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Let’s Face It: The Young Adult Catholic Dating Scene is Horrific

So recently I went to eat with a relatively large group of friends at a restaurant we frequent. We were celebrating someone’s birthday (one of the things you do as a great excuse to eat and drink whatever you want). I was sitting there with a great group of young adult Catholics (YAC’s), beautiful, professional, bright, and all striving to live their faith the best they can. I later realized something about the group that I had not previously noticed. Every one at the table was single! All the guys, and all the girls. We were a group of 20 somethings, either out of college and working professionally, or in graduate school pursuing a career; and no one was dating anyone at the table! Why was that the case? I had a moment of reflection thinking, maybe I’m part of the problem as well. Is there something wrong with me? Sad to say, although this may not be the case everywhere, I would venture to say that the situation I’ve just recounted happens all too often among young adult Catholic (YAC) communities in the country. And if this isn’t part of your experience where you're at, maybe you see the opposite, Catholics obsessed with their relationships and crawling into the cocoon of their “perfect” relationship avoiding all other friendships and relationships. So why is this the case? Why do I feel like the situation I’ve just described is all too common. I have a some theories.

1. Love of the Single Life

I’ll be the first to admit it, the single life is great! At no time in your life are you able to date and meet so many people and have so many great life experiences than when you are single in your 20’s. You’re single, going to parties, travelling, experiencing everything life has to offer without any huge commitments to tie you down. It seems so perfect right? That’s the allure of it. But ultimately, that has got to end. Many people feel like they missed out on this time of their life because they married their high school sweetheart and they even become a little jealous of those singles, in their 20’s, living life to the fullest, or so it seems. It's easy to desire the life you don't have, but YAC’s can be secretly jealous of those people who married “early” and started a family right after college or even before, because we ultimately desire commitment. We were not meant for ourselves but were meant for another, whether that means marriage or a religious vocation, living life for your own pleasure is fleeting and does not lead to true happiness. Sadly, not everyone learns that.

2. Fear of losing your community

This fear manifests itself in two ways: 1) Fear of having to change your friend group if the relationship doesn’t work out or 2) fear that if it does work out then you will have to spend time with your new relationship to the detriment of your friends.

  1. Fear of losing friend group - While the first fear is understandable, it’s irrational. How are you dating? Are your intentions made clear? Are you being emotionally mature and going on low risks dates (coffee shops, grabbing a beer, lunch) or are you emotionally investing too much, too quick and not setting realistic expectations when dating? If you're emotionally investing too much too quick, then it becomes nearly impossible for a dating relationship to just stay at the friend level without there being conflict. That’s called emotional chastity and it’s a thing!
  2. Being that couple who never sees their friends anymore - We all know that couple! They started dating, fell in love, and then dropped off the face of the Earth! Your most important relationship is your relationship with Christ. A husband loves Christ more than his wife not to put anything before her, but because loving Christ more makes it possible for him to love his wife properly and fully. God is love and the source of all love. This relationship is the foundation of all other relationships, and if a couple starts dating and you never see them again, that is entirely unhealthy and a sign of emotional unchastity. Any healthy relationship should enhance all other relationships around you, not sever them.

3. P.O.D. (Pious and overly devotional)

This can manifest itself in a subtle prudishness that arises in YAC’s. It goes something like this:

  • “You know I really like Johnny but he watches “Game of Thrones” and I just don’t think I could be with a man who subjects himself to that. I mean, I don’t want the father of my children to watch a show like that.”  
  • “You know, James is a good guy, but I heard him curse once and that just doesn’t seem like something I want in a husband.”
  • “Yea bro, Jessica is a great girl, but I don’t think she is really calling me to holiness.”

Granted, all of these concerns are not to be brushed off as if they don’t matter; and there have been many discussions as to whether or not a Catholic can watch Game of Thrones, but that’s beyond the scope of this post.

The point is, if you are disqualifying a person for not living up to some level of holiness that you have in your mind for your future spouse, then you’re missing something! This does not mean that the actions, or sins, or even virtues of the person you might date do not matter, it’s simply a recognition that the spiritual life is a winding journey, and if your future spouse does live up to the level of holiness that one would hope for, they didn’t come out the womb that way. If you’re still not with me, try this thought experiment: what in your life do you do, that if someone of the opposite sex did would cause you to disqualify them from being someone you would potentially date? And I am not advocating missionary dating.

4. Fear of failing in chastity

You may screw up! Get over yourself! You are not perfect and neither is anyone you are dating. There is a possibility that you will fall into lust or even overt sexual sin. It may be very prudent to withhold relationships until you are in control of your passions, but in reality are we ever totally in control of our passions? We need to bring this fear to the cross and relinquish it. This can be a subtle lie from the evil one who has accepted the fact that you have become resilient to sin and has relinquished himself to have you simply cut off from a life of communion or love.

“And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16

Why do you fear? Christ is at your side and has given you the grace you need! Step out of the boat and keep your eyes on him! We have nothing to fear!

5. Over Discernment

Our Lady of Perpetual Discernment, hasten to keep me where I’m at, always striving to never make a decision or commit to anything unless I have a private revelation or apparition from thee or Christ himself. Amen!”

This has become a legitimate problem with some YAC’s. Yes discernment is important and prayer and fasting to better understand God’s will is always recommended. But we can learn so much from St. Augustine when he said, “Love God, then do what you will.” If you are striving to love God first and foremost, trust in his promptings and in his providence that he is luring you toward himself and his plans for you.

6. Only focusing on your relationship with God to the detriment of every other relationship

As was stated in point 2, relationships with God, just like relationships with other people should enhance all of the relationships around you, not isolate you. I know some men who have done dating fasts, but I would guess that more women do this than men. It goes something like this:

  • “I’m not really dating anyone right now I’m just focusing on the Lord loving me right now.”
  • “Okay, that’s great! How long are you doing this for?”
  • “Not really worried about that just focusing on letting God love me and being able to call him Father.”

Some people call this a dating fast or a season of singleness. There’s nothing wrong with this and done properly it could reap some great spiritual fruit. I think it’s fair that if you do go on a dating fast it should be something that is known by people around you rather than just some internal commitment you make to God that only becomes known when you reject someone for a date. Here’s why:

If you are feeling this particular call to love God in this particular way and not date, perhaps you need to seriously discern (not overly discern) the religious life. God may be prompting your heart for the celibate vocation and you need to consider that as a real possibility.

There is also some practical considerations. If your dating fast is known, then you become more free to foster true friendships with people of the opposite sex. They know you’re not dating right now and both of you can foster a friendship free from wondering whether or not the other has an ulterior motive.

There’s also another practical consideration, if you are asked out on a date by a guy and you tell him you are on a dating fast, even if you legitimately are, there is no way for him to know if you are being truthful or not. He will most likely think you are just trying to get out of a date. You will cause him to either never ask you out again and miss out on an opportunity to let God love you through him, or give him false hope that at the end of the dating fast that dating is a real possibility, when you know it is not. You owe it to yourself, and in charity to the men around you to make this known. This could be used in an unhealthy way to procrastinate making commitments in your life and stay a perpetual discerner rather than helping you grow in love. You may be missing out on God loving you through dating which is the whole point of the dating fast!

Lastly, when you’re in the dating scene, you are playing a dangerous game of life and death because love is a battle between life and death, lust and virtue. You will be heart broken and you will suffer. Christ did not come so that we would not suffer, he came so that our suffering would be redemptive. The cross is the sign of that. You are entering a fight between light and darkness,

“But the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

If you liked this blog, check out the next post regarding this topic by clicking here!

Also be sure to click here to read my latest post: "The Craziest Thing I EverDid to Get a Girl's Attention and Why You Don't Always End Up With the Love of Your Life."

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More about Jesse

Louisiana guy, Theology Teacher, Godfather (paran), Armchair theologian, wannabe Thomistic Philosopher, Totally Catholic

81 Comments

    1. SO, SO, SO GOOD! Thank you for writing this and sharing it! I find myself frustrated with the Catholic dating scene all the time and this hits the nail on the head in so many ways!

      1. Thanks for reading Alyssa! I think us YAC’s are experiencing something in history that no other generation has encountered or gone through. It’s not accident that so many people are in the same situation.

    1. This is so great! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for posting!

    1. You nailed the crap out of the Catholic dating scene. It truly does suck. Haha. You write well and honestly! Loved it! Thanks, Jess!

    1. This is spot on! I think guys get most of the blame for not taking the initiative, but really, it’s this whole mindset we have as YAC’s. There’s so much fear. Thanks for bringing this to the light!

      1. Thanks for reading it Sharon. I think more needs to be written on this. At no time in history has so many people lived like YAC’s do, out of the family structure and isolated. There definitely more to be said.

        1. Thank you for your thoughts, Jesse.

          So… are you still single or what? It would be a good idea for you to try to fix this situation, you know? I could probably help.
          😛

      1. Your user name implies you are a women, so maybe you don’t know this, but a lot times, guys are told right out now to ask out women they meet through youth ministries.

    1. Thank you for sharing this. I recently went on a first date with someone… actually we’ve gone on three dates now. It has been refreshing (at least on my end) to get to know another person in a free way. The only thing is, he has had bad experience with dating before. His dates were way too serious/overly attached too soon and when he decided he didn’t want to see them any longer, they over reacted (badly). He expressed to me his fear of that happening and I just shake my head because I just want to get to know the man and see what happens! I am hoping that he doesn’t allow his fears to discontinue what we have so far. Aye! I pray God can renew this dating culture. I think that people are too sensitive, which stems from not being secure enough in themselves. If you were okay before, you will be okay after them. 🙂

    1. I would agree with your overall “diagnosis,” but I think you’re misidentifying some of the causes. Here are my thoughts on your 6 points.
      —–
      (1) The single life does have it’s flexibility, but most YACs I know don’t like being single, especially the further into their 20s they get. Most YACs are single not by choice, but because of circumstances (more on this as we go).
      —–
      (2) While it is true that many YACs take dating too seriously, I haven’t found that to be that common, especially because not enough dating is happening in the first place. A key function of Young Adult Groups, after growing spiritually, is growing in community, which is where you can get to know other people in a ‘pre-dating’ way. This should cause actual dates to be a lot more mellow, because you’ve already gotten to know the other person somewhat. As for couples who start dating and disappear, that’s really their problem, and even a sign of implicit selfishness. You should be part of the YAC community whether you’re single, dating, or married. While it is understandable that couples would desire more time alone, they misunderstand the point of the Group if they’re only attending for the purpose of dating.
      —–
      (3) I think you’re mostly right about this. People don’t give others enough of a chance, and not just for “overly pious” reasons, but for less important reasons, such as looks.
      —–
      (4) I think this is a YAC problem fostered by a wrong presentation of Theology of the Body, but I place it more in the spiritual growth category rather than in the dating category. I don’t think most YACs are single for this reason. That said, some have had a past, so this past can either make them too afraid to date or cause others to be too afraid to date them. So this does need to be talked about more, I just don’t know how much of a problem it is in keeping people single. I’ve actually found that it’s being single (or dating aimlessly) that increases temptation to sexual sins, not the other way around (since just being in a good relationship already helps satisfy some of our needs of intimacy).
      —–
      (5) Over-discernment is a bad thing, but I don’t think it’s a widespread problem, especially the older a YAC gets.
      —–
      (6) I don’t think people who are on “dating fasts” is a cause of being single, but more of a symptom that the dating scene is not healthy. When I hear people on that, it’s because they either are finally getting some stability in their lives (after a break up, reversion, etc), or they’ve been so frustrated about being single that they stopped thinking about dating so as to focus on something else.
      —–
      I think the real problem the Catholic dating scene is horrific is for a few reasons, though I think it’s more of a problem in society as a whole. First, from what I’ve seen, I don’t think there are enough healthy YAC groups in the first place. Only a few big cities have a vibrant YAC community. So there aren’t really that many opportunities to find other single YACs as would be necessary for there to even be a “dating scene” in the first place. Second, a lot of people have had a rough past, so this causes all sorts of problems for them to want to date or even pose red-flags for relationships. In Portland, OR, many of the YACs I know are from out of town, meaning their extended family is far away in another state. That’s ok if someone is young and just looking to explore, but it’s not good for dating stability if that person is “running away from home” or simply wont have extended family nearby should that YAC decide to settle down. Third, there’s a lot of fear/anxiety about how to provide for a family, especially among YAC men. Without having a good job for a good while, many YACs feel inadequate to provide. They just need encouragement. It’s a dangerous myth that YACs are professionals and/or are in graduate school. Most of them are average people, with average jobs, and maybe a bachelor’s degree. Our society has put a fear upon young adults that you cannot settle down in marriage unless you have an awesome job, which often puts pressure on going to graduate school, which ultimately keeps people single a lot longer. YACs need to be taught reality and know that the things they’re struggling with (financially, spiritually, emotionally, etc) are meant to be struggled with as a (married) couple during young adulthood…not struggles you do on your own until you someday (i.e. never) get it all worked out. I don’t think any YAC over the age of 23 is happy being single, and most deeply desire a relationship, there’s just a few key ‘road blocks’ they’re up against that they don’t know how to address on their own.

      1. Your last point, about fear of providing, is perhaps your most important. The Holy Father has spoken about the this concern, as well as the first (which he identified as having too many options). The feeling of too many options often keep the affluent from marrying, and the sense of too few options often keep the less affluent from the same.

        I also think that unrealistic expectations and unhealthy absorptions are set up, respectively, by romantic literature and films on the one hand, and pornography on the other.

        1. Thank you so much for saying so. Unrealistic expectations is a BIG problem in the US when it comes to dating, and it isn’t limited to the young. Hit 35 and as a woman you are invisible, especially to Catholic guys.

          1. Hit 35 and as a woman you are invisible…
            Patricia

            That’s the price of looking past so many good-enough young men while searching for Mr. Perfect with a long, long checklist no mortal man could meet during her prime “as a woman” a decade or more before she turned 35. To every female complaining about being “invisible” I say welcome to man’s world.

            1. That’s highly judgmental, and wrong. And indicates once again, the kind of spirit many single Catholics face — the Pharisees who assume so much of their walk and as to why they are single.

              Some might even, despite desire otherwise, meant to be single, and to live with that “thorn in the flesh” in order to motivate them to act in ways they wouldn’t if they were married. They might have tried, and been rejected without rejecting. Or they might have entered some relationships which mutually were seen as not right. It is not “they were picky.” Please. So many who end up single don’t do so because they are picky. But it is nice to see you can pick at the scab of their hearts.

            1. Micha, You nailed it. I know Catholic girls that snub guys in their 20’s and they forgot they are now in their mid 30’s alone.

        1. Both you, Ryan and Nick are so right. My poor brother is having a heck of a time dating Catholic for all of the reasons you guys talk about. The girls he finds just have completely unrealistic “storybook” expectations…and Prince Charming just doesn’t exist. It’s not fair of us woman to hold you guys to unrealistic completely two-dimensional expectations. Guys are real people, with real problems, and they make mistakes, they have self-doubt, they struggle to find work, most YAC guys take finding a spouse very seriously, and want to accomplish all of those things. But many young women tend to be so focused on getting their personal checklist ticked off when dating that they forget that God won’t always send you who YOU think is best for you, but often instead sends you who HE KNOWS you NEED.

          I know this first hand, because my own husband and I have exactly that story. I had my checklist, but when I took a step back and looked at my future husband I realized that the checklist didn’t even begin to encompass the whole person, the whole human being that was trying to communicate with me. I had to make a choice, to cling to something completely contrived from my own imagination, or to listen to the HUGE GLARING signals I was getting from this young man who God had very fortuitously placed in my life. I chose to torch the checklist and start with a simple yes to God’s will. And wouldn’t you know it, 9 years later, through long distance, college, ups, downs, and everything in-between’s we were still together, growing in faith and we’re married. Yes he’s not perfect, yes he’s not my “checklist” charming, but that openness allowed me to expereince him so much more, to open myself up to another person and see God’s plan in my future husband in SPITE of his imperfections and insecurities. It’s a powerful thing, and it requires a certain amount of risk and faith…but God took my little faith 9 years ago and gave me…well…the rest of my life with a man I now cannot imagine living without.

          Unfortunately not all women are willing to let go of their checklists…most of them lack the courage and the faith to let God actually help them.

          1. Hey Therese, I have two sisters who are single and looking. Let’s set one of them up with your brother! Email me if you’d like to play Cupid with me 😉 Amb.mick@gmail.com

        1. Her favorite pornography is called “romantic literature and films”.
          Only his favorite pornography is condemned and called pornography.

          Feminists call that ‘equality’. See how that works?

    1. Most of the Catholic guys and girls that are young do whatever they please with who they want when they want….where do you live Disneyland!
      There is no greater relationship than with Jesus…..you are experiencing repression and overlaying it to your scewed perspective
      Just sayin

    1. My husband and I started dating within a young adult community, and kept integrated with that community, and we where always open to making new friends still, and went to many group things. Many of our friends began dating and got married from that group, and stayed connected with others. Some didn’t date, and continue to still hang out with other young adults. I don’t see someone not dating as a problem. Maybe they are not ready for commitment. Maybe they just haven’t been asked (does that mean someone else is to blame??) Maybe they just aren’t attracted to someone in that group. Perhaps marriage is just not their calling. Maybe they will eventually go join a religious order, or end up with a single vocation like my brother who is in his 40’s (and I believe this is his calling). I don’t entirely believe that all people single are at fault somehow.
      Dating is something very personal, and nobody can make someone else make it happen.
      I find it very positive that YAC have peers with similar beliefs to hang out with during those single years! That is really a blessing to have that! I don’t regret my young adult years spent in community, and I don’t regret my marriage. I am so happy with every day and every phase I have been blessed to live through.
      Also, I have noticed that it seems much more common to find people marrying at later ages, at least here on the East Coast. Where in the Midwest I see a lot of younger marriages (in my family anyway). This is just my observation, and not a researched statistic. However, have you ever thought, that people weren’t really planning it that way. They didn’t say, “I will have a career, then marry at 28”. A lot of times, they just haven’t met that right person until then, even though they may have known a lot of other great Catholics throughout those years.
      I guess I just look at it differently than you do. Maybe from the other side. Maybe it would be good for you to take a poll with random YAC. Ask them. See how many really like to get married. And if all they really want to do is party, then naturally they are not mature enough and ready for a commitment, (so don’t rush it on someone that’s not mature- that’s how we get high divorce rates, and so many seeking an annulment), but thankfully they are surrounded by a good crowd, so that they won’t get into as much trouble, can encourage each other, and live more virtuous lives.
      Just saying.

      1. I think you may have misunderstood me. I never said that YAC’s planned to live this way, it is simply the cultural situation we find ourselves in.

      1. “Maybe they will eventually go join a religious order, or end up with a single vocation like my brother who is in his 40’s (and I believe this is his calling). I don’t entirely believe that all people single are at fault somehow.”

        Just so. Our fixation on marriage is a distinctly modern and even Protestant phenomenon. The pre-Protestant world was very content to have monasteries and the like, and every family had one or two who never married or remarried after widowhood. That’s how life goes.

        Martin Luther and Henry VIII were fixated on their illegal marriages. The modern world sees children and childbearing as an economic drain (it is not) and puts up obstacles to them. We Catholics fall very much into Reformation-Enlightenment-Progressivist mistakes every time we look to sociological causes and mechanical or engineering solutions to them (though I do not say the author had attempted such a solution).

    1. Wow, you really put a past relationship into clear terms for me with # P.O.D.

      I was in a relationship with someone like this for a couple of years and it made me feel terrible about myself because of how scrupulous she would be.

      I felt like I was in a constant battle every second against myself and any small error (e.g. a curse word, or watching modern t.v. shows which have mostly secular themes, etc.) would make me feel perpetually guilty.

      I have been out of that relationship for a couple of years now and feel a lot better but that guilt can still haunt me. I know my relationship with God and pursue it in earnest, even though I may fail at times.

      1. What’s the solution? Courtship? I don’t necessarily believe courtship is solving this problem either…I almost feel like in certain ways it is exacerbating it….

    1. Thanks for posting this. It is so true. I have heard that you shouldn’t be looking for someone you should just let the right person come, and i agree with that to a degree, but I also believe that if you don’t look, you won’t know when the right one comes. And I think that ties into being overly devotional because so many people think “oh, I’ll just let God find the right guy for me.” For all they know is that God did put the right guy in their life, but they did not realize it.

    1. I’ve seen two groups in my community. The first one, everyone got married (I arrived late to this group) and had kids and now have weekly potlucks to keep the community going. They’re awesome. The second group is the singles group you mention. But the problem here, at least from the ladies’ perspective is that the gentlemen WON’T MOVE AWAY FROM HOME. It is ridiculous. Some even bring their mothers to events. I understand being financially independent, but it someone can’t find themselves and be independent by 30 (or even after college–in our area the cost of living is low), how can they be responsible within a family lifestyle? That’s being dependent. One the guys side it’s “why doesn’t SHE ask me out?” Seriously. The more than one guy in our group talked about this a couple days ago at a party. And it’s not like some of the ladies in the second group haven’t asked fellas out. Again, this is a group of young professionals. They’d rather meet strangers than date each other.

      1. You bring up some interesting points. I know that for most American Catholics it is actually inappropriate for a man to leave the home of his mother before he is married. This is especially true for say Hispanics, Italians and other southern and eastern European groups. When did Catholics start demanding individualism as a sign as adulthood? Very interesting.

        And why don’t more women ask more men out? The is nothing is our faith that says women have to be passive when it comes to relationships and yet we mock women brave enough to initiate and pursue as “desperate”.

        1. Heck!! Women asking me out?!?

          I’d be content if they would just get past their caller ID and answer the darn phone the day after a date. lol

          After all, I asked you out, I paid for the whole thing, and you got to show up and eat for free.
          I wish we would get past the selfish approach that our technology enables, and start just extending the simplest forms of human acknowledgement and courtesy again. There are ways to reject a guy without telling him explicitly that you are rejecting him (just think about it!)….so ladies,…..just know that most guys would prefer some kind of rejection as opposed to being ignored. Don’t worry so much about hurting our feelings, if that is what your are hung up on. On the other hand, if you just don’t like finding a way of rejecting a guy, because you feel that the whole process is slightly messy, and you don’t want to “go through that,” then perhaps you should wait to date until you can think of a better way to deal with another person who also does have feelings.

          Hey,….I’m sure us fellows do plenty of stupid and thoughtless things, and I apologize for me and the rest of us. This complaint of mine above doesn’t stop me from asking women out. It does, on the other hand, give me insight into how I will raise any daughters that I might end up having, in the way that I teach them about how to handle interactions with other people.

          1. Joseph, I agree with you whole-heartedly…I’m so sorry you have been treated that way. I’ve always made it a point when it did happen that something wasn’t working (and it really only happened one major time) but I was explicit and clear, but I was also polite. You guys put a lot of yourself out there over and over again and that must be so incredibly difficult…I hope someone can see that in you and values that in you because that’s the kind of woman you deserve…someone who can see the whole person and appreciates who you are.

            1. Thank you for your kind words, Therese P.! 🙂

              I wish you the best, too!

          1. Alright George Costanza, btw, girls would rather ignore a guy than outright, verbally reject him because girls are afraid of guys when they get angry.

            1. Hey, Emmy!,

              Well, George Costanza? Not quite! 🙂

              Sometimes I wonder if there is a gap between me and others,…..I’m not in my 20s, but not yet in my 40s,….so I’m not so young as some people are. Then, there is the fact that I was raised in the Old South. Expectations and manners were different there and then. My parents and grandparents weren’t, in the way that they formed us, the parents and grandparents of today.

              I’m not some kind of hot-head who gets angry if a woman rejects me. I just think it is polite to interact with someone, and usually never polite to ignore someone.

              I suspect that you are right that some fellows get angry if a woman rejects him verbally in an outright manner. I’m not defending those men. However, please see my original post…..you can “reject” someone verbally without saying “I’m not interested in you” (or some variation thereof). How about this….if you answer the phone, and he asks you on a second date, you can tell him that you are busy that night (and also, remember that you should not volunteer to him that you are free some other night). If he calls you another time after that, and you do the same thing, he’s going to get the fact that you aren’t interested (since you are not telling him “Oh, George, I know I said that I’m not available on Friday, but I would be able to go out on Sunday.”) So, you can acknowledge his existence by answering his call, but not be hooked into seeing him again….and he’ll figure out you aren’t interested.

              I guess I’ve also seen so many people make the excuse,…”Well, there really isn’t established etiquette for the internet or the phone or texting…..we’re just in a new world, and there aren’t standards.”
              To that, I would say, “Yes, there are standards. Just because ‘the world’ doesn’t want to acknowledge them doesn’t mean that we, practicing Catholics trying to lead Christian lives, are somehow exempt from decency and simple kindness toward others.”

              Thanks for hearing me out! 🙂

              Joseph

    1. I will also add this: dating is hard today. Both gents and ladies I know have told me they’ve been dumped because they didn’t put out and wanted to wait for marriage. Let’s face it, we are not what society says is “normal”, but that is okay with me.

    1. A lot of great stuff here Jesse. I would add three other points that I think are part of the problem. The first is pornography. Unfortunately a lot of people in the Church, especially guys, have a problem with it, and it’s pretty well known that pornography addiction hurts a persons ability to give of themselves and to commit.

      The second is not a lot of ladies and gents understand how to date, because those that know don’t teach it or know how to teach it. It’s a bit like your numbers 3 & 5, except that we are talking nuts and bolts. I was at a young adult round table on this discussion one night and the guys were in one room and the ladies an another, and at one point I asked the married guys “what did you do to court your wife.” The response was “just be yourself.” Which is the problem for someone who by being them self can’t even get a date or keep a relationship going. Once I figured out the words and actions to use it got so much easier.

      Finally, as a kind of a continuation of the second, YAC’s lack good mentors and community because we put them in situations that prevent that community. How much of YAC activity involves going out to eat? Families can’t afford to do that so much. And there’s often a stigma against bringing younger children. And there’s a rule against older people being a part of the group. Having older people with families actually helps people date better because there’s no fear of leaving community and single folks have more mentors to work with.

      1. Excellent post. The answer to, “what did you do to court your wife?” is, You do what it takes.

    1. I am 37 and have been in many young adult groups. They can be great for friendships but terrible for dating as you have been finding. Where I would differ, is to look outside the group for dating possibilities. Keep those people your friends. Why mess that up? There are so many online dating site including catholic ones – you can find singles there to date. And when in all likelihood it doesn’t lead to going down the aisle, both people can go on with their lives freely.

      The only time I would say you should date someone in a freind group if you think that person is the one. But in that case, go all out. It may ruin your friendship group but that is a risk you have to take. Otherwise, stick to online. There is your solution.

      You are right though too many people are ok with just being friends and living the single life. Too many men and women are just friends now and not enough people are dating. That needs to change.

      1. Pat, this is the best and most practical advice I’ve ever read on the topic of Catholic young adult groups and dating. Thank you.

    1. ha! This is fantastic. I’m a 28 yo YAC woman from Australia and trust me, we face the same problem over/ down here!
      I’m currently dating but this is still the case! I know so many singel Catholic women and so many single Catholic men – DATE PEOPLE, DATE!

      I lov the quote from St Augustine that you referred to “Love God, then do what you will.” This can be applied to every pary of our lives – vocation, career, extra-currcular activities. We have to learn to trust ourselves and trust God, that he will guide us in our lives. But we have to LIVE in order for him to open doors and create opportunities.

      Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts Jesse!

      1. I have heard that here is actually a shortage of men willing to date Australia, is this true? I see a lot on message boards about Australian preferring expats rather then the women they grew up with. I wonder what could be causing this!

    1. I have to say I think your observations are spot on. Yes not everyone is like this, yes some groups differ, but I did see this myself. I was part of a Catholic young adults group and the young, single, guys in the group, who claimed to want to get married some day, seemed to have a hard time just asking the girls out. I ended up dating a lot of non-Catholics outside of the group because… well… they were the ones that actually seemed to know what dating was. And my husband now? When I met him and started dating he wasn’t Catholic. And trust me, I wasn’t missionary dating. It was a very stressful time, but I saw many things in him that let me know he was a great man. He eventually joined the Catholic Church before we were even engaged because he wanted it clear this was for him and not for me. Some time later he asked me to marry him, and now we have been happily married for two years.

      (I actually think the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” screwed some people up on that front)

    1. I’ve been very heavily involved in the fairly large Boston YAC since 2007, and until the birth of my first child this fall had served as the facilitator/leader of one of the biggest/most well attended groups in the city for most of that time, and I actually disagree.

      It’s true that there are many single young adult Catholics in these communities, but I don’t think that means that the dating scene is bad or that what is motivating these young adults is necessarily bad. There are two related reasons that I would argue this.

      First, while I think that the reasons cited in this piece do have their roles in keeping people from dating, in my experience they are not the primary reason. Rather, from what I have seen, the most motivating force at play is that young adult Catholics take marriage, relationships, and respect for the totality of one another’s persons seriously.

      That’s a mouthful, so let me unpack it by means of a juxtaposition. The average secular dater is interested in making a connection with another person for the moment. Attraction is often based on more superficial aspects of the other person. Marriage may not even be on their radar, and there is at least the implicit assumption that their relationship is probably going to end. When relationships do end in the secular world, they often do not end well and there is a lot of heartache and often worse to go around.

      In contrast, most of the young adult Catholics that I have known have views that are almost diametrically opposed to these. They don’t assume that every first date or even relationship is going to end in marriage, but seeking a spouse is very much the reason that they’re dating. Rather than being attracted by the superficial, they tend to develop interest over time as they get to know one another as friends. Men don’t wait until they’re sure they want to marry a person before making the move, but they do wait until there’s something more there than “she’s pretty,” or, “she seems fun,” because they don’t want to idly put a girl in the position to be let down or to have her hopes dashed or heart broken. The result of this is that I have never really seen a “bad breakup” in all the relationships I’ve seen over all these years: the two have almost always been able to stay friends.

      It’s important to distinguish what I’m talking about here from over-discernment, which is certainly a bad thing that does happen at times. Rather, what I’m talking about here is the fact that the young adult Catholics that I’ve known and been around these 9 years have all seen dating as something to be treated with respect and taken seriously, which means that they do not date nearly so often or so easily as those in the secular world do. I don’t think that this is because young adult Catholics date too little or have standards that are too high, but because those in the secular world date far, far too often with standards that are far, far too low, and we have seen the social disaster that that has produced.

      The second reason that I would disagree with this assessment of the young adult Catholic dating seen is that, in my experience, the “slow and steady” approach that I see most young adult Catholics employing *works*. Over the years, our Boston young adult community has produced no small number of faithful, God-fearing marriages. A few years ago, a friend of mine and I were discussing different approaches to dating and we started to list all of the marriages that had come out of the community and we realized something: not one of them had started with a casual, “low-pressure” date like so many (this piece included) lament not happening more in the young adult Catholic community. Every single one of the marriages we could think of had started with two people being involved in the community and developing a friendship over the course of months before the question of dating or romance came up between them.

      Now a few years later, it’s still largely true. There have been a marriage or two that came about from a casual date, but these are alongside *dozens* that started as two people developing a friendship in the midst of a faith filled community and then eventually realizing that hey, they might have something more here. Make no mistake – as much as we are talking about the lack of the more “casual” dating here, it happened plenty often enough that it ought to have produced more marriages if it were really the way to go.

      So in the end, I can appreciate what is being said here, and insofar as the reviewed problem points happen, they are detrimental to the health of the young adult Catholic “dating scene.” There’s no question that people do over-discern, spend so much time on their relationship with God that they don’t see the people he is trying to point them towards, have standards that are WAY too high and eliminate people from consideration because they aren’t perfect, etc. These things are problems. However, I don’t think that they are the main reason that people fail to date more often. Rather, I think that young adult Catholics date less often because they know that dating is not so careless a thing that it ought to be an every day or every weekend endeavor, but one which when treated with respect and prudence will yield the best fruit.

    1. 7) Slim-pickings. It is ROUGH out there, even in Catholic circles.

      When I was single (I married at 33), I didn’t want to be. I wasn’t being too picky, and I also had no idea what true marriage looked like – a total giving of self. Most men I knew were porn-addicted and/or unwilling (underneath it all) to give up their independence for a wife and family. Not to mention that I think we should teach more about theology of the body, and fostering a life-giving community, even of singles. The giving of oneself away, whether married or single, should be the focus. It’s a sad, mad world, and Catholic circles don’t necessarily offer an optimistic alternative.

    1. I don’t agree with assessment of the Catholic dating scene. I think if you and most of your Catholic friends are single, it’s easy to think that everyone is single, and the dating situation is to blame. No, I don’t have statistics, but I believe that devout Christians, Catholic and Protestant, are more likely to get married at all, and more likely to get married young, than the average person. I got married when I was twenty-two, and am now thirty. I am part of a large circle of Catholic married couples, almost all of whom were married by their mid-twenties, and met in Catholic circles. In my town there is also a “young adult” scene like the one you describe, but I’ve never participated in it, because no matter how many times you say married people are welcome, I can’t meet up at a bar at 6:30 when I have five kids to put to bed. My point is, someone in that YAC group might look around and say “wow, everyone is single around here,” when actually there are lots of married people, we just have a very different culture and social life.

      1. Definitely this. I’m mid-20s, married, and have a toddler, and YA activities simply aren’t catered to me or scheduled with me in mind. It’s not kind or practical to expect young parents to attend these.

        I’m sure to some people I am part of ‘that couple.’ But the simple fact is that when you’re single, you are in a state of searching, and are having your emotional needs fulfilled almost entirely through friendships. But when you’re married and a parent, the majority of your emotional needs are fulfilled by your spouse and children, and your free time spent cultivating your vocation, and the anxiety is replaced with the deep peace of said vocation. Friendships are still essential, but they take on a totally different role. If a single friend, or single person activities, demand a single person level of commitment or emotional investment from a married person, vocation must come first.

      1. Very well said. Although, there really is a marriage crisis; both in the culture at large and in the devout Catholic subculture.

    1. Pathetic and True at the same time. You have perfectly described why I am absolutely not now, and not ever, interesting in “dating Catholic.” It would be like a Jewish man being forced to date a Jewish woman, when he’s only attracted to Gentiles. That’s basically how this article, and the parts of it that match up with my own experience make me feel.

      So completely true and pathetic. I’d soon date Episcopalian or Russian Orthodox before I’d ever touch a Catholic. All the pompous arrogant “discernment” and “Oh my God he watched Game of Thrones” bullshit have turned me off Catholics for good! I’m impressed to find an article which can at least admit it!

      1. I would caution you against making sweeping generalizations about anyone, if you don’t like people doing that to you why do it to others just because of their faith? Just…food for thought.

    1. I’m 29. got a B.S. Engineering, was married at 25 to a woman I dated since 18, same job for 11 years, and have a son. Here’s some advice for yak (wow, really, young catholics are categorized AND acronymized?) men looking for a date
      #1- Is she hot?
      #2- No seriously, bro, how hot is she?
      That’s what you’re looking for, whether you admit it to yourself or not. So work with that. Yak women are saying (remember, this is advice for yakmen)
      #1- Does he work for salary or hourly wage? (if salary go to next)
      #2- Does he make >= salary than my dad? (if > go to next)
      #3- How much more? (if >> go to next)
      #4- Will he ask me to marry him?
      And I totally agree with Charles nunno. Charles, spouses are most likely your last chance to bring somebody into the church so go for it. Or make more money.
      (certain liberties, like saying whatever I want, were taken in formulating this post)

    1. I totally relate to number 6, my excuse not to date is usually that I am focusing on my relationship with God. I was discerning whether or not to become a sister for a while, but I don’t think that’s the life God wants for me. Se eventually I will date again. Thank you for writing this lovely and relatable article!

    1. Waiting into your 30s to marry and have kids sucks. I wish we had done it ar age 23 or so. Having kids later is much, much harder. Fertility issues. Loss of energy. Work complications. Seriously, pull your heads out of your discernment clouds and get hitched. Maybe we should go back to arranged marriages. The divorce rate was lower, more kids were had, and hey, you might get some land or a cow!

    1. Jesse, in the scene that you described, all the men and women at the table were either working in professional careers or in grad school on the way to a professional career. Why would I (I’m a single 32 year-old Catholic man) want to marry any of those professional women, though, when I want a wife who will be primarily a stay-at-home mother? Those professional women might be good company for hanging out after work, but that doesn’t make them wife-material. Will those women be willing to adjust or suspend their careers when they have children? One of the commenters noted that after age 35, women are invisible to men. So maybe, instead of spending their 20s in grad school and professional jobs, women would do better if they spent that time focused on finding a husband. Feminism has ruined Catholic dating just as it has ruined dating in general.

      1. That is a very good point. A lot of women think that being highly educated working professional makes them more desirable as a wife when that can’t be further from the truth.

        We should strive to be who God wants us to be, not society.

    1. Nah dawg, here’s the problem.

      You Christian males are wayyyyyyyy too BETA! Women are attracted to the ALPHA, the bad boy, the exciting dude. You beta-Christians are TOO EASILY PUT IN THE FRIENDZONE by the most desirable women. A woman only has to be good looking, or not more than 20 lbs overweight, to get MORE than enough attention from a bevy of interested males. Women don’t want the “NICE GUY”. They want a good, confident MAN. Women feel no urge/compulsion to make themselves available to a dude, when there’s another bland version around the next corner!

      Nice guys finish last. Everyone knows when you see the “Christian Fish” on a car it means P&##%!

      Go out and watch Fight Club, and then do THAT! You think Jesus was an effeminate NICE?? guy?

    1. You are diagnosing the problem but you are not even close to understanding the cure. You are failing to recognize that you didn’t fulfill your inherent responsibility to get married and provide and be a man at a young age. To be a man, the most important thing was to get married, and to provide, the college and career was a means to that end but you don’t sacrifice the end to get the means. At 18 ya gotta start trying to get married, at 26 you think you’re gonna pluck one up? That’s not the way it should be, that’s not the way it ever was.

      And telling our daughters that they need a career, they need to go to college, what are you telling a woman by telling her that she has to be prepared to provide? It lifts that beautiful providing thing, it lifts the value of a man. You tell a woman that she has to be prepared in the event that the man won’t pull through. Really by telling a woman that she needs to go to college you’re really telling her that she probably won’t get married. The parents are sucking the worth out of the daughter’s man by telling her that. She is inadvertently sucking the worth out of the man that she is making wait until she gets her career. It is emasculating. By prioritizing a career she is sucking away a man’s sense of value and responsibility. A woman pulls out the man’s potential. Taking that away from a man is a travesty.

      When you’re in your 20s and you’re single there is an emptiness. Sure it was fun but it was empty. To say that “It has got to end” like the fun singlehood must end, you’re missing the boat. The single years are empty.

      There is a lot wrong with this post. Let’s begin with the underlying problem. All of these YACs waited too long. All of these “beautiful, professional, bright”, single Catholics have something in common. In their youth (pre-college age) they were all focused on what college they were going to attend and what degree they were going to get and what career they were going to pursue. What you think about is what you do. All of you YACs had your priorities wrong. You should have prioritized your dating life over your professional life. But in our culture that would have been “irresponsible”. Now you are stuck with the consequences.

      Then you say that “Many people feel like they missed out on this time of their life because they married their high school sweetheart and they even become a little jealous of those singles, in their 20’s, living life to the fullest, or so it seems.” Wrong again. No practicing Catholic would trade places with those singles. They always knew they “had chosen the better part and it would not be taken” from them. Any jealousy that you perceived was pity jealousy, not real.

      And, “if a couple starts dating and you never see them again, that is entirely unhealthy and a sign of emotional unchastity. Any healthy relationship should enhance all other relationships around you, not sever them.” Wait for it… Wrong again! “For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” If a man would leave his parents he would certainly leave his friends. Because you are still single you don’t understand the blossoming relationship and its delicate beginnings and the joy that the two have in each other. Rather than being put off by their preference to spend time alone or with other couples over their single friends you should take notes so you can learn what to do.
      • Further, ““You know I really like Johnny but he watches “Game of Thrones” and I just don’t think I could be with a man who subjects himself to that. I mean, I don’t want the father of my children to watch a show like that.” By the time the guy is a “professional” he is pretty set in his ways. You marry what you date. When you are older (passed the age of 25) is not the time to lower your standards. As a youth (pre-college) people are malleable. They don’t care about stuff like a guy watching Game of Thrones when they are 18, they are experiencing so many cataclysmic changes in life that they know nothing is permanent and that everyone is still young and enjoying themselves. When you get to be 25 or older single people get set in their narcissistic ways, they want things a certain way and they won’t tolerate someone who doesn’t seem to fit with it.
      I’m not going to dissect this further but the upshot is this: By the time y’all are professionals your goose is cooked, your ship has sailed. You’re not going to (and probably shouldn’t) settle for less than a person who will mesh perfectly with your preconceived notions of a spouse. You YAC professionals should learn from your mistake and preach to your mothers and fathers and younger siblings and anyone who will listen telling them that they were wrong to steer you to make the “responsible” decision to focus on your education when you should have been focusing on a spouse! YAC men have a chance with a young woman, but the YAC women, give it up. My advice? Colleges have dorms for married people, USE THEM.
      Recommended reading: Anthony Esolen, Defending Marriage and David Goldman, How Nations Die

      1. Emmy, I think the main idea you’re missing here is that being married is not the culmination of our faith. Is it a beautiful vocation with great potential for true, self-giving love? Yes. But if our lives and our energies are put towards finding a spouse, that’s idolatry. The ultimate goal of life is to find God and then to find Him more fully..
        Therefore, I would be careful of downing on others, particularly women, for pursuing a career. It’s not as black and white as you think. God blesses all of us with many different desires and callings that can bring us closer to Him. For me, that’s the vocation of marriage but also the vocation to be a counselor, both of which I’m working towards at the same time. Why? Because that’s where God is leading me. Just like He leads others to marry at a younger age or not pursue a career. It’s not one size fits all, which is what you seem to be trying to make it.
        Also, to put so much emphasis on one relationship (spousal) is not only limiting God’s power in your life, but will ultimately lead to much hurt. Everyone will die and no one can quench your desires. Grasping at a relationship to avoid those truths will unfortunately only ruin it.
        Lastly, this time of being single does not have to be empty, as you claim. Much like “Adam” in the garden, it’s a time of formation and growth, which then enhances all other areas of life, marriage included…if that’s your vocation, of course. 🙂

    1. Sharon, in this post I am addressing YAC singles who want to get married. If they don’t want to get married, that’s a whole different problem. I have been observing the state of Catholic singlehood as it has developed over the last 25 years and our Catholic culture is experiencing a marriage crisis. Our culture at large is experiencing a marriage crisis, a family crisis, as well as a population crisis. Did you pay attention to the World Meeting of Families or the Synod on the Family? Why so much attention from the Magisterium on family?? What our society desperately needs right now is precisely: YACs to get married and have children, but they won’t. The older they get the less likely they are to get married. Catholics used to refer to procreation as paying one’s “debt to society”.
      The vast majority of people wants marriage, has a vocation to marriage and should get married. There is a problem and it is with our culture, even our good Catholic culture and the problem is manifest at high school age when people like you devalue marriage to the very people who put their faith in you to give them good advice. The counselors in our culture are guilty of talking young people out of their true vocation, of interfering with God’s plan. Even good Catholic parents of good Catholic high schoolers going to really good schools are guilty of this; advising their kids to postpone dating and marriage until after college. The very people who should be getting married and having families. I was just talking to a 20 year old good Catholic man who told me that he isn’t going to pursue a girlfriend until, not just he has graduated, not just until he gets a job, but until all his college debt is paid! That’s crazy! Whatever happened to going through this stuff together as a couple?
      Nobody is saying that one’s spouse is the only person one should have a relationship with, that would be ridiculous, but I wouldn’t pretend to decide broad cloth the formula for how much emphasis people should put toward which relationships and when. Everyone is different. The marriage relationship is not just another friendship, it is different, you take vows of fidelity to your spouse, you don’t do that for other relationships. Marriage was elevated to a Sacrament by Our Lord. In our culture we are not at risk of overemphasizing the importance of marriage, rather the opposite, we under emphasize and devalue marriage to the point that people don’t think we even need it any longer. They think that a vocation to marriage is just like a “vocation” to a career and is in competition with a “vocation” to a career. These are not mutually exclusive and the more important one is the marriage, put it first and the other stuff falls in line.

      For further reading, read anything by Mark Regnerus, and this is interesting:
      http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/the-case-for-getting-married-young/274293/v

      1. Emmy,

        You make the mistake of assuming ALL Catholic young adults are avoiding dating when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of us are trying really hard to find a Catholic spouse.

        1. Don’t exclude non-Catholic men or women from consideration, just quickly rule them out if you can ascertain that they are not open to conversion. It’s probably good to be upfront about that. I’ve known very many men and women who convert while in a relationship before they get married and are more fervent Catholics than cradle Catholics. Again, the older you get the more baggage these men and women come with, and the more set in their ways they are, so it gets more difficult. Keep in mind that the average age of first marriage is 26 but the average age of having a first child is 25.
          I know a single 30 something Catholic who really wants to get married who got close. A fear of “losing freedom” crept in and it was over. That doesn’t even cross the mind of younger people. They don’t fear losing freedom, they see marriage as exercising their freedom. I know it’s not that simple but it is certainly less simple the older you get. Freedom is the freedom to do as you ought not the freedom to do whatever you wish, as Bishop Fulton Sheen put it. Are we here to serve or to be served?

      1. Emmy, I can’t agree more with you on every point you’ve made. I think there’s a few things that are missing from what’s really the problem with YACs.
        – Being “patient”. We have this culture that is mellow and laid back about important things such as marriage and religion. The problem is that because of this, there’s no sense of urgency or pressure put on people. Honestly, lots of young people need to get a kick in the butt on this issue and have someone ask them “why aren’t you married/dating someone?” They should not take offense to this issue and instead see it as valid fraternal correction and maybe it will make the YAC move quickly.
        – I think this goes with the first but this notion of “friends first” is nonsense. I understand we live in a dangerous culture and it’s harder to trust people but we need to stop moving so slowly on the dating process. There are lots of YAC who want to be friends first before they start getting serious. That is exactly why the dating culture is horrific. Men aren’t designed to move slowly. They pursue quickly or else they lose interest. And women don’t like men who move slowly either. Women want to feel desired. This is why they wear makeup while men don’t. They don’t want to be guessing if a guy is attracted to her for a whole month. She wants the confirmation through the man asking her out on a date. Women are also attracted to decisive men. She’s not going to like it if a thief is in the house and the guy is indecisive on what to do. You get out the gun or other weapon and take him out. That’s what you do. Here’s the solution: become friends while you’re dating. You can be best friends when you get married 9-14 months later. You’re not supposed to know everything important about a person before you get serious with them. You’re going to figure out a lot of important things about your spouse after you get married. Get the basics about your person of interest and then go out on the date. Very simple.
        – I firmly believe that a lot of people have a notion that “it’s on God’s plan/time.” That’s true, but it also requires human cooperation. We think our solution is to keep praying for a spouse. Nothing wrong with that but the real solution is to actively look for one. Let someone know you’re interested. Do it quickly.
        – We don’t have a system that is specifically designed to get men and women together for courtship and marriage. Back in the early 20th century, the Church held dances that were designed to start their path with getting a partner. They weren’t purely social gathering. These YAC social gatherings you see today aren’t designed to get a partner. Which is fine, non-marital relationships are fine but there needs to be a complementary program with the expectation of them to find a partner. Back then, from a young age young people had pressure put on them and society and families expected them to get married. This was a good thing even though the young people didn’t necessarily like it at the time, I am sure they were glad that someone was giving them a prod.
        – We can pretend that “the single life is great”. It’s great if you’re supposed to be single. It’s not great if you’re supposed to be a clergy person or married. You’re disobeying God’s call and that puts your salvation at serious risk. The author even admits that most of the YAC don’t want to be single. I wonder why. That’s very telling and it proves that being single is not so great after all. No, it doesn’t mean you’re miserable 24/7 but to say that you’re okay when you have this nagging feeling in your soul and conscience for years and years and the fact that there are dozens of posts on the internet about this very problem doesn’t tell me you’re all that happy and fulfilled. You sound frustrated and something is missing. Let’s stop pretending that “being single” isn’t the problem. Studies have confirmed over and over again that married people are happier than single people. Genesis does say it’s not for the man to be alone.
        – You are absolutely right about the increasing age of marriage. When you’re young, you’re like silly putty: you can shape your habits and behaviors easier, you can learn new skills, and most importantly, you can stick to something (in this case, someone) MUCH easier. When you’re older, you’re like a rock: set in your ways, hardened, and when you try to rub against something, it scrapes and causes friction and heat. Marriage is no different. You get married young: you learn to grow and learn things together which is valuable. Not to mention, women can conceive much easier and both parents will have more youthful energy. But if you get married older: you have two people who have lived for themselves for a good while and are set in their ways. Something tells me that marriage doesn’t sound all that wonderful. Besides, our hormones start cranking at 13, do people honestly expect YACs (especially men) to be chaste? Our drive is given to us for a reason. Waiting 12+ years is not living in line with how God designed our bodies. Men do lose their pursuit skills when they creep towards their 30s. Our youth is valuable and it needs to be used as God intended. If we don’t, we’re going to be miserable. That’s why all of these YACs are complaining about this problem. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be saying anything.
        – Finally, with regards to women in the workforce, I agree as well. Unless the man is unable to provide for the family, married women with children are better off as a homemaker. Women are expected to divide their energies between God, raising the children, AND a career? That’s not how it works. I think a lot of young woman have a problem with this and don’t want to give this up and makes them hesitant for marriage.

    1. There’s also the fact that, due to no-fault divorce and related laws, marriage is a huge risk for men. At whatever point she feels like it, a woman on a whim can kick a man out of his house and out of his children’s lives, and suck his paycheck for years. That to me, as a single man, is a dreadful prospect. This makes it all the more important to find a woman who is sufficiently Catholic as to abhor divorce. Yet even if a man finds such a Catholic woman to marry, nevertheless it will still be the case that the only thing preventing her from ruining her husband’s life by divorce is her own conscience. No other pressure restrains a woman from divorce: her family and friends will probably support her decision to divorce, our culture celebrates divorce, and now even the Catholic Church is making it easier for people to receive declarations of nullity and seems to be on the brink of allowing divorced people to receive Communion. So essentially a man getting married today is gambling his future on the stability of his wife’s conscience for the next 40 or so years. This is a gamble that I’m hesitant to make with any but a very good, Catholic, virginal woman. (And yes, I am a virgin myself; so I’m not demanding anything that I can’t offer in return.)

      1. You’re like Jake, get a hold of yourself:
        http://youtu.be/aY4YOsjCI-Q
        Or you could get married and your wife could die, or become disabled, or get in a car accident. OR You could marry a woman who raised your child to be the person who changes that No-Fault Divorce Law and restores order to the country. Marriage is the riskiest thing that anyone ever does, but that’s what men do, they take risks. You can’t win if you don’t play.

      1. You sound like Jake, get a hold of yourself:
        http://youtu.be/aY4YOsjCI-Q
        So, you waited so long because you wanted to be responsible, to get your money in order. Now that everything’s in order, you have your money and now you are afraid of losing it. You see the problem you got yourself into?
        Or you could get married and your wife could die, or become disabled, or get in a car accident. OR you could marry someone who raises your child to go on to change that no-fault-divorce law and return our society to order. Marriage is the biggest risk anyone ever takes. But that’s what men do, they take risks. You can’t win if you don’t play.

        1. One difference between suffering an accidental misfortune (early death of a wife, wife gets in a car accident, wife becomes disabled, etc.) and divorce is that accidental misfortunes are rather rare, whereas divorce is estimated at 40% of marriages. Obviously any choice in life involves taking risks, but those risks are usually manageable, whereas success in marriage is statistically almost a coin toss. Would I fly on a plane if there’s 40% risk of a crash? No. Would I want to take a job that has a 40% risk of dying or becoming disabled in the course of doing the job? No. Would I want to enter into an agreement with a woman when there’s a 40% chance that I could end up as a slave*? No; that’s why the only appealing prospect of marriage would be with a woman who is (1) a Catholic and therefore rejects the idea of divorce, and (2) a virgin who can pair-bond properly with me.

          *And it’s not that I’m afraid of losing my money. It’s that I am indignant at the prospect that I could essentially be turned into a slave (i.e. a person who works but involuntarily transfers the fruits of his work to another) to an ex-wife and her boyfriend.

          1. Marriage to a non-Catholic is inadvisable. The Church prefers Catholics not enter into mixed religion marriages. In this blog we are discussing single Catholic women who are probably mostly virgins. These women are top notch. They are exactly the women who should be married and rearing the next generation.
            From your previous post I see that you seem to strike out with YAC women because they all have a vocation to their careers first and foremost. That is one of the concerns that I am addressing. The vast majority of these girls don’t start out that way. They talk themselves into career orientation due to influence from parents and counselors and the culture and out of fear that they won’t get a good man and will have to be independent. Eventually it sticks and they truly become career oriented. The solution for you is to be assertive and up front; by doing so you will be able to excavate the pearl that has not been consumed by her career. You’ll probably have most luck with the younger women, sorry to say about the younger guys, but, you’ll offer stiff competition to the YAC men that haven’t noticed that they are heading down an undesirable path. Oh, and read Anthony Esolen’s book, Defending Marriage.

    1. Reading this article and all of these comments makes me feel like putting more effort into finding a relationship. I’m 26 and I sometimes feel like I wish I was married at 18. I could have got a lot more done in my life and not wasted 8 years on athletics and useless pursuits. I really like the idea of being married to someone I love. My experience so far has been 6 months of trying to find a relationship in person and on CatholicMatch. I have certainly reached out to a lot of women, met a few in person. I find few who are interested in communicating, and even fewer who are willing to put in effort. A lot of women seem to say they want a relationship but when it comes down to their plans I hear more college, travel, sports, and other interests that keep them occupied and they are too busy with young adult life to actually connect with someone. I suppose if I was particularly unattractive I would chalk it all up to them letting me down easy, but I consider myself a viable interest for women with mid standards at the very least, maybe even a few with higher depending on their preference. I just don’t see how they can make time in their life to have a phonecall, talk on skype, meet up on occasion, and communicate enough to get past chit-chat with how busy they are. Then others that do communicate and even one I met in person had clearly not taken the time to read my profile, or to consider what I was looking for. I could have told them over the phone that our futures didn’t look particularly compatible if they plan on travelling the world for the next five years while getting an expensive college degree in “whatever sounds good”.

      I’m probably on a bitter rant because I’m hungry, please forgive my negativity. It has only been six months and I’ve come closer to at least one relationship so I guess I just need to develop my patience.

      1. I’m on Catholic Match too, and I think that when women write in their profiles that they travel and play sports and engage in other past-times which cost a lot of money and time, they may not realize that they come across as being high-maintenance. Perhaps they think that they are making themselves look interesting and exciting, but actually to me they seem simply unready to settle into the mundane routines of married life and raising children. It’s like the point I made about women who have careers: are the world-travelers and athletes willing to suspend those activities when children come along?

        Or perhaps those women completely intend to keep up with those activities after marriage and children, in which case they must be looking only for a very rich husband. Perhaps by writing about those activities they are even trying to deter any but a very wealthy man from striking up a relationship.

        Unfortunately in our culture things like travel and athletics are glamorized, whereas they are for the most part unnecessary luxuries.

    1. Late to this thread, but here goes:

      Guys, if you marry her, you can be reasonably confident that she’s probably not going to kick you to the curb by divorce, take your kids, and suck part of your paycheck for the rest of your life if she is a God-fearing woman. And a God-fearing woman may be identified while she is single by her insistence upon living chastely and modestly before you marry her – meaning, no sex, no living together, no overnight dates, no X-rated entertainment, and little R-rated. And she dresses, acts, and speaks with modesty. That’s a partial portrait of a God-fearing woman for you, right there. And once married, a God-fearing woman will divorce you most likely only for the very most serious of reasons – for example, because you raise your hand to her or to the children (beyond a smack on the tush as needed), or scream at and berate them something chronic, and this goes on for months. Then, yes. Otherwise, probably not.

      A college education nowadays is needed for a white-collar job. However, the traditional mission of most Universities was never to prepare men for a particular professional career; it was to prepare him to be a partaker of and a contributor to a civilized culture – to the world of men and women who were well-read, who understood and appreciated history, the visual arts, literature, music, philosophy, sciences and mathematics, law, all of these disciplines, in short, to participate in and appreciate the life of the mind of the soul. To see and appreciate what is good and beautiful in the world and in people, and to spread that good around. To read. And read. And to love books and reading. To be able to think, speak, and write clearly and well. To be an excellent conversationalist and a stimulating companion. To love music. To be able to discuss music and perhaps to perform on some instrument. To be able to tour the world alone, or with a group of a dozen or with a hundred, and to be able to fit in well at each port-of-call, to be prepared to enjoy and appreciate each culture, and to return home with wonderful stories and sketches. And when one does joins an office or a business, to be able to apply oneself to learning what goes on and what is expected of one’s position and to execute these duties diligently and with excellence. That’s what a university education used to be for.

      And still is for some people. Let not young women miss out on the opportunity to become the woman God intended her to be, and the well-read, well-educated wife and mother she was meant to be, even if her vocation is to be a SAHM for her entire life. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      1. In our society people can either get a liberal arts degree to “educate the man” or a degree required for them to participate in a certain occupation. Either one has a price but neither should preclude early marriage. Some of the most educated people I know learned from reading, not from university education. Today reading is free and education from most universities would not result in a well-educated person.

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