A few weeks ago I was minding my own business in Barnes & Noble rewarding myself with some new books after a great therapy session when my aunt called. She wanted to tell me about her new love for CBD oil, invite me to attend the company’s conference in Charlotte, and then ask me whether I was bringing a significant other to my brother’s engagement party in August.
She went from calling me an “Instagram Influencer” (I mean, seriously those were her words) to asking me about my relationship status. I share a lot of things in Instagram so don’t you think if there was an amazing man in my life that I was going to be bringing to the happy parties surrounding my brother’s upcoming wedding you would have seen him appear? I’m not that stealthy. I’d be so forking excited to be partnered up for the first time in like forever, that I’d also be great at keeping him a secret? I’m not that good at keeping secrets.
The thing that drives me the craziest about the “Are you seeing anybody?” question is that when I say “No, not right now” with no hint of bitterness or shame or regret or sadness, I’m met with “Well, it’ll happen some day” or “You know your uncle and I met when we were in our 40s” or “You’re still young.” How did this get to a comforting me about something I wasn’t upset about two minutes ago? Now you feel bad and have no idea what to say, so I get shamed. Great. Who’s coming out a winner? Also, I’m not the only single person who hates this question … spoiler: we all do!
So to avoid this at all of the wonderful upcoming events related to my brother’s wedding – and every family gathering and phone call in the future, I’m going to make a list of questions that are appropriate for catching up with someone you haven’t seen in a while “that you love” and “just want to be happy.” If you really mean those two things, then you’ll avoid “are you seeing anybody” and choose any or all of the following options. These definitely work for me, but really – they could work for anyone you meet! I’m doing a public service here people, since the art of conversation is practically dead.
Read any good books lately?
How’s your work travel? Enjoyed any great visits recently?
What are you up to next weekend?
Doing any DIY projects?
What’s your secret to finding time to cook amazing meals for yourself?
How’s book club? What’s this month’s read?
If I came to visit for the weekend, where would we go in Charlotte?
Love your yoga practice that you share online, what’s your secret?
I’ve just been getting into Podcasts, what do you listen to on a regular basis?
Love seeing your book reviews on the blog, what made you get into writing?
Is that enough questions for you to choose from? I mean, 10 great options that I have fantastic answers to. And if that’s not enough, let’s talk about Trump, Immigration, the 2020 Presidential election, building a wall at the border, and why I’m still Catholic! Those are all still better than “are you seeing anyone?
I’ve said it before, but I’m saying it again. Online Dating is Weird. I think it’s created some really terrible relationship and communication habits. I’d say “in the old days it was like this…” but truthfully this seems to be the only dating method in my life. There aren’t any ‘old days’ over here. Those days are gone.
I’m now in the days of “send him a smile” then “respond with a question” and “did he view my profile” and “what should I say as an opening line (because ‘hi’ doesn’t seem to actually work)?”
So eHarmony has been my ‘drug of choice’ for online dating (after some advice from a trusted person who was just getting her opinion from someone else, not from personal experience), and I feel like I understand their process. Although that’s not really getting me any dates, I mean, none at all. So maybe I don’t understand it. But here goes:
They match you with a finite amount of people each day, anywhere from 1 to 30, depending on the date, the happiness of the algorithm, and your match preferences. Some of these people are ‘compatible’ with you based on their ‘proven matching history’ and some aren’t. The men are also given your information as someone they matched with.
Then the weird online flirting of clicking and smiling and question asking and favoriting begins followed by blocking or hiding or removing of matches. One good thing is that they do tell you if the person has moved on so you don’t keep messaging them or seeing them in your list. It removes that person from both of your matches.
I’ve sent a hundred or more smiles, some well-crafted first lines, questions, and still nothing. But today I was really taken-aback. I know, from all the other weird things I’ve already written about like here and here and here and here – today’s is what annoyed me.
This super Christian, pretty great sounding guy had a well-written profile (not a common thing) … so I ‘smiled at him’ … to be honest, I didn’t craft a message (even after thinking about it for a few minutes) because that has proven to be a waste of time. I figured he’d look at my profile, decide if he was interested in ‘smiling back’ or blocking me (kindly saying, ‘thanks, but no thanks’). Instead he sent me a YouTube video of him asking people what they are looking for in a partner.
Hmmm. I mean, he didn’t look at my profile to learn anything about me. It felt like a copy and pasted message to promote his channel.
Did I respond well? Should I have taken notes and engaged more? Should I have said, “Finally a man who understand what women want!” … well really all I wanted was for him to engage in a conversation. I’m pretty clear on my profile that I’m a Christian seeking a Christ-centered relationship. I have lots of ‘conversation openers’ listed. His profile is even pretty detailed. I learned that he loves the Lord and is starting a non-profit to help couples adopt easier.
Will he respond back?
Do I just not ‘have enough game’ to do this online dating dance? It feels annoying. It feels not real, and dumb, to be honest. Am I so bad at flirting that I’ll just stay single? What’s my next move? Not specifically with him, but if I can’t do this online, then what? I’m feeling a little “all hope is lost” regarding my future marriage. And this one felt like “one of the good ones” who isn’t a crazy, weirdo.
Online Dating has worked for millions of people (supposedly). I know five couples super well who it worked for. They’re either married or getting married in the next year. I don’t doubt that it works for some people, but I’m starting to doubt that it will work for me. Online Dating was how these people got married. But online dating can’t even help me find someone to share a cup of coffee with … or frankly, even some witty banter in an online chat box.
What is up with the world? Is it the medium or is it me?
A few years ago I read this post on David’s blog with a long prayer attributed to St. Anthony of Padua called Be Satisfied With Me. On its surface I don’t disagree with the concept. He writes:
Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone, To have a deep soul relationship with another, To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.
But to a Christian, God says, “No, not until you are satisfied, Fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone, With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me.”
It is true that we should all be satisfied with God alone before we need other people.
I was reminded of this poem/prayer by a coworker when I was having a particularly rough day being okay with my singleness. The women in our chat were a mix of married people, dating people, and single people. One remarked that this prayer was always a comfort to her. I said that I had seen it before, but it’d been a while since I read through it again.
Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship, That I have planned for you. You will never be united to another Until you are united with Me. Exclusive of anyone or anything else. Exclusive of any other desires or longings. I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow Me to give you The most thrilling plan existing . . . one you cannot imagine. I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you.
As I read through it though, I found myself only becoming upset rather an comforted. I was reminded of my inadequacies, my unworthiness, and how I’m not enough yet. I know that wasn’t St. Anthony’s intention. I believe the intention of the poem/prayer is for us to be reminded that the Lord comes first in our lives. Additional human love is gravy. If we aren’t satisfied with the Lord’s love, then we won’t be satisfied with another person’s love. Only God can fill the “God shaped hole in our hearts.”
That is something that I believe.
However, this poem/prayer lays out a condition on the Lord’s goodness. It doesn’t say, “wait on me, I’ve got great things for you.” Instead it says, “You’re waiting for these great things because you haven’t trusted in me enough yet, you aren’t holy enough yet, you aren’t fully satisfied.”
And then, when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love Far more wonderful than you could dream of.
You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready, I am working even at this moment To have both of you ready at the same time. Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me And the life I prepared for you, You won’t be able to experience the love that exemplified your relationship with Me. And this is perfect love.
It reminds me that there’s something wrong with me today, that’s why I’m not married. I’m alone because there’s something missing from the love I have to give to another person, not because it’s just dumb luck. I don’t think that’s the intention of the poem/prayer, but words have meaning, they create worlds.
This poem/prayer is saying that daily Mass, the regular reading of Scripture, earnest novenas, a devotion to the Rosary, honest praise and heartfelt prayer time each morning and evening just isn’t enough. Believing that I am satisfied with His love just isn’t enough. I’m still missing something, some magic pill that no one’s told me about and no one who has found it (ie: married people who have found their love) will share about. It implies that something is lacking in me and that is why I’m unmarried while all of my friends are married. It implies that once you have found that special love that the Lord has in store for you, you won’t doubt Him again, struggle with prayer time, or have any struggles in your life. Because you’re fully satisfied with Him, how could you ever struggle? And every married person I know will assure me that’s not true … even if they don’t say it, I can see it plain as day.
The poem/prayer isn’t helpful for me. I dare say that it’s harmful and is someone’s odd attempt at explaining why there are so many great Catholic single women. [I know there have got to be some great Catholic single men out there longing for a spouse, but I don’t know them … if I did I might not be in this current waiting state. Okay, there probably are some out there, just not in my general vicinity. If you’re out there, give a shout … I know a lot of amazing single women you might be interested in knowing.]
When the truth is the reason for all of this waiting is that we live in a broken world, not that we are individually the only ones broken. Our world is broken.
And the long and short of why I’m still single, or you are still single, is that “we haven’t met the right person at the right time” not that “we aren’t satisfied with the Lord.” No one on earth is fully satisfied with the Lord, that’s a condition of our humanity, our brokenness. We are all longing for more because this world will never satisfy. Terrible things will happen, suffering will be presented, and we will wonder where is God in all of this. We might turn to him directly, but we will still be longing for something more. Longing for a world that isn’t this one. Longing for the time in Heaven when all will be revealed and nothing will be in the way of fully experiencing the love the Lord has in store for us.
*or the post in which I say that a Saint got it wrong. This might not help my canonization for sainthood. Maybe the internet will erase all markings of me after I die so this can’t be entered into evidence.
Last week I wrote about what I’m really looking for in a husband. I’ve started saving what these men I’ve been matched with are looking for. So here we go. Here are a few gems from just today’s matches!
James is looking for: “I am looking for someone who can complete my existence a soul mate, confidant, and lover.” So no pressure there, just ‘complete his entire existence’ … that seems pretty realistic.
William is looking for: “I am looking for that right person who has a big heart, loves, cares, happiness, emotional, cuddles, and has that wild nympho side that I have.” I don’t even know what a ‘wild nympho side’ is! I’m thinking I don’t have that…
James is looking for: “Honestly and Excitement.” Good at grammar must not be high on his list…
Ben is looking for: “I am looking for a real woman to be open with me about everything, enjoy laughing with me and enjoy lots of laughs.” A good sense of humor is pretty important…
Mario is looking for: “How harmony we could have….the smile, eyes, goals….” What does that even mean?
Most profiles are pretty generic about what they’re looking for. I’ll admit that’s a hard question to answer in just 650 characters because most of this is really about getting to know the other person and finding out who they really are. Can we really do that online? I don’t think so, I know I don’t.
Sam was a little more verbose: “A Christian woman who is, kind, caring, creative and adventurous. A woman who can encourage me as I do the same for them as we build a relationship on our shared faith in God. A woman who, looks to see people for who they really are, has her own ideas and opinions, and is open to trying new things as well as sharing new things with me. I’m Looking for someone to share my life with, someone who can appreciate the simple things in life, is up for spontaneous road trips, enjoys going to flea markets and antique shops and loves to learn and explore!”
It’s the nature of the platform though, that’s the real issue. If the platform doesn’t get us talking on the phone so we can set up a time to meet, I don’t think it is worthwhile. I don’t think I’m the only one who dislikes this platform, but are we in too deep to change anything? It’s really all just a numbers game. There’s no secret except to “be in the right place (or website) at the right time (ie: same time as a guy who’s also interested).”
I feel like if I do meet a spouse on eHarmony it will be in spite of the platform rather than because of it.
Over the past five or so months, I’ve read a lot of online dating profiles. A lot of
advice exists out there on the internet about how to write a good dating
profile. Be positive, uplifting, encouraging, open to anything, blah, blah,
blah. There’s a section in eHarmony that asks you to describe what you’re
looking for in a partner. Mine says this right now:
I’m looking for someone who is faith-filled, loyal, easy going but likes to have serious conversations. I appreciate someone who knows their point of view on a subject, but can see the situation for all angles. Someone who wants a family, is excited about being a dad, and understands the importance of each of our families too. I’m looking for someone to hang with on the couch when I’ve had a bad day, to cook interesting things with, and to read with!
But I got to thinking the other day about what I’m really
looking for in a husband, not the big ideas of something who is virtuous,
employed, and in general delightful. But the truth is, I’m looking for someone
who wants to do these things:
Put away the clean dishes (I love washing, but putting them all away is my least favorite chore)
Close the clasp of this beautiful bracelet gave me a few weeks ago that I just cannot do one handed
Have small talk at the end of the day about how much it rained today, the odd, but funny, thing someone said to me at Mass, or that random phone call we had at work
Go to Mass and sit with me every week so I don’t have to be there alone … and have someone to say ‘hi’ to at the beginning when everyone is just shaking hands with their family
Talk to me on road trips about whatever comes to mind
Stop at random places just because we want to see them and not because there’s anything special there
Sit and read in bed at night together just to say “we’re not alone anymore”
Roll their eyes when we visit my family and things are just odd
Help me escape for an afternoon in the middle of a long family visit
Go to the grocery store so there’s something more than yogurt & leftover roasted cabbage to eat when I get home from a work trip
Shovel the snow the two times a year it comes down in the south
Watch my bags at the airport when I’ve decided I need to use the bathroom just one more time before getting on the plane
Appreciates a good sarcastic comment and can dish it out himself
Indulge in ice cream for dinner or for breakfast just because the day called for it
Attend Wednesday night Latin Mass just because it’s beautiful
Enjoy eating new recipe creations even when they’re ugly, but delicious
Kneels down in the morning to say “thanks to the Lord” for another beautiful day
Wants to slow dance in the kitchen just because we can, not because we’re good
Gives slow hugs, just to say “I’m here, I’ve got you, You’re all I need right now”
Maybe it’s overly romantic, maybe I’d have better luck if I was just brutally honest in what I was looking for. Maybe these are all things just come naturally as we grow in relationship together. Maybe I’m just being a hopeless romantic. Maybe none of this matters or maybe this matters more than anything else. Maybe no one is interested in being this for me. Maybe they are and they just didn’t know this was what I was looking for. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
It’s possible I’m being a little nitpicky here, but hear me out.
I’m witty person. People laugh when I tell stories. One time on the way home from Maine my friend’s boyfriend and I couldn’t stop laughing at something I’d said (I can’t remember it now) … my friend didn’t get the joke. But it was funny, trust me! I’m cracking up right now just thinking about how funny it was.
I also love to laugh. It’s so heart warming and delightful to just have a great laugh. It completely alters my mood, and I want to do it a lot. I also read a lot of things online or Instagram or in texts that make me giggle out loud. Laugh Out Loud or LOL if you will.
But I’m not that funny, and sometimes ‘Laughing Out Loud’ isn’t the appropriate response. Like in the above text message from the latest online dating guy, let’s call him Will (mostly because that’s his name and he will make you ‘laugh out loud’ since laughter is contagious and he does it all. of. the. time.). Also he’s sick right now, so whatever he’s got is already pretty catching.
He’s sick and that’s funny? One misplaced LOL does not a weirdo make … but in less than 2 days of us being acquainted he’s LOL’d 10% of the time. And all I’m asking is WHY? Why is being sick funny?
Why does this grown man not know how to communicate? That’s the bigger issue. What happened immediately following this text?
Did you read that and LOL? I didn’t! I’m curious if this is a real adult man, to be honest. He also says things like ‘totes.’ I don’t think he’s referring to these:
What happened to the art of conversation? Why does one want to text about all the controversial topics? Why is that ‘before we’ve even met in real life’ appropriate conversation? He lives 15 minutes from me, we could easily meet for coffee or another novel idea … we could talk on the phone?
I know I’m being nitpicky, but seriously LOL and TOTES?!
Maybe I’m just an old fashioned being someone who writes out words in text messages. And who does not ever say TOTES instead of ‘totally’ or ‘great’ or ‘anything else.
My biggest issue with online dating is how it creates this weird sense of intimacy … I can text you all of the time, every morning, before we’ve ever talked on the phone. Someday that will be appropriate for our relationship, today is not that day. Just call or ask me out for coffee or stop laughing out loud (or at least stop documenting it in text messages to me) … because you willdrive me absolutely mad!
p.s. I’m just re-reading that message from above and thinking “why are we starting our conversations with controversial topics?” Adjusting my profile to try to stop some of this ‘controversial topics’ and ‘lol’ing’ nonsense!
Below are some things I’ve learned about a few of the men who have showed interest in me via my online dating adventure. I thought I’d share since they are oh so strange.
“For a few years in a row I dressed up as a baby for Halloween, complete with diaper and pacifier. The last year I wore the costume I took some old, wet coffee grounds and rubbed them on my ass. The whole night everyone kept touching my butt and saying ‘How’d you get that there?'”
J from Texas
“At work mostly what I do is find and print statements for our house customers. We print a lot of statements. One time a large customer, an oil company, asked us to print all of the statements they’d ever received from us. There were more than 220. So we printed them and mailed them. They also wanted them emailed, but we couldn’t do that because the file was so big.”
J from Charlotte
“Nice, so I have to let you know I have a dark twisted sense of humor and my views on things are different than most. I believe that we should nationally legalize recreational and medical marijuana for many reasons, I think taxes/healthcare and our government is one big business and a complete fraud and I don’t like many of the laws of ‘man.'”
J from North Carolina
I was going to give first names because that’s all I have of these guys, but I decided they should retain some of their anonymity … I wouldn’t want to publicly shame them, although maybe it would be good to forewarn you if you encounter them in the future.
In and of themselves these are not terrible statements or stories. Life is made up of the mundane and ordinary so I don’t expect to have profound, deep conversations all of the time. Sometimes I do want to talk about the weather (it seriously won’t stop raining), what to cook for dinner, how simply my day went, if we should buy a new vacuum, and more ridiculously ordinary things. I also want a partner who is willing to talk about all the things – big and small.
The question remains though … why do I know this? We haven’t met in person (or it was our first date), we’ve only talked on the phone once or twice, you don’t even know the superficial things about me, and this is the beginning where we’re trying to make a good impression.
I’m trying to make a good impression.
Why isn’t he trying to make a good impression? These men aren’t 15 year old teens who haven’t figured out how to talk to a pretty girl or have no interesting things to say because all they do is play video games. They are in their 30s, accomplished in their career, and paying money to a service to find a spouse! I mean, think about what you’re going to say before we go out … come up with a few good conversation starters to get you through that first 60 minutes over a cup of coffee.
Do some forking work to prepare to meet a woman you’ve decided you are interested in!
Seriously, put some effort into this budding relationship. Hide just a little bit of your crazy for just a hot minute and act like a normal human being. Because although we are all a little weird (I mean, ME, if you’ve read this blog for more than a minute, you know … I’m a tad crazy), when we meet someone new we should try to make a good impression.
A coffee date is not a marriage … but isn’t that the reason why we’re meeting … to see if we want to even be asking that question? A friend told me her strategy for online dating (& it’s been successful for her) is to think one of three things when she was matched: YES! I want to learn more! or Nope, not interested! or Maybe, intrigued, interested to learn more.
Each of the guys above was a “Maybe, intrigued, interested to learn more” and then the things I learned were too weird, too fast. I’m not going to agree with everything another person says, does, or believes … there’s no one in my life for whom that is true (and I’ve got some great friends ‘Hi Ladies!’). I’m not expecting too … but I am expecting to be impressed and wow’d by my husband … and that starts right away. Do something to make me think “Wow, this guy’s amazing … and he’s interested in me? Wow!”
That’s what I want to think after talking with you, having coffee with you, and getting to know you. It doesn’t mean that everything will always be amazing … but if things go downhill, I want to have started on top of the mountain, not deep down in the valley below sea level.
So a year or ago I talked with a matchmaker and it wasn’t for me. Mostly it was just expensive, and I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on the service. I found another company where you could be in their database for free to be someone they choose from for dates for their paying customers. I joined last Thanksgiving and was called twice in the past year.
The whole purpose of their service is to do the hard work of finding someone who meets your basic criteria, checks off your non-negotiables, and then sets up the date for you. All you do is show up and be your charming self. They even tell you not to talk about the service, how you met, online dating, or past relationships on the first date. Just enjoy yourself, lean in, and ask deep questions to get to know this person. You already know that you’re a good basic match for one another.
The first guy didn’t meet my criteria for age (he was almost two decades older than me), so we didn’t end up going out. Since I’m not paying for their services, I didn’t hold my breath for another date. Then I got a call back in early November about another guy. He’s evangelical, looking for a partner in life, someone who wants him to be the “spiritual leader of his household,” about his age (he’s 37), financially independent, and interested in adventure.
Sounds good. Now I know I’ve said before, “He’s got to be Catholic.” I do mean that – but have you see the pool of available Catholic men lately? It’s shallower than the baby pool in a hamster’s paradise! It’s also filled with a lot of algae and bottom feeders … okay, that was uncharitable – but seriously. I’ve been searching for them in my eHarmony matches and it’s not a wide pool of people. So, I said “sure, let’s set something up.”
We ended up having to put a pause on it because of something that came up with him – but last week the matchmaker texted and asked when I might be available. Things were set up for Tuesday (tonight) – great! Where? Amelie’s … the cutest French Bakery in NoDa. I’ve been there maybe a hundred times (at least) and they have the most amazing desserts.
I spent two nights losing sleep with anxiety for this date. Will he be attracted to me? Will he like me? Am I putting too much pressure on how we look? Will we have good conversation? What will I ask him that’s not job or weather related? Will I have anything interesting to say? (We know I always have something to say!) Hours of sleep (although I did finish this book, which was just delightful) that I lost over the past two nights! HOURS of laying awake anxious in bed!
Then I spent time getting ready tonight, I brought my A GAME! I was ready to just be my amazing self (humble much Katie?) and have a good night of conversation. Worst case scenario was we weren’t interested in each other but had a cup of tea/coffee and a delightful dessert and went our separate ways, never to see one another again. Best case, it would be the beginning of a life altering relationship! But either way, no loss.
Turns out that’s not the worst case scenario. We didn’t even get dessert. I MEAN, SERIOUSLY? WE WENT TO AMELIE’S AND DIDN’T GET A DESSERT! I should go to confession because that’s a mortal sin! (Well, not technically, according to the catechism, but I’ll work on a letter for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and see if I can get that rectified! Their desserts are amazing, beautiful, delightful, and the stuff dreams are made of!)
When I arrived, he was already there – good sign! He was handsome and waiting at the meeting place (we only knew fist names and what color each other was wearing beforehand). He asked if I wanted to get a drink – he was going to have a coffee and I got a tea (because I’m addicted). NO DESSERT! Then, once the woman had taken both of our orders, he asked if I wanted to “SPLIT THE BILL” which was a total of $5.32. Yes, you read that right. It was a little over $5 and we split it because apparently … apparently, I don’t know what. There’s not end to that sentence that makes sense. It was $5 … even if it had been more, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the man to pay for the first date. This matchmaking service has a whole blog about it.
I almost told her to just put the whole thing on my card because it was five dollars and thirty-two cents! I mean, seriously. If you can’t buy me a tea, then you have no business being out on a date with me.
After we found a seat, drank some tea, and I began asking questions – because he sure didn’t. Some of our conversation was okay … well, my portion (humble again) because he didn’t ask a single question of me for the first 25 minutes. I offered information about me – but that’s only because someone had to fill the silences of the room after he answered a question and then just looked off into space. I also learned a lot about his job – which isn’t all that interesting to be honest. He works in customer service for a financial services company … he prints a lot of statements. One time a customer (an oil company, why do I know that detail?) asked them to bring all of the statements that they had ever received from them. It was over 220! (WOW!) Then they wanted them mailed and emailed but the file was too big so they couldn’t email it, and apparently don’t know how to split PDFs, send multiple emails, or place it in a secure place online where it could be downloaded by the other company (okay, I added those last parts – but I’m not even in the financial services business and I can solve that issue!). Again, why do I know this? Why was this good first date conversation material?
Oh, and he’s not evangelical – he’s actually Catholic (or was raised one, more accurately) but hasn’t been to church in a few years and didn’t even know the name of the parish he attended as a teenager! Which is the largest parish in the United States! So, person of faith seeking to be the spiritual head of the household? Really? You don’t know the name of your church! Unless I missed something … he also didn’t know what an offertory envelope was … that’s how I know he’s not a practicing Catholic. We never miss an opportunity to pass the basket. Which is fine, for him (well, maybe it’s not – but that’s his concern at the end of time) – but it’s not what she told me he was.
I really tried. I brought my A game! I dressed nicely, put on make-up, brushed my teeth (the bar is apparently very low). I made an effort. I didn’t talk about the weather or the mundane parts of my job at all. I brought my A game, and we didn’t even share a salted caramel brownie or have a macaroon! Middle schoolers have more interesting dates that I did tonight, and they have to get their moms to drive them everywhere!
What’s wrong with American Singles? I could start a list … a friend is using Bumble and many of the men on there are “ethically non-monogamous” with pictures of wives in their profile shots. WHAT? I bet they buy their gals a tea and a dessert though!
That’s all. I have no wisdom to offer, no lessons to learn – except, cut the crap on the anxiety Katie – stop worrying to much about what he’s going to think, just go and be yourself. Also, buy your own dessert next time – which I did after he left and had on the way home while yelling on the phone with my friend about this terrible date. It was delicious! Made the drive down there worth it!
Trusting in the Lord’s plan for my life is one of the hardest things about being a faithful Catholic for me.
Lately I’ve had this plan in mind for my life. Husband, children, stay at home mom, maybe even homeschooling, definitely a church attendee with the cutest little girls ever (who says my kids would even be girls, all my friends keep having are boys … but a gal can dream!). I even found a person who I think would be perfect to do all this with.
The problem? Well, I don’t know this person IRL. This person doesn’t know me or have any expressed interest in me. I’m delusional. Okay, at least two of those statements are true.
I’ve written about the qualities I’m seeking in a husband before. This guy checks a lot of those boxes. Practicing Catholic? Check. Seeking holiness? Check. Handsome in my eyes? Check. Gainfully employed? Check. Humorous? Check. Knows who I am? Maybe a check. Interested in dating and/or marrying me? Um, questionable since we don’t know each other and live on opposite coasts in a country that’s wider than 5 miles.
So to rectify that situation, I’ve been telling the Lord “He can do anything.” You know, really buttering him up, playing to the guy’s need to feel like He can fix it all. Or maybe the Lord doesn’t have that quality…
But still, I’ve been saying “You can do anything. You brought M’s husband here from India, E’s husband all the way from Ghana, M’s husband showed up at her workplace, S’s husband found her in the midst of all the noise on a Catholic dating site, you’ve done fantastical things before – you can do it now!”
Answer? Crickets. Nothing. Nada. Nope. Silence.
Maybe that’s the answer. I think the answer is no to this person, and that’s okay. I like living on the east coast, and frankly I really don’t want to leave this community I made in Charlotte over the last 10 years. It was hard. My best friends are here. My godsons are here. My life is here. And right now, I can’t picture a life anywhere else – I’m not saying I’d refuse to move, but until there’s a compelling (ie: man on one knee with a ring) reason, I’d like to stay in Charlotte.
So back to the point about the plan. This one I’ve concocted is pretty fantastic, well definitely fantastical and potentially unrealistic. It would require a lot of moving and shaking by the Lord. People say “He’s saying NO because He’s got something bigger and better in mind.” Is that true?
The thing I’m doubting is whether He’s got something bigger and better in mind or just harder that requires big sacrifices from me and involves me being single forever in mind. That’s what it feels like right now.
I saw this quote in the book Uninvited by Lysa TerKuerst that a friend and I were reading together for our virtual book club. I’ve heard it before, but it really stands out to me this week.
We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
I almost just wrote “I wonder if what God has in store for me is different than what I have in store for me.” Well, that’s definitely true; I don’t need to wonder about that. This plan I’ve concocted is not the plan the Lord has in store for me. His plan has got to be better, right? Right?
We tell ourselves that, but it might not be ‘better’ (by my definition of better) per say, but definitely different. I believe it coincides with the plan He has for spreading the message of His love in the world. I must be part of that in some way. We all must be. That’s what our Baptism into the Church He left us is all about. To be “priest, prophet, and king” sharing in the spreading of His message, in the building up of His kingdom here on earth until we can all be together in Heaven.
Might that include me marrying a holy, handsome, humorous man and us having cute little girls? Maybe. I really don’t know, but I sure do hope so!
You’d think after over 33 years of being single, I’d have this life figured out. If only I did. At the end of last year I was reading a lot of Brené Brown (you know my love for her), feeling angry a lot, and wanting to cry all of the time, so I decided to see a counselor to try and get some things straight in my mind. And also to stop being angry at my friends all of the time. The last 9 months have been good for me, sometimes I know just what I need to talk about with her and sometimes I go in with nothing and come out crying. Unfortunately, or fortunately I’m not sure which, that second one happens a lot lately.
The fact that I’m single and want to be married is a driving force of a lot of things in my life, if you didn’t already catch that with all these posts about my future husband, the single life, marriage, feeling alone, etc… You’re probably tired of hearing about this topic, I know I’m tired of writing about it and living it. However, until he shows up, here we are. (BTW if you meet him [you’ll know it when you see him], please send him my way!)
But this week in counseling I think we whittled down the hardest part of this for me: my need to be important to someone. It reminds me a little of this (image search). For me, the number one reason it’s so hard to be single in a group of married friends who keep having babies is that someone else in their life is always more important than me.
Wow, that sounds selfish, narcissistic, and terrible all written out. Unfortunately, it’s also the truth right now. The God’s honest truth. And the truth hurts sometimes.
It’s not their fault that someone has taken the place as the most important person in their life. I don’t want them to stop having kids – I love having new little ones to cuddle up with and who call me “Aunt Katie” even though we don’t share any blood relations. It’s just the reality of our lives right now.
It’s so hard to talk about too. I mean, to tell a friend who had to cancel because her baby was sick and needed to go to the doctor that “you’re not thinking of me (a grown woman who can take care of herself and is healthy) enough today” feels pretty foolish.
One of my friends who recently got married (actually almost 3 years ago now…) was “my person” for a long time. We were both new in town, single, and were (still are) best friends. She’s the one I call when I need advice, need to scream, or just need to talk. For a while she would talk to her and say “well, Katie and I discussed it and this is what we came up with.” Now she says “Husband and I discussed it and this is what we came up with.” That’s the right thing for them, but it’s hard for me.
She and I shouldn’t be making decisions about her family, the way she’s raising her children, how to interact with her spouse, ways to run their business, or what she should do about working. We can talk about all of those things, my opinion can factor into their final decision if they want, but she and I don’t make decisions about her life because she and her husband do. If the situation was reversed, the same would be happening about my life with my husband. The only reason it isn’t is because I just don’t have a husband (seriously, where is he and what is he doing!).
The hard part is that you were friends with someone when you’re both single so you began to rely on each other with the other one as “your person.” Then when one gets married, the dynamic changes, but just for one. She got a new “person” but I didn’t. My friends are still the ones I go to for advice, talking things through, figuring out what my next house project, working through issues at work. Most of the time these conversations remain one sided because she talks to someone else about these things in her life. Now it’s true that it’s not always this way, there are plenty of times when they come to me for some advice, to work things out, or just talk about something.
The point is that it’s hard to be alone. I don’t often feel lonely or depressed about it, but I do want someone to talk about the both the mundane and important things of life with. Maybe that’s why I write here or share stuff on InstaStories, someone to share the ordinariness of life with – it’s just that most of those people are strangers.
So what to do about it?
Well, I think it’s a matter of recognizing it as the truth and sharing anyway. I tend to clam up, not share, or become irritated when I’m not being seen as important enough. That’s not healthy, really it’s the number one way to lose friends. And I don’t want to do that – I need my friends. Although we aren’t related by blood, we are family. The best kind really – the ones who chose to love you.