Christmas Presents, Catholic Presence, and Dating
Mr. Chemistry Lips
Choo-choo, Cha-cha, and Childish: Part Two
Choo-choo, Cha-cha, and Childish: Part One
Okay, I Admit It. I'm Desperate! Part Two
Okay, I Admit It. I'm Desperate! Part One
Why Am I Still Single? Part Two
Why Am I Still Single? Part One
Survive or Thrive?
How Open Is Your Marriage Window?
Angels, Demons, and Dating
|Okay, I Admit It. I'm Desperate!
(Part One of Two)
Written by Thomas P. Schmierer
June 16, 2007
|Is everyone around you very aware of your intense desire to be married? Could your intense desire be better described by using the word "desperate?" If so, your desperation may be the exact reason that you are not yet married.
Before discussing desperation, it is important to note that lacking the initiative to go on a first date will also keep someone from ever entering marriage. One must inevitably go on a friendship date if that friendship is ever to lead to marriage. If Jesus is calling you to the vocation of marriage, it is important to heed the call by getting to know quality Catholic singles. Friendship dating does not equate to desperation.
Desperation Hinders Emotional Availability
The basic definition of "desperate" is "suffering extreme need or anxiety." (1) Are you suffering extreme anxiety about being unmarried? Are you suffering an extreme need to be loved? If so, the first step towards getting married is to admit to yourself that you are desperate. (2)
This admission is important because it can lead to the necessary growth needed to experience an authentically intimate relationship. One cannot have an intimate relationship unless both partners are emotionally available. Many times a person who is desperate thinks that he is emotionally available and that his romantic interest is the one who is emotionally closed. This is the result of an improper understanding of the meaning of emotional unavailability.
Emotional unavailability, which impedes the progression of authentic intimacy, can occur in two ways:
Deep, genuine intimacy occurs when two people connect on the same emotional level. If one person is intensely expressing emotions at an inappropriate time, then a person who is concerned with behaving appropriately is not going to match that intense level.
- Inability to express emotions
- Expressing emotions in an intense way at inappropriate times
Desperation often fuels this inappropriate and intense expressing of emotions. Since most of us would like to date a nice Catholic who behaves appropriately, the only way to connect with a quality date is to also behave appropriately. In order to overcome desperation, it will help to identify what is meant by intense and inappropriate behavior.
What is Intense and Inappropriate?
Intense and inappropriate behavior, in the secular sense, is to act different than the social norm. In the Christian sense, it would be to act selfishly. In both meanings, intense and inappropriate behavior is not likely to lead to a healthy, Christian marriage. Otherwise there would be a lot less desperate, lonely Christian singles in the world.
Some examples of intense, inappropriate behavior are:
If you have done many items in this list, you are in arguably good company. I, too, was guilty of many of them and had many bad relationships until I took some time off from dating to read Father T. G. Morrow's book, Christian Courtship in an Oversexed World. Reading that book and attending daily Mass helped me to form the right mindset to eventually be worthy of courtship with my current girlfriend of nearly a year. When I met her, we did not even need to discuss the correct approach to dating because our views on Christian courtship were almost completely synchronized.
- Expecting something unrealistic from your date and being upset when you do not get it
- Silently letting your date do things to you that make you feel uncomfortable
- Quickly progressing towards physical signs of affection
- Looking for love in the wrong places (i.e. non-Catholic events, taverns, rock concerts, etc.)
- Dating as your primary "hobby" (i.e. dating more men/women than there are days in a week)
- "Falling in love" before you know answers to deal-breaking questions
- Trying to get the answers to all deal-breaking questions by the second date
- Verbally forcing intimacy by initiating the sharing of intense past experiences within first month of dating (i.e. abused as child, recovering alcoholic, recovering porn addict, past mental disorders)
- Asking for an exclusive dating relationship within the first month of dating
- Saying "I love you" before an agreement to be exclusive has been made
- Having an inability to use restraint when the impulse to hold hands or kiss arises before an agreement to be exclusive has been made
- Engaging in physical intimacy as a test or to trap into early commitment
- Engaging in impure physical intimacy or premarital sex
- Giving/accepting a marriage proposal after courting only a few months
If you have not engaged in any of the items in the list, but want to know how to discover whether your date is desperate, asking the right questions is key. Eventually, the conversation of dating history will naturally arise in conversation. A desperate person typically has one of two histories:
Before coming to a judgmental conclusion, it is important to judiciously consider your date's most recent dating history. He/she may truly be a reformed sinner who has repented and turned over a new leaf. If your date has had several pure dating experiences and no impure ones in the past year, he/she may be in the process of becoming less desperate and more emotionally available. Examples of pure dating experiences can be derived by identifying the behaviors that are in opposition with those in the above list of intense, inappropriate behaviors.
- Has gone from one relationship to the next with little to no time in between
- Has gone to extreme measures to stay in a past relationship with someone who has attempted to terminated it
Becoming Less Desperate
One way of becoming less desperate is to focus on becoming more patient. Obviously, this is easier said than done. To achieve patience, it may be necessary for you to rearrange your understanding of intimacy and needs.
Some singles are confused about the difference between affectionate and erotic intimacy. They engage in seductive behavior as a replacement for appropriate unmarried intimacy. They have never experienced chaste affection in their lives and cannot imagine experiencing true intimacy without passionate kissing. (3) They believe pure affection is not possible and that it no longer exists in the modern world.
To those holding that belief, I have the following message. Pure affection exists and is abundant!
There are two main groups of aging singles who want to be married: (a) those who are still single because they use people sexually and (b) those who are still single because they cannot find a date with pure intentions.
The latter group exists in large numbers and does not enter courtship with seducers. They choose not to be a part of the seducing world. If you are a seducer and you met one of them, you would drive him/her away with your intense and inappropriate emotional behavior before you had the chance to discover that he/she was pure. If you are a seducer, it is true that chaste affection does not exist... in your world. But there is hope!
My advice to the seducer is to spend some evenings at home alone reading books on Christian courtship and other evenings with your local Catholic singles ministry discussing chaste friendship/courtship and Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.
Part Two of this article will reveal flaws in the common belief systems of desperate persons and provide logical alternatives. Between now and the publishing of Part Two, you may wish to work on developing more daily devotions. I have never felt lonely while praying the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day. In my experience, peace can always be found through prayer!
(1)All base definitions in this article are from www.m-w.com.
(2) This article is based on concepts from a book called Emotional Unavailability by Bryn Collins and DSM-IV-TR published by the APA. Integration with Christian dating principles was done by Thomas Schmierer by utilizing principles derived from T. G. Morrow's Christian Courtship in an Oversexed World.
(3) For those who are not familiar with the difference between affectionate and erotic love, please listen to the The Pacing of Intimacy for Adult Catholic Singles audio file by clicking on the "Listen for free!" link at http://www.vaticanvalues.com/singlesadviceaudiorecordings.html.
(4) The Liturgy of the Hours is prayed at various times of the day (i.e. 6 AM, Noon, 6 PM, and before going to bed). They can be found at http://www.universalis.com.
Thomas Schmierer is a Catholic counselor, writer, and evangelizer for V2C®. Visit www.vaticanvalues.com to learn more about Mr. Schmierer's work.