Proper Dating


#1

I have read much advice on this forum regarding dating. It is starting to get to me. :(

Many people advise not to date non-Catholics. Others frequently advise dating only those who have marriage potential.

I am not really marriage minded. I am not opposed to marriage, but neither am I in a hurry. Nevertheless, I enjoy women and date fairly often. I have recently been on a streak! :D

I do not discriminate based upon religion or any other criteria which would preclude eventual marriage. The topic of religion usually does not arise. Basically, if a woman seems nice and we have some common interests, I ask for a date. Recent dates included a bike ride to a park, skydiving, and attending an outdoor festival. They were all fun.

Am I doing something wrong? :confused:


#2

I can’t see that you are doing anything wrong unless you are trying to have some kind of sexual relationship with the people you date.

BUT, enjoying doing various activities with the opposite sex and enjoying each other’s company, getting to know each other, etc? Seems pretty normal to me.


#3

Just the skydiving. :eek:


#4

[quote="PatriceA, post:2, topic:205956"]

BUT, enjoying doing various activities with the opposite sex and enjoying each other's company, getting to know each other, etc? Seems pretty normal to me.

[/quote]

That's what I thought!

Why do so many people give the other advice? I was beginning to think that all Catholics looked at dating differently than I do.

Thanks. :thumbsup:


#5

Hi, MtnDwellar!

I’m with you…all those activities sound like fun dates (though skydiving seems scary!) A date doesn’t have to be any much more than a man and a woman spending time (chastely ;)) together and learning about each other. I think it’s fine, as long as each person is on the same page about what each wants , expects, and defines the social occasion as.

As to your other question, I suppose they advise to wait to date seriously to help keep chaste and to not lead anyone on. Also, to date seriously within the faith can pre-empt challenges later down the road. And sometimes “dating” as a word has certain connotations to them than it does to you.

I personally won’t date non-Catholic men because

  1. I’ve constantly heard never to go into a relationship knowing I’d want to aim change the man. Gotta love him and deal with him as he is, which can’t be reconciled with #2
  2. Eventually I want a Catholic husband to share Mass/prayers/adoration/catechesis of the children with. And as soon as I know my date won’t consider converting, I know the relationship has very little hopes for a future, and I’m tired of relationships that go nowhere.
  3. In some cases, my policy eliminates guys who won’t consider chastity

As long as your dates are treating women with dignity, you’re doing right!


#6

This is sometimes a problem. I assume that the person who I am asking on a date approaches life from a good moral standpoint. I suspect that they assume that I am like other men who they’ve dated and also like themselves. Expectations do not get discussed until after around the third date. A difference in expectations can end the dating.

I have to say that it is much easier to end dating that did not involve sex. Others who jump into sex on the first date and find differences on the third date have a lot more trouble.

Dating only Catholic men will limit you. Not that that’s a bad thing. But, if you meet someone under secular circumstances and he asks you on a date, how do you determine if he is Catholic?

I am thinking that you are dating in order to find a husband??? That seems to be the norm. I am back to suspecting that I am in a minority.


#7

[quote="MtnDwellar, post:6, topic:205956"]
Dating only Catholic men will limit you. Not that that's a bad thing. But, if you meet someone under secular circumstances and he asks you on a date, how do you determine if he is Catholic?

I am thinking that you are dating in order to find a husband??? That seems to be the norm. I am back to suspecting that I am in a minority.

[/quote]

The purpose of dating is to discern marriage. One can "date" many people, or one can approach it from a "courtship" perspective.

But, always the purpose is to discern a suitable marriage partner.

You can certainly go have fun with a variety of people, men and women. But, one-on-one in the context of a "date" it should be to advance to a next step and eventually marriage. To just "date" perpetually is not healthy and can become an occasion of sin. After a date or two, you know if peronalities compare and if you have conversation, etc. Then, yes, it is appropriate to determine if the deeper components-- faith and values-- are there. If not, it is certainly wise to end it up front. It is after one becomes attached to a person who has faith and values different from you that the rationalizing and compromising begins.

If you "date" but only one or two and then move on, always keeping women at an emotional distance, perhaps you have some other issues that you are not dealing with.


#8

[quote="MtnDwellar, post:4, topic:205956"]
Why do so many people give the other advice?

[/quote]

I'm beginning to think it's more of a generational issue than anything else. Not too long ago, it was very uncommon for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic, so those that entered those marriages were considered to be "bad Catholics". But realistically, the issue wasn't that people were "better Catholics" back then, it was that you married people on your block and in your ethnic group. A South Philadelphia Italian man would date a South Philadelphia Italian woman, and they'd both obviously be Catholic because all Italians were Catholic. Now, there's much more communication and people meet and get to know a much wider range of social and religious groups so it's inevitable that you'll meet many more non-Catholics.

Dating has also changed. Before, you basically had a checklist ("Italian? Check. My parents like his parents? Check. Catholic? Check. Not unattractive? Check. Let's get married.") or your parents knew each other and you basically grew up together and were supposed to get married. People didn't have to be in love; they grew on each other. Now there's an emphasis to find the exact perfect person with which you are completely compatible. In that sort of dating scenario, it's likely that you'll be highly compatible with a non-Catholic. "But being Catholic is the most important thing about me." There are many people that are de facto Catholic but are de jure protestant. You can be compatible with someone like that without compromising your faith (and you can possibly even convert them).

Of course, you also get the "holier than thou" people on here that just like to feel superior. So if you marry a non-Catholic, you've compromised your faith and are not really Catholic. If you attend Mass that's not in Latin, you're not really Catholic. If you don't sit in the front row, you're not really Catholic. If you take CITH, you're not really Catholic. If you don't wear a scapular, you're not really Catholic, etc.


#9

[quote="MtnDwellar, post:6, topic:205956"]
Dating only Catholic men will limit you. Not that that's a bad thing. But, if you meet someone under secular circumstances and he asks you on a date, how do you determine if he is Catholic?

[/quote]

You either only date people you meet in church or you take a very old fashioned approached to dating where you basically know someone before you date them. Or you could take the approach of having a check list someone must complete before they get a date. But that will run off most people.

Yes, dating is about finding someone to marry. But before that can happen, you have to get to know people, so I think it's fine to date someone you know nothing about and then to learn more about that person as dates progress. Then if there's some deal breaker, you end it. No big deal. Then you date someone else.

I don't think you have to go into any dating scenario with a clock counting down towards the wedding, but you need to 1) be open to marriage if you're called to do so and 2) work towards knowing enough about a person that you learn enough to marry them. So, what you want to avoid is a case where you date someone just to date (like "Yeah, she's an atheist, but that's fine because she's hot and I'm not going to marry her anyway.") or a case where you don't learn anything about the other person (you never talk about anything long-term - not to say that you have to do that by the 3rd date, but it's something that eventually needs to happen).


#10

I am seeing some feedback which is opposing my view. That's great!

Perhaps the difference is what the term date means. For instance, a female trainer at the gym invited me to join her at the pool in her complex on a very hot day. I showed up. We hung out. I learned that she keeps a couple of horses boarded. I told her that I am interested in riding and would love to ride with her. This morning she invited me to ride later in the day.

I don't consider her as marriage material. She is too young and also seems very superficial, but, apparently we both like to get wet on hot days and also ride horses. If I follow some of the advice, I should decline to go riding. -UNLESS- This is not what is referred to as dating?? :confused:


#11

[quote="MtnDwellar, post:10, topic:205956"]
I am seeing some feedback which is opposing my view. That's great!

Perhaps the difference is what the term date means. For instance, a female trainer at the gym invited me to join her at the pool in her complex on a very hot day. I showed up. We hung out. I learned that she keeps a couple of horses boarded. I told her that I am interested in riding and would love to ride with her. This morning she invited me to ride later in the day.

I don't consider her as marriage material. She is too young and also seems very superficial, but, apparently we both like to get wet on hot days and also ride horses. If I follow some of the advice, I should decline to go riding. -UNLESS- This is not what is referred to as dating?? :confused:

[/quote]

If the trainer were a male, would you have accepted the invitation? If so, that's not dating. That's just hanging out.

You seem to view "dating" as two people doing some stuff together because you both happen to like that stuff.

I promise you, this female trainer did not invite you to the pool and horseback riding because she just wants someone to hang out at the pool with. She's interested in YOU. She's expecting this to go somewhere.


#12

For the record, I am dating to find a long-term relationship that may end in marriage. I don’t have a clock or a checklist. Just general ideas of what I know I like. I want to have it all - Catholic and compatible!

Dating only Catholic men will limit you. But, if you meet someone under secular circumstances and he asks you on a date, how do you determine if he is Catholic?

I would ask him. Maybe not on the spot, but first dates are about learning about each other, and my faith is a big part of who I am. His response will tell me volumes.

I don’t consider her as marriage material…but, apparently we both like to get wet on hot days and also ride horses. If I follow some of the advice, I should decline to go riding. -UNLESS- This is not what is referred to as dating??

Everyone has different definitions of what “dating” is. If you’re both cool with taking things outing/date by outing/date it’s not that much of a problem.

Expectations do not get discussed until after around the third date.

When I said expectations, I meant…when horse rider asks you to join her, ask…is this a date. Sometimes a guy and girl can have wildly different ideas about what they’re doing, when all they have to do is be clear from the get-go…“Would you like to go out with me? Would you like to go on a date? Beach on Saturday? It’s a date!” etc. And then if it goes well…“Do you eventually want exclusivity? What do you hope to get out of dating?” etc. Sounds to me like you date to have a good time.

I have to say that it is much easier to end dating that did not involve sex. Others who jump into sex on the first date and find differences on the third date have a lot more trouble.

Oh yeah. I follow The Rule. No sex on any date 'til I’m married. Hence wanting to date Catholics who are aware of The Rule and hopefully follow it themselves.

I think the main issue is that many posters have years of experience on us, different formation growing up, and are truly good-hearted in wanting to pre-empt pain or frustration that they themselves may have felt just dating around.


#13

"Hanging out" with people is great, but casual friendships have a way of escalating, and you might find yourself on a path to marriage with someone with long-term moral incompatibility. Therefore, instead of "hanging out" with people you would never marry, you might want to spend that time finding and "hanging out" with people who will be morally and spiritually compatible for marriage.

  • curl

#14

[quote="curl, post:13, topic:205956"]
"Hanging out" with people is great, but casual friendships have a way of escalating, and you might find yourself on a path to marriage with someone with long-term moral incompatibility. Therefore, instead of "hanging out" with people you would never marry, you might want to spend that time finding and "hanging out" with people who will be morally and spiritually compatible for marriage.

[/quote]

Are you arguing that you should only spend time with people you would marry?


#15

[quote="1ke, post:11, topic:205956"]
If the trainer were a male, would you have accepted the invitation? If so, that's not dating. That's just hanging out.

You seem to view "dating" as two people doing some stuff together because you both happen to like that stuff.

I promise you, this female trainer did not invite you to the pool and horseback riding because she just wants someone to hang out at the pool with. She's interested in YOU. She's expecting this to go somewhere.

[/quote]

That's not an absolute. Sometimes its just about hanging out and getting to know somebody, even if they are the opposite sex.


#16

[quote="1ke, post:11, topic:205956"]
If the trainer were a male, would you have accepted the invitation? If so, that's not dating. That's just hanging out.

[/quote]

Yes, I would go swimming or riding with another man. But, I don't think that is a good test.

[quote="1ke, post:11, topic:205956"]
You seem to view "dating" as two people doing some stuff together because you both happen to like that stuff.

[/quote]

That is pretty close to how I view. There is also the added element of getting to know the other person on a more intimate level which is not so prevalent when hanging out with a guy.

[quote="1ke, post:11, topic:205956"]
I promise you, this female trainer did not invite you to the pool and horseback riding because she just wants someone to hang out at the pool with. She's interested in YOU. She's expecting this to go somewhere.

[/quote]

Yesterday was fun, except that the day ended up being very hot and we did not ride the horses hard or for very long. We spent a couple of hours in a tapas restaurant. She told me that I seemed different than other guys who she has gone out with. I think that may be a good thing???

I guess it was a date. :confused:


#17

Are you arguing that you should only spend time with people you would marry?
[/quote]

No. I’m not suggesting that you should only spend time with people you would marry. Sorry if I sounded too authoritarian or biased.

First point: It seems to me that people naturally often end up drifting into dating relationships with people that they hang out with. Then dating relationships often drift into engagements. Then we end up with threads like “Help! My pastor won’t marry us just because my fiancee is .”

Second point: In marriage, many issues develop that focus on core values of spirituality, morality, and family priorities. In casual dating, the central issues are often no more serious than about preferences for movies. So we end up with threads like "Help! My fiancee is pushing me for " or "Help! My spouse won’t stop hanging out at " (even though they actually met while hanging out at ).

So, I’m not suggesting that a person should ONLY spend time with people they would marry, but instead that they should make sure that their set of friends they spend time with should INCLUDE a broad set of people that they COULD foresee themselves marrying. Even though a person might not reason this way in advance, they might well end up marrying one of those friends, or someone that they meet through one of them.

  • curl

#18

I suppose there's nothing wrong with dating someone who you like hanging out with. Many of the best married couples are not only husband and wife but also best friends. If you have a great time with a girl, like doing the same things, get on well together, there's no reason not to keep things going. I wouldn't want to be too rational about dating, having a checklist girls have to conform to before you'll date.

At the same time, the one thing I can say, as someone in a relationship with a Catholic girl at the moment, is that it's hard enough, once you fall in love with someone, to keep within the bounds of chastity, even when you both believe in it and want to help eachother stay chaste. I think it would be almost impossible for someone to keep chaste (and the Catholic idea of chastity is very different to the way some Protestants see it - it's about a whole mindset, not just avoiding the actual act of sex) if their girlfriend or boyfriend wanted to have sex and they wanted to wait.


#19

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