Relationships = happiness?

I am 17 and still learning my religion and there have been some things that have been bothering me. I have been reading on these forums for a few years now and one of the most common justification for doing something morally wrong is that it makes one happy. Now, I rarely am happy and how good is happiness of a measuring rod for life? I know that I should not cause myself pain, but, I get really suspicious of highly emotive situations. I love Catholicism since it is rational and I do not need have an emotional high to have faith. My spiritual life is poor, especially since I have very little time on my hands to pray and teach myself Catholicism.

What has been bothering me is how important are relationships in the life of a good Catholic. I have no friends because I have too much homework to hang out with anybody and when I do go to parties, I typically do not know what to do and do not have fun. And I get an ugly image of romance from what I observe. I am sick of the whole idea of soul mates which is prevalent in popular culture to the point that I am 99% sure most days that I will never get into a romantic relationship. It seems to me that the popular idea is that everyone is entitled to a sweetheart and the purpose of love is mutual pleasure although one has to go through a figurative minefield in order to find that person and most never come out alive.

I would very much love to strongly believe in the Catholic view of marriage and it is a beautiful view. But maybe it can work for some, but I feel sure that it can never work out for me and that I should never put myself out as a potential wife. I feel that I should just go life alone, although I have yet to have received a definite answers from God as to whether or not I am called to be single. It especially does not help that I doubt whether or not my parents actually love each other and I do not really know what a good marriage looks like.

And how much do friends matter or being with other people? I will try to find volunteer opportunities during the summer that will help me to hone my people skills. I have asked before in another thread if I have to be socially competent to be a good Catholic and most people answered along the lines of no, I do not have to be very social, outgoing, warm, etc. I still really should help people, especially now that I will have time. But, is it okay to be unhappy, not depressed but not being very joyful? Because I always feel like too much happiness is bound to be a trap. And, if I somehow offended anybody who tried and happily married, that was not my intent. Any prayers, reassurances, advice, anything would be appreciated. Thanks.

One way to look at it is that we are social creatures. We are created to love and be loved, to help one another, teach one another, and bring out the best in each other. There are different ways to do this (different vocations).

You correctly observe that romantic relationships as in popular US culture are not quite in line with Christian love. At your age and considering your parents’ relationship, it is all right to be reluctant about romantic relationships. In time you may develop a more favorable view of marriage. I am not saying you need to, but it could happen.

For now, you could just work on strengthening your existing relationships with classmates and family, simply by treating them with respect, honesty, and kindness. Beyond that, look for opportunities to make new connections with people around you. Volunteer work may be one way to do that, especially if you work as part of a team of volunteers.

I’ll pray for you. May the Holy Spirit assist and guide you always in your search for truth, joy, love, and peace.

I am 17 and still learning my religion and there have been some things that have been bothering me.

I love the humility! A lot of people could learn from this !:yup:

I have been reading on these forums for a few years now and one of the most common justification for doing something morally wrong is that it makes one happy.

Once you get into the world more, you’ll notice that’s often the case. What happens a lot is some folks actually think that lame excuses, red herrings and roundabout discussions cloak what the real motives. :tsktsk:

Now, I rarely am happy and how good is happiness of a measuring rod for life? I know that I should not cause myself pain,

but, I get really suspicious of highly emotive situations.

You should be.

I love Catholicism since it is rational and I do not need have an emotional high to have faith.

Emotions will not lead to logic. :nope:

My spiritual life is poor, especially since I have very little time on my hands to pray and teach myself Catholicism.

I don’t think that’s a journey you should be taking by yourself. I think you need some guidance from a priest or RCIA. Something formal you can turn to.

What has been bothering me is how important are relationships in the life of a good Catholic.

I have no friends because I have too much homework to hang out with anybody and when I do go to parties, I typically do not know what to do and do not have fun.

And I get an ugly image of romance from what I observe. I am sick of the whole idea of soul mates which is prevalent in popular culture to the point that I am 99% sure most days that I will never get into a romantic relationship. It seems to me that the popular idea is that everyone is entitled to a sweetheart and the purpose of love is mutual pleasure although one has to go through a figurative minefield in order to find that person and most never come out alive.

This is an excellent observation. A lot of that undoubtedly comes from American sitcoms where the better part of a decade revolves around “soulmates” who dance around each other until the end of season 5 or whatever.

Pop culture rarely reflects reality with relationships, except the fact that some people can and do sleep around. :rolleyes:

The truth is that there’s a lot compatible people out there.

I would very much love to strongly believe in the Catholic view of marriage and it is a beautiful view. But maybe it can work for some, but I feel sure that it can never work out for me and that I should never put myself out as a potential wife. I feel that I should just go life alone, although I have yet to have received a definite answers from God as to whether or not I am called to be single. It especially does not help that I doubt whether or not my parents actually love each other and I do not really know what a good marriage looks like.

It’s good to be thinking about life plans at your age, but I would be concerned that you would resign yourself to the single so early. If you’re 17 and in high school the whole dynamics of relationships will start to change sooner rather than later, and you may find yourself liking those dynamics and even meeting a decent man.

And how much do friends matter or being with other people?

Well, I suppose there is no moral obligation to have friends, but it’s kind of hard to go through life without any.

On some level, being charitable towards others may mean connecting with other people.

I will try to find volunteer opportunities during the summer that will help me to hone my people skills. I have asked before in another thread if I have to be socially competent to be a good Catholic

The best way to improve social skills is to practice. Please, please, do not let this be the reason to go out of your way to stay single. :frowning:

and most people answered along the lines of no, I do not have to be very social, outgoing, warm, etc.

:hmm:

Well look, you’re not going to find a social skills manual in the Catechism or Bible. The Church and God want us to be generous, and that can mean many things.

The things you describe would be greatly helpful in interacting with people, but I would say don’t force yourself into something you are not ready for.

And silent prayer—we need more of that. Just ask the souls in purgatory.

I still really should help people, especially now that I will have time. But, is it okay to be unhappy, not depressed but not being very joyful?

You know, I’ve always subscribed to the notion that people feel what they feel and shouldn’t necessarily put out a false front. I think one needs to be professional and courteous, but not pretend to be happy just to make someone else feel good. :rolleyes:

Listen, you can’t help what you feel. The Church even teaches that to some extent, but its what you do with those feelings that matters. If you’re mad, murder or hurting someone isn’t an option, and if you have lust, fornication is not okay.

The larger concern here is that if you’re feeling down all the time, you may need to get counseling and see if you have depression or something else. God does not want us to be miserable all the time.

Because I always feel like too much happiness is bound to be a trap.

Well, on some level and at certain times we are called to sorrowful reflection. As my great-grandmother would say “everything in moderation”.

And, if I somehow offended anybody who tried and happily married, that was not my intent.

One of the things about being in a stable marriage is that what other people say about it isn’t relevant, but I cannot possibly how any of what you wrote is offensive. :thumbsup:

Any prayers, reassurances, advice, anything would be appreciated. Thanks.

I will say that I like your forward thinking and that you’re trying to find logical, practical truths. It’s a refreshing read.

You are in my prayers, :gopray: but please consider what I have said. I think you’re a little too young to just stop trying. If something good comes your way in the near future, don’t just fight off the desire to try out a romantic relationship. Even seminarians are in some cases encouraged by their spiritual directors to date just to have the experience and maybe to test the vocation.

To answer the tittle equation, relationships can bring happiness----that is, the right ones.

I guess I really should have mentioned this head on, but somehow I didn’t. I go to a all-girls school and I have not really spoken to any guy my age in three years. There are some girls that do have boyfriends, but those of us who get a lot of homework have all but forgotten what a boy is. So I do not get an ugly view of romance from high school dynamics. A lot of my doubts actually come from CAF when I see people asking why they cannot do this or that with a boyfriend or girlfriend and especially from those who are concerned for a friend or relative. I came here to learn about the faith so I guess I should not even be reading those threads. But somehow I cannot resist even though at best, it will do nothing for me and at worst, it will make me paranoid.

People talk on here about getting a priest, but all five priests at my parish are everywhere with funerals and stuff and I tried calling but they are so busy. And as I said in my post, I am not depressed, I am just not happy either. And I respect my peers, so it is not like treating them wrong is the reason why I do not have friends. Thanks for the replies.

I don’t think it is an obligation to be happy on this fallen world, but be happy about eternal life. Look at people suffering from cancer. They are probably not happy most days, but they look forward to heaven, finally being free of that pain and getting to meet God. They are happy for the future, but not the particular moment. If you don’t already, establish a daily prayer time. Ask for guidance. Be open to what God calls you to do. The saints loved God so much they did everything they could to please Him. Their body might not be happy to do all this work for others, but their love for God made them happy. This is a lifelong journey we all must face. We must become dead to sin and to the interests of this sinful world. We should only care about what God wants.

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