Dating within the Catholic circle can be somewhat of a tricky, awkward, and frustrating experience. The problem stems from different sources, from the destructive messages we receive from the pop culture, the contradictory advice from mentors, speakers, and friends, and the prevailing attitude of passivity among millennials in general. And we stumble through it all, learning from one mistake after another. It’s always hilarious to tell stories of our battle scars over glasses of wine with the girls. But definitely painful and awkward going through it each time.
I think both men and women have our own respective weaknesses we need to conquer when it comes to this area of life. In future posts, I will write a bit about the insecurities we ladies encounter in the dating world, and the common mistakes we make. It’s a bit harder than I thought. But I do want to attempt it if only to show that we are not alone out there trying to figure it out in all this muck. It’s important especially since the rate of Catholic marriages and infant baptism has decreased significantly, and we need more strong Catholic families if we want to set the world ablaze!
But first, I wanted to let you know about a series my friend David from This Restless Pilgrim started on his blog. He strives to answer the often raised question about why guys lack courage in asking ladies out on dates. I’ll provide a brief recap, but each post is worth a read. The series is ongoing until the end of the month, and I hope he’ll address a couple of things that he’s yet to bring up. We’ll see.
So far, the reasons he’s brought up are:
Fear of rejection: This is the most obvious answer. “This fear of being shot-down is very real for a lot of guys, particularly those of the more sensitive variety. The lack of confidence and fear of rejection can lead to a paralyzing insecurity.”
To this, I say nothing worth doing is going to be easy. And I also want to point out again to the ladies that we shouldn’t be the ones to pursue. Pray for more courage among our men, but don’t be the one to initiate anything. This can set an awful tone for the entire relationship, in which you will have to always take the lead and therefore put on an unfair burden on yourselves.
Fear of commitment: This isn’t exclusive only to Catholic Christian men but to the male population in general. “Men are not forced to grow up in the way they were in previous generations. Previously, the path into adulthood was fairly clearly defined: education, occupation, marriage and then kids. However, now adolescence is extended well into a guy’s twenties and thirties. During these years he can continue to behave like a teenager, but with the advantage of having a disposable income and no parental supervision!”
This is a bit discouraging phenomena in our day, but I like David’s advice that well intentioned single Catholic men hang out more with their married male friends. “If those who are husbands got alongside their single male friends, they could be a real catalyst for change. This is because those who have already received the Sacrament of Matrimony are in the best position to show to others the joy that is to be found there.”
Being Stuck As Friends: The friends first approach is always the best one, I think. “After all, it makes sense to get to know someone, that person’s character, personality, interests etc., prior to the big rush of hormones and emotions that come with dating. The “high” that comes from being in a relationship can leave one blind to the warning signs.”
However, there are many pitfalls that comes from this approach that he addressed. For example, guys get stuck in the comfortable “friends” phase and cannot muster up courage to get past the ambiguity. While I do think it’s posible for men and women to be friends, I cannot emphasize enough that emotional boundaries should be maintained. It is easy for a guy to get comfortable in the emotional comfort he gets from a girl and treats her as a girlfriend without the emotional commitment on his part. David talks a bit about this in the next article. I think there’s also the temptation for women to lead on guys they’ve already “friendzoned” because they enjoy the attention they get. So always remember the most important thing is to love the other and act in a way that is selfless and in their best interest.
He’s just not that into you: This is also another very obvious answer although it is a blow to our pride. But hey, both sides have to gracefully learn humility as I can’t imagine it feels all that good for a guy to be rejected by a lady he’s approached, either. Ladies – let’s swallow our pride, stop overanalyzing, and accept our friendships at face value. It can save us a lot of emotional energy and grief. And watch out for times when “a guy will ‘emotionally espouse’ himself to a girl. He does this so that he can get from her all the emotional intimacy and support that he would from a girlfriend, but without the hassle of actually having to date her.”
I tried keeping my commentaries short as there is so much to say about each of these topics. Inspiration for future articles! Keep an eye out.
David goes further into detail on each of these topics so go check out these articles!