Dating without "feelings"

I am a single 33 year old female. I have read the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and believe in the fact that dating/courting is for the purpose of finding a spouse, not just for company on a Friday night. I also believe in all of the Catholic Church’s teachings, and studied theology of the body. I expect the same of my future spouse. I believe the purpose for marriage is for the spouses to get each other to heaven, trust their souls to each other, and raise children in the faith. I know that when times get hard in a marriage, feelings may come and go, but that love is a decision and you stick with it.

So I recently met someone from Ave Maria who is perfect. PERFECT! All of the “deal-breakers” are covered. We have discussed all of the major issues (faith, morals, values, children, finances, priorities, day to day time, etc) He is disciplined, has a good work ethic, and very kind. He is even a deacon candidate on a holding pattern until he gets married.
We met a few weeks ago, and he was perfect in person. Attractive, attentive to me, a perfect gentleman, a very giving person. Now I realize that after time his faults as well as mine will show up, but right now, there are no red flags. If this were an arranged marriage, it would work out fine.

Here’s the problem. I don’t have any kind of “feelings”. I completely understand that love is a decision, but I know there’s got to be some kind of romance and draw to the person. Part of me is being cautious because I have had my heart broken before by men who were gung-ho at first, then stopped. (He’s gung-ho, by the way.)

Am I over-romanticizing it? Could the vocation of marriage possibly be drier for me than for others? I read success stories from the Catholic dating sites and there are so many that have such a romantic story. I hate to compare, but when discerning such an important decision, I’m trying to consider all avenues. I realize love can grow, which I am very open to.

How recently did you meet? Perhaps with a few of those ‘company on a Friday night’ encounters you will find your feelings grow. If you have interests in common besides your faith and morals, you will proabbly find the romance bloom. But if on subjects like books, movies, sports, hobbies, etc you find that you have nothing in common, the fact that you both want children is probably not enough. But give it some time.

St Thomas More said “Because I love you, you are my wife; because you are my wife, I love you” speaking of the attitude of a young man vs an older man. Since you 2 are not yet married, I wouldn’t think about the ‘love is a decision’ part so much quite yet, as I would the ‘I love you, so I decided’ part.

I don’t really trust my feelings, especially in this area of life. Are your feelings trustworthy? Or do they lead you astray?

Everyone whom I know who is happily married had an inner knowing after meeting their mate. It seemed inevitable.

If you don’t have “feelings”…all you have is friendship. Pursue that avenue for a while and see what happens.

I don’t know. I can just say I have similar thoughts and I just can’t really imagine myself marrying someone without feelings. In fact, I can imagine myself marrying an old friend I’d have been very fond of, for instance, but not a stranger, not without any feelings, not even if it were a good match. I realise marriage is the start of a journey rather than the end, but it’s not about finding a perfect candidate either. For some people marriage of convenience works. For some it doesn’t. I’m not sure it wouldn’t for me and in fact, who knows, maybe it would be the best investment (hoping to avoid the business association) in my life? But I just can’t imagine myself doing that and so I understand you.

Since there are no red flags and the man is so good, I wonder why isn’t the spark catching? Is anything wrong? Any nagging suspicions, instinct feelings, hunches?

I’ve thought about that a lot… is my gut telling me something? I’ve prayed a lot, and will continue to do so. Honestly though, I don’t think so. Maybe its just the raw attraction that isn’t there. But it is still early.

This is long distance (made easy by cheap long distance phone rates and free flights). We’ve spent 2 days together so far. I’ve got to spend some more quality time with him to allow things to grow before making any decisions.

I agree with Sr Sally. Be friends for awhile, see how that goes. If nothing ‘more’ develops, well, at least you’ll have a good Catholic buddy! I do think there should be some ‘spark’ or deeper connection in a romantic relationship. So give it some time. :thumbsup:

DH and I met on Ave and we were long distance.

My advice is to take it **very **slowly. Spend lots of time with each other-- in person-- over a series of visits (and don’t make every visit a vacation with lots of fun activities, spend some of it just doing nothing… or better yet doing daily things like groceries and laundry… which is what you do most when you are actually married…).

The attraction absolutely has to be there. But, it does not have to be there immediately. If, after a reasonable number of visits, you still don’t feel anything at all I’d say move on.

Don’t rush it, and don’t try to force it. Sometimes people on Ave are more focused on getting married than they are on what happens for the next 50 years. I’m not saying you are one of them, but if he is super gung-ho he may need to pull back and accept a long discernment period.

If he’s “pefect” but you don’t feel attraction and love towards him, then he’s NOT perfect for you.

Raw attraction may not be there if both people are motivated to avoid lust and sexual rampage. In short, if both of you keep hormones in check, it might have something to do. Depends how both of you react to people in general, I guess.

This is long distance (made easy by cheap long distance phone rates and free flights). We’ve spent 2 days together so far.

That might be the reason, although sometimes if it doesn’t start early, it won’t at all.

I’ve got to spend some more quality time with him to allow things to grow before making any decisions.



You state:

“met someone from Ave Maria who is perfect. PERFECT! All of the “deal-breakers” are covered”

“he was perfect in person. Attractive, attentive to me, a perfect gentleman, a very giving person.”

“Here’s the problem. I don’t have any kind of “feelings”.”…Chemisrty is good, not the end all and be all, but good to have.

“We’ve spent 2 days together so far”…Two days and no sparks:shrug:

I would agree with 1ke and Chev. Most of all you have to be YOURSELF. I have seen more unhappy people, because they thought someone was or they tried to be something else. You can’t fake something like this.

Just an additional point of info:

There were 2 days together in person. This does not include the 1-2 hours of talking every day on the phone. That has been going on for almost 2 months.

Yes, I understood that.

Talking on the phone is **not **the same as being together in person. I know what you are going through-- I was on Ave for 2 years before I met my DH and I dated (as in met in person for one or more dates, even long distance) 6 men other than my DH. And, DH and I dated 1.5 years before getting engaged and had another 8 months of engagement before getting married.

It can be an emotional rollercoaster. It can be exciting getting to know someone, especially someone who seems to have the “whole package”. That does not mean that you will clear all the hurdles of merging your lives and discerning marriage. Attraction may be the show-stopper. It may be something else when you get down to brass tacks. There are many obstacles with the long distance relationship–including who will move, decisions about jobs and lifestyles, leaving family/friends, etc. We did not make the decision to get married lightly or quickly and had to work through all these issues.

I TOTALLY agree.

Do you think part of the problem could be that you are rushing things because they seem so “perfect”? Maybe try slowing down a bit. Think about a nice meal, if you gulp it down, how much do you really appreciate it? Do you really notice all of the little layers of complexity, all of the little nuances? Take some time to savor…notice all of his little quirks in addition to all of his perfection. I think in a way it is the little odd bits about someone that can really endear them to our hearts.

What did I say that made you think I was rushing or that I need to slow down?

I have no time limitations. I’ll take as long as I need…in fact, if you read the past posts, you will see that I have said that I need to spend more time with him, and that I am open to love growing.

I guess to bottom line it-- just let it be.

Let it be what it’s going to be. Just go with the flow and see how it develops. At this stage, no one can say whether feelings will blossom or not. I don’t think you’re over-romanticizing. I think you are over analyzing.

I do tend to overanalyze.

Here’s the problem. He asked me to be his girlfriend and to not pursue any other avenues. Now, I’m not actively seeking anyone else anyway, but if someone were to write me, I still want the freedom to see what else is out there.

I said no, for now. He’s not pressuring me in any way which is good. He’s just ready, and I’m not.

I think you answered correctly. Let me also add to be careful, you want to be open to others but you talk with him 1-2hrs a day and are not that attracted to him at the moment (or at least the sparks/feelings aren’t there). Just be careful to not get too “intimate” emotionally (and obviously physically) if you are not sure, since it may confuse you and lead him on.
I have heard of plenty of people that did not fall head over heels for their spouses off the bat but later on did, nevertheless, if after a reasonable time you realize attraction will never come then I would move on, we are human, attraction matters.

I agree with all here. I also say, let it be a kind of courtship. Just like everyone’s saying, hang with eachother more and see how it goes just to see if you want to be more serious (as in, bf/gf).

It took my boyfriend the first time he met me to decide that he liked me. It took me 5 months before I realized/decided I liked him back! And now we’ve been dating for 6 months. So don’t worry! Oftentimes, as Fr. Serpa (?) said, “Feelings are a response to reality-- not reality itself”. So give it time. You might not have them now, but you might develop them later like I did. Or, as in a previous experience, I thought I liked this one guy, but the longer I was with him, the more I realized I didn’t wan’t to be with him. :shrug:

Keep praying to God, and keep being open to love. That’s all you need do as of now. :thumbsup:

In my experience,
romance comes slowly, then it fades away slowly. I think C.S. Lewis says something about no one in their right mind should want to be in love forever, they’d never get anything done.
Lewis, in fact, is a good example: he married his wife to protect her from deportation, I believe, anyway to help her out legally when she was ill. Later on, he fell in love with her and they had a beautiful relationship.
When I say it fades away, I mean you can’t live life in a romantic haze, but the trick is to marry someone that you like and respect so that when the romance fades you still have attraction and friendship.
Two days is very little time. I wouldn’t expect feelings to develop that soon. And I think they come on slowly, when they come.

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