This time last year, I met with my spiritual director for monthly direction. She gently encouraged me to just be open and show up, and reminded me that there is no formula for life.
At this particular meeting, I was updating her on how online dating was going for me. I shared the frustrations, highs, lows, and everything in between. In response, my director shared me with me some advice a Jesuit priest had given her years ago during her own single season.
Those words resonated so deeply inside of me that they became an affirmation statement for me. I had several brightly colored sticky notes at home and in my office to remind myself of those words. For me, they became a little mantra to help guide me in dating and being open to whatever online dating held for me.
I don’t know about you but it feels like sometimes there are lots of varied ideas and opinions on the do’s and don’ts of Catholic dating. It is a topic of conversation I see discussed a lot with my Catholic single and married friends. Everyone and their brother has thoughts when it comes to online Catholic dating.
How do you discern a second date?
Let’s say that you go on a first date with someone. Maybe it doesn’t feel like a grand slam of a first date, but overall, you had a decent time. He or she seems interested in you, they have a good sense of humor, and the conversation came naturally. As you leave, you’re unsure or perhaps a little unsettled. Maybe you start to overthink the whole evening.
Should you be open to a second date? Did you come on too strong? Are you even sure of how you feel?
One of the mistakes I have learned the hard way (more times than one!) is not being stuck in my head when it comes to those initial first few dates.
What does every Catholic single need to know before turning down a second date? Here a handful of things I have learned through my own experience.
Start with being open to the possibility of a second date
Openness is a posture of humility and receptivity. When we hold tightly with clenched fists to an idea of how we imagine life to be, we give no room for God to come surprise us. For me, reflecting on that principle when it came to Catholic dating was helpful for me.
Yes, have standards and know what is most important to you in a relationship. Nevertheless, balance what you desire with open hands. When it came to Catholic dating, those always turned out to be the best experiences, when I was open.
Unless there’s a blaring red flag, go on the second date
It’s important to remember a not-so-great first date should not stop you from turning down a second date. Maybe you were nervous or he or she had just come from a really bad day at the office.
A date is just that: a date. It’s not a marriage proposal. A date is an opportunity to meet, get to know, and connect with another man or woman. Take it as such. Do not overthink it. Ask yourself after the date, “Did I have an overall good time? Is this person easy to talk with? Do I find him or her attractive? Am I interested in getting to know this person more and spend time together?”
If you are finding yourself continuing to say yes, then go on the date. Be open, but go on the date.
Remember that romantic attraction may grow over time
Sometimes a romantic attraction grows and develops over time. Disney movies touting the “happily ever after” theme have suckered us into believing physical attraction needs to be there from the beginning. However, that is not always necessarily true.
Today’s over-sexualized culture constantly tells us that the most important part of a relationship is the physical attraction. Regardless of what secular culture says, many important things make a healthy, strong relationship.Don’t freak out if the romantic attraction or spark is not there right away or is something that grows in time. Physical attraction is important and needs to be there, but it is okay if things grow and develop in time.
One of the hardest lessons I’m still learning is trusting in the slow work of God. Often, I want to get in a situation and make something happen or worse, try to control things from my limited human view. I’m discovering that I need to trust the Lord more with my Catholic dating experience and my desire for love.
So trust the Lord and learn to also listen to your gut. However, more often than not, be open to a second, third, and fourth date. You might find that you’re pleasantly surprised.
Ready to meet someone and go on a first (and second!) date? Download the Catholic Singles online dating app today!