Monday, July 11, 2011

default dating...

... for the most part I am happily single. I enjoy time with my family and friends and not dating keeps things remarkably uncomplicated and free of the dramatic histrionics typically associated with dating.

When I really put my mind to it I can convince myself that introducing a male love interest into my social circle would upset the delicate balance of my universe. Bluntly, I am set in my ways. Damn, I sound old.

Naturally, my main focus has always been my son. I have to think of both our physically and emotionally safety when dating. You can clearly see it's rarely worth the effort. I know that sounds terrible. I just want to illustrate how easy it is to get quite comfort, and yes. content, with being single.

Then there are days when I have my moments of weakness. I'm only human, and in my human weakness I desire a deeper companionship than friends and family can't provide. Usually these moments of weakness are precluded by bad days and lots of stress. You know, those days where you just want another human being there to help you shoulder the burden. Simon. Like today...

Today I asked for a raise. I didn't get it. Then I went back to my desk to sulk and think bitterly about the child support I am not receiving and the bills I can't pay. I wished I had a partner to help me financially. Which led to me to consider re-activating my Catholic Match account.

Are you horrified by that logic? You should be. How dreadfully superficial. And to all my male readers, I sincerely apologize. It is a shamefully shallow and opportunistic logic. Men as paychecks. It's hard to even type it and make the admission. Embarrassed, I even started to rationalize it... men are supposed to be providers right?

On my way from work I stopped in and paid a visit to Our Lord; adoration. I needed some Fatherly advice. He reminded me why I Nun Gaze. I start nun gazing and get all sorts of fanciful over romanticized notions of religious life when I feel the farthest from God. If it's been ages since I prayed that sudden over whelming urge to get thee to a nunnery grabs hold.

He also reminded me that I've said many many many times, if I don't remarry I am joining a convent when my son is grown. Vocation by default? Is that a legitimate calling... I'll answer for you. No.

No apply this realization to my current mood today. Dating by default. Um. No. To reaffirm I am making the right decision I read over my previous "research" on the subject of Catholic Courting.

Need I say more?


Rob said...

Everything you said makes perfect sense. That is to say, I know what you mean.

Christopher Lake said...

For me, on the issue of dating, it's quite simple (though not pleasant): By (most) American standards, I'm too poor to really even be *able* to pursue a romantic relationship, so the financial reality of my life basically makes the decision for me (at least for now).

Honestly, I struggle with it, but this is simply the life of the over-educated yet unemployed Catholic man in America, with a physical disability, who can't even drive a car to get to a job (whew, that was a mouthful).

Maybe I should just finally move to the Philippines, where most people are dirt-poor, and nobody minds?

Offering it up, once again. Glad to be Catholic, so that I can do so.

Old Bob said...

Great post, Kat! Thank you!!

Jeanne said...

If I were to find myself single again, I think I would probably stay that way too. Having been married to a non-practicing, bitter "catholic", for 14 years now, there are certain things that I will NEVER, EVER, make a compromise on again. I would probably eventually enjoy being single and become just as set in my ways. One marriage is enough. You get to a point where you know where not to tread, you know what sets the other person off, you know what compromises you can get them to make... You get comfortable... Why start over again?? Too much work. I could never do it again.

lgw said...

i think we are sisters from different mothers!

Christopher Lake said...

Sometimes, I wonder if one's very willingness to take one's Catholic faith seriously (especially in modern-day America) simply means that one is much more likely to remain single-- partially, because there are fewer of us *around*-- many fewer, in comparison, to the general population?

A strong consideration for me, relating to marriage, is that, even if I *were* better-off financially, and in a better place to provide (and thus, marry), I *still* would not want to marry anyone other than a serious Catholic woman. I have been a committed Protestant. Been there and done that, for years. While I know that not all Protestants are passionately anti-Catholic, as I was, there are still many differences, stretching back to the Reformation, and experience has shown me that all too often, in Catholic/Protestant marriages, it is the Catholic who ends up compromising on their faith-- especially on the raising of their children *in* the faith, which Catholics are obligated to do-- and I will not compromise my Catholicism just to be married. Not an option.

Perhaps, if I met a very "Catholic-friendly, Catholic-curious" Protestant woman, I would consider dating her... but honestly, I doubt it. I don't say that in harshness at all, but rather, out of love. If my wife and I can't take the Eucharist together, I would rather remain single. It would be too painful to live in that kind of divided family.

As it is, alas, my financial state currently precludes me from even dating, so these thoughts are theoretical-- but I know what I believe, and on what I will not compromise. "Missionary dating/marriage" happens all the time among Catholics, and sometimes, it does actually lead to the other person becoming Catholic. I wonder about the wisdom of much of it though, *not* based on my own opinion, but based on the apostolic, Biblical witness on the subject. St. Paul wrote against being unequally yoked... (he commanded us not to be so, in fact), and when I consider the implications thereof for marriage, missionary dating/marriage seems like a very risky proposition. For those for whom it has "worked out," that is wonderful-- but I'm not willing to risk it *not* working out. It's a very serious proposition with very serious implications.

Mike L said...

Kat, I feel pretty much as you do about this topic. I'm not anxious to remarry; the enormous investment of self that's required just doesn't seem worth it to me anymore. I don't want more kids, and with more years behind me than ahead of me, I should at least start focusing more on the world to come than on this one. But even though I'd love to enter religious life, having to pay child support till I'm nearly 70--and I do pay it--makes that impossible. So, like you and countless other Catholics, I'm just a celibate lay person--a state of life I never aspired to, and find nothing to celebrate in, but which seems to be the will of God for me. And that's what I've learned to be content with--most of the time.

It's natural to yearn sometimes for certain things that only marriage can legitimately bring to one's life, such as companionship, a firmer financial footing, and (for us men at least) sex. But wanting such things is not the same as truly loving another person; therefore, they are not good enough reasons to marry. That's the clincher for me. I love my family and my friends, who love me back; I have satisfying work and reasonably good health. So if the prospect of giving myself totally to another person "for better or for worse, till death do us part" is not my main reason for considering remarriage, then there is no good reason to do it--especially since I have failed to keep such a promise before.

Like you, therefore, I don't find reason enough to date either. The point of putting up with the drama that would entail would be to remarry, which I don't really want any more than you do. I think you're showing good sense and honesty.


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Steve T. said...

"Are you horrified by that logic? You should be. How dreadfully superficial. And to all my male readers, I sincerely apologize. It is a shamefully shallow and opportunistic logic. Men as paychecks. It's hard to even type it and make the admission. Embarrassed, I even started to rationalize it... men are supposed to be providers right?"

Kat, thank you. It's amazing to hear an American woman admit to the current American objectification of men as hairy ATMs. I have been converted into one such by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by a "wife" who's happily won the divorce lottery, and is living fat and happy on half my salary, in the house we jointly own but that she succeeded in having me barred from as the non-custodial parent.

You're being jacked by a deadbeat ex who doesn't care what position he puts his own boy in. I'm being jacked by a lazy spendthrift who decided it was much more fun to drug the kids with TV so she could gabble and shop with the girls.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post, Miss Kat. I really respect your honesty. And I'm really sorry if I upset your over any bad comment I've ever made. You've a right to your own opinion. It's your blog, after all. God bless you.

Anthony S. Layne said...

"Are you horrified by that logic? You should be. How dreadfully superficial. And to all my male readers, I sincerely apologize. It is a shamefully shallow and opportunistic logic. Men as paychecks. It's hard to even type it and make the admission. Embarrassed, I even started to rationalize it... men are supposed to be providers right?"

Yes, they are. This is not to contradict anything Steve T. said or your finer feelings in the matter; treating a man as a "hairy ATM" is no more respectful of his dignity than treating him as a "dildo with limbs".

But as the studies are showing, women are once again getting the short end of the stick from the current "couple, decouple, repeat" culture of "serial monogamy", and it becomes emotionally much easier not to follow the sexual scripts proposed today, to just say "To heck with it all" and opt for celibacy out of despair.

As for being a "stick in the mud" ... I know exactly where you're coming from. After almost fifty years of transient romances and single living, bachelorhood becomes a mode de vivre that accepts another person into the cycle only with great difficulty. I don't have any suggestions for you, since I don't have a clue what I should do myself ... other than to keep praying for guidance and hope. God bless, Kat.

Kathleen said...

Great post and excellent comments.

The Crescat said...

Steve T., I am still trying to shake the shell of feminism which looks to objective men and women alike.

I am just one woman though. There are plenty out there who don't adhere to those lines of thinking. I doubt all American women view men as hairy ATM's. I certainly don't make that my goal... it was just a gut reaction in a moment of stress and disappointment over my job situation. And I was immediately sorry.

Anthony makes a point though too. Women are in need of a provider and we long for those traditional roles that defined us.

Steve T. said...

My very dear Katrina, I beg your pardon for miscommunicating my point, and in the process hurting your feelings and putting you on the defensive.

I really and truly meant to praise you! I think that your gut was spot-on: it's 'engraved upon our hearts' for a woman to want a man as a provider, and for a man to want to provide for a woman, and eventually for the children they mutually create.
Forgive, please, my cynicism about American women. Of course not all American women view men as hairy ATM's. However, half of all marriages do end in divorce, and three-quarters of all divorces are initiated by the woman. Of course there are very many women who initiate divorce as a last resort after enduring horrifying cruelties from a male who's betraying his God-ordained role as protector and provider—such as you, and others I know personally.

But, given the sheer number of divorces annually, there are many, many frivolous divorces, where women live off half their ex-husband’s wages by plunging him into the new, Americanized version of serfdom, relying on his integrity and love of his children to keep the checks coming.

And what passes for our culture eggs women on: read any woman’s magazine for the articles on starting over and living a glamorous new life with a hunky much younger carpenter who’s secretly also a biochemist, an award-winning poet of love, and a self-made millionaire. “Eat, Pray, Love” is widely seen by men as the harbinger of their marriage’s doom. As you may know, it’s the story of a housewife in New Jersey who leaves her dull, boringly dutiful provider of a husband, travels the world, gets her groove on, finds a exotic younger man—and ends up as a housewife in New Jersey.

I actually meant to commiserate with you, as a reluctantly divorced man! Again, my apologies!

And I would strongly encourage you to reactivate your account and look for a man. There is nothing wrong in listening to your own nature, in wanting to find a provider and a helpmeet. The only possible shame in following that natural calling of your heart, a natural calling given by God, is if you cynically married a man in order to exploit him, without love, without tenderness. (And somehow, you don’t strike me as the exploitative, cynical type.)

And please remember: there are many men who just want to fulfill the nature God gave them, by being a provider to a loving woman and a family. You could be the answer to a lonely man’s prayers. Don’t fall for the Disneyfied version of marriage where true love, fireworks, and twittering birds trailing ribbon are required to make a match. Mutual kindness, integrity, support, and the willingness to help the other get to Heaven are what really count.

The Crescat said...

Steve T., you needn't apologize. I wasn't offended at all. I was just afraid I was confirming some misogynistic idea you may have held, that *all* women are out to suck the souls of men. I didn't want you to think that I was implying we were a sex of money grubby succubi.

It's fine to commiserate as long as we are careful not to wallow or not accept responsibility for our own parts in our respective failed marriages.

I fear these comments are going to delve into the realm of personal.

Just know, I got your meaning and no offense was taken. And I also loathe that horrible book, Eat Pray Love.

I will email you later.