I’ve received a lot of correspondence from men since launching this blog. Much of this has been enlightening and informative for me, and since I’ve shared my own perspective and that of the women I know, I want to aid the discussion by sharing what some of the men had to say:
My name’s Evan and I live a world away in eastern Canada. Whereas your writing comes from the female perspective it echoes many of the experiences that I’ve had as a Catholic male. I’m in my mid-twenties and I’m an avid reader, kayaker, and runner. I have bachelor degrees in civil engineering and history, and I am in the middle of doing a master of theology and an MBA. Most importantly I have a stable life of faith that certainly isn’t cartoonishly ‘trad-Cath’ but also isn’t nominal.
Although I live in a relatively large, by Canadian standards, city the available options for dating are incredibly slim to non-existent based on your criteria of “good, moral, and normal.” Prospective partners are either taken, only nominally Catholic, or, not to be intentionally mean, because they certainly are kind and loving people, not ‘normal’. For several years I struggled to come to terms with the fact that the bulk of the woman around my age simply do not share the same general viewpoint as me when it came to relationships. In my experience I have had several relationships, which started out with the woman being okay with my faith, fall apart because of a later ‘realization’ that my religious views, particularly those surrounding sex, did not jive with their perceived ‘needs’; wanting to someday be a loving husband and father was no match for momentary desires.
Where my story differs from yours, and I imagine many of your readers’, is that I have actually found someone who holds the same values as myself. Here’s the kicker though, she’s a woman I met in high school (we attended a Catholic school) who currently lives, according to Google maps, over 4800km away on the other side of the country. While we are both relatively well off and can fly to see each other on a regular basis (we’re both in grad school so distance is our reality for now) and technology makes daily communication possible, it truly says something about the collapse in Catholic communal match-making that two “good, moral, and normal” young adults have to quite literally search the country for one another.
Honestly, my diagnosis of the situation is that, with apologies to my delightful mother, it’s our parents’ generation’s fault. Not once did my mother nag me by saying “you know, I hear that Mrs. Boudreau’s daughter is single, how ‘bout I invite them over for dinner sometime?” Nor was there ever a collective feeling that the Catholic kids should all be pushed towards each other and educated in a personalist manner à la JP2 or von Hildebrand. It seems that the parental stepping back in favor of individualism has left many of us adrift in search of traditionally loving relationships.
Anyways, keep up the discourse, I believe that you are voicing a generational frustration.
I would also like to state that the male experience appears to be far less disheartening than its female counterpart. I believe that this is due to the demographic reality that you point out. More females than males are looking for Catholic relationships. There are probably even ‘x’ amount of “good, moral, and normal” woman in my city, I just never consciously crossed paths with them in my social circle.Evan
Although along the way, my experiences have been disheartening and indeed frustrating, I have had the advantage of knowing that sooner or later the college educated, 6’2, Catholic guy was going to be alright. I only wish that to be true for all the good, moral, and normal Catholics trying to live their married vocation.
One of Evan’s most pertinent observations (in my opinion) is that this is a generational problem. We are inheriting the dismal spoils of the sexual revolution which, among other things, has profoundly disrupted relations between men and women.
Widespread, cheap contraception has caused a seismic shift in relationships, and I believe the ‘contraceptive mentality’ of our society is largely responsible for the state of many families today – absent fathers, absent mothers, rampant infidelity, open relationships – you name it.
Men don’t have the same motivation to grow up and prepare for the responsibility of having a family that they used to because, as one of my readers’ sons stated, “why buy from the bookstore when you can borrow from the library?” (See this illustrated video for more on this.)
Many of the women my male readers have met want to put career ahead of relationships while they’re in their 20s.
While this latter point doesn’t reflect my friends and the Catholic women I know – most of us have been looking for a long time and are just unlucky – there’s no doubt that we are all affected in some way by the values of mainstream society.
I think it can be easy for Christian parents to overcorrect this and keep their children sheltered from the world, but I think this is a mistake. Christ called us to be in the world, but not of it. However, I do acknowledge that this is a very tricky balance to get right.
Christian men and women are under enormous pressure and temptation to follow the way of our non-Christian friends, colleagues and acquaintances. But it is more important now than it’s ever been to hold fast to our Christian values, and be the lights of Christ in the darkness of our fallen world. We are called on to lead by example.
Reader Steven expands on some of these points:
I’m a 27 year-old Protestant, and was engaged at 22, and then that relationship fell apart and actually brought me back to Christ. The last four years of dating (and I haven’t dated that much, which I’ll get to) have been discouraging to say the least. I’ve pursued some Christian women who ultimately have behaved in ways that felt devaluing to me, and among my male friends, I’m not alone.Steven
Added to that, at least for me, the Christian women around my age tend to be really immature and, most importantly, too independent, and this is what I’ve told my female friend from church. Put simply, it seems as if the broader cultural narrative of feminism, as well as the feminization of the Church as a whole, has seeped into our church. So, as a result at least in LA, it often times feels like the men have to, in a way, convince the women to be in a relationship. What I mean by that is that feminism’s prioritization of career and success and complete autonomy runs totally counter to a Christian relationship. We’re not asking for our wives to be barefoot and pregnant, but we want to be able to lead, and many women in the church seem unwilling, or even disgusted by the idea.
A friend of mine, who’s forty and desperately wants a wife and kids but feels it will never happen, just yesterday had a Christian woman ask him if he believed in egalitarianism or complementarianism. He responded the latter and she wished him luck and a good life. This is not the first time something like this has happened, nor do I think it will be the last. By and large, the single men I know want to lead in a relationship, but that isn’t en vogue, and I’ve noticed even in some marriages in our church, married men often take the backseat, which of course leads to a lack of male leadership and discipleship. As a result, the men feel disconnected. The single men and married/single women are far better at being connected than the married men, which saddens me. Even worse, our church is predominantly young, so our oldest male member is in his fifties; he’s an awesome man of God, but he doesn’t have the capacity to disciple all the men.
Of course, many of the most mature and awesome Christian women I’ve met are in the mission field, which is predominantly female already. I’m getting ready to go to a missions school for church planting in unreached people groups, and even there the pickings are slim. The previous class had 6 single men to 20 or so single women.
Ultimately, I agree many men peace out of church or really just aren’t marriageable. However, I argue, especially in culture as a whole, part of this trend comes from men feeling unneeded and awful about themselves. My friends and I don’t have the patience, perhaps a flaw on our part but also borne from many negative experiences, to convince the single women we encounter that we are needed in a relationship. “I’m an independent woman and don’t need no man,” is often used as a joke, but it’s a very real and frustrating reality.
Steven’s experiences reflect those of many men who have commented on my article and personally reached out to me. Again, while I don’t doubt that churchgoing women like the ones he’s encountered exist all over the world, they don’t reflect the cohort of women I wrote on behalf of in my original article. I do wonder if this reflects some of the differences between the dating cultures in America and Australia; the Catholic women I know, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, seem a lot less single-mindedly career-focussed than the ones my American readers have described.
I’m going to expand on this in a future post so I’d love if it readers offered their own insights on this.
I also think Steven’s observation on the lack of maturity amongst young women is completely correct, particularly amongst younger women. I’ve written about the lack of maturity in many Christian men, but it would be naive to suggest this doesn’t affect both sexes. I think this is part of the malaise of our modern times. You might even say we’re in a crisis of maturity, in which men and women are not taking on responsibility for themselves and their lives until much later (if at all).
Finally, Steven hit the nail on the head about the feminisation of the church. I think this is a huge issue, contributing to the lack of men in churches today. I could write a whole blog post on it – and I will, so stay tuned.
Reader Peter addresses the issue of immaturity in his email:
I am am a single Catholic man in his early 40s near Chicago and I want to thank you for what you are doing! We need to talk about these things in a real and honest way. Thank you for your courage.Peter
I totally agree that men lack maturity and a sense of commitment. I have seen it in many of the men’s groups I attend at churches, etc. They are perhaps willing to learn a bit but then they want to act like boys and play golf, play video games, watch sports, etc. all the while avoiding a deeper sharing about what is really going on inside them, how they feel, what they fear, what they desire, etc. I think it is harder for men to do this both by nature and also in our culture. It takes time, patience, willingness, practice. It doesn’t just “happen.” I have the impression that women feel like men want to have “fun” with a potential mate and of course they have interest in physical intimacy but probably do not know how to open up the riches of emotional intimacy that make everything else much richer and deeper.
Most men in my experience have never learned from their own fathers how to relate and share what is really going on inside. They bring a fear of rejection to relationships which they cover over by doing what they have to do to earn approval and also by appearing “tough” or “macho” with guns, trucks, hunting, etc. which is often just an attempt to overcome their own lack of inner security.
I don’t have a “solution” but in some way I think building healthy friendships with both males and females is a necessary step towards learning how to love another person in a committed personal and potentially spousal relationship. Taking concrete steps toward building healthy friendships that involve true personal disclosure and vulnerability would be a way to begin to heal the wounds in so many males today.
I don’t have a solution either (as I’ve said, there are no simple solutions), but Peter’s suggestion to build healthy friendships is so important. Partly because of social media and the internet, partly because of our hypersexualised culture, and a whole host of factors besides, male-female interactions and relationships have become so fragmented. There’s a temptation to hide behind a computer screen to interact with the wider world, and I think this is something we need to fight. More on this in a future post.
The loss of genuine fatherhood is another enormous factor in the problems we’re dealing with today but this also deserves its own post (or three).
Finally, a different perspective from reader Bernie:
I read with interest your article “A good man is hard to find…” and my heart goes out to you with your frustrations. Let me begin by telling you that I am a 67-year-old father of nine children from three different mothers and that I have been married to my fourth wife for about 10 years.
It seems your lament applies not only to women complaining about the lack of good men. Men are also similarly complaining about the lack of good women. They all face the real risk that, when they have had a few kids, their partners will reef their kids away from them, destroy their careers and take half their fortune. Not because they are in a truly intolerable relationship involving abuse but simply because their partners think that they could be happier elsewhere. In other words, there is not mutual commitment. And let’s be clear, commitment from one party to the other is not enough. The breach can originate from either party and does in probably more than 50% of cases these days.Bernie
I think Bernie is spot on about the lack of mutual commitment, another symptom of our troubled times. And while I agree that the family court system is skewed in favour of the wife/mother, I think this highlights even more the importance of marrying someone who shares your values. Ultimately, I think it’s better to be single than to be with someone who you can’t see eye to eye with on the most foundational values.
What I love about these letters is they’ve each brought up a different side of the issue. There’s a wealth of information in here to unpack, so I look forward to the discussions around this. I’m very grateful to each of these men, and to all the others who have reached out to me in respect and cordiality to share their own experiences, even though may they differ to mine. Keep ’em coming!
31 thoughts on “A man’s perspective”
“– most of us have been looking for a long time and are just unlucky –”
Until you fully unpack and get beyond this line of thought, you’ll not move forward. Introspection and brutal, truthful rationalization-free objective self-analysis is the key.
“Failed relationships in my twenties” is usually Churchiospeak for the Elephant in the Room.
Thanks to these blokes for those comments. Really great stuff.
Anna, I think you’re correct to draw attention to the difference between North America and Australia on these matters.
I have a Canadian friend who told me that I’m “the coolest Catholic girl” he’s met. While flattered, I was puzzled, because there are heaps of Catholic girls in Australia like me. He said that in Canada, it’s a different story. The impression he gave me was that the Catholic girls there are sort of socially dysfunctional in the ways described by the men above — standoffish, maybe hyper-spiritual, unwilling to banter.
“Heaps” of traditional Catholic women in Australia?? Hmmm? Maybe there needs to be some kind of Catholic exchange program between Australia and North America. We could solve this marriage conundrum in a month!
I am only one half to two-thirds kidding.
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Yes, I would say there are quite a number of attractive, normal, faithful, traditional Catholic women in Australia. The problem is that many are close to or over age 30. They’re virgins, they attend Mass, they cook, they wear dresses and lipstick. But since they are on the wrong side of 25, I don’t think many American men would be interested. At least not based on the comments I’ve seen on this blog.
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If they take care of their appearance, are visibly feminine, religious and really are virgins they’d not struggle very hard in the US if their response to a simple date is “sure, why not” if the guy seems to be even just “ok.” In fact, they’d probably be beating men off with a stick once word got out that they are nice, feminine and haven’t had Chad and Tyrone tag-teaming them through their 20s.
It’s not a Catholic issue, it’s a Christian issue in the US. I could take all of these responses, rewrite them with Protestant language and the experiences would be true as well.
Lord forgive me for using the 10 point scale, but I’d be willing to bet a lot of these attractive Catholic women are like many girls I know – probably a 6 or 7, perfectly cute perhaps, but think they deserve a man who’s an 8 or a 9 (or even a 10!). These are the guys who they experience ‘mutual attraction’ with. They probably got plenty of attention in their 20s from guys who were also 6s or 7s and looking for a loyal partner, but relegated them to the friendzone. They probably also tended to treat any guy below a 6 as outright invisible. Which is why so many of us men are cynical now when we encounter women in their late 20s/early 30s complaining about the lack of decent men.
Catholic women are still women, and have a woman’s psychology and biology. Hypergamy is unavoidable.
By popular acclamation I ascended to the rank of a ten a few years ago after many years as an eight or a nine. And I can say that being a ten isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When you’re at the top, what do you do? Try to find an eleven? It’s lonely at the top.
Great feedback! Fatherhood issues (lack of adequate fathering) are core to this discussion, for both men and women.
The complementary and independence thing: I think we need to accept that the idea of women as economically and/or emotionally dependent on men is not universal, and it’s also not a truth of the Catholic faith.
The curses of Genesis are there for us to struggle against, and we have done so with good results – labour saving devices, just wages, anaesthesia, good medicine, better ways of producing food. We know that the effect of the Fall was to turn men – physically stronger – against women and to degrade them in domination and lust, and this has to be struggled against as well.
The happiest Catholic marriages I have seen have been between couples where each has been educated and has at some stage worked for a living, and each has their own interests as well as the common interest of the marriage. These couples have been able to negotiate how they share housework, child care and paid work around their changing circumstances.
They don’t always get it right. No one does. But it helps to defuse the exhaustion and resentment that can build up, because both parties have a shared vision of how they want to live.
These people are not rich! They struggle! They have kids! They make sacrifices and cut their coat to fit their cloth. But they do it together.
I’m sorry that some men feel less-than because a woman they like has her own interests and income. She could actually be a real marital asset, especially if you get sick and can’t work. The Proverbs 31 woman is like this, and she’s eminently praiseworthy.
1. Funny thing about how it so often seems that the Fall only applies to men. Why is that? There is an odd Gynolatry going around these days. I see it happening all across the political spectrum. You say the Fall Turned men against women, did it turn women against men?? Do women ever try to dominate? Sure seems like they do. Perhaps the effect of the Fall on women was making them so wonderful that men don’t deserve them?
2. Here we are trying to fathom the reasons for diminishing marriage opportunities among Catholics and you seem to be pushing a modified version of the new dispensation marriage. Equalitarianism! With more than a whiff of feminism. A version of marriage that has failed. People are voting with their feet.
3. Nobody is proposing a The Handmaid’s Tale version of male-female relations. I do not know of a single instance of a man feeling “less than” because a woman has her own interests or has had a job. It probably does happen, but I have never seen it. However, I know plenty of instances of a woman rejecting a man because he didn’t have the right job and make enough money.
It is interesting you say this in the context of Miss Hitchings trying to do justice to the views of men. Immediately you bring up Father issues! But not mother issues? Women good, men bad!
We are all dependent on one another and in all sorts of ways. That we don’t think we are is one of the great delusions of our age. I sense you have an agenda.
Good observations Underground Thomist,
One thing that seems to be getting overlooked a lot in this discussion (despite trying to be even-handed by displaying male opinions, it is still gynocentric) is women’s tendency to marry-up.
People forget that Christian women are still women. And by and large, women still want a man who earns more than them and enjoys some sort of status. This becomes an increasingly hard task for men due to so-called ‘female empowerment’ and the societal pressure to boost women’s salaries, promote them to senior positions, get more of them working in traditionally male industries and so on. A lot of women seem to complain that men won’t ‘man-up’ and bemoan the scarcity of ‘traditional men’, but don’t seem particularly willing to become traditional women. This might entail going back to a more supportive, complementary role in the household, rather than being the breadwinner. But so far I haven’t seen anyone suggesting that.
It may be a case of women wanting to have their cake and eat it too. The fact that women do tend to be more economically independent these days also allows women the luxury of discarding otherwise decent men who cease to offer her a sense of excitement (which is ephemeral at the best of times).
There’s also been a few studies on the world of online dating which show that while men tend to rate women’s attractiveness as normally distributed along a bell-curve, women actually believe 80 percent of men are below average in attractiveness (which is actually impossible). Women only really experience ‘mutual attraction’ with men who are above them on the looks scale. So it seems that every woman believes she’s entitled to a man who’s relatively more attractive than her, and who earns more than her.
Traditionally, there was something called the ‘grandmother effect’ where older women would manage the young lady’s expectations about what she could hope for in a partner. Unfortunately, today this has been replaced by a ‘you go girl!’ attitude, with young women being constantly being told they can do better, when in reality they probably can’t.
I think in the US, at least, we’d be much better off if churches would focus on becoming masculine again no matter how a lot of the women feel about it. If women fall away because the church is unabashedly pro-masculinity again, then there is no loss to the body of Christ because one could argue they never believed in the first place.
This is a massive issue. Almost every institution in society, be they educational institutions, government or the corporate office, has been thoroughly feminized, stripped of any masculine presence and infused with stifling political correctness. Why any man would want to get up on Sunday morning, his day off from all that propaganda, to go and be subjected to more of the same at Church is beyond me.
The recent refashioning of Jesus into some easygoing hippy preaching feminine and badly misinterpreted concepts such as meekness, compassion and passivity is also having an impact, exacerbated by a lack of biblical literacy. It’s utterly uninspiring, and part of the reason we’re losing ground to unapologetically masculine religions like Islam.
I attended a wedding not long ago where the woman, having chosen to be married in a relatively traditional, conservative church, still chose to omit the promise to obey her husband from her marriage vows. This seems to be emblematic of a general problem I see with the complaints about the lack of traditional men: women don’t actually want to be traditional themselves.
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A while back I read some of Belfort Bax’s book The Fraud of Feminism. Bax was a British Marxist who lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bax’s perspective on the feminist movement is, to say the least, very different from the orthodox view:
I would really love to have you comment on what Aaron Renn has written in his newsletter The Masculinist.
The archives are at the bottom of this page.
Aaron describes The Masculininst as a “once monthly email newsletter for Christian men, motivated by problems facing men, including failure of too many young men to launch, the failure of the church to attract men, and the frequent complaints pastors have today about young people not being able to find spouses.”
Aaron is not Catholic; I believe Rod Dreher mentioned he might be reformed evangelical. Aaron’s day gig is as an urban policy wonk at the Manhattan Institute think tank in New York, no relation to the newsletter.
Aaron has criticised some things that Rod Dreher has written, but they are mutually respectful, and Rod is a fan of The Masculinist, writing last month, “It’s always good news to wake up and see a new issue of The Masculinist in my morning mail.”
On the other hand, The Masculinist is, in Aaron’s words, “not a safe space.” He can be pretty direct and brutal.
Four of his newsletters concentrate on attraction in dating and marriage, nos. 17, 18, 21, and 23, and several others also deal with dating and marital related issues, including nos. 25, 28 and 30.
I think you’re missing the point here. The point, at least as I see it, is that even among women who aren’t particularly career minded, the feminist desire to dominate men is strong. I’ve seen it in the wives of my friends, I’ve seen it in the otherwise traditional woman that I dated for 4 years, and I see it in most every Catholic woman I meet. I’ve even seen it from a Catholic woman who chose Ephesians 5 as one of the readings at her wedding (now that its not required).
There are plenty of solid young catholic men at the FSSP parish I belong to, just as there are solid young catholic women there. The situation is in general bleak (I think my area is somewhat an outlier, being so close to a solid FSSP parish and UD, one of the best catholic colleges in the US), but it isn’t impossible.
And isn’t the whole point of marriage to challenge the immaturity out of each other? I think it’s pretty much always been the case that men and women lacking somewhat in virtue marry and grow in virtue together; that’s one of the three reasons for marriage: to grow in charity.
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Hey, Tim, could you give some examples of what those women did when they were trying to dominate their husbands or boyfriends? Is it nagging etc? (Because I have certainly seen nagging.)
One of the biggest ones I see is insistence that the wife’s voice MUST be heard before he can make a decision. Insisting that your husband has your buy-in is simply not compatible with the submission the Bible and any conservative church (including yours) teaches. Women often have a hard time accepting that a leader’s authority is not based on the continued consent of the lead, but the justice of his actions.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my friends talk about how they aren’t allowed to do certain things (put the ping pong table in a certain room, spend money on a certain item, etc.). The language displays a dynamic where it is their wife making the decisions against their will. And I definitely see the rampant immodesty to be a form of dominating men, even if an unconscious one.
It doesn’t normally manifest itself as a particular strong behavior, but usually manifests itself as a dynamic in which the man must knuckle under to live in peace, at least in certain circumstances.
I don’t blame just the wives for it; this was a dynamic present in a long term relationship of mine and I know just how much of my behavior contributed to it. I don’t think it’s malicious, and that’s really my point: many women and men don’t even realize how much of their behavior is dictated by feminism, even if they are sincere and overt in disavowing feminism.
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I’m 36. I lived at a Newman hall my freshman year of college. I remember having liked a girl who also lived at the Newman hall. I think that she was a year ahead of me. Unfortunately I was too shy at the time to introduce myself to her. I didn’t even find out her name. Once in a while I wonder where she ended up. Thinking about what could have been is never very pleasant. I’m sure that there were more than a few nice girls at Newman hall. I just didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to talk with them. It was far easier to go home and hang out with friends.
On the topic of feminization of the RCC, one of the factors in the feminization of the Church has to be the huge presence of homosexuality in the priesthood. How many “normal” guys are attracted to an institution with such a large homosexual presence? Sometimes I ask myself whether celibacy in the RCC simply means “not married to a woman.”
To offer another male perspective:
I’m of comparable age to Anna, but American rather than Australian, Evangelical (but not ‘pop-Evangelical’) rather than Roman Catholic, and married (albeit less than a month ago) rather than still single. But this and the prior post really resonated with me.
Like many others, I found the search for a “good, moral, and normal” Christian woman to be a considerable challenge. I don’t know that I’d put my finger on ‘immaturity’ – really, I wouldn’t label most single young adults I know, even today, as being ‘immature’ in any particularly significant sense (probably an artifact of my social circles and of my regional subculture). Nor would I put my finger on ‘feminism’ as such – though anyone who came across as having a ‘chip-on-the-shoulder’ attitude, whether male or female, never appealed to me.
I also wouldn’t say that many of the challenges I faced involved members of the opposite sex being too eager for sexual activity. Thankfully, I was able to pretty consistently find women who shared a commitment to chastity; and in the few cases where a romantic partner did press for sex, a gentle refusal settled the issue and allowed clearer heads to return (I was quite fortunate in that!). I undoubtedly had an easier time of this than some, because non-churchgoing women were never really ‘on my radar.’
And yet, several women I dated turned out not to have the same values and convictions that I expected – they instead revealed, some time into the relationship, that they rejected the historic Christian consensus about the nature of marriage and sexuality, and became outspoken in favor of regarding same-sex unions as marital. (This often went hand-in-hand – even in a Lutheran Sunday-School teacher’s case – with an indifference to basic biblical literacy.) In any case, it just wouldn’t have been possible to build a future marriage on a fundamental disagreement about what marriage itself is – least of all in today’s cultural atmosphere.
Other relationships, though, ended (or were avoided before fully commencing) for other reasons. One woman – daughter of a non-denominational ‘pastor’ – began threatening physical violence. Another woman began espousing Neo-Nazi rhetoric (and, although nominally a Roman Catholic, didn’t know who the pope was). Still another broke things off after becoming involved with a local ‘self-improvement’ cult (though she’s since apologized). Yet another woman became rather aggressive during manic episodes and refused to manage her mental health well. Another professed her love for me on the first date, then married someone else about a month later (and got divorced shortly after that).
But then there were the more common tropes, some of which have already been noted by your other correspondents. The Christian woman who rejects an invitation on a date because she prays about it and doesn’t feel any particular ‘confirmation’ that she should. The Christian woman who talks about nothing but children, her love of children, her time spent with her nieces and nephews, and can converse on no other subject. The Christian woman too controlled by her parents to navigate life effectively. The Christian woman who thinks that even shaking a man’s hand would be too intimate to do prior to marriage (!).
(I hope this recitation of my experiences doesn’t come across as running down these women – the majority of them were or are decent, noble, admirable people who, like me, are prone to err; some of them have since married, others have not, but I strive to wish them all well.)
Also, the process of pursuing and engaging in romantic relationships once I’d begun to pastor a church – that’s a whole additional level of complexity I dare not even begin to probe! (The factor of this calling did, though, prove to be a reason I couldn’t pursue a number of apparently exemplary Catholic women.)
In examining the trials of the age, I offer no theorizing about men in general or women in general, or Christian men in general or Christian women in general. I only thank God I did, in time, find a “good, moral, and [mostly] normal” woman who complements me well and is devoted to the Christian path. But in the weeks before I met her – and she was truly an answer to my prayers – I had to seriously wrestle with discerning whether I might simply be called to celibacy.
Evan says that his family never nudged him toward another single. For those of us who moved away from our families (for college, work, or whatever reason), we need our new parish “family” to help us integrate into the local community.
And that’s where the ball has been dropped. We don’t need any diatribes about feminism or sociology or the culture at large. If the singles in a Catholic commmunity can identify each other, we ought to be able to take it from there.
If there were any parish social events where I could pitch in by flipping burgers or moving tables or coaching kids on the ball field, someone might say “I should introduce that guy to my co-worker’s wife’s Catholic friend who lives in the next town over”. As recently as a generation ago, that kind of thing happened All. The. Time. But no more.
It really is just that simple.
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I am a single practicing Catholic 40-something male virgin and from my perspective it is ENTIRELY women to blame for this problem. I am not “wordly-unwise” nor “socially awkward” – on the contrary I am a successful highly-educated physician (won’t tell you exact income but it’s high 6-figures – and I say this not to impress but that I am able to make that income because of positive and desirable traits). I never consume pornography. I am completely debt-free. I don’t smoke / do drugs / drink alcohol to excess. And again, I am a virgin so I don’t sleep around – I haven’t even been on a date in several years because I won’t date outside the religion. So why haven’t I found a good woman? I’ve been on Catholic dating sites – there are very few single women anywhere near my age at Church – for over 12years (since my early 30s!) and in that time I’ve gotten probably less than 20 replies to the 100s of messages I’ve sent these “good” Catholic women. And by replies I mean that the ladies don’t even view my profile – not to mention writing back an actual response! I would say I have average looks but I know my below average height puts me at a severe disadvantage relative to most men. With kind of success rate and that these women refuse to even read anything about me tells me the problem is NOT me; especially given that I’ve had non-religious women at work (10-20 years my junior) make advances. I’ve asked friends and family and NO ONE seems to know any decent Catholic women; although one friend wanted to actually set me up with a single mother because the lady is “super religious.”
Women, especially Catholics, have gotten so self-absorbed and entitled that they feel they deserve nothing less than the highest-caliber men; as if they’ve done anything to actually “deserve” that. And so they hold out, waiting and waiting for that perfect man meanwhile not even giving a chance to anyone they think may be lesser. Perhaps you’ll think I’m just a bitter misogynist – maybe. But I don’t think so. I don’t think the problem is me – or the thousands of other chaste good men who only ever wanted a chaste good woman to start a traditional God-fearing family with.
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Just be aware that maybe the women on the dating sites just aren’t checking their profiles anymore. I haven’t checked mine in ages. But I think that the site shows people that I haven’t been on in ages.
M. Sepo, you’ve made all the errors of thought that I made When I tried online dating a few years ago. It was frustrating, demoralizing, maddening.
Here’s what they didn’t tell you:
1. Most of the matches shown to you are not active customers. But you don’t know that, so you imagine that your information is “wrong” somehow, and you round off any possible “rough edges” until it no longer represents who you truly are. But the problem is NOT that “women refuse to read even anything about me”, or that they don’t reply to your communications. They are simply Not There.
2. Online dating just isn’t a realistic way to meet people. The tiny percentage of people who do succeed with it, are willing to develop an interest based on a picture and some writing. I found that I just can’t suspend rational thought in that way. I need to know something “of” a woman. To see her “in action”, see how she treats others, know what others think about her. Online dating offers none of that.
I’ll keep pointing out that since parishes no longer hold social events, there’s no way for Catholic men or women to demonstrate their good in-person qualities. No matter their looks or height or weight or devoutness or lack of same.
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Don’t want to sound like the little devil on your shoulder, but why don’t you consider dating one of these non-religious girls and educate her into the faith?
Women tend to be a lot more passive and a lot of them get carried along by the spirit of the times, which is increasingly atheist. In my experience, you’re going to struggle to meet a girl who meets your criteria. A lot of women are interested by religion but wouldn’t necessarily have been raised to believe in God or go to church. I’m not telling you to lapse into fornication, but if she likes you enough she might consider giving the whole church thing a try and might be pleasantly surprised.
Did you have a straight face when you wrote that question? “Why not?”
I’m sorry but do you really think – in an age when even many CATHOLIC women no longer adhere to the teaching of no premarital sex – that I will find someone of another religion or even an atheist who is a virgin herself? I am not saying this out of judgment but being a very analytical person I can only see this from a logical perspective. Women who are not virgins prior to marriage are at higher risk of divorce (and that risk goes up with # of premarital partners – the same is not true for men). Moreover, multiple sexual partners lessens their ability to pair-bond; and personally I believe it fosters mistrust in relationships, not to mention STDs. And yes, for full disclosure I will also admit that the idea of a potential wife not being a virgin is at the very least, gross. There are good reasons premarital sex has been disparaged (whether people engaged it in clandestinely or not is a different matter) for ages prior to the last half-century; our ancestors figured those reasons out a long time ago.
Obviously at my age, I fully realize that what I’m looking for is probably non-existent. But again, I’m a very high-earning individual with still many years of earning power ahead; if it comes to a choice between spending the rest of my life alone (which is admittedly a VERY high probability) and GAMBLING all I’ve worked so hard for on a woman who presents a higher risk to begin with whether I’ve converted her or not, that choice is easy at least for me. No, I will stick with trying to find a chaste Catholic woman, even if she may not exist.
You are right. Our parishes have failed MISERABLY in helping young unmarried singles find spouses. It astonishes and saddens me no end that the very people they should be focusing on most in order to maintain (and maybe even increase) the numbers of faithful are the ones they are doing the least for. The pews in my church on Ascension (a Holy Day of Obligation!) were 1/2 full. The Church cannot survive this way.
As you’ve seen, being a “hard-working, decent guy” often makes one a pariah on the dating market in our depraved, feral feminist society. I encourage you to go to Dalrock’s WordPress site. Start at post #1.
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