The No. 1 Hindrance To Finding A CatholicMatch Spouse


Advice for online daters from an expert

At my first CatholicMatch event years ago, I met my friend Rae.

I had gotten to know her through the forums over several months and we greeted each other like long lost friends. Big hugs were exchanged, and the first thing I said as I stepped back to look at her was, “You look so much better in real life!”

I had fallen into the bad habit of seeing her as two-dimensional.

In our quick-hitting social-media culture, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that there is a virtual world distinct from reality. The fall-out of this kind of thought is the belief that what happens online is not authentic or true.

We talk about things as IRL (not the Indy Racing League, rather In Real Life), as if the people whose pictures we are viewing, whose emotigrams we are receiving and whose discussions we are engaging in are fake. Nothing kills our chances of finding a spouse on CatholicMatch more quickly than beginning with the doubt that anything will ever come of it.

Back in the early days of my membership, I remember thinking that the image in that postage-stamp-sized profile picture was just some glossy thing right out of People magazine. Surely the people were not real.

It took me a while to realize that the faces and profiles are real flesh and blood Catholics from all over the world. They are three-dimensional people hoping to meet you and me.

But we have to get rid of the doubt. We can’t begin our profile with “I don’t think this is really going to work, but here I go.” We can’t be timid about showing the world that we are real if we want others to do the same. We can’t be looking at profiles like we are flipping through a magazine in a waiting room. We can’t be rigid in our expectations, evaluating things on a hasty surface level.

 

A deeper look

If we want deep and authentic love, we have to look at that person in the postage-stamp-sized profile shot as someone who has a whole life of experiences, feelings, successes and disappointments. It means we have to look at ourselves and realize that if we are real, then they must be.

We can’t be hiding our real selves behind the computer. We have to engage in the whole experience that a paid membership affords us. We have to talk on the phone, visit with each other, go on dates (they do exist!), attend events and join in praying with and for one another.

In the many years I’ve been a CatholicMatch member I’ve challenged myself to do these things. I’ve found in meeting countless people from all over that I am really at home within the Catholic Church.

And where is that?

Wherever two or more are gathered in Christ’s name.

The strong faith that my family and friends have planted deep inside me is what dispells the doubts and carries me on to my next adventure, always seeking love and His will. I get a little bit fearful and doubtful at times.

But when I place my trust in God, I know that He is going to give me someone or something real and true.

 

My ‘Real World’

Not too long ago MTV had a popular show titled “The Real World.” If you ask me, there was very little of that show that looked like my real world, thankfully.

The irony is that the most real expression of what it means to be human love was not there. And yet, it can be found here on CatholicMatch through the use of the Internet.

My real world is full of loving Catholics, many of them from CatholicMatch, who do amazing things with their lives. They are soldiers, mothers, acclaimed scientists, the unemployed, those battling disease and those recovering from serious surgeries. They are widowers raising children and pro-life advocates. They are mountain climbers, doctors, artists, and writers. They are Catholics yearning to love as God has loved them.

In the beloved children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams, the Skin Horse tells the Rabbit that when someone loves you, you become real.

God has loved each person in those little two-dimensional photos, so they are as real as can be!

We can’t let doubt about God and others stop us from loving and being loved. We have to look beyond our past experiences, fear and pessimism. Our faith demands it!

See that two-dimensional profile picture there?

It is the Body of Christ!

Believe.






13 Comments

  1. Marie-575233 July 23, 2011 Reply

    I totally agree with your point of view.

    • Dawn-58330 July 26, 2011 Reply

      Thank you, Marie. I appreciate that. God bless you!

  2. LillianTeresa-528523 July 24, 2011 Reply

    Dawn,
    Thoughtful article, Thank you sharing your thoughts and putting the CM social media experience into perspective.

    • Dawn-58330 July 26, 2011 Reply

      Hello, LillianTeresa. I think you are right about putting things into perspective. It’s something we need to do everyday. The best perspective to have in this world is one that focuses on God. God bless!

  3. Denise-703389 August 2, 2011 Reply

    Truly inspiring story; I enjoyed reading your words and plan on implementing them in my life. Thank you.

    • Dawn-58330 August 3, 2011 Reply

      Thank you, Denise. I wish you the very best in your journey on CatholicMatch. Hope to see you in the fora!

  4. Janet-531858 August 3, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for reminding me about seeing other people within ourselves and to not be dismissive toward online dating, but instead open and hopeful.

    • Dawn-58330 August 6, 2011 Reply

      Janet, I’m glad that the reminder is helpful to you. I wish you all the best in your search for love on CatholicMatch. May God bless your open heart abundantly.

  5. Chris-592967 August 6, 2011 Reply

    I truly appreciate what you’re saying. When scanning the profiles it is easy to be judgmental or to not go deep enough. When I first joined CatholicMatch.com however, I was immediately emailed by a man whose profile was very nice. He seemed to be such a good match for me and we emailed daily. We spoke a few times and I felt like a young schoolgirl. After about a month it came to my knowledge (don’t need all the details) that he had stolen the photos of this man I thought I was talking to and was actually in Guana, Africa trying to get money, laptops, etc. from me. Terrible experience. In the end, the only damage that was done was my ego was badly bruised and the pain of something that I thought was real was now known to me to be a hoax. I haven’t subscribed since. How do we open up without being so badly fooled?

    • Dawn-58330 August 23, 2011 Reply

      Dear Chris,

      I am so sorry that you had to go through that experience. It’s not right, and that man will be accountable to God for his deception.

      Your post tells me two important things, Chris. First, God was protecting you even as you opened yourself to a relationship with this man. He kept you from physical harm, and He is healing your wounds to your spirit and ego. I am thanking God that he was watching out for His daughter. I also know you are a woman with grace from God, as you are honestly seeking the way back to being open to His gift of love, and a way to trust but be prudent at the same time.

      How do we do this balancing act of trust and caution? What is prudence when it comes to online dating on CatholicMatch? The first step is to bury ourselves in Christ. As Max Lucado put it,”A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”

      The second thing to do is to set boundaries that set a pace to the blossoming relationship. A woman has to draw some lines that will not be crossed before their time so that there is no needless heartache. These physical lines protect both parties, but especially help in protecting her heart, which is a precious gift. It doesn’t get given to just anyone.

      The third thing to do is to not make any declaration of there being an exclusive relationship until the parties have met in person for a first face to face (F2F). This is why so many people push to meet as soon as they can, rather than stay in email or chat limbo.

      Another thing to do is to get to know the man in the context of a community. In days of old this included her family, and/or other adult chaperones who would look out for her best interests when she may be caught up in the appeal of a new romance. The community on CatholicMatch that is largely expressed in the fora and chat rooms can be a venue for this. It has been for me. If one develops numerous friendships there among the men and women, they can aid in helping to vet a potential spouse.

      Chris, and anyone else who has been hurt by someone who has been dishonest and has taken advantage of your open heart, I pray that God continues to heal you and bring you to the point He wants you at. I wish you love and courage in your path ahead. I hope that we can be a help to each other as we stumble through this life.

      God bless,
      Dawn

      • Angela-101566 October 5, 2011 Reply

        Dawn, love, love, LOVE your reply to Chris. I can’t add anything at all to it. You said it so completely and so well. Thanks for the reminder of how to balance openness to possibilities and protection of self.

  6. Lisa-990489 September 3, 2013 Reply

    I have been inspired by your radiant faith. Thank you for encouraging us to live in the confidence of God’s love. I really enjoyed this post. Thank you, Dawn.

  7. Meg-920823 June 29, 2014 Reply

    Great article!

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