Frustration in being continuously told "its just a date"


#413

Let’s also remember that in “olden times” you did not have the Internet to spend hours texting or skyping with a person to get to know them in order to decide whether you’d actually want to meet up and go for coffee. You had a telephone that was probably shared with several other people in your household and they probably listened in on your convos or at least knew who you were talking to, so it’s not like you could spend hours getting to know someone on there either. You went out on a date in order to get to know a person by talking with them, so you could decide if you wanted to have more dates with them or a relationship with them.

Dating became “monogamous” at about the same time people got worried about AIDS…this is because a lot of people have an expectation that if you have a certain number of dates, or even just one or two dates, you are going to engage in sexual activity with the person you are dating. Back in the day, dates were expected to be non-sexual, and for good Catholics nowadays, dates are also expected to be non-sexual.


#414

@gospelofmatthew I hope you don’t mind me launching from some of what you’ve said here to offer some advice to seriously minded young men (primarily) but also young women. If it helps then great, but don’t take it as necessarily directed to you.

In the following “You” is the just aspects of the persona I’ve seen here.

You mentioned your success in bowling and, I think, other sports or outdoor activities. You also mentioned that you study and play three instruments, but then slightly apologised for only reading religious texts outside school and only playing religious music.

These are characteristics which could and should make you attractive to many girls! Not all of course, but then that’s not our aim, as you have said yourself.

Just as different men look for different things in a woman, different women look for different things in a man (duh!). Intellectual women will, in general, be attracted to intellectual men because they want someone they can talk to, and who is also interested in their reading and their ideas. An interest in intellectual activities usually goes with an interest in the arts. Classical musicians usually marry other classical musicians, and date them, cheat with them, "party " with them, etc…etc… My (male) singing teacher married a statistician.

Both sexes make the mistake of being allured by someone who is not appropriate for them, but you can’t help that (apart from trying to avoid it yourself!, and we’ve all been there and done that). (Thankyou @PetraG for post #350).

The movie “The Imitation Game” (2015) showed Alan Turing (b 1912), a brilliant mathematician but social misfit, awkwardly romancing an intellectually inclined woman and winning her! The relationship eventually failed due to Turing’s homosexuality rather than his personality. She even said she had guessed his sexuality and would cope with it because they had a “meeting of minds”. I’ve checked the true life story and this is mostly accurate (of course, the woman didn’t have the superstar looks). It helped Turing that he was outstanding in his field, and had strong masculine traits of courage, leadership and resolution (to help Britain win the war).

The very things you’ve found off-putting to women will, in the end and probably not before long, be very desirable assets. Be the very best you can be at things which fascinate you and follow your own natural inclinations. If religious music is your main interest now then burrow down that path. This is how we achieve - by focus. Women roll their eyes at obsessive men but they also like them and marry them. Within reason, as I will discuss.

I had a friend who, as a young man, displayed obsessive interests. For some time he single mindedly pursued an interest in the music of Wagner (culminating in a trip to Bayreuth for the annual Ring cycle, dressed like a hobo in the midst of European high society!). Later he became obsessed with the field of statistics. He didn’t settle down quickly, but in his thirties he became an academic statistician.


#415

(cont…)

Now - wait for it… He was unattached during his 20’s, but after he became a professor in his 30s his problem was women pursuing him! I won’t go into the gory details, but he never had to try very hard. After a several long-term girlfriends he married at nearly 50 to a much younger woman, and they have been happy and have a child.

All along he did have a sense of fun and an interest in people, but he could be very boring when he ranted about his obsessions (eg. “Wagner” :rofl:). He had normal looks and kept himself in shape, and got a good job early, while pursuing his studies.

In some way he was similar to myself (we met at uni and remain good friends forty years later). As a young man I was obsessive in my pursuits and talked about them with too much intensity, yet enough women were interested initially and only turned away when they discovered that I could do nothing else*. I talked myself out of relationships rather than into them! I also didn’t show any inclination to “get a job” and settle down.

So, my advice is to ease yourself out of any isolation (as others have advised you in recent posts) and learn “small talk” (thanks @Xantippe, post #382), but also be mindful that there are probably many women who are looking for a man like you. You don’t have to persuade them, just avoid losing them in the first 10 minutes (or 60). As others have said, a girl will tolerate awkwardness in a man she likes.

You rightly have observed that you are not looking for a lot of women, but just one. I suggest that “a few” is perhaps more promising while you waiting for “the one”.

OTOH relationships are often a complication. They can get us involved in something we have trouble getting out of and/or take a lot of time out of busy person’s life. You may be better off using this time to be the very best you can be at life and in your field, and also socially (which takes practice, and in which we can always improve). A young person’s nature and our society is telling us to “pair up”, but really there’s no rush. If the “right person” appears then grab the opportunity, but don’t be looking too hard or fearful of a single future. Time is on your side.


* See my post my post #33, which describes my social problems and also how they went back to my family.


#416

Just throwing this out there. A lot of the times I love attending mass, but I’m not sure I would want to start out a first date with a guy at mass. It’s a little intimidating and “personal” in a sense. Not that I think it’s an overall bad idea. It would be great to have a relationship one day with a guy who wants to go to mass with me. Just not on a first date :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t overthink it. Even just dinner for a first date is nice sometimes to get to know someone. It also gives an easy out if the date isn’t going well vs saying we’re doing mass, rosary, then dinner… then you’re kinda stuck spending a lot of time together… which is also something the girl will be thinking about haha no one wants to feel trapped


#417

There’s an amusing follow up to the story of my statistician friend.

In his late thirties, and after becoming established as a professor in statistics, he discovered the online computer game Il2 Sturmovik, which is a vast and detailed simulation of WWII air combat, and he threw himself into it with his customary zeal. As well as countless hours playing it he invested in the best equipment and poured over reference manuals and on-line forums. I could liken it to the dedication some people have to chess. One time when I visited him in 2009 he showed me how he had spent all day perfecting one detail of a bombing run. He also told me that he was spending 60 hours a week on the game and I thought to myself that this was ill-advised for someone in a job, albeit a very flexible one.

In my most recent visit he was still playing Il2 Sturmovik, and he told me that his obsession with the game over the last 15 years had deprived him of “a stellar career”.

I asked him whether it had also interfered with his relationships as he had at least two serious girlfriends during this time, and he said “Not much”.

(This feller had also been the only child of two very intense are rather unsociable parents).


#418

You might do better when you’ve graduated, gone into the working world and your peers grow up a bit. I think you may simply be more mature than the people who are in a hurry to do all the stuff their parents and high school teachers and coaches didn’t let them do. Don’t look down on them; just give them some time. They may simply be a few grades behind you in the common sense department. Some people have their common sense wiring ripped out by the chemical changes of adolescence and young adulthood, and other people don’t.

Seriously, I don’t know many people who would want to go back and party the way people used to do in college, and that includes the people who used to do that in college. It is very silly, very unsustainable, not compatible with a real job and real working hours, and most people who haven’t developed a chemical dependency by the time they have left college do grow out of it.

What to do right now? Well, since your wiring was not ripped out, I’d consider that you might want to do some deliberate risk-taking. Why? Well, because the Good Lord wouldn’t build that period of life into most of us for no reason. Most of the saints did some pretty outrageous things in their lives, from the standpoint of someone who always uses a pencil to make decisions. Don’t disconnect your brain, but do go out of your way to throw your heart into some things in a way that doesn’t “pencil out” but only makes sense to your heart. It will do you good. I don’t know if it will get you any dates, but it is something that most of us who are “prematurely mature” can stand to do.


#419

Well…if he sees someone his own age at Mass, he might ask her if she’d like to help him round up some people their age who already go to daily Mass of their own volition, in order to socialize together outside of Mass. Maybe Mass is at noon and they all have classes before or after but in the few minutes before or after Mass they could choose a pizza night or something. Maybe something will grow up with her, but maybe she knows all the other girls on campus who are like her. If he socializes with her but doesn’t ask her out right away, she might see him as someone she’ll either hint into asking her out or will encourage to socialize with her friends.

You never know where connections will lead you, when you don’t artificially push them in a serious direction before their time. This strategy could get him lots of invitations to the weddings of lots of other serious Catholics, but one never knows. He could just find he only ever has to date one woman his whole life. It happens.

To return to the topic of the thread, I think telling guys “its just a date” is meant to turn down the seriousness they communicate when they ask for one. Women know very well where it could lead, but we are very wary of guys who want it to go in that direction too quickly. Slowwwww dowwwnnn.

Here is the saying that applies: Don’t marry for money. Hang around with wealthy people, and marry for love.

OK, don’t go socializing to get a date. Hang around a lot of people you’d be happy to date if the time is ever right, and start to date when you think you may be falling in love. It is easier to catch a target with pre-weakened knees, perhaps? (A lot of 60 year marriages start like that…)


#420

I agree with this, one of my older brothers did this approach, he now knows virtually every Catholic his age in his town and broader city. He runs multiple groups there and he has a bunch of weddings lined up of all these Catholics in their 20s who are part of a big social group and a lot found GF/BFs there which they are now marrying. By brother who is getting married this year also found his Fiancé there (the only girl he has ever dated)


#421

Thanks!

From somewhere, I don’t know where because it’s so long ago, I had got the impression a woman wants a guy to show initiative and she may be waiting (even “hanging on”) the next move.

So, it’s very interesting to me that she may really be wanting him to “Slowwwww dowwwnnn” but not necessarily quit. TBH this is new to me, and I can see a couple of times where I was in that situation.

A most helpful insight from the woman’s point of view!

There’s also @tis_bearself’s post where she pointed out that in that past a series of dates was often the only way to get to know someone, but that no longer applies so the significance of an invitation on a “date” has increased.

Adding to the confusion we get the impression from TV shows that men and women are going out for casual dates every day, and feel there’s something wrong with us if we haven’t had a date for years.

Yaaghhhhh! :tired_face:


#422

And why exactly are you getting advice from us, LOL? Your bro knows how it is done!!


#423

When I was in high school, everybody went on dates and tried to find a steady girlfriend/boyfriend as soon as possible.
At the high school I teach at of course there are couples, but there are more students who do not date at all. They hang out with big groups of friends, sometimes mixed and sometimes not, but they don’t “date” much.
(Honestly, though, I think some are too uptight about college to do anything they can’t put on their admissions application, sad to say…)


#424

He’s figured it out, I want to also haha. He’s a big reason why I’ve gotten into my faith on a deeper level. His example and his advice got me more interested than just free-riding to the next Sunday and not caring what bad sins I make rack up in the process.

Hoping there are more single Catholic girls out there left, maybe he found them all in his group :stuck_out_tongue:


#425

I joke about “Don’t marry for money; hang around rich people and marry for love,” but honestly if you want a marriage based on a deep faith, I think you have to hang around people of deep faith and hope that either you fall in love with one of them or one of them introduces you to someone.

If you hang around with otherwise-great people who aren’t particularly religious, you’re likely to marry someone who is an otherwise-great person who is not particularly religious. My husband is not Catholic, he was still very cooperative in raising the kids Catholic and in giving me what I need to practice the faith, (he has been a prince about it, really) but I think he feels left out sometimes and fearful that I wish I’d married someone Catholic. What I wish is that he were Catholic, that he had the gift of faith, but it doesn’t work like that.


#426

So, basically the “dating scene” has changed a lot (but is still probably as aweful as ever for most of us! :rofl:).

The “TV shows” I was referring to were in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I don’t know what they show these days.


#427

I think a lot of young people with educated parents concern themselves with academics and career or else with gaming or time-intensive sports or hobbies, go to college, get out and pursue their careers and do stuff you can do while you’re still “free,” and then if they haven’t lucked into meeting someone they wake up one day and say, “When did I get to be almost 30?!? How am I ever going to get married?!?! I am going to get old and I’ll be all alone!!”


#428

Which sounds pretty much like the advice we’ve converged on in this thread, apart from the last step?


#429

There is actually a lot of wisdom in waiting to look for a spouse until you’re old enough to marry.

St. Paul wrote, “Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do, but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry, for it is better to marry than to be on fire.”
1 Cor. 7:8-9

That is all well and good, but what of those who are on fire and cannot marry, because they are too immature for the marriage to last? They’re in a very difficult situation. In St. Paul’s time, they would probably never be left unchaperoned, but that is not the way it is now. Too many couples who marry young do not stay married.

Of course, when St. Paul wrote about remaining as he was, he meant devoted to the Lord alone, not devoted to a career or to whatever whim strikes. There is nothing particularly holy about being unmarried, unless it is chosen in order to be devoted to the Lord entirely:

I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 1 Cor. 7:32-34


#430

It sounds to me like the guy actually didn’t enjoy his career that much, or perhaps did not enjoy the pursuit of success, and found something else he did enjoy.


#431

True-when a guy is really upfront about wanting to get married and have kids soon, when you are just getting to know him, it can be kind of intimidating (I know a girl who has been in this situation)


#432

The other point I have raised and some others have agreed with is, if you find yourself more “serious” than others, to lighten up in conversation, and develop a facility with “small talk”. I missed out on this in childhood and was completely unaware of the deficiency until someone tactfully taught me when I was 34 years old! Such people are a minority, but they are an unhappy minority. In every conversation they feel they must expound on their ideas and accomplishments. Eg. after Mass they will go straight to the state of the Church and what important theological book they are reading. In a dinner conversation they will try to explain the principles of thermodynamics. They may try to be “funny”, but are no fun. They feel awkward in company but are blind to the simple misalignment of their conversation with others.

I am forever grateful to the aunty who had known me for several years and must have sensed that something was wrong. I was visiting them alone (ie. without my wife) and engaging in my usual conversation style and probably boring them. At one point she quietly changed the topic and told me about “how women talk”. She said that when women talk one person shares a bit about herself, and then another will pick up something she said to talk a bit about herself, and so it keeps going back and forth. This was an absolute revelation to me! In very short time I was doing it myself and all the years of struggling in company were over.

My poor old mum has never learned this, and it is so obvious to me when we are together with other people. I can see how hard she struggles to keep a conversation going, and also how she repeatedly deadens it with her earnestness.

So, to a young person my advice is continue being the best you can be at what you do, and also be sociable within your interest groups. If you are one of those who is finding themselves too serious in company then learn to lighten up and do small talk. Laugh freely at other people’s jokes without feeling a need to be the entertainer yourself. Listen without bursting to speak. Let all those openings to tell people “important” things slip by.

Whatever our situation, we can all keep improving our social skills. It’s one of life’s never ending challenges.


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