for me?


#2

I feel for you as I have several friends who are single and struggle in this fallen American culture. If I could offer that it’s not so much a question of following the rules as it is conforming one’s will to Christ. “Following the rules” is a life of oppression whereas conforming to Christ offers the greatest freedom.

You mentioned you felt you were committing adultery with the man you were dating because he was not divorced. I ask you, did the technicality of his marital status really provide the defining line between sin and virtue? Was not the sin in the sexual relationship outside the covenant of marriage?

This is not a judgment. We are all challenged to choose the higher things. Our entire lives are engaged in this struggle. Pray for God to help you discern your vocation and help you find a man whose values match your own.


#3

Stcdavid-
I agree that the sin was sex outside of marriage. Once we began that side of our relationship it was difficult to resist. I did say to him at one time that I would like to continue to see him just stop the physical part of our relationship - he would agree and then it would start up again. He also was lying to me about the status of the divorce. Ex: He and his stbx were required to take a class to complete the divorce. He told me that he and his stbx took the class before I left him. After I left I found out that neither of them took the required class and that hurt even more that I trusted a man who was lying to me. The biggest red flag I saw was while in the middle of his divorce his friends asked if his divorce was done and he said “yes”…knowing full well that it wasn’t. He lied to his family, friends, and church about his “status” I couldn’t understand why someone would lie about something that all of them knew about. At that point I began to feel as though maybe God was trying to put them back together and I felt like a dirty evil adultress…so I left thinking I was doing God’s will. I feel so hurt, used, and depressed. I know women who have absolutely no problem dating and starting a physical relationship with a man who isn’t divorced and they have wound up getting married. Why do I feel so bad?


#4

Hi Thankful Girl,

I understand your struggle - the world totally mocks dating the way it was meant to be, with couples remaining chaste until marriage. The entertainment industry especially, with movies like The 40-Year Old Virgin, do nothing but reinforce the stereotype that chastity is for losers. All of this makes it difficult to find other people who are willing to have chaste relationships.

If I were single, I’d look for a Catholic singles group to join, or join a Catholic online dating service such as CatholicMatch.com. Here’s a description of that site:

CatholicMatch.com is a real community of Catholics with common values and faith. Our site offers much more than matchmaking, we bring people together for friendship, marriage and religious discernment. Find out why more Catholics feel at home with us.

I think you’d have better luck there than in a bar. :wink:

Any man that truly loves you, and is not just using you to gratify himself, will respect your desire to save sex for marriage.

There is no need to despair; God will lead you to the relationship He wants you to have. I thought I’d never get married, and didn’t have a boyfriend until age 24. We’ve been together since 2000 and married in 2003. There is hope!


#5

Strive to do what God wants -to honor God and be faithful and one day soon He will lead you exactly where you need to be.

We all struggle with doing the right thing. Some struggles are harder then others - but when you realize that what God is asking you to do is only so that He can heap all the blessings He has in store for you, then it is a little easier to understand.

Yes, moving in with this man may have been the easy thing. Not the right and Catholic thing. God will bless you for picking Him over your earthly desire.

OK - so this man is now married. Pray for them. His new wife now has a liar and a cheater for a husband - you do NOT! That is blessing in abundance. Wow - this may be very hard for you to consider now, but sister, you dodged a bullet!

The Holy Spirit was gnawing at you to recognize your inappropriate behavior with this man. That also is blessings from God.

You are so much better then that. Be proud that you took the correct stand. Trust that God has some wonderful plans for you. You are His child and He loves you and wishes only the best for you.

I can tell you are headed for spiritual greatness.


#6

God love you-- I sympathise with your pain thankful girl! :console:

I don’t think this guy sounds very nice though. Physicality divorced from spirituality doesn’t really make for a good relationship under any circumstances, its like confusing love with sex. If he loved you and respected you, he would not have acted this way.

My advice would be not to think about your life in terms of what relationship you are in. You are an incredible person in your own right and do not need to be defined by a relationship. Strike out and do something for yourself, get involved with a group that does something you care about and you may well find yourself falling in love with someone who cares about the same things you do and has the same goals and aims!

God bless! :thumbsup:


#7

The “norms” of dating in modern American culture is the reason why I’ve dated only two men, ever, and I’ve now been single for 3 years. I date, or seek a boyfriend, with the intent on possible marriage in the future. I’ve obeyed all the rules to which I know of. My own mother even teases me for my “pickyness” in men. To me, dating is nice, but I can go a long time without being with anyone. I try to stay focussed on God till he blesses me with the man who views my morals on the same level. There are not many people in our culture these days who are willing to play by the rules. But I’ve always said “I don’t need a lot of men to fit my expectaions, I need just one.”


#8

Stcdavid-
I agree that the sin was sex outside of marriage. Once we began that side of our relationship it was difficult to resist. I did say to him at one time that I would like to continue to see him just stop the physical part of our relationship - he would agree and then it would start up again. He also was lying to me about the status of the divorce. Ex: He and his stbx were required to take a class to complete the divorce. He told me that he and his stbx took the class before I left him. After I left I found out that neither of them took the required class and that hurt even more that I trusted a man who was lying to me. The biggest red flag I saw was while in the middle of his divorce his friends asked if his divorce was done and he said “yes”…knowing full well that it wasn’t. He lied to his family, friends, and church about his “status” I couldn’t understand why someone would lie about something that all of them knew about. At that point I began to feel as though maybe God was trying to put them back together and I felt like a dirty evil adultress…so I left thinking I was doing God’s will. I feel so hurt, used, and depressed. I know women who have absolutely no problem dating and starting a physical relationship with a man who isn’t divorced and they have wound up getting married. Why do I feel so bad?


#9

Thanks to all of you for the words of knowledge


#10

Hello,

I would just like to emphasize beckycmarie’s point about having much better luck anywhere else than a bar! And I speak from experience.

We live in a society where many men will have at least browsed through books like The Game or The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed if they don’t secretly already own a copy. A lot of guys don’t read these books primarily to get sex but because they’re hopeless romantics and don’t know any other way to potentially find someone suitable than by testing the waters like all the other guys – and these books highly advocate locations like bars to execute the tips and tricks on picking up women. If you’re shy and need a helping hand, these books are the trick: the only problem is that once a guy is a on a roll, it’s hard to get him to quit, if you gather my meaning.

My point being, of course, that the likelihood of finding that perfect person isn’t going to be at a bar no matter how classy. It’s been far too engrained in the cultural consciousness of our society that “picking someone up” at a bar neccesitates sex at some point – and I think statistics are in my favor on that point.

It is a shame, though, that two people can’t just meet randomly over drinks, fall in love, and keep the sex until after marriage. I definitely am not an advocate of arranged marriages, but sometimes I think it’s the only safe way anymore.


#11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.