Issue with relationships


I am 19, I am in first year university, should I start ‘dating’ around? Or am I still a bit too young and actually wait a few more years.

I will not date non-catholics, I have read too many issues of catholics marrying people of other faiths and denominations and they have a heap of problems. And it’s the same for the people of other faiths marrying a catholic, conflicting beliefs.


Of course you should. I am 18 (almost 19) and I’m on the second year of University, and I have found, for the first time on my life, a woman that seems to have all the qualities to be my wife and mother of my children. I will have to know her better during 2 more years, and if things go as I expect, I could ask her hand after graduating (which will happen in 2009).

So… yes, it’s actually a good time to start dating. If you find a suitable girl, you’ll have the right ammount of time to know her better, and, if things go right, to marry once your degree is done.


Thanks for the response dude.


Well, it really depends upon what you mean by “dating around”. Dating, to some, is a sport-- an end in intself. “Dating” is a relatively new invention of the 20th century. Some people date just to date. Girls too, remember that.

Now, if you mean “look for a spouse” then yes. If you are ready to look for a spouse, then begin to look at women with interest and get to know them. At 19, are you ready to do that? I think it depends upon how long you have left in college, if you need to do any professional interning after college, establish yourself in a job, etc.

I suggest you get a couple of books on Courtship-- that is different from “dating”. There are several books, just google “christian courtship”. I read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” which was very good, and there is also “Christian Courtship in an Oversexed World” I have seen recommended on here.

It’s all in how you approach “dating” as to what results you will get and what type of women you might attract. You don’t want the ones who “date around”.


I also highly recommend the book Date or Soul Mate by Dr. Neil Clark Warren. It’s the best book I’ve seen on really approaching dating from a perspective of finding a spouse. It’s all about analyzing yourself, focusing on your strengths and weaknesses, and on focusing on what “must haves” and “deal breakers” you have in an up front way.

One of the biggest mistakes people make, IMHO, is not already having their “deal breakers” and “must haves” in mind (written down!). Because, then you meet this person, get emotionally involved and start compromising. “well… I know she’s not Catholic, but I love her.” Or whatever. If you have your “must haves” and “deal breakers” already in hand, then you just use those to deteremine whether or not to pursue a relationship instead of getting into one and then figuring out what you want.


Agreed. It’s very important to know exactly what kind of woman you are looking for.


Personally, I think that until you are actually ready to marry, you should stick to group activities and not get too close to any one person.

Be active on campus and in the Church. Give time as a missionary in the summer if you can. Take this time to become the best person you can be. —KCT


See if there is a Catholic group on campus. We had one, even at the small engineering college DH and I went to in Illinois. It was a great way to talk to others who shared at least some values and were interested enough in being Catholic to make time for it as a campus activity.

I don’t think 19 is too young to being searching for a spouse. As much as I love Dr. Laura, I think her edict that no one should even consider marrying until 27 or 28 is ridiculous. Perhaps that is true for some people, but I have known plenty who got married way younger and did just fine. The difference is COMMITMENT. If you have the right attitude about marriage going in, and the maturity to handle making a lifetime commitment, then I think you can be ready a lot earlier. DH and I have been together since we were both 17. We didn’t get married until after college, but there were many reasons for that, including MIL begging DH to wait until his degree was finished and the fact the ROTC prefers their officer candidates not to be married. But we did it as soon after graduation as we could! :smiley:

So, JFonseka, I think if you are not looking at dating as just fun or sport, then yes, right now is probably actually a really good time to begin testing the waters. The mentality that sees dating as something you do for 10 or 15 years, just shifting from person to person, I think causes so much damage. It jades people, makes them cynical, and can cause real emotional damage that you then carry into your search for marriage. Meaning you will most likely be less successful, either in finding the right person or in making it last. So don’t do that. Look at it as evaluating potential spouses, take it seriously, and you’ll do fine. Be prepared to have little company in this attitude, however. But, hey, anything really worth doing is usually hard, right?


This is the type of question where you can only hope to get opinions for answers. There is no absolute right or wrong answer. (But I think you knew that.)

But I do think there are some guidelines to follow.

Interacting with and having friends of the opposite sex is fine. In the beginning, at least, group activities are best.

One on one dating is not a good idea unless you are ready to meet the person you will marry and are willing to meet persons who want to marry you.

It’s cruel to date someone who might want to marry you if you have no plans to marry her/him or if you wouldn’t marry her/him until long after the time frame the other has in mind.

You are not ready to marry unless you are able/willing to be independent from your parents and your intended is able/willing to be independent from her/his parents. There is financial independence and there is emotional independence. None of this means you shouldn’t date if either one of you is being supported by parents but it does mean that the future of any relationship is limited as long as any dependencies remain.

The desire to marry does not imply a readiness to take on the responsibilities of marriage. A readiness to take on the responsibilities of marriage does not imply a desire to marry.

All of the above sound like reasons not to date and not to marry. And they are. But there are many reasons TO date and TO marry. Sometimes it’s just easier to state the negatives.


One should never start “dating around” in the sense of havings some fun entitled by being adult. All romantic relationships are meant to lead to marriage, not to increase one’s experience pool, therefore “dating around” is a really, really, unfortunate phrase to describe it. Romantic activities are meant for romantic relationships to which they belong of their very nature (what is expressed is supposed to be there), therefore the standard “no obligations” justification to avoid having multiple romantic relationships running at the same time is not sensible, either. All in all, I would say get to know people and start thinking about what kind of person you want for a spouse, what you expect, what you like, what you can live with, what you can’t live with. But “dating around” is not the way to do it and I think, judging by the tone of your post, you aren’t really comfortable with the idea, either. Good luck and don’t yield to any pressure forcing you to do something which you don’t want to do, especially in terms of making yourself available or collecting experience in romantic matters.


Umm… yeah. Even if you think you do, you don’t. It takes a while to learn, as a guy, though. Just to avoid confusion: if a girl has had a coffee with 1000000 guys, I don’t mind. If she has danced with 1000000 guys, I don’t mind, either, although I hope she spent some time studying, too (:p). If she has kissed and cuddled and exchanged love letters with 1000000 guys, then I do mind, and especially with more than one guy at a time. In the past, I would probably see it as an opportunity, but at some point, I actually vowed to stay away from that. I’ve occasionally called on it. Myself, I don’t actually do dating and never really have. If I like a girl, I talk to her, we become friends, we meet up… I meet up other people too. If there is love, there is a relationship and there’s no looking for girls to meet up with - and things get romantic only at this stage, not on early stages (I don’t do happy kissing and I’d rather my future wife didn’t either).


I always stuck to the 3 dates and you’re out rule while in college. Although I could usually tell before that.


I, for one, would like to meet this girl who has had a coffee with 1,000,000 guys. She must be very busy…


I sense a form of sarcasm or a bit of a dry wit… Have I been too abrasive in my post? If that’s the case, I’m sorry. I just wanted to say I made the difference between merely going somewhere and having a good time - which includes long walks by night but doesn’t include romantic physical expressions, such as kissing or holding hands or declaring feelings -, and said romantic expressions, which should not be taken lightly. I said this because there are many people who would have a problem with someone going out for a coffee with a lot of people, as well as there are people who would have no problem with the idea of having five kissing relationships going at the same time. And there are people who see little or no difference in such meetings, calling both kinds a date, regardless of how romantic it gets. I take none of the three views, but a view I described. Hope this has cleared up a bit.


No, my post was just a joke…sorry.


No worries… I just fly off the handle at the mention of dating, especially if it’s a sport kind of thing.


I don’t see dating as a sport thing, it’s just a term that people my age use, and “courting” is not used because it’s just not the people’s vulgar anymore.

I will not date non-catholics because I know if I do, I may drop into that “BUT I LOVE HERRR” mentality and never get out of it. Thanks for all the input guys & girls. I will read them over again.

And there is no way I’m gonna start consider marrying when I’m 27 or 28. That’s ridiculously old to start “consider” marrying.


Yes, I suspected you didn’t. It rang in the tone of your message. I don’t use the word “courting”, since the most correct meaning of it is a historical wooing ritual, the subject of it is a man and the object a woman. You basically “courted” a lady, meaning you were showing yourself off as a good catch and earning brownie points with the target and especially her parents. Needless to say, I don’t long for a revival of that. If this means that, given I hate “dating” as a concept and dislike “courting” in its proper sense as well, I’m left without a verb, that’s fine. Languages are only a medium for what’s in the head anyway.

I will not date non-catholics because I know if I do, I may drop into that “BUT I LOVE HERRR” mentality and never get out of it. Thanks for all the input guys & girls. I will read them over again.

A wise choice. I don’t recommend breaking up from an advanced relationship for this reason, but casting your net among Catholics only is a sensible thing to do. As you said, it will save you some bad dilemmas in the future.

And there is no way I’m gonna start consider marrying when I’m 27 or 28. That’s ridiculously old to start “consider” marrying.

I agree and I have to say the biological age ideal for mating no longer seems to coincide with the mental age good for it in our modern world. That age is about 19 for men, don’t know about the specifics for women, sorry, but obviously it doesn’t start later than with men. People generally finish their education at age 24 or 23 and they’re most typically hardly able to run a household before. Before WW2, it was similar, except fewer people did this and those were mostly men. I sort of understand those people who want a Master’s, then a year or two of getting used to work, then perhaps Master-after-Masted or PhD… It can be done while working and having a family, although the environment is hardly helpful and it’s generally hard to pull off.


Here is what I consider a date:

Any time that I go out with a guy friend, or someone I just met to any location (dinner, movie, hiking, etc) Now if its a guy I just met, I can usually tell after one “date” whether or not he’s either someone I am interested in seeing again or not. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want to be friends with him, just not interested in anything more than that.

I’m not really sure how you plan to get to know women unless you ask them out to do something (ie:a date)

I think its great to get an idea of what you want and to even have certain things that are an ironclad (being Catholic and so on).


Well, our definitions differ. I will even ask out a girl I’ve only just heard the name of if I seem to like her, given the right circumstances, but it won’t be more than a coffee. This doesn’t even absolutely need to be exclusive. I generally call it a meeting and most girls here would object to calling it a date if it’s a man they don’t even know. In fact, the romantic connotation is too much for my own taste, as a guy. This doesn’t actually differ much from meeting up with a friend. Now, once it becomes romance, such as declarations of love, interest, attraction, or physical signs of it, then I would call it a date if it weren’t between a girlfriend and boyfriend (I generally dislike these two words, but find me a better denominator…;)), I would consider it a date (girlfriends and boyfriends don’t really date, they just go out). This is the point where I believe it must be exclusive and informing everyone involved doesn’t make it right in my opinion. This is the sort of dating I don’t do. I don’t do concurrent romantic relationships.

What I dislike in dating in the typical understanding is that an utter stranger of a man approaches a woman strange to him and offers her an open-ended potentially romantic meeting and she accepts. I find this very disrespectful. It feels a bit like a personal insult. I think girls ought to be respected more than that.

I think its great to get an idea of what you want and to even have certain things that are an ironclad (being Catholic and so on).

I agree. I have my own shortlist of absolutes and a longer list of very important things too.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit