Frustration in being continuously told "its just a date"


I just watched a talk from Seek 2019 and I got a little frustrated by it and I just was hoping for some thought from other people. Every now and then, the issue frustrates me and I try to talk about it and I just always felt like the answers were unsatisfactory, or non existent. I’ve had 3 spiritual directors. 2 of them flat out told me they didn’t think I needed them because I was already headed in the right direction and was doing the right thing (the third kind of flaked out on meetings). I’ve talked about it with men’s groups and they’ve all given me encouragement, but not solutions. I’ve had the opportunity to ask the Sarah Swafford directly and she gave me the best answer she could with a line of other people behind me waiting to talk to her, but it wasn’t really an answer (due to details I didn’t have time to give her. Definitely no fault of her own)

To explain the issue, everywhere I turn and look, every talk on Catholic dating, every Catholic book on dating that I’ve read tries to, IMO, drill into the minds of men more than any other idea that “its just a date”. There shouldn’t be fear in asking a woman on a date and there’s no reason not to ask (provided she’s “sufficient” based on what you already know about her) because all you’re doing is getting to know each other better. A first date is just two people hanging out alone and getting to know each other better - no different than hanging out in a group, just with less people. I like this idea. The problem is every time I tell myself this and just go for it, I get rejected. I personally feel based on my experience as though “its just a date” is something that needs to be drilled into the heads of women, not men.

I’m in my 30’s. I have asked more women than I can count on dates. Only one ever told me yes, and she stood me up. These are not weak women or women with incompatible goals. 2 of them are now married to friends of mine and nearly all of them remain in our rather strong Catholic young adult community. If its really just getting to know someone like I’ve been taught, then there isn’t much reason for them to be turning me down 100% of the time.

But not only do they say no, but half of them ended the friendship right there - they haven’t spoken to me since. One hasn’t spoken to me for the better part of 10 years, even after spending the last 4 years at the same parish and getting set up by the algorithm twice on the same dating website. And the ones that do continue to speak to me, give me those lame excuses like “I don’t want to ruin our friendship”. (to which I think in my head “well, you just did with that excuse”) Its very hard to convince myself anymore that its “just a date” when none of the women I ask seem to treat it that way and just give me a chance.

I am not ugly as far as I know. I am tall. (not that that’s supposed to matter, but it does sometimes) I work hard and am devout in my faith. People like me. Like I said, my spiritual directors have said I’m approaching things right. My friends don’t tell me I’m doing anything wrong. So I’m reaching out to the internet. ANY insight would be loved, dearly, because I’m so very tired of this.



Dear friend, is it possible that there is something about you that is intimidating to the ladies? Would it be possible for you to talk to a family member or good friend to ask for an honest evaluation? Maybe there is something going on with your grooming, or wardrobe. Or maybe not! I think a helpful tips or two from a friend might help. Or an image consultant.
Good luck – maybe God has someone special that “just hasn’t met you yet!” :smiley:



In my own life I’ve had lots of struggles with women (I’m only 20YO) in that Ive been rejected multiple times and I have zero female friends, never had one really. And I can never figure out why because I dress quite well, I’m funny, very smart and devoutly Catholic. I’ve had some conversations with women after daily mass and religious clubs and Catholic events but none ever want to talk further.

I’m not very good talking with women to be honest, I get very nervous and over-analyze things and laugh way too much… so I’m not much help. I’ll be praying for you though



Do you already know these women as friends and aquaintances? If you do then that could be an issue. If these women see you as a friend or aquaintance without any romantic interest and you suddenly ask them out without them giving you any ongoing signals, your chances of a “Yes” would be pretty remote, I would think.



Maybe you guys need flirting lessons! There is a book called “the flirting Bible”. Maybe it would help?



I can’t really say where you are going wrong as I don’t actually know you, but often we aren’t impartial enough to view ourselves as others do. Maybe you can ask a trusted friend for advice on what you might be doing “wrong”. Are you coming across so marriage minded that you seem desperate, clingy, intense, or trying to move too fast? Have you just had a string of bad luck where the women you thought were a good match just disagreed? There are many possibilities.



Frankly, I’m a girl and I hate that as well. I’m different from most other girls I’ve met, though, in the sense that I appreciate the courage it takes for a man to ask a woman out. I don’t really care about how romantic it is, or whether or not he buys me flowers, because he’s proving to me in that moment that he’s a worthy partner. I don’t think many women see that nowadays, and I personally find it very sad to see good men not being appreciated for their efforts. My prayers are with you and the hope that that will change.

As for the reason women walk away after rejecting you, in my experience, it’s either because they don’t want to have an awkward friendship with you, or because they don’t want you to develop hope that they might start to like you back by continuing to pursue them if they stick around. So I’d say you should probably get to know her a bit longer before asking her out, and try to figure out beforehand what her response will be when you ask her out, just so you don’t fall for someone that has no interest in you. It’s usually easy to tell if a girl is open to having a relationship with you early on in your friendship, especially if you know what to look for.



I can empathize buddy…most guys can…My advice…what I’ve learned…

  1. For woman it is never ever ever ever “just a date”. Where on earth did you hear that one? For woman going on “a date” is major statement to the world. This is ridiculous and unfortunate, and you realistically need to work around it.

  2. The truth is that you almost never ask a woman out. You show interest, then you dance around the subject in a strange sort of indirect discussion, and then they ask you out or they don’t while pretending that you asked them out.

  3. Age does not matter at all even though woman say it does. Woman don’t want you to be previously married, have children by somebody else, or be in poor health…all reasonable concerns by the way. Age is an indirect predictor of those things. However age does not matter at all in and of itself.

  4. Looks are important to woman, but just being fit and healthy is more important.

  5. Religion is important. Woman look for compatibility. I dated a wild nice Baptist woman once. I’d have a beer with a meal, and she’d tell me all about her parents concerns with alcohol. I’d tell here my church group meets at a bar (with the priests). Everybody has a beer or two. Church choir members swap stories over a beer or two about the church choir music being changed at the last minute. She just didn’t get it.

  6. Woman care very deeply about “stability”…part of this is financial. They are not necessarily wrong to care about this.

Hope this helps



I like this answer, as well as @lokisuperfan’s.

Yeah, it’s just a date, but try working up to it more slowly, both to give her a heads-up and to gauge her reaction to a potential change in the relationship.



Honestly, it takes a LOT of time to meet a person that is truly compatible with you. Some people do, some people settle and some people never do, as much as we don’t want that for ourselves or our loved ones. So, a few “observations”. By no means infallible but as someone who “settled” often, and got hurt often, some things I learned. These AREN’T solutions. I’m not sure anyone CAN give you solutions because of the nature of human interactions and free will.

  1. This may be controversial, but here goes: I think women in our day and time are deeply deeply ingrained in a culture that says you have to be deeply attracted to someone before you date them or don’t bother. That sexual attraction is a precursor to any successful dating relationship. I know I felt that way at one time. Problem is, due to issues FAR beyond the scope of a social media forum, the men who gave me that attracted feeling were also really poor choices for me. When I met my husband, I liked him a lot. I wasn’t attracted to him much at all, but my options were dwindling and (I like to think), I had matured from my experiences and that gave me the incentive to put my money where my mouth was and truly start from a place of friendship. It was the best decision I ever made and led to a marriage that has lasted 16 years; no mean feat in this day and age. I truly believe this was because we could both move on from the “has to be perfect” mentality and see beyond to the person we were meant to be with.
  2. This was the site I met my husband on. It did not happen immediately. I met a LOT of nice people, but it took awhile before I met my husband. I looked at it this way…the years were going to go by whether I looked for a husband or not. I set a goal for myself as to how long I would try the dating thing. I knew that if I got to the end of that period and was still alone, I would be more at peace if I knew I had tried my best than I would be if I got there and had the “I should have tried harder” feeling.
  3. I don’t know how old you are, but have you considered dating older women? Ones who may be more mature about the “It has to be fireworks or nothing” approach to dating?
  4. Are you called to live a single life? Or a consecrated life? Not “is that what you think you want” but truly are you being called? Only you can figure that out. Neither are lesser than marriage and maybe speaking with men in those states would help.
  5. Patience. I know it’s not what you want to hear. I didn’t either and, once I decided I wanted to be married, it caused me anxiety that everyone but me seemed to find a partner. It was hard.

  1. Can you take a break from the “I HAVE to find someone” mentality, do you think? After my last, most disastrous “secular” relationship, I decided I was not cut out for marriage. I fell into a “friends with benefits” situation, which I ended after about 6 months as it was, truly, more alienating than fulfilling. I was celibate for a little under 6 years. It was a hard time in some ways, but in others I was finally able to focus on myself. To take that energy I was using to get and keep a date toward working on myself. It led me to Christ. It was so very worth it. It may not be for everyone, I know, but it was important and, surprisingly, a really fun time in my life.
  2. For sure, ask around the women you trust if there are issues about you that are changeable…grooming habits or whatever. But, please, DON’T get caught up in the “I have to look this way/act this way or I won’t be worthy of a partner”. You are a child of God which means you are worthy. Right now. Right here. Without even so much as combing your hair :slight_smile: But women are human and can be very fickle creatures.:wink:

Best of luck to you…hope this helps.



Another thing I’ve always been taught, and is taught and practiced in our community, is that we should be friends/acquaintances first. That’s how nearly everyone else in my community does it, with obviously better success.

But why should that matter? “Its just a date” is the mantra I keep getting fed. If its really just two people getting to know each other, why in the world would already being friends/acquaintances be a deterrent?

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What do you mean by work up to it more slowly? And how are you supposed to give someone a heads up that you might want to ask them on a date without actually asking them? And wouldn’t doing so mean you’re not being clear and intentional?

And if its “just a date”, why in the world would people be concerned about a change in the relationship? If the date goes well, you just upgraded your relationship and both people are happy. If it doesn’t, since it was just a date, you should be able to go right back to the relationship you had before.

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As a woman, I don’t think women are very fickle. I think we are very predictable.

When a woman is asked on a date, she immediately thinks “Could this be my husband? Is this him?” Most women can tell in less than five minutes whether they will date you. So, be glad for all the girls who told you no. They saved you a lot of heartache and a lot of money by just telling it like it is.

So, no, it’s never just a date. As a woman, you don’t want to be seen on a date in public with somebody who has no hope of being your husband, as if you’re showing some sort of pity on him by even going out with him. You’re not going to shave and get all made up for somebody who is a definite no. To a guy, dating is about spending time with a girl and seeing whether she is receptive to him, mostly sexually. To a girl, it’s about marriage, plain and simple. That’s why we ask for your last name. We want to know if it sounds good with our first name. We envision you as a potential mate from the first moment.



Maybe you are headed for a different vocation!

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But why would it be awkward after rejection if its “just a date”? And why are women turning me down in the first place if its “just a date”. ONE date. I’m not asking them to be my girlfriend. I’m asking them for an opportunity to get to know them better. From the way I understand “its just a date”, there’s no reason not to ask if you’re even remotely compatible, and by extension, there’s no reason not to say no. That’s what’s really confusing. If its not a big deal, then why are women treating it like its a big deal? And if they’re treating it like its a big deal when it shouldn’t be, then shouldn’t all these talks and books that keep trying to drill into guy’s heads that its “just a date” directing their advise towards women instead?



Practice! This is good and realistic advice.

Yes…learn to live and work with this reality…



Hi Bud. I read your story. I’m sure that other people here have better advice than I can offer, but I just want to say how much I feel for you after reading your story.

I do agree with your feeling that it is frustrating to be told “It’s just a date” when your experience is the opposite, and to lose friends after asking them out.

I commend your courage putting this question out.

Best of luck with it.



So men are being taught its “just a date” and women are being told something contradictory? Isn’t that a huuuuge problem?

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This is good advice. This is my experience. Find other ways to get to know woman rather than “dates”.


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