Are you single, Catholic, and frustrated with your online dating experience? So many of us know exactly what that feels like. It seems like no one answers messages, and our list of potential matches looks a little stagnant. That can be frustrating! That’s okay. We all go through periods of frustration while discerning where the Lord is calling us. I was on a Catholic dating site for five years before I met my future husband.
But just what do you do when you are going through these periods of stagnation and frustration? The first and most important step is to not give up! Here are some other pointers:
Sit with your frustration
It can be tempting to shove your emotions under the rug. After all, hard emotions are hard to sit with. However, it’s important to process those emotions. Start by trying to identify the source of your frustration. Why do you think no one new is matching with you? Take this time to re-evaluate what qualities you are looking for in a person and how you’re presenting yourself. This would be a great time for a profile refresh.
There’s nothing wrong with you
You won’t click with everyone you come into contact with through online Catholic dating apps. Some might even leave you feeling disappointed.
I once matched with a man on a Catholic dating site who I thought would be perfect for me. Turns out, he didn’t feel the same way at all. I was majorly disappointed! It took a lot of introspection and grounding in faith and truth to realize that if he didn’t think we were a good match, we probably weren’t, and that had nothing to do with my worth as a person and as a child of God.
God doesn’t make us to connect intimately with every person.
Vocations cannot fulfill you
God made you whole just as you are. Remember, you’re not on the hunt for your “other half.” Marriage or priesthood religious life will not make you more whole or more you.
We can get so caught up in discerning what is good for our lives or what God is calling us that we can forget to encounter God now. Our vocations are a way to patriate more fully in the life of God. But you can strive to encounter Christ throughout your day, regardless of what season of life you’re in today.
You can still serve, worship, and love God when you’re single and when you’re married.
Online dating is supposed to be enjoyable
Getting to know other people should be a fun endeavor, one that lights you up. Losing sight of this can make others seem like objects instead of people. That kind of mentality isn’t good, especially for single Catholic men and women striving to live virtuously.
Every person you come in contact with, whether you swipe left or right, is a beloved child of God. Creating an online dating profile gives you the opportunity to meet them and encounter their stories. Keeping their personhood (and yours!) front and center can make all the difference in your online dating experience.
Focus on something else
Take this time to work on yourself. See a counselor, start learning an art form, do a new activity, travel! You have been given the gift of time in this season of singleness. There’s a whole world out there that you could be missing if you’re continually sulking. Take the time to dive into prayer and create good habits for yourself that can carry over into any lifestyle you find yourself in.
Do the things now that would be harder to do if you were responsible for other people (like a spouse and children). Go back to school, start a new career, or live in a new place! Not only will these things enrich your life now, they open you to the possibility of new people and new adventures. You may just find your partner through them!
I often think about what I was doing right before I met my future husband. A moe across the country led to a new job, which I later left to move around the state a bit. I dove deep into the spirituality of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, hung out with friends, volunteered, and spent hours a day in prayer. Then, I decided that I would only look for potential matches in my new state and made a commitment to stay there. I was exploring who I was and what life had to offer.
Shortly after this, my husband popped up as a new match on my Catholic dating site. His interests interested me, I messaged him, and we hit it off. Working on myself led me to understand who I was, what I was looking for, and how to go about finding that person. It made me open to who my husband is and I was able to respond well when I spotted him.
It’s okay to take a break
There is no rule that says you MUST stay on Catholic dating sites indefinitely or for any amount of time, not even if you’ve paid for a subscription. Take a break and engage in other meaningful activities in life. Maybe your match list will have refreshed by the time you come back, or you’ll match with someone who hasn’t even created an account yet.
Take it to prayer
I often think about what I was doing before I met my husband. My Catholic dating profile was set to search all over the country. I was unsure of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be, and I was finishing school. Although I matched with plenty of people, we never clicked. Our interests and worldviews just didn’t align.
It was so frustrating to be ready to jump and have nowhere to jump to! I definitely struggled with feelings of worthlessness and doubt that my vocation was to marriage. So I took it all to prayer. That was the best thing I did for myself, for God, and for my future husband.
I entrusted everything to God and went along with my life. Trusting him is difficult, but it’s worth it. And that’s what holiness is all about anyway: trusting God and growing closer to him.