CatholicMatch changed me by helping me do things differently.
This is my story.
When I decided to join CatholicMatch back in 2010 I had already been a veteran of online dating for half a decade. I had forged a few relationships, none of which resulted in what I was hoping for, so in 2010 I realized I needed to change my strategy. I decided to commit to joining one new dating site per month until I hit paydirt. After signing up on two other sites, I made my way to CatholicMatch on Feb. 27, 2010. A few days later I became a paid member in order to fully experience the site.
At the time I had met someone on another site, so I figured I’d use my time here to get to know the people in the community. It was great to have a support network as I went through the dating process. The relationship didn’t lead anywhere and ended right before my 40th birthday.I turned to CatholicMatch for support as I worked through the break-up and my struggles in accepting that I was officially a single middle-aged woman.
With the help of my friends at CatholicMatch, I had recovered.
I even found my first CatholicMatch relationship and I left the site in March 2011. While it didn’t end as I had hoped, it helped me grow spiritually and emotionally in a way that no other relationship ever did. There was something to be said for CatholicMatch romances.
Starting over again
By the time I returned to CatholicMarch on Oct. 2, 2011, appearing as Lucia-551179, I had moved out my parents’ house, come home from Las Vegas and was ready to start the process all over again.
One week after my return, I reached out to Carl-776104, a newcomer to the site. The moment we met online we kept going back and forth for a week before we met for our first face-to-face on Oct. 16, 2011. We went to a café in the Italian market. We talked and talked – it must’ve been a six-hour date. We didn’t hesitate to make plans for our second date two days later.
On that second date, I knew he was different from anyone I ever dated before. He and I had so much in common: Our love of God, our families, our interests, even our love of cats. The more time we spent together the harder it was for us to be apart. I began to believe that I had truly found the one God designed for me.
Then things hit a grinding halt on Dec. 16, 2011. Our 2-month anniversary started early in the morning with Carl going into my local ER with stomach problems. As he waited to be admitted to the hospital, I went to my parents’ home and discovered my father non-responsive in his bed. Carl was there when they brought my father in. Within 20 minutes, we learned my father was gone.
When the ambulance came the ER staff brought my dad to Carl’s room and moved Carl down the hall. The nurse who had been assisting Carl that day had been my father’s homecare nurse, in fact. I still find it surreal how heavily involved Carl was in my dad’s final hours, how their paths overlapped.
Carl was there to bid my father farewell in the ER. After his discharge he was there to help me plan and endure his funeral. My friends at CatholicMatch were there to send prayers and condolences as well. As I dealt with my own grief, I supported those who were going through similar struggles. The pain became more bearable.
After much thought and consideration, I decided it was time to leave CatholicMatch when my subscription expired. Less than a month ago – on April 6, Good Friday – I said farewell again so I could discern my relationship further in the real world.
April 16 marked the 6-month of my relationship with Carl and fourth month since my father’s death. I miss his fun-loving spirit, his home-cooked meals and his dance moves. If I get married, God willing, my heart will ache for a father-daughter dance.
But I am learning to heal. Life is picking up steam and moving forward. I still remain in my apartment and visit my mother on a regular basis. I make sure she is well and help her figure out the business of living life on her own.
For me, this is a time for new beginnings, for discovering (and rediscovering) joy. It is the Easter season! I dusted off my flute and joined a community band. On Monday I performed in my first concert since I finished graduate school, with Carl in the audience, cheering me on. I am so grateful for his support.
Next Saturday I turn 42.
Carl is now looking for a place to call home in my city, Philadelphia. We enjoy making memories here and spend as much time together as possible. As things settle down, we look forward developing our relationship further.
CatholicMatch has helped me grow and develop in ways I never imagined. It forced me to think long and hard about my entire life. It also made me see things that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise on a traditional dating site. I really got to know members through the chatrooms and forums. I learned how to be a better Catholic and a better person. The ones who are my best friends are the ones who stood by me even when we disagreed. I learned about my own character and worked to change myself. This is the only dating site that helps you grow and develop as a person (and trust me, I’ve tried my share!).
I didn’t succeed here until I did the emotional and spiritual growth that needed to happen. It took a lot of reflection to figure out what I wanted in a relationship and how God would guide me to the one who would lead me to become the best person I could possibly be.
Now that I have left CatholicMatch to discern my relationship further, I will continue to look to my faith and God to direct Carl and me towards who we are meant to become as individuals and as a couple. For this relationship to endure it’s crucial to continue to engage in the process. Success will only come if you do the heavy lifting of growing yourself spiritually, mentally and emotionally. You need to take the time to allow the process to happen.
As I said many times: Keep coming back. It works if you work it!
As I continue to discern my current relationship, I pray for everyone’s success in finding what God has in store for them. Good luck and God Bless!
TELL US YOUR STORY
Lucia’s beautiful reflection kicks off a new series for Faith, Hope & Love: first-person accounts of your CatholicMatch experience. Email your story to Christina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the subject line “My Member Story” and begin your essay with the words “CatholicMatch changed me…” Attach any photos that may pertain to your story.