Dating...is it hopeless?


#1

I'm on the journey towards becoming a Catholic. I'm also a single mum who would like to start dating again after over 2 years on my own. However, I would like to date a Catholic man so that right off the start line we have the same 'rules' and the same acceptance of each other's faith/lifestyle, etc.

The trouble is I am not very confident about a Catholic man wanting to even date me let alone have a serious relationship with me. I have been married twice (but not in a church), divorced twice, and I have 3 children (although 2 are grown up). Hardly an inviting prospect for a good Catholic man is it?

Shall I just forget the whole idea for a few years and just see what God has planned for me? Or should I be 'active' in deciding what happens? Or should I permanently accept the fact that I may never find a partner again...?


#2

Catholic dating sites exist in cyberspace. One should think that some categories would suit you; the good thing about a church with a billion members in it is that certainly, you are not alone.

Cheers, and best of luck!


#3

I don’t think it is hopeless but it really depends on the status of your previous marriages. It is a problem if you are not free to marry because a devout Catholic man would not be interested in living in sin. Of course, I don’t know your circumstances so I’m only guessing here. This is something that will have to be discussed with a priest.

In case you are free then the question is whether a man would be bothered by your past. For some men your situation would be a deal breaker, but not for others. I don’t think this necessarily has to do with whether a man is religious or not. Perhaps you think that you will be judged and rejected in church but in my experience, Catholics are a forgiving and understanding bunch of people. People come to the church from all sorts of backgrounds and with all sorts of life stories, and the church welcomes them with open arms. Of course, you will probably meet not so friendly Catholics who might find you a bit weird, but honestly, I think that will be a very small minority, like elsewhere in life.

But maybe you should wait a bit with dating. You are in the process of converting that can be an intense period that demands a lot of the person. Before you start looking for a nice Catholic guy maybe you could get used to being Catholic first and live your faith. God will do what is best for you, just trust him.


#4

[quote="ClairUK, post:1, topic:244884"]
I'm on the journey towards becoming a Catholic. I'm also a single mum who would like to start dating again after over 2 years on my own. However, I would like to date a Catholic man so that right off the start line we have the same 'rules' and the same acceptance of each other's faith/lifestyle, etc.

The trouble is I am not very confident about a Catholic man wanting to even date me let alone have a serious relationship with me. I have been married twice (but not in a church), divorced twice, and I have 3 children (although 2 are grown up). Hardly an inviting prospect for a good Catholic man is it?

Shall I just forget the whole idea for a few years and just see what God has planned for me? Or should I be 'active' in deciding what happens? Or should I permanently accept the fact that I may never find a partner again...?

[/quote]

Clair, if you were not baptized Catholic, or were never received into the church before, your marriages must be investigated to see if they were valid. Non-Catholics are not bound to Catholic form, and they don't need to be in a church to necessarily be valid.

First, see a priest and tell him you would like to become Catholic as well as start the annulment process.


#5

[quote="ClairUK, post:1, topic:244884"]
Shall I just forget the whole idea for a few years and just see what God has planned for me? Or should I be 'active' in deciding what happens? Or should I permanently accept the fact that I may never find a partner again...?

[/quote]

Our Lord did not call you into existence for you to be miserable! He wants you to be happy! If you trust in Him, He will guide you to your proper end, and you will be completely and perfectly happy.

My advise to you is to take it to prayer. Try and spend a little time in front of the Blessed Sacrament every day. Ask God to guide your actions.

Then get out there and date! There's lots of great Catholic dating websites that you can check out. But always stay open to the will of God, and do as HE wills not as you will.

It would also be helpful to get a spiritual director if you don't already have one.

Best of luck! I will say a prayer for you!


#6

I can see nothing wrong with dating a woman with a troubled past who is on the road to a moral future. I wouldnt sweat it Clair. If a man lives his faith your past will not be a large problem. It will require some work (as every past does in a relationship) but it should not be an impediment to dating/marriage so long as you maintain chastity within each state. I could see your past causing reservation if you sought a sexual relationship prior to marriage, but if you live your faith and he does as well, why would that be a problem? Were you as bad as Saul/Paul, who ran around killing Christians? Where you as bad as Mary Magdalene? Doubtful on both accounts.

Have faith that God will lead you to the person you were supposed to be with from the start, thank God for blessing your poor choices with three children, and thank God that he brought you home to the place where you can love Him fully and rest in His Glory.


#7

Presuming you are free to marry, absolutely not. You may not be perceive yourself ideal as a prospective mate but neither is anyone else. I would not give up, even though it is a challenge to find the right person. It could very well be the real challenge is to meet a Catholic man to be up to your religious standards given the state of many peoples convictions.


#8

For everyone encouraging dating...please read again. She has 2 previous marriages that need to be investigated. She is NOT free to marry.


#9

Here's what I would suggest:

(1) Talk to your priest or RCIA coordinator about starting the process to have your prior marriages examined for validity. The first step is to determine your canonical status and freedom to marry. No sense in dating if you are not free to marry.

(2) Prayerfully discern whether or not you are called towards marriage at this stage. Reflect on what went wrong in the two prior marriage attempts, and how things might be different in the future. Get any counseling you think you need to deal with root causes and behavior changes.

(3) If 1 & 2 lead you towards the possibility of marriage in the future, then certainly be open to that.


#10

[quote="1ke, post:9, topic:244884"]
Here's what I would suggest:

(1) Talk to your priest or RCIA coordinator about starting the process to have your prior marriages examined for validity. The first step is to determine your canonical status and freedom to marry. No sense in dating if you are not free to marry.

(2) Prayerfully discern whether or not you are called towards marriage at this stage. Reflect on what went wrong in the two prior marriage attempts, and how things might be different in the future. Get any counseling you think you need to deal with root causes and behavior changes.

(3) If 1 & 2 lead you towards the possibility of marriage in the future, then certainly be open to that.

[/quote]

ITA with this post. Especially number 2. You want to know what went wrong with the first two marriages before considering entering a 3rd. You don't want to repeat your mistakes.


#11

If I were you, I think I would just proceed as a single mom. You mention that you are pre-Catholic. Are you going to join the Church? I think that it is wonderful that you are living more spiritually. Joining the Church would do you a world of good. I am sure that as time has gone by you have learned and grown as a person, but now it may be time for you to grow spiritually. As your journey progresses, you will surely meet interesting Catholic single men who will see you for who you are and may wish to go along on the journey with you. Don't press the issue.This time put it in Gods hands. Good luck and God Bless.


#12

I've been single all my life and it hasn't killed me yet. lol


#13

Thankyou all for your replies, you have given me encouragement that I am not an awful person that every man would run from!
I think I will follow the advice given and continue my journey into the Church first, and trust God - I don’t believe he would want me miserable…Perhaps once I am baptised and ‘fully’ Catholic I will have more confidence in myself.
It’s not that I am looking to marry in the near future by any means…any relationship would be a very long term (chaste) one before I would think about that. I love my children with all my heart and my life is not bad at all. I just do miss companionship and the ability to share things with someone special, particularly cuddles and understanding…I’m sure that will make sense to anyone who has been on their own for a while.

With regard to my marriages, they were both ‘civil’ weddings in a registry office and were both legally ended, the second one many years ago now. I’m a bit confused about why I would not be free to marry?
Thanks again to you all for your kind and encouraging responses.


#14

[quote="cviolette, post:10, topic:244884"]
ITA with this post. Especially number 2. You want to know what went wrong with the first two marriages before considering entering a 3rd. You don't want to repeat your mistakes.

[/quote]

Being young, stupid and making bad choices out of fear mostly. They both ended up being violent. In fact the second one involved blackmail.
I'm much older and hopefully wiser, able to stand up for myself and make better choices..with God's help.


#15

Well, were you baptised into the Catholic Church as a child? If you were, then your marriages might well be invalid.
However, if you were baptised in another church or never baptised at all, you have very likely made valid natural indissoluble marrriage. In other word, the Catholic Church regards as valid any natural marriage conducted by unbelievers, or not bound by Canon Law. But your marriages are presumed valid until you have had them examined by the tribunal. The same way the Church views Muslims’ marriages or atheists’ marriages as valid.


#16

[quote="GraceDK, post:15, topic:244884"]
Well, were you baptised into the Catholic Church as a child? If you were, then your marriages might well be invalid.
However, if you were baptised in another church or never baptised at all, you have very likely made valid natural indissoluble marrriage. In other word, the Catholic Church regards as valid any natural marriage conducted by unbelievers, or not bound by Canon Law. But your marriages are presumed valid until you have had them examined by the tribunal. The same way the Church views Muslims' marriages or atheists' marriages as valid.

[/quote]

I was never baptised. I guess I was just under the impression that because the marriages had nothing to do with any religion and were purely civil ceremonies, and were legally dissolved.. then it would have no bearing at all on my 'status' when I become Catholic.
I've been divorced since 2000, not liking the prospect of it all being dragged up again :(


#17

[quote="ClairUK, post:13, topic:244884"]

With regard to my marriages, they were both 'civil' weddings in a registry office and were both legally ended, the second one many years ago now. I'm a bit confused about why I would not be free to marry?
.

[/quote]

As I said before, non-Catholics are not bound by canonical form in their marriages. They can marry wherever they want. The church still regards these marriages as valid. If one or both people are not baptized, they are valid natural marriages. IF they are both baptized, not only is it valid, but sacramental.


#18

There is a number of legal issues here and you will need to deal with a legal procedure, which in your case will most likely be administrative rather than full-blown, but it will take some legal work to determine your ability to marry. Wishing you the best.

P.S. At diocesan tribunals sometimes there are people who give legal advice, e.g. church advocates (lawyers who represent parties in cases), some of the judges or other qualified people. I would go there because at the parish they may simply not have the knowledge and training for dealing with such situations, even though they might be willing to help you.


#19

Since you asked for advice, here goes. As I see your situation, the #1 thing in your life should be the raising of your children. Concentrate on that. Then, as you go along in life, try to live the holiest life you can so that you are a shining example to your kids. God knows what is best for you. As a catholic man, at the age of 38 I figured I was to be a single man from then on out. Then, two years later I met my wife and the rest as they say is history. It’s 14 years down the road, and both of us are trying to live holy lives. Sometimes it’s tough, but the Church offers forgiveness and let’s us contine living. Let the dating thing rest and trust in God for wherever He leads you. God bless you!


#20

Frankly it makes me want to cry...not because I'm in any hurry to marry again, but because that part of my past is history I hate to see brought up again, it was a very painful time that I healed and moved on from...
Can anyone tell me what might be involved in these 'investigations'?


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.