Dating/Discerning and never talk - a problem?


#1

I’m in, well, I don’t know what status I’m in exactly, with a wonderful young woman. We are both very busy independent people, both doctoral students, both Catholic. I really respect how much she loves her family, and how she’s always there for them. We have very different spiritualities, in that she is from a big Catholic family, is really close to them and tells me she really wants to be a mom and a school teacher, where as I am a convert, an only child, and my life is more about parish life than family life. I think we’d complement eachother well, I’d keep her close to her Church family, she’d keep me close to my natural family, though I know I’d need to move to be closer to her family, because she would never leave her hometown where all her family live. I really love the way she’s always available for her little nieces and nephews, and I know she respects the way I’m so devoted to the Church.

All the same, it causes problems, we live about 200 miles apart (not a huge problem for me, my last relationship was trans-atlantic), and on several occasions one of us has had to cancel a trip to meet up for family or Church or work reasons. In fact, we’ve only met once, 3 months ago.

Long distance relationships where people don’t meet often are fine, with my ex, we often went 3 months without seeing eachother, but we talked online or on the phone every day. With this girl, I hardly ever even talk to her, she’s always busy, or I’m busy, or sometimes we just don’t bother to talk. It’s been over a month since we spoke on the phone, and I’ve sent her messages online to ask if everything is OK, and she’s just said she’s been busy but is always thinking of me.

We’re both quite independent, and both have a strong quiet side, don’t always need to be talking to know that the love is there. We’ve probably both got used to being on our own, and it’s hard to get into the habit of sharing your life with someone else. All the same, I don’t know her well enough to know whether her silence is a way of hiding her doubts from me. I am part of a very international University community, and know lots of people who are separated from their husbands, wives and fiancees by oceans and continents, they don’t all talk to their other halves every day. For some, particularly some of the Indian and Middle Eastern students, it seems as though it’s enough to have the security of knowing that the other person is alive and living his/her life, waiting for your return. Maybe it’s easier for them because it’s all arranged between families. I’d like to have that kind of solidity to my love too, but I don’t know if I can cope. I don’t know how I am supposed to discern the suitability of someone who doesn’t feel the need to talk to me, and someone I don’t feel the need to talk to in return.

On the other hand, I know I need to live in the reality of where I live now, not spend all my time online and on the phone as I did when I was with my ex. I also know that there are women here, where I live, who I could also discern a relationship with, but it seems weak and selfish to give up on something as promising as what I (think I might) have with my current (friend/interest/girlfriend?) just because I like what I see closer to home. Knowing that we’re thinking and praying about eachother is sweet, and I don’t want to throw that away. We just need to keep doing our respective duties to family, Church and studies, and keep trying to make time for eachother in between, if it’s God’s will then occasions to meet will come our way.

There’s a side of me thinks a marriage to someone who is this independent and quiet would be a very good healthy thing for both of us, but it doesn’t seem very romantic.

Any thoughts?


#2

I would simply share your thoughts with her as you have here. Remind her that while you do of course have friends where you are, you don't have the family support network she does, and that for you, regular communication is reassuring and necessary to feel connected. You explain in terms of your feelings and wait for her to respond. You may have to set up a regular day and time for catch-up phone conversation, as we did all the years DH travelled on his job, or rely on e-mail (which we did not have back then) or texting. get a teen to to tell you how, I haven't a clue.


#3

Firstly, when married, you will become each other’s priority after God and secondly, there was that joke about a priest praying to win a lottery and wondering why he wasn’t winning yet, and God told him, well, you need to buy a ticket first. :wink:

There’s a side of me thinks a marriage to someone who is this independent and quiet would be a very good healthy thing for both of us, but it doesn’t seem very romantic.

Any thoughts?

Well, I used to be a guy much like you were in your previous relationship but these days I see the wisdom in being able to continue normally with one’s duties and even hobbies. This all isn’t necessarily unromantic. Some people do have duties that consume time. Imagine a sailor married to a nurse. How much time are they going to spend together when he’s on a tour of duty or when she’s doing a 60 hour week plus emergencies? Needless to say, this isn’t very good for everybody. Personally, I’d like to be married to someone who, like I, could appreciate the ability to continue one’s duties and interests and even sometimes take up some new ones, but at the same time recognised the importance of sharing in a marriage, so that we could avoid growing apart and would genuinely need and enjoy the time spent together, and have some intellectual, spiritual and emotional understanding.

This said, it’s very important to find someone you can agree with, someone who won’t insist on having things done the “right” way at the “right” time, i.e. his way and his time, e.g. the leaking tap must be fixed by you and not by the plumber, because you’re the man, and it must be fixed tonight that you’ve planned to play cards and have a Bourbon or two with your friends, because things that are broken must be fixed etc. Your marriage will be much easier for avoiding this factor. It’s much easier to accept the flaws and idiosyncracies of someone who’s willing to accept yours.

What else? Knowing that you love each other while doing constructive things that benefit other people is probably superior to spending time together for the sake of it while doing things that you can do together but don’t particularly enjoy anyway (you don’t love shopping, she doesn’t love garage work, does she). So instead of developing rituals to keep up physical presence, you could somehow unite on a less immediately physically present way in doing good things. Finding some good and meaningful things you could do together wouldn’t be that bad, either. Oh, and you need to and can talk. Married people (when you are) need some bonding and no one says that what you do together or talk about together needs to be world-saving kind of important at all times.


#4

First off, I am in the midst of a lot of discerning too. So I relate to all the questions and trying to imagine what it will be like when married, etc. One thing that stuck out to me in your letter is that you mentioned some of the spouses you live near are long-distance and don’t talk every day. There are a couple of problems with comparing your situation to theirs.

  1. They’ve already established a marriage bond. After making a commitment, and forming a bond, yes, sometimes you may have phases where you talk less (like, when a newborn is keeping you up all night and all you want to do is sleep in your spare time). But, even those phases should not be permanent. It’s important to reconnect after periods of distance. And married couples can draw on the sacramental graces to do that. In your situation, I would say that now is not the time to be super comfortable and “silent together.” Now is the time to begin forming a foundation, a bond - and that requires time together talking, living life… interacting… establishing the kind of trust that will allow for occasional alone time once married.

  2. I don’t think it’s selfish to consider women who are local. God can be pretty practical about stuff like this. :slight_smile: Perhaps he has you where you are for a reason? To meet someone who is well-suited for you?

I’ll share one last thought. I don’t like blind spots when discerning. That’s just me. I want it all out on the table. I don’t want to make a lifelong commitment to someone who I am not sure what they’re really like in everyday life, how they’re really feeling, their motivations etc. It sounds like you have some questions that need answering, and a good, open, honest talk may help!


#5

[quote="DL82, post:1, topic:182783"]
...because she would never leave her hometown where all her family live...

[/quote]

No offense, but this is a red flag. I moved to be near my wife's family, but the reason was not because she couldn't bring herself to move away. I did it because that's where the work was, and I couldn't find a job anywhere else. If we decide that life would be better elsewhere, we would leave once it was possible.

Once you are married, your first responsibility is to each other and your children when they arrive. If you have to leave to find work to provide for the family, it is her duty to follow you, not to stay at home and wait for you to find an opportunity near where she wants to be. Leaving home is a sign of maturity. That doesn't mean you will not be homesick, but if someone cannot bring themselves to leave home for the greater good, that is immature and a detriment to the family.

Are you absolutely certain that she feels that way? You should find out before you get too attached if that would be a problem for the two of you. Good luck. :thumbsup:


#6

I am by no means a marriage expert. However, as I grow to understand God's intention for marriage more as time goes on, I'm not so sure this sounds like the right thing. First of all, I think there's more to "one flesh" than the marital union.

"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body." -Genesis 2:24 NAB

We're called to leave our parents and siblings in order to become one with our spouse. We're called to become on flesh, or one body. Marriage itself is an indissoluble sacrament. That is, it is absolutely permanent. Two people enter the ceremony, and one leave it.

"So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate." -Matthew 19:6 NAB

This "one flesh" idea is much more than a sexual union. It's a bonding of both body and spirit, in which we become life long partners in our lives and faith. I believe I've read that Pope John Paul II has referred to the family (husband, wife, kids) as being the foundation of our Church. Correct me if I'm wrong, please!

What a person really must discern is whether the two people are compatible with one another in such a way as to being willing to dedicate themselves 100% to God first, and spouse second. That truly means your spouse comes before friends, before other family, etc. As a one body, one flesh union, I would be quite afraid of what a long distance relationship would cause for a married couple.

God intended for marriage to be procreative, just as God's union with His Church, and God's union with the Holy Spirit are both Pro-Creative. That is to say, God and the Holy Spirit created Christ for us. Just as God united with His Church creates faith and life for all. So too, a married couple ought to be together so that their union is also pro-creative. This primarily points directly toward new life (children), but I think it also sponsors enormous spiritual growth. I once had an Evangelical Minister describe marriage to me as being like a triangle. You can refer this even to the Trinity in a sense. If the husband and wife are the two points of the triangle which are at the bottom, and God is at the top, then the closer to God you get the closer to one another you'll also be.

Part of reaching God of course, would mean we must properly fulfill our roles as given to us in our marriage. I'd be hard pressed to imagine a married couple can grow closer together if they both lead independent, busy lives and do not have close, personal time together with regularity. This is especially true I would imagine when there is a great physical distance between them. Talking online, on the phone, or by video chat is one thing. But God intended us to be personal beings, and quite frankly telephones, chat programs, and video are not "personal".

I'm new to this site, and don't know anything about you. But the tidbits of information I believe I've garnered from your post would lead me to believe you are both too busy to fulfill the roles of a husband or wife. And therefore, I'd wonder if perhaps some things in life needed to get ironed out before anyone got serious about seeking or discerning a potential marriage partner.

God Bless, and forgive me if I've overstepped my bounds at all.


#7

I think it’s great that you both are mature enough to respect that you each have your own lives and work, and that you know how to be independent. However…

If you don’t talk, how do you know you really like her… or that she really likes you? How can you really like someone if you don’t know them? You don’t mention how or when you met, or how much you guys know about each other. Everyone picks and chooses what they’ll believe and how much they’ll support the other person if their beliefs differ vastly. What about her social/political views? How does she handle money? What if both of you found your dream jobs but they were not in the same area at all? What if one of you CAN’T find a job?

“…but it seems weak and selfish to give up on something as promising as what I (think I might) have with my current (friend/interest/girlfriend?) …”

Dude, you don’t even know what to call her. I would by no stretch of the imagination consider you two to be dating, let alone exclusively dating… or even courting… go ahead and look for girls in your local area!

“…Knowing that we’re thinking and praying about eachother is sweet, and I don’t want to throw that away… if it’s God’s will then occasions to meet will come our way.”

You should be thinking about/praying for anyone you’re dating. If you “throw it away” with her, you should get it back with someone else. Honestly, 200 miles isn’t really that far, but it is far enough to have to make more of an effort. It’s very easy to cancel a trip that is somewhat of a pain, and then claim that “God just didn’t want it this time.” You don’t cross the street without looking and say if God wants you to make it across, he’ll make any oncoming traffic stop, or make someone push you out of the way. This is essentially saying we have no free will, whatever God wants will happen.

Just my :twocents:… spend it wisely :rotfl:


#8

Here are my honest thoughts. It almost seems like you purposely choose girls that are far away so you don't have to get too close. There is NO intimacy in an email. People can edit what they say, you do not see her reaction when you speak.

Perhaps at your school there are people that are far from their spouse. I work with one man from Africa. His wife was in town for 4 years working on her PhD before he decided to come to Canada for the last 8 months of her PhD. He did not even live in the same country as his son while his son went from 8 to 12 years old. They see it as normal. I think it is a culture thing and sad that his missed out on all that time.

I do believe God will sustain a marriage during unfortunate times of seperation. But those times are few and far between and happen to the minority of couples.

I think you should go ahead and get to know the other girls in town. But tell your girlfriend about it

CM


#9

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