You’ve met someone and they check all the boxes. They’re smart, funny, and strong in their faith. In the Catholic dating world, this kind of match is a dream! But there’s just one problem. You’re not attracted to them.
Of all the things you have to deal with in a relationship, not being attracted to a man or woman you’re interested in dating is a real struggle. Sure, they may be the best example of what would make a great wife or husband. But if you’re not feeling the chemistry on the first couple of dates, should you pursue a relationship with them?
Are you trying to decide whether or not to go on the first (or second!) date with someone you don’t feel attracted to? Ask yourself these questions to help you decide whether you should keep moving forward if you don’t feel that instant attraction.
1. What specifically are you not attracted to?
The first step if you’re trying to figure out whether to go on a date with someone you aren’t attracted to is to figure out what specifically you’re not attracted to with this man or woman. Is it because they don’t have a great sense of humor? Are you not attracted to them physically? Take time to pinpoint exactly what is making you pause.
Sometimes small, non-permanent things can get in the way of being attracted to someone. For instance, maybe the man or woman you’re talking to is out of a job right now and spends too much time (or not enough!) stressing about it. You can’t really enjoy a date when you can’t get through dinner without talking about money troubles. But sometimes there are bigger things at play. Is there a complete lack of physical connection? Do you feel awkward around them even after several dates? Discovering whether the lack of attraction is a temporary or permanent issue is the first step in figuring out what to do next.
2. Have you given time for attraction to grow?
After you pinpoint the reason you aren’t attracted to your date, don’t bail immediately. If you’re a Catholic dating, chances are you’ve already been pretty particular in who you do or don’t date. If you’re enjoying this person’s company and you don’t see any immediate red flags, give attraction some time to build.
Romantic comedies have led us to believe that if it isn’t love at first sight, it’s not worth our time. But sometimes attraction isn’t instant—sometimes it takes a while to grow. So give the relationship a fighting chance by spending some time together and seeing if things change. Falling head over heels doesn’t always happen on the first or even tenth date.After all, some people can be friends for a while before they even notice they are attracted to each other.
3. Are you praying about this relationship?
Prayer and discernment plays an important role in the Catholic dating world. If you’re dating someone who seems like they would be there perfect spouse on paper, but you’re still not feeling it, take your concerns to God. When in prayer, seek out this intention in earnest. He has a plan for your life and he desires to know your experience in your own words.
4. Have you talked to someone you trust?
If you’re dating someone and not feeling the attraction, find someone experienced to talk to about it. Sometimes when you get stuck on a problem in your head, the best thing you can do is voice it aloud. Let God speak to you through your friends and/or family.
You’re not alone if you’re discerning whether or not to keep dating someone your’e not attracted to. In fact, there are a lot of people in the Catholic dating world who have been right where you are. As you decide whether or not to continue this relationship, share your thoughts with a friend who has been in a similar experience and can share some insight.
5. Are you free to say no?
When I was in college, I met and dated a guy who was amazing. He was so smart that we would spend hours talking about life, my senior thesis, and everything else imaginable. I genuinely enjoyed spending time with him, and looked forward to our time together. He became my best friend. The only problem? I wasn’t really attracted to him.
Even though I didn’t feel attraction, I rationalized in my head that he was the man God wanted me to marry because he checked all the boxes of a perfect husband. He would make a great husband, a good father, and an awesome spiritual partner. So when he asked me to marry him, I said yes. But the longer we were engaged, the more I doubted the relationship. There was a constant worry gnawing at me that ended up jading our relationship from my end. Finally, while standing at the altar as a bridesmaid to my close friend, I felt God telling me to let him go.
If you’re discerning whether or not to date someone you don’t feel attracted to, ask yourself if you’re free to say no to this relationship. After all, if you aren’t free to say “no,” you aren’t free to discern.
6. Are you blaming yourself for how you feel?
My parents seemed skeptical when I called off my engagement. Most of my friends were a little surprised, but not shocked. My ex-fiance told me we couldn’t be friends if we couldn’t date. I was hit by scrutiny from all sides, but I never once questioned my decision.
Sixteen years, an amazing husband and four children later, I stand by the fact that God truly does use your heart to build a relationship. If you’re not feeling attracted to someone, don’t feel like there is something wrong with you. Just because this man or woman has everything anyone in the Catholic dating world would desire, that doesn’t mean they are right for you.
Eventually you have to make a decision about continuing or ending your relationship. Whether you decide to let go of the relationship or keep working at it, keep God in the decision. Bring the intentions of your heart to him every morning and every night. He hears the cry of our hearts and knows how to answer.