The Dating Strategy Every Catholic Single Should Adopt
Online dating is growing more popular by the day. These days, 20% of current, committed relationships found their start online. If you’re creating your profile for the first time though, online dating can be overwhelming. What dating strategies should you embrace and which ones should you reject?
It may sound a little cliche, but authenticity is one of the most important dating strategies you can adopt as a Catholic single.
“Authenticity in relationships consists of two dimensions: Taking risks for intimacy that might make you vulnerable to rejection for expressing your true feelings, and the unacceptability of deception which requires honesty even if the truth might upset others,” explains psychology professor Dr. Lawrence Josephs.
But this dating strategy of pursuing authenticity isn’t easy. “It takes courage to be authentic in one’s love life and those who lack the courage to be themselves hide behind a misleading false self,” Dr. Joseph continues. “Finding the courage to let down one’s false self in order to be oneself is challenging.”
What are some practical ways that you can implement this authentic dating strategy in your own love life? Here are some of our favorite tips:
1. Share your relationship expectations
Why did you log onto an online dating website in the first place? If you created an online dating profile because you’re looking for a relationship, say so. If your ultimate goal is to discern marriage with someone, don’t be afraid to state that intention.
Meanwhile, if you run across profiles of men or women who are browsing online dating profiles because they’re wanting a casual date this weekend, respect their authenticity and honesty as well.
2. Lose the filter
Today’s social media encourages us to put on a mask of perfection and only show the good side of our lives. We share vacation pictures, celebrations, and fun nights out on the town. But this can lead to us only sharing our “highlight reel” instead of the actual life we live. This doesn’t mean you should post every high and low moment of your day. But it does mean that you should be aware of what kind of filters you’re likely to put on your story when sharing with others.
Embrace authenticity on your dating profile by resisting the temptation to create the profile of someone you want to be, or someone you hope people think you are.
This authenticity applies to your online dating profile pictures, too. Sure, that Instagram filter can give you a slimmer face, or smooth out your skin. But when it comes to authentically pursuing a relationship, it’s important to be who you are, no filters required.
3. Get offline as soon as possible
If you want to fully embrace authentic dating, be intentional about taking things offline. Sure, the internet is a great place to meet someone. But it’s not the best environment to truly to get to know them.
If you’re interested in getting to know someone more, ask if they’d be comfortable having a conversation on Skype or Face Time. If you’re local, meet up at local coffee shop or get ice-cream together for a low-pressure chance to get to know them better.
4. Meet somewhere where you can be yourself
Are you the fancy dinner date type? It can be tempting to go all out for your first date, and create a lavish experience. But creating a luxurious evening may leave you feeling out of place if upscale restaurants aren’t your normal go-to spot. If you love high end dining, go for it! But if not, you may find that you’re much more comfortable at a small local restaurant or even with a simple picnic at a local park.
Regardless of your preference, create a first date environment where you can be your authentic self. You’ll be able to enjoy the evening without worrying, and your date will get to see you in a relaxed, authentic environment where you can be yourself.
5. Know who you are
When you’re confident in who you are and are pursuing life as the man or woman God created you to be, you’ll be able to connect better with others offline and online.
If you’re struggling with authenticity on your online dating profile, take some time to invest in healthy self care habits. Think self care is just about a spa day or grabbing a bar of chocolate for yourself at the grocery store checkout? Think again. Holistic self care is about recognizing that God made you good, and that you’re worthy of love. The more that you honor your body, mind, and soul with healthy practices, the more you’re honoring God as your creator.
6. Surround yourself with people support you
Being authentic online is counter-cultural, and it’s a challenge you shouldn’t tackle alone. Instead, invest in friends and family who know you and your desire for living authentically. If you find yourself combatting the devil’s lies about your self worth or value, you may want to add a spiritual director or therapist to your support team, too.
“We need to seek out support for being ourselves whether that means finding friends who accept us for who we are, finding a self-help support group, or finding a therapist,” Dr. Josephs advises.
7. Practice patience
Today’s culture offers countless opportunities for instant gratification. Some online dating apps are even built on this premise, encouraging their users to rely on first impressions and physical appearances in an attempt to find a match.
Healthy dating relationships aren’t built overnight, so practice patience as you strive for authenticity. Surrender your timeline to God, and ask for his guidance when things don’t go exactly according to plan. Instead of despairing or thinking of your singleness as a burden, ask God what he desires from you in the present moment. Don’t get caught up in thinking that his plans for your life begin when your relationships status changes. Instead, use this time to patiently conform your will to his will.
Chloe Langr is a very short stay-at-home-wife, whose growth has probably been stunted by the inhumane amounts of coffee she regularly consumes. When she is not buried in a growing stack of books, she can be found spending time with her husband, geeking out over Theology of the Body, or podcasting. You can find more about her on her blog "Old Fashioned Girl."